August 8, 2018 / 12:44 PM / 13 days ago

Wednesday Morning Briefing

Close-fought Ohio race raises Democratic hopes for November, China defends Iran business ties after Trump threat and a special report on how two young reporters shook Myanmar.

The U.S. Capitol building is seen shortly before sunset in Washington, U.S. May 17, 2017. REUTERS/Zach Gibson

Politics

A hotly contested race in Ohio for a U.S. House of Representatives seat that has gone Republican for more than 30 years remained too close to call, in an encouraging sign for Democrats heading into the Nov. 6 elections. 

Trump’s former deputy campaign manager Rick Gates will take the stand for a third day, after admitting he stole money from his former boss Paul Manafort and helped falsify documents to avoid taxes.

Iran Sanctions

A U.S. plan to reduce Iran’s oil exports to zero will not succeed, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif was cited as saying by an Iranian newspaper.

China’s business ties with Iran are open, transparent and lawful, its foreign ministry said, after Trump said companies doing business with Iran would be barred from the United States.

World

Myanmar's pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi waves to the crowd as she departs the National League for Democracy's (NLD) headquarters after attending celebrations for the country's 90th National Day in Yangon December 1, 2010. REUTERS/Soe Zeya Tun

Special Report: As Aung San Suu Kyi’s party took power in 2016, expectations rose that she would introduce an era of greater press freedom in Myanmar. Now, the jailing of two Reuters journalists has become a test of the country’s democratic reform.

“We’ve had light earthquakes in the past, but never anything like this,” said Marcel De Rijk, owner of Lombok boutique hotel chain Puri Mas Resort. Days after a powerful earthquake rocked Indonesia’s resort island, killing more than 130 people and sending thousands of tourists fleeing, its beach strip stands eerily empty, with shops and hotels shuttered.

Saudi Arabia said it had stopped all medical treatment programs in Canada and was working on the transfer of all Saudi patients from hospitals there, in an escalating row after Ottawa urged it to free rights activists.

An anticipated Syrian government offensive against rebels in Idlib province could displace more than 700,000 people, far more than were uprooted in a recent battle in the southwest of Syria, a U.N.-led group of health agencies said in a monthly report.

Tech

Breakingviews: Elon Musk has set up a new diversion for the electric-car maker he runs. On Tuesday he announced on Twitter he is “considering taking Tesla private at $420. Funding secured.” That’s not as big a long shot as it might sound. But a buyout would have to be short on leverage. 

The nightmare scenario for computer security - artificial intelligence programs that can learn how to evade even the best defenses - may already have arrived.

Apple told U.S. lawmakers that its iPhones do not listen to users without their consent and do not allow third-party apps to do so either, after lawmakers asked the company if its devices were invading users’ privacy.

Samsung’s Galaxy S7 smartphones contain a microchip security flaw, uncovered earlier this year, that put tens of millions of devices at risk to hackers looking to spy on their users, researchers told Reuters.

Reuters TV

China has denied Disney’s request to screen “Christopher Robin” in the country, a movie that features the honey-loving bear Winnie the Pooh, a source familiar with the matter said on Tuesday. The decision has revived online discussion as censors have in the past targeted the film’s main character due to memes that compare the bumbling bear to president Xi Jinping.

China denies entry to Winnie the Pooh film
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