February 22, 2018 / 1:55 PM / 7 months ago

Thursday Morning Briefing

As students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School confront lawmakers with demands to restrict sales of assault rifles, there were warnings by the president of the Florida school administration association that schools in the state were vulnerable to such an attack.

U.S. President Donald Trump bows his head during a prayer as he sits between Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting survivors and students Julia Cordover and Carson Abt (R) as the president hosts a listening session with high school students and teachers to discuss school safety at the White House in Washington, U.S., February 21, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

Highlights

“Nikolas Cruz was able to purchase an assault rifle before he was able to buy a beer,” said Stoneman Douglas student Laurenzo Prado, referring to a Florida law that allows people as young as 18 to buy assault weapons. Students galvanized by the deadly mass shooting at the Florida high school confronted lawmakers with demands to restrict sales of assault rifles, while President Donald Trump suggested arming teachers as a way to stop more U.S. rampages.

Two weeks before a gunman fatally shot 17 people at a Florida high school, Bill Lee, the president of the state’s school administrators association, warned that Florida’s schools were vulnerable to just such an attack. “It’s not a matter of if, but when,” he wrote in the Orlando Sentinel on Jan. 29, calling on legislators to increase school security spending after two January school shootings in other states.

World

U.S. players pose for a photo as they celebrate their victory over Canada. REUTERS/Grigory Dukor

She’s practiced the ‘Oops, I did it again’ thousands of times in training, and her signature trick was worth its weight in Olympic gold as American Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson’s shootout winner broke a Canadian 16-year stranglehold on the women’s ice hockey title. It was the perfect jaw-dropping finale to a game that was billed as a grudge match but swiftly developed into a classic for the ages at the Pyeongchang Winter Games.

Warplanes pounded the last rebel enclave near the Syrian capital for a fifth straight day, as the United Nations pleaded for a truce to halt one of the fiercest air assaults of the seven-year civil war and prevent a “massacre”.

Bangladesh is racing to turn an uninhabited and muddy Bay of Bengal island into home for 100,000 Rohingya Muslims who have fled a military crackdown in Myanmar, amid conflicting signals from top Bangladeshi officials about whether the refugees would end up being stranded there.

Commentary

North Korea’s participation in the 2018 Winter Olympics has created an opening for renewed dialogue with the United States and South Korea, writes Peter Apps. “By taking part so visibly alongside South Korea, Pyongyang has been able to present itself as a credible global and regional power in a way that has eluded North Korean leaders since the war that divided the peninsula. The real strategic winner, however, is the South Korean government, which has shrewdly used the games to reshape the diplomatic landscape.” 

Business

Last March, executives at General Electric's power-plant business gave Wall Street a surprisingly bullish forecast for the year. Despite flat demand for new natural gas power plants, they said, GE Power’s revenue and profit would rise. But GE’s forecast turned out to be a mirage.

Mexican buyers imported ten times more corn from Brazil last year amid concern that NAFTA renegotiations could disrupt their U.S. supplies, according to government data and top grains merchants.

Warren Buffett may use part of his annual letter to Berkshire Hathaway shareholders, due on Saturday, to renew his optimism about America, at a time economic growth is on the upswing and U.S. stocks sit near record highs despite rising interest rates.

World stocks tumbled to one-week lows after the U.S. Fed confirmed it was on track to raise interest rates several times this year, sending bond yields to new multi-year highs.

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