Trump-Kim Meeting, Brexit, Pulwama: Your Wednesday Briefing

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Good morning.

The U.S. and North Korea try to reach a deal for a second time, India escalates hostilities with Pakistan and the universe confounds astrophysicists. Here’s the latest:

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President Trump arriving in Hanoi, Vietnam.CreditDoug Mills/The New York Times

What to expect from the Trump-Kim summit

President Trump landed in Hanoi, Vietnam, to meet with North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-un, for the second time in eight months. The two leaders, who in 2017 exchanged fiery threats, will have dinner together tonight and a series of formal meetings the next day.

Both sides have plenty at stake. Their last meeting ended with a vaguely worded agreement that spurred little concrete action.

What North Korea wants: Pyongyang has a long list of demands, including an elimination of sanctions, a formal end to the Korean War with a peace treaty and, possibly, the withdrawal of American troops from South Korea. The troops have functioned as a deterrent against the North since 1953 when the two sides signed an armistice that simply halted the war.

What the U.S. wants: Mr. Trump seems to be tempering expectations, moving away from discussing the “complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula” but still seeking a timeline.

On the eve of his meeting with Mr. Kim, the president said he didn’t want to “rush anybody.” “As long as there is no testing, we’re happy,” he said.

Go deeper: Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has his work cut out for him as the translator of Mr. Trump’s seemingly capricious foreign policy decisions. Here’s an in-depth profile of the former C.I.A. director, one of the last remaining members of the president’s original White House team.


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India’s security forces monitoring the border with Pakistan.CreditMukesh Gupta/Reuters

India strikes Pakistan, but both leave room for de-escalation

For the first time in five decades, Indian warplanes crossed into Pakistan.

India said it had struck “the biggest training camp” of Jaish-e-Mohammed, a terrorist group that claimed responsibility for this month’s suicide bombing in the Kashmir Valley.

But Pakistan’s chief military spokesman said the jets just dipped in and out of its airspace and dropped a payload in a forested area, doing little damage. That view is supported by military analysts and two Western security officials.

Analysis: With India claiming it had avenged the terrorist attack and Pakistan claiming no real damage had been done, both nuclear-armed countries left room for defusing the situation.

But analysts warned that Pakistan could still retaliate. Today, the country’s prime minister, Imran Khan, will meet with the National Command Authority — the body that oversees the deployment and management of Pakistan’s nuclear arms.


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Prime Minister Theresa May leaving 10 Downing Street on Tuesday.CreditTolga Akmen/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Theresa May softens promise to meet Brexit deadline

The British prime minister said Tuesday that Parliament should have a chance to delay Brexit if it rejects her plan, bowing to pressure to reduce the risk of a chaotic “no deal” departure from the E.U.

Her hand was forced when rebels in her Conservative government threatened to vote for a forced extension of talks with the bloc.

Next steps: Mrs. May plans to bring her revised deal to Parliament by March 12. If lawmakers reject the deal, she said they could vote in the next two days on whether to delay an exit for a short time or opt for a “no deal” departure. A postponement would require the consent of all 27 other E.U. governments.

Go deeper: Ever wonder what happens in those Brexit talks at the European Union headquarters in Brussels? According to a confidential document obtained by The Times, not very much.


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Cardinal George Pell leaving a court in Melbourne on Tuesday.CreditDavid Crosling/EPA, via Shutterstock

Cardinal Pell’s sentencing to begin

Sentencing proceedings for Cardinal George Pell, the highest ranking Roman Catholic cleric to be convicted of sexual abuse, are expected to begin today. The process could take days.

The cardinal, who was an adviser to Pope Francis, is facing anywhere from a handful of years to a maximum 50-year prison term after being convicted in December of sexually abusing two 13-year-old choirboys. He has been expelled from a group of papal advisers.

Timing: The verdict was unsealed on Tuesday, only after prosecutors decided they would not proceed with a second trial for an additional round of assault allegations and a gag order was lifted. The order had prevented news outlets operating within Australia, including The Times, from reporting the verdict to readers in the country. This is the article The Times published in print only, to comply.

Behind the secrecy: Our Australia bureau chief explains how the country shrouds law enforcement and the courts in unusual secrecy, particularly in cases of sexual and family violence. Officials say it protects victims and defendants, but critics say it disadvantages victims.


Here’s what else is happening

Michael Cohen: President Trump’s former personal lawyer and fixer is spending several days this week testifying on Capitol Hill. A person familiar with his plans said that on Wednesday, in a public session before a House committee, he will most likely describe what he says is the president’s possible criminal conduct and go into “granular detail” about the plan to pay hush money to Stormy Daniels, a pornographic film actress.

Elon Musk: The Securities and Exchange Commission has asked a federal court to hold the Tesla chief executive in contempt of court for posting an updated production outlook on Twitter without first seeking legal approval, in violation of his settlement with the commission last year.

Huawei: The United Arab Emirates said it still planned to use equipment from the Chinese tech giant to build its high-speed wireless network, the latest setback for the American-led campaign to curtail the company’s reach.

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Sumayya Usmani, a food writer from Glasgow, at home making yogurt with her daughter.CreditSophie Gerrard for The New York Times

Yogurt: In South Asian households, cultures of the tart dairy product are akin to heirlooms, preserved for years and passed down to help churn out new batches. “I can’t recall a single day, growing up, when the fridge was without yogurt, or as it’s known in Hindi, dahi,” writes Priya Krishna, a frequent contributor to our culinary coverage.

Britain: Under new rules, all adults will be considered potential organ donors by 2020 unless they opt out, flipping the current system.

Sex education: English schools, particularly those that receive government funds, will significantly broaden sex education to cover topics including gay relationships, transgender people and more. Not everyone is happy.

The universe: It seems to be expanding far more rapidly than it should be. And astrophysicists have struggled to account for the discrepancy. We’ll leave the details to our science writer Dennis Overbye, who has a way with words (and a physics degree from M.I.T.).


Smarter Living

Tips for a more fulfilling life.

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CreditDavid Malosh for The New York Times

Recipe of the day: Make chicken piccata, and rejoice over its butter-rich pan sauce.

Choosing a perfume or cologne is tough, but we have experts to help you find a fragrance that you’ll love.

Why we yawn remains a mystery, but one theory is that it cools off our brains.

Back Story

This week, the U.S. vice president, Mike Pence, accused Uruguay of being a “bystander” in Venezuela’s crisis, calling on its center-left government to do more to end President Nicolas Maduro’s devastating reign.

A reader emailed, asking how a tiny South American nation acquired such diplomatic significance.

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Demonstrators in Uruguay carrying signs in support of Venezuela’s president, Nicolás Maduro.CreditMatilde Campodonico/Associated Press

To start, Uruguay is arguably the only South American nation with clean democratic credentials that maintains decent relations with Mr. Maduro. Credibility with both Maduro supporters and opponents make it a natural intermediary in any negotiated transition.

Uruguay’s soft approach stems from a live-and-let-live attitude, developed over two centuries of coexistence with much bigger neighbors. The country has long led the region in progressive politics, legalizing marijuana and gay marriage.

While hard-liners in Miami threaten military intervention to oust Mr. Maduro, on the laid-back streets of Montevideo, residents resolve most of their problems over a slow barbecue and the ever-present thermos of caffeine-rich mate (pronounced MAH-tay).

Anatoly Kurmanaev, our Caracas-based reporter, wrote today’s Back Story.


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