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Wednesday Morning Briefing: Trump planned visit to grieving El Paso stokes debate about his rhetoric

Politics

President Donald Trump, whose rhetoric about an immigrant “invasion” has alienated many in the predominantly Hispanic city of El Paso, will visit the grieving Texas border town after a gun massacre that killed 22 people. El Paso has been on the front lines of the Trump administration’s campaign to staunch the flow of migrants over the U.S.-Mexican border. A cluster of recent mass shootings that killed 36 people in California, Texas and Ohio has sparked renewed calls for the U.S. Congress to pass legislation to prevent gun violence. Here are some proposals that could be debated in coming months.

Online message board 8chan’s fortunes worsened, as it was once again made homeless by a technical services provider and its owner was called to testify to the U.S. Congress after 8chan was linked to a weekend mass shooting in El Paso, Texas. The House of Representatives Homeland Security Committee demanded that owner Jim Watkins, an American living in the Philippines, testify about 8chan’s efforts to tackle “the proliferation of extremist content, including white supremacist content.”

Puerto Rico’s newly installed governor and its Senate president faced off in written arguments submitted to the island’s supreme court, which will decide who is in charge of the bankrupt government. Both sides agreed that Puerto Rico is facing its biggest constitutional crisis after days of protests forced Governor Ricardo Rossello to leave office on Friday.

Two Democrats on the U.S. House Judiciary Committee, including the panel’s chairman, asked the National Archives on Tuesday for records from Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s service in the White House under former President George W. Bush. The lawmakers said the committee is considering legislative proposals to create a “code of conduct for Supreme Court justices” involving the transparency of court proceedings, the adequacy of justices’ financial disclosures and circumstances in which justices or judges must disqualify themselves from cases.

Business

U.S. dollar: When will bulls turn to bears? Trump wants it to be cheaper. The IMF says it should be cheaper. Hedge funds think it has room to run. So what gives with the dollar? Since the trade war between the world’s two largest economies erupted in March last year, the dollar has gained more than 3 percent against a basket of currencies. Trump feels that U.S. trading partners, the Chinese in particular, are all working frantically to keep their currencies cheap to gain an edge in trade.

Trump dismissed fears of a protracted trade war with China despite a warning from Beijing that labeling it a currency manipulator would have severe consequences for the global financial order. Trump, who announced last week he would slap a 10% tariff on a further $300 billion in Chinese imports starting on Sept. 1, tweeted that “massive amounts of money from China and other parts of the world” were pouring into the U.S. economy. U.S. farmers, a key political constituency for Trump, have been among the hardest hit in the trade war. Shipments of soybeans, the most valuable U.S. farm export, to top buyer China sank to a 16-year low in 2018.

A disorderly no-deal Brexit would disrupt some food supplies for weeks or months if delays at ports leave fresh produce rotting in trucks, the industry’s trade body warned. Retailers such as Tesco have warned that leaving the European Union on October 31 without a trade deal would be hugely problematic for the industry as much of the fresh produce is imported and warehouses are stocked full ahead of Christmas.

Sink or swim: Chinese port plans put Pacific back in play. The World War II site in Asau, which also hosts a 1960s-era concrete wharf in its well-protected natural harbor, is being considered for a new port to be developed by China, according to the Samoan government and the area’s highest ranking chief, Masoe Serota Tufaga. The proposed construction of a facility that could be turned into a military asset in hostile times has worried the United States and its regional allies, which have dominated international influence in the vast waters of the South Pacific since 1945.

Earnings

SoftBank's profit blows past estimates on Vision Fund gains

Japan’s SoftBank Group raked in a better-than-expected quarterly operating profit as it saw a leap in investing gains from its $100 billion Vision Fund. The group’s results have been increasingly volatile as founder and Chief Executive Masayoshi Son shifts focus from the predictable income of telecoms in favor of bets, through its mega fund, on fast-growing startups with shifting valuations.

2 min read

Toshiba quarterly profit jumps on cost cuts, but misses estimates

Japan’s Toshiba reported a 10-fold jump in first-quarter operating profit as it stepped up cost cuts across divisions, but the profit missed analyst estimates. Toshiba, however, is still struggling to grow profits in businesses that it sees as the next growth drivers, such as batteries, power management devices and medical equipment.

2 Min Read

Disney earnings miss forecasts as costs rise for its streaming future

Walt Disney reported a steeper earnings decline than Wall Street expected as the company poured money into its ambitious plunge into streaming media and began folding in assets purchased from Twenty-First Century Fox.

4 min read

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