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Kofi Annan, Diplomat Who Redefined the U.N., Dies at 80



Kofi Annan, a soft-spoken and patrician diplomat from Ghana, who became the seventh secretary general of the United Nations, projecting himself and his organization as the world’s conscience and moral arbiter despite bloody debacles that left indelible stains on his record as a peacekeeper, died on Saturday. He was 80.

His death was confirmed by the Kofi Annan Foundation.

Awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2001, he headed the United Nations for two successive five-year terms beginning in 1997, spanning a decade of turmoil that challenged the vast and sprawling body and redefined its place in a changing world.

On his watch as what the Nobel committee called Africa’s foremost diplomat, the Berlin Wall collapsed, Al Qaeda struck New York and Washington, the United States invaded Iraq, and Western policymakers turned their sights from the Cold War to globalization and the struggle with Islamic militancy.

An emblem as much of the body’s most ingrained flaws as of its grandest aspirations, Mr. Annan was the first secretary general to be chosen from the international civil servants who make up the United Nations bureaucracy.

He was credited with revitalizing its institutions, crafting what he called a new “norm of humanitarian intervention,” particularly in places where there was no peace for traditional peacekeepers to keep, and, not least, in persuading Washington to unblock arrears withheld because of the profound misgivings about the body voiced by American conservatives.

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Leaving Queens: A Nazi’s Long Flight From Justice Ends



In Queens, Mr. Palij was a retired draftsman who had lived with his wife, who has since died. They had no children. To Maria Rososado, 70, who lived across the street, he was a pleasant part of the community, in spite of his past. “He was just an old man,” Ms. Rososado said. “He was not a bad person. He was a good neighbor.”

But some residents said his presence filled them with fear. “We are all different around here, different backgrounds, different colors,” said Cristian Pimentel, 45, a maintenance worker who lives a block away. “He was part of a group that was murdering people for being different. What makes me believe he wouldn’t do that again?”

Hours after his removal, several neighbors on the leafy street repeated a story Mr. Palij had told them — one he also shared with The New York Times in an interview in 2003. He had been forced to join the Nazis at age 18, he said, fearing for his family’s life. “I know what they say, but I was never a collaborator,” Mr. Palij said then.

In fact, he volunteered for service in the German Schutzstaffel, or SS, in 1943 while in his native village of Piadyki, in what is now Ukraine, according to court documents from the government’s case against him. In the Trawniki camp where he served, the SS gunned down approximately 6,000 Jews in single day — Nov. 3, 1943 — making it “the single largest killing operation against Jews in the entire war,” according to Christopher Browning’s book “Ordinary Men.”

Every Holocaust Remembrance Day for the past 15 years, more than 200 students and faculty from the Rambam Mesivta high school in Lawrence, N.Y., have convened in protest outside of Mr. Palij’s house on 89th Street. “Many people in the neighborhood saw him as a nice old man. People said to us, ‘He’s 95-years-old,’” said Rabbi Zev Meir Friedman, the school’s dean.

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‘Silent Sam’ Confederate Statue Is Toppled at University of North Carolina



Before the statue was brought down, demonstrators, who gathered on Monday to oppose possible sanctions against a student who splashed red ink and blood on the monument in April, marched across the campus and sometimes exchanged verbal barbs with counterprotesters.

Eventually during the demonstration, protesters erected coverings around the monument, shielding some of the statue’s critics while they worked to take it down.

Someone handed out bandannas with the words “Sam Must Fall” printed on them.

Eventually, he did.

In a statement released Tuesday evening, university leaders said that “at no time did the administration direct the officers to allow protesters to topple the monument.” They also said, without elaboration, that the protest “included a number of people unaffiliated with the university” and that they would rely on “the full breadth of state and university processes to hold those responsible accountable for their actions.”

The statue had been a part of campus life in Chapel Hill for over a century. The United Daughters of the Confederacy proposed the monument, which the university’s board approved in June 1908.

At the time of the statue’s unveiling in 1913, one speaker boasted that, just 100 yards away, he had “horsewhipped a Negro wench until her skirts hung in shreds” after his return from the Confederate surrender at Appomattox Court House, Va. He also declared that “the whole Southland is sanctified by the precious blood of the student Confederate soldier,” and that although the Confederacy was defeated, “the cause for which they fought is not lost.”

And the university president at the time of the statue’s unveiling alluded to Gen. Robert E. Lee and hailed the monument as “an ornament to the campus.”

But the protests of recent months had suggested that the statue might endure only so much longer.

Jan Werner, a research engineer at the university, said he worried about how the monument had come down, but was glad to see it go. Mr. Werner, a native of Poland, said he appreciated the historical value of the statue and suggested that its pedestal should remain.

“The base standing here could be a valuable history lesson,” he said. “The lack of Silent Sam right now is part of that history.”

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Michael Cohen, Trump’s Former Fixer, Reaches Plea Deal Over Payments to Women



Michael D. Cohen, President Trump’s former fixer, agreed on Tuesday to plead guilty to campaign finance charges, making the extraordinary admission that he paid a pornographic film actress to secure her silence about an affair she said she had with Mr. Trump.

