New York Times

Asia and Australia Edition: Thailand, Hong Kong, World Cup: Your Thursday Briefing

Asia and Australia Edition

Thailand, Hong Kong, World Cup: Your Thursday Briefing

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

Good morning. Trauma for HNA, a big win for gay rights in Hong Kong and rescue updates from Thailand. Here’s what you need to know:

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CreditKrista Schlueter for The New York Times

• A shocking loss for HNA.

The family of Wang Jian, the Chinese conglomerate’s co-founder and co-chairman and one of China’s richest men, was flying to France to claim his body after he fell to his death while sightseeing in Provence. Above, Mr. Wang, at an event in New York last year.

His death is a blow to HNA, which is trying to tame its debt of more than $ 90 billion.

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CreditIsaac Lawrence/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

• A watershed moment for gay rights in Asia.

Hong Kong’s top court ruled that committed same-sex couples had the same rights to spousal visas as heterosexual couples. Advocates said the decision could have ripple effects in advancing gay rights.

Banks and law firms had pushed for such recognition to lure and keep top talent.

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CreditDavid Gray/Reuters

• A stark warning.

By the 2030s, Australia’s Great Barrier Reef could experience devastating mass bleachings as often as every two years — unless greenhouse gas emissions are drastically reduced.

“This would effectively sign the death certificate of one of the world’s largest living marine structures,” said the head of the Climate Council, a publicly funded Australian research institute.

With mass coral die-offs in 2016 and 2017, scientists have already said the reef will never look the same again.

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CreditDoug Mills/The New York Times

• “We must protect those who protect us.”

That was President Trump in a mostly on-message speech at a resort in West Virginia this week that celebrated the service of military members — and the talents of professional golfers.

We also did fact-checked Mr. Trump’s latest tweetstorm, a medley of Fox-inspired posts that spanned a range of foreign and domestic issues and attacked his perceived rivals. (Most of it was false.)

And as his policies expand the number of migrants being held, we tracked how many players in the billion-dollar detention industry have strong ties to his administration.

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CreditRoyal Thai Navy Facebook Page, via Associated Press

• Uplifiting videos from inside a Thai cave.

New video of a trapped youth soccer team member show interactions with the 12 boys and their coach who have been trapped for in a flooded cave network in Thailand since June 23.

You can watch the video here, and catch up on every step of the story so far, with updates as events unfold.

Thai officials and rescue teams are deliberating how, and when, to get the weakened team back out through miles of treacherously tight, flooded passages.

Business

• China released Stern Hu, an Australian mining executive who was convicted in 2010 of corruption and ended up serving most of a 10-year prison sentence. The tensions that framed his trial — like concerns over China’s line between politics and business — remain unresolved.

• The Australian government announces today its plans for changing the way goods and services tax revenue is carved up. [9News]

• Saudi Arabia and other oil producers said they would curb prices by boosting production. So why has the price risen more than 20 percent, to $ 78 per barrel?

• Globally, a record $ 2.5 trillion in mergers have been announced so far in 2018. The value of so-called cross-border deals jumped to more than $ 1 trillion, its second-highest level on record. Acquisitions of U.S. companies by foreign buyers jumped 48 percent.

• U.S. markets were closed for Independence Day. Here’s a snapshot of global markets.

In the News

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CreditK.M. Chaudary/Associated Press

• In Pakistan, the worst monsoon rains in decades killed six people in Lahore. Most of the city of six million is submerged. [The New York Times]

• A British couple are fighting for their lives after being exposed to an unknown substance in the same region where a former Russian double agent and his daughter were poisoned with a nerve agent. [The Independent]

• Tens of thousands protested across Poland after the right-wing governing party carried out a sweeping purge of the Supreme Court, escalating a clash with the European Union over the rule of law. [The New York Times]

• The Islamic State said that a son of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the group’s leader, was killed in Syria. [The New York Times]

• Photographs of an American woman with the giraffe she killed in South Africa last year have fueled an online debate about big-game trophy hunting. [The New York Times]

• From the World Cup: Nigeria’s captain, John Obi Mikel, played in a key match hours after learning that his father had been kidnapped. “I knew that I could not let 180 million Nigerians down,” he said. [The New York Times]

• And ninth-seeded Venus Williams, 38, stormed back from a set down to beat Alexandra Dulgheru of Romania, 4-6, 6-0, 6-1, to reach the third round at Wimbledon. [A.P.]

Smarter Living

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

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CreditLisa Adams

• Exfoliation tips for the best skin ever.

• Here are 18 ways to navigate stress while at an airport.

• Recipe of the day: Make a streamlined version of chicken tikka masala tonight.

Noteworthy

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CreditRichard Termine for The New York Times

• The world’s most famous pianist, Lang Lang, has been out of commission with an arm injury for more than a year. Here’s why his return on Friday — to headline the season opener at Tanglewood, the Boston Symphony Orchestra’s summer home — is a big deal for classical music.

• What to watch in Australia: Let The Times’s critics help you decide what movies to see (or skip) this month, and here’s our take on the latest batch of movies and TV shows on Netflix.

• And what makes the biggest American fireworks display sparkle? Pyrotechnics from around the world.

Back Story

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CreditWallace Kirkland/The LIFE Picture Collection, via Getty Images

Spam — the canned meat, not the unwanted email — might deserve more respect.

On this day in 1937, the U.S. company Hormel introduced the mix of pork shoulder and ham whose name is derived from “spiced ham.” (No, it doesn’t stand for “Something Posing As Meat.”) Since then, Spam has been a muse for poets, comedians and chefs, and helped win World War II.

The Times’s obituary for Jay Hormel, Spam’s creator, said he was the first to successfully can ham. Cooking the meat inside the can produced a natural gelatin, increased shelf life and made it useful in battle. President Dwight D. Eisenhower wrote a letter praising Spam, and the former Soviet premier Nikita Khrushchev said his country couldn’t have fed its troops without it.

Hawaii embraced Spam during the war, too, and the love affair never ceased. The state consumes the most in America, at about seven million cans per year, which is five cans per person. It is sold in more than 40 countries around the world, including Australia, Japan, and the Philippines.

“In all of its high-sodium, gravy-drenched glory, Spam has, in every sense, found its way into my heart,” the chef Anthony Bourdain, who died last month, said during a visit with his show “No Reservations.” “I get it now. I feel inducted into the Church of True Knowledge.”

Robb Todd wrote today’s Back Story.

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