Syria, James Comey, Iceland: Your Monday Briefing

Syria, James Comey, Iceland: Your Monday Briefing

The list was seen as an ominous sign that Mr. Orban intended to punish those who had opposed him before his recent election to a third term in office.

The protests reflect the deep divisions in the Central European country that has been at the forefront of a regional drift away from liberal Western values.



Daniel Berehulak for The New York Times

• “You do not go to a war zone with men who miss their mama.”

Faced with an aging military, the Belgian Army proposed a change that it hopes will attract younger soldiers: letting recruits sleep at home on weekdays during basic training.

But the proposal has drawn scorn from veterans and military experts who argue that the policy could undermine unit cohesion and set a dangerous precedent for other Western armies.

(Above, Belgian soldiers in Brussels in March 2016.)



Paul Faith/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

• Trials in France and Northern Ireland have stirred uproars over the sexual and legal treatment of women and girls.

In France, a court case involving a 28-year-old man who had sex with an 11-year-old girl centers on the question of whether she was raped, since French law does not hold that children are automatically too young to consent. The trial has spurred government efforts to change laws to better protect minors, but critics say the changes don’t go far enough.

And the recent acquittal of two Irish rugby players who were accused of raping a drunk woman has stirred furious debate over attitudes toward masculinity and sexual consent. Above, one of the acquitted rugby players, Paddy Jackson, in Belfast, Northern Ireland, in March.



Ralph Alswang/ABC News

“He is morally unfit to be president.”

That was James Comey, the former F.B.I. director, above right, describing President Trump in his first televised interview since he was fired last May. Mr. Comey called Mr. Trump a serial liar who treated women like “meat” and described him as a “stain” on everyone who worked for him.

His memoir, “A Higher Loyalty,” comes out on Tuesday. Our former chief book critic, Michiko Kakutani, returned to review the book, which portrays Mr. Trump as unethical and dishonest.

Mr. Comey’s publicity juggernaut is a remarkable public assault on a sitting president by someone who served at the highest levels in the government, and the stakes could hardly be higher for both men.

For days, Mr. Trump has waged a ferocious counterattack against Mr. Comey, calling him a liar and a “slime ball.”




Andrew Testa for The New York Times

Book battle: Brexit is threatening Britain’s dominance of the lucrative European book market, and British publishers are anxiously bracing for an American invasion of English-language books across the E.U. Above, the London Book Fair last week.

Martin Sorrell resigned as the chief executive of WPP, the world’s largest advertising group, amid an investigation into alleged misconduct.

World leaders are heading to Washington for meetings of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, and the Trump administration may release another round of tariffs on Chinese products. Here are the headlines to watch for this week.

Facebook isn’t the only tech company under congressional scrutiny in the U.S. Google and Twitter have until April 25 to answer a senator’s questions about how they handle data collection and privacy, and other companies expect similar challenges soon.

One hammer and sickle at a time: China’s newly empowered Communist Party has gained direct decision-making power over some of the international firms doing business in the country. The European Chamber of Commerce has called such moves a “great concern.”

Russia moved to ban the messaging app Telegram after it refused to give the security services its encryption keys. But the company says they don’t exist.

Here’s a snapshot of global markets.

In the News


Nanda Gonzague for The New York Times

A Paris trial of a terrorist cell has become a symbol of how France is dealing with the threat of Islamic radicalization that thrives in marginalized communities. The cell members came from the town of Lunel, above, a notorious breeding ground for jihadists who went to fight in Syria. [The New York Times]

British officials said Russia had been training “special units” to carry out chemical weapon assassinations like the nerve agent attack in March on a former Russian spy and his daughter. [The New York Times]

In France, nine police officers were injured during protests against the government’s changes in labor law. [Deutsche Welle]

In Spain, hundreds of thousands of Catalan independence supporters rallied to demand the release of secessionist leaders being held in pretrial detention. [Associated Press]

Soccer: Manchester City clinched the Premier League title when Manchester United stunningly lost at home, 1-0, to last-place West Bromwich Albion. [The New York Times]

The N.B.A. playoffs are underway, and our sports reporters had some bold predictions about who will prevail. (If Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors win, does that cement them as a dynasty?) [The New York Times]

Smarter Living

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


Lars Leetaru

Tips on traveling light while still dressing well.

Avoid giving biased, unfair feedback with these three steps.

Recipe of the day: Start the week strong, and cook pasta with mint, basil and fresh mozzarella.



Adam Ferguson for The New York Times

Radiation vacation: Starting in the 1950s, the British and Australian governments detonated nuclear bombs in South Australia’s remote western desert. Now the site, above, is a tourist destination.

Iceland is celebrating the life of an 18th-century black slave who fled from Denmark, where his story is widely ignored, highlighting Danish society’s trouble with confronting its slave-trading past.

Flee Trump’s America? These people actually did.

Back Story


Associated Press

Hollywood has the Oscars, journalism has the Pulitzers.

There will be no red carpet or ball gowns, but newsrooms around the U.S. will gather this afternoon for the announcement of the Pulitzer Prizes, which honor the best journalism and arts of the previous year.

Established in 1917, the prizes are given in 21 categories, which include breaking news photography, fiction and editorial writing. (Here’s a look at how The Times selects the work it puts forward for consideration.)

The top prize, which wins a gold medal, is the public service award. Previous winners include The Arkansas Gazette’s coverage of school integration, The Boston Globe’s exposé of sexual abuse by priests and The Times’s reporting of the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

The awards were created by Joseph Pulitzer, above, publisher of The St. Louis Post Dispatch and The New York World at the turn of the 20th century, as an “incentive to excellence.” Hawkish, with an eye for rooting out public abuses, Pulitzer is widely regarded as one of the founders of modern American journalism.

“It’s my duty to see that they get the truth,” he once said, “accurately so that they may be wisely guided by its light.”

Remy Tumin contributed reporting.


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