Florida Shooting, South Africa, Olympics: Your Friday Briefing

Florida Shooting, South Africa, Olympics: Your Friday Briefing


And the legacy of Mr. Zuma? Our Johannesburg bureau chief looks back at a nearly nine-year presidency marred by scandal, corruption and mismanagement.

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Mladen Antonov/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

• A skating battle. .

Japan’s star Yuzuru Hanyu and Nathan Chen of the U.S., above, are among those to watch today at the 2018 Winter Games. (In Chen’s free skate, he’ll dance to the story of “Mao’s Last Dancer,” the Chinese defector, Li Cunxin — who is now the artistic director of the Queensland Ballet in Brisbane.)

One of our reporters described the Norwegian ski team’s recipe for success as “a contrarian mix of humility, egalitarianism and basic respect.” (They also spend about 250 days a year together — and sometimes even share beds.)

And Jarryd Hughes overcame five knee operations to win silver in the men’s snowboard cross, raising Australia’s count to two silvers and a bronze.

Here’s the full medal count and schedule, and our complete coverage.

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Amanda Lucier for The New York Times

Methed up.

Crystal meth has been flooding across Australia and Asia. Now it’s doing the same in the U.S.

Our reporter took a hard look at the American meth epidemic, now fed by Mexican drug cartels instead of homegrown labs. Experts say the drug has never been purer, cheaper — or deadlier.

(We’ve also explored how meth use dovetailed with a mining boom in Western Australia, and how China became a leading producer and exporter.)

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20th Century Fox

• Not spies.

Before our national security reporter Scott Shane went into journalism, the C.I.A. tried to recruit him. But he chose “the better-lit side of democracy.”

His essay on the parallels of journalism and espionage comes ahead of his streamable chat from Washington with the actress Jennifer Lawrence, who plays a Russian spy, above, in the new film “Red Sparrow.” The director, Francis Lawrence, joins them.

The event begins at 10:30 a.m. Sydney time, and will remain online.

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Javier C. Hernández

• Homecoming.

Hundreds of millions of Chinese travel home ahead of the Lunar New Year. That includes Shanshan, a 7-year-old girl who grew up in Beijing, and whose family has rural roots.

But Shanshan and her family left Beijing for good (and our correspondent followed with his camera). They are among the many rural migrants the Chinese government is evicting in a so-called beautification campaign.

“Here, in our hometown, we have our own place,” her father said after the long train journey. “It can’t be demolished.”

Business

• Investors fear that rising inflation in the U.S. could prompt a rise in interest rates, potentially crimping global growth. But Asia’s major economies are expected to keep rates low, for now. (Here’s how inflation works.)

Philip Lowe, the governor of Australia’s Reserve Bank, appears before a parliamentary committee today in Sydney. The bank last week left its record-low interest rates unchanged, but Mr. Lowe said an increase is coming.

• A long-awaited blood test to detect concussions, which can cause serious brain injuries, won approval in the U.S. BioMérieux, an international partner of the U.S.-based maker, Banyan Biomarkers, says that, around the world, about 10 million people a year are treated for concussion-related injuries.

• Netflix is busy hiring top talent, but our chief television critic argues, it’s neither a channel, a TV network nor an online-video platform. “It’s an entire parallel TV universe,” he writes, “and it’s still expanding.”

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

In the News

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Michael Masters/Getty Images

• Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull of Australia prohibited ministers from having sex with subordinates, and said his deputy, at the center of just such a scandal, was going on leave. [The New York Times]

Borneo’s orangutan population has dropped by about half over 16 years, according to a new study. Habitat loss was identified as a main cause, but hunting of the endangered animals appears to be surprisingly common. [The New York Times]

• Cody Fern, a young actor from Western Australia, will appear alongside Diane Lane and Greg Kinnear in the sixth and final season of the hit Netflix show “House of Cards.” [The Sydney Morning Herald]

• “The seasonal inquisition”: Chinese millennials are finding creative ways to deal with the pressure of being nagged about their relationship and career choices. (A sweater on an online shopping portal reads: “I don’t have a partner.”) [Sixth Tone]

Smarter Living

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

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Steven Mark Needham

• Celebrate the Lunar New Year with longevity noodles.

• Apps can help you earn extra cash.

• Your hormones could be fueling your binge-eating.

Noteworthy

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Asanka Brendon Ratnayake for The New York Times

• What’s an Australian pub without pokies and cheap beer? Our food reviewer finds that the New Sydney Hotel in Hobart manages to balance mainstays with the tastes of a modern clientele.

• Facial recognition technology is increasingly accurate — if you’re a white man.

• And our Australia bureau chief asked readers what a new and improved version of the 1986 film “Crocodile Dundee” might look like — and they didn’t disappoint.

Back Story

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Manan Vatsyayana/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Today marks the start of the Year of the Dog, the latest turn in the 12-year lunar zodiac cycle.

The phrase “Lunar New Year” is sometimes used interchangeably with “Chinese New Year,” but there are variations in how the holiday is celebrated around Asia.

In Vietnam, a type of rice cake called banh chung is made specially for the holiday and is deeply intertwined with nationalist myths and ancestor-worship customs.

Vietnam’s lunar zodiac cycle also differs slightly from China’s: It has a cat and a water buffalo instead of a rabbit and an ox. Some historians say that’s a linguistic quirk tied to China’s 1,000-year imperial occupation of Vietnam, its southern neighbor.

Vietnam’s next Year of the Cat falls in 2023.

The last time around, the owner of a “pet hotel” in the capital, Hanoi, told Reuters that the cat was an appropriate cosmic choice because it helps to offset the dog, its natural enemy.

“This expresses a balance of yin and yang in the cosmos that is more complete, that better unifies the contradictions, and so it is richer and better to have the cat,” he said.

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Your Morning Briefing is published weekday mornings and updated online. Sign up here to get it by email in the Australian, Asian, European or American morning, or to receive an Evening Briefing on U.S. weeknights.

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