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Washington’s options on Syria, a new Cold War battleground and trouble for Northern Ireland. Here’s the latest:
• President Trump weighed the level of retaliation over the suspected chemical weapons attack in Syria. The big question is whether it would be more robust than the missile strike he ordered last year against a Syrian air base after a deadly chemical attack. Above, he met with the emir of Qatar at the Oval Office.
Our Interpreter columnists divided the U.S. options into three categories: limited punitive strikes, actions to make the war costlier for the Syrian government (like arming opposition fighters), and extensive strikes that could throw millions more lives into chaos — and possibly risk a direct confrontation with Russia.
Meanwhile, the fighting goes on. The U.N. said that more than 133,000 people fled eastern Ghouta, the last major rebel-held pocket near the capital, Damascus, in the face of the government’s military onslaught.
And a senior Iranian official warned Israel that its strike on a Syrian air base that killed several Iranians would “not remain without a response.”
• British officials said Yulia Skripal, above, has been released from hospital, five weeks after she and her father, a former Russian spy, were poisoned with a nerve agent that resulted in raised tensions between Russia and the West.
Britain has blamed Moscow for the poisonings, an accusation that the Kremlin has dismissed. On Twitter, the Russian Embassy in London demanded proof that Ms. Skripal had rejected Russian assistance, and it appeared to condemn reported diplomatic efforts to resettle the pair in the U.S.
Meanwhile, U.S. officials warned British banks that they must cut ties with Kremlin-linked oligarchs sanctioned by Washington if they want continued access to American financial institutions. The move will have major ramifications in London’s financial and real estate industries, which have long catered to Russia wealth.
• Mark Zuckerberg, in a suit and tie, met an army of cardboard look-alikes, above, when he arrived on Capitol Hill to testify before U.S. lawmakers.
Zeroing in on privacy concerns, one senator asked Mr. Zuckerberg if he would be comfortable sharing aloud the name of his hotel. (Spoiler alert: he declined.)
Much of the focus was on Cambridge Analytica, a political consulting firm linked to the Trump and Brexit campaigns. The hearing was called after The Times, working with The Observer of London, revealed that the firm harvested data from tens of millions of Facebook users to psychologically profile voters.
Mr. Zuckerberg faces more questioning today. (Our tech columnist narrates this video about just how much Facebook knows about us.)
• Bummed about not receiving an invitation to Britain’s upcoming royal wedding?
Well, don’t feel too bad. Politicians aren’t invited either. The decision ends speculation about whether the Obamas or the Trumps would get to R.S.V.P., avoiding a potential diplomatic snafu with the current occupant of the White House, who is widely disliked in Britain (a sentiment shared by the bride-to-be).
Separately, Dutch lawmakers reduced penalties for insulting the king, striking down a centuries-old law that made denigrating the royal family punishable by as much as five years in prison.
• The Balkans have become a battleground in a new Cold War, our chief diplomatic correspondent in Europe writes, but countering Russian meddling in the region is no easy feat.
Even as the E.U. dangles the possibility of membership (with strings attached), corruption, ethnic tensions and fears of migrants give Moscow plenty of ways to divide, if not conquer.
(Above, Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia and Herzegovina, in 2014.)
• FIFA was offered $25 billion from a mysterious consortium of Asian and Middle Eastern investors for an expanded version of FIFA’s Club World Cup and the rights to a proposed global league. The offer is a sign of the scramble among the sport’s top clubs, its leading figureheads and deep-pocketed investors to unearth new ways to capitalize on the world’s most popular sport.
• The European Commission searched the London offices of a unit of 21st Century Fox as part of an broad antitrust investigation. The inquiry adds to the company’s challenges in Europe, where officials have held up its bid to take full control of the British satellite broadcaster Sky.
• Volkswagen is set to replace Matthias Müller as chief executive as it grapples with a long-running and deeply damaging diesel emissions scandal. A final decision is expected by the end of the week.
• Bayer’s stock soared after reports that the U.S. Justice Department was close to approving the German pharmaceutical giant’s $66 billion purchase of Monsanto, the American biotech behemoth.
• Here’s a snapshot of global markets.
• U.S. hate groups are peddling nostalgia for Rhodesia, the colonial country that fought to maintain white rule over territory that is now Zimbabwe. Spread online, Rhodesian-themed T-shirts, posters and military insignia have become a subtle form of racist messaging promoted by white supremacists and opportunistic apparel marketers. [The New York Times]
• Peace in Northern Ireland is under threat, not least from Brexit. So Tony Blair, the former British prime minister who helped forge the landmark agreement that ended the sectarian conflict, urged voters there to stand up for the pact. [The New York Times]
• Fresh off his landslide electoral victory, Prime Minister Viktor Orban of Hungary promised to push through controversial legislation targeting civil society, drawing a stinging rebuke from human rights advocates. [The Guardian]
• E.U., too: The number of Britons granted citizenship of another European Union country more than doubled in the year after the Brexit referendum. [BBC]
• The F.B.I. was looking for records of payments to two women who say they had affairs with President Trump when agents raided the office of Mr. Trump’s personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, on Monday. [The New York Times]
Tips, both new and old, for a more fulfilling life.
• Land in good health. Choose your airplane seat wisely.
• Recipe of the day: Based on the Vietnamese dipping sauce nuoc cham, this steak marinade has big flavor.
• Check that python’s pedigree! Many reptiles and amphibians sold in pet stores were not bred in captivity as international law requires — but were plucked wild from forests and rivers. The E.U. imported nearly 21 million of these animals from 2004 to 2014.
• Fear the reaper. An American man ate a whole Carolina Reaper — the world’s hottest pepper — as part of an ill-advised competition. His prize? A hospital stay, for severe “thunderclap” headaches that went on for days.
• And can bringing poems to the masses be an antidote to America’s toxic civic culture? Tracy Smith, the U.S. poet laureate, believes it can, and she explains why to The Times Magazine.
Each week, The Times’s crossword column, Wordplay, highlights the answer to one of the most difficult clues from the previous week’s puzzles.
This week’s word: Abou.
Abou Ben Adhem is the Anglicized name of one of the most prominent early Sufi mystic saints, Ibrahim ibn Adham, who was the subject of a poem by the English poet Leigh Hunt. The entry, with the clue “ ‘___ Ben Adhem’ (Leigh Hunt poem),” was in the April 3 crossword puzzle and stumped many solvers.
Published in 1836 as part of a three-volume collection called “The Book of Gems: The Poets and Artists of Great Britain,” the poem describes Ben Adhem waking from a sound sleep, only to see an angel inscribing the names of those who love God in a golden book.
When he finds out that his name is not among those, he asks the angel to write his name down as one who loves his fellow man. Ben Adhem’s name appears the next night at the top of the list, implying that those who love their fellow man also love God.
Deb Amlen contributed reporting.
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