• On the War on the Rocks website, Aaron Stein, a Turkey and Middle East expert, writes a meticulous tick-tock of the sequence of events surrounding the coup and what we know about its origins, planning and motives. The narrative is still perplexingly sketchy. And this, as Stein concludes, is a problem for the future of Turkish democracy:

"The increased authoritarianism in Turkey builds on the post-coup fallout and efforts taken to collectively punish anyone linked to the Gulen movement, regardless of whether they had a role in the coup or not. The post-July 2016 purges are simply a continuation of an escalating conflict infighting between Erdogan’s camp and the Gulenists, who were once tacit allies.

"The putchists’ motives were, in part, linked to this broader political struggle in Turkey. The discussion in Turkey this past year has sought to externalize this internal problem through the propagation of conspiracy theories about American involvement or lack of ‘empathy.’ A year after the coup attempt, key details that would help shed light on this tragedy have not been released. Debates about who really did it are rampant and conspiracy theories common. There has been too little introspection about the multiple factors that contributed to July 15, and the serious challenges the continuous cycles of purges has had — and will continue to have — on Turkey’s institutions."

• It wouldn’t be Sunday these days without a flurry of Trump tweets. The president’s ire was provoked by a new Washington Post/ABC poll that finds his six-month approval rating to be a historic low. Trump’s overall approval rating has dropped to 36 percent from 42 percent in April. His disapproval rating has risen five points to 58 percent. Overall, 48 percent say they “disapprove strongly” of Trump’s performance in office, a level never reached by former presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama and reached only during George W. Bush's second term in Post-ABC polling.

On Twitter, Trump downplayed the poll, attacked defeated Democratic rival Hillary Clinton and blamed the mainstream media — his daily punching bag — for “distorting democracy.”

Meanwhile, unexpected medical trouble for Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) led Senate Republicans to delay a vote on the controversial Senate health-care bill scheduled for this week — and led to further potential infighting among Republicans over the legislation. Trumpcare, as the measures have been dubbed, is not only opposed by Democrats, but also by moderate Republicans who fear the toll of proposed cuts, and more libertarian ones who argue it doesn’t cut deep enough. Public opinion polls show that a significant majority of Americans would prefer Obamacare over Trumpcare.

• Trump also declared this week to be “Made in America” week, a showcase for manufacturing and artisanal work done in each of the 50 states. But there’s a slight snag, as my colleague Philip Rucker observes:

"For Trump, highlighting U.S.-made products is inconsistent with his practices as a businessman. For years, the Trump Organization has outsourced much of its product manufacturing, relying on a global network of factories in a dozen countries — including Bangladesh, China and Mexico — to make its clothing, home decor pieces and other items.

"Similarly, the clothing line of Ivanka Trump, the president's older daughter and a senior White House adviser, relies exclusively on foreign factories employing low-wage workers in countries such as Bangladesh, Indonesia and China, according to a recent Washington Post investigation.”

The investigation, along with its accompanying graphical work, is well worth reading in full.

• On Sunday, Venezuelans went to the polls to vote in an unofficial referendum staged by the opposition. It was a protest against the government’s plan to elect a new National Constituent Assembly that would overhaul the country’s existing constitution. The plebiscite was not recognized by the ruling government, which has been locked in months of political crisis. There were reports of at least two people being killed as pro-government mobs sought to disrupt the vote.

• In Canada, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau finally met Justin Trudeau — that is, a two-month-old Syrian refugee baby whose parents named him after the Canadian leader as homage to their adopted homeland.

Emergency response following an acid attack in London on July 13. (Sarah Cobbold via Reuters)</p>

Emergency response following an acid attack in London on July 13. (Sarah Cobbold via Reuters)


After a series of terror attacks — and the devastating Grenfell Tower fire — Britain is facing yet another public safety crisis: acid attacks. Within only 90 minutes last Thursday, five men were injured in a spate of “horrific” attacks in London in which people had acid thrown at them in an attempt to hurt or disfigure.

The incidents highlighted a worrisome trend: Britain has now one of the highest rates of acid attacks per capita in the world, and some of the attackers are extremely young. About 20 percent of them are below the age of 18.

A governmental review of existing prevention and prosecution options is already underway, but critics fear that Britain’s acid attacks will be hard to stop. Whereas British legislation makes it extremely hard for individuals or groups to obtain firearms, the toxic substances used in acid attacks are readily available. Acid also often leads to blindness if thrown into a victim's face, making it harder for the attackers to be identified and prosecuted As a result, the annual number of such attacks has almost tripled, from at least 183 to 504, over the last 5 years.

Officials say acid has mainly been used in domestic violence, in so-called honor-based attacks by family members or in gang-related retribution attacks. The first two causes are also associated with acid attacks in other nations, especially in Asia and Africa. But the involvement of gangs, taking advantage of the easily available weapons, makes Britain distinct and helps to explain the unusually high number of male victims. Similarly worrisome has been the recent use of acid in hate crimes.

On Monday, politicians will debate possible changes to the law, which could potentially include a ban on the carrying of acid in public or longer prison sentences for attackers. But British law already allows courts to sentence acid attackers to life in prison, and even the possession of certain substances can lead to four-year sentences if an intention of carrying out an attack has been proven.

