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North Korea, French Strikes, World Cup: Your Wednesday Briefing

North Korea, French Strikes, World Cup: Your Wednesday Briefing

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Good morning.

Takeaways from the Trump-Kim summit meeting, concessions on Brexit and breaking news on the World Cup. Here’s the latest:

• Prime Minister Theresa May of Britain promised greater control for Parliament over the Brexit process, after a threatened rebellion by lawmakers and the abrupt resignation of one of her ministers.

The retreat is only the latest setback for Mrs. May as her government struggles to navigate the country’s troubled exit from the E.U. Her concession will allow Parliament to vote early on a final package the government negotiates with Brussels, allowing lawmakers to send the negotiators back to the table.

Meanwhile, the Royal Academy in London rejected an artwork by “Bryan S. Gaakman” for an exhibition. But a revised version, above, got in — after it was submitted under the name of the true artist: the graffiti superstar Banksy.

Strike season.

French labor unions turned to strikes to thwart President Emmanuel Macron’s work reforms, but got little traction. Still, they are a ritual of the spring. Above, railway workers demonstrating in Paris last month.

Our Paris bureau chief spent days with the railway protesters, the latest participants in a cherished ritual of French civic life. But she was left wondering: Can strikes in France still make a difference?


• It’s World Cup decision time.

Global soccer officials vote today in Moscow on where the 2026 World Cup will be played.

Morocco has mounted a surprisingly strong challenge to a solid, joint North American bid by the U.S., Canada and Mexico — aided by international reservations about the Trump administration’s restrictive travel policies. Above, Morocco’s team in Tallinn, Estonia, this month.

So President Trump gave U.S. soccer officials letters to share with FIFA’s president, vowing that players and fans from all competing countries would get visas. We got an exclusive look at those letters.

Spain’s Supreme Court upheld a prison sentence for the brother-in-law of King Felipe VI, in a fraud case that rocked the monarchy. Iñaki Urdangarin, above, could be the first member of the country’s royal family to go to prison in modern history (he has one last chance to appeal). [The New York Times]

Macedonia agreed to change its name to resolve a decades-old dispute with Greece, which said it would stop opposing the neighboring country’s entry into the E.U. and NATO if the change were formally adopted. [The New York Times]

A Swedish prosecutor brought rape charges against Jean-Claude Arnault, the man at the center of a scandal that led to the cancellation of this year’s Nobel Prize in Literature. [The New York Times]

The rollout of an H.I.V. prevention drug was followed by a reduction in condom use among gay and bisexual men, according to a study of some 17,000 in Australia. But the drug was so effective that H.I.V. infection rates declined anyway. [The New York Times]

Italy’s new minister for E.U. affairs said that he fully backed the “indispensable” euro and did not want Italy to quit the currency. [Reuters]

Ireland will hold a referendum in October on whether to remove a law against blasphemy from its Constitution. [BBC]

Smarter Living

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

The second anniversary of the Pulse nightclub massacre in Orlando, Fla., was yesterday. Here’s a look at the lives forever altered by one of the deadliest mass shootings in U.S. history. Above, a vigil in Orlando in July 2016.

In memoriam: Jon Hiseman, 73, a British composer who melded rock, jazz and blues and led the bands Colosseum and Tempest in a career that began in London in the late 1960s.

Solve a mystery: Two decades ago, a renowned professor promised to produce a flawless version of one of the 20th century’s most celebrated novels: “Ulysses.” Then he disappeared.

Today, in honor of William Butler Yeats (born on this day in 1865), we explore the lasting influence of his most ubiquitous poem, “The Second Coming.”

Written in 1919, the poem is considered a towering achievement of modernist poetry. Yeats drew on Christian apocalyptic imagery to capture the violent chaos of the political turmoil in Europe at the time, and to warn of further dangers on the horizon.

So often have the poem’s phrases been incorporated into other works of art and literature that The Paris Review has called it “the most thoroughly pillaged piece of literature in English.”

There is, of course, Chinua Achebe’s novel “Things Fall Apart,” and Joan Didion’s short story collection “Slouching Towards Bethlehem,” but lines from the poem have proliferated in many more book titles, speeches, folk albums, CD-ROM games and tweets, as well.

An episode of “The Sopranos” called “The Second Coming” features the poem, as does a Batman comic book series called “The Widening Gyre.” Above, Yeats in Dublin in 1923.

There was an uptick in references to the poem in 2016, as writers and pundits grasped for language to describe the series of dramatic political shifts in Europe and the U.S.

Emma McAleavy wrote today’s Back Story.


Your Morning Briefing is published weekday mornings and updated online.

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