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Mosul, Russia, Queensland: Your Morning Briefing

March 27, 2017 6:56 PM
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Mosul, Russia, Queensland: Your Morning Briefing

On the mainland, withering findings about the country's economic reforms emerged from a startling place: within the government itself.

The state think tank’s blunt public criticism was rare, but even President Xi Jinping has shown impatience over the slow pace of change.

• Disruptions in Russia: The opposition leader Aleksei Navalny, above, was jailed a day after the largest antigovernment protests in more than five years.

More than 1,000 demonstrators were arrested in Moscow alone. And truck drivers across the country appeared to be preparing to set up roadblocks near major cities to protest a new highway toll system.

• The United States is sending 240 more soldiers to Iraq to help the Iraqi military recapture the city of Mosul from the Islamic State, bringing the U.S. total to well over 5,000 troops.

An Iraqi official said that more than 100 bodies had been pulled from the wreckage of a building in the city that fell after American-led airstrikes flattened almost a city block. U.S. officials are investigating whether an Islamic State bomb played a role in the collapse.

• And some everyday Canadians spent the past 12 months essentially adopting Syrian refugees in the world’s most personal resettlement program. Letting them go might be the biggest test yet.

Our podcast, The Daily, spoke with the reporters on the story and the sponsors.

What you need to know to start your day in Australia, delivered to your inbox.

• China Southern, the country’s largest passenger airline, is in talks with American Airlines on possibly connecting more second-tier cities in China and the U.S. The company’s Hong Kong-listed shares leapt by 5.3 percent in early trading.

• Tagrisso, a potential blockbuster lung cancer drug that logged $423 million in sales last year, won regulatory approval in China.

• South Korea releases final data on its gross domestic product for the fourth quarter of 2017.

• Eight Japanese students died in an avalanche when their mountaineering club ventured into an area blanketed by an unusually heavy spring snowstorm. [The New York Times]

• A South Korean court is expected to decide within days whether to issue an arrest warrant for former President Park Geun-hye on criminal charges including bribery and abuse of power. [The New York Times]

• The U.N. opened its first talks on a global ban on nuclear weapons, which were boycotted by the U.S. and dozens of other countries. [The New York Times]

• In Japan, work to decontaminate some areas evacuated after the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster is expected to conclude this month, allowing residents to finally return home. [The Asahi Shimbun]

• China complained to Japan after a Japanese minister made a weekend visit to Taiwan. [Reuters]

• Birmingham, Britain’s second-largest city after London, has become known as a recruiting ground for Islamist militants, including the man who attacked Parliament last week. [The New York Times]

• A married couple in Singapore were jailed and fined for starving their Filipina domestic worker, whose weight dropped to 29 kilograms, or 64 pounds, on a diet of bread and instant noodles. [BBC]

• Heist: The world’s largest gold coin was stolen from a museum in Berlin, and investigators suspect it took more than one burglar to haul off the 221-pound Canadian Big Maple Leaf, worth more than $4 million. [The New York Times]

• Recipe of the day: With little effort and just a handful of ingredients, this chile shrimp could be your next go-to weeknight meal.

• In the depths of the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument, a research cruise produced video of alien-looking sea life, like the astonishing deep water siphonophore.

• Two of our reporters spent 18 hours watching Fox News, America’s most-watched cable news network, to see how its coverage varied from that of its rivals.

• Finally, in this Times Insider report from China, a video shot under conditions of secrecy honored International Women’s Day with a sense of both fun and history.

The Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra performed for the first time 175 years ago today.

It was the first professional concert orchestra in Vienna, then the central European capital of the Hapsburg empire and a city with an illustrious musical history.

The orchestra was revolutionary in another way. It was self-governing, instead of having a music director who dictated its program.

In a draft founding charter, the composer Otto Nicolai wrote that the orchestra should allow its musicians to concentrate on what “gives us the certainty that we are something special.”

In 1992, the conductor Claudio Abbado told The Times how well that approach still worked: “I don’t conduct them; I make music together with them.” (Listen to them play a short piece together here.)

The Vienna Philharmonic is only months older than its New York counterpart, which first played on lower Broadway in December 1842.

The New York ensemble made its Vienna debut in 1930 to an initially skeptical audience. The audience was said to associate the Americans with “the crack of exploding synthetic gin bottles” rather than classical music, The Times reported.

But the writer’s verdict was kind. “To hear it was a privilege for which one should be truly thankful.”

Your Morning Briefing is published weekday mornings and updated online.

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