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Germany, California, Tesla: Your Wednesday Briefing

Category: Europe,World

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Good morning. A child-abuse case shocks Germany, record fires hit California and India gets its first Ikea.

Here’s the latest:

A woman and her partner were convicted in Germany on Tuesday of repeatedly sexually abusing her 7-year-old son and selling him online to pedophiles.

The mother, whose role in the abuse struck a nerve among many Germans, received 12½ years in prison. Her partner, who has a history of sexually abusing children, faces 12 years.

Interest groups and politicians have called for investigations into how the authorities failed to protect the child, who is now 10 and in the care of a foster family. Above, a public prosecutor in the case.

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• Record-setting wildfires in California have killed at least seven people and burned nearly 600,000 acres, or about 242,000 hectares. More than 13,000 firefighters have been deployed and tens of thousands of people have fled their homes.

There are 17 fires simultaneously scorching parts of the state. Two fires in Northern California have merged into one — the Mendocino Complex — to become the state’s largest blaze in a century.

President Trump blamed the state’s environmental policies for the fires, saying — inaccurately — that water that could be used to fight them is being diverted to the Pacific Ocean.

• A Russian murder mystery.

Three Russian journalists ventured out in the Central African Republic and were supposedly shot dead by robbers.

But some think the journalists were targeted for investigating Russia’s use of mercenaries in Africa as part of its efforts to regain a presence on the continent.

Above, Monday’s funeral procession in Moscow for one of the journalists.

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There’s magic out there, in this great big beautiful world.”

Jay Austin and his partner, Lauren Geoghegan, above, quit their jobs last year and set off to bike around the world in search of that magic.

Over a year into the journey, men who are believed to have pledged allegiance to the Islamic State killed the young American couple and two other cyclists in Tajikistan.

Elon Musk, above, Tesla’s chief executive, said on Twitter that he was considering taking his company private, citing the demanding pressures of the stock market. The proposed plan sent the stock price on a wild ride.

Will Ikea’s cheap, D.I.Y. approach work in India’s complex market? The Swedish furniture giant’s first store in the country will be watched by other international retailers looking to get a bite of India’s growing middle class.

Snap, the maker of the Snapchat app, said it lost three million daily active users in the second quarter, its first reported drop since going public last year. The news follows similar trends at Facebook and Twitter, signaling that social media companies may have reached a saturation point.

Here’s a snapshot of global markets.

It took more than 12 hours for an Indonesian man, above, to dig his way out from under a collapsed mosque after a powerful earthquake struck the resort island of Lombok. He is one of just a handful of people pulled from the rubble alive. [The New York Times]

The U.S. billionaire Stan Kroenke will get full control of Arsenal football club after a Russian tycoon, Alisher Usmanov, agreed to sell his stake. The move clears the way for Mr. Kroenke to take the club private. [The New York Times]

North Korea released a detained South Korean citizen in a rare gesture that adds pressure on the South to return 14 detained North Koreans. [The New York Times]

China claims to have successfully tested its first hypersonic aircraft, which reached a top speed of Mach 6 — six times the speed of sound. [CNN]

The BBC announced that its popular dance competition show “Strictly Come Dancing” will not accept same-sex couples, despite calls for it to become more progressive. [Guardian]

Amsterdam, a city of one million people, is expecting almost 20 million tourists this year, prompting an official crackdown on “overtourism.” [NPR]

Smarter Living

Tips for a more fulfilling life.

Allow us to introduce Ask, a new way for Times subscribers to relay questions to our journalists and family of experts. (And everybody, including nonsubscribers, can benefit from the answers.) For the next month, we’re focusing on fitness.

Our first expert is Jessamyn Stanley, above, a yoga teacher, body positivity advocate and author of “Every Body Yoga.” Have a question about the right kind of class, a pose for a certain ache or gear advice? Ask here.

Azza Abo Rabieh, above, was imprisoned in Syria for her art and activism. Behind bars, she started sketching the harsh realities of her fellow female inmates. “I want to draw them so they are not forgotten,” she said.

In Seville, Spain, our 52 Places traveler finds musicians in medieval costumes, a Spanish Stevie Nicks and a pace perfectly suited to her own natural rhythms.

A teenage chef who started charging for meals at the age of 13 has opened a new restaurant in New York, Gem. Our critic walked in a skeptic and left a believer in the prodigy chef, now 19.

Back Story

New York’s Restaurant Week, a promotional event offering dining deals across the city, is underway, so today we’re exploring the history of restaurants.

Dining venues have existed since antiquity. Greeks and Romans ate at thermopolia, where customers could grab drinks and food from divots in L-shaped counters.

During the 13th century in China, eateries featured regional specialties and à la carte menus, and some consider them to be the predecessors of today’s restaurants.

Globally, taverns and inns served food, but they focused primarily on alcohol or lodging.

The word “restaurant” comes from 18th-century Paris, derived from the French verb restaurer, meaning to restore. According to the encyclopedia Larousse Gastronomique, a man named Boulanger opened an establishment near the Louvre in 1765 that served bouillons restaurants, or restorative broths.

After the French Revolution, many chefs for well-to-do families lost their jobs and began emulating Boulanger’s business.

Although his story is widely cited, the origin of the modern restaurant is not so clear.

Rebecca Spang, a historian who has written about restaurants, said in an interview in 2000 that “there are simply no direct sources to demonstrate that someone called Boulanger existed and that he opened a restaurant.”

Instead, she suggests the distinction should go to Mathurin Roze de Chantoiseau, who opened a bouillon establishment in 1766 and called himself “the first restaurateur.”

Matthew Sedacca wrote today’s Back Story.

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