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Your Monday Briefing: Malta, Prince Andrew, Northern Ireland

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Good morning.

We’re covering political drama in Malta, stabbings in London and The Hague and a Latin dictionary with an epic mission.

Response: The family of the slain journalist, Daphne Caruana Galizia, said Mr. Muscat’s departure would not satisfy those who were determined to eradicate corruption in politics. “People will be out in the streets again tomorrow,” one of her sons wrote on Twitter.

What’s next: Mr. Muscat, who won two elections in a landslide, said he would resign as his party’s leader on Jan. 12 and as prime minister “in the days after.” The long-stalled murder investigation, meanwhile, is gathering speed.


At least 180 people have been killed in Iran’s attempt to smother the country’s worst unrest since the Islamic Revolution 40 years ago. In many places, security forces opened fire on unarmed protesters, largely unemployed or low-income young men.

The protests, set off by an increase in gasoline prices, have dealt a blow to President Hassan Rouhani, a relative moderate. They may create an opening for hard-liners to win upcoming parliamentary elections and the presidency in two years.

Iraq: Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi resigned over the weekend amid protests driven by anger over political corruption and Iran’s influence in the country’s politics. The formation of a new Iraqi government could take weeks, if not months.

Syria: The Times’s Visual Investigations team used flight logs, cockpit tapes and other evidence to link a Russian pilot to an airstrike in Syria that killed dozens of civilians. (Here’s how.)


As Queen Elizabeth II fades into history, Prince Charles is moving aggressively to assert control. That’s apparent from the monarchy’s aggressive moves to mop up the mess from Prince Andrew’s recent BBC interview about his relationship with the disgraced American financier Jeffrey Epstein.

Prince Charles has long pushed to have fewer members of the royal family carrying out official duties and drawing from the public purse. But his push to have his younger brother stripped of public duties, our London bureau chief writes, is the most visible sign yet that he has “effectively assumed the role of monarch-in-waiting.”

Another angle: Our reporters looked into the complex story of a hacker who claimed to have Mr. Epstein’s sex tapes.

Tonight: The BBC will air an interview with Virginia Giuffre, an American woman who says she was forced to have sex with Prince Andrew when she was 17.

Tomorrow: President Trump, who is widely unpopular in Britain, will be among the world leaders descending on Buckingham Palace to mark the 70th anniversary of NATO. Prime Minister Boris Johnson is said to be anxious about what Mr. Trump will say.


So far, the collective work of nearly 400 scholars has reached the letter R. It may be decades before anyone writes the last entry (for “zythum,” an Egyptian beer), not least because Q and N (which begin lots of difficult words) were temporarily set aside.

Fun fact: In Latin, the word “thesaurus” means “treasury.”

Cook: Broiled salmon with chile and orange zest looks fancy, and takes 15 minutes.

Watch: “The Irishman,” starring Robert De Niro and Al Pacino, has arrived on Netflix. Here’s a guide to who’s who, which events are real and whether to believe its claim about Jimmy Hoffa’s disappearance.

Read: The third volume of a biography of Margaret Thatcher is among nine books we recommend this week.

Smarter Living: Our weekly Climate Fwd: newsletter includes tips for sustainable holiday shopping.

File this under the category of Who Knew? The queen chess piece was not always as powerful as it is today.

I’m Katharine Seelye, a longtime reporter for The Times and a chess player. I learned about the change in the queen’s power just last week, while writing the obituary of Marilyn Yalom, a feminist author. Her 2004 book, “Birth of the Chess Queen: A History,” describes the queen’s evolution from weakest piece on the board to mistress of the universe.

When the game was first played in the sixth century in India and the Arab world, the chess queen did not exist.

But in real life, powerful queens — see Eleanor of Aquitaine in the 12th century and Isabella I of Castile in the 15th — were making their mark.

Ms. Yalom posits that these examples inspired game makers to reflect such power on the board. Initially, the queen could move only one square, on the diagonal.

In time, the queen was granted superpowers and became the mightiest of all — at least in chess.


That’s it for this briefing. See you next time.

— Mike


Thank you
To Mark Josephson and Eleanor Stanford for the break from the news. You can reach the team at briefing@nytimes.com.

P.S.
• We’re listening to “The Daily,” which features a special three-part series about a mysterious family in India.
• Here’s today’s Mini Crossword puzzle, and a clue: August is the only month that ends with one (three letters). You can find all our puzzles here.
• Reporters and editors at The Times recently shared some examples of important local reporting from other news organizations.




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