Your Thursday News Briefing: Typhoon Mangkhut, China, Apple

Your Thursday News Briefing: Typhoon Mangkhut, China, Apple


Asia and Australia Edition

By Alisha Haridasani Gupta

(Want to get this briefing by email? Here’s the sign-up.)

Good morning. A super typhoon nears the Philippines, an anti-immigration movement sweeps South Korea and Apple unveils its most expensive phone yet. Here’s the latest.

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CreditAaron Favila/Associated Press

43 million.

That’s how many people in Southeast Asia could be exposed to Super Typhoon Mangkhut.

The powerful storm — currently packing winds of up to 150 miles per hour (about 240 kilometers per hour) — is on track to hit the northern Philippines on Friday before barreling toward Taiwan. It may threaten Hong Kong and mainland China over the weekend.

Meanwhile, the U.S. is bracing for Hurricane Florence, which is predicted to begin lashing North and South Carolina within hours.

P.S.: Hurricanes and typhoons are just different names for the same kind of storm.

And today’s word is landfall. Technically, it’s the point at which the center of a hurricane or typhoon reaches land. But a storm’s strongest winds often hit long before. (Let us know what you think of our new vocabulary feature.)

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CreditThe Sun, via YouTube

• A driver plows into a crowd in China.

At least nine people were killed and 46 injured in the attack yesterday in Hengyang City, Hunan Province, in southern China, the authorities said.

The government called the attack a “malicious case of intentional driving,” but there was no mention of terrorism as a possible motive. Above, a screengrab from a video of the incident.

The authorities took a suspect, who reports say was a 54-year-old local man, into custody and opened an investigation.

CreditJun Michael Park for The New York Times

A cold welcome for Yemenis in South Korea.

The resort island of Jeju, popular among honeymooners, has suddenly become ground zero for what is thought to be South Korea’s first organized anti-asylum movement.

South Korea has long been averse to accepting asylum seekers. But Jeju’s visa-free immigration policy, designed to attract tourists, made it an option for hundreds of Yemenis fleeing civil war.

Protesters have taken to the streets. And an online petition asking President Moon Jae-in — the son of wartime refugees from North Korea — to stop taking in asylum seekers has garnered 714,000 signatures.

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CreditJim Wilson/The New York Times

• Apple goes bigger.

The tech giant unveiled its biggest, most expensive iPhone yet, the XS Max. It will be available on Sept. 21 starting at $1,100.

It also revealed a new entry-level iPhone, the XR, in a variety of colors, including white, black, red, blue and yellow. That model will be available next month.

Meanwhile, Apple’s next operating system, iOS 12, will be available Monday, the company said. The update includes the Screen Time feature for limiting how long you spend on the phone.

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CreditLynsey Addario for The New York Times

It’s not just you: 2017 was rough.

According to a new survey of more than 154,000 people around the world, more people reported feeling worried, stressed, physical pain, angry or sad last year than at any point since 2005. Above, a mother and child in the Central African Republic, where reported negative experiences were the highest.

But there is some good news. The number of Islamic State attacks in the West fell sharply this year, the first time that number has fallen since the terrorist organization was founded in 2014.

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CreditMelanie Burton/Reuters

The Herald Sun digs in.

While anger over a caricature of Serena Williams continued to ricochet around the world, the newspaper decided to respond to the criticism by — rather brazenly — putting it on its front page, above.

The accompanying headline read “Welcome to PC World,” and in an editorial the paper proclaimed the world had “officially gone mad.”

Crikey weighed in: “We are a small nation, but punch well above our weight when it comes to blithe racism.” (The article is paywall free for Times readers.)

Our Australia bureau chief, Damien Cave, will chat live about the case at 9 p.m. Eastern (11 a.m. in Sydney). Watch on The Times’s Facebook page, or with our NYT Australia Facebook group.

CreditGabby Jones/Bloomberg via Getty Images

• The U.S. is cracking down on e-cigarettes, giving Juul and other manufacturers 60 days to prove they can keep them away from teenagers. If they fail, the flavored products may be taken off the market, a government agency warned.

• Emerging economies are prompting anxiety again, with Argentina, Russia, South Africa and Turkey all at the brink of a bust. Our markets reporter explains how high-growth economies unravel.

• Xiabu Xiabu, the Chinese hotpot chain, lost $190 million in market value after images circulated online of a dead rat being fished out of bubbling broth at one branch.

CreditAlessandra Tarantino/Associated Press

• Pope Francis summoned bishops from around the world for an unprecedented meeting set for February to discuss how to protect minors, as the Catholic Church wrestles with a growing crisis over sexual abuse and accusations of sophisticated cover-ups. [The New York Times]

• The extradition case of Vijay Mallya, the entrepreneur who faces fraud charges in India related to his now-defunct Kingfisher Airlines, will be decided on Dec. 10, a London court announced. [Reuters]

• Japan and several other pro-whaling countries blocked the creation of a whaling sanctuary in the South Atlantic Ocean, outraging environmentalists. [BBC]

• President Vladimir Putin of Russia said the two men Britain accused of poisoning the former Russian spy Sergei Skripal are just normal civilians who have done nothing criminal. [The New York Times]

• Hundreds of thousands of pro-independence Catalans took to the streets in Barcelona, Spain, their largest turnout in almost a year. [The New York Times]

• European lawmakers for the first time voted to begin punishment procedures against member state Hungary for potentially breaching democratic norms. [The New York Times]

Smarter Living

Tips for a more fulfilling life.

CreditGetty Images
CreditFrom left: Christopher Polk/Getty Images for Turner; Andreas Rentz/Getty Images; Neilson Barnard/Getty Images

• Beauty is more diverse than ever, with brands creating dozens of foundation shades and stars strutting their natural hair textures down the runway. But this kind of inclusivity has come and gone before. We take a look at why it might be here to stay this time.

• “One of the things that stands out about humans is how helpful we are,” said one researcher. Why? The answer might lie in our closest living relatives, chimpanzees and bonobos, both creatures that display varying degrees of altruistic generosity.

• Nine red lines on a stone flake. That may be the oldest known drawing by Homo sapiens, dating back some 73,000 years, according to archaeologists who unearthed the ancient artwork in South Africa.

CreditWinslow Townson/Associated Press

On Friday at Harvard, a group of playful Nobel Laureates will give out the 28th annual Ig Nobel prizes — a spoof of the Nobels, awarded for discoveries that make people “laugh, then think.”

It’s a scrappy, whimsical affair. Winners don’t receive prize money, and you can count on a paper plane deluge during the ceremony.

Some notable past winners:

The 2006 prize in ornithology went to researchers who explored why woodpeckers don’t get headaches.

In 1993, Pepsi-Cola of the Philippines won the peace prize after sponsoring a contest with a huge cash prize, then announcing the wrong winning number. The mistake brought together 800,000 indignant winners — and had the happy accident of uniting many warring factions for the first time.

And 2005’s literature prize went to the internet entrepreneurs of Nigeria for introducing millions of readers to a plaintive cast of characters, each of whom requires just a small amount of money to obtain access to the great wealth to which they are entitled.

The ceremony will be live-streamed (6 p.m. local time, 8 a.m. in Sydney), but you’ll have to fold your own plane.

Joumana Khatib wrote today’s Back Story.

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Featured Crikey articles are paywall free for Times readers.

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