Hence, some experts contend that improved legislation would also have to consist of a sales ban on toxic substances over the counter, not just mere adjustments to existing laws. That could mean that even that even common household goods like oven or drain cleaners, which can be toxic enough to cause devastating life-long injuries, may soon be restricted items. — Rick Noack


President Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron&nbsp;at the&nbsp;Bastille Day military parade in Paris on July 14. (Ian Langsdon/European Pressphoto Agency)</p>

President Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron at the Bastille Day military parade in Paris on July 14. (Ian Langsdon/European Pressphoto Agency)

The big question

As we predicted last week, President Trump's Bastille Day visit to Paris turned out to be a cordial affair. French President Emmanuel Macron, who had hit Trump hard over his decision to withdraw from the Paris climate accord, said in a chummy press conference on Thursday that he respected the decision; Trump in turn praised the "great conversations" between the two. On the other hand, Trump also put his foot in his mouth with comments to Macron's wife, and his standing among the French populace is still at rock bottom. So we asked Post Paris correspondent James McAuley: How was Trump's visit viewed by the French public?

"Political calculations aside, the French were more than a little perturbed by the decision of their new president to invite Trump to their national holiday celebrations. In France, Trump is the opposite of popular: According to one poll, he enjoys an approval rating here of just 14 percent.

"For weeks, Macron’s political opponents sought to cast his invitation to Trump as a major misstep. Far-left firebrand Jean-Luc Mélénchon went so far as to say that Trump's appearance at the Bastille Day parade amounted to nothing less than an affront to 'the freedom of the French.' The point was to inspire mass outrage against the new president, still in the honeymoon phase of his young presidency.

"But when the day came, there was nothing at all like the violent protests we saw in Hamburg at the G-20 summit the week before. There were a few isolated protests, but they mostly happened the night before the parade. The most organized one was run by the Americans of Democrats Abroad, who told us they gathered to protest Trump’s domestic policies. The French themselves were largely uninterested in taking to the streets, even while many of them were displeased with Macron for inviting Trump.

"In the end, the sense we got from talking to ordinary French people was that they were less bothered by Trump's participation — after all, as many of those we interviewed willingly conceded, the 100th anniversary of the American entry into World War I was a fitting time to invite the U.S. president —  than by Macron's eager, even ostentatious public gestures of friendship with Trump. The men physically embraced several times, and Macron, in a rare press conference, referred to his American counterpart as 'dear Donald.' For many French people, the displays were over the top."


It won't be long until next year's American midterm elections, and there will probably be another wave of Russian election meddling along with it. The Guardian says we must be prepared for it, and The Post has some ideas on how. Meanwhile, it's time for the G-20 to refashion itself, the Japan Times argues, while Foreign Policy has a big picture look at our future and whether it resembles the chaotic, deadly 1930s or another era.

Be wary: Trump and Putin could yet bring democracy to a halt.
If Russia is allowed to wield the same influence in the midterm elections as the presidential campaign, U.S. politics may reach a point of no return.
Russia will be back. Here’s how to hack-proof the next election.
So far, Putin has paid too small a price for last year’s interference to deter him in the future.
The dilemma facing the Group of 20
As the G-20 enters its ninth year, it should assess what has worked, what has not, and why.
The Gathering Storm vs. the Crisis of Confidence
Are we entering a redux of the dangerous 1930s or the geopolitical malaise of the 1970s?


Most Americans believe abortion should be legal in all or most cases, but the procedure remains politically divisive. Now, Marie Claire reports on how a doctor who claims he can reverse abortions is affecting how some conservative lawmakers are shaping laws — even though his findings have been rejected by the medical community. Meanwhile, Bleacher Report follows the story of an all-girls baseball team with dreams of breaking gender barriers, while Motherboard explains a court case arguing for the "personhood" of two photographically inclined monkeys.

Are abortions reversible?
The medical community says no, but that's not stopping one conservative Christian doctor from convincing American women otherwise.
A team of their own
Meet the players on this all-girls travel squad who have bigger dreams than youth baseball—they want to become MLB stars.
The selfie monkey goes to the ninth circuit
Twist: There are two selfie monkeys.

In addition to being the 100th anniversary of the American entrance into World War I, this year's Bastille Day marked the first anniversary of the truck attack in Nice last year. Eighty-six people died when a radicalized Tunisian-born man drove a truck into crowds celebrating Bastille Day on the city's beachfront last July. Their names were read out during a ceremony on Friday, which included this light show along the promenade. President Emmanuel Macron also flew down from Paris to deliver a memorial speech in which he pledged a "fight without mercy" to prevent future terror attacks. (Laurent Cipriani/Associated Press)

Ann Coulter had to switch seats on a Delta flight. Then came the tirade.
"It appears her new seat was in the same row,” a Delta spokesman wrote after Coulter blasted angry tweets to her 1.6 million followers. “Just not the exact seat she had selected."
UAE orchestrated hacking of Qatari government sites, sparking regional upheaval, according to U.S. intelligence officials
Hackers planted news stories with false quotes attributed to Qatar’s emir, which were then cited to condemn his government.
Iran sentences Princeton graduate student to 10 years for espionage, report says
Xiyue Wang, a 37-year-old PhD student, was reportedly detained in 2016.

What happens when you put two babies on a vibrating fitness machine of some kind? Lots of jiggling and giggling.