February 8, 2019 / 2:47 PM / 13 days ago

Friday Morning Briefing

Reuters poll shows that most Americans want tougher gun laws, but doubt lawmakers will act, the supreme court blocks a restrictive abortion law in Louisiana and the sister of Thailand’s king has entered the race to become prime minister. Catch up on the latest headlines.

FILE PHOTO: A prospective buyer examines an AR-15 at the "Ready Gunner" gun store In Provo, Utah, U.S. in Provo, Utah, U.S., June 21, 2016. REUTERS/George Frey/File Photo

Highlights

Most Americans want tougher gun laws, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll. The poll showed that 69 percent of Americans, including 85 percent of Democrats and 57 percent of Republicans, want strong or moderate restrictions placed on firearms. But among those who want tougher gun laws now, only 14 percent said they were “very confident” their representatives understood their views on firearms, and just 8 percent felt “very confident” their elected representatives would do anything about it.

The supreme court has blocked a restrictive abortion law in Louisiana. The court granted an emergency application to block the law from going into effect on a 5-4 vote. The Center for Reproductive Rights, an abortion rights group, said the law could lead to the closure of two of the three abortion clinics operating in Louisiana, a state of more than 4.6 million people.

Jeff Bezos, chief executive of Amazon, has accused the owner of the National Enquirer of trying to blackmail him. He claims he was threatened with the publishing of “intimate photos” he allegedly sent to his girlfriend unless he said in public that the supermarket tabloid’s reporting on him was not politically motivated.

Acting U.S. Attorney General Matthew Whitaker has agreed to testify before the House Judiciary Committee. He had previously threatened to not show up following the panel’s warning that it could subpoena him. The committee’s Democrats want to question Whitaker about his oversight of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election and his communications with the White House relating to the probe and the firing of former Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

A Columbian vet who smuggled heroin into the U.S. in puppies has been sent to prison. Andres Lopez Elorez, 39, admitted conspiring to import heroin and will be deported to Colombia after his sentence, according to federal prosecutors in Brooklyn, New York. “Every dog has its day, and with today’s sentence, Elorez has been held responsible for the reprehensible use of his veterinary skills,” Richard Donoghue, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, said in a statement.

World

In a stunning move, the sister of Thailand’s king has entered the race to become prime minister. Announcing her candidacy - an unprecedented foray into politics by a royal - instantly upended the first election since a 2014 military coup. Princess Ubolratana Rajakanya Sirivadhana Barnavadi, 67, the elder sister of King Maha Vajiralongkorn, was nominated by a party loyal to ousted premier Thaksin Shinawatra, the figure at the center political turbulence and rival street protests that have riven Thai society for years.

Pakistan, long at odds with the United States over the war in Afghanistan, has begun to play a behind-the-scenes but central role in supporting U.S. peace talks with the Afghan Taliban, including by facilitating travel to negotiations, U.S. officials and Taliban sources tell Reuters.

“‘Death to America’ means death to Trump, John Bolton, and Pompeo. It means death to American rulers,” Iranian leader Ayatollah Khamenei has said. He sought to clarify that the slogan, often chanted by his supporters, was aimed at U.S. leaders, not the American nation.

Contradicting President Donald Trump, Angela Merkel says that the Islamic State has not been defeated. “The so-called Islamic State has been luckily driven out of its territory but this unfortunately doesn’t mean that Islamic State has disappeared,” said the German Chancellor at the inauguration of the Berlin headquarters of Germany’s foreign intelligence agency BND. “We remain a long way from peace,” said Merkel, adored by many of the more than 550,000 Syrians who have found refuge in Germany after she decided in 2015 to open the country’s borders to almost a million asylum seekers.

Business

United States Steel Corporation founded Gary, Indiana in 1906 and the city’s fortunes have been closely tied to the company ever since. Last year, the city harbored hopes for a revival after President Donald Trump imposed tariffs on steel imports and the company planned a $750 million investment to modernize Gary Works, its largest North American plant. But it’s now clear those hopes will not translate into new steel jobs.

Ford has said it is investing more than $1 billion in its Chicago operations and adding 500 jobs as it prepares to launch three new SUVs this year and end production of the Taurus.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration said on Thursday it was taking action against certain retailers including Walgreen Boots Alliance for repeatedly flouting tobacco sale rules, including sale of cigars and menthol cigarettes to minors.

0 : 0
  • narrow-browser-and-phone
  • medium-browser-and-portrait-tablet
  • landscape-tablet
  • medium-wide-browser
  • wide-browser-and-larger
  • medium-browser-and-landscape-tablet
  • medium-wide-browser-and-larger
  • above-phone
  • portrait-tablet-and-above
  • above-portrait-tablet
  • landscape-tablet-and-above
  • landscape-tablet-and-medium-wide-browser
  • portrait-tablet-and-below
  • landscape-tablet-and-below