U.S.-China Trade Issues Loom Large for Oil | Council on Foreign Relations


Mohammed Barkindo, Secretary General of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), is worried about the U.S.-China trade war. Even though oil prices seem to be stabilizing, Barkindo told CNBC News that OPEC was “concerned about the lingering trade disputes.”

Last week, it was reported that China’s car sales fell by 6 percent in 2018, the first annual decline seen in more than twenty years, amid signs that China’s economy could be slowing down and consumer sentiment turning more pessimistic.

Chinese oil demand, which represents over 12 percent of total world demand, is a linchpin to global oil markets. When China’s economy slows significantly, the effect on oil prices can be dramatic, potentially leading to single digit prices, which has happened in the past.

Source: U.S.-China Trade Issues Loom Large for Oil | Council on Foreign Relations

Germany to restrict Facebook’s data gathering activities | Reuters


Facebook has been ordered to curb its data collection practices in Germany after a landmark ruling on Thursday that the world’s largest social network abused its market dominance to gather information about users without their consent.

Germany, where privacy concerns run deep, is in the forefront of a global backlash against Facebook, fueled by last year’s Cambridge Analytica scandal in which tens of millions of Facebook profiles were harvested without their users’ consent.

Source: Germany to restrict Facebook’s data gathering activities | Reuters

Explainer: The race for Nigeria’s presidency in 2019 | Reuters


Nigerians will on Feb. 16 choose between two septuagenarians to lead Africa’s largest democracy: President Muhammadu Buhari and former vice president Atiku Abubakar. The pair have run for president nine times between them.

There are more than 60 other candidates, though their chances of winning are slim as the wealth and patronage networks of the two main parties drive the politics of Africa’s top oil producer and most populous country.

Source: Explainer: The race for Nigeria’s presidency in 2019 | Reuters

U.S. border officials don’t share Trump’s zeal for border wall: lawmakers | Reuters


U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials on Wednesday described a multi-pronged strategy for tightening the southern border with Mexico that did not focus mainly on a massive wall President Donald Trump demands, according to lawmakers who attended a classified briefing.

“What they said over again was technology,” Democratic Senator Dick Durbin said. “They don’t rule out barriers, they don’t rule out fences. But that isn’t the first priority.”

Source: U.S. border officials don’t share Trump’s zeal for border wall: lawmakers | Reuters

Trump wades into scandals engulfing Virginia Democrats | Reuters


U.S. President Donald Trump on Thursday waded into the race and sex scandals engulfing Virginia’s three leading Democrats and suggested the turmoil could improve his Republican Party’s chances in the state.

A series of revelations over the past week have ensnared the governor and attorney general, both of whom admitted to wearing blackface while in college in the 1980s, and the lieutenant governor, accused of a 2004 sexual assault.

Were all three to leave office, the Republican speaker of the state house would step in.

Source: Trump wades into scandals engulfing Virginia Democrats | Reuters

Banks weigh whether to embrace or avoid progressive firebrand Ocasio-Cortez | Reuters


Barely a month into the new Congress, financial lobbyists in Washington are already strategizing how to handle the star power of rookie Democrat lawmaker Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

The Democratic Socialist and Wall Street critic joined the 60-member House Financial Services Committee in mid-January and more than a dozen lobbyists interviewed by Reuters say the 29-year-old activist and former bartender is too high-profile to ignore.

Source: Banks weigh whether to embrace or avoid progressive firebrand Ocasio-Cortez | Reuters

Americans need much more than words to solve national problems | TheHill


Despite the scandals and crises of the Trump administration, along with the difficult realities of a divided Congress, there are fundamental issues that both branches of government need to address.

The current divisive dynamic of our politics, however, is standing in the way of our leaders reaching consensus solutions to the many challenges the nation faces.

Any American who drives on our highways or flies from our airports knows that our infrastructure needs improvement and modernization. The ever rising prices of medicine, housing, education, and child care continue to squeeze our middle class while growing wages still lag those growing costs.

There are many ways to secure our border while acknowledging that immigrants play a fundamental role in strengthening our economy and shape an integral part of the American success story.

Meanwhile, the world grows increasingly unstable.

Source: Americans need much more than words to solve national problems | TheHill

Schiff lays out Intel panel’s Russia probe parameters | TheHill


The head of the House Intelligence Committee on Wednesday released the panel’s investigative parameters for conducting its Russia probe, which will serve as a roadmap as Democrats dig into Moscow’s involvement in the 2016 presidential election.

“The House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (‘Committee’) will conduct a rigorous investigation into efforts by Russia and other foreign entities to influence the U.S. political process during and since the 2016 U.S. election,” Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) said in a statement.

Source: Schiff lays out Intel panel’s Russia probe parameters | TheHill

Cyber exercise shows need for closer federal-state coordination | FCW


“We’re outgunned when it comes to nation-state cyberattacks” that could target cyber and physical targets at the same time, said Mike Bell, chief technology officer at the Houston Police Department.

A drill last July dubbed Jack Voltaic 2.0, demonstrated gaps in operational and legal authorities as well as confusion about first response.

Source: Cyber exercise shows need for closer federal-state coordination — FCW

China-linked hacker group has gone quiet, but DHS expects resurgence | FCW


An advanced persistent threat group linked to the Chinese government accused of conducting a widespread cyber espionage campaign against IT service providers has gone quiet since two of its members were indicted by the Department of Justice last year, according to a Department of Homeland Security official, but it remains an active threat to American businesses.

The group, known as APT 10, has a history of targeting the U.S. technology supply chain.

In recent years, it has begun focusing attention on compromising managed service and cloud providers who often remotely manage IT systems and store data on behalf of client companies and — when compromised — can offer hackers wider access to the networks of multiple businesses.

Source: China-linked hacker group has gone quiet, but DHS expects resurgence — FCW