Mr. Cohen is also expected to plead guilty to multiple counts of bank and tax fraud. For months, prosecutors in New York have been investigating him in connection with those crimes and focusing on his role in helping to arrange financial deals with women connected to Mr. Trump.

Mr. Cohen surrendered to the F.B.I. at the bureau’s Lower Manhattan offices at about 2 p.m. on Tuesday. He was expected to appear in United States District Court in Manhattan before Judge William H. Pauley III later in the afternoon.

His lawyers did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The plea agreement does not call for Mr. Cohen to cooperate with federal prosecutors in Manhattan, but it does not preclude him from providing information to the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, who is examining the Trump campaign’s possible involvement in Russia’s interference in the 2016 campaign.

If Mr. Cohen were to substantially assist the special counsel’s investigation, Mr. Mueller could recommend a reduction in his sentence.

The guilty plea could represent a pivotal moment in the investigation into the president: a once-loyal aide acknowledging that he made payments to at least one woman who said she had an affair with Mr. Trump, in violation of federal campaign finance law.

Mr. Cohen had been the president’s longtime fixer, handling his most sensitive business and personal matters. He once said he would take a bullet for Mr. Trump.

The investigation of Mr. Cohen has focused in part on his role helping to arrange financial deals to secure the silence of women who said they had affairs with Mr. Trump, including Stephanie Clifford, an adult film actress better known as Stormy Daniels.

The charges against Mr. Cohen were not a surprise, but he had signaled recently he might be willing to cooperate with investigators who for months have been conducting an extensive investigation of his personal business dealings. But any bid to negotiate a plea deal under which he would provide information to federal prosecutors in Manhattan in the hopes of a lesser sentence appears to have broken down.

Mr. Cohen’s plea agreement comes slightly more than a month after he gave an interview to George Stephanopoulos on ABC News and said he would put “his family and country first” if prosecutors offered him leniency in exchange for incriminating information on Mr. Trump.

In July, in what appeared to another public break with Mr. Trump, one of Mr. Cohen’s lawyers, Lanny J. Davis, released a secret audio recording that Mr. Cohen had made of the president in which it seems that Mr. Trump admits knowledge of a payment made to Karen McDougal, a model who said she had an affair with him.

As part of their investigation, prosecutors had been looking into whether Mr. Cohen violated any campaign-finance laws by making the $130,000 payment to Ms. Clifford in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election.

Mr. Cohen’s plea culminates a long-running inquiry that became publicly known in April when F.B.I. agents armed with search warrants raided his office, apartment and hotel room, hauling away reams of documents, including pieces of paper salvaged from a shredder, and millions of electronic files contained on a series of cellphones, iPads and computers.

Lawyers for Mr. Cohen and Mr. Trump spent the next four months working with a court-appointed special master to review the documents and data files to determine whether any of the materials were subject to attorney-client privilege and should not be made available to the government.

The special master, Barbara S. Jones, who completed her review last week, issued a series of reports in recent months, finding that only a fraction of the materials were privileged and the rest could be provided to prosecutors for their investigation.

On Monday, the judge overseeing the review, Kimba M. Wood of Federal District Court in Manhattan, issued an order adopting Ms. Jones’s findings and ending the review process.

It was unclear on Tuesday what role the materials that Ms. Jones reviewed, which were made available to prosecutors on a rolling basis during her review, may have had in the charges against Mr. Cohen.

One collateral effect of Mr. Cohen’s plea agreement is that it may allow Michael Avenatti, Ms. Clifford’s lawyer, to proceed with a deposition of Mr. Trump in a lawsuit that Ms. Clifford filed accusing the president of breaking a nondisclosure agreement concerning their affair.

The lawsuit had been stayed by a judge pending the resolution of Mr. Cohen’s criminal case. Mr. Avenatti wrote on Twitter on Tuesday that he would now seek to force Mr. Trump to testify “under oath about what he knew, when he knew it and what he did about it.”

Benjamin Weiser and Alan Feuer contributed reporting.

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California Today: A New York Staple Is Coming to Los Angeles



Good morning.

(Want to get California Today by email? Here’s the sign-up.)

Flip on your cable box and go straight to a news channel in the style of NY1, New York’s popular local station?

It’s coming to Los Angeles.

Charter Communications has announced that a NY1-style local news channel will go live this November for all Spectrum — formerly known as Time Warner Cable — subscribers in the Los Angeles area.

NY1, which is also owned by Charter, is adored by a slice of New Yorkers who are charmed by its homespun feel and its roster of longtime anchors and correspondents like Pat Kiernan, Roger Clark and Roma Torre.

The channel’s laser focus on New York-only stories, especially in politics, often pays off. NY1 was the only news station that had a camera at Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s campaign event to chronicle her Democratic congressional primary upset in June.

Whether the 24-hour Los Angeles network becomes as popular as NY1 remains to be seen. Los Angeles is not exactly hurting for local television coverage, but Spectrum insists it is carving out a different space from local news networks like KTLA or KNBC.

“We’re not going to try to compete chasing in a helicopter with the same type of scenes they would,” said Mike Bair, executive vice president of Spectrum Networks who will oversee the new network.

