Thursday Morning Briefing: GOP woes trickle down to statehouses

October 27, 2016

Digits of the day: 18

It’s getting ugly for the Republican Party down-ballot. The bipartisan National Conference of State Legislatures estimates 18 legislative chambers in 12 states could switch party control, including in Arizona, Colorado, Kentucky, Minnesota, Nevada, Washington and Wisconsin. Republicans have dominated control of legislatures since the mid-term election in 2010 and currently hold the majority in 67 of the country’s 98 partisan legislative chambers, while Democrats have 31. Nebraska’s single chamber is nonpartisan.

Kurdish peshmerga fighter Germad Yihya stood on a small ridge overlooking Fadiliya about 3 miles outside the Islamic State stronghold of Mosul. For nearly a week, fighters like Yihya have been trying to clear villages outside Mosul as part of their offensive to drive out the militants. It’s proving to be a slow and risky mission.

“On the first day there were ten suicide bombers coming at us from all directions. All kinds of cars. Fighting street to street. House to house. They fired at us with machine guns too.” — Germad Yihya, a Kurdish peshmerga fighter.

Elon Musk’s Tesla Motors posted its first profit in more than three years. The surprise profit came less from the sales of its pricey electric cars and more from the sale of emissions credits. Rival automakers can buy the credits rather than sell electric cars of their own. Musk also said the company would not need to raise any more capital to roll out its high volume Model 3 sedan next year.

Around the world

Demonstrators clash with members of Venezuelan National Guard during a rally demanding a referendum to remove Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro in San Cristobal, Venezuela October 26, 2016. REUTERS/Carlos Eduardo Ramirez     TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY      - RTX2QM5I

REUTERS/Carlos Eduardo Ramirez

  • Protests against Venezuela’s leftist leader Nicolas Maduro turned deadly after a policeman was killed last night in a state whose governor is opposition leader Henrique Capriles. Enraged by last week’s suspension of their push for a referendum to remove Maduro and determined to end 17 years of socialism in the South American OPEC nation, Venezuela’s opposition has sharply ramped up its tactics in recent days.
  • Daylight revealed widespread damage in central Italy after strong earthquakes overnight that caused panic and fear among residents just two months after a quake nearby killed hundreds. No one was killed this time, but dozens of people sustained minor injuries, Italy’s Civil Protection Agency said.
  • The number of early applicants to British universities from other European Union countries has dropped by 9 percent following Britain’s vote to leave the EU, official data showed. The figures may be an early sign that the vote has deterred EU nationals from coming to study in Britain, where universities have warned that Brexit could endanger funding and access to research projects, making it harder to attract quality staff.

Around Wall Street

  • Deutsche Bank posted an unexpected quarterly profit, benefiting from a subdued rebound in bond trading. But Germany’s biggest lender failed to dispel the cloud of uncertainty from the multi-billion dollar fine from the U.S. Justice Department that looms over its head.
  • Chinese package delivery company ZTO Express raised $1.4 billion in the biggest U.S. initial public offering of the year as its backers cashed in on China’s booming online-shopping industry. The stock market debut, the biggest by a Chinese company since the $25 billion IPO of e-commerce giant Alibaba Group in 2014, gave the Shanghai-based company a market value of more than $12 billion.
  • Profit growth in China’s industrial firms slowed sharply as some key manufacturing sectors stumbled on weak activity and rising debt, suggesting the world’s second-biggest economy remains underpowered despite emerging signs of stability.

Around the country

  • Silicon Valley could win a key ally in the Senate race in Wisconsin, where Democrat Russ Feingold is beating Republican rival Ron Johnson in the polls by 7.5 points. Privacy advocates expect Feingold to be sympathetic to the privacy concerns of technology companies and civil liberties groups on issues such as encryption and domestic spying.
  • Casino mogul Sheldon Adelson said he is prepared to walk away from a deal to build a stadium that would help relocate the Oakland Raiders to Las Vegas if terms offered by the team do not improve. Adelson, who is chief executive of gambling giant Las Vegas Sands, pledged up to $650 million toward building the stadium, with the remainder coming from the Raiders and the National Football League. “They want so much,” he said. “So I told my people, ‘Tell them I could live with the deal, I could live without the deal. Here’s the way it’s gonna go down. If they don’t want it, bye-bye.'”
  • Emojis have attained the status of art. The Museum of Modern Art in New York has been licensed to display the digital smiley faces in its permanent collection alongside works by Pablo Picasso and Jackson Pollock. And yet some people have a problem with Bob Dylan’s Nobel Prize for literature…

Today’s reason to live

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