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Thursday Morning Briefing: Trump visits mass shooting victims

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President Trump met victims and first responders from last weekend’s deadly shootings in Texas and Ohio, as chanting protesters accused him of inflaming tensions with anti-immigrant and racially charged rhetoric. Trump visited hospitals where victims were treated after massacres 13 hours apart shocked the country and reopened a national debate on gun safety. Crowds of protesters gathered to confront Trump and condemn his visit. Mexico’s government pressed the U.S. to cooperate in helping to identify white supremacists that pose a threat to its citizens after a weekend shooting in El Paso, Texas that killed eight Mexican nationals.

U.S. immigration authorities arrested nearly 700 people at seven agricultural processing plants across Mississippi in what federal officials said could be the largest worksite enforcement operation in a single state. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said in a statement they detained about 680 people who were working illegally at the plants. They said they also seized business records as part of a federal criminal investigation.

A nation left in the dark: Many parts of Venezuela still face daily power cuts lasting up to 18 hours, even though electricity has largely been restored after recent blackouts. Masked by President Maduro’s government as a rationing plan, the failures are aggravating the economy and healthcare system of the already vulnerable nation.

Virus at the border: Four cases of Ebola have been confirmed in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo's main city of Goma, more than 350 km (220 miles) south of where the outbreak was first detected, raising fears of an acceleration in infections close to the border with Rwanda. The scare came after a gold miner, the second Ebola transmission confirmed in Goma, carried the virus from the epidemic's epicentre several hundred kilometres to the north.


The United States raised its travel warning for Hong Kong, urging increased caution by visitors to the Chinese territory in the face of what it described as civil unrest after months of sometimes violent street protests. The growing protests in Hong Kong are also weighing on the neighboring Chinese territory of Macau as some visitors steer clear of the world’s biggest gambling hub, worried over transport disruptions and safety concerns.

India urged Pakistan to review its decision to downgrade diplomatic ties over the withdrawal of special status to Kashmir, saying it was an internal affair and aimed at developing the revolt-torn Muslim majority region. Pakistan, which also has claims on Kashmir, said it would expel India’s ambassador in Islamabad and its envoy, who was to start his assignment soon, would not move to New Delhi. Islamabad also suspended bilateral trade and on Thursday announced it would shut down the train service to India, in the latest spike in tensions between the nuclear rivals.

Japan is resuming efforts to disperse a build-up of contaminated water at Tokyo Electric Power’s wrecked Fukushima nuclear plant that is stalling progress on cleaning up the site, the government said. A panel of experts will meet on Friday for the first time in eight months to consider options to get rid of the water, Japan’s government said. The panel will consider strategies such as evaporation of the water and injection deep underground, in addition to a recommendation by Japan’s nuclear regulator to release the treated water into the ocean, a more conventional technique.

Middle East

Hundreds of thousands of white-clad pilgrims, many gripping umbrellas to ward off Saudi Arabia’s blistering summer sun, descended on Mecca this week ahead of the annual haj. Saudi officials asked Muslims to focus on rituals of worship, warning against politicizing the rite as wars rage on in the region and at a time of heightened tensions between Sunni Muslim Saudi Arabia and Shi’ite Muslim adversary Iran.

Iraq handed over the remains of 48 Kuwaiti citizens who disappeared during the 1991 Gulf War when dictator Saddam Hussein sent his troops into Kuwait and was forced out by a U.S.-led coalition. The handing over of remains, which were put in caskets wrapped in Kuwaiti flags, is the first since the toppling of Saddam Hussein in a U.S.-led invasion in 2003. Kuwait says around 605 people, mostly Kuwaiti, went missing during the seven-month occupation and ensuing war.


Apple faces investigation for suspected unfair competition in Russia

Apple is under investigation in Russia following a complaint from cybersecurity company Kaspersky Lab and may be abusing its dominant market position, Russia’s anti-monopoly watchdog said.

2 min read

SoulCycle, Equinox face boycott calls over investor's Trump fundraiser

Fitness chains SoulCycle and Equinox sought to distance themselves from a fundraiser for President Donald Trump reportedly in the works by their billionaire owner, real estate executive Stephen Ross. Both Equinox and SoulCycle posted comments on Twitter saying that they do not support the fundraiser and company profits are not used to fund politicians.

3 Min Read

Silver lining to U.S. market sell-off: Fundamentals still seem to matter

U.S. companies posting strong earnings are still winning laurels from investors, even amid the broad stock sell-off over the last week, suggesting that the kind of indiscriminate selling seen the last time an apparent devaluation of China’s yuan spooked global markets is far from imminent.

5 min read

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