Thursday Morning Briefing: Democrats clash on healthcare and border in scrappy first U.S. presidential debate


Democratic presidential contenders battled over healthcare coverage and border policy during a heated first debate that laid bare the party’s divisions on whether to abolish private insurance and shift to a Medicare-for-All system. A lot could have gone wrong for Elizabeth Warren at the Democratic presidential debate. It didn’t. As the first night’s top-polling candidate, she did not falter. Her progressive platform — similar to Bernie Sanders’— largely went unchallenged by the moderates standing alongside her. For candidates who have struggled to build support in the polls, the debate offered the first big opportunity to try to break through. Some had good nights. Others struggled to stay afloat.

Trump on Democratic debate: 'BORING'. The two-hour debate between 10 Democratic rivals focused on policy issues ranging from Iran and immigration to college loans and healthcare. Several of the candidates attacked Trump, but he did not immediately respond to them individually, and tried to write it all off as a dull encounter. “BORING,” Trump declared in a one-word tweet as he watched on television from his office aboard Air Force One on his way to Japan. In the first round of back-to-back debates, several of the lesser-known candidates vied for attention in the crowded race to take on Donald Trump, shouting over one another to grab the spotlight and prove they are capable of standing up to the Republican in the November 2020 election.


A harrowing photo of a Salvadoran migrant and his young daughter who drowned in the Rio Grande at the U.S.-Mexico border became the focus of a U.S. political debate over President Donald Trump’s asylum policies. The picture of Oscar Alberto Martinez, 25, and his 24-month-old daughter Angie Valeria put a renewed focus on the plight of refugees and migrants who are mostly from Central America. The pair had traveled from El Salvador and were seeking asylum in the United States. Speaking with Reuters from her home in the central municipality of San Martin, Rosa Ramirez, Oscar’s mother, cradled two of her granddaughter’s most treasured toys, a blue-eyed baby doll and a stuffed purple monkey. Her friends have urged her to store her son and granddaughter’s belongings, but she is not ready for that yet.

Congress and the White House were attempting to broker a deal over how to spend emergency aid to address the migrant surge as lawmakers, private companies and presidential candidates raised alarms about immigrants facing dangerous conditions along the U.S.-Mexico border. Frustrated by a long wait in Mexico for his U.S. asylum application and fearful of being returned to El Salvador, 30-year-old Omar Gonzalez said he would pay a smuggler to take him on the perilous journey north across the border to the United States. “I have no other way out because if I go back to my country they’ll kill me,” Gonzalez said.


Hong Kong was plunged into chaos again as protesters rallied outside the justice secretary’s offices, blocking roads and forcing workers to leave in the latest unrest to rock the city over an extradition bill that has now been suspended. Police formed a cordon to block the demonstrators, and one officer held a banner warning them away. Minor scuffles broke out between pro-democracy group Demosisto and officers.
Iran is still short of the maximum amount of enriched uranium it is allowed to have under its deal with major powers but it is on course to reach that limit at the weekend, the latest data from U.N. nuclear inspectors shows, diplomats say. This makes it unlikely Iran will follow through on its threat to violate one of the nuclear deal’s central restrictions, which could have unravelled the pact altogether.
South Korean mobile carrier KT said it launched 5G services in one of the world’s most heavily armed border zones separating the two Koreas. The next generation technology is available in Taesung Freedom Village - a South Korean community in the 4-km (2.5-mile) wide Demilitarized Zone between North and South Korea that former U.S. President Bill Clinton once called “the scariest place on Earth”.
Genius or joker? Loose cannon or influential statesman - what kind of British prime minister would Boris Johnson make on the world stage? Judging by his time as foreign secretary, possibly both. Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson, to give his full name, is something of an enigma at home and abroad. He is one of those rare politicians in the to be most commonly referred to by most members of the British public by their first names.
Twin attacks threaten new Ethiopian government's reforms. The Baklaba and Cake cafe was heaving with customers when truck-loads of heavily armed men in fatigues rolled up across the road outside the local government headquarters in Ethiopia’s Amhara region. The men, some carrying two Kalashnikov assault rifles, stormed the building, sending customers enjoying a Saturday afternoon coffee in the cafe diving for cover, witnesses said. Within moments, the assailants had shot dead Amhara’s president, an aide and fatally wounded the state’s attorney general.


Sino-U.S. trade truce hopes rekindle risk appetite

Risk appetite returned to world markets following a media report the United States and China have tentatively agreed to a truce ahead of a highly-anticipated weekend meeting of the two nations’ leaders in Tokyo. Beijing opposes U.S. abuse of export controls and urges Washington to return to a track of cooperation, a commerce ministry spokesman said, days before the two countries’ leaders are set to meet for talks on trade issues.
7 min read

Trump demands withdrawal of India's 'unacceptable' tariff hike

Donald Trump demanded India withdraw retaliatory tariffs imposed by New Delhi this month, calling the duties “unacceptable” in a stern message that signals trade ties between the two countries are fast deteriorating.
3 min read

Huawei shrugs off Verizon patent talks as 'common' business

Huawei pegged its patent talks with U.S. carrier Verizon as “common” business activity and said such negotiations should not be politicized, days after a senator filed legislation to prevent the Chinese firm from seeking damages in U.S. courts.
4 Min Read

Weaning U.S. power sector off fossil fuels would cost $4.7 trillion - study

Eliminating fossil fuels from the U.S. power sector, a key goal of the “Green New Deal” backed by many Democratic presidential candidates, would cost $4.7 trillion and pose massive economic and social challenges, according to a report released by energy research firm Wood Mackenzie.
4 min read

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