October 13, 2017 / 11:49 AM / in 4 days

Friday Morning Briefing

U.S. President Donald Trump smiles after signing an Executive Order to make it easier for Americans to buy bare-bone health insurance plans and circumvent Obamacare rules at the White House in Washington, U.S., October 12, 2017.

U.S. President Donald Trump chips away at Obamacare by cutting off subsidies to health insurance companies, Kobe Steel is hit with new revelations that its steel division has falsely labelled products and a kidnapped U.S.-Canadian couple and their three children have been freed in Pakistan. 

Obamacare 

U.S. President Donald Trump moved to undermine Obamacare by cutting off subsidies to health insurance companies for low-income patients, sparking concerns in insurance markets. The decision is the most dramatic action Trump has taken to weaken the Affordable Care Act. The move drew condemnation from Democrats and threats from state attorneys general in New York and California to file lawsuits.

Trump's not-so-quick fix to undo Obamacare

Trump healthcare order could run afoul of retirement plan law  

Washington

Trump will outline a tougher U.S. strategy for countering Iran that will seek to strengthen the enforcement of what he considers a flawed nuclear deal and deny funding for Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.

White House chief of staff John Kelly slapped down rumors that he was about to resign or be fired and said his push to bring more order to the West Wing does not extend to controlling Trump or his social media habits.

Republican lawmakers are considering indirect paths to meeting Trump’s goal of slashing the corporate tax rate to 20 percent

A top U.S. government legal official has given strong backing to Britain’s campaign to force Silicon Valley to compromise on encrypted communications

Business

World stocks rose for a fourth straight day on expectations of broad-based global growth, while the dollar headed for its worst week in five as investors await U.S. inflation data.

Crisis-hit Kobe Steel says its steel division has falsely labelled products. This is the latest in a string of revelations confirming widespread cheating at the firm that has engulfed its global customers.

Europe’s Airbus does not buy products directly from Japan’s Kobe Steel but is investigating whether any of its suppliers have been affected by a cheating scandal at the Japanese group, an Airbus spokesman said.

Amazon Studios chief Roy Price has been put on an immediate leave of absence, the company said, following allegations that he harassed a producer and ignored an actress’s claim of a sexual assault by producer Harvey Weinstein.

Mercedes-Benz and its Chinese joint ventures will recall 351,218 vehicles due to potential issues with airbags made by Japan’s Takata Corp, says China’s quality watchdog.

Samsung Electronics CEO and Vice Chairman Kwon Oh-hyun plans to step down from management, deepening concerns over a leadership vacuum at the tech giant after Samsung scion Jay Y. Lee was jailed for bribery. This comes as the South Korean smartphone maker forecast a record third-quarter operating profit.

Los Angeles based Hyperloop One says billionaire Richard Branson’s Virgin Group has invested in the company to form a strategic partnership.

Breakingviews - Facebook could do with more Sheryl Sandberg

 

People watch as Hoa Binh hydroelectric power plant opens the floodgates after a heavy rainfall caused by a tropical depression in Hoa Binh province, outside Hanoi, Vietnam October 12, 2017.

People watch as Hoa Binh hydroelectric power plant opens the floodgates after a heavy rainfall caused by a tropical depression in Hoa Binh province, outside Hanoi, Vietnam October 12, 2017.

World

A kidnapped U.S.-Canadian couple and their three children have been freed in Pakistan, nearly five years after the couple was abducted in neighboring Afghanistan.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker says Britain must commit to paying what it owes to the EU before talks can begin about a future relationship after Brexit.

Malaysia has halted all imports from North Korea, as part of global efforts to cut off funding over its nuclear and missile programs.

Turkey’s military has begun setting up observation posts in northwest Syria, as part of a deployment that appears partly aimed at containing a Kurdish militia.

U.N. cultural agency to pick new chief after U.S. walkout 

Russia and Saudi Arabia are on track to sign a contract on supplies of Russia’s advanced S-400 air defense missiles

Hong Kong’s leader denies that China had taken over immigration controls in the city after a British activist was refused entry 

South Africa’s Supreme Court of Appeal upholds a High Court ruling to reinstate hundreds of corruption charges filed against Jacob Zuma before he became president

Reuters TV: Philippines President Duterte slams the EU in profane rant

Commentary: There’s a way to reduce the wildfire toll. We won’t like it.

If authorities don’t adopt the right policies, wildfires will only become more deadly, writes Gregory Scruggs, a Seattle-based journalist who covers urban planning. Among Scruggs’ recommendations: State and local governments need to “stop allowing people to live cheek-by-jowl with wildfire-prone vegetation and hold accountable those who take the risk.”

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