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Donald Trump has reversed course on several campaign pledges including suggesting he will reconsider his view on withdrawing from the Paris climate accord, and has shown less confidence in the usefulness of waterboarding and other forms of torture after a frenetic 24-hour blizzard of activity.
In an interview with The New York Times — that was scheduled, cancelled and then reinstated after a dispute — Mr Trump toned down some extreme campaign promises and left some supporters dismayed after dropping his vow to jail Hillary Clinton. Here is the interview in 12 tweets.
Columnist Tom Friedman offers this verdict on the encounter: “Bottom line: The campaign is over, but the struggle for Donald Trump’s soul has just begun. Trump clearly learns by talking to people, not reading. Because so few thought he would win, many of those who gathered around him and had his ear were extreme characters.” Now, however, he is exposing himself to a much wider net of people. “And he stressed repeatedly that he wants to succeed: ‘I am doing this to do a good job.’”
Mr Trump has indicated, however, that he is unlikely to disentangle himself from his business empire as fully as he previously suggested, raising questions about potential conflicts of interest while president. (FT, NYT, WSJ)
In the news
Not so social network Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg has cultivated relationships with Chinese leaders and made an effort to learn Mandarin. Now, the company has quietly created a censorship tool to get back into China. But a re-entry may not happen for years, if at all, given licensing restrictions and other regulations. (NYT, Bloomberg)
Colombia to sign revised peace accord Colombia’s government is planning to sign a new peace deal with Farc rebels on Thursday after the public rejected a previous deal in October. The revised proposal will not be put to a popular vote but will instead be submitted to the country’s Congress for approval, where the government has a sizeable majority. President Juan Manuel Santos said the new accord “possibly won’t satisfy everybody, but that’s what happens in peace accords”. (Newsweek, BBC)
DeGeneres wins Freedom medal Comedian Ellen DeGeneres was praised by Barack Obama for her influence on the gay rights movement as she received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the US’s highest civilian honour. Mr Obama said it was easy to forget the risk Ellen DeGeneres took to come out as gay in 1997. Her bravery helped “push our country in the direction of justice”, he said. (BBC)
Sony worker revolt spotlights China exit hazards Workers at a Sony plant in Guangzhou are staging a major strike In response to the electronics giant’s sale of the facility, drawing attention to the challenges Japanese corporations face not just in doing business but also in pulling out of operations in China. (NAR)
Polar scare Scientists are struggling to understand why a burst of “scary” warming at the North Pole has pushed Arctic temperatures nearly 20C higher than normal for this time of year. (FT)
It’s a big day for
Philip Hammond The UK chancellor’s first “Budget” will be handed down on Wednesday, in which Mr Hammond will grapple with what he calls “eye-watering” debt levels and push back the goal to run a fiscal surplus into the early 2020s. One certainty is that Britain’s landlords will suffer a blow as Mr Hammond announces a ban on letting agents charging fees to tenants. Here are the FT’s other predictions as well as a wishlist from the business community. (FT)
The Fed The US Federal Reserve will release minutes from its latest policy meeting. The central bank’s latest statement hinted it was getting closer to lifting short-term interest rates again. The minutes will give signals as to how soon the committee wants to see a move. (FT)
Keep up with the important business, economic and political stories in the coming days with the FT’s WeekAhead.
Food for thought
The reality of world trade Could China rescue the globalisation of trade after its rejection under US president-elect Donald Trump? And are Mr Trump’s intentions fixed or negotiable? The FT’s Martin Wolf has the answers. (FT)
A tough pledge There is evidence that US manufacturing has a bright future thanks to increasing automation. It just does not look like a future that will include millions of new manufacturing jobs — jobs Donald Trump vowed he would bring back to the US. (FT)
China banks risk ‘Lehman moment’ Chinese banks are increasingly reliant on funding sources that western peers used before the financial crisis, leading investors and analysts to warn that China’s financial system could be vulnerable to a Lehman Brothers-style collapse. Their use of volatile wholesale borrowing to fund balance sheets has particularly worried analysts, who warn that banks could be left without the stability of a broad retail deposit base and unable to raise cash when most needed. (FT)
Nice guys finish first We have all heard romantic advice such as “nice guys finish last” or “treat em’ mean, keep em’ keen”. It turns out we are drawn to those who do good deeds. (Scientific American)
Haters emboldened by Trump win US hate incidents appear to be on the rise, with a surge just after the election, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, which began tracking the post-election hate incidents. Nearly one in 10 of the reported incidents invoked Donald Trump’s name or his policies, such as the wall along the border with Mexico the president-elect says he plans to build. Almost 40 per cent of all incidents occurred in schools or universities. (FT)
Video of the day
What’s the TPP and why does it matter? The TPP trade pact was agreed by 12 countries in February and covers 40 per cent of the global economy. But Donald Trump has said he will abandon it, leaving its other members looking at the alternatives. (FT)