Russia, North Korea, China: Your Wednesday Briefing



Russian Mansions: Retreats or Spy Nests?

The Obama administration ordered Russian diplomats to leave two waterfront compounds in New York and Maryland. Now, Russia wants them back.

By NATALIA V. OSIPOVA and NATALIE RENEAU on Publish Date July 17, 2017.

Photo by Jim Lo Scalzo/European Pressphoto Agency.

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Russia said its patience is wearing thin over two waterfront compounds that the Obama administration seized from Russian diplomats as punishment for Moscow’s meddling in last year’s presidential election. The video above explains.

The Foreign Ministry said that Russia “reserved the right to retaliate against the United States.”



Ted Aljibe/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines, above, asked lawmakers to extend martial law on the island of Mindanao through the end of the year to quell the rebellion by Islamic militants in the city of Marawi.

Mr. Duterte’s request is essentially an admission that the fighting to dislodge the Islamic State-linked fighters would not end in a matter of days, despite his vow last week saying that it would.



Elizabeth Flores/Star Tribune, via Associated Press

The family and friends of Justine Damond, 40, a yoga teacher from Australia who was fatally shot by a police officer in Minnesota, are desperate for answers.

“Her family and I have been provided with almost no additional information from law enforcement,” her fiancé, Don Damond, above, told reporters.

And Larissa Waters, the first Australian to breast-feed a child in the Legislature, quit after learning that she held dual citizenship.



Scott McIntyre for The New York Times

In a U.S. state that counts alligators, sharks and hurricanes among its many dangers, add lightning.

Florida has more lightning than any other state in the country (20.8 strikes per square mile) and the most people who die from it (54 since 2007).

We spoke with four survivors about how their lives changed with a bolt from the sky.



Rebecca Cook/Reuters

• Jack Ma, the chairman of Alibaba, above, arranged a meeting of top business leaders from the U.S. and China in Washington. The focus of Tuesday’s session addressed the economic tensions between the countries.

Trade talks set up by President Trump and President Xi Jinping of China start today.

AMC Entertainment is trying to steer clear of the debt trouble surrounding its Chinese owner, Dalian Wanda. Shares in AMC dropped 10 percent this week.

Sanrio, the Japanese product empire that created Hello Kitty in 1974, is now rolling out characters with a bit more edge — like Aggretsuko, a red panda with anger issues.

• The Houston Rockets are for sale. With a fan base in China and two superstars, the N.B.A. team could be worth more than its estimated $1.65 billion.

• U.S. stocks were flat; oil and gold were up. Here’s a snapshot of global markets.

In the News


Sebastien Nogier/European Pressphoto Agency

Wildfires are roaring across Southern Europe, fed by a mixture of strong winds, dry weather and high heat. [The New York Times]

• A North Korean woman who defected to South Korea and became a television celebrity returned to the North, describing her life in the South as “a hell.” [The New York Times]

One of India’s leading female politicians and a hero for the Dalit caste, Mayawati, quit her parliamentary seat, saying she was “not being heard, not allowed to speak.” [BBC]

• In Malaysia, the jailed opposition leader, Anwar Ibrahim, is joining forces with Mahathir Mohamad, the former prime minister who put him in prison, in an effort to unseat the current prime minister. [Bloomberg]

More trouble for FIFA. The second highest ranking soccer official was arrested and charged with corruption and embezzlement. [The New York Times]

• Audi, the German carmaker, angered Chinese audiences with an ad for secondhand vehicles that shows a bride being inspected by her mother-in-law as if she were livestock. [Sixth Tone]

Smarter Living

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


Karsten Moran for The New York Times

• Be bold. Explore all the ways to cook eggs for every meal.

• What is one thing you should watch out for while bike riding? The air.

• To get great granola, sometimes you need to make it yourself.



Cliff Owen/Associated Press

It took global outcry, two rejections and President Trump’s intervention for six girls on an Afghan robotics team to get the U.S. visas to take part in a competition in Washington.

What qualifies as “appropriate dress” these days? It’s a question in the U.S., after the Speaker of the House turned away a reporter in a sleeveless dress, and the L.P.G.A. banned too-short skirts. Our fashion critic weighs in.

In Saudi Arabia, the police have arrested a woman who wore a miniskirt in an online video.

• With the return of “Game of Thrones,” we’ve started an email newsletter with exclusive interviews and explainers. We published the first installment today; you can sign up here.

Back Story


Associated Press

Would you call it solidarity or “Dunkirk spirit”? Chances are the latter if you’re in Britain and referring to the northern French port of Dunkerque, where German forces surrounded over 400,000 Allied troops in the early years of Word War II.

The evacuation of Dunkirk remains a symbol of solidarity in Britain but is relatively little known elsewhere, which is likely to change with this week’s release of a Hollywood film directed by Christopher Nolan.

In the spring of 1940, the troops were trapped on beaches north of the port, with the English Channel at their backs. Shallow water prevented larger navy vessels from coming to shore, but smaller private boats, affectionately called “the little ships of England,” came to the rescue.

“I wanted to do something that frightened me a bit,” Mr. Nolan told The Times about taking on a moment of history.

Days after the evacuation, Winston Churchill warned Parliament that “wars are not won by evacuations.” But the prime minister ended his address with one of his most recognizable and inspiring quotes: “We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender.”

Palko Karasz contributed reporting.


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