Global Thread

Headlines to start your Day

 

Here is what you need to know on Tuesday

• Fears of a global contagion.

Turkey’s currency hit another record low, dragged down by soaring inflation, economic mismanagement and tensions with the U.S. There are growing fears of an impending economic meltdown that could spread to other emerging economies.

The plunge of the lira hit stocks in Asia and Europe, and played havoc with currency markets. The Indian rupee dropped to a record low against the dollar; the Indonesian rupiah flirted with a three-year low.

China’s main stock index lost nearly 2 percent at one point on Monday, but largely recovered. In Tokyo, the main index closed 2 percent lower. Stocks in Seoul fell 1.5 percent. European markets fared only slightly better. U.S. markets dipped but didn’t sag..

Beijing also further weakened its currency, the renminbi, against the dollar, setting the benchmark rate for trading in Shanghai at its weakest level in 15 months.

 

Carlos Barria/Reuters

• President Trump signed a defense-spending bill named in honor of Senator John McCain — without once mentioning Mr. McCain — at Fort Drum Army Base in New York.

The bill authorizes $717 billion for military funding over the next year. Mr. Trump called it the most significant investment in the military in modern history.

As is often the case, there were many threads to follow in news related to the president.

Peter Strzok, the F.B.I. senior counterintelligence agent who disparaged Mr. Trump in text messages, was fired for violating F.B.I. policies. He helped oversee the Hillary Clinton email and Russia investigations.

And as the fraud trial of Paul Manafort enters its second week, Times reporters looked back at his lobbying career.


Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

• “There is no such thing as re-education centers.”

China on Monday flatly denied accusations from U.N. experts that it had detained more than a million ethnic Uighur Muslims in re-education camps in its western Xinjiang region. The denial came after a U.N. official last week spoke of Xinjiang becoming “something resembling a massive internment camp,” with mass detention and disappearances.

But China stood firm: A senior Chinese Communist Party official said the country’s ethnic minorities lived in peace and contentment enjoying freedom of religious belief. Above, Chinese military police at a rally in Xinjiang, last year. Beijing has progressively tightened security in the region.


Reuters

• In Afghanistan, after four days of fighting, the Taliban appear to control most neighborhoods in the city of Ghazni. They have also taken over most of the province’s rural areas.

That raises the prospect that if the insurgents do fully take the city, they may be in a position to control an entire province for the first time in the 17-year war in Afghanistan.

• “besity in our monks is a ticking time bomb.”

Buddhist monks are at the front lines of a fight against obesity in Thailand, which is the second-heaviest nation in Asia, after Malaysia. A study found that nearly half of Thai monks are obese, more than 40 percent have high cholesterol, nearly 25 percent have high blood pressure and one in 10 are diabetic.

But the monks consume fewer calories than the general population, and are forbidden to eat after midday. Researchers found one major culprit: To keep their energy up, many monks rely on highly sweetened beverages, including sugary drinks.

Business

Kiichiro Sato/Associated Press

• Elon Musk offered a fuller explanation of his “funding secured” Twitter post on Aug. 7 about taking Tesla private. He said, among other things, that he had held meetings with representatives of a Saudi sovereign wealth fund who expressed an eagerness to help him take the electric-car maker private.

• Biometrics beyond fingerprints: To fight fraud, some large banks and retailers are amassing tens of millions of profiles that can identify customers by how they touch, hold and tap their devices.

• Independent music labels called on European antitrust regulators to block Sony’s $2.3 billion bid for control of EMI, saying the merger would give the Japanese conglomerate too much market power.

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

In the News

Ritchie B Tongo/EPA, via Shutterstock

• In Taiwan, a fire raged through a floor of Taipei Hospital filled with elderly patients, killing at least nine people and injuring two dozen more. [The New York Times]

• Aretha Franklin, 76, the legendary “Queen of Soul,” is gravely ill, family members told a Detroit news outlet on Monday. [Variety]

• The U.S. is set to return three church bells to the Philippines that were taken as war trophies 117 years ago. Their ringing set off the worst U.S. defeat in the Philippine-American war and spurred retaliation that left thousands dead. [The New York Times]

• President Moon Jae-in of South Korea will visit Pyongyang next month for his third summit meeting with North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-un. [The New York Times]

• A Swedish doctor visited Gui Minhai, the Hong Kong publisher who has been held by Chinese authorities off and on since 2015, when he was abducted in Thailand. [Reuters]

Smarter Living

Tips for a more fulfilling life.

Lars Leetaru

• How to enjoy nature on your next urban getaway.

• Five cheap(ish) things for every college dorm.

• Recipe of the day: Keep pasta simple: Zucchini, good ricotta and basil will do the tri

• The top of Mt.

Fuji is one of the few places in Japan where a postmark is still more coveted than a “like” on Instagram or Facebook. But hauling all that mail down takes effort, even in the absence of snow. That’s where the bulldozer comes in.

• In memoriam: Bui Tin, 90, a North Vietnamese colonel who accepted the surrender of South Vietnam in 1975, but who later fled Vietnam and became a critic of its ruling Communist Party. And mourners mobbed the funeral of Ellen Joyce Loo, 32, a singer-songwriter and advocate of LGBT rights in Hong Kong who suffered from bipolar disorder.

• And cautious hope for hemophiliacs. After trying for decades to develop a gene therapy to treat hemophilia, the inability to form blood clots, researchers are starting to succeed.

Back Story

Twentieth Century Fox

It’s just a jump to the left, and then a step to the right. Put your hands on your hips, and bring your knees in tight.

But as fans of the “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” well know, it’s the pelvic thrust that really drives you insane. The cult classic film opened in London on this day in 1975.

Often described as a campy take on horror and science fiction films, the movie originally premiered on the London stage in 1973, and was summed up in one breathless sentence by a Times review: “Two young innocents are entrapped by Frank N. Furter, a mad, transvestite inventor from outer space, who has created a beefcake monster, Rocky Horror, who looks as though he has just stepped from the centerfold of Playgirl.”

Shortly after the premiere of the film version, it was briefly shelved before being resurrected at a midnight screening in New York. A group of fans made weekly pilgrimages to the small theater, sat in the front row and screamed for their favorite characters. A social phenomenon was born, and the film has remained in theaters ever since.

Audience participation, props and costumes are widely encouraged at regularly scheduled screenings around the world.

We’ll end with the words of Frank N. Furter: Don’t dream it. Be it.

Remy Tumin wrote today’s Back Story.

_____

This briefing was prepared for the Asian morning.

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