January 8, 2019 / 2:53 PM / a month ago

Tuesday Morning Briefing

President Trump is set to speak in a prime-time address aimed at building support for a border wall, Sears will ask a bankruptcy judge if it can proceed with liquidation and the Taliban cancels planned peace talks with U.S.

U.S. President Donald Trump walks to Marine One as he departs for Camp David from the White House in Washington, U.S., January 6, 2019. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

UNITED STATES

President Trump will make his case to Americans that a “crisis” at the U.S. border with Mexico requires a wall in a prime-time address aimed at building support for a campaign promise that has sparked an 18-day government shutdown. Trump’s Oval Office remarks, scheduled for 9 p.m. EST will be the president’s latest attempt to convince Democrats, not to mention furloughed government workers, to support his push for a steel barrier on the southern border.

Sears Holdings will ask a bankruptcy judge if it can proceed with liquidation after it could not reach an agreement on Chairman Edward Lampert’s $4.4 billion takeover bid, casting doubt on the survival of the 126-year-old U.S. department store, people familiar with the matter said. Meanwhile, the company’s official Twitter account (@Sears) has been feisty on social media in recent months, in attempt to reassure the public that it is still around. “We are down, but not out...” they said in reply to one of the many posts Monday morning.

“If this goes on for another couple of years, then yes of course we’ll be running into labor shortages,” said Ryan Sweet, an economist who tracks regional economies at Moody’s Analytics. Job openings outnumber unemployed workers across increasingly wide swaths of the United States, forcing businesses to rethink how they find workers, which could keep pressure on the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates despite a global economic slowdown.

WORLD

The father of an 18-year-old Saudi woman asylum seeker who fled to Thailand saying she feared her family would kill her has arrived in Bangkok and wants to meet his daughter, Thailand’s immigration chief said.

“Both sides have agreed to not meet in Qatar,” senior Taliban members based in Afghanistan told Reuters. The Taliban said on Tuesday they had canceled planned peace talks with U.S. officials in Qatar this week over an agenda disagreement.

CHINA

Commentary: Will China go to war over Taiwan? China’s President Xi Jinping has warned that the “problem” of Taiwan cannot be held over for another generation. But will Beijing really go to war, asks global affairs columnist Peter Apps. “To invade the island successfully, most military analysts argue that Beijing would either have to deter the United States from intervening or defeat nearby U.S. forces and prevent others from entering the region. China may not yet be strong enough to do this, but its military enlargement means that may not always be the case.”

China approved five genetically modified (GM) crops for import, the first in about 18 months in a move that could boost its overseas grains purchases and ease pressure from the United States to open its markets to more farm goods.

THE CONSUMER ELECTRONICS SHOW 2019

Toyota Motor’s automated safety technology “Guardian” will be available “in the 2020s,” Gill Pratt, chief executive officer of the Toyota Research Institute, said on Monday in Las Vegas.

Intel said at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas that it is working with Facebook to finish a new artificial intelligence chip in the second half of this year.

Nvidia announced its Drive AutoPilot platform, with artificial intelligence technologies, that can enable the next level of self-driving cars by 2020, further strengthening its position in the industry.

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