Asia and Australia Edition: Billy Graham, Gun Control, North Korea: Your Thursday Briefing

And we spoke to a former assistant principal who held a school shooter at gunpoint — and who believes the national effort now underway to arm and train school staff members is misguided.



Credit Reuters

They almost met.

The U.S. State Department revealed how close Vice President Mike Pence came to sitting down with the high-level delegation of North Koreans at the Winter Olympics.

The North Koreans canceled at the last minute, adding a new level of meaning to the photographs of Mr. Pence and Kim Yo-jong, the sister of the North Korean leader, ignoring one another in the stands.

Elsewhere in Asia, a U.S. congressional delegation from the Senate and House Committee on Armed Services is visiting Taiwan, meeting there with President Tsai Ing-wen and her senior ministers, a dialogue likely to irritate Beijing officials.



Credit Chang W. Lee/The New York Times

At the Games, the loudest local fans are out in force for the Garlic Girls, as the Korean press has nicknamed the South Korean women’s curling team. (“I lost my voice from cheering so hard,” said one.)

Here’s our full coverage, plus the medals table, results and schedule.

And we went back to the 1930s for this: Maribel Vinson was The Times’s first female sportswriter and an Olympic figure skater — at the same time.



Credit Keystone/Hulton Archive

The Rev. Billy Graham died at the age of 99. He was a farmer’s son who became a pastor to presidents and America’s best-known Christian evangelist.

Mr. Graham, pictured above in 1955, first visited Australia in 1959 for his four-month “Southern Cross Crusade.” According to the Australian press, “His visit triggered mass conversions and tens of thousands came forward to ‘give their lives to Christ.’”

“This is not mass evangelism,” Mr. Graham liked to say, “but personal evangelism on a mass scale.” You can hear his fiery preaching in this video.



Credit Sergey Ponomarev for The New York Times

Julian Assange remains ensconced in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London. But a fellow Australian, the lawyer Melinda Taylor, above, hasn’t stopped trying to restore his freedom.

A defense lawyer at the International Criminal Court, she has earned a reputation for defending unpopular individuals, like Seif al-Islam el-Qaddafi, a son of Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi, the deposed Libyan strongman.

She has tried to bolster Mr. Assange’s case with a brief for the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, which is expected to issue a ruling, at Ecuador’s behest, in coming months.



Credit Illustration by Franziska Barczyk

• Sex in the gray zone.

As stories of sexual misconduct continue to dominate the news, a debate has erupted over encounters that may not be viewed as sexual assault, but constitute something murkier than a bad date.

We’d like to hear from college students worldwide about the experiences you go back to, and how you handle consent — and apprehension — in intimacy.

Here’s how to share your story.



• Social media companies often fail to enforce their policies against impersonation, an examination by The Times found, enabling the spread of fake news and propaganda — and allowing a global black market in social identities to thrive.

Much of China’s economy may soon be managed by Liu He, 66, a Harvard-educated Politburo member expected to be promoted to vice premier next month.

• Venezuela became the first nation to launch its own virtual currency. The oil-backed petro could give investors a way of skirting U.S. sanctions.

Investors are seeking an alternative edge in Japan’s stock market by studying eyebrows.

• Yields on U.S. government debt jumped after the Fed released its January minutes, and U.S. stocks were up. Here’s a snapshot of global markets.

In the News


Credit Lukas Coch/European Pressphoto Agency

“It’s time to move on.” In their first interview about the affair that has rocked the Turnbull government, Australia’s embattled deputy prime minister, Barnaby Joyce, and his pregnant partner appealed for privacy. []

Cardinal George Pell’s defense team lost its last bid for accusers’ medical records. On March 5, the magistrate in the sexual abuse case against him will begin a monthlong commitment hearing to determine if he will stand trial. [ABC]

• A power experiment: Australia’s 1.4 million swimming pools can use up around 10 percent of the capacity of the nation’s grid. A test in Sydney aims to try centralized management for thousands of backyard pools during peak usage periods. [Sydney Morning Herald]

• Inmate upgrade: Cambodia is considering more luxurious “hotel-like” prison blocks for wealthy inmates. [The Phnom Penh Post]

Smarter Living

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

• “All natural” sounds great on a food label, but it doesn’t always mean what you think it means — and it’s not necessarily better for you, either.

• Want a break? Here are 10 affordable European getaways.

• Recipe of the day: Pasta with bacon, cheese, lemon and pine nuts feeds many tastes with a single dish.



Credit Lam Yik Fei for The New York Times

• The closing of Macau’s famous, and infamous greyhound racetrack is one reflection of the transformation of China’s gambling hub from a colonial backwater into a popular tourist destination for the mainland’s fast-growing middle class.

Australia Diary: A teenager evokes the magic of the mermaid pools on the East Coast of New South Wales.

• And beyond BFF. Friendships have become so central to some women that they justify new titles, the author of a new book on friendship writes.

Back Story


Credit Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

It’s easy to spot members of the Dutch delegation at the Winter Olympics as they travel around on orange bicycles, 132 of which were shipped to South Korea by boat.

The bikes are helping athletes feel at home. In the Netherlands, bikes outnumber people 22.5 million to 18 million.

But the Netherlands wasn’t always a biker’s haven. In the 1950s and ’60s, as people started buying more cars, two-wheelers were beginning to be pushed off the road.

Literally. Bicycle deaths, like traffic deaths as a whole, increased.

In 1971, about 3,300 people died in traffic accidents, including 400 children. Activist groups sprang up. Stop de Kindermoord (Stop the Child Murder) was among the most prominent.

The number of traffic deaths has dropped since that period. In 2016, the Netherlands saw 629 traffic casualties, about a third of which were bike deaths. Only 12 were children.

Part of the success story: the country’s bike lanes, a network now measured at about 22,000 miles (or 35,000 kilometers).

Claire Moses contributed reporting.


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