November 2, 2018 / 12:25 PM / 10 days ago

Friday morning briefing

The Midterms test of the MAGA momentum, the land of sushi shaken by a shortage of squid and Apple’s iPhone data goes the way of its headphone jacks. Catch up on the morning headlines.

Supporters cheer U.S. President Donald Trump as they attend a rally in Springfield, Missouri, September 21, 2018. Picture taken September 21, 2018. REUTERS/Mike Segar

This year’s election is the first real test of whether the coalition behind Donald Trump’s “Make America Great Again” slogan can evolve from a diffuse, personality-driven following to an organized political force able to boost candidates outside his electoral strongholds. Reuters surveyed officials from 18 Republican campaigns, analyzed data and interviewed candidates, strategists and Trump supporters to assess the reach and influence of the president’s self-styled “MAGA Movement”. Catch up on the Midterms

In January, Trump fired the opening shot of his trade war, slapping tariffs on solar panel imports to boost U.S. manufacturing of a product long dominated by cheap foreign competition. But other duties his administration has imposed since then are making the solar panel components more expensive - dampening the domestic panel manufacturing sector’s initial hopes for expansion.

U.S. job growth rebounded sharply in October and wages recorded their largest annual gain in 9-1/2 years, pointing to further labor market tightening that could encourage the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates again in December.

World

In the land of sushi, a favourite snack moves out of reach. Japan is a country where sushi chefs are treated like rock stars and fishermen are TV heroes. The shortage of its cherished flying squid has shaken the nation

Pakistan suspended mobile phone networks in major cities on Friday and many schools were closed as Islamist groups protested for a third day against the acquittal of a Christian woman facing the death penalty for blasphemy. 

Jumpei Yasuda, a Japanese journalist held by militants in Syria for more than three years, said he told his captors to deafen him if they suspected he was eavesdropping on their conversations. 

An Israeli official on Friday called the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Saudi Arabia’s consulate in Istanbul “despicable” but said that co-operating with Riyadh against their common foe Iran was Israel’s priority

Business

First Apple took away the headphone jack on its iPhones. Then it took away the home button. And now, it has taken away a closely watched performance metric that it has disclosed to investors for 20 years. 

U.S. President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping, who spoke by telephone on Thursday, expressed optimism about resolving their trade dispute ahead of a high-stakes meeting at the end of November in Argentina.

Many farmers plan to return to the old U.S. farm belt staples in 2019: corn and wheat. The expected shift to other grains comes as farmers struggle to sell the soybean crop because of President Donald Trump’s trade war with China. China typically buys 60 percent of U.S. soybean exports but has bought almost none for months due to the trade war, pushing prices to a decade low. 

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