Asia and Australia Edition: Russia, Nawaz Sharif, North Korea: Your Monday Briefing

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Good morning.

Here’s what you need to know:

China and Russia showed their military might this weekend, holding parades that highlighted recent technical achievements and global ambitions.

President Xi Jinping of China, above, used the 90th anniversary of the People’s Liberation Army to signal that he was counting on loyalty from the armed forces when he chooses a new leadership lineup later this year. “Always obey and follow the party,” Mr. Xi said.

Russia celebrated Navy Day with parades in St. Petersburg, as well as in Sevastopol, which was annexed from Ukraine in 2014, and at Tartus in Syria, where Russia is expanding its military presence.

And President Vladimir Putin announced that 755 American diplomats would be expelled from Russia by Sept. 1, in response to a new measure that would expand U.S. sanctions against Russia.

Graphic | Local Weather See the forecast for your area.


The United States flew two supersonic B-1B bombers, above, over the Korean Peninsula in a show of force after North Korea tested an intercontinental ballistic missile that experts say could hit California.

The move spurred South Korea to seek talks with the Trump administration to allow the South to build more powerful ballistic missiles.

Far from acting irrationally, our columnist sees North Korea as pursuing an audacious, calculated and long-term strategy.


“The operation is continuing,” Australia’s prime minister, Malcolm Turnbull, said after the authorities thwarted what they said was a case of “Islamic-inspired terrorism.”

Officials offered few details about the alleged plot to detonate a bomb on a plane, which they described as credible and organized. The police arrested four men in raids around the Sydney suburbs, above.


President Trump enters a new phase of his presidency this week with a new chief of staff but an old set of challenges as he seeks to get back on course after enduring a week of legislative setbacks and a West Wing battle.

Outside of the White House, American law enforcement authorities criticized the president’s admonition that the police should not be “too nice” while transporting suspects. Experts worried that his words could encourage the inappropriate use of force.


In Pakistan, Imran Khan, above, a populist politician and former cricket star, has emerged as the strongest contender to succeed Nawaz Sharif, who stepped down as prime minister after the Supreme Court ruled that corruption allegations had disqualified him.

But Mr. Khan’s path to victory in the next general election, set for mid-2018, is far from assured.

On Saturday, Mr. Sharif picked his younger brother, Shehbaz Sharif, to replace him as prime minister.


Mother of Children, My Weak One or sometimes My Goat.

These are some of the terms men in Afghanistan use to refer to their wives in public, instead of their names, which would be a grave dishonor to share outside the family.

But a social media campaign hopes to change this custom by challenging women to break the deep-rooted taboo and reclaim their identities.

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• China’s e-commerce giants, like Alibaba and, are courting luxury retailers by providing white-glove deliveries rather than using couriers, who are better known for their hasty drop-offs in three-wheeled carts.

• Apple, in another apparent bow to Beijing, removed software, known as VPNs, that help users skirt internet censors from its app store in China.

• For Tesla, a moment of truth. The electric carmaker unveiled its Model 3 sedans, its $35,000 entry into the mass market.

• As Japan’s population dwindles, many retirees are returning to the work force. Meet Shigekazu Miyazaki, who is still flying a plane at 65.

Here’s a snapshot of global markets.

Graphic | What the Markets Are Doing

In the News

• In the Philippines, a mayor who had been accused by President Rodrigo Duterte of links to drug trafficking was killed along with his wife and 10 other people in a police raid. [The New York Times]

India’s coast guard seized more than 3,000 pounds of heroin, worth nearly $550 million, from a merchant ship off the coast of Gujarat. [BBC]

Firefighters in Spain are investigating the cause of a fire at a music festival in Barcelona that forced the evacuation of 20,000 people and incinerated the event’s stage. [Associated Press]

• The police in Vietnam arrested four activists in a widening crackdown on dissent. [Reuters]

• In Japan, the resignations of two high-ranking women is raising questions about Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s promise to create a society in which “women can shine.” [The New York Times]

• Boris Johnson, Britain’s foreign minister, received a rebuke from China’s state-affiliated news media during his visit last week to Australia, Japan and New Zealand. [Bloomberg]

• Australian scientists are evaluating the status of the platypus after it was rated as “near threatened.” But pinning down the elusive, and famously bizarre, species is no easy task. [The New York Times]

Smarter Living

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

• Research shows that adults can boost resilience in middle age, which is often when we need it most.

• Flying is bad for the planet. You can help make it better.

• Recipe of the day: Pastas, like this eggplant and tomato recipe, should focus on the vegetables.


• “This is one of the few freedoms we have.” In an squalid camp in Bangladesh, soccer is a prized diversion for Rohingya refugees.

• The original infinity pools. In this daily 360 video, take a dip in some of the more than 100 ocean baths and rock pools in New South Wales, Australia.

• A Times profile: An IraqiAustralian surgeon fled Baghdad in 1999 after being ordered to cut off the ears of army deserters. Now the prime minister wants him to help amputees walk again.

Back Story

Cup or cone?

Mister Softee has posed the age-old ice cream question across the United States for more than 60 years, delighting summer fans with a twist of soft-serve.

The soft-serve ice cream truck company was founded in 1956 by the brothers William and James Conway in Philadelphia. The two were working for Sweden Freezer, a major ice cream machine manufacturer, before conquering the soft-serve market. Their company now operates more than 600 blue-and-white trucks in 15 states and has made appearances as far away as England and China.

There is some dispute over who invented soft-serve ice cream; Dairy Queen and Carvel both claim the title. Carvel began selling soft-serve ice cream by accident in 1934, when founder Tom Carvel’s truck broke down, forcing him to sell melting ice cream. The British prime minister Margaret Thatcher is even credited with contributing to the modern soft-serve recipe.

But there’s no doubt that the jingle created by a Philadelphia adman in 1960 helped Mister Softee become a “totem of American popular culture”:

The creamiest dreamiest soft ice cream

You get from Mister Softee

For a refreshing delight supreme

Look for Mister Softee.

Have a sweet week.

Remy Tumin contributed reporting.


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