He’s got their backs — maybe. What was hoped to be a reversal of his statements that the alliance was “obsolete,” President Trump instead chided 23 of 28 members for being in financial arrears. Speaking as if the nations owed NATO, the commander-in-chief seemed not to understand that the controversial shortfall is in the nations’ own defense spending, the alliance’s goal being 2 percent of gross national product. What Trump didn’t do is reiterate his commitment to defend any member under attack, as NATO members did by sending troops to Afghanistan after 9/11.
The Presidential Daily Brief
They were unmoved. Ten of 13 U.S. Court of Appeals judges in Richmond, Va., voted to uphold a lower court injunction stopping President Trump’s immigration ban for citizens of six mainly Muslim nations. While the executive order uses “vague words of national security,” it “drips with religious intolerance, animus and discrimination,” the ruling says. It also finds that Trump’s Muslim-banning campaign vows offered “direct, specific evidence” of discriminatory intent. A similar case is before San Francisco’s Ninth Circuit, and the issue is likely to be decided by the Supreme Court.
He hates leaks. British authorities warned their American counterparts against revealing intelligence after U.S. media reported the identity of Manchester bomber Salman Abedi. So when classified bombing photos appeared in The New York Times, Manchester police halted information-sharing while they investigate a terrorist network that reportedly ranges to Germany and Libya, where Abedi’s brother told authorities he knew of the attack. President Donald Trump called the leaks “deeply troubling,” and said he’s seeking a Justice Department probe of the lapse and “the culprit should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”
This could be a game changer. On the eve of today’s special election for the Montana House seat, Republican candidate Greg Gianforte was charged with misdemeanor assault for allegedly “body slamming” a journalist in front of witnesses. Gianforte’s campaign accused Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs of “aggressive behavior,” but witnesses and an audio recording back up Jacobs’ account. If convicted, Gianforte could spend six months behind bars. But half of Montana’s voters have already cast early ballots, so the incident might not be enough to hand victory to Democrat Rob Quist.
That’s a tough sell. While the GOP’s Obamacare replacement passed the House so swiftly that the Congressional Budget Office couldn’t issue a score before the vote, the numbers are now in: Fourteen million more Americans would be uninsured in 2018, and 23 million more by 2026. That’s likely to trouble Senate Republicans, who’ve already sworn to completely rewrite the bill, as they try to reconcile the desires of centrist and hardline conservatives — not to mention voters, who are expected to give legislators an earful during next week’s recess.
They’re up to Mischief. In a move likely to rattle Beijing, the U.S. Navy sent the USS Dewey within 12 miles of Mischief Reef in the Chinese-claimed Spratly Islands. The U.S. doesn’t officially recognize China’s sovereignty claims, but hadn’t previously performed such maneuvers under President Trump — perhaps due to the desire for China’s cooperation in tamping down North Korea’s nuclear threat. The Pentagon is calling it a freedom of navigation operation, meant to challenge excessive territorial claims, while Beijing says the warship has been warned to leave.
Know This: A Pentagon investigation of a March blast that killed 105 Iraqi civilians has found it resulted from a U.S. airstrike. Embattled Brazilian President Michel Temer has deployed federal troops to Brasilia to restore order as street protests calling for his ouster saw dozens wounded. And New Zealand has launched a low-cost 3-D-printed rocket, which could turn the country into a hub for space travel.
Remember This Number: 125. That’s how many refugees have arrived in Sicily on yachts or sailboats so far in 2017, as smugglers prey on migrants who have the means to avoid resorting to deadly rafts in order to cross the Mediterranean and Aegean.
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Subtle. When President Trump and Pope Francis met at the Vatican yesterday, the pontiff granted the U.S. president a few gifts, including copies of his 2017 peace letter and his 2015 missive on climate change and the importance of protecting the environment. The 192-page climate encyclical’s philosophy stands in marked contrast to Trump’s stance on rolling back environmental regulations and chopping the EPA’s budget, and its delivery comes as the U.S. mulls whether to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement. Trump reportedly told Francis, “Well, I’ll be reading them.”
Just being active is a step in the right direction. But new research from Stanford University has found that fitness trackers are unreliable when it comes to calculating how many calories you burn while working out. The study scrutinized seven fitness devices, and the most accurate at tracking energy expenditure, the FitBit Surge, was still off by 27.4 percent, while the PulseOn had a 92.6 percent error margin. The devices did accurately measure heart rate, but experts say users should think twice before relying on their wearables for nutritional guidance.
Think of the children. A new clinical trial, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, suggests that cannabidiol — a cannabis-derived compound without psychoactive properties — can reduce seizures in young patients with a rare form of epilepsy called Dravet syndrome. While nine of the 120 participants, aged 2-18, dropped out over side effects, the drug reduced seizures by 39 percent and three patients’ seizures stopped entirely. Researchers are optimistic, but warn against viewing cannabidiol as a cure-all right now, saying that more studies are needed.
He’ll have to find alternative advertisers to sponsor alternative facts. There’s zero evidence to support the discredited conspiracy theory that murdered DNC staffer Seth Rich was killed last year for passing information to WikiLeaks, and even Fox News has retracted its story about the case. But Hannity’s said he’ll continue to dig into the story, even as Rich’s family has repeatedly begged him to stop. Now the conservative firebrand’s feeling another kind of pressure: At least six sponsors, including Cars.com, say they’ve pulled their advertising from his show over the controversy.
They’re giving teams that cutting edge. The previously well-defined roles of defensive end and outside linebacker are merging into the versatile position of edge rusher — and it’s becoming the most valuable defensive job in modern football. The hybrid position’s stock is skyrocketing as more teams find their niche amid a continuing shift to 3-4 defenses. Top edge rushers are moving up the 2017 draft, with players like former Temple Owl Haason Reddick — who would’ve gone mid-round a few years ago — now drafted No. 13 overall.