Mr. Bair said that 125 people would be hired for the newsroom and that they were already more than halfway through staffing up the network. The new channel — he would not reveal its name — will be headquartered in El Segundo, near the Los Angeles International Airport and The Los Angeles Times’s new headquarters.

Spectrum has several local news stations around the country, including in Florida (Orlando and Tampa) and Texas (San Antonio and Austin). Mr. Bair said that the local news stations are very popular and “create a higher level of retention” for the cable service.

In November, around 1.5 million Los Angeles Spectrum homes will get the new channel.

“We don’t have to worry about two-minute sound bites,” Mr. Bair said. “If an interview takes three or four minutes, we stick with it. We’re more likely to cover much smaller stories, neighborhood-based stories than you’d see in other markets.”

Mr. Kiernan, the longtime NY1 anchor, said New Yorkers who have moved to Los Angeles constantly ask why there isn’t a version of the station in the city.

“They’ll do stories about the 405 with the same intensity that we do stories about the 6 train,” he said of the new Los Angeles channel. “But a lot of the hallmarks of NY1 reporting will be key parts of their reporting: politics, education, jobs. Those are stories that often get squeezed out of local newscasts by an endless rundown of crime reporting.”

California Online

(Please note: We regularly highlight articles on news sites that have limited access for nonsubscribers.)

• The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department says it is looking into allegations that Asia Argento sexually assaulted a young actor in a hotel room when he was 17. [The New York Times]

• Ms. Argento was one of Harvey Weinstein’s early accusers. Will the allegations against her discredit the #MeToo movement? [The New York Times]

• A landmark bill that would end money bail in California passed out of the State Assembly. [The Los Angeles Times]

• The University of California, Berkeley has suspended a prominent architecture professor for three years without pay for sexually harassing a graduate student. [The Associated Press]

• The California Senate is investigating an altercation that broke out between Senator Joel Anderson and a female lobbyist during a fund-raiser near the Capitol. [The Sacramento Bee]

• F.B.I. agents are trying to return a Santa Ana man to his family after he was kidnapped from a shopping center and held for $2 million ransom. [The Los Angeles Daily News]

BART is looking at a new way to stop fare evasion: replacing the system’s orange, pie-wedge gates. [The San Francisco Chronicle]

• A Sacramento developer plans to build a high-rise apartment and hotel project that will feature one floor with dormlike housing units. [The Sacramento Bee]

• The F.B.I. is probing a cyber attack on a congressional campaign in California. [Reuters]

• Decades ago, federal home loan agencies would shade Fresno neighborhoods with large minority populations red; it was a way to label them as undesirable. Eighty years later, the gulf between white, black and brown residents remains embedded in the city’s geography. [The Atlantic]

• Maxine McCormick, of San Francisco, began fly casting when she was 9. At 14, she has back-to-back world titles. [The New York Times]

• Last June, Vans moved its headquarters to a new building off the 405 freeway. Commuters have noted the building with its famous checkerboard pattern. We peek inside. [The New York Times]

And Finally …

California already has a state animal (the bear), a state flower (the golden poppy) and a state tree (the California redwood).

Now it has a state sport, too. And could it really have been anything other than surfing?

On Monday, Gov. Jerry Brown made it official, signing Assembly Bill 1782, which nods to surfing’s Polynesian roots and notes that the sport was imported to California from Hawaii. Since then, the bill says, it “has been embraced by the state” whose residents have “made important contributions to the sport as we know it today.”

Assemblyman Al Muratsuchi, a Democrat of Torrance, is a member of the unofficial Legislative Surfers Caucus, according to his website.

His reaction to the bill being signed? “I am stoked.”

California Today goes live at 6 a.m. Pacific time weekdays. Tell us what you want to see:

California Today is edited by Julie Bloom, who grew up in Los Angeles and graduated from U.C. Berkeley.

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New York Today: Protecting Your Eyes



Good morning on this comfy Tuesday.

We talk at length about protecting our skin during the summer months.

But eye safety? Not so much.

Yes, your eyes can get sunburned, too.

“Being in the city, even if you’re just walking around — even if there’s a cloud cover — you still need protection for the eyes,” said Dr. Ashley Brissette, an ophthalmologist at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center. Ultraviolet exposure from the sun “can affect the eyeballs themselves,” she said.

The most common issue caused by the sun is cataracts, a cloudiness of the lens inside the eye, which can result in vision loss as we get older. It’s normal for the eye to age or change over time, but “increased UV exposure can cause that to come on sooner,” Dr. Brissette said. “It can also cause growths to occur on the surface of the eyeball, and inside the eyeball itself.”

Stay out in the sun too long, and you’ll burn — an instant indicator of damage — but walk around without sunglasses on, and you might not notice any immediate consequences.

While the risk is mostly over the long term, Dr. Brissette said, “even just a few hours of very intense UV exposure can cause damage to the eyes.” Photokeratitis, for example, is the eye’s equivalent of a sunburn.

Here are some eye protection tips:

Know when you’re most at risk. “Sunlight is strongest midday and early afternoon, so be conscientious of that,” Dr. Brissette said. “And it’s not just summertime; it’s any time of the year because UV and sunlight can also be reflected off snow.”

