#Trump transition drama, #China’s trade pact, #space debris adoption

Good morning, Quartz readers!


UK chancellor Philip Hammond gives his first budget speech.Despite dire warnings about a post-Brexit downturn, growth forecastsare expected to remain (paywall) around 2%. But predictions for 2017 and onwards are likely to be downgraded.

The Fed releases its pre-election minutes. The monetary policy meeting notes are expected to reveal hints that officials are increasingly keen to hike interest rates to 0.5% in 2017. Some markets have already begun pricing in an increase.

The US-China joint commerce commission begins in Washington. The annual meeting to discuss matters ranging from cybersecurity to agriculture will be a less sunny affair than last year, when the TPP (now cratering) and a US-China Bilateral Investment Treaty seemed to be done deals.


A day of drama in the Trump transition. The president-elect cancelled and then reinstated a meeting with journalists from the New York Times, then appeared to renege on several key campaign issues: his promise to prosecute Hillary Clinton, climate change denial, and his embrace of the alt-right. Separately, the Trump Foundation admitted to violating laws that ban nonprofit leaders from using charitable funds to help themselves or their families.

China moved forward with its own Pacific trade pact. The Beijing-dominated Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnershipmay replace the US-led Trans-Pacific Partnership, which is now dead in the water. A Chinese foreign ministry spokesman said Beijing was hoping for “early results” in negotiations.

Facebook developed a censorship tool to re-enter China. It hopes the tool will help it persuade Beijing to allow its service back into the world’s second-largest economy after a seven-year ban, reported the New York Times. The software would allow a third party to monitor and suppress posts.

The US cleared the sale of 100 Airbus jets to Iran. The move comes in the waning days of the Obama administration, and is likely to anger Republicans in Congress and the incoming Trump White House. The clearance, required because about 10% of components are US-made, could potentially be reversed by the new administration.

Barack Obama commuted his 1,000th drug crime sentence.The US president reduced the sentences of an additional 79 people imprisoned for non-violent drug crimes. He’s now granted more commutations than the previous 11 presidencies combined. With criminal justice reform efforts stalled in Congress, the commutations are aimed at easing the effect of “outdated and unduly harsh sentencing laws.”


Dave Gershgorn on the limits of artificial intelligence in the fight against fake news: “Parsing a few paragraphs of text for factuality is nowhere near the complex fact-checking machines AI designers are after. ‘It is incredibly hard to know the whole state of the world to identify whether a fact is true or not,’ says Richard Socher, head of Salesforce Research.” Read more here.


Yet more stock records.
Hope these winners won’t have to
give their medals back.


Global gasoline consumption has peaked. The growing popularity of electric cars will have dire consequences for the oil industry.

America’s office of the first lady should go away. It’s a redundant form of modern royalty that doesn’t serve any purpose.

Donald Trump’s advisors are lying to him. Top aides have manipulated their boss on several occasions.


The world’s largest brewers are pushing non-alcoholic beer.It’s a fast-growing market where profit margins are high and regulation minimal (paywall).

You can adopt a chunk of space debris. It will tweet its location at you to raise awareness about the dangers of space junk.

Everyone is getting high on Thanksgiving. Marijuana sales spikearound the US holiday as people seek a way to deal with their relatives.

Yesterday’s Fukushima earthquake was an aftershock.Geologists traced its origins back to the devastating 2011 quake.

You can detect self-loathing in the way people speak. Linguistic tics signal psychological distress.

Our best wishes for a productive day. Please send any news, comments, space debris, and self-loathing tics to hi@qz.com. You can follow us on Twitter for updates throughout the day or downloadour iPhone app.


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