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Good morning. A rural revival in central Victoria, China’s hard bargaining and a death on Mount Everest. Here’s what you need to know.
• “We feel at home here.”
For Part 2 in our series on how rural Australian communities are dealing global changes, we have a story of rebirth.
An influx of Filipinos has turned Pyramid Hill, a one-pub town of around 500 people, 240 kilometers (about 149 miles) from Melbourne, into a model for integration and revival.
New homes are going up for the first time in a generation — and both the newcomers and lifelong residents say they have found the answer to rising concerns that immigrants strain resources in cities: small-town living.
“It’s the only way to survive,” said Tom Smith, a pig farmer who spurred the town’s revival by sponsoring four workers from the Philippines in 2008.
(Part 1: the boom that left Australia’s small farmers behind.)
• China called President Trump’s bluff.
Mr. Trump promoted his administration’s trade talks with China as a success on Monday, saying China would end up buying more American agricultural goods.
But though Washington’s suspended tariffs on $ 150 billion in Chinese goods, Beijing has held its line, rebuffing demands and avoiding specific pledges. (Or as China’s propaganda machine tells it, the Chinese government “never compromised.”) Above, a steelworker in Nantong, China.
And in our Opinion section, a Hong Kong journalist examines the inner workings of China’s vast global influence machine.
• President Trump is worried that his planned meeting with North Korea’s dictator, Kim Jong-un, next month could turn into an embarrassment.
High on the agenda when Mr. Trump meets with President Moon Jae-in of South Korea at the White House on Tuesday will be the North’s recent about-face, in which it rejected offers of economic aid to denuclearize. Above, the leaders in Seoul in November.
On Monday, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo delivered a remarkably hard-line speech about Iran, offering no concessions to European leaders who want to do business with Tehran.
• “This has been our hardest battle.”
That was Marcio Gomes on the opening day of a public inquiry into the Grenfell Tower fire in London. He was testifying on the death of his son Logan, delivered stillborn hours after the family escaped.
For eight more days, survivors, friends and families will record their tributes to the 72 dead. Above, the remains of the tower.
The extraordinary sessions are meant to show that the investigation is about more than the technicalities of building regulations or fire precautions.
• Banks are adopting military tools and techniques, like “fusion centers,” windowless bunkers and combat drills, to battle cybercrime.
• Telstra apologized for another outage that crippled its mobile phone networks, but the telecom said it did not know what caused the problem.
• More than 200 apps and services offer stalkers a variety of electronic capabilities to monitor their targets, including the abilities to track locations, harvest texts and secretly record video.
In the News
• A Chilean survivor of sexual abuse said Pope Francis told him that being gay was “not a problem” and that “God made you this way and loves you this way, and the pope loves you this way.” The Vatican declined to comment on what would be a remarkable expression of Roman Catholic inclusion. [The New York Times]
• A Japanese climber became the third person to die on Mount Everest this month. Nobukazu Kuriki had lost nine fingers to frostbite on a previous attempt to reach the summit of the world’s highest peak. [The New York Times]
• New South Wales has decided to legally protect rather than kill thousands of wild horses, infuriating scientists who argue feral herds are doing severe environmental damage to the Snowy Mountains region. [Associated Press]
• The mayor of Thessaloniki, Greece’s second-largest city, was assaulted by a far-right mob over the weekend, an attack that was met with glee from nationalist groups and heightened concerns about a rise in hate crime in the country. [The New York Times]
• Around 50 competitors have remained in Australia illegally after this year’s Commonwealth Games, and nearly 200 others are applying for refugee status, a government official said. [BBC]
• The banking royal commission’s hearings in Melbourne on small business lending practices focused on Westpac Bank’s claim against the house of an elderly pensioner with multiple debilitating health conditions. The bank had allowed her to be a guarantor for a loan despite being legally blind. [The Guardian]
• Nicolás Maduro won a second term as president of Venezuela, in a contest that critics said was heavily rigged in his favor and which many voters shunned. [The New York Times]
• President Trump swore in Gina Haspel as head of the C.I.A., amid his assault on what he perceives as the intelligence community’s improper actions as part of investigations into his campaign. [The New York Times]
Tips, both new and old, for a more fulfilling life.
• Hawaii’s volcanic ghost town: Our reporter provides an inside look at an island outpost devastated by lava and shaken by the jet-engine roars of the Kilauea volcano.
• An asteroid that shares orbital space with Jupiter but goes around the sun in the opposite direction came from outside our solar system.
• Meet Paolo Borrometi, one of nearly 200 Italian journalists who live under police protection because their reporting angered the mafia. “That doesn’t happen in other countries,” a press freedom advocate says.
Sherlock Holmes is “the most famous fictional character of the past two centuries, rivaled only by Dracula and James Bond,” a reviewer for The Times once argued.
Even so, his creator, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, above, couldn’t wait to kill him off. Doyle was born in Edinburgh on this day in 1859.
Although Doyle wrote four novels and 56 short stories featuring the great detective and his companion, Dr. John Watson, by 1893 he had become bored of his creation.
In “The Final Problem,” Doyle sent his protagonist plunging over the Reichenbach Falls with his archnemesis, Professor James Moriarty, seemingly to their deaths. (More than 20,000 outraged readers canceled their subscriptions to The Strand Magazine when the story was published.)
Doyle later said of Holmes, “I have had such an overdose of him that I feel towards him as I do towards pâté de foie gras, of which I once ate too much.”
Although he eventually resurrected Holmes, Doyle also had time for pursuits worthy even of his eccentric sleuth: He helped popularize skiing, tried his hand unsuccessfully at politics and was knighted for his report on the Boer War.
He also had a deep interest in the supernatural and helped popularize a famous hoax of the early 20th century: a series of photographs of garden fairies.
Charles McDermid wrote today’s Back Story.
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