Asia and Australia Edition: North Korea, Moscow, Rob Porter: Your Monday Briefing

And an opinion writer takes issue with the world’s embrace of the North’s tactic of turning pretty young women into aesthetic ambassadors.



Credit Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

• President Trump’s habit of making insensitive remarks is galvanizing opposition against him — especially from women — that could smother Republican momentum, our columnist writes.

In a Twitter post, Mr. Trump appeared to raise doubts about the entire #MeToo movement, writing that lives are being “destroyed by a mere allegation.”

That came a day after Mr. Trump had offered sympathy for Rob Porter, the White House staff secretary pictured with him above, who resigned over spousal abuse accusations.



Credit Maxim Shemetov/Reuters

A Russian plane carrying 71 people crashed shortly after takeoff from Moscow on Sunday, killing all on board.

An online site that tracks real-time flight information shows the plane lost altitude six minutes after takeoff. It reached 6,400 feet before dropping to 5,800 feet, rising again briefly and falling sharply — all within one minute.



Credit Quinn Ryan Mattingly for The New York Times

On the climate front: A Vietnamese energy company pulled an application for U.S. financing for the coal-fired power plant above. That means there’s still no signal of whether the Trump administration will fund projects that could contribute to climate change.

And China’s attempt to cut coal use in homes and businesses is working — but unintended consequences include heating failures and the rise of a black market for coal.

This week’s edition of our “Climate Fwd:” newsletter has an Olympic skier’s observations on how even snow is changing, and looks at how uncontrolled agricultural development in Indonesia adds old carbon back into the atmosphere. (Sign up here.)



Credit David Maurice Smith for The New York Times

Weed woes.

Australia legalized medical marijuana in 2016, but only about 350 Australian patients have been approved to use the drug legally. Activists say the process is needlessly slow, expensive and complicated.

We vistited the reluctant poster child for the medical use of the drug: Lindsay Carter, a teenager near Brisbane who has epilepsy and a brain tumor — and whose supply is running out.



Credit David Gray/Reuters

• More volatility is expected in the Australian stock market this week, especially in the mining and energy sectors. The benchmark S&P/ASX200 index ended last week down 4.6 percent.

• Details are expected on bids to carry English Premier League soccer matches. One big question: how far will Amazon go against pay-TV broadcasters? (In China, Wuhan DDMC Culture Co. owns the rights until the end of the 2018-19 season.)

Here’s a snapshot of global markets.

In the News


Credit Yuri Gripas/Reuters

• President Trump nominated Admiral Harry Harris, the head of U.S. Pacific Command, who is known for his hawkish views on China, to be the U.S. ambassador to Australia. [ABC]

• National Party lawmakers are meeting today in Canberra as questions swirl over whether Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce, awash in scandal, can stay in power. [The Sydney Morning Herald]

• In Hong Kong, a double-decker bus crashed in a rural area, killing at least 18 and injuring more than 60 in the territory’s deadliest such accident in 15 years. Survivors said the driver was behind schedule and speeding. [The New York Times]

Reuters published an account of the massacre of 10 Rohingya men in Myanmar. The agency said that work on the article led the Myanmar authorities to arrest two of its reporters, who have been charged under the colonial-era Official Secrets Act and face up to 14 years in prison. [The New York Times]

• Some Catholics worry that the Vatican’s rapprochement with China could betray those who have illicitly practiced their faith for decades in the country’s so-called underground churches. [The New York Times]

• A professor in the U.S. failed a student on a project outline involving Australia, insisting that it was “a continent, not a country.” (The professor was later fired.) [BuzzFeed]

Smarter Living

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


Credit Andrew Scrivani for The New York Times

• Spend Valentine’s Day at home with these recipes.

• Here’s what to do if you have a bad iPhone battery.

• Go meatless with creamy polenta and mushrooms cooked in soy sauce and butter.



Credit Niko Tavernise/Twentieth Century Fox, via Associated Press

• Our film critic wasn’t wildly impressed by “The Greatest Showman,” the film about P.T. Barnum that stars Hugh Jackman. But moviegoers appear to love it, and its album is No. 1 on the Billboard chart. What did we miss?

• A real-to-life fight club in Chengdu, China — the “Monster Private War Club — offers bored Chinese millennials a punchy alternative to karaoke nights and the bar scene.

• And should mothers and daughters talk more openly about sexual harassment? Our reporter pondered the question in the latest installment of “The #MeToo Moment,” our weekly newsletter.

Back Story


Credit Philip Montgomery for The New York Times

The Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show opens in New York today, an event that bills itself as the World’s Greatest Dog Show. The competition has cultivated a strong following since it opened in 1877 at Gilmore’s Garden, a venue that later became known as Madison Square Garden.

So where did the “Westminster” come from?

In the 1870s, a group of men met regularly at the Westminster Hotel near Union Square. They had an extraordinary affinity for the bar, as well as for dogs, and they decided to put on a dog show.

William F. Stifel’s book “The Dog Show, 125 Years of Westminster” details what happened next.

… They couldn’t agree on the name for their new club. But finally someone suggested that they name it after their favorite bar. The idea was unanimously selected, we imagine, with the hoisting of a dozen drinking arms.

After the Kentucky Derby, the Westminster Dog Show is the second-oldest continuously run sporting event in American history.

The first show had over 1,200 entries, and the judging took several days to choose a winner. (Here’s our 1877 report on the preparations.)

Last year, the show had close to 3,000 dogs from all 50 states. Judges hold themselves to two days.

Here’s our collection of stories on the show, and we’ll be adding live coverage beginning at 6 p.m. Eastern. (For Australian insomniacs, that’s 2 a.m. Tuesday in Sydney.)

Claudio E. Cabrera contributed reporting.


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