In the end, it didn’t move the numbers. Greg Gianforte has won Montana’s single House seat in a special election, eking out 51 percent of the vote even after bring charged with misdemeanor assault for allegedly “body slamming” a journalist in front of witnesses. It lost him previous endorsements from Montana newspapers and buoyed Democrats’ hopes for a win in a state that voted for Donald Trump by more than 20 points. Gianforte apologized to Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs during his vistory speech. He’ll have to appear in court next month.
The Presidential Daily Brief
Ring the bells. After a constitutional challenge to laws specifying that marriage can only be between a man and a woman, Taiwan’s highest court has ruled that Parliament must pass laws legalizing same-sex marriage. That paves the way for Taiwan to become the first Asian government to legalize gay unions — and an outlier as LGBT persecution is on the rise in the region. But activists fear that after a conservative backlash Parliament may not extend all the rights normally afforded spouses to gay couples.
ISIS has claimed responsibility for the actions of suicide bomber Salman Abedi, 22, who killed 22 people Monday night at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, but its involvement hasn’t been verified. Nevertheless, Prime Minister Theresa May said more attacks may be imminent, as it has been confirmed that Abedi was working with a network. In response, military personnel are being deployed to patrol public areas and events, and investigations into the network are ongoing. Meanwhile, Justin Bieber fans are begging his management to cancel his London concert in July, fearing more violence.
The interference isn’t in question. John Brennan, who left his post as CIA director in January, told the House Intelligence Committee that Russia clearly meddled in the 2016 election. Brennan says he saw no proof of collusion between President Donald Trump’s campaign and Russia, but mentioned “unresolved questions.” Former interim CIA director and OZY senior columnist John McLaughlin noted, “The most important thing that Brennan said yesterday was, ‘People who go along a treasonous path do not know they are on a treasonous path until it is too late.’”
It had a good run. The last time Moody’s cut China’s rating was 1989 and Beijing was in the news for a bloody crackdown on Tiananmen Square protesters. Now it’s been downgraded from Aa3 to A1, the same level as Japan and Israel, due to sluggish economic reform and concerns about rising debt. The move sparked a sell-off: Shares temporarily fell 1 percent in Shanghai, and the finance ministry said Moody’s is underestimating China’s economic vitality. Analysts say this could make it harder for Chinese companies to repay global loans.
Know This: President Trump’s overseas trip has reached the Vatican, where he and Pope Francis sat down for a 29-minute meeting. Four bodies have been discovered in a tent on Mount Everest, taking this season’s death toll to 10. And Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte has declared 60 days of martial law on the island of Mindanao after violent clashes with a militant group.
Read This: New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu’s moving speech detailing the necessity of removing Confederate monuments has gone viral — and for good reason.
Answer This: Tell us how you really feel. OZY’s next TV show is premiering on PBS this fall. The Third Rail will tackle hot topics typically taboo for television. In anticipation, we’ll be posting a provocative question right here each week, focusing on topics that might make it onto the show. First up: Do you think it’s OK to have a racial preference in dating? Why or why not? Email firstname.lastname@example.org with your thoughts or a personal story. We’ll publish the most intriguing answers on Tuesday on OZY.
You can’t change history. But this week, indigenous leaders at the Uluru First Nations summit are discussing how to combat disadvantages and discrimination against Australia’s native peoples. Some say a treaty with the government, which could offer reparations and land rights, is most pressing. Others are pushing to prioritize official recognition and inclusion in the country’s constitution — moves dismissed by critics as symbolic. A map to a referendum will be presented to Australia’s top politicians next month, and may eventually come to a public vote.
Turns out you can get along with both oil and water. Louisiana’s long welcomed the oil and gas industries — but with a football field-sized chunk of land disappearing each hour, a new water management industry’s sprung up to rehabilitate and protect the state’s coastline, employing former energy sector workers whose skills transfer. While “climate change” is a distrusted phrase in the deeply red state, rising sea levels can’t be ignored. Creating jobs by saving the coastline sounds promising, though advocates caution there’s no guarantee coastal restoration will succeed.
Not so charming, man. Many celebrities have responded to the Manchester attack this week with support and sympathy — but not the notoriously outspoken Morrissey. In a widely shared Facebook post the former Smiths frontman took aim at Queen Elizabeth II, Prime Minister Theresa May and other politicians for not saying “what we all say in private” and implying a link between terrorism and Islam. He dismissed the “bullet-proof bubble” of politicians, but was quickly rebuffed by reminders of MP Jo Cox, murdered last year, and March’s terror attack on Parliament.
The bigger they come, the … more krill they eat. That’s the secret to baleen whales’ massive growth spurt, according to Stanford University researchers studying how the 300,000-pound behemoths evolved from much smaller ancestors. Ice ages about 3 million years ago saw runoff pour nutrients into the sea, while ocean currents shifted, pushing more food up from deeper waters. As whales ate more, they grew, which protected them from predators. But researchers warn that such specialized creatures are on “an evolutionary knife-edge,” especially facing modern climate changes.
Celebrate good times, come on. The NFL has announced it will be easing its strict rules penalizing excessive end zone revelry. Last season, there was widespread criticism that players were being fined for almost any reaction. Now, says commissioner Roger Goodell, players can once again celebrate in groups, on the ground or using the ball as a prop. There are still limits: No “prolonged” celebrations, offensive gestures or twerking. Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown, fined $24,309 for one of his violations last year, responded by tweeting an image of himself twerking.