Senate, North Korea, Nawaz Sharif: Your Friday Evening Briefing

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Good evening. Here’s the latest.

1. President Trump made an important announcement via Twitter: He replaced Reince Priebus, his chief of staff, above left, with John Kelly, a retired general who is currently serving as the head of Homeland Security.

Mr. Priebus, of course, had been the target of an expletive-laced diatribe by Anthony Scaramucci, the new communications director.

Before that announcement, Mr. Trump traveled to Long Island to address violence linked to MS-13, the fearsome street gang founded in Los Angeles in the ’80s and now active throughout El Salvador, Honduras and cities across the U.S.

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2. Republicans are struggling to regroup after their seven-year effort to dismantle the Affordable Care Act hurtled off the rails overnight.

Senator John McCain’s “no” vote was the climax of the dramatic vote. Our congressional columnist says the question now is whether his bold move will produce the results he wants: a more bipartisan approach to changing the health law.

Here are five takeaways from the vote, and a recap of the fateful night in pictures. On the latest episode of our podcast The Daily,” our congressional correspondent called us from the Senate press gallery at 2:11 a.m.


3. The U.S. economy grew at an annual rate of 2.6 percent last quarter, a big pickup from the beginning of 2017 — but well short of the 4 percent target President Trump has promised, according to a new Commerce Department report.

One bright spot has been the dollar’s decline against other currencies, especially the euro, which makes American exports more competitive overseas.


4. A federal judge refused to drop a lawsuit against two psychologists who helped devise the C.I.A.’s interrogation program after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

The three plaintiffs argue that they were detained and tortured in secret prisons using techniques designed by the psychologists, who were working as C.I.A. contractors.

Most of the techniques used against them have since been banned. The case is scheduled to go to trial in September. Above, James Mitchell, one of the defendants.


5. North Korea launched a ballistic missile that traveled farther than a similar test earlier this month.

The missile flew for about 45 minutes before landing off Japan’s northernmost island, said Japan’s foreign minister, above center. The length of the flight suggests that the missile may have a range greater than any the North has previously tested.


6. Big news from Pakistan: The Supreme Court ordered the prime minister, Nawaz Sharif — who has been a dominating force in Pakistani politics for three decades — removed from office over corruption charges.

The allegations stemmed from disclosures last year in the Panama Papers leak. Above, supporters of Mr. Sharif in Lahore.

Imran Khan, the former cricket star and opposition politician who has been spearheading the campaign against Mr. Sharif, stands to gain the most from his removal. Here’s a profile of Mr. Khan from our archives.


7. Russia took its first steps to retaliate against proposed American sanctions for Moscow’s suspected meddling in the 2016 election, seizing two U.S. diplomatic properties and ordering the American Embassy, above, to reduce staff by September.

President Trump still hasn’t said whether he’ll sign the measure to expand sanctions, which has been approved by both houses of Congress.


8. It’s not your imagination: Summer’s even steamier than it used to be.

Summers have been getting hotter in the Northern Hemisphere since the 1950s, according to data from a retired NASA climate scientist and professor at Columbia University.

Heat waves are roiling southern Europe, and temperatures are nearing 130 degrees in parts of Pakistan. It’s all because of climate change, the professor says, and it’s only going to get worse.


9. Nearly half of the hydropower electricity consumed in the U.S. comes from dams on the Columbia River and its tributaries in the Northwest.

And now the Trump administration is considering selling that system. It’s among a batch of proposals that would transform national infrastructure to a mixture of public and private partnerships, which officials say would lower taxpayer costs and improve efficiency. Critics dispute that notion.

We sent two journalists down the river to explore what’s at stake in this new energy debate.


10. Our culture writer says “The Emoji Movie,” in theaters now, is, perhaps unknowingly, a profound statement about how we communicate today.

“The movie cements emoji’s place as defining symbols of global capitalism — a form of expression that transcends language barriers and lends a gloss of emotional affect to our cold, unfeeling devices,” she writes.

And she takes us on a quick tour through the history of emoji, which first hit cellphones in 1999.

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11. Finally, Stephen Colbert on Anthony Scaramucci’s famous phone call. Satire for the ages.

In between vulgar insults, if you recall, Mr. Scaramucci had likened himself and his Mr. Priebus to Cain and Abel.

“Some brothers are like Cain and Abel, some are like Mario and Luigi, O.K.?” Mr. Colbert quipped. “Who knows what will happen: Will we go down a pipe to save the princess, or will I bash his head in with a rock and then lie to God about it?”

Have a great, leak-free weekend.


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