September 5, 2018 / 12:15 PM / 2 months ago

Wednesday Morning Briefing

Facebook and Twitter face Congress over foreign bids to influence U.S. politics, Supreme Court nominee Kavanaugh in hot seat as Democrats seek answers and UK charges two Russians for attempted murder of Skripals with nerve agent.

SCOTUS Hearing

Chaos engulfed the U.S. Senate confirmation hearing for Brett Kavanaugh, Trump’s Supreme Court pick, as Democrats complained bitterly about Republicans withholding documents about the nominee’s past White House service and shouting protesters were arrested in droves. Kavanaugh will face a marathon of hostile questioning by Democrats today, as his Senate confirmation hearing rolls into its second day.

Commentary: There's a better way to run Supreme Court confirmation hearings than by turning them into made-for-TV spectacles, writes veteran congressional reporter Matt Laslo. "The confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh are brimming with all the bombast and bluster we’ve come to expect from today’s politics... But it shouldn’t be this way, and Americans of all stripes should demand that government be made boring again."

United States

Top executives from Facebook and Twitter will defend their companies in the U.S. Congress over what lawmakers see as a failure to combat continuing foreign efforts to influence U.S. politics. 

Special Counsel Robert Mueller will accept written answers from Trump on whether his campaign conspired with Russia to interfere in the 2016 U.S. election, but Mueller is not ruling out a follow-up interview on that issue, a person familiar with the matter said. 

Commentary: Fascinated by aviation and frustrated by the lack of female pilots, Reuters reporter Victoria Bryan is leaving the newsroom to start a new career as a commercial airline pilot. Bryan writes about what factors have led to the hefty gender imbalance in the airline industry, and what companies like easyJet and Lufthansa are doing to address them.

World

Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov, who were formally accused of attempting to murder former Russian intelligence officer Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury, are seen in an image handed out by the Metropolitan Police in London, Britain September 5, 2018. Metroplitan Police handout via REUTERS

British prosecutors have identified two Russian nationals who they say tried to murder former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia with a military-grade nerve agent in England. A European arrest warrant has been issued for the two men who were named as Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov.

The wives of two Reuters journalists in Myanmar jailed for seven years on official secrets charges insisted that the men were innocent and called for them to be released and reunited with their young families as soon as possible. U.S. Vice President Mike Pence also called on Myanmar’s government to reverse the court ruling and to release them immediately. Follow the latest.

South Korea said its envoys met with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Pyongyang to prepare for a third inter-Korean summit later this month, with hopes of putting momentum back into stalled talks between the North and the United States on denuclearization. 

Business

Canada heads into talks in Washington to renew NAFTA determined not to back down on key issues despite threats from Trump to retaliate against the Canadian economy unless Ottawa gives ground quickly. 

Wealth manager Perpetual said it has divested Commonwealth Bank of Australia from its $933.6 million ethical fund due to revelations of corporate misconduct, the first big institutional investor to do so.

For decades, Unilever and Procter & Gamble, the industry leader that created the best-selling brand, Tide, have pitched new and improved laundry detergents and fabric softeners, primarily to women using washing machines. But millennials are less loyal to traditional brands and have new demands, including that products save time and be environmentally sustainable.

Reuters TV

Amazon on Tuesday hit a trillion dollar market valuation, the second U.S. company to do so after Apple and could soon overtake Apple as the most valuable public company on the U.S. stock market.

Amazon joins $1 trillion club, chases down Apple
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