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SPOTLIGHT: CAMERON & CORBYN, STANDARD & POOR'S

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.


WHAT TO LOOK FOR TODAY

  • 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.


$15 BILLION

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.


— ON THIS DAY

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


U.S. STRIKES DOWN TEXAS ABORTION LAW

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.


— WORLDCRUNCH-TO-GO

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.


VERBATIM

"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.


MY GRAND-PERE'S WORLD

Easy Way Up — Paris, 1967


— MORE STORIES, BROUGHT TO YOU BY WORLDCRUNCH

TURN THE VOLUME DOWN

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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FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

Ukraine Is Turning Into A "New Israel" — Where Everyone Is A Soldier

From businessmen to farmers, Ukrainian society has been militarizing for the past six months to defend its sovereignty. In the future it may find itself like Israel, permanently armed to protect its sovereignty.

Ukrainian civilians learn how to shoot and other military skills at a shooting range in Lviv on July 30, 2022.

Guillaume Ptak

KYIV — The war in Ukraine has reached a turning point. Vladimir Putin's army has suffered its worst setback since the beginning of the invasion. The Russian army has experienced a counter-offensive that many experts consider masterful, so it must retreat and cede vast territories to its opponent.

The lightning victory that the head of the Kremlin had dreamed of never took place. The losses are considerable — Ukrainian troops on the battlefield now outnumber the Russians.

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On April 5, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky predicted that at the end of the conflict, Ukraine would become a "big Israel". In an interview with Ukrainian media, he said then, "In all the institutions, supermarkets, cinemas, there will be people with weapons."

The problem of national security will be the country's most important one in the next decade. An "absolutely liberal, and European" society would therefore no longer be on the agenda, according to the Ukrainian president.

Having long since swapped his suit and tie for a jacket or a khaki T-shirt during his public appearances, Zelensky has undeniably become one of the symbols of this growing militarization of Ukrainian society. However, the president claimed that Ukraine would not become an "authoritarian" regime: "An authoritarian state would lose to Russia. Ukrainians know what they are fighting for."

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Central to the tragic absurdity of this war is the question of language. Vladimir Putin has repeated that protecting ethnic Russians and the Russian-speaking populations of Ukraine was a driving motivation for his invasion.

Yet one month on, a quick look at the map shows that many of the worst-hit cities are those where Russian is the predominant language: Kharkiv, Odesa, Kherson.

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