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Good morning. President Trump calls off the North Korea meeting, Burkina Faso cuts ties with Taiwan, and Saudis crack down on female activists. Here’s what you need to know:
• President Trump has canceled the June 12 summit meeting with Kim Jong-un. He wrote a letter to Mr. Kim citing “tremendous anger and open hostility” from the North Koreans.
He was referring to Pyongyang’s reaction to comments by Vice President Mike Pence that North Korea could end up like Libya. A top official had said the remarks were “ignorant and stupid.”
Mr. Trump’s decision came hours after North Korea destroyed its only known nuclear test site, inviting a select group of journalists — but no outside nuclear monitors — to bear witness.
One leader may be pleased by Mr. Trump’s cancellation of the meeting: President Xi Jinping of China, who can use his influence with North Korea as leverage while negotiating a trade deal with Washington.
• And then there was one.
With Burkina Faso cutting diplomatic ties with Taiwan, the self-governing island is left with one remaining ally in Africa (Swaziland) and only 17 worldwide.
It was the latest victory for China, which claims the island as its own and works to isolate it on the global stage. “We welcome Burkina Faso to join the big family of Chinese-African friendship and cooperation on the basis of the ‘One China’ principle,” a Chinese spokesman said.
President Tsai Ing-wen of Taiwan, above at lectern, criticized China for applauding Burkina Faso’s move.
The United States ended formal relations with Taiwan in 1979 and maintains friendly but unofficial ties.
The Pentagon cited Beijing’s rapid military buildup on other disputed islands, in the South China Sea, as the reason for disinviting China from a multinational naval exercise scheduled for this summer.
• In Washington, congressional leaders from both parties were briefed on the F.B.I.’s use of an informant in the Russia investigation, a highly unusual concession that was all but ordered by the president.
House Republicans had pressed for weeks for access to material on the informant. It remained unclear Thursday what would be shared.
The informant, an American academic who served in previous administrations, approached at least three Trump campaign advisers who had been in contact with suspected Russian agents.
• The U.S. military fought one of its bloodiest battles in Syria in February, a four-hour fight that left up to 300 pro-government forces dead.
Through interviews and newly obtained documents we pieced together an on-the-ground accounting of the encounter, the most intense the military has faced in Syria.
U.S. officials described the Feb. 7 firefight as an act of self-defense against pro-Syrian forces.
For the first 15 minutes, U.S. military officials called their Russian counterparts and urged them to stop their allies. When that failed, the Americans fired warning shots and a howitzer. Still, the troops advanced. By the end, 200 to 300 of the pro-Syrian forces had been killed, The Times estimates.
• Not too long ago, Lisbon was a prime example of the devastation wrought by Europe’s debt crisis. Now foreign investors have flooded the city, and its transformation has helped lead Portugal’s economic recovery.
But the real estate boom and rising tourism have left some of the less privileged residents behind or worse, displaced. On some streets, the extremes live side by side.
Many worry that the city will lose its charm if traditional life is pushed out. “If we’re evicting the old residents and creating gated communities for the wealthy, then what are we going to show tourists who expect to see traditional Portuguese life on our streets?” one resident asked.
• Canada blocked a $ 1 billion takeover of a construction company by a state-controlled Chinese firm over national security concerns, a rare move by the Trudeau government.
• President Trump has ordered an investigation into whether imported vehicles pose a threat to national security.
• Apple has signed a deal with Volkswagen to produce self-driving cars, after being rebuffed by BMW and Mercedes-Benz.
• Deutsche Bank, Germany’s biggest lender, said it would cut 7,000 jobs and “significantly reshape” its business.
• Elon Musk took aim at the news media in a Twitter tirade, blaming journalists for the election of President Trump and suggesting that they write negative stories about Tesla for page views.
In the News
• Russia supplied the missile, above, that shot down a Malaysian passenger jet over Ukraine in 2014, a team of international investigators said. [The New York Times]
• Harvey Weinstein is expected to be arrested in New York as soon as Friday after an inquiry into allegations that he sexually assaulted women. [The New York Times]
• Saudi Arabia is set to start letting women drive soon, but it has also begun arresting the activists who pressed for the right. [The New York Times]
• The Israeli defense minister said he plans to seek approval for 2,500 new homes in Jewish settlements in the occupied West Bank, prompting Palestinian condemnation. [Reuters]
• The Tamil Nadu state government in India plans to permanently close a copper-smelting plant after 13 people were killed protesting it. [Reuters]
• An Australian woman was found guilty of drug trafficking and sentenced to death by hanging in Malaysia. [The Sydney Morning Herald]
• In Turkmenistan, the police are inspecting toilets for “soiled” newspapers with photos of the president. Those found guilty of damaging his image will be issued a warning. [BBC]
• The Japanese director Hiro Murai spoke to The Times Magazine about music videos, his collaboration with Donald Glover, and Hayao Miyazaki movies. “In Japan, animation is a big part of your media diet,” he said.
• The flavors and contrasts of Burmese cuisine are on display at this understated restaurant in New York.
• We spoke with Haifaa al-Mansour, the pioneering Saudi director, who sees parallels between her own experience in a conservative society and the life of Mary Shelley, the subject of her new film.
A pair of photos widely circulated on Chinese social media this week invoked the Boxer Rebellion, a painful chapter of China’s history, as a commentary on how its position in the world has changed.
The Boxer Rebellion began in northern China in the late 19th century, amid encroachment by foreign powers that had established concessions in major cities.
A conservative and superstitious militia called the Yihetuan — known as “Boxers” in English because members practiced martial arts — was killing Christian missionaries and Chinese Christians. With the eventual support of the ruling Qing dynasty, the Boxers forced diplomats and other foreigners to take refuge in the Beijing Legation Quarter for 55 days in 1900.
An alliance of eight countries (Japan, Russia, Britain, France, the U.S., Germany, Italy and Austria-Hungary) responded by sending thousands of troops to rescue the diplomats, with atrocities committed all around as they defeated Chinese forces. Above, representatives of the German, British, French, Italian, American and Russian military forces that combined to defeat the rebellion.
The foreign troops began a yearlong occupation of Beijing and other cities, resulting in rape and the rampant looting of Chinese property.
China was also required to pay the eight nations an indemnity of more than $ 330 million, although most of it was spent in China on infrastructure and education. The defeat further weakened the Qing dynasty, which was overthrown in 1911.
Jennifer Jett wrote today’s Back Story.
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