The Presidential Daily Brief


  1. Mosquito

    Florida Confirms First Mainland U.S. Zika Transmissions

    The virus is moving. The Florida governor has confirmed the first cases of Zika contracted in the continental U.S. Four Florida residents infected by the virus, which can cause birth defects in unborn babies, had stumped doctors. Previous U.S. Zika cases had contracted it abroad. But it’s now thought the patients, who live in two different Florida counties, were infected by local mosquitos. Blood donations have been halted in the affected areas. More than 60 countries are now reporting local cases of the virus, which the World Health Organization has declared a “public health emergency of international concern.”

  2. fighters shutterstock 378357649

    Nusra Front Officially Breaks Off From Al-Qaida

    He’s never shown his face before. But Nusra leader Mohammed al-Golani, in his first known video appearance, spoke to the camera to announce his group’s new flag, name change — they’re now Jabhat Fatah al-Sham — and the cancellation of any affiliation with al-Qaida. This is likely a play for the loyalty of Syrian rebels, who often don’t care for al-Qaida but may be inclined to join Nusra. This won’t change its status as a listed terrorist organization — or as a target of U.S. and Russian warplanes.

  3. baltimore police shutterstock 277836332

    After Collapse of Freddie Gray Case, Prosecutors Blame Police

    They say the blue weren’t true. On Wednesday, Baltimore prosecutors dropped the remaining cases against officers accused in the death of Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old Black man who died in police custody. Now they’re faulting the police investigation, saying incompetence or sabotage undermined their ability to gather evidence for what they still believe is a strong case. The police department says it stands by its work, and five of the accused officers are now suing State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby for what they say was a politically motivated witch hunt.

  4. japan economy shutterstock 164166002

    Bank of Japan Goes for Modest Stimulus, Despite Expectations

    Could this be enough? Interest rates held at the central bank’s monthly meeting, but the economy may get a moderate boost from the Bank of Japan’s promise to buy up $57 billion of exchange-traded stock funds, nearly double its original plan. Analysts say central bankers are likely hoping the move — along with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s promise to announce a $268 billion economic stimulus package next week — will be enough to reverse Japan’s slumping long-term economic growth and push inflation up to 2 percent. 

  5. Pope Francis Visits Auschwitz-Birkenau Concentration Camp, Charges Dropped in High-Profile Intern Murder

    Pope Francis prays at former Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp. (BBC)

    Charges dropped against man suspected in Chandra Levy murder. (Miami Herald)

    Kashmir authorities try to quell protest with curfews. (AP)

    Three human characters on Sesame Street let go after decades. (Huffington Post)

    Feeling presidential after a week of briefings? Prove it with the PDB quiz. (OZY)


  1. Astronaut

    Deep Space Radiation May Have Killed Apollo Astronauts

    Houston, we have a problem. NASA’s released its first study on astronauts’ causes of death – and the results aren’t promising for our future in space. It turns out that Apollo astronauts who’ve passed away since hanging up their spacesuits are four to five times more likely to die from cardiovascular problems, just as mice were after a long-term exposure study. It’s thought deep space radiation causes permanent damage — and with Mars in international space missions’ sights, many worry about increased health risks on such a long flight.

  2. Road sign

    A Twilight Zone With No Signpost Ahead

    Is this the end of backseat driving? With driverless cars, GPS and augmented reality, street signs might be on their way out. But what will the world look like without physical markers? Relying on Google or Apple for maps, for instance, could have consequences, like corporate interests dictating routes. And navigation can go even more digital: Heads-up display street markers à la Pokemon Go. Some experts say we could be living in a sign-free world by 2060, even if one person’s augmented reality can still be another’s wrong turn.

  3. elephant shutterstock 136844510

    Elephant Hurls Rock, Kills Young Girl at Moroccan Zoo

    All they wanted was a picture. A seven-year-old girl was posing for a photo outside the elephant enclosure at Rabat’s Jardin Zoologique this week when one of the large mammals picked up a rock with its trunk and tossed it in the air, hitting the child’s head. The victim was taken to a hospital, where she died hours later from head trauma. The zoo offered its condolences, but reassured visitors that it meets international safety standards and that there are no plans to put the elephant down.

  4. shutterstock 218343187

    Stephen Colbert in Strange Legal Battle Over … Stephen Colbert

    Can the mirror have two faces? After Late Show host Stephen Colbert reprised his faux-conservative self to skewer the Republican National Convention, he revealed that “the top lawyer from another company” told CBS to desist because “Stephen Colbert” is intellectual property of, presumably, Comedy Central. So the funnyman pushed the boundary by introducing the character’s “identical twin cousin” for a routine. It gets weirder: Comedy Central parent Viacom and CBS are both substantially owned by Sumner Redstone, raising the possibility of a corporate entity legally objecting — to itself.

  5. shutterstock 216951283

    USA Basketball Adjusts to 3-Pointers in Rio Tuneups

    It’s almost a layup. Team USA Basketball has its second-to-last pre-Olympic exhibition tonight against Venezuela in Chicago, and the collection of all-stars — even without megastars LeBron James and Stephen Curry — is expected to bulldoze its way through Rio. But there are still adjustments to the international game, including a shortened 3-point line. Instead of the worst shot you can take, the mid-range jumper is now a key skill that could benefit players like Demar DeRozan — if only he’d use it.