August 7, 2018 / 12:22 PM / 8 days ago

Tuesday Morning Briefing

Republicans and Democrats face a tight congressional race in Ohio, new U.S. sanctions on Iran take effect and scientists warn the world is at risk of heading towards a ‘hothouse’ state.

U.S. President Donald Trump holds a Make America Great Again rally in Olentangy Orange High School in Lewis Center, OH, U.S., August 4, 2018. REUTERS/Leah Millis

Highlights

Trump faces a test of his political influence in a special congressional election in Ohio that has become a referendum on his leadership and a last chance to gauge Democratic strength ahead of November’s midterm elections.

New U.S. sanctions against Iran took effect today and Trump, who defied Washington’s allies to impose them, pledged that firms doing business with Tehran would be barred from doing business with the United States.

Rick Gates, a former business associate to Trump’s ex-campaign manager Paul Manafort, will continue to testify against his former boss and is expected to face a tough cross examination today.

Environment

A DC-10 air tanker drops fire retardant along the crest of a hill to protect the two bulldozers below that were cutting fire lines at the River Fire (Mendocino Complex) near Lakeport, California, U.S. August 2, 2018. REUTERS/Fred Greaves

California’s biggest wildfire on record raged as hot and windy conditions challenged thousands of fire crews battling eight major blazes burning out of control across the state.

The world is at risk of entering “hothouse” conditions where global average temperatures will be 4-5 degrees Celsius higher even if emissions reduction targets under a global climate deal are met, scientists said in a study.

World

The death toll from a powerful earthquake that hit Indonesia’s tourist island of Lombok topped 100 as rescuers found victims under wrecked buildings, while thousands left homeless in the worst-affected areas waited for aid to arrive.

A Japanese medical school deliberately cut women’s entrance test scores for at least a decade, an investigation panel said, calling it a “very serious” instance of discrimination, but school officials denied having known of the manipulations.

"We haven’t seen any stories they wrote which have violated media ethics," said Yangon Journalism School's director as he vouched for the integrity of two Reuters journalists accused of obtaining secret state documents in Myanmar. Read the latest updates on the case.

Commentary

If you want to know why Trump shouldn’t expect to win his trade crusade against China, look no further than Alibaba, the country’s giant e-commerce version of Amazon, writes David A. Andelman, a former foreign correspondent for the New York Times and CBS News and visiting scholar at Fordham University's Center on National Security. While the U.S. president seems to think that the U.S. can stand the pain of tariffs longer than China, "that reflects little understanding of either the Chinese mindset or the underlying strength of the Chinese economy."

Business

Tesla has started hiring for its new Shanghai factory, according to job postings on its website, just a month after the U.S. electric vehicle maker signed agreements with local authorities for the $2 billion project.

Alibaba Group plans to merge its food delivery units and raise funds for the combined business, intensifying a battle with Tencent-backed Meituan Dianping for dominance of China’s booming on-demand services market, sources told Reuters.

Chinese state media kept up their criticism of Trump’s trade policies, with a newspaper describing as “wishful thinking” Trump’s belief that a fall in Chinese stocks was a sign of his winning the trade war.

Reuters TV

Apple, YouTube, Facebook and Spotify all took down podcasts and channels from U.S. conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, saying on Monday that the Infowars author had broken community standards.

Conspiracy theorist Alex Jones scrubbed from Facebook, Apple
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