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The Trump era is just hours away. This is how inauguration day is shaping up as he prepares to become the 45th US president, with historically low approval ratings in a divided nation. The security services in Washington are bracing themselves for thousands of protesters. And at the White House, a frenzied five-hour American ritual called the “transfer of families” will take place.
Mr Trump’s team has denied it is unprepared for office but of the 690 key positions requiring Senate confirmation, only 30 have been announced. None has been confirmed. “I’ve never seen anything like this,” one career government official said.
Elsewhere the world is also preparing for the Donald. Chinese censors are enforcing strict controls over coverage of his inauguration, while in Japan, market watchers think the entrepreneur’s policies will give Japanese stocks a shot in the arm. In the UK, Theresa May’s government is nervously pinning its hope on friendship with Mr Trump as it turns away from Europe. And in Russia, they’re celebrating. (FT, NYT, WaPo, ForeignPolicy, NAR, Politico, ABC)
In the news
China’s economy grew 6.7 per cent last year Beijing avoided a hard landing in 2016 thanks to robust monetary and fiscal stimulus, but policymakers are bracing for headwinds as a possible trade war looms under the US presidency of Donald Trump. (FT)
Gambia waits west African leaders made a last-ditch attempt to persuade Gambian leader Yahya Jammeh to respect the results of December’s election and step down by noon on Friday. Adama Barrow, who won the poll, was sworn in as president at the Gambian embassy in neighbouring Senegal on Thursday, giving him authority over the armed forces. Most of Mr Jammeh’s cabinet has resigned or fled. Some 7,000 Senegalese troops are already inside Gambia and are poised to enforce the transition. (FT)
Trump’s market rally Despite the uncertainty Donald Trump has engendered, his November victory ignited the steepest rally from election day to inauguration for a first-term president since John F. Kennedy won the White House in 1960. (FT)
End of the road for El Chapo Joaquín Guzmán Loera, the notorious drug lord known as El Chapo, who famously escaped from a high-security Mexican jail through a tunnel in his shower, has been extradited to the US. The criminal legend was at one point thought to be responsible for half of all illicit drugs smuggled in to the US. His extradition brings to a close a decades-long quest to prosecute the head of one of the world’s largest narcotics organisations. (NYT)
Isis destruction Fighters belonging to Isis have visited more destruction on the ancient Syrian site of Palmyra, toppling part of a Roman amphitheatre and ruining a group of four pillared structures known as the tetraplylon. Isis first captured the area in May 2015. It was forced out by a Russian-backed offensive in March last year but recaptured the site in December. (BBC)
Test your knowledge with the week in news quiz. Facebook is launching a way to fact check and flag fake news in which country outside the US?
Read our full special report The World, coinciding with Davos.
George Soros predicts Trump trade war In an interview at Davos, the billionaire investor predicted Mr Trump was preparing for a trade war with China and suggested that the British people might eventually seek a “rapprochement” with Europe. (FastFT)
May feels the Alpine chill The UK PM’s speech to reassure business leaders and align herself with the Davos elite received a short round of polite applause. The speech itself contained few new details of Britain’s negotiating strategy for when it triggers Article 50 to leave the EU, expected to happen in March. (FT)
Xi Jinping’s guide to the Chinese way of globalisation Mr Xi brings Davos a message of pluralism, as opposed to the universalism most of his audience has preached. He is no Davos man. But perhaps this is just what globalisation needs. Before it can be restarted, it needs a reset. (FT)
Bank relocation fever There has been a flurry of noise out of Davos about banking jobs moving out of London and relocating somewhere else in the EU. But the forum is a bad moment to up this rhetoric. (FT)
Discover more Davos news from WEF
It’s a big day for
The US Donald Trump will be inaugurated 45th president of the United States. Here is the (48-hour) schedule. (USA Today)
Food for thought
May’s Brexit Plan B The PM has threatened to turn Britain into a low-tax Singapore of the west if it does not get the trade deal it wants — will she follow through if Brexit negotiations go south? (FT)
Speaking of data . . . Rather than defusing controversy and polarisation, it seems as if statistics are actually stoking them. The ability of statistics to accurately represent the world is declining. In its wake, a new age of big data controlled by private companies is taking over — this is why we should fear what comes next. (Guardian)
A Greek tragedy With Trump and Brexit dominating the headlines, Greece’s economic crisis has fallen off the news agenda. But eight years of financial catastrophe has left the country reeling — and there is no end in sight. (FT)
Relying on Qat Cultivation of Qat, a mild stimulant chewed in Yemen and east Africa, is on the rise in Kenya and Ethiopia. It is the latter’s second biggest source of foreign currency and has boosted the income of subsistence farmers. But the outlawing of the crop in Europe could turn the boom to bust. (Economist)
Sleepless in Switzerland Those getting less than six hours a night face a 13 per cent higher risk of dying earlier than those sleeping for seven to eight hours. Going just 17 hours without sleep affects the body in a similar way to a blood alcohol concentration of 0.05 per cent. For wealthy insomniacs, there is a potential solution. A clinic in Switzerland that — for nearly £4,000 — promises to probe the secrets of your sleeping habits. (FT)
Video of the day
The three-faced president Which of the many sides of Trump is likely to dominate as president? US managing editor Gillian Tett weighs up the options. (FT)