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North Korea, Taliban, Cambodia: Your Tuesday Briefing

North Korea, Taliban, Cambodia: Your Tuesday Briefing


The veiled threat came as the president’s legal team appears to be struggling to present a consistent message to the public and as Republican fears grow over the possibility of losing control of Congress.

In a signal of just how alarmed Republicans are, Mr. Trump also intervened in the West Virginia Republican primary, pleading with voters to oppose a controversial candidate for Senate, warning that if he were chosen, it would lead to a repeat of the party’s embarrassing loss last year in Alabama.

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Jim Huylebroek for Norwegian Refugee Council

What does it feel like to live in a city on the brink of falling to the Taliban?

Our reporter visited Ghazni, not far from Kabul, where the Taliban impose “taxes” on businesses and kill police officers with impunity.

He found weary and fearful residents who say they can hardly tell anymore who’s in charge. The sense of defenselessness highlights the failures of a U.S.-led war in its 16th year and the struggles of building a democracy in the midst of bloody conflict.

And yet Afghanistan is now taking in refugees forced to return from neighboring Pakistan, among them a young boy named Bilal, above, starting a new life with his only friend, his pet parrot.

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Adam Dean for The New York Times

The Phnom Penh Post is widely seen as the last bastion of a free press in Cambodia.

So its sale, just before national elections, to a Malaysian investor with ties to Cambodia’s strongman prime minister, Hun Sen, is stirring fears that the country is sliding toward outright authoritarianism. Above, the newspaper’s printing presses in Phnom Penh in February.

Critics say the sale suggests Mr. Hun Sen no longer needs to tolerate a free media, now that China has become his government’s main patron.

The new owner, Sivakumar S. Ganapathy, made his mark felt almost immediately. Several senior editors resigned or were fired after they refused to remove a story from the paper’s website about the relationship between Mr. Sivakumar’s P.R. firm and Mr. Hun Sen, the longest-ruling leader in Asia.

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Skeletal remains. Bomb remnants. An empty vault that used to hold money.

This is what’s left of Marawi, above, in the southern Philippines, after it was seized by pro-ISIS fighters nearly a year ago.

Hundreds of thousands of people were displaced by five months of fighting, the longest urban combat in the country since World War II. The Philippine Army, with help from the U.S., retook control in October, and residents are now beginning to return to collect their belongings.

Our correspondent takes you there as families began returning home.

Business

Academics from around the world have harvested information from Facebook for more than a decade. The security of the data they’ve collected is now being questioned.

Investors are pouring billions of dollars into South Korean bonds as the local currency stabilizes and tensions with the North ease.

Starbucks is planning to use its $7.15 billion payment from a deal with Nestle on stock buybacks. It will also funnel investment in its two key markets, China and the U.S.

California is the world’s fifth-largest economy. But while years of robust growth have brought the state bragging rights and soaring salaries, it also faces rising homelessness and eye-popping house prices.

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

In the News

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Pool photo by Alexei Nikolsky

• Vladimir Putin was sworn in for a fourth term as Russia’s president, in a ceremony that was more a coronation. [The New York Times].

• In India, a 17-year-old girl was raped and then set on fire, the second such incident in recent days as the country reels from a string of violent sexual crimes. [BBC]

President Moon Jae-in of South Korea offered the North’s leader, Kim Jong-un, a detailed blueprint for economic integration at last month’s historic summit between the two countries. The proposed initiative fits Mr. Moon’s campaign pledge to merge the two Koreas’ economies in a single market to lay the foundations for unification. [South China Morning Post]

AIDS threatens an entire indigenous population in Venezuela, as government programs collapse. “A part of the population is going to disappear,” warned a doctor. [The New York Times]

• Peter Madsen, the Danish inventor convicted of killing a journalist aboard his submarine, will not appeal the verdict, only the life sentence imposed on him. [The New York Times]

Smarter Living

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

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Meredith Heuer for The New York Times

Recipe of the day: A 20-minute one-pot spaghetti with cherry tomatoes and kale.

• Some runners use marijuana to provide a mental or physical boost.

Sell your old phone safely.

Noteworthy

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Stephen Hiltner/The New York Times

For decades, a neighborhood in New Orleans has been home to several thousand Vietnamese immigrants, many of whom came as refugees during the war. But some residents fear their tight-knit community may fade away. Above, a Vietnamese grocery store in the neighborhood in March.

In Scotland, the archipelago of St. Kilda has been uninhabited since 1930, when the last islanders left after their old way of life became untenable. But signs of life remain in abundance.

Researchers using earthquake monitoring tools have found that elephants may be monitoring ground vibrations through their bodies and communicating to warn of danger, a tactic that could protect pachyderms from poaching.

Back Story

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Rafael Marchante/Reuters

When the Eurovision Song Contest opens in Lisbon today, it will be part of the largest edition yet of the zany annual pop competition. Forty-three countries will compete for the top prize, which is awarded in a grand final on Saturday.

At the first contest, in Switzerland in 1956, there were 14 entries, all of them from Western Europe. But in 1961, socialist Yugoslavia joined, and the competition has steadily become ever more international and inclusive.

Israel first appeared in 1973; Australia, which used to broadcast the competition without taking part, has been sending contestants since 2015.

Despite its distinctly “euro” sensibility — which can be puzzling to the uninitiated — Eurovision is now a global phenomenon with fans all over the world.

From the moment Eurovision was first broadcast in Australia, in 1983, Maria Bresic, who grew up in the suburbs of Sydney, said she and her parents, who were from Croatia, were hooked.

“We would often stay up until ridiculous times to watch it,” Ms. Bresic, 50, said.

Matthew Anderson and Tacey Rychter wrote today’s Back Story.

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Your Morning Briefing is published weekday mornings and updated online. Sign up here to get it by email in the Australian, Asian, European or American morning. You can also receive an Evening Briefing on U.S. weeknights.

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