NATO, Extreme Heat, Chess: Your Friday Briefing


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Good morning. A NATO revelation, scorching heat that’ll only get worse, and a 9-year-old chess star who may have to leave Britain.

Here’s the latest:

• When President Trump refused to sign off on the final communiqué of a G-7 meeting in Canada, there were warning signs that he might do the same at the NATO summit meeting last month.

He didn’t — and now we may know why.

Senior U.S. officials pushed to finalize a NATO deal before the meeting even began, in an effort to ensure that Mr. Trump did not reject it. The rushed machinations were another sign of the lengths to which the president’s top advisers will go to protect the alliance from Mr. Trump’s antipathy.

Also from Washington comes what Vice President Mike Pence called “the next great chapter in the history of our armed forces.” He shared details about Mr. Trump’s proposed new branch of the military: the Space Command.

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• You think it’s hot now? Just wait.

Globally, this is shaping up to be the fourth-hottest year on record — the only years hotter were the three previous ones. The devastating effects have been felt from California to Greece to Japan. Above, a woman shading herself from the sun in New York.

And it’s too early to call it the new normal. Heat waves are bound to get more intense and more frequent as emissions rise, scientists have concluded, threatening basic necessities like food supply and electricity.

• He’s been called Britain’s “greatest chess prospect in a generation.” But Shreyas Royal, a 9-year-old prodigy born in India, is being forced to leave the country.

Shreyas’s family is fighting to stay in Britain after his father’s work visa runs out. The case hinges on Britain’s strict enforcement of its immigration laws, the nature of his father’s visa and even the question of whether chess is a sport.

“It is just bureaucracy gone mad,” said the president of the English Chess Federation.

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• The former Uzbek fishing port of Muynak is more than 75 miles from the shores of the Aral Sea. Abandoned boats are long rusted. Salt still sticks to your skin.

The sea vanished from Muynak around 1986, partly because of industrialized agriculture and climate change. Yet tourism is booming.

“A lot of people want to see an ecological crisis,” said the head of the Uzbek branch of the International Fund for Saving the Aral Sea.

Business

• Hundreds of companies have asked the Trump administration for exemptions from its sweeping aluminum tariffs. One of the few that briefly succeeded was a Russian firm currently subject to Treasury Department sanctions. Meanwhile, Russia’s ruble plunged after the U.S. announced new sanctions on the country.

The Infowars app is trending after Google, Facebook and Apple purged content from the right-wing conspiracy site from their platforms.

• Samsung unveiled the Galaxy Note9, its latest big-screen smartphone. It has a digital pen, costs about $1,000 and arrives in stores on Aug. 24. Analysts say it may not be enough to return Samsung to healthy growth in a saturated market.

Here’s a snapshot of global markets.

In Yemen, an airstrike by the Saudi-led coalition struck a school bus in a busy market area, killing at least 43 people, including many children. The coalition said it was part of a “legitimate military operation.” [The New York Times]

A bill to legalize abortion in Argentina narrowly failed after intense lobbying by the Roman Catholic Church. But the campaign energized women’s rights groups across Latin America. [The New York Times]

• A German drugmaker has asked a judge to block the use of its drugs in Nebraska’s first execution in 21 years (and its first-ever lethal injection). [The New York Times]

The government of Puerto Rico acknowledged for the first time that more than 1,400 people probably died in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria. The previous official toll was 64. [The New York Times]

• Heavy floods in southern France have forced the evacuation of 1,600 people from campsites in the region. At least one person is missing. [The Independent]

• “Love Island” is coming to America. CBS bought the rights to the United States version of the British reality TV show, which has become a cultural phenomenon. [The New York Times]

Smarter Living

Tips for a more fulfilling life.

• What do Bruce Springsteen’s “Glory Days,” Def Leppard’s “Pour Some Sugar on Me” and Cardi B’s “I Like It” all have in common? They were the summer hits we couldn’t get enough of. We examined the top 10 hits of each summer since 1970 and why so many sound so similar.

• The American-Ukrainian poet Ilya Kaminsky went back to Odessa, the city of his birth, to retrace his childhood. But growing up as a deaf child, “I don’t feel I have quite returned until I turn my hearing aids off,” he writes in The New York Times Magazine.

• Portuguese wine is getting its day in the sun. The Atlantic climate imbues the country’s reds and whites — made from little-known Portuguese grapes — with elegance, grace and the potential to age, our critic writes.

Back Story

The Sarajevo Film Festival begins today in the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The red carpets, more than 200 screenings and hundreds of thousands of euros in prizes are a far cry from the festival’s origins during the siege of Sarajevo and the Bosnian War in the 1990s.

In 1993, Haris Pasovic, a Bosnian director, helped organize a gathering with the title “Beyond the End of the World,” which was inspired by one of the films that were screened: “Until the End of the World,” by the German director Wim Wenders.

At the time, a reporter asked Mr. Pasovic, “Why are you holding a film festival in the middle of a war?”

“Why are they holding a war in the middle of a film festival?” he replied. In an interview the next year, he said, “People have to have food for their souls.”

The gathering lasted 10 days, but screenings continued through a separate organization, culminating in the inaugural Sarajevo Film Festival in the fall of 1995. About 15,000 people risked their safety to watch 37 films from over 15 countries, some of which were smuggled in by their own directors.

Soon after the first festival closed, the Dayton peace accord was signed, ending the Bosnian War.

Matthew Sedacca wrote today’s Back Story.

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The New York Times (sometimes abbreviated NYT and The Times) is an American daily newspaper, founded and continuously published in New York City since September 18, 1851, by The New York Times Company. The New York Times has won 122 Pulitzer Prizes, more than any other newspaper. The paper's print version in 2013 had the second-largest circulation, behind The Wall Street Journal, and the largest circulation among the metropolitan newspapers in the United States. The New York Times is ranked 18th in the world by circulation. Following industry trends, its weekday circulation had fallen in 2009 to fewer than one million.