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Friday Morning Briefing
August 18, 2017 / 12:44 PM / 2 months ago

Friday Morning Briefing

The death toll from the motorist attacks in Spain could continue to rise, President Trump’s attacks on Republican senators could backfire if impeachment hearings ever come to pass and Turkey’s president urges German Turks not to re-elect Chancellor Angela Merkel.

People stand on the street after a van crashed into pedestrians near the Las Ramblas avenue in central Barcelona, Spain August 17, 2017. La Vanguardia/Pedro Madueno/via REUTERS

Spain

Spanish police shot dead five would-be attackers after confronting them early on Friday in a town south of Barcelona where hours earlier a suspected Islamist militant drove a van into crowds, killing 13 people and wounding scores of others. Bodies, many motionless, were left strewn along Barcelona's most famous avenue and authorities said the toll of dead, which included several children, could rise, with at least 130 injured. Hours later in the early hours of Friday, as security forces hunted for the van's driver, police said they killed five suspects in Cambrils, 75 miles south along the coast from Barcelona, to thwart a separate attack.

Explosive belts worn by Cambrils attackers were fake: Catalan regional head

Eight thought to be have been involved in Catalonia attacks: judicial source

Timeline: Deadly attacks in Western Europe

U.S. 

President Donald Trump decried the removal of monuments to the pro-slavery Civil War Confederacy, echoing white nationalists and drawing stinging rebukes from fellow Republicans in a controversy that has inflamed racial tensions.

Trump drops plan to create infrastructure council: White House

Breakingviews: Corporate America dumps Trump

 

President Trump has stepped up his attacks on Republican senators, an approach he may regret if he is someday impeached and the Senate has to weigh charges against him stemming from an investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. election.

Museum or dumpster? U.S. cities wrestle with Confederate statues' fate

Gallery: Ripple effects of Charlottesville

Eclipse chasers hit the road to 'totality'

Solar eclipse sunglasses are pictured in Los Angeles, California, U.S., August 8, 2017. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

Solar eclipse sunglasses are pictured in Los Angeles, California, U.S., August 8, 2017. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni 

The U.S. Navy has removed the two senior officers and the senior enlisted sailor on a U.S. warship that almost sank off the coast of Japan in June after it was struck by a Philippine container ship, the Navy said.

NFL player charged with beating sister's boyfriend

Afghanistan

As the Trump administration debates war strategy in Afghanistan, an Afghan pilot in the U.S.-backed Afghan Air Force has more pressing concerns: He's worried the Taliban may kidnap or kill his family. Like other colleagues flying A-29 Super Tucano light attack aircraft, he told Reuters he has received death threats. One came in the form a note left on the door of his home in Kabul. "It said: 'If you don't quit, we're going to kidnap your kids and kill you'," the pilot said in an interview, asking not to be identified due to fears for his security. 

Energy & Environment 

With one third of all electricity produced in Germany already coming from renewables, the country is next looking to reform residential heating, which accounts for 40 percent of energy-derived carbon dioxide emissions. Communal, or district, heating networks - which generate heat in central plants and pump hot water into homes via underground networks - will play a central role in that switch and are part of a long tradition in Germany and Nordic countries.

Business

The Indian government has threatened Philip Morris International Inc with "punitive action" over the tobacco giant's alleged violation of the country's anti-smoking laws, according to a letter sent to the company by the federal health ministry. The letter was prompted by a Reuters investigation last month that revealed how Philip Morris was deploying marketing tactics in India, some targeting young people, that officials said were illegal.  

The Ukrainian central bank said it had warned state-owned and private lenders of the appearance of new malware as security services said Ukraine faced cyber attacks like those that knocked out global systems in June.

Getting to the core of global inflation

Australia said it would strengthen its money laundering laws, including bringing bitcoin providers under the government's financial intelligence unit, days after a fresh scandal at one of the country's biggest banks. 

Philippines 

The Philippines police came under pressure to explain the killing of a 17-year-old, one of at least 80 people shot dead this week in an escalation of President Rodrigo Duterte's ruthless war on drugs. Metro Manila police chief Oscar Albayalde said the three policemen involved had been relieved of their duties and an investigation would be launched into the incident. 

Syria

President Bashar al-Assad's victory in Homs is still evident in the rubble of Baba Amr, a former symbol of the rebellion where five years later only a handful of people live among ruins.

Germany

Turkey's President Tayyip Erdogan said that German Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democrat Party and its allies were enemies of Turkey, and told Turkish voters in Germany not to vote for them in next month's election.

Breakingviews: Merkel matters less than her next coalition allies

South Africa

South Africa is planning to grant diplomatic immunity to Zimbabwe's first lady Grace Mugabe, allowing her to return to Harare and avoid prosecution for the alleged assault of a 20-year-old model, a government source said. South African police have put border posts on "red alert" to prevent Mugabe fleeing and said she will not receive special treatment, after Gabriella Engels accused Mugabe of whipping her with an electric extension cable.

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