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With Article 50 now triggered and the Brexit clock ticking, Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond just offered a rare moment of political candor. Speaking on a visit to India, he told Bloomberg that he knows, “with a high degree of confidence” that some on both sides want EU exit talks to fail. That includes members of his own Conservative party. Keep your friends close, they say, and your enemies closer. — Adam Blenford
After the downgrade. First, South African President Jacob Zuma fired his finance minister and stacked his cabinet with loyalists. That led S&P to downgrade the nation’s credit rating to junk and spurred calls for Zuma to resign. Bank stocks are down more than 8 percent and the head of the treasury has asked to step aside. What happens now?
Place your multi-billion dollar bets, please. Every year, Mexico places a huge oil bet known as the “Hacienda hedge” that protects the country’s budget and earns tens of millions for brokers and traders. If it works, profits can be enormous. And if it’s wrong? A small fortune goes down the drain. This is the inside story of how it works.
Xi makes a Nordic stopover. China’s President Xi Jinping will visit Helsinki before meeting with Donald Trump later this week. China is aligning itself alongside the EU in the face of Trump’s “America First” rhetoric and climate skepticism, and the Finnish trip signals a shift in commercial and diplomatic ties.
Innovation in the sky. The aviation industry is banking on improved cabin technology to lure passengers. New gizmos in the works include a robotic waiter that serves drinks, an ultraviolet bacteria killer, and a flight-safe cooker that can fry eggs and steam rice at 30,000 feet. If you overeat, don’t worry— there’s also a wider seat being developed.
Marine country. With the worst unemployment rate in France and high levels of immigration, the Perpignan area near the Spanish border is proving fertile ground for Marine Le Pen’s National Front. Voters there see her as an antidote to Parisian elites and the European Union. Mainstream parties are struggling to win them back.
Edited by Andy Reinhardt and Leila Taha