The Presidential Daily Brief


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    Cameron Steps Down, Scots Could Split After Brexit

    The casualties have begun. Prime Minster David Cameron — who led the charge for the “Remain” crowd — announced he would step down after Britain voted to dump Europe’s shared governance in a world-shaking shift. Scotland’s leader wants a new seccession vote from the U.K. so it can stick with the E.U. World markets took an immediate dive — with the British pound currency getting the worst of it. Still, Britain’s complicated divorce could take another two years before it’s final.

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    FARC and Colombia Sign Historic Ceasefire

    Could there be peace in our time? The rebel group and the South American country have been battling for 52 years, killing 220,000 people and displacing millions more, but that could be at an end with today’s signing of a ceasefire agreement after three years of peace talks. Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos and Farc leader Timochenko met today in Havana to put pens to paper, and many expect this to lead smoothly to a full peace deal. Now guerrillas can start laying down their weapons, according to the agreed-upon timetable, 

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    Baltimore Cop Caesar Goodson Found Not Guilty in Freddie Gray Trial

    The police officer who drove the van in which 25-year-old Gray was fatally injured has been cleared of all charges against him, including second-degree depraved-heart murder. The young Black man died in April 2015 after suffering a devastating spinal injury a week after he was detained and transported in a van driven by Goodson. Of the six officers involved in Gray’s arrest, Goodson faced the most serious charges. The tragedy sparked violent protests, so officials are likely to appeal for calm following today’s ruling.

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    Republicans Ignore Democrats’ Gun Control Sit-In

    They will not be moved. In the Senate, Dems successfully forced gun-related votes Monday — without passing anything — by working within the Republican-majority body’s rules. But House procedures are stricter, so minority Democrats, led by Civil Rights icon John Lewis, tried civil disobedience yesterday, occupying the normally decorous floor. GOP Speaker Paul Ryan shouted over the hubbub as about 30 gun control backers sang “We Shall Overcome” and chanted “no bill, no break.” Republicans ignored them, passing a Zika funding measure before adjourning until July 5, and Dems ended their sit-in today.

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    Tornado Kills 51 in China’s Jiangsu Province

    A tornado struck near the city of Yancheng in the northeastern Chinese province of Jiangsu today, killing 51 people and injuring dozens in an area already hard-hit by weather. The area had experienced weeks of torrential downpours before the twister reportedly hit, flattening numerous buildings. The city and surrounding area was also pounded by hailstorms and the combination of extreme conditions knocked down power lines, flipped trucks and hurled trees, according to state media reports, which also featured images of rescue workers taking victims to a local hospital.

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    Pakistan’s ‘Rockstar of Qawwali’ Murdered in Karachi

    His voice was silenced. A Taliban splinter group has claimed yesterday’s shooting of famed Sufi musician Amjad Sabri, 45, by motorcycle gunmen who attacked his car. Sabri was popular for connecting the traditional qawwali style, which traces its musical lineage to the 13th century, with modern tastes. He was a regular on national television. Qawwali music, linked to the mystical Sufi strain of Islam, is considered blasphemous by the Taliban and some conservative Pakistani politicians, but Sabri’s fans wonder who could kill such a “gentle soul” who “had no enemies.”

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    Marco Rubio Reverses Course, Will Seek Re-Election

    He’s back in the game. Despite promises to the contrary, the former GOP presidential hopeful says he plans to run for re-election to the Senate. Citing the Orlando massacre as a wake-up call, Rubio stressed concerns for the future amidst the tumultuous presidential race. With the GOP looking to preserve a majority in Congress this November, many Republicans are eager to retain Rubio’s heavy-hitting national profile. The Florida senator’s name on the ballot could tip the scales in a critical swing-state race.

  8. Bluegrass Legend Ralph Stanley Dies; Supreme Court Blocks Obama Immigration Plan

    Ralph Stanley, Bluegrass Pioneer, Dies at 89 (USA Today)

    F-16s scramble to escort L.A.-bound flight with unruly passenger into Tuscon. (CBS)

    Supreme Court blocks Obama immigration plan. (BBC)

    Coast Guard finds body off Florida during search for missing family. (CNN)

    Indonesian president defies China, visiting disputed islands on warship. (SMH)

    Baltimore braces for violence following verdict in police murder trial. (AP)

    Five foreigners kidnapped in Nigeria after vehicle attacked, driver shot. (AFP)


  1. Robot

    Philosophers Make Pitch for Artificial Intelligence Values

    They’re our babies now. What happens when they’re on their own? Today’s artificial intelligence seems harmless — think Siri or AlphaGo — but philosophers say we’re behind the curve in establishing behavioral standards for man-made minds before their cognitive ability surpasses our own. What if a driverless car’s brakes fail and it has to choose between hitting schoolchildren or a construction crew? Ethicists and movies like Ex Machina are tackling such dilemmas, including how battlefield robots might choose targets. In the fog of war, will they distinguish between friend and foe?

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    Indian Rocket Blasts Off With Record 20 Satellites

    It’s out there. The Indian Space Research Organization has broken its record for satellite launches, successfully sending 20 into orbit with one rocket. The Sriharikota spaceport launch, which involved ferrying satellites for the U.S., Germany, Canada and Indonesia, was hailed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi as a “monumental accomplishment” that signals the country’s eagerness to compete with the likes of Elon Musk’s Space X and other nations’ agencies. Space journalist Pallava Bagla noted, “India offers launch costs that are 50 percent cheaper than the rest of the world.”

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    Africa Faces Yellow Fever Vaccine Shortage

    It’s worse than Zika, and it’s preventable. But authorities have been forced to ration yellow fever vaccines. The World Health Organization has approved 20 percent strength immunizations — which last a year, compared to a lifetime for the full dose — as central African health workers cope with an epidemic-induced shortage. About 1 billion people in 46 countries risk contracting the mosquito-borne illness, which kills up to half its victims. Resupplying takes at least six months, with cyclical shortages exacerbated by the pharmaceutical industry’s reluctance to produce low-profit vaccines.

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    The Pumi Becomes America’s 190th Official Dog Breed

    They’re no longer scratching at the door. The American Kennel Club has finally recognized the pumi, a Hungarian herder. Advocates have spent 17 years trying certify the breed, recognized elsewhere in the world, by registering 300 of the pooches in the states. Known for intelligence and a “whimsical expression,” the dogs now graduate from “miscellaneous” to the herding category in competitions such as the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, meaning that when the next “best in show” contest comes around, they won’t be left out in the cold.

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    NHL Expansion Gives Vegas First Major Pro Team

    The Strip just got a little cooler. Long avoided because of its legalized sports gambling, Las Vegas has officially secured its first major professional sports franchise. The National Hockey League announced yesterday that its 31st team will take the ice in the glittery desert town in the fall of 2017, with players to be selected in an expansion draft from other teams. Vegas could also get a National Football League team soon if the Oakland Raiders’ owner can talk local Nevada officials into paying for a new domed stadium.