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Spain, Netanyahu, Meatballs: Your Thursday Briefing

Spain, Netanyahu, Meatballs: Your Thursday Briefing

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Good morning.

Israel’s strong hand, President Trump’s signature phrase and Sweden’s shocking admission. Here’s the latest:

Its ranks decimated by arrests and its popularity minimal in the Basque region along Spain’s north coast, the organization’s announcement underlined Madrid’s victory even as it confronts a rising separatist movement in Catalonia.

But the Spanish government has said ETA would not win any concessions in return for dissolving itself, and few appear willing to absolve the group of its history of fruitless bloodshed.

Separately, protesters in Armenia, above, frustrated by lawmakers’ refusal to elect the opposition leader as prime minister, closed major squares, roads and schools across the country.


• Cambridge Analytica will file for bankruptcy and cease most operations. The embattled political consulting firm used Facebook data to profile and target voters while advising the Trump and pro-Brexit campaigns in 2016. Above, the firm’s headquarters in London.

But its executives and investors have already moved to create a new British firm, Emerdata, raising concerns that it will work to influence future elections under new auspices.

• Mohamed Salah is European soccer’s breakout star this season, scoring 43 goals in 48 games for Liverpool F.C.

His Muslim faith — and his unabashed public displays of it — has also made him a figure of considerable significance. At a time of rising Islamophobia in Britain, Mr. Salah, above, is not just accepted, but adored. (He is already a star in his native Egypt.)

“He is someone who embodies Islam’s values and wears his faith on his sleeve,” said an official at the Muslim Council of Britain. “He is not the solution to Islamophobia, but he can play a major role.”


• “My whole life has been a lie.”

The Swedish government made a shocking admission on Twitter: Swedish meatballs are really Turkish (based on a recipe brought back by an 18th century Swedish king).

Rather than start a culinary war, the confession raised many burning questions, among them: What does it mean for Ikea? (Fun fact: Two million meatballs are consumed in its cafeterias around the world each day.)

Meanwhile, a sexual harassment scandal embroiling the Swedish institution that awards the Nobel Prize in Literature is leaving many to wonder: Will there even be a prize this year?

Goldman Sachs is setting up the first Bitcoin trading operation at a Wall Street bank, bucking the risks of doing business with the scandal-tainted virtual currency. Above, the bank’s headquarters in New York.

Gibson, the maker of electric guitars cherished by Elvis, Keith Richards and others, filed for bankruptcy.

A top U.S. delegation heads to China this week armed with tough talk about Beijing’s trade practices, but with little consensus about what concessions the U.S. should demand.

Women are paid less than men, and a common interview question about prior salary fuels that pay gap. Some American cities and states are banning the question.

Here’s a snapshot of global markets.

Ukraine, deeply dependent on the Trump administration for financial and military aid, froze its cooperation with the special counsel investigation into possible collusion between Russia and Paul Manafort, above center, President Trump’s former campaign chairman. [The New York Times]

In Hungary, a panel of judges condemned the government of Prime Minister Viktor Orban for interfering with the judiciary’s autonomy, as the European Union threatened to cut off funding to countries that fail to uphold the rule of law. [The New York Times]

A major Czech brewery’s mockery of the #MeToo movement has prompted praise, criticism and soul-searching in the former communist republic. [The New York Times]

In Libya, gunmen stormed the electoral commission in Tripoli, killing at least six people. The Islamic State claimed responsibility. [The New York Times]

A Maltese lawmaker accused a police sergeant of tipping off suspects in the murder of a prominent investigative journalist to their impending arrests, reigniting concerns about the involvement of corrupt officials in her killing. [BBC]

In Germany, a Togolese migrant disappeared after 150 asylum seekers attacked police officers to prevent his deportation. [Deutsche Welle]

A humpback whale baby boom: Pregnancy rates in oceans near Antarctica are high, according to a study that shows the species is rebounding. [The New York Times]

Smarter Living

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

The Anne Frank House in Amsterdam opened as a museum 58 years ago today.

And while more than 1.2 million visitors now flock to the museum every year, back in the 1950s the canal house was on the verge of being demolished.

The institution was saved from demolition by the Anne Frank Foundation, founded in 1957 to preserve the place where Anne Frank wrote her diary.

Together with her parents, sister and four others, Anne lived in the annex of the canal house from July 1942 until August 1944, when they were arrested during a Nazi raid. (It’s still unclear who betrayed the family to the Nazis, but an F.B.I. agent reopened the case in 2017.)

The museum is currently renovating to prepare for a new generation of visitors. The Anne Frank House is one of multiple institutions that hope to educate younger people about the Holocaust and anti-Semitism.

The museum faces a practical challenge: The tiny, cramped attic can accommodate only so many people at once.

Otto Frank — Anne’s father and the only member of the family to survive the Holocaust — attended the opening in 1960, saying he hoped that the museum would be a place where Anne’s ideals “will find their realization.”

Claire Moses wrote today’s Back Story.


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