Myanmar, John McCain, Pope Francis: Your Tuesday Briefing

Myanmar, John McCain, Pope Francis: Your Tuesday Briefing

Asia and Australia Edition

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Good morning. More turnover in Sydney, calls for genocide charges in Myanmar and a manhunt continues in Queensland. Here’s what you need to know:

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CreditDavid Gray/Reuters

• Australia’s new era.

Malcolm Turnbull will resign from Parliament on Friday. Among those lining up to vie for the former prime minister’s seat in the Sydney electorate of Wentworth is Christine Forster, the sister of another former prime minister, Tony Abbott.

Scott Morrison (above with his family), who took Mr. Turnbull’s post last week in a Liberal Party feud, has talked openly and often about his evangelical Christian faith — a rarity in Australian politics. His critics, our correspondent writes, “have questioned both his readiness for the top job, and how he could reconcile his faith with some of his stances, like his hard-line views on immigration.”

Mr. Morrison faces the colossal challenge of trying to build a culture of reconciliation in time for the federal election due by next May. Crikey identifies six things Mr. Morrison should do to compete against the Labor Party, starting with explaining why Mr. Turnbull was removed. (The article is paywall-free for Times readers.)

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CreditAdam Dean for The New York Times

Calls for genocide charges in Myanmar.

The country’s top military officials should face trial in an international court for genocide against Rohingya Muslims and for crimes against humanity targeting other ethnic minorities, a U.N. panel said after a yearlong investigation.

The panel detailed military campaigns involving atrocities that “undoubtedly amount to the gravest crimes under international law” and said that Myanmar’s civilian leader, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, and other civilian authorities “contributed to the commission of atrocity crimes” by failing to use their positions to stop them.

In a video op-ed, Fortify Rights, a nonprofit organization based in Southeast Asia, presents raw images of atrocities that Rohingya refugees gathered on their cellphones.

And the verdict was postponed in Myanmar’s closely watched prosecution of two Reuters reporters accused of breaching the Official Secrets Act while they investigated a massacre. Saying the judge was ill, a court official said the verdict would come Sept. 3.

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CreditCaitlin O’Hara for The New York Times

• An outpouring for John McCain.

Tributes came from his adopted state of Arizona, above, across the nation and around the world for Mr. McCain, the Republican senator who died of brain cancer on Saturday.

President Trump, who had battled Mr. McCain over the direction of the country, finally broke his silence with a message of respect, and the White House, which had returned the American flag to full-staff on Monday, but was pressured to put it back to half-staff.

Mr. McCain appeared to have planned to have the last word. A close aide issued a pointed statement from the senator, which said in part:

“We weaken our greatness when we confuse our patriotism with tribal rivalries that have sown resentment and hatred and violence in all the corners of the globe. We weaken it when we hide behind walls, rather than tear them down, when we doubt the power of our ideals, rather than trust them to be the great force for change they have always been.”

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CreditPool photo by Gregorio Borgias

• “I will not say a single word about this.”

In a news conference on the papal plane back to Rome, Pope Francis sidestepped questions about a claim by a former Vatican ambassador that he helped cover up abuse allegations against an American cardinal in 2013.

CreditAgence France-Presse — Getty Images

• An unexpected hostage.

As the U.S. and China spar over trade, some scientists worry that the vital exchange of medical supplies and information could slow, hampering preparedness for the next biological threat.

It may have already started: For over a year, the Chinese government has withheld lab samples of a dangerous virus — a type of bird flu called H7N9 — from the U.S., where specimens are needed to develop vaccines and treatments.

A disease specialist at Harvard Medical School warned that the American “ability to protect against infections which can spread globally within days” was being undermined.

Business

• Reviving Nafta: The U.S. and Mexico agreed to revise key portions of the 24-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement — but it’s complicated. Canada is still on the sidelines, and many issues are unresolved.

• The Pentagon, perhaps to compete with China’s strategy, says artificial intelligence is a national priority, and has called on the White House to “inspire a whole of country effort.” The question: What’s Silicon Valley’s role?

• Russia is unveiling a floating nuclear power plant that proponents say could be cheaper and safer, and that could be a weapon against climate change. It also has its skeptics.

• Juul, the e-cigarette company with global ambition, says it never sought to lure teenage users. But the U.S. is investigating whether Juul marketed its devices to youth to get “customers for life.”

• U.S. stocks were up. Here’s a snapshot of global markets.

CreditAgence France-Presse — Getty Images

• The top U.S. air commander in the Middle East urged the Saudi-led coalition to be more transparent about an airstrike this month in Yemen that killed more than 40 children. “They need to come out and say what occurred there.” [The New York Times]

• The search continues in a crocodile-infested area of Queensland for a group of foreign nationals who abandoned a fishing boat north of Cairns. Fifteen passengers have been detained; the authorities are scouring the mangroves for the rest. [The Guardian]

• More on a “yoga ball killing”: An overview of a Hong Kong trial in which a Malaysian anesthesiologist is accused of using an exercise ball filled with carbon monoxide to kill his wife and daughter. [The New York Times]

In South Korea, a special counsel found that an ally of President Moon Jae-in conspired in an illegal attempt to rig an opinion poll and influence public opinion ahead of his election. [The New York Times]

• North Korea will expel a Japanese tourist accused of a crime, saying the decision was based “on the principle of humanitarianism.” [The New York Times]

• Tennis, anyone? The U.S. Open has started. In addition to the usual stars, here are some players to watch. And check back for live results and analysis from the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. [The New York Times]

Smarter Living

Tips for a more fulfilling life.

CreditLinda Xiao for The New York Times

• Give your kids some culture. And a vacation. Simultaneously.

Noteworthy

CreditPoras Chaudhary for The New York Times

• Wedding-shopping adventures in India: A bride-to-be returns to both Delhis, New and Old, to shop for her wedding in a bumpy, smog-filled trip, in-laws in tow. Her goal: “to reflect our distinctly American way of life, while nodding to our heritage.”

• Honeybees are hurting. Nature’s dominant pollinator is under siege, straining the business of agriculture. Now farmers are turning to alternative species to help pollinate their crops.

• And there is almost certainly ice on the moon, new research shows. The ice — very muddy, mixed with lunar dust — is inside craters near the north and south poles. But we still don’t know how deep it goes, or how exactly it got there.

Back Story

CreditSan Diego Zoo

The world’s first female zoo director, Belle Benchley, was born on this day in 1882.

In 1925, Ms. Benchley was recently divorced and looking for a job in order to provide for her son. A former teacher, she landed a temporary job as a bookkeeper at the San Diego Zoo, which had opened in 1916 and was growing. The job turned into a tenure of more than a quarter century that would permanently change the now-famous institution.

She quickly began to do more than her job description required, sometimes instinctively identifying sick animals, even before keepers or veterinarians did.

The zoo’s founder, Dr. Harry Wegeforth, offered her the top job of executive secretary in 1927. “You might as well run the place,” he reportedly told her, “because you’re already doing it anyway.” At the time, she was the only female zoo director in the world.

During the more than 25 years she spent on the job, Ms. Benchley wrote four books, wrote and edited the zoo’s magazine, “Zoonooz,” and became the American Zoological Association’s first female president.

“The Zoo Lady” retired in 1953 at age 70. In 1972, Ms. Benchley died in San Diego, where she was buried. Her gravestone features the face of a smiling gorilla.

Claire Moses wrote today’s Back Story.

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