Morning Briefing: Oregon shootout, Trump pullout, Zika fallout

January 27, 2016

Authorities arrested Ammon Bundy, the leader of an armed occupation at an federal wildlife refuge in Oregon, after shots were fired during a traffic stop. One person was killed in the incident and seven others were arrested. Details are still sketchy, but news reports identified the dead man as Lavoy Finicum, who was the de facto spokesman for the group. The standoff began on Jan. 2 in a protest of two local ranchers who were returned to prison for setting fires to federal lands, but has its roots in longstanding disputes between ranchers and the government over public lands.

Donald Trump is pulling out of Thursday’s debate because of his objections to Fox News moderator Megyn Kelly, who, you’ll recall, asked questions in August that he didn’t want to answer about his treatment of women. “Let’s see how much money Fox makes without me in the debate,” the billionaire businessman said. According to Real Clear Politics poll average, Trump’s lead over Ted Cruz in Iowa caucuses has increased to nearly 6 percent points from a dead heat two weeks ago. The caucuses begin on Monday.

A Virginia resident who traveled outside the U.S. tested positive for the mosquito-transmitted Zika virus.  But because it’s not mosquito season in Virginia, the state’s health commission said the individual poses no risk. An Arkansas resident who also traveled outside the country also tested positive. President Obama called for the rapid development of tests, vaccines and treatments.

Pic of the day

A sloth holds on to the post of a traffic barrier on a highway, in this handout photo provided by Ecuador's Transit Commission, in Quevedo, Ecuador on January 22, 2016. Transit police officers, who were patrolling the new highway found the sloth after it had apparently tried to cross the street and returned the animal to its natural habitat after a veterinarian found it to be in perfect condition, according to a press release. REUTERS/Ecuador's Transit Commission/Handout via Reuters   TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY     ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS PICTURE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. REUTERS IS UNABLE TO INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THE AUTHENTICITY, CONTENT, LOCATION OR DATE OF THIS IMAGE. FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS. THIS PICTURE WAS PROCESSED BY REUTERS TO ENHANCE QUALITY. AN UNPROCESSED VERSION HAS BEEN PROVIDED SEPARATELY  - RTX242F5

A sloth holds on to the post of a traffic barrier on a highway, in this handout photo provided by Ecuador’s Transit Commission, in Quevedo, Ecuador on January 22, 2016. REUTERS/Ecuador’s Transit Commission/Handout via Reuters

Around the country

  • Mr. Affluenza teen is expected to be deported to the U.S. very soon, his lawyer said, where he will face the consequences of violating probation. That was the original sentence he got after he killed four people in a drunk driving incident in 2013. His ‘affluenza” defense was that he was too rich to know better.
  • Lyft pledged to give drivers more workplace protections as part of a settlement of a class action lawsuit in California. But the ride service won’t have to classify those drivers as employees, thus removing a threat to its business model.

Around the world

  • As part of the prisoner swap with Iran, the Obama Administration offered to drop a $10 million claim against an Iranian man held in the U.S. The prisoner’s hold-out threatened to unravel the deal with Iran until he relented at the last minute. Now it could stir Republican scrutiny of how Obama clinched the deal.
  • Taiwan’s outgoing President Ma Ying-jeou plans to visit a disputed island in the South China Sea. The U.S. isn’t happy.

Digits Of The Day: $99.99

People walk past stores promoting the Apple iPhone 6S in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen, January 26, 2016. REUTERS/Bobby Yip - RTX2426H

People walk past stores promoting the Apple iPhone 6S in the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen, January 26, 2016. REUTERS/Bobby Yip

No, it’s not the price for an iPhone 6s. It’s where Apple shares closed yesterday, up 55 cents, or 0.6 percent, after the company reported paltry iPhone growth and forecast its first revenue decline in 13 years. Of course, most of this was already expected by the market before yesterday’s earnings announcement. Apple’s CFO Luca Maestri highlighted the iPhone’s growth prospects in India, in hopes of overshadowing China’s fading sales.

Elsewhere on Wall Street

  • The Federal Reserve is expected to hold the line on interest rates when it emerges from its policy meeting this afternoon. It’s also expected to acknowledge that turmoil in financial markets threaten its upbeat view of the economy.

Coming up today

  • Facebook earnings
  • Boeing earnings
  • eBay earnings
  • New home sales
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So long, Fish.

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