Tuesday Morning Briefing: Maybe we should just stop counting October surprises

November 1, 2016

While the presidential candidates threw more brickbats at one another, The New York Times learned that in the 1990s, Donald Trump was using a tax avoidance scheme so aggressive, the IRS would likely have ruled it improper if he were audited.

Thanks to this one maneuver, which was later outlawed by Congress, Mr. Trump potentially escaped paying tens of millions of dollars in federal personal income taxes. – New York Times, Oct. 31, 2016

Reuters has plenty more election coverage for you:

An explosion at Colonial Pipeline’s facilities in Shelby, Alabama, killed one worker and injured five others. It’s the second time in two months that Colonial had to close the crucial supply line to the U.S. East Coast.

Iraqi troops broke through Islamic State defenses in an eastern suburb of Mosul, taking the battle for the insurgents’ stronghold into the city limits for the first time.

Place your bets

A young child takes part in the Hoboken Ragamuffin Parade to celebrate Halloween in Hoboken, New Jersey U.S.,October 31, 2016. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson      TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY      - RTX2R9WJ

A child takes part in the Hoboken Ragamuffin Parade to celebrate Halloween in Hoboken, New Jersey, Oct. 31, 2016. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

Around the country

  • Voting is no easy task for Roland Gilbert. The 86-year-old retired Ohio lawyer, who is legally blind, completes his absentee ballot with help from a machine that magnifies the print. So the registered Democrat was not completely surprised to learn he had made an error in filling out his 2014 ballot, entering that day’s date in the birthdate field. What surprised him was that it cost him his vote.
  • Bill Cosby’s lawyers will ask a Pennsylvania state judge to keep more than a dozen women who have accused the comedian of sexual assault off the witness stand at his trial on charges of molesting a former basketball coach at his alma mater.
  • Airbnb and New York State are in talks to resolve a lawsuit brought by the company challenging a law that could expose it to significant penalties for advertising short-term apartment rentals.

Around the world

  • China unveiled its Chengdu J-20 stealth fighter in public for the first time at Airshow China. Experts say China has been refining designs for the J-20, first glimpsed by planespotters in 2010, in the hope of narrowing a military technology gap with the United States.
  • South Korean President Park Geun-hye’s close friend was detained over allegations that she inappropriately influenced state affairs. Prosecutors are investigating whether Choi Soon-sil used her friendship with Park to gain access to classified documents that enabled her to influence government matters and benefit personally through non-profit foundations. The scandal has sent Park’s approval numbers plummeting.
  • Turkey’s secularist Cumhuriyet newspaper vowed “we will not surrender” in a front-page headline, a day after its editor and a dozen top staff were detained on accusations of supporting the country’s failed July coup.

Around Wall Street

  • There’s a group called the Analysis and Detection Center within the SEC’s Market Abuse Unit that culls through billions of rows of trading data going back 15 years to identify individuals who have made repeated, well-timed trades ahead of corporate news. The new strategy is starting to show results.

Digits of the day: 48 percent

That’s how much Sony’s profit fell  as earthquake damage to a key factory in April continued to affect its cash-cow imaging sensor business.

Today’s reason to live

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