March 14, 2018 / 12:16 PM / 3 days ago

Wednesday Morning Briefing

Good morning. Democrats claimed a too-close-to-call election vote in Pennsylvania, the war-of-words escalated between Britain and Russia and the universe lost one of its brightest stars after British theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking died.

People walk to work in Midtown Manhattan during the third winter storm in two weeks early morning in New York City, NY, U.S., March 13, 2018. REUTERS/Bernadette Baum

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United States

The U.S. House of Representatives election in Pennsylvania was in a dead heat, an ominous sign for Republicans in a vote seen as a referendum on Trump's performance and only eight months ahead of congressional elections. This comes as a leading Washington, D.C. polling firm warned the senators in no uncertain terms that intense Democratic antipathy toward Trump could spur that party’s voters to turn out in record numbers, jeopardizing safe Republican districts and potentially costing the party control of Congress. 

 U.S. teenagers from coast to coast will join students from the Florida high school where a gunman killed 17 people last month in a national class walkout they hope will press policy makers to act on tighter gun control. 

Japan’s foreign minister said he personally regretted the departure of “frank, trustworthy” U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson ahead of a proposed summit between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. Critics expressed dismay at the decision to swap out top diplomats so soon before the unprecedented potential meeting between Kim and Trump, and worried that Pompeo would encourage Trump to be hawkish on North Korea.


“Trump is learning to work the presidency,” writes columnist Peter Apps. Though he observes few presidential norms, and disagrees with the Washington establishment on just about everything, “it’s hard to dispute that he is becoming more successful at marrying his idiosyncratic style with the levers of power to get his own way." 


Physicist Stephen Hawking sits on stage during an announcement of the Breakthrough Starshot initiative with investor Yuri Milner in New York April 12, 2016. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson/

Britain will expel 23 Russian diplomats in response to a nerve agent attack on a Russian former double agent in Salisbury, Prime Minister Theresa May said, adding it is the biggest single expulsion in over 30 years. The British-Russian war of words escalated after Russia threatened to expel all British media and Britain warned it could strip Russian broadcaster RT of its UK operating licence.

Even royals, it seems, may suffer from the gender pay gap. British actress Claire Foy, who starred as a young Queen Elizabeth in the critically acclaimed Netflix series “The Crown,” was paid less than her co-star, Matt Smith, according to the television show’s producers. 

Finland is the world’s happiest country, according to an annual survey issued today that found Americans were getting less happy even as their country became richer. 

Stephen Hawking, who sought to explain some of the most complicated questions of life while working under the shadow of a likely premature death, has died at 76. Reuters Graphics charted a brief history of the life of the British theoretical physicist, who probed the very limits of human understanding both in the vastness of space and in the bizarre sub-molecular world of quantum theory. 

I became possibly the best-known scientist in the world. This is partly because scientists, apart from Einstein, are not widely known rock stars, and partly because I fit the stereotype of a disabled genius.


As Trump forges ahead with his controversial trade policies, even financial experts who enthusiastically applaud many of Trump’s other policies are worried that the protectionist measures could hurt U.S. growth, Reuters interviews with more than two dozen such specialists show.

Singapore-based Broadcom withdrew its $117 billion bid to acquire Qualcomm today, two days after U.S. President Donald Trump blocked the attempt citing national security concerns.

As the era of cheap money gradually draws to a close and rising inflation and interest rates cast a shadow over Wall Street’s nine-year bull market, one corner of the financial industry is cheering.

Reuters TV

 Reuters gets a rare look into one of Japan’s aging prisons - where convicts serving life sentences are losing their mobility, and their confidence to re-enter the outside world.

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