The Presidential Daily Brief


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    EPA Chief Bucks Scientific Consensus on Climate Change

    The facts are clear. Decades of research have led to a consensus in the scientific community that carbon dioxide is a primary contributor to global warming. But new EPA chief Scott Pruitt says it’s not, and questions whether it’s the agency’s job to regulate CO2 levels. Pruitt also dismissed the landmark 2015 Paris climate agreement as “not an America first type of approach.” Meanwhile, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, a former Exxon executive, will recuse himself from debate over permitting Keystone XL, which would directly benefit his longtime employer.

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    Nigerian President Returns Home After Long Medical Leave

    Mystery solved. Muhammadu Buhari, 74, had been absent for weeks on medical leave in the U.K. — a worrying leadership vacuum for Nigerians, who hadn’t even seen a photo of their president since Feb. 15 until shots emerged of Buhari meeting with the Archbishop of Canterbury yesterday. No medical details have been disclosed, but Buhari’s trip was extended from ten days to nearly two months on the advice of his doctors. Now the opposition is calling for more transparency about his health as Nigeria’s economic crisis continues.

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    As FARC Retreats, Corporations Enter Colombia’s Pot Trade

    It’s a joint venture. For decades, notorious rebel group FARC used marijuana and coca farming to fund itself, but after last year’s peace settlement, Colombia cracked down on the illegal drug trade. With marijuana legalization sweeping the U.S., though, fields are unlikely to stay fallow. Efforts to convince drug farmers to cultivate different crops haven’t worked, but Colombia’s government will soon issue licenses for growing medical marijuana — largely due to a push from Canadian company PharmaCielo to change the law in hopes of profiting from the new peace.

  4. The Army’s Privacy Debacle, Justice Served and the PDB Quiz

    Know This: The U.S. economy added 235,000 jobs last month, well over the forecast 190,000, making a Federal Reserve rate hike next week more likely. The nude photo sharing scandal that’s embroiled the U.S. Marines is reportedly endemic in other branches of the military as well. A 36-year-old man from the former Yugoslavia was detained in Germany after injuring several people with an ax. And a Canadian judge who asked a homeless teenager during a rape trial why she hadn’t kept her “knees together” has resigned after a judicial council recommended he be fired.

    Try This: Feeling presidential after a week of briefings? Prove it with the PDB quiz.

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


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    Harvard Law School Will No Longer Require LSAT

    They’re leveling the playing field. In an effort to remove financial barriers to a legal education, the prestigious university is taking LSAT scores off its list of entry requirements, allowing prospective students to submit GRE results instead. That means low-income students can avoid the average $1,300 it costs to take an LSAT test prep class, plus fees for taking the test itself. Harvard’s not the first university to make the change, which goes into effect this fall, but could start a trend among America’s most prominent law schools.

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    Tesla Promises to Fix Australian State’s Power Woes

    The money-back guarantee makes a comeback. And it’s from Tesla CEO Elon Musk, who has bet South Australia’s government that he can fix their unreliable power infrastructure — and the regular blackouts it causes — with his company’s battery project. Tesla’s VP had already offered the company’s services, but Musk tweeted his promise of a working system in 100 days or it’d be free, adding, “That serious enough for you?” Now that Musk has laid down his marker, it’s up to South Australia’s government to accept the wager.

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    The Friendliest Places in the World

    Ni hao, Taiwan! A survey of more than 14,000 people from 67 countries has given prospective travelers some insight into which countries are best … and which are best avoided. Topping the good list was Taiwan, which was labeled not only the best destination for expats, but the friendliest country in the world. The survey’s least friendly: Kuwait. While perceptions of friendliness vary by individual — and some nationalities may find themselves more welcome than others — respondents said that Southern Hemisphere nations generally felt friendlier than northern locales.

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    HBO Announces Miniseries About 2016 Election

    They know we just lived through this, right? HBO’s upcoming miniseries will echo previous projects based on books by Mark Halperin and John Heilemann, Game Change and Recount, which chronicled the 2008 and 2000 elections. While the TV movie Game Change came out four years after the election it depicted, the 2016 project, also directed by Jay Roach, is underway just halfway through President Donald Trump’s first 100 days. HBO’s not even the first network to announce an election-inspired series: An upcoming season of American Horror Story will also focus on the 2016 campaign.

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    South African Surfer Crosses Atlantic on Stand-Up Paddleboard

    He’s still standing. After 93 days at sea, Chris Bertish stroked into Antigua’s English Harbour and stepped onto dry land, capping a solo journey of 4,050 miles. His paddleboard was heavily modified with a watertight sleeping cabin, satellite communications and food — but it depended entirely on Bertish’s paddle for propulsion. The odyssey, which began in Agadir, Morocco, included close encounters with sharks, equipment failures and loneliness. Bertish obliterated the previous record journey of 12 hours and enters world record books with the first ever trans-Atlantic paddleboard crossing.