Reuters Best coverage this week: Toronto Mayor admits drug use, Head of Pakistani Taliban killed in drone strike & more

08 Nov 2013
Toronto Mayor Rob Ford responds to the Toronto police investigation in Toronto

CONVERSATION STARTER – Reuters was alone in reporting that the Chinese government has set a deadline to end the controversial use of executed prisoners for organ transplants.  “Using executed prisoners’ organs for transplants does not meet with the ethical standards universally accepted, and has always received criticism from the international community,” Huang Jiefu, who heads the organ transplant reform, told health and hospital officials. Reuters has been consistently ahead on this story, having reported in August the government’s first steps to phase out the use of executed prisoners’ organs.

JOURNALIST SPOTLIGHT – In late October, Reuters exclusively reported that Taiwanese smartphone maker HTC was scaling back production lines as cash flow worsened. Following the story – scored by Taipei Correspondent Clare Jim – the stock went limit up, with analysts crediting the scoop as a key factor as investors predicted the cuts would lift cash flow. In a Reuters Best: Journalist Spotlight Q&A, Clare offers an inside look at the reporting behind her exclusive.

PHOTO OF THE WEEK– Toronto Mayor Rob Ford has admitted to having smoked crack cocaine months after the existence of a video of him using the drug was first reported in the media. This widely published Reuters photo (above), shot by Mark Blinch, captures the drama of the spiraling story that is bringing the mayor under increasing pressure to resign.

VIDEO OF THE WEEK – A rare eclipse of the sun was visible across Africa and the Middle East this weekend and Reuters video crews joined the crowds of onlookers watching the skies. Reuters scored exclusive footage in Damascus.

From market-moving scoops and exclusive interviews to investigative reports and insightful commentary — Reuters Best is a complimentary newsletter compiling the highest points of our coverage from the week. Subscribe here to receive directly to your inbox every Thursday.  

More from Reuters Best…

BUSINESS – Drawing on a high-level source, Reuters revealed exclusively that European Union antitrust regulators planned to fine six global banks, including Deutsche Bank, JP Morgan and HSBC, after an investigation into the rigging of benchmark euro zone interest rates. The fines for fixing the Euribor – a benchmark rate used as the basis for pricing $338 trillion of financial contracts – will mark the first penalties doled out by Brussels as a result of the inquiry. Competitors were forced to cite the Reuters story, which received wide play in global media.

BUSINESS – Reuters reported exclusively that Charter Communications is weighing a bid for Time Warner Cable before year-end and is trying to devise a deal structure that would lure the No. 2 U.S. cable operator’s shareholders. John Malone’s Liberty Media Corp, which owns about a quarter of Charter, approached Time Warner Cable earlier this year about merging with Charter. Talks between the parties restarted over the past few days, but Time Warner Cable’s management remains cool to the idea of a tie-up. According to Reuters sources, Charter is hoping that Time Warner Cable’s weak operating performance in the third quarter will make the company more open to a bid.

POLITICS – Reuters exclusively revealed how Indian security forces are preparing for one of their most challenging assignments in decades: protecting the profoundly polarizing Hindu nationalist candidate for prime minister, Narendra Modi, as the country heads into a general election. A series of small bombs killed six people at a rally the Hindu nationalist leader held in the city of Patna on October 27th. Authorities said the home-grown Indian Mujahideen (IM) group was responsible, and one source from the Intelligence Bureau told Reuters that Modi is “way above everyone else on their hit list.”

GENERAL – Reuters was first to report that the head of the Pakistani Taliban was killed by a U.S. drone strike. Hakimullah Mehsud was one of the most wanted and feared men in Pakistan with a $5 million bounty on his head, leading an insurgency from a mountain hideout in North Waziristan, the Taliban’s stronghold on the Afghan frontier. The BBC and several international news organizations cited the Reuters report until the news was later confirmed by the Pakistani Taliban.

GENERAL – Reuters Senior Photographer Damir Sagolj traveled to a remote and impoverished township in Minhla in Myanmar to produce an exclusive picture story illustrating how local residents supplement their income by extracting crude oil from the ground by hand. The powerful photographs from the economically poor but resource-rich country offered insight in to this primitive and often dangerous occupation. The Reuters pictures saw play on client news websites as slideshows and standalone pictures. Search “Minhla oil” on Media Express to view the photo series.

LIFESTYLE – A true test of Libya’s efforts to stabilize after the 2011 war that ousted Muammar Gaddafi lies outside Tripoli: a golf course that could be described as one perpetual rough. Reuters provided a unique look at the seaside Mudi golf course, where the greens are brown, empty bullet shells litter the sand and gunfire sometimes rattles in the distance as fighting rages between armed groups. The course is an escape from the everyday struggle to impose order in a country awash with weapons, but for now, as one diplomat says, “it’s for die-hards only who desperately need a golf fix.”