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Good morning. President Trump warns NATO allies, Angela Merkel reverses course, and Belgium triumphs in the World Cup.
Here’s the latest:
• President Trump warned allies including Germany, Belgium, Norway and Canada that the U.S. is losing patience with their failure to meet security obligations shared by NATO.
In a series of sharply worded letters, which went out last month, Mr. Trump seemed to suggest that the U.S. might adjust its military presence around the world if its allies did not step up and spend more for their own security. Above, Mr. Trump with Prime Minister Mark Rutte of the Netherlands.
The letters are the latest sign of acrimony between Mr. Trump and American allies as he heads to a NATO summit meeting next week.
• In a major reversal on immigration, Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany agreed to tighten asylum policies in order to prevent her government’s collapse.
Ms. Merkel agreed to build camps for those seeking asylum and to tighten the border with Austria, among other concessions. It was a spectacular turnabout for a leader seen as the standard-bearer of the liberal European order.
“Her political capital is depleted,” one analyst said. “We are well into the final chapter of the Merkel era.”
The political uncertainty in Germany, as well as fears over global trade disputes, drove shares lower in Europe and Asia.
• There’s a leftist at the helm of Latin America’s second-largest economy for the first time in decades.
Andrés Manuel López Obrador won by a landslide in Mexico’s presidential election on Sunday. On the campaign trail, he promised to end corruption, reduce violence and address endemic poverty. Now he has to deliver.
• A World Cup triumph.
Up 2-0 against Belgium, Japan was looking at its first-ever trip to the World Cup quarterfinals. But then Belgium scored three straight goals, the last coming in the dying seconds of regulation. Here’s how Belgium beat Japan.
Earlier, Brazil defeated Mexico, 2-0, and will now face Belgium.
Russia, the tournament’s host, has relaxed laws against public gatherings to accommodate celebrating fans. The event’s success is seen as bolstering President Vladimir Putin at a pivotal time.
• “You can’t choose your relatives, can you?”
That was Ursula Trump, above, whose husband is a seventh cousin of Donald J. Trump. They live in Kallstadt, Germany, a sleepy village nestled in southwestern wine country and home to a large group of President Trump’s relatives, whether they like it or not.
Both of Mr. Trump’s paternal grandparents were born in Kallstadt, home now to 1,200 inhabitants. But the village tries to keep its distance from its most famous grandson.
“We don’t use the name in any way in touristic marketing,” an official said. “The topic is too controversial.”
• Amazon, carrying big ambitions to expand in India, has recruited small businesses to get packages to remote customers. How remote? Try 11,562 feet up in the Himalayan town of Leh, above.
• How does a $ 500 round-trip between New York and Paris sound? Low prices on flights across the Atlantic are coming as budget carriers increase routes in hopes of capturing summer travelers.
• Lyft has followed its ride-hailing rival Uber into the bike-sharing business, buying the parent company of CitiBike and several similar programs in U.S. cities.
• Tesla’s stock shot up about 3 percent after it announced that it had built more than 5,000 Model 3 sedans in one week — a goal it said it needed to meet to turn a profit in the final two quarters of 2018.
• Here’s a snapshot of global markets.
In the News
• Twelve boys and their soccer coach were discovered alive 10 days after they were trapped by floodwaters in a cave complex in northern Thailand. Above, a family member with a picture of four of the boys. [The New York Times]
• A Belgian husband and wife of Iranian origin were charged with plotting to bomb a rally held in France last week by an exiled Iranian opposition group, the Belgian authorities said. [The New York Times]
• Prosecutors in Malta brought legal charges against a nongovernmental organization that helps rescue migrants in the Mediterranean, accusing a captain of illegally docking on the island with over 200 migrants onboard. [The New York Times]
• The World Health Organization has made endless internet gaming a diagnosable disorder. But psychologists warn that the criteria are still fuzzy, and the potential for overdiagnosis is enormous. [The New York Times]
• Poland’s right-wing government is being investigated by the E.U. over a new law that could see dozens of senior judges forced out of their posts. [BBC]
• A planet is born! Astronomers at the European Southern Observatory snapped the first confirmed image of a planet forming in dust swirling around a young star. [Associated Press]
Tips, both new and old, for a more fulfilling life.
• The Glasgow School of Art, designed by the celebrated architect Charles Rennie Mackintosh, caught fire in June for the second time in four years. But the city has so much more Mackintosh to offer. Above, the vaulted ceiling at Queen’s Cross Church.
• The German photographer Frederik Busch says plants have no less personality than their human counterparts. “They just move very slowly,” he says. In a new book, he captures his favorite office plants.
• Our chief fashion critic is at Paris Fashion Week, where Iris Van Herpen is redefining couture with modern tools and Clare Waight Keller, the new artistic director of Givenchy, is continuing the legacy of the brand with her own touch.
“This is the time when evil is on the land, when dogs and snakes must be watched with special care and when all living things seem to wilt under some baleful influence.”
So said a 1975 article in The Times, fulsomely describing the dog days of summer. The term originated in ancient times, linked not to humankind’s best friend, but marking when Sirius, the Dog Star, began rising at dawn. (In the U.S., according to the Old Farmer’s Almanac, the dog days begin today.)
It was once believed that Sirius combined forces with the sun to create midsummer’s intense heat.
The dog days have often been associated with ill fortune.
The Roman poet Virgil described in the Aeneid how Sirius, “bringer of drought and plague to frail mortals, rises and saddens the sky with sinister light.”
Pure superstition, right? In 2009, a Finnish study tested folklore saying wounds are more infection-prone during this time.
“This study was conducted in order to challenge the myth that the rate of infections is higher during the dog days,” the authors wrote. “To our surprise the myth was found to be true.”
The dog days continue into August. Until they end, avoid sharp objects.
Nancy Wartik wrote today’s Back Story.
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