Asia and Australia Edition: Florida, Stormy Daniels, Year of the Dog: Your Thursday Briefing



Credit Matt Sayles/Sayles, via Associated Press

President Trump said he was “totally opposed to domestic violence,” in his first condemnation of the alleged conduct behind a scandal involving Rob Porter, the aide who resigned last week. Here’s our video profile of Mr. Porter.

Scrutiny of the White House is intensifying on another front, too. Our White House correspondent broke the story that President Trump’s longtime personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, paid $130,000 out of his own pocket to Stormy Daniels, above, the pornographic-film actress who once claimed to have had an affair with Mr. Trump.

(The same correspondent, Maggie Haberman — known in some quarters as “the Trump whisperer” — discusses the art of interviewing and forecasts the year’s top story lines here.)



Credit Chang W. Lee/The New York Times

• The slap shots heard ’round the world?

Even in a Winter Olympics rife with geopolitics, no event carried more political implications than the hockey game between a unified Korea team and Japan, the region’s former colonial occupier.

In the end it was a 4-1 victory for Japan and, given the circumstances, it was civil. When Japan scored, Korean fans didn’t boo, but chanted “It’s O.K.!”

Other stories from Pyeongchang: North Korea’s skaters made it into today’s long program. Shaun White “put it down” for another gold medal.

Here’s our full coverage of the Games, and the schedule, live results and medal count.



Credit Pool photo by Filippo Monteforte

• Higher powers.

China is negotiating a possible deal that would give the Vatican a formal role in appointing clergy in the country — and, in return, force local communities to accept government-appointed clerics. Above, Pope Francis in Rome on Wednesday.

Our correspondent visited a stronghold of Catholicism in China’s southeast to gauge how the possible deal is being seen by the faithful. Many Chinese Catholics feel a sense of powerlessness, he writes, “as if awaiting a storm that they cannot control.”

“This is something higher-ups will decide,” said a shopkeeper near a holy mountaintop cave. “We believers just go to church and pray.”



Credit Fred Dufour/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

• Farewell, Year of the Rooster …

Today is Lunar New Year’s Eve, awaiting the arrival of the Year of the Dog.

The holiday can be serious and poignant, and also funny. During a recent New Year’s travel rush in southern China, for example, a woman climbed into an X-ray scanner because she could not bear to part with her handbag.

And astrologers in China were quick to forecast the highs and lows ahead for President Trump, who was born in 1946, a Fire Dog year. (Many played it safe, predicting unpredictability.)



Credit Indranil Mukherjee/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Punjab National Bank, one of India’s largest state-run commercial lenders, revealed fraudulent transactions worth $1.77 billion — at one branch. The scandal risks drying up the loans small- and medium-size businesses need to power the country’s growth. Shares in PNB closed down 10 percent, erasing nearly one-third of its market value.

• President Trump, who has vowed to pressure China on trade, said the U.S. was likely to impose restrictions on imported metals. But a group of American manufacturers warned that such moves could undermine their competitiveness.

• Netflix jumped ahead in the streaming wars, poaching Ryan Murphy, a hit television producer, from 21st Century Fox, in a five-year deal reportedly worth as much as $300 million. Mr. Murphy’s writing credits include “Glee” and “American Horror Story.”

Credit Suisse reported a net loss of about $1 billion for 2017, and said U.S. authorities were investigating whether it had hired employees referred by Asian governments in exchange for deals and regulatory approvals.

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

In the News


Credit Shahzaib Akber/European Pressphoto Agency

“You can’t ban love.” Some Pakistanis defied a government ban on Valentine’s Day celebrations by buying flowers or going on “virtual dates.” [The New York Times]

Japan received a record 19,628 asylum applications in 2017, nearly 9,000 more than 2016, and the seventh consecutive record year. The number of successful applicants last year: 20. [The Asahi Shimbun]

As the Maldives’ president, Abdulla Yameen, cracks down on opposition, analysts and diplomats warn that the small nation’s troubles could provoke a crisis that draws in China and India. [The New York Times]

• In Bangladesh, makeshift camps that house more than 100,000 Rohingya refugees sit in areas prone to flooding and landslides. The U.N. said tens of thousands will need to be relocated before the monsoon season. [The New York Times]

• A United Airlines flight lost an engine casing over the Pacific Ocean, hours after leaving San Francisco. It landed safely in Honolulu. [The New York Times]

Smarter Living

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


Credit Melina Hammer for The New York Times

• We’ve shown you how to make pizza. Here’s how to make it better.

• To handle a partner’s depression, seek outside help.

• A Korean braised short-rib stew might be just the thing tonight.



Credit Kirill Bichutsky/Netflix

Chris Rock’s first new filmed hour in a decade, “Tamborine,” is now streaming. Our reviewer calls it “triumphant.”

• Facial recognition technology is increasingly accurate — if you’re a white man.

• Two new books explore how marriages in China and India cope with social change, rapid economic growth and the rising financial independence of women. A common thread: “Marriage is changing because women are changing.”

Back Story


Credit Natacha Pisarenko/Associated Press

Canada has one of the world’s most recognizable flags, but the banner is only 53 years old and took far longer to create.

The red-and-white flag, featuring a silhouette of a maple leaf, was raised for the first time on this day in 1965.

Previously, Canada had flown the Union Jack as a member of the British Commonwealth. An unofficial flag known as the Canadian Red Ensign, bearing the Union Jack and the Royal Coat of Arms of Canada, had been used on government buildings.

A national maple leaf flag was first suggested in 1895, but it wasn’t until 1964 that the Canadian Parliament approved it.

Prime Minister Lester Pearson had proposed a “truly distinctive” flag that represented all the cultures in Canada, not just its French or British colonial identity. A committee evaluated thousands of designs featuring national symbols (a beaver wearing a Mountie hat was among those rejected).

The flag was bitterly debated, especially by Mr. Pearson and his predecessor, the opposition leader John Diefenbaker. (Mr. Diefenbaker called the maple leaf motif “a flag without a past” and wept when it was inaugurated.)

But even though its tree doesn’t grow nationwide, the maple leaf was considered a neutral symbol.

“It was the perfect, perhaps the prototypical, Canadian compromise,” the historian Rick Archbold wrote.

Jennifer Jett contributed reporting.


Your Morning Briefing is published weekday mornings and updated online. Sign up here to get it by email in the Australian, Asian, European or American morning, or to receive an Evening Briefing on U.S. weeknights.

And our Australia bureau chief offers a weekly letter adding analysis and conversations with readers.

Browse our full range of Times newsletters here.

What would you like to see here? Contact us at

Continue reading the main story

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *