The Kremlin scoffed at the report and also denied hacking accusations by the defense minister of Denmark, where researchers identified breaches of government email accounts.
A long list of contentious issues — Crimea, sanctions, the persecution of gay men in Chechnya and the war in Syria — dominated the first visit to Moscow as the E.U.’s foreign minister by Federica Mogherini, above.
• A list of suspected war criminals in Syria, kept in a sealed envelope and updated annually, is the work of the longest-serving inquiry in U.N. history.
The commission has collected an enormous volume of evidence, which could one day be used in courts. We discussed these efforts with its chairman, who doesn’t expect to rest anytime soon. “The war is not winding down,” he said.
The Trump administration imposed new sanctions on 271 employees of the Syrian government agency that it said was responsible for producing chemical weapons and ballistic missiles.
Meanwhile, lawmakers must reach a deal to fund the government by Friday or let it go into shutdown. Here’s what to watch for. Mr. Trump’s insistence that a spending bill include money for his proposed border wall is the major sticking point — and not just for Democrats.
• Is this the world’s coolest kindergarten?
“They’re quite good at screaming,” one mother said.
• Start-ups and big aerospace firms are working to address that frequent complaint of sci-fi fans: Where’s my flying car already?
• The middle class grew in Western Europe even as it shrank in the U.S. over the last two decades, according to a new study.
• The Spanish and Brazilian governments plan an undersea fiber optic cable in the Atlantic Ocean, to improve internet speed for both sides and route traffic outside the reach of U.S. intelligence agencies.
• The head of Lafarge, one of France’s largest industrial companies, is stepping down after an investigation found employees at the cement maker paid armed groups in Syria for safe passage.
• Here’s a snapshot of global markets.
In the News
• North Korea is now capable of making a nuclear bomb every six or seven weeks, according to experts and intelligence officials. [The New York Times]
• Venezuela may be girding for a long war of attrition in the streets, as the opposition calls for sustained civil disobedience against President Nicolás Maduro’s autocratic rule. [The New York Times]
• A migrant boat sank between Greece and Turkey, leaving at least 16 people dead, the Greek authorities said. [Associated Press]
• A survey in Scotland suggests most voters do not want another referendum on independence from the United Kingdom. [Reuters]
• Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, and Ivanka Trump, the U.S. president’s daughter and adviser, will share a stage at the W20 Summit in Berlin today. [Politico]
• U.S. embassies posted, but later removed, an article praising President Trump’s private club in Palm Beach, Fla., Mar-a-Lago. [The New York Times]
• Recipe of the day: For simplicity, you can’t beat black bean and poblano tacos.
• Sell-by dates on groceries should be thought of as a suggestion. For the most part, trust your senses.
• Exercising before breakfast might prevent weight gain. Just don’t gorge afterward.
• In Sicily, which banished Jews five centuries ago, a nascent Jewish community is working with a Roman Catholic archdiocese to open a synagogue.
• Fernando Alonso, the two-time Formula One champion, is skipping the Monaco Grand Prix in favor of the Indianapolis 500.
• Phoenix, the French disco-rock band, is releasing its first album in four years. Expect a hint of the darkness that has rattled Paris.
• Hey, Siri, what is hundslappadrifa? Devices that recognize English but not Icelandic are the latest threat to the Nordic language, which fewer than 400,000 people speak.
(If you’re wondering, hundslappadrifa means “heavy snowfall with large flakes occurring in calm wind.”)
In a way, today’s vanity license plates are nothing new.
On this date in 1901, New York became the first state in the U.S. to require registration of automobiles — and with it, the display of the owner’s initials. (Some countries in Europe introduced registration plates in the 1890s.)
As the number of automobiles grew at the turn of the 20th century, states needed an accountability system.
Drivers painted their initials on wood, metal or leather, but with too many overlapping names and initials, the modern license plate was born.
Massachusetts became the first state to issue plates, in 1903.
Designs have occasionally been controversial. In 1928, fishermen in Massachusetts blamed their low catch on the Registry of Motor Vehicles after the image of a codfish was added to the state’s license plates. The image was deemed too small, and what’s more, the fish was swimming away from the “MASS” lettering on the plate.
It was changed to a more substantial codfish (swimming toward MASS) a year later. Its effect on the fortunes of fishermen is unknown.
Remy Tumin contributed reporting.
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