Austin, Uber, Facebook: Your Tuesday Briefing

“Mr. President, the American people will hear my story very soon,” Mr. Comey tweeted back, apparently referring to his forthcoming book. “And they can judge for themselves who is honorable and who is not.”

A former C.I.A. director was far harsher in his response to a Trump tweet: “When the full extent of your venality, moral turpitude, and political corruption becomes known, you will take your rightful place as a disgraced demagogue in the dustbin of history.”



Lucas Jackson/Reuters

Facebook’s stock is plunging, wiping out billions of dollars from its value and dragging the U.S. market down.

The social network has continued to defend its protection of user information in the face of demands from U.S. and British lawmakers for an explanation of how a political data firm, Cambridge Analytica, was able to harvest information from more than 50 million Facebook profiles.

The firm’s so-called psychographic modeling underpinned its work for the Trump campaign in 2016, as well as a related company’s work for Brexit.

An undercover investigation of the data company by Britain’s Channel 4 News captured the chief executive, Alexander Nix, saying that it operated secretly in elections around the world — sometimes using sex workers.



David Maurice Smith for The New York Times

Australia’s first time as host of an Asean summit meeting may well be remembered most for its controversies.

Mass protests and effigy-burnings in Melbourne and Sydney were the public’s response to a threat against such actions made by Cambodia’s long-ruling prime minister, Hun Sen. Above, Hong Lim, a Cambodian-born Australian lawmaker who organized Melbourne’s blaze.

Aung San Suu Kyi, the Myanmar civilian leader under international pressure for her country’s deadly military campaign against Rohingya Muslims, canceled a keynote speech she was scheduled to deliver today in Sydney, saying she was “not feeling well.”



Nick Wyatt/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Daphne’s found.

A giant inflatable yellow duck that was blown out to sea during her Perth swimming club’s annual ocean swimming competition is lost no more.

A fisherman located the now world-famous duck some 35 kilometers, or 20 some-odd miles, west of Rottnest Island — and posted a ransom.

The swim club’s president plans to meet with the fisherman on Wednesday, and hopes for an amicable resolution that will send Daphne bobbing home.



Illustration by Tim Enthoven

• “Where else in the world has a foreign company created new land in another country, populated it with people from its home country and asserted sovereignty over it?” A $100 billion Chinese-built “insta-city” in Malaysia is drawing charges of neo-colonialism.

• A self-driving Uber car struck a woman crossing the street outside a crosswalk in Arizona, causing the first known pedestrian fatality from a driverless vehicle.

A European plan to revamp taxation of digital companies could hit Silicon Valley giants hard.

• Other headlines to watch for this week: U.S. tariffs on steel and aluminum go into effect Friday, the U.S. Federal Reserve is expected to raise interest rates and Dropbox could go public, offering a gauge of investor trust in so-called unicorns.

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

In the News


Stefan Postles/EPA, via Shutterstock

Cardinal George Pell, 76, the Vatican’s third-highest-ranking official, was accused of sexual offenses decades ago at a movie theater and a swimming pool in a Melbourne hearing that will determine whether his case goes to trial. [Reuters]

British and E.U. negotiators agreed on the terms of a 21-month Brexit transition — but it depends on a broader agreement that is far from certain. [The New York Times]

• Four bombings this month in Austin, Tex., including one on Sunday night, have killed two people and injured four, and put the state capital on high alert. [The New York Times]

• “I had no idea.” Prime Minister Shinzo Abe apologized for documents falsified by his Finance Ministry but denied playing any part in the forgeries or in the discounted sale of state-owned land. [The Asahi Shimbun]

• A photo of 38 scientists from a whale biology conference in 1971 identified all but the lone woman. Internet sleuths tracked her down. [The New York Times]

Smarter Living

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


Matt Rourke/Associated Press

• How to stop eating sugar (without sacrificing too much pleasure).

• Fun fact: The shape of your ear affects the way you hear.

• Recipe of the day: Homemade fried chicken on a weeknight? Yes.



• A broad study shows the punishing reach of racism in the U.S. White boys who grow up rich are likely to remain so, but not black boys. (No such gap shows up between white and black girls.)

The fashion industry, long accused not only of racism but of particular bias against the darkest skin, is suddenly embracing more diversity. We spoke to some of the models who are changing the catwalk.

• Russian money has deep roots in British life, including in soccer’s Premier League, one of Britain’s key cultural exports. That could complicate efforts by the British government to target the London assets of Russian oligarchs, part of Britain’s retaliation for the nerve-agent attack it blames on Russia.

Back Story


Sergey Ponomarev for The New York Times

Today, we end with a note from the outgoing writer of our European edition, Patrick Boehler:

Since these briefings’ inception over a year ago, this has been the question I have been asked the most:

“How do you know what Europeans want to read?”

That’s a fair question for a journalist, albeit a European one, who has spent most of his adult life in Asia, and still is there.

It is also a legitimate question for a U.S. newspaper at a time in which American news cycles are focused on the twists and turns of a tumultuous presidency.

So, here’s what we do:

Every day, we spend hours poring over correspondents’ dispatches and news reports from across Europe, from Northern Ireland to Turkey.

In conversations with editors, we seek to distill wider trends from the day-to-day politics and give you what you need to know to start your day.

Of course, the result has often been a compromise. Is it flawed? Always.

But that’s the rule for all early drafts of history.

My last briefing is tomorrow’s, but I’d like to invite you to keep reading, keep debating and keep challenging assumptions. Thank you for your time! Now enjoy your morning coffee.


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. You can also receive an Evening Briefing on U.S. weeknights.

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Correction: March 19, 2018

Because of an editing error, an earlier version of this briefing misstated the toll Facebook’s stock plunge took on its overall value. The drop wiped out billions of dollars of Facebook’s value; it was the overall toll on U.S. stocks that amounted to tens of billions of dollars.

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