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Friday Morning Briefing
November 3, 2017 / 12:13 PM / 15 days ago

Friday Morning Briefing

U.S. President Donald Trump heads to Asia, long lines of fans queue outside stores across the world as Apple’s iPhone X goes on sale and a report explores the streetfood economy that feeds North Korea despite isolation and sanctions.

The first customer for new iPhone X celebrates as he enters an Apple Store in Beijing, China November 3, 2017. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj

North Korea

Beset by challenges at home, Trump is embarking on the longest trip to Asia by an American president in more than a quarter century, looking for help to pressure North Korea to stand down from a nuclear crisis.  

Two U.S. strategic bombers conducted drills over South Korea, the U.S. Air Force said, raising tensions with North Korea just days before Trump visits the region seeking to shut down Pyongyang’s nuclear program.  

One month into the trial of the killing of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un’s half-brother, Malaysian prosecutors have focused on two accused women, but have shed no light on four prime North Korean suspects.

'Injogogi', or 'man-made meat', is one of many culinary inventions cooked up in North Korea, where ingredients are scarce and sanctions are tightening. A rich menu of streetfood shows how people have survived in recent decades, but also makes it hard for outsiders to see if sanctions are hurting ordinary people.  

U.S.

U.S. House of Representatives Republicans unveiled long-delayed legislation to deliver deep tax cuts that Trump has promised, setting off a frantic race in Congress to give him his first major legislative victory. 

Breakingviews - Republicans’ botched pitch for tax cuts could cost them dearly. 

Minutes after Sayfullo Saipov drove a truck down a bike path in New York, a Reuters team started collecting videos and images taken by bystanders during the deadly attack. Read the latest Backstory on how reporters sift through user-generated content in the midst of a breaking news story. 

Trump’s @realdonaldtrump Twitter account was deactivated by a Twitter employee who was leaving the company on Thursday and was down for 11 minutes before it was restored, the social media company said.  

The Trump Effect

Many of the immigration initiatives launched by the Trump administration in recent weeks target one kind of migrant: children. The measures are aimed at expelling young people already in the United States illegally and preventing new ones from crossing into the country.  

When Trump announced on Oct. 12 he would stop subsidies to health insurers critical to the Obamacare law, the response from Democratic state officials was swift and predictable: a lawsuit by 18 state attorneys general was filed within 24 hours.   

Business

U.S. job growth accelerated in October after hurricane-related disruptions hurt employment in September, but there were signs that labor market momentum was slowing as annual wage gains sharply retreated. 

Federal Reserve Board Governor Jerome Powell, who has voted to support Fed Chair Janet Yellen’s low interest rate policies, may not be as negative for the U.S. dollar in the long term as originally thought, investors and analysts said. Trump tapped Fed Governor Jerome Powell to become head of the U.S. central bank, breaking with precedent by denying Janet Yellen a second term but signaling a continuation of her cautious monetary policies. 

Now the Bank of England has raised interest rates for the first time in a decade, it is beyond doubt major central banks in industrialized economies are eager to shift away from ultra-easy policy. But the fact the decision was so contested both in and outside the BoE perhaps reveals more concern about the lack of inflation pressure than about Britain’s clear difficulty in trying to leave the European Union without a concrete plan.  

Long, snaking lines formed outside Apple stores in Asia early as fans flocked to buy the new iPhone X, a turnout that contrasts with the more lackluster launches for the past two iterations of the premium smartphone.  

Iraqi Basra crude oil in November has sold at the widest discounts to official prices in more than a year, with cargoes that backed up after hurricanes hit the U.S. Gulf Coast facing competition from Mexican crude, trade sources said. 

World

The Syrian government declared victory over Islamic State in the eastern city of Deir al-Zor, a big blow to the jihadists as their last stronghold in Syria crumbles.  

Jailed Catalonia leader Santi Vila, among the nine Catalan leaders ordered to be held in custody pending a potential trial over the region’s independence drive, was free to leave jail after paying bail, a court document showed.  

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he hoped a U.S. peace initiative will work and praised President Donald Trump for taking a fresh approach to bringing the Israelis and Palestinians back to negotiations.  

South Africa’s state prosecutors told the Supreme Court of Appeal the six-year sentence for murder handed to Paralympic gold medalist Oscar Pistorius was “shockingly lenient” and asked for the right to launch an appeal.  

China hopes the United States can “help and not cause problems” in the disputed South China Sea, a senior Chinese diplomat said ahead of next week’s visit to Beijing by Trump.  

A century after the Russian Revolution, the influence of its leader Vladimir Lenin has waned but his image remains on monuments built across the former Soviet Union as part of a cult of personality. 

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