Apr. 16, 2018

BLOOMBERG

President Donald Trump accused China and Russia of devaluing their currencies, opening a new front in his argument that foreign governments are taking advantage of the U.S. economy to support their own expansions.

A multibillion-dollar U.S. Supreme Court case is set for argument. States and traditional retailers are asking the court to overturn a 26-year-old ruling that exempts many internet merchants from collecting billions of dollars in sales taxes. The 1992 decision says retailers can be forced to collect the tax only if they have a physical presence in a state, such as a store or warehouse.

Last week, federal agencies rolled out plans for overhauling some of the most significant constraints imposed on banks after the 2008 financial crisis: capital requirements that are meant to make lenders better equipped to withstand losses, stress tests that assess firms' ability to survive another economic calamity and restrictions on leverage. On April 10, the Federal Reserve proposed making the stress tests less stressful, while tying capital demands much more closely to how banks perform in the annual exams.

Japan and China held their first high-level economic dialogue in almost eight years on Monday against a backdrop of trade threats from the U.S.

Syrian officials met with envoys from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons sent to probe the allegations of chemical weapons use that provoked a U.S.-led missile strike.

While the attack by the U.S., Britain and France destroyed military positions and research facilities linked to chemical weapons, it did little to degrade Assad's capacity to wage war, or target the fighters from Russia, Iran and Hezbollah supporting him.

U.S. retail sales rose by more than expected in March in the first gain in three months, suggesting consumer demand regained steam on the back of tax cuts and refunds.

AP Top Stories

Joint air strikes by the US, UK and France have set back Syria's chemical weapons capability "for years", the US military said. Cruise missiles were fired at three sites in response to what Theresa May called the "despicable and barbaric" attack in Douma last week that is believed to have killed up to 75 people.

After the U.S. and its allies launched strikes on Syria, UN Ambassador Haley warned that the U.S. is prepared to respond again.

High temperatures, gusting winds and low humidity fuel wildfires in western Oklahoma, where a state of emergency has been declared in more than 50 counties with at least two killed.

Tens of thousands of demonstrators marched through Hungary's capital of Budapest on Saturday to protest Prime Minister Viktor Orbán's government, as critics warn the country could slide further into illiberalism.

Gun rights supporters gathered at the state Capitol in Atlanta for one of dozens of rallies planned at statehouses across the U.S. A group called the National Constitutional Coalition of Patriotic Americans says organizers have permits for gatherings in 45 states. They encouraged supporters to bring unloaded rifles in states where it's legal.

Nearly 1,400 basking sharks were spotted in aerial photos in a puzzling gathering off the East Coast of the U.S. The unusual plankton-eating basking sharks are the second largest fish in the world - surpassed only by the whale shark - and have been generally believed to be solitary swimmers. The huge fish can reach 32 feet in length and weigh as much as five tons.

More local governments in California are resisting the state's efforts to resist the Trump administration's immigration crackdown, and political experts see politics at play as Republicans try to fire up voters in a state where the GOP has grown weak.

The Philippines has barred entry to an EU party official critical of President Rodrigo Duterte's brutal drugs crackdown, in a move denounced by critics Monday as a gag on dissent.

BBC

Russia has denied interfering with evidence at the site of a suspected Syrian chemical weapons attack that drew Western military retaliation.

German prosecutors have charged a 94-year-old former SS guard with aiding and abetting mass murder at the Nazis' Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp.

A vulture raised by gay parents has been released into the wild as part of a conservation program. Artis Amsterdam Royal Zoo set two birds free in Sardinia, a year after they were born in the Dutch capital. One of the chicks was raised by two male vultures in a long-term relationship.

An American pastor on trial in Turkey has denied charges of aiding a terrorist organization, in a case that has frayed Turkey-US relations.

A large bushfire that has threatened homes in Sydney is likely to have been deliberately lit, Australian authorities said. The blaze, which began on Saturday, has burnt through 2,500 hectares of land in the city's southern suburbs.

The Israeli military has disabled a major tunnel dug by militants which reached into Israel from the Gaza Strip. It was the longest and deepest tunnel of its kind Israel had discovered.

WND

Counter-terrorism expert Michael Clarke, who specializes in defense studies, has urged the public to be ready for "cyber warfare" within the next two or three weeks. He said: "I suspect Russia will choose not to respond in military terms. But cyber warfare is highly likely.

A controversial suicide pod that enables its occupant to kill themselves at a press of a button went on display at Amsterdam funeral show. Called the "Sarco", short for sarcophagus, the 3D-printed machine comes with a detachable coffin, mounted on a stand that contains a nitrogen canister. "The person who wants to die presses the button and the capsule is filled with nitrogen. He or she will feel a bit dizzy but will then rapidly lose consciousness and die."

A Japanese government-commissioned expert panel has greenlighted controversial scientific experiments to grow human organs inside the bodies of animals as early as this fall.

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