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Europe’s new challenges, Britain’s blame game and Denmark’s circumcision debate. Here’s the latest:
• The European Union is facing a barrage of new challenges.
Spain’s new prime minister, Pedro Sánchez, above, took office on Saturday, capping a remarkable political comeback for the Socialist leader and a week of political upheaval that culminated in his orchestrating the first removal of an incumbent leader by Parliament in modern Spanish history. His predecessor was ousted over a long-running corruption scandal that tainted his pro-European party.
European leaders are worried about Italy’s new government coalition of the Five Star Movement and the anti-immigrant League, whose leaders vowed on Sunday to crack down on migrants and fulfill other campaign promises. (Adding to Brussels’s concerns: Slovenia elected a populist party, tilting another European country to the right.)
The political uncertainty, combined with yet another humiliation from Mr. Trump’s Washington, has only added to the sense of consternation, if not crisis, on the Continent, writes our chief correspondent in Europe.
With the E.U. facing a potential trade war with the United States, its resolve is likely to be tested by differing interests within the bloc.
And if Britain leaves the E.U.’s customs union, it will have to conduct time-consuming border checks that could cost businesses $ 25 billion a year.
• Days after President Trump declared that his summit meeting with Kim Jong-un was back on, President Bashar al-Assad of Syria announced his own plans to sit down with the North Korean leader. It may be Mr. Kim’s first sit-down in Pyongyang with another head of state. Above, Mr. Assad received diplomatic credentials from North Korea’s newly appointed ambassador to Damascus in May.
Mr. Trump has vowed not to repeat the errors of his predecessors with North Korea, but his apparent softening toward the country resembles approaches taken by Bill Clinton and George W. Bush.
Delegations from the U.S. and North Korea are in Singapore to work out the logistics of the June 12 conference.
• The British authorities and lawmakers are blaming “drill,” a bleak, nihilistic style of rap music that often includes threats about stabbing rivals, for London’s surge in deadly knife crime.
YouTube has removed more than 30 drill music videos that the London police said could incite violence, while rappers and their defenders say the music is being scapegoated. Above, a memorial for a boy killed as part of a YouTube rivalry between rap groups.
Separately, the actor Benedict Cumberbatch was credited with helping a bicyclist who was attacked in London.
• Denmark’s Parliament will soon have to consider a proposal to ban circumcision of boys under 18 in order to protect “children’s fundamental rights.”
A petition for the ban gained 50,000 signatures, the threshold that legally entitles it to a debate and vote, and polls suggest wide public support, horrifying many Danish Jews and Muslims who observe the ancient practice for religious reasons.
“Some rituals are central to identity and belonging,” said a Muslim leader in Copenhagen.
• Facebook let Apple, Samsung and other device makers tap into the data of users and their friends, raising new concerns about its privacy protections. Above, the social network’s chief executive, Mark Zuckerberg, testifying before the Senate in April.
• “Solo: A Star Wars Story,” now in its second week, has amassed $ 264.2 million globally — which amounts to slow sales for the franchise.
• Apple’s annual weeklong developers conference is among the headlines to watch for this week.
• Vancouver, a magnet for foreign buyers, is so expensive that politicians want to tax its real estate market into submission.
• An anonymous bidder paid $ 3.3 million for lunch with Warren Buffett.
• Here’s a snapshot of global markets.
In the News
• President Trump’s lawyers, in a confidential letter to the special counsel, Robert Mueller, above, made a brash assertion of executive power in a bid to avoid a subpoena. [The New York Times]
• Egypt gave Italy surveillance footage that could help close a politically charged investigation into the 2016 murder of an Italian graduate student in Cairo. [The New York Times]
• Dozens of migrants drowned off the coasts of Tunisia and Turkey over the weekend, while hundreds were rescued off Spain, officials said. [The New York Times]
• The Belgian authorities charged a Tunisian man over his role in the deadly 2016 Brussels bombings. [The New York Times]
• Ireland is taking on the Catholic Church again: After voters repealed a ban on abortion, lawmakers are expected to end a practice that gives preference in most of the country’s elementary schools to children who have been baptized. [The New York Times]
• The strange cast of characters emerging in the faked assassination of a prominent Putin critic in Ukraine has made the case even murkier. [The New York Times]
• In eastern Afghanistan, a leftover rocket killed four and maimed seven young members of an extended family. “I wanted to cry,” said their doctor. [The New York Times]
• Germany’s Interior Ministry said at least two extremists were granted asylum because of a flawed processing system, while 44 approved refugees were found to have Islamist ties. [Deutsche Welle]
Tips, both new and old, for a more fulfilling life.
• Meet Maryam Pougetoux, above center, a Muslim college student who has France’s secularists fulminating. Her offense: wearing a head scarf during a television interview.
• The buyer of a 19th-century painting is asking Christie’s auction house to return his money after the work was found to have been stolen by the Nazis from a Jewish collector.
• A year in apologies: Crude jokes, slurs, offensive words — here are some of the high-profile American TV personalities who have apologized for controversial statements over the past year.
Before railroads, the easiest way to cross the U.S. in the 1800s was by horse caravan. But the Pentagon once tried to disrupt that four-legged status quo — with humps.
On this day in 1855, a Navy ship sailed from New York on the first of several missions to buy camels in the Middle East. Members of the U.S. Army Camel Corps later took the animals on pilot treks through the arid American Southwest, and praised them as superior to horses and mules.
Although camels have been used by militaries throughout history, the Camel Corps was dissolved in 1861 when its lead advocate, Secretary of War Jefferson Davis, left to lead the pro-slavery Confederacy during the U.S. Civil War.
Statues of Davis, whose side lost the war, have recently been removed across the American South as part of a backlash against racism and white supremacy.
But a monument to Hadji Ali — a camel handler of Syrian and Greek descent who joined the Camel Corps expeditions after being recruited in a Turkish port — still stands in Quartzsite, Ariz. It was erected in 1934, the same year that the last camel from the original corps died in a zoo.
Mike Ives wrote today’s Back Story.
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