10 things you need to know today: July 17, 2017

McCain's surgery leaves Senate health bill in limbo, Federer wins record eighth Wimbledon title, and more

Senator John McCain outside the Capitol
(Image credit: Win McNamee/Getty Images)

1. McCain's surgery recovery puts Senate GOP health bill in limbo

Sen. John McCain's (R-Ariz.) surgery to remove a blood clot above his left eye has put the Senate GOP's health-care bill in limbo, with neurosurgery experts saying his recovery could take at least a week or two. McCain's office has suggested he could be back to work within days. Without McCain's vote, Senate Republican leaders don't have enough votes to move ahead with debate. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), one of two Republicans publicly opposing the proposal to replace key elements of ObamaCare, said the delay would strengthen the opposition. "The longer the bill is out there, the more conservative Republicans are going to discover it is not repeal," Paul said Sunday in an interview with CBS's Face the Nation. Moderate Republicans, led by Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, also are trying to galvanize opposition to the bill's proposed cuts to Medicaid.

The New York Times The Washington Post

2. Federer wins record eighth Wimbledon title

Roger Federer beat Marin Cilic 6-3, 6-1, 6-4 to take the men's Wimbledon championship for a record eighth time. Federer, less than a month short of his 36th birthday, also became the oldest Wimbledon champion of the Open Era, and the oldest Grand Slam champion since 1972, when Ken Rosewall won the Australian Open. Federer also continued what he called a "fairy tale" year by becoming the first male player to rush through the draw without losing a set since Bjorn Borg did it in 1976. "I honestly didn't think I was going to be able to run through top-10 players the way I am, win all these breakers, win all these big moments," Federer said. "This is what's made the difference for me. I've won all the big matches this year. It's unbelievable."

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The Washington Post

3. Secret Service denies vetting Trump Jr. Russia meeting

One of President Trump's lawyers, Jay Sekulow, on Sunday tried to deflect criticism directed at Donald Trump Jr. and other Trump campaign officials regarding their meeting last June with a Kremlin-linked lawyer offering negative information on Hillary Clinton, saying on ABC's This Week that the Secret Service would not have let the participants into the meeting "if this was nefarious." The Secret Service responded Sunday evening: "Donald Trump Jr. was not a protectee of the USSS in June 2016," said agency spokesman Mason Brayman. "Thus we would not have screened anyone he was meeting with at that time." The meeting, at Trump Tower, also included Jared Kushner, Trump's then-campaign chairman Paul Manafort, Russian-American lobbyist Rinat Akhmetshin, publicist Rob Goldstone, and at least two other people.

New York Post CNN

4. 9 killed in flash flood at Arizona swimming hole

Nine people were killed on Sunday when a flash flood swept through a normally peaceful swimming hole in Tonto National Forest in Arizona. Another person remained missing overnight. More than 100 people were relaxing in and around the water when the flood hit without warning. "We were kind of looking at the water; it was really brown," said Disa Alexander, who was hiking to the swimming area when the storm hit. "Literally 20 seconds later you just see, like, hundreds of gallons of water smacking down and debris and trees getting pulled in. It looked like a really big mudslide." Several people who were washed downstream were rescued from trees.

Los Angeles Times The Associated Press

5. 1 killed during Venezuelan opposition's symbolic referendum

A woman was killed and four others wounded Sunday in Venezuela, as opposition leaders held a symbolic referendum on President Nicolas Maduro's plan to rewrite the country's constitution. The woman, a 61-year-old nurse, died during a shooting in western Caracas; the mayor of the borough of Sucre said pro-government paramilitary fighters on motorcycles attacked voters waiting outside of a church. The official vote for a new assembly that would be able to rewrite the 1999 constitution is set for July 30, but opposition politicians decided to hold the symbolic referendum to put pressure on Maduro. Ninety-eight percent of the millions who turned out sided with the opposition on the referendum's three yes-or-no questions: Do they reject the constitutional assembly? Do they support an early election being called before Maduro's current term expires in 2018? Do they believe the military should protect the government the way it is?

