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Trade War, Thailand Rescue, Myanmar: Your Friday Briefing

Category: Asia,World

Asia and Australia Edition

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Good morning. Countdown to a trade war, negotiations in North Korea and fighting darkness in Hong Kong. Here’s what you need to know:

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CreditJustin Sullivan/Getty Images

The dispute is expected to ripple through global supply chains. Global stock markets have been volatile in anticipation of a trade fight between the U.S. and almost everyone else.

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CreditAhn Young-Joon/Associated Press

• “Fire and fury” no more.

When North Korea conducted missile tests and detonated atomic bombs last year, President Trump responded with threats and ordered the military to come up with pre-emptive strike options.

But since his summit meeting last month with the North’s leader, Kim Jong-un, Mr. Trump has done an about-face — though Pyongyang’s weapon programs have continued.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was on his way to North Korea on Thursday, with the challenge of negotiating a better nuclear deal than the one reached with Iran, which Mr. Trump has called a “disaster.”

CreditRebecca Conway for The New York Times

• “Have you no shame, sir?”

That was Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, the U.N. high commissioner for human rights, in a heated exchange with a diplomat from Myanmar over the 700,000 Rohingya who have fled to Bangladesh and are stuck in overcrowded camps. Above, the Kutupalong camp.

When the diplomat told the U.N. Human Rights Council that his country was “committed to the defense of human rights,” it was too much for Mr. Hussein.

That claim, he saidd, “almost creates its own level of preposterousness.”

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CreditYe Aung Thu/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

• Update: Thailand’s cave rescue.

The third straight day of better weather raised speculation that rescuers might try to quickly evacuate the 12 young boys and their soccer coach trapped in the vast and monsoon-flooded Tham Luang Cave network since June 23.

Several factors weighed against such a decision. “If it rains and the water volume increases, we have to calculate, how much time do we have? a Thai official said. “How many hours, how many days?”

CreditRussell Goldman

• Meet the “Darkness Fighters” of Hong Kong.

Our correspondents went along with a dragon boat team composed of visually impaired paddlers as they prepared for Hong Kong’s annual Dragon Boat Festival, a centuries-old tradition throughout Asia that combines sacred rituals with serious competition.

“This is the Darkness Fighters’ mantra,” the team shouted before carefully getting into the boat. “Challenge the impossible!”

CreditTom Brenner/The New York Times

• Scott Pruitt, the head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, resigned after months of allegations over legal and ethical violations. President Trump announced the resignation in a tweet in which he thanked Mr. Pruitt for an “outstanding job.” [The New York Times]

• Australia will allow a young girl to leave Nauru, the offshore refugee detention center, to seek mental health care. But others are not getting the help they need, advocates say. [The New York Times]

• Poisonings and strained relations. Four months after a Russian ex-spy and his daughter were left critically ill in an England town, two Britons were sickened by the same toxin. Here’s how the case has unfolded. [The New York Times]

• In India, a woman working at a charity founded by Mother Teresa in 1950 was arrested on suspicion of selling a 14-day-old baby. The police are looking into other possible cases. [BBC]

• Kim Dotcom, the internet mogul known for his lavish lifestyle in New Zealand, lost another bid to avoid extradition to the U.S. on charges of copyright infringement and money laundering. [The New York Times]

• Many Asian-Americans in New York City feel snubbed by Mayor Bill de Blasio’s plan to change admissions to the city’s elite high schools, where they dominate. [The New York Times]

• Wimbledon’s “Mrs. Williams.” Serena Williams, who married in the fall, now shares a courtesy title with other champions, including Mrs. L.W. King, Mrs. J.M. Lloyd and Mrs. R. Cawley (better known as Billie Jean King, Chris Evert and Evonne Goolagong). [The New York Times]

Smarter Living

Tips for a more fulfilling life.

• How to keep up with the World Cup if you can’t watch it live.

• Clean those pesky summer stains.

• Recipe of the day: Finish the week strong with a plan to make peach raspberry pie.

Noteworthy

CreditIllustration by C. C. Tsai

• “The Art of War,” animated. C.C. Tsai, a Chinese artist and illustrator of Sunzi’s classic treatise on warfare and strategy, spoke with The Times about his own time in the military and what readers often misunderstand about “The Art of War.”

• Gerry Ryan became one of Australia’s richest people by making RVs. Now he’s betting big on musicals: His Sydney-based company is producing its first four. On three continents. At the same time. (One is “King Kong” on Broadway.)

• A new position for Ichiro Suzuki. The Seattle Mariners have shifted the Japanese star into a front-office advisory role that seems unprecedented in the modern game — uniformed consultant, mentor, baseball professor and cheerleader.

CreditBergwacht Bayern

The boys’ soccer team trapped in Thailand has prompted a sprawling rescue effort and riveted the world’s attention.

But the effort is just the latest chapter in the annals of cave rescues.

The sport of caving was first developed in the late 19th century, and its popularity grew partly thanks to explorations by Édouard-Alfred Martel, a caving pioneer from France. The first caving clubs were formed in England in the 1920s and ’30s.

Comprehensive data on worldwide cave rescues since then is scarce. But one study found that between 1980 and 2008, there were 1,356 documented cases of “cavers requiring rescue” in the U.S.

And the Cave Rescue Organisation, the oldest cave-rescue group in Britain, says it has responded to 2,927 incidents since its founding in 1935. Of those, 745 were in caves; the rest were on mountains and in disused mines and other locations.

The all-volunteer group says the incidents involved 4,193 people and hundreds of animals, including 252 lambs, 226 sheep, 79 dogs, nine cows, nine ducks, one rabbit and one cat.

Mike Ives wrote today’s Back Story.

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