Afghanistan, North Korea, Egypt: Your Thursday Briefing


His relationship with Mitch McConnell, who as the Senate majority leader would play a central role in pursuing Mr. Trump’s legislative agenda, has disintegrated to the point that they have not spoken in weeks.

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Eugene Hoshiko/Associated Press

The U.S. Navy removed the commander of the Seventh Fleet after four accidents in Asian waters this year, including two in the past two months that left more than a dozen sailors dead.

Vice Adm. Joseph Aucoin, pictured above in June, had been set to retire within weeks, but his superiors had lost confidence in him.

The Navy is preparing to conduct an extremely rare suspension of ship operations worldwide for a day or two in the next week to review safety and operational procedures.

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Kim Hong-Ji/Reuters

A long wait for South Korea ends Friday, when a verdict is expected in the blockbuster bribery trial of Jay Y. Lee, the heir to the Samsung empire.

Prosecutors are under intense pressure to win a conviction. The defense insists evidence is lacking, and Mr. Lee maintains he was simply naïve in handling requests from a confidante of Park Geun-hye, the president ousted as the case exploded.

Meanwhile, Samsung’s business operations carried on, unveiling the Galaxy Note 8 for the North American market and listing its stops to avoid repeating the overheating and explosions of its Galaxy Note 7.

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The New York Times

Alaska’s permafrost is is no longer permanent. Our science reporter went to the Yukon Delta to witness how it is starting to thaw.

By 2050, much of this frozen ground, a storehouse of ancient carbon, could be gone — a striking result of climate change. And as microbes process the vast quantities of formerly frozen organic matter, more warming gases will be released.

Business

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Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg

• Great Wall Motor isn’t the only Chinese company interested in Fiat Chrysler’s Jeep unit. Our business team has learned that the Italian-American automaker has been in talks with a number of others for months, on both Jeep and the Ram pickup division.

Researchers found that Exxon Mobil “misled the public” about climate change even as its own scientists were recognizing greenhouse gas emissions as a risk to the planet.

• Dear iPhone: With Apple’s 10th anniversary event nearing, our tech columnist looked at why the iPhone still has so many of us in its grip.

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

In the News

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Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

• India’s railway minister accepted “full moral responsibility” and the chairman of India’s railway board resigned after two train derailments in five days injured scores and left at least 23 dead. [BBC]

• President Trump invited Prime Minister Najib Razak of Malaysia to the White House in September, despite Mr. Najib’s involvement in a billion-dollar corruption scandal. [The New York Times]

The Trump administration denied Egypt $96 million in aid and delayed $195 million in military funding over concerns about Egypt’s human rights record and its relationship with North Korea. [The New York Times]

• Cambodia ordered foreigners working for a U.S. nonprofit, the National Democratic Institute, to leave the country. [The New York Times]

• Astana, Kazakhstan, is holding Expo 2017, a world’s fair that seems to be focused on future energy, and dancing. Plus, you can get horse meat on pizza. [The New York Times]

Smarter Living

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

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Peter DaSilva for The New York Times

• Avoid the common pitfalls of being a roommate.

• The best running stride? Your natural gait.

• Recipe of the day: Salmon with sesame and herbs hits all the right notes: salty, sweet and sour.

Noteworthy

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Damon Winter/The New York Times

• The war in Afghanistan has vexed three American presidencies and outlasted a dozen U.S. military commanders. Times photographers chronicled the 16-year conflict, and this graphic shows the areas of Taliban control.

On our podcast “The Daily,” Matt Rosenberg, who covered Afghanistan from 2008 to 2014, explains the theory behind U.S. nation-building there.

• In memoriam: Colin Meads, 81, one of New Zealand’s greatest and most revered rugby players. “It was as if God had distilled in him the essence of competition,” a journalist once wrote.

Aha School, a Shanghai-based education start-up, is taking children from more than 180,000 Chinese households on a virtual tour of 10 of the world’s most famous museums. A rural teacher enthused: “For many of them, even going to the closest town is difficult because their families don’t have money for travel.”

The hashtag is celebrating its 10th birthday.

• And 40 years ago, a pair of Voyager probes were dispatched to explore outer space. Back then, our science reporter writes, the dream of distant worlds was magic.

Back Story

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Gianni Cipriano for The New York Times

We often go back in history for our back stories, but today we’re going way back.

Mount Vesuvius erupted on this day in 79 A.D., burying the Roman town of Pompeii under a heap of ash, rocks and pumice.

Most of what we know of the event we owe to Pliny the Younger, who described it in a letter to the Roman historian Tacitus. According to the account, in the early afternoon that day, Pliny’s mother told his uncle, Pliny the Elder, that “a cloud which appeared of a very unusual size and shape” was approaching.

“I cannot give you a more exact description,” Pliny the Younger wrote of the cloud, “than by likening it to that of a pine-tree, for it shot up to a great height in the form of a very tall trunk, which spread itself out at the top into a sort of branches.”

Pliny the Elder set off by boat to explore the cloud’s source, encountering “black pieces of burning rock” along the way. Yet he continued onward, reportedly telling his pilot, “Fortune favors the bold.”

The maxim, however — at least that day — proved false.

“He suffocated,” his nephew wrote, “by some gross and noxious vapor.”

Evan Gershkovich contributed reporting.

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