Asia and Australia Edition: Turkey, North Korea, U.S. Congress: Your Tuesday Briefing

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For South Korea’s scrappy women’s ice hockey team, solidarity has come with frustration: Some of the players are being forced to give up spots to North Koreans.

And in Tokyo, the authorities conducted the city’s first evacuation drill for a hypothetical North Korean missile.

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Philippe Lopez/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

• Another chapter in the case of Hong Kong’s vanishing booksellers.

Gui Minhai was one of five publishers who disappeared in 2015 and later resurfaced in China in police custody. Now Mr. Gui, who has Swedish citizenship, above right, has been snatched from a Beijing-bound train while traveling with two Swedish diplomats.

His daughter told our correspondent: “I just know that things have taken a very drastic turn for the worse.”

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Tomas Munita for The New York Times

For much of the 20th century, Qatar was a barren Persian Gulf backwater.

Then, in 1971, the country struck gas. Its citizens quickly became rich, and it now has the highest average income in the world ($125,000). Above, a skating rink in Doha, the capital.

But since June, the upstart has been the target of a boycott led by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Now, our correspondent explains, Qatar is in the fight of its life.

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Atul Loke for The New York Times

A mud mask for the Taj Mahal?

For more than 350 years, monsoon rains in Agra were enough to keep the dirt off India’s 17th-century monument to eternal love. But worsening pollution has turned parts of the marble facade yellow and black.

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To remove the discoloration, workers suspended on scaffolding are caking Fuller’s earth — a mud paste used in facials that absorbs dirt, grease and animal excrement — on the entire structure.

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Andy Brownbill/Associated Press

A shocker at the Australian Open.

Hyeon Chung, a 21-year-old South Korean, defeated his boyhood idol, Novak Djokovic, the six-time champion. Mr. Chung, above left, will now play another surprise quarterfinalist, Tennys Sandgren, an unseeded American.

On the women’s side, top-seeded Simona Halep dispatched Naomi Osaka and will face sixth-seeded Karolina Pliskova. Check here for full event coverage.

Finally, what’s up with fans wanting athletes to battle extreme heat? A Times contributor asks “Would you appreciate a Daniel Day-Lewis performance more because it was done in a storage freezer?”

Business

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Giulia Marchi for The New York Times

• Finding a single Bitcoin token can take as much electricity as an average U.S. home consumes in two years. For some virtual currency enthusiasts, that’s a problem.

The Chinese government is considering adopting something that could dramatically reshape the world’s second-largest economy: a property tax.

• Facebook says it wants to focus on “meaningful social interactions” instead of branded content. Could that be an opening for the social network’s nascent video section? And our columnist asks, is a healthier Facebook just … Instagram?

• Champagne may flow more freely at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, this year amid waning fears about populism. This year’s most anticipated attendee is President Trump.

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• U.S. stocks were up. Here’s a snapshot of global markets.

In the News

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Dan Amaranto/Associated Press

• The Mayon volcano in the Philippines is spewing ash more than 4,000 feet high in a spectacular show of power. Officials said a hazardous eruption could come at any time. [The New York Times]

Turkish troops began a ground assault against U.S.-allied Kurdish militias in northeast Syria. [The New York Times]

• The U.S. Embassy in Israel would move to Jerusalem before the end of 2019, Vice President Mike Pence told Israeli lawmakers. [The New York Times]

• The Philippine authorities arrested an Iraqi explosives expert who they said has ties to extremist militants in the Middle East. [The New York Times]

• In Vietnam, a court sentenced a high-profile energy official to life in prison on embezzlement charges as part of a corruption crackdown. [Reuters]

Two polio vaccinators — a mother-daughter team — were shot dead in Pakistan last week. But officials said the eradication campaign would continue. [The New York Times]

• And Tonga’s flag-bearer from the Rio Olympics will be competing as a cross-country skier at the Winter Games. He switched after a disappointing loss in taekwondo in 2016. [BBC]

Smarter Living

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

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Michael Kraus for The New York Times

• Recipe of the day: Tonight, make the best broccoli and Cheddar soup you’ve ever had.

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• The trick to finishing any task: Slice it up into easily achievable micro-goals, and celebrate small wins.

• How can you maintain friendships?

Noteworthy

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Nicole Kruspe

• Most people are bad at naming what they smell. But a group of hunter-gatherers on the Malay Peninsula appear to be an exception — and researchers worry that globalization may disrupt their vibrant odor lexicon.

Kangaroos get a lot of press. But did you know millions are slaughtered every year in Australia to provide meat for cats, dogs and humans? A new documentary looks at the practice.

And meet Mark Epstein, a psychotherapist who explains how Buddhism can enrich Western psychology. “No one really understands emptiness or ‘no-self’ the way they might,” he said.

Back Story

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Bettmann, via Getty Images

“Remember the Maine!” was the rallying cry of the Spanish-American War. Many North Americans surely remember the Alamo. But has the world forgotten the U.S.S. Pueblo?

On this day in 1968, the Pueblo, a lightly armed Navy intelligence ship, was attacked and seized by North Korean patrol boats. Its crew of 83 servicemen was taken to Pyongyang and charged as spies. Washington denounced the seizure, but could do little: It soon became a tense Cold War standoff.

A Times editorial called the attack “humiliating,” and a prisoner drama — marked by fraught negotiations, forced confessions and propaganda ploys — dragged on for 11 months. Here’s more about the Pueblo incident.

The Americans told of beatings, torture and deprivation, but they still found ways to get back at their captors. They slipped outrageous puns into self-written confessions, such as this one by the ship’s commander, and surreptitiously raised their middle fingers in films and photographs. (The sailors said it was the Hawaiian good luck salute.)

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In the end, Washington reluctantly apologized, and the Pueblo crew was home in time for Christmas. The Pueblo itself is still in Pyongyang, where it’s a tourist attraction at the Victorious War Museum.

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

We have briefings timed for the Australian, Asian, European and American mornings. And our Australia bureau chief offers a weekly letter adding analysis and conversations with readers. You can sign up for these and other Times newsletters here.

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Good luck today.

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