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Good morning. An assault on the final ISIS stronghold, a taunt for the Philippine military and a controversial Australian cartoon. Here’s what you need to know:
• Closing in on ISIS.
The group has lost all but 1 percent of the territory it held in Iraq and Syria. Now, American-backed forces, above, are moving to reclaim the last sliver of ISIS-held territory.
It has taken more than four years, over 29,000 airstrikes and thousands of soldiers’ lives for the coalition to get to this point.
But the group remains a potent threat: It still has thousands of fighters worldwide and a vast online reach.
• Standoff in the Philippines.
President Rodrigo Duterte taunted the country’s military members and dared them to overthrow him, for their refusal to take his side in a dispute with a former naval officer, Senator Antonio Trillanes.
It was a bold statement for the leader of a country that has seen many coups and attempted coups.
Mr. Duterte, who has already jailed one Senate critic, had ordered Mr. Trillanes, above, arrested last week.
The country’s Supreme Court denied the senator’s petition to quash the arrest command, but the armed forces and the police say they will act only on a warrant from a court.
• License to kill … a tiger.
India’s Supreme Court gave forestry officials the go-ahead to shoot a female tiger in central India, if she cannot be captured. She is believed to have killed more than 13 people.
The legal process, necessary since tigers are endangered, played out like a murder trial.
At the half-hour hearing, wildlife advocates argued the tigress killed only in self-defense when people encroached on her space. The government countered that she appeared to have acquired a taste for human flesh — and that there were no other suspects.
The hunt could begin this week.
• The cartoon that wasn’t funny.
The Herald Sun’s Mark Knight, a household name in Australia, added to his reputation for provocation with a caricature of Serena Williams stomping her racket at the heated U.S. Open women’s final.
He told our Australia bureau chief the cartoon was about her behavior, but other cartoonists and many high-profile observers, including J.K. Rowling, have denounced the drawing as both sexist and racist. Some say the cartoon is symptomatic of Australia’s overall attitude toward race and gender.
And our critic at large, Wesley Morris, explores the difficulty of criticizing “Williams’s behavior without that criticism seeming racist or sexist, given the racism and sexism that Williams and her sister Venus continue to endure.”
• It’s been 10 years since the collapse of Lehman Brothers, which set off a financial crisis felt around the world. In the U.S., “It is hardly a stretch to suggest that President Trump’s election was a direct result of the financial crisis,” our columnist writes.
• The Bank of England governor, Mark Carney, will stay on in this role until January 2020, keeping him in control of the country’s financial industry for almost a year after Brexit.
• A top Goldman Sachs banker called a whistle-blower hotline with ethics concerns. He later decided to leave the firm after his bosses — including the incoming chief executive, David Solomon — urged him to let the complaints go.
• Apple is expected to unveil new iPhones today. Here’s what to expect.
In the News
• Kulsoom Sharif, wife of the imprisoned former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif of Pakistan, above, died of cancer. [The New York Times]
• Hurricane Florence gained momentum as it hurtled toward the shores of North and South Carolina, prompting orders for around a million people to evacuate. [The New York Times]
• Dozens of migrants — maybe even more than 100 — drowned in the Mediterranean as they attempted to reach Europe. Italy didn’t deploy a ship, deferring to Libya, which might have delayed the rescue operation by hours. [The New York Times]
• Alibaba, China’s largest e-commerce company, is looking to expand in Russia through a joint venture with a state fund and two technology companies. [Reuters]
• Australia is believed to have secretly deported up to 25 asylum seekers, including some from Sri Lanka who could face political persecution back home. [Crikey, paywall free for Times readers]
• Russia’s biggest military exercises since the Cold War are underway, involving 300,000 troops and 1,000 aircraft. [BBC]
Tips for a more fulfilling life.
• Prague can seem as though it has a Disneyland veneer. But our 52 Places Traveler scratched past the surface to get a glimpse of the Czech capital’s true spirit and proud creativity, embodied by its art and youth.
• A red 250-pound ball bounced around the streets of Toledo, Ohio, in 2015 and into internet fame. Then, this weekend, a Berlin-based art director resurfaced a video of the ball on Twitter and it’s gone viral again. We look at the art installation’s long history of rolling around the world and social media feeds.
• Parrots are smarter than we think: They can use tokens to barter for food and be playful about it along the way, a recent study found.
Japan’s space agency, JAXA, is planning to launch a cargo rocket on Friday to carry supplies, spare parts and experiments (including one related to developing a space elevator, rendering above) to the International Space Station.
Scores of such missions have kept the space station stocked since Nov. 2, 2000, when astronauts first arrived. Never unstaffed, it’s been up there so long that most people forget about it.
But your own eyes can remind you. The I.S.S. is easily spotted in the night sky (light pollution permitting). NASA’s interactive map tells you when and where to look.
Back to logistics. As long as people are living in space, they have to drink and eat — about 1.8 pounds of food a day. And while the station recycles water, it’s not a perfect system, so replacement water has to be shipped up too.
Astronauts produce garbage as well. So the cargo ship, at the end of its stay at the space station, will be packed with all manner of refuse for a trip to the incinerator. The ship, along with its contents, will immolate on re-entry to Earth’s atmosphere.
Kenneth Chang wrote today’s Back Story.
Featured Crikey articles are paywall free for Times readers.
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