The New York Times – Nicholas Fandos / Trump impeached for inciting insurrection
- Donald J. Trump on Wednesday became the first American president to be impeached twice, as 10 members of his party joined with Democrats in the House to charge him with “incitement of insurrection” for his role in egging on a violent mob that stormed the Capitol last week.
- Reconvening in a building now heavily militarized against threats from pro-Trump activists and adorned with bunting for the inauguration of President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr., lawmakers voted 232 to 197 to approve a single impeachment article.
- It accused Mr. Trump of “inciting violence against the government of the United States” in his quest to overturn the election results, and called for him to be removed and disqualified from ever holding public office again.
- The vote left another indelible stain on Mr. Trump’s presidency just a week before he is slated to leave office and laid bare the cracks running through the Republican Party. More members of his party voted to charge the president than in any other impeachment.
- The Washington Post – Mike DeBonis and Paul Kane / House hands Trump a second impeachment, this time with GOP support
Politico – Hannah Roberts / Matteo Renzi pulls party out of Italian government
- Former Prime Minister Matteo Renzi on Wednesday withdrew his party from Italy’s coalition government, plunging the country into political chaos.
- Renzi, whose Italia Viva party is a junior partner in a coalition with the 5Star Movement and the Democrats, has been threatening to pull support for Conte’s government for days over Italy’s post-pandemic economic recovery plan.
- He announced the resignation of ministers Teresa Bellanova and Elena Bonetti, as well as undersecretary Ivan Scalfarotto, effectively removing support for the government in parliament and leaving Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte’s position hanging by a thread.
- Renzi, whose nickname is Il Rottamatore (the Scrapper), said it “took courage” to walk away. But politicians inside and outside the coalition slammed the move as irresponsible.
- Euractiv / Italy plunged into political crisis with ‘all options open’
The Economist / What is the economic impact of the latest round of lockdowns?
- In April 2020 global economic output was 20% below where it would have been otherwise. As cases of coronavirus have soared again, rich countries are imposing another round of lockdowns.
- France was in confinement in November, Italy locked down over Christmas, and England went into a national lockdown on January 6th. Parts of Japan have entered a state of emergency.
- The latest round of lockdowns will hit the economy again—but, perhaps, not as hard. Analysts at Goldman Sachs, a bank, have argued that in Britain’s case “the sensitivity of economic activity to covid-19 restrictions has diminished significantly since the first lockdown.”
- It will be some time before official GDP figures confirm the rich world’s growing resilience to lockdowns. But in a recent paper, Nicolas Woloszko of the OECD uses Google-search data to construct a weekly estimate of GDP for large economies. In April they were operating at about 80% capacity. Now they are running at over 90%.
- The Guardian – Richard Partington / Study warns of huge jobs losses in retail in England after pandemic
Financial Times – Thomas Hale / China trade surplus breaks record monthly level
- China’s trade surplus hit its highest ever monthly level in December, as the country’s exports continued to boom during the coronavirus pandemic.
- Exports grew 18.1 per cent in dollar terms last month, while imports rose by 6.5 per cent, pushing the trade surplus to a record $78bn. Both exports and imports exceeded forecasts of economists polled by Bloomberg.
- China’s exports have benefited from higher demand for medical products and lockdown-related goods at a time when global trade has come under intense pressure and other big economies have struggled to cope.
- That surge in trade has helped boost China’s economy, which has recovered rapidly from the early impact of the pandemic. Gross domestic product data to be released early next week are expected to show that the Chinese economy expanded 2.1 per cent last year.
- South China Morning Post – Andrew Mullen and Orange Wang / China trade: export surge continued in December, pushing surplus to record high
- Foreign Affairs – Bobi Wine / The West helped cripple Uganda’s democracy