Thursday briefing: Trump’s China U-turn, Kenya goes to the polls, JFK conspiracies abound

Kenya votes for a president amid high tensions… Trump heaps praise on China’s Xi Jinping… previously unreleased John F. Kennedy are set to be made public

Good afternoon, this is Anna cutting through today’s noise for you.

Singing for his supper – Donald Trump has publicly gushed over China’s leader Xi Jinping for his ‘extraordinary elevation’ to an exalted position in government. This week saw the Chinese president’s political thoughts enshrined into the Communist party’s constitution, reaffirming the leader’s absolute supremacy in China. Ahead of Trump’s three-day visit to Beijing on November 8, he had nothing but compliments for his Chinese counterpart, referring to Jinping as a ‘king’, most likely because he will seek help from the president in dealing with North Korea. Although relations between the two presidents have warmed since Trump’s inauguration to the White House, numerous commentators have posited that Beijing views Trump as an erratic wild card not to be trusted.

Kenyans go to the polls, again – Voters have begun casting their ballots in Kenya in an election re-run that has polarised the country. The opposition has boycotted the election, making it highly likely that the outcome will be disputed, again. President Uhuru Kenyatta was declared the winner in an August vote, but the supreme court overturned his victory, citing irregularities and mismanagement by the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission. Opposition leader Raila Odinga has pulled out of the contest for fears the same ‘irregularities’ will occur. Turnout this time around appears to be much lower than the first, with reports that opposition voters are blocking some polling stations and police have fired live rounds to deter them.

Conspiracies untold – 3,000 top secret files related to former US President John F. Kennedy’s murder will be released today by the US National Archives. Conspiracy theorists have been waiting for this moment to either dispel or confirm suspicions that the CIA and FBI knew assassin Lee Harvey Oswald was a direct threat to Kennedy. They may reveal the dark depths intelligence agencies went to to protect their reputation after the murder and the scale of US espionage during the Cold War. Historians – and wannabe historians – will be poring over the documents’ details to also determine whether Oswald acted alone, or whether there was a network of aggressors linked to the shooting.

Rock and roll loses a star – Fats Domino, a rock and roll pioneer and one of the most influential musicians during the 1950s and ‘60s, has died at the age of 89. Tributes have been pouring in for the performer, who sold more than 65 million records worldwide, outselling every other artist except Elvis Presley. He died at his home in Harvey, Louisiana, just across the Mississippi River from New Orleans, the Jefferson Parish coroner’s office confirmed. Fats Domino – whose real name was Antoine Domino Jr – was one of the first rhythm and blues artists to gain popularity with a white audience and paved the way for many others.

Mental illness at work – Mental illness is not just a social issue – it’s an economic one too. Psychological problems are forcing 300,000 people out of work a year in the UK, costing the economy about £99bn. A government-funded report, Thriving at Work, alleges employers bear responsibility for about half of lost productivity. The report’s authors Paul Farmer, from Mind, and ex-HBOS chair Dennis Stevenson, found that those struggling with their mental health can thrive in the workplace if the appropriate measures and approaches are implemented. They are asking for more employers and businesses to educate their staff about mental health, and adopt measures to adequately help those affected.

Weinstein’s dirty past comes back to haunt him – As the world is still reeling from the bombshell exposé of Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein’s history of sexual assault, another actor has come forward to accuse the disgraced producer of rape. Norwegian actor Natassia Malthe told reporters at a press conference that Weinstein forced her to have non-consensual sex with him in a London hotel room after the 2008 Baftas. He then asked her to join him in a threesome in Los Angeles, which she refused and told him getting a one-up in her career was not worth what Weinstein wanted in exchange. Miramax Studios have spoken about a ‘cult’ atmosphere surrounding Weinstein that allowed him to do whatever he wanted.  

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