“China Escalates Crackdown on Cryptocurrency Trading.”
China is escalating its clampdown on cryptocurrency trading, targeting online platforms and mobile apps that offer exchange-like services, according to people familiar with the matter.
While authorities banned cryptocurrency exchanges last year, they’ve recently noted an uptick in activity on alternative venues. The government plans to block domestic access to homegrown and offshore platforms that enable centralized trading, the people said, without being more specific about how policy makers define such platforms.
Authorities will also target individuals and companies that provide market-making, settlement and clearing services for centralized trading, the people said, asking not to be named because the information is private. Small peer-to-peer transactions aren’t being targeted, they said.
Bitcoin fell 1.2 percent to $13,580.50 at 11:36 a.m. in London, according to Bloomberg composite pricing.
The Chinese government’s rolling clampdown has roiled global markets for bitcoin and other digital tokens over the past few months. Regulators around the world are stepping up scrutiny of cryptocurrencies amid concerns over excessive speculation, money laundering and tax evasion.
“Merkel could join Macron in Davos for epic clash with Trump.”
German Chancellor Angela Merkel is considering joining French President Emmanuel Macron at the World Economic Forum in Davos next week in what could turn into an epic clash of competing world views with U.S. President Donald Trump.
Merkel, who has been struggling to put together a government since a German election in September, had been expected to skip the annual gathering of leaders, CEOs, bankers and celebrities in the Swiss Alps for a third straight year.
But after clinching a preliminary coalition agreement with the center-left Social Democrats (SPD) on Friday, German officials said Merkel could travel to Davos after all, possibly setting up a major confrontation with Trump, who is expected to speak on the final day of the forum.
An appearance would signal Merkel’s return to the world stage after months of political limbo in which she has avoided the limelight and been dismissed by some in the German and international media as a spent force.
It would also allow her and Macron, who is scheduled to speak at the forum on Jan. 24, two days before Trump, to reaffirm their commitment to reforming the European Union after Britain’s decision to leave, and to defend liberal democratic values in the face of Trump’s “America First” policies.
The visit by Trump will be the first by a U.S. president since Bill Clinton in 2000. He will be accompanied by a large delegation that is expected to include his son-in-law Jared Kushner, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.
Merkel has had a frosty relationship with Trump, who accused her during his campaign for the presidency of “ruining Germany” by allowing hundreds of thousands of refugees, many fleeing war in the Middle East, into the country in 2015.
“Huge oil spill left after burning tanker sinks off China.”
Chinese ships are racing to clean up a giant oil spill after an Iranian tanker sank in the East China Sea. The 120 sq km (46 sq mile) oil slick is thought to be made up of heavy fuel that was used to power the vessel.
The Sanchi oil tanker sank on Sunday and officials say all its crew members are dead. It was carrying 136,000 tonnes of ultra-light crude oil from Iran which generates a toxic underwater slick that would be invisible from the surface. Both the fuel and the ultra-light oil could cause devastating damage to marine life.
The Sanchi and a cargo ship collided 260km (160 miles) off Shanghai on 6 January, with the tanker then drifting south-east towards Japan.
On Monday, China Central Television said a search and rescue operation had been cancelled and a clean-up operation had begun after a fire on the surface was extinguished. They said two ships were spraying the water with chemical agents designed to dissolve the oil.
The big concern now is for the environmental impact, he said. There could also be a very tall plume of condensate, this ultra-refined form of oil, underneath the surface. Condensate, which creates products such as jet fuel, is very different from the black crude that is often seen in oil spills. It is toxic, low in density and considerably more explosive than regular crude. The cause of the collision is still not known.
Some 13 vessels and an Iranian commando unit took part in the salvage operation, amid bad weather. The rescue workers also retrieved the ship’s black box but had to leave quickly because of the toxic smoke and high temperatures.
“Ford Goes ‘All In’ on Electric Cars.”
Ford Motor Co. will more than double spending on electrified vehicles, amplifying its investment in a segment that the auto industry sees growing from what’s now just a fraction of the market.
The carmaker will shell out $11 billion bringing 40 electrified vehicles to market by 2022, Jim Farley, president of global markets, said during a presentation at the Detroit auto show. That’s up from the $4.5 billion that Ford said in late 2015 it would invest through the end of the decade.
“This $11 billion you’re seeing, that means we’re all in now,” Executive Chairman Bill Ford told reporters in Detroit. “The only question is will the customers be there with us and we think they will.”
After electric-vehicle darling Tesla Inc. surpassed Ford in market value last year, the second-largest U.S. automaker replaced then-Chief Executive Officer Mark Fields. His replacement Jim Hackett has vowed to cut costs and drop some car models from the lineup to refocus the company’s future on sport utility vehicles, trucks and electrification.
With battery costs declining rapidly and regulators around the globe cracking down on the internal combustion engine, automakers have been rushing to step up their game with regards to all-electric models. While the segment comprises less that 1 percent of annual deliveries in the U.S., global demand is expected to rise as governments phase out gasoline and diesel engines and batteries reach price parity with traditional powertrains.
Ford expects fuel economy and pollution standards to get tougher, “and rightfully so,” said Raj Nair, head of Ford’s North American operations.
“We believe man-made CO2 is contributing to climate change and we’ve got our part to play,” he said.
Of the 40 electrified models planned, 16 will be battery-only vehicles. The company identified just one model by name coming in 2020, called the Mach 1, that will be a performance battery-electric SUV.