February 15, 2018 / 12:13 PM / in 5 days

Thursday Morning Briefing

Good morning. Florida seeks answers after suffering the 18th shooting in a U.S. school this year, Cyril Ramaphosa is elected as South Africa’s president and Yun Sung-bin earns his place as one of South Korea’s favorite athletes at the Winter Olympics.

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Top news

A Florida community will join together to mourn the 17 victims of a suspected lone gunman, as officials seek to discover how the heavily-armed teenager managed to mingle with students in one of the deadliest school shootings in U.S. history. The bloodshed was the latest outbreak of gun violence that has become a regular occurrence at schools and colleges in the United States. 

Winter Olympics

Combination image shows the helmets of athletes during the heat. Top row (L-R): Joseph Luke Cecchini of Italy, Hiroatsu Takahashi of Japan, Barrett Martineau of Canada; second row (L-R): Yun Sung-bin of South Korea, Akwasi Frimpong of Ghana, Nikita Tregubov, an Olympic athlete from Russia; bottom row (L-R): Ander Mirambell of Spain, Dave Greszczyszyn of Canada and Kevin Boyer of Canada. REUTERS/Edgar Su

In his Iron Man helmet and red racing suit, South Korean Yun Sung-bin has seen off rival riders in high-tech skinsuits, led his heats in the men’s skeleton and emerged as the one of the host country’s favorite athletes at the Winter Olympics. Yun topped today’s heats amid ongoing grumbling from fellow athletes that the British rider’s high-tech skinsuits are an unfair advantage.

Other uniforms that are catching people’s eyes are the skull-covered, Day of the Dead-themed suits worn by the Mexican Alpine skiing team are a hit with the athletes and have even won over their initially skeptical Olympic Committee, racer Sarah Schleper said.

Sports e-commerce company Fanatics said that sales of a $300 Nike Team USA jacket have spiked following United States’ Chloe Kim and Shaun White winning gold medals, making jackets its highest grossing Olympics category.

Read more features and insight from our reporters at the Winter Olympics here. 

World

Cyril Ramaphosa was elected president of South Africa by parliament today after Jacob Zuma resigned overnight, heeding orders of the ruling African National Congress to bring an end to his nine scandal-plagued years in power.

Zimbabwe opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai died yesterday after a long battle with cancer, casting his Movement for Democratic Change party into the unknown less than three months after the army ousted long-time ruler Robert Mugabe. 

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull banned sex between ministers and staff and rounded on his deputy for a “shocking error of judgment” by having an affair with a press secretary. Deputy Australian Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce, a Catholic who campaigned on “family values” and married for 24 years, is expecting a child with his former staffer in April. 

Commentary

The U.S. is stuck in Syria — with no mission. The U.S. helped Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces to defeat Islamic State and to carve out large swaths of territory, but American troops in Syria are now in an awkward position, writes Peter Apps. “U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration does not seem to know what it wants to achieve” in Syria, and the SDF cannot hold its ground without U.S. backing. “Now the United States is finding itself forced to engage, though it no longer has any clearly articulated mission of its own.” 

Business

Stocks, bond yields and commodities steamed higher while the dollar tumbled, as investors suddenly seemed to forget the inflation fears blamed for a brutal market sell-off in recent weeks. 

Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway disclosed a new stake in generic drugmaker Teva Pharmaceutical Industries and said it bought more shares of Apple, which surpassed Wells Fargo & Co as its largest common stock investment.

Google makes ads show up in more smartphone apps than any other technology company. That is the core of a resurgent business for parent Alphabet.

McDonald's plays 'hide the cheeseburger' in new Happy Meal health pushMcDonald’s is removing cheeseburgers from U.S. Happy Meal menus and shrinking the french fry serving in one “Mighty Meal” as part of a new global plan to cut calories and make its food for children more healthy. 

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