The Presidential Daily Brief


  1. aleppo map shutterstock 365702177

    Syrian Cease-fire Begins After Weekend of Violence

    Is this the beginning of something better? The Free Syrian Army rebel alliance has accepted the week-long cease-fire brokered by Russia and the U.S., but with what they call strong reservations that the terms will benefit Bashar Assad’s government. Over the weekend, more than 100 people died in government bombings in Aleppo and Idlib, including one market airstrike that killed 55. While several other cease-fires have swiftly dissolved during Syria’s five-year civil war, hope remains that this one, which began at sundown, could be a first step.

  2. north korea shutterstock 131485754

    North Korea Ready for Another Nuclear Test, Says South Korea

    Nobody knows what the fallout would be. The South Korean Defense Ministry says that though North Korea only just conducted its fifth nuclear trial underground, it’s ready to go again whenever the mood strikes. Some analysts say it could be mere weeks before new devices get a test run, sparking calls for tougher sanctions as a deterrent. The Hermit Kingdom insists it can now mount a nuclear device on a ballistic missile, which could be disastrous for the unpredictable state’s neighbors — and their allies around the world.

  3. stocks down shutterstock 102217162

    Stocks Sag as Potential Rate Rise Looms

    This could be a flash in the pan. But after Boston Federal Reserve President Eric Rosengren remarked Friday that low interest rates could damage the U.S. economy, everyone’s on red alert, with stocks sharply down in Europe and Asia. The Fed’s about to enter its customary pre-meeting silence before next week’s conference — and potential rate hike — but a speech from anti-rise Fed official Lael Brainard scheduled for today has suddenly risk-averse investors watching for clues, even after the ECB stood pat on monetary policy last week.

  4. The Right to Die, the Empty Sky on 9/11 and Georgia’s True Blue Prospects

    Know This: A Belgian Paralympian with an incurable degenerative disease dismisses rumors that she’ll choose euthanasia after the Rio Games, saying she’ll wait. China’s lack of weddings is transforming its social landscape. And as many as 800,000 people demonstrated for Catalan independence from Spain.

    Read This: If you missed this longread over the weekend, catch up on the story of being on Air Force One — the only plane in the sky — during 9/11. 

    Remember This: ”Bless your heart, y’all. Georgia is not going to vote for a Democratic president this election cycle.” OZY’s take on Clinton’s chances of taking certain Southern states.


  1. Miss America contestants 2007 shutterstock 181663325

    Miss Arkansas Savvy Shields Wins Miss America Crown

    She’s the one. In addition to strutting in a swimsuit and evening gown and dancing to a number from NBC’s Smash, Shields offered praise for Hillary Clinton during the Q&A portion when she chided the media for a tendency to “sensationalize everything.” Meanwhile, the first openly lesbian contestant, Missouri’s Erin O’Flaherty, missed the cut for the final 15. The Sunday night broadcast from Atlantic City, N.J., caught flak for what some called “TV’s tackiest” 9/11 remembrance about how the attacks nearly caused the 2001 pageant to be canceled.

  2. bathroom shutterstock 392752957

    NCAA Pulls March Madness From NC Over Bathroom Bill

    It’s no shining moment. The NCAA has relocated seven championship events — including early rounds of the men’s basketball tournament scheduled for Greensboro — because of HB2, a controversial state law blocking anti-discrimination protections and requiring people to use bathrooms corresponding to their birth gender. Touting an “inclusive atmosphere,” the college sports body joins the NBA, which yanked its All-Star Game from Charlotte. A defiant North Carolina Republican Party called the decision “so absurd it’s almost comical,” as Gov. Pat McCrory, who signed HB2, faces a re-election fight.

  3. Stan Wawrinka fist celebration shutterstock 322318697

    Wawrinka Unseats Djokovic to Capture US Open

    Stan’s the man. The Swiss champion overpowered the world No. 1 in New York, 6-7 (1), 6-4, 7-5, 6-3 for his first Open title. Plagued by a wrist injury throughout the tournament, Novak Djokovic happened to draw a series of lackluster opponents in earlier matches. No such luck Sunday, as the No. 3-ranked Wawrinka showed off his sharper serve. At 31, Wawrinka’s the oldest men’s champion since 1970, but his game’s only getting stronger — he’s grabbed three majors in the past three years.

  4. 9 11

    Some Educators Struggle With Teaching 9/11

    How do you teach a current event that’s become history? As 9/11 passes its 15th anniversary, that’s the dilemma facing American teachers this week. Most states still don’t include 9/11 or its aftermath in mandatory curricula, leaving teachers to develop their own lessons — or skip the subject entirely. Though most educators have personal memories of Sept. 11, 2001, today’s high school seniors were only 2 years old during the attacks, so for them the event’s officially a history lesson. Teachers are left with ambiguity — and little institutional support.

  5. Self driving car

    Self-Driving Cars Just Got a Major Software Update

    Look Ma, no hands! Drivers uncertain about sharing the road with self-driving cars may now breathe a little easier. CEO Elon Musk says Tesla cars will be getting a new autopilot that relies on radar sensors around the vehicles, making them more reactive to their immediate environment. The system assembles radar pings into a 3-D image, identifying nearby objects and anticipating changes to the road. But with a fatality already attributed to a self-driving car, the technology still has a way to go to capture public trust.

  6. Peking University students graduation China shutterstock 447640342

    China Lures Foreign Students Amid Higher Ed Boom

    They’re giving it the old college try. While higher education is shrinking in more developed neighbor nations, it’s booming in China, including a surge of liuxuesheng — foreign students — as the Middle Kingdom aims to host half a million by 2020. With four Chinese universities ranked in the world’s top 10 for engineering, undergrads are streaming in from the U.S. and South Korea. But challenging American dominance in the field will require China to address the limits of Confucian culture’s rote learning and restrictions on academic freedom.