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Donald Trump’s dismissal of US intelligence claims about Russia’s pre-election hacks is increasingly putting him at odds with his own party, as well as his top spies. The vice-president, Joe Biden, has said it is “mindless” for the president-elect not to have faith in the intelligence community after senior figures told a Senate committee they were more resolute than ever that Russian President Vladimir Putin had ordered the hacking. Intelligence sources say they have identified the Russian agents behind the hack, but have not made their names public.
Meanwhile, in a break with precedent, Mr Trump’s transition staff have told politically appointed ambassadors that they must leave their posts by Inauguration Day — potentially leaving the US without Senate-confirmed envoys for months in countries such as Germany, Canada and Britain. (Guardian, FT, BBC, NYT)
In the news
Renminbi rally China’s currency continues to confound markets. On Friday, the daily midpoint around which the renminbi trades was strengthened by the most since the currency was depegged from the US dollar in 2005. It continues the renminbi’s rapid retreat from recent multiyear lows and follows its biggest ever two-day gain. (FT)
Das lawsuit Volkswagen and its former chief executive Martin Winterkorn must face a US lawsuit brought by American investors who allege the company improperly inflated its share price by cheating on emissions tests, a judge in California has ruled. (FT)
Russia’s Syria drawdown Just days after Russia and Turkey announced a ceasefire in Syria, Moscow has announced it is starting to withdraw its forces from Syria. According to the head of the Russian armed forces, its aircraft carrier group will be the first to leave. (BBC)
App store boost Spending in Apple’s app store jumped 40 per cent in 2016, fuelled by games such as Pokémon Go and Super Mario Run. The sales boost provided a much-needed revenue increase amid sluggish iPhone sales. (FT)
Bitcoin plunges The value of the bitcoin has dropped sharply as Chinese investors rushed to dump the virtual currency in exchange for the fast-rising yuan. The price of bitcoins, of which the Chinese are estimated to account for 90 per cent of trading, fell to a level nearly 30 per cent below its most recent high. (NAR)
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It’s a big day for
US jobs The monthly US non-farm payrolls report, an important indicator, will show if the US economy continued its steady pace of jobs growth through to the end of the year.
Food for thought
New order Major policy shifts point to the fact that we are at the end of a global order, the FT’s Martin Wolf argues. And as this era of western-led globalisation ends, will protectionism and conflict define the next phase, or will non-western powers, especially China and India, play a bigger role in a co-operative global order? (FT)
When presidents fail There is a process for dealing with an incompetent or unfit US president who has become a danger to the country. But it is slow and unrealistic, relying on the president him or herself, as well as the vice-president and congress. (New Yorker)
Economists’ mea culpa The Bank of England’s chief economist has warned against putting too much faith in economic forecasts. Andy Haldane admitted that economists had failed to properly warn about the financial crisis. But he reiterated the BoE’s stance that Brexit will hit the economy this year, despite recent positive data. (FT, Guardian)
Political frescoes The fate of Romanesque murals removed from Spain’s Aragón region to museums in Catalonia during the Spanish civil war has reopened the Catalan independence debate. (FT)
Video of the day
OK, computer Artificial intelligence and connected devices are making their presence felt at the most prominent consumer electronics trade-show in the world.