In what one Republican senator denounced as “mob rule,” the opening day of confirmation hearings for President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee was marred by bickering and the arrests of dozens of protesters. Democrats, who demanded a delay to review thousands of pages of newly released documents, cast the 53-year-old federal judge as overly partisan. Pressing him on day two around hot button issues, Kavanaugh vaguely acknowledged the case legalizing abortion – Roe v. Wade – as “an important precedent” but defended previous opinion that a ban on semi-automatic rifles would be unconstitutional.
The Presidential Daily Brief
British prosecutors have obtained a European arrest warrant for two suspects in the March nerve agent attack on former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter. Prime Minister Theresa May says Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov — most likely aliases — are Russian intelligence agents and promised “the full range of tools from across our national security apparatus” to counter the threat. The attack led to the expulsion of hundreds of Russian diplomats by the U.K. and its allies. “We are expecting new sanctions, of course — with pleasure,” quipped a Russia TV host.
“It’s a new day.” That’s how one activist described Boston City Councilor Ayanna Pressley’s upset victory over Rep. Michael Capuano, a 10-term incumbent, in yesterday’s Democratic primary. Pressley, 44, described the vote as one for “the soul of our party and the future of our democracy.” Observers say she successfully drew people of color and young voters to the polls in her district — the only in Massachusetts that’s not majority White. With no Republicans on the ballot, Pressley’s set to become the first Black woman to represent her state in Congress.
The country’s worst storm in a quarter-century killed at least 10 people, injured hundreds more and left a trail of destruction after making landfall yesterday in western Japan. In Kyoto and Osaka thousands of travelers remained stranded amid canceled flights, trains and ferries, and more than 2 million households were plunged into darkness. “I never expected a typhoon to do this much damage,” one traveler said. By Wednesday morning, more than 1.2 million residents had been urged to evacuate the affected areas as fears of flooding and landslides intensified.
In a forthcoming book, investigative journalist Bob Woodward reports mounting alarm within the Trump administration over the president’s behavior. In Fear: Trump in the White House, the former Watergate reporter quotes chief of staff John Kelly calling his boss “unhinged” and Defense Secretary Jim Mattis claiming Trump possesses the intellect of “a fifth or sixth grader.” Both denied those claims. Trump dismissed the Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter as having “credibility problems” and called his work “a con on the public.” Woodward told The Washington Post, his former employer, “I stand by my reporting.”
Know This: The U.S. and Canada are resuming talks today aimed at renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has joined the international chorus warning the Syrian government against attacking the rebel-held Idlib province. One Florida child is dead after Tropical Storm Gordon made landfall yesterday near the Alabama-Mississippi border. And today OZY’s Around the World campaign takes you to Ethiopia: Meet the 30-year-old helping young Ethiopians reach for the stars.
See This: Amid the recent U.N. condemnation of Myanmar for allegedly perpetrating genocide against its Rohingya Muslim minority, these harrowing photographs provide an intimate look at the plight of Rohingya refugees.
We’re hiring: OZY is looking for a talented Account Manager to support our sales management team. Could this be you? Check out the job description for more details … and find all our open jobs right here.
A new study based on YouGov polls of over 15,000 people reveals that 2.6 million Leave voters have changed their minds since the controversial 2016 referendum, which passed by a margin of 1.3 million. While 970,000 Remainers have become pro-Brexit, that leaves a net gain of 1.6 million who would now stay in the European Union. That’s likely to increase pressure on politicians — particularly opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn, since more than half of the 2.6 million were Labour voters — to call for a new referendum.
Home to the world’s second-largest prison population after the U.S., China is tapping into that massive potential workforce with its “reform through labor” system. While exporting prison-made goods breaks both local and foreign trade laws, experts note signs of the practice throughout the supply chain in products ranging from peeled garlic to Christmas socks. “We have seen companies exploiting prison labor as a way of keeping costs low,” one U.S. customs official explained, as Chinese firms face pressure from regional manufacturing rivals and a declining working-age population.
According to Russian space agency Roscosmos, the 2-millimeter hole discovered last week in their Soyuz spacecraft, which was docked at the International Space Station, was drilled from the inside by a “wavering hand” either on Earth or in space. While agency chief Dmitry Rogozin said it’s “too early to say definitely what happened,” he also hasn’t ruled out “deliberate interference.” Experts previously believed a meteorite had caused the non-life-threatening leak, which astronauts sealed with tape. Roscosmos has created a commission to investigate the incident.
Citing procedural restrictions, the Los Angeles County District Attorney has declined to file charges against actors Kevin Spacey, Steven Seagal and Anthony Anderson over allegations of sexual assault. The statute of limitations had expired for both Spacey and Seagal, whose alleged crimes took place in the early 1990s, while Anderson’s accuser reportedly failed to cooperate with investigators. The D.A.’s office, which formed a task force to handle the influx of sexual abuse claims against dozens of Hollywood figures, still has cases pending involving Spacey and Seagal.
“I think it’s a terrible message.” So said President Trump about Nike’s new marketing campaign featuring former 49ers quarterback and national anthem protest leader Colin Kaepernick. But Trump added that the company’s freedom to make its own business decisions is “what this country is all about.” The NFL also released a statement yesterday saying the issues raised by Kaepernick, a free agent who’s suing the league for allegedly blacklisting him, “deserve our attention and action.” Meanwhile, conflicting reports have emerged over Nike’s plans for a Kaepernick shoe and clothing line.