He’s fired. Just 10 days after his appointment, notoriously profane Trump loyalist Anthony “The Mooch” Scaramucci is gone from his post as White House communications director. The fast-talking Wall Street financier’s dismissal came just hours after former Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly was sworn in as White House chief of staff. Kelly, a retired Marine general, is known for demanding discipline from his subordinates and is charged with reining in Trump’s dysfunctional administration. Scaramucci, whose hiring saw multiple White House staffers pushed out, appears to be the general’s first kill.
The Presidential Daily Brief
“I don’t take orders from the empire.” So said Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro after it emerged that U.S. officials had frozen his assets following what they called “illegitimate elections” that left at least 10 dead. Other sanctioned leaders include Bashar Assad, Kim Jong Un and Robert Mugabe. Since Maduro’s victory, his authorities have begun taking opposition leaders into custody, arresting two who were previously under house arrest, while the newly elected legislative super chamber weighs its next steps. Addressing supporters, the president taunted his American counterpart, saying, “Keep up your sanctions, Donald Trump!”
They’re within striking distance. U.S. officials say Pyongyang’s launch of an ICBM late last week indicates that a missile strike from Pyongyang could reach most cities within the continental United States — but analysts say the missile’s faux warhead appeared to shatter before hitting the ground, which could impede North Korea’s ability to deliver a harmful payload. On his way to a cabinet meeting, President Trump promised, “We’ll handle North Korea … we handle everything,” but didn’t offer specifics, even as reports surfaced of unusual North Korean submarine activity.
It wasn’t their year. Paris and Los Angeles were the last two cities left vying to host the 2024 Summer Olympic Games, after cities like Boston, Budapest and Rome dropped out over cost concerns. But now Los Angeles has agreed to wait until 2028, in exchange for receiving an advance from the IOC against the estimated value of sponsorship deals of at least $1.8 billion. The official announcement of the host cities is expected on Sept. 13, as both begin the multiyear, multibillion-dollar construction required.
Know This: President Trump personally dictated his son’s misleading response to initial queries about a controversial meeting with Russians during the campaign, according to reports. Nearly 500 people accused of participating in last year’s failed coup in Turkey are now going on trial near Ankara. And Serena Williams has called on Black women to “fight for every penny” to close the yawning gender pay gap.
Consider This: The jury has begun deliberating over the fate of pharma-bro Martin Shkreli, on trial for securities fraud after becoming a deeply hated public figure for jacking up the price of a life-saving AIDS drug.
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We’re toast. Three new studies predict global temperature increases will surpass 2 degrees Celsius by 2100. Using a half-century of data, one concludes there’s a 90 percent chance of a 2- to 4.9-degree warming, promising catastrophic climate events while ravaging global food production. Some experts question the numbers, though, when so many factors, like socio-economic changes, are difficult to predict. But it’s clear that with or without American adherence to the Paris climate agreement’s goal of no more than 1.5 degrees, the world needs to clean up its act.
They’ve snapped out of it. Both Snapdeal and Flipkart stood to gain a lot from the potential merger, which looked like a done deal just a week ago. But a few members of Snapdeal’s board have blocked the $950 million acquisition, which would have been the biggest in Indian e-commerce. Flipkart’s become Amazon’s biggest competitor — it raised $1.4 billion in funding from eBay, Microsoft and Tencent in April. Snapdeal, on the other hand, has been scraping for cash, and is expected to endure massive layoffs to stay afloat.
Don’t look down. The world’s longest pedestrian suspension bridge, the Europabrücke, opened up Saturday in Switzerland — hanging some 28 stories above a ravine. Crossing the Grabengufer valley, the 1,640-foot bridge will speed trekkers to and from the Zermatt mountaineering and skiing hub. Several such bridges have vied in recent years for the title of world’s longest: Germany’s Titan-RT bridge knocked out Russia’s SkyPark for the honor in May. The new titleholder, which cost about $775,600, will allow hikers to cut a lengthy detour down to 10 minutes.
It’s time to grieve. Actor and playwright Sam Shepard died last week, his family says, from complications of Lou Gehrig’s Disease. Recognizable for the Netflix series Bloodline and his Oscar-nominated performance in The Right Stuff, he gained wider acclaim as a playwright, winning a 1979 Pulitzer Prize for Buried Child and earning two other nominations. He also authored screenplays and poetry while playing drums, touring with Bob Dylan in the mid 1970s. Now his fans face what fellow dramatist Christopher Shinn said of Shepard’s dramatic settings: “a zone of trauma, mystery and grief.”
Love is not enough. Across the Middle East and North Africa, tennis is gaining ground as a popular pursuit for women, inspired by a quartet of high-profile professional female players — two from Turkey, one from Tunisia and one from Oman – who are blazing a trail on the court. With tournaments popping up in countries like Qatar, the UAE and Morocco, there are more regional opportunities for women, who were long restricted to indoor sports. For Omani player Fatma al-Nabhani, it demonstrates that “nothing is beyond our reach.”