Choose 100 percent protection. “Most sunglasses will have a sticker or tag indicating that they block 100 UV rays,” she said. “Sometimes it says UV 400, another indication that there’s UV protection in the sunglasses.” (Polarized lenses can cut down on glare and dark or colorful lenses may help with contrast, but neither necessarily protect your eyes from the sun, Dr. Brissette said; you’ll still need the UV protection designation.)

Go bigger — it’s better. “Small sunglasses seem to be quite trendy, but they can put you at an increased risk of UV exposure. Bigger, oversized sunglasses protect the light coming in on top and sides,” Dr. Brissette said. “You’re protecting not only the eyeballs, but also the eyelids, because you can get a number of skin cancers on the eyelids and it’s difficult to apply sunscreen there.”

As long as you’ve checked the above boxes, she added, cost shouldn’t matter.

Here’s what else is happening:


A thick layer of clouds will offer a little eye protection today.

The day will get progressively more gray until this afternoon, when we could see some showers.

The high is a comfortable 77 degrees.

In the News

The Cuomo administration spent over $200,000 in legal fees to keep the emails of a high-profile lobbyist secret. [New York Times]

The state is investigating sexual harassment at the West Village restaurant the Spotted Pig. The majority owner, Ken Friedman, and the investor Mario Batali were accused of sexual misconduct by several former employees in December. [New York Times]

Why did the political action committee backed by Gabrielle Giffords, the former Democratic congresswoman and gun control advocate, endorse two Republicans from New Jersey? [New York Times]

Nearly 200 men arrived at Union Square on Sunday evening for a quiet Tinder meet-up that turned into a pop-up dating competition. [New York Times]

The actor Aasif Mandvi returns to New York this fall for a revival of his one-man show about an Indian-American working in the food-service industry. [New York Times]

Less than 60 percent of the unaccompanied minors in the New York immigration court system have legal representation. [WNYC]

The Administration of Children and Families unveiled a free tattoo-removal service for young sex-trafficking victims and former gang members. [WPIX 11]

For a global look at what’s happening, see Your Morning Briefing.

Coming Up Today

Celebrate the 242nd anniversary of the Battle of Brooklyn with a visit to the display of Revolutionary War flags at the Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn. 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. [Free]

Learn how to use your garden plants to make herbal remedies at the UCC Youth Farm in East New York, Brooklyn. 6 p.m. [Free]

Comedians discuss politics at a live taping of the podcast “Two Beers In,” at the New York Public Library’s Stephen A. Schwarzman Building in Midtown Manhattan. 6:30 p.m. [Free]

Learn how to repair your bike at a bike maintenance class at the La Plaza Community Garden in the East Village. 7 p.m. [Free]

Yourself, Your Body,” a comedy show that takes on the mainstream media’s beauty standards, at Union Hall in Park Slope, Brooklyn. 8 p.m. [$10]

Mets host Giants, 7:10 p.m. (SNY). Marlins host Yankees, 7:10 p.m. (YES).

Alternate-side parking is suspended for Eid al-Adha.

For more events, see The New York Times’s Arts & Entertainment guide.

Don’t fret. The Metropolitan Diary will resume publication on Monday, Aug. 27.

And Finally…

What do you think about a beach in Manhattan?

Mayor Bill de Blasio called the proposal an “interesting idea,” when asked about it on NY1.

The mayor was responding to a New York Times editorial that suggested the idea.

There are lots of considerations, of course, including sewage and costs — not to mention dangerous swimming conditions because of the currents and boats. And where to put it?

Still, other big cities like Paris and Copenhagen have beaches, and it might be just the remedy we need for sultry New York City summers.

But we’d like to know what you think: Where could a beach go and would you visit it? And what are the positives and negatives about this idea?

Send us your thoughts on the proposal to Please include your full name, where you live (including your neighborhood if you’re in New York City) and your age. We may include your response in a column.

New York Today is a morning roundup that is published weekdays at 6 a.m. If you don’t get it in your inbox already, you can sign up to receive it by email here.

For New York Today updates throughout the day, like us on Facebook.

What would you like to see here to start your day? Post a comment, email us at, or reach us via Twitter using #NYToday.

Follow the New York Today columnists, Alexandra S. Levine and Jonathan Wolfe, on Twitter.

You can find the latest New York Today at

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Microsoft, Primary Election, E.P.A.: Your Tuesday Briefing



(Want to get this briefing by email? Here’s the sign-up.)

Good morning.

Here’s what you need to know:

New targets for Russian hackers

• The Russian military intelligence unit that sought to influence the 2016 election has recently focused on conservative American think tanks that have been critical of Moscow, according to a report to be released today by Microsoft.

The company said it had seized websites in recent weeks that sought to trick people into thinking they were clicking on links managed by the Hudson Institute and the International Republican Institute. The sites redirected to web pages to steal passwords and other data.

Microsoft also found websites imitating the U.S. Senate, but it was able to catch the spoofed sites as they were set up. The goal of the hacking attempts was unclear.

Separately, today is Primary Day in Alaska and Wyoming. There are no clearly competitive races in either one, but here’s what to watch for.

