Iowa Races Tighten; Musk Basks in Hero Worship: Saturday Wrap

  • Obama to visit U.S. mosque for first time as president
  • Sugar's slump may be nearing end, commodities traders say

Here are highlights of the top breaking-news stories from around the world on Saturday:

Both parties’ races are tight with the Iowa caucuses two days away, according to the final Bloomberg Politics/Des Moines Register Iowa Poll of likely voters before the first nominating vote of the U.S. presidential campaign. The Democratic race between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders is within the margin of error, while Donald Trump has overtaken Ted Cruz among Republicans by 5 percentage points, barely statistically significant.

Billionaire Elon Musk made a surprise appearance at the announcement of winners in a competition among college engineering teams to design the pod for his envisioned “hyperloop” transportation system. U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, also appearing at the event, said he takes the idea seriously enough now to have his department do some research on it.

Hedge-fund billionaire David Einhorn’s main fund got off to a strong start in January in the midst of a market slump, after a miserable 2015.

The U.S. admitted it deliberately sent a warship into international waters claimed by China as a message not only to the Chinese but to Vietnam and Taiwan, which also have made claims in the South China Sea.

Turkey protested what it said was another incursion of its airspace by Russia.

The U.K. government torpedoed a conference at which Iran hoped to work out new contracts with oil companies, by not granting visas to visiting Iranian officials.

United Airlines is ordering all 12,000 pilots into an extra day of training in an effort to improve communication, at a time when the airline is trying to emerge from operational and safety issues and preparing for a lot of age-related turnover in its cockpits.

Swiss prosecutors found evidence that $4 billion may have been misappropriated from state-owned companies in Malaysia, creating another avenue of possible legal peril for Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak.

President Barack Obama -- wrongly thought by 29 percent of Americans to be Muslim -- will visit a U.S. mosque for the first time in his presidency. He’s trying to shift the political tone away from Donald Trump’s proposed ban on Muslim immigrants and Ted Cruz’s promise to carpet-bomb Islamic State into oblivion.

Top commodities traders are seeing sugar as being ready for a rebound. 

Syria’s opposition showed up in Geneva for peace talks, lending some momentum to the most serious effort so far to end the country’s civil war.

Brazil’s tab for the Rio Olympics is going up another $100 million -- and there’s more to come, since the total so far ($9.8 billion) doesn’t include security costs.

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