Mark Zuckerberg, Manchester, Ramadan: Your Wednesday Briefing

Mark Zuckerberg, Manchester, Ramadan: Your Wednesday Briefing

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Good morning.

Mark Zuckerberg in Europe, memorials in Manchester and the death of an American literary giant. Here’s the latest:

Mark Zuckerberg faced a barrage of questions at the European Parliament in Brussels, the latest stop on his Facebook apology tour.

One member asked if Mr. Zuckerberg wanted to be remembered in the same high regard as Steve Jobs and Bill Gates, or for destroying democracy. Another asked whether it was time to consider breaking up Facebook because the company had “too much power.”

Mr. Zuckerberg kept to the conciliatory script he used in Washington last month. His appearance comes ahead of the region’s introduction this Friday of a strict new data privacy law called the General Data Protection Regulation.

“There’s a very substantial chance that it won’t work out.”

President Trump cast doubt on his planned meeting next month with North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-un, in Singapore. His comments came as he met with President Moon Jae-in of South Korea at the White House, above.

Mr. Moon has acted as a go-between in the proposed talks, and South Korea insisted on Monday that there was a “99.9 percent” chance the meeting would be held.

If the North maintains its nuclear arsenal, can Mr. Trump still claim diplomatic victory? It will depend on how he redefines success — and if he meets with Mr. Kim, our correspondent noted.

The British city of Manchester marked the anniversary of a terrorist bombing at a rock concert with a day of commemorations, songs and a moment of silence, above, to honor the 22 people who died in the attack, which challenged the city’s resilience.

“We’re a city in recovery,” its mayor said.

Separately, Britain’s iconic red phone booths, long unwanted in the age of smartphones, are staging an unlikely comeback. Some of their newfound uses: cellphone repair shops, tiny cafes and defibrillator sites.

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Across the globe, countless Muslims fast from dawn to dusk during Ramadan without their jobs and daily lives suffering as a result.

But in Denmark, where the days last up to 18 hours during the monthlong holiday, the immigration minister, Inger Stojberg, above, called fasting Muslims “a danger to all of us,” and advised them to stay home from work “to avoid negative consequences for the rest of Danish society.”

Her remarks prompted an uproar from Danish Muslims at a time when a backlash against immigration has spurred government policies that many have deemed xenophobic.

• Congress passed a bill that would free thousands of U.S. banks from strict rules intended to prevent another financial meltdown. The legislation does little to alter the oversight of some of the larger banks, but it is symbolically important to Republicans railing against the 2010 Dodd-Frank banking regulation law as an example of federal overreach.

And the Volcker Rule, one of the most significant actions by the government, is also a target of the White House’s deregulatory push. The law, enacted in 2015, prohibited banks from making risky but hugely profitable bets with their customers’ deposits.

Above, the New York Stock Exchange.

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• The literary giant Philip Roth has died at 85. He explored themes of lust, vanity and Jewish identity in novels like “Portnoy’s Complaint.”

Mr. Roth, above, won almost all the major literary awards, publishing an exceptional sequence of historical novels in his 60s, an age when many writers are winding down.

A Turkish court sentenced 104 people to life in prison for involvement in the failed military coup of 2016, handing down the heaviest penalties possible. Above, surrendered uniforms and weapons belonging to soldiers involved in the coup attempt that July. [The New York Times]

The Polish author Olga Tokarczuk won the Man Booker International Prize for works of translated fiction, sharing the £50,000 prize with the translator of her novel, “Flights.” [The New York Times]

A business partner of Michael Cohen, President Trump’s personal lawyer, is cooperating with investigators as part of a plea deal, potentially giving the government leverage to pressure Mr. Cohen into working with the special counsel examining Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. [The New York Times]

A British jury convicted a woman Tuesday of forcing her teenage daughter to marry a man 16 years her senior in Pakistan, capping a rare criminal prosecution in England for forced marriage. [Associated Press]

Giuseppe Conte, the law professor nominated to be Italy’s next prime minister, is facing allegations he overstated his academic credentials on his résumé by saying he studied at New York University when he only had library privileges there. [BBC]

Smarter Living

Tips, both new and old, for a more fulfilling life.

Recipe of the day: Have a fish fry night with caramelized ginger and garlic, browned coriander seeds and red chile.

Seventeen refreshing books to check out this summer.

How to talk about moving to a retirement home: “It’s a journey.”

We start today on a bright note. Neon, specifically.

When Georges Claude discovered a mechanism for trapping gas in a tube and zapping it with electricity, he turned the ordinary extraordinary.

Claude, who died on this date in 1960, demonstrated his invention at the Paris Motor Show in 1910 with two 40-foot neon tubes that glowed a brilliant red. Two years later he installed the first neon advertising sign in a Parisian barbershop on the Boulevard Montmartre.

Neon signage made it to the United States in the early 1920s by way of a Los Angeles car dealership. Bigger and brighter, it turned out, was better.

“Every business in the nation that wanted to be perceived as modern in that Art Deco era had to have neon,” a neon preservationist and historian told The Times.

By the late 1960s, neon was on the outs as the first lady, Lady Bird Johnson, started a national “beautification” campaign and communities passed anti-neon laws. Neon flickered back to life in the 1980s, but made a strong return in the 2000s in the United States. In Hong Kong, a city known for its glow, neon lights have slowly dimmed in recent years.

Just as quickly as neon dies out, it can turn back on.

Remy Tumin wrote today’s Back Story.

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