(Want to get this briefing by email? Here’s the sign-up.)
Good morning. Sweden’s changing image, recovery in Brazil and the deadliest migrant journey.
Here’s the latest:
• Sweden’s longstanding image as “a moral superpower” may be changing.
As the country prepares for its parliamentary elections on Sunday, the anti-immigration, anti-Europe Sweden Democrats are forecast to get 20 percent of the vote. What the next Swedish government may look like is completely unclear because of the party’s rapid rise.
Sweden “is joining the rest of Europe,” a former prime minister from the center-right Moderate Party said. “And the myth of the Sweden model is melting away.”
Above, a member of the Sweden Democrats talking to potential voters in Stockholm.
Meanwhile in Germany, politicians called for surveillance of the nationalist, anti-immigrant Alternative for Germany party on suspicion of undermining the country’s Constitution. The move comes in the wake of violent anti-immigration protests in the city of Chemnitz.
• “We can only hope to recover our history from the ashes.”
A day after a huge fire ravaged Brazil’s National Museum in Rio de Janeiro, researchers, anthropologists and other workers began to take stock of thousands, perhaps millions, of significant artifacts now reduced to ruins.
Staff members are still hopeful they’ll recover the museum’s most famous piece: a 12,000-year-old skeleton known as Luzia, the oldest human remains discovered in the Americas. Only about 10 percent of the museum’s collection was spared.
But when Brazilians look at the shell of their National Museum, above, some see the fire as a symbol of the hollowing out of the whole country and the near-abandonment of basic public services.
The museum was no exception, and fell into disrepair as Brazil struggled.
• The journey between North Africa and Italy across the Mediterranean Sea is now deadlier than at any point in the European migration crisis.
Data released by the United Nations showed that for every 18 migrants reaching Italy from North Africa in the first seven months of 2018, one person drowned attempting the voyage. The numbers come even as unauthorized migration along the route has fallen to its lowest level since 2015.
The rising death rate can largely be attributed to a spike in shipwrecks that occurred after most rescue vessels were barred from taking migrants to Italian ports in June, according to one migration specialist.
Above, a woman’s body and a migrant who survived were found in the Mediterranean Sea in July.
• Amid rising clamor for Pope Francis to address claims he covered up sexual abuse, Francis has had a consistent response: silence.
As recently as Monday, the pope extolled the virtues of silence. “The truth is humble, the truth is silent,” he said in a homily at the Vatican.
Francis has declined to speak publicly on the controversy since Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, the former Vatican ambassador, released a letter saying that the pope knew about an American cardinal’s sexual misconduct.
The archbishop’s outspokenness has “essentially ensured his protection from censure,” our Rome bureau chief writes in a news analysis. “Punishing the archbishop now would fuel speculation Francis has something to hide.”
• WPP, the global marketing giant, named Mark Read, above, as chief executive to replace Martin Sorrell, who resigned amid a personal misconduct investigation.
• Amazon is moving aggressively into digital advertising, emerging as a competitor to Facebook and Google.
• It may be too early to declare the death of retail, as Americans have started shopping more in stores, reflecting a broad reordering of the $3.5 trillion industry.
• Colin Kaepernick, the former N.F.L. quarterback who protested during the national anthem, is a new face of Nike’s “Just Do It” campaign.
In the News
• The Senate confirmation hearings for Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh begin today. Our Supreme Court correspondent breaks down how Judge Kavanaugh would transform the U.S.’s highest court. [The New York Times]
• Rights activists, diplomats and news organizations around the world are condemning a verdict against two Reuters reporters in Myanmar. [The New York Times]
• From Opinion: For the first time in a decade, mortality dropped for heart-attack patients in Ukraine. The victory is emblematic of a nation “accustomed to being robbed of public services — or even robbed by them,” one author writes. [The New York Times]
• A kindergarten teacher in southern China thought it would be a good idea to welcome students to a new school year with performances that included a pole dancer. It wasn’t. [The New York Times]
• Almost 90 elephants were killed by poachers near a major wildlife sanctuary in Botswana, according to conservationists. [BBC]
• His “wonderful” physique, love for children and ability to drive away bears. Those are some of the topics covered in the first episode of a new TV show dedicated to the weekly activities of the Russian president, Vladimir Putin. [The Guardian]
Tips for a more fulfilling life.
• Your next trip could be written in the stars. Resorts, parks and other attractions around the world are expanding the galaxy of what has become known as astrotourism. Above, Manning Park Resort in British Columbia.
• Participants at this year’s London Design Biennale, which begins today, took a broad interpretation of the theme: Emotional States. Some designers examine emotional response at its most visceral, while others take a more intellectual tack.
As the country mourns the loss of Senator John McCain, there’s a curious story from his past worth mentioning.
A sensationalist Russian tabloid published a report in 2008 that purported to explain Mr. McCain’s antipathy to Russia.
A government-funded Russian newspaper helped disseminate the story, in which Yuri Trushechkin, a former Soviet lieutenant colonel, said he had shot down Mr. McCain’s plane in North Vietnam in 1967. Mr. McCain, whose rescue is pictured above, spent more than five years as a prisoner of war.
Mr. Trushechkin came forward, according to the report, after recognizing Mr. McCain during coverage of his presidential campaign.
“He always hated the Russians,” Mr. Trushechkin said. “He knew that it was our rocket that downed his plane.” (Watch the video coverage.)
Just two months later, Russian newspapers reported that Mr. Trushechkin had died of cancer.
He was said to have just one question for Mr. McCain: whether he ever finished reading the works of Karl Marx.
Alisha Haridasani Gupta 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.