April 13, 2018 / 12:01 PM / 8 days ago

Friday Morning Briefing

Good morning. U.S. and Chinese trade will loom large over talks among Latin American leaders in Peru today, as a heated dispute between the world’s two biggest economies continues to fan fears of a trade war.

Vendors sit under umbrellas inside a wholesale flower market in Bengaluru, India, April 12, 2018. REUTERS/Abhishek N. Chinnappa

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TRADE

Throughout U.S. farm country, where Trump has enjoyed strong support, tariffs on steel and aluminum imports are boosting costs for equipment and infrastructure, according to Reuters’ interviews with farmers, manufacturers, construction firms and food shippers.

A car valve, the size of a thumb - used in car braking systems assembled in U.S. plants - is an example of a product in China’s ‘workshop of the world’ caught up in the storm of trade war fears.

China’s rising investment in research and expansion of its higher education system mean that it is fast closing the gap with the United States in intellectual property and the struggle to be the No.1 global technology power, according to patent experts.

RUSSIA

The prospect of Western military action in Syria that could lead to confrontation with Russia hung over the Middle East but there was no clear sign that a U.S.-led attack was imminent.

International chemical weapons experts were traveling to Syria to investigate an alleged gas attack by government forces on the town of Douma which killed dozens of people. Click here for a graphic that charts the latest documented cases of chemical attacks in Syria.

 Russian Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich said international relations should not depend on the mood of one person when he wakes up in the morning, in apparent reference to Trump.

 Russia’s lower house of parliament is to here">consider draft legislation that would give the Kremlin powers to ban or restrict a list of U.S. imports, reacting to new U.S. sanctions on a group of Russian tycoons and officials.

COMMENTARY: What U.S. generals get wrong about Afghanistan

Since U.S.-led forces in Afghanistan ousted the Taliban from power in 2001, a succession of U.S. military commanders have repeated versions of the same message: that the situation there is changing for the better, with victory in sight. But lost in all this positioning, says writer Patricia Gossman, is the fact that since 2009 the war has claimed the lives of 28,291 civilians and injured 52,366. The U.S. military can do a better job of understanding why these civilians are dying, and take steps to develop more credibility with ordinary Afghans.

REUTERS TV

The United Nations says Islamist fighters from Nigeria’s Boko Haram militant group have abducted over 1,000 children, many of whom would turned into child soldiers or forced into marriage.

Masaaki Nagumo has made his dreams a reality by creating a giant humanoid inspired by the anime series, Gundam.

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