Europe Edition

Venezuela, Heat Wave, Indonesia: Your Monday Briefing

By Alisha Haridasani Gupta and Remy Tumin

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Good morning. An assassination attempt in Venezuela, a heat wave in Europe, and the new face of tattoos.

Here’s the latest:

CreditXinhua, via Associated Press

“I have full confidence in the people and the armed forces and the God who protects me.”

That was what President Nicolás Maduro of Venezuela had to say, hours after surviving what his government called an assassination attempt on Saturday.

The scene was right out of an action movie: two drone explosions during a parade of the National Guard, confused guardsmen running for cover and conspiracies about a rogue military group that may have claimed responsibility. The chaos was evidence of continuing unrest in Venezuela as the country sinks deeper into economic turmoil.



CreditAlvaro Barrientos/Associated Press

Cows dying of thirst in Switzerland. Forest fires ravaging parts of Sweden. Stores in London running out of fans and air-conditioners. Above, a beach in San Sebastián, Spain.

For much of Europe, this summer feels like a modern-day version of the biblical plague as a scorching heat wave sweeps across the continent. Temperatures this weekend reached record highs of up to 110 degrees Fahrenheit in some places and are expected to stay above normal into the week.



CreditSamuel Corum for The New York Times

President Trump admitted on Twitter that a 2016 meeting between his son Donald Trump Jr., above right, and a Kremlin-connected lawyer was intended to “get information on an opponent.”

It was the starkest acknowledgment yet that the president had not been forthright last year when he dictated a statement saying the main purpose of the meeting was to discuss adoption policies for Russian children. That meeting is being examined by the special counsel, Robert Mueller, as part of his investigation into whether the Trump team conspired with the Russians to undermine Hillary Clinton’s campaign.

In other Russia-related news, Maria Butina, who is accused of being a secret Russian agent, was initially thought to have infiltrated U.S. politics by way of the National Rifle Association. But her efforts expanded beyond gun advocates to a Republican operative and a Rockefeller heir.

Lastly, the actor Steven Seagal has been appointed by Russia as a special representative to improve relations with the U.S.



CreditAlessandro Di Marco/ANSA, vi Associated Press

• Daisy Osakue, above, a 22-year-old Italian athlete of Nigerian descent, holds the record for discus-throwing among women of her age.

But after a recent attack outside her apartment that injured her left eye, she has also become a face of a fierce debate dividing the country: Is Italy becoming more racist under its new populist government?

Ms. Osakue’s case was the latest example of a spike in violence against migrants across the country, leaving many Italians on edge.



CreditStephen B. Morton for The New York Times

The Trump administration allowed U.S. companies to apply for exemptions from its steel tariffs to help cope with the new trade policy. But three industry giants with deep ties to the administration appear to have been able to veto those efforts, funneling purchases to themselves.

Both Disney and 21st Century Fox — two media behemoths that are about to become one — will report their earnings this week. Wall Street will be looking for any clues about Disney’s new streaming platform that many are calling Disneyflix. Our reporter tried to figure out what that service might look like.

Artificial intelligence is creeping into the workplace, not in the form of humanoid robots but through software for back-office tasks like accounting, billing and customer service.

Here’s a snapshot of global markets.

In the News


CreditMade Nagi/EPA, via Shutterstock

• A powerful earthquake struck off the coast of the Indonesian resort island of Lombok near Bali, killing more than 80. [The New York Times]

• A small World War II-era plane crashed in the Swiss Alps while on a sightseeing tour, killing all 20 people on board, officials said. [The New York Times]

• The childhood home of Elie Wiesel, the Nobel laureate who was imprisoned in a Nazi concentration camp as a teenager, was defaced by anti-Semitic graffiti. [The New York Times]

• The invisible line: Shepherds along the Israeli-Lebanon border often unknowingly cross the border, and can be seized on suspicion of being spies. [The Guardian]

• Only about one-third of the plastic food containers in Britain that are designated for recycling are actually recycled, an analysis found. The rest are sent to landfills. [BBC]

• Burned goat head, anyone? The Australian meat industry is pushing the British government to accept products currently banned in the E.U. once Britain leaves the bloc. [The Independent]

Smarter Living

Tips for a more fulfilling life.


CreditGeorge Wylesol

How to revive a friendship.

Take a vacation from exercise? Your body may not thank you.

Recipe of the day: Sweet and citrusy, these lemon-blueberry bars should be dusted with powdered sugar just before serving.



CreditFelipe Dana/Associated Press

Neck, hand and face tattoos are gaining popularity as more celebrities get them. Among the best known was Rick Genest, above, a model known as Zombie Boy who appeared in a Lady Gaga music video. He died last week at 32.

The Go-Go’s, whose 1981 debut “Beauty and the Beat” was the first No. 1 album to be written and performed by a female collective, provided a blueprint for girl-powered groups. But they weren’t always taken seriously.

• Britain’s withdrawal from the E.U. could be “disastrous” for the cultural sector by making it harder for performers and creative artists to enter the country.

Back Story


CreditAcorn TV

Hercule Poirot was fictional, but an obituary for Agatha Christie’s famous Belgian detective nevertheless appeared on the front page of The Times on this day in 1975.

Poirot, fastidious and impeccably dressed, made his debut in 1920 in Christie’s “The Mysterious Affair at Styles” and appeared in more than 30 novels by the British mystery writer.

But “at the end of his life, he was arthritic and had a bad heart,” according to the obituary, which ran the month before Poirot’s final appearance, in “Curtain.” Above, the British actor David Suchet took on the role for TV.

Although “Curtain” was published in 1975, Christie wrote the book during World War II as a gift for her daughter in the event that Christie did not survive the bombings in London. The book — as well as one featuring her other famous sleuth, Miss Jane Marple — were locked away for more than 30 years.

Christie died in 1976, and received her own front-page obit in The Times. With a prolific output and global appeal, she remains at the top of Unesco’s list of the world’s most translated authors.

It’s hard to pinpoint why Poirot’s death got such prominent treatment in 1975.

“There’s a deep psychological level to Christie’s work,” Mark Aldridge, the author of the book “Agatha Christie on Screen,” said in an interview last year. “You can watch a film of her work purely for the plot, but you can also watch it for insights into the characters and the human conditions.”

Claire Moses wrote today’s Back Story.


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