February 28, 2018 / 11:46 AM / 10 months ago

Wednesday Morning Briefing

Good morning. Catch up with today’s briefing featuring Kushner’s push from the president’s briefing, the Russia probe’s Hicks hiccup and Kim Jong Un’s fake Brazillian passport.

Worshippers shout slogans during a protest near the closed entrance to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem's Old City, February 27, 2018. REUTERS/Ammar Awad

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Highlights

It’s a tumultuous time for the White House youth contingent. Jared Kushner’s security clearance has been downgraded, barring him from access to the president’s daily intelligence briefing, and close Trump aide Hope Hicks refused to answer questions from the House of Representatives Intelligence Committee about her time with the administration.

World stocks were set to snap a record 15-month long winning streak today, tumbling another quarter percent after new Fed boss Jerome Powell’s comments suggested the possibility of four U.S. interest rate rises this year rather than three. 

Reanna Frauens, a lifelong gun enthusiast and a proud member of the Markham Skeet, Trap & Sporting Clays Club, is about the same age as many of the 17 victims killed by a shooter with an assault rifle at a Florida high school about a dozen miles away. But unlike many of the survivors of the massacre, the 16-year-old sees a nascent, student-led campaign for tighter gun controls as a threat to her rights under the U.S. Constitution.  

World

A scan obtained by Reuters shows an authentic Brazilian passport issued to North Korea's late leader Kim Jong-il and Kim Jong-un. Handout via REUTERS

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and his late father Kim Jong Il used fraudulently obtained Brazilian passports to apply for visas to visit Western countries in the 1990s, five senior Western European security sources told Reuters.

Syrian government forces and allied militias gained ground in clashes with rebels in eastern Ghouta near Damascus as fighting raged despite a Russian ceasefire plan, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported.  

Some of South Sudan’s 6,000 schools opened for a new academic year this month - but the government does not know how many. Teachers have not been paid. Many of them, and their pupils, are on the run after four years of fighting. In the capital, classrooms are filled with hungry displaced families.

Emails from its own scientists show the International Agency for Research on Cancer failed to comprehensively review evidence on human exposure to the cancer-causing chemical benzene. The agency has not remedied matters, despite its findings being used in U.S. court cases and relied upon around the world.

Jerusalem’s Church of the Holy Sepulchre, revered as the site of Jesus’s crucifixion and burial, reopened  after Israel backtracked yesterday from a tax plan and draft property legislation that triggered a three-day protest.

Commentary

Removing China's presidental term limits have set up Xi Jinping to continue ruling for the rest of his life, writes Peter Marino.

"But more importantly ... Xi has fractured what remains of global models and understanding of the incentives and functioning of Chinese politics, transformed China into something more unambiguously dictatorial, and opened up a new and potentially dangerous fissure in Chinese elite politics. The implications are enormous."

Business

EU antitrust regulators are set to approve with conditions German drug and crop chemical maker Bayer’s $62.5 billion bid for world No. 1 seed company Monsanto, two people familiar with the matter said today.

Amazon has agreed to buy video doorbell maker Ring, the companies said today, in what analysts see as a growing bet on delivering packages inside of shoppers’ homes and on home security.

For years, General Motors resisted calls from South Korean officials to cut interest rates it was charging on nearly $3 billion in loans to its loss-making South Korean unit, according to three sources and documents seen by Reuters.

Formula 1 is launching a new TV streaming product that it says will put fans in control of their race viewing experience, letting them watch from their favorite driver’s perspective or tracking battles for position. Read more tech news and coverage from the Mobile World Congress here.

Reuters TV 

Chinese smartphone manufacturer Huawei has used the artificial intelligence technology in its Mate 10 Pro phone to drive a Porsche Panamera, controlling the vehicle to react to objects ahead of it. It all comes as tech firms showcase their latest innovations at the Mobile World Congress.

The Huawei phone that can drive a car
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