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Europe Edition: Novichok, Poland, Trade War: Your Friday Briefing

Europe Edition

Novichok, Poland, Trade War: Your Friday Briefing

By Matthew Sedacca

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Good morning.

Experts theorize on the latest Novichok poisoning, Polish judges rebel and the trade war begins. Here’s the latest:

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CreditChris J. Ratcliffe/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

• In southern England, experts say that Charlie Rowley and Dawn Sturgess, the two Britons who were poisoned this week by the same class of nerve agent that poisoned Sergei and Yulia Skripal, may have been sickened accidentally as a result of the March attack. Above, the area near the residence of Ms. Sturgess.

Many suggested that the couple may have come into contact with a container or object connected to the previous attack and still contaminated with the poison, Novichok. Friends of Mr. Rowley noted his prowess as a dumpster diver.

The poisoning has revived tensions between Britain and Russia, which Britain has blamed for the attack. Moscow once again denied any involvement.

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CreditPete Marovich for The New York Times

• Scott Pruitt, above, the head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, resigned after months of allegations of legal and ethical violations as well as a string of federal inquiries into his spending and management practices. Mr. Pruitt played a lead role in urging President Trump to withdraw the United States from the 2015 Paris climate agreement.

The new acting E.P.A. administrator, Andrew Wheeler, is a former coal lobbyist who shares Mr. Pruitt’s zeal for undoing environmental regulations.

Meanwhile, the U.S. ambassador to Russia said that the summit meeting next week in Finland between Mr. Trump and President Vladimir Putin would be one on one — which usually means alone with translators, if needed.

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CreditSean Gallup/Getty Images

• It’s been a momentous week for Europe’s struggle over the migration crisis, and possibly its identity.

Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany, above, met with Hungary’s right-wing prime minister, Viktor Orban, in Berlin, where she discussed Europe’s border dilemma. At the end of the week, Ms. Merkel and her governing coalition partners, the Social Democrats, both agreed to something they’ve long rejected: establishing tight controls along Germany’s border with Austria and raising the possibility of deportations.

Meanwhile, we sat down with Chancellor Sebastian Kurz of Austria, who discussed free movement across E.U. borders. The bloc’s founding principle may soon weaken as Mr. Kurz and other populist E.U. leaders push to control borders further after public revolt against migrants.

“A Europe without internal borders can only exist,” he said, “if it has functioning external borders.”

Separately, U.S. immigration officials said they were mounting a round-the-clock effort to meet the court-ordered deadlines to reunite the thousands of children and parents who were separated at the border with Mexico.

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CreditWojtek Radwanski/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

• In Poland, nearly half of the judges on the Constitutional Tribunal, one of the nation’s top courts, rebelled and declared its workings politicized and dysfunctional. Above, people protesting in front of the Supreme Court in Warsaw.

Their announcement came shortly after the governing Law and Justice party began a purge of the Supreme Court. The tribulations within Warsaw’s top two courts have underlined the tensions in a nation under the grip of an increasingly authoritarian government.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel and his Polish counterpart, Mateusz Morawiecki, issued a joint statement to bury the controversy surrounding Poland’s now-amended Holocaust law. But Israel’s Holocaust memorial center criticized the announcement, asserting that it was filled with “grave errors and deceptions.”

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CreditIllustration by Claire O’Neill/The New York Times

• The trade war is here.

U.S. tariffs have gone into force, affecting $ 34 billion of Chinese products. Beijing plans retaliation in kind, and American metal producers, energy companies and automakers are worried. Some businesses are bracing by halting hiring, putting off expenses and otherwise cutting costs.

The dispute is expected to ripple through global supply chains. Global stock markets have been volatile in anticipation of a trade fight between the U.S. and almost everyone else.

Business

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CreditFrederick Florin/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

The European Parliament, above, rejected a bill backed by news outlets and music publishers to restrict the use of their content on platforms like YouTube and Facebook, a move that contrasts with recent efforts in Brussels to rein in tech giants.

Boeing announced plans to take over the commercial jet business of the Brazilian aerospace company Embraer, mirroring Airbus’s recent partnering with the Canadian company Bombardier.

Tagwalk, a French start-up, says it has created fashion’s first search engine.

Formula E, the electric car-racing series, has attracted support from automakers like Renault, as it provides an opportunity to work on issues unique to battery-powered vehicles.

Credit Suisse is paying $ 77 million to settle charges in the U.S. that it hired the relatives of influential Chinese officials in order to win business for the bank in China.

Here’s a snapshot of global markets.

In the News

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CreditDaniel Mihailescu/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

The Romanian Parliament quickly approved changes to the criminal code, which critics say are aimed at weakening anti-corruption efforts. Above, protesters outside the government headquarters in Bucharest. [The New York Times]

Italian parents will no longer have to provide state-run schools with a doctor’s note to prove their children have been vaccinated, raising concerns that vaccination compliance will drop. [The New York Times]

To combat anti-Semitism among children, the German government plans to send anti-bullying experts to selected schools across the country. [BBC]

In Thailand, a former Thai Navy diver helping with the rescue of a soccer team trapped in a cave has died, running out of oxygen after a supply run, officials said.

In Ireland, a referendum will be held on whether to remove a clause in the Constitution stating the importance of a woman’s “life within the home,” the government announced. [Reuters]

Smarter Living

Tips for a more fulfilling life.

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CreditKarsten Moran for The New York Times

How to keep up with the World Cup if you can’t watch it live.

Clean those pesky summer stains.

Recipe of the day: Finish the week strong with a plan to make peach raspberry pie.

Noteworthy

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CreditMathieu Bonnevie

“If it’s in history, it’s frozen”: Tradition is at the heart of the Le Mans Classic, above, which features cars that have raced in previous Le Mans events, dating to 1923.

“Challenge the impossible”: Our correspondents went along with a boating team composed of visually impaired paddlers as they prepared for Hong Kong’s annual Dragon Boat Festival, which combines sacred rituals with serious competition.

There’s no telling what will become of a Wimbledon junior champion. Few become Grand Slam champions. In second-round matches on Thursday, the 2003 Wimbledon girls’ champion Kirsten Flipkens lost to Jelena Ostapenko, while the 2011 champion Ashleigh Barty beat the 2012 champion Eugenie Bouchard.

Back Story

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CreditBergwacht Bayern, via Getty Images

The boys’ soccer team trapped in a flooded cave in Thailand since June 23 has prompted a sprawling rescue effort and riveted the world’s attention.

But the effort is just the latest chapter in the annals of cave rescues. Above, the rescue of an injured spelunker in Germany in 2014.

The sport of caving was first developed in the late 19th century, and its popularity grew partly thanks to explorations by Édouard-Alfred Martel, a caving pioneer from France. The first caving clubs were formed in England in the 1920s and ’30s.

Comprehensive data on worldwide cave rescues since then is scarce. But one study found that between 1980 and 2008, there were 1,356 documented cases of “cavers requiring rescue” in the U.S.

And the Cave Rescue Organization, the oldest cave-rescue group in Britain, says it has responded to 2,927 episodes since its founding in 1935. Of those, 745 were in caves; the rest were on mountains and in disused mines and other locations.

The all-volunteer group says the episodes involved 4,193 people and hundreds of animals, including 252 lambs, 226 sheep, 79 dogs, nine cows, nine ducks, one rabbit and one cat.

Mike Ives wrote today’s Back Story.

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