Friday, 14 December 2018
BREAKING NEWS

Your Monday News Briefing: Sweden, Drones, US Open

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Good morning. Sweden’s centrists prevail, the C.I.A. broadens its drone operations, and Novak Djokovic wins the U.S. Open.

Here’s the latest:

• Sweden’s centrists prevailed in national elections Sunday, even as the country’s far right had its best turnout ever.

Center-right and center-left blocs were neck and neck after elections, although neither can command a majority in Parliament. The anti-immigrant Sweden Democrats were running third.

With eight political groups vying for power, a period of confusion is likely. The election has been one of the most closely watched in Sweden’s recent history, with a focus on how the Sweden Democrats would perform.

The Social Democrat prime minister, Stefan Lofven, voting above with his wife, urged voters not to cast their ballots for what he called a “racist” party.

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• Little fish, big enemy.

When British officials recruited the Russian intelligence officer Sergei Skripal as a spy in the mid-1990s, he was a small get. That’s how the Russians saw him, too, when they caught him. So did the Americans.

But Mr. Skripal, in family photos above, was significant to a fellow intelligence officer at the time, someone of the same age and training: Vladimir Putin.

Six months ago Mr. Skripal was the target of a nerve agent attack, which the authorities say was carried out by Russian intelligence. It is unclear if Mr. Putin played a role in the poisoning.

We break down the parallel paths of two Soviet men who were raised to wage war against the West. After the Soviet Union collapsed, one man rose while the other one fell.

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• The C.I.A. is broadening its drone operations, moving aircraft to a base in the Sahara to hunt Islamist militants.

The program was scaled back under the Obama administration after a backlash over civilian deaths, but President Trump has eased restrictions. Officials from the U.S. and Niger confirmed to The Times the location of a new C.I.A. drone base in northeastern Niger, above.

The U.S. military is building a drone base just 350 miles away, and the C.I.A. won’t comment on why it needs its own. But our reporters offer a few explanations: It could be because the C.I.A.’s base is closer to southern Libya, an active base for extremist activity. But it could also reflect how the Trump administration is expanding its drone program around the world.

• Novak Djokovic won the men’s U.S. Open title, defeating Juan Martín del Potro for his 14th major championship. Even with fans chanting del Potro’s name from the stands, Djokovic, above, played with such precision that his victory seemed all but assured.

The men’s title was a sharp contrast to the women’s final match, which ended in chaos, accusations of sexism and a remarkable win by Naomi Osaka, who defeated Serena Williams to become the first Grand Slam champion from Japan.

But Williams picked the wrong time to make a good point about issues of gender equality in tennis, our columnist writes.

Business

• Elliott Management, founded by Paul Singer, above, is funding lawsuits by shareholders who want Volkswagen to reimburse them for losses caused by the diesel scandal. A German court begins hearing evidence today.

• Leslie Moonves, the longtime chief executive of the CBS Corporation, stepped down Sunday night. Mr. Moonves had already been negotiating his departure before a report detailed new sexual harassment allegations against him.

• The U.S. and E.U. resume talks today in an effort to avert an all-out trade war, and Apple announces a new iPhone on Wednesday. Here are a few other headlines to watch for this week.

• Nine years ago, industrialized nations pledged $100 billion a year by 2020 to help the poorest countries deal with climate change. Only $3.5 billion has actually been committed. Above, Thai farmers walking across a parched field. [The New York Times]

• Venezuelan military officers secretly met with Trump administration officials to discuss their plans to overthrow President Nicolás Maduro. [The New York Times]

• Seven people were wounded in a knife attack in Paris, including two British tourists. The attacker was arrested, and the assault was not initially being treated as terrorism. [The New York Times]

• Catalan separatists are planning a show of force on Tuesday, almost a year after failing to secede from Spain. [The New York Times]

• Giuseppe Conte, the new prime minister of Italy, is considering a backup gig in case his day job doesn’t work out: teaching at a Rome university. It was the latest episode in a bumpy few weeks for the governing coalition. [The New York Times]

• The Virgin Mary with turquoise hair? A Spanish shopkeeper’s restoration of 15th-century wooden statues is the latest attempt by devotees to apply their artistic talents to the preservation of religious works. [The New York Times]

• Wanted: A cat-sitter for 70 strays on a Greek island. Needless to say, the ad went viral and the couple seeking help received 35,000 applications. [The Guardian]

Smarter Living

Tips for a more fulfilling life.

• “I wanted to tell the truth about the pain, death and destruction Europe was dealing with, as it tried to find a way out of the disaster.” Erich Lessing, a photojournalist who fled Europe in 1939 and returned after World War II to document Europe’s rebirth, died last month at 95. Above, Mr. Lessing’s 1956 photograph of Katowice, Poland.

• China is sending Uighur Muslims to indoctrination camps to remove any devotion to Islam, a Times investigation found, in the biggest internment program since the Mao era.

The first “Star Wars” movie bursts onto the scene. Queen Elizabeth II celebrates 25 years on the throne. Apple, founded a year earlier, becomes an incorporated company. It is the year 1977.

And, on this day that same year, France executed a Tunisian man convicted of murder, Hamida Djandoubi, using an antiquated tool popularized during the French Revolution — the guillotine.

Execution by guillotine was first introduced in France in the late 1780s by King Louis XVI as a quicker, more humane method than its predecessors.

Nearly 200 years later, France was one of the last few Western European countries that still used capital punishment. Polls showed that 61 percent of the population still supported the guillotine. In fact, Michel Sardou, one of France’s most popular singers, released the song “Je Suis Pour” (“I Am For”) in 1976 supporting the death penalty.

However, a small but growing number of citizens were fiercely opposed to the practice — including François Mitterrand.

After he was elected to his first presidential term in 1981, he pressed lawmakers to officially retire the guillotine, making Mr. Djandoubi’s execution France’s last.

Alisha Haridasani Gupta wrote today’s Back Story.

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Source: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/09/10/briefing/europe-monday-news-briefing.html

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