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Supreme Court, Saudi Journalist, Interpol: Your Monday Briefing

Category: Europe,World

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Good morning. Remaking a court, ramping up Turkish-Saudi tensions, tearing up church ties in Ukraine.

Here’s the latest:

Remaking the U.S. Supreme Court. At a cost.

Against the backdrop of bitter protests, Judge Brett Kavanaugh was confirmed to the country’s highest court by one of the slimmest margins in history, putting the last of three branches of the U.S. government under conservative control. The partisan battle over his elevation widened as accusations of sexual misconduct tapped fury over #MeToo, a conflagration that deeply eroded the court’s apolitical image.

Next: Will Democratic rage dominate Congressional midterms, just a month away? We have a guide with everything you need to know about the elections. And our newsletter Abroad in America helps make sense of what’s going on in Washington.

• Saudi journalist’s killing ramps up tensions with Turkey.

Turkish officials on Sunday demanded a “convincing explanation” from Saudi Arabia over what they said was the killing of the veteran Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Mr. Khashoggi was a dissident who was critical of the kingdom under Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Mr. Khashoggi fled the kingdom last year because he feared arrest, and disappeared during a visit to the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Tuesday to pick up a document that would allow him to remarry in Turkey.

Turkish officials said investigators concluded Mr. Khashoggi was killed by Saudi agents inside the consulate.

The episode sharply escalated tensions between the countries, two of the Middle East’s most important powers.

• Under China’s thumb, Interpol chief quits.

The Interpol president, Meng Hongwei, above, who was reported missing after leaving France for China, is being investigated on “suspicion of violating the law” and was “under the supervision” of an anticorruption watchdog tied to the Chinese Communist Party, the authorities said on Sunday.

The move could set back the country’s efforts to expand its global presence.

Hours after China announced Mr. Meng’s detention, Interpol said he had resigned. What he did is not clear, but this is: Global prominence will not stay Beijing’s hand.


• Biggest Christian schism since 1054 is threatened.

Eastern Orthodox Christians in Ukraine want an independent church that has no ties to Russia, which would be achieved through a process known as autocephaly. The Eastern Orthodox leader is incensed by what he sees as the Kremlin using the church as an instrument of imperial control.

The move has left the Russians seething, and threatening to break entirely with the mother church. Above, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I, center, the spiritual leader of Eastern Orthodox Christians worldwide

• Far worse climate change effects are found.

A landmark United Nations report out today paints a far worse picture of the immediate effects of climate change than previously thought. It says that avoiding damage requires quickly transforming the world economy.

The effects of climate change can be seen in a vast tract of rural Australia that continues to wither under the worst drought in decades. There, a committed pastor has become a counselor, a social worker and a philanthropist as he faces changing weather and tries to keep his community from falling apart. Above, a boy with the bones of dead livestock on a farm in New South Wales, Australia.


A number of global deals involving American companies are under review by Chinese market regulators. Among the biggest is Walt Disney Company’s $71 billion acquisition of 21st Century Fox, which has an Oct. 19 deadline.

China’s central bank is cutting the amount that some lenders must hold in reserve, effectively pumping $174 billion into the economy. The move signals worries about slowing growth and increased pressures from the trade war with the U.S.

“Venom,” starring Tom Hardy as a fanged antihero, and the bittersweet romance “A Star Is Born,” this time with Lady Gaga in the lead role, vastly exceeded expectations, sending the North American box office to an October record.

• Coming this week: Google’s new products, the Nobel Prize in Economics and bank earnings will all be announced.

• Here’s a snapshot of global markets. Tokyo’s stock exchange is closed.

• Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, above right, said that in his meeting with Kim Jong-un on Sunday, the North Korean leader agreed to allow inspectors into a key nuclear testing site that the North claimed it blew up. Mr. Pompeo also said that a second U.S.-North Korea summit meeting would happen soon. [The New York Times]

The Vatican issued a scathing retort to accusations by a high-ranking archbishop that Pope Francis covered up sexual abuse. Cardinal Marc Ouellet called the accusations “abhorrent” and politically motivated. [The New York Times]

Official results for the Serbian seat on Bosnia’s three-member presidency are expected this morning. Milorad Dodik, a pro-Russia Serbian nationalist, said on Sunday that he had won. If so, it could worsen ethnic rivalries and stall Serbia’s E.U. bid. [The New York Times.]

• Ireland will impose tobacco-style warning labels on alcohol as part of restrictions intended to tackle one of the world’s worst rates of binge drinking. [The New York Times]

At least 54 people were killed across Afghanistan in a 24-hour period, 17 years to the day American forces invaded the country to topple the Taliban. [The New York Times]

• Tsukiji, Tokyo’s famous wholesale seafood market, closed for good over the weekend. Fishmongers and customers alike bemoaned the end of an era of grunge. “Dirty is best,” said one fish shop owner. [The New York Times]

Tips for a more fulfilling life.

• “I came from nowhere,” Andy Warhol once said. He was probably referring to Mikova, the tiny village in Slovakia pictured above, where his parents were from. Its 100 or so residents once perceived the artist as a “bit of a weirdo,” but have since tried to cash in on Mr. Warhol’s roots.

• Cuisine ingrained in DNA: The largest genetic study to date of the Chinese population found metabolism genes for a kaleidoscopic variety of foods, from meat-heavy stews in the north to fresh greens in the south.

• Works by Banksy, the renowned street artist, look set to soar in value after his latest prank: a work that self-destructed immediately after it sold for $1.4 million at Sotheby’s.

A key date in feline history just slunk past.

On Oct. 7, 1982, the musical “Cats” opened on Broadway, little more than a year after its debut in London’s West End. Scored by Andrew Lloyd Webber, the show had a script drawn from a playful volume of poetry, T.S. Eliot’s “Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats.” It told a loose story about “Jellicle” cats gathered for a junkyard ball.

The New York show received mixed reviews (“Whatever the other failings and excesses, even banalities, of ‘Cats,’” Frank Rich wrote in The Times, “it believes in purely theatrical magic”). But it ran for 18 years, earning nearly $400 million. A revival in 2016 ran for about a year and a half. Above, Mr. Lloyd Webber with that cast.

Next stop: Hollywood. In December 2019, “Cats” makes its movie debut, with Steven Spielberg and Mr. Lloyd Webber executive producing. Shooting starts in Britain next month; James Corden, Jennifer Hudson, Ian McKellen and Taylor Swift are among those slated to prowl the screen.

“I think the key to the ‘Cats’ movie is going to be: What do they look like?” Mr. Lloyd Webber said last year.

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