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Friday Briefing – The New York Times

The Justice Department filed a lawsuit against Apple, arguing that the company had violated antitrust laws by using practices that were intended to keep customers tethered to iPhones.

The lawsuit accused Apple of preventing other companies from offering applications that compete with products like its digital wallet; making it easier for iPhones to connect with other Apple products than with those of competitors; and undermining messaging across smartphone operating systems. (Read the filing here.)

Apple, which is worth nearly $2.75 trillion, said these practices had made its iPhones more secure than other smartphones. But app developers and rival device makers said Apple had used its power to crush competition.

The Justice Department has the right to ask for structural changes to Apple’s business, including a breakup, an agency official said, should the ruling be in the department’s favor.

It was unclear what implications the suit — which is likely to drag on for years — would have for consumers.

Context: Every modern tech giant has faced a major federal antitrust challenge, and Apple has effectively fought off similar accusations in the past. Here are some of the other regulatory actions facing the company.

Strikes this year in Germany have brought railways and airports to a standstill, drawn doctors out of hospitals and led bank employees to depart for days.

By some measures, there have been more strikes in Germany in the first three months of 2024 than there have been in 25 years, so many that a conservative Parliament leader described them as “strike madness.” Such labor demonstrations are common in many European countries, but Germany has long prided itself on nondisruptive collective bargaining.

Long Europe’s powerhouse, Germany’s economy is now the slowest growing among the 20 countries using the euro. Last year, the country suffered its highest inflation in 50 years. Simultaneously, Germany is facing an ever more severe shortage of labor and an aging population, with officials estimating that the country will need seven million more workers by 2035.

The result is a unique opportunity for workers at a vulnerable moment for the national economy.

Luis Rubiales, the disgraced former head of the Spanish soccer federation who was forced out after kissing a female player against her will, could soon be arrested as part of a wide-ranging investigation into accusations of corruption and money laundering.

Investigators were looking into contracts related to the federation’s sale of lucrative rights to a prominent soccer tournament, the Spanish Super Cup, to Saudi Arabia. Seven people were arrested after raids by the Spanish civil guard this week, but Rubiales, who was in the Dominican Republic and expected to return to Spain in April, was not.

Background: Once one of the most prominent figures in soccer, Rubiales has had his career collapse after he planted an unwanted kiss on the mouth of Spain midfielder Jennifer Hermoso after the country won the Women’s World Cup last year. Hermoso later filed a sexual assault complaint, and a judge recommended that Rubiales face trial. He is also under investigation for a host of other allegations.

You may have heard online that Catherine, the Princess of Wales, is dead. Or a body double. Or a clone.

Such rumors have proliferated while Catherine has been laying low since Christmas, as she recovers from abdominal surgery, according to Kensington Palace. She joins a host of other celebrities about whom scores of online detectives push falsehoods.

International break: What are the plans of your favorite Premier League club?

Khadija Shaw: The Manchester City striker, nicknamed Bunny, talks through her game in her words.

Australian Grand Prix: Breaking down the circuit in Albert Park.

Hideaki Itsuno has spent his three-decade career adapting the hyperviolent DNA of fighting video games for ever larger, more ornate environments.

Now Itsuno is set to release Dragon’s Dogma II, his most ambitious game yet. In it, he transposes the blistering melee combat he made his name with in games like Street Fighter Alpha and the Devil May Cry series into a gigantic open world of fantasy tropes. The game arrives today.

That’s all for this week. Have a wonderful weekend, and see you on Monday. — Dan

You can reach Dan and the team at briefing@nytimes.com.

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