Asia and Australia Edition: China, North Korea, Guam: Your Friday Briefing


Here’s our full guide to the crisis.

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Doug Mills/The New York Times

• President Trump sharply escalated a sudden open rift with the top Republican in Congress. He raised the possibility that Mitch McConnell, above, should perhaps relinquish his position as Senate majority leader if he cannot deliver on Mr. Trump’s legislative priorities.

Our White House correspondent is covering Mr. Trump’s latest comments to reporters, including his praise for Russia’s curb of U.S. Embassy staffing as an opportunity for savings.

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Gilles Sabrie for The New York Times

Dalian Wanda, the Chinese conglomerate, and Xiao Jianhua, a missing billionaire, are both under official pressure from Beijing — and that may not be a coincidence.

Mr. Xiao, who has ties to Wanda going back years, was spirited from Hong Kong months ago and is believed to be on the mainland.

A Wanda insider said Mr. Xiao might be laying out for government regulators the complex and interlocking web of debts and shareholding ties among many companies that could pose a danger to China’s financial stability.

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A march in support of same-sex marriage in Sydney on Sunday. Polls show that the majority of Australians support legalization.

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Peter Parks/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Australians have 14 days to register for ballots for a mail-in vote on whether gay and lesbian couples should be allowed to marry.

Many Australians deride the postal vote as a costly, “irregular and unscientific” gauge of the nation’s readiness to embrace same-sex marriage that would not itself change any law.

“Really, this plebiscite is no more than a glorified opinion poll — a 122-million-dollar opinion poll,” a Melbourne professor said.

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eGenesis

And in a bold step for science, researchers created gene-edited piglets cleansed of viruses that might cause disease in humans.

The advance may make it possible one day to transplant livers, hearts and other organs from pigs into humans — a remarkable prospect that raises some ethical alarms.

Business

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Tegra Stone Nuess for The New York Times

• Boeing, the venerable U.S. aircraft maker, is the Dow’s top performer this year, easily beating out second-place Apple and Netflix.

• We’re all ears: In a few hours, Google will stream a private, all-hands meeting from its California headquarters its 60,000 workers around the world. The topic — the firing of an engineer over a memo arguing that his female counterparts are less biologically suited to the job — has set off layers of debate over sexism, free speech and groupthink.

• Apple’s app store in China is under fire: A group of developers has asked Chinese authorities to investigate whether Apple is violating local pricing and antitrust laws.

Travis Kalanick was sued by a major Uber investor seeking to remove him from the board, with charges including investor fraud and other transgressions.

Wisconsin is beginning to come to grips with just how many tax and environmental concessions Foxconn got for its pledge to build a massive factory there.

SoftBank’s Vision Fund is investing $2.5 billion in Flipkart, the online retailer. It’s the largest private bet on an Indian tech company.

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

In the News

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• In Indonesia, a 100-foot statue of a Chinese deity was covered with an enormous sheet after Muslims threatened to tear it down as an affront to Islam. [The New York Times]

• At least 50 migrants fleeing Ethiopia and Somalia drowned after a human smuggler threw them into the Arabian Sea en route to Yemen. [The New York Times]

Iran barred two players for life from its national soccer team after they played against an Israeli team. [The New York Times]

• The U.S. military started the long-awaited transfer of aircraft from the Atsugi air base in Japan, a source of decades of noise pollution complaints and lawsuits. [Asahi Shimbun]

• “I didn’t improve my English, I just changed the way I took the test.” Applicants for Australian residency described how they outsmarted the computerized language test. [The Guardian]

• Fossils discovered in China are the earliest “mammal forerunners that took to air” — essentially flying “squirrels” that glided over predatory dinosaurs and probably still laid eggs. [The New York Times]

Smarter Living

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

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Michael Kraus for The New York Times

• Recipe of the day: Add fresh paprika to your spice cabinet and cook chicken paprikash as soon as possible.

• Here’s how to better manage your stress.

• You’re no coward if you’re keeping some money out of stocks.

Noteworthy

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Sebastien Thibault

• An Australian writer considers the new focus on the prevalence of sexual assault in her country, and, in this Op-Ed, makes the argument that minuscule conviction rates in countries like her own, Australia, Britain and the U.S., leave naming and shaming rapists one of the few options victims have for even a sliver of justice.

What’s your opposite job? We used the U.S. Labor Department’s detailed and at times delightfully odd records on jobs skills to find each job’s polar opposite. Find yours.

And anger rooms are all the rage. Ever want to smash your computer with a crowbar? The Wrecking Club in New York City offers stress relief through destruction.

Back Story

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Associated Press

It was an offhand presidential comment about Russia, leaked to the media, that led to an uproar.

Thirty-three years ago today, President Ronald Reagan joked about attacking the Soviet Union in front of a radio microphone.

During a sound check before his weekly radio address, the president said, “I’m pleased to tell you today that I’ve signed legislation that will outlaw Russia forever. We begin bombing in five minutes.”

His remarks were not broadcast live but were later leaked. No one was amused.

The Soviets charged that Mr. Reagan’s comments were “unprecedentedly hostile toward the U.S.S.R. and dangerous to the cause of peace.”

Soberly noting that “nuclear destruction is not something most people think of as a fit subject for summer sport,” The Times’s editorial page wondered about the next subject with which he would amuse himself before a speech.

Newspapers in Europe reacted with a mix of surprise, outrage and horror.

Mr. Reagan later expressed regret for the comment but insisted the news media bore some responsibility for national security and shouldn’t have spread it.

Nevertheless, he was a little more careful before the next week’s speech. He warmed up using the standard “10, 9, 8, 7, 6.”

Palko Karasz contributed reporting.

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