April 16, 2018 / 12:02 PM / 5 months ago

Monday Morning Briefing

Diplomatic tensions over Syria strikes heighten, Trump could reconsider joining TPP trade agreement if deal is improved and Reuters Graphics map out the major milestones in the Mueller probe.

A U.S. Air Force B-1B Lancer bomber, being deployed to launch strikes as part of the multinational response to Syria's use of chemical weapons, is refuelled by a KC-135 tanker aircraft over an undisclosed location, April 14, 2018. U.S. Air Force/Handout via REUTERS

Syria

Russian President Vladimir Putin warned that further Western attacks on Syria would bring chaos to world affairs, as Washington prepared to increase pressure on Russia with new economic sanctions. In a telephone conversation with his Iranian counterpart, Hassan Rouhani, Putin and Rouhani agreed that the Western strikes had damaged the chances of achieving a political resolution in the seven-year Syria conflict, according to a Kremlin statement.

Russia may have tampered with the site of an alleged chemical weapons attack in Syria’s Douma, the U.S. envoy to the global watchdog said, urging the body to condemn the continuing use of banned chemical weapons.

Commentary:

Putin's “simple but ruthless plotting” has made the latest Syria crisis all about Russia, writes columnist Peter Apps. In recent weeks, the Russian military has menaced U.S. and allied vessels from the air, and interfered with the GPS signals that guide U.S. drones. Kremlin officials have openly threatened “shooting down U.S. missiles and perhaps even targeting the aircraft and ships that fired them.”

United States

U.S. President Donald Trump waves goodbye as he departs after delivering remarks on tax cuts in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, U.S., April 12, 2018. REUTERS/Carlos Barria

U.S. President Donald Trump said last week he would reconsider joining the landmark Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement, if it were a “substantially better” deal than the one offered to President Barack Obama.  

Former FBI director James Comey said in an ABC News interview on Sunday that Trump is a dangerous, “morally unfit” leader doing “tremendous damage” to institutional and cultural norms.

A new national security aide to U.S. Vice President Mike Pence stepped down on Sunday, only two days after being officially named to the job, after a behind-the-scenes White House argument hit the headlines, a White House official said.

Reuters Graphics maps out the chronology of the Russia investigation and the major milestones in the Mueller probe.

Business

Wall Street is hoping that first-quarter earnings growth and corporate forecasts are strong enough to bring the FAANG group of stocks back into favor and take the spotlight off worries that caused the recent sell-off in the high-flying group.

WPP, the world’s biggest advertising company, entered uncharted territory without its founder Martin Sorrell whose departure has left it rudderless at a time of swirling industry change.

A $117 million verdict against Johnson & Johnson and a supplier in favor of a man who said his asbestos-related cancer was caused by long-term use of J&J’s Baby Powder could open a new front for thousands of cases claiming the widely-used product caused cancer, legal experts and plaintiffs lawyers said.

Reuters TV

An emergency warning was reissued for an out-of-control bushfire that is raging across parts of the Australian city of Sydney.

Bushfire threatens homes in Australia's largest city
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