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Monday, April 17, 2017

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Europe Edition
Your Monday Briefing
Good morning.
Here’s what you need to know:
Ozan Kose/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey claimed a narrow victory in a national referendum (with just over 51 percent voting in favor) that vastly expands the powers of his office, a watershed moment that is likely to cement his one-man rule.
The main opposition party called for a partial recount of around 2.5 million votes. Next on Mr. Erdogan’s agenda is the possible reintroduction of the death penalty.
Thilo Schmuelgen/Reuters
The consequences of Turkey’s turn toward a more authoritarian rule are already felt overseas.
The authorities in Germany, which is home to Europe’s largest Turkish diaspora, have accused some imams sent by Ankara of spying on critics of Mr. Erdogan. Above, the Cologne Central Mosque.
And a day before Sunday’s vote, a prosecutor in Turkey opened an investigation into prominent Americans, including a former C.I.A. director, accusing them of fomenting last year’s failed coup.
Ammar Abdullah/Reuters
The death toll rose in the Syrian city of Aleppo after the bombing of a bus convoy carrying evacuees on Saturday. Activists said that dozens of children were among the more than 100 people killed. Further evacuations have been postponed.
Pope Francis condemned the attack in his Easter Sunday Mass in front of tens of thousands of people who gathered in St. Peter's Square in Vatican City.
There is a wider mountain of evidence documenting previous war crimes in Syria, which points to officials there. Our team of Middle East correspondents examines why there is no clear path to justice for the victims.
Frederic Scheiber/European Pressphoto Agency
• In France, Jean-Luc Mélenchon’s late rise in the polls has turned the French presidential election into an open race just days before the first round of voting on Sunday.
We joined Mr. Mélenchon, the veteran left-wing politician, at a rally in Toulouse. “Masters of the earth, you have good reason to be uneasy!” he yelled at a festive, youthful crowd.
Mr. Mélenchon will campaign by boat in Paris today. The front-runners, Marine Le Pen and Emmanuel Macron, have also announced rallies in the capital.
Lucas Jackson/Reuters
• Transparency: New calls for President Trump to release his tax returns came amid furor over the White House’s decision to no longer share visitor logs.
That effectively bars the public from knowing who has access to officials, even as Mr. Trump fills top jobs with former lobbyists and consultants.
Mr. Trump’s most powerful advisers now appear to be his daughter and son-in-law, Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner.
Scott McIntyre for The New York Times
Populist leaders in Europe, including Marine Le Pen, seem to have identified President Trump’s longtime neighbor, George Guido Lombardi, as a potential access point to the White House.
Mr. Lombardi said Mr. Trump has leaned on his Italian expertise, inquiring once about Silvio Berlusconi, the former prime minister, because, Mr. Lombardi said, Mr. Trump was intrigued by a “billionaire who became a politician.”
Eirini Vourloumis for The New York Times
In Greece, demographers warn that lower birthrates will mean weaker growth and productivity, and ultimately, fiscal problems. “People are saying they can’t afford more than one child, or any at all,” said a doctor at a fertility lab in Athens, above.
Tourism in Paris, which plunged after a series of terrorist attacks in 2015, has recovered strongly, in part thanks to the cheaper euro.
• A hacking group claimed that a U.S. intelligence agency had broken into Swift, the international bank messaging system.
Here’s a snapshot of global markets.
In the News
Wong Maye-E/Associated Press
“The Cuban missile crisis in slow motion.” This is how one analyst described the intensifying standoff between the U.S. and North Korea over Pyongyang’s nuclear program. [The New York Times]
• More than 6,000 migrants have been rescued from the Mediterranean since Friday in operations coordinated by the Italian Coast Guard. [Associated Press]
A court in Egypt freed Aya Hijazi, an Egyptian-American aid worker who cared for street children in Cairo, after she spent three years in detention on child abuse charges. Rights groups called her case “a travesty.” [The New York Times]
• Our media columnist went to Moscow to explore Russia’s pliant state-controlled press, which has made the Kremlin its main arbiter of truth. [The New York Times]
• In France, a Ligue 1 soccer match between Bastia and Lyon was canceled after fans invaded the field. [ESPN]
Smarter Living
Annie Tritt for The New York Times
• A provocative study found that some of the benefits of exercise for brain health may evaporate if we take to the couch, even just for a week or so.
• Do what feels good: Write your boss that kiss-off letter. Then delete it.
• Recipe of the day: Use up that leftover lamb in these Greek-style nachos.
Alessandro Garofalo/Reuters
Emma Morano, above, the Italian woman who was the last to have witnessed the 1800s, died at 117. Europe’s oldest person is now a Spanish woman born in 1901.
Formula One: Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel won the Bahrain Grand Prix after a thrilling duel with Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes.
The Walled Off Hotel, opened by the British artist Banksy, is across from the West Bank wall that separates Israelis from Palestinians. It brags of the “worst view in the world.”
Back Story
Doug Mills/The New York Times
Justice Neil Gorsuch sits on the U.S. Supreme Court bench today for the first time, but he probably won’t have to think too hard about what to wear.
By convention, Supreme Court justices in the United States have worn black robes since the 1800s. (Above, the court in 2010.)
After the American Revolution, there was a push to move away from the court regalia of Britain, wigs and all. Simplicity ruled by Thomas Jefferson’s presidency.
High-court garb runs more archaic in many countries, though.
Justices on Brazil’s Supreme Federal Court wear their black robes belted with a thick metal buckle and floor-length capes. High court judges in Portugal wear large medallions around their necks. In some former British colonies, wigs still prevail. And in Canada, Supreme Court justices wear bright red robes trimmed with fur.
Back in the United States, personal embellishment is not unknown. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg has a jabot for every occasion. Justice Sandra Day O’Connor recalled that the former Chief Justice William Rehnquist was inspired by a Gilbert & Sullivan opera to add gold stripes to one sleeve.
As for herself, she said: “People often ask me if, as the first woman on the Supreme Court, I had any special preferences for my robe. But honestly, I took whatever was available and put it on.”
Remy Tumin contributed reporting.
This briefing was prepared for the European morning. We also have briefings timed for the Australian, Asian and American mornings. You can sign up for these and other Times newsletters here.
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