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The White House says Trump will sign steel tariffs on Thursday; a former Russian spy and his daughter were poisoned mysteriously.
(Trade) war is coming
- Much to the dismay of congressional Republicans, President Donald Trump is going full steam ahead with planned steel and aluminum tariffs, which he’s expected to sign on Thursday afternoon. [CNN / Kevin Liptak]
- White House aides are reportedly scrambling to put the finish touches on the tariffs, including finalizing trade language. Right now, the plan would still target all imports, rather than singling out metals coming from specific countries. [CNBC / Jacob Pramuk]
- But there’s also the possibility the US will exempt its neighboring countries, Mexico and Canada (though the jury is out on China and the European Union). [Washington Post / David J. Lynch and Damian Paletta]
- The EU is already threatening retaliatory steps by announcing its own set of tariffs to slap on US goods including steel, T-shirts, bed linens, chewing tobacco, cranberries, and orange juice. [NYT / Milan Schreuer]
- Trump really wants to do this before next week’s special election in Pennsylvania (a huge steel-producing area) in order to give an advantage to the Republican candidate there. But it’s not a clear-cut political win for Republicans; many are opposed to tariffs, and the Democrat in the race actually supports some tariffs. [CNBC / Jacob Pramuk]
- American steelworkers in the area who have been suffering as markets get flooded with cheap foreign steel are certainly happy. But there are other favorable factors helping workers beyond Trump’s proposed tariffs. [Belleville News-Democrat / Joseph Bustos, Kaley Johnson, and Kelsey Landis]
- Congressional Republicans, meanwhile, are hopping mad. More than 100 House Republicans signed a letter to the White House voicing opposition to the planned tariffs. [WSJ / Peter Nicholas and Michael C. Bender]
- Trump’s bullish decision on tariffs helped convince his top economic adviser Gary Cohn to depart the White House, and it underlines another phenomenon about the Trump White House: The president doesn’t bother listening to the experts around him. [Politico / Nancy Cook]
A Russian ex-spy and his daughter were poisoned
- In more strange Russia news, British police said Wednesday that they believe a former Russian spy and his daughter were poisoned with a nerve agent. [USA Today / Jessica Durando]
- The police are now treating the attack on Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia on Sunday as an attempted murder, Metropolitan Police counterterrorism chief Mark Rowley said Wednesday afternoon. [AP]
- The police officer who arrived first on the scene when the pair collapsed in Salisbury on Sunday has also fallen seriously ill and is now being treated in the hospital. [Guardian / Vikram Dodd, Luke Harding, and Ewen MacAskill]
- It’s not yet clear which kind of nerve agent was used or the long-term effects the poison will have on the Skripals if they survive this attack. But nerve agents can have long-lasting and severe health effects. [Live Science / Laura Geggel]
- If you’ve ever wondered why athletes sometimes emit grunts or squeals during competition, wonder no more: The sounds can actually give them a competitive edge. [NYT / Gretchen Reynolds]
- Coca-Cola is about to launch its first alcoholic drink in order to stay relevant in Japan, where there’s a growing trend in “mildly intoxicating drink mixes.” [NPR / Scott Neuman]
- Have you ever dreamed of moving far away — say, to a desert island? One man has been living that dream for the past 30 years. [Atlas Obscura / Vittoria Traverso]
- Volcanologists might have one of the coolest jobs in existence. But it’s definitely not one of the safest. [Mental Floss / Lela Nargi]
“‘The Big Lebowski’ is a tribute to harmlessness, friendship, and team bowling. It offers a persistent ‘no’ to the hard-pressing American ‘yes.’ Like ‘Raising Arizona,’ it’s a ballad held together by tenderness.” [New York magazine film critic David Denby, reversing his position on The Big Lebowski, to the Washington Post / Eli Rosenberg]
Listen to this: Today, Explained on the teachers strike
Today, Explained discusses the historic teacher strike in West Virginia that ended yesterday. Teachers managed to shut down every single public school in the state for nine days to demand higher pay. Oklahoma, Arizona, and Kentucky could be next. Listen on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, and Art19.