Photographer: Lisi Niesner/Bloomberg

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Here are today’s top stories for Europe.

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Theresa May’s government now says it wants to establish an interim customs union with the EU to maintain tariff-free, bureaucracy-light trade for up to two years after Brexit. In the first of a series of position papers, the U.K. today conceded that businesses will likely see more red tape under the interim plan. Meanwhile, everybody wants to know: why has Boris Johnson gone so quiet on Brexit? Is he playing politics? — Leila Taha and Andy Reinhardt

Strategy unraveling. German discount carrier Air Berlin filed for insolvency after leading shareholder Etihad Airways withdrew its financial support. The airline will continue flying for a while with the help of a government loan, while rivals including Lufthansa and EasyJet may try to acquire some of its assets. Air Berlin’s failure is the second in four months among major European airlines caused by Etihad, which also pulled the plug on funding Italy’s Alitalia in May.

Split hit. Headline inflation in Britain held steady last month at 2.6 percent, but an alternative measure known as the retail prices index, or RPI, jumped 3.6 percent — its biggest rise since 2011. That’s bad news for prices including rail fares and student loan payments, which are pegged to RPI. It may also increase the gap between wages and expenses for people at the lower end of the pay scale. At the same time, pensions are also indexed to RPI, widening a divergence between the fortunes of the young and the old.

A Danske Bank bank branch in Copenhagen.
Photographer: Freya Ingrid Morales/Bloomberg

Keep your money. Denmark’s Danske Bank has a surprising message for its corporate clients: we’d rather you didn’t park excess cash in a deposit account before the end of the year. That’s thanks to negative interest rates. Though depositors have to pay the bank to hold their savings, Dankse is still struggling to manage near-record amounts of deposits.

Mystery gift. In June, Bill Gates made his largest donation since 2000, giving away Microsoft shares valued at $4.6 billion, according to a filing released on Monday. The gift accounted for 5 percent of his fortune, and the recipient of the donation hasn’t been specified, though it may be his foundation. Gates remains the richest person on earth, and with his wife Melinda he has given away about $35 billion of stock and cash since 1994.

Crackdown. Saudi Arabia is cracking down on religious hate speech. The Department of Public Prosecution summoned a group of Twitter users accused of inciting violence, oppressing minorities and publicizing hate speech. The kingdom has long been criticized for promoting an intolerant strain of Islam. A textbook published for this academic year teaches first graders that religions other than Islam are “invalid.”

The epitome of cool. From James Dean to Marlon Brando to the Ramones, America’s most iconic rebels have gravitated to sturdy, hand-made “Perfecto” leather jackets from New Jersey’s Schott NYC. Meet the family-run company’s fourth-generation Chief Operating Officer and tour the factory floor where 50,000 coats are produced every year.

A leather jacket displayed for sale at a Schott NYC store in New York City.
Photographer: Victor J. Blue/Bloomberg

Compiled by Andy Reinhardt and Leila Taha

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