How do you get better schools?

• The answer is to take states to court, education activists increasingly say.

One lawsuit in Minnesota accuses the state of knowingly allowing towns and cities to set policies that led to segregated schools, lowering test scores and graduation rates for low-income and nonwhite children. The state’s Supreme Court ruled last month that the suit could move forward.

The case is part of a wave of lawsuits over the quality of schools in more than a half-dozen states, coming at the same time as a push in some state legislatures for more school funding.

Court pick took a hard line on Bill Clinton

• Brett Kavanaugh, President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, called for Mr. Clinton to be questioned in graphic detail about his sexual relationship with Monica Lewinsky, according to a memo released on Monday by the National Archives.

Judge Kavanaugh spent more than three years working for Ken Starr, the independent counsel who investigated a series of scandals during Mr. Clinton’s presidency, and who worked on the report that led to the president’s impeachment.

Judge Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearings are set to begin next month. He seems certain to be questioned about the memo, and what it suggests about Robert Mueller’s current investigation of Mr. Trump. Read the memo here.

Pope condemns “atrocities” of abuse

• Pope Francis released a letter to the world’s 1.2 billion Roman Catholics on Monday, after a grand jury report in Pennsylvania revealed a cover-up of widespread sexual abuse of children by hundreds of priests over 70 years.

“We showed no care for the little ones; we abandoned them,” Francis wrote.

But the pope, whose slow response to clerical sexual abuse has threatened to damage his papacy, offered no specific remedies.

A challenge to #MeToo

• Reports that Asia Argento, an actress who has been a public face of the campaign against sexual violence, made a deal with her own accuser show that #MeToo is working as it should, the movement’s founder said on Monday.

Tarana Burke, who started the movement over a decade ago, said on Twitter, “I’ve said repeatedly that the #metooMVMT is for all of us, including these brave young men who are now coming forward.”

Ms. Argento arranged to pay $380,000 to Jimmy Bennett, a young actor who said she had sexually assaulted him when he was 17. The police in California are investigating.

No late-night TV this week

Most of the comedy hosts are taking a break, so our roundup is, too.

Quotation of the day

“My dear, thank you for just being alive.”

Hwang Woo-seok, 89, who fled to South Korea during the Korean War and was briefly reunited this week with his 71-year-old daughter in the North.

The Times, in other words

Here’s an image of today’s front page, and links to our Opinion content and crossword puzzles.

What we’re reading

Jodi Kantor, an investigative reporter, recommends this article in The Atlantic: “We hear the title ICE all the time in the headlines — the agency with the chilling-sounding name, the detentions, the calls by politicians to abolish it altogether. But in ‘How Trump Radicalized ICE’ and a companion interview on NPR’s ‘Fresh Air,’ Franklin Foer (full disclosure, a friend) explains what this vast, relatively new agency really is, what its agents want, and why its work is unprecedented in American life.”

But when they did, visitors arrived in hordes to see the spot where “La Joconde,” better known as the Mona Lisa, once hung. Franz Kafka even made the trip to contemplate the space up close.

The Mona Lisa, safe and sound at the Louvre last year.CreditDmitry Kostyukov for The New York Times

The theft, on this day in 1911, “caused such a sensation that Parisians for the time being have forgotten the rumors of war,” The Times reported at the top of its front page.

Sixty detectives were assigned to the case, and conspiracy theories abounded. “Possibly,” a police officer told The Times, “the theft was committed by a maniac.”

The authorities didn’t pay enough attention to Vincenzo Peruggia, an Italian laborer who had created the protective glass around Leonardo da Vinci’s masterpiece. He was questioned twice and let go.

Two years passed.

Mr. Peruggia then tried to sell the painting to Giovanni Poggi, the director of the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, Italy. Mr. Poggi immediately called the police.

The painting is now protected by bulletproof glass at the Louvre, and an alarm goes off if anyone tries to touch the frame.

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Malcolm Turnbull, Australian Prime Minister, Survives Leadership Challenge. For Now.



SYDNEY, Australia — Malcolm Turnbull, Australia’s prime minister, survived a challenge to his leadership Tuesday, narrowly fending off a more conservative rival after growing speculation that he had lost the support of his party.

Mr. Turnbull called for a vote among Liberal Party colleagues in the wake of a failed effort to win support for an energy bill that would aim to reduce both prices and climate emissions. He won the vote over Peter Dutton, the Home Affairs minister, 48 to 35, and later called for a return to business as usual.

“When we’re united we can continue to deliver great results,” he said. Smiling and aiming to look calm at a news conference in Canberra, he added: “It’s really important that we put differences behind us and get on with our job of looking after the 25 million Australians who put us here.”

But the victory for Mr. Turnbull may be fleeting. Mr. Dutton, who resigned from his post as Home Affairs minister immediately after the loss, will move to the backbench, where he is expected to rally support for another challenge as early as Thursday.

He is aligned with a group of conservatives in Australia’s Liberal Party that includes the former Prime Minister Tony Abbott, whom Mr. Turnbull ousted with his own leadership challenge three years ago. And as a group, they have become more confident and empowered over the past few months as polls have continued to show the party and Mr. Turnbull losing favor with voters.

