Asia and Australia Edition: Rodrigo Duterte, Pope Francis, Delta Airlines: Your Morning Briefing


The S.&P. 500 is up about 5 percent since Mr. Trump’s inauguration.

But the U.S. economy grew at just 0.7 percent in the first quarter of 2017, its slowest pace in three years. And the president’s threats to upend trade deals could carry their own costs.

Above, Wilbur Ross, left, the U.S. commerce secretary, and Jamie Dimon, chief executive of JPMorgan Chase, at the White House.

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Shon Hyung-Joo/Yonhap, via Associated Press

In the end, it appears the U.S. will pay for the Thaad missile-defense system it is installing in South Korea.

Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, President Trump’s national security adviser, reaffirmed the agreement after Mr. Trump set off an uproar among South Korea’s presidential candidates by challenging it.

Pope Francis, returning from a visit to Egypt, urged the U.S. and North Korea to avert a potentially horrific conflict.

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How Hwee Young/European Pressphoto Agency

North Korea is showing surprising signs of economic vitality

A merchant and entrepreneurial class is growing, amid signs that market forces are weakening the Pyongyang government’s grip on society.

“If you don’t make money through markets, you are likely to die of hunger,” a recent defector said. “It’s that simple.”

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Sergey Ponomarev for The New York Times

When it comes to global fishing, China is the undisputed king of the seas.

Having depleted stocks close to home, the country’s growing armada of distant-water fishing vessels is heading to West Africa, where corruption and lax enforcement allow many to contravene international or national laws.

“We always thought that sea life was boundless,” an African fisherman said, adding that now, “we are facing a catastrophe.”

Business

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Johannes Eisele/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Traders in mainland Chinese are behind some of the startling jumps and drops in Hong Kong’s stock market.

• Didi Chuxing is expected to use $5.5 billion in new funds to become an international rival to Uber.

• In the latest airline fracas captured on video, a Delta pilot appeared to hit a woman while trying to halt a fight between her and another woman.

• Increased demand in China has pushed avocado prices to their highest point in nearly 20 years.

Ahead this week: Apple earnings on Tuesday; the Federal Reserve’s decision on whether to raise interest rates on Wednesday; a possible strike by Hollywood’s writers’ guild. And, sometime this month, the maiden flight of China’s C919 passenger jet.

• Here’s a snapshot of global markets.

In the News

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Pool photo by Mark Crisanto

• An Asean summit meeting went easy on China, dropping references in its final statement to the country’s “land reclamation and militarization” in the South China Sea. [Reuters]

• Turkey fired nearly 4,000 more civil servants and blocked Wikipedia in an expanding crackdown on dissent and free speech. [The New York Times]

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey arrived in India with a 150-member business delegation. He will hold talks today with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. [Times of India]

• China deported an U.S. businesswoman, Phan Phan-Gillis, after her conviction and sentencing on a spying charge last week. [The New York Times]

• Ueli Steck, a renowned mountain climber known as the “Swiss Machine,” was killed in a mountaineering accident near Mount Everest. [Associated Press]

• Scientists confirmed the existence of an ancient dog species — the New Guinea singing dog — in the remote mountains of Papua New Guinea and Indonesia’s Papua provinces. [ABC]

China has hired more than 20,000 scholars to write an online version of its national encyclopedia to compete against Wikipedia. [South China Morning Post]

Smarter Living

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Ron Barrett

• Nice people don’t finish last when it comes to popularity contests.

• Read a book you think you’ll hate, and you’ll become a better critic.

• Recipe of the day: Celebrate the season with pasta primavera.

Noteworthy

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Poras Chaudhary for The New York Times

• Two architects, one in Boston and another in Delhi, gave a 300-year-old farmhouse in the southern Indian state of Kerala a new life, first by taking it apart and then by moving it 1,500 miles.

• In memoriam: Florence Finch, an unsung war hero. She supplied fuel to the Filipino underground in World War II, sabotaged supplies destined for Japanese occupiers, smuggled food to starving American prisoners and survived torture after she was captured.

• Finally, it’s hard to imagine Southeast Asia without the sizzle of street food. But separate campaigns in Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam are squeezing out vendors in the name of public order and food safety.

Back Story

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Bebeto Matthews/Associated Press

Today, the presidency of the U.N. Security Council changes hands.

That’s because the five permanent members and the 10 nonpermanent members each hold the role for one month, following English alphabetical order.

Sweden was up when the year started. Ukraine took February and the United Kingdom March. The United States held April and hands off to Uruguay.

Next month, the order starts back at the top: Bolivia, then China, Egypt, Ethiopia, France, Italy and Japan.

This is just the second time that Uruguay, a U.N. founding member, has held a Security Council seat. The first, in 1965-66, came after a reorganization to increase nonpermanent representation.

Uruguay helped Singapore and a handful of other nations create the Forum of Small States, meant to allow tinier U.N. members to amplify their messages.

For May, Uruguay’s ambassador, Elbio Oscar Roselli, above, organizes and speaks at meetings and sets schedules.

You could say that he is well named for the role of international diplomacy. “Oscar” spread across Europe and beyond thanks to the popularity of the epic poetry published by the mid-18th century Scottish poet James MacPherson.

The name has two possible roots: from Gaelic, meaning “friend of deer,” or from Old English, meaning “sword of God.”

Lauren Hard contributed reporting.

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This briefing was prepared for the Australian morning. We also have briefings timed for the Asian, European and American mornings. You can sign up for these and other Times newsletters here.

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