November 15, 2017 / 12:14 PM / a month ago

Wednesday Morning Briefing

Zimbabwe’s military seizes power from President Robert Mugabe, a gunman kills four people in a Northern California community and Australia votes overwhelmingly for same-sex marriage.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un gives field guidance to the Kumsong Tractor Factory in this undated picture provided by KCNA in Pyongyang on November 15, 2017. KCNA via Reuters

Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe’s military seized power targeting “criminals” around President Robert Mugabe but gave assurances on national television that the 93-year-old leader and his family were “safe and sound”. 

Soldiers and armored vehicles blocked roads to the main government offices, parliament and the courts in central Harare, while taxis ferried commuters to work nearby, a Reuters witness said.

Mugabe, the self-styled ‘Grand Old Man’ of African politics, has led Zimbabwe for the last 37 years. In contrast to his elevated status on the continent, Mugabe is reviled in the West as a despot whose disastrous handling of the economy and willingness to resort to violence to maintain power destroyed one of Africa’s most promising states. 

South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma spoke to Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, and Mugabe told Zuma that he was confined to his home but that he was fine, the South African presidency said in a statement. 

U.S.

U.S. Senate Republicans linked repealing a key component of Obamacare to their ambitious tax-cut plan, raising new political risks and uncertainties for the tax measure that financial markets have been monitoring closely for months. 

A gunman carrying a semi-automatic weapon and two handguns opened fire at multiple locations across a small Northern California community, killing four people before he was slain by police. 

The Trump administration is expected to publicly release its rules for deciding whether to disclose cyber security flaws or keep them secret, a national security official told Reuters. 

Breakingviews: Trump's coal push loses power as U.S. goes green.

A worker climbs a ladder as he carries clam shells to be loaded onto a truck, on the banks of Murinjapuzha River on the outskirts of Kochi, India, November 14, 2017. REUTERS/Sivaram V

A worker climbs a ladder as he carries clam shells to be loaded onto a truck, on the banks of Murinjapuzha River on the outskirts of Kochi, India, November 14, 2017. REUTERS/Sivaram V

 

Business

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions would not say if White House officials contacted his department about its review of AT&T’s proposed purchase of Time Warner, which one analyst said the Justice Department may sue to block as soon as Wednesday. 

A shareholder proposal calling for Twenty-First Century Fox to do away with its dual-class share structure may inflict a symbolic black eye on the media company’s founder Rupert Murdoch and his family at its annual meeting. 

Oil prices slipped for the fourth day in a row on a gloomy outlook for oil demand growth from the International Energy Agency and worries that data expected later in the day would show U.S. output rising, undermining OPEC cuts. 

There are more cases against Google to come, Margrethe Vestager, the European Commissioner for Competition, said during a trip to Beijing. 

Amazon.com has scrapped plans to launch an online streaming service bundling popular U.S. broadcast and cable networks because it believes it cannot make enough money on such a service, people familiar with the matter told Reuters. Read the exclusive

Monsanto and U.S. farm groups sued California to stop the state from requiring cancer warnings on products containing the widely used weed killer glyphosate, which the company sells to farmers to apply to its genetically engineered crops. 

Forget robots. The real transformation taking place in nearly every workplace is the invasion of digital tools. The use of digital tools has increased, often dramatically, in 517 of 545 occupations since 2002, with a striking uptick in many lower-skilled occupations, according to a study released by the Brookings Institution, a Washington think tank. 

World

Russian Twitter accounts posted almost 45,000 messages about Brexit in the 48 hours around last year’s referendum in an attempt to sow discord during the vote on whether to leave the European Union, the Times newspaper reported. 

After a summer filled with flaming rockets and an earth-shaking nuclear blast, North Korea’s state media is portraying Kim Jong Un as a leader who has temporarily traded weapons for workshops

Australians have voted overwhelmingly for same-sex marriage, paving the way for legislation by the end of 2017 and sparking rainbow celebrations, with people wearing wedding dresses and sequined suits and declaring “our love is real”. 

Lebanese President Michel Aoun said that Saudi Arabia had detained Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri, the first time he had said so publicly, and called it an act of aggression against Lebanon. 

A North Korean soldier who suffered critical gunshot wounds during a defection dash over the border to South Korea this week stabilized after a second round of surgery, a doctor treating him said. 

Last March, Chief Justice Maikel Moreno shocked Venezuela when his Supreme Court nullified the powers of the National Assembly and transferred them to the 32-judge tribunal. The power play illustrated Moreno’s role as enforcer for the embattled administration of President Nicolas Maduro, now branded a dictatorship by a growing number of governments. To trace Maduro's ascent, Reuters examined documents and interviewed associates, colleagues and friends of the chief justice in a special report.  

 Commentary

In the wake of the wave of sexual assault claims against figures like Harvey Weinstein, it's time for the conversation to turn against U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos's gutting of campus sexual assault procedures, writes Jill Filipovic. DeVos has rejected Obama-era guidelines on how colleges investigate sexual assault, telling colleges they can use whatever standard of proof they deem fair while the Department of Education sorts out new recommendations. "This is the worst possible approach," says Filipovic. "Even though there was roiling debate over which standard to use, everyone agreed that lack of clarity on rules was an ongoing issue." 

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