January 18, 2019 / 3:30 PM / a month ago

Friday Morning Briefing

North Korea’s lead negotiator in nuclear diplomacy is in Washington, New Zealand’s green image is taking a beating and Tesla to cut several thousands of jobs. Catch up on the latest headlines.

Senior North Korean official Kim Yong Chol arrives at the international airport as he leaves for Washington from Beijing, China January 17, 2019. REUTERS/Jason Lee

North Korea’s lead negotiator in nuclear diplomacy is in Washington. Efforts to get Pyongyang to denuclearize appear to have stalled since Kim Yong Chol’s visit last June, but he is expected to hold talks with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and could also meet President Donald Trump during a visit aimed at clearing the way for a second U.S.-North Korea summit. North Korea’s vice foreign minister, Choe Son Hui and Stephen Biegun, the U.S. special representative for North Korea, are also currently holding talks in Sweden, a diplomatic source has said.

At $3.35, a miniature deodorant stick is more than three days’ wages at Adelanto Detention Facility. It is an impossible lxury for the hundreds of immigrants seeking asylum who are detained there. High commissary prices have long been a complaint of prison reformers. But for immigrant detainees, many of whom borrowed money or drained savings to reach the United States, the prices are particularly prohibitive. For many immigrant detainees, scrubbing toilets or mopping floors is the only way they say they can earn enough to stay clean and fed. President Trump has canceled his delegation’s trip to the World Economic Forum. Trump, who attended last year’s Davos event, had planned to go again this year but pulled out last week as he grapples with Democrats in Congress over funding for a wall on the border with Mexico that has led to a partial shutdown of the government. Only three leaders of the Group of Seven most industrialized countries will be attending.

President Trump is reviving efforts to win approval for a significant infrastructure plan lasting up to 13 years, two people briefed on the matter said. In a meeting of top advisers at the White House on Tuesday, the sources, who declined to be identified, said participants discussed aspects of a potential infrastructure plan, including funding for a next-generation wireless network, known as 5G, and potentially using the plan to modernize the U.S. air traffic control system.

WORLD

New Zealand is heavily marketed as ‘100% Pure’, but its green image is taking a beating. Its vast network of once pristine rivers and lakes are now some of the most polluted among OECD countries, according to some experts. More than 13,000 people signed a #toomanycows Greenpeace campaign on Twitter launched last week calling for a ban on synthetic nitrogen fertilizer.

A series of vote-catching measures planned by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi may cost more than 1 trillion rupees ($14 billion), two sources with direct knowledge of the matter said. Much of the cost of the extra spending or revenue losses would have to be borne by the government that will take charge after the election due by May. Modi remains the front-runner for the general election but his once-invincible image has been dealt a heavy blow.

“Without your great nation, this continent would not be what it is today,” wrote German politicians, industrialists and artists in a last-minute plea to Britons not to leave the European Union. Besides war and peace, they outlined some of the more quirky qualities which they said they would miss if Britain left the club it joined in 1973. “We would miss the legendary British black humor and going to the pub after work hours to drink an ale.”

Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin said on Friday that arms negotiations were ongoing with the United States. When asked about the prospect of the U.S. selling lethal weapons to Ukraine, Klimkin said: “We are now conducting such negotiations. I cannot talk about individual systems. This is a confidential issue.”

BUSINESS

Carlos Ghosn improperly received $9 million in compensation from a joint venture (JV) between Nissan Motor and Mitsubishi Motors, the Japanese automakers said on Friday, raising the possibility of their ousted chairman facing a fresh charge of embezzlement.

Tesla Inc said on Friday it was cutting several thousands of jobs, as the electric car maker looks to trim costs and be consistently profitable while it ramps up the production of its crucial Model 3 sedan. Tesla shares fell 4.1 percent to $333 in premarket trading.

After tax cuts, rising incomes and buoyant stock markets set off a consumer boom in 2018, signs are emerging that the main engine of U.S. economic growth could sputter, and a record-long government shutdown further muddies the waters.

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