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UK Downgraded, Diploma Mills, Icelandic Screams


What a difference a week makes. Britain's two leading political figures, Prime Minister David Cameron and opposition Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn appeared to be cementing their power in their respective parties last week. But Thursday's verdict to leave the European Union spurred Cameron's decision to resign. And now Corbyn faces a no-confidence ballot in his party leadership later today. Cameron spoke before the British Parliament yesterday — the first time since Thursday's vote to leave the bloc — and called for calm as his country readied itself for its EU departure. Five days after the so-called "Brexit," the stunning decision continues to shake Britain, the European continent and markets around the globe.

  • Ratings agency Standard & Poor's downgraded UK's stellar AAA debt rating to AA. Fitch Ratings followed suit.
  • In his Parliament address, Cameron said that Britain must already start implementing its decision to withdraw from the bloc. Here's the video.
  • Despite the exit, UK leaders hope to retain access to the common EU market but European heads may not be so forgiving.
  • Uncertainty still reigns on what Brexit actually means for the UK and Europe. European Commission chief Jean-Claude Juncker urged Britain to clarify its position on the referendum as soon as possible.
  • Opposition leader Corbyn was forced to face a no-confidence vote after scores of party colleagues resigned, accusing the 67-year-old leftist of conducting a half-hearted campaign to try and convince voters to keep Britain in the EU.
  • Spikes in racist abuse have been reported after the Brexit vote, and have spurred the hashtag #PostRefRacism on Twitter.
  • Recommended reading on what it all means for Europe, from French daily Les Echos.


  • Brexit top of agenda in European Council meet.
  • Apple's chief executive Tim Cook holds fundraiser for House Speaker Paul Ryan despite pulling support from Republican convention over nominee Donald Trump.


Carmaker Volkswagen agreed to pay $15 billion to settle lawsuits that emerged from its rigging of diesel emissions tests. And that's just in the U.S. While $10 billion will go to car owners, $5 billion is for fines and investment, Bloomberg reports.


Warning: Today's 57-second shot of History contains real pieces of a boxer's ear.


The U.S. Supreme Court tossed out an abortion law that it said placed an undue burden on doctors and facilities in Texas, in one of its strongest decisions in the last two decades to uphold women's constitutional right to terminate a pregnancy as established under the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade case.


Trump University isn't the only questionable American higher education institution. Other self-proclaimed universities are virtual scams and, as Dong Dengxin writes for Caixin, China is a prime customer: "According to data published in March by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, out of 1.2 million international students in American colleges and universities, 353,000 are Chinese, making China the number one country of origin for foreign students. But two problems lie behind this figure: Chinese students are likely becoming the accomplices of America's ‘Yeji universities' — the Chinese term for so-called ‘diploma mills.' (‘Yeji' means ‘wild chicken.') And these youngsters are unlikely to be integrated into America's mainstream society, and will instead remain isolated.

Read the full article, How U.S. "Diploma Mills" Are Duping Chinese Students.


"You have this infinity inside of you that feels like it could go on forever," tennis star Venus Williams said yesterday after winning her opening-round match at Wimbledon. The 36-year-old American is the oldest player in the women's draw.


Easy Way Up — Paris, 1967



The crazy Icelandic soccer commentator's voice cracked again after his country's 2-1 win over England in the European championship last night. And here's also how victory looked in this morning's newspaper in Iceland.

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Kyiv Reality Check: What Ukraine's Friends Say Out Loud — And Whisper To Each Other

Europe's foreign ministers traveled together to Kyiv yesterday to reaffirm their support for Ukraine. It is necessary after the first signs of "fatigue" in Western support, from a Polish about-face to the victory of a pro-Russian prime minister in Slovakia.

photo of Josep Borrell listening to Zelensky speak

EU's chief of foreign affairs Josep Borrell and Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky during the EU-Ukraine meeting in Kyiv

Johanna Leguerre, EU foreign ministry via ZUMA
Pierre Haski


PARIS — The symbolism is strong: for the first time ever, Europe's foreign ministers meet in a country outside the European Union. But it looks like a diplomatic ‘Coué’. The Coué method, named for a French psychologist, holds that a person tends to repeat a message to convince oneself as much as to convince others.

In Kyiv on Monday, the European foreign ministers solemnly reaffirmed their commitment to Ukraine, perhaps because it's suddenly no longer as obvious to them as to the rest of the world.

Stay up-to-date with the latest on the Russia-Ukraine war, with our exclusive international coverage.

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There has indeed been some hesitation as of late; and it was undoubtedly time for this display of unity, which has stood as one of the major diplomatic achievements since the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

The Hungarian foreign minister was notably absent from the family photo, due to his "Putinophilia", and his Polish counterpart was officially ill, which happens to coincide with the recent Polish-Ukrainian quarrel. It's also a safe bet that, in a few weeks' time, the Slovakian minister could also be missing from such a gathering, following Sunday's election victory of the pro-Russian Robert Fico.

These nuances aside, there was a message of firmness in Kyiv, embodied by the bit of alliteration from German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock, who predicted that Europe that would soon go "from Lisbon to Luhansk" — Luhansk, in the Donbas region of Ukraine, currently annexed by Russia.

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