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Monday Morning Briefing
October 30, 2017 / 12:14 PM / in 19 days

Monday Morning Briefing

The first charges could be unsealed in the U.S. special counsel’s Russia probe, the streets are calm in Catalonia as Spain’s direct rule takes hold and investors remain cautious ahead of a decision on the next Federal Reserve head.

U.S. President Donald Trump gives out Halloween treats to children of members of press and White House staff in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, DC, U.S. October 27, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Barria

Russia probe 

The first charges from the probe of possible Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election could be unsealed as early as today and a target taken into custody, possibly marking a dramatic turn in special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.  

U.S. Senator Susan Collins, a Republican member of the Intelligence Committee, said Democrats should be called again to testify about reports that their party and Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign paid for parts of a dossier that detailed accusations about Trump’s ties to Russia.  

Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort will surrender to federal authorities amid the ongoing probe, CNN and the New York Times reported, citing unnamed sources. 

Reuters TV: Charges filed in Russia probe  

U.S.

Trump’s plan for overhauling the U.S. tax system faced growing opposition from interest groups, as Republicans prepare to unveil sweeping legislation that could eliminate some of the most popular tax breaks to help pay for lower taxes.  

Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy goes on trial for his role in leading a 2014 armed standoff against federal agents that became a rallying point for militia groups challenging U.S. government authority in the American West.  

The wife of a U.S. soldier who suffered a debilitating brain injury during the search for Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl in Afghanistan is expected to be one of prosecutors’ last witnesses when the deserter’s sentencing hearing resumes.  

Kevin Spacey apologized to fellow actor Anthony Rapp for a 1986 incident in which Rapp said Spacey made a sexual advance to him when Rapp was only 14. Spacey said in a post on Twitter he was horrified to hear Rapp’s story of the encounter, which he said he did not remember. He wrote that he owed Rapp a “sincere apology” for what he said would have been “deeply inappropriate drunken behavior.”  

Cyber  

Nasdaq was removed earlier this year from its role supporting a $1.1 billion cyber security exchange-traded fund (ETF), partly over concerns about their management of the fund’s index, the ETF’s management company told Reuters.  

U.S. tech firms such as Facebook and Twitter should be more aggressive in tackling extremism and political misinformation if they want to avoid government action, a report from the World Economic Forum said.  

 

Denmark's Caroline Wozniacki celebrates after winning the final against USA's Venus Williams at the WTA Tour Finals in Singapore, October 29, 2017. REUTERS/Edgar Su

Denmark's Caroline Wozniacki celebrates after winning the final against USA's Venus Williams at the WTA Tour Finals in Singapore, October 29, 2017. REUTERS/Edgar Su

 

Business

U.S. stock index futures pointed to a lower opening for Wall Street as investors held back from making big bets ahead of a decision on the next Federal Reserve head.  

A leading U.S. regulator wants to make it easier for Wells Fargo to pay employees when they leave, loosening a restriction in place since a phony accounts scandal hit the bank last year, according to people familiar with the matter.  

Tankers carrying record levels of crude are leaving in droves from Texas and Louisiana ports, and more growth in the fledgling U.S. oil export market may before long test the limits of infrastructure like pipelines, dock space and ship traffic.  

A series of safety scandals at Japanese companies have put the country’s lionized factory floor under scrutiny as manufacturers struggle with increased pressure on costs, stricter enforcement of standards and growing competition. 

Breakingviews - HSBC investors to new CEO: more of the same please.

Kobe Steel is seeking 50 billion yen ($440 million) in loans from banks, a banking source said, while a shareholder said it was ready to offer support as the company grapples with a scandal over falsified product specifications.  

General Motors agreed to a $13.9 million settlement with Orange County, California after prosecutors accused the Detroit automaker of intentionally concealing serious safety defects including those involving faulty ignition switches tied to nearly 400 deaths and injuries, the company said.  

World

Work resumed normally in Catalonia and calm reigned on the streets despite calls for civil disobedience from secessionist politicians, in early signs the direct rule imposed to stop an independence bid was taking hold.  

Puerto Rico’s government power company said it will cancel a $300 million contract with a tiny Montana company to restore power to the storm-hit U.S. territory after an uproar over the deal. 

Iran is fulfilling its commitments under the nuclear deal with world powers and U.N. inspectors are facing no problems in their verification efforts, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) director-general said.  

The Afghan Taliban said that Kevin King, one of two professors from the American University of Afghanistan who were kidnapped at gunpoint in Kabul last year, is seriously ill and needs urgent medical attention.

The amount of carbon dioxide in the earth’s atmosphere grew at record rate in 2016 to a level not seen for millions of years, potentially fuelling a 20-metre rise in sea levels and adding 3 degrees to temperatures, the United Nations said. 

British Prime Minister Theresa May has ordered an investigation into a report that one of her ministers asked a female secretary to buy sex toys for him, as she tries to tackle a culture of sexual harassment in politics.  

After reading a painful series of “Me Too” stories about sexual harassment and assault on social media, Amanda Crone realized she needed to have a conversation with her husband. So an anxious Crone, 29, a stay-at-home mother of two young children, put on a movie for her kids and went upstairs to the bedroom of her Hanover, Pennsylvania, home to tell him about being sexually assaulted nine years ago, before they had met. 

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