Europe

Libya, Donald Trump, El Salvador: Your Tuesday Briefing

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Doug Mills/The New York Times

• Robert Mueller, above, the special counsel investigating possible collusion with Russia in the 2016 presidential election, is said to be seeking to interview the president. No formal request has been made and no date has been set.

We profiled the man behind the firm that compiled the notorious dossier of possible links between President Trump and Russia. His enemies are legion on both sides of the Russia divide.

And here’s our political reporter’s verdict on “Fire and Fury,” the book that caused an uproar in the White House: It’s plausible, but that doesn’t mean it’s all true. (We also collected reactions from across the political spectrum.)

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Official Iranian Presidential Website, via European Pressphoto Agency

• President Hassan Rouhani, center, of Iran lashed out at his hard-line opponents: “One cannot force one’s lifestyle on the future generations.”

Mr. Rouhani expressed understanding for protesters who had taken to the streets across the country, and he pledged that access to social media services would be restored.

Meanwhile, the country’s top nuclear official said Iran might rethink its cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency if President Trump left the 2015 nuclear accord.

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Andrew Medichini/Associated Press

Italy is hardly the first country to force its grocery vendors to switch from plastic bags to biodegradable and compostable ones.

But with national elections set for March 4, a new law that compels grocers to charge shoppers for the new bags immediately pushed all kinds of political buttons.

“We’re already taxed and harassed, and soon they’ll be charging for air,” a fruit and vegetable vendor in Rome said.

Business

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Jason Lee/Reuters

• The tech backlash reaches Apple: Major investors are pushing the company to do more to protect young users from the negative effects of its technology. And in France, the company is said to face an inquiry over slow iPhones.

• H&M apologized for an online store image showing a black child in a sweatshirt that said “coolest monkey in the jungle.” It said the shirt would no longer be sold.

• In India, cash remains king, despite aggressive campaigns from electronic payment firms backed by Chinese and U.S. tech giants.

• Our reporter is in Las Vegas at CES, the consumer electronics show, to look for the latest tech innovations. (You can ask him questions here.)

Here’s a snapshot of global markets.

In the News

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Pool photo by Jung Ui-Chel

• North Korea agreed to participate in the Winter Olympics next month in the first direct talks with the South in more than two years. [The New York Times]

• In Britain, a cabinet reshuffle intended to show Prime Minister Theresa May’s newfound authority seemed to do the opposite. [The New York Times]

• Top European Union officials have urged member countries to fill the bloc’s budget gap after Britain’s departure. [Associated Press]

• Russia said that its main air and naval bases in Syria thwarted an attack by 13 armed drones. [The New York Times]

The U.S. Supreme Court reopened a death penalty case, giving an inmate in the state of Georgia a chance at a new trial because of a white juror’s racist statements. [The New York Times]

• As violence rises in Mexico, a handful of towns are quietly breaking from the state. Their experiments in quasi-independence have sometimes come at a terrible cost. [The New York Times]

• In South Africa, genetic fingerprinting methods used in the criminal justice system are now being used against wildlife poachers. [The New York Times]

Smarter Living

Tips, both new and old, for a more fulfilling life.

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Peter Dasilva for The New York Times

• Recipe of the day: Make a loaf of classic zucchini bread for yourself, and another to share.

• Planning on getting organized this year? Try a paper planner, instead of apps.

• And don’t let a lack of self-awareness hold you back.

Noteworthy

Video

The 52 Places Traveler: Meet the Applicants

Over 13,000 people applied for our first-of-its-kind job: someone who will go to every destination on this year’s 52 Places to Go list. Meet a few of them here.


By EMILY RHYNE on Publish Date January 8, 2018.


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• Over 13,000 people applied for our first-of-its-kind job: someone who will go to every destination on this year’s 52 Places to Go list. Meet a few of them here.

(Later this week you’ll meet the person who got the job and the full list.)

Oprah Winfrey was the big winner at the Golden Globes, and her acceptance speech had many fans begging her to run for president in 2020.

• In the U.S. college football national championship, Alabama beat Georgia to win its fifth title in nine seasons. Here are highlights and analysis.

• A new 3-D videomicroscope gives surgeons “Superman eyes” and helps them perform and teach delicate brain operations.

• Amid the face-freezing misery in parts of Europe and the U.S., one phenomenon that is a staple of winter has drawn attention in the social-media era: the frozen pond rescue.

Back Story

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Pantone Color Institute, via Associated Press

Welcome to the year of purple.

The Pantone Color Institute, which helps manufacturers select colors for designs, has been naming a color of the year since 2000 (It chose Greenery last year, and Rose Quartz — think millennial pink — shared the title with Serenity blue in 2016).

This year the shade is Ultra Violet. “We wanted to pick something that brings hope and an uplifting message,” the institute’s director, Leatrice Eiseman, told The Times.

In ancient times, purple dye was made from the mucus of sea snails in the Phoenician city of Tyre, in what is now Lebanon’s Mediterranean coast.

Because the color was difficult and expensive to produce, it became associated with power and royalty, from ancient Rome to the kingdoms of Europe. In the 1500s, Queen Elizabeth I decreed that only members of the royal family could wear the color.

In 1856, a British chemist, William Henry Perkin, made the color more accessible when he accidentally created a purple dye while trying to concoct a treatment for malaria.

More than 160 years later, a color that’s rare in nature is about to have its moment.

For more on the color purple, read on.

Valencia Prashad contributed reporting.

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This briefing was prepared for the European morning and is updated online. Browse past briefings here.

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