Friday Briefing

Putin arrives in Beijing with gas supply deal for China.

Views expressed in this geopolitical news summary are those of the reporters and correspondents.

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The Reuters Daily Briefing

Friday, February 4, 2022

by Linda Noakes


Here's what you need to know.

Russia and China tell NATO to stop expansion, Biden's approval rating drops to a new low, and Zuckerberg loses $29 billion

Today's biggest stories

Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing, February 4, 2022


Russian President Vladimir Putin touched down in Beijing for the 2022 Winter Olympics, bringing with him a deal to increase natural gas supply to China amid rising tensions with the West. Russia and China called in a joint statement for NATO to halt its expansion while Moscow said it fully supported Beijing's stance on Taiwan and opposed Taiwanese independence in any form.

The leader of Islamic State died when he blew himself and family members up during a U.S. military raid in Syria, President Joe Biden said, dealing a blow to the jihadist group's efforts to reorganize as a guerrilla force after losing large swaths of territory. Read our behind-the-scenes account of the U.S. operation, which was months in the planning.

India's official COVID-19 death toll crossed 500,000, a level some data analysts said was breached last year but was obscured by inaccurate surveys and unaccounted dead in the hinterlands. Japan's serious COVID-19 cases crossed 1,000 for the first time in four months, as the Omicron variant fueled record infections and burdened the medical system.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson was fighting to shore up his authority after a senior aide resigned over his false claim that the leader of the opposition Labour Party failed to prosecute a notorious child sex abuser. Johnson has repeatedly refused to resign over revelations that he and some of his staff attended Downing Street parties during COVID lockdowns. Here's how he could be ousted.

Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro met with Peru's President Pedro Castillo and pressed him on a project to build a cross-border road that would allow Brazil access to the Pacific. The plan would link Cruzeiro do Sul in the western Brazilian state of Acre to the Peruvian city of Pucallpa, across an area of virgin rainforest.

President Joe Biden, Attorney General Merrick Garland, New York City Mayor Eric Adams and New York's Governor Kathy Hochul applaud a police officer during a meeting about gun violence at the New York Police Department headquarters, February 3, 2022


President Joe Biden called for greater investments in local police departments alongside social services in a visit to New York City aimed at projecting a united front against gun violence with Mayor Eric Adams after a series of violent crimes that have rattled the city. Biden's approval rating has dropped to a new low of 41%, a Reuters/Ipsos poll found.

A 22-year-old armed Black man was fatally shot by a Minneapolis police SWAT team during a raid on his apartment on Wednesday, video recorded by a police body camera showed. The Minneapolis Police Department released the video and a still image showing the man, Amir Locke, held a gun in his hand as he twisted round beneath a blanket after being roused by police.

One of three white men convicted of murdering Ahmaud Arbery, a Black man chased down and shot while jogging, is due back in court after a U.S. district judge rejected his plea bargain on federal hate-crimes charges as overly preferential.

A Texas man accused by U.S. federal prosecutors of threatening to kill election and government officials during a wave of violent rhetoric by believers in former President Donald Trump's false claim of voter fraud is due in court today.

Republican state lawmakers in Georgia are pushing legislation to redraw electoral maps in three counties in a move that would effectively override local officials who have traditionally wielded that power in what has become a battleground state.


Mark Zuckerberg lost $29 billion in net worth as Meta Platforms' stock marked a record one-day plunge, while fellow billionaire Jeff Bezos was set to add $20 billion to his personal valuation after Amazon's blockbuster earnings. Amazon said it was raising the price of its annual U.S. Prime subscriptions by 17%, as it looks to offset higher costs for shipping and wages that it expects to persist this year.

Pinterest delivered its first annual net income as strong advertising revenue drove its fourth-quarter results past Wall Street expectations and softened the blow from a shrinking user base. The image-sharing firm's shares surged up to 20% in extended trading.

Ford ended 2021 with $36 billion in cash, a crop of hot-selling new electric vehicles and a bullish forecast for revenue and profit growth this year, but that was not enough for investors. Its shares dipped as much as 5% after fourth-quarter income fell short of analysts' expectations and the company forecast a slower recovery in 2022 vehicle production than rival General Motors.

Storm clouds hang over SoftBank as it prepares to report third-quarter earnings, with the valuations of top portfolio companies slipping and heavyweights departing the Japanese technology conglomerate. Major SoftBank assets that went public over the last year and are now trading below their listing price include ridehailing company Didi Global, e-commerce firm Coupang and used-car platform Auto1 Group.

Sneaker giant Nike sued online reseller StockX in a New York federal court for selling unauthorized images of Nike shoes, marking the latest lawsuit over digital assets known as non-fungible tokens.


See our full coverage of the Beijing Games

After a fraught run-up, it's time for the opening ceremony

Quote of the day

"If you are going to report bad earnings you need to expect that you will get taken out behind the woodshed"

Phil Orlando

Portfolio manager at Federated Hermes

Earnings whiplash points to more volatility for U.S. markets

Video of the day

Big winter storm hits the central and Northeast U.S.

Heavy snow and ice made travel treacherous if not impossible, knocked out power to thousands and closed schools in several states.

And finally…

Sale of animal-linked NFTs raises conservation funds for South African reserve

Tlalamba, a four-year-old leopard, has achieved much in her short life. Queen of her mother's old territory, she's borne two cubs and is the most sought-after animal on her reserve among buyers of a new project selling non-fungible tokens.

More from Reuters

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