Here’s what you need to know:
• North Korea’s latest launch of an intercontinental ballistic missile reached a new height, demonstrating that the full continental U.S. lies in reach — though not necessarily that the North could deliver a nuclear warhead.
The North’s statement after Wednesday’s launch — that it had “finally realized the great historic cause of completing the state nuclear force” — raised the possibility that the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, might feel empowered enough to enter talks for concessions.
Part of our Op-Ed team that visited North Korea recently put together this video, offering a rare glimpse inside the secretive nation. And our Interpreter column presents seven critical truths about North Korea.
• “It is wrong for the president to have done this.”
That was the office of Theresa May, the British prime minister, after President Trump retweeted video posts from an ultranationalist British party leader supposedly portraying Muslims committing acts of violence.
And the Republican tax overhaul appears to be nearing the homestretch in Congress, putting the party and the Trump administration in tantalizing reach of their first real legislative success. Here’s the latest.
• A court session in The Hague, meant as a finishing note to a decades-long legal process over the atrocities of the Bosnian and Croatian wars, instead descended into chaos and death.
After judges affirmed a former general’s 20-year sentence, the 72-year-old defendant insisted that he was not a war criminal. “I reject your judgment with contempt,” he said, and lifted a small vial to his lips — apparently a lethal poison.
• A Vatican spokesman defended Pope Francis’s decision not to use the word “Rohingya” in public during his visit to Myanmar, saying that his presence was enough draw attention to the crisis unfolding for the country’s Muslim minority.
The statement came as Francis preached a message of forgiveness in his first public Mass in the predominantly Buddhist nation. The local authorities estimated that some 150,000 people attended the ceremony in Yangon, above.
The pope leaves today for Bangladesh, where he is expected to meet with Rohingya refugees who have fled Myanmar.
• In China, the first substantial public challenge to President Xi Jinping’s second-term agenda has centered on Mr. Xi’s push to establish a new anticorruption agency with sweeping powers to sidestep the legal system.
There’s been surprisingly vocal opposition from some of the nation’s foremost legal minds, who risk retaliation in speaking out against a plan they say would violate the country’s Constitution.
• Victoria became the first state in Australia to legalize euthanasia.
Starting in mid-2019, residents with a terminal, incurable illness — and, in most cases, a life expectancy of less than six months — will be allowed to obtain a lethal drug within 10 days of requesting it.
A statement from the state premier said the law would give them “the compassion and dignity they deserve at the end of their lives.”
• The reckoning over sexual harassment in the workplace has claimed more leading American media personalities. Matt Lauer, NBC's leading morning news anchor, was fired — which was announced by a co-host who appeared near tears.
And Garrison Keillor, famed as the creator and host of the long-running variety show “A Prairie Home Companion,” was let go by Minnesota Public Radio.
• General Motors is finally unveiling its driverless cars — a key step as it vies for leadership in the hotly contested market.
• Snapchat is remaking itself with a redesign that effectively separates social and media into separate parts of the app.
In the News
• Bali’s airport reopened after nearly three days, as ash from the Mount Agung volcano shifted away from the resort island. Evacuation centers, like the one above, are still packed. [Channel NewsAsia]
• In the Philippines, 15 Communist guerrillas were killed by government troops, as President Rodrigo Duterte ruled out future peace talks. [The New York Times]
• Air pollution increases the risk for osteoporosis and bone fractures, researchers report. [The New York Times]
• Former President Barack Obama is on a five-day trip to China, India and France. He meets today with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. [A.P.]
• An Indian court sentenced three men to death for the rape and murder last year of a 15-year-old girl. The so-called Kopardi case inspired million-strong silent protests in Maharashtra State. [BBC]
• Singapore, which has strict limits on speech and assembly, drew criticism for charging an activist with organizing three small, peaceful protests. [The New York Times]
• In India, eight donkeys were jailed for eating $1,000 in saplings. The video of their “perp walk” went viral. [The New York Times]
Tips, both new and old, for a more fulfilling life.
• Four easy steps you can take today to be happier.
• Are you at high risk for a heart attack?
• Recipe of the day: Try an Italian sheet-pan dinner of chicken, potatoes and cherry tomatoes.
• The Louvre Abu Dhabi: “Sensational” in presenting global art history, according to our art critic, who hails the long-awaited museum’s “Arabic-galactic” look and its displays of Western and non-Western art side by side.
• At a gym near Bangkok, a veteran Muay Thai teacher is training his 16 children in the martial art to keep them off the streets and to help pay for their education. Join them in this 360 video.
• And this doesn’t happen every day. The Times’s executive editor, Dean Baquet, sat down with the rap artist and music mogul Jay-Z for a long conversation on his life and art. You can watch the video or read the transcript (annotated by our music critics) here.
Thirty-five years ago today, Michael Jackson released “Thriller,” which topped charts around the world and became the best-selling album globally.
The King of Pop’s sixth studio album, “Thriller” infused a mix of pop, disco, funk and rock. It won a record-breaking eight Grammy Awards in 1984, including Album of the Year. (Santana tied the record in 2000.)
Statues of Jackson have been erected in countries from Australia and China to Italy and Brazil.
Produced by the legendary arranger and composer Quincy Jones, “Thriller” also broke racial barriers.
In a review, The Times called the album a “wonderful pop record.”
“Most important of all,” our reviewer wrote, “it is another signpost on the road to Michael Jackson’s own artistic fulfillment.”
Claudio E. Cabrera contributed reporting.
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