South China Morning Post – Teddy Ng and Simone McCarthy / WHO coronavirus investigation team to arrive in China on Thursday
- The World Health Organization team investigating the origins of Covid-19 will land in China on Thursday, Beijing announced on Monday, after days of delay and confusion.
- The National Health Commission said in a brief statement that the WHO team would work with Chinese scientists during the trip, without giving further details.
- WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said last week he was “very disappointed” that China had not yet finalised permissions for the team. Two members had already begun their journeys and others were not able to travel at the last minute.
- Last week’s delay placed another question mark over the mission, which has been in the works for months and faced criticism over a lack of transparency as well as concerns that it was too late – more than a year after the virus was first identified in China’s Wuhan.
- Bloomberg – Stuart Biggs / U.K. ramps up covid vaccine rollout with hospitals under strain
The New York Times – Nicholas Fandos, Peter Baker and Maggie Haberman / House moves to force Trump out, vowing impeachment if Pence won’t act
- The House moved on two fronts on Sunday to try to force President Trump from office, escalating pressure on the vice president to strip him of power and committing to quickly begin impeachment proceedings against him for inciting a mob that violently attacked the seat of American government.
- In a letter to colleagues, Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California said the House would move forward on Monday with a resolution calling on Vice President Mike Pence and the cabinet to invoke the 25th Amendment, and wrest the powers of the presidency.
- Next, she said, the House would bring an impeachment case to the floor. Though she did not specify how quickly it would move, leading Democrats have suggested they could press forward on a remarkably quick timetable, charging Mr. Trump by midweek with “high crimes and misdemeanors.”
- Ms. Pelosi’s actions effectively gave Mr. Pence, who is said to be opposed to the idea, an ultimatum: use his power under the Constitution to force Mr. Trump out by declaring him unable to discharge his duties, or make him the first president in American history to be impeached twice.
- The Washington Post – Jeremy Barr / Schwarzenegger compares Capitol mob violence to Kristallnacht destruction by Nazis in viral video
The Economist / Britain’s immediate economic prospects are grim
- Britain’s transition out of the EU, completed on December 31st, did not end with a bang. The queues of lorries at Dover that had been widely predicted failed to materialise. Supermarket shoppers were not starved of green vegetables. And business has had other troubles on its mind.
- The hassle of new VAT arrangements has prompted many global smaller businesses to halt shipments to Britain entirely. The government has warned hauliers that Dover-Calais delays are likely as volumes increase and enforcement of the new rules becomes tighter.
- England’s third national lockdown began on January 6th. Non-essential retail and much of the hospitality sector are once again shut. The government has taken steps to soften the blow. Rishi Sunak, the chancellor of the exchequer, announced a further £4.6bn ($6.2bn) package of grants.
- The immediate prospects are grim. Schools have been closed, as they were in the first but not the second lockdown, so many parents are unable to work. Samuel Tombs of Pantheon Macroeconomics, a consultancy, reckons that the impact of the third lockdown will be closer to that of the first than the second.
- The Guardian – Patrick Wintour / Brexit UK should aim to be a global broker, not a great power, says report
Politico – Zoya Sheftalovich and Ryan Heath / Australia offers Europe a warning on a trade deal with China
- Canberra’s experience shows the pitfalls of trying to balance economic policy with national security, regional politics and other interests. Many observers say a multilateral approach would be more effective than bilateral agreements in dealing with China and its “wolf-warrior” style of diplomacy.
- Canberra’s landmark free-trade agreement with Beijing, signed in 2015, has done little to shield Australia from a politically motivated onslaught against its exports from the Chinese government.
- Despite the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement (ChAFTA), Beijing has hit Australia with a series of trade restrictions since Canberra last April called for an independent investigation into the origins of the coronavirus pandemic.
- Michael Shoebridge, a director at the influential Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI) think tank, which receives funding from Australia and other governments, said there were worldwide lessons in China’s behavior. “Other countries and companies must realize that the commitments China makes cannot be relied upon,” he warned.
- Financial Times – Kathrin Hille / Taiwan manufacturers quit China over trade tensions and rising costs
Today’s media reflections:
- The New York Times – Ben Smith / We worked together on the Internet. Last week, he stormed the Capitol.
- Financial Times – Hannah Murphy and Kiran Stacey / Twitter vs Trump: has Big Tech gone too far?