October 18, 2017 / 10:55 AM / a month ago

Wednesday Morning Briefing

President Xi outlines his vision for a “new era” in China at the Communist Party Congress, a U.S District judge blocks President Trump’s latest travel ban and while U.S.-backed militias declare victory in Raqqa, the future of Syria remains uncertain.

Ushers pose for photos in Tiananmen Square during the opening of the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China in Beijing, China October 18, 2017.

China’s Communist Party Congress

Chinese President Xi Jinping opened the critical Communist Party Congress with a pledge to build a “modern socialist country” for a “new era” that will be proudly Chinese and steadfastly ruled by the party but open to the world. 

China will push ahead with market-oriented reforms of its foreign exchange rate as well as its financial system, and let the market play a decisive role in the allocation of resources, Xi said at the opening of the key, twice-a-decade congress.  

Xi also spoke about thwarting any attempt by self-ruled Taiwan to declare independence and said China’s ruling Communist Party will scrap the practice of secretive interrogations known as “shuanggui”, as part of broader reforms of its anti-corruption architecture. 

With Xi starting another five years as China’s top leader, Reuters sought to get to know some members of the 'bubble generation' - those who were born after the crushing of the Tiananmen Square pro-democracy protests, raised mostly without siblings during an unprecedented economic boom, and came of age as Xi ascended to power. 

The party’s modernising push comes as a significant number of educated Chinese millennials, faced with a tough job market and high housing costs in big cities, have grown disillusioned. The Communist Party’s effort extend increasingly to co-opting swathes of Chinese popular culture, such as Tianfu Shibian - a rap group fronted by star Li Yijie, who has become an unlikely face of China’s strait-laced ruling party.

Podcast: President Xi Jinping’s moment


As China’s Communist Party conference opened world stocks stayed near peaks, currencies moved in tight ranges and the focus in Europe turned to speeches from top euro zone central bankers before next week’s key policy meeting. 

Johnson & Johnson won the reversal of a $72 million verdict in favor of the family of a woman whose death from ovarian cancer they claimed stemmed from her use of the company’s talc-based products like Johnson’s Baby Powder. 

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Investor George Soros has transferred about $18 billion, the majority of his estimated fortune, to his Open Society Foundations, making them the second largest philanthropic grant-making group in the United States, according to media reports. 

Virgin group billionaire Richard Branson has revealed he was targeted in a $5 million scam “straight out of a John le Carre book”. 

A dog and wild boar fight during a contest, known locally as 'adu bagong' (boar fighting), in the Cikawao village of Majalaya, West Java province, Indonesia, September 24, 2017. REUTERS/Beawihart

A dog and wild boar fight during a contest, known locally as 'adu bagong' (boar fighting), in the Cikawao village of Majalaya, West Java province, Indonesia, September 24, 2017. REUTERS/Beawihart


Boeing said that Bombardier’s CSeries jets could still be hit with high U.S. import duties, even if they are assembled in Alabama through an industry-changing deal with Airbus. 

Europe’s aviation regulator has advised aircraft manufacturers to suspend using parts from Kobe Steel until their legitimacy can be proved, following revelations about data cheating at the Japanese company. 


Amazon, Facebook and other U.S. tech companies are expanding operations south of the border as Mexico works to capitalize on the Trump administration’s anti-immigration stance. U.S. President Donald Trump’s efforts to reduce immigration to the United States, including new constraints on H-1B visas for skilled workers - which many tech companies rely on for attracting foreign talent - have prompted countries ranging from China to Canada to step up recruiting tech workers and startup companies that might once have found a home in the United States. 

A U.S. judge blocked Trump’s latest bid to impose restrictions on citizens from several countries entering the United States, which would have taken effect this week. The ruling sets up another high stakes battle over Trump’s executive authority which legal experts expect will ultimately land in the U.S. Supreme Court. 

Proponents of a bipartisan deal struck by two U.S. senators to stabilize Obamacare were seeking to win Republican support for the measure, which would restore subsidies to health insurers that Trump has scrapped. 

Senate Republicans scrambled to ensure support for a budget resolution vital to Trump’s drive to overhaul the U.S. tax code, as one Republican fiscal hawk announced he might vote against the measure. 


Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Tehran would stick to its 2015 nuclear deal with world powers as long as the other signatories respected it, but would “shred it” if the United States pulled out, state TV reported. 

The defeat of Islamic State in its de facto capital Raqqa may only be the start of a wider struggle by the United States to contain any insurgency launched by the militant group and to stabilize the region, as Washington grapples with defining a comprehensive strategy in Syria. 

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South Korea is considering levying its own sanctions on North Korea as the isolated state ramps up tension with its missile and nuclear provocations, the South’s vice foreign minister said, but no decision had been made yet. 

A Pakistani Taliban suicide bomber rammed a car into a police truck in the southwestern city of Quetta, killing at least seven people, police said. 

Tunisian smugglers are offering migrants seeking a fresh start in Europe a new route from Africa to Italy. A crackdown by the Libyan coastguard in August has forced migrants and smugglers to find alternatives, giving Tunisians an opportunity to sell spots on overcrowded boats between the Gulf of Tunis and Sicily. 

Reuters TV: Catalonia refuses to back down on independence

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