• World
    The Daily Beast

    Donald, Melania, Ivanka, and Jared Visited the Taj Mahal. Their Poses Spoke Volumes.

    Melania Trump stood in front of the Taj Mahal, built by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan as a symbol of devotion to his wife, Mumtaz, and watched her open-mouthed husband bellow to photographers.Her high-necked, ivory jumpsuit matched the exterior of the famed marble mausoleum (CNN’s Kate Bennett identified the one piece as made by Trump’s stylist, Hervé Pierre). It came with a moss green sash made of “vintage Indian textile” that slightly clashed with her husband’s canary yellow tie. Still, the First Lady—known for looking absolutely miserable when out with her husband—appeared happy, or at least flashed a few more step-and-repeat smiles than normal. One tabloid described the pair as “loved-up,” which is as big of a stretch as the notion that burger-loving Trump enjoyed his meatless Monday in India. Still, the Trumps were able to hold hands for a while, and they stood close while watching a flock of birds fly away, like two characters from a gothic poem. Trump Taj Mahal Slashed Security. Then the Murders Started.Ivanka, too, arrived with Jared Kushner in tow, though she kicked her husband out of her own picture. In a poppy-patterned turquoise dress, which matched the reflection pool she stood in front of, Ivanka mugged with her vacant-eyed but determined smile.If you have any doubts about any future political aspirations for this “presidential adviser,” then (take a deep breath and) look at her Taj Mahal photo op. Despite all those "Unwanted Ivanka" detractors, just like the building itself, she endures. In Ivanka’s words, such resilience is “awe inspiring.” Others might call her seemingly ceaseless, free vacations (thinly) disguised as diplomacy, a horror scenario. The Taj Mahal was completed after ten years of construction in 1653, outlasting threats from the Japanese Air Force in World War II and Pakistan’s bomber pilots in the late '60s. But the historic site, frequently referenced as a Wonder of the World, has succumbed to one thing: the rich and powerful using it as a backdrop to make coded statements to the world. The tradition began in earnest with the 1992 image of Princess Diana on a marble bench, her body a lithe strip in a cherry red blazer, nearly dwarfed compared to the gargantuan building behind her. She went to the site alone, without her husband Prince Charles, implying a fissure in their not-so-storybook romance. But Diana was not the first celebrity photo op at the Taj Mahal. In 1962, Jackie Kennedy took a solo trip to India and Pakistan, at a time when First Ladies did not often dabble in foreign diplomacy. For her pilgrimage to the spot, she wore a preppy blue and green sheath, projecting the Camelot-era’s sunny confidence. Four years later, George Harrison snapped a selfie in front of the site, looking very anti-Kennedy in his counterculture duds: an unbuttoned cotton shirt and dark sunglasses. Since then, plenty of other young and famous men have come to the mausoleum in search of themselves, or at least a performative version of it.In 2015, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg said the Taj Mahal was an example of “what people can build—and what love can motivate us to build,” using the elegant language of a good copywriter to plug his company after paying respects. That same year, Leonardo DiCaprio visited too, while in the country working on a climate change documentary. It was a “secret trip;” DiCaprio asked tourists not to take pictures, because he was working. In 1995, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton also sat on one of the Taj Mahal’s benches for photographers, sitting close and smiling, visual code for girl power. Five years after that, the first daughter would return with her father, Bill. In wide-angle snapshots of Donald and Melania strolling in front of the Taj Mahal, the yuge building’s scope leaves the pair looking tiny, nearly as tall as the shrubs which line the monument’s grassy aisles. Trump, who’s got a thing for screaming about his own bigness, might not appreciate how tiny he looks. But for a man who views the presidency as just another prize to show off that he’s won, the Taj Mahal visit was a success. The man whose legacy was once a knockoff-named casino now has got his photo in front of the real thing, joining the star-studded ranks of those who came before him. And as we’ve seen from this optics-obsessed administration so many times before, the facade is all that matters.  Samantha Bee Explains How Ivanka Trump Made Her Grow UpRead more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.

  • World
    Associated Press

    China sentences Swedish bookseller to 10 years in prison

    A court in eastern China has sentenced a seller of books that took a skeptical look at the ruling Communist Party to 10 years in prison for “illegally providing intelligence overseas," in a further sign of Beijing’s hard line toward its critics. The Ningbo Intermediate People's Court announced Tuesday that it has sentenced Gui Minhai, a naturalized Swedish citizen. Gui admitted to his crime, agreed with the sentence and will not appeal, the court said.

  • World
    Reuters

    South Korea to launch mass coronavirus testing, U.S. pledges $1 billion for vaccine

    SEOUL/BEIJING (Reuters) - South Korea aims to test more than 200,000 members of a church at the center of a surge in coronavirus cases, as countries stepped up efforts to stop a pandemic of the virus that emerged in China and is now spreading in Europe and the Middle East. More than 80,000 people have been infected in China since the outbreak began, apparently in an illegal wildlife market in the central city of Wuhan late last year. China's death toll was 2,663 by the end of Monday, up 71 from the previous day.

  • World
    Popular Mechanics

    Russia Unveils Laika, Its Next-Gen Nuclear Attack Submarine

    It looks like an exotic sea creature.

  • Business
    Bloomberg

    Biotech Firm Plans Virtual Investor Meetings for Hong Kong IPO

    (Bloomberg) -- A Chinese biotech firm that canceled investor meetings for its Hong Kong initial public offering earlier this month due to the novel coronavirus outbreak is planning to hold them as soon as next week, but likely virtually.In a sign of the disruptive impact of the epidemic -- which has killed more than 2,600 people and infected 80,000 globally -- is having on in-person dealmaking, InnoCare Pharma Ltd. is considering holding most of the meetings with prospective investors via video or phone calls, according to people familiar with the matter.Innocare aims to raise about $200 million to $300 million in the first-time share sale, which could be the largest deal in Hong Kong to go ahead with formal pre-marketing since the Lunar New Year break, said the people, who asked not to be identified as the discussions are private.The coronavirus outbreak has led to a slump in deals as scores of flights have been canceled into and out of China, hampering company executives’ and bankers’ travel, while many employees in the region have been forced to work from home in an effort to avoid contagion.Read more: Stuck-at-Home Bankers See China Deals Slump With Virus SpreadingMeetings with investors to gauge demand for an IPO are usually held in person, but the novel coronavirus has made that all but impossible for many Chinese companies as investors are either unwilling to meet with management face-to-face or executives simply can’t travel because of the quarantine restrictions.Just two IPOs have priced in Hong Kong since mid-January, raising a total of $32 million, data compiled by Bloomberg show. The virus has been hitting activity in what was the world’s top listing venue last year with more than $40 billion raised. A global stock rout on Monday caused by fears over a surge in cases outside China is likely to add to the negative backdrop.To contact the reporter on this story: Julia Fioretti in Hong Kong at jfioretti4@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Lianting Tu at ltu4@bloomberg.net, Fion Li, Bhuma ShrivastavaFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.