Hello! Here’s what you need to know on Thursday.
1. US president-elect Donald Trump has plans to shrink the CIA. According to a Wall Street Journal report he will reduce its size, along with the office of the Director of National Intelligence, out of concern that the agencies have become too large and politicised.
2. The former UK ambassador to Russia, Tim Barrow, is now Britain’s EU ambassador. Barrow replaces Sir Ivan Rogers who resigned unexpectedly on January 3. Rogers, one of the UK government’s most experienced and knowledgeable negotiators, was expected to help lead talks between Britain and the EU.
3. Chicago police have arrested four people after a gruesome video of a man being beaten was posted on Facebook Live. Video of the ordeal showed an unidentified man tied and gagged while a woman recorded. Police later found the man, who they suspect had been kidnapped, and took him to a nearby hospital.
4. The impeachment trial against South Korea’s President Park Geun-hy has begun. Politicians voted to impeach Park following a corruption scandal, and now the court must to ratify or overturn that decision. Park did not attend the trial.
5. Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte says he has cousins fighting for ISIS. Duterte says some of his family members had joined militant groups that had been fighting in the Philippines for decades, including ISIS, which has partnered with local insurgencies who wish to become affiliates.
6. British MPs are pressing Prime Minister Theresa May to implement a regional immigration strategy, which would include the use of quotas for foreign workers for different parts of the UK. An all-party group of MPs, chaired by Labour’s Chuka Umunna, is calling for an overhaul of British immigration to build confidence in the system and demonstrate that the government is in control of policy.
7. The US Federal Reserve has its eyes on Trump. If economic growth and inflation take off amid his fiscal policy then it may be prompted to review its trajectory for interest rates and forecasts for growth.
8. Bitcoin was the best performing currency of both 2015 and 2016. The cryptocurrency finished the year at $968.23 — more than double its value from the beginning of the year. And already it has gained a head start on other global currencies passing the vital $1,000 mark in the first days of New Year trading.
9. China’s smog has gotten so bad, it’s almost impossible to see skyscrapers from the air. Beijing is under a “red alert” for smog — the highest of four levels — and a “yellow alert” for fog. Colder temperatures means more coal is burned to heat homes, which exacerbates China’s air pollution problem.
10. The former prime minister of Kosovo Ramush Haradinaj has been arrested on a warrant for alleged war crimes. Haradinaj served as a rebel commander in the 1998-1999 Kosovo conflict, which eventually led to the Kosovo declaring independence. He has previously faced war crimes charges at the UN, but was acquitted both times.
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