“An honor.” That’s how President Donald Trump described his first in-person encounter with Russian President Vladimir Putin today in Hamburg, Germany. The highly-anticipated meeting lasted more than two hours and came amid ongoing U.S. investigations into Russian election meddling. While the leaders remained tight-lipped on the details of their first face-to-face, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told reporters that Trump expressed concern over Russia’s interference, which Putin denied. They also reportedly agreed on a ceasefire in southern Syria. Meanwhile, mass demonstrations, which injured 76 police officers and drew 12,000 protesters yesterday, continued at the G-20 summit today.
The Presidential Daily Brief
This is a turnaround. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has been fighting to pass the Senate’s version of the Republican Obamacare replacement — but it’s proving difficult, as nonpartisan assessments of the deeply unpopular bill indicate it would raise premiums for many and leave millions more uninsured. Thursday, he gave the first indication that if the GOP plan fails to garner enough votes, Republicans will have to work with Democrats to strengthen the existing health care markets that support Obamacare — something Democrats have said they’re open to.
“It’s a decision based on morality, not the law or justice.” So said a lawyer for 19-year-old Evelyn Beatriz Hernandez Cruz, who was sentenced to 30 years in prison for aggravated homicide after delivering a stillbirth in a bathroom last April. She was reportedly raped by a gang member and hadn’t realized she was pregnant — but El Salvador is one of five countries with a total ban on abortion. A bill allowing exceptions for rape and human trafficking is currently stalled in the legislature.
They’re steeling themselves. President Trump has long promised to crack down on imported goods, particularly steel, which he says will stop China’s cheap products flooding the American market. But that flood has slowed to a trickle in recent years: In fact, steel is largely imported from Canada, Germany and Korea. Trump’s plan involves a WTO rule allowing extraordinary tariffs to protect national security — normally a wartime move not used against allies. In response, the EU is considering imposing heavy tariffs on American goods like dairy products and bourbon.
Know This: Astrobiologists say Martian soil contains a “toxic cocktail” of chemicals that would make it virtually impossible for bacteria to survive above ground. Eighteen U.S. states have sued Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos and her department over a planned freeze on measures to ease student loan burdens. And talks attempting to reunify the island of Cyprus have reportedly collapsed.
Try This: Feeling presidential after a week of briefings? Prove it with the PDB quiz.
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’re prepared for a cold war. Despite international experts estimating that North Korea’s new intercontinental ballistic missiles could reach Alaska, many locals appear to be taking it in stride. While the mayor of Anchorage, the state’s largest city, spoke with military officials after Tuesday’s ICBM test, no new emergency plans are in place — nor has there been any public panic, despite some concern on social media. Sen. Don Sullivan, however, is now petitioning for improvements in the state’s missile defense system to prepare for the worst case scenario.
You can’t stay on top forever. Electric car innovator Tesla Motors watched its shares fall by 14.6 percent this week, despite soaring to record highs in late June. Analysts say its overhyped Model 3 and disappointing safety ratings are to blame, along with Volvo’s new announcement that all its cars will be at least partially electric by 2019. Now worth around $51 billion and overtaken by General Motors as America’s most valuable automaker, Tesla will have to reevaluate how to battle the big players muscling in on the electric car market.
#Resist. The World Health Organization says that new antibiotic-resistant strains of the bacteria that causes gonorrhea could soon make the sexually transmitted disease as incurable as it was in the 1920s. These untreatable strains are the latest examples of gonorrhea’s robust resistance: According to a recent paper, 97 percent of reported cases are resistant to the most widely available medication, ciprofloxacin. The race for alternative treatments is on, but scientists are wary of developing expensive new drugs that will simply meet the same fate as existing ones.
He’s slashing and burning. Despite the drama and legislative inaction plaguing the young administration, when it comes to removing red tape, President Trump’s been keeping his promise. According to the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, regulations from cabinet agencies are now costing businesses $33 million annually, compared to $26 billion per year from 2005 to 2016. Thanks in large part to Trump’s order that for every new regulation two must be repealed, costs may be decreasing — but critics warn that regulations are an important check on the powerful.
It could be a matter of life and death. Sergio Serra, president of second division Paysandu, has quit after he received violent threats about the team’s poor performance. Two armed men reportedly approached Serra while he was out walking with his wife and children, and threatened to “end” his family if his team were to be relegated to a lower division. Paysandu is one of the biggest soccer clubs in Northern Brazil and currently languishing in 16th place in the Serie B league, just one spot above the relegation zone.