The Presidential Daily Brief

important

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    Sen. John McCain Diagnosed With Brain Cancer

    They’re reviewing treatment options. The long-time Arizona senator and 2008 Republican presidential nominee has been diagnosed with glioblastoma, an aggressive primary brain tumor, which was discovered during surgery to remove a blood clot above his left eye. A statement from McCain’s office said the 80-year-old senator is recovering at home in Arizona and considering possible treatments. The diagnosis shocked the Senate, where he’s served for over three decades. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and former President Barack Obama used the same words to describe McCain, calling him an “American hero.”

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    Trump and Putin Held Undisclosed Meeting at G-20

    It was off the record. The White House has now confirmed that President Donald Trump met with Russian President Vladimir Putin in a previously undisclosed second conversation at the G-20 summit earlier this month, holding a private discussion out of earshot of other leaders during a dinner event. Details of the hour-long talk are unknown: There’s no official government record and only Putin’s translator was included. Trump tweeted that press coverage of the meeting was “sick,” as questions about Russian connections continue to plague his administration.

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    Senate GOP’s Obamacare Repeal Plan Swiftly Chokes

    Winning was easy, but governing’s harder. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell not only saw his Trumpcare efforts collapse this week despite Republicans controlling both Congress and the White House, but his Plan B — simply repealing the Affordable Care Act and coming up with a replacement later — was also scuppered by insurgent GOP senators. President Trump, who responded that they should “let Obamacare fail,” demanded on Wednesday that Republicans pass a repeal bill before their August recess. Meanwhile, some senators say they’ll hold bipartisan hearings on stabilizing health markets as insurance companies worry about uncertain government subsidies.

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    Thailand Convicts Human Traffickers at Mass Trial

    Crimes have consequences. A Thai court has already handed down 21 guilty verdicts in today’s mass trial of more than 100 people accused of trafficking Rohingya Muslim refugees across the border with Malaysia. It’s the culmination of an investigation into mass graves found in 2015 near where migrants were reportedly held in camps and forced to ransom themselves from smugglers. Lieutenant-General Manas Kongpan, a high-ranking Thai military official, is among the convicted, and local politicians and police are among the accused. More verdicts are expected today.

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    Google Tries to Reboot Glass, Despite Initial Flop

    Is hindsight one of the features? Google initially launched its much-hyped $1,500 eyeglass-mounted computer in 2014 — but concerns about privacy helped topple the wearables and the company stopped selling Glass the following year. Now Alphabet Inc. is trying again with Glass Enterprise Edition, which will be targeted at businesses rather than individuals. The new glasses, currently in testing at dozens of companies, allow workers to receive new instructions before their eyes — and now feature a green light letting nearby people know when they’re being recorded.

  6. Liu Xia’s Fate, a Mystery Man Revealed and the Future of Ukraine

    Know This: Many are concerned about the well-being of Liu Xia — wife of recently deceased Chinese dissident and Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo — whose whereabouts are unclear. The eighth person at a controversial June 2016 meeting between Donald Trump Jr. and several Russians has been identified as Ike Kaveladze, a senior vice president at a company founded by the Russian oligarch who initially organized the meeting. And an Israeli student has admitted she stole items from Auschwitz concentration camp for an art project.

    Read This: As peace talks continue in Ukraine, one pro-Russia rebel leader wants to abolish the country altogether — and replace it with one called Malorossiya.

    Join Us: If you can make it to the Big Apple, be sure to get your tickets and join us on July 22 for OZY FEST 2017! Want to win complimentary tickets? Send an email to pdbrief@ozy.com telling us which OZY story this week was your favorite, and why. The first 10 readers to email will get a free pair.

intriguing

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    Swiss Couple Discovered in Alps After 75 Years

    “We have spent our lives searching for them.” So said 79-year-old Marceline Udry-Dumoulin, whose parents — shoemaker Marcelin and teacher Francine — disappeared in August 1942. Now investigators think they’ve been found, due to the shrinking of the Tsanfleuron glacier in the Alps. A ski lift worker discovered the two mummified bodies dressed in pre-war clothes. The couple, who won’t be officially identified until police analyze DNA evidence, are the latest in a string of long-missing bodies found around the world as glaciers recede.

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    China Limits Access to WhatsApp

    Bring out the carrier pigeons. Chinese users say WhatsApp has been experiencing disruptions and is now virtually unusable without software designed to get around government censors. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube are already blocked in the country. While China’s ruling party prepares for a congress this fall, it’s ramping up censorship of information and messaging — including banning GIFs and mentions of Winnie the Pooh in response to memes comparing President Xi Jinping to the cartoon bear. Facebook, which owns WhatsApp, hasn’t yet capitulated to Chinese demands that data be stored locally.

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    Guess Which State Is Seeing a Solar Power Boom?

    Let the sun shine in. Minnesota’s seen incredible growth in its solar energy sector in recent years — tripling capacity through the first quarter of this year — but it still lags behind states like California in total wattage. Yet the Gopher State leads when it comes to communal solar, which allows multiple clients to tap into a shared solar garden for a small fee. With an estimated 1,000 more communal projects in the pipeline, Minnesota’s schools, government groups and municipalities are also buying into the state’s newfound power.

  4. Khaltmaa Battulga

    Self-Made Populist Tycoon Becomes Mongolia’s President

    Started at the bottom, now he’s here. Born into poverty, newly sworn-in President Khaltmaa Battulga rose to prominence during the 1980s as a martial arts champion while working his way through art school. His international connections helped launch a series of businesses — from a traveling cinema showing bootleg tapes of American films to taxi services and hotels. The tycoon turned to politics a decade ago. Battulga now leads an ex-communist democracy plagued by unemployment and poverty, but hoping to cash in on vast energy and mineral deposits.

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    Mariners Minor Leaguers Forced to Take 7-Hour Uber

    Now that’s dedication. When canceled flight plans left them stranded in Arizona with a baseball game to play in New Mexico, members of Seattle’s Triple-A affiliate had no choice but to call an Uber. Four Tacoma Rainiers players racked up a hefty $683.52 bill — and minor leaguers’ paychecks don’t compare with sky-high MLB salaries — for the seven-hour drive from Phoenix to Albuquerque. They made it in time, but ended up losing 6-5 to the Isotopes. The driver, however, earned his five stars.