Europe Edition: Catalonia, Saudi Arabia, Hugh Hefner: Your Thursday Briefing

Their lackluster results in last Sunday’s election turned the job he has held since 2009 into an important bargaining chip in coalition negotiations.

Loved or hated for his insistence of budgetary austerity, he played a leading role in keeping the eurozone from disintegrating amid financial crises. His departure is a blow to French efforts to strengthen the E.U.’s financial governance.

The bloc’s leaders gather in Tallinn, Estonia, today for a summit meeting.

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Credit
Ivor Prickett for The New York Times

The votes have been counted in Iraqi Kurdistan’s nonbinding independence referendum. An overwhelming majority — 92.7 percent — voted in favor of…

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