A new election is due anytime between now and next May, heightening pressure for some kind of change that might improve the Liberal Party’s chances. It holds only a one-seat majority in the House of Representatives, and a handful of seats in Queensland — the state where Mr. Dutton is from — are considered to be up for grabs or leaning toward losses for the Liberals.

And yet, short-term concerns could cause long-term problems. Australian voters have previously made clear that they do not welcome the revolving door of leadership that has characterized the past decade of Australian politics.

[Sign up for the Australian Morning Briefing to get the news you need to start your day, in your inbox Monday through Friday.]

The last leader in Australia to serve an entire term without a leadership challenge or call for an early election was John Howard, who left office in 2007.

Some lawmakers tried to rally for a degree of unity and a return to simple legislating.

“I’d simply say to my colleagues, the circus has to stop,” Darren Chester, a member of Parliament for the Nationals, told reporters. “There’s been a vote, the prime minister won, back the prime minister, give him a chance to finish the job he started.”

But some experts said the Liberals seemed unable to grasp the risks that come with party division and backbiting.

“I honestly think they are so far removed from the people,” said Susan Harris Rimmer, a law professor at Griffith University in Queensland. She added that “most people are just looking for competence.”

Mr. Dutton, a former police officer responsible for Australia’s security and immigration system, is a polarizing figure. With a chaotic ascension to leadership, some analysts said he and the Liberal Party would be trading one challenge in Mr. Turnbull, who is seen as lacking sufficient backbone, for another, who is known for rigidity and a cold, calculating mien.

Jill Sheppard, a lecturer at the Australian National University, was one of many who doubted Mr. Dutton’s chances in a general election.

“That would really give the Liberal Party no chance of winning the election,” she said. “You’d be combining everything that Australians are sick of in Australian politics.”

But Mr. Dutton and his allies seem to believe they are ascendant, first within party ranks and perhaps later with the public.

Analysts said his resignation was typical of would-be challengers who do not immediately succeed only to try again.

“He will leverage his failure of his exclusion from the government and try to rally supporters around him,” Dr. Sheppard said.

In an era of President Trump and Brexit, many of his supporters — and even some critics — are hesitant to bet against him.

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The Pope, Germany, Prague 1968: Your Tuesday Briefing



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Good morning. The pope condemns sexual abuse, Koreans meet long-lost relatives and a bank robber returns to the scene of the crime.

Here’s the latest:

• “We showed no care for the little ones; we abandoned them.”

Pope Francis, in a rare letter addressing over a million Catholics around the world, condemned clerical sexual abuse.

The pope demanded greater accountability and called on his followers to “join forces in uprooting this culture of death.”

The letter comes ahead of the pope’s scheduled trip to Ireland this weekend, and just days after a sweeping grand jury report in Pennsylvania uncovered seven decades of abuse of more than 1,000 minors.


• Turkey offers Germany an olive branch — of sorts.

A Turkish court lifted a travel ban on the German journalist Mesale Tolu, above, who was forced to stay in the country for over a year.

Ms. Tolu was detained in April of 2017 and accused of spreading terrorist propaganda. When she was released in December, she was still not permitted to leave Turkey.

Germany had long pushed for her release, along with the release of other journalists and activists jailed in Turkey, for what it insists are politically motivated reasons.

The decision to let Ms. Tolu leave — though she will still face trial in October — renewed hopes that Ankara would release the detained American pastor at the center of Turkey’s feud with the United States.


Asia Argento, the Italian actress who was among the first women to accuse Harvey Weinstein of sexual assault, has been accused of molesting a minor, and paying for his silence.

According to legal documents, obtained by The New York Times, the actress, above, paid Jimmy Bennett, a young actor who says she sexually assaulted him when he was 17. She was 37 at the time.

This turn of events goes to show that #MeToo is working as it should, according to a founder of the movement.


• Emotional, but brief, reunions in Korea.

Dozens of families torn apart by the Korean War had a rare chance to meet their relatives on opposite sides of the border for the first time in more than 65 years.

“My dear, thank you for just being alive,” said one South Korean father, above, to his long-lost daughter from the North. The families are permitted to spend 11 hours together over three days.

The reunions, which the two countries have permitted sporadically since 1985, come as American efforts to improve relations with North Korea and push it to abandon its nuclear weapons program have stalled.


• Fifty years ago today, Czechoslovakia’s spirit was crushed.

In 1968, the country’s Communist Party started flirting with liberation, making space for a free press and unfettered art. It was a time that came to be known as the Prague Spring.

The Soviet Union invaded the country. Tanks rolled into Prague, armed soldiers crushed dissent, an unknown number of civilians were killed and a fledgling sense of hope was diminished.

Today, with the European Union more divided than at any point since the Cold War, our correspondent writes, the events of 1968 serve as a reminder of the fragility of the systems currently in place to guard against war and tyranny.

