April 7, 2017 / 11:35 AM / in 9 months

Friday Morning Briefing

The United States fired cruise missiles on Friday at a Syrian airbase, where it said a deadly chemical weapons attack had been launched this week, the first direct U.S. assault on the government of Bashar al-Assad in six years of civil war.

Full Reuters coverage:

In an abrupt shift in policy, Trump turns to military advisers

Graphic: Attack location 

Trump’s statement on U.S. military strikes in Syria

Graphic: Cruise missile specifications

Live updates

Western allies of the U.S. spoke out in support of the decision to launch the strikes. Several countries said they were notified in advance, but none had been asked to take part.

"There is a clear distinction between air strikes on military targets and the use of chemical weapons against civilians," European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said. 

U.S. officials and allies described the attack as a one-off that would not lead to further escalation. It signaled Trump’s determination to take “decisive action”, U.S. officials said.

The attacks spurred a flight to safety in global financial markets, sending yields on safe-haven U.S. Treasury securities to their lowest since November. Stocks weakened in Asia and U.S. equity index futures slid. Prices for oil and gold both rose, and the dollar slipped against the Japanese yen. 


Billionaire investor Julian Robertson is shutting a portfolio that let outsiders bet with him on would-be star managers and has exited entirely from former protégée Nehal Chopra's Ratan Capital Management, according to recent regulatory filings.

Samsung forecasted its best quarterly profit in more than three years in the January-March period, beating expectations and putting it on track for record annual earnings on the back of a memory chip super-cycle.

Twitter filed a federal lawsuit to block an order by the U.S. government demanding that it reveal who is behind an account opposed to President Donald Trump's tough immigration policies.

Yum Brands Inc's U.S. KFC chain plans to curb the use of antibiotics in its chicken supply, making it the last of the big three chicken restaurants to join the fight against the rise of dangerous antibiotic-resistant bacteria known as superbugs.

Hyundai Motor Co and Kia Motors Corp said on Friday they plan to recall nearly 1.5 million vehicles in the United States and South Korea due to engine issues, the latest blow for two firms already struggling in key markets. 

U.S. - China

President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump welcome Chinese President Xi Jinping and Madame Peng Liyuan for dinner at the start of their summit at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in West Palm Beach, Florida. REUTERS/Carlos Barria

President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump welcome Chinese President Xi Jinping and Madame Peng Liyuan for dinner at the start of their summit at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate in West Palm Beach, Florida. REUTERS/Carlos Barria

Chinese President Xi Jinping urged cooperation with the U.S. on trade and investment on Thursday, inviting President Donald Trump to visit China in a cordial start to their first meeting likely to broach sensitive security and commercial issues.

Photos: Xi and Trump come face-to-face

A Chinese fighter plane was spotted on a Chinese-held island in the South China Sea, the first such sighting in a year and the first since U.S. President Trump took office, a U.S. think tank reported.


The Senate is expected to approve Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch today, restoring the court’s (5-4) conservative majority and making it more likely to support gun rights, an expansive view of religious liberty, abortion regulations and Republican-backed voting restrictions, while opposing curbs on political spending. The court also is likely to tackle transgender rights and union funding in coming years.


Southern states like Alabama have built a presence in the global supply chain in direct competition with the country's Midwestern industrial heartland, as President Trump faces pressure to deliver on his promise to revive manufacturing in the northern "rust belt" states.

A 46-year-old man sued Seattle Mayor Ed Murray for sexual abuse and child prostitution on Thursday, claiming that Murray paid him for sex when he was a homeless, drug-addicted teenager in the 1980s.

New applications for U.S. unemployment benefits recorded their biggest drop in nearly two years last week, pointing to a further tightening in the labor market.


Bomb blasts were among 23 coordinated attacks that rocked Muslim-majority southern Thailand early on Friday, a security officer said, just hours after King Maha Vajiralongkorn signed a new constitution as a step towards ending military rule. Police reported no casualties in the region, where a decades-old Muslim separatist insurgency voted the most strongly against the new constitution during a referendum last year.

Police fired rubber bullets and tear gas at some protesters in downtown Johannesburg, injuring a man and a woman, as thousands of people marched in South African cities to protest against President Jacob Zuma on Friday.

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