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US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis has arrived in Iraq to reassure the government in Baghdad that Washington will not try to seize the country’s oil. Donald Trump last month said the US should have “kept” Iraq’s oil after the American-led invasion. Mr Mattis was also at pains to reassure Iraqis who have worked and fought side by side with American troops that they would not be excluded from the US. Iraq was one of seven mainly Muslim countries included in Mr Trump’s travel ban last month. 

The unannounced visit came as the Pentagon mulls an acceleration of the military campaign against Isis. Iraqi forces are in the second day of an offensive to retake the western side of Mosul from Isis fighters in what is expected to be a fierce battle in the narrow alleyways and ancient markets of the old city. (NYT, FT)

In the news

Kraft Heinz drops deal Kraft Heinz dropped its $143bn bid for consumer products rival Unilever, only two days after it publicly confirmed its interest in acquiring the Anglo-Dutch company. The announcement comes after a report by the FT on Friday forced Kraft Heinz to confirm publicly it had approached Unilever about a deal to create a juggernaut in packaged foods and household items — an offer Unilever promptly rejected as “fundamentally” low. (FT)

Recall from Pyongyang Malaysia’s foreign ministry has recalled its ambassador from North Korea over Pyongyang’s criticism of the inquiry into the apparent assassination of the North Korean leader’s half-brother. The Malaysian government has refused North Korean officials access to the body during the autopsy, prompting accusations by Pyongyang that it is colluding with “hostile forces”. Footage purportedly showing the deadly assault in Kuala Lumpur airport was released by Japanese broadcaster Fuji TV. (Telegraph, FT)

EU’s collision course with China Brussels is investigating a showcase Chinese rail project that aims to extend Beijing’s “One Belt One Road” initiative into the heart of Europe. The 350km Beijing-funded Belgrade-Budapest link was supposed to demonstrate that the Chinese can build according to EU standards. (FT)

Famine in South Sudan Famine has been declared in two counties of South Sudan, according to an announcement by the South Sudan government and three UN agencies. Prolonged civil war and an economic crisis have devastated the world’s youngest country and nearly three-quarters of all households suffer from inadequate food. (Jazeera)

Kim Dotcom eligible for extradition New Zealand’s High Court has ruled that Kim Dotcom, the internet entrepreneur accused of masterminding one of the largest copyright infringements in history, and three accomplices can be extradited to face trial in the US. The US Department of Justice has fought for almost five-years to have Mr Dotcom stand trial on copyright infringement and money laundering charges related to his file sharing site Megaupload. The flamboyant entrepreneur says he will appeal against the verdict. (FT)

It’s a big day for

Brexit Britain’s House of Lords will begin debating Article 50, the “Brexit bill”. Opposition peers are confident they have enough votes to amend the bill, although whether that will truly constrain prime minister Theresa May remains unclear. Here’s where the Lords may draw blood. (FT)

Greece Eurozone finance ministers will gather in Brussels to discuss the country’s bailout even as investors appear to have lost hope of any meaningful progress in talks between Athens and its creditors. (FT)

Keep up with the important business, economic and political stories in the coming days with the FT’s Week Ahead.

Food for thought

The mysterious case of the dead Russian diplomat Sergei Krivov was found on US election day on the floor of the Russian Consulate in New York City. Early reports said he plunged to his death from the roof. Then the story changed, raising questions about his life in the US. (BuzzFeed)

A turbulent decade Royal Bank of Scotland is braced to announce the bank’s ninth consecutive annual loss, which analysts estimate will amount to about £6bn for last year. Can Ross McEwan, the troubled bank’s chief, hang on at the helm much longer? (FT)

An idea whose time has come? Finland is experimenting with the idea of universal basic income: an unconditional income paid by the government to all citizens, whether or not they’re in work. The idea owes its roots to Thomas Paine, the 18th-century radical, but has revived in response to the breakdown of the welfare state and the threat to jobs posed by robots. (Guardian)

Queens of the stoned age New York City's most successful marijuana delivery ring is staffed by models (and founded by a former one) and has grown into a multimillion-dollar business. Meanwhile, the medicinal use of the herb is growing for older people. (GQ, NYT)

The Trump effect in Asia As ministers of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations prepare for their first meeting of 2017, analysts predict that Donald Trump's America-first policy will give China a stronger hand on key issues, including territorial disputes in the South China Sea. (NAR) 

Why you should not trade on your past glories If someone makes a lot of their past, it suggests their present is not up to much, writes the FT’s Lucy Kellaway. “Is it ever OK to trade on past career triumphs? And if so, for how long before it becomes pathetic?” (FT)

Video of the day

The week ahead Markets await the latest Federal Reserve minutes, mining companies reveal earnings after a revival in commodity prices and the House of Lords debates Brexit. Here is what to look for over the next seven days. (FT)

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