New York Times

Europe Edition: Poland, Migrants, World Cup: Your Wednesday Briefing

Europe Edition

Poland, Migrants, World Cup: Your Wednesday Briefing

By Matthew Sedacca and Remy Tumin

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Good morning.

Poland purges its Supreme Court, Austria tightens its borders and England squeaks past Colombia. Here’s the latest:

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CreditMaciek Nabrdalik for The New York Times

• Poland’s government carried out a sweeping purge of the Supreme Court, after a step-by-step undermining of judicial independence by the governing Law and Justice party over the past three years. Up to 27 of the nation’s 72 justices, including its top judge, Malgorzata Gersdorf, above, are expected to retire. Tens of thousands have taken to the streets across the nation in protest.

Warsaw’s erosion of the judiciary’s independence is a further display of its alignment with neighboring nations like Hungary, whose leaders have turned to authoritarian means to tighten their grip on power. The shift presents a grave challenge to the European Union, which is already grappling with nationalist, populist and anti-immigrant movements.

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CreditJean-Francois Badias/Associated Press

• In Austria, Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, above, announced his country’s intentions to tighten its border with Germany and build camps to screen asylum seekers. The declaration follows a similar announcement on increasing border security by Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany, who had previously staked her legacy on welcoming hundreds of thousands of migrants.

It’s hard to overstate the stakes at play, our Interpreter columnists write, including the possible end of open European borders — or even European unity itself.

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CreditErin Schaff for The New York Times

• “I’d really hate to see the clock turn back.”

That was Stacey Simmons, advocacy director for the National L.G.B.T.Q. Task Force. L.G.B.T. groups in the U.S. have made advances in recent years, but with the coming retirement of Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, who has written decisions favorable to those groups, they are worried a more conservative court could spur new challenges. Above, the Supreme Court building in Washington.

Separately, the Trump administration reversed an Obama-era policy that urged universities to consider race as a factor in admissions — putting America’s long commitment to affirmative action at a crossroads. Its future is also probably dependent on who fills Justice Kennedy’s seat.

President Trump has so far interviewed four candidates.

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CreditVictor R. Caivano/Associated Press

From the World Cup:

England, above, avoided disaster and defeated Colombia in a tense penalty shootout. On Saturday, it will face Sweden, which beat Switzerland and advanced to the quarterfinals for the first time since 1994, all without its longtime star, Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

Meanwhile, coveted World Cup Fan IDs, which are required to get into stadiums and give fans perks like visa-free entry into Russia, have raised privacy concerns.

And at Wimbledon, underdogs celebrated victories on Tuesday over several top-ranked players, including Petra Kvitova, the oddsmakers’ favorite to win the women’s title, who was defeated by the 50th-ranked Aliaksandra Sasnovich.

Business

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CreditBenjamin Quinton for The New York Times

In Cambridge, a boom in artificial-intelligence research has attracted Silicon Valley’s tech giants. Their arrival is likely to be a boon for the British economy, which is expected to be bruised by Brexit. Above right, Google’s offices in London, a 45-minute train ride from Cambridge.

Shares in Glencore, a Switzerland-based mining giant, sank on Tuesday after news that it was under subpoena in the U.S. in a money laundering and corruption investigation.

BMW, Volkswagen and Mercedes-Benz have become some of the biggest employers in America’s Southern states. But the automakers said President Trump’s threatened tariffs on imported cars and car parts would force them to curtail operations in these Republican strongholds.

The value of game data: We looked at some of the many questions raised by legal sports gambling.

Here’s a snapshot of global markets. Wall Street will be closed today for the Independence Day holiday in the U.S.

In the News

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CreditAndrew Yates/Reuters

In northern England, a health care worker has been arrested on suspicion of killing eight babies and trying to kill six others in 2015 and 2016. Above, the Countess of Chester Hospital, where several infants died in its neonatal unit. [The New York Times]

Najib Razak, a former Malaysian prime minister, was arrested Tuesday amid a graft inquiry and has been charged with corruption and criminal breach of trust. [The New York Times]

An Australian archbishop, Philip Wilson, was sentenced to 12 months in detention for failing to report child sexual abuse. [The New York Times]

A Philippine mayor was fatally shot on Tuesday, one day after a gunman killed another mayor who was publicly supportive of President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs. [The New York Times]

Photos of an American woman with the giraffe she shot in South Africa last year recently resurfaced, fueling an online debate about big-game trophy hunting. [The New York Times]

Italian Wikipedia has shut down temporarily in protest over the future of an E.U. online copyright law, which is scheduled for a vote this week. [BBC]

Smarter Living

Tips for a more fulfilling life.

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CreditMirko Ilic

• Confused about blockchains? Read our comprehensive guide.

• Here’s what that travel insurance doesn’t actually cover.

Recipe of the day: Add this weeknight version of classic chicken under a brick to your repertoire.

Noteworthy

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CreditJames Hill for The New York Times

A concrete keyboard 30 times larger than the classic IBM original it replicates has become a favorite spot for the I.T. crowd in Russia. The artist said it was “conceived as a metaphor for connections between people around the world.”

Britain went to war with China in 1840, a conflict known as the Opium War, over questions of trade, diplomacy, national dignity and drug trafficking. We spoke with Stephen R. Platt, whose new book examines the war’s origins and its influence on Beijing’s relations with the world today.

“Things fell into place”: Ten years ago, Padraig Harrington stepped into a void left by an injured Tiger Woods and won both the British Open and the P.G.A. Championship. The Irish pro recently looked back on 2008 and how he came away with two major championships.

Back Story

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CreditAssociated Press

This week is the anniversary of the birth of Phineas Taylor Barnum — known as “the Prince of Humbug” and the man behind “The Greatest Show on Earth.”

Born on July 5, 1810, in Connecticut, Barnum, above, was most recently played by Hugh Jackman in “The Greatest Showman,” a film that focused on Barnum’s role in creating what became the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus, which closed in 2017 after nearly 150 years.

But Barnum’s path to fame started with the exploitation of an enslaved African-American woman. In 1835, the showman took Joice Heth, who was presented as the 161-year-old former nurse of George Washington, to Manhattan and exhibited her around the Northeast. After Heth’s death in 1836, Barnum sold tickets to her autopsy.

In 1841, Barnum opened the American Museum in New York, which about 38 million people visited before it burned down in 1865. On display, among other things, was a menagerie of exotic animals that included beluga whales in an aquarium. (The whales died in the fire, and exotic animals roamed Manhattan’s streets for days afterward.)

It wasn’t until 1871 that Barnum became the circus proprietor we largely know him as today.

Barnum died in 1891, at which point The Washington Post called him “the most widely known American that ever lived.”

Claire Moses wrote today’s Back Story.

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