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While Beijing has learned not to get too excited about an olive branch from U.S. President Donald Trump, his move to delay (slightly) a tariff increase is timely.Officials in China are struggling to contain prices of pork, which surged nearly 50% in August from a year earlier. To ward off public discontent ahead of an annual holiday this week for a harvest festival, bureaucrats have released pork reserves and turned to price controls in some areas.The issues around pork prices come as economists downgrade overall growth forecasts for China to below 6%, with exports slowing and a large debt load limiting the government’s options on stimulus. China this week exempted some U.S. goods from punitive tariffs.None of this means President Xi Jinping will suddenly cave in to Trump, who faces pressure in turn to boost the U.S. economy before the 2020 election. Anything that threatens the Communist Party’s control at home is still off the table.
But with both leaders feeling some political heat on their economies, it makes some sort of deal more likely when talks resume next month.
Beijing’s sway | Four months after she was elected, Australia’s first Chinese-born lawmaker faces scrutiny for her former links to community groups associated with the Communist Party-backed United Front, which seeks to project China’s influence overseas. While Prime Minister Scott Morrison says “grubby” claims by the opposition against Gladys Liu have xenophobic undertones, it comes as concern grows over the role of the Chinese diaspora.
Brexit chaos | The full scale of the damage a no-deal Brexit could cause the U.K. was revealed in a government document outlining the worst-case scenario. Food and fuel shortages, medicine delays, job losses, supply-chain disruptions and public disorder are among the risks. As Britain experiences acute political and constitutional upheaval over Brexit, Alan Crawford finds that comparisons with the English civil war of the 17th century are becoming harder to ignore.
Improving atmospherics | Trump discussed easing sanctions imposed on Iran over its nuclear program as a way to improve the chances of a meeting with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani this month in New York. Then-National Security Adviser John Bolton argued forcefully against the move at the meeting on Monday, and Trump decided to fire him later in the day.
Read our analysis on how Bolton’s exit will affect U.S. foreign policy on Afghanistan to Israel to Russia and more.
Different debate | Tonight’s Democratic primary debate will have a different chemistry than those before it: fewer elements, but a potentially more volatile mix. The event in Houston is the first with the top 10 candidates on the same stage. And the context has changed in the six weeks since the last debate: two major mass shootings, a televised town hall on climate change and more hints of a recession on the horizon.
Click here to test your ability to tell the 2020 contenders apart.
Saudi mystery | Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s trusted enforcer inside the Royal Court disappeared after the murder of columnist Jamal Khashoggi nearly a year ago. Now, as Glen Carey reports, Saud al-Qahtani’s name has resurfaced with conflicting speculation that he may have been fatally poisoned or is still alive.
What to Watch
The House Judiciary Committee plans a vote today on establishing rules that would apply to hearings impeaching Trump, even as Democrats remain divided on whether to pursue that route. Bolstering Trump on one of his signature issues, the U.S. Supreme Court has cleared his administration to enforce a new rule designed to sharply limit who can apply for asylum at the Mexico border. Sudan’s government reached a cease-fire with regional rebels, potentially paving the way for an end to long-running insurgencies in Africa’s third-largest country under ex-President Omar al-Bashir.
And finally … Faced with a worsening epidemic of teenage vaping and a mysterious illness affecting users of cigarette alternatives, the White House promised to increase oversight of a burgeoning but increasingly troubled industry. Five million kids say they’ve vaped this year, up from the 3.6 million who told government surveyors they used e-cigarettes in 2018.
–With assistance from Jason Scott, Alan Crawford, Kathleen Hunter and Karl Maier.
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