April 20, 2018 / 11:17 AM / in a month

Friday Morning Briefing

From America’s nuclear headache to the latest batch of Comey memos, catch up on the latest headlines.

A model presents creations by student designer Sherly Az Zahra on the first day of the Indonesia Muslim Fashion Festival in Jakarta, Indonesia, April 19, 2018. REUTERS/Beawiharta

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UNITED STATES

The U.S. has a vast amount of deadly plutonium warheads, mainly a Cold War legacy. There are enough cores in one Texas plant to cause thousands of megatons of nuclear explosions. Read our special report that looks inside America’s huge leftover plutonium problem.

Former FBI Director James Comey in memos recounting conversations with Trump last year said Trump repeatedly raised concern over salacious allegations in an intelligence dossier, the need for loyalty and ferreting out leakers. The partially redacted memos were handed over yesterday by the U.S. Justice Department to three House of Representatives committees.

Comey is finally coming out of his Trump-induced trance and trying to remind us of some basic principles of right and wrong, writes Tim Weiner for Reuters Commentary. "I know a little bit about Jim Comey from the years I spent reporting and writing about America’s intelligence agencies, and I cannot help but see him as a straight arrow." 

Thousands of students across the United States will mark the 19th anniversary of the massacre at Columbine High School by walking out of classes today, in a show of unity intended to put pressure on politicians to enact tighter gun restrictions. 

WORLD 

A Myanmar police chief ordered officers to “trap” a Reuters reporter arrested in December, telling them to meet the journalist at a restaurant and give him “secret documents”, prosecution witness Police Captain Moe Yan Naing told a court today. Follow our dedicated page for more updates on Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo’s case. 

 Sun, surf and the Assads. News that Russia hosted the teenage children of Bashar al-Assad at a lavishly-rebuilt Black Sea summer camp in Crimea last year has given a rare glimpse into the personal lives of the Syrian president’s family and his close relationship to Moscow.  

Diplomatic foes North and South Korea installed a direct phone line between their leaders on Friday as they prepare for the first summit since 2007 - and the connection was great, the South’s presidential office said.  

The Pulitzer award-winning investigation of the drug war in the Philippines during 2016 and 2017 can be read here.

OIL

Last October, at the height of a political crisis in Iraq’s Kurdistan region, a letter arrived at the Iraqi oil ministry in Baghdad from Igor Sechin, head of Kremlin oil major Rosneft. The Baghdad government was showing a “lack of constructive position and interest” about Rosneft’s offer to develop southern Iraqi oilfields, Sechin wrote in the letter, a copy of which was seen by Reuters.

Most analysts have pointed to escalating Middle East conflicts, a crisis in Venezuela, and the supply cuts of Saudi Arabia for oil prices at $80 to $100 per barrel. Yet a much more fundamental reason has also sparked oil's bull run: Asian demand.

 REUTERS TV

Swaziland’s King Mswati III, Africa’s last absolute monarch, said on Thursday he was officially renaming the country as the Kingdom of eSwatini.

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