Your Friday Briefing: Dueling Summits

Before the G7, China holds its own summit

As leaders of the world’s wealthiest large democracies gathered in Japan for the G7 summit, which begins today, China kicked off its own conference with the leaders of five Central Asian countries. The split-screen diplomacy comes as tensions rise between the West and China.

Beijing’s inaugural China-Central Asia summit, which began yesterday, is part of its effort to counter what it sees as a U.S.-dominated world order that is trying to contain and suppress China. (At the G7, leaders will address what the U.S. describes as China’s growing assertiveness.)

China greeted the leaders of five former Soviet republics — Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan — on the tarmac with a huge crowd of dancers and jumping children. With the two-day summit, China is trying to fill some of the void left by Russia. The war in Ukraine has weakened some of Russia’s influence in Central Asia, and China sees an opening.

China’s interest in the region also stems from concerns about violence and ethnic tensions in the country’s region of Xinjiang, which shares a border with Central Asian countries. China sees economic prosperity in the region as a way to further stabilize Xinjiang, analysts say.

What to watch at the G7: Some leaders fear that, unless Ukraine makes major gains in its anticipated counteroffensive, the war could settle into a bloody, frozen conflict. Expect some discussion of F-16 fighter jets. And for the first time, the leaders are expected to talk about regulating artificial intelligence technology.

Meta gave away its A.I. crown jewels

The tech industry’s race to develop artificial intelligence has been upended by a decision to give away a powerful system for free. In February, Meta released LLaMA, an A.I. technology similar to the one powering ChatGPT, as open-source software that anyone can use to build their own chatbot.

“Meta now has zero control,” our colleague Cade Metz told us. “It is out in the wild.”

Meta, formerly known as Facebook, believes that sharing its underlying A.I. engines will spread the company’s influence and undercut its rivals. Meanwhile, companies like Google and OpenAI have grown only more secretive about their A.I. tools, fearing they will be used to spread disinformation, hate speech and other toxic content.

“Open source tends to win,” Cade said. “The difference now: The tech is potentially dangerous.”

Separately: OpenAI unveiled a new version of ChatGPT for the iPhone that responds to voice prompts.

Myanmar’s junta stymies aid

Days after Cyclone Mocha made landfall in Myanmar aid groups are still waiting for the military regime’s approval to deliver supplies. For survivors, threats are growing.

Aid groups fear that the death toll — estimated by some at more than 450 — will only rise as people face food shortages, disease, a lack of clean water and the loss of their homes. Survivors also face the threat of unexploded land mines that may have shifted during the flooding.

The civil war is also complicating aid efforts. The fighting is taking place in many of the areas hit by the cyclone. Rescue workers, activists and survivors say the junta is reluctant to give outsiders access because it wants to control who receives aid.

Background: In 2008, Cyclone Nargis hit Myanmar and killed more than 135,000 people. The death toll also climbed in the storm’s aftermath and the military government was criticized for its slow response.

Refugees: Most of the dead were Rohingya Muslims who were among those moved into relocation camps more than a decade ago, the minister of humanitarian affairs and disaster management for the rival National Unity Government said.


Asia Pacific

Singapore hanged a man for trafficking 3.4 pounds of marijuana (about 1.6 kilograms). It is the country’s second drug-related execution in three weeks.

Scientists said that climate change made last month’s heat wave in parts of southern Asia at least 30 times more likely, The Associated Press reports.

Around the World

Rafael Nadal will not compete in the French Open because of an injury.

As U.S.-led peace negotiations flounder, experts warn that Sudan risks spiraling into a state of anarchy.

President Bashar al-Assad is expected to attend a meeting of Arab leaders today for the first time since Syria’s civil war started.

The War in Ukraine

Russia attacked Kyiv for the ninth time this month. One person was killed by missile strikes in Odesa, a southern city.

An explosion derailed a freight train in the Russian-occupied region of Crimea, the latest in a series of blasts to hit its infrastructure.

A Chinese diplomat left Ukraine without any apparent breakthrough on efforts to end the war.

Japan said it would accept and treat wounded Ukrainian soldiers, The Japan Times reports.

The Week in Culture

Montana’s governor signed a bill banning TikTok from operating inside the state.

Researchers have constructed a “digital twin” of the Titanic that shows the wreckage in new, 3-D detail.

The restoration of a work by Pablo Picasso revealed a hidden dog.

Forests, a band from Singapore, ended its tour in New York in high spirits, even after being robbed in California.

A Morning Read

What doesn’t your therapist tell you? There are certain things they just can’t say to your face. “Therapy itself, it’s a bit of a dance — you want to see what the other person is bringing, and you dance with them,” a psychologist said. “If they’re doing a waltz, you can’t break out hip-hop.”

A dozen counselors shared with The Times what it’s really like to sit in the other armchair.


Did Warhol break copyright law?

The U.S. Supreme Court certainly thinks so.

In a 7 to 2 ruling, the justices said the artist was not entitled to appropriate someone else’s photo of Prince into a portrait series.

The photographer’s “original works, like those of other photographers, are entitled to copyright protection, even against famous artists,” Justice Sonia Sotomayor wrote for the majority. The photographer, Lynn Goldsmith, received almost no money or mainstream credit for the image.

In a dissent, Justice Elena Kagan wrote that the decision “will stifle creativity of every sort” and “make our world poorer.” The art world largely agrees: Many feared this outcome, arguing that artists borrow from each other all the time. (They also note that Andy Warhol, who died in 1987, altered the photograph in various ways.)

“There’s a lot that judges can do with the stroke of a pen, but rewriting art history isn’t one of them,” a Warhol biographer and critic wrote in The Times. “They’re stuck with appropriation as one of the great artistic innovations of the modern era. Their job is to make sure the law recognizes that.”


What to Cook

Put potato chips in an omelet. (Seriously.)

What to Read

“Berlin,” by Bea Setton, is a funny and unsettling debut about a young woman in a new city.

What to Watch

In “Sanctuary,” a dark psychosexual romantic comedy, a wealthy heir and his longtime employee vie for control over their relationship.


Tennis elbow is a real pain. Here’s how to treat it.


Join our five-week walking series, which starts next month.

Now Time to Play

Play the Mini Crossword, and a clue: Not difficult (four letters).

Here are the Wordle and the Spelling Bee.

You can find all our puzzles here.

That’s it for today’s briefing. Have a lovely weekend! — Amelia

P.S. Meet Milton Esterow, a 94-year-old Times writer who still drafts articles on a typewriter.

“The Daily” is on the #MeToo movement.

Thanks, as always, for writing! We’re here at [email protected].

Correction: Yesterday, we misstated when the G7 summit would begin. It starts today, not yesterday.

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