August 31, 2017 / 11:25 AM / a month ago

Thursday Morning Briefing

North Koreans watch a news report showing North Korea's Hwasong-12 intermediate-range ballistic missile launch on electronic screen at Pyongyang station , North Korea, in this photo taken by Kyodo/via REUTERS August 30, 2017

Two explosions were reported at a flood-hit chemical plant in Texas, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis openly disagreed with Trump over North Korea and Britons mark the 20th year of Princess Diana’s death.

Tropical Storm Harvey

Tropical Depression Harvey weakened as it moved inland over Louisiana, leaving behind record flooding that drove tens of thousands from their homes in Texas. The death toll was rising as bodies were found in receding waters. A new threat came from explosions at a flood-hit chemical plant in Crosby, 30 miles northeast of Houston. 

Two explosions were reported at the flood-hit Arkema chemical plant in Crosby, Texas, and a sheriff’s deputy was taken to a hospital after inhaling chemicals, the company said. The company said it was notified at approximately 2 a.m., by the Harris County Emergency Operations Center of two explosions and black smoke coming from the plant in Crosby. 

INSIGHT: Body camera footage shows race to rescue flood victim 

Factbox: Massive aid and insurance costs seen from Hurricane Harvey

Reuters TV: A reporter’s journey from Katrina to Harvey

How Trump's immigration crackdown could slow flood-hit Houston's efforts to rebuild

U.S. oil prices set for worst month in over a year as floods hit demand

Live updates on the storm

North Korea

South Korea said its air force conducted an exercise with two U.S. nuclear-capable bombers above the Korean peninsula, two days after a North Korean missile fired over Japan sharply raised tensions. 

As U.S. ban on travel to North Korea kicks in, tourists say their farewells

After North Korea missile, Britain and Japan agree closer security ties 

U.S. Politics

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis openly differed with his commander in chief over North Korea, the latest example of a once-rare public display of disagreement by top U.S. aides that has become more frequent under President Donald Trump. “We are never out of diplomatic solutions,” Mattis told reporters, just hours after Trump said in a tweet that “talking is not the answer” to the standoff over North Korea’s nuclear weapons and missile programs. 

Donald Trump made his first major tax reform speech on Wednesday, but in a long list of thank yous he did not mention Gary Cohn, the White House point man on taxes who traveled with Trump to the event. When asked about the omission of Cohn’s name, White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders told reporters on Air Force One, en route to Washington from Missouri, that it was customary for Trump to recognize Cabinet members, but not advisers, in speeches.

If Trump pulls trigger on NAFTA withdrawal, Mexico will walk away 

 

Maurizio Cattelan’s “America,” a fully functional solid gold toilet is seen at The Guggenheim Museum in New York City, U.S., August 30, 2017. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

Maurizio Cattelan’s “America,” a fully functional solid gold toilet is seen at The Guggenheim Museum in New York City, U.S., August 30, 2017. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

 

Business

Amazon has been hit with a proposed class action lawsuit by a couple who claims defective eclipse glasses purchased through the online retailer damaged their eyes.  

British American Tobacco restructures as e-cigarettes go mainstream

Uber’s new Chief Executive Dara Khosrowshahi told employees the ride-services company would change its culture and may go public in 18 to 36 months. 

Delaware judge hands ex-Uber CEO a victory in lawsuit by Benchmark

Expedia taps CFO Okerstrom to replace Khosrowshahi as CEO

Toshiba failed to seal a deal to sell its prized chip business by an internal deadline, raising doubts about whether it can plug a balance sheet hole in time to avoid a delisting and keep the unit competitive. 

Blow to South Korean carmakers as Kia loses landmark wage dispute 

Banking

Six new banks have joined a UBS-led effort to create a digital cash system that would allow financial markets to make payments and settle transactions quickly via blockchain technology. 

Goldman plots return to banking growth mode through hires, investments

Breakingviews - China’s big banks dig deeper into housing market

World

Reuters TV: Dozens feared trapped in deadly Mumbai building collapse

China says to beef up patrols along Indian border

The first public campaigns ahead of Australia’s vote on legalizing same-sex marriage have hit television screens, sparking a truth-in-advertising debate on an issue that threatens to destabilize the ruling center-right coalition. Australians can take part in a non-binding postal ballot in September on whether to change the Marriage Act to allow same-sex couples to marry. 

Islamic State evacuation convoy will cross to Deir al-Zor: alliance commander

In the industrial outskirts of Beijing, a local community in the shadow of a giant Hyundai Motor Co manufacturing complex is feeling the fallout from a fierce diplomatic standoff between China and South Korea. Workers said shifts at the cluster of Hyundai plants had been slashed as Hyundai struggles with plunging sales in China amid the year-long dispute. Suppliers, meanwhile, have been hit by falling orders. 

Chinese cyber spies broaden attacks in Vietnam, security firm says

Pictures: Remembering Princess Diana

Commentary

The United States sent its first shipment of liquefied natural gas to the "unlikely market" of Lithuania this month, writes columnist Agnia Grigas. With the former Soviet Republic traditionally buying its gas from Russian state company Gazprom, Donald Trump must have seen the U.S. sale as "a gratifying sign of the success of his administration's energy diplomacy," says Grigas. "While reducing Gazprom's dominance has long been part of Washington's agenda, the Trump administration is the first to explicitly link the trinity of diplomacy, LNG trade and national economic interests." 

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