(Want to get this briefing by email? Here’s the sign-up.)
Good morning. Fears of Turkish contagion, another unexpected Putin meeting and dramatic Taliban gains in Afghanistan.
Here’s the latest:
• What’s happening in Turkey might not stay in Turkey.
The lira sank by more than 20 percent in the past week, raising fears that the country is on the verge of economic collapse.
Turkey’s spat with the U.S. is just one reason the lira is in free-fall. Another is President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s deepening interference with the economy for political purposes, analysts say. He has railed against raising interest rates, even as inflation has soared.
Turkey’s woes may prompt investors to pull out of other emerging markets, which could have far-ranging repercussions. Our reporter explains how a financial crisis can spread.
• A surprise meeting.
Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany and President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia are scheduled to meet near Berlin this weekend to talk about Syria, Ukraine and a natural gas pipeline.
But analysts say the unexpected meeting, of two leaders who are often at odds, could also touch on a common concern — President Trump.
The Trump administration has slapped both Germany and Russia with steel and aluminum tariffs. Ms. Merkel and Mr. Putin, above, may use this opportunity to explore ideas about how best to respond to Mr. Trump’s unpredictable diplomacy.
• “There is no such thing.”
China denied accusations from United Nations experts that it had detained more than a million ethnic Uighur Muslims, forcing as many as two million to submit to re-education and indoctrination.
The allegations are based on reports from activists and scholars as well as accounts from friends and relatives of Uighurs who have disappeared. Above, a Uighur resident of Xinjiang.
At a hearing in Geneva, a Chinese representative said his country had clamped down on terrorist activity but that there was “no such thing as re-education centers.” The denials didn’t seem to convince members of the U.N. panel.
• The Taliban could be within sight of controlling an entire Afghan province — Ghazni, in the east — for the first time in the 17-year war.
The insurgents have seized more rural districts in the province, even as attention has focused on their battle for the city of Ghazni, a strategic urban center less than 100 miles from Kabul, the Afghan capital.
The tenacity the Taliban have displayed in the Ghazni assault belies the official narrative of progress in the war and the possibility for peace talks, our correspondent writes.
• Peter Strzok, above, the F.B.I.’s counterintelligence official who criticized President Trump in text messages while investigating Russia’s election interference, was fired. [The New York Times]
• President Moon Jae-in of South Korea will visit North Korea next month for his third summit meeting with Kim Jong-un, the North’s leader. [The New York Times]
• Hundreds of people were injured in Spain when a pier collapsed during an oceanside music festival in the northwestern city of Vigo, the authorities said. No deaths were reported. [The New York Times]
• Google tracks and stores a user’s location data even when privacy settings have been set to switch that function off, The Associated Press reported. [Bloomberg]
• Aretha Franklin, 76, the legendary “Queen of Soul,” is gravely ill, family members said. [Variety]
Tips for a more fulfilling life.
• Mount Fuji is a popular tourist attraction and a globally recognized symbol of Japan. It’s also one of the few places in the country where old-fashioned snail mail has more cachet than a social media post. Above, a tractor that carries mail down the mountain.
• Decades ago, a microbiologist discovered a “third kingdom” of life, potentially scrambling Darwin’s theory of evolution. But you’ve probably never heard of him.
• An experimental psychologist started studying poker to understand luck and decision-making. Now she’s a professional player who has won more than $200,000. “It’s been an unexpected journey,” she said.
It’s just a jump to the left, and then a step to the right. Put your hands on your hips, and bring your knees in tight.
But as fans of the “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” well know, it’s the pelvic thrust that really drives you insane. The cult classic film opened in London on this day in 1975.
Often described as a campy take on horror and science fiction films, the movie originally premiered on the London stage in 1973, and was summed up in one breathless sentence by a Times review: “Two young innocents are entrapped by Frank N. Furter, a mad, transvestite inventor from outer space, who has created a beefcake monster, Rocky Horror, who looks as though he has just stepped from the centerfold of Playgirl.”
Shortly after the premiere of the film version, it was briefly shelved before being resurrected at a midnight screening in New York. A group of fans made weekly pilgrimages to the small theater, sat in the front row and screamed for their favorite characters. A social phenomenon was born, and the film has remained in theaters ever since.
We’ll end with the words of Frank N. Furter: Don’t dream it. Be it.
Remy Tumin wrote today’s Back Story.
Your Morning Briefing is published weekday mornings and updated online.
Check out this page to find a Morning Briefing for your region. (In addition to our European edition, we have Australian, Asian and U.S. editions.)
What would you like to see here? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.