Souring World Views of Trump Open Doors for China and Russia Much of the world has soured on American leadership since President Trump took office, a loss of faith that has opened up opportunities for other countries like China, Russia and Germany to assert themselves on the international stage, according to an extensive new survey of people living around the globe. -NYT

GET THE FULL REPORT HERE Rating World Leaders: 2018 Find out how people in 134 countries rate U.S. leadership -- one year into U.S. President Donald Trump's term. -Gallup

Congress hurtles toward shutdown The House passed a bill to keep the government funded for another four weeks, but prospects in the Senate look dim. -Politico

Congress Approves Six-Year Extension of Surveillance Law The Senate on Thursday voted to extend by six years a law that authorizes the National Security Agency’s warrantless surveillance program, essentially ending a cycle of debate over wiretapping and privacy that began with the leaks in 2013 by Edward J. Snowden, a former intelligence contractor. -NYT

AUTOPILOT DISENGAGED A bill to put more self-driving cars on U.S. roads is stuck in the Senate California’s own senator isn’t convinced the technology is ready. -Recode

Mexican views of the United States drop to record low For the first time in more than a quarter-century, a majority of Mexicans hold negative views of the United States -The Washington Post

LAWYERS TOO Building a Mini-State With Avocados and Guns The avocado orchards were safe as well, guarded by another set of uniformed militias. There was a palpable change at the town’s perimeter, marking the edge of what militiamen called “tierra caliente” — hot ground, meaning cartel territory. The avocado trade appears to be booming. -NYC

Venezuelan opposition skips reconciliation talks with Maduro government The talks are seen as a last-ditch effort to pave the way free and fair presidential elections this year, in which the embattled Maduro is expected to seek another term. -The Washington Post




Trump personally thanks Apple CEO for investment pledge The technology giant announced Wednesday that it would make a one-time tax payment of $38 billion on its overseas cash holdings and invest $30 billion in capital spending over the next half-decade as part of its overall plan to ramp up spending in the U.S. -Politico

YOU’RE WELCOME? Apple, Returning Overseas Cash, to Pay $38 Billion Tax Bill -Bloomberg

Trump says solar tariff decision coming soon, stakes huge for industry -Reuters

How the U.S. Ended Up Enthralled by Unions Even labor-friendly Paris uses fewer workers than New York City, and for a fraction of the cost. American public unions pervert the process. -Bloomberg View  

DISRUPTION MEETS ITS MATCH: THE REGULATOR Big Tech is hiding in plain sight. Today, five companies — Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Microsoft, and Alphabet (Google’s parent company) — have a collective worth of more than $3 trillion. Yet such transnational companies remain mostly exempt from the sort of regulations and accountability faced by most other industries. -The National Review

Tech giants are telling Trump to preserve a program that allows some spouses of high-skilled immigrants to work in the U.S. Their top lobbying organizations fear the end of the program is imminent -Recode

HSBC to pay $100 million to settle U.S. probe into currency rigging -Reuters

THE RENT Boeing willing to preserve Brazil's 'golden share' in Embraer deal Boeing Co (BA.N) is working to overcome the Brazilian military’s objections to its proposed tie-up with Embraer SA (EMBR3.SA) with alternatives that would preserve the government’s strategic veto rights and ensure safeguards for its defense programs -Reuters


Two Federal Reserve Openings Provide One Chance to Counter Trump The Federal Reserve is facing a significant change in leadership that goes beyond the installation of a new chairman. It is also awaiting the appointment of two other top officials who will play a crucial role in shaping Fed policy. -NYT

ONE UP IEA Sees ‘Explosive’ Growth in U.S. Oil Output as Prices Rally U.S. oil output is set for “explosive” growth this year as prices rally, potentially offsetting a further collapse in Venezuela’s production, the International Energy Agency -Bloomberg

ONE DOWN Crisis-hit Venezuela's oil output plummets in 2017 to decades low Venezuela’s crude oil production fell nearly 13 percent last year, according to figures released by OPEC on Thursday, hitting a 28-year annual low that points to a deepening economic crisis and increased chances of a debt default. -Reuters

ONE EXITS & ENTERS China investment in Brazil hit seven-year high in 2017 -Reuters