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Monday Morning Briefing
March 20, 2017 / 11:02 AM / 7 months ago

Monday Morning Briefing

An Afghan man inspects a house destroyed during an air strike called in to protect Afghan and U.S. forces during a raid on suspected Taliban militants, in Kunduz, November 2016. REUTERS/Nasir Wakif

The directors of the FBI and NSA will break their public silence on Monday about their investigations into possible links between Russia and President Donald Trump's campaign at a rare open congressional intelligence committee hearing.

Confirmation hearings for Neil Gorsuch, Trump’s Supreme Court nominee, kick off today. Among questions Gorsuch will face will be whether he is sufficiently independent from Trump.

Uber’s president, Jeff Jones, has quit less than seven months after joining the company. He was hired to help soften the company’s often abrasive image. This latest development follows several controversies at Uber, including a blog post from a former employee detailing rampant and unchecked sexual harassment in the workplace.

North Korea's latest rocket-engine test showed "meaningful" progress, South Korea said on Monday. An analyst said it was a dangerous step towards the North's goal of developing a rocket that could hit the United States.

China's government has been seeking advice from its think-tanks and policy advisers on how to counter potential trade penalties from U.S. President Donald Trump, getting ready for the worst, even as they hope for the best.

World

New Zealand has expelled a U.S. diplomat after Washington declined to waive his right to diplomatic immunity after an "incident" which gave him a broken nose and a black eye.

Nearly half of Canadians want to deport people who are illegally crossing into Canada from the United States, and a similar number disapprove of how Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is handling the influx, according to a Reuters/Ipsos opinion poll.

Norway displaced Denmark as the world's happiest country. Countries in sub-Saharan Africa, along with Syria and Yemen, are the least happy of the 155 countries ranked in the fifth annual report released at the United Nations.

Nearly 16 years since invading Afghanistan, the United States has no standardized process for making compensation payments to the families of thousands of Afghan civilians killed or injured in U.S.-led military operations. "A man in Kandahar may get $4,000 for his damaged car while a woman in Gardez gets $1,000 for her dead child. Civilians deserve better,” - Marla Keenan, senior director of programs at the Center for Civilians in Conflict.

Rebel fighters and their families that evacuated the besieged Waer district in the central Syrian city of Homs, after an agreement reached between rebels and Syria's army, arrive on the southern outskirts of the Syrian city of al-Bab, Syria March 19, 2017. REUTERS/Khalil Ashawi

Rebel fighters and their families that evacuated the besieged Waer district in the central Syrian city of Homs, after an agreement reached between rebels and Syria's army, arrive on the southern outskirts of the Syrian city of al-Bab, Syria March 19, 2017. REUTERS/Khalil Ashawi

Business

Wary of their first official encounter with U.S. President Donald Trump's blustery trade agenda, the world's top finance officials were relieved to find new Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin polite and business-like over the weekend. Five weeks into his new job, the former Goldman Sachs and commercial banker is currently the only Senate-confirmed Trump appointee working at Treasury.

Britain's Vodafone Group and Idea Cellular agreed on Monday to merge their Indian operations in a $23 billion deal, creating the country's biggest telecoms business after the entry of a new rival sparked a brutal price war.

World stocks opened the week on cautious footing on Monday after the G20's decision to drop a pledge to avoid trade protectionism, while the U.S. Federal Reserve's conservative rate guidance continued to push the dollar lower.

U.S.

House Republicans are working on changes to their healthcare overhaul bill to provide more generous tax credits for older Americans and add a work requirement for the Medicaid program for the poor, House Speaker Paul Ryan said on Sunday.

A wildfire near the University of Colorado in Boulder that may be man-made burned about 62 acres (25 hectares) of woodland on Sunday and prompted the evacuation of 426 homes in the drought-hit region, authorities said.

New York Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo on Sunday unveiled a $1.8 billion highway reconstruction plan in New York City's South Bronx aimed at benefiting one of the world's biggest food markets and an area once seen as a symbol of urban blight.

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