Asia and Australia Edition: North Korea, Syria, Women’s Marches: Your Monday Briefing

North Korea, meanwhile, is increasingly turning to smuggling to acquire the fuel it needs. A Times investigation showed how difficult it is to prevent the North from obtaining oil, despite sanctions.

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• Iran’s financial system is in a “very fragile state,” an economist tells The Times.

Many banks have gambled with deposits or run Ponzi schemes with impunity for years, in part because they are owned by well-connected elites, religious foundations or the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps.

A team of Times journalists looked at how such corruption and cronyism helped fuel the protests that roiled the country last month.

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Credit Bulent Kilic/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

“No one can say a word.”

That was President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey speaking on Saturday, the same day that Turkish jets bombed more than 100 targets in a Kurdish enclave of Syria — an operation named “Olive Branch.”

Despite criticism from the U.S. and Russia, Mr. Erdogan has vowed to crush U.S.-backed Kurdish militias in northern Syria in what he calls a war against terrorism. Above, Turkish soldiers near the Syrian border on Sunday.

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Credit Omar Sobhani/Reuters

In Afghanistan, at least 18 people were found dead after a siege at Kabul’s Intercontinental Hotel that trapped hundreds of guests during fighting that raged all night. The Taliban claimed responsibility.

And the U.S. vice president, Mike Pence, is scheduled to address Israel’s Parliament after weekend stops in Egypt and Jordan, where King Abdullah II of Jordan asked him to “rebuild trust and confidence” in a two-state solution for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

President Trump’s hard-line position on Israel, our foreign policy columnist writes, has shifted America’s culture war to the global stage.

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Credit Sam Mooy/European Pressphoto Agency

• At the Australian Open, Angelique Kerber soundly defeated Maria Sharapova in the third round. Our columnist writes that Ms. Kerber is again playing like a champion.

On the men’s side, Grigor Dimitrov of Bulgaria beat Nick Kyrgios, the Australian crowd-pleaser, and advanced to the quarterfinals alongside Marin Cilic and Rafael Nadal, above.

And in our latest Australia Diary, a woman returning to Brisbane after a stint in New York sees legions of men at work. “But where,” she asks, “are all the women?”

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Business

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Credit Asmita Parelkar for The New York Times

• In India, the developers of a Trump Towers project, above in 2016, promised the first 100 buyers a meeting with Donald Trump Jr. That promotion has prompted new questions about how the Trump family mixes business and politics.

• Today in Seattle, Amazon will open a convenience store free of cashiers, registers and credit cards. “It feels as if you are entering a subway station,” our correspondent writes.

T. Boone Pickens, the 89-year-old oil mogul and old-school corporate raider, is calling it quits. His retirement ends a larger-than-life, only-in-America career. “Predictability leads to failure,” he said.

Here’s a snapshot of global markets.

In the News

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Credit Rajanish Kakade/Associated Press

• In Mumbai, the home of Bollywood, Hindu extremists threatened to behead an actress over a film about the legend of a Hindu queen who killed herself rather than submit to invading Muslims. It opens this week. [The New York Times]

A fire killed 17 people in a factory near New Delhi, trapping migrant workers and highlighting poor safety protocols. [The New York Times]

• American diplomats across the globe — from Pakistan to the Netherlands — are being dressed down by their host nations. Others are thinking of quitting. [The New York Times]

• In Thailand, an alleged wildlife-trafficking kingpin was arrested in connection with 14 rhino horns worth over $1 million from Africa seized last month. [Associated Press]

In a rare move, a military court in Myanmar sentenced six soldiers to 10 years in prison for killing three civilians in the restive Kachin State. [Associated Press]

• China’s latest pressure tactic on Taiwan? Opening a new civilian air route near the island democracy, which it considers a breakaway province. [The New York Times]

The authorities in Beijing detained a prominent rights lawyer and political activist after he posted an appeal to change the Constitution. [The New York Times]

Smarter Living

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

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Credit Danny Ghitis for The New York Times

• Recipe of the day: Begin the week with Katharine Hepburn’s recipe for brownies.

• Ice and snow? Here’s how to prevent falling.

• Plan a last-minute trip to the Winter Olympics.

Noteworthy

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Credit Jes Aznar for The New York Times

“I inhale courage and exhale fear,” says Jover Laurio, a 38-year-old law student and blogger in the Philippines who is a prominent critic of President Rodrigo Duterte. Read our profile of Ms. Laurio, above.

China’s “Los Alamos”: Our correspondent visited the ruins of a city where Beijing once built a nuclear arsenal to defend Mao Zedong’s revolution.

• And up and away: A travel writer got a bird’s-eye view of falconry while hot-air ballooning above Dubai.

Back Story

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Credit George Brich/Associated Press

Today marks a big step for equality in the entertainment industry.

Minnie Mouse is set to finally receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, 90 years after she was introduced and nearly 40 years after her longtime love interest, Mickey, received one in 1978, above.

First voiced by Walt Disney himself, the characters made their debut in the 1928 animated short “Steamboat Willie.”

Minnie went on to appear in more than 60 cartoon shorts, primarily in the 1930s, before becoming a perennial presence on television and at Disney’s theme parks around the world.

Originally drawn wearing a pillbox hat, Minnie later sported a polka-dot bow on her head that matched her dress. “Minnie: Style Icon,” an exhibition at London Fashion Week in 2015, traced her influence over the decades.

But she has always dwelt in Mickey’s shadow, the damsel to his leading man. In a 1934 essay titled “Mickey and Minnie,” the British novelist E. M. Forster lamented: “About Minnie too little has been said, and her name at the top of this article is an act of homage which ought to have been paid long ago.”

Another act of homage will come today in Hollywood, when she is honored with the 2,627th star on the Walk of Fame.

Chris Stanford contributed reporting.

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Your Morning Briefing is published weekday mornings and updated online. Browse past briefings here.

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