(Want to get this briefing by email? Here’s the sign-up.)
President Trump calls off the North Korea meeting, Ireland votes on abortion and Europe gets tough on privacy. Here’s the latest:
• “We are willing to give the United States time and opportunity.”
Hours after President Trump canceled the June 12 summit meeting with Kim Jong-un, North Korea invited him to reconsider, attempting to portray Mr. Kim as the mature statesman trying to salvage the diplomatic process.
North Korea’s remarks had taken a bellicose turn in recent days. Officials there were furious when Mr. Trump’s national security adviser, John Bolton, floated the disarmament of Libya in 2003 as a precedent for North Korea’s denuclearization.
• Ireland votes today on legalizing abortion in a referendum that has exposed wide divisions among Irish women, even within families. Women are expected to vote in greater numbers, but turnout among men — who tend to consider abortion a female issue — may be critical.
Irish law bans abortion even in cases of rape or incest, allowing it only if a mother’s life is at risk. If the referendum passes, the government has said it would introduce a measure allowing unrestricted terminations during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy.
Thousands of Irish citizens who had moved away returned for the referendum, sharing their stories with #HomeToVote on social media. Above, an abortion rights banner in Dublin this month.
Separately, a woman in Scotland who says she was bullied, bound and gagged at work has taken the Scottish government to court, alleging years of racism, sexism and harassment.
• We obtained new details on one of the bloodiest battles the American military has faced in Syria.
The four-hour firefight on Feb. 7, next to an oil facility near the Iraqi border, was described by U.S. officials as an act of self-defense against pro-Syrian forces — including Russian mercenaries.
For the first 15 minutes of the battle, U.S. military officials called their Russian counterparts and urged them to stop — to no avail. By the end, 200 to 300 pro-Syrian fighters had been killed.
Meanwhile, Dutch prosecutors said the Russian military supplied the missile that shot down a Malaysian passenger jet over Ukraine in 2014.
• Not too long ago, Lisbon was a prime example of the devastation wrought by Europe’s debt crisis. Now, foreign investors have flooded the city and its transformation has helped lead Portugal’s economic recovery.
But the real estate boom and rising tourism have left some of the less privileged residents behind or, worse, displaced. On some streets, the extremes live side by side.
Many worry that the city will lose its charm if traditional life is pushed out. “If we’re evicting the old residents and creating gated communities for the wealthy, then what are we going to show tourists who expect to see traditional Portuguese life on our streets?” one resident asked.
• The European Union today put the world’s toughest data privacy rules into effect. The law lets people request and restrict the use of their online data (and it will have a big impact far beyond Europe).
• The European Commission reached a settlement with Gazprom, concluding a long-running antitrust investigation into the Russian energy giant’s dominance in regional gas markets.
• Deutsche Bank, Germany’s biggest lender, said it would cut 7,000 jobs and “significantly reshape” its business.
• Samsung Electronics must pay $ 539 million to Apple for copying patented smartphone features, a federal jury ruled.
• President Trump has ordered an investigation into whether imported vehicles pose a threat to national security.
In the News
• Congressional leaders from both parties were briefed by law enforcement and intelligence officials on the F.B.I.’s use of an informant in the Russia investigation. Above, the deputy attorney general, Rod Rosenstein, on Capitol Hill. [The New York Times]
• A British Army sergeant was convicted of trying to murder his wife by tampering with her parachute before a sky-dive. [The New York Times]
• Who killed Olof Palme? A new theory in the unsolved 1986 killing of the Swedish prime minister proposes that a man interviewed as a witness actually pulled the trigger.
• Harvey Weinstein is expected to be arrested in New York as soon as Friday after an inquiry into allegations that he sexually assaulted women. [The New York Times]
• “Fantasy”: E.U. negotiators have dismissed some of Britain’s main Brexit demands, including a proposal to avoid a hard land border with Ireland. [Reuters]
• The former treasurer of Spain’s governing party was sentenced to 33 years in prison and fined 44 million euros over one of the country’s biggest corruption scandals. [The Guardian]
• If you think the poop emoji is gross, don’t read this.
• In memoriam: Laszlo Tabori, 86, who became the third man to run the mile in under four minutes before defecting to the U.S. from his native Hungary.
• In the hills outside Madrid, the winemakers behind the label Comando G prospect for old vines of garnacha at high altitudes, building new traditions as they revive ancient vineyards.
A pair of photos widely circulated on Chinese social media this week invoked the Boxer Rebellion, a painful chapter of China’s history, as a commentary on how the country’s position in the world has changed.
The Boxer Rebellion began in northern China in the late 19th century, amid encroachment by foreign powers that had established concessions in major cities.
A conservative and superstitious militia called the Yihetuan — known as “Boxers” in English because its members practiced martial arts — was killing Christian missionaries and Chinese Christians. With the eventual support of the ruling Qing dynasty, the Boxers forced diplomats and other foreigners to take refuge in the Beijing Legation Quarter for 55 days in 1900.
An alliance of eight countries (Japan, Russia, Britain, France, the U.S., Germany, Italy and Austria-Hungary) sent thousands of troops to rescue the diplomats, with atrocities committed all around as they defeated Chinese forces. The foreign troops began a yearlong occupation of Beijing and other cities, resulting in rape and the rampant looting of Chinese property.
Under the accord that followed — its signing is shown in the black-and-white photo above, which social media users paired with a photo of recent U.S.-China trade talks — China was required to pay the eight nations an indemnity of more than $ 330 million, although most of it was spent in China on infrastructure and education. The defeat further weakened the Qing dynasty, which was overthrown in 1911.
Jennifer Jett wrote today’s Back Story.
Your Morning Briefing is published weekday mornings and updated online.
Check out this page to find a Morning Briefing for your region. (In addition to our European edition, we have Australian, Asian and U.S. editions.)
What would you like to see here? Contact us at email@example.com.