Business review from the Economist

Ghosn fights back against charges at Nissan

Carlos Ghosn appeared in public for the first time since being taken into custody in mid-November amid claims of wrongdoing, which led to his dismissal as Nissan's chairman. Ghosn appeared at a court in Tokyo where he denied all the allegations, which include a "breach of trust" at Nissan and understating his pay to the authorities. He described the claims as "meritless." The court nevertheless recommended that he remain in custody.

Ford announced a root-and-branch restructuring of its operations in Europe, a loss-making region for the carmaker. Thousands of jobs are expected to go. Jaguar Land Rover prepared its workers for huge job losses in Britain.

Samsung said it expects its operating profit for the last three months of 2018 to be significantly lower than expected, its first decline in quarterly profit in two years. The South Korean electronics giant blamed weaker demand in China, a factor in Apple's recent warning about decreased revenue.

The unemployment rate in the euro area dipped to 7.9 percent in November, the lowest it has been since October 2008. The youth unemployment rate stood at 16.9 percent.

Negotiators from the U.S. and China wrapped up their first round of talks since a truce was called in the two countries' trade dispute. The mood at the talks was said to be positive, with China making more concessions to deal withU. S. complaints. Both sides are working toward beating a deadline of March 1, after which the U.S. threatens to raise its tariffs significantly if the issues aren't resolved.

Bristol-Myers Squibb agreed to buy Celgene, a specialist in drugs that tackle cancer. The takeover, worth around $90 billion, is one of the biggest ever in the pharmaceuticals industry.

The announcement that Jeff Bezos and his wife, MacKenzie Bezos, are to divorce raised questions about his stake in Amazon. The couple married in 1993, a year before Bezos founded the e-commerce company. He holds a 16.3 percent stake in Amazon, but if she gets half of that she could carry considerable clout.

SoftBank was reported to have slashed the amount it was thinking of investing in WeWork, which provides shared-office space in 96 cities around the world, from $16 billion to $2 billion.

The share price of Pacific Gas & Electric, California's biggest energy provider, plunged as it neared a bankruptcy declaration. The company, which said Monday that it will file for bankruptcy on Jan. 29, is being investigated in relation to the outbreak of wildfires in 2017-18, the deadliest in the state's history. PG&E will have to fork out billions of dollars in damages if its power lines are found to have contributed to the infernos.

Jim Yong Kim decided to step down as president of the World Bank, three years before the end of his second term. Following the convention that the United States gets to select the head of the World Bank (and Europeans get to choose the leader of the IMF), Kim was nominated for the job by President Barack Obama. Kim's appointment was the first to be challenged by candidates from developing countries. Such opposition may intensify with Donald Trump in the White House.

Global Politics from the Economist

U.S. hamstrung by government shutdown

The U.S. government remained shut down, as Democrats refused to fund President Donald Trump's wall on the Mexican border (which he had previously said Mexico would pay for). Trump said migrants trying to cross the border illegally represented a "humanitarian and security crisis." Democrats offered to reopen the government by funding everything except the Department of Homeland Security.

John Bolton, the national security adviser, assured allies that U.S. troops would not be leaving Syria quickly, all but contradicting what President Donald Trump had said days earlier.

A Saudi teenager who had barricaded herself into a hotel room in Bangkok and live-tweeted her ordeal was declared a legitimate refugee by the U.N.

The Saudi government struck a blow for feminism, decreeing that women whose husbands divorce them must be informed of this fact. Courts will notify them by text message.

Félix Tshisekedi, an opposition candidate, was unexpectedly declared the winner of a presidential election in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Furious voters speculated about a possible stitch-up.

Protests spread across Sudan. What began as an isolated rally against high bread prices has become a broad movement against the dictatorship of Omar al-Bashir, who has run the country since 1989 and is accused of genocide in Darfur.