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Asia and Australia Edition: Thailand, NATO, Malaysia: Your Wednesday Briefing

Asia and Australia Edition

Thailand, NATO, Malaysia: Your Wednesday Briefing

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Good morning. U.S. slaps at NATO, Malaysia charges Najib Razak, and Thailand weighs a cave exit. Here’s what you need to know:

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CreditDoug Mills/The New York Times

• The rearrangement of American alliances under President Trump continues apace.

Details have emerged of sharply worded letters he sent to NATO leaders over defense funding, missives that increased acrimony ahead of next week’s NATO summit meeting. Adding to the tensions, that meeting will be immediately followed by Mr. Trump’s first formal solo meeting with a NATO antagonist: President Vladimir Putin of Russia.

The Trump administration also reversed an Obama-era policy that urged universities to consider race as a factor in admissions — putting America’s long commitment to affirmative action at a crossroads, its future likely dependent on the justice who will be named to fill the coming vacancy on the Supreme Court.

Mr. Trump has so far interviewed four candidates.

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CreditLinh Pham/Getty Images

• Now for the rescue.

After the exhilarating relief of locating 12 missing boys and their soccer coach, rescuers in Thailand now face the daunting challenge of pulling all 13 weakened individuals from the flooded cave network.

Experienced cave divers think the evacuation could be managed if the boys wore full face masks, instead of trying to train them on the more sophisticated breathing equipment in scuba. One Thai naval official raised a terrifying worst-case scenario: leaving them in the cave for four months, until the end of the rainy season.

Here’s a full account of how the boys were found and the options for their rescue. And here are five cave rescues that might inspire them.

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Archbishop Philip Wilson of Adelaide, Australia, was sentenced Tuesday for covering up a claim of sexual abuse dating back decades.CreditDarren Pateman/Australian Associated Press, via Associated Press

• “We have made history in Australia.”

That was an abuse survivor reacting after Philip Wilson, the archbishop of Adelaide, was sentenced to 12 months in detention for failing to report child sexual abuse.

Even so, there were no immediate indications that the archbishop would resign.

Separately, New Zealand officials say the historical bonds of “mateship” with Australia are at risk over a 2014 immigration law that cancels visas on the ground of “character.”

Almost 1,300 New Zealanders have been deported since January 2015, and they are now the largest group in Australia’s immigration detention centers.

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CreditManan Vatsyayana/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

• The fall of Najib Razak.

The ousted ex-prime minister of Malaysia is expected to appear in court today, to be charged with more than 10 counts of criminal breach of trust. He has denied any wrongdoing.

Malaysia’s anticorruption force arrested him on Tuesday, amid an investigation involving billions of dollars diverted from a state investment fund known as 1MDB.

American prosecutors have accused him of siphoning off $ 731 million from the fund and spending it on luxuries like a $ 27.3 million pink diamond necklace for his wife.

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• A grimly rising toll.

A Philippine mayor was fatally shot Tuesday afternoon, one day after a gunman killed a mayor who was known for parading criminal suspects around his city to shame them.

Five Philippine mayors have now been killed during President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on the drug trade, which has led to the deaths of thousands of people.

Three of the mayors were on the president’s list of 150 Philippine officials — including mayors, judges and police officers — whom he had accused of being involved in drugs.

Business

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CreditGerard Julien/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

• Facebook is facing broader federal investigations into its sharing of user data with the political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica. The Justice Department, F.B.I. and S.E.C. are inquiring about the matter and examining the social network’s statements.

• In China, the competition between JD.com and Alibaba is driving a fierce race to develop drones capable of delivering goods on a large scale.

• Shares in Glencore, a Switzerland-based mining giant with a major stake in Australian coal, sank as much as 13 percent on Tuesday on news that it was under subpoena in the U.S. in a money laundering and corruption investigation.

New York could become the first major American city to establish pay rules for drivers with Uber and other ride-hailing apps.

• The value of game data: We looked at some of the many questions raised by legal sports gambling.

• U.S. stocks were down, and Wall Street will be closed today for Independence Day. Here’s a snapshot of global markets.

In the News

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Matthew Wright of the Philippines threw a punch at Australia’s Daniel Kickert during a brawl that broke out in their FIBA World Cup qualifier game on Monday.CreditTed Aljibe/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

• A nasty brawl at a basketball game between Australia and the Philippines was one of the crazier scenes in the sport’s recent history, with haymaker punches and folding chairs thrown, wild kicks attempted, and 13 players eventually ejected. [The New York Times]

• Typhoon Prapiroon lashed the Korean Peninsula and southern Japan, but is weakening as it passes into the Sea of Japan. [Phys.Org]

• Two Sri Lankan reporters who provided logistical help for a Times investigation about the Chinese takeover of a port were vilified by a group of lawmakers in a televised news conference. Our international editor called the intimidation “unacceptable.” [The New York Times]

• The American suspected of fatally shooting five people in a newsroom near Washington last week sent a letter earlier that day to the paper’s lawyer announcing his “objective of killing every person present.” [The New York Times]

• Denmark is adopting harsh new laws targeted at immigrant “ghettos,” where children will receive mandatory instruction in “Danish culture.” [The New York Times]

• From the World Cup: Sweden beat Switzerland, 1-0, to advance to the quarterfinals for the first time since 1994. England and Colombia faced off to earn the right to play Sweden. We have live scores and analysis. [The New York Times]

Smarter Living

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

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CreditMirko Ilic

• A comprehensive guide to understanding blockchains.

• Here’s what “travel insurance” doesn’t actually cover.

• Recipe of the day: Add this weeknight version of classic chicken under a brick to your repertoire.

Noteworthy

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The bombardment of Guangzhou during the first Opium War in 1840.CreditHulton Archive/Getty Images

• The Opium War of 1840 began what China calls the “Century of Humiliation,” when foreign powers forced weak Chinese governments to cede territory and sign unequal treaties. A new book explains the conflict and its influence on the country’s relations with the world today.

Doctor, the red panda is waiting. Although medical students usually stick to humans, some future doctors at Harvard have been signing up for rotations at the zoo.

• The Sawamura Award was first bestowed on Japan’s best pitcher in 1947, nine years before Don Newcombe won the first Cy Young Award. Now the award has forged a bond between two American hurlers who have defined themselves for the Hanshin Tigers.

Back Story

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CreditAssociated Press

This week is the anniversary of the birth of Phineas Taylor Barnum — known as “the Prince of Humbug” and the man behind “The Greatest Show on Earth.”

Born on July 5, 1810, in Bridgeport, Conn., Barnum was most recently played by Hugh Jackman in “The Greatest Showman,” a film that focused on Barnum’s role in creating what became the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus, which closed in 2017 after nearly 150 years.

But Barnum’s path to fame started with the exploitation of an enslaved African-American woman. In 1835, the showman brought Joice Heth, who was presented as the 161-year-old former nurse of George Washington, to Manhattan and exhibited her around the Northeast. After Heth’s death in 1836, Barnum sold tickets to her autopsy.

In 1841, Barnum opened the American Museum in New York, which about 38 million people visited before it burned down in 1865. On display, among other things, was a menagerie of exotic animals that included beluga whales in an aquarium. (The whales died in the fire, and exotic animals roamed Manhattan’s streets for days afterward.)

It wasn’t until 1871 that Barnum became the circus proprietor we largely know him as today.

Barnum died in 1891, at which point The Washington Post called him “the most widely known American that ever lived.”

Claire Moses wrote today’s Back Story.

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