July 20, 2018 / 11:32 AM / 3 months ago

Friday Morning Briefing

From chaos on the Texas border to the ‘duck boat’ disaster in Missouri, catch up on the latest headlines.

A woman wears VR glasses while the projection mapping is cast on table and walls during its media preview at "TREE BY NAKED, yoyogi park" restaurant in Tokyo, Japan, July 19, 2018. This restaurant incorporates virtual reality, projection mapping, and music to enhance diners' enjoyment of their food. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon

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HIGHLIGHTS

President Donald Trump has invited Putin to Washington this autumn, a daring rebuttal to the torrent of criticism in the United States over Trump’s failure to publicly confront the Russian president at their first summit for Moscow’s meddling in the 2016 election.

With outrage over the Helsinki summit plus revived talk of a Democratic wave in November’s congressional elections, Republicans at a conference in Texas this week had reason to feel downcast, even panicky. Instead, party officials voiced optimism about maintaining control of both the Senate and House of Representatives this autumn.

Lawyers and immigrant advocates working in south Texas this week reported widespread disarray as the federal government scrambled to meet a court-imposed deadline of July 26 for reunifying families separated by immigration officials under the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” measures.

Trump's comments that a strong dollar “puts us at a disadvantage” caused an instant fall in the greenback yesterday and marked another example of the U.S. president commenting directly - and sometimes contradictorily - on the country’s currency.

WORLD 

Facebook’s WhatsApp is rolling out a global test measure to rein in messages forwarded by users, the messaging app said, after the spread of rumors led to several killings in India and sparked calls for action from authorities.

A South Korean court sentenced former president Park Geun-hye to eight more years in prison after finding her guilty on charges of causing loss of government funds and interfering in a 2016 parliamentary election.

A major cyberattack on Singapore’s government health database stole the personal information of about 1.5 million people, including Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong. 

COMMENTARY

In spite of Trump's claims that Islamic State has been defeated, the militant group is reconstituting itself in parts of Iraq, writes Geneive Abdo for Reuters Commentary. "This reality runs counter to the prevailing view in Washington – a narrative Trump has advanced – that IS has been ousted from Iraq."

BUSINESS

Comcast dropped its $66 billion bid for Twenty-First Century Fox Inc’s entertainment assets but said it would still try to expand its international footprint by acquiring 61 percent of European broadcaster Sky, the remainder of which is owned by Fox.

The latest round of U.S. tariffs on $200 billion of Chinese goods could hit the Apple Watch, health trackers, streaming music speakers and other accessories assembled in China, government rulings on tariffs show.

Panasonic said it was unable to determine how much of the cobalt used in batteries it makes for Tesla cars comes from Cuba, a country subject to U.S. sanctions, and that it had suspended relations with a Canadian supplier as a result of its concerns.

U.S. industrial conglomerate General Electric reported a 28 percent drop in quarterly profit on Friday, as weakness in power and renewables energy offset gains in its aviation, oil and gas and healthcare units.

Microsoft posted quarterly profit and revenue that beat analysts’ estimates, as more businesses signed up for its Azure cloud computing services and Office 365 productivity suite.

REUTERS TV

Police say at least 11 people drowned when an amphibious ‘duck boat’ capsized and sank in stormy weather on a lake in Missouri with 31 people aboard, including children. Jayson Albano reports.

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