Asia and Australia Edition: Trump, Turnbull, Prince Philip: Your Morning Briefing


The health care legislation goes to the Senate next, where there is little guarantee of the bill’s survival in its current form.

Republicans there have long been deeply skeptical of the House effort.



Credit Wong Maye-E/Associated Press

North Korea’s state media lashed out at an unlikely adversary: China.

The angry commentary warned that North Korea would continue its nuclear weapons program even if it risked losing a friendly relationship with its longtime ally and critical trade partner.



Credit Eric Feferberg/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

French voters pick a new president on Sunday, choosing between two candidates — Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen — with starkly contrasting visions for the future of France, and for Europe.

Here is a breakdown of where they stand on major issues.

In South Korea, desire for a “Korea first” agenda and frustration over geopolitical turmoil could drive voters to the polls in Tuesday’s presidential election.



Credit Ahmad Al-Rubaye/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

In Iraq, a new strategy was set in motion to recapture Mosul.

Iraqi forces opened a western front on Thursday, aiming to force the Islamic State to fight in multiple directions and collapse its defenses.

The move trapped hundreds of thousands of civilians on an urban battlefield.



Credit European Pressphoto Agency

Gaffe-prone, but grumpily endearing.

That’s one way to describe Prince Philip, the husband of Queen Elizabeth II, whose retirement was announced by Buckingham Palace.

The news was an anticlimax after a frenzy among the news media over speculation about a royal death, including one erroneously published (and unfinished) obituary.



Credit David Dare Parker for The New York Times

“Culturally, we are Asian. And indigenous. And white European.”

That’s what Graham Steele, a TV director living in Los Angeles, wrote us about growing up in Darwin, a northern Australian outpost.

Here are more stories people shared about the border-military town, and the latest newsletter from our new Australian bureau chief.



Credit Saipan Tribune

• “They tricked us to come here.” American officials say contractors illegally hired Chinese workers in Saipan, an American commonwealth in the Pacific, to build a casino overseen by a former protégé of President Trump.

• Apple announced plans for a $1 billion fund to invest in advanced manufacturing in the U.S.

• Tesla, the electric-car maker, reported losses of $397 million in the first quarter, but said that sales had grown rapidly ahead of its offering of a mass-market vehicle.

• An email attack hit Google this week. Here’s what to do if you clicked on the spam message.

• U.S. stocks were lower. Here’s a snapshot of global markets.

In the News


Credit Kevin Frayer/Getty Images

• A huge sand and dust storm has engulfed Beijing and a large area of northern China, affecting flights, traffic and air quality. [South China Morning Post]

Russia, Iran and Turkey signed a memorandum to create four safe “de-escalation zones” in Syria. [The New York Times]

• The Afghan warlord Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, who leads the country’s second largest militant group, returned to Kabul eight months after signing a peace deal. [BBC]

• An Australian court ruled that a woman who fatally stabbed seven of her children and niece will remain in mental health facilities, saying she exhibited “schizophrenia at its very depths.” [Bendigo Advertiser]

• North Korea is likely to be a topic of discussion as Secretary of State Rex Tillerson meets with foreign ministers from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations. [The Straits Times]

• The Vatican and Myanmar established full diplomatic relations after Pope Francis met Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, the country’s de facto leader. [Reuters]

• Hundreds of immigrants have died illegally crossing the southwestern border of the U.S. in recent years, the vast majority unidentified. [The New York Times]

• In Australia, the world’s deadliest mushrooms — the death cap and the yellow-staining mushroom — are spawning in huge numbers. Both look similar to edible varieties. [ABC]

• Yeonmi Park, a North Korean refugee and rights campaigner, used the Met Gala this week as a forum for activism. [The New York Times]

Smarter Living


• It only takes nine minutes to complete a full-body strength training workout. Here’s how to do it in your own home.

• When it comes to exercise and brain health, there’s no such thing as too much.

• Recipe of the day: Get into the world of rice noodles with Vietnamese-inspired, lemongrass shrimp.


• Korean boy bands are a huge hit in Chile, and screaming fans might be the best metric. A recent concert of K-pop stars Bangtan Sonyeondan, or “bulletproof boy scouts,” reached an earsplitting 127 decibels.

• Space sounds like summer squall, and sometimes like a drifting tone from a not-quite-tuned-in radio station, NASA said after the Cassini spacecraft dove between Saturn and its innermost ring.

Back Story


When President Trump and his team unveiled their tax reform plan late last month, they revived the so-called Laffer curve, the theory that cutting taxes spurs economic growth which, in turn, creates more tax revenue. President George Bush once called it “voodoo economics.”

Arthur Laffer, the economist who devised the system, first illustrated it on a napkin in 1974 during a dinner with Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld. That napkin, above, is now displayed in the National Museum of American History and is credited as changing the course of modern economics.

Many big ideas had similar starts. The design for the Super Bowl trophy was first drawn on a napkin, and architect Edward E. Carlson sketched out his vision for Seattle’s Space Needle on a place mat.

The high-tech industry could have its own wing of napkin-based winners, including Compaq computers, Ethernet and Facebook’s data center.

Roger Ebert, the former movie critic, gets special mention. He used napkin calculations to show Oprah Winfrey the benefits of nationwide syndication, and his great-great grandfather, Hieronymus Ebert, used one for a tick-tack-toe game that inadvertently inspired Chicago’s street grid system.


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Source: New York Times



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