In a morning tweet, President Donald Trump urged Attorney General Jeff Sessions to end the “Rigged Witch Hunt right now,” referring to special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of potential collusion between Trump’s presidential campaign and the Russian government. Calling the prosecution of former campaign manager Paul Manafort — whose trial on charges of bank fraud and tax evasion entered its second day — a “hoax,” Trump nevertheless sought to distance himself from his former aide, saying Manafort “worked for me for a very short time.”
The Presidential Daily Brief
While the results of the country’s presidential contest aren’t yet in, Zimbabwe’s ZANU-PF party has won a large majority of seats in Parliament, sweeping rural areas and garnering 109 of 210 seats. Results for some seats are still undeclared, and could potentially give the party a two-thirds majority, which would allow it to change the country’s constitution at will. Presidential results are expected by Aug. 4. Meanwhile, violence has erupted in Harare between police and opposition protesters backing the MDC Alliance, who contend the vote was rigged.
The safety is back on. A federal district judge in Seattle blocked the release of 3D-printed gun plans just hours before they were to be posted online yesterday by Texas-based Defense Distributed, helmed by anarchist Cody Wilson. Eight states and D.C. had sued to halt the information, which would have made it easier for customers to print plastic weapons difficult to trace or detect. Meanwhile, the Trump administration, which had permitted the release, declared its support for a current law prohibiting plastic guns. Another court hearing is scheduled for August 10.
President Donald Trump’s advisers are reportedly encouraging him to escalate his burgeoning trade war with China. Levies of 25 percent already apply to $34 billion in Chinese products, with another $16 billion worth set to see tariffs rise in coming weeks. Now some in the White House have recommended similar duties on an additional $200 billion of imports that hit U.S. consumers more directly, including tilapia fish and circuit boards. Trump has rejected several Chinese offers to settle the dispute, while last week’s U.S.-EU trade deal has further isolated China economically.
Saying it had identified campaigns designed to mislead and influence voters in November’s midterms, the social network confirmed it had removed 32 pages and accounts suspected of meddling from both Facebook and Instagram. Facebook came under fire recently for allowing the proliferation of accounts peddling fake or misleading news during the 2016 presidential election, and it’s working to blunt charges that its business model is bad for democracies. The accounts in question have not been formally linked to Russia, but Facebook officials said their content resembled the Kremlin-linked Internet Research Agency’s 2016 efforts.
Know This: On day one of the trial of former Trump campaign chief Paul Manafort, defense attorneys attempted to blame any misconduct on Manafort’s former business partner. Spain’s prime minister intends to remove the body of longtime dictator Francisco Franco from a monument outside Madrid. An Aeromexico plane crashed during takeoff, but officials said all 103 people aboard survived, 85 with injuries. And today OZY’s Around the World campaign takes you to Kenya, where a businesswoman who’s rebranded Kenya’s biggest companies is trying to rebrand Kenya itself.
Read This: In the 1980s, an ex-cop headed a massive network of criminals designed to game McDonald’s Monopoly and its million-dollar grand prizes.
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Thieves in southeastern Sweden escaped by motorboat with two historic crowns and a royal orb on Monday, according to media reports. The daylight heist of the 17th-century accoutrements happened at the Strängnäs Cathedral, about 50 miles west of Stockholm, and the culprits led police on a boat, helicopter and car pursuit before vanishing. “It’s 1-0 to them right now,” a police spokesperson said. The items, including the crown originally buried with King Karl IX in 1611, were on public display in glass boxes. Authorities are asking for witnesses to come forward.
A decade ago in Kenya, rabbits were either pets or a poor man’s dinner. No respectable restaurant had them on the menu. But with an increased demand for meat, coupled with decreasing land holdings, climate change-induced cattle feed shortages and health concerns, bunnies are now giving staples like chicken and beef a run for their money. With even wealthy consumers savoring the once-shunned protein source, it’s good business for the country’s only rabbit abattoir, as well as small farmers — so much that demand’s leaping past supply.
Sorry, Elon Musk. The SpaceX founder once said there’s a quick way to terraform Mars: Blast its polar ice caps with nuclear weapons. That would release carbon dioxide, create a greenhouse effect and warm the planet to sustain liquid water and life. But whoa, space cowboy, say scientists whose NASA-sponsored study was published in Nature this week. “Our results suggest there is not enough CO2 remaining on Mars” to blanket the planet, said researcher Bruce Jakowsky, so terraforming won’t work — at least with today’s tech.
Time’s not up for supplanting Hollywood’s White male-dominated culture. The #MeToo and #OscarsSoWhite movements raised Tinseltown’s awareness, but underrepresentation has persisted over 10 years, a University of Southern California study of 1,100 popular films has found. Last year, only 33 of the top 100 movies had female leads, and that’s barely changed since 2007. Women of color rarely helmed productions, and disabled and LGBT representation were also lackluster. Change won’t come easy, researchers said, but reaching basic parity quickly could be accomplished by adding five women annually to the top 100 films.
All bets are on. The NBA and WNBA have become the first American sports leagues to partner with a gaming operator after a May Supreme Court ruling that overturned a federal sports wagering ban. Industry insiders said the three-year deal with MGM Resorts was worth at least $25 million. The Las Vegas-based casino operator will get rights to use highlights and logos as well as a data feed from the NBA to facilitate betting in states that allow it. Further gaming partnerships with the league and individual teams are expected.