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January 20, 2017

Daily News Brief

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Trump to Be Inaugurated as World Anticipates Vision

Donald J. Trump will be sworn in as the forty-fifth president of the United States today with millions around the world watching. Trump’s inaugural address is expected to touch on his campaign pledge to "make America great again" (CBS News) and focus on plans for the U.S. economy, including growth in the manufacturing sector and a review of current U.S. participation in trade agreements. The first president to serve without prior government or military experience, Trump has also made national security a major campaign theme, vowing action against terror groups like the self-proclaimed Islamic State. Hundreds of thousands of people are expected to turn out for the inaugural ceremony in Washington and, separately, for planned protests during and after the inauguration (WSJ).


"As soon as President-elect Trump is inaugurated, he will face many difficult challenges: from an unraveling Middle East to an uncertain Europe to a blustering North Korea. Rushing to reverse longstanding American policies could generate new challenges and make existing ones harder to resolve,” writes CFR President Richard N. Haass in the Wall Street Journal.

"Like many realists, Trump thinks America does too much in the world and cares too much about others’ quarrels, suggesting that he will pull back its international engagements. Unlike realists, necons, or liberal internationalists, he doesn’t see the connection between America’s alliances and American security. He thinks money spent to strengthen other nations politically, economically, and militarily is wasted—a view that conflicts with those of Republican and Democratic presidents back to Truman and the Marshall Plan. On the other hand, 'Make America Great Again' suggests a highly engaged superpower with the clout and the will to dictate events," Jessica T. Mathews writes for the New York Review of Books.

"Trump is an outsider who intends to break the mold of governance in Washington. He is not here to make incremental changes. He plans to go big. That holds both promise and peril. If he goes big in the wrong direction (isolationism, protectionism), the results could be disastrous. But Trump has promised to go big on a lot of important conservative priorities. Liberals had better hold on tight," writes Marc A. Thiessen in the Washington Post.

Podcast: 'The World Next Week'

Podcast: 'The World Next Week'

Syrian peace talks seek restart, the Trump team takes office, and African Union leaders meet. Listen and subscribe.



China Posts 6.7 Percent Growth for 2016

China's economy grew at the slowest rate since 1990 (AFP), according to its national statistics bureau, which reported growth of 6.7 percent in 2016. The bureau said in a statement that "domestic and external conditions are still complicated and severe."

JAPAN: Hiroji Yamashiro, a prominent Okinawa activist who has protested new U.S. military facilities on the island, has been in jail for three months (WaPo). Yamashiro was arrested in October for putting concrete blocks on a road to a new military facility and cutting a wire fence around a Marine Corps construction site. 


Obama Calls Modi Before Leaving Office

On his final day in office, U.S. President Barack Obama called Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi (WSJ) to praise him for recognizing that "more than one billion Indians living and succeeding together can be an inspiring model for the world," according to the White House.

AFGHANISTAN: Thirteen journalists were killed last year in Afghanistan, according to the Afghanistan Journalist Safety Committee, making it the deadliest year on record (RFE/RL). The committee blamed Taliban militants for ten of those deaths, while attributing the others to the government.


Pentagon: Eighty Militants Killed in Sirte Air Raids

The Pentagon said on Thursday that U.S. drones and B-2 bombers killed more than eighty militants from the self-proclaimed Islamic State (Al Jazeera) in the Libyan city of Sirte. U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter said some of the dead were believed to be planning attacks in Europe. 

CFR's Micah Zenko and Jennifer Wilson examine how many bombs the United States dropped in 2016.

ENERGY: Oil production by non-Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) countries is rising following a November agreement (WSJ) by OPEC member nations and other parties to slash output, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA). The IEA cited increases in shale output in the United States and projects in Canada and Brazil.


Jammeh Given Deadline as Regional Troops Enter Gambia

The chair of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), Marcel Alain de Souza, gave longtime Gambian ruler Yahya Jammeh a deadline of noon on Friday (Guardian) to accept December election results and leave office. West African troops with tanks crossed the border Thursday night into the country and a delegation of regional leaders is expected to arrive in Gambia for negotiations.

CFR's John Campbell discusses African leaders' response to Gambia's succession crisis.

NIGERIA: The death toll of an accidental airstrike by the Nigerian military on a refugee camp may be higher than originally estimated (DW), according to medical charity Doctors Without Borders. The charity has counted ninety dead, mostly women and children, and said the total number killed could be as high as 170.

Sarah Sewall, U.S. Under Secretary for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights, discussed Nigeria's preparedness to combat Boko Haram militants at this CFR Event.


Data Sharing on Terror Threats Increases Among EU States

The volume of data on terror threats that EU law-enforcement agency Europol shares among member states has risen tenfold over the past two years, following large attacks in Paris, Brussels, and Nice, said Europol Director Rob Wainwright.

UK: Julian Assange, the founder of the anti-secrecy website Wikileaks who has been living in Ecuador’s London embassy since 2012, said he is willing to be extradited to the United States (NYT) if his rights would be protected. Assange has not been indicted in the United States nor has he received an extradition order from the country. Assange is wanted in Sweden for questioning on sexual assault charges.


Brazilian Supreme Court Judge Killed in Plane Crash

Teori Zavascki, a supreme court judge overseeing a massive anti-corruption investigation (BBC) that has led to the arrests of dozens of political figures, died in a small plane crash off Rio de Janeiro. Witnesses said the plane crashed into the sea amid heavy rains (LAHT).

CFR's Matthew Taylor writes about the costs of corruption in Brazil after Brazilian construction giant Odebrecht received a record fine.