February 21, 2017 / 12:22 PM / a year ago

Tuesday Morning Briefing: Trump's pick is known for saying superiors “want criticism”

President Donald Trump named Lieutenant General Herbert Raymond McMaster as his new national security adviser Monday afternoon. McMaster, a highly regarded military tactician, is known for challenging his superiors. That’s been detrimental to McMaster in the past – he was passed over for promotion to brigadier general twice, in 2006 and 2007 – and some observers wonder how he’ll interact with an administration that hasn’t welcomed criticism.

President Trump shakes hands with his new National Security Adviser Army Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster after making the announcement at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

Meanwhile, defense secretary Jim Mattis said the U.S. military is “not in Iraq to seize anybody’s oil,” distancing himself from remarks by Donald Trump, who said America should have seized Iraq’s oil after ousting Saddam Hussein in 2003: “We should have kept the oil. But okay. Maybe you'll have another chance." 

And after Trump’s comments vilifying the press as “the enemy of the American people,” Mattis said he has no problems with the media. Vice President Mike Pence, while addressing NATO, in Brussels, also said Trump believes in a free and independent press, but that the president would point out flawed reporting when the media played “fast and loose with the facts.”

A young Israeli soldier convicted of killing a Palestinian assailant lying wounded on the ground was sentenced to 18 months imprisonment on Tuesday, far less than prosecutors requested, in one of the most divisive cases in Israel's recent history. 

Uber has hired former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to conduct a review of sexual harassment claims made by a former employee.

Restaurant Brands International Inc, owner of the Burger King and Tim Hortons fast-food chains, has approached Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen Inc about a possible acquisition, people familiar with the matter said on Monday. A deal would be a bet by Ontario-based Restaurant Brands that it can use its international reach to introduce Popeyes' famous Louisiana-style fried chicken and buttermilk biscuits to more diners globally.

Around the world

Wider Image: Greeks slide deeper into poverty 

People line up as they wait to enter a soup kitchen run by the Orthodox church in Athens, Greece, February 15, 2017. REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis

People line up as they wait to enter a soup kitchen run by the Orthodox church in Athens, Greece, February 15, 2017. REUTERS/Alkis Konstantinidis

After a U.S. aircraft carrier strike group began patrols in the contested South China Sea, China said it opposed actions by other countries that undermined its sovereignty under the pretext of freedom of navigation. Russia's combative ambassador to the United Nations, Vitaly Churkin, died suddenly in New York on Monday, the Russian Foreign Ministry said. The ministry gave no details on the circumstances of his death but offered condolences to his relatives and said the diplomat had died one day before his 65th birthday. President Vladimir Putin was deeply upset by the news and had greatly valued Churkin's professionalism and diplomatic talent, Russian news agencies quoted the Kremlin as saying.

Quote of the day

“You can pass on my respects to the Grand Mufti, but I will not cover myself up.”

- Marine Le Pen to reporters

Marine Le Pen, presidential candidate for France's far-right National Front party, canceled a meeting on Tuesday with Lebanon's Grand Mufti after refusing to wear a headscarf for the encounter. The press office for the Grand Mufti said that Le Pen's aides had been informed beforehand of the head covering requirement before the meeting.

Halls of commerce

HSBC’s surprise slump in profits dampened stellar reports on the euro zone economy. “HSBC is the first of several major UK banks to report this week, and given this morning's miss there will likely be greater levels of caution heading into Lloyds, Barclays and RBS's results in the coming days," said David Cheetham, chief market analyst at XTB. Snap Inc, owner of Snapchat, kicked off its first investor roadshow on Monday. The company, which has yet to make a profit, is looking to persuade London money managers to back its initial public offering in the face of concerns about its growth prospects, valuation and corporate governance. Snap is targeting a valuation of between $19.5 billion and $22.3 billion from listing on the New York Stock Exchange, after cutting its initial target of $20 billion-$25 billion last week following investor feedback. TransferWise, a London-based startup, has launched a service that allows users to make international transfers via Facebook’s chat application, intensifying competition in the digital payments landscape. Toshiba wants to raise at least 1 trillion yen ($8.8 billion) by selling most of its flash memory chip business, seeking to create a buffer for any fresh financial problems, a source with direct knowledge of the matter said. The sale "is the best and the only way Toshiba can raise a large amount of funds and wipe out concerns about its credit risk," said the source, adding that the sale should be completed by the end of March next year.

Around the country

Jewish community centers (JCC) across the United States were evacuated on Monday after receiving bomb threats, the latest wave of threatened attacks against them this year, the national umbrella organization said. No arrests were made and no one was injured. On Presidents Day, anti-Trump protesters took the streets to participate in “Not My Presidents Day” rallies. Membership for the Democratic Socialists of America has tripled since Trump’s election in November. The DSA is not a political party but support many of the same short-term policy positions as the Sanders wing of the Democratic Party: a $15 minimum wage, single-payer healthcare, free college and opposition to free-trade deals.

Today’s reason to live

Compiled by Bethel Habte (@bethel_habte)
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