How Amazon scrapped its plans for a New York headquarters | Reuters


Abruptly scuttling its Big Apple plans blindsided Amazon’s allies and opponents alike.

The company said the decision came together only in the last 48 hours, made by its senior leadership team and Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s founder, chief executive and the richest person in the world.

Yet by some measures the decision was months in the making, as community opposition signaled to the company that it was not entirely welcome.

Source: How Amazon scrapped its plans for a New York headquarters | Reuters

Factbox: Through the Brexit Looking Glass – What happens next? | Reuters


Britain’s parliament last month demanded Prime Minister Theresa May renegotiate a Brexit divorce deal that the other members of the European Union say they will not reopen.

With just six weeks until the United Kingdom is due by law to leave the EU, the options include a disorderly Brexit, a delay to Brexit or no Brexit at all.

Full Coverage: The Road to Brexit

Source: Factbox: Through the Brexit Looking Glass – What happens next? | Reuters

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Political deadlock beckons as Spain’s PM calls April election | Reuters


Spain exited a deep economic slump in 2013 but has been plagued since then by political volatility, driven by deep divisions over an independence drive in Catalonia and the emergence of new, populist parties.

Sanchez, who took office in June at the head of a minority government holding less than a quarter of parliamentary seats, called the election after his former Catalan nationalist allies refused to back his budget.

“One cannot govern without a budget,” Sanchez said in a televised address that bore hallmarks of a campaign speech, laying out his government’s achievements and saying he was seeking a broader majority to pursue a social reform agenda.

Source: Political deadlock beckons as Spain’s PM calls April election | Reuters

India’s PM Modi warns Pakistan of strong response to Kashmir attack | Reuters


The attack comes months before national elections in India.

The Pakistan-based Islamist militant group Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) claimed responsibility soon after a suicide bomber rammed a explosives-laden car into a bus carrying police personnel.

India has for years accused Muslim Pakistan of backing separatist militants in divided Kashmir, which the neighbors both claim in full but rule in part.

Source: India’s PM Modi warns Pakistan of strong response to Kashmir attack | Reuters

Explainer: What’s at stake in U.S.-China trade talks | Reuters

WHAT’S AT STAKE?

At the most basic level, a dominant position in future high-technology industries, according to the U.S. Trade Representative’s office.

China is determined to upgrade its industrial base in 10 strategic sectors by 2025, including aerospace, robotics, semiconductors, artificial intelligence and new-energy vehicles.

U.S. officials say they do not have a problem with China moving up the technology ladder, but they do not want it to happen with stolen or unfairly obtained American know-how.

They argue that China’s massive support for state-owned enterprises is leading to overproduction, making it hard for U.S. companies to compete on a market-driven basis.

Source: Explainer: What’s at stake in U.S.-China trade talks | Reuters

Explainer: Trump risks legal fight with emergency threat on wall | Reuters


President Donald Trump will almost certainly face legal challenges over his decision to declare a national emergency to get additional funding for a U.S.-Mexico border wall, circumventing the power of Congress to set spending policy.

Legal scholars say it is unclear how such a step would play out, but they agree a court test would likely focus on whether an emergency actually exists on the southern border and on the limits of presidential power over taxpayer funds.

Source: Explainer: Trump risks legal fight with emergency threat on wall | Reuters

Winners and losers in the border security deal | TheHill

In a Congress that’s practically defined by partisan bickering, the top negotiators of the DHS deal proved the sides can discard their differences and find common ground, even on an issue as highly contentious as border security.

To do so, the Republicans had to dismiss the criticisms from conservative voices bemoaning the absence of border wall funding, while the Democrats shrugged off attacks from the left, protesting provisions for fencing and interior enforcement.

Source: Winners and losers in the border security deal | TheHill

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Venezuelans Abroad Face Painful Choices About Returning Home | US News


In recent weeks, Juan Guaidó, the leader of the opposition-controlled Congress and self-declared interim president, appears to have harnessed public fury against the floundering Maduro regime in a game-changing manner.

Guaidó has offered Venezuelans a glimpse of light at the end of the tunnel with the possibility of forcing free and fair new elections.

Challenging Maduro’s democratic legitimacy and labeling him a “usurper,” the youthful lawmaker has won recognition from most Western democracies and, crucially, control of the international bank accounts into which Venezuela’s petro-dollars are pouring.

He has also politically checkmated the regime into blockading a border bridge to prevent desperately needed international food aid arriving from Colombia.

Yet even if Guaidó achieves his goal, living conditions are unlikely to ease up for ordinary citizens anytime soon.

Source: Venezuelans Abroad Face Painful Choices About Returning Home | Best Countries | US News

Land Bill’s Passage Signals GOP Shift on Conservation | US News


Privatization and devolution were once central planks in the Republican Party platform on federal lands, but the Senate’s 92-8 vote for a sprawling conservation package that carried broad GOP support appears to signal a shift in the party’s public stance.

For decades, Republican lawmakers openly called for handing federal control of public lands to state and local agencies, which they said would restore the country’s natural wilderness to the residents who live closest to it.

Environmental and conservation groups, by contrast, warned that such a move would grant the oil, gas and coal sectors far greater influence over regulators and policy makers.

Whether because of rising alarm over climate change or other factors, concerns about conservation now seem to hold sway.

Source: Land Bill’s Passage Signals GOP Shift on Conservation | National News | US News

What Will it Take to Save Flint, Michigan? | US News


Since January 2016, when Michigan’s former Republican Gov. Rick Snyder declared a state of emergency over lead poisoning in Flint’s water supply, the Vehicle City has been synonymous with the worst public health disaster in recent American memory. But the majority black city, whose trajectory has also been marked by decades of systemic racism, was in crisis long before the lead contamination began.

Now, as global attention on the water disaster has faded, Flint remains plagued by entrenched poverty and blight, moribund municipal services and crime rates that are among the country’s highest.

“Nobody’s talking about Flint because it makes America look bad when you have a city like this,” says Ariana Hawk, an activist whose then 2-year-old son was featured on an iconic 2016 Time Magazine cover.

“Do you not care about these black folks? Do you not care about these kids?”

Source: What Will it Take to Save Flint, Michigan? | Cities | US News