A U.N. investigative panel said that Mr. Assad’s forces used lethal sarin gas in an attack on a rebel-held village in April. The finding was likely to be disputed by Russia.
Meanwhile, in Iraq, Sunni Arabs told our correspondent about how they were struggling to reclaim relevance under Baghdad’s Shiite-dominated government.
As the Islamic State surrenders more territory in both countries, the Red Cross has forcefully warned all sides that detained ISIS fighters and their families deserve humane treatment.
• President Trump announced that he was directing his administration to declare the opioid crisis a public health emergency. These maps show how the epidemic of drug overdoses has spread.
New details emerged on the deadly ambush on U.S. and Nigerien soldiers in Niger three weeks ago. French helicopters swooped in to the rescue, but left behind four Americans who had lost radio contact. It is unclear whether they were still alive at the time
Separately, House Republicans narrowly cleared a budget blueprint that would cut taxes by as much as $1.5 trillion. And the White House sent Congress a list of possible targets of future sanctions on Russia. The list reads like a who’s who of the Russian defense and intelligence sectors.
• Twitter banned all advertising by two Russian news outlets, RT and Sputnik, saying they attempted to “interfere” in the U.S. presidential election last year on behalf of the Russian government.
A Russian troll account, popular in the U.S. state of Tennessee, shows how easily social media fanned the flames of outrage. Meanwhile, Reddit, the popular internet forum, has moved to shut down Nazi, racist and far-right forums, among others.
Consumers don’t seem to care about Silicon Valley’s political quandary. Amazon, Microsoft and Alphabet reported glowing quarterly profits on Thursday.
• The satellite imagery above shows a glacier in Antarctica shedding massive amounts of ice into the sea. The ice’s flow at the Pine Island glacier has accelerated by 75 percent from 1973 to 2010.
Its movement offers scientists a window into how Antarctic ice shelves respond to climate change, raising global water levels and threatening coastal cities.
Separately, our reporters in India met farmers whose lives have been uprooted by a hotter, drier climate. And temperatures are expected to rise further.
• In France, President Emmanuel Macron is betting that economic revival will come from workers accepting new risks in an overhaul of labor laws.
But economists doubt that the Scandinavian model he has proposed can be transplanted to a country where strikes are a cherished ritual.
• The European Central Bank provided a cautious timetable for rolling back purchases of government and corporate debt. Some governments may be in for a shock.
• Recent extreme weather has hit European reinsurers’ profits. That means higher premiums for many homeowners.
• Racing Silicon Valley to develop cars of the future, automakers are showing a new sense of bottom-line discipline.
• Here’s a snapshot of global markets.
In the News
• In Kenya, deadly protests and an opposition boycott marred the presidential election rerun. Voting was postponed until Saturday in some protest-hit counties. [The New York Times]
• In Britain, a senior Conservative Party lawmaker’s letter to universities asking how they teach “Brexit” has ignited an uproar and accusations of McCarthyism. [The New York Times]
• The new Dutch government is seeking to fend off challenges from the right by embracing more conservative policies. [The New York Times]
• Australia’s High Court has disqualified the deputy prime minister and four senators from Parliament in a ruling over their dual citizenships that could cost the government its parliamentary majority. [The New York Times]
• In an Op-Ed, an Italian columnist writes about the state of feminism in Italy. [The New York Times]
• Novaya Gazeta, Russia’s most prominent independent news outlet, intends to arm its journalists with guns that fire rubber bullets amid security fears. [Associated Press]
• A tiny Swiss company quietly amassed exclusive broadcast rights to the soccer World Cup in much of the Americas. It is now under scrutiny amid a wide-ranging corruption probe. [The New York Times]
• In Bangkok, our correspondent was among the hundreds of thousands of people who lined the streets to witness the funeral procession of King Bhumibol Adulyadej. [The New York Times]
Tips, both new and old, for a more fulfilling life.
• Recipe of the day: An overnight stay in the fridge makes classic brioche even better.
• You don’t need to drain your battery before recharging. Here’s some other tech myths people still believe.
• Lap desks, headphones and more: Our latest newsletter focuses on inexpensive ways to improve your home office.
• Our chief film critic analyzes how movies helped fuel an American obsession with conspiracy theories on the assassination of John F. Kennedy. We are dissecting newly released documents with three notable presidential historians here.
• In movie news: 2017 is horror’s biggest year ever at the box office.
• Finland has more than three million saunas for its 5.5 million people — and you. Here are some of Helsinki’s best public options for sweating like a local.
• And the European Court of Justice ruled that bridge, the card game, is not a sport, because it was “characterized by a physical element that appears to be negligible.”
On the lunar calendar, Saturday is the ninth day of the ninth month, and a folk holiday in China: the Double Ninth Festival.
Also referred to as the Chongyang Festival, the celebration has roots that stretch back centuries.
One legend tells of a hero who defeated a disease-spreading river demon with the help of chrysanthemum wine and dogwood.
Mountain climbing, chrysanthemums and dogwood displays are still a tradition on the day, which has a focus on good health and longevity. In fact, China designated the date Seniors’ Day in 1989. (Taiwan named it Senior Citizens’ Day in 1966.)
Japan, which adopted the Gregorian calendar in 1872, honors the holiday on the ninth day of September, the ninth month.
A common link is the chrysanthemum, a flower native to China but that has long been celebrated in Japan. (The country’s royal family is metaphorically referred to as the Chrysanthemum Throne.)
A Times article in 1958 described a centuries-old festival dedicated to the flower: “The ancient court fete became the heritage of lords and nobles. Attired in gorgeous robes, and well provided with sake, they composed poems in honor of the chrysanthemums’ beauty.”
Charles McDermid contributed reporting.
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