Olympics drama, with a side of awkwardness.

Here’s your Morning Briefing:

• Global markets: Our business reporters are watching to see if Australia and Asia take their cue from Wednesday’s stabilizing trend in the U.S.

If you’re a young investor, and this is your first market hiccup, we have some advice. And everyone can submit questions on the turmoil here. (We already tried to answer some.)

President Trump, in his first comments about the stock market plunge, blamed the abrupt declines on the “good (great) news” in the economy, and called the volatility “a big mistake.”


• North Korea is preparing for a military parade today in Pyongyang as Vice President Mike Pence arrives in South Korea for Friday’s Olympic opening ceremonies with both carrot and stick.

The carrot: the possibility of a meeting with North Korean officials, one made even more intriguing by the simultaneous visit by Kim Yo-jong, above, the trusted sister of the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un.

The stick: warnings that the U.S. would unveil its “toughest and most aggressive” sanctions on North Korea.

Meanwhile, an outbreak of the debilitating, highly contagious norovirus — sometimes called “cruise ship virus — has sickened security guards near Olympic sites.


• #Awkward.

The Olympics are usually a chance for companies to splash their logos before millions of viewers.

The Pyeongchang Games are different. The cozy ties between South Korea’s government and the scandal-scarred conglomerate Samsung have made awkward optics for South Korean tycoons.

No such problem for Japan’s women’s Olympic hockey team. But the team is laser focused on winning a medal in Pyeongchang — and they wish you’d stop calling them “adorbs.”

And meet the SmartBroom, an engineering marvel invented (over beers in Canada) for the Olympic sport of curling. Its clients include “sweepers” from China, Denmark and Switzerland.


• “We will not rest until all are found.”

That was President Tsai Ing-wen of Taiwan writing on Twitter as rescue personnel searched for dozens of missing people after a magnitude-6.4 earthquake struck near the eastern coastal city of Hualien.

The quake’s force caused walls to collapse and left buildings resting at alarming angles. At least six people were killed, and more than 250 injured.


• President Xi Jinping’s anticorruption campaign may be closing in on a former top leader.

An executive who set up companies for relatives of Wen Jiabao, China’s prime minister from 2003 to 2013, was detained last year, her friends and business associates say. (The executive, Duan Weihong, also known as Whitney Duan, was a central figure in a 2012 Times investigation that showed Mr. Wen’s relatives controlled assets worth at least $2.7 billion.)

As is often the case in Beijing, there has been no official acknowledgment of her detention and it is not clear who detained her, why and whether she is still being held.

• Shares in Wynn Resorts resumed trading after Steve Wynn, the billionaire casino mogul, resigned as chief executive amid sexual harassment accusations. He also resigned his chairmanship of the company’s Macau branch. His future with Wynn Resorts is unclear, as is how Macau authorities will view the matter.

• Tesla stock was surging ahead of its reports earnings today — possibly buoyed by the excitement over Elon Musk’s other company, SpaceX, after it launched a powerful rocket into space, and sent a Tesla sports car into orbit for what is expected to be eons.

• The Los Angeles Times is being sold to Patrick Soon-Shiong, a billionaire doctor who grew up in apartheid South Africa, for $500 million. The deal also includes The San Diego Union-Tribune.

• The dark side of tech: A limousine driver killed himself in front of New York’s City Hall to protest the financial devastation wrought by Uber and its competitors.

And early Facebook and Google employees, alarmed over the damaging effects of social networks and smartphones, are banding together to challenge the companies they helped build.

• U.S. stocks were up two hours before the close. Here’s a snapshot of global markets.

• Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s estranged wife, Jashodaben Chimanlal, was thrust into the national spotlight after a car she was traveling in collided with a truck, killing one of her relatives. [The New York Times]

• Inmates with disabilities suffer extensive physical and sexual abuse in Australia’s prisons, Human Rights Watch said. [The Guardian]

• Barnaby Joyce, the deputy prime minister of Australia, is confronting a personal issue in the public eye. That has inspired a debate over how — or whether — the media should cover politicians’ private lives. [ABC]

• In Germany, Chancellor Angela Merkel agreed on a coalition deal bringing her closer to forming a government after five months of political limbo. The pact came at a price: Her party gave up the powerful Finance Ministry. [The New York Times]

• From our Op-Ed desk: A student at the Australian National University writes that “Fear is among Beijing’s most potent weapons in silencing Chinese-Australians.” [The New York Times]

• H&M, the Swedish fashion retailer, apologized to the Australian musician Harvey Sutherland for using one of his songs without permission in an advertisement on Instagram. [BBC]

• “Peoplekind”: Thank (or condemn) Canada’s prime minister, Justin Trudeau, for pushing that word into headlines. [The New York Times]

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

• Experts say it’s essential to give kids time and space to play.

• The desire to jump headfirst into new romances is only natural, therapists say. Here are some tips to keep from rushing into things.

• Increase the flavor of a salmon recipe with anchovy-garlic butter.

• Disney said the executive producers of “Game of Thrones” will write and produce a series of new “Star Wars” movies. (They will be separate from the Luke Skywalker films and Rian Johnson’s “Star Wars” trilogy.)

• Online porn is everywhere, and young people sometimes learn much of what they know about sex from it. Our Magazine looks at a new approach being tried in some U.S. schools: teaching young people to view porn more critically.

• And Guantánamo Bay isn’t known for its creature comforts, to put it mildly. Yet outside the notorious detention facility, our correspondent writes, the area has “something resembling suburban American life,” including a McDonald’s, a bowling alley and an outdoor movie theater.

Pyeongchang and Pyongyang: The South Korean host of the Winter Olympics and the North Korean capital have confusingly similar names.

There does not seem to be any significance in the shared syllable, which is derived from the same Chinese root character meaning “to pacify” or “to be level or flat.” Pyongyang means “peaceful land” or “flat land,” and Pyeongchang means “peaceful flourishing” or “peaceful prosperity.”

In the South, conservatives have criticized the government of President Moon Jae-in for welcoming the North’s participation and derided the Games as the “Pyongyang Olympics.”

Liberals and the Moon administration countered that the event should be called the Pyeonghwa, or peace, Olympics.

The host town originally spelled its name “Pyongchang” in English, but added a letter in 2000 and capitalized the C to become PyeongChang to distinguish itself from the North’s capital, our correspondent noted. Most news organizations, including The Times, decline to capitalize the C.

But confusion persisted despite the rebranding. In 2014, a Kenyan man trying to attend a United Nations conference in Pyeongchang mistakenly flew to Pyongyang.

Inyoung Kang contributed reporting.


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