The Presidential Daily Brief


  1. christine lagarde shutterstock 349506626

    IMF Supports Christine Lagarde Despite Conviction

    She’s sticking it out. The International Monetary Fund leader was convicted by a French court yesterday of negligence related to the misuse of public funds in 2008. But Lagarde, 60, won’t see jail time, financial penalties or even a criminal record. The IMF, which reappointed her in February for a five-year term, says it won’t seek new leadership. While some are hoping the group will appoint a non-European leader in the future, many have concluded that navigating Brexit and a potential Italian financial crisis requires Lagarde’s practiced hand.

  2. Drone Return, West Virginia’s Drug Culture and Atlantis Books

    Know This: China has returned an American underwater drone it seized Thursday. After massive public protest, Poland’s ruling party has scrapped controversial new restrictions on the media. And drug wholesalers reportedly shipped a shocking 780 million hydrocodone and oxycodone pills to West Virginia — a state of 1.84 million people — over the past six years, during which the state saw 1,728 fatal overdoses.

    Read This: Ever wanted to open an English-language bookstore on a Greek island? Here’s a longread about the twenty-somethings who actually did.

    Talk to Us: We want your feedback on the PDB — what you think we’re doing right and what we should be doing differently. Send us an email at


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    Synthetics Reshape Medical Marijuana Debate

    It’s not about the high. Artificially derived cannabis products can treat glaucoma and chronic pain without the trouble and expense of growing marijuana plants, which would shift the turf of clashes over medical pot. Now epilepsy drug Epidiolex is on the verge of federal approval, though it would require a long-awaited downgrade of marijuana from a Schedule 1 drug before it could be prescribed. While cannabis biotech is seeing a flood of investment, don’t expect products to bum-rush the market. Given how long FDA approvals take, backers will have to chill.

  2. Solar

    Las Vegas Now Largest US City Powered by Renewable Energy

    What happens in Vegas … is good for the environment. The desert metropolis has completed an eight-year project making it the largest American city to power all municipal property — streetlights, fire stations, parks and public buildings — entirely on renewable energy. Sin City took advantage of its unique desert location to pull it off, using Boulder Solar 1, a 100-megawatt solar plant outside the city. In the process, it reduced energy consumption by 30 percent and is due to save $5 million annually.

  3. Doctors

    Study: Female Doctors Provide Better Patient Care

    They’ve got that special something. A new Harvard study of 1.6 million Medicare hospital visits found that patients of female doctors do better than those treated by men, with elderly patients 4 percent less likely to die and 5 percent less likely to be re-admitted. The research claims 32,000 fewer Americans — among Medicare patients alone — would die every year if male doctors saw the same results as their female colleagues. Yet female physicians constitute just one-third of the workforce and average $19,879 lower salaries than their male counterparts.

  4. Bollywood

    Bollywood Movies Return to Pakistan After Ban

    Sometimes markets trump nationalism. Pakistani cinemas had seen their revenues cut in half since September, when they banned Bollywood films in response to Indian moviemakers refusing to work with Pakistani artists. The culture war is a side skirmish in the nuclear-armed neighbors’ long-simmering border dispute that broke out in bloodshed this year in the Kashmir region. Pakistani movie theater owners, who bring in 60 percent of their revenue from Bollywood films, had laid off about 2,000 employees — but hope their fortunes will be revived with this reversal.

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    Stanford’s McCaffrey to Skip Bowl Game as Trend Builds

    He’s taking a knee. The Cardinal running back is expected to be a top pick in April’s NFL draft, so Christian McCaffrey isn’t risking injury against North Carolina in the Dec. 30 Sun Bowl. It’s a mostly meaningless contest in El Paso, Texas, far from the bright lights of the College Football Playoffs. LSU’s Leonard Fournette is making a similar choice, one that cuts to the heart of the debate over unpaid labor in college sports and could spark a trend among players planning to go pro.