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South Korea’s President Park Geun-hye has offered to step down amid a corruption scandal that has riveted the nation. In a televised address she called on parliament to devise a schedule for a transfer of power, but her proposal was rejected by opposition politicians as a ploy to delay impeachment.
The controversy surrounding Ms Park comes from her friendship with Choi Soon-sil, who is currently in police detention. Prosecutors and opposition politicians allege Ms Choi meddled in state affairs and extorted money from top South Korean companies. Ms Park has been named by prosecutors as a criminal “conspirator” in the case, and is the first South Korean president to face a criminal investigation.
Hundreds of thousands of South Koreans have taken part in huge street protests in recent weeks demanding that Ms Park resign. (FT, NAR, BBC)
In the news
China’s war on capital flight Beijing is embarking on a major policy shift designed stem capital outflows by imposing new restrictions on outbound foreign investment. Official scrutiny will focus on deals worth more than $10bn but could extend to smaller purchases if they are outside the investor’s core business. Capital outflows are largely responsible for the depreciation of the renminbi, which has fallen 5.8 per cent this year. (SCMP, FT)
Zuma reprieve South African president Jacob Zuma has survived a challenge from within his own African National Congress, narrowly avoiding a no-confidence vote at a meeting of the party’s national executive committee. The failed attack on Mr Zuma has laid bare divisions over his leadership within the liberation movement. (FT, Mail and Guardian)
Crash in Colombia A plane carrying 81 people, including a first division Brazilian football team, has crashed near the Colombian city of Medellín. At least six passengers are reported to have survived the accident but rescue efforts have been hampered by bad weather and poor visibility. (BBC)
Brexit cake Britain’s Brexit plan is to “have cake and eat it”, according to a note carried by a Conservative official that was captured by a photographer. But the City of London’s hopes of a smooth Brexit appear to be running into opposition, the mistakenly-shown handwritten note reveals. Britain is unlikely to be able to remain a member of the single market, for example. (FTGuardian)
Rio Tinto faces second US probe The US Securities and Exchange Commission is examining the timing of $3bn of impairment charges that the mining company booked on a disastrous Mozambique coal deal. It comes as Rio is already facing US regulatory scrutiny about a questionable payment on its Guinea project. (FT)
It’s a big day for
Uber A transport company or a digital service? The European Court of Justice will take up this question when it hears a long-awaited case that will have ramifications for both the $63bn ride-hailing app and the “sharing economy”. (FT)
May and pay The UK prime minister is due to reveal her plans for improving corporate governance and reforming executive pay. (Telegraph)
Keep up with the important business, economic and political stories in the coming days with the FT’s WeekAhead.
Food for thought
Trump and the nuclear button Donald Trump is constrained on the use of the world’s deadliest weapons, right? Maybe not. The FT’s Gideon Rachman on the lack of checks and balances on the president’s use of nuclear weapons — and how the president-elect’s erratic temperament and his questionable advisers do not inspire confidence. (FT)
In the path of climate change Alaska is warming twice as fast as the rest of the US and at least 31 towns and cities are at imminent risk of destruction. The endangered communities have to choose between moving to higher ground at an exorbitant cost, or standing their ground and trying to fortify their settlements against rising seas and disintegrating land. (NYT)
The Great Barrier Reef’s colossal coral die-off Two-thirds of the corals living in shallow waters in a 700km swath of reef in the northern region have been killed by a massive coral bleaching event this year. Regaining what has been lost will take up to 15 years — unless another bleaching interrupts the recovery. The destruction, which scientists say is exacerbated by climate change, is bad for the economy as well as the environment: tourism around the reef employs 70,000 and generates $5bn a year. (FT, foreign policy)
Bitcoin mining in Venezuela In a country where cash has lost much of its value, and food and other necessities are scarce, bitcoin is providing many Venezuelans with a lifeline. It’s wildly profitable — but very dangerous. (Reason)
Lost in Plaques and tangles The failure of Eli Lilly’s large trial for a drug to hold off Alzheimer’s means that scientists must reconsider their understanding of a disease which is on the brink of becoming an unstoppable global epidemic. (FT)
Video of the day
The limited success of Abenomics Leo Lewis examines whether the Japanese leader’s policies are now terminally out of puff and whether any of its achievements have burrowed deep enough to offset the big “sell Japan” signals. (FT)
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