(Want to get this briefing by email? Here’s the sign-up.)
We’re covering the challenges awaiting Christine Lagarde at the European Central Bank, European efforts to save the Iran nuclear accord and the costs of the U.S. trade war with China.
A test for Christine Lagarde
Ms. Lagarde is poised to become president of the European Central Bank at a difficult time. Growth in the eurozone has slowed to a crawl, and central banks in the U.S., Japan and Europe have largely exhausted their arsenals of stimulus measures.
Investors expect her to follow her predecessor, Mario Draghi, and do “whatever it takes” to defend the euro. But Ms. Lagarde, currently the managing director of the International Monetary Fund, is not an economist, and that has raised questions about her candidacy.
Her qualifications: Ms. Lagarde trained as a lawyer before becoming a minister in the French government. Supporters point out that the I.M.F., which she has led for eight years, played a crucial role in preventing the collapse of Greece’s banking system during the eurozone debt crisis.
Management style: Ms. Lagarde once said she tried to do something for women every day. She can be expected to address a gender imbalance at the central bank; just two of the 25 members of its governing council are women.
What’s next: European finance ministers easily endorsed Ms. Lagarde last week. The European Parliament and the central bank’s governing council will now weigh in, though neither has the power to block her from taking charge on Nov. 1.
Iran’s breaches are not major, E.U. ministers say
Scrambling to save the nuclear agreement with Iran, European foreign ministers declared that Iran’s breaches were not serious enough to warrant steps that could lead to the reinstating of international sanctions and a collapse of the accord.
That conclusion extended a lifeline for the 2015 agreement, which has been in peril since the U.S. abandoned it more than a year ago and renewed its own sanctions on Iran.
Context: In recent weeks, Iran has exceeded the amount and purity of the uranium it is permitted under the accord. The Iranians have said they intend to breach the limits even further unless they get what the accord promised: economic relief.
European view: The E.U. ministers insist the agreement is the only option for curbing Iran’s nuclear program. But while they have committed to easing the impact of U.S. sanctions, they have not found an effective way to do so.
Soccer controversy: Women’s rights activists are campaigning to bar Iran from qualifiers for the 2022 World Cup because Iranian women are prohibited from attending matches.
Costs of Trump’s trade war exceed tariff revenue
President Trump says the U.S. is winning its trade war with China. Tariffs, he says, are punishing China’s economy while generating billions of dollars for the U.S., a victory that will allow him to continue his fight without domestic harm.
But government figures show that the revenue the U.S. has collected from tariffs on $250 billion worth of Chinese goods is not enough to cover the cost of the president’s bailout for farmers, let alone compensate the many other industries hurt by trade tensions.
The numbers: Mr. Trump’s tariffs on Chinese imports have raised $20.8 billion, according to government data. Mr. Trump has already committed to paying $28 billion to American farmers hurt by the trade war.
What’s next: Trade talks have faltered in recent months, and it looks like there will be no quick resolution. Mr. Trump appears to be in no hurry to resolve the dispute, projecting confidence that China is suffering most — if not all — of the harm from the trade war.
Trump steps up attack on congresswomen
President Trump, under fire for comments condemned as racist, amplified his attacks on four progressive congresswomen of color, saying they hated America, used “foul language & racist hatred” and should apologize.
They did not. Instead, the four Democratic representatives — Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Rashida Tlaib — fought back in a news conference. “This is the agenda of white nationalists,” Ms. Omar said. Mr. Trump’s declaration on Sunday that they should “go back” to the countries they came from was a “blatantly racist attack,” she said. All but Ms. Omar were born in the United States.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the House would move to officially reject the president’s “xenophobic” Twitter posts — and the president then accused Ms. Pelosi of making racist statements.
Analysis: Heading into next year’s election, the president appears to be drawing a line between white, native-born Americans and the ethnically diverse, increasingly foreign-born population in a way that no other modern president has, our chief White House correspondent writes.
If you have 5 minutes, this is worth it
And then there was one
Thirty years ago, the Moldovan village of Dobrusa had about 200 residents. Deaths and emigration left only three at the start of the year — and then two of them were killed.
“The loneliness kills you,” said the sole remaining human, pictured above. “When I work, I speak with the trees.”
Here’s what else is happening
Turkey: The E.U. suspended financial aid to Turkey in response to Turkey’s gas exploration off Cyprus. The measures came days after the first shipment of a Russian missile system to Turkey, a NATO member, strained relations with the U.S.
Italy: The police seized an arsenal of weapons, including an air-to-air missile, in raids targeting neo-Nazi sympathizers in northern Italy. Three men were arrested, including a customs officer who had stood for Parliament for an extreme right-wing party.
Sweden: A single-engine plane crashed on a small island in northern Sweden, killing all nine people onboard, eight of them members of a parachute club.
India: The 11th-hour delay of the country’s lunar mission disappointed a nation that had pinned its hopes and ambitions on the Chandrayaan-2, but many remain hopeful that the Indian space agency will overcome the “technical snag” and reschedule the launch soon.
Snapshot: Above, Mark Carney, the governor of the Bank of England, introducing Britain’s 50-pound note, featuring Alan Turing, the computing pioneer and World War II code-breaker who suffered under Victorian laws against homosexuality.
Travel: A couple attempted to cross the Cévennes mountains in southern France in a poky and temperamental 1976 Citroën 2CV.
What we’re reading: This article in The Washington Post Magazine. “Non-Florida man @loganhill33 reveals non-Florida man behind now-retired @_FloridaMan,” tweeted Ron Lieber, our Your Money columnist. “Great story.”
Now, a break from the news
Watch: Stream the movies discussed in The Times’s recent round-table discussion on the ’90s black film boom, and a few others from a golden age for black auteurs in Hollywood.
Go: An exhibition at Tate Britain in London suggests the breadth of the painter Frank Bowling’s career, which has spanned half a century, and an ocean.
Smarter Living: Sibling fights, while no fun, offer opportunities to help your children learn to hear each other and work on their own solutions. Instead of trying to referee, narrate what you experience like a sportscaster. For instance: “I’m hearing loud voices. One of you looks angry and one of you is laughing.” Listen, stay neutral and consider what might lie beneath the surface of the fight.
And we look at the apps, services and hardware that make it easy to jot, sketch and save the things that inspire you.
And now for the Back Story on …
Bail, a way out of jail
The financier Jeffrey Epstein will hear Thursday whether he will be allowed out on bail while he awaits trial on charges of sex trafficking related to his activities with underage girls.
What exactly is bail? Since most countries don’t have it — and even many Americans don’t know its ins and outs — we looked back at an explanation that our chief legal correspondent, Adam Liptak, gave a few years ago.
Bail, he wrote, is a payment to the court — either in cash or through a pledge of personal assets — that is returned only if a defendant shows up for trial. It has ancient roots in English common law.
America’s open frontier and entrepreneurial spirit altered the system. By the early 1800s, private businesses (bail bond companies) were allowed to post bail in exchange for payments from defendants and were empowered to chase down any defendants who failed to appear (bounty hunting).
Commercial bail bond companies dominate the pretrial release systems of only two nations: the U.S. and the Philippines, a former U.S. territory.
That’s it for this briefing. See you next time.
To Mark Josephson and Eleanor Stanford for the break from the news. Andrea Kannapell, the briefings editor, wrote today’s Back Story. You can reach the team at [email protected].
• We’re listening to “The Daily.” Our latest episode is about the immigration raids in the U.S.
• Here’s today’s Mini Crossword puzzle, and a clue: Bar food that can be messy to eat. You can find all our puzzles here.
• The New York Times is presenting its first Food Festival, Oct. 5-6 in New York City.