May 19, 2017 / 12:14 PM / 6 months ago

Friday Morning Briefing

Washington

An opposition supporter throws a petrol bomb while clashing with riot security forces during a rally against President Nicolas Maduro in Caracas, Venezuela, May 18, 2017. REUTERS/Marco Bello

With turmoil enveloping his administration at home, President Donald Trump heads abroad on Friday for a trip the White House hopes will shift focus away from domestic controversies and on to his foreign policy agenda. 

It looks unlikely Trump will manage to get Netanyahu and Abbas to shake hands during his 28-hour visit to the Holy Land, and the prospects of him setting a timetable for a resumption of peace talks also look dim. But that doesn't mean other diplomatic traps aren't lying in wait.  

Alarmed by Russian aggression in Ukraine and wary of the U.S. administration's efforts to build friendlier ties with Moscow, European partners want to know if they have Trump's staunch support.

For many Americans, including President Donald Trump’s staunchest supporters, the "crisis in Washington" is not about possible missteps by Trump or questions over whether his campaign colluded with Russia. For them, it’s the latest egregious example of mainstream media bias and of Washington insiders desperate to preserve their status taking revenge on the New York celebrity businessman. 

World headlines

The former wife of Russian president Vladimir Putin helped create and now supports a foundation that owns a historic Moscow property generating millions of dollars from tenants, an exclusive Reuters examination of property records has found. 

Millions of Iranians joined long queues to vote, an early sign of strong turnout in an unexpectedly tight presidential election that could determine the future of the country's nascent emergence from international isolation. 

Swedish prosecutors dropped an investigation of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange over a rape allegation, but British police said he would still be arrested if he left the Ecuadorean embassy in London where he has been holed up for nearly five years. 

A new TV channel dedicated to women is set to begin broadcasting in Afghanistan, the first of its kind in a country whose media industry, like many areas of society, remains dominated by men. 

Japan's cabinet has approved a bill  that would allow Emperor Akihito to step down, paving the way for the first abdication by a Japanese emperor in nearly two centuries.

Business

The dollar limped toward its worst week since August and world stocks headed for their first weekly fall in five, as storms surrounding Donald Trump's U.S. presidency and Latin America's biggest economy, Brazil, began to calm.  

After the first OPEC oil production cut in eight years took effect in January, oil traders from Houston to Singapore started emptying millions of barrels of crude from storage tanks. Investors hailed the drawdowns as the beginning of the end of a two-year supply glut - raising hopes for steadily rising per-barrel prices. It hasn't worked out that way

Uber has threatened to fire an engineer accused by Alphabet's self-driving Waymo unit of stealing confidential documents in a high profile trade secrets case between the two companies, according to a court filing

Four automakers agreed to a $553 million settlement to address class-action economic loss claims covering owners of nearly 16 million recalled vehicles with potentially defective Takata airbag inflators, court documents filed on Thursday showed

Science and Technology

Scientists in Britain plan to harness the Zika virus to try to kill brain tumor cells in experiments that they say could lead to new ways to fight an aggressive type of cancer. 

In a cluster of refurbished Mao-era industrial buildings in Guangzhou, developers at China's top messaging app, WeChat, are redesigning key parts of its product to spread its tentacles to just about every aspect of Chinese life. 

Facebook has struck a deal with Major League Baseball to show 20 of the league's games live this season in an agreement that expands the social media network further into the world of live programming. 

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
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