October 18, 2018 / 1:16 PM / a month ago

Thursday morning briefing

Beto O’Rourke faces an uphill battle, Poland turns right and a tennis star serves up some love for crypto currencies. Catch up on the latest headlines.

U.S. Rep. Beto O'Rourke poses for pictures after a debate with U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (not shown) at the KENS-5 Studios in San Antonio, Texas, U.S., October 16, 2018. Picture taken on October 16, 2018. Tom Reel/San Antonio Express-News/Pool via REUTERS NO SALES. MANDATORY CREDIT

In a packed Texas convention center, Democrat Beto O’Rourke drew cheers last weekend with a blistering critique of Republican rival Ted Cruz’s support for deporting young undocumented immigrants, part of a stump speech aimed at inspiring Hispanic voters in the country’s most expensive and closely watched Senate race. Does Beto have an uphill battle on his hands? 

If Democrats win control of the U.S. House of Representatives or Senate next month, nearly every aspect of Donald Trump’s presidency could face swift examination – from his long-elusive tax returns to possible business ties with Russia and conflicts of interest, congressional sources say.

The U.S. Congress could request President Donald Trump’s tax returns under a seldom-used 1924 law, which Democrats say they plan to invoke promptly if they win control of the House of Representatives or the Senate in the Nov. 6 elections. Follow full coverage of the U.S. Midterms.

World

Poland’s government is clashing with Europe. Underlying that is a surge in patriotic values, fostered in schools and a volunteer army. Many Poles - alongside Hungarians and Czechs in eastern Europe - are voicing discontent over foreign influence in their internal affairs. Parties like Poland’s ruling Law and Justice (PiS) are winning support by beating a patriotic drum, and the EU is among the targets.

‘The lithium world is on pins and needles.’ The two biggest lithium producers signed deals to increase their output in the world’s driest desert.The true state of the water supply in a basin of the world’s driest desert has become an obsession of lithium industry watchers. 

U.S. President Donald Trump has said he did not want to abandon ally Saudi Arabia over the disappearance of a Saudi journalist and has asked for audio recordings Turkish sources say indicate he was killed by Saudi agents.

Commentary: Khashoggi case shows America’s collapsing Mideast clout. When it comes to defining America’s quandary on Saudi Arabia, U.S. President Donald Trump’s description is mercenary in the extreme. If Washington doesn’t stay close to Riyadh and sell it arms, he told reporters this weekend, the Saudis will turn to Moscow or Beijing instead. He has a point – and one that also speaks to the broader geopolitical and moral issues at stake, writes Reuters global affairs columnist Peter Apps. Across the Middle East, the more the United States attempts to inflict its will on often increasingly autocratic governments, the more they simply turn elsewhere.

Business

Four major U.S. public funds that hold shares in Facebook proposed removing Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg as chairman following several high-profile scandals and said they hoped to gain backing from larger asset managers.

Takeda Pharmaceutical said Japan’s Fair Trade Commission had approved its $62 billion acquisition of Shire, bringing the Japanese firm closer to sealing a deal that will make it a global top 10 drugmaker.

Tennis ace Caroline Wozniacki signed a deal with a Singaporean company to launch her own crypto token, with the firm saying it hoped ex-soccer star Michael Owen or boxer Manny Pacquiao would be the first to sell such a token next year. Catch up on the future of money

Spain’s Santander is the latest bank to be caught up in Germany’s biggest post-war fraud investigation involving a share-trading scheme that the authorities say cost taxpayers billions of euros.

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