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NATO, Migrants, World Cup: Your Wednesday Evening Briefing

July 12,2018 02:09

Croatia clinched a spot in the World Cup final for the first time. Thanks to a goal by Mario Mandzukic in the second period of extra time, the team beat England, 2-1. On Sunday, Croatia will face France in the title match, while England and Belgium ...and more »



(Want to get this briefing by email? Here’s the sign-up.)
Good evening. Here’s the latest.

1. President Trump set an acrimonious tone for the NATO summit meeting in Brussels, calling allies “delinquent” in their military spending and urging them to more than double their expenditures.
He also accused Germany of being “captive to Russia because it’s getting so much of its energy from Russia.” (Our fact-check finds otherwise.) Chancellor Angela Merkel, who grew up under Soviet domination, issued a polite rejoinder: that now-unified Germans “can make our own policies and make our own decisions.”

Mr. Trump did sign the 23-page NATO declaration — which is critical of Russia.
The meeting wraps up Thursday, and Mr. Trump will head on to Britain, and then, on Monday, meet Vladimir Putin. Here’s the latest from his trip.

2. “He didn’t recognize me.”
There have been heartbreaking moments among the scenes of joy as dozens of children were reunited with the parents they’d been separated from at the Mexico border.
Experts warn about the long-lasting psychological risks of separating families, saying the trauma and effects can last for generations.
The government said that hundreds of families (wearing monitoring devices) would be released into the country, effectively returning to the Obama administration approach it referred to as “catch and release.”

3. If.
Were the special counsel, Robert Mueller, to issue a subpoena to President Trump, the conflict could reach the Supreme Court.
And if Mr. Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh, center, is confirmed, he could find himself in the middle of an issue he has been wrestling with for most of his adult life: whether presidents should be forced to take questions from prosecutors.
It’s not the only question weighing over the Supreme Court vacancy: His nomination fight has only intensified the existing forces of the 2018 midterm elections.
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4. “They took care of each other well.”
A Thai public health official praised the rescued soccer team, especially its coach, for fortitude and resilience.
The 12 players and their coach are all under close examination, and the signs are good: One boy has mild pneumonia, but none seems to have contracted the rare, serious bacterial infections that doctors had worried about.

There are still fears for their psychological health, but so far, they are sleeping and haven’t needed anti-anxiety medication.
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5. Twitter said it would remove tens of millions of suspicious accounts starting Thursday, in an effort to restore user trust.
Those who have purchased fake followers in an effort to boost their online presence, and others who are followed by suspicious accounts, will see their followings shrink.
Twitter credited The Times’s investigation this year about fake followers as helping persuade the company to take action.
We’ll keep watch for interesting cases.
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6. First came solar panels and washing machines. Then steel and aluminum.
President Trump’s tariff dispute has continued to escalate, with China retaliating and billions of dollars worth of goods affected. Here’s our interactive look at how the trade war grew from 18 products to 10,000.

Separately, we asked Canadian readers to share their thoughts on boycotting U.S. goods and travel. As one put it: “Sure I miss Twizzlers, but it’s a sacrifice I’m willing to make.”

7. Croatia clinched a spot in the World Cup final for the first time.
Thanks to a goal by Mario Mandzukic in the second period of extra time, the team beat England, 2-1.
On Sunday, Croatia will face France in the title match, while England and Belgium battle for third. Our full World Cup coverage is here.
P.S. You may have noticed England’s captain, Harry Kane, rinsing his mouth and spitting. Many players do the same. Because they’re tricking their brains.
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8. Two major scientific developments:
For the first time, scientists have found a way to quickly and effectively remove genes from white blood cells and swap in beneficial replacements.
That could open up profound new possibilities sometime in the future for treating diseases including cancer, H.I.V., autoimmune conditions like lupus and rheumatoid arthritis.
And experiments found that transplants of the tiny cellular organelles known as mitochondria can, in some cases, help save badly damaged organs, including the heart and the brain.
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9. With technology addiction on everyone’s mind, Apple is set to debut a new app, Screen Time, meant to help limit users’ phone time.
Our tech columnist gave it a whirl and enlisted a screen-addicted teenager (his editor’s “screenage” daughter, above) to help him out.
Spoiler alert: He fared worse.
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10. Finally, late-night hosts joined in the celebration about the Thai rescue — and some found a political edge.
“Everybody loves this story,” Stephen Colbert said. “Are you listening, Mr. President? Freeing children makes people like you!”
Sacha Baron Cohen, who has been preparing a new show, has been taking aim at politicians, too. Sarah Palin, the former Alaska governor and vice-presidential candidate, complained that he had duped her, and a trailer shows former Vice President Dick Cheney autographing a “waterboard kit.”
Have a great evening.
Your Evening Briefing is posted at 6 p.m. Eastern.
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