Your Thursday Briefing

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Donald Trump, North Korea, Sheila Abdus-Salaam
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Thursday, April 13, 2017

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Your Thursday Briefing
By CHRIS STANFORD
An opening ceremony for a housing project in Pyongyang, North Korea, today. There are fears that the country may be preparing to test a hydrogen bomb.
An opening ceremony for a housing project in Pyongyang, North Korea, today. There are fears that the country may be preparing to test a hydrogen bomb. Damir Sagolj/Reuters
Good morning.
Here’s what you need to know:
• Old foes and new friends.
The Trump administration sought on Wednesday to isolate the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, for having backed the government of Syria after a lethal chemical weapons attack. (Russia vetoed a U.N. resolution condemning the attack.)
President Trump also expressed a newfound appreciation for NATO, a “great alliance” that he once derided as obsolete.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson met with Mr. Putin for two hours in Moscow, but they didn’t agree on much.
Wall Street’s sway.
A series of economic policy reversals by President Trump on Wednesday suggested that moderate financiers are beginning to eclipse the White House populist faction led by Stephen Bannon, the chief strategist, who is increasingly sidelined.
“I am my own strategist,” the president said.
• Manafort moved on, with millions.
On the day in August that he resigned from Donald Trump’s campaign, Paul Manafort formed a shell company that soon received $13 million in loans from two businesses with ties to Mr. Trump.
The transactions raise a number of questions.
• Souring on the G.O.P.
Republican-leaning voters in four districts told our reporters that they expected far more in the way of results from a party with a firm grip on Washington.
Worrying signs in North Korea.
New satellite images suggest that the country might soon conduct another underground detonation in its effort to learn how to make nuclear weapons.
It would be its sixth explosive test in a decade and perhaps its most powerful yet.
• New York judge is found dead.
Sheila Abdus-Salaam, a judge on New York State’s highest court, was pulled from the Hudson River by the police in Upper Manhattan on Wednesday. There were no signs of trauma.
• “The Daily,” your audio news report.
On today’s show, our reporter joins us from Moscow to discuss a historically tense time for the U.S. and Russia.
Listen on a computer, an iOS device or an Android device.
Business
When “I’m sorry” goes south: The fine art of repentance is taught in business schools and promoted by consultants.
As United Airlines and Sean Spicer have learned, it doesn’t always go smoothly.
• Bill O’Reilly left Fox News this week for a long-planned vacation, amid an uproar over accusations of sexual harassment.
The Murdoch family, which controls the network, must now decide whether the star host should stay or go.
Carmakers are rushing to add new S.U.V.s to their portfolios, thanks in part to low oil prices.
• U.S. stocks were down on Wednesday. Here’s a snapshot of global markets.
Smarter Living
Is running a part of your morning routine? Good news: It may be extending your life.
Adults who sleep less find it more difficult to ward off ailments.
Recipe of the day: Succulent chicken with mixed mushrooms and cream is timeless.
Noteworthy
• Happy birthday. Now resign.
Today’s 360 video visits Pretoria, South Africa, where tens of thousands of people protested outside the office of President Jacob Zuma on his birthday, asking him to quit.
• Baldwin papers come (mostly) into view.
The archives of the pioneering African-American writer James Baldwin have been given to the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in Harlem, but with a catch: His estate requested an unusual 20-year seal on some of his private letters.
• It’s time for the playoffs.
As the N.B.A.’s postseason is set to begin, we ask whether Russell Westbrook, the Oklahoma City star, has had the single greatest season in sports. Ever.
The N.H.L. playoffs got underway on Wednesday (including a win by the Rangers). Here’s a look at the matchups.
• A spring lamb for Easter?
Unlike the rest of the world, Americans traditionally turn to ham for the holiday. But this could be the year to start looking at another meat.
Best of late-night TV.
The late-night hosts took some cracks at the White House for its apparent difficulties in staging the annual Easter Egg Roll.
Back Story
If you happen to be in Thailand today, don’t bother taking a shower: You’ll get soaked anyway.
Songkran, the water festival that celebrates the Buddhist New Year, officially begins today and continues for several days. In some parts of the country, the water flinging has already begun.
Songkran celebrations in Ayutthaya Province, north of Bangkok, on Tuesday.
Songkran celebrations in Ayutthaya Province, north of Bangkok, on Tuesday.
Chaiwat Subprasom/Reuters
The celebration, traditionally a time of purification, retains some of its Buddhist beginnings. Many Thais return home for the holiday and observe water-cleansing rituals.
But the symbolic purification has exploded into a countrywide party. People play with water guns and dump buckets of water from the beds of pickup trucks. Some even bring out the fire hoses.
Even last year’s drought couldn’t stop the festivities, though some government officials asked festivalgoers to downgrade to spray bottles, which befuddled one university student.
“Are you kidding me?” said Krit Pongchaiassawin. “I would just get laughed off the street.”
Some Thai traditionalists are worried that the festivities have strayed too far from their origins. This year a government official warned merry makers not to “wear revealing clothes” or dance suggestively. Such transgressions will result in a fine of about $145.
Evan Gershkovich contributed reporting.
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Your Morning Briefing is published weekdays at 6 a.m. Eastern and updated on the web all morning.
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