Kim Jong-nam, Mosul, Immigration: Your Morning Briefing

Good morning.

Here’s what you need to know:

CreditCharles Reed/U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, via Associated Press

A more aggressive culture is taking hold at U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, as thousands of newly empowered agents begin to work toward the Trump administration’s plan to deport vast numbers of undocumented immigrants.

A shooting in Kansas, which left one Indian engineer dead and another injured, drew condemnation from India and raised new concerns about a climate of hostility toward foreigners.

CreditKcna, via /European Pressphoto Agency

The U.S. State Department’s plans to hold informal talks with North Korea appear to have been derailed by a series of developments, including the recent killing of Kim Jong-nam, the estranged half brother of North Korea’s leader.

The Malaysian government announced that the banned VX nerve agent was used in the killing and said the dose was so high that he died within 20 minutes.

North Korea’s secrecy is sometimes undermined by the government itself. The photo above, of the country’s leader unveiling what he claimed was a new nuclear device in 2016, above, reveals more than he intended.

A fire smolders on land cleared for soy farming in Propiedad Valle Verde, near Santa Cruz, Bolivia.CreditJim Wickens/Ecostorm

The Save the Rainforest” movement significantly slowed deforestation across the Amazon basin a decade ago.

But now agricultural companies are roaring back in, cutting back forests in response to the world’s growing appetite for soy and other crops.

CreditRex Features, via Associated Press

Global millionaires are on the move — most often to Australia.

A new report sets the runners-up as the U.S., Canada, the United Arab Emirates and New Zealand.

The countries that millionaires are fleeing: France, China, Brazil, India and Turkey.

CreditMonica Almeida for The New York Times

And it’s Hollywood’s big night. Here’s what to watch for.

After two straight years of #OscarsSoWhite, there are six black nominees and one of Asian heritage this year in the four acting categories. Our Race/Related newsletter takes a closer look, and includes a new short documentary that was a prize winner at the Sundance Film Festival.

CreditManu Fernandez/Associated Press

• The Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, this week will unveil smartphones, tablets and technology that showcase the increasing overlap of telecommunications, news media and technology. Huawei’s P10 is scoring positive reviews.

Reed Hastings, the chief executive of Netflix, gives tomorrow’s keynote address at the Mobile World Congress as the American content-streaming giant expands rapidly in Europe, Latin America and Asia.

Warren Buffett, the billionaire investor, lauded the “miraculous” qualities of the U.S. economy in his annual letter to shareholders in his company, Berkshire Hathaway. He went out of his way to credit to a “tide of talented and ambitious immigrants.”

• Even executives at Sony have been surprised by the success of the PlayStation VR, virtual reality headsets that have been selling out for months.

• U.S. marketing companies are paying TV watchers to install a device that monitors their viewing habits — and even whether their eyes shift from the screen, or smile or frown during commercials.

• Pacific Island governments and others are working to modernize the cultivation of kava, a drink that creates a mellow buzz, which once brought $200 million a year to the region.

• Wall Street was up. Here’s a snapshot of global markets.

MARKET SNAPSHOT 5:46 PMView Full Overview

  • S.& P. 500–0.02%
  • DOW–0.03%
  • NASDAQ–0.02%

In the News

CreditAhmad Al-Rubaye/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Iraqi forces fighting the Islamic State pushed deeper into western Mosul, aiming to capture a bridge across the Tigris from government-held territory on the eastern bank. [Reuters]

• U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis must balance pragmatism with Mr. Trump’s extreme impulses as he submits his plan for defeating the Islamic State to the president this week. [The New York Times]

• Tunisia, which has seen more jihadists leave to join the Islamic State than any other country, fears their return as the militant group suffers defeats in Iraq and Syria. [The New York Times]

• China first overseas military base is taking shape in the Horn of African, just a few miles from one of the Pentagon’s largest foreign installations. [The New York Times]

Fishing boats returned to a port in Fukushima, Japan, for the first time since the 2011 tsunami and nuclear disaster. [The Asahi Shimbun]

• The police in Taiwan raided a dried tofu factory and rescued four migrant workers — two Indonesians, a Vietnamese and a Filipino — who had been held against their will for up to 14 years. [Taiwan News]

Manny Pacquiao of the Philippines will defend his world welterweight title in a “super fight” against Amir Khan of Britain, on April 23. [ESPN]

• China’s latest internet phenomenon is a 94-year-old “kung fu grandma” in rural Zhejiang Province. [BBC]

Smarter Living

Photo

CreditMary Altaffer/Associated Press

• New Year’s resolutions: For all of February, Smarter Living has been here to help you stick to your goals, and today is our final edition. We kicked off with establishing accountability, then talked about forming habits to stay motivated, finding support systems and forgiving yourself when you falter.

We’ve read every one of your emails, and we’ve been delighted to see your motivation build.

We want to continue tracking your progress throughout the year, so please email us with how you’re doing, plus tips and tricks for staying motivated, overcoming slip-ups and anything else.

Best of luck!

• Recipe of the day: A recipe for classic mashed potatoes always delivers. Just don’t forget the gravy.

Noteworthy

Photo

CreditOmar Havana for The New York Times

• A Cambodian grandmother living in bucolic peace was freed of charges of overseeing the slaughter of tens of thousands as a Khmer Rouge official when a U.N.-backed tribunal dismissed her case.

• Forget fishing, golf or quilting. Older New Zealanders are finding purpose in coffin-building clubs. One group’s motto: “fine and affordable underground furniture.”

• And good news for current and former smokers: Each additional daily serving of fruits and vegetables is associated with a 4 to 8 percent lower risk of developing chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Back Story

CreditPool photo by Associated Press

The beginnings of a revolution in archaeology started on this day in 1940, when a pair of scientists, Martin D. Kamen and Samuel Ruben, confirmed the existence of carbon-14.

A few years later, another scientist, Willard Libby, figured out how to use the isotope to determine the age of fossils and other natural artifacts.

At death, the carbon-14 in living creatures begins to decay. The rate is predictable, so the amount that remains, calculated with a number of other factors, can set relatively precise ages up to about 50,000 years.

Libby won a Nobel Prize in Chemistry for radiocarbon dating, but tragedy struck Ruben. In 1943, he died in a laboratory accident.

For Kamen, a dinner with two Soviet officials in 1944, when he was working on the Manhattan Project, set off rumors that he was a spy.

He lost his job at the University of California, Berkeley, but was eventually able to teach again. One of his last positions was as emeritus professor at U.C. San Diego, where he had helped found the chemistry department decades earlier.

In 1995, seven years before his death, he received the prestigious Enrico Fermi Award for lifetime achievement. “It’s vindication,” he said.

Sean Alfano contributed reporting.

_____

Your Morning Briefing is published weekday mornings and updated online.

What would you like to see here? Contact us at asiabriefing@nytimes.com.

Published by

gabugo

Author, Pastor, Development and Valuation Surveyor, CEO LandAssets Consult Ltd., Publisher, The Property Gazette.

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