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Monday Morning Briefing: Democratic 2020 contenders condemn Trump for spreading Epstein conspiracy theories

U.S.

Democratic presidential contenders Beto O’Rourke and Cory Booker slammed President Donald Trump for promoting unfounded conspiracy theories about the apparent suicide of financier Jeffrey Epstein in his New York jail cell. After the death on Saturday of Epstein, a millionaire charged with sex trafficking who once counted Trump and former President Bill Clinton as friends, Trump retweeted a baseless claim from a conservative comedian that Clinton was involved in the death. Lawyers for several women who say they were sexually abused by Epstein plan to file lawsuits this week against his estate following his apparent suicide.

During the week bookended by mass shootings in Gilroy, California; El Paso, Texas; and Dayton, Ohio, in which gunmen killed 34 people, hundreds of others were shot to death across 47 U.S. states, according to the Gun Violence Archive, a nonprofit group that uses local news and police reports to track gun incidents. deaths were the sort of everyday murders, suicides and accidents that may not grab the headlines of mass shootings, but in many ways show the true toll of the gun violence endemic to the United States.

It was on the third day of a five-day bus tour across Iowa last week that 2020 White House contender Kamala Harris finally seemed to hit her stride. Armed with fresh endorsements from two of the state’s most sought after political influencers early on Saturday, the U.S. Senator from California got an enthusiastic welcome from over 500 people at a Des Moines area high school.

Lawyers for comedian Bill Cosby will ask a Pennsylvania appeals court to throw out his sexual assault conviction, arguing the trial judge committed errors that deprived him of a fair trial. The appeal will center on the decision by Montgomery County Judge Steven O’Neill to allow five accusers to testify that Cosby had drugged and sexually assaulted them years previously, just as the victim at trial, Andrea Constand, claimed he had done.

Five children died and other people were rescued from an early-morning fire at a home that operated as a daycare center in Erie, Pennsylvania, on Sunday, officials and news media reported. Two teenaged boys escaped by climbing out a window, news media reported. They then screamed for help, alerting neighbors. Erie Fire Chief Guy Santone told local news media that as many as eight people had been trapped, including the five children, the two teenagers and one adult.

World

Hong Kong police and protesters clashed in cat-and-mouse encounters across the city, marking a shift in tactics during a tenth straight weekend of unrest in the former British colony where many are chafing at Chinese rule. The city’s airport authority has canceled all flights not yet checked in by Monday afternoon, the agency said, as anti-government protesters peacefully demonstrated at the airport for a fourth day. Hong Kong police put on a demonstration of an anti-riot water cannon, in a warning to protesters as authorities toughen their approach. Police have never used the cannon since two were bought in the wake of pro-democracy protests in 2014, but Monday’s demonstration used one to blast at dummy targets at a training facility as tactics on both sides harden and shift.

Conservative Alejandro Giammattei swept aside his center-left rival in Guatemala’s presidential election, and now inherits an unpopular migration deal agreed under duress with the Trump administration that could severely test his country. Alejandro Giammattei, said on Sunday he hoped he could make changes to a controversial migration deal the Central American country signed with the Trump administration last month.

Argentine voters soundly rejected President Mauricio Macri’s austere economic policies in primary elections on Sunday, casting serious doubt on his chances of re-election in October, early official results showed. A coalition backing opposition candidate Alberto Fernandez - whose running mate is former president Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner - led by a wider-than-expected 15 percentage points with 47.3% of votes, with 88% of ballots counted. Analysts predicted it could be “game over” for Macri following Sunday’s results.

UK

What's next in Britain's Brexit whirlwind? Britain’s opposition Labour Party said that a vote of no confidence in the government of Prime Minister Boris Johnson was a possibility and that it was talking to other parties in parliament on options. U.S. President Trump wants to see a successful British exit from the EU that Washington will support with a U.S.-UK free trade agreement, national security adviser John Bolton stressed to British officials

Nigel Farage, the leader of Britain’s Brexit Party, has lambasted Prince Harry and his American wife Meghan along with other members of the royal family in a speech in Australia, the Guardian newspaper reported. According to the Guardian, Farage ridiculed Harry’s remarks last month that the couple only wanted two children because of the environmental impact, while he also described the Queen Mother, the late mother of the monarch, as an “slightly overweight, chain-smoking gin drinker”.

Business

Saudi Aramco to buy Reliance stake, reports 12% earnings slide

Saudi Aramco reported a 12% fall in half-year net profit, yet remained the world’s most profitable company, while India’s Reliance Industries said Aramco is looking to buy into its refining and petrochemicals business.

4 min read

Goldman Sachs economists say fears rise that U.S.-China trade war leading to recession

Goldman Sachs said that fears of the U.S.-China trade war leading to a recession are increasing and that Goldman no longer expects a trade deal between the world’s two largest economies before the 2020 U.S. presidential election. “We expect tariffs targeting the remaining $300 billion of US imports from China to go into effect,” the bank said in a note sent to clients.

2 min read

Russia tells Google not to advertise 'illegal' events after election protests

Russia’s state communications watchdog has asked Google to stop advertising “illegal mass events” on its YouTube video platform. The watchdog, Roscomnadzor, said some entities had been buying advertising tools from YouTube, such as push notifications, in order to spread information about illegal mass protests, including those aimed at disrupting elections.

2 Min Read

Fed remains a target as economy falls short of Trump's ambitious goals

It has become a jarring and frequent contradiction. Donald Trump blames the Federal Reserve for putting the U.S. economy at risk while data shows an economy in “reasonably good” shape, as the head of the central bank recently said.

8 min read

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Clashes at Jerusalem holy site

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