Monday Morning Briefing: Orange juice and balaclava packaging in elite Islamic State training tunnel

North Korea fired four ballistic missiles into the sea off Japan's northwest on Monday. The tests angered South Korea and Japan, and occurred just days after North Korea promised retaliation over U.S.-South Korea military drills it sees as a preparation for war. The Kremlin also said it was “seriously worried” about the drills. The United States has about 28,500 troops and equipment stationed in the South, and plans to roll out the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) anti-missile defense system by the end of the year.

Members of the rapid response forces inspect a tunnel was used by Islamic State militants as an underground training camp in the hillside overlooking Mosul, Iraq, March 4, 2017. REUTERS/Alaa Al-Marjani

All the aspects of the North’s nuclear weapons program, in this Reuters graphic.  

Iraqi forces discovered an underground training camp for elite Islamic State fighters, built in a ripped up train tunnel on a muddy hillside overlooking Mosul. On the floor they discovered empty cartons of orange juice, balaclava packaging and a leaflet titled “Types of Idolatry.”

Alphabet Inc, Google's parent company, is suing Uber for theft of trade secrets, alleging that one of the top engineers in its self-driving car program decamped with thousands of confidential files, including designs that helped him start self-driving truck company Otto and then quickly sell it to Uber. Uber denies those claims.

<strong>Around the country</strong>

Red, white and blue

Counter-demonstrators (L) and supporters (R) of U.S. President Donald Trump fight for a U.S. flag during a "People 4 Trump" rally in Berkeley, California March 4, 2017. REUTERS/Stephen Lam

Counter-demonstrators (L) and supporters (R) of U.S. President Donald Trump fight for a U.S. flag during a "People 4 Trump" rally in Berkeley, California March 4, 2017. REUTERS/Stephen Lam

The U.S. Marine Corps is looking into the suspected distribution of nude photographs of female members of the service among military personnel and veterans via a social media network that promotes sexual violence, the Marine Corps Times said on Sunday. A Marine Corps spokesman told the independent newspaper specializing on the Corps that military officials are uncertain how many military personnel could be involved.

James Clapper, the former Director of National Intelligence, rejected President Donald Trump's accusation that his predecessor, Barack Obama, wiretapped him even as the White House on Sunday urged Congress to investigate Trump's allegation. Trump on Saturday alleged, without offering supporting evidence, that Obama ordered a wiretap of the phones at Trump's campaign headquarters in Trump Tower in New York.

Around the world

Syrian militias backed by the U.S.-led coalition against Islamic State cut a key road that linked IS-held Raqqa and Deir al-Zor province, leaving only one way out: south across the Euphrates River, a Kurdish military source and the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. “It is a big victory but there is still a lot to accomplish," the source said. In Mosul, U.S.-backed Iraqi forces captured al-Hurriya bridge, which leads to the Islamic State-held old city center from the south. This is the second bridge to be secured in the offensive, which started on the western part of Mosul on Feb. 19.

Quote of the day

“Our country is sick.”

That’s what former French prime minister Alain Juppe said on Monday, after deciding “once and for all” not to run in France’s presidential election, disappointing many in his conservative party. Their existing candidate, Francois Fillon, is mired in a scandal over hundreds of thousands of euros of public money he paid his wife to be his parliamentary assistant. Once the frontrunner, opinion polls show Fillon losing the election. 

Cuban President Raul Castro called Trump’s trade policies “egotistical” and his plan to build a wall along the Mexican border “irrational” in his first critical remarks directed at Trump since he took office. Seeking to reverse more than 50 years of U.S. efforts using isolation to force Cuba to change, former President Obama agreed with Castro in December 2014 to work to normalize relations. The White House said last month it was in the middle of "a full review of all U.S. policies toward Cuba."

At least eight people were killed and 28 others injured in a stampede in Zambia's capital Lusaka on Monday as thousands of poor people struggled to claim food handouts, police said. 

Around Wall Street

Digits of the day

$2.3 billion

PSA Group has agreed to buy Opel from General Motors in a deal valuing the business at 2.2 billion euros ($2.3 billion), the companies said on Monday, creating a new regional car giant to challenge Volkswagen, the market leader. By acquiring Opel, PSA leapfrogs French rival Renault to become Europe's second-ranked carmaker by sales, with a 16 percent market share to VW's 24 percent.

The titans of the oil world will meet in Houston this week after a two-year price war that pitted Middle East exporters against the firms that drove the shale energy revolution in the United States. OPEC's November deal, the prospects for its continuation and rosier investment prospects for the industry will dominate the discussions, with state-run producers and Big Oil both positioning themselves for an upturn in the notoriously cyclical business.

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