“Welcome to the beginning of the end of Obamacare.” So said Vice President Mike Pence after Republicans in the House narrowly approved the AHCA yesterday, the first major legislative victory for President Donald Trump. The bill was pushed through too quickly to be assessed by the Congressional Budget Office, but it revises a plan estimated to leave 24 million extra Americans uninsured. It’ll now go to the Senate, where Republicans say they’re likely to rewrite it from scratch to avoid legislative backlash over portions of the bill that are deeply unpopular with voters.
The Presidential Daily Brief
Can you trust the polls? Front-runner Emmanuel Macron has extended his lead over far-right nationalist Marine Le Pen since Wednesday’s debate, with 62 percent of decided voters saying they’ll back him. It’s his best showing since the first round of voting narrowed the race to two candidates — but many, especially the far left, say they’ll simply abstain or turn in blank ballots rather than vote for either candidate. While that’s unlikely to upset the result, both are campaigning hard in the final hours before voters decide on Sunday.
You can’t steer clear of authorities forever. Uber is reportedly the subject of a Justice Department inquiry over software that helped its drivers evade local regulators in cities that hadn’t approved the ride-hailing app’s operations. “Greyball,” which the company says it no longer uses, was also used to identify fraudulent ride requests. Though the investigation is still nascent and it’s not clear if anyone will be charged, it’s another bout of bad publicity for Uber, which has seen several scandals in recent months and gained a toxic reputation.
They’re ready for takeoff. The first domestically designed and manufactured jumbo aircraft from China took its maiden flight today, throwing down the gauntlet to Western aviation giants. State-owned Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China designed the new C919 as a direct competitor to Boeing’s 737 and Airbus’ A320. Coming just a week after the country debuted its first domestically made aircraft carrier and docked a cargo spacecraft, the launch of the C919 — $8.6 billion and seven years in the making — marks the latest advance in China’s technical ambitions.
Know This: North Korea has accused the CIA and South Korea of plotting a biochemical assassination attempt on Kim Jong Un. With five weeks to go until Britain’s next general election, local races have already seen the collapse of far-right UKIP. And the families of victims in the San Bernardino shootings are suing Facebook, Google and Twitter for allowing extremism to thrive online.
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Maybe it’s time to bring back the ocean liner. United and American Airlines both recently suffered PR fiascoes over poor treatment of customers, but now it’s Delta in hot water over an eight-minute video that shows a family with two toddlers being removed from an overbooked Hawaii-Los Angeles flight. In the video, the parents are told that if they don’t comply, they’ll be arrested and their children will be put in foster care. Delta apologized to the family after the story went viral, and says it’ll provide compensation.
It’s no pack of lies. For the first time in two centuries, wolves are roaming the Danish wilderness, a University of Aarhus zoologist has confirmed. While the presence of individual males has been observed since 2012, scientists have only now obtained DNA evidence through genetically profiling the feces of a whole pack. The four males and one female, thought to have traveled over 300 miles from neighboring Germany, are the first wild pack verified in Denmark since 1813. Researchers are now closely following the wolves, hoping a new litter could be imminent.
Hello from the other side. The majority of American households no longer use landline phones, according to the U.S. Health Department: 50.8 percent of homes are now entirely wireless, as are 70 percent of adults between 25 and 34. Only 6.5 percent of homes operate with just a landline. This may be partly an economic necessity: People living in poverty were more likely to have only a cell phone. The numbers mark a steep increase in cord-cutters, as just a decade ago only 15 percent of households were wireless.
A concrete jungle where dreams are made, indeed. Qatari Sheikh Mohammed Rashid Al-Thani has opened the city’s first Institute of Arab and Islamic Art — as not just an exhibition space, but also a venue for public interfaith discussion. Al-Thani’s aim: to engage New Yorkers in a conversation about Islamic civilization outside of religious contexts. The 2,500-square-foot gallery, the product of three years of work, opened yesterday with Exhibition 1, a four-woman show of art based on the “sacred geometry” of Islamic architecture and design.
They want you to act fast. McLaren has announced the top prize in their newly launched eSports racing competition is nothing less than the chance to join the real F1 team as a simulator driver. The “World’s Fastest Gamer” challenge will pit virtual drivers against one another across a variety of racing platforms this summer. The top ten racers will compete in a final lap, with the victor earning a one-year contract to join McLaren’s team and work with engineers to help develop real-life F1 cars.