November 9, 2017 / 12:55 PM / 15 days ago

Thursday Morning Briefing

Trump scores big business wins during his China visit, Saudi Arabia’s corruption crackdown spreads beyond its borders and a report delves into the decisions behind Monsanto’s weedkiller crisis.

U.S. President Donald Trump attends a state dinner at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, November 9, 2017. REUTERS/Thomas Peter

China

President Donald Trump can return to the United States claiming to have snagged over $250 billion in deals from his maiden trip to Beijing. Whether those deals live up to the lofty price tag is another question altogether. 

Among the deals was Boeing’s agreement to sell 300 planes to China Aviation Supplies Holding Company worth $37 billion at list prices. 

Trump also pressed China to do more to rein in North Korea and said bilateral trade had been unfair to the United States, but praised President Xi Jinping’s pledge that China would be more open to foreign firms.  

Trump went around and over the “Great Firewall” of China in a late-night tweet in Beijing as he thanked his hosts for a rare tour of the Forbidden City and a private dinner at the sprawling, centuries-old palace complex.  

World

Iran’s Revolutionary Guards have arrested at least 30 dual nationals during the past two years, mostly on spying charges, according to lawyers, diplomats and relatives, twice as many as earlier reported by local or international media. Read the exclusive.  

Saudi Arabia’s crackdown on corruption has spread beyond its borders as regulators in the United Arab Emirates ask UAE banks for information about Saudi citizens detained in the investigation, a possible prelude to freezing their accounts.  

Talks on pushing ahead with the Trans Pacific Partnership trade deal without the United States reached a critical point as ministers from the 11 countries discussed a proposed agreement in principle. 

Kafr Aqab is no one’s dream destination: the overcrowded neighborhood separated from adjacent East Jerusalem by Israel’s barrier in the occupied West Bank is notorious for rutted roads, drugs and violence. But for Palestinians in marriages in which one partner comes from the West Bank and the other from territory Israel had declared to be part of the Israeli state, the slum is a haven where they can live legally together.  

Reuters TV: How tech made the ‘Paradise Papers’ possible.  

 

A Rohingya refugee girl is weighed at the emergency nutrition treatment center in Balukhali refugee camp near Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh November 8, 2017. REUTERS/Navesh Chitrakar

A Rohingya refugee girl is weighed at the emergency nutrition treatment center in Balukhali refugee camp near Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh November 8, 2017. REUTERS/Navesh Chitrakar

 

Business

U.S. antitrust regulators and AT&T Inc sparred over whether the wireless carrier would be required to sell Time Warner Inc’s CNN cable network as a condition of approval of its deal to buy the media company.  

A growing number of investors are plowing money into commodities, seeking to diversify their holdings on gnawing concerns about a stock market correction as equities scale new highs almost daily.  

Venezuelan state oil-firm PDVSA has not made debt payments to India’s top oil producer ONGC for six months, and has previously used a Russian state-owned bank and another Indian energy company as intermediaries to make payments, two sources familiar with the transactions said.  

China’s biggest state oil company Sinopec, one of the country’s top banks and its sovereign wealth fund agreed to develop a $43 billion natural gas project in Alaska, as the cash-poor U.S. state seeks to revive its dwindling energy industry. 

Breakingviews: Tencent and Snap sent a short message to Facebook.

Wal-Mart said its U.S. stores will feature color-coded sections for different product categories on Black Friday, as it prepares to compete for shoppers on one of the busiest shopping days of the year. 

A large long-term study on the use of the big-selling weedkiller glyphosate by agricultural workers in the United States has found no firm link between exposure to the pesticide and cancer, scientists said. Published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute , the study found there was “no association between glyphosate”, the main ingredient in Monsanto’s popular herbicide RoundUp, “and any solid tumors or lymphoid malignancies overall, including non-Hogkin Lymphoma and its subtypes.” 

In early 2016, Monsanto faced a pivotal decision in what has become a sprawling herbicide crisis that destroyed millions of acres of crops in U.S. farm country. Read the special report.  

U.S.

For about 48 hours after a deadly rampage at a Texas church, the FBI and other law enforcement agencies did not ask Apple to help them unlock the gunman’s iPhone or associated online accounts, a person familiar with the situation told Reuters. The delay may prove important.

The director and producers of the completed but unreleased Hollywood film “All the Money in the World” have chosen to remove Kevin Spacey from the movie, recast his role and reshoot his scenes following sexual misconduct allegations against the actor.  

Uber and some smaller technology companies are launching campaigns to publicize Obamacare enrollment among their contract workers after the Trump administration slashed government marketing for the health program by 90 percent. 

Democratic election victories in Virginia and New Jersey showed Republicans losing more ground in suburban areas, where TTrump’s unpopularity could cost them dearly in next year’s congressional races. 

Commentary

The Democrats' wins in the Nov. 7 elections may -- or may not -- portend Congressional gains for the party in the 2018 midterms, writes Joshua A. Douglas. However, their true significance lies in the impact they'll have on the fight to redraw voter districts in the years to come. "Far more important to future election cycles than any help in prognosticating the public mood one or three years from now is what the results mean for the next round of redistricting that begins in 2021," says Douglas, a law professor at the University of Kentucky.  

Amid rising tensions in the Middle East, there’s been a remarkable silence about one of its most important players: Israel, writes Josh Cohen. "In an ironic twist for the Jewish state, Islamic State losses have consolidated Iran’s strength in the region, allowing Tehran to establish a Shi'ite "land bridge" extending through Iraq, Syria and Lebanon to Israel's northern border. That raises the risk of a military clash between Israel and Iran right at a time when American engagement in the Middle East may start to wane," writes Cohen. 

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