The Reuters Daily Briefing

Thursday, October 28, 2021

Today’s biggest stories

Glasgow Protest

Activists symbolically set George Square on fire with an art installation of faux flames and smoke ahead of the U.N. Climate Change Conference, in Glasgow, Scotland, October 28, 2021. REUTERS/Russell Cheyne

U.S.

President Joe Biden wants to show the U.N. climate conference in Scotland that the United States is back in the fight against global warming. But continued haggling in Congress over legislation to advance his climate goals threatens to undermine that message on the world stage.

Senior Democrats in the U.S. Congress are at odds over a proposal to tax billionaires’ assets to help pay for Biden’s social and climate-change agenda, leaving it unclear if the idea has enough support to become law. We explain the likely legal challenges.

Senate Democrats struggled to keep paid family leave in Biden’s emerging social and climate-change legislation, saying negotiations would continue despite media reports the benefit could be axed from the bill.

Chinese telecoms giant Huawei paid Democratic lobbyist Tony Podesta $1 million to lobby the Biden administration on its behalf, double what the lobbyist has revealed publicly, according to two people familiar with the matter.

A .45-caliber Colt revolver used on the set of the film ‘Rust’ was not thoroughly checked before being given to actor Alec Baldwin, who fired a live lead bullet in an accidental fatal shooting last week in New Mexico, according to officials and a new court filing. So who faces legal liability?

A man poses for pictures in front of a countdown clock showing 100 days left to the opening of Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games, October 27, 2021. REUTERS/Tingshu Wang

WORLD

Singapore is looking into an “unusual surge” of 5,324 new infections of COVID-19, the city-state’s health ministry said, its highest such figure since the beginning of the pandemic, as beds in intensive care units fill up. Meanwhile, parts of northeast China are on heightened alert as COVID-19 returns.

The top U.S. military officer, General Mark Milley, has provided the first official U.S. confirmation of a Chinese hypersonic weapons test that military experts say appears to show Beijing’s pursuit of an Earth-orbiting system designed to evade American missile defenses.

Israel moved forward with plans to build some 3,000 homes for Jewish settlers in the occupied West Bank, defying the Biden administration’s strongest criticism to date of such projects.

Laos police have seized a record haul of illicit drugs in the Golden Triangle region, in what the United Nations said was Asia’s largest single drug bust ever. More than 55 million methamphetamine tablets and over 1.5 tonnes of crystal methamphetamine were intercepted.

Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party could lose its majority in Sunday’s general election, polls show, potentially turning new leader Fumio Kishida into another short-term prime minister and triggering a return to political uncertainty. We look at efforts to win the hearts and votes of the alienated young.

BUSINESS

The U.S. Congress will today open a year’s worth of investigations into whether Big Oil deceived Americans about its role in climate change, with Democratic lawmakers planning to grill the chiefs of four oil companies and two lobby groups.

Royal Dutch Shell set itself tougher emissions-cutting targets as it reported a lower-than-expected third-quarter profit of $4.13 billion. Hedge fund Third Point has built a large stake in the oil major and called on it to split into multiple companies to increase its performance and market value.

The global semiconductor chip shortage cost Volkswagen and Stellantis a combined 1.4 million vehicles in lost production in the third quarter, Europe’s two biggest carmakers said, though both reported some early signs of improvement.

In wealthy Singapore, where new vehicle registration is tightly controlled to manage the city state’s traffic and pollution, Tesla is having a moment: surging sales are gobbling up rivals’ market share.

Online brokerages not licensed in China are conducting illegal businesses if they serve Chinese clients via the internet, a Chinese central banker said, in the first official comment on recent reports flagging regulatory risks facing firms such as U.S.-listed Futu Holding and UP Fintech Holding.

SPECIAL REPORT

Cement producers are burning more plastic waste as a cheap fuel and some of the world’s biggest plastic-polluting companies are helping them to do it .