Ma Ying-jeou and Xi Jinping will meet in Singapore on Saturday, the first time leaders from these countries have done so since they split in 1949. Talks will focus on peace, and no formal agreements are expected. But the largely symbolic reunion — despite drawing some protesters to Taiwan’s parliament — could benefit both leaders. Ma’s party is behind in the polls for January’s presidential vote, with Beijing’s less-preferred Democratic Progressive Party poised to win. Improved relations could help boost Ma’s legacy, while serving China’s interests before Election Day.
The Presidential Daily Brief
They haven’t reached a formal conclusion. But U.S. officials have said that the Metrojet 9268 crash was probably triggered when an ISIS-planted bomb went off on board, echoing statements made by the office of U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron. ISIS has been publicly claiming responsibility, and Ireland and the U.K. have both suspended flights to and from Sharm el-Sheikh until further notice, citing security threats. Meanwhile, the U.S. embassy in Cairo has instructed its employees to stay out of the Sinai for the time being.
These Texans don’t want any heroes. Voters in the Lone Star State’s biggest city yesterday soundly rejected a measure to ban discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity, race and other categories. The Houston Equal Rights Ordinance, aka HERO, was repealed by 61 percent of voters. Opponents are hailing it a victory for American values. But HERO supporters are criticizing a “fearmongering” opposition campaign with slogans like “No Men in Women’s Restrooms,” referring to transgender females, and say they’ll continue to fight for equal rights.
Officials in Lahore say at least 18 people have died in the destruction of a factory that manufactured shopping bags. It’s still unclear why the factory collapsed, and an investigation is inevitable — especially since corruption is known to be rife in the nation’s building sector. For now, a major operation is mobilizing to hunt for survivors — they’ve already pulled dozens from the wreckage, and cries from what’s estimated to be as many as 150 more could be heard by onlookers at the scene.
Will the smoke ever clear? The German automaker has revealed even more emissions trouble — this time with carbon dioxide, as opposed to the earlier nitrogen oxide issues linked to test-faking software. Volkswagen is now reporting “irregularities” in CO2 emissions in up to 800,000 cars across Europe, with an estimated cost of $2.2 billion to repair. Brands like Audi, Skoda and Seat may be affected, and Porsche has warned that the news could negatively impact its figures. VW stocks, predictably, were being driven south in early trading.
Put that in your pipe and smoke it … just not in the Buckeye State. Voters in every Ohio county, including urban hubs and college towns, stubbed out a measure yesterday that would have legalized both personal and medical marijuana for those over 21. Some opposed Issue 3 even if they supported legalization generally, because it granted exclusive commercial growing rights to a small “cartel” of investors. But Ohio’s governor, 2016 GOP candidate John Kasich, says he’s proud of his electorate for choosing instead to “strengthen our families and communities.”
Romanian prime minister resigns in wake of nightclub fire tragedy. (BBC)
Plane crash in South Sudan kills at least 41. (Al Jazeera)
Honda dumps Takata over defective air bags. (CNN)
Maldives declares 30-day emergency in wake of suspected terrorism. (AP)
Poll: Clinton and Carson would tie in general election. (USA Today)
Student killed by police after stabbing rampage on California campus. (LA Times)
This bites. Residents of America’s 50th state are on alert after the discovery of 10 new cases of the potentially deadly mosquito-borne disease. This year, 23 have fallen sick on the Big Island, and while travelers from dengue-infested tropics are usually to blame, these new cases are believed to have come from local mosquitoes. Domestically infected bugs would be terrible news for the island — where most of the dengue-carrying mosquito strain was eradicated in the 1940s — and could suck the lifeblood from its booming tourism trade.
The rare storm brought 100 mph winds and major flooding, killing at least three yesterday. Yemen averages two to three inches of rain per year, but Chapala was predicted to dump ten times that in one day. The cyclone has now weakened and moved westward, with warnings of big waves persisting in the south. But with the desert nation locked in a civil war, resources are scarce. As international aid workers flock to help, they’ll need to steer clear of high waters and armed Houthi Shiite rebels.
They’re searching for a way to win. Eight-year Google veteran and Chilean transplant Enrique Muñoz Torres defected to Yahoo, falling hard for the “romantic” notion of reviving the brand’s credibility. Rumors are that the Sunnyvale-based tech firm is going all-in to corner the mobile search engine market — one of the few places where Google is considered vulnerable. While Yahoo may never dominate on every front — its office even uses some Google products, like video conferencing — Muñoz and his colleagues are committed to finding a comeback.
He couldn’t stay away. Just three months after wrapping up a 16-year stint at The Daily Show’s helm, the NYC-born funnyman has agreed to create short-form content for HBO. This will reportedly feature Stewart’s take on current events for HBO Now and HBO Go. Combined with the network’s recent deals with Bill Simmons and Sesame Street, Stewart — who joked that while “22 minutes a night clearly broke me,” he can handle shorter productions — could help HBO in the battle to dominate streaming digital content.
Did they pick and choose? Alabama doesn’t have the best record but joins three undefeated teams for this year’s first official bracket of prospective playoff teams, with Clemson, LSU and Ohio State holding the top three spots. In just its second year, the CFP bracket system is causing a stir, notably leaving unbeaten powerhouses like Baylor, TCU and Michigan State out of the upper tier. The Crimson Tide will be looking to shine against LSU this Saturday … but a lot can change before the CFP’s final selections in early December.