Asia and Australia Edition: France, North Korea, Trump’s 100 Days: Your Morning Briefing

Good morning.

Here’s what you need to know:


Kim In-Chul/Yonhap, via Associated Press

North Korea celebrates the 85th anniversary of the founding of its army today, amid signs that its sixth nuclear test could be imminent.

In separate phone calls with President Trump, President Xi Jinping of China appealed for restraint and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan endorsed the U.S. position that all options were “on the table.”

Our national security correspondent reports that expert studies and classified intelligence findings have concluded that North Korea can now produce a nuclear bomb every six or seven weeks.

On Wednesday, the Trump administration will hold a rare briefing at the White House for all 100 senators on the situation in North Korea.

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Above, an American U-2 spy plane landing in South Korea.

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Pool photo by Lionel Bonaventure

“This is deadly serious now.”

That’s how one of the losing candidates described France’s presidential race after the far-right leader Marine Le Pen advanced to a runoff set for May 7 against the centrist Emmanuel Macron, above.

With the major parties uniting against her, according to our correspondent in Paris, we look at the European mainstream’s relief, the exuberant reaction in global markets and the euro’s surge.



Joshua Lott for The New York Times

• The political forecast calls for a frenetic week in Washington.

The White House, eager to project progress ahead of President Trump’s 100th day in office on Saturday, has packed his schedule.

And lawmakers must fund the government by Friday or let it go into shutdown. Mr. Trump’s insistence that a spending bill include money for his proposed border wall is the major sticking point — for Republicans.

Former President Barack Obama held his first public event since leaving office, mentioning President Trump just once. [Watch video highlights.]



Daniel Berehulak for The New York Times

President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines is stepping into an international spotlight as host of a meeting of Asean, which begins Wednesday.

In a stroke of awkward timing, a Filipino lawyer has asked the International Criminal Court to charge Mr. Duterte with crimes against humanity as the “mastermind” behind thousands of killings, starting in 1988 when he was first elected mayor of Davao City and continuing with his countrywide war on drugs.

Above, an image from our Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer’s documentation of the bloody anti-drug campaign.


• Our Australia bureau chief had some fun with the story of the 12-year-old boy who drove 800 miles in an S.U.V., from Kendall to Broken Hill — aiming for the other side of the country — before getting pulled over, safe and sound.

“Let’s step back for a minute and consider the scale of this endeavor,” he writes.

He’s trying to get answers to lingering questions, including how the boy managed to pay for gas, and what compelled him to hit the road.



Start-ups and big aerospace firms are working to address that frequent complaint of sci-fi fans: Where’s my flying car already?

The Malaysian government agreed to make $1.2 billion in bond payments to an Abu Dhabi fund, part of an effort to clean up an embezzlement scandal swirling around Prime Minister Najib Razak.

The head of Lafarge SA, one of France’s largest industrial companies, is stepping down after an investigation found the cement maker’s staff paid off armed groups in Syria for safe passage.

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

In the News


Pool photo by Jonathan Ernst

A security shake-up: Afghanistan’s minister of defense and the army chief of staff stepped down over a devastating Taliban attack on a base last week, a shift that came just before the U.S. secretary of defense, Jim Mattis, above center, arrived in Kabul. [The New York Times]

U.S. embassies posted, but later removed, an article touting President Trump’s private club Mar-a-Lago. [The New York Times]

Many Indians now see the U.S. as inhospitable because of recent attacks on people of Indian descent and the Trump administration’s reassessment of its policy on some work visas. [The New York Times]

Maoist rebels who have been battling the Indian government since the 1960s attacked a police patrol in the east, killing at least 25 officers. [The New York Times]

The trial of Xie Yang, a Chinese rights lawyer whose account of torture at the hands of interrogators was widely reported in January, is expected to be held today. [Hong Kong Free Press]

Smarter Living


J. David Ake/Associated Press

• Exercising before breakfast might prevent weight gain. Just don’t gorge afterward.

• Sell-by dates can be seen as mostly a suggestion for food’s peak freshness. For the most part, trust your gut.

• Recipe of the day: For simplicity, you can’t beat black bean and poblano tacos.



Genocide’s Legacy: A Museum in a Khmer Rouge Prison

At least 1.7 million people died during the Khmer Rouge rule of Cambodia between 1975 and 1979. Take a 360 tour of a former prison that has been transformed into a museum to preserve the history of the Cambodian genocide.

By THE NEW YORK TIMES on Publish Date April 24, 2017.

Photo by Omar Havana/Getty Images. Technology by Samsung. .

Watch in Times Video »

At least 1.7 million people died when the Khmer Rouge ruled Cambodia from 1975 to 1979. In today’s 360 video, tour a prison-turned-museum that explains the history of the Cambodian genocide.

Anzac Day: Australians and New Zealanders take the day off to commemorate the 102nd anniversary of the battle of Gallipoli with marches and other public events today.


Caitlin Fares for The New York Times

A cactus bloom in the California desert may be the most colorful in decades. Our science writer considers examples that range in size from grapes to five-story townhouses and can produce garlands of flowers — and warns of illegal cactus rustling, a big business in the southwest U.S.

Back Story


Petersen Automotive Museum

Modern vanity plates have nothing on the simplicity of the original license plate.

Today in 1901, New York became the first state in the U.S. to require registration of automobiles, and with it the display of the owner’s initials. (Some countries in Europe introduced registration plates in the 1890s.)

As the number of automobiles grew at the turn of the 20th century, states needed an accountability system.

Drivers painted their initials on wood, metal or leather, but with too many overlapping names and initials, the modern license plate was born.

Massachusetts became the first state to issue plates, in 1903.

License plates have chiefly been produced by inmates in a number of states. New Jersey inmates make more than a million aluminum plates annually.

Designs have occasionally been controversial. In 1928, fishermen in Massachusetts blamed their low catch on the Registry of Motor Vehicles after the image of a codfish was added to the state’s license plates. The image was deemed too small, and the fish was swimming away from the “MASS” lettering on the plate.

It was changed to a more substantial codfish, swimming toward MASS, a year later. Its effect on the fortunes of fishermen is unknown.

Remy Tumin contributed reporting.


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