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Tuesday Morning Briefing
November 7, 2017 / 12:58 PM / a month ago

Tuesday Morning Briefing

U.S. President Trump strikes a more conciliatory note over North Korea, Saudi Arabia’s purge widens and officials reveal that a lapse in a background check database allowed the Texas shooter to buy guns.

White House Communications Director Hope Hicks attends an official dinner thrown by Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in honor of U.S. President Donald Trump at Akasaka Palace in Tokyo, Japan November 6, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

Asia

He may be a divisive figure back home, but U.S. President Donald Trump will be landing in friendly territory when he arrives in Beijing, judging by Chinese social media. On platforms such as the Twitter-like Sina Weibo, Trump’s Chinese supporters, who admire his business success and a free-wheeling style unconstrained by political correctness, are far more prominent than detractors. 

Three U.S. aircraft carrier strike groups will exercise together in the Western Pacific in the coming days in a rare show of force as Trump visits Asia with warnings about the nuclear threat from North Korea, U.S. officials say.  

Trump warned North Korea he was prepared to use the full range of U.S. military power to stop any attack, but in a more conciliatory appeal than ever before he urged Pyongyang to “make a deal” to end the nuclear standoff.  

U.S.

The man who committed the deadliest mass shooting in Texas history was able to buy guns legally from a sporting goods store because a prior domestic violence conviction was never entered into an FBI database used in background checks, officials said.  

A bitterly fought governor’s race in Virginia leads a slate of state and local elections that offer an early test of Trump’s political influence and possible strategies for both parties in next year’s midterm elections.  

During the eight years of the Obama administration, business lobbyists often found the gates to the White House closed tight. They are open now under Trump. While that is not altogether unexpected, what does surprise lobbyists is the sheer number of wins in getting the Trump administration to roll back or delay unfavorable regulations in its first 10 months. And it is occurring despite White House dysfunction and distraction.  

Commentary

In early December, the Supreme Court will hear arguments from a Christian bakery owner seeking the right to discriminate against gay couples, writes Scott Lemieux. The baker, who refused to make a cake for a same-sex wedding, will likely try to portray this case as a unique freedom of speech issue that would warrant a very narrow constitutional exception. "But don’t be fooled," says Lemieux. "If the state of Colorado’s application of its laws is found to be unconstitutional, it would unleash a widespread assault on civil rights protections."

Business

This holiday season, retailers are making a list, checking it twice, and then ordering less for U.S. shoppers. With foot traffic at their stores in decline, department stores that would have stocked up for the biggest shopping season of the year months ago are still in the process of placing new orders, according to nearly a dozen sources including company officials, vendors who work with the retailers and consultants who advise such chains.  

Rather than waiting to see how the Republican tax bill will fare in Congress, some investors are already picking out gingerly technology, healthcare and consumer companies they expect to use potential tax savings to buy back more of their own stock.  

A potential mega-merger between chipmaker Broadcom and U.S. rival Qualcomm is likely to face stern scrutiny in China, antitrust lawyers say, amid a strategic push by Beijing into semiconductors.  

Uber has formed an unprecedented alliance in Brazil with other ride-hailing services, including its main local rival 99, to win public support to block regulation threatening the way they do business in a booming market.  

China’s Meituan-Dianping, an online platform for ordering food and booking movies and restaurants, is considering an initial public offering in the United States as soon as next year, five people with knowledge of the matter told Reuters. Read the exclusive.

Breakingviews - Hong Kong tech fervour defies Western IPO wobbles.  

 

A migrant arrives at a naval base after he was rescued by Libyan coastal guards in Tripoli, Libya November 6, 2017. REUTERS/Ahmed Jadallah

A migrant arrives at a naval base after he was rescued by Libyan coastal guards in Tripoli, Libya November 6, 2017. REUTERS/Ahmed Jadallah

 

Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia’s crown prince said Iran’s supply of rockets to militias in Yemen is an act of “direct military aggression” that could be an act of war, state media reported, remarks reflecting sharply heightened strains between Riyadh and Tehran.  

Saudi Arabia accused Lebanon of declaring war against it because of aggression by the Iran-backed Lebanese Shi‘ite group Hezbollah, a dramatic escalation of a crisis threatening to destabilize the tiny Arab country.  

Most major Gulf stock markets slid early on jitters about Saudi Arabia’s sweeping anti-graft purge, a campaign seen by critics as a populist power grab but by ordinary Saudis as an overdue attack on the sleaze of a moneyed ultra-elite.  

World

NATO allies are set to agree to increase by some 3,000 personnel the troop levels for the alliance’s Afghanistan training mission, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said. 

U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross has shown enthusiasm for a trade deal with Britain, Prime Minister Theresa May’s spokesman said when asked about Ross’s statement that any Brexit deal must be in United States’ interests. 

Reuters TV: Italy’s Berlusconi re-entered politics with a bang. 

The Philippines has started upgrading military facilities on the biggest features it occupies in the disputed South China Sea, its defense secretary said, asserting Manila’s claims in the strategic waterway. 

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