A Seattle judge blocked the release of 3D printed gun plans just hours before they were to be put online Tuesday. He sided with eight states and D.C. which sued for a halt on the information that could see customers printing plastic weapons that are harder to trace and detect. The Texas-based Defense Distributed, helmed by anarchist Cody Wilson, said they had the blueprints uploaded on Friday, which would now be illegal. Meanwhile, the White House affirmed their support for a current law against owning a plastic gun. The judge has set another hearing for August 10.
The Presidential Daily Brief
“I’ll meet with anybody.” That’s what President Donald Trump — who’d traded bellicose threats with Iran last week — said yesterday about a possible summit with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani. Trump dismissed the idea of preconditions, saying a meeting would be “good for them, good for us and good for the world.” Contradicting his boss, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Iran must first reduce its malign activities while committing to upholding human rights and a new nuclear agreement. Meanwhile, the White House said there’s been no planning for such a summit.
As the U.S. continues to negotiate with Pyongyang over nuclear disarmament, U.S. satellites produced photos and infrared imaging indicating increased activity at a North Korean rocket factory. It’s known to have produced the country’s first intercontinental ballistic missiles powerful enough to reach the continental United States. Critics of June’s meeting between President Trump and Kim Jong Un, which produced a vague denuclearization commitment, say the development shows a misreading of Kim’s intentions. The evidence indicates that the Sanumdong factory is working on at least one and potentially two missiles.
Facing down incumbent Emmerson Mnangagwa, 40-year-old Nelson Chamisa faced an uphill battle in his bid for the presidency. But today, with votes still being counted, he told supporters that he’s “winning resoundingly.” Turnout in yesterday’s elections was reportedly about 75 percent of the country’s 5.6 million registered voters, and Chamisa may have gotten a boost via a last-minute endorsement from ousted longtime leader Robert Mugabe. A final tally is expected by Saturday, but if neither candidate tops 50 percent, the two will enter a Sept. 8 runoff.
In a move that would bypass Congress, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin says the executive branch is considering a change to capital gains tax rules that would provide a huge windfall for America’s richest 1 percent. The change, allowing adjustment for inflation in determining past value of assets subject to capital gains tax, would lower federal revenue by an estimated $102 billion over ten years. A recent Congressional Research Service report determined that the policy’s new debt would cancel its economic advantage, while legal experts question the administration’s authority to make the change.
Know This: Macedonia will hold a public referendum on changing its name Sept. 30. President Trump’s former campaign chair Paul Manafort goes on trial today. Many are criticizing U.S. transportation security officials over a program that secretly monitored the behavior of passengers chosen by an algorithm. And today OZY’s Around the World campaign takes you to Kenya, where one activist is challenging the country’s approach to conservation.
Watch This: Security footage of a man verbally harassing a woman outside a Parisian café, then slapping her across the face, has many newly outraged over lax attitudes toward abuse commonly endured by women in public.
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The high court has ruled. The mountainous country’s Constitutional Court has scrapped penalties for the consumption of cannabis, making Georgia the first former Soviet republic to effectively legalize the drug. The panel decriminalized the practice in November, then decided yesterday that only cultivation and selling were forbidden. The ruling was cheered by litigant and opposition activist Zurab Japaridze, who called the lawsuit “a fight for freedom.” There will still be penalties for recreational reefer in some contexts, though, such as when bystanders, like children in school or transit passengers, could be harmed.
They’ve found the weakest link. Experts estimate the frequent internet shutdowns authorities order to quell social or political turmoil have cost the country up to $3 billion in the past five years. The first seven months of this year have already seen 92 such incidents, topping last year’s 79, a monitor reports. Although the outages contradict the United Nations’ position that internet connectivity is a basic human right, some experts believe cutoffs actually help control riots. But they also say India needs clear guidelines for access restrictions, which should only be a last resort.
The largest king penguin colony in the world, located on the island of Île aux Cochons in the southern Indian Ocean, has seen an 88 percent drop in its population over the last few decades. First discovered in the 1960s, the colony was found to contain over two million penguins in a 1982 study — but since then, population estimates have been scarce due to the island’s inaccessibility. Now satellite imaging shows barely 200,000 of the flightless birds remaining. Scientists are investigating possible causes, such as climate change, disease or invasive rodents.
Although the West has long dominated the fantasy genre, popular Asian authors whose epic fiction is rooted in the East are increasingly finding an English-speaking audience. Novels combining Asian history with fantastical elements, like Nebula-award winning The Grace of Kings, have been wracking up prestigious prizes, while a mix of steampunk-style technology and empires resembling imperial China has even earned its own name: Silkpunk. Now the next leap for these East Asian authors is following in the big budget footsteps of Western sci-fi and fantasy into film and television.
“The last thing I want to do is put the health of my brain and my future well-being in jeopardy over a game and a paycheck,” wrote 24-year-old Seattle Seahawks linebacker Joshua Perry, as he announced his retirement yesterday following his sixth documented concussion. Perry, a fourth-round draft pick, has also played for the Colts, the Chargers and Ohio State. Meanwhile, an NFL concussion settlement program has paid out more than $500 million to players since January 2017 — well above the expected $400 million over a decade.