September 20, 2017 / 11:14 AM / 3 months ago

Wednesday Morning Briefing

The Trump administration plans to make it easier to sell arms abroad, U.S. officials say North Korea is diverting ships mid-route to overcome international sanctions and a special report reveals the scientific research behind Taser products.

Shock Tactics

Taser International won over police by touting research it said was as rigorous as FDA-style testing. But claims about early studies - which began with a pig, five dogs and some willing cops - were overstated. Read the latest installment in the series on tasters.

Interactive: Death and tasers

Shocked by a Taser: “Excruciating pain”

Politics

The Trump administration is preparing to make it easier for American gun makers to sell small arms, including assault rifles and ammunition, to foreign buyers, according to senior U.S. officials. Aides to U.S. President Donald Trump are completing a plan to shift oversight of international non-military firearms sales from the State Department to the Commerce Department, four officials told Reuters. 

The U.S. government is making it more difficult for skilled foreigners to work in the United States, challenging visa applications more often than at nearly any point in the Obama era, according to data reviewed by Reuters.

Trump is using money donated to his re-election campaign and the Republican National Committee to pay for his lawyers in the probe of alleged Russian interference in the U.S. election, two people familiar with the matter told Reuters. 

North Korea

At least eight North Korean ships that left Russia with a cargo of fuel this year headed for their homeland despite declaring other destinations, a ploy that U.S. officials say is often used to undermine sanctions. Read the exclusive.

Mexico

Desperate rescue workers scrabbled through rubble in a floodlit search for dozens of children feared buried under a Mexico City school, one of hundreds of buildings wrecked by the country’s most lethal earthquake in a generation. The magnitude 7.1 shock killed at least 217 people, nearly half of them in the capital, 32 years to the day after a devastating 1985 quake and less than two weeks after a powerful tremor killed nearly 100 people in the south of the country. 

In pictures: Earthquake rattles Mexcio City

U.N. General Assembly

Reuters TV: Trump rattles U.N. with threat to destroy North Korea

The leaders of Britain, France and Italy will push social media companies to remove “terrorist content” from the internet within one to two hours of it appearing because they say that is the period when most material is spread. 

Trump's U.N. speech shows nationalist instincts firmly intact

China offers support for strife-torn Venezuela at United Nations

Pigeons bathe in a fountain in central Kiev, Ukraine September 19, 2017. REUTERS/Gleb Garanich

Pigeons bathe in a fountain in central Kiev, Ukraine September 19, 2017. REUTERS/Gleb Garanich

Business

World stocks eked out a new record high and the dollar dipped against its major rivals with the focus on a U.S. Federal Reserve policy meeting.

Caught between a lull in U.S. inflation and a stronger global economy, the Federal Reserve is expected to signal whether it will raise interest rates for a third time this year or back off until prices rise more briskly. 

Uber reviews Asia business amid U.S. bribery probe: source  

How $5 billion of debt caught up with Toys 'R' Us

T-Mobile U.S. explores takeover of Sprint: source

Breakingviews - Tata Steel JV pays ThyssenKrupp four dividends

Wells Fargo's lone outsider aims to clean up bank's reputation  

World

Hurricane Maria, the second maximum-strength storm to hit the Caribbean this month, battered the U.S. Virgin Island of St. Croix and headed toward Puerto Rico, set to be the strongest storm to hit the island in about 90 years. 

Myanmar's Suu Kyi denies going 'soft' on military

After election rout, split stalks France's National Front

Hindus fleeing Myanmar violence hope for shelter in Modi's India

Podcast - Germany's election: The Turkish vote

Commentary

The campaign for Germany's Sept. 24 election has been "notably dull" as Angela Merkel heads toward her fourth term as chancellor, writes columnist Paul Wallace. However, Merkel will find her job getting tougher as her country's political, economic and demographic vulnerabilities take their toll. "She will face new political constraints at home, while the basis for her authority, German economic strength, will come under increasing strain," says Wallace.

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