February 8, 2018 / 1:02 PM / in 11 days

Thursday Morning Briefing

Good morning. North Korea says no U.S. talks planned at Winter Olympics and a Reuters Special Report investigates U.S. businesses supplying human body parts to the world.

Highlights 

“We have never begged for dialogue with the U.S. nor in the future, too,” the North’s KCNA news agency said, citing Jo Yong Sam, a director-general in the North’s foreign ministry. North Korea has no intention of meeting U.S. officials during the Winter Olympics that start in South Korea on Friday, state media said, dampening hopes the Games will help resolve a tense standoff over the North’s nuclear weapons program.

On July 20, a Chinese-flagged container ship departed Charleston, bound for Rotterdam. One of the ship’s 4,000 containers held a lucrative commodity: body parts from dozens of dead Americans.

Alexandra Chandler was a U.S. Navy intelligence analyst when she came out as a transgender woman in 2006. She could have been fired, but instead she said the conservative Republicans in her chain of command promoted her to division chief.

World

Ski Jumping– Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics – Men’s Normal Hill Training – Alpensia Ski Jumping Centre - Pyeongchang, South Korea – February 8, 2018 - Anders Fannemel of Norway does a training jump. REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach

Egg sandwiches. Bacon and eggs. Egg salad. Eggs on toast. Scrambled eggs, or fried. After taking receipt of 15,000 eggs instead of the 1,500 they wanted, Norway’s team at this month’s Pyeongchang Winter Olympics may have a pretty limited menu. 

Syrian government warplanes conducted air strikes against rebel-held eastern Ghouta, killing 21 people and injuring 125 more, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based war monitoring group, reported. 

In Germany, Chancellor Angela Merkel faced criticism from within the ranks of her own conservatives for making concessions to her center-left Social Democrat coalition partners to seal a governing alliance a day earlier.

Commentary

In spite of the thaw in relations over the Winter Olympics, younger South Koreans don't care that much about re-uniting with the North, writes Andray Abrahamian. Unlike previous generations, Southerners in their 20s are less focused on purity of race and identity, have never known anyone from the North and face tougher economic times than their parents. "Given the DPRK’s dysfunction, it is unsurprising they think unification with the Northern state is unattractive."

Business

World stock markets remained on shaky ground as U.S. bond yields crept back towards four-year highs after U.S. congressional leaders reached a two-year budget deal to raise government spending by almost $300 billion. 

The U.S. Federal Reserve is likely to continue removing policy accommodation gradually and could hike rates three times this year, Dallas Fed President Robert S. Kaplan told a business conference in Frankfurt. 

Twitter reported its first quarterly net profit and topped Wall Street targets as video ad sales rose, while a clampdown on fake accounts brought the number of people using the social network in below expectations.

Tesla said it was sticking with Chief Executive Elon Musk’s revised production targets for its Model 3 sedan, cheering investors who have put up with two delays, but the electric automaker’s plans to raise spending this year underscored its growing need for cash.

 Top Stories on Reuters TV

Pentagon weighing options for Trump's military parade 

China tries to win over tech-savvy young Taiwanese

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