Europe Edition: Angela Merkel, Marine Le Pen, Macedonia: Your Friday Briefing

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Good morning.

Here’s what you need to know:

• Our journalists spent months in Germany reporting how hundreds of Syrian refugees are adapting to life in the storied city of Weimar, and how residents are adapting to their new neighbors.

Here’s what we found: With classic German efficiency, the country led the way in Europe in providing refugees with essential social services after Chancellor Angela Merkel called for constituents to open their communities.

But on a personal level, where integration really happens, there are staggering cultural headwinds. “Both sides will need to change,” one resident said.

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• With five months before federal elections, Ms. Merkel’s conservative party alliance is tilting further right to avoid being outflanked by populists. The lower house of Parliament approved draft legislation that would prevent civil servants from wearing full face veils at work.

Separately, prosecutors said a German soldier posed as a Syrian asylum seeker and planned a violent attack that risked stirring anti-immigrant sentiment.

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• In France’s presidential election, Emmanuel Macron, the centrist candidate, has dropped slightly in some polls, and commentators have suggested that his campaign is stagnating.

Marine Le Pen, the far-right candidate, is using that momentum to depict him as an unpatriotic out-of-touch banker.

Mr. Macron is said to have barred Russian news outlets, whose coverage has favored Ms. Le Pen, from covering his campaign events.

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• In Macedonia, nationalists stormed Parliament and assaulted opposition lawmakers to protest the election of an ethnic Albanian speaker.

The president has summoned party leaders for talks today aimed at defusing tensions. Greece said it feared that its northern neighbor, which has been in a monthslong deadlock over efforts to form a government, risked “sliding into deep political crisis.”

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• Tomorrow will be the 100th day President Trump has been in office. Our reporting team took a look back at what defined the beginning of the 45th presidency.

In an interview with the Reuters news agency, Mr. Trump said that a “major, major conflict” with North Korea was possible and that the U.S. was losing a “tremendous amount of money” defending Saudi Arabia.

The Defense Department is investigating Michael Flynn, Mr. Trump’s former national security adviser, over payments from Russia.

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• And a big surprise in science: Archaeologists no longer need to be thrown a bone.

Using methods that took years to develop, scientists in Germany recovered ancient DNA from cave dirt, opening the door to new insights on human prehistory.

“It’s a bit like discovering that you can extract gold dust from the air,” a researcher commented.

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Business

• The European Central Bank has become more optimistic about the eurozone economy and hinted at winding down stimulus measures.

Earnings: Amazon, Microsoft and Alphabet excelled. Deutsche Bank’s jump in profit wasn’t big enough for investors. And Ford slumped.

Here’s a snapshot of global markets.

Graphic | What the Markets Are Doing

In the News

Pope Francis begins a politically delicate trip to Egypt today, just weeks after the Palm Sunday terrorist attacks on two Coptic churches. [The New York Times]

• Syria blamed Israel for an attack on warehouses near the Damascus airport. Israeli news reports said the warehouses contained weapons bound for Hezbollah in Lebanon. [The New York Times]

Britain’s foreign secretary, Boris Johnson, said that his country would most likely agree to any American request to aid in strikes on Syria. [BBC]

• Tomorrow, leaders of the 27 countries that will remain in the E.U. after Britain leaves will discuss their “Brexit” negotiating position. Here is our Berlin bureau chief’s take on Germany’s hardening stance. [The New York Times]

• The Palestinian Authority said that it would no longer pay Israel for electricity for the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip. [The New York Times]

• Alexei Navalny, a prominent Russian opposition leader, was hospitalized after an assailant sprayed his face with a corrosive antiseptic. [Moscow Times]

• The police in London arrested a man carrying knives near Parliament, charging him with planning a terrorist attack. [The New York Times]

Smarter Living

• Skip the university tour. Research on decision-making suggests that talking to former students is likely to offer a better guide.

• Plug in and turn up the volume on your workout. Music is a simple and effective way to make exercise less daunting.

• Recipe of the day: Treat yourself to a deluxe dinner of shrimp tossed in a butter and chili sauce.

Noteworthy

• Soccer: The Manchester derby ended 0 to 0. Our soccer correspondent reflects on why the city’s two astonishingly wealthy, unapologetically ambitious clubs have delivered so little this season.

• An Iranian short film was honored at the Tribeca Film Festival, but its director was unable to accept the award in person after being turned down for a visa to enter the U.S.

• The mechanism that allows certain caterpillars to break down plastic could transform the fight against one of the world’s most stubborn pollutants.

• Genoa, the Italian port city that once raised Christopher Columbus and imprisoned Marco Polo, isn’t as well known as Rome or Florence. Perhaps that’s part of its charm.

Back Story

Today, “The Fate of the Furious,” the eighth installment of the action movie franchise starring Vin Diesel, opens in theaters across Japan. But if you happen to be there, you’ll be forgiven for not finding it on cinema schedules.

That’s because, in Japan, the movie is called “Wild Speed: Ice Break.”

This is not the first time that films in the franchise have been promoted under different names elsewhere. Movie titles are frequently changed to resonate better with local audiences.

In Japan, the sixth movie in the franchise, which focused on Europe, was advertised as “Wild Speed: Euro Mission.” The seventh, “Wild Speed: Sky Mission,” included a scene featuring cars falling from a plane.

If the latest film’s performance in China (where it was called “Speed and Passion”) is any guide, changing movie titles can help bolster ticket sales. Of the $432 million the movie made outside the U.S. on its opening weekend, $190 million came from China.

In Hong Kong, the movie was advertised as “Wild Speed” and in Taiwan as “The Moment You Play With Death.” (In Europe, the title was far more literal: “Fast and Furious 8.”)

Regardless of where you are, if you haven’t seen the film, here’s our review.

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This briefing was prepared for the European morning. We also have briefings timed for the Australian, Asian and American mornings. You can sign up for these and other Times newsletters here.

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