Monday Sunrise Briefs: Five nations try to salvage Iran nuclear deal

Why We Wrote This

Good morning! Welcome to your Monday, July 29, 2019, sunrise briefing. 

Here's what happened this weekend (while you were sitting in a kiddie pool staying cool, rowing, or listening to Old Town Road (the Seoul remix) and enjoying an off-line life).

AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi
Newly married Iranian couple Mohammad Davoodi and his wife Mahsa Asadzadeh outside of a wedding dress shop in Tehran, Iran. The middle class has been hit hard by U.S. sanctions, doubling housing prices, so more newlyweds move in with their families to save money.

Diplomats from Iran and five nations – China, Russia, Germany, France, Britain – plus the European Union renewed a commitment Sunday to salvaging the 2015 nuclear deal. In addition to trade with China, Iran is keen on a barter-type system set up by the Europeans that would allow trade with Tehran without violating the U.S. sanctions. Meanwhile, the U.S. faces a Thursday deadline to decide whether to extend - or cancel - sanctions waivers to foreign companies working on Iran's civilian nuclear program as permitted under the 2015 deal.

Pro-democracy marches

In Moscow, during a rally for more competitive local elections, nearly 1,400 people were detained Saturday in a violent police crackdown, which one group described as the largest number of detentions this decade. Opposition leader Alexei Navalny was arrested Wednesday for calling for the protest after opposition candidates were barred from running for Moscow city council. Navalny was unexpectedly hospitalized Sunday with a suspicious “severe allergy attack,” his spokeswoman said.

In Hong Kong, police and protestors clashed Saturday and Sunday nights, after demonstrators gathered without official permits.  Protestors said the rallies were in response to police use of tear gas at a demonstration the previous weekend. Begun two months ago in opposition to an extradition bill, the movement has become more violent and expanded into a broader push for full democracy.

Playing the “race card?”

In response to Democrats' investigations of immigrant children held in U.S. facilities and talk of impeachment, Present Donald Trump issued multiple Twitter attacks this weekend on Democratic congressman Elijah Cummings and his home district of Baltimore. The president described the majority-black city as a “rodent-infested mess" where "no human being would want to live." Critics described the attacks as racist. Trump responded, "there is nothing racist” in describing the conditions in Rep. Cummings' district.

More significantly, on Friday the U.S. Supreme Court overturned a lower-court funding freeze for rebuilding parts of a U.S.-Mexico border wall by redirecting about $2.5 billion in Defense Department money.


What’s the buzz?

Stephane Mantey, Pool Photo via AP
Colombia's Egan Bernal, 2019 Tour de France winner, center, Britain's Geraint Thomas, who placed second, left, and the Netherlands' Steven Kruijswijk, third,in Paris, France, Sunday, July 28, 2019.

Colombian wins the Tour de France: At 22, Egan Bernal was crowned Sunday as the youngest post-World War II champion, and the first from South America. The winner's check: $556,500

Also on Sunday, the first-ever Fortnite World Cup competition was won by 16-year-old American Kyle "Bugha" Giersdorf. Signaling the rise of esports, the video-game winner's check was $3 million.

'In God We Trust': As students return to school, all South Dakota public schools are required to display the national motto to inspire patriotism, says a new law.  

Adam Fondren/Rapid City Journal via AP
"In God We Trust" stenciled in a wall at South Park Elementary in Rapid City, S.D.

Look ahead

Monday, July 29

China trade talks resume: U.S. Trade Rep. Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin are schedule to meet with Chinese officials in Shanghai for the first high-level trade negotiations between the world’s two biggest economies since talks broke down in May.

Tuesday, July 30

Winnowing the field: Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and eight other Democrats will face off in Detroit during the second TV presidential debate.

Wednesday, July 31

Winnowing the field, Round II. Another 10 candidates, featuring Joe Biden, Cory Booker and Kamala Harris will headline this TV event. Expect the focus to continue to be on attacking Joe Biden, the frontrunner in polls. 

Fuel for the economic engine: The U.S. Federal Reserve is widely expected to cut interest rates one quarter of a point to keep the economy chugging. Markets will parse Fed comments Wednesday for insight into any future rate cuts.

Thursday, Aug. 1

President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence are scheduled to attend a Keep America Great campaign rally in Cincinnati, Ohio. 

Hidden gem

Start your week with a recent story that inspired Monitor editors and readers:

Why America remains a beacon of hope for Liberian refugee

Sneak preview

In tonight’s Daily Edition, watch for our story on a new generation of rural entrepreneurs returning to America's Midwestern farms. 

Finally, the Monitor’s five best stories in Friday’s subscription-only Daily Edition:

  1. Puerto Rico protests: With governor gone, this is ‘just the beginning’
  2. Into the twilight zone
  3. No drink? No problem. Behind the ‘sober curious’ movement.
  4. Xhosa horse racing survived apartheid. Its next test: popularity.
  5. Tarantino turns his lens on Hollywood. Nostalgia and good casting ensue.

This is a beta test. For the next few Mondays, we’ll be experimenting with an early morning news update. Please give us your feedback via the link below and let us know what you think. Thank you!

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