Monday, April 23News That Matters

Starbucks, North Korea, Shinzo Abe: Your Wednesday Briefing


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Good morning. High hopes on North Korea, female empowerment in India and another tumble for Tesla. Here’s what you need to know:


Doug Mills/The New York Times

Expectations are high as North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-un, heads to Seoul this month for talks with Moon Jae-in of South Korea. Both parties are working on a joint declaration and, according to a South Korean official, Mr. Kim will announce his willingness to denuclearize his country.

Mr. Moon is seeking a “comprehensive deal,” in which Mr. Kim commits to dismantling his nuclear arsenal and President Trump reciprocates with security guarantees, including a peace treaty and normalized relations.

Some U.S. hard-liners, like John Bolton, Mr. Trump’s new national security adviser, reject that approach, saying that the North has no real intention of giving up nuclear weapons and only wants relief from sanctions.

The North’s motives will surely be discussed by Mr. Trump and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan, above, who arrived at Mar-a-Lago, the president’s resort in Florida, for meetings on trade and other issues.

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Norihiko Shirouzu/Reuters

Beijing sought to ease its trade dispute with Washington, offering to make it easier for foreign automakers and aerospace firms to own factories in China.

The move comes as Beijing said its economy grew 6.8 percent in the first quarter compared with last year — well ahead of the pace needed to hit its target of 6.5 percent growth for the year.

And the Chinese telecom giant Huawei laid off its top Washington liaison and other American employees — a move that suggests it has accepted that its political battles in the U.S. are unwinnable.

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Lawrence Jackson for The New York Times

In Syria, inspectors were seeking to enter Douma, a suburb of Damascus, where the U.S. and Western allies say President Bashar al-Assad’s forces dropped chemical weapons. Here’s a look at the group that sent the inspectors, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons. And Syrian refugees in Turkey who are following the crackdown are reliving the trauma from a distance.

The White House, meanwhile, distanced itself from the U.N. ambassador, Nikki Haley, on Tuesday, as one of Mr. Trump’s advisers said she had gotten “ahead of the curve” in announcing new sanctions against Russia.

And President Trump quickly rejected new sanctions in a move that critics say highlights his inconsistent strategy toward Russia.

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Jeenah Moon for The New York Times

Who will get the first look at materials seized last week from President Trump’s personal lawyer, Michael Cohen? No one, it seems.

A federal judge didn’t agree to let Mr. Trump’s team review the 10 boxes of documents and roughly a dozen electronic devices before prosecutors can. But she didn’t say prosecutors would get the first look either. Discussions will continue. Above, Mr. Cohen leaving court on Monday.

Separately, we looked at what effect James Comey’s book tour — and his pointed critiques of Mr. Trump — might have on the former F.B.I. director’s image as a principled professional.

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David Maurice Smith for The New York Times

Australia’s economy is driven by immigrants.

That’s among the findings of a government report that contrasts sharply with the governing party’s anti-immigrant language. In fact, the report concluded, reducing immigration would cost Australia billions of dollars and reduce job growth.

Here are four takeaways from the report.

Separately, the Australian Greens party’s proposal to legalize marijuana was quickly shot down by the government. Here’s a guide to the debate.

Business

• Tesla’s stock price tumbled on news that the electric carmaker would halt production of its Model 3 compact car for several days to “improve automation.” Tesla shares have dropped 20 percent since March 12.

Starbucks said it would close more than 8,000 of its stores in the U.S. on May 29 to conduct racial-bias training for nearly 175,000 employees.

• Japan discovered huge undersea deposits of rare earth minerals that could meet demand for centuries for tech and other industries.

• The Philippine Stock Exchange dropped as much as 2.3 percent, bringing its loss in market value this year to more than $20 billion.

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

Market Snapshot View Full Overview

    In the News


    Con Chronis/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

    In Melbourne, Cardinal George Pell’s lawyers said all sexual abuse charges against the Vatican official should be thrown out, calling the accusers “unreliable.” [ABC]

    • The U.S. and Britain issued a joint warning about Russian cyberattacks against government and private targets, including homes and offices. [The New York Times]

    • In the U.S., the parents of two children killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School sued Alex Jones, the right-wing conspiracy theorist, for defamation, for calling the mass shooting a “giant hoax.” [The New York Times]

    • In Malta, the family of a murdered journalist fears a cover-up because of the powerful interests involved. [The New York Times]

    • Britain apologized to Caribbean immigrants who were threatened with loss of jobs and benefits because they couldn’t prove they arrived before 1973. [The New York Times]

    “Wrong then and wrong now.” Prime Minister Theresa May said she deeply regretted Britain’s role in criminalizing same-sex relations in its former colonies. The laws are still used in 37 of the 53 nations once under British rule. [BBC]

    Smarter Living

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

    • What to pack for a trip to Victoria, British Columbia.

    • Reading aloud to children may help them deal with emotions.

    • Recipe of the day: Try this version of coconut noodles from a Burmese food writer who says it’s “so easy, the worst cook in the world could make it.”

    Noteworthy


    The New York Times

    • Female empowerment: In India, hundreds of girls, above, are taking free self-defense courses with the New Delhi police, as the country combats sexual assault. (The Times Editorial Board said Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s silence on women’s safety is “deeply worrying.”)

    • In memoriam. Choi Eun-hee, 92, a South Korean movie star of the 1960s and ’70s who was once kidnapped by North Korea and forced to make films for the state.

    • And our team explains San Francisco’s giant seismic gamble. The city knows the Big One will come, but we found that its building code doesn’t protect from earthquakes as much as you might think.

    Back Story

    Some days, you wish the news would just stop.

    That was the case for the BBC on this day in 1930, when its 8:45 evening bulletin was surprisingly brief: “Good evening. Today is Good Friday. There is no news,” the radio announcer said. That update was followed by 15 minutes of piano music.

    There was some major world news that day, including a typhoon in the Philippines and an attempted raid on an armory by Indian revolutionaries demanding independence from Britain, but it happened too late for the BBC.

    And what made the front page of The Times on April 18? In addition to stories about Prohibition violations, there was one about gas masks for horses that were doing well in military testing.

    The next day’s front page reported on a plane crash in Jersey City, a deadly church fire in Romania, the weather forecast for Easter Sunday and a study that found that only 700 words were needed for the vast majority of telephone conversations.

    These days, it can seem as if the amount of news is limited only by the time you have available to consume it. But if you need a break, here’s some classical piano.

    Jennifer Jett contributed reporting.

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