Today's Intel

Nov. 14, 2017

BLOOMBERG

President Donald Trump said Tuesday he's hopeful that three UCLA basketball players detained in China on suspicion of shoplifting will be allowed to return home soon.

Whether the underlying topic is abortion, elections, labor unions or wedding cakes, the First Amendment is starting to dominate the Supreme Court's agenda. The court on Monday granted three new speech cases, including a challenge to a California law that requires licensed pregnancy-counseling clinics to tell patients they might be eligible for free or discounted abortions.

Symbols of Christianity are banned in Saudi Arabia and there are no churches, at least in the public sphere. So it was a remarkable sight: A Christian priest, openly wearing a cross, being greeted by one of the kingdom's most influential ministers on Monday.

North Korea hasn't fired a missile for 60 days, but that may have more to do with its own winter training cycle than with Pyongyang easing off on provocations. Since Kim Jong Un took power in late 2011, only five of the isolated nation's 85 rocket launches have taken place in the October-December quarter.

In its latest fiscal year, Wall Street's top regulator sought the least amount of penalties since 2013, a drop that took place as it went months without permanent leadership and could show a softer approach to policing wrongdoing.

Former presidents get lucrative book deals and high-paid speaking gigs. So there's no need for taxpayers to support them to the degree that the federal government has done in the past. That's the reasoning behind legislation that the House backed on Monday slightly reducing the government pension of former presidents and capping how much they can bill taxpayers for office expenses and staff. The measure passed by voice vote.

Puerto Rico is seeking $94 billion in federal aid to help it recovery from the hurricane that devastated the territory in September, leaving much of the island still without power and worsening a financial crisis that had already pushed the government into bankruptcy.

Apple is working on a rear-facing 3-D sensor system for the iPhone in 2019, another step toward turning the handset into a leading augmented-reality device.

U.S. wholesale prices advanced 0.4%, more than forecast in October, boosted by higher margins at fuel retailers, a Labor Department report showed Tuesday in Washington. Compared with a year earlier, producer prices rose the most in more than five years.

AP Top Stories

John Bolton, former US Ambassador to the UN, said North Korea could also sell nuclear weapons to aspiring nuclear powers unless the rogue nation was stopped.

Hate crimes rose for the second straight year in 2016, with increases in attacks motivated by bias against blacks, Jews, Muslims and LGBT people, according to FBI statistics.

Seoul says four North Korean soldiers fired 40 rounds at a comrade fleeing south and hit him five times in the first shootout at the jointly controlled area of the heavily fortified border since 1984.

U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley called Venezuela "an increasingly violent narco-state" that threatens the world, speaking Monday at an informal Security Council meeting on the South American nation that was boycotted by Russia, China, Egypt and Bolivia.

The Pentagon said Monday that US forces had killed 40 Shabaab and Islamic State fighters in a series of strikes on Somalia that began late last week.

Embattled industrial giant General Electric on Monday announced a restructuring plan that includes thousands of job cuts and sales of some units to focus on aviation, healthcare and energy.

Two Navy SEALs reportedly being investigated over the death of an Army Green Beret in Mali are accused of killing him after he learned they had been allegedly stealing.

A U.S. appeals court in California on Monday let President Donald Trump's latest travel ban go partially into effect, ruling the government can bar entry of people from six Muslim-majority countries with no connections to the United States.

For the first time in more than 40 years, lawmakers are holding a hearing to examine whether the president should have carte blanche to launch a nuclear strike.

BBC

Iranians living outdoors in bitterly cold temperatures after an earthquake are making desperate pleas for help. About 540 people were killed and close to 8,000 injured when the quake hit near the Iran-Iraq border on Sunday.

US regulators have approved the first pill that can be digitally tracked through the body. The Abilify MyCite aripiprazole tablets - for treating schizophrenia and manic episodes - have an ingestible sensor embedded inside them that records that the medication has been taken. A patch worn by the patient transmits this information to their smartphone.

International credit ratings agency Standard & Poor's has declared Venezuela to be in "selective default".

Elections in 18 separate nations were influenced by online disinformation campaigns last year, suggests research. Independent watchdog Freedom House looked at how online discourse was influenced by governments, bots and paid opinion formers.

WND

Americans who deal with bipolar disorder, depression, self-mutilation or drug and alcohol abuse are now eligible to be recruited, although the Army insists it will screen such applicants vigorously to ensure they are fit for service.

A new survey shows that 69 percent of Americans would skip exchanging [holiday] gifts if their family and friends agreed to it. The survey, conducted by Harris Poll on behalf of SunTrust Bank, also showed that 60 percent of those surveyed said they would spend more time with friends and family if they didn't have to worry about buying or making gifts.

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