March 23, 2018 / 1:52 PM / in a month

Friday Morning Briefing

Trump threatens to veto Congress’ newly passed $1.3 trillion spending bill and at least three people were killed when a gunman shot at police and took hostages in a supermarket in southwestern France.

U.S. President Donald Trump holds his signed memorandum on intellectual property tariffs on high-tech goods from China, at the White House in Washington, U.S. March 22, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

Highlights

China urged the United States to “pull back from the brink” as President Donald Trump’s plans for tariffs on up to $60 billion in Chinese goods moved the world’s two largest economies closer to a trade war. The escalating tensions sent shivers through financial markets as investors foresaw dire consequences for the global economy if trade barriers start going up.

The U.S. Congress voted to approve a $1.3 trillion government funding bill with large increases in military and non-defense spending, sending it to Trump, who was expected to sign it into law. But Trump made a surprising threat to veto Congress’ newly passed spending bill, a move that raised the specter of a possible government shutdown ahead of a midnight Friday deadline to keep federal agencies open. 

Trump shook up his foreign policy team again, replacing H.R. McMaster as national security adviser with John Bolton, a hawk who has advocated using military force against North Korea and Iran.

World

A general view shows the office of Delegation of European Commission in Russia, in central Moscow, Russia March 23, 2018. REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin

Several European governments moved closer to expelling Russian diplomats in a show of support for Britain, which ordered out 23 “undeclared intelligence agents” after a nerve agent attack on a former Russian spy.

Three people were killed when a gunman screaming “Allahu Akbar” shot at police and took hostages in a supermarket in southwestern France and Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said the incident appeared to be a terrorist act.

A Syrian rebel group in one besieged eastern Ghouta pocket said it would try to negotiate an end to an army assault there, while insurgents in another nearby enclave withdrew.

Commentary

Companies like Facebook are as vital to modern life as highways, airplanes and rail lines, writes Matt Laslo. For that reason, the U.S. federal government needs to designate them as critical national infrastructure and help them protect users' data. "At the very least that could renew trust in these companies, but it would also be in their own self-interest because when they’re breached again - and it will happen again - then they can pass the blame up the chain to Washington, where it rightfully belongs."

Tech

Ireland chose Amundi, BlackRock Investment Management and Goldman Sachs Asset Management to manage up to $18.5 billion in disputed taxes Brussels has ordered it to collect from Apple. 

Having topped expectations with the upsized price of its initial public offering, Dropbox faces its next big challenge: a successful launch of trading when global stock markets are on the defensive and tech shares are particularly soft.

Japan’s Toshiba faces a deadline to win Chinese antitrust approval to sell its prized $18 billion memory-chip business by end-March, raising the possibility the deadline may be missed and that it will seek alternatives such as an IPO.

Reuters TV

The rally for gun control “needed to happen some way or another. I hate how it happened… but we need to make good out of it,” Parkland survivor Diego Pfeiffer told Reuters ahead of Washington’s March For Our Lives.

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