SPOTLIGHT: BREXIT WINS, CAMERON'S BAD BET
No one ever forced David Cameron to call the referendum to decide whether the UK should stay in the European Union or not. But the British Prime Minister's calculation was clear: Popular sentiment against the EU (particularly among his fellow Conservative Party members) was strong enough to make a vote necessary to settle the question — but not strong enough to actually pull out of the bloc. Well, Mr. Cameron made the miscalculation of his political career. By early this morning, the result was in: The British voted 52% to 48% in favor of having the island nation split with its continental partners, a historic decision with powerful economic, political and cultural ramifications. Cameron, himself, quickly announced that he will resign. The rest of the fallout will come in the coming hours, weeks â€¦ and years.
- CLEAR VICTORY, HUGE TURNOUT Voter turnout was remarkably strong. At nearly 72%, it was the highest in a referendum since 1991. The UK's various parts were split by the vote, with 53.4% of voters in England and 52.5% in Wales backing Britain's exit. But both Scotland and Northern Ireland were in favor of the UK remaining in the bloc, according to results published by the BBC.
- CAMERON RESIGNS The Prime Minister, who has been in office since 2010, wasted little time in announcing his decision, saying he wasn't the right person to lead the country as it separates from the EU. Showing poise and restraint as he spoke at Downing Street, Cameron reiterated that he believed Britain was better off as part of the EU, but respected the will of the British people. He said he will hold his post for three months to support the transition to a new leader, who will take over by the time of a Conservative party conference in October. Watch Cameron's speech expand=1] here.
- MARKETS BATTERED, POUND PLUNGES The British currency plunged to a 30-year low in early trading after the Brexit victory, with the euro sliding as well. Meanwhile stock prices have taken a huge hit in trading from Asia to Europe, with European bank shares leading the losses. Read more from Reuters.
- DOMINO EFFECT? The rest of the world is wondering whether the UK vote is just the first step toward total disintegration of the EU. The leader of France's far-right National Front party Marine Le Pen has already applauded Britain's decision to leave, and called for a similar referendum to take place in France, Le Monde reports. "Frexit" anyone? Should Brexit really trigger a domino effect, Quartz has thankfully provided us with a list of possible names for all EU exits.
- MESSY DIVORCE Uncertainty now reigns on the status of European residents in the UK and British citizens in the EU. Other questions include who will fill Cameron's shoes, the impact of the vote on Britain's borders and the direction of negotiations between the UK and its trade partners. Still, much of the change will not be immediate, with the parties having two years to negotiate the terms of the British departure from European institutions and agreements.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR TODAY (& WEEKEND)
- Iceland presidential election on Saturday.
- Panama Canal expansion opens Sunday.
- The New York City Gay Pride Parade on Sunday.
After more than 50 years of conflict that killed about 220,000 people and displaced millions, the FARC guerrilla group finally agreed to lay down their arms. Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos and FARC commander Rodrigo "Timochenko" Londono signed an agreement in Cuba yesterday during a ceremony attended by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon and other dignitaries. See how Colombian daily El Espectadorfeatured the peace deal on its front page today.
— ON THIS DAY
GERMAN MOVIE THEATER ATTACK
The masked man who was shot dead by police after storming a movie theater in Viernheim near Frankfurt was carrying fake weapons, German prosecutors said this morning. According to German daily Die Welt, no movie-goers were hurt by the man, who was identified as a 19-year-old German national. His motives remain unclear.
STAIRWAY OUT OF PLAGIARISM
A California jury ruled in favor of Led Zeppelin in a long-running plagiarism case. The U.S. band Spirit had accused the group of generously borrowing from their 1968 song "Taurus" to create the rock anthem "Stairway To Heaven." The case has been plaguing the band for years and rock lovers can finally rest in peace after the verdict.
Ever since the financial crisis, casinos have been losing money. To survive, Jürgen Schmieder writes for Die Welt, Las Vegas must lose its reputation as a place good only for gambling, boozing and prostitution: "Las Vegas has changed over the last 50 years. It has even changed over the last 10 years. This incomprehensible entity in the middle of the desert in Nevada, this American dream of spectacular decadence, this place for magicians, musicians and showgirls, has become an economic nightmare. If you want to know how the U.S. is doing, take a look at Las Vegas.
2007 was the last year when casinos on the strip generated a profit ($709.4 million in total.) At the time, the rules were easy to understand: The house always wins. What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas — and since everything that happens there has something to do with money, the money stays in Vegas, too."
Read the full article, Las Vegas, How Global Finances Are Burning Sin City.
MY GRAND-PERE'S WORLD
Former Member — Edinburgh, 1978
CHINA WEATHER KILLS SCORES
A tornado and hailstorm killed at least 98 people and injured 800 others in the east Chinese province of Jiangsu yesterday, the South China Morning Post reports.
— MORE STORIES, EXCLUSIVELY IN ENGLISH BY WORLDCRUNCH
- Venezuela: Nation In Crisis, Land Of Unfulfilled Potential — America Economia
- Teaching Arabic In French Schools, A Weapon Against Islamic Extremism — Le Monde
- What's Hit The Brakes On China's Foreign High-Speed Rail Ambition — Caixin
Another unforeseen consequence of Brexit? Houston-based KHOU 11 News reports on the case of a woman from Texas who woke up from surgery with a British accent, in a rare occurrence of so-called Foreign Accent Syndrome.