Wednesday Morning Briefing: Trump launches re-election campaign

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Trump formally launched his 2020 re-election campaign by presenting himself as the same political insurgent who shook up the Washington establishment four years ago and who is now a victim of an attempted ouster by Democrats. At a packed rally at an arena in Orlando, Florida, Trump made clear he would run for re-election as an outsider, just as he did in 2016. Whether he can pull it off remains far from certain.

China said positive outcomes were possible in trade negotiations with the United States, after the presidents of the world’s two largest economies agreed to revive their troubled talks at a G20 meeting this month. The two countries are in the middle of a costly trade dispute that has put pressure on financial markets and damaged the global economy.

U.S. seizes $1 billion worth of cocaine from ship in Philadelphia. Federal authorities seized 16.5 tons of cocaine worth more than $1 billion from a ship in Philadelphia in one of the largest drug seizures in U.S. history, the U.S. Justice Department said.

The Federal Reserve concludes its latest two-day policy meeting expected to leave interest rates on hold but flag whether it plans to cut rates later this year as investors expect and the U.S. president has demanded. The level of concern raised around fresh economic risks, and the language Chairman Jerome Powell uses in his post-meeting press conference, will be read by investors and perhaps even more significantly by Trump as a sign of whether officials are poised to act soon or are still biding their time.

Exclusive: Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has blocked the inclusion of Saudi Arabia on a U.S. list of countries that recruit child soldiers, dismissing his experts’ findings that a Saudi-led coalition has been using under-age fighters in Yemen’s civil war, according to four people familiar with the matter. Pompeo’s move followed unusually intense internal debate. It comes amid heightened tensions between the United States and Iran, the Saudis’ bitter regional rival.


International investigators are set to start criminal proceedings against suspects in the shooting down of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 over eastern Ukraine nearly five years ago, in which 298 people were killed. The suspects may be tried in absentia, however, as the Netherlands has said Russia has not cooperated with the investigation and is not expected to hand over anyone charged.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe faced stiff opposition criticism after a report warned that many retirees won’t be able to live on pensions alone, a topic likely to become an issue in an election for parliament’s upper house. The furor over the report and Finance Minister Taro Aso’s refusal to accept its findings have created a headache for Abe’s coalition ahead of the upper house poll and amid speculation that the premier may also call a snap election for the more powerful lower chamber.
A rocket struck the site of the residential and operations headquarters of several global major oil companies, including U.S. giant ExxonMobil, near Iraq’s southern city of Basra early, wounding three people, Iraq’s military said. The rocket hit the Burjesia site west of the city, according to police and a statement released by the military. Police earlier said two Iraqi workers were wounded.
South Korea has provided its largest food and aid donation since 2008 to the U.N. aid program in North Korea, officials said, amid warnings that millions of dollars more is needed to make up for food shortages. South Korea followed through on a promise to donate $4.5 million to the U.N. World Food Programme, and announced it was also providing 50,000 tonnes of rice for delivery to its northern neighbor.
Brexit campaigner Boris Johnson took a step closer to becoming Britain’s next prime minister, winning 40 percent of votes in the second round of a contest on a firm promise to leave the European Union by Oct. 31. The former foreign minister was far ahead of the rest of the pack, stretching a lead which, for many, makes Johnson the all but inevitable victor to replace Prime Minister Theresa May.


After Boeing showstopper, Airbus bounces back with Franke deal

Airbus struck a 50-plane deal with veteran low-cost airline investor Bill Franke, bouncing back from the potential loss of a major customer a day earlier when IAG placed a lifeline order for Boeing’s grounded 737 MAX jet. Boeing seized on a lull in firm orders for passenger jets to sign more than $100 million in contracts for digital services for its newer but fast-growing global unit as the Paris Airshow enters a third day. For the more coverage.
8 min read

Electric dreams in danger as funding dwindles for China's Tesla challengers

Last year, Wei Qing and his private equity investment team visited more than 20 Chinese electric vehicle manufacturing startups. The end result? They decided not to invest in any. His concerns reflect what bankers describe as increasingly tough funding times for Chinese EV makers which must jostle for attention in a crowded sector and produce convincing arguments about future profitability despite government cuts to EV subsidies and plans to phase them out.
6 Min Read

Activists urge Google to break up before regulators force it to

Shareholder activists want Google parent Alphabet to break itself up before regulators force the world’s biggest internet ad seller to split into different pieces. SumOfUs, a U.S.-based group that aims to curb the growing power of corporations, is set to make that proposal at Alphabet’s annual shareholder meeting at an auditorium at the company’s offices in Sunnyvale, California.
3 min read
The European Union’s second highest court ruled that Adidas’s trademark consisting of three parallel stripes was invalid.
4:40 AM - Jun 19, 2019

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