Every day, they get closer. Though initial assessments of Tuesday’s launch — Pyongyang’s 13th this year — labeled it an intermediate-range missile, US intelligence has since confirmed that the rogue nation has successfully fired its first ICBM. Now North Korea is crowing over testing what it claims was a missile capable of reaching Alaska. Before the launch, President Donald Trump reportedly called Chinese President Xi Jinping, pressuring him to lean on Pyongyang — and threatening to act unilaterally if China is unwilling or unable to convince Kim Jong Un to stop.
The Presidential Daily Brief
Be careful who you trust. Geddel Vieira Lima has been a close confidante of President Michel Temer for decades and was considered one of Temer’s principal allies in government before he was forced to resign in November over accusations of influence peddling. Now Lima’s been detained by police investigating banking irregularities, in yet another scandal for Temer — whose administration is teetering after he was charged with corruption. Brazil’s congress is now haggling over the charges, which could lead to Temer being suspended from office and standing trial.
He was caught red-sandaled. Monday night New Jersey’s governor announced a budget deal to end the state government shutdown — one that landed him in trouble after he closed beaches to the public, but was then photographed sunning himself on one with his family. Christie, with a 15 percent approval rating, is the least popular American governor and was sharply criticized by Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno, who’s running to succeed him. An end to the budget standoff means beaches will be open for Independence Day — and not just for Christie’s family.
For some, it was a momentary windfall. Gaming company Zynga saw its shares zoom up 3,292 percent after some vendors apparently set routine test data as live prices. Microsoft jumped nearly 80 percent, while stocks like Apple and Amazon saw a brief precipitous plunge in the latest technical glitch to plague markets that are increasingly affected by algorithms. Some traders said that after similar crashes and rallies in the past, such vast and swift changes are now likely to be dismissed as technical errors rather than market volatility.
Know This: President Trump has reached out to a British family hoping to bring their critically ill baby to the U.S. for treatment. Syrian forces have breached Raqqa’s city walls in the fight to reclaim the city from ISIS. And a university in Nigeria has dug a huge trench in an attempt to impede attacks from Boko Haram militants.
Read This: A group of Gambian teenagers who built a robot for an international competition were denied visas into the U.S., losing their $170 application fees, and will have to send their machine unaccompanied. No reason was given, but an all-female team from Afghanistan was also denied visas.
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“The age of precision medicine is now.” So said the U.K.’s chief medical officer, Professor Dame Sally Davies, as she outlined a five-year plan for the National Health Service to incorporate more personalized genome-based medicines, especially in its treatment of cancer patients. While tens of thousands have already undergone genome sequencing in the U.K., Davies has emphasized its potential in treating cancer patients and stated that her “genomics dream” is to one day see DNA testing become as routine as an MRI or CT scan.
It’s all quiet on the virtual front. Though fighting simultaneous battles at sea and on land can be traced back to ancient Greece, multi-domain warfare’s becoming more complex. Modern militaries grapple with fighting by land, air, sea, space and online — seamlessly at once. That means greater integration across military branches and greater opportunities for contractors and hawkish tech entrepreneurs. Now the Department of Defense Pacific Command has asked for $49 million to stage multi-domain war games and is considering how artificial intelligence can augment American warfare.
Kids these days are getting smarter. Teen birth rates in the United States have reached a record low, according to a fresh report from the Centers for Disease Control. Data reveals the birth rate for 15-19-year-olds dropped 9 percent in 2016 from the previous year, and while the report didn’t pinpoint a specific cause, researchers believe improved access to contraceptives was responsible for the decrease. It’s not just teens: The overall U.S. birth rate declined by 1 percent last year — the second year in a row.
Apparently it is a media company. In December, Facebook announced it would be muscling in on TV territory, and now two series have been revealed. One will feature basketball’s Ball family, including No. 2 NBA draft pick Lonzo and his flamboyant dad. The other, Returning the Favor, will follow former Dirty Jobs star Mike Rowe on a tour of community heroes. Both will initially be funded by the social network, which says eventually it wants creators to find their own advertisers and audiences — with help from Facebook’s platform.
Tiger’s returning from the wilderness. Just two weeks after announcing that he’d seek help for his use of medications, Woods wrote on Twitter that he’d completed a “private intensive program.” Woods’ prescription drug use came to light following a high-profile arrest in May for driving under the influence, which he blamed on an “unexpected reaction” to medication for back surgery and insomnia. Woods, 41, has undergone multiple surgeries for persistent back problems, limiting the 14-time major champion to appearing in just three events since the start of 2016.