In a move widely panned as political retribution, the White House announced yesterday that President Donald Trump is considering stripping security clearances from former officials who have criticized him. The six officials named, including former CIA Director John Brennan and ex-FBI chief James Comey, have “politicized, and in some cases monetized, their public service and security clearances,” said Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders. The move, reportedly suggested by Republican Sen. Rand Paul, could impact the former officials’ ability to work as government advisers, consultants or lobbyists.
The Presidential Daily Brief
At least 50 people, many of them children, were killed as flames swept through Mati, a small resort town near Athens. Around 700 people have been rescued from the sea, while Red Cross workers discovered 26 bodies huddled together in one yard. “Mati doesn’t even exist as a settlement anymore,” one woman said. Hundreds of firefighters are still struggling to contain the country’s worst fire in more than a decade, while Greek authorities are seeking international assistance. Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras vowed, “We will do whatever is humanly possible to control it.”
New satellite imagery suggests Pyongyang is making good on a pledge by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un during his June summit with President Trump to disassemble key facilities in its ballistic missile program. The photos, taken July 20 and analyzed by 38 North, a Washington-based think tank, reportedly reveal that North Korea has begun dismantling a rocket engine test stand and a vehicle assembly building at the Sohae Satellite Launching Station. According to one South Korean security official, “It seems like they are going step by step toward denuclearization.”
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker will visit the White House Wednesday in a bid to dissuade President Trump from escalating his ongoing trade dispute with the EU. Trump has levied tariffs on steel and aluminum, and threatened to do the same for automobile imports. But officials hope Juncker’s blunt, hard-nosed style can sway the U.S. president. “It’s not about fake news, it’s about objective facts,” Juncker said last week about his strategy. Trump administration officials have not ruled out the possibility of a free-trade deal.
Know This: Police in Toronto are investigating what drove a 29-year-old who suffered from psychosis and depression to kill two people and wound 13 others in a Sunday shooting. Hundreds are reportedly missing after a hydroelectric dam collapsed Tuesday in southeastern Laos. The International Monetary Fund has warned that inflation in crisis-ridden Venezuela could reach 1 million percent by the end of the year. And today OZY’s Around the World campaign takes you to Saudi Arabia, where locals are crazy about Snapchat.
Listen to This: As the White House ratchets up its bellicose rhetoric against Iran, experts warn that its apparent support for internal protests there could backfire.
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Editor-in-Chief Jim Rich is among the staffers laid off in the newspaper industry’s latest dramatic shake-up. The move is aimed at shifting the paper — which media giant Tronc purchased from billionaire Mort Zuckerman last year for just $1 — toward focusing on breaking news, “especially in areas of crime, civil justice and public responsibility.” New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who said the cuts would “hurt an important New York institution and one of our nation’s journalism giants,” offered state help to prevent the layoffs.
At ease. The government in Seoul says it’s scaling back personnel and military equipment along the border with North Korea on a trial basis. The decision follows an April summit between South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, during which the two declared their intent to transform the area into a “peace zone.” The announcement also comes amid an evolving dispute with Washington over how much Seoul should pay for the American military presence on its soil.
Medical researchers in dozens of labs from Canada to China are increasingly developing nanobots capable of traversing the body to perform diagnostics, repair organs and even complete surgeries. Replacing implantable devices, these machines — which can be guided through the bloodstream by human operators and are designed to dissolve or exit the body on their own — would limit the need for more invasive surgery. Meanwhile, industry experts estimate the medical nanobot industry will grow annually at 21 percent to reach $100 billion by 2023.
I Admit. That’s the name of a 19-minute song the R&B star released yesterday taking aim at two decades of accusations against him, including that he exploited underage girls in a “sex cult.” In the song, Kelly confesses to relationships with “young ladies” but denies being a pedophile. He also questions the definitions of “cult” and “sex slave,” and reveals he was sexually abused as a child. He sings, “I’m not convicted, not arrested, my name dragged in the dirt.” Kelly was acquitted of 14 counts of child pornography in 2008.
He’s in hot water. The six-time U.S. gold medalist posted a photo on Instagram two months ago showing him receiving an intravenous infusion of vitamins, which sparked an investigation by the U.S Anti-Doping Agency. While the organization doesn’t consider them banned substances, it prohibits any IV infusions without prior approval. Lochte will miss the July 25 national championships, but still hopes to compete at the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo. In a press conference Monday, he said his injections were legal, “but there are rules, and you have to obey them.”