The Presidential Daily Brief


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    Investigators Hear EgyptAir Black Box Signals

    Are they closing in answers? Investigators announced today that a French ship’s crew has detected sounds from the EgyptAir plane that crashed last month in the Mediterranean Sea. The Airbus A320 was flying from Paris to Cairo when it vanished, apparently without sending a distress call, on May 19 with 66 people on board. The boat’s crew will now use acoustic detection equipment to listen to the locator pings, and a special vessel with deep-diving robots will arrive next week to help recover the devices.

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    Professor Killed in UCLA Murder-Suicide

    What they don’t know is why. Gunfire erupted Wednesday morning at UCLA, leaving two dead and prompting a campus-wide lockdown and city alert. Local and federal authorities rushed to the scene and found the bodies of the unidentified gunman and his victim, William Klug, a professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering, in an engineering building office. Many of the school’s more than 40,000 students were on campus at the time. Police are still investigating as classes resume today, though the engineering department will be closed all week before finals begin Monday.

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    Forty Dead Tiger Cubs Found in Thai Temple

    They’ve got tiger blood on their hands. An investigation into the Tiger Temple, a tourist attraction promising visitors up-close-and-personal contact with big cats, has discovered dozens of dead cubs in a freezer on temple grounds. Many of the 137 living felines from the temple have already been removed as authorities probe allegations of wildlife trafficking and abuse. Monks say they notified officials of all animal deaths as required, but Thai authorities deny it — and the bodies, highly valuable on the black market, are being examined.

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    Donald Trump Sows GOP Division, Earns North Korean Support

    Get in line or go home. That’s the message from the presumptive nominee to any Republicans not supporting his bid for the White House. “That’s who I am,” Trump said at a press conference, explaining his attacks on New Mexico’s Gov. Susana Martinez. He noted that reporters who publish unfriendly coverage can expect similar treatment. Meanwhile, an editorial in North Korean state media praised the reality TV star for being “wise” and “far-sighted” and expressed hope that his presidency would see U.S. troops vacate the Korean peninsula.

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    Parents of Child Who Fell in Gorilla Cage Under Investigation

    Were they monkeying around? When a 3-year-old boy entered the gorilla enclosure at the Cincinnati Zoo last week, officials, fearing for the child’s safety, shot 17-year-old endangered gorilla Harambe. Now the zoo is being probed by accrediting bodies, but Cincinnati police say they’re focusing on the possible negligence of the child’s parents. Animal rights groups have demanded an investigation, and online petitions have hurled abuse at both the zoo and the parents, who could see criminal charges over the incident.

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    US and Europe Race to Salvage Trade Agreement

    They’re trying to TTIP the scales. Officials from Brussels and Washington are stumping for their Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, hoping to regain lost momentum. While Britain and Italy are gung ho for the deal, France, which is currently wracked by strikes and deeply suspicious of TTIP’s potential effects on protected meats and cheeses, needs more convincing. And there’s a time crunch: If the deal isn’t signed before Barack Obama leaves office in January, officials say it’s unlikely the next president will push it through.


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    Scientists Declare Progress on Universal Cancer Vaccine

    They don’t want to overcell it. But researchers say they’ve taken a “very positive step” toward obliterating the disease with a vaccine that pushes immune systems to attack tumors like they would viruses. The scientists say they’ve successfully injected parts of cancer’s genetic RNA code into fat nanoparticles, introducing them into the bloodstreams of three patients with advanced cancers to create “killer” T-cells that tackle cancer. While immunotherapy’s having a resurgence in oncology circles, experts say this technique will need more study before it’s considered a cure-all.

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    Switzerland Opens World’s Longest, Deepest Rail Tunnel

    They’ve trained their eyes on the future. At 35 miles, the Gotthard tunnel beats out Japan’s Seikan tunnel as the world’s longest, and it’ll haul cargo under the Alps that’s currently hauled by about a million trucks per year. To celebrate Gotthard’s opening after nearly two decades of construction, hundreds of ticket-holders who won their spots in a raffle were carried on two trains speeding in opposite directions through the tunnel. Full service, which will see hundreds of freight and passenger trains zip through the tunnel every day, begins in December.

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    Georgian Vegan Café Blames Neo-Nazis for Hot Dog Melée

    There are more than ideals at steak. Kiwi-Café, one of the few vegan eateries in Tbilisi, says it was hosting a screening of Adult Swim cartoon Rick and Morty Sunday night when a crowd of men started throwing sausages, grilled meat and fish. The café is blaming Georgian nationalists known as the Bergmann Group for the incident, which turned into a violent brawl, but they also say irritated locals joined in, and that the police — who are now investigating — were “very aggressive.”

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    How Poland Became the World’s Leader in Digital Education

    They’re not doing things by the book. The Eastern European powerhouse is chugging ahead with a program of digital textbooks with open licenses — meaning students don’t have to buy new books every year, and teachers can remix lessons as they see fit. Considering Poland’s historical penchant for rote learning — not to mention its notoriously poor educational system, which sees 50 percent of students seeking outside tutoring — this is a big shift. But activists say the next step may be even bigger: No textbooks at all.

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    Facebook, Twitter, YouTube Sign Anti-Hate Speech Agreement

    Is this the end of self-expression? If you express yourself by inciting violence against people of particular races, genders, or national origins, maybe: That’s what’s prohibited by the new European Commission-backed code of conduct that some global tech leaders have just signed. It’s a reversal from the laissez-faire policies companies like Twitter have historically espoused when it comes to abuse and harassment. But some free speech advocacy groups are outraged, and EU watchdogs are investigating reports that they were shut out of the negotiating process.

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    ’Mary Poppins Returns’ to Fly Into Cinemas in 2018

    Will she be practically perfect in every way? Emily Blunt’s slated to play the spellbinding nanny alongside a new character, Jack the lamplighter, played by Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda. The all-new score won’t be penned by Miranda, but rather by Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman, the team behind Hairspray. Set in Depression-era London, the Rob Marshall-directed sequel will follow Jane and Michael Banks trying to navigate adulthood with the help of a visit from their supercalifragilisticexpialidocious former nanny and her famous medicine.

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    Pitcher’s Zika Struggles Raise Olympic Concerns

    “It wasn’t a cold, trust me,” said Detroit Tigers pitcher Francisco Rodriguez, who contracted the dreaded virus in the offseason while visiting his native Venezuela. He described Zika as two weeks of body aches, vomiting and headaches — and said it took two months to fully recover his strength. While K-Rod didn’t suggest anyone should skip the Rio Olympic Games this August, he “wouldn’t blame” athletes like Serena Williams and Chicago Bulls forward Pau Gasol who’ve admitted concerns, and advised competitors and spectators to research the disease ahead of time.