The British government has taken back control of a privately-run prison in Birmingham, England, above. Conditions were found to be so bad that after six months of private control, staff members were locking themselves in their offices to protect themselves. [The New York Times]

Measles cases across Europe this year reached their highest number in two decades, just two years after a vaccination campaign came close to eliminating the disease from the Continent. [The New York Times]

Nirav Modi, the celebrity jewelry designer who fled India amid accusations of bank fraud, has been found in Britain and is the subject of an extradition request. [The New York Times]

The dog days of employee benefits. A company in Minneapolis is offering “fur-ternity” leave for new pet parents. [The New York Times]

Police shot dead a man who was wielding a knife inside a police station in the Spanish city of Cornella. The incident is being treated as a “terror attack,” the authorities said. [CNN]

President Nicolás Maduro of Venezuela, in the latest desperate attempt to stem hyperinflation and fix his country’s flagging economy, rolled out a new currency pegged to an oil-backed cryptocurrency. His own Parliament says the move is illegal. [CNBC]

Smarter Living

Tips for a more fulfilling life.

Swipe right for some competition. A woman in New York pranked a group of men by luring them into dates via Tinder. When the men arrived, they discovered they were competing in a contest that made the TV show “The Bachelorette” look easy.

In 1958, a dapper young man stole $1.7 million from a Canadian bank. Six decades later, he returned to the scene of the crime for a drink.

Crows are often seen as symbols of bad luck and death. But at a theme park near Paris where they’re trained to pick up after humans, they represent environmental friendliness.

Back Story

Since the Louvre was closed on Mondays, the painting was missing for more than a day before anyone noticed.

But when they did, visitors arrived in hordes to see the spot where “La Joconde,” better known as the Mona Lisa, once hung. Franz Kafka even made the trip to contemplate the space up close.

The theft, on this day in 1911, “caused such a sensation that Parisians for the time being have forgotten the rumors of war,” The Times reported at the top of its front page.

Sixty detectives were assigned to the case, and conspiracy theories abounded. “Possibly,” a police officer told The Times, “the theft was committed by a maniac.”

In their search, the authorities didn’t pay enough attention to Vincenzo Peruggia, an Italian laborer who created the protective glass around Leonardo da Vinci’s masterpiece. He was questioned twice, and let go.

Two years passed.

Mr. Peruggia then tried to sell the painting to Giovanni Poggi, the director of the Uffizi Gallery in Florence. Mr. Poggi immediately called the police.

The painting is now protected by bulletproof glass, and an alarm goes off if anyone tries to even touch the frame.

Kathleen Massara wrote today’s Back Story.


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After the Bitcoin Boom: Hard Lessons for Cryptocurrency Investors



SAN FRANCISCO — Pete Roberts of Nottingham, England, was one of the many risk-takers who threw their savings into cryptocurrencies when prices were going through the roof last winter.

Now, eight months later, the $23,000 he invested in several digital tokens is worth about $4,000, and he is clearheaded about what happened.

“I got too caught up in the fear of missing out and trying to make a quick buck,” he said last week. “The losses have pretty much left me financially ruined.”

Mr. Roberts, 28, has a lot of company. After the latest round of big price drops, many cryptocurrencies have given back all of the enormous gains they experienced last winter. The value of all outstanding digital tokens has fallen by about $600 billion, or 75 percent, since the peak in January, according to data from the website

The virtual currency markets have been through booms and busts before — and recovered to boom again. But this bust could have a more lasting impact on the technology’s adoption because of the sheer number of ordinary people who invested in digital tokens over the last year, and who are likely to associate cryptocurrencies with financial ruin for a very long time.

“What the average Joe hears is how friends lost fortunes,” said Alex Kruger, a former banker who has been trading in the cryptocurrency markets for some time. “Irrational exuberance leads to financial overhang and slows progress.”

It is hard to know how many cryptocurrency investors are now in the red, with holdings worth less than the money they put in. Many who have lost money in recent months had gotten into the markets before the big run-up last year, and their holdings are still worth more than their initial investments.

But by many metrics, more people put money into virtual currencies last fall and winter than in all of the preceding nine or so years. Coinbase, the largest cryptocurrency brokerage in the United States, doubled its number of customers between October and March. The start-up Square began allowing the users of its mobile app, Square Cash, to buy Bitcoin last November.

Almost all of the new customers on Coinbase and Square would be in the red if they bought cryptocurrencies at almost any point over the last nine months and held on to them.

The damage is likely to be particularly bad in places like South Korea and Japan, where there was minimal cryptocurrency activity before last year, and where ordinary investors with little expertise jumped in with abandon.

In South Korea, the biggest exchanges opened storefronts to make investment easier for people who didn’t feel comfortable doing it online. The offices of one big exchange, Coinone, had just one customer walk in during a two-hour period in the middle of the day last week. An employee, Yu Ji-Hoon, said, “The prices of the digital tokens have fallen so much that people seem to feel upset.”

Kim Hyon-jeong, a 45-year-old teacher and mother of one who lives on the outskirts of Seoul, said she put about 100 million won, or $90,000, into cryptocurrencies last fall. She drew on savings, an insurance policy and a $25,000 loan. Her investments are now down about 90 percent.

“I thought that cryptocurrencies would be the one and only breakthrough for ordinary hardworking people like us,” she said. “I thought my family and I could escape hardship and live more comfortably, but it turned out to be the other way around.”

