The US and China strike a deal

Nearly two years after the Trump administration launched its trade war against China, President Trump and Chinese Vice-Premier Liu He will sign a deal in Washington on Wednesday. The full details are still murky, but here is what the so-called "phase one" deal between the world's two biggest economies is expected to include:

China will commit to buy billions of dollars of US oil, cars, aircraft, agricultural products and other goods over the next few years. It will also pledge to better protect US companies' intellectual property and technology secrets.

The US will halt the next scheduled round of tariffs on Chinese imports and reduce some other levies it imposed in September by half. It has already removed China from a list of "currency manipulators" this week ahead of the signing ceremony, a goodwill gesture important to Beijing.

The two countries may also agree to begin talks about a bigger "phase two" deal later this year, but completion of that deal is unlikely until after the 2020 US election, if ever. China's leaders won't make big concession to a president who may be out of office within a year. They may never offer changes that demand fundamental shifts in China's economic model.

Yet, this week's agreement will give Trump an election-year deal he can sell as a boon for US farmers and factory workers. Xi Jinping will get some welcome relief from US tariffs at a time when China's economy is slowing and he faces political setbacks elsewhere.

Here's what won't change:

The US will keep in place most of the tariffs it has levied on more than $360 billion of Chinese imports since March 2018 (and reserve the right to reimpose other levies if China doesn't abide by the deal). China will keep billions of dollars of retaliatory tariffs on US goods.

China will continue other policies that the US does not like. It will continue to subsidize its domestic technology companies and pursue ambitious state-driven industrial policies that Beijing hopes will transform China into a global technology and advanced manufacturing power.

The US will keep Chinese tech giant Huawei on a Commerce Department blacklist and continue to try to limit the flow of advanced US technology to a country that it considers a strategic adversary.

Bottom line: These lingering pressures, along with inevitable disagreements between the US and China about how the deal should be implemented and enforced, will create further friction between the two countries, complicating efforts to fully resolve this complex trade and technology dispute.

Scientists, engineers and technologists are turning to nature in search of solutions to climate change. Biomimicry is now being applied in the energy sector, medicine, architecture, communications, transport and agriculture in a bid to make human life on this planet more sustainable and limit the impacts of global warming. New inventions have been inspired by humpback whales, kingfishers and mosquitoes.

Learn more at Eniday: Energy Is A Good Story

The drumbeat for regulating artificial intelligence (AI) is growing louder. Earlier this week, Sundar Pichai, the CEO of Google's parent company, Alphabet, became the latest high-profile Silicon Valley figure to call for governments to put guardrails around technologies that use huge amounts of (sometimes personal) data to teach computers how to identify faces, make decisions about mortgage applications, and myriad other tasks that previously relied on human brainpower.


January 27 marks 75 years since the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau, the largest Nazi extermination camp. But even as some 40 heads of state gathered in Jerusalem this week to commemorate the six million Jews who were killed, a recent Pew survey revealed that many American adults don't know basic facts about the ethnic cleansing of Europe's Jews during the Second World War. Fewer than half of those polled knew how many Jews were killed in the Holocaust, and close to a third didn't know when it actually happened. Here's a look at some of the numbers.

1: The Greek parliament has elected a woman president for the first time since the country's independence some 200 years ago. A political outsider, Katerina Sakellaropoulou is a high court judge with no known party affiliation. "Our country enters the third decade of the 21st century with more optimism," Greece's prime minister said.


A quarantine in China– Local authorities have locked down the city of Wuhan, the source of the outbreak of a new and potentially deadly respiratory virus that, as of Thursday morning, had infected more than 540 people in at least six countries. Other nearby cities were also hit by travel restrictions. Rail and air traffic out of Wuhan has been halted. Public transportation is shut, and local officials are urging everyone to stay put unless they have a special need to travel. Wuhan is a city of 11 million people, many of whom were about to travel for the Chinese New Year. We're watching to see whether these extraordinary measures help stem the outbreak, but also to see how the people affected respond to the clampdown.