A woman exposed to Soviet-era nerve agent Novichok in southwestern Britain died Sunday, turning investigators’ poisoning probe into a murder inquiry. Dawn Sturgess, 44, fell critically ill June 30 after being exposed with Charlie Rowley, 45, who remains hospitalized in critical condition. Sturgess lived near where a Russian ex-spy and his daughter were stricken by Novichok in March, precipitating international sanctions against the Kremlin, which denied involvement. Neil Basu, who heads UK counterterrorism policing, said the death “served to strenghten our resolve” to bring to justice whomever committed the ”outrageous, reckless and barbaric act.”
The Presidential Daily Brief
Four of 12 boys trapped in flooded caves in Thailand emerged today after divers fitted them with scuba masks, carried their oxygen supply and brought them through winding, narrow submerged tunnels faster than anticipated. Acting local provincial governor Narongsak Osatanakorn said the operation was proceeding “better than expected,” and now the route is being readied for the next escorts out Monday morning. The rescued boys were taken to a local hospital and are reportedly in good health. The ordeal has attracted global support, with SpaceX founder Elon Musk commissioning a “kid-sized submarine.”
And they’re back. After repeatedly extolling the “friendly relationship and trust” growing from his June 12 summit with Kim Jong Un, President Donald Trump suddenly faces a hostile negotiating partner. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo declared his two days of Pyongyang talks “productive” but then the North Korean foreign ministry slammed Americans’ “gangster-like” denuclearization demands — that could “rattle our willingness” to take that step. The ministry said it sought an official end to the Korean War in exchange for U.S. soldiers’ remains and dismantling a rocket engine facility, but American negotiators balked.
Turns out there was a future — in England’s dreaming. For the first time since 1990, soccer-crazed Britons watched England come within two wins of global domination in a sport they arguably invented. They beat Sweden 2-0 Saturday on goals from Leicester City’s Harry Maguire and Tottenham Hotspur’s Dele Alli, sending the faithful into jubilant cheers of “football’s coming home.” A day after Tuesday’s France-Belgium semifinal, England’s favored Three Lions will face Croatia, which eliminated hosts and erstwhile Cinderella team Russia, 4-3, hours after England’s triumph.
After more than a week of speculation, President Donald Trump is expected to announce his pick to replace retiring Justice Anthony Kennedy on the nation’s highest court on Monday. Federal appeals judge Brett Kavanaugh, who once argued that Bill Clinton’s mendacity was enough to impeach the president, reportedly tops the list. Conversely, the jurist also believes sitting presidents needn’t answer to criminal charges. Signs are emerging that ideology isn’t the only salient factor, with some describing the search process as a political campaign seeking someone who’s as photogenic as accomplished.
“The international order is shifting.” Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz’s assessment accompanied his nation taking over the European Union presidency as the bloc’s very existence is in doubt — because of the migration issue consuming Kurz’s nation. Vienna is insisting on border controls where none are supposed to exist, especially now that Chancellor Angela Merkel, who opened Germany to refugees in 2015, has accepted tight controls on asylum-seekers, arguably to save her job amid waxing anti-immigrant sentiment. Austria wants a tighter budget too, as Brexit extracts the bloc’s richest member.
The Tigris and Euphrates rivers nourished humanity’s earliest settlements as they snaked through what are now Turkey and Iraq. Today a network of Turkish dams is both inundating some of that heritage and parching large swaths of Iraq. Water levels have already declined alarmingly, with Baghdad residents able to wade across their Tigris as the Middle East’s rising temperatures outpace the rest of the world. In southern Iraq’s once-verdant marshlands and other hard-hit areas, gun battles erupt over water while many abandon their dusty legacy and join a global stream of migrants.
The Week Ahead: This week ex-prime minister Nawaz Sharif has vowed to return to Pakistan to appeal a corruption conviction and 10-year prison sentence. On Tuesday, former presidential national security adviser Michael Flynn is to appear in federal court, where lawyers are expected to address the mysterious delay in sentencing following Flynn’s December guilty plea to lying to Russiagate investigators. And President Trump will meet with estranged allies starting Wednesday at the 2018 NATO Summit in Brussels.
Know This: David Davis, the minister in charge of Britain’s effort to exit the European Union, has resigned amid frustration that Prime Minister Theresa May’s departure scheme is “Brexit in name only.” Firefighters are battling about a dozen California wildfires, one of which, the 21,000-acre Klamathon fire near Oregon, has claimed at least one life. Citing a court decision, the Trump administration has stopped billions of dollars in Obamacare-mandaded payments to health insurerers intended to stabilize insurance markets.
Get up to Speed: Can Chris Froome pedal past his doping accusations? The OZY PDB Special Briefing will tell you what you need to know about that and more Tour de France intrigues. With carefully curated facts, opinions, images and videos, this latest Special Briefing will catch you up and vault you ahead.
As the scientist at the forefront of his field, Harvard geneticist George Church sees the issues coming before the bioethicists do. What about altering pig organs to implant in humans? What about using gene therapy to stop aging? While he ponders these questions, he also considers how we should be paid to get our genomes sequenced — and then how we might use that information to prevent birth defects. That could spawn new ethical considerations, such as: Do we screen for risk factors on dating apps before asking someone out for coffee?
November’s midterm elections loom, but U.S. voting systems aren’t much safer from hacking. With thousands of daily probing attacks on state tabulation networks, experts say another assault like the 2016 Russian cyberattacks is inevitable. With Congress’ election security grant of $380 million, states have made insufficient progress, cyber-gurus warn, with only one state, Colorado, even conducting robust audits for tampering. States must spend millions more to upgrade voting machines — often run by untrained local authorities — before the nation can even know if something’s amiss.
You won’t want to miss this. The former secretary of state and presidential candidate will be interviewed by Laurene Powell Jobs on July 21 as part of OZY’s annual two-day summer bash in New York’s Central Park. Clinton will field questions on an array of issues, from politics and technology to health. “The whole mission of the festival is to bring diverse voices to one stage,” said OZY co-founder and CEO Carlos Watson. Other guests include indie darlings Passion Pit, tax reform advocate Grover Norquist and writer Malcolm Gladwell.
He’s emotional, objectionable and reportedly earned $60,000 in donations and sponsorships in January alone. Paul Denino, aka Ice Poseidon, is an IRL streaming superstar. After a viewer shut down Phoenix airport runways with a bomb threat on a plane he’d boarded (he’s often “swatted” like that), Denino, 23, took his show to L.A.’s streets and YouTube, broadcasting pranks and random interactions with strangers and a cast of viewers-turned-regular-characters. But intimacy with 500,000 subscribers is costly: He publicly broke up with a girlfriend fans complained was disrupting the stream, which also prompts regular evictions.
They’ll win in the courtroom too. The Warriors just signed DeMarcus Cousins for a mere $5.3 million. Now the team that captured three championships in the last four years has All-Star players in all five starting positions. Is this even fair? Competitively, no. Legally, yes. NBA’s bargaining agreement with the players’ union says the league can’t pressure trades. If a manifestly destined Golden State title hurts viewership, though, expect both sides to take action, perhaps changing NBA salary caps, to make it more difficult for invincible “super teams” to take shape.