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Britain’s exit negotiations are in disarray following the unexpected resignation of the country’s ambassador to the EU. Sir Ivan Rogers, one of the UK’s most experienced negotiators, was said by colleagues to be “frustrated” that his warnings about Brexit’s complexity were being ignored by conservative politicians. In a letter to his staff he warned of “muddled thinking” on the EU and urged them to “speak truth to those in power”.
Supporters of Brexit, who criticised what they said was Sir Ivan’s “gloomy pessimism” have wasted no time in urging prime minister Theresa May to appoint a pro-Brexit replacement for Sir Ivan. But former officials and diplomats warn it will be difficult to replace one of the country’s most experienced experts on the EU. (FT, Daily Mail, Guardian)
In the news
Tillerson payout deal Donald Trump’s nominee for secretary of state will receive a $180m payout to sever ties to ExxonMobil if his selection is confirmed. The pay deal is intended to clear concerns that Mr Tillerson, Exxon’s chairman and chief executive, would have an incentive to favour the company’s interests while serving as the most senior US diplomat. (FT)
Backtracking on fracking Environmental charity Friends of the Earth has been forced to withdraw notices about the impact of fracking for shale gas after Britain’s advertising regulator found they could not be backed up with evidence. Energy companies called the decision a victory against “anti-fracking myths” propagated by opponents of the process. In Russia, though, Gazprom Neft, the oil division of Gazprom, the state-controlled gas giant, is going it alone when it comes to trying to deliver a Russian shale energy revolution. (FT)
France takes long view on bonds With plans to this week tap an existing 50-year bond that matures in 2066, France is asking bond investors to take the long view in what is expected to be a challenging year for the eurozone’s second-largest economy, as the country braces for a bruising presidential election. (FT)
Dolphins given higher porpoise In a last-ditch effort to save Mexico’s vaquita porpoises from extinction, US Navy-trained dolphins will use their sonar to locate the world’s smallest and most endangered porpoise species then advise their handlers of their location. (Guardian)
Turkish attacker identified Turkey has identified the gunman who killed 39 people at a nightclub on New Year’s Eve, according to the country’s foreign minister. Mevlut Cavusoglu stopped short of identifying him but said the attack was staged by “professionals”. His comments came as the Turkish parliament is set to extend a state of emergency that has been in place since a coup attempt in July for another 90 days. (Jazeera, FT)
It’s a big day for
The Fed The US Federal Reserve will release minutes from its final meeting of 2016, during which it raised interest rates for the second time in a decade.
Food for thought
China’s economic future Fears last January that a plunging stock market and currency were the death knell for China’s economy in 2016 proved to be misplaced. Yet despite the likelihood GDP grew last year by close to the government’s target of 6.5 per cent, there are still concerns the country’s fundamental economic challenges have yet to be addressed. (FT)
Investing in 2017 The overwhelming probability is that the world economy will grow in 2017, writes the FT’s Martin Wolf. But while political risk did not have a huge effect on economic outcomes in 2016, that could change in 2017. The full repercussions of Donald Trump’s win, Brexit, the oil market and China’s debt will all affect markets. FT reporters have compiled the most pressing market issues facing investors in 2017. (FT)
Putting out fires with half the water Fires in Indonesia during 2015 were the worst since 1997, forcing the state-run airline Garuda Indonesia to cancel more than 400 flights. One Japanese soap maker is taking on the annual forest fires on by developing a foam agent that is easier on the environment by using less water. (NAR)
Rethinking diet drinks If diet drinks are your new year solution to shedding excess weight, think again. Scientists have found that people who switch to sugar-free fizzy drinks may eat more because they feel that they are being healthy and still crave sweet foods. The academics criticised drinks companies for marketing sugar-free alternatives as healthy and encouraged people to stick to water. (Times)
No elites here The word “elite” has become one of the most effective partisan political stereotypes of our age. But what started out as an aspirational concept was transformed thanks to a conservative movement to redefine the term away from class and towards culture. (NYT)
Video of the day
Bitcoin passes $1,000 (FT) The cryptocurrency passed a notable round number in dollars this week, but there’s only one figure that really matters, argues Short View.