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China calls President Trump’s bluff, Grenfell survivors testify and a genome discovery has major implications. Here’s the latest:
• China called the Trump administration’s bluff.
President Trump promoted his administration’s trade talks with China as a success, saying Monday that China would end up buying more American agricultural goods.
Though Washington has held off on imposing tariffs on $ 150 billion in Chinese goods, Beijing has stood its ground, rebuffing demands and avoiding specific pledges. Deep internal divisions within the Trump administration have also muddied the outlook for the next phase of the negotiations between Washington and Beijing.
• President Trump is moving toward breaching an established constraint on executive power: that the White House does not make decisions about individual law enforcement investigations.
In an extraordinary meeting, he summoned the F.B.I. director, Christopher Wray, center left, and the deputy attorney general, Rod Rosenstein, center right, to the White House to apply pressure on the Russia inquiry.
It’s part of an increasingly aggressive strategy to contain the threat and undercut the credibility of the escalating investigations targeting the president and his associates.
Mr. Rosenstein has agreed to meet increasingly onerous demands from Mr. Trump and his allies, and legal scholars and former law enforcement officials worry that such moves could allow the Justice Department to be used as a cudgel to attack presidents’ political enemies.
• “Our sleeping angel, he was.”
The father of Logan Gomes, who was delivered stillborn hours after his family escaped the Grenfell Tower fire blaze, was the first of many survivors and family members of victims to testify in the opening of a public inquiry into the deadly inferno.
Survivors of the fire last June 14 have depicted it as a fatal example of official indifference toward low-income Londoners. Those in charge of the Grenfell inquiry have been under pressure to show that it is about more than just technicalities and fire codes.
• A Chilean survivor of sexual abuse said Pope Francis told him that being gay was “not a problem” and that “God made you this way and loves you this way, and the pope loves you this way.”
The reported remarks come several years after Francis responded to questions about a supposed “gay lobby” in the Vatican by saying, “Who am I to judge?”
In Australia, the archbishop of Adelaide was convicted of covering up a sexual abuse claim dating back decades. He is the highest-ranking Catholic official in the world to be convicted of concealing such crimes.
• When a gunman opened fire at his Texas high school last week, two police officers stationed at the school confronted him within four minutes. Students and teachers at Santa Fe High had gone through active-shooter drills. Local police officers had done “alert training.”
Everyone seemingly responded with precision and speed. The Galveston County Sheriff said officers hemmed the 17-year-old gunman into one classroom and saved lives by drawing his fire.
That 10 people died, and 13 were wounded, even with a swift, aggressive response underlined the limits of training, preparation and readiness.
• We are all mosaics.
We’re accustomed to thinking of our cells as sharing an identical set of genes. But the genome — all the DNA in our cells — not only varies from person to person, it can also vary from cell to cell, even within the same individual.
The implications are enormous. For some, that can mean developing a serious disorder like a heart condition. But scientists have discovered that even healthy people are more different from one another than they had imagined.
• Facing criticism over a lack of transparency, the European Parliament will now livestream its meeting today with Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s chief executive. It is slated to begin at 6:15 p.m. in Brussels.
• Britain is unlikely to block the American cable giant Comcast’s proposed takeover of Sky, its culture secretary said. The announcement is the latest twist in the merger between Comcast and Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox.
• A London court has dismissed charges against Barclays tied to the bank’s 2008 efforts to raise a $ 15 billion lifeline from Qatar. It was the first case in Britain against a bank for actions during the global financial crisis.
• Here’s a snapshot of global markets.
In the News
• Italy’s populist parties have selected Giuseppe Conte, a little-known civil law professor with a long résumé, as their candidate for prime minister. The choice was a significant step toward forming an anti-establishment government. [The New York Times]
• Despite the expulsion of Russian diplomats and heated declarations from Britain’s leaders, a parliamentary committee issued a scathing assessment over dirty money still flowing from Moscow. [The New York Times]
• An updated version of Sweden’s emergency handbook, “If Crisis or War Comes,” recommends gathering tortillas, spreadable cheese, car radios and wet wipes among other items in case of disaster. [The New York Times]
• Greek nationalists rejoiced after the mayor of Thessaloniki was assaulted by a far-right mob over the weekend. The attack has heightened concerns about a rise in hate crimes. [The New York Times]
• Humans account for just 0.01 percent of all life on the planet, according to a new study that found that the majority of mammals are livestock, and plants make up the greatest portion of Earth’s biomass, at 82 percent. [The Guardian]
Tips, both new and old, for a more fulfilling life.
• How would you like to spend eternity on an exclusive Venetian island? What if the deal was sweetened to include neighbors like Igor Stravinsky and Emilio Vedova? The cemetery of San Michele, Venice’s “isle of the dead,” is auctioning four plots, starting at $ 300,000.
• Culinary travel is on the rise, but it’s not just food on the menu: Tours are offering deeper investigations into the cultural and geographic factors that surround what’s on your plate.
• Robert Indiana, the Pop artist known for his bold rendering of the word “love,” died Saturday at 89. His famous image of L-O-V-E in colorful capital letters stacked on top of each other appeared on everything from postage stamps to paintings. He called it the 20th century’s “most plagiarized work of art.”
Sherlock Holmes is “the most famous fictional character of the past two centuries, rivaled only by Dracula and James Bond,” a reviewer for The Times once argued.
Even so, his creator, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, couldn’t wait to kill him off. Doyle was born in Edinburgh on this day in 1859.
Although Doyle wrote four novels and 56 short stories featuring the great detective and his companion Dr. John Watson, by 1893 he had become bored of his creation.
In “The Final Problem,” Doyle sent his protagonist plunging over the Reichenbach Falls with his arch-nemesis, Prof. James Moriarty, seemingly to their deaths. (More than 20,000 outraged readers canceled their subscriptions to the Strand Magazine when the story was published.)
Doyle later said of Holmes, “I have had such an overdose of him that I feel toward him as I do toward pâté de foie gras, of which I once ate too much.”
Although he eventually resurrected Holmes, Doyle also had time for pursuits worthy even of his eccentric sleuth: He helped popularize skiing, tried his hand unsuccessfully at politics and was knighted for his report on the Boer War.
He also had a deep interest in the supernatural and helped popularize a famous hoax of the early 20th century: a series of photographs of garden fairies.
Charles McDermid wrote today’s Back Story.
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