Europe Edition

Trump, Amazon, Syria: Your Friday Briefing

By Matthew Sedacca

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Good morning. Details emerge on E.U.-U.S. trade talks, Amazon releases earnings and Syria acknowledges prisoner deaths.

Here’s the latest:

CreditAlex Brandon/Associated Press

• A trade crisis has been averted, for now.

President Trump and the European Commission president, Jean-Claude Juncker, above, have reached a truce defusing Washington’s trade war with Europe, for the moment. Now broader negotiations will begin.

Mr. Trump said the two sides would work to lower tariffs and other trade barriers, and try to reduce roadblocks to industrial goods like American liquefied natural gas flowing across the Atlantic — which sounds much like the approach pursued under President Barack Obama, which Mr. Trump had shelved.

The big question is whether this cease-fire will amount to a meaningful improvement in strained trans-Atlantic relations, or just the latest change in course by an unpredictable president.



CreditSergey Ponomarev for The New York Times

• Hundreds of Syrian families have suddenly learned that their missing relatives, many of them arrested years ago, were registered as dead by the government. Officials have not said how many detainees died or what happened to them.

It appears to be the first public acknowledgment by the government of President Bashar al-Assad, depicted in the poster above, that hundreds if not thousands of prisoners had died in custody. They included rebels as well as political protesters.

“The regime is closing one chapter and starting a new one,” one analyst said. “It is telling the rebels and the activists that this chapter is gone, that whatever hope in some surviving revolutionary spirit has been crushed.”



CreditEmre Tazegul/Associated Press

• President Trump threatens Turkey with sanctions.

Mr. Trump announced on Twitter that the U.S. would impose sanctions on Turkey for its “long time detainment” of Andrew Brunson, an American pastor, above center, and called for his release.

The case of Mr. Brunson, who has been accused of aiding the failed coup in Turkey in 2016, has become a flash point in the two countries’ relationship.

Former U.S. officials said it was highly unlikely that the Trump administration would impose broad sanctions on Turkey, a NATO ally. But it could target individuals involved in Mr. Brunson’s case.



CreditDoug Mills/The New York Times

• President Trump may have tweeted himself into legal trouble.

The special counsel, Robert Mueller, is scrutinizing tweets and statements from the president attacking Attorney General Jeff Sessions and the former F.B.I. director James B. Comey, our Washington team reports.

Mr. Mueller is examining whether the actions add up to attempts to obstruct the investigation by both intimidating witnesses and pressuring law enforcement officials to tamp down the inquiry. Mr. Trump’s lawyers said that none of the evidence Mr. Mueller is looking at constitutes obstruction.

Here’s how Mr. Trump’s private and public statements line up in a possible obstruction case.



CreditYoan Valat/EPA, via Shutterstock

• Checking in on the Tour de France.

“Tour hostesses,” better known as podium girls, have been a key part of a daily Tour de France ritual, helping winners slip into their leaders’ jerseys and giving them trinkets — as well as chaste kisses. To many women, the routine seems out of touch, if not offensive, our correspondent writes.

Arnaud Demare of France, who had been accused of holding on to his team car in Wednesday’s mountain stage, scored a win in the bunch sprint, the first victory this year for a French team in the Tour. Meanwhile, American racers, once dominant forces at the Tour, are becoming a rarity. This year, they make up just five of the 176 riders.



CreditKyle Johnson for The New York Times

Amazon released its second-quarter earnings. While profit was strong, revenue was not quite what analysts had anticipated. And strikes on Prime Day last week highlighted tensions between Amazon and its European employees.

President Trump complained about the E.U.’s $5.1 billion penalty against Google, and our columnist says he has a point. It’s hard to find an antitrust expert who endorses the case’s logic or outcome, he writes.

Facebook’s stock price plunge on Thursday, which erased more than $120 billion in market value, shattered the myth that the biggest tech companies were essentially invulnerable. It came on the heels of a disappointing earnings report.

Here’s a snapshot of global markets.

In the News


CreditChris J Ratcliffe/Getty Images

In Britain, three Jewish newspapers published identical front-page commentaries that said a Labour Party government led by Jeremy Corbyn, above, would be an “existential threat” to their community. [The New York Times]

Hundreds of migrants charged border fences separating Ceuta, Spain’s North African enclave, from Morocco. [Associated Press]

Russian officials promised to prosecute anyone involved in a prisoner-abuse scandal, but human rights experts at a United Nations hearing were skeptical. [The New York Times]

The builders of the dam that failed in Laos this week, killing at least 27 people and displacing thousands, knew beforehand that it was in trouble. [The New York Times]

Imran Khan, a former cricket star and fierce critic of America’s war on terror, is on the verge of becoming Pakistan’s next prime minister. [The New York Times]

In Greece, officials said there were “serious indications” that the wildfires that killed at least 83 people this week was started intentionally. [BBC]

Smarter Living

Tips for a more fulfilling life.


CreditMeredith Heuer for The New York Times

Recipe of the day: Looking for a weekend project? Make lemon gelato at home.

More sleep means better metabolic health for teenagers.

Want to make your partner’s parents more woke? Here’s some advice.



CreditRoger Kisby for The New York Times

Iceland Airwaves has become the first music festival to ensure that half its acts are women, putting pressure on bigger festivals to do the same. Above, the band Soccer Mommy at the South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas.

Here’s a guide to watching Mars in opposition on Friday (and a long lunar eclipse with a “blood moon” if you’re in Europe).

In memoriam: Mary Ellis, who overcame public disapproval to fly hundreds of Spitfires and heavy bombers to the front lines for Britain in World War II, died at 101.

Back Story


CreditAssociated Press

Last week’s Back Story about the anniversary of the 1848 women’s convention in Seneca Falls, N.Y., mentioned that women won the national right to vote in the U.S. in 1920.

Not all women, several readers pointed out.

Voting rights have been broadened throughout U.S. history; in 1870, the Constitution’s 15th Amendment granted all male citizens the right to vote regardless of race, but left out women.

For this reason, some suffragists opposed its passage.

In 1920, the 19th Amendment extended suffrage to women, but a variety of tactics were used at the state level to limit nonwhite citizens’ right to vote, including poll taxes, literacy tests, violence and whites-only primaries. (Our video examines that history.)

Native Americans were not granted citizenship until 1924, and were denied the right to vote by some states well into the 20th century.

It wasn’t until President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act in 1965, above, that many of these barriers were dismantled. The Supreme Court ruled in 2013 that part of the act, which has been updated several times by Congress, was unconstitutional.

Emma McAleavy wrote today’s Back Story.


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