Your Monday Briefing – The New York Times


At his first international summit as prime minister of Britain, Boris Johnson needed to somehow capitalize on his friendship with President Trump, while also showing that he is not the president’s poodle and avoiding a falling-out with Europe’s most important leaders.

He appeared to do that. But there were few public signals about how Brexit, Britain’s most imminent challenge, would be confronted. Mr. Trump promised a “very big trade deal” for Britain once it had left the bloc — but Mr. Johnson responded cautiously, mindful of skeptics in Britain, saying that reaching an agreement “may take some time” and require compromise from the U.S.

He also told the British broadcaster Sky News that the chances of a Brexit deal with Brussels were “improving.”

The other Group of 7 leaders sought to nudge Mr. Trump gingerly toward their views on the pressing issues of the day. Today, Mr. Trump is set to meet with the leaders of Germany, India and Egypt.

President Emmanuel Macron of France threatened to kill a major trade deal between Europe and Brazil. Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany said forcefully that the Amazon fires would be a central issue during the Group of 7 summit. Calls to boycott Brazilian products grew globally.

By the end of last week, President Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil appeared to reverse course and sent the military to combat the fires.

Explained: Natural fires in the Amazon are rare, and a majority of these fires were set by farmers preparing Amazon-adjacent farmland for next year’s crops and pasture. The destruction of the rain forest has increased since the Bolsonaro government scaled back efforts to fight illegal logging, ranching and mining.

Bolivian fires: Record-breaking wildfires have also broken out in Bolivia; they, too, are believed to be connected to agricultural clearance. The country’s president, Evo Morales, changed his mind about international aid, saying he was now ready to accept help fighting the blazes.

Before it collapsed in March, WOW Air delivered more than one-fourth of all international visitors to Iceland. The airline’s low fares were key elements of a tourism bonanza that lifted Iceland from its catastrophic 2008 financial crisis.

Now, five months after WOW’s purple jets ceased flying, Iceland is facing a pronounced drop in tourists that threatens to push the country into recession.

Signs of stagnation: Tour companies, hotels, rental-car agencies and retailers lament cancellations and diminished sales in the summer high season, forcing price cuts. The end of WOW has cooled construction on once-blossoming hotels and waterfront property, while making financing for new projects hard to secure. There is a worrying glut of unsold property.

Quotable: “We can feel the pressure,” said one restaurant worker in Reykjavik. “This whole town is affected by tourism.”

Ultraexpensive drugs — some costing in the millions of dollars for one patient — are becoming more common in the U.S., and they are prompting a debate over whether Americans will be priced out of lifesaving treatments as drug companies maximize their profits.

Bottom line: Scientific advances have spawned treatments for illnesses that were once a death sentence. And now that cheaper generic drugs account for about 90 percent of all prescriptions filled in the U.S., pharmaceutical companies are turning to rare-disease treatments as their next profit engine.

Impact: Some small businesses, hit with just a single employee’s claim for an ultraexpensive rare disease treatment, have considered ending their employee health coverage. Others have drastically cut back coverage for drugs, and some employers are considering excluding coverage for expensive and novel treatments like gene therapy.

In the days before and after the Indian government revoked the territory’s special status, an estimated 2,000 people — including business leaders, human rights defenders, elected representatives, teachers and students as young as 14 — were arrested. They have no access to lawyers, and no idea of the charges against them or how long they will be held.

Political analysts say the mass roundup was the final piece of a detailed plan that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government set into motion last year.

Spain crash: A small plane and a helicopter crashed midair on the Spanish island of Majorca on Sunday, near the town of Inca, killing seven people. Details on the cause and the passengers onboard were not immediately known.

Hong Kong: Six police officers on Sunday drew their pistols and one fired a warning shot after protesters put their lives in danger, a police spokeswoman said.

Snapshot: Above, the last hotel in New York City to bear the Trump family’s name. It has soared over Central Park for the past two decades. Now, the company is considering a proposal that would change the signage so that the Trump name is no longer directly associated with the private residences.

David Koch: The billionaire who helped reshape American politics with a money-fueled brand of libertarianism died at 79.

What we’re reading: This from CNN. Lynda Richardson, a Travel editor, writes: “Here’s a fascinating quiz about the most effective — and often surprising — ways that individuals, policymakers and businesses can curb climate change. Even if you get just about everything wrong, you’ll learn a lot.”

Cook: Chocolate pudding made with oat milk has the plushest texture.

Read: Still thinking about the ending of “Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood”? Or Brad Pitt’s moccasins? Quentin Tarantino’s latest film has generated a lot of ink — and controversy. Here’s what’s worth your time.

See: The Brooklyn Museum opens its doors to Pierre Cardin’s space-age fashion.

Go: Tom Hiddleston is making his Broadway debut as the bottled-up husband wearing a “mask of control” in Harold Pinter’s “Betrayal.”

Smarter Living: The skies are getting bumpier, thanks to climate change. But experts say that severe turbulence remains a very rare occurrence, and airlines try to choose routes to avoid it. Still, remain buckled up throughout your flight, and just remember that, as one Delta executive said, “Modern aircraft are developed and tested to sustain any level of conceivable turbulence.”

And we also look at the ups and downs of digitally keeping tabs on your home when you’re on vacation.

Last week, Denmark’s prime minister dismissed President Trump’s interest in buying Greenland as “absurd.” The president didn’t it take kindly.

In fact, the U.S. has acquired a great deal of territory through monetary means, though most of the big purchases came long ago. The Louisiana Purchase from France in 1803 added what we now call Louisiana, and also all or part of 13 other states, including the Dakotas.

In 1867, Secretary of State William Seward negotiated the purchase of Alaska from Russia, which some Americans denounced as “Seward’s Folly.”

The U.S. bought land from Denmark, too.

During World War I, fears that Germany might secure the Danish Virgin Islands renewed the U.S.’s longstanding interest in them. The Danes had been trying to get rid of the Caribbean islands since the mid-1800s, because their lucrative plantations had collapsed after a slave revolt forced the true enactment of the official abolishment of slavery in the colony.

Denmark resisted a deal without provisions for the population, but agreed to sell after President Woodrow Wilson’s secretary of state implied that the U.S. might occupy the islands.

And in 1946, the U.S. offered the country $100 million to buy Greenland.

That’s it for this briefing. See you next time.

— Melina

Thank you
Alisha Haridasani Gupta helped compile today’s briefing. Mark Josephson and Eleanor Stanford wrote the break from the news. Will Dudding, an assistant in the Standards Department, wrote today’s Back Story. You can reach the team at

• We’re listening to “The Daily.” Our latest episode introduces “1619,” a new audio series.
• Here’s today’s Mini Crossword puzzle, and a clue: Bird whose extinction was caused by humans (four letters). You can find all our puzzles here.
• The New York Times’s R&D Team shared their research on smart speakers on the Times Open site, which collects accounts from those making our digital products.

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