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Newsletter: Today: North Korea’s Achilles Heel

The U.N. Security Council holds an emergency meeting regarding the situation on the Korean peninsula.
(Drew Angerer / Getty Images)

President Trump is in Europe, but the North Korean situation is taking center stage. I’m Davan Maharaj, editor-in-chief of the Los Angeles Times. Here are some story lines I don’t want you to miss today.

TOP STORIES

North Korea’s Achilles Heel

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North Korea is known as the Hermit Kingdom and a “pariah regime,” but there are more than a few countries willing to do business with it. Chinese banks handle trade deals; African nations buy military equipment; Polish shipyards and Russian forestry sites employ guest workers who send most of their salaries directly to the government in Pyongyang. So as the Trump administration looks at a short list of unpalatable options in dealing with North Korea’s aggressive missile and nuclear arms programs, targeting these economic ties is one card that has yet to played. Look no further than the Obama administration sanctions on Iran, experts say, for how the pressure could be stepped up.

More Politics

-- At a news conference in Poland on Thursday, Trump said he was considering some “pretty severe things” in response to North Korea’s missile launch. The president also said he believes Russia and other countries meddled in the 2016 election.

-- In Poland, a right-wing, populist, anti-immigrant government sees an ally in Trump.

-- A three-judge panel of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that minors who enter the U.S. without permission must be given a court hearing to determine whether they can be released.

-- Here’s why more and more states are pushing back against Trump’s voter fraud commission.

If Medicaid Is Cut, These Kids Fall Through the Cracks

Much of the debate over Republican efforts to roll back Obamacare has focused on the effect that cuts in Medicaid would have on millions of working-age adults. But in hundreds of mostly rural counties across the U.S., more than half of children living there rely on Medicaid and the related Children’s Health Insurance Program for health coverage, according to an L.A. Times analysis. Most of those areas, of course, voted for Trump. This graphic breaks it down, county by county.

Trump and CNN and Reddit and Neo-Nazis … Oh My!

And the most retweeted tweet of Donald Trump’s timeline is … the doctored WWE video clip of him pummeling the CNN logo. As almost all of the president’s tweets do, it produced a backlash, and a backlash to the backlash. Then came the revelations about the person on Reddit who claimed responsibility for the GIF. And then the CNN story about him that produced cries of #CNNBlackmail. If your head doesn’t hurt enough by now, keep reading for what may be the epitome of this year’s politics on social media.

Volvo Goes Electric

Tesla has been generating buzz for its bid to mass-produce mid-market electric vehicles, but traditional automakers are in the game too. Now, Volvo has announced that all of its new models will be equipped with an electric motor — whether as a pure electric, or a gas hybrid — starting in 2019. Still, reports of the demise of the internal combustion engine have been greatly exaggerated.

The Travel Ban and the Pug

It was a mission that these days might arouse suspicion: Katy Kargosha left her home in New Orleans, flew to Tehran, then almost immediately returned to the United States with a passenger in tow. “I was sure they were going to ask, ‘Why did you go to Iran for four hours?’” said Kargosha, a dual citizen of the U.S. and Iran. It was all to pick up an abused pug named Chance and deliver him to an L.A. rescuer named the Pug Queen.

MUST-WATCH VIDEO

-- Caltrans is on the lookout for bridge erosion from swiftly moving water.

-- Stars, stripes and a whole lot of fun: the 113th Huntington Beach Fourth of July parade.

-- At the University of La Verne, students are surprised to find a private school with a public mission.

CALIFORNIA

-- After the most expensive school board election in U.S. history, charter school backers will formally assemble their first-ever majority on the Los Angeles Board of Education today. Here’s what to expect.

-- Orange County Sheriff Sandra Hutchens testified that her deputies may have flouted rules regarding jailhouse informants, but that such conduct was committed only “by a few.”

-- Officials say a proposed streetcar through downtown Los Angeles won’t begin service until 2021. It faces new funding questions.

-- Make it stop: A heat wave in Southern California is expected to break records Friday.

HOLLYWOOD AND THE ARTS

-- Film critic Kenneth Turan says “Spider-Man: Homecoming” has strong stunt work and a powerful super-villain played by Michael Keaton, but it trips up on the teen angst.

-- Reality star Rob Kardashian may have run afoul of California’s revenge porn law after he posted sexually explicit images he said were of Blac Chyna, the mother of his child.

-- Daniel Dae Kim gives his side of the story behind his abrupt departure from the “Hawaii Five-0” reboot.

-- Meet Zeerak, a new Muppet on Afghanistan’s “Sesame Street” who promotes gender equality.

CLASSIC HOLLYWOOD

Leonard Franklin Slye was born in a red-brick Cincinnati tenement in 1911. Nineteen years later, his family headed west to L.A. in hopes of a better life. Eventually, he got his big break, and today we remember him as Roy Rogers, who died on this date in 1998. Here’s how he became the King of the Cowboys.

NATION-WORLD

-- Authorities said at least 26 people were killed in northern Mexico during a gun battle between warring crime gangs, part of an escalation of deadly violence across the country.

-- Armed supporters of Venezuela’s president invaded the National Assembly complex in Caracas and attacked opposition deputies with metal tubes and stones.

-- When this broadcaster makes a rare appearance, North Koreans know it’s serious.

-- “Does my sense of smell make me look fat?” In mice, the answer seems to be yes.

BUSINESS

-- More woes in Southern California’s apparel industry: Upscale jeans maker True Religion Apparel Inc. has filed for bankruptcy reorganization.

-- Silicon Valley has a new vision for the pizzeria. It involves lots of robots.

SPORTS

-- Columnist Dylan Hernandez notes that Dodgers fans have finally shown up at the polls to push Justin Turner into the lead in All-Star voting. The balloting ends today.

-- A recent poll by the International Olympic Committee suggests that Los Angeles residents support hosting the 2024 Summer Games at a lower percentage than has been touted by the local bid committee.

OPINION

-- North Korea’s missile test was ominous, but a military response could be disastrous.

-- Americans need to know all our history: the good, the bad and the complex. See the David Horsey cartoon.

WHAT OUR EDITORS ARE READING

-- NPR tweeted out the Declaration of Independence on July 4, and some Trump supporters took it the wrong way. (Washington Post)

-- Is a newly discovered photo really of Amelia Earhart? Not everyone is convinced. (The Guardian)

-- Yemen is wracked by war, but it still manages to get its Baskin-Robbins ice cream. (The Economist)

ONLY IN L.A.

Los Angeles artist Guadalupe Rosales became an Instagram sensation by posting pictures from her youth in Boyle Heights and East Los Angeles, including 1990s glamour shots, prom photos and images of the Eastside club scene. Now she’s bringing the party to LACMA, as the first artist to take over the museum’s Instagram feed.

Please send comments and ideas to Davan Maharaj.

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