January 18, 2017 / 12:26 PM / a year ago

Wednesday Morning Briefing: The soft sensuality of the Trump inauguration

Low-key. Understated. Not terms you usually associate with Donald Trump. But that's how his inauguration is shaping up, largely because most people in the entertainment business would prefer to be elsewhere. "We're fortunate in that we have the greatest celebrity in the world, which is the president-elect," Tom Barrack, inaugural committee chairman, said last week. "So what we've done, instead of trying to surround him with what people consider A-listers, is we are going to surround him with the soft sensuality of the place."

China is balking at the United States' decision to allow a delegation from Taiwan attend Donald Trump's presidential inauguration. The delegation will include former premier and ex-ruling party leader Yu Shyi-kun, a Taiwan national security adviser and some lawmakers. A spokesman for Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen's office said no meetings were scheduled with the new Trump administration while the delegation was there for the event. It is typical for Taiwan to send a delegation to inauguration, but tensions are higher this year since Trump refused to rule out relations with Taiwan.

President Barack Obama shortened the prison sentence of Chelsea Manning, the former U.S. military intelligence analyst who leaked more than 700,000 documents, videos and cables to WikiLeaks, the biggest such breach in U.S. history. She was jailed in 2010, convicted and sentenced to 35 years in prison. A portion of that time was spent in solitary confinement. She twice attempted suicide and went on a five-day hunger strike, demanding transgender treatments. She is confined in a men's prison. Republicans were not happy. House Speaker Paul Ryan called the clemency "outrageous," while Senator Tom Cotton said, "We ought not to treat a traitor like a martyr."

Uh sir, you have a…on your face, um, nevermind

Palestinian man Nabeel Mussa keeps scorpions and snakes as a hobby and eats them, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia Jan. 17, 2017. REUTERS/Faisal Al Nasser

Palestinian man Nabeel Mussa keeps scorpions and snakes as a hobby and eats them, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia Jan. 17, 2017. REUTERS/Faisal Al Nasser

Around Wall Street

Early optimism among business lobbyists and executives that Donald Trump's election heralded better days has slowly given way to uncertainty as the president-elect fires off mixed and sometimes confusing messages on healthcare, taxes and trade.

 

Quote of the day:

"Trump is like a policy bull who seems to bring his own china shop with him to destroy it with every interview." – Chris Kruger, analyst, Cowen & Co. Beijing has some way to go to convince foreign businesses that it is serious about liberalizing China's economy, despite President Xi Jinping's defense of globalization at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. An annual survey from the American Chamber of Commerce in China released on Wednesday showed that more than 80 percent of its members felt less welcome in China than before and most had little confidence in China's vows to open its markets. You can follow all the Davos action at Reuters.com's liveblog. Deutsche Bank chief John Cryan is looking forward to focusing on a new growth strategy instead of devoting most of its energy to cleaning up past mistakes. Germany's biggest bank completed its $7.2 billion settlement with the U.S. Justice Department its sale of toxic mortgage securities in the run-up to the 2008 financial crisis.

Around the country

Commerce Secretary appointee Wilbur Ross

Secretary of Health and Human Services nominee Tom Price

U.N. ambassador pick Nikki Haley. Former President George H.W. Bush has been hospitalized in Houston since the weekend after he experienced a shortness of breath, a family spokesman said on Wednesday. Bush, 92, the oldest living former American president, has been at the Houston Methodist Hospital since Saturday and "has responded very well to treatments," spokesman Jim McGrath said in an email to Reuters.

Around the world

Two days after Iraqi forces launched a new push against Islamic State in Mosul, bomb blasts ripped through a marketplace in central Baghdad - the start of a spate of attacks that appear to signal a shift in tactics by the Islamist group towards insurgency and away from controlling territory. Germany looks set to hold its federal election on Sept. 24, with Chancellor Angela Merkel seeking a fourth term in office and the anti-immigrant Alternative for Germany party expected to enter the national parliament for the first time. Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte ruled out declaring martial law – sort of, but said he could do so if he wished, and anyone questioning his justification should "shut up" and stay out of his business.

Today's reason to live

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