The Presidential Daily Brief


  1. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, airport tarmac planes shutterstock 235917610

    Brazilian Police Say U.S. Swimmers Lied About Alleged Robbery

    Not so fast. The U.S. Olympic Committee apologized for the “distracting ordeal” involving four swimmers whom Brazilian authorities say lied about being robbed when in fact they vandalized a gas station. Jack Conger and Gunnar Bentz — who were yanked from their flight yesterday — were able to travel back to the U.S. today, and Jimmy Feigen provided a revised statement and hopes to leave soon. Ryan Lochte, the gold medalist and apparent ring leader of the group, is already back in the U.S. The USOC will review the matter for possible punishment.

  2. louisiana sign shutterstock 102526358

    ‘500-Year’ Louisiana Flooding Blamed on Global Warming 

    It’s the worst disaster in four years. Parts of the state saw more than 31 inches of rain and at least 11 people died in the resultant flooding. Now the 30,000 who were rescued from the waters are returning to find their homes devastated. Thousands of houses are without electricity, and rescue teams are going door to door to offer aid. Scientists say they’d thought floods on this scale came only once every 500 years — but this is the eighth such event worldwide since May 2015, an acceleration attributed to climate change.

  3. manus island protest sign shutterstock 204500692

    Australian Refugee Detention Center to Be Closed

    But what happens to the inmates? Asylum seekers hoping to reach Australia have long been put in offshore holding centers, including Papua New Guinea’s Manus Island. But this spring, PNG’s Supreme Court ruled that the practice was unconstitutional, and now the two nations have confirmed: The center will be closed, though not immediately. It’s still not clear where the 854 men held on the island will go, but a spokesperson for Human Rights Watch called on Australia to immediately accept the detainees as refugees or move them to a safe third country.

  4. gavel auction shutterstock 222746809

    Univision Reportedly Buys Gawker at Auction for $135 Million

    Going once, going twice … adjudicado! The online media network declared bankruptcy after it was successfully sued for $140 million by Hulk Hogan — secretly backed by tech billionaire Peter Thiel, who has since gone public about scores he wanted to settle with Gawker. Now Gawker and its subsidiary sites, which include Jezebel, Deadspin and Jalopnik, have been auctioned off to the Spanish-language network, which has been working on improving its digital portfolio. A U.S. bankruptcy court still has to approve the sale at a hearing later this week.

  5. Deadly Kite Strings, Super Recognizers and Brazilian Gangs

    Know This: China’s not very happy about its medal count at the Rio Olympics, which is now lower than Britain’s. Three people are dead in India after their throats were slit by glass-coated kite strings. And London’s police force has created an unprecedented team of “super-recognizers.” Authorities have arrested the 71-year-old head of the Irish and European Olympic committees in connection with an illegal ticket sale scam.

    Read This: Not sure who Donald Trump’s new campaign chief is? This profile from last year will get you up to speed.

    Remember This: 4.8 — that’s the daily average number of people wounded by gunfire in Rio during the Olympic Games, almost twice July’s average, a spike sparking concern that gangs are taking advantage of the fact that police are focusing on the Olympics.


  1. Government building Pyongyang, North Korea shutterstock 67642552

    YouTube Star Raves About North Korean Vacation

    It’s a different view. Louis Cole, a 33-year-old British video blogger with 1.8 million YouTube subscribers, has been posting dispatches depicting water slides and cool food from North Korea to “combat the purely negative image we see in the media.” There’s no proof the dictatorship is controlling the reports or paying for them, but Kim Jong Un typically keeps a tight lid on things. Cole’s disregard for the Hermit Kingdom’s deprivation, delivered in the gee-whiz optimistic tones of brand-sponsored travel vloggers’ everywhere, has commentators questioning his motives.

  2. Permafrost

    Melting Permafrost Could Release Frozen Smallpox

    It’s no longer on ice. Authorities investigating a thaw-induced anthrax outbreak in Siberia have discovered traces of something even more alarming — smallpox. Once one of the world’s most dreaded pathogens, smallpox was declared eradicated in 1977. But researchers have found 120-year-old corpses, from the time of a major smallpox epidemic, exposed by melting permafrost — and found fragments of the virus’ DNA. This year’s record-breaking melt, which has already been linked to the spread of anthrax spores, could also expose an abandoned U.S. nuclear site in Greenland.

  3. Immigrant at protest

    Luck o’ the Irish May Not Come for Immigrants of Color

    The Golden Door may not be colorblind. The vast majority of America’s immigrants 100 years ago were largely poor white Europeans from Ireland, Italy and Eastern Europe. Though poor and segregated for several generations, they assimilated economically and socially. But researchers say the next generation of Latino and Black arrivals face higher and more persistent wealth, linguistic and acceptance hurdles. Race remains the biggest barrier to social mobility in the U.S. — meaning it’s still easier for white immigrants to realize their American Dream.

  4. Concert crowd Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, Rihanna shutterstock 430751242

    The Middle East Is Hearing a Musical Revolution

    Welcome to the Arab Sing. As upheaval has transformed the region in recent years, modern music has emerged to channel the complex emotions of the Middle East — with new technology making it more accessible than ever. Streaming services are taking off, and traditional Arab music has been joined by everything from heavy metal to hip-hop. Doha, Dubai and Abu Dhabi boast music halls and a festival scene is emerging. Though the number of listeners is tiny compared to the U.S., these voices are finding new ways to be heard.