Liu Xiaobo, Donald Trump Jr., Emmanuel Macron: Your Friday Briefing

The visit appears to be smoothing over an initially strange and tense relationship with President Emmanuel Macron, and possibly vaulting France ahead of Britain and Germany as a point of U.S. contact.

Mr. Trump’s domestic troubles followed him. He defended his eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., for trying to get discrediting information about Hillary Clinton from Russian government sources during his presidential campaign. Our correspondents say that the increased scrutiny of his family has left Mr. Trump angry and protective.



U.S. State Department, via Associated Press

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, above with his Qatari counterpart, left the Middle East after three days of shuttle diplomacy that failed to resolve a bitter dispute among regional allies that has culminated in a Saudi-led embargo of Qatar.

The strategic consequences of the feud may surface next week, when representatives of 70 countries fighting the Islamic State convene in Washington.

The Trump administration hopes a united Arab world will help rebuild and govern Mosul and other areas of Iraq, but such unity may be difficult to achieve.



Natalie Keyssar for The New York Times

• The U.S. Justice Department charged 412 people nationwide, including dozens of doctors, in schemes that collectively defrauded the government of about $1.3 billion. Nearly one-third were accused of opioid-related crimes.

Drug overdoses, fueled by synthetic opioids often made in and sold from Asia, are now the leading cause of death among Americans under 50. Our magazine looked at one small-town police officer’s war on drugs.

Three new books explore the opioid epidemic and how to help those afflicted by addiction.

Above, paramedics treating an overdose in New Hampshire.



Adam Ferguson for The New York Times

We enlisted our international photographer Adam Ferguson to help us expand our coverage of his native Australia.

He spent three months exploring its vast interior and came back with portraits of remote, fascinating landscapes and the slow erosion of traditional ways of life for ranchers, stockmen, like the one above, miners and even crocodile farmers. An Aboriginal community leader showed him how to suck the sweetness from honey ants.

The outback has “become a kind of myth,” he said in a Q. and A. after returning to his base in New York. “And the point of the trip, for me, was to inquire what that myth has now become.”


In today’s edition of The Breakdown, news and notes from Australia, we look at the acrimony — and worse — directed at cyclists.



China Photos, via Getty Images

Hollywood is having a tough time in China. Ticket sales for imported films are up 34 percent this year, to roughly $2.3 billion, but American films account for less than 2 percent of the rise.

• The competition to lead Uber is robust, despite a year of scandals. Here’s a look at the hiring process, and some of the intriguing candidates.

• Deals: A former ore-trading company paid $500 million for the rights to broadcast the English Premier League in China; and San Miguel, the Philippine beer company, bought Barossa, an Australian bottling company.

• In disrupter news, hundreds of tech companies united to protest the U.S. government’s plan to scrap net neutrality rules. And we look at pop-up employers — “flash organizations” that build a team, do the job and say goodbye.

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

In the News


Andre Penner/Associated Press

• Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, the enormously influential Brazilian ex-president, was convicted of corruption and sentenced to nearly 10 years. We look at his rise and fall. [The New York Times]

• India banned waste dumping within 500 yards of a polluted 310-mile stretch of the Ganges River. [BBC]

• Taiwan is hosting the president of Paraguay, the island’s only remaining diplomatic ally in South America. [Associated Press]

• News that North Korea may have developed a missile capable of hitting Alaska has been largely met with a shrug there. [The New York Times]

• In Melbourne, concrete blocks set to stop militant attacks have become targets for guerrilla artists seeking to beautify the Australian city. [Reuters]

Smarter Living

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


Lisa Nicklin for The New York Times

• Who really needs to be gluten-free?

• What prospective college students do online could have some consequences in real life.

• Tempted by takeout? Make moo shu pork at home instead.



Spencer Lowell for The New York Times

• Explore the arks of the apocalypse. Our magazine portrays scientists around the world who are building repositories of nature — from seeds to ice to mammal milk — in a race to preserve an environmental order that is fast disappearing.

A bilingual child is a rare and beautiful gift. Raising one is “worth it,” a psychologist said, “but it’s a lot of work.”

• And a medical breakthrough: A U.S. panel recommended approval for the first gene therapy to fight cancer. The treatment, for a type of leukemia, transforms a patient’s cells into “a living drug” that bolsters the immune system.

Back Story


Associated Press

The banning of high-value bank notes, as India did last year, is nothing new. Many nations have done the same.

On this day in 1969, the U.S. said its $500, $1,000, $5,000, and $10,000 bills would be discontinued. By then, the bills had not been printed since 1945. The Federal Reserve even burned them, citing lack of use.

The Times archives attest to the bills’ rarity. In 1910, we reported on the furor after a Wall Street errand boy lost a $10,000 bill, which featured Salmon Chase, a Treasury secretary and Supreme Court chief justice. (The reporter wryly noted that entire fortunes had been lost in that neighborhood with less fuss. The errand boy was eventually convicted of larceny.)

In 1942, a girl found a $500 bill (bearing President William McKinley’s portrait) in Bloomingdale’s mailroom. (Given a $250 reward, she bought war bonds and roller skates.)

Two years later, The Times reported on Lieut. Gen. George S. Patton Jr.’s denial to his superiors that he had landed in Europe waving a $1,000 bill (which has pictured Alexander Hamilton and President Grover Cleveland) and making bets on reaching Berlin.

Patton, above, offered a simple alibi: “I have never seen a $1,000 bill.”


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