The Presidential Daily Brief


  1. manuel noriega wikimedia

    Panama Strongman Manuel Noriega Dies at 83

    He called himself “El Man.” The colorful general, de facto dictator of Panama for six years, has died of complications from brain surgery. Noriega was a cagey American ally, passing secrets to all sides, until he was deposed in 1989 over ties to drug trafficking and a wave of anti-American sentiment that led to the shooting of a U.S. soldier. He served time in the states and in Panama, writing in his 1997 memoir, “I only ask to be judged on the same scale of treachery and infamy of my enemies.”

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    Angela Merkel: US and UK No Longer Completely Reliable

    “We Europeans truly have to take our fate into our own hands.” So said the German chancellor to a Munich election rally, adding that the time of reliance on others is “somewhat over.” The comments, which may signal a major shift in longstanding Western alliances, follow contentious NATO and G7 summits that saw U.S. President Trump butting heads with other world leaders, including Merkel. Polls indicate the chancellor, who mentioned Brexit as another dismal sign for Western unity, will be re-elected to a fourth term this fall.

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    Japan Vows Action After New North Korean Missile Test

    They’re not going to take it anymore. What’s believed to be a Scud-class missile was fired from a North Korean coastal town, flying 280 miles before landing in the Sea of Japan. Though the projectile didn’t damage anything, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe says his country will be taking “concrete action” against Pyongyang, in concert with the U.S., as such launches could affect shipping and air routes. Meanwhile, the missile provoked new South Korean President Moon Jae-in to call a meeting of the National Security Council.

  4. Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump shutterstock 424845373

    Trump Defends Kushner, Blasts ‘Fake News’

    He’s back. While the commander in chief didn’t directly address reports that his son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner explored setting up a secret communication channel with Moscow, President Donald Trump said Kushner is “a very good person” and “doing a great job.” Meanwhile, administration officials played down back-channel communications as normal and “a good thing” — and the president, fresh from a bumpy trip to Europe, ranted via Twitter: “#FakeNews is the enemy!” Congressional Democrats, however, called for a review of Kushner’s security clearance in light of the story.

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    Supporters Raise $600,000 for Portland Victims’ Families

    They stood up and stepped in. Tributes and contributions have been pouring in for Taliesin Myrddin Namkai-Meche and Rick Best, who were murdered when they intervened to stop suspect Jeremy Christian from verbally abusing two teenage girls with anti-Muslim hate speech on a Portland train. Hundreds stood vigil for the dead Saturday. Meanwhile, calls on social media pressured President Trump to acknowledge the Oregon attack, and he wrote on Twitter that the crime was ”unacceptable,” and “the victims were standing up to hate and intolerance.”

  6. Flooding, New Hope Against Cancer and Memorial Day

    Know This: As rains threaten to resume in Sri Lanka and the death toll from floods and mudslides hits 164, rescuers are scrambling to evacuate those still stranded. Eight people, including a police officer, died yesterday in Mississippi after a gunman opened fire on his estranged wife and her family. And an experimental cancer treatment, just approved by the FDA, has proved a powerful weapon against certain cancers.

    Watch This: On Memorial Day, the Theater of War project is using Sophocles’ ancient Greek war plays to help modern veterans process and discuss their experiences in combat.

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  1. gal gadot wonder woman shutterstock 647861356

    Women-Only Screenings of ‘Wonder Woman’ Spark Rage

    If only people got this mad about the gender pay gap. The Alamo Drafthouse, an independent Austin, Texas, cinema famous for quirky thematic events, advertised a single screening of Wonder Woman that was only open to patrons identifying as women. Unsurprisingly, this caused men on the internet to flip out, complaining about reverse sexism rather than buying a ticket for one of the 4,000 other U.S. theaters showing the film. In response, Alamo Drafthouse has added a second all-female screening — which, like the first, swiftly sold out.

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    America Flocks to the Lamb Industry

    Chop chop. While U.S. sheep farms have long played second-fiddle to mutton juggernaut Australia, a drought-related shortage of antipodean sheep is providing American farmers with an opportunity to corner the lamb market. But the moment may not be right: U.S. farmers are currently grappling with the threat of losing a large part of their workforce as immigration crackdowns keep temporary migrant workers away. That’s less of a problem for small farms, but experts say the bigger hurdle may be getting beef-focused Americans to switch up their menus.

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    NASA’s Juno Probe Sends Astonishing Jupiter Photos

    Good job, homeskillet. Juno has been circling the gas giant for nearly a year, taking photos and collecting data, and now its first findings have been published. Along with its famous red spot, it turns out Jupiter is home to a strong, irregular magnetic field, ammonia storms and Earth-sized cyclones raging across its poles. Juno’s also captured images of the starscape seen from between the planet’s rings, showing the constellation Orion from Jupiter’s perspective. The NASA probe will continue beaming back information until its mission ends next year.

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    Cannes Film Festival Comes to a Close

    The curtain falls. The 70th edition of the French festival ended with the announcement of the main awards winners: Sofia Coppola made history, becoming only the second woman to take home Cannes’ best director prize for her widely lauded The Beguiled, while Ruben Ostlund’s The Square was awarded the top prize, the Palme d’Or. Some criticized this year’s selections for being weaker and more conservative than usual, though Oscar-winning director Alejandro Inarritu’s immersive virtual reality experience Carne y Arena was praised for its groundbreaking approach to the art.

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    Takuma Sato Wins Indianapolis 500

    That took an unexpected turn. The former Formula One driver won the 101st Indy 500 after bypassing a fiery crash and holding off a late surge from Helio Castroneves. With only one other IndyCar win under his belt, Sato had been largely overlooked before the race in favor of his teammate, two-time F1 champion Fernando Alonso. Yet once Alonso and race favorite Scott Dixon crashed out, it was Sato who took the lead. As the first Japanese Indy 500 winner, Sato hopes his win could stimulate auto racing’s Asian fan base.