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E.U., Angela Merkel, Mosul: Your Monday Briefing

March 27, 2017 4:00 AM
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E.U., Angela Merkel, Mosul: Your Monday Briefing

Above, the conservative governor of Saarland, Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, often called “the mini-Merkel,” reacting to the results.

The vote, the first of three state elections ahead of national elections in September, was widely watched as a test of Ms. Merkel’s strength. The far-right Alternative for Germany cleared the 5 percent hurdle to get seats, and is now sitting in 12 of Germany’s 16 state legislatures.

• Prime Minister Theresa May of Britain, who is in Scotland today, is expected to begin on Wednesday the formal, two-year process of negotiating Britain’s exit from the E.U..

European leaders (but not Ms. May) gathered in Rome on Saturday to pledge continued integration among member states, but acknowledged that they were “facing unprecedented challenges.”

On a side note, the only British member of Parliament representing UKIP, a far-right party that campaigned for “Brexit,” left the party.

• The Trump administration is trying to regroup after its biggest defeat to date, last week’s collapse of the Republican health care bill.

This weekend marked the eighth in a row — out of the 10 weekends Mr. Trump has been in office — that he has visited a Trump-branded property. Critics argue that the visits are priceless advertising.

• Entrants in the reality television series “Eden” emerged from the Scottish wilderness, only to learn the show stopped broadcasting last summer.

The show was intended to feature the making of a society from scratch, but contestants who quit the show earlier had complained of boredom, insects and concerns about health and safety.

• Samsung will introduce a new smartphone this week, hoping to redeem itself from last year’s debacle over combusting Galaxy Notes.

• In Bulgaria, the center-right party of Boiko Borisov, the former prime minister, held a narrow lead in elections, a sign that Bulgarians still see a future with the E.U. [The New York Times]

• The British home secretary said that the attack in London last week highlighted the need for intelligence services to get access to encrypted messaging services like WhatsApp. [BBC]

• Members of Birmingham’s Muslim communities say poverty and drug abuse make youths in England’s second-largest city, where the London attacker last lived, vulnerable to jihadi recruiters who operate like gangs. [The New York Times]

• U.S. military officials are investigating whether a building collapse that killed scores of civilians in Mosul, the Islamic State’s last stronghold in Iraq, was caused by coalition airstrikes or an Islamic State bomb. [The New York Times]

• Turks living in six European countries, including Germany and France, begin voting today in a Turkish referendum on a new Constitution that would expand the powers of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. [Anadolu]

• Protests over high crime rates in French Guiana, the French territory in South America, led to the suspension of European space rocket launches there. A general strike starts today. [France 24]

• Cauliflower dressed with curry butter makes for a side dish that’s just as enticing as the main course.

•The Belgian playwright Ismaël Saidi, a former police officer, writes comic plays that offer a message of multicultural tolerance.

• For the first time in 11 years, Andorra’s national soccer team didn’t lose a game. The Pyrenees mountain principality tied with the visiting Faroe Islands in a World Cup qualifier.

Raise a dram to Michael Jackson — the renowned beer and whiskey writer from England, not the King of Pop.

International Whisk(e)y Day was announced on this day in 2008 in honor of Mr. Jackson, who died in 2007 after a decade-long battle with Parkinson’s disease. It officially began at the North Netherlands Whisky Festival on March 27, 2009, on what would have been Mr. Jackson’s 67th birthday.

The festivities center on tastings and celebrating whiskey, but the aim is to promote awareness and raise money for curing Parkinson’s. Each year, whiskey fans donate to charities of their choice.

Mr. Jackson is perhaps best known for his book “Michael Jackson’s Malt Whisky Companion,” first published in 1989. He contributed to several publications in Britain and the United States and hosted “The Beer Hunter,” a BBC documentary series. He began his career writing about beer, but later shifted focus to Scotland and malt whisky.

Lastly, if you’re wondering whether it’s whiskey or whisky, here’s the entry in The Times’s stylebook: “Use whiskey (and whiskeys) as a general term for liquors distilled from a mash of grain, and in specific references to the Irish and American versions. Use whisky (and whiskies) in specific references to Scotch and Canadian varieties.”

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