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Thursday Morning Briefing
November 2, 2017 / 11:42 AM / 17 days ago

Thursday Morning Briefing

Trump says the suspect of the New York attack should receive a death sentence, Jerome Powell is expected to be named the new head of the Federal Reserve and Britain’s defence minister resigns amid a growing sexual harassment scandal in Westminster.

People place candles outside the Instituto Politecnico, a technical high school, where the five Argentine citizens who were killed in the truck attack in New York on October 31 went to school, in Rosario, Argentina November 1, 2017. REUTERS/Marcos Brindicci

New York

U.S. President Donald Trump said the Uzbek immigrant accused of killing eight people when he drove a truck down a New York City bike path should get the death penalty. The suspect, Sayfullo Saipov, told investigators he was inspired by watching Islamic State videos and began planning Tuesday’s attack a year ago, according to a criminal complaint filed against him.  

A visa program aimed at diversifying the U.S. immigrant population came under attack from Trump after he learned that the suspect used it to enter the country.  

Pushed by a lack of jobs and strict control of behavior and dissent, millions of Uzbeks have emigrated in recent years. Hundreds of those joined Islamic State in the Middle East, while others turned to religious extremism in their host countries.  

Commentary

After losing control of its self-declared caliphate in Syria and Iraq, Islamic State is investing more of its resources in a "leaderless jihad" that does not need a physical state, writes Mohamad Bazzi. The group will now rely on lone wolf assaults like the truck attack in New York to project a greater reach than it has. "To combat this more complex range of threats posed by Islamic State and its sympathizers," says Bazzi, "governments throughout the world will need to do more than simply continue military strikes against targets in Iraq and Syria."  

A coup has indeed taken place in Catalonia, writes Melissa Rossi, “but the instigators aren't in Madrid." Instead, it is the social media-savvy separatists that have leveraged historical grudges to create rancor and division, making a mockery of the very democracy they claim to desire by saying that it’s Spain, with elections, a healthy constitution, and a decentralized government, that is undemocratic.  

U.S.

Trump’s drive to overhaul the U.S. tax system will reach a major milestone, when Republicans in the House of Representatives unveil their long-awaited initial bill. The expected bill will be the starting gun for a frantic race toward what Trump and House and Senate Republicans hope will be their first major legislative victory: the enactment this year of a tax package seeking up to $6 trillion in tax cuts over the next decade for corporations, small businesses and individuals.  

Ralph and Mike Waller are such ardent backers of Trump that they help stage a counter-protest every Wednesday in front of their Front Royal, Virginia, pawn shop, sparring with anti-Trump demonstrators who gather across the street. But ask them about Ed Gillespie, the Republican candidate for Virginia governor in next Tuesday’s election, and they show little enthusiasm.  

Police in Colorado were searching for a gunman who calmly walked into a Walmart in suburban Denver and opened fire with a handgun, randomly shooting at shoppers and store clerks, killing three people, before he fled.  

Special report

In 2014, a woman’s severed head was found. Based on the precise way her neck was cut and the careful removal of her cervical spine, investigators believe a body broker was involved. But they need the public's help to solve what they consider the most bizarre case they've handled. Read Part Five of a special series on the body broker industry.

 

The group Colla els Capgrossos de Mataro form a human tower called 'Castell' during the All Saints Day in Vilafranca del Penedes town, near Barcelona, Spain, November 1, 2017. REUTERS/Juan Medina

The group Colla els Capgrossos de Mataro form a human tower called 'Castell' during the All Saints Day in Vilafranca del Penedes town, near Barcelona, Spain, November 1, 2017. REUTERS/Juan Medina

Russia probe

Paul Manafort, who served briefly as Trump’s election campaign manager, and business associate Rick Gates are expected to make their first appearances before the judge overseeing a criminal case brought by a special counsel investigating campaign ties to Russia.  

Trump does not recall a meeting with his foreign policy advisers in March 2016 in which one of them suggested he could arrange a meeting between candidate Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin, the White House said.  

U.S. lawmakers released a batch of Russian-bought Facebook ads that showcased politically charged content allegedly spread on social media by Moscow ahead of the 2016 U.S. election.  

Facebook’s long-term problem just got shorter. Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg vowed to do more to combat fake content in response to the fallout from Russia-backed ads. As government scrutiny grows, he warned profitability will take a hit at the $500 billion firm. Read the Breakingviews piece.  

Business

Traders were bracing for landmark events including the Bank of England’s first rate hike since 2007 and the unveiling of a new Fed chief as well as results from Apple as it looks to become the world’s first $1 trillion company.  

Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook quashed concerns recently about muted demand for the iPhone X, saying pre-orders for the 10th anniversary smartphone were “off the charts,” but it might be the company’s market capitalization that needs a bigger graph.  

Apple won accolades from privacy experts in September for assuring that facial data used to unlock its new iPhone X would be securely stored on the phone itself.  

Tesla pushed back its target for volume production on its new Model 3 sedan by about three months, saying it was difficult to predict how long it would take to fix all production bottlenecks.  

Wall Street’s main regulator warned that celebrities or other individuals may be breaking U.S. securities law when promoting investments in initial coin offerings, a means for companies to raise funds online.  

Central banking

The Bank of England raised interest rates for the first time in more than 10 years and said it expected only “very gradual” further increases would be needed over the next three years.

Trump’s expected nomination of Federal Reserve Board Governor Jerome Powell to be the next chair of the U.S. central bank likely will provide investors with some assurance of continuity in monetary policy, supporting the eight-year long stock market rally, but perhaps dealing a blow to those looking for a stronger U.S. dollar.  

World

North Korea may be planning a new missile test, South Korea’s spy agency told lawmakers, after brisk activity was spotted at its research facilities, just days before U.S. President Donald Trump visits Seoul.  

The United States is Iran’s “number one enemy” and Tehran will never succumb to Washington’s pressure over a multinational nuclear deal, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said in a televised speech.  

Reuters TV: Britain’s defence minister resigns in a growing sexual harassment scandal in Westminster.  

British street artist Banksy has offered a royal “apology” engraved on Israel’s barrier in the occupied West Bank for Britain’s endorsement a century ago of the establishment of a Jewish homeland in Palestine. 

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