Your Evening Briefing

Here are today's top stories

Good afternoon. Trump's international tour continued today as he met with world leaders at a NATO summit in Brussels. The U.K.'s Theresa May complained to him about intelligence leaks, which he promised to investigate. A six-second handshake with Emmanuel Macron "showed the world...that there's a new leader on the world stage."  And the U.S. president shamed his NATO counterparts on defense spending. –Emily Banks

Venezuela secretly plotted to sell banned Syrian oil to the U.S. The previously undisclosed plan aimed to sell Syrian oil at a big discount to Venezuela through a Russian shell company, which would send it to Aruba for refining and distribution to gas stations in the U.S. and elsewhere, according to dozens of emails, documents and interviews.

Trump hectored NATO leaders to pay their “fair share” on defense to help counter the terrorist threat, a public shaming that risked souring a ceremony intended to mark the alliance’s unity. Of the 28 member nations, 23 “are still not paying what they should be paying and what they’re supposed to be paying for their defense,” he said.

The Senate can't pass health care without Bill Cassidy. The first-term Republican senator from Louisiana, who is also a medical doctor, thinks the House’s Obamacare repeal bill failed to consider the impact it will have on one crucial constituency: patients. He wants to give states the option of keeping most of Obamacare if they like it. Meanwhile, the Senate is weighing a rewrite that would push an Obamacare repeal to 2020.

OPEC and its allies extended oil production cuts for nine more months after last year’s landmark agreement failed to eliminate the global oversupply or achieve a sustained price recovery. The producer group together with Russia and other non-members agreed to prolong their accord through March.

China's state media lashed out at the debt downgrade with a Buffett quote. When issuing their rebuttal of Moody’s Investors Service’s downgrade of China’s credit rating, state media didn’t just reel out any old hack, but the “God of Stocks.” That’s how the Xinhua News Agency refers to legendary investor Warren Buffett, who according to its editorial slamming the cut suggested at a shareholder meeting last year that ratings agencies were wrong.

Mark Zuckerberg is returning to Harvard on Thursday to deliver a commencement address and finally get a degree–if only an honorary one. His much-anticipated visit demonstrates a harsh reality for the region, which is trying to learn its own lesson from the Zuckerberg saga: how to get tech-minded students to stay put in the first place.

The best restaurant in Asia is shutting down. But you still have a bit of time left to make a reservation. Gaggan, the inventive Indian restaurant in Bangkok that's won the closely watched Asia's 50 Best awards three-straight times, is set to close in 2020. Chef Gaggan Anand says "every restaurant has a 10-year life. After that it becomes a brand."

Anand checks his phone while working in the restaurant’s research and development kitchen.
Photographer: Brent Lewin

 

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