John McCain leaves the the Senate chamber after voting against the healthcare bill © Getty

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The seven-year Republican quest to scrap Obamacare was left all but dead after party leaders lost a Senate vote showing they were unable to use their control of Washington to overhaul the US healthcare system.

In the biggest legislative blow to President Donald Trump to date, Republican John McCain of Arizona, who returned to Washington this week having been diagnosed with brain cancer, cast the decisive vote to kill off his party’s last-gasp effort at healthcare reform. The “skinny repeal” would have ended the requirement that most people have health coverage but without offering alternative incentives to protect themselves. (FT, NYT)

In the news

Sharif dismissed
Pakistan’s supreme court has ousted the country’s prime minister from office in the dramatic culmination of a long-running scandal over his family’s unexplained wealth, including luxury apartments in London’s swish Mayfair area. (FT)

Russian retaliation
Moscow has told Washington to cut its diplomatic staff and bar use of some properties, after fresh US sanctions imposed since the annexation of Crimea in 2014. (BBC)

Brexit transition
There has been a sharp shift in cabinet thinking on a UK transition deal with Brussels. Chancellor Philip Hammond has told business leaders he wants to negotiate a simple “off-the-shelf” transition deal to maintain current trading relations with Europe for at least two years after Brexit. The EU’s chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, is less hopeful. (FT, Guardian)

Scaramucci’s expletive-laced tirade
Donald Trump’s newly appointed communications director Anthony Scaramucci made headlines for an explosive interview published in the New Yorker. The extraordinary attack illuminated the power struggle going on inside the White House. Separately, the Senate backed the tough Russia sanctions bill; Mr Trump must now decide whether to use his veto powers to block it. (FT, New Yorker)

Bezos v Gates
Amazon owner Jeff Bezos briefly overtook Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates to become the world’s richest man after the value of his stake rose above $85bn. Its shares sunk in after-market trading after posting profits at a seven-quarter low. Employees at the leading tech groups are seeing a boom in their stock-based pay unrivalled since the stock market bubble of the late-1990s. (FT)

Test your knowledge of this week’s news with the FirstFT quizGermany's foreign minister said it was no longer safe for German citizens to travel to which country?

The day ahead

US healthcare vote

Tesla 3 hits the road
The first 30 customers will receive the Tesla 3, the first mass-market electric car. It marks the beginning of the ramp-up to high-volume production that will determine whether Tesla is worth its $56bn stock valuation. (Bloomberg)

Keep up with the important business, economic and political stories in the coming days with the FT’s Week Ahead.

What we’re reading

Memories of Madrid
Tobias Buck, the FT’s outgoing correspondent in Spain, praises the capital city for its food, friendliness — and solidarity during the financial crisis. (FT)

Fidel’s footsoldiers
Ageing Cuban warriors who fought for socialist movements across the world are returning home. They worry about the future but still praise the revolution. (Narratively)

When do girls lose confidence in their gender’s intellectual ability?
Research from the US has pinpointed the age at which girls begin to think that they are less intellectually brilliant than boys. It happens at the age of six. It means most mentoring programmes start too late. (FT)

Who needs children?
Attacks against the one-fifth of adults who are childless are baseless. They are more charitable, care for society and ease pressure on pensions. (Economist)

How do you make a movie out of something as dumb as Fruit Ninja?
The success of The Lego Movie has led Hollywood producers on a hunt for the next big blockbuster based on non-narrative, completely character-free material (see this summer’s The Emoji Movie) — but not all intellectual property is created equally. (NYT)

Video of the day

Oil v fish
Richard Milne, Nordic and Baltic correspondent, visits the stunning Lofoten Islands in northern Norway, and finds growing tensions between fishermen and environmentalists and the supporters of moves to explore and drill for oil off the islands. (FT)


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