News Briefing - Wednesday, January 10th 2024
From US Top News and Analysis
SEC's account compromise was 'not due to any breach of X's systems,' company says
Social media platform X has completed a preliminary investigation into the compromised account of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) after a false post claiming that the SEC had approved bitcoin exchange-traded funds (ETFs) for trading was circulated. X has confirmed that the compromise was not due to any breach in their systems, but rather a third party gaining control of a phone number associated with the @SECGov account. It was also revealed that the account did not have two-factor authentication enabled at the time. Bitcoin prices briefly surged following the unauthorized post but fell back below $46,000 when the SEC clarified that it had not approved the bitcoin ETFs. SEC Chair Gary Gensler denied the approval, but the market still anticipates the regulator to give the green light this week. Gensler has been active on cryptocurrency regulation, taking legal action against Coinbase and Ripple for selling unregistered securities.
Is China's consumption story over? Here's what experts are saying
After a disappointing year of recovery in 2023, China's consumer sentiment is expected to improve in 2024. While the country's manufacturing capabilities have traditionally driven its economy, market players are now looking towards the services and consumption sectors for growth. Goldman Sachs predicts that China's GDP could grow 4.8% this year, with service activity leading the way with a projected growth rate of 9.2%, compared to 6% for manufacturing goods. Leisure-related activities, such as chain hotel operators, online travel agents, and Macao casinos, are expected to drive consumer activity. Stocks that are expected to benefit include casino operators like H World and Galaxy, online travel firms like Trip.com and Tongcheng, and airlines like Spring Airlines. Online gaming companies, food delivery giant Meituan, and tech giant Tencent are also anticipated to experience a boost in the coming months. Overall, the Chinese economy is expected to see a rebound in consumer spending and service-related industries.
Houthi militias launch biggest attack to date on merchant vessels in Red Sea
A major attack on merchant vessels in the Red Sea by Iranian-backed Houthis has been responded to by U.S. and coalition forces under Operation Prosperity Guardian. The attack occurred in two locations near Yemen, with rocket fire and armed drones targeting approximately 50 merchant vessels. No damage to the vessels has been reported so far. Four coalition warships have been deployed to the area, while no Iranian warships were involved. This is the largest attack on commercial shipping to date, according to a national security official. It is the first large-scale attack by Houthis since a joint statement was issued by 13 nations, including the U.S., vowing to hold the militants accountable for attacking commercial vessels in the Red Sea. The Houthi militia group, backed by Iran, has previously stated that it will continue these attacks until Gaza receives necessary supplies. The situation is ongoing, and further updates are expected.
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From BBC News - Home
Post Office scandal: 'Racism affected how we were treated over Horizon'
Seven Post Office workers of South Asian heritage have spoken to BBC Newsnight and stated that they believe racism affected the way people were treated in the Horizon scandal. The Horizon scandal saw 700 sub-postmasters prosecuted from 1999 to 2015. The seven people spoken to by BBC Newsnight worked as sub-postmasters during the scandal and say they were accused of false accounting, theft, or fraud due to data from the faulty Horizon IT system. One man from an Indian background said a member of Post Office staff told him: "All the Indians are doing it. They have relatives so they take the money and send it to them abroad." Another person of South Asian descent said: "It was like we were dumb because English wasn't our first language, that we struggled to make sense of basic accounting." The Post Office says it aims to get to "the truth of what went wrong".
Ecuador: Gunmen storm television studio live on air
A group of armed gunmen stormed a live television studio in Guayaquil, Ecuador, threatening staff and forcing them to the floor. The incident occurred during a live broadcast by the public television channel TC. Police freed all the staff and made 13 arrests, but two employees were injured. The attack took place following a wave of violence in Ecuador, linked to fighting between foreign and local drug cartels over control of cocaine routes to the US and Europe. It is unclear if the TV studio incident was related to the recent disappearance from a prison in Guayaquil of Adolfo Macías Villamar, also known as Fito, the boss of the Choneros gang. This incident has prompted Peru to deploy additional police on its border with Ecuador to prevent any spillover of instability. The US has condemned the attacks and offered assistance to Ecuador.
Bibby Stockholm: Others may harm themselves, says dead man's roommate
The roommate of an Albanian asylum seeker, Yusuf Deen Kargbo, who is believed to have taken his own life on the Bibby Stockholm barge, has spoken out about unsafe conditions on the barge and expressed concerns that others may harm themselves if conditions do not improve. Leonard Farruku was found unresponsive in the room he shared with Kargbo, who said that people on the barge "don't have any hope for their lives" and that their stress is increasing every day. The Home Office has said that Mr Farruku's death is being investigated by the police and coroner and that there are "rigorous safeguarding processes in place" on the barge. The Bibby Stockholm barge, which houses migrants off the Dorset coast, was proposed as a cheaper alternative to hotel accommodation for asylum seekers. It was fully operational in October and has a capacity of 500 people.
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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, according to an order by acting New York Supreme Court Judge Juan Merchan. The judge, however, will allow photographers to take pictures in the courtroom before the proceedings begin. Several media organizations, including CNN, had requested permission to broadcast the arraignment. While Manhattan court arraignments are typically public proceedings, cameras are typically not allowed in the courtroom. Instead, the judge will allow five pool photographers to take still photos until they are instructed to vacate the jury box. Trump's lawyers had urged the judge to reject the media's request for live cameras. The indictment against Trump stems from Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg's investigation into hush-money payments made during the 2016 campaign to women who claimed to have had extramarital affairs with Trump, which he denies. Trump's lawyers have said they will fight to have the charges dropped.
Haberman reveals why Trump attacked judge and his family in speech
In a recent speech at his Mar-a-Lago resort, former President Donald Trump launched a scathing attack on the judge and his family who presided over his arraignment on felony charges. CNN political contributor Maggie Haberman sheds light on the reasoning behind Trump's controversial remarks. According to Haberman, Trump's strategy is to rally his base by presenting himself as a victim of a biased justice system. By attacking the judge and his family, Trump aims to paint a picture of himself as being unjustly targeted. This narrative not only plays well with his supporters, who often believe that he is being unfairly treated by the legal system, but also allows him to divert attention away from the actual charges he is facing. Haberman suggests that Trump's attacks are a calculated move to sow doubt and create a sense of sympathy among his followers, while simultaneously distracting from the legal case against him.
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 approved a four-year extended arrangement under the Extended Fund Facility (EFF) of around $15.6 billion for Ukraine. The program aims to stabilize fiscal, external, price, and financial stability, support economic recovery, and strengthen institutions to promote long-term growth. It also helps Ukraine carry out more ambitious structural reforms. However, the risks to the arrangement are described as exceptionally high by the IMF. The success of the program depends on the size, composition, and timing of external financing to help close fiscal and external financing gaps and restore debt sustainability. This is the first major conventional financing program approved by the IMF for a country involved in a large-scale war. The funds are part of a total support package of $115 billion for Ukraine, which is on its path to EU accession.