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Theresa May is setting out her case for a “clean” Brexit in a much-anticipated speech that may be her most significant attempt yet to define how Britain will leave the EU. The speech will attempt to set out 12 priorities for Brexit negotiations — such as control over immigration and removing Britain from the jurisdiction of the European court of justice.

The currency markets moved ahead of the speech, with traders betting the prime minister would sound a conciliatory tone. Her reluctance to give details on what type of Brexit her government wants has exacerbated currency uncertainty and on Monday prompted sterling to plunge to a 30-year low. A new poll has revealed that voters are critical of Mrs May’s handling of Brexit preparations, with many respondents slating a lack of clarity over her plans. (FT, Guardian, Independent)

Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May leaves 10 Downing Street, London, January 17, 2017. REUTERS/Neil Hall
© Reuters

In the news

China’s not-so-independent judges The president of China’s supreme court has formally acknowledged that China’s court system is not independent. For good measure Zhou Qiang denounced the concept of judicial independence. Campaigners say the move “totally turns back the wheel of history”. FT)

MH370 search ends The underwater search for the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 has ended in failure. In a joint statement, China, Malaysia and Australia said they were suspending the operation without locating the plane. The announcement leaves one of the world’s greatest aviation mysteries unsolved almost three years after the aircraft disappeared on a routine trip from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. The victims’ families have condemned the move. (FT, BBC)

New Tobacco giant British American Tobacco has agreed to acquire a remaining stake in Reynolds American — maker of Camel cigarettes — for $49.4bn in a deal that would create the world’s largest listed tobacco company by sales. The deal would pave the way for further consolidation in the sector, with other large global tobacco groups eager to tap into the US, where low pack prices, a dominant ecigarette market and waning worries about litigation costs are expected to drive growth. (FT)

Rolls-Royce bribery deal The maker of jet and marine engines has agreed to pay a £671m fine to the US, UK and Brazilian governments over longstanding corruption allegations. The company’s shares were up almost 7 per cent on the news of the settlement. (WSJ, FT)

Europe’s backlash against Trump Europe’s leaders are hitting back at the president-elect after he accused Germany’s Angela Merkel of making a “catastrophic mistake” with her open-door migration policy. The latest salvo came from French finance minister Michel Sapin, who on Tuesday said “the more he [Trump] makes this sort of statement [against Ms Merkel], the more Europeans close ranks”. James Rubin, former assistant secretary of state in the Clinton administration, says that by insulting the continent’s most respected leader he may have done her a favour. (Reuters, Politico)

Davos briefing

Why Davos matters Ten things to watch for, from departing Democrats to the Chinese president’s speech.

When the unlikely becomes reality Last year, Gideon Rachman ended his report from Davos, where the business and political elites have mixed since the 1970s, by writing: “It is possible — if still unlikely — that when the WEF gathers this time next year, Mr Trump will be US president and the UK will have voted to leave the EU . . . These developments would turn the Davos world upside down.” Now the world view epitomised by the WEF is under attack as never before, Mr Rachman argues.

End of Davos Man? Martin Wolf cautions that the mistakes made by the cheerleaders of global co-operation and economic globalisation are not nearly as bad as those likely to be made by the new populists. View our full The World 2017 special report.

Power people John Gapper reviews two books on the Davos elite, whose attendees are described as “back-stabbers and tools, self-aggrandisers and fabricators”.

Follow Davos events on the World Economic Forum website.

It's a big day for

Russia diplomacy Foreign minister Sergei Lavrov will deliver his annual press conference, with Syria and sanctions likely to be big topics.

Xi Jinping The Chinese president is set to make a keynote address defending globalisation at that bastion of global capitalism, Davos. (NAR)

Food for thought

It’s time to talk about China The questions surrounding Donald Trump’s relationship with Russia may be lurid and compelling but they could distract us from signs that the Trump administration is heading for a clash with China that could lead to military conflict. (FT)

Zika report card Almost a year ago, the World Health Organisation declared the Zika epidemic a global health emergency, calling for an epic campaign against a virus few had ever heard of. The emergency status ended in November, but the consequences will be with us for years. How did we do? Not so well, apparently. (NYT)

How streaming saved the music industry The internet may resurrect the business it almost killed. Thanks to growth in Spotify and Apple Music, music streaming has passed the milestone of 100m paying subscribers worldwide, a feat few imagined possible several years ago. (FT)

Mapping Trumpworld No American president has taken office with a giant network of businesses, investments, and corporate connections like that amassed by Donald Trump. BuzzFeed spent two months compiling a list from public records, news reports and other sources on the Trump family, his cabinet picks and top advisers — more than 1,500 people and organisations altogether. Here is the data set and now BuzzFeed wants your help in catching things they missed. (BuzzFeed)

Wanted: Lego professor of play Cambridge university is looking to fill what could be the most coveted job in education: the Lego professor of play, development and learning. The successful candidate will lead the university’s centre for research on play in education. Applications close in three days. (Guardian)

Video of the day

What Trump’s attack on EU and Nato means FT associate editor Philip Stephens asks whether president-elect Donald Trump wants the US to remain an Atlantic power, given his attack on the twin pillars of US policy towards Europe — support for European integration and the security guarantee of Nato.

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