China, Russia, White House: Your Friday Briefing


And in Syria, more than 100 buses carrying militants, their relatives and other refugees crossed into the country from Lebanon, above.

The transfer, part of a cease-fire deal between Hezbollah and the Syrian affiliate of Al Qaeda, was the largest formal repatriation of refugees to Syria since the war there began in 2011.

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Kimimasa Mayama/European Pressphoto Agency

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan appointed a new cabinet.

Mr. Abe turned to a group of moderates and experienced policy makers in the reshuffle, hoping to breathe new life into his conservative government, whose support among voters has plunged after a series of scandals and missteps.

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Roman Pilipey/European Pressphoto Agency

China has embarked on an internet campaign that signals a profound shift in the way it thinks of online censorship.

For years, Beijing used methods that kept the majority of people from reading or using material it did not like, such as foreign news outlets, Facebook and Google.

The authorities are now targeting the very tools many people use to vault the Great Firewall.

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Australian Department of Immigration and Citizenship, via Getty Images

Supporters of President Trump’s call to sharply cut immigration to the U.S. are pointing to Australia’s “merit-based” system for approving new immigrants.

That approach — making sure new immigrants are not a burden on the country’s safety net and are able to prosper financially — is at the core of Australia’s immigration policy.

Above, Manus Island in Papua New Guinea.

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Graeme Mitchell for The New York Times

Next month is the 40th anniversary of the launch of Voyager I and II, the NASA probes sent out to study the Solar System. Today they are 10 billion and 13 billion miles away, the farthest man-made objects from Earth.

As the Voyager mission winds down, The Times Magazine looks at the careers of the aging engineers who steered the probes across the galaxy. Above, Sun Kang Matsumoto, who started with the Voyager team in 1985.

Business

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Chris Crerar

• The sale of Australia’s biggest dairy to a little-known Chinese entrepreneur, above, was found to be funded by layers of debt, exposing the type of opaque deal-making that worries global regulators.

• Alibaba and Kering, the owner of Gucci and other luxury brands, reached a deal to fight fake merchandise, ending a 2015 lawsuit.

Qatar Airways scrapped plans to buy 10 percent of American Airlines. The Qatari government, however, is buying seven Italian warships for nearly $6 billion.

• Turbulence: It has been a tough year for airline PR departments. Here is a sampling of regrettable moments.

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

In the News

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Tibta Pangin/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Indonesia’s Mount Sinabung on the island of Sumatra erupted, spewing volcanic ash as high more than 2.5 miles into the air. Above, volcanic ash covers a road. [The Weather Channel]

• A South African man held by Al Qaeda in Mali for nearly six years was freed after a $4.2 million payment was negotiated through a South African charity. [The New York Times]

• China said that it was coordinating with the U.S. Navy in the search for a missing American sailor in the South China Sea. [Reuters]

Vietnam and Germany are at odds over a Vietnamese oil executive who disappeared from the Berlin Zoo. Hanoi says he turned himself in to authorities; Berlin says he was kidnapped at gunpoint. [The New York Times]

• The father of the captain of the Afghan female robotics team, which recently competed in the United States, was killed in a suicide attack on a mosque in Herat. [The New York Times]

• In Japan, a fire destroyed several buildings outside Tokyo’s famed Tsukiji fish market. [The Asahi Simbun]

If you’re an overweight Asian-American, people are more likely to think you’re more “American,” according to researchers. [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

• Recipe of the day: the classic caprese salad.

• How to save on your trip to a theme park.

• Don’t be afraid of mosquitoes. Here are some tips for how to avoid the nagging insects — and what to do if one bites you.

Noteworthy

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Kemal Jufri for The New York Times

• Indonesian fishermen from the village of Lamalera have been hunting whales for centuries. But conservationists worry that the whalers are no longer hunting for subsistence, but for commercial sale.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York is, for the first time, dedicating an exhibition to bamboo — in a show of basketry and sculpture that traces the presence of the graceful plant throughout Japan’s visual heritage.

A lawsuit claims that Harvard has discriminated against Asian-Americans by giving preferences to other racial minorities in the name of creating a diverse student body.

Back Story

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Francois Nascimbeni/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

“Come quickly, I am tasting the stars!”

That’s a quote ascribed to Pierre Pérignon, a Benedictine monk, upon tasting his sparkling wine on this day in 1693. Legend has it that he used a cork to seal in the fizz, but the veracity of the quote — as well as the idea that he invented Champagne — have long been refuted by historians.

The evolution of some wine — from still to one with bubbles — in the Champagne region of France was more an innovation of happenstance. Wine bottles would explode at random, earning the name “le vin du diable,” or the devil’s wine. Fizzy wine wasn’t desirable, and removing the fizz was the problem that the dom was trying to fix.

The first documentation of sparkling wine (in the Limoux region) was in 1531. A paper in 1662 described how winemakers would add sugar to give it sparkle — making it “different than any other drink in the world,” as Hans Konisberger wrote in The Times in 1958.

Dom Pérignon did, however, develop the techniques that led to the development of modern-day Champagne. Call it fizz, bubbles or sparkles, we can thank the monk and his legacy for the “wine of happiness.”

Danielle Belopotosky contributed reporting.

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