EU Demands Brexit Clarity as Leaders Meet
The Presidential Daily Brief
“I’m still sad, because I’m not a robot,” said European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker, but he was crystal clear: Britain has to clarify its way forward after voters backed leaving the European Union. Outgoing British Prime Minister David Cameron is meeting with EU leaders today, as markets gently bounce from their historic post-vote lows, to give his analysis of the situation. So far he’s refused to start the two-year clock on negotiations by officially giving Brexit notice — meaning his replacement may be left to pull the trigger.
Will this spur more talk of secession? America’s highest court overturned a Texas law requiring that abortion clinics have surgical facilities and hire doctors with admitting privileges at nearby hospitals. Opponents feared the legislation would end abortion services at 75 percent of the state’s clinics, leaving 900,000 women of child-bearing age hundreds of miles from an abortion provider. But the justices decided 5-3 that both requirements were unconstitutional. Their ruling is expected to expand abortion rights around the country and bring the issue to the forefront of the presidential campaign.
Call it batting practice. Liberal star Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts joined Hillary Clinton on the campaign trail in Ohio on Monday to slam Donald Trump with a fiery warm-up speech to an enthusiastic crowd. While vetting potential ticket partners, Clinton is concerned about allowing a Republican governor to appoint a hostile replacement in the Senate. That’s an issue for potential picks Cory Booker of New Jersey and Sherrod Brown of Ohio — but Democrats are confident that Massachusetts could schedule a quick special election to replace Warren.
It’s a long road to recovery. After a global scandal involving 11 million cars fitted with software to cheat emissions standards, the German carmaker is paying up. They’ve agreed to buy back or repair all 475,000 rigged cars in the U.S. market — though they don’t yet have a mechanical fix — and pay billions into an EPA trust, plus investments into zero emissions technology. Volkswagen could also see further fines when an American legal investigation concludes, probably later this year. Probes in South Korea and Germany are ongoing.
U.S. says Moscow is harassing American diplomats. (CNN)
Britain’s Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn faces no-confidence vote. (The Guardian)
Black box from EgyptAir flight fixed as France opens probe. (Newsweek)
Palestinians blame Israel for summer water shortage. (AP)
Airbnb is suing San Francisco over a law it helped to pass. (NYT)
They’ve yanked the welcome mat. Scores of racial abuse incidents and hate crimes have been reported in Britain since last Thursday’s vote to leave the EU, with online police reports increasing 57 percent. Racial minorities have reported verbal attacks, as have European immigrants. “Leave the EU, no more Polish vermin,” read cards put through letterboxes of Polish families and schools in Cambridgeshire. The rhetoric is understandably making immigrants from around the world worried about the backlash, and officials are encouraging anyone with any information to come forward.
They have faith in the market. With Muslims spending as much as $140 billion on travel annually, growing awareness of what middle-class Islamic travelers need has helped launch a halal travel industry. In 2013, Muslims comprised 12 percent of all global travel spending, so catering for their dietary and prayer needs just makes good business sense. Informative websites and apps are cropping up, pointing the devout toward Mecca while offering tips on halal restaurants and Muslim-friendly hotels — signaling that convenience for all communities remains key to success.
The gag reflex is the final frontier. Columbia University scientists may have a solution for virtual reality sickness, the uneasy feeling in your stomach after spending time in VR goggles. Study subjects have responded well when parts of their peripheral vision are blocked during quick movements to avoid upsetting the body’s sense of balance. Users’ nausea is one of the biggest impediments to the spread of virtual reality, but field-of-view blocking must be done carefully to avoid breaking the immersion — and reducing VR to just another screen.
Watch the throne. A new Nielsen survey shows that half of American households have a video-on-demand service like Amazon Prime or Netflix. As many people now stream media as have a DVR, but streaming’s rising while DVR growth is flat. Meanwhile, we’re staring at smaller and smaller screens: We consume an average of 99 minutes per day of media via phones, and live TV watching’s declining (though only slightly). Entrenched networks like HBO and CBS are launching their own on-demand products in response to the trends.
Brits are having a rough week. Iceland — the world’s 34th-ranked team, a nation with a population of 330,000 — knocked England out of Euro 2016 with a 2-1 victory Monday. The underdogs fell behind early but notched two quick goals in response, with Kolbeinn Sigthorsson striking the eventual winner, and held on with resilient play against a sluggish England side. Iceland’s win sparked a massive celebration and a million social media Brexit jokes. England manager Roy Hodgson resigned immediately, while triumphant Iceland faces France in the quarterfinals.