News Briefing - Friday, February 9th 2024
From US Top News and Analysis
Arm's post-earnings pop leaves stock trading at over 100% premium to Nvidia
Arm, the British semiconductor company owned by SoftBank, believes it can benefit from the growth of artificial intelligence (AI) chips, despite its technology being focused on central processors (CPUs) rather than graphics processors (GPUs) typically used in AI applications. Arm's CEO Rene Haas mentioned Nvidia's Grace Hopper 200 chip, a combination of an Arm-designed CPU and an Nvidia GPU, as an example of how Arm can integrate its technology with AI chips. Analysts expect Arm's sales trends to remain strong due to the early adoption phase of AI. Additionally, SoftBank sees an opportunity to directly benefit from the growth in AI by being associated with Arm. It recently reported a $4 billion gain in its Vision Fund investment group, partly due to the investment gain of $5.5 billion from the Arm IPO. SoftBank's finance chief, Yoshimitsu Goto, has referred to the company's investment portfolio as "AI-centric."
Biden says 'my memory is fine,' disputes special counsel's report in national address
The main legal takeaway from the report by Special Counsel Robert Hur is that President Biden will not face criminal charges for retaining classified documents and disclosing some classified material to the ghostwriter of his memoir. The report found that the material was retained at Biden's home in Delaware and an office in Washington, D.C., after he left the vice presidency in 2017. Biden's lawyers maintain that the material was only discovered in late 2022, and the report acknowledges a shortage of evidence as to why the documents were in Biden's possession. Despite this, Hur used evidence of Biden's "poor memory" to justify not pursuing charges, which drew criticism from the White House and Biden's supporters. In response, Biden acknowledged his responsibility and expressed support for the appointment of a special counsel, emphasizing that he did not want to be treated differently than former President Trump. The report concluded that Biden did not break the law, but questions remain regarding his handling of classified documents.
El-Erian, Krugman and other economists have very different opinions on China’s struggling economy
China's economy is facing several challenges, including a crumbling property market, deflationary pressures, and a turbulent stock market. The country's CSI 300 index has lost about 40% of its value since its peak in 2021. Adding to the concerns, the National Bureau of Statistics reported that manufacturing activity in China contracted for the fourth consecutive month due to weakening demand. Allianz, a prominent financial services company, has revised its outlook for China, downgrading its growth forecast. The company now expects China's economy to grow at an average rate of 3.9% between 2025 and 2029, compared to its previous forecast of 5% before the Covid-19 pandemic. Eswar Prasad, an ex-International Monetary Fund official, believes that China's chances of surpassing the United States' GDP are diminishing. This comes as concerns grow over China's economic performance and its ability to catch up with the U.S. Furthermore, Mohamed El-Erian, a top economist and advisor to Allianz, highlighted the stark contrast between China's underperforming stock market and those in the U.S. and Europe. This comparison further emphasizes the challenges China is currently facing in its economy. Overall, skepticism is growing toward China's economy as a result of the recent downbeat data and challenges faced by the country.
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From BBC News - Home
'My memory is fine' - Biden hits back after report on classified files
US President Joe Biden has responded to a scathing report from the Department of Justice special counsel, which accused him of mishandling top-secret files and having significant limitations in his memory. In a surprise news briefing, Biden defended himself, saying, "My memory is fine." He specifically pushed back against a claim that he could not recall when his son died, saying, "How the hell dare he raise that?" The report found that Biden "wilfully retained and disclosed" classified files, but decided not to charge him. The president's legal team criticized the report's remarks about his apparent memory lapses, calling them prejudicial. Biden maintained that he was well-meaning and qualified, and that his memory had not deteriorated during his presidency.
Putin tells Tucker Carlson deal can be reached to free jailed US reporter Evan Gershkovich
Russian President Vladimir Putin said in an interview with US host Tucker Carlson that he believes a deal can be reached to free Evan Gershkovich, a US reporter detained in Russia on espionage charges. Putin stated that talks are ongoing with the US about the journalist, and he expressed his belief that an agreement could be reached if reciprocal steps were taken by the US. Gershkovich, a reporter for the Wall Street Journal, was arrested in Yekaterinburg last year and his pre-trial detention has been extended until the end of March. During the interview, Putin also discussed Ukraine, US presidents, and the CIA. This is the first time Putin has sat down with a Western journalist since Russia invaded Ukraine in 2022. The exclusive interview has put Carlson and his media company back into the spotlight after his departure from Fox News last year.
Israel-Gaza war: US says it will not back unplanned Rafah offensive
The US has warned Israel against launching a military offensive into the southern Gaza city of Rafah without careful planning. The White House stated that it would not support any major operations in Rafah without consideration for the refugees living there. The warning comes after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that the military had been instructed to prepare for operations in Rafah. Over half of Gaza's population currently resides in Rafah, and over 1.5 million Palestinians are struggling to survive in dire humanitarian conditions. Israel conducted airstrikes on Rafah on Thursday morning, and tanks reportedly fired as well. The US has called on Israel to prioritize the protection of innocent civilian lives in any military operations. The country sends around $3.8 billion in military aid to Israel annually.
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From CNN.com - RSS Channel - App International Edition
Trump pleads not guilty to 34 felony counts
Former President Donald Trump's arraignment in a New York state court will not be broadcasted by news outlets, according to a judge's ruling. However, some photographers will be allowed to take pictures in the courtroom before the proceedings begin. The media organizations, including CNN, had requested permission to broadcast the proceedings. While Trump's arraignment is a public proceeding, news cameras are typically not permitted inside the courtroom in Manhattan. However, five pool photographers will be allowed to take still photos until directed to vacate the jury box. Trump's lawyers had opposed the media's request for live cameras in the courtroom, while the Manhattan District Attorney's office did not take a position on the matter. The arraignment follows the former president's indictment by a grand jury last week as part of an investigation into hush-money payments made during the 2016 campaign to women who alleged affairs with Trump, which he denies. Trump's lawyers have stated they will push to have the charges dropped.
Haberman reveals why Trump attacked judge and his family in speech
In a recent CNN political analysis, contributor Maggie Haberman delves into the motives behind former President Donald Trump's decision to attack a judge and his family during a speech at his Mar-a-Lago resort after being arraigned on felony charges. According to Haberman, Trump's intention may have been to distract the public's attention from his own legal troubles and create controversy. Haberman suggests that Trump has long utilized similar tactics to redirect focus onto his opponents and divert public scrutiny away from himself. She argues that by targeting the judge and his family, Trump intended to provoke strong reactions, thus making headlines and dominating the news cycle. This strategy aligns with Trump's propensity for spectacle and media manipulation, as he has consistently sought to control the narrative and shape public opinion. Haberman's analysis offers valuable insights into Trump's motivations and his calculated use of controversy to maintain relevance and dominance in the public eye.
Russian authorities detain suspect over St. Petersburg cafe blast
Ukraine has received the first tranche of $2.7 billion from a new International Monetary Fund (IMF) program. The IMF recently approved a four-year extended arrangement under the Extended Fund Facility (EFF) worth around $15.6 billion, as part of a $115 billion total support package for Ukraine. The program aims to stabilize Ukraine's fiscal, external, price, and financial stability, and support economic recovery. It also seeks to enhance governance, strengthen institutions, and promote long-term growth in the context of post-war reconstruction and Ukraine's path to EU accession. The program will enable Ukraine to carry out more ambitious structural reforms. However, the risks to the arrangement are deemed "exceptionally high" by the IMF, and its success depends on the size, composition, and timing of external financing on concessional terms to close fiscal and external financing gaps and restore debt sustainability.