Europe Edition

Your Thursday News Briefing: Brexit, Brett Kavanaugh, Kosovo

By Nancy Wartik and Sarah Anderson

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Good morning.

A Brexit meeting, a look inside Facebook’s election “War Room” and Kosovo’s ethnic divide. Here’s the latest:

CreditPool photo by Frank Augstein

• “Blind Brexit” may be better than none.

After months of wrangling over Britain’s departure from the E.U., leaders are meeting in Salzburg, Austria, hoping to reach a compromise.

“The prospect of a vague Brexit, with only a slim-line political declaration about the future E.U.-U.K. relationship published alongside a legally binding withdrawal agreement is gaining ground,” one analyst said.

That solution now has a nickname: Blind Brexit. After dinner at the summit meeting last night, though, officials suggested a deal remains far away.



CreditDoug Mills/The New York Times

• President Trump comments on two storms.

The president visited storm-ravaged areas in North and South Carolina, inspecting damage and meeting residents, above.

As fallout from Hurricane Florence continues, a particularly nasty problem looms: lagoons of overflowing pig waste. And for undocumented immigrants the storm has posed special risks: Is it safe to seek government help?

And the president affirmed support for Judge Brett Kavanaugh, the Supreme Court nominee facing a Monday hearing on allegations of sexual assault, calling the controversy “very unfair.” Mr. Trump said of the accuser, Christine Blasey Ford, “If she shows up and makes a credible showing, that will be very interesting.”

Here’s a sample of what our readers think about the scheduled testimony.



CreditJason Henry for The New York Times

• Curbing the tech giants.

Facebook is trying to mitigate its own influence on elections around the world.

The company has almost completed constructing a so-called War Room, in which 20 or so staff members will work to root out disinformation, monitor false news and delete fake accounts. Above, members of the Facebook team.

And Amazon faces an antitrust investigation by the E.U. to determine whether the company used its third-party seller data to decide what products to make itself.



CreditAndrew Testa for The New York Times

• Kosovo is divided over dividing.

Should Kosovo split along ethnic lines? There is growing talk that such a move could vanquish lingering animosities from the war between Serbia and Kosovo. Still, some citizens worry the partition and accompanying land swap could have the opposite effect. “This idea will turn the Balkans into a powder keg,” one person said.



CreditAbbas Momani/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

• Forty years after the Camp David accords.

“How far we have fallen since then. It makes you weep,” writes our opinion columnist Thomas Friedman. Mr. Friedman, who won two Pulitzers reporting on the Middle East, suggests that inching back toward peace requires reconsidering a Palestinian state. Above, a Palestinian protester with a slingshot.


CreditJim Wilson/The New York Times

More screen, more speed, more fitness capability — and more money. We review the new Apple watch.

The chief executive of Danske Bank, Denmark’s largest bank by assets, said he would resign after the release of a damning internal report into the possible laundering of some 200 billion euros. Many of the transactions were with Russians or Russian-owned companies.

A new economic Cold War? President Trump’s trade fight with China could last for years — and it’s not clear what either side stands to gain.

A tax investigation of McDonald’s, begun by the European Commission after the company made a deal with Luxembourg, has been dropped. The E.U. has sparred with multinationals like Apple and Amazon in its efforts to curb tax avoidance.

Here’s a snapshot of global markets. Indian markets are closed today.

Market Snapshot View Full Overview



    Kim Jong-un of North Korea, above right, pledged concrete steps toward denuclearization, but he made no promises to relinquish his nuclear weapons or missiles in a summit meeting with South Korea’s president. [The New York Times]

    “He humiliated himself, us and Trump,” a Polish senator fumed, referring to President Andrzej Duda’s offer during his White House meeting to house a U.S. military base in Poland and name it Fort Trump. [The New York Times]

    A Pakistani court released former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his daughter from prison on bail, as they appeal their corruption convictions. Their sentencing had rattled Pakistan and dented Mr. Sharif’s political party in general elections that his rival won. [The New York Times]

    A star amateur golfer from Spain was fatally stabbed as she played a course near the U.S. university she attended. Her hometown declared three days of mourning. [The New York Times]

    President Trump’s strategy on Iranian oil sanctions is working. So far. [The New York Times]

    Tips for a more fulfilling life.


    CreditMatthew Williams

    The right lighting can lift your spirits and increase productivity.

    Save money by learning how to maintain your own home properly.

    Recipe of the day: Apple pie bars deliver all the pleasure of apple pie without rolling out dough.


    CreditNina Prommer/EPA, via Shutterstock

    Whither the probing celebrity profile? Stars are using social media to take control of their own narratives as print publications lose leverage. And that’s a problem, our critic writes. Above, Taylor Swift.

    Centuries after Capt. James Cook arrived in Australia, the wreckage of his ship — the Endeavour — may have been found off the East Coast of the U.S., in a watery graveyard where old ships were sent to die.

    Marceline Loridan-Ivens, a French filmmaker who wrote about surviving the Holocaust as a teenager, has died in Paris at 90. One of her last books, “But You Did Not Come Back,” was written as a letter to her father, who died at Auschwitz, but also challenges attitudes about Jews in France.

    Are you into U.S. politics? Here’s a field guide to the House races this fall. Our reporters grouped the roughly 75 most competitive districts into five battlefields by the social and cultural characteristics they share. (Think “outer suburbs,” “the open West” and “metropolitan melting pots.”)


    CreditDavid Karp for The New York Times

    The typhoon that has battered parts of Asia in the past week is named Mangkhut. What does the name mean, and why did the Philippines call the storm Ompong instead?

    “Mangkhut” is Thai for mangosteen, a reddish-purple fruit native to Southeast Asia, pictured above. The longtime New York Times journalist and food writer R.W. Apple Jr. once wrote that he would “rather eat one than a hot fudge sundae.”

    “Words can no more describe how mangosteens taste than explain why I love my wife and children,” he wrote in 2003.

    The mangosteen, which has a hard shell with white flesh inside, is cheap and plentiful in Asia but rarer and more expensive in the West, where it is nonetheless growing in popularity.

    The task of naming typhoons falls to the Japan Meteorological Agency, which uses names sequentially from a list suggested by different countries. But when typhoons enter the Philippines’s “area of responsibility” for monitoring storms, they are assigned different names by the national meteorological agency, which has issued its own list each year since it was established in 1972. Thus, Mangkhut becomes Ompong.

    Local names, the agency reasons, are easier to remember in rural areas and make the storms feel more immediate, increasing the chance that people will take them seriously.

    Jennifer Jett wrote today’s Back Story.


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    An earlier version of the headline misspelled the given name of President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee. He is Brett Kavanaugh, not Brent.

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