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Good morning. China’s version of the Marshall Plan, Interpol’s new president and 100 notable books of the year. Here’s what you need to know:
• The world, built by China.
China has created a modern-day counterpart to the Marshall Plan, the U.S. reconstruction program after World War II that laid the foundation for America’s enduring military and diplomatic alliances.
Here’s a look at some of its scope, by the numbers:
112: The number of countries where China has financed infrastructure projects.
203: The number of bridges, roads and railways China has built around the world, giving it new ways to move its goods.
$94 million: The amount China gave to Zambia to build a new 50,000-seat soccer stadium.
99: The number of years that China will control a port in Sri Lanka that it built — and then took over after Sri Lanka couldn’t pay its debt.
63: The minimum number of coal-fired power plants that China has financed around the world. Collectively, they pollute more than Spain.
These projects bring real benefits, but they also come at a cost. To staff them, China sends in its own workers, drawing complaints that they create few local jobs. Safety and environmental standards are inconsistent. And countries that turn to China for loans often plunge into a debt trap.
At home, China is building more complex products — like computers, TVs and cars — as part of the next phase of its economic evolution.
• Russia is poised to lead Interpol.
The global law enforcement agency appears ready to select a senior security official from Russia as its next president, even though the Kremlin has been accused of manipulating the agency’s arrest warrants to harass its enemies.
American and European officials were lobbying behind the scenes to tip votes away from the Russian candidate, Aleksandr Prokopchuk.
The vote, which will take place today, comes just weeks after China detained the previous president, Meng Hongwei, with little explanation, which raised concerns about Interpol’s independence.
• President Trump stands with Saudi Arabia.
Mr. Trump declared his loyalty to Saudi Arabia’s crown prince and said that the prince’s culpability in the killing of Jamal Khashoggi, above, might never be known.
“It could very well be that the crown prince had knowledge of this tragic event — maybe he did and maybe he didn’t!” Mr. Trump said in a statement that appeared calculated to end debate over the American response to the killing.
This comes despite the C.I.A.’s conclusion that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the kingdom’s de facto leader, ordered the murder. The president’s position speaks to how deeply Mr. Trump has invested in the 33-year-old heir, who has become the fulcrum of the administration’s strategy in the Middle East.
• Markets stay in the red.
After Asian and European markets tumbled, U.S. stocks fell for a second day, with major indexes down by more than 1 percent.
The losses wiped out 2018’s market gains. They were led by a sell-off in technology stocks amid fears of increased regulations. Weak earnings from the American retailer Target set off worries about a slowdown in the U.S. economy.
Investors were concerned about the broader U.S.-China trade war as well, fears that also dragged down markets in China, Hong Kong and parts of Europe.
Here’s a snapshot of global markets.
• Coupang, a South Korean e-commerce start-up, raised another $2 billion in fresh capital from SoftBank. Above, the company’s chief executive, Bom Kim.
• Glamour magazine announced it would end regular print publication after its January issue hits newsstands next week, a move in line with Condé Nast’s shift to digital and general belt-tightening in recent years.
• The Trump administration is expected to add Venezuela to a list of state sponsors of terrorism that currently includes Iran, North Korea, Sudan and Syria. Above, the country’s president, Nicolás Maduro. [The Washington Post]
• A federal judge ordered the Trump administration to resume accepting asylum claims from all migrants, no matter where or how they entered the U.S. It was at least a temporary setback for the president’s attempt to clamp down on a huge wave of Central Americans crossing the southern border. [The New York Times]
• Prime Minister Scott Morrison of Australia proposed stricter limits on immigration to control overcrowding of the country’s major cities. [The New York Times]
• Ivanka Trump, the president’s daughter, repeatedly used a personal email account for government business in 2017, a fact that raises the stakes on congressional oversight hearings that the new Democratic House majority will hold. [The New York Times]
• A 70-year-old woman in Hong Kong has been infected with rat variation of hepatitis E, the second known case of the virus in humans, two months after another Hong Kong resident first contracted the illness. [The South China Morning Post]
Tips for a more fulfilling life.
It was another year of the woman, with a catch.
On this day a century ago, Rebecca Felton, above, became the first woman in the U.S. Senate.
For one day.
In 1922, Georgia’s governor decided to run for the seat of a senator who had died. Seeking votes from the newly enfranchised women of his state, he appointed the 87-year-old Mrs. Felton to “serve” over a Congressional recess.
He lost, but Mrs. Felton was able to take office anyway.
And she was no novice.
Besides being a suffragist and a fighter for temperance, she had worked tirelessly on the campaigns of her husband, a congressman. Complicating her legacy, she was also an outspoken white supremacist.
Her one and only Senate floor speech concluded with a prescient promise to future female lawmakers:
“You will get integrity of purpose, you will get exalted patriotism, and you will get unstinted usefulness.”
Jennifer Steinhauer, a reporter in our Washington bureau, wrote today’s Back Story.
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