“An honor.” That’s how President Donald Trump described his first in-person encounter with Russian President Vladimir Putin Friday. While it was on the “sidelines” of the G-20 summit in Germany, the two-hour meeting became the main event, as investigations of Russian election meddling have defined Trump’s presidency. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Trump expressed concern over Russia’s interference, which Putin denied, and they agreed on a ceasefire in southern Syria. Meanwhile, 100,000 largely peaceful protesters clogged Hamburg streets. After dark, rioters torched vehicles, looted stores and lobbed paving stones at police.
The Presidential Daily Brief
It worked. This week North Korea launched an ICBM that flew far enough to reach Alaska if aimed on a lower trajectory. President Trump now faces the agonizing choice of doing nothing, trying to restart previously fruitless negotiations or taking military action that could well provoke Kim Jong Un to use one of his atomic weapons. The Pentagon reportedly plans to again test its THAAD missile system, while Trump pressures China to cut the Hermit Kingdom’s supplies — but that’s unlikely before the imminent threat to major Asian cities becomes America’s problem, too.
Will they shake it off? President Trump will attend celebrations of France’s national day on Friday with its new president, Emmanuel Macron. It’s a surprising choice, given Macron has mocked Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement. But both presidents share a desire to contain Syria’s government, and Macron may lean toward Trump’s hard line on Iran. And the commander in chief has been in a charitable mood lately, even referring to Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto as his “friend” Friday in the two leaders’ first meeting at the G-20 summit.
It left a bitter taste. When Cadbury uprooted a chocolate factory in Britain in 2011, it fostered the kind of animosity toward the EU — which helped bankroll its move to Poland — that contributed to Brexit fervor. But what of the government in Warsaw that courted Cadbury (now Mondelez) and other multinationals that fueled the country’s economic boom? It lost to a populist, EU-hostile party, after failing, observers argue, to recognize that with those new jobs came new conflicts, over unions, pay disparity and a corporate mindset that increasingly ignores its hosts’ culture.
They’ve gained the whole world. But the white Christian demographic so crucial to electing President Trump appears destined for numerical Armageddon. Self-identifying white Christians’ share of the population fell 11 percentage points between 2008 and 2016, while their presumed ideological opponents — same-sex marriage supporters — grew 18 points. In his recent book, The End of White Christian America, religion researcher Robert P. Jones writes that panicked evangelicals have made a Faustian bargain with Trump, overlooking his well-documented character issues in exchange for temporal — and temporary — power.
The Week Ahead: On Sunday, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson leaves Germany for Ukraine, where he’s to reaffirm U.S. support, Turkey, where he’ll discuss bilateral issues and receive a petroleum industry award and Kuwait, where he’ll confer on Gulf states’ isolation of Qatar. On Monday, the Senate will reconvene after its Independence Day recess and is expected to tackle its health care bill with multiple amendments aimed at attracting 10 GOP senators who oppose the bill. And on Tuesday, Miami will host Major League Baseball’s All-Star Game.
Know This: G-20 summit negotiators are struggling to craft compromise statements on global issues such as trade and climate change that President Trump will accept. American employers added 222,000 jobs in June, but that healthy rate isn’t matched by lackluster wages. And 19-year-old Nobel laureate, equality campaigner and Taliban shooting victim Malala Yousafzai has graduated high school, celebrating with her first tweets, including, “I’m excited about my future.”
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Wake up and smell yesterday’s coffee. To many, it’s the least of our senses, but empirical research is helping us better understand and value the ability to sniff things out. One powerful example is the Proustian effect, by which the right “emotional odor” can evoke vivid and long-forgotten experiences. Focusing on the brain’s amygdala region, which is stimulated by positive thoughts, and the hippocampus, which stores early memories, researchers are getting a fresh whiff of the nose’s evocative power — and what we miss out on when deprived of our sense of scents.
The workers of the world aren’t uniting. As ride-sharing encroaches on London’s classic black cab trade, its mostly white and British drivers regard predominantly nonwhite Uber drivers as enemies. They fear the app will price them out of the market and then raise fares when there’s no competition. Meanwhile, squeezed by company commissions, Uber drivers report racist vitriol from cab drivers, who must memorize London geography to qualify for the centuries-old system. The street fight may be moot, however, as autonomous vehicles threaten to remove humans from the loop.
Can zip codes cause cancer? Geographical location is a major suspect in this year’s projected 40,000 U.S. breast cancer deaths. Amid the disturbing 242 percent increase in new cases since 1970, researchers have attempted to explain breast cancer cases not attributed to traditional risk factors like heredity and obesity. They believe chemical contamination via pollution and consumer products, and even stress factors such as racism might play roles. Since these elements are heavily influenced by where one lives, scientists hope that proving these links can help move women out of harm’s way.
It’s always time to suit up. In many ways, the pachuco man is a caricature of a mobster. The look’s flamboyant baggy pants, bright-colored jackets, cinched waists and lengthy pocket chains leave many resembling film noir extras. Originating in 1930s Texas and California, the style involved gangs and the racially charged 1943 Zoot Suit Riots, and its Latino immigrant wearers were targeted by police. But today, in Ciudad Juárez, a new group’s using the fashion not to inspire fear, but to make a statement against discrimination and for building up one’s community.
They raced against death. When the 2015 Dauphin Island Regatta began in Alabama’s Mobile Bay, there was little wind to encourage the 475 crew members aboard 125 sailboats. Hours later, hurricane-force gales left many sailing for their lives. Six sailors died, and two years later, the Fairhope Yacht Club, which ignored federal storm warnings when starting the competition, must answer a wrongful-death lawsuit as the Coast Guard continues its investigation. The lesson, some believe, is that amateurs with weather apps play a deadly game when they trust their interpretations over those of professional meteorologists.