In the United States, Charles Herman, a 29-year-old small-business owner in Charleston, S.C., became obsessed with virtual currencies in September. He said he now felt that he had wasted 10 months of his life trying to play the markets.

While he is essentially back to the $4,000 he put in, he has soured on the revolutionary promises that virtual currency fanatics made for the technology last year and has resumed investing his money in real estate.

“I guess I thought we were ‘sticking it to the man’ when I got on board,” Mr. Herman said. “But I think ‘the man’ had already caught on, and had an exit strategy.”

Much of the anger that investors feel is toward the smaller virtual currencies, or alt coins, that entrepreneurs sold in so-called initial coin offerings. These coins were supposed to serve as payment mechanisms for new software the entrepreneurs were building.

But almost none of these companies have delivered the software they promised, leaving the tokens useless, except as speculative assets. Several coins have been exposed as outright scams.

“I think I’d like to see most alts go to zero before I feel like the whole space isn’t overpriced,” Mr. Herman said.

Bitcoin has generally held on better with investors. It is down about 70 percent from all-time highs, rather than the 90-percent losses that lesser-known digital tokens have suffered. But it, too, has struggled to win much use beyond speculative investments.

“We also saw that Bitcoin isn’t ready for mass adoption and day-to-day use,” Mr. Herman said.

Despite this pessimism, the social networks where cryptocurrency fanatics gather to trade information are full of people talking about their intention to hold on to their coins, in the hope that they will recover once the technology has time to catch up with the hype.

Tony Yoo, 26, a financial analyst in Los Angeles, invested more than $100,000 of his savings last fall. At their lowest point, his holdings dropped almost 70 percent in value.

But Mr. Yoo is still a big believer in the idea that these tokens can provide a new way to transact online, without the big corporate middlemen we rely on today. Many of the groups that raised money last year are still working on the products they promised, with lots of serious engineers drawn to the projects.

“There’s just so much more behind this new wave of technology and innovation that I’m sure will take over our society in due time,” Mr. Yoo said.

With prices down so much, he said he was actually looking to put more money into the markets.

That thinking has been encouraged by the people who invested in Bitcoin in 2013, when it first topped $1,000. That bull market was followed by a crash in which the price of Bitcoin dropped more than 80 percent. But after a long fallow period, the price recovered. Even with recent losses, the value of one Bitcoin is hovering around $6,500 — up more than 500 percent from the peak of 2013.

“Five years ago, I was broke, unemployed, and ashamed to use my real name,” Ryan Selkis, a popular virtual currency personality, wrote on Twitter last week. “For the new fanatics, stick around for your own 14 month, 85% downdraft and you’ll not regret it.”

Twitter is also filled with complaints, like the one from a user named @Notsofrugaljoey, who wrote: “It’s really hard to stomach losing all my hard earned money. Just broke down and cried.”

On Reddit, a user in the United Arab Emirates posted a picture of the $100,000 loan that he had taken out in December to buy cryptocurrencies — and that he will now be paying back out of his salary for the next three years.

Mr. Roberts, the British investor who has seen most of his $23,000 vanish, is holding on to his coins in case they turn around. But for now he has stopped trading and is looking for another job.

“I’m living off the little savings I have left still in my bank account,” Mr. Roberts said. “I’ve made a mistake, and now I’m going to have to unfortunately pay the cost for the next few years.”

Follow Nathaniel Popper and Su-Hyun Lee on Twitter: @nathanielpopper and @esuhyuni.

Nathaniel Popper reported from San Francisco, and Su-Hyun Lee reported from Seoul, South Korea.

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Trump Lawyers’ Sudden Realization: They Don’t Know What Don McGahn Told Mueller’s Team



“It’s bad legal advice, bad lawyering, and this is a result of it,” Mr. Christie added.

Stephen K. Bannon, the former White House chief strategist, who had argued last summer against cooperating with Mr. Mueller, said, “This was a reckless and dangerously naïve strategy, and I’ve vocally said that since the time I left the White House, and I’ve said it to the president.”

The Times reported that Mr. McGahn, over at least three interviews, laid out how Mr. Trump had tried to ensure control of the special counsel investigation. Mr. McGahn gave a mix of damaging and favorable information about the president, but he said Mr. Trump did not go beyond his legal authorities as president.

Although Mr. Trump’s lawyers have little idea what Mr. McGahn told investigators, they said on Saturday and Sunday that Mr. McGahn had helped the president.

In an email to members of Mr. Trump’s legal team and other associates, which was obtained by The Times, Mr. Dowd said he had made the right choice in urging cooperation.

“We protected President by not asserting attorney-client privilege,” Mr. Dowd wrote. He added that, had the lawyers forced the Mueller team to subpoena witnesses, they would have lost the ability to exert privilege over witnesses and documents.

Still, Mr. Trump was rattled by the Times report, according to people familiar with his thinking. The president, who is said to be obsessed with the role that John W. Dean, the White House counsel to President Richard M. Nixon, played as an informant during Watergate, was jolted by the notion that he did not know what Mr. McGahn had shared.

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