It’s a whole new world. After North Korea launched an intercontinental ballistic missile Tuesday, many are questioning how to proceed. Experts estimate that Kim Jong Un, who vowed that his country’s weapons program is non-negotiable, could have a nuclear-armed missile capable of hitting the mainland U.S. within a few years. While Secretary of State Rex Tillerson warned that any state not sanctioning North Korea is “abetting a dangerous regime,” China — and now Russian President Vladimir Putin — are urging negotiation rather than military escalation, which U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley did not rule out Wednesday.
The Presidential Daily Brief
Everyone’s looking toward Warsaw … and peace? President Donald Trump is scheduled to arrive in Poland today ahead of Friday’s G-20 summit in Germany. He’ll deliver a major speech in Warsaw, which some see as a bid to appeal to Eastern Europe after a chilly reception in Brussels last month. Polish officials say there’s common ground between Trump and Poland’s conservative, populist President Andrzej Duda. Meanwhile, foreign policy experts are looking to Trump’s first face-to-face meeting with Vladimir Putin for clues to potential deals on Syria and Ukraine.
Today’s the day. Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the UAE are meeting in Cairo to discuss their approach to Qatar, which has until today to respond to their 13-point list of demands that could end regional sanctions and a diplomatic crisis. Since June 5, the Gulf states have been leading a blockade on the tiny nation, which they accuse of supporting terrorism. Qatar’s heavily dependent on imports, but remains defiant as the world’s leading exporter of liquefied natural gas — announcing plans to increase gas exports by 30 percent.
This could jump-start an industry shift. From 2019, all Volvo cars will be fully electric or hybrids, making the Chinese-owned Swedish carmaker the first mainstream manufacturer to move away from the internal combustion engine. While the pure-electric vehicle market is small, it rose 40 percent globally between January and March of this year, and it’s growing especially quickly in China. For some, that raises questions about the position of Tesla and other small electric carmakers as massive companies muscle in on the market.
Know This: A ban on in-cabin laptops for U.S.-bound flights from eight Muslim-majority countries has been lifted for three carriers: Turkish Airlines, Etihad and Emirates. A 30-year-old Canadian citizen who was imprisoned at Guantanamo Bay for a decade will get $8 million and an apology from his government. And constituents in the U.S. reportedly took to July 4th celebrations to lobby their senators over health care.
Look at This: Kahwetna Café in Tripoli, Lebanon, is an NGO’s experiment that brings neighbors on both sides of a longstanding violent conflict together for a cup of coffee.
Answer This: Tell us how you really feel. OZY’s next TV show, Third Rail With OZY, is launching on PBS this fall! To kick things off, we’re shelving the PC and launching debates. Each Wednesday, we’ll post a provocative question, focusing on topics that might make it onto the show. This week: Should we abandon all forms of race-based affirmative action in favor of class-based ones? Go deep. Email firstname.lastname@example.org with your thoughts or a personal story, and we might feature your answer next week.
They outsmarted the virus. A mere 42 days after announcing its first case of Ebola since the devastating West African epidemic of 2014-2016, the Democratic Republic of the Congo has won a skirmish with the deadly virus. Well-trained diagnostic workers, clear government communication with the World Health Organization and ample financial resources were all key to defeating the outbreak, which killed just four. Though 300,000 doses of Ebola vaccine have been stockpiled, they weren’t needed — but the DRC’s beefing up health services in the coming months as a precaution.
We hold these truths to be … malevolent? That’s how some Trump loyalists found NPR’s July 4 tweets of the Declaration of Independence. One said the network “is calling for revolution.” Others called Thomas Jefferson’s words “propaganda” and “trash.” In fairness, when a 1,458-word document is chopped into 140-character nuggets, it’s easy to miss the point, such as the “tyrant … unfit to be the ruler of a free people” being King George III. Some deleted their complaints, and one even confessed to “a stupid moment” upon realizing his mistake.
There’s a whole lot happening in the Holy Land. Israel’s tourism ministry is making practical moves that it hopes can draw more Asian visitors to the land of milk and honey, including opening a bureau in Mumbai, sending its first tourism attaché to China and tripling its annual marketing budget to $77.7 million. While past conflicts with Lebanon have seen tourism numbers drop 14 percent from 2006 to 2016, Israel hopes that relaxed visa requirements, greater accessibility through budget airlines and a concerted PR effort can draw in more visitors.
But who gets the precious? After five years of intense litigation, a Warner Bros. spokesperson says they’ve “amicably resolved” a rights dispute filed by the estate of the Lord of the Rings author and publisher HarperCollins. The estate reportedly began investigating the licensing issue when its attorney received a spam email for a Fellowship of the Ring online slot game. That led to a 2012 copyright infringement lawsuit claiming Warner Bros. had breached a contract permitting only “tangible” merchandising, not other licensing that the estate called highly offensive.
It was cycle-ogical warfare. French National champion Arnaud Démare became his country’s first sprinter to win a Tour de France stage since 2006, but his victory was overshadowed by a nasty crash near the finish line. British cyclist Mark Cavendish tried passing Slovak Peter Sagan on the outside in the final sprint, but slammed into the barrier when Sagan appeared to push out an elbow. The popular Slovak, a five-time green jersey winner, was dismissed from the Tour completely, an unusually severe ruling that many felt was too harsh.