Jul 18, 2018

Axios PM

Situational awareness ... Second 180 in two days: "The White House says President Trump believes Russia would target U.S. elections again, even though he seemed to contradict his own intelligence officials on that point earlier today," per AP:

  • "Trump was asked at the end of a Cabinet meeting if Russia is still targeting the U.S. He answered: 'No.'"
  • "But Sarah Sanders says Trump was saying 'no' to answering more questions, although he did go on to answer an additional question."
1 big thing: Here's some feel-good news

Twelve boys and their coach from the 'Wild Boars' soccer team receive gifts from local goverment during a press conference. Photo: Linh Pham/Getty Images

The "Wild Boars" soccer team — alive and well — gave its first media appearance today since being saved from a Thai cave by a heroic rescue operation, Axios' Zach Basu notes.

  • "Doctors said the 13 were healthy in body and mind," per AP. "They said the boys gained around 3 kilograms (6.6 pounds) on average since they were rescued from the cave. They were said to have lost an average of 4 kilograms (9 pounds) during the more than two weeks they were trapped in the cave."

Why it matters... The entire world felt like it had a stake in this saga, with so many stories worth knowing:

  • The 12 boys and their coach, with the grit to survive while waiting for rescue.
  • The two brave British cave divers, who found the team nearly 10 days after it went missing.
  • The international rescue team, which pulled off a rescue on the fly in the face of rising floodwaters and untrained boys.
  • The Thai navy SEALs, who lost a member of the team during efforts to help the boys.

What they're saying, as described by The Guardian:

  • The moment they were discovered: "We were digging stones on top of the hill and we heard voices. We weren't sure if it was for real," said Adul Sam-on. "So we stopped and listened. And it turned out to be true. I was shocked."
  • As the days passed without food: “We drank water that fell from the rocks,” said Pornchai Kamluang, 16. “On the first day we were OK but after two days we started feeling tired.”
  • "The boys demonstrated noticeable devotion towards the navy SEALs, who had stayed with them throughout the rescue operation, bringing them food and playing checkers with them, until the last boy was out of the cave."
  • "The boys described the SEALs as like family, saying: 'We ate together, slept together'. One boy described a SEAL as 'like my dad'. Several of the boys told the press conference they wanted to become navy SEALs when they were older."

The bottom line: 13 people presumed dead are alive, free to return to their parents and families. That's worth celebrating on any day.

2. What you missed

Prince Harry tries archery during a visit to the RFU Injured Players Foundation annual Client Forum. Photo: Tim Ireland - WPA Pool/Getty Images

  1. Prosecutors say Maria Butina is a serious flight risk and should be held in jail until her trial. The Russian national is under indictment for working on behalf of the Kremlin in the U.S. Go deeper.
  2. In Google land: The EU's record $5 billion fine on Google for its Android business practices is likely to come with new rules for how the company does business. Go deeper.
  3. In Facebook land: Mark Zuckerberg to Recode’s Kara Swisher in a 90-minute interview: "I don’t think that we should be in the business of having people at Facebook who are deciding what is true and what isn’t." He also brought up Holocaust deniers. Highlights.
  4. A Republican lawmaker is set to introduce legislation taxing carbon emissions. Go deeper.
  5. The Ferguson Fire burning in the rugged Sierra National Forest is causing air quality within Yosemite National Park to plunge to hazardous levels. Go deeper.
  6. The Trump administration has been telling members of Congress that it plans to get a trade deal with Mexico before its new president is inaugurated in December, which it thinks will then prompt Canada to cut a deal. It would then move on to trying to make deals with other entities, like China and the EU. Go deeper.
3. 1 fun thing: Peace breaks out

Passengers sing and dance during the first flight between the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa and the Eritrean capital Asmara in twenty years. Photo: Michael Tewelde/AFP/Getty Images

The first commercial flight between Ethiopia and Eritrea in two decades took place today after a landmark agreement between the two countries.

The details: Passengers celebrated the historic event, taking selfies, as well as dancing and singing during the 60-minute flight, per BBC News. Some reportedly broke down in tears upon their arrival in Asmara, as they met relatives and friends for the first time since the standoff started in 1998.