January 30, 2018 / 1:12 PM / 4 months ago

Tuesday Morning Briefing

The spotlight today is on U.S. President Trump’s first State of the Union speech, FBI’s McCabe stepping down from his post and an exclusive Reuters report on Syrian chemical weapons.

A Turkish soldier is seen in an armoured personnel carrier at a check point near the Turkish-Syrian border in Kilis province, Turkey, January 29, 2018. REUTERS/Murad Sezer

Highlights

CIA Director Mike Pompeo warned that Russia will target U.S. mid-term elections later this year as part of the Kremlin’s attempt to influence domestic politics across the West. The Trump administration said it would not immediately impose additional sanctions on Russia, despite a new law designed to punish Moscow’s alleged meddling, insisting the measure was already hitting Russian companies. 

As he battles a probe into his campaign’s alleged ties with Russia, U.S. President Trump will attempt to divert attention to U.S. economic gains in his first State of the Union speech to Congress tonight. Facing a looming deadline on an immigration controversy amid strong Democratic opposition, Trump will also call for a bipartisan compromise of the type that has eluded him during a turbulent first year in office marked by partisan battles.

World

The Syrian government’s chemical weapons stockpile has been linked for the first time by laboratory tests to the largest sarin nerve agent attack of the civil war, diplomats and scientists told Reuters, supporting Western claims that government forces under President Bashar al-Assad were behind the atrocity. Read the Reuters exclusive.

Southern Yemeni separatists took control of the port city of Aden after two days of fighting, residents said, confining the internationally-recognized government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi to the presidential palace

Commentary

The American strategy against Islamic State worked. What stands out now is the conspicuous absence of American influence in Baghdad and Iran "picking up the pieces, creating a new Lebanon out of the shell of what was once Iraq." If any of this does presage some future American conflict "then we shall have witnessed a true ironic tragedy," writes 24-year State Department veteran Peter Van Buren.

Business

World stocks were in their biggest two-day dive in six months today and commodities were also jammed in reverse, as rising U.S. borrowing costs cooled financial markets’ euphoric start to the year. 

Pfizer’s quarterly profit jumped almost 16 times compared to a year ago, as the largest U.S. drugmaker booked an $11 billion gain from the new tax law. 

When Apple announces its first-quarter earnings on Thursday, investors will seek signs of whether the company’s $999 iPhone X launched last autumn was a Steve Jobs-style hit or, as more analysts suspect, a letdown.  

Top stories on Reuters TV

FBI's McCabe steeping down amind attacks from Trump 

Fitness app raises alarm over U.S. troop saftey 

North Korea cancels Olympic event with the South

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