May 3, 2018 / 12:58 PM / 17 days ago

Thursday Morning Briefing

Good morning. Tesla’s CEO Elon Musk wipes off $2 billion in market value after ducking analysts’ questions, Trump praises China’s Xi Jinping as U.S. team arrives for trade talks and Reuters measures Macron’s pledge to reboot the French economy one year after taking office.  

Chinese and U.S. flags are set up for a signing ceremony during a visit by U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao at China's Ministry of Transport in Beijing, China April 27, 2018. REUTERS/Jason Lee

Highlights

U.S. President Donald Trump praised his relationship with Chinese President Xi Jinping as a U.S. delegation arrived in Beijing for talks on tariffs, with state media saying China will stand up to U.S. bullying.

 At BP’s massive Thunder Horse oil platform in the U.S. Gulf of Mexico, a dog-sized robot called Maggie uses magnetic tracks to creep along pipes connecting the giant oil facility to the sea floor. Before “Maggie”, the dangerous inspection job was reserved for highly paid specialist technicians. The energy industry has turned to robots and drones to cut costs and improve safety. Find out more on the world at work.

The U.S. government is looking into reports that three Americans detained in North Korea have been relocated from a labor camp to a hotel near Pyongyang ahead of a planned summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, a U.S. official said.

Iran

Trump has all but decided to withdraw from the 2015 Iran nuclear accord by May 12 but exactly how he will do so remains unclear, two White House officials and a source familiar with the administration’s internal debate said.

Commentary: On May 12, Trump is expected to decide to re-impose sanctions on Iran under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. That will significantly increase the chances of war – and may be exactly the outcome Washington seeks, writes Peter Van Buren. The nuclear deal’s 2030 agreement end date is to the Trump administration a ticking time bomb; it believes that Iran will lie in wait, springing into nuclear status 12 years from now. Yet the worry over an Iran of the future going nuclear is pure political theater.

World

French President-elect Emmanuel Macron celebrates on the stage at his victory rally near the Louvre in Paris, France May 7, 2017. REUTERS/Christian Hartmann

French President Emmanuel Macron swept into office last May on a pledge to create jobs and improve the lives of workers by rebooting the country’s economy. A year on, annual economic growth has picked up - closing the gap with Germany and pulling away from other major European powers such as Britain and Italy. To measure Macron’s impact on the economy, Reuters has compiled a graphic showing a dashboard of indicators that will update as new data is released over the course of his presidency.

Electoral watchdog groups in Malaysia said the voter list for next week’s general election had major flaws, including the existence of a 121-year-old voter, raising the specter of possible fraud.

Two Reuters journalists, Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, have been detained in Myanmar for 143 days. Follow the latest updates here.

Business

Ducking analysts’ questions has a price: $2 billion. Tesla investors gave a rare rebuke to iconoclastic Chief Executive Elon Musk after he cut off analysts asking about profit potential, sending shares down 5 percent despite promises that production of the troubled Model 3 electric car was on track.

Cambridge Analytica, the firm embroiled in a controversy over its handling of Facebook user data, and its British parent SCL Elections, are shutting down immediately after suffering a sharp drop in business, the company said.

Chinese smartphone and connected device maker Xiaomi is bringing its blockbuster initial public offering to Hong Kong, where it could raise about $10 billion in the largest listing globally in almost four years.

Amazon.com said it has halted planning for a new office building in Seattle and might sub-lease rather than occupy another future tower downtown, pending a city council vote on a proposed tax on top businesses.

Reuters TV

New Zealand has launched a tourism campaign featuring its Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and comedian Rhys Darby questioning why the country is frequently left off world maps.

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