North Korea, Amazon, World Cup: Your Friday Briefing

Asia and Australia Edition

(Want to get this briefing by email? Here’s the sign-up.)

Good morning. Retaliatory trade measures, monsoon season in Bangladesh and China’s World Cup reach. Here’s what you need to know.

CreditAgence France-Presse — Getty Images
CreditDoug Mills/The New York Times

• President Trump said he was expecting a visiting North Korean delegation to give him a letter from their leader, Kim Jong-un, as officials tried to salvage the June 12 summit meeting.

His comments came right after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo began formal talks with Kim Yong-chol, the senior North Korean official who arrived in New York on Thursday. His visit signals that talks between the two countries are reaching a critical point.

In a video, we look at what is known about that controversial official, who is North Korea’s top nuclear weapons negotiator.

CreditStephen Crowley/The New York Times

“What if we were wrong?”

Shortly after the 2016 election, President Barack Obama struggled to understand Donald Trump’s victory, according to a new book by a longtime adviser, Benjamin Rhodes.

Mr. Rhodes reveals the emotional stages Mr. Obama went through at the time, including wondering if he had misjudged his own place in history.

“Maybe we pushed too far,” Mr. Obama said at one point. “Maybe people just want to fall back into their tribe.”


CreditCole Wilson for The New York Times

• The Congolese artist Bodys Isek Kingelez described himself as “a small god” and an “enlightened artist of new horizons.” However immodestly, our critic writes, he spoke the truth.

A euphoric exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York is the first Kingelez retrospective in the United States. The artist’s fantasy architectural models are strong in color, eccentric in shape and glowing with futuristic visions for Congo’s transition after independence from Belgium in 1960.

And as objects, the works are among the most distinctive and ambiguous creations in the histories of sculpture, architectural model-making and the decorative arts. They celebrate, criticize and satirize.



CreditAgence France-Presse — Getty Images
CreditAntara Foto/Reuters

• Indonesia’s most celebrated Islamic fashion designer, pictured above with her husband, has been sentenced to 18 years in prison for defrauding customers who booked pilgrimages to Mecca through the travel agency the couple owned. [The New York Times]

• The American Institute in Taiwan — the U.S. Embassy in all but name — is getting a $250 million upgrade as the U.S. slowly elevates its ties with the self-governing island, angering China. [The New York Times]

• The U.S. military renamed its Pacific Command the U.S. Indo-Pacific Command, a symbolic move that shows the growing importance of India to the Pentagon amid tensions with China. [Reuters]

• Harvey Weinstein was indicted on two counts of rape and one count of criminal sexual act by a grand jury in Manhattan. If convicted, he could face 25 years in prison. [The New York Times]

• A severe water shortage has prompted residents in Shimla, India, to warn tourists to stay away. [The Guardian]

• The N.B.A. finals begin with an unprecedented fourth straight year of the same finals matchup: the Golden State Warriors versus the Cleveland Cavaliers. [The New York Times]

Smarter Living

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

CreditMelina Hammer for The New York Times

• You’ve been recycling these six things all wrong.


CreditWilliam E. Crawford

• A photographer’s curiosity brought him to postwar Hanoi, where he documented the transformation of the city and its people over three decades. Above, an image from 1987.

• The Times’s recent publication of an investigation into thousands of internal Islamic State documents led to a thoughtful conversation with readers on the ethical and legal considerations of reporting in a war zone. (The original documents are to be given back to Iraq.)

The pyramids of Giza are near a Pizza Hut. Movies and textbooks (and our imaginations) tend to depict ancient world landmarks in an idyllic light, but our visual tour shows that the reality is often quite different.

Back Story

CreditGene Arias/NBCU Photo Bank, via Getty Images

It’s now a widely known way to save someone from choking: Wrap your arms around them from behind, squeeze and push their abdomen to create air flow to the lungs.

The Heimlich maneuver was first described in June 1974, in an article published by its creator, Dr. Henry Heimlich. Above, Dr. Heimlich demonstrated the maneuver on Johnny Carson in 1979.

In the early 1970s, almost 4,000 Americans died annually from choking on food or small objects. It was the sixth-leading cause of accidental death in the U.S. By some estimates, more than 100,000 people have been saved because of the technique.

A thoracic surgeon, Dr. Heimlich developed the method that compresses the lungs, causing a flow of air that carries the stuck object out of the airway and then the mouth. It has become a safety icon that is taught in schools, portrayed in movies and endorsed by medical authorities. At first, however, Dr. Heimlich found himself at odds with a skeptical medical establishment.

In May 2016, shortly before his death at the age of 96 and after decades of showing people how to correctly use the maneuver, he saved an 87-year-old woman’s life with his own invention. “I felt it was just confirmation of what I had been doing throughout my life,” he said.

Claire Moses wrote today’s Back Story.


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. You can also 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