Donald Trump, Indonesia, Nobel Prizes: Your Wednesday Briefing

Donald Trump, Indonesia, Nobel Prizes: Your Wednesday Briefing


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Good morning. The origins of President Trump’s wealth, squalid conditions at a Greek refugee camp, an uncertain future at Marks & Spencer. Here’s the latest:

President Trump’s inherited fortune.

“I built what I built myself,” Mr. Trump has often said.

But a special Times investigation, based on a vast trove of confidential tax returns and financial records, has found that his fortune is deeply connected to the riches of his father, the New York City builder Fred Trump. Above, Mr. Trump in the Oval Office this fall, with portraits of his parents behind him.

Much of the money he received — at least $413 million in today’s dollars — came from helping them dodge taxes by setting up sham corporations, filing improper deductions and even undervaluing real estate holdings by hundreds of millions of dollars, records and interviews show. Some schemes were outright fraud. Here are 11 takeaways.

A lawyer for Mr. Trump called the findings “100 percent false, and highly defamatory.” Read his full statement.

• “A mass burial every day.”

Help and heavy equipment were on the way in Indonesia, where a powerful earthquake and devastating tsunami rocked the island of Sulawesi on Friday. But a spokesman for the country’s disaster management agency said time was running out to find anyone alive.

Officials raised the death toll to at least 1,234. Many others, still uncounted, were caught in the rubble of ruined buildings or swept away by the tsunami.

“I’m broken,” a woman cried as she buried her teenage son, who had been struck by falling debris near his school.

Europe has its own stories of humanity at extremes.

At Moria, a severely overcrowded refugee camp on the Greek island of Lesbos, trauma, psychosis and suicide attempts have become common.

Aid groups warn of a mental health crisis among the 9,000 refugees squeezed into a space designed for 3,100.

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• Visit, but behave.

The number of visitors to Amsterdam has shot up more than 60 percent in a decade. Many people are drawn by cheap flights, cheap lodging, abundant marijuana and plenty of prostitution.

But the tourists are often doing more harm than good, residents say. They need to mind their manners or stay home.

• The Nobel Prize in Physics went to three scientists for their work on laser technology: Arthur Ashkin of the U.S., Gérard Mourou of France and Donna Strickland of Canada, the third woman to receive the physics prize. As our Back Story below notes, the prize in chemistry comes today. [The New York Times]

• Cambridge University said it would accept students from disadvantaged backgrounds who might not meet its high entry standards but show potential. [BBC]

• The Trump administration has stopped giving family visas to same-sex domestic partners of foreign diplomats or employees of international organizations who work in the U.S. [The New York Times]

• The F.B.I.’s investigation into allegations of sexual assault against Judge Brett Kavanaugh, the Supreme Court nominee, could end as early as today. Republican leaders said they expected to vote on his confirmation this week. [The New York Times]

U.S. officials said they had intercepted multiple packages containing what they suspected was ricin, a lethal substance, that were addressed to President Trump and at least two top Pentagon officials. [The New York Times]

Bootleg alcohol has killed at least 42 people in Iran, blinded more than a dozen others and sent hundreds to the hospital in recent weeks, the Health Ministry said. [The New York Times]

Tips for a more fulfilling life.

• The ancient Indian game of kabaddi is turning into a national spectator sport almost as popular as cricket, drawing hundreds of millions of viewers and expanding to other Asian countries. Here’s what it’s all about.

• David Hockney, arguably Britain’s most celebrated living artist, turned down a knighthood and would not paint a portrait of the queen. But he couldn’t say no to making a stained-glass window for Westminster Abbey.

• Our new newsletterAbroad in America — can help our international readers untangle what’s happening in the U.S. ahead of the midterm elections.

It was her second Nobel: In 1903, she shared the physics prize with her husband and another French scientist for their work on radioactivity.

Marie Curie came from humble beginnings. Born Maria Sklodowska in Poland in 1867, she was the youngest of five children.

She once summed up her biography in just 21 words: “I was born in Poland. I married Pierre Curie, and I have two daughters. I have done my work in France.”

Marie Curie died in 1934 as a result of exposure to radioactivity, some of it incurred while preparing radium for medical use.

She has been the topic of many books and movies. A recent BBC poll deemed her the most influential woman in history.

“Few persons contributed more to the general welfare of mankind and to the advancement of science than the modest, self-effacing woman whom the world knew as Mme. Curie,” The New York Times wrote after her death. Honors were heaped upon her, our obituary stated, but “she was indifferent to most.”

Claire Moses wrote today’s Back Story.

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Your Morning Briefing is published weekday mornings and updated online.



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