Cargo shipments are slowing at ports and airfreight terminals around the world. Prices for raw materials are rising, factory and agricultural orders have been cut and investments delayed. In a sharp escalation last week, President Trump's imposition of ...
Asia and Australia Edition
June 17, 2018
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Good morning. Trade retaliation, India’s water crisis, and a World Cup earthquake. Here’s what you need to know:
• The fear of a trade war is straining the global economy.
Cargo shipments are slowing at ports and airfreight terminals around the world. Prices for raw materials are rising, factory and agricultural orders have been cut and investments delayed.
In a sharp escalation last week, President Trump’s imposition of tariffs on $50 billion in Chinese goods prompted swift retribution in kind from Beijing.
The Senate is expected to vote today on whether to challenge Mr. Trump by restoring harsh penalties on ZTE, the Chinese telecom giant that violated U.S. sanctions.
CreditJeenah Moon for The New York Times
• “Rude, unreasonable, selfish and headstrong.”
Here’s a selection of the weekend broadsides against the Trump administration from China’s state-controlled news media (which President George H.W. Bush once called “cannons of rhetoric”). From Xinhua: “The wise build bridges and the foolish build walls.”
And we caught up with Teng Biao, above, one of China’s pre-eminent civil rights lawyers. From his home in exile in New Jersey, he has watched in frustration as Western companies have scrambled to stay in Beijing’s good graces.
CreditDoug Mills/The New York Times
• North Korean triumphalism.
A film released by Pyongyang makes the most of last week’s “meeting of the century” between Kim Jong-un and President Trump. It portrayed Mr. Trump in a positive light, but made clear that Mr. Kim was the main attraction. (Surf the 42-minute film.)
Our reporters tracked the circuitous path that led to last week’s handshake: secret meetings among spies, discussions between profit-minded entrepreneurs, and a previously unreported North Korean outreach to Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law.
And the Pentagon and Seoul are moving toward canceling the large-scale and long-planned military exercise set for August, as Mr. Trump’s administration and allies rush to accommodate his promises to Mr. Kim.
CreditSaumya Khandelwal for The New York Times
• India is suffering the worst water crisis in its history, and millions of lives and livelihoods are at risk.
The crisis is evident in Shimla, a Himalayan resort town where crippling drought has brought anger against the “key men” who control the water flow to each neighborhood.
Nationally, some 600 million people — about half the population — face high to extreme water scarcity. By 2030, a government report said, the country’s demand for water is likely to be twice the available supply.
CreditBen C. Solomon/The New York Times
• In the Philippines, dynamite fishing is exacting a painful toll.
Blast fishing destroys both the food chain and the corals where the fish nest. As the effects of climate change on oceans become more acute, stopping dynamite and other illegal fishing has taken on a new urgency.
Our journalists embedded with dynamite fishermen for a closer look. Above, fishermen making homemade bombs.
CreditThe Nation/Pool Photo, via Associated Press
• Thailand’s royal family formally turned over its fortune to King Maha Vajiralongkorn, who assumed the throne after the death of his father in 2016. Experts put the wealth at more than $30 billion.
• Didi Chuxing, the Chinese ride-hailing juggernaut, launches in Melbourne this month, where it will compete with Uber and India’s Ola. Didi is the industry’s global leader and the world’s most valuable start-up, worth about $56 billion.
• President Trump’s partner in Dubai picked a Chinese company to help build a real-estate project featuring a Tiger Woods golf course. It’s the second time in a month that a Beijing-controlled firm won business on a project affiliated with the Trump brand.
• “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom,” driven by a huge opening day in China, may top $381 million in global box office receipts. The five-film Jurassic Park series is passing the $4 billion mark. And “The Incredibles 2” set a box-office record for an animated release.
• OPEC and other major oil producers, including Russia, meet in Vienna on Friday and Saturday, facing pressure to increase output. Here are more headlines to watch for this week.
• The Shanghai and Hong Kong stock exchanges are closed. Here’s a snapshot of global markets.
In the News
• In Afghanistan, 17 people were killed and 50 wounded in a bombing in Jalalabad, a day after President Ashraf Ghani announced that the government would extend its cease-fire with the Taliban. A spokesman said the death toll could rise. [The New York Times]
• In Yemen, intense fighting raged over control of the airport in the main port city, as Saudi-led airstrikes hammered the area. [Reuters]
• The authorities in New Jersey said that one person was killed and at least 22 people were injured when multiple gunmen opened fire at an all-night arts festival. The cause may have been a neighborhood dispute. [The New York Times]
• Australia is still reeling from the death of Eurydice Dixon, 22, an aspiring comedian. A 19-year-old suspect has been charged with her rape and murder in Princes Park in Melbourne. [ABC]
• The Trump administration separated 1,995 children from parents facing criminal prosecution for unlawfully crossing the border over one six-week period, from April 19 to May 31. [The New York Times]
• Prince Norodom Ranariddh of Cambodia, a longtime politician and former prime minister, was seriously injured and his wife killed in a head-on collision in the country’s south. [The Phnom Penh Post]
• Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern of New Zealand is set to formally hand over power to her deputy, Winston Peters, upon arrival at Auckland Hospital to give birth. [Radio New Zealand]
• A shocker at the World Cup: A brilliant Mexican team overcame the defending champion, Germany, 1-0. (How big was the goal in Mexico? Seismic monitors picked up a small artificial earthquake “possibly due to mass jumping.”) [The New York Times]
Tips, both new and old, for a more fulfilling life.
CreditGentl and Hyers for The New York Times. Food stylist: Maggie Ruggiero. Prop stylist: Pamela Duncan Silver.
CreditRob Blakers/Epa-Efe, via Rex, via Shutterstock
• The artist Mike Parr, 73, buried himself alive on Thursday under a busy road in Hobart, the capital of the state of Tasmania. On Sunday night, he emerged to a cheering crowd. We spoke to him about his punishing performance art.
• “A mentor and a friend who never failed us.” A New York Times reporter remembers Shujaat Bukhari, a leading journalist in Kashmir who was killed by anonymous gunmen last week.
• And Stephen Hawking’s ashes were interred at Westminster Abbey on Friday, between the remains of Isaac Newton and Charles Darwin and alongside monarchs, scholars and poets. (After 1,000 years, the abbey is filling up.)
CreditXinhua/Xiong Qi, via Getty Images
Across China and in many other parts of the world, sleek dragon boats will line up waterside today, sticky rice dumplings will be eaten, and drums will thrum.
The spectacle makes more sense if you know the Dragon Boat Festival’s origin tale.
More than 2,000 years ago, China was divided into many kingdoms. In one realm, the indolent king preferred sycophants to tell him that his kingdom was thriving, though it was under constant threat from invaders. Only a civil servant named Qu Yuan persisted in warning of the danger.
He was ostracized and eventually exiled. When he heard that enemy troops had invaded the kingdom he loved, he flung himself into the Miluo River.
People rowed frantically in search of his body, beating drums and cymbals to scare away hungry fish, and throwing clumps of sticky rice wrapped in bamboo leaves into the water to distract them from his remains. Wine was tossed overboard to appease water dragons and wrathful sea gods.
In China, Qu Yuan has come to be honored as a historical exemplar of selfless loyalty to the people. In 2007, the government reintroduced the Dragon Boat Festival — at the expense of the Mao-era Marxist May Day.
Tiffany May wrote today’s Back Story.
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