“Heaven help us.” Those were Republican Sen. Jeff Flake’s parting words as he announced his retirement Tuesday along with a scathing rebuke of President Donald Trump. Without naming the president, Flake lashed out at what he said was the “flagrant disregard of truth and decency,” and warned the GOP against becoming a “fearful, backward looking party.” Flake — a longtime Trump critic — said he wouldn’t seek re-election next year, though observers say the Arizona senator was already among the most vulnerable in next year’s cycle.
The Presidential Daily Brief
The fog of war is lifting. New details have surfaced about the Niger attack three weeks ago in which dozens of ISIS fighters killed four U.S. troops and five Nigerien soldiers. French aircraft flew to the rescue, but officials are still trying to determine why it took an hour for U.S. troops to call for help, and why the body of Sgt. La David Johnson wasn’t recovered for days. The incident thrust America’s military presence in Niger into the spotlight, with lawmakers and families demanding more information about the mission.
Welcome to China 3.0. President Xi has been elevated to a status equivalent to Chinese Communist Party founder Mao Zedong, after the party congress unanimously voted to add the concept of “Xi Jinping thought” to its constitution. Any challenge to Xi, who’s been in power for five years, will now be seen as a challenge to the party itself. Xi’s philosophy, hailed as a “new era,” involves more open trade with the world and environmental reforms. An heir apparent was noticeably missing from new appointments to China’s Politburo — possibly indicating Xi’s plan to remain in power.
She said, he said. The controversial exchange between President Donald Trump and a Gold Star widow has received fresh attention after Myeshia Johnson, whose husband was killed in action, spoke out confirming that Trump’s call had upset her further. Claiming the president couldn’t remember her husband’s name, Johnson told ABC’s Good Morning America that his comments — that Army Sgt. La David Johnson “knew what he signed up for” — only intensified her sadness, adding that she had “nothing to say” to the president. Trump defended his behavior as “very respectful.”
Is it news, or newspeak? U.S. intelligence officials call Russian TV channel RT “the Kremlin’s principal international propaganda outlet” — and its English-language YouTube channel has 2.2 million subscribers. That’s comparable to CNN, making it one of the world’s most-consumed news sources, with outlets like YouTube, Facebook and Twitter now instrumental in spreading Kremlin-approved messages worldwide. While lawmakers consider ways to regulate and clamp down on Russian influence via social media, others worry about the wider collateral damage to free speech that could come with restraining RT.
Know This: Austrian leader Sebastian Kurz has invited the far-right Freedom Party to negotiate forming a coalition government. Two women accused of murdering Kim Jong Un’s half-brother have been taken to Kuala Lumpur airport, the scene of his death, as part of their trial. And Megyn Kelly is refuting Bill O’Reilly’s claim that nobody ever complained about his alleged sexual harassment, saying she herself alerted network heads about his behavior.
Remember Him When: Former FBI Director James Comey has outed himself as mysterious Twitter user Reinhold Niebuhr, after a series of messages from Iowa ignited speculation about his potential future in politics.
Talk to Us: OZY wants to know how the Trump era has impacted your romantic relationships. We’re conducting a nationwide poll with our partners at SurveyMonkey on Love in the Age of Trump, and we want to hear from readers who are in a relationship that’s divided along political lines. If you’re interested in being featured in future OZY stories, email firstname.lastname@example.org with your tale of Trump-inspired conflict or triumph.
You can get it, but will you get it? Stephen Hawking’s Ph.D. thesis is now freely available online, thanks to the University of Cambridge, the world-renowned physicist’s alma mater. Anyone can access the 1966 dissertation — reportedly the institution’s most-requested piece of work — which explores the implications and consequences of an expanding universe. “I hope to inspire people around the world to look up at the stars and not down at their feet,” Hawking said of his paper, which includes a handwritten signature confirming its originality.
The city’s found its heart. In the early 1900s, Manchester, New Hampshire, had the largest textile plant in the world. But it closed in 1935, and the community’s been struggling ever since for a replacement. Now businesses are hoping to establish Manchester as a global manufacturing capital for regenerative organs and tissues, beginning with this summer’s opening of the $300 million Advanced Regenerative Manufacturing Institute. Manchester’s got the stomach for the fight — but it’ll all depend on the city’s ability to attract a young and educated workforce.
Does inequality stem from childhood conditioning? Women make up a mere 12 percent of engineers and 26 percent of the U.S. computing workforce — down from 35 percent in 1990. That imbalance starts long before workplace discrimination, though, with pervasive gender stereotypes dissuading little girls from STEM interests like building and coding. But toy designers are hoping things like gender-neutral robot kits could help tip the scales. Though sales are still lagging behind STEM toys sold to boys, girls who played with robots reported increased interest in engineering.
The rumors were true. The two A-list actors spoke out against Harvey Weinstein in a joint interview, with both admitting they’d heard stories about his predatory behavior but thought he was simply a “womanizer.” “The fact that somebody that powerful, his career has been completely ruined, that’s a real message to anybody who would behave like this,” Damon said, predicting the incident could prompt “systemic change” in Hollywood. And in other industries: New York’s models are pushing for state legislation to protect them from similar harassment.
The numbers are in. Tonight the Houston Astros and Los Angeles Dodgers take the field for Game 1 — and while it’s meant to be a clash of the titans, baseball is unpredictable: The teams that make it to the Fall Classic aren’t necessarily the most talented, statistically speaking. This year may be different. It’s the first time since 1970 that two teams with triple-digit wins have met in the World Series — though statisticians warn that a matchup made in heaven on paper doesn’t always translate to exciting games.