Rex Tillerson, Pope Francis, North Korea: Your Friday Briefing

Rex Tillerson, Pope Francis, North Korea: Your Friday Briefing

Accusations against two more major figures came to light: Russell Simmons, the hip-hop mogul who co-founded Def Jam Records; and the charismatic playwright Israel Horovitz.

Our new gender editor provides insights and updates in the first edition of our newsletter The #MeToo Moment.



Ko Sasaki for The New York Times

In Japan, huge government apartment complexes, called danchi, were once a monument to the postwar boom and aspirations for a modern way of life.

Now that the country is the world’s most rapidly aging society, the danchi have become known for something else entirely: “lonely deaths.

Norimitsu Onishi, our former Tokyo bureau chief, painted an intimate portrait of the aging residents of one.



Ettore Ferrari/European Pressphoto Agency

Pope Francis arrived in Bangladesh, and began to find his voice on the Rohingya crisis.

He spoke of the plight of “refugees from Rakhine State,” who fled atrocities suffered at the hands of Myanmar’s military, and called for “decisive measures to address this grave crisis.” But he still tiptoed around the term “Rohingya.”

He is expected to meet with some of the refugees before leaving for Rome on Saturday.


And the 2018 World Cup draw is finally here.

If things fall right, a team could emerge from the tournament’s eight first-round groups with an easy route to the Round of 16. But a team’s hopes could also be dashed even before arriving in the host nation, Russia.

Here’s how it all works, and how to watch. The Times will also provide minute-by-minute coverage on



Mark Brake/Getty Images

South Australia is powering up the world’s biggest battery, a massive lithium-ion project that can light 30,000 homes. Elon Musk, the founder of Tesla, appears to have won his bet that he could have it operational within 100 days (or do it for free).

• The popular Chinese drone maker, D.J.I., is fighting a claim that it is sending sensitive information about U.S. infrastructure to China, a new flash point for concerns over the vast data reserves commercial technology companies are vacuuming up.

India’s economy grew more than 6 percent in the second quarter, rebounding from declines in the past five quarters.

• The U.S. joined the E.U to argue against designating China a “market economy” in the World Trade Organization, where its future role could alter global trading for decades.

• The Dow Jones industrial average surged past the 24,000 milestone for the first time, and U.S. stocks were up. Here’s a snapshot of global markets.

In the News


Bryan Denton for The New York Times

• Beijing is demolishing entire migrant neighborhoods, evicting tens of thousands of people as winter bears down. The city says a recent deadly fire showed the residences are unsafe. [The New York Times]

• In the U.S., provisions in the tax overhaul championed by President Trump and Republican leaders could reshape health care, education and social services. We’re tracking progress on the Senate floor, where a vote is expected within 24 hours. [The New York Times]

• Almost 30 years after an American mathematician’s body was found at the bottom of a Sydney cliff, a coroner has concluded that he was the victim of an anti-gay hate crime. [The New York Times]

• An Australian lawmaker, Sam Dastyari, lost a key Senate role after a tape emerged of him defending China’s territorial claims in the South China Sea. [ABC]

The half brother of North Korea’s leader was carrying bottles of the antidote to VX when the nerve agent was used to kill him in Malaysia in February. [The Star]

Smarter Living

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

• How to clean any type of holiday stain, from gravy to wine.

• Exercise may enhance the effects of brain training.

• Recipe of the day: This weekend, surprise someone with a homemade ginger stout cake.



Eoin Coveney

• As Saigon was falling to North Vietnamese forces on April 29, 1975, people were racing to escape by foot, by car, by boat — and, in the case of Ba Van Nguyen, by helicopter. An artist recreated Ba’s escape with his family in graphic form, above.

• The docile whale shark, the biggest fish in the sea, recently became endangered. Now, a study by top whale shark experts and thousands of citizen-scientists sheds new light on their lumbering lives.

And our Australia Letter would like your help in outpacing our Canada Letter. The prize: international bragging rights.

Back Story


Jason Henry for The New York Times

It’s considered the highest art form of its class, with equal parts risk and high reward. It’s impossibly light, and taller than it is wide. The jeweled citrus peel is the (dried) cherry on top.

We’re of course speaking of panettone (pronounced pann-eh-TOH-nee), the traditional Italian bread served over Christmastime. The boxed fruitcake lines grocery stores around the world but is deeply rooted in Milanese folklore dating back to the Middle Ages.

One legend of the origin of panettone involves a nobleman’s love for the daughter of a baker named Toni. Forbidden from marrying her, the nobleman disguised himself and went to work for the baker, creating a new bread to impress the woman, made with butter, eggs, and candied fruit. The bread was such a hit at court, a new dessert was named in its honor — pan del Ton — and the nobleman was allowed to marry the daughter.

Five hundred years later, the boxed version of panettone became widely available. Homemade panettone is notoriously difficult: Butter a couple of degrees too warm can turn the dough to mush.

But the proof is in the pudding.

“It melts in your mouth and it’s suddenly gone,” one baker told The Times. “And then you want to eat more.”

Remy Tumin contributed reporting.


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