The Associated Press The New York Times

6. George A. Romero, father of the zombie movie, dies at 77

George A. Romero, the writer and director who made the 1968 zombie film Night of the Living Dead, died in his sleep Sunday after a battle with lung cancer. He was 77. Romero "leaves behind a loving family, many friends, and a filmmaking legacy that has endured, and will continue to endure, the test of time," according to a statement from his manager, Chris Roe. Romero's low-budget horror movie, which cost $114,000 to make, raked in $30 million and became a cult classic. The film centers around a group of people trapped in a Pennsylvania farmhouse who are set upon by zombies and has been interpreted as a counter-culture-era critique of capitalism. Its success launched the still-popular zombie movie genre. Romero went on to make five more zombie movies.

Variety The Hollywood Reporter

7. U.S. researcher sentenced to 10 years in Iran on espionage charges

A Princeton University graduate student, Xiyue Wang, has been sentenced to 10 years in Iran over spying allegations, Iranian officials said Sunday. The Chinese-American researcher was arrested trying to leave Iran in August. Mizanonline, the Iranian judiciary's official news agency, said Wang had managed to "digitally archive 4,500 of the country's documents while under covert surveillance." Iran said he was working for U.S. and British institutions, including Princeton, Harvard, and the British Institute of Persian Studies. The State Department called the charges "fabricated."

BBC News

8. Maryam Mirzakhani, first woman to win top mathematics honor, dies at 40

Maryam Mirzakhani, the only woman ever to win the award often described as the Nobel Prize of mathematics, died over the weekend of breast cancer, officials at Stanford University, where she worked, confirmed. She was 40. Mirzakhani's death is "a big loss and shock to the mathematical community worldwide," said Peter C. Sarnak, a mathematician at Princeton University and the Institute for Advanced Study. Mirzakhani, who was Iranian, was one of four people to win the most prestigious honor in mathematics, the Fields Medal, in 2014. Her focus was the interplay of dynamics and geometry. The prize is awarded to people aged 40 or younger to honor their accomplishments and point to achievements expected from them down the road. "She was in the midst of doing fantastic work," Sarnak said. "Not only did she solve many problems; in solving problems, she developed tools that are now the bread and butter of people working in the field."

The New York Times

9. Oscar-winning actor Martin Landau dies at 89

Martin Landau, the Oscar-winning actor who starred in television's Mission: Impossible, North by Northwest, Ed Wood, and Crimes and Misdemeanors, died Saturday in Los Angeles. He was 89. Over the course of his career, Landau, who served as the West Coast co-artistic director of the Actors Studio, was nominated for three Academy Awards, and Emmy-nominated five times. He was a cartoonist with the New York Daily News from 1948 to 1951, and then became an actor. Many of his leading roles were on television, and he received his first Oscar later in life, for his 1994 portrayal of Bela Lugosi in Tim Burton's Ed Wood. He is survived by daughters Susan Landau Finch, a writer, producer, and casting director, and Juliet Landau, an actress; a sister; and a granddaughter.


10. South Korean Sung Hyun Park wins U.S. Women's Open golf title

Sung Hyun Park, a 23-year-old South Korean, sank two key birdie putts, including a 20-foot putt on the 15th green, to win the United States Women's Open on Sunday at the Trump National Golf Club. Her consistency through a five-under-par round of 67 helped her hold off a challenge by Hye-Jin Choi, a 17-year-old South Korean amateur who had a shot at the championship until she hit her tee shot into a pond on the 16th. Feng Shanshan of China led for much of the tournament, but she finished in a tie for fifth after a triple-bogey 8 on the final hole. Park, winning her first major title and her first L.P.G.A. Tour victory, earned the largest prize in the history of women's golf, $900,000.

The New York Times

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Harold Maass

Harold Maass is a contributing editor at TheWeek.com. He has been writing for The Week since the 2001 launch of the U.S. print edition. Harold has worked for a variety of news outlets, including The Miami Herald, Fox News, and ABC News. For several years, he wrote a daily round-up of financial news for The Week and Yahoo Finance. He lives in North Carolina with his wife and two sons.