New York Times

Europe Edition: Novichok, Migrants, Serena Williams: Your Thursday Briefing

Europe Edition

Novichok, Migrants, Serena Williams: Your Thursday Briefing

By Matthew Sedacca

(Want to get this briefing by email? Here’s the sign-up.)

Good morning.

A Russian poison strikes again, Angela Merkel tries to save her migration deal and Wimbledon clings to tradition. Here’s the latest:

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CreditJack Taylor/Getty Images

Novichok, again.

The same Soviet-developed strain of nerve agent that poisoned an ex-Russian spy and his daughter in Britain four months ago has critically sickened two more people not far from where the first poisoning occurred, the police said. Above, a police officer at Queen Elizabeth Gardens in Salisbury, where the second pair had spent time before they collapsed.

Health officials in the area had been on the alert for remaining traces of the substance.

The authorities have begun a large-scale security investigation and said they did not know whether there was a link between the two cases.

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CreditClemens Bilan/EPA, via Shutterstock

“Germany and Europe would be worse off without her.”

That was Marcel Dirsus, a political scientist, discussing the importance of Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany, above. Recently, Ms. Merkel salvaged her government after agreeing with her Bavarian partners to set up transit camps for migrants at the border with Austria and to refuse some.

Today, Ms. Merkel and her interior minister are scheduled for critical meetings with the leaders of Austria and Hungary, who have criticized her welcoming stance toward migrants. To maintain her governing coalition, Ms. Merkel must persuade them to take in some of the migrants that Germany turns away, as well as sway her own country’s Social Democrats to support the border deal.

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CreditDoug Mills/The New York Times

• Mike Pompeo, above left, the U.S. secretary of state, will meet with Kim Jong-un of North Korea in Pyongyang this week to flesh out a timetable and a clearer understanding of his commitment to “work toward denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.”

Mr. Pompeo must exceed the terms of the Iran deal, which President Trump rejected as a “disaster,” in dismantling North Korea’s nuclear abilities.

Separately, we fact-checked Mr. Trump’s latest tweetstorm, a medley of posts inspired by Fox News that spanned a range of foreign and domestic issues and attacked his perceived rivals. (Most of it was false.)

And as his policies expand the number of migrants being held, we tracked how many players in the billion-dollar detention industry have strong ties to his administration.

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CreditKirsty Wigglesworth/Associated Press

• At Wimbledon, chair umpires are referring to Serena Williams as “Mrs. Williams” now that she is married — something they do not do for male tennis players like Roger Federer, a married father of four.

The tournament’s insistence on recording the marital status of its female participants reflects its complicated relationship with the women who play there — or, rather, the “ladies,” according to the language of Wimbledon.

In World Cup news, Benjamin Pavard, a French defender who was not even expected to make the national team, scored perhaps the goal of the tournament so far, our columnist writes. France will face Uruguay in the quarterfinals on Friday.

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Business

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CreditEric Piermont/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Wang Jian, above, the co-founder and co-chairman of the Chinese conglomerate HNA Group, fell to his death while sightseeing in France. His death is a blow to HNA, which is trying to tame its debt of more than $ 90 billion.

Many tech workers are forcing their employers to reconsider how their products are used by the U.S. government. Our tech columnist asks when employees will rise up at Twitter.

Major oil-producing countries said they would curb prices by increasing production. So why has the price of Brent crude risen more than 20 percent this year, to $ 78 per barrel?

Fear of Silicon Valley helped drive the announcement of a record $ 2.5 trillion in mergers so far this year. Despite trade tensions, more than $ 1 trillion of that came from cross-border deals, though it may be too early for the rancor over trade to stymie deal-making.

• U.S. markets were closed for Independence Day. Here’s a snapshot of global markets.

In the News

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CreditBrian Lawless/Press Association, via Associated Press

In Britain and Ireland, uncommon summer heat waves and droughts have led to parched landscapes, forcing farmers to dip into their winter feed to sustain livestock. Above, a park in Dublin. [The New York Times]

In France, a 22-year-old man whose parents had immigrated from Guinea was fatally shot by the police during a traffic stop, setting off riots. A march was being organized for today. [The New York Times]

An investigation led by the Italian military police has recovered 25,000 archaeological items said to have been illegally excavated from sites in Italy. [BBC]

The Polish government said it would soon name replacement judges for the dozens of Supreme Court justices it forced into early retirement, although the purged judges have refused to recognize their dismissal. [The New York Times]

Prime Minister Theresa May of Britain will present a plan to her divided cabinet on Friday to soften the economic impact of Britain’s withdrawal from the E.U., which may result in rebellion from Brexit hard-liners. [The New York Times]

John Obi Mikel, the captain of Nigeria’s World Cup team, played in a key match hours after learning that his father had been kidnapped. “I knew that I could not let 180 million Nigerians down,” he said. [The New York Times]

Smarter Living

Tips for a more fulfilling life.

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CreditDavid Chang/EPA, via Shutterstock

18 ways to navigate stress while at an airport.

Exfoliation tips for the best skin ever.

Recipe of the day: Make a streamlined version of chicken tikka masala tonight.

Noteworthy

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CreditMike Stephens/Central Press, via Getty Images

Martina Navratilova, above left, has won the Wimbledon singles title a record nine times. She spoke with us about the first one and her victory against Chris Evert on July 7, 1978, which was bittersweet because her family could not be there with her.

Irena Szewinska, a Polish sprinter and long jumper who set multiple world records and won seven Olympic medals, has died at 72.

What makes the biggest American fireworks display sparkle? Pyrotechnics from around the world.

Back Story

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CreditPhil Brown

Spam — the canned meat, not the unwanted email — might deserve more respect.

On this day in 1937, the U.S. company Hormel introduced the mix of pork shoulder and ham whose name is derived from “spiced ham.” (No, it doesn’t stand for “Something Posing As Meat.”) Since then, Spam has been a muse for poets, comedians and chefs, and helped win World War II.

The Times’s obituary for Jay Hormel, Spam’s creator, said he was the first to successfully can ham. Cooking the meat inside the can produced a natural gelatin, increased shelf life and made it useful in battle. President Dwight D. Eisenhower wrote a letter praising Spam, and the former Soviet premier Nikita Khrushchev said his country couldn’t have fed its troops without it.

Hawaii embraced Spam during the war, too, and the love affair never ceased. The state consumes the most in America, at about seven million cans per year, which is five cans per person. It is sold in more than 40 countries around the world, including Britain.

“In all of its high-sodium, gravy-drenched glory, Spam has, in every sense, found its way into my heart,” the chef Anthony Bourdain, who died last month, said during a visit to Hawaii with his show “No Reservations.” “I get it now. I feel inducted into the Church of True Knowledge.”

Robb Todd wrote today’s Back Story.

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