Wednesday Morning Briefing: Cold wars, hot wars

October 26, 2016

NATO wants to build up troops on Russian’s borders to their highest level since the Cold War. The United States hopes for commitments from Europe to fill four battle groups of 4,000 troops, part of the alliance’s response to Russia’s 2014 annexation of Crimea. Also, with Russia’s only aircraft carrier heading to Syria in a show of force along Europe’s shores, NATO wants to counter with forces in the Baltic states and eastern Poland starting next year.


Meanwhile, Donald Trump is predicting a hot war if Hillary Clinton is elected president.

“What we should do is focus on ISIS. We should not be focusing on Syria. You’re going to end up in World War Three over Syria if we listen to Hillary Clinton.” – Donald Trump

Digits of the day: 3 percent

That’s how much Apple‘s shares fell after it said it was unsure it can meet holiday demand for the iPhone 7 Plus. The company posted a disappointing holiday quarter forecast and its third successive quarter of declining iPhone sales.

Welcome to the Jungle

A migrant is seen in silhouette near flames from a burning makeshift shelter on the second day of the evacuation of migrants and their transfer to reception centers in France, as part of the dismantlement of the camp called the "Jungle" in Calais, France, October 25, 2016.       REUTERS/Neil Hall   - RTX2QEKT

A refugee is seen in silhouette near flames from a burning makeshift shelter in Calais, France, Oct. 25, 2016. REUTERS/Neil Hall

Around the world

  • Damn the Vatican bureaucracy. Pope Francis is doing it his way, pushing through a progressive agenda, eschewing filters between him and the outside world and keeping his own schedule. Heck, he even carries his own briefcase.
  • Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte sought to assure Japan that his high-profile visit to China last week was about economics not security. Then he repeated threats to end military agreements with the United States. Then his foreign minister tried to walk back Duterte’s remarks, again. The whole thing is causing agita for Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who wants stronger ties with Washington but also needs a good relationship with the Philippines to counter China.
  • Russia said it would extend a moratorium on air strikes on Syria’s Aleppo into a ninth day, but a monitor and a civil defense official said that bombing of the rebel-held parts of the city resumed on Saturday.

Around the country

  • Nevada’s state gambling regulator is investigating allegations that Las Vegas Sands casinos allowed high-stakes Chinese players to bet millions of dollars in other people’s names. Reuters reported last month that some casinos have allowed high-stakes players to gamble through front men who would sign the credit paperwork, in an effort to attract wealthy Chinese baccarat players.
  • The largest Roman Catholic health organization in the United States was accused in a federal complaint of denying appropriate care by refusing on religious grounds to allow a pregnant woman with a brain tumor to be sterilized. The complaint was filed by the American Civil Liberties Union with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights. It asks the department to investigate the policies on sterilization of Ascension Health and its subsidiary, Genesys Health System, to see if they violate federal medical care regulations.

Around Wall Street

  • Two years ago, the rooftop solar market was a veritable gold rush in California. Now the party’s over due to shrinking incentives, wariness of future government actions and consumer fatigue with marketing tactics.
  • Oil fell for a third straight day on Wednesday, nearing $50 a barrel for the first time in three weeks, as investors grew increasingly doubtful that OPEC members will agree to cut output and as U.S. inventories staged a surprisingly large increase.
  • Goldman Sachs missed out on an advisory role on AT&T’s deal to buy Time Warner because of its perceived conflict stemming from advising Rupert Murdoch’s Twenty-First Century Fox two years ago, when it made a failed bid for Time Warner. As a result, investment banking rival Morgan Stanley is now No. 1 in the U.S. merger advisory rankings.

Today’s reason to live

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