Jeff Sessions, Dennis Rodman, Donald Trump: Your Morning Briefing


The Islamic State-backed rebels are holding out in part of the city center, controlling several bridges and planting snipers in mosques. The Philippine military controls the skies, inflicting heavy damage but so far failing to drive out the militants.

Our correspondent says both sides are digging in for a protracted battle.

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Pool photo by Greg Baker

Taiwan is down to just 20 allies — 19 countries and the Vatican — after Panama severed diplomatic relations in favor of recognizing China.

The move adds to Taiwan’s isolation on the world stage and appears to put its last diplomatic relationships in doubt.

“It is very possible that the remaining countries will switch,” one analyst said.

Above, Panama’s foreign minister, left, and her Chinese counterpart on Tuesday in Beijing.

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Eric Thayer for The New York Times

“Please colleagues, hear me on this.”

The U.S. attorney general, Jeff Sessions, started his testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee with an emotional appeal, calling the suggestion that he colluded with Russians during the 2016 election an “appalling and detestable lie.” We’re covering the hearing live.

A friend of President Trump said that Mr. Trump was considering whether to fire Robert Mueller, the special counsel investigating possible ties between Russia and his campaign.

And Senate leaders said they had reached an agreement to impose new sanctions against Russia — which would place the White House in an uncomfortable position.

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Mark Schiefelbein/Associated Press

President Trump is close to adding six new trademarks to his portfolio in China, renewing deep concerns about his potential conflicts of interest.

He now has at least 123 registered and provisionally approved trademarks in China.

Maryland and the District of Columbia on Monday filed a lawsuit claiming that Mr. Trump’s businesses and dealings were flagrantly unconstitutional. In this 360 video, step inside one: the Trump International Hotel in Washington.

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Paul van Kan for The New York Times

And while Melbourne might be the center of Australia’s culinary universe, our restaurant critic found much to love about the new food scene in Sydney.

Five restaturants stood out, each with chefs who have global origins, cosmopolitan sensibilities, or both.

Among the highlights: Pipi clams tossed with bursting pods of the native succulent karkalla, and charcoal-grilled Moreton Bay bug tail. (Bugs are a species of lobster.)

Above, the dining room at Fred’s.

Business

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Tyrone Siu/Reuters

• China charged 18 employees of Crown Resorts, an Australian casino company, with violations related to promoting gambling, which is illegal there., The case has cast a shadow over the gambling industry’s efforts to win Chinese customers.

Uber’s chief executive, Travis Kalanick, will take a leave of absence amid an investigation into the workplace culture at the ride-hailing company.

• Yahoo is no more. Verizon bought the web pioneer’s internet business for $4.48 billion, and will merge it with AOL into a new division, Oath.

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

In the News

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Giorgos Moutafis/Reuters

• Greece declared a state of emergency on the island of Lesbos, after an earthquake killed a woman and left hundreds or people homeless. [The New York Times]

• An Australian film crew was granted the first access inside Indonesia’s Kerobokan jail in Bali, a grossly overcrowded “place of creepy fascination in an island playground.” [ABC]

• A student who escaped Venezuela, where he had been beaten and jailed by security agents, was arrested when he arrived at an asylum interview in Miami. [The New York Times]

• This Interpreter column explains how the rivalry between Qatar and Saudi Arabia has played out across the whole Middle East, inflaming chaos in the region. [The New York Times]

• An Australian website apologized to Roxane Gay, the American author, after publishing a podcast interview that included offensive remarks about her weight. [The Guardian]

Smarter Living

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Lauren Fleishman for The New York Times

• Finding environmentally friendly apparel can be a challenge. Here’s a guide to smarter choices in fabrics and clothing.

• Taking a walk down memory lane can be healthy. (Caution: sentimental songs and videos ahead.)

• Recipe of the day: Make time for a deeply flavored Sicilian stew of chicken, salami and olives.

Noteworthy

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David Maurice Smith for The New York Times

• Sydney’s premier museum, the Art Gallery of New South Wales, is mired in a bitter controversy that reflects — and epitomizes — the city’s deep ambivalence toward culture.

• Balloon trips arranged by a U.S. company will take tourists into the stratosphere, high enough to see the curves of Earth. But the first passenger will be a fried chicken sandwich.

• And the “blob” that runs your body. The underrated, unloved liver has a to-do list second only to that of the brain. Its powers are profound.

Back Story

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One hundred and forty-one years ago this month, Edward Alexander Bouchet made history by becoming the first African-American to earn a doctorate from an American university.

He received his doctorate in physics at Yale University in June 1876.

He was the sixth person of any race, in fact, to receive a doctorate in physics in the nation. (He was not, as previously thought, Yale’s first African-American student, however.)

Bouchet was born in 1852 in New Haven, Connecticut. His father, a deacon who migrated north from South Carolina, worked as the valet for a local judge.

During his time at Yale, he did research on optics and was elected to the Phi Beta Kappa Society. After earning the degree, Mr. Bouchet taught chemistry and physics at the School for Colored Youth, a Quaker institution in Philadelphia, for 26 years.

Today, the Bouchet Society, co-founded at Yale and Howard universities, recognizes scholarly achievement and promotes diversity and excellence in doctoral education.

This year, a plaque honoring Mr. Bouchet was unveiled on the Yale campus.

“It’s pretty inspiring to think that [Bouchet] got his Ph.D. so long ago, when racism was a million times more worse and more ingrained than it is now,” one physics major told The Yale Daily News.

Karen Zraick contributed reporting.

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This briefing was prepared for the Australian morning. We also have briefings timed for the Asian, European and American mornings. You can sign up for these and other Times newsletters here.

Your Morning Briefing is published weekday mornings and updated online.

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