Europe Edition: Jerusalem, Russia, Volkswagen: Your Thursday Briefing

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Good morning.

Here’s what you need to know:

Arab and European leaders, Pope Francis and the U.N. criticized President Trump’s decision to officially recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. (Here’s the full video and transcript of his comments.)

Mr. Trump seemed to relish playing a familiar role: the political insurgent, defying orthodoxy on behalf of his political base. While some American Jewish leaders welcomed the announcement, many worried that it could make peace in the Middle East even harder to achieve.

Some in the region expect reactions to be muted as the Palestinian cause, once a rallying cry for Arab unity, has been overshadowed by the wars in Iraq, Syria and Yemen, and the contest between Saudi Arabia and Iran for regional dominance.

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• Muscovitestold our correspondent that they considered Russia’s ban from the Winter Olympics yet another politicized decision meant to punish their country. President Vladimir Putin took a conciliatory tone in saying athletes could choose whether to compete on their own.

Here’s a detailed look at the hurdles athletes would have to clear and a look at the Olympic events that would be most affected.

Mr. Putin also announced, to no one’s surprise, that he would seek a fourth term as president in next year’s election, which he is expected to win handily. Another full term would make his tenure, including his years as prime minister, the longest by a Russian leader since Joseph Stalin.

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A little-known Saudi princewas the mystery buyer of Leonardo da Vinci’s painting “Salvator Mundi,” which fetched a record $ 450.3 million at auction last month.

The purchase of the decidedly un-Islamic portrait of Christ is the clearest indication yet of the selective nature of a corruption crackdown that has shaken the Saudi elite by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who is a friend of the buyer.
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• In Washington, the House of Representatives passed a sweeping expansion of the right to carry concealed firearms virtually anywhere in the United States, a top legislative priority of gun lobbyists. In the Senate, the passage could be blocked by a Democratic filibuster.

Eight Democratic women in the Senate called for Senator Al Franken, above, to resign after a sixth woman accused him of misconduct.

And a whistle-blower account suggests that Michael Flynn, President Trump’s former national security adviser, expected that an end to U.S. sanctions against Russia would allow a business project Mr. Flynn had once participated in to move forward.

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• Our two chief film critics unveiled their picks for the 10 best movies of 2017. Above, a scene from “Faces Places” by Agnès Varda and JR, which made both lists.

And our pop music critics shared playlists of their favorite tracks of the year, from Jay-Z to Cardi B, Les Amazones d’Afrique to Sam Hunt.

Business

• Amazon has enabled new electronics companies offering inexpensive gadgets, once unfairly called “Chinese knockoffs.”

• Bitcoin investors are hoarding the digital currency as if it were virtual gold, a new way to store money outside the control of any government or company.

A top Volkswagen official in the United States was sentenced to seven years in prison for his role in the automaker’s decade-long scheme to cheat on diesel emissions tests.

• Luxury online sales jumped by 24 percent this year. Our correspondent looks at the companies leading the revolution in fashion retail.

Here’s a snapshot of global markets.

In the News

• Los Angeles commuters drove through showers of ash and flames rose on the horizon as the latest of California’s devastating wildfires began to infringe on the heart of the city. [The New York Times]

Leo Varadkar, the Irish prime minister, said that his British counterpart, Theresa May, promised a new proposal on the future of the Irish border by Thursday to break an impasse in Brexit negotiations. [Reuters]

• A plot to kill Mrs. May was foiled, prosecutors in London said. Two suspects are on trial. [The New York Times]

• Prosecutors in Hungary charged a European Parliament lawmaker of the nationalist opposition Jobbik party with spying for Russia. [Reuters]

• President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will be the first Turkish head of state to visit Greece in 65 years. He will likely discuss territorial disputes and seek the repatriation of asylum seekers his government accuses of participating in a failed coup last year. [Kathimerini]

About 2,000 American troops are in Syria fighting the Islamic State, the Pentagon said, almost four times the total previously disclosed as the Trump administration changes how troop numbers are publicly counted. [The New York Times]

• Norwegian lawmakers blocked the appointment of a right-leaning populist politician to the committee that awards the Nobel Peace Prize. [The New York Times]

Smarter Living

Tips, both new and old, for a more fulfilling life.

• Recipe of the day: Start planning a holiday cookie plate with a recipe for linzer trees.

• So, you’d like to buy your loved one a book? Consider these.

• How not to talk to a child who is overweight.

Noteworthy

• From the most beautiful coastlines of Europe to a remote Alaskan island, above, here are five of our favorite travel stories of the year.

• In a Champions League first,five English clubs reached the knockout stage.

• A new study that followed 1.8 million Danish women for more than a decade found that women who use hormonal birth control face a small but significant increase in the risk for breast cancer.

• Time Magazine named “the silence breakers” — those who came forward to accuse powerful men of sexual misconduct — as its person of the year. Here are excerpts from a TimesTalks conversation in which the actress Ashley Judd and Times journalists discussed whether recent revelations could bring about lasting change.

Back Story

It was “a date which will live in infamy.” Or would it “live in world history”?

Seventy-six years ago today, Japan bombed the U.S. naval base in Pearl Harbor, killing more than 2,400 Americans and propelling the U.S. into World War II.

News of the surprise attack in Hawaii “fell like a bombshell on Washington,” The Times reported the next morning. “Administration circles forecast that the United States soon might be involved in a worldwide war, with Germany supporting Japan, an Axis partner.”

A few hours later, President Franklin D. Roosevelt stood in the chamber of the House of Representatives and, in a speech that lasted only about seven minutes, asked Congress to declare war on Japan.

An initial draft of his speech said that the day of the attack would “live in world history.” But Roosevelt had changed the wording to say “a date which will live in infamy” — now among the most recognizable phrases in U.S. history.

The president’s three-page typewritten manuscript would be lost for more than four decades until a curator, Susan Cooper, found it during a routine search of Senate files at the National Archives in Washington.

“I hadn’t known that it was missing,” she told The Times in 1984.

Mike Ives contributed reporting.

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