May 18, 2018 / 12:24 PM / 2 months ago

Friday Morning Briefing

China denies it offered a $200 billion package to slash U.S. trade deficit, Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano spews ash nearly six miles into the sky and an experimental Ebola vaccine is set to be deployed in DRC.

A U.S. flag is seen during a welcoming ceremony in Beijing, China, November 9, 2017. REUTERS/Thomas Peter

Highlights

China denied that it had offered a package to slash the U.S. trade deficit by up to $200 billion, hours after it dropped an anti-dumping probe into U.S. sorghum imports in a conciliatory gesture as top negotiators meet in Washington.

Exclusive: The former son-in-law of Paul Manafort, the one-time chairman of President Donald Trump’s campaign, has cut a plea deal with the Justice Department that requires him to cooperate with other criminal probes, two people with knowledge of the matter said.

Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano spewed ash nearly six miles (9 km) into the sky and scientists warned this could be the first in a string of more violent explosive eruptions with the next possibly occurring within hours.

World

Congolese Health Ministry officials carry the first batch of experimental Ebola vaccines in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of Congo May 16, 2018. REUTERS/Kenny Katombe

An experimental Ebola vaccine to be deployed in an outbreak in Democratic Republic of Congo has conquered some major scientific hurdles in giving high protection, but it now faces extreme real-world tests including heat, humidity, language barriers and lack of roads.

North Korea has declined to accept a list of South Korean journalists hoping to observe the closure of its nuclear test site, South Korea said, raising new questions about the North’s commitment to reducing tension.

All 34 Chilean bishops who attended a crisis meeting this week with Pope Francis about the cover-up of sexual abuse in their country have offered their resignation, the bishops said in a statement released.

The Royal Wedding

Prince Charles, the heir to the British throne, will walk Meghan Markle down the aisle at her glittering wedding to his son Prince Harry on Saturday after her own father had to pull out because of ill health.

Commentary: Novelist Zoë Heller isn’t interested in watching the marriage of Prince Harry to actress Meghan Markle. “The most interesting stuff about weddings for me is always the anthropological detail, the chance to watch how people are behaving at the reception afterward,” says Heller, author of books that include “The Believers” and “Notes on a Scandal.” “But you’re not going to get any of that.” Of more interest to Heller: how a worldly woman like Markle will cope with the “drear” of royal life. Heller spoke to Commentary editor Katherine Zoepf about the fantasy of marrying a prince – and why Markle will be useful to Britain’s monarchy.

Tech

Breakingviews: About one in three employees at Google, Facebook and Apple is a woman. That’s an imbalance that tech sector executives Sheryl Sandberg and Tim Cook say they want to change. Yet even if their companies set a target of just over half their new recruits being women, a Breakingviews calculator shows that closing the gender gap will take up to 15 years. 

Billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk promised a cheering crowd that his controversial dream of burrowing a high-speed network of “personalized mass transit” tunnels under Los Angeles could be achieved without disturbance or noise at the surface. 

Several socially conscious investment firms are selling or rethinking their Facebook holdings, unsatisfied by the company’s moves to strengthen personal data protection and online safety after scandals involving the improper sharing of users’ information.

Cambridge Analytica, the firm at the center of this year’s Facebook privacy row, filed for voluntary Chapter 7 bankruptcy in a New York court late. Cambridge Analytica listed assets in the range of $100,001 to $500,000 and liabilities in the range of $1 million to $10 million. 

Uber Chief Product Officer Jeff Holden is leaving the ride-hailing company, an Uber spokesman told Reuters, the latest of more than a dozen senior executives to depart since last year.

Reuters TV

At least two people, one student and one teacher, were killed in a highway collision between a school bus and a dump truck. More than forty others were injured.

At least two dead in school bus highway accident
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