Italy Vote, ISIS, Notre-Dame: Your Tuesday Briefing

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Good morning.

We’re covering an unpredictable vote in Italy, an unofficial campaign for a British general election and mourning for a glacier lost to climate change.

Italian politics has reverted to the art it seems to have perfected, teetering on a knife-edge where anything can happen, even nothing at all.

Most Parliament members are in no rush to go to elections.

Analysis: Matteo Salvini, the interior minister, may be Italy’s most popular political force outside Parliament. But inside Parliament is a parallel universe, where his power is frozen in an earlier, weaker time, and his enemies still hold sway.

Unofficial campaigning for Britain’s next general election is underway, and Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the opposition Labour Party, promised to do “everything necessary” to stop a no-deal Brexit.

The charged speech suggested that Mr. Corbyn is, perhaps a little belatedly, preparing for an election many analysts expect in the fall.

What to expect: Mr. Johnson has given every indication he is preparing for a general election, because his working majority in Parliament is down to one lawmaker. The big question is whether Britons will vote before or after their country’s departure from the E.U., which is scheduled for Oct. 31.

Five months after its territorial defeat, the Islamic State is conducting guerrilla attacks as defense officials acknowledge that the terror group is here to stay.

The group is retooling its financial networks and even targeting a vast new pool of recruits at an allied-run tent camp in Syria.

By the numbers: Although there is little concern that the Islamic State will reclaim its former physical territory, the terror group has still mobilized as many as 18,000 remaining fighters in Iraq and Syria. It has as much as $400 million.

The Trump administration said it would allow American companies to continue doing business with Huawei for another 90 days, following lobbying efforts from rural telecommunication firms.

That extends a reprieve granted in May, when trade talks were faltering and the administration added Huawei to a list of companies that U.S. firms cannot sell to, on national security grounds, without government approval. The U.S. suspects Huawei could be used by Beijing for espionage.

Impact: Small rural U.S. carriers depend on Huawei’s cheap equipment and have been scrambling to figure out how to transition away.

Five squalid acres at the edge of the city are home to France’s largest open-air crack market — an “apocalyptic situation,” the local police chief says.

City officials have vowed to open a “rest and health center” by this fall, as part of a three-year anti-crack plan, which is backed by a budget of €9 million, or about $10 million. Drug users will also probably be able to smoke crack legally at the center, which would be a first for crack consumption in France.

Notre-Dame fire: Construction resumed at the Notre-Dame cathedral in Paris, weeks after the authorities had shut the site down over worries about lead contamination linked to the fire in April.

Prince Andrew: After a British tabloid published a video apparently showing Queen Elizabeth II’s second son at Jeffrey Epstein’s New York City mansion in 2010, Buckingham Palace issued a statement saying the prince was “appalled” by Mr. Epstein’s alleged sex crimes and rejected having any involvement. The statement didn’t challenge the authenticity of the video.

Jeffrey Epstein: Two days before the financier died by suicide, he signed his will and bequeathed his $500 million fortune to a hastily arranged trust.

China: Facebook and Twitter said they found evidence that the country had been waging an information war, and the social media sites took down accounts that were spreading false information about the demonstrations in Hong Kong.

Thailand’s roads: A Times investigation found that in Thailand, which has one of the highest rates of traffic deaths, the poor are far more likely to be killed in accidents than the rich and well-connected.

Snapshot: Above, near the top of what was once Iceland’s Okjokull glacier, the first glacier to be lost to climate change in the country. To mark its end, Icelanders unveiled a bronze plaque with a warning: “In the next 200 years all our glaciers are expected to follow the same path.”

Rare Porsche sale sputters: A Nazi-era car failed to sell at RM Sotheby’s after the auctioneer flubbed the numbers. Bidding was supposed to open at $13 million but started at $30 million.

From Opinion: Our columnist writes that Europeans, and Germans in particular, have a “ruinous obsession over public debt.” He suggests that “European governments, and Germany in particular, should stimulate their economies by borrowing and increasing spending.”

What we’re reading: This column by the restaurant critic of The Observer of London, about what happened when a seriously ill reader asked for recommendations. Peter Robins, an editor in our London office, writes: “It’s heartwarming, sad and excellent on the emotional power of a good meal. I held it together through the text, but I cried a little over the reader comments.”

(Re)watch: As a child, our writer didn’t understand the appeal of “Murder, She Wrote,” the TV series starring Angela Lansbury. As an adult, a die-hard fan was born.

Read: From Düsseldorf to Paris, Cape Cod to the Sierra Nevada, these four debut novels reveal the range and the universality of loss.

Listen: Almost no young musician working in pop music has more promise than Rosalía, the Spanish flamenco-trained singer with thrilling ideas about avant-garde pop, our critic writes.

Go: A major retrospective of the American painter Lee Krasner brings her out of the shadow of her famous husband, Jackson Pollock. It’s at the Barbican Art Gallery in London before moving to Germany, Switzerland and Spain.

Smarter Living: Expressing regret for saying the wrong thing requires a special kind of apology. Avoid saying, “I’m sorry if you were hurt” — it sounds hollow. The point is to acknowledge that what you said was inappropriate and that it caused pain. And while you can certainly admit to feeling abashed, don’t lay it on too thick, or it will seem as though you’re making yourself the victim.

And we look at why warning pregnant women not to drink can backfire.

Tossing messages in bottles into the ocean is discouraged these days, given concerns about marine trash. But aficionados love the random connections the messages provide.

Some make headlines: This week a man in Alaska discovered a bottle holding a 50-year-old note from a Russian sailor, wishing the recipient “good health and long years of life and happy sailing.” The author, now 86, was overjoyed when a Russian TV channel tracked him down.

For centuries, scientists have used “drift bottles” to study ocean currents, and floating bottles have also carried love notes, advertising, propaganda, and pleas for help from the shipwrecked — and served as an inspiration for Charles Dickens, Edgar Allan Poe and Sting.

Historians say Christopher Columbus, fearing death during a violent storm, tossed out a cask encasing a parchment addressed to his royal patrons. He survived, and the cask has never been found.

If it somehow turns up, it would easily top the current record-holder, which floated at sea for a mere 131 years.

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. Andrea Kannapell, the briefings editor, wrote today’s Back Story. You can reach the team at [email protected].

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