Europe Edition: Russia, North Korea, Venezuela: Your Monday Briefing

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Good morning.

Here’s what you need to know:

Tensions are escalating between Washington and Moscow.

President Vladimir Putin announced on Sunday that the American diplomatic mission in Russia would have to cut its staff by 755 employees.

The move comes in response to a law passed in Congress last week expanding U.S. sanctions against Russia for its election meddling and aggression toward its neighbors.

Meanwhile, Russia showcased its military might this weekend with its annual Navy Day celebrations, which included large military parades in St. Petersburg and off the coast of Syria.

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The United States responded to North Korea’s latest missile launch by flying two supersonic B-1B bombers over the Korean Peninsula.

The U.S. military released the photo above, showing one of the two bombers, top, joined by two South Korean F-15s.

Experts say that the intercontinental ballistic missile launched by North Korea on Friday appeared capable of reaching the West Coast of the United States and even, perhaps, Chicago.

The launch spurred South Korea to seek talks with the Trump administration to allow the South to build more powerful ballistic missiles of its own.

Our columnist argues that North Korea, far from acting irrationally, is pursuing an audacious, calculated and long-term strategy.

Graphic | Local Weather See the forecast for your area.

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President Trump has a new chief of staff — John Kelly, above — but an old set of challenges.

Republicans in Washington are worried that a seemingly endless array of disappointments and blunders is rattling Mr. Trump’s volatile governing coalition and threatening the G.O.P.’s policy agenda.

Our chief White House correspondent contends that Mr. Trump just capped off “one of the worst weeks that any modern occupant of the Oval Office has experienced in his inaugural year in power.”

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• A vote to restructure the government in Venezuela was marred by violence and doubts about its legitimacy.

One candidate was killed in his home, an explosion was set off on a busy street, and at least eight people died in the latest clashes between protesters and the police.

The election was widely viewed as a means for President Nicolás Maduro and his leftist movement to consolidate power before rewriting Venezuela’s Constitution.

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• And with a national election approaching, Germany’s political world is on tenterhooks.

The country is bracing for disruptive leaks without knowing when, or if, they might come, our media columnist writes.

News organizations there are treating last year’s U.S. election as a case study in how not to empower forces bent on manipulating the electorate.

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Interactive Feature | Morning Briefing What you need to know to start your day, delivered to your inbox.

Business

• Some good news for Spain — and the rest of Europe, too: After nearly a decade of economic crisis, the Spanish economy is growing again, suggesting that the eurozone has finally achieved recovery.

• Tesla, the electric carmaker, unveiled its $35,000 entry into the mass market: the Model 3 sedan.

• Uber’s search for a new chief executive has been hindered by infighting among the company’s board members, whose relationships have been damaged by leaks and shifting alliances.

• A Silicon Valley start-up is offering a new way for therapists to get inside the heads of their patients: via virtual reality.

Here’s a snapshot of global markets.

Graphic | What the Markets Are Doing

In the News

• In Poland, an attempt to undercut the judiciary’s independence has mobilized Poles who are eager to protect hard-won post-Communist freedoms. [The New York Times]

• The Sunday Times of London fired the writer of an op-ed that was widely criticized as employing anti-Semitic and misogynistic arguments. [The New York Times]

• In an effort to curb human trafficking, Italy plans to use its navy to help patrol the Libyan coastline. [Deutsche Welle]

• In Barcelona, more than 20,000 concertgoers were forced to flee a music festival after a fire broke out, incinerating the event’s stage. [The New York Times]

• An Israeli military court rejected an appeal by Elor Azaria, who was convicted in January in the shooting death of a wounded Palestinian assailant. [The New York Times]

• A Turkish court ordered the release of seven journalists from an opposition newspaper, while four of its most prominent editors and executives remained in jail. [The New York Times]

• Customs checks at the British border, post-“Brexit,” could cost $1.3 billion per year. [Bloomberg]

Smarter Living

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

• Research shows that adults can build resilience in middle age, which is often when we need it most.

• Flying is bad for the planet. You can help make it better.

• Recipe of the day: Pastas, like this eggplant and tomato recipe, should focus on the vegetables.

Noteworthy

• Climate change, soil degradation and rising wealth are shrinking the amount of usable land in Africa — all while the number of people who need it is rising fast.

• Russia’s rural areas, long considered the wellspring of the country’s culture and identity, are dying off.

Children in the U.S. who get free lunches during the school year often go hungry in the summer — and libraries are now helping to fill the gap.

• Did you keep up with this week’s news? Test your knowledge of international affairs with our global news quiz.

Back Story

Cup or cone?

Mister Softee has posed the age-old ice cream question across the United States for more than 60 years, delighting summer fans with a twist of soft serve.

The soft-serve ice cream truck company was founded in 1956 by the brothers William and James Conway in Philadelphia. The two were working for Sweden Freezer, a major ice cream machine manufacturer, before conquering the soft-serve market. Their company now operates more than 600 blue-and-white trucks in 15 states and has made appearances as far away as England and China.

There is some dispute over who invented soft-serve ice cream; Dairy Queen and Carvel both claim the title. Carvel began selling soft-serve ice cream by accident in 1934, when the founder Tom Carvel’s truck broke down, forcing him to sell melting ice cream. The British prime minister Margaret Thatcher is even credited with contributing to the modern soft-serve recipe.

But there’s no doubt that the jingle created by a Philadelphia adman in 1960 helped Mister Softee become a “totem of American popular culture”:

The creamiest dreamiest soft ice cream
You get from Mister Softee
For a refreshing delight supreme
Look for Mister Softee.

Have a sweet week.

Remy Tumin contributed reporting.

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