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Friday Morning Briefing
October 27, 2017 / 12:09 PM / 25 days ago

Friday Morning Briefing

Trump released some documents relating to JFK’s assassination but yielded to pressure to block others, Australia ruled that its deputy prime minister is ineligible to remain in parliament, and a reporter gave his personal account of shopping for an exoskeleton in a new special report.

A devotee looks at the camera as she offers prayers to the setting sun during the "Chhath" festival at Bagmati River in Kathmandu, Nepal October 26, 2017. REUTERS/Navesh Chitrakar

Special report

It’s a fine balance between complexity, weight and price when choosing an exoskeleton. Read Reuters’ Andrei Khalip’s personal account of what’s available and why it may change mobility for many disabled people.  

Podcast: Me and my robotic suit 

Graphic: Exoskeletons explained 

U.S.

In New York, neighborhoods have joined a state program to convert areas most vulnerable to storms into uninhabited buffer zones.  

Economic growth probably slowed in the third quarter as hurricanes Harvey and Irma restrained consumer spending and undercut construction activity, but underlying momentum likely remained strong amid robust business investment on equipment. 

Energy and commodities firms will make up a major part of a business delegation visiting Beijing at the same time as U.S. President Donald Trump goes to China in November, according to an initial list seen by Reuters. Read the exclusive. 

Trump ordered the unveiling of 2,800 documents related to the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy but yielded to pressure from the FBI and CIA to block the release of other records to be reviewed further. 

Where there is smoke, there tends to be fire, say U.S. medical researchers who found frequent marijuana users have about 20 percent more sex than those who abstain.

Business

Swiss specialty chemicals maker Clariant and U.S. group Huntsman abandoned their $20 billion merger, notching a win for activist investors who fought the deal for months on the grounds it would destroy shareholder value. 

Wall Street may love the shares of Silicon Valley electric carmaker Tesla, but Americans love big, fuel-thirsty trucks like Ford’s bestselling F-Series pickups and are paying ever higher prices to buy them.  

Amazon, Microsoft, Google and Intel are all putting their chips on the cloud computing business, and it is booming.

U.S.-based cyber firm McAfee said it will no longer permit foreign governments to scrutinize the source code of its products, halting a practice some security experts have warned could be leveraged by nation-states to carry out cyber attacks. 

Mohammed bin Salman, Saudi Arabia’s crown prince, wants to build utopia from scratch. This week he unveiled his vision for NEOM, a shining city on the Red Sea where entrepreneurs will draft the rules and robots outnumber people. One day, the imagined metropolis may even become a publicly traded company. “The idea is almost bonkers, but that’s also its beauty,” writes Reuters Breakingviews editor Rob Cox, who interviewed the crown prince. 

Brazil will auction eight blocks in its coveted deepwater oil region, a prospect that has attracted top executives from the world’s biggest oil companies to Rio de Janeiro for the bidding round. 

Achilles and Karis, Sumatran tigers, eat pumpkins at a Halloween event at ZSL London Zoo, London, Britain October 26, 2017. REUTERS/Mary Turner

Achilles and Karis, Sumatran tigers, eat pumpkins at a Halloween event at ZSL London Zoo, London, Britain October 26, 2017. REUTERS/Mary Turner 

World

The Spanish government prepared to impose direct rule over Catalonia to block its push for independence, an unprecedented move that takes Spain’s worst political crisis in four decades to a new level.  

Australia’s High Court ruled that Deputy Prime Minister Barnaby Joyce is ineligible to remain in parliament, a stunning decision that cost the government its one-seat parliamentary majority and forced a by-election. 

U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis emphasized diplomatic efforts to resolve the North Korean missile and nuclear crisis as he stood at the tense and heavily fortified border between North and South on Friday, saying: “Our goal is not war.”

Commentary: After Islamic State

North Africa's Muslim leaders have to navigate a two-front sectarian battle as remnants of Islamic State continue to fight in countries like Morocco, Algeria and Egypt, writes Jonathan Laurence. The Sunni governments are cracking down on Shi'ite proseltyzing because they fear the expansion of Shi'ite Iran, but also have to avoid the perception that fighting the Sunni extremists of IS amounts to persecution of defenders of the faith. "The defeat of IS in Raqqa has bought time for North African governments to consolidate their religious communities. But that same defeat also removes an obstacle to Iranian influence," says Laurence. 

Podcast: Columnist Peter Van Buren speaks about regional tensions, proxy wars and how the defeats suffered by Islamic State will re-shape the Middle East

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