Asia and Australia Edition

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Good morning.

Investigations rattle Washington, some clarity on North Korea and a special note to Australian readers. Here’s what you need to know:

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CreditJustin Tang/The Canadian Press, via Associated Press

• Two major investigations grabbed U.S. headlines.

A Justice Department report concluded that James Comey, the former F.B.I. director, was “insubordinate” in his unorthodox handling of the investigation of Hillary Clinton during the 2016 presidential election.

Mr. Comey, in an Op-Ed, disputed some of the report’s conclusions, but embraced its existence as “good for the F.B.I.” Above, he spoke in Canada last week.

And the New York State attorney general’s office filed a scathingly worded lawsuit against Mr. Trump’s charitable foundation, accusing it and the Trump family of sweeping violations of campaign finance laws, self-dealing and illegal coordination with the presidential campaign.

Mr. Trump reacted with vitriol, calling the civil suit an attempt by the “sleazy New York Democrats” to damage him. Here are the basics of the case.

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CreditKim Joon-Bum/Yonhap, via Associated Press

• The U.S. clarified its policy on North Korea.

Only after “complete denuclearization” would North Korea get “relief from sanctions,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said, while on a tour of Asian nations.

Mr. Pompeo’s tough stance was intended to reassure Japan and South Korea, and to deny reports in North Korea’s state media that the U.S. had agreed to ease the sanctions at the summit meeting in Singapore.

They were also a clear appeal for cooperation from Beijing, where Mr. Pompeo met with President Xi Jinping on Thursday.

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CreditAdam Dean for The New York Times

• “The more we look into the previous administration, the more bad things we find.”

Malaysia’s new prime minister, Mahathir Mohamad, 92, has discovered that the country is in far worse financial shape than feared. The national debt, tallied at $170 billion by the previous administration, has been reassessed at $250 billion — 80 percent of Malaysia’s gross domestic product.

The fiscal housecleaning has reached Goldman Sachs. The U.S. investment bank made $600 million selling bonds for 1MDB, the scandal-hit state investment fund. Now Malaysia wants some of it back.

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CreditKhaled Abdullah/Reuters

• In Yemen, the city of Al Hudaydah came under intense attack for the second day, in the largest battle of the country’s yearslong civil war.

A Saudi-led coalition pounded the city, trying to capture the port from Houthi rebels. And Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, an architect of years of war, was watching his Saudi team lose to Russia in the opening match of the World Cup in Moscow.

CreditPool photo by Alexei Druzhinin

• Soccer, and beyond.

Our team is following every game, and every angle of the World Cup as it unfolds in Russia.

As our columnist writes, the tournament is about Russia “proving to its people as much as to its rivals that it can deliver the world’s most-watched sporting spectacle.”

In recent weeks, Russia tried to tame its habitual xenophobia in anticipation of the 500,000 foreign soccer fans descending on the country. (It even organized a class on how to smile.)

Not everyone got the memo. One member of Parliament cautioned against hugging visitors from other continents — diseases, you know.

CreditIllustration by Matt Chase

• Special note to Australian readers.

For both the U.S. and Australia, the past, present and future continue to be shaped by how the dynamics of race and equality are discussed and handled.

Our Australia bureau chief, Damien Cave, shares what he’s been reading to prepare to moderate coming conversations with Nikole Hannah-Jones, an award-winning New York Times reporter who has covered race and segregation for most of her career.

She’ll be joined by the actress Shareena Clanton at the National Gallery of Victoria in Melbourne on Sunday (discount code: NGVNYtimes) and by Prof. Megan Davis, the Aboriginal scholar and activist, at the University of New South Wales in Sydney on Monday (tickets are free).

Business

• Didi Chuxing, China’s ride-hailing giant, resumed late-night car pooling with a new safety rule: Men can’t pick up female passengers, a problem in a place where most drivers are male.

Apple plans to close a loophole that let the authorities hack into iPhones, adding to debates over security versus privacy.

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

There are roughly 2,000 U.S. troops in Syria. Recently, a statement went out calling for direct attacks against them. Who sent it, and why?Published On

• Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull condemned a 2007 photo showing an Australian army vehicle flying a swastika flag in Afghanistan. Australia’s conduct there has been under new scrutiny. [BBC]

Syed Shujaat Bukhari, a leading journalist in Indian-administered Kashmir, was fatally shot by unidentified gunmen. [BBC]

• A former Walmart in Texas has become the largest migrant children’s shelter in the country — a warehouse for more than 1,500 boys, aged 10 to 17, caught illegally crossing the border. [The New York Times]

• Albert Einstein’s travel diaries, kept during visits to Hong Kong, Singapore, China, Japan, India and Palestine, expose some unpleasant stereotyping. [The New York Times]

Smarter Living

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

CreditChiara Zarmati
CreditIndranil Bhoumik/Mint, via Getty Images

• Traces of a Jewish past can be found across the Middle East and North Africa and in Central and South Asia. “It’s in synagogues and cemeteries, in the facades of old buildings, in language, food and the memories of those who left. You just need to know where to look.”

• The U.S. Open has brought all of the big names — yes, that means Tiger Woods — to Shinnecock Hills in Southampton, N.Y. Our live leader board shows that the old-school course had many players struggling through the first day.

And a best seller returns after 18 years. “Kitchen Confidential,” a memoir by Anthony Bourdain, is No. 1 on both our paperback nonfiction best-seller list and our combined print and e-book nonfiction one. Find all our best-seller lists here.

Back Story

CreditR Dumont/Getty Images

“Man, woman or child, Ella is the greatest,” Bing Crosby once said.

Ella Fitzgerald, who died on this day in 1996 at the age of 79, began her journey to stardom by winning a talent contest as a teenager.

She had originally intended to dance, but stage fright made her decide to sing instead.

The “First Lady of Song” spent more than 60 years in the limelight, working with more musical legends than we can count. She won 13 Grammy Awards and received a National Medal of Arts.

With a range of nearly three octaves, she relished big band, jazz, bebop, scat and swing. She is perhaps best known for her Song Books of the ’50s and ’60s: eight albums, each dedicated to the likes of Duke Ellington, Cole Porter and Rodgers & Hart.

But her young life was filled with hardship.

Her mother died when she was 15 years old. She ran away from an abusive stepfather and had a spell in a reformatory where beatings were common. She was living hand-to-mouth in 1934 when she won that crucial amateur competition.

As she received an honorary doctorate at Yale, she said: “Not bad for someone who only studied music to get that half-credit in high school.”

Anna Schaverien wrote today’s Back Story

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