July 26, 2018 / 12:13 PM / 20 days ago

Thursday Morning Briefing

Trump relents on EU car tariffs, Facebook’s grim forecast and China’s sex doll makers jump on AI drive.

U.S. President Donald Trump and President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker speak about trade relations in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, U.S., July 25, 2018. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

Highlights

In what the EU chief called a “major concession”, Trump agreed to refrain from imposing car tariffs while the two sides launch negotiations to cut other trade barriers, easing the threat of a transatlantic trade war.

Even as the U.S. government scrambles to meet a deadline for reuniting hundreds of immigrant children with their parents, it has acknowledged that hundreds more families separated by border officials will not be brought back together immediately.

A bomb exploded outside the U.S. embassy in Beijing, wounding the lone assailant, the embassy said in a statement, but police described the weapon merely as a “firework device”.

World

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Pakistani cricket icon-turned-politician Imran Khan nudged closer to power after a general election that has been marred by long delays in ballot counting and accusations of rigging by opponents.

Almost three-quarters of Venezuela’s newspapers have closed during five years of recession in the once-prosperous OPEC member country, according to the national journalism association, leaving El Nacional as the last independent national daily.

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Commentary

In spite of the rising rhetoric between Trump and Hassan Rouhani, there are still reasonable options that could avert the risk of catastrophic conflict between the United States and Iran – and perhaps keep the multinational nuclear deal alive, writes Seyed Hossein Mousavian. “Europe, China, Russia, and Iran all have the responsibility to confront unilateralism; protecting the JCPOA is the first step.”

Wider Image: Amid Beijing’s push to turn the country into an artificial intelligence powerhouse and embed the technology in all facets of life, some Chinese entrepreneurs are taking this to a new frontier: sex dolls.

Business

Facebook’s shares lost as much as a quarter of their value on Wednesday after executives said that profit margins would plummet for several years due to the costs of improving privacy safeguards and slowing usage in the biggest advertising markets.

Qualcomm walked away from a $44 billion deal to buy NXP Semiconductors after failing to secure Chinese regulatory approval, becoming a high profile victim of a bitter Sino-U.S. trade spat.

British American Tobacco said it would test launch its Eclipse tobacco heating product in the United States within the next 12 months, giving it a head start in a highly competitive market.

Reuters TV

Scientists say they’ve spotted what appears to be a sizable salt-laden lake under ice on the southern polar plain of Mars, raising the possibility of life on the Red Planet.

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