The Presidential Daily Brief


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    Brexiteers Dial Back Promises as Parties, Markets Implode

    Was it worth all this? Brexit turmoil continues as European stocks and the pound plunge, while EU leaders meet again today in Berlin to plan not just Britain’s departure, but how to encourage others to stick around. Within the U.K., infighting has hobbled both top political parties, while Brexit campaigners are admitting that some of their promises were unrealistic. Meanwhile, an aide to German Chancellor Angela Merkel suggests that rather than rush the split, Europeans should bide their time and give British politicians a “chance to think through” Brexit’s consequences.

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    Pope Francis Offers Historic LGBT ‘Apology’

    He’s not proud. Pope Francis said yesterday in a press conference aboard the papal plane that the Church owes an apology to gay people and other marginalized or exploited groups. “They must not be discriminated against,” the pontiff declared, adding that Christians should also respect their gay brethren. He asked, “Who are we to judge?” Many see this as a breakthrough in the Church’s relationship with the LGBT community — perhaps a signal that one long-persecuted group may find its place among the world’s largest Christian denomination.

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    After Odd Scotland Trip, Polls Show Trump Struggling

    No mulligans allowed. Donald Trump jetted to Scotland on Friday to promote his golf courses, landing in time to praise the Brexit result to Scots who had voted Remain, and contradicting himself on his own proposed Muslim immigration ban. He came home to a Washington Post/ABC News poll showing his support lagging Hillary Clinton’s by 12 points, while an NBC News/Wall Street Journal survey found him down 5. Trump’s shot at recovering from the rough: Both candidates are unpopular, and when third-party choices are added the gap nearly vanishes.

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    Supreme Court Strikes Down Restrictive Texas Abortion Law

    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.

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    Singapore Plane Catches Fire After Emergency Landing

    Being “so close to death” after an EgyptAir flight crashed following smoke alarms, it’s a wonder there was no panic. A Singapore Airlines Boeing 777 was headed for Milan, but was only in the air for two hours “before we began to smell gas,” a passenger recalled. It returned to Singapore and landed safely before bursting into flames. All 222 passengers and 19 crew were evacuated, and only then did travelers realize the danger they’d faced, possibly setting the stage for the pilots to be hailed for their quick thinking.

  6. Volkswagen Reaches $14.7 Billion Emissions Settlement, EgyptAir Crash Manslaughter Probe Opened

    Volkswagen settles emissions cheating case for $14.7 billion. (AP)

    Paris prosecutor opens manslaughter investigation into EgyptAir crash. (BBC)

    Israel and Turkey normalize diplomatic relations after six-year break. (NYT)

    Spanish election provides no majority for ruling party. (BBC)

    Suicide bombers kill five in eastern Lebanese village. (Al Jazeera)

    Skinhead rally in Sacramento leaves seven with stab wounds. (LA Times)

    Amtrak train hits minivan, killing three children, two adults in Colorado. (USA Today)


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    Confusion, Remorse Follow Brexit Vote

    From Brexit to Bregret. After results of the stunning vote to ditch the European Union were announced, British Google searches spiked for questions like “What is the EU?” Many Leave supporters — 1.1 million in one weekend poll — said they regretted their “protest” votes amidst the economic and political chaos of the aftermath. And over 3.6 million people have signed a petition to Parliament seeking a second referendum. As Donald Trump’s unlikely candidacy continues across the pond, this could be a wake-up call to those who believe their votes don’t count.

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    Seoul Signs Warn Against Gawking While Walking

    Your smartphone might kill you. That’s the municipality’s message for pedestrians, with signs suggesting looking both ways — not down — in places where there are frequent accidents. “Walk safely” one urges, while another shows a car striking a stick-figure person gazing down at a phone. Such warnings make sense in the South Korean capital, home to Samsung and LG and the world’s highest mobile phone ownership. But online commenters were skeptical, predicting that the analog warnings will be just as invisible as cars to the digitally distracted.

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    The Pregnant Rocker Taking China by Storm

    She’s a ticking bomb. At 4-foot-11 and heavily pregnant, Shi “Atom” Lu seems adorable, but as the adrenaline-charged drummer for punk outfit Hedgehog and all-female indie band Nova Heart, she’s a symbol of China’s growing counterculture moment, standing where artistic rebellion and a burgeoning feminist revolution meet. And she’s angry, partly because her prospects in China’s still-tiny music market are limited. Smashing drums and screaming makes fans’ hearts beat faster, but in the shadow of Tiananmen Square, just being heard is Lu’s form of protest.

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    How Older Monkeys Lose Their Social Lives

    Do you have as many friends as you did in college? Like humans, it turns out monkeys have fewer social contacts as they get older. A study of more than 100 Barbary macaques living in a monitored enclosure in France found that those who’d reached “retirement age” (around 20 years old) were less keen to approach other monkeys and interacted with fewer friends. Why? It may be genetics or simply fatigue, but researchers believe studying this phenomenon will help improve their understanding of the human aging process.

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    Chile Tops Argentina to Win Copa America in Messi’s Finale

    It was not a storybook farewell. Considered the world’s finest player, Lionel Messi choked on a penalty shot in yesterday’s Copa America final, as his Albicelestes lost 2-4 against Chile, which triumphed for a second year running. The South American rivals were deadlocked 0-0 before the shootout, during which Messi sent one ball over the crossbar and Chilean goalkeeper Claudio Bravo grabbed another. After the game Messi said he was retiring from Argentina’s national team in the wake of three straight failures in international finals.