Donald Trump and Xi Jinping in Beijing in November 2017. Sources suggest they could meet again in London in December to sign an interim trade deal. Photo: White House/Andrea Hanks
Impeachment to go public, Johnson launches campaign, Alphabet and Facebook probes, some tips for the weekend and mammoth trap discovery. Delano’s breakfast briefing.
US-China deal set for December?
Reuters sources say a meeting between US president Donald Trump and Chinese leader Xi Jinping could be delayed until December and will probably take place in London. The White House source, speaking anonymously, told Reuters the signing of a “phase one” trade deal agreement was likely. CNBC says it can conform the Reuters report, but that the news sent stocks sliding as markets showed concern that a deal would not be signed sooner. Indeed, after Chile cancelled the APEC meeting, on the sidelines of which Trump and Xi Jinping were originally mean to meet, hopes had been raised they would still meet in November in the United States. But according to a South China Morning Post source, China would not agree to this.
Former Twitter employees spied for Saudis
Saudi officials undertook a coordinated campaign to recruit Twitter employees to look up the private data of account holders who criticized the kingdom, The Guardian reports, Two former employees of the social media giant, one a US citizen, the other Saudi, have been charged with falsifying information and of accessing the personal data of more than 6,000 Twitter users in 2015. The BBC says a third person, also a Saudi national, has also been accused of spying. Twitter issued a statement saying it understood “the incredible risks faced by many who use Twitter to share their perspectives with the world and to hold those in power accountable” and that it now had tools in place to protect their privacy. CNBC cites US Attorney David Anderson saying that: “We will not allow U.S. companies or U.S. technology to become tools of foreign repression in violation of U.S. law.”
Impeachment hearings go public next week
As the BBC and CBS report, three state department officials will testify in public as part of the inquiry into US president Donald Trump’s phone call with his Ukrainian counterpart. The Guardian calls the witnesses “the kind of non-ideological true believers in the American project that the country, pre-Trump, had been in the habit of admiring.” Meanwhile, on Fox News former Whitewater independent counsel Ken Starr called the idea of impeachment “extreme”. The Week has the “12 craziest moments” from the transcripts of testimony from ambassador to the EU Gordon Sondland and former NATO ambassador Kurt Volker. And Vox has what it calls “the ultimate guide” to the impeachment saga.
At least 37 people were killed and 60 wounded when five buses carrying staff of Canadian firm Semafo were ambushed on Wednesday in Burkina Faso, the BBC reports. France24 says it was the third deadly attack suffered by Semafo in 15 months.
SoftBank shares slide
Reuters reports that shares of SoftBank Group fell more than 4% in early trade on Thursday after the Japanese conglomerate reported its first quarterly loss in 14 years. CNBC cites SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son saying his company will make “no investment for the purpose of rescue” of WeWork.
Alphabet investigates sexual misconduct
Google parent company Alphabet has launched an enquiry into claims of sexual harassment and other misconduct by executives, CNBC reports. Chief legal officer David Drummond is among those being investigated. Reuters says Alphabet expects to complete the investigation, which was called for by several shareholder groups, by next month
California probes Facebook
The state of California has been conducting an 18-month investigation into Facebook’s privacy practices, Reuters reports. The state and the company appear to have different opinions on how well Facebook is assisting with the enquiry, as The Mail reports.
The Washington Post (via AP) reports on the discovery by Mexican anthropologists of two mammoth traps built some 15,000 years ago. The 6-feet deep pits contained the bones from at least 14 mammoths.
Today’s breakfast briefing was written by Duncan Roberts