Business and economy

Annual headline inflation in the eurozone remained unchanged at 0.2 percent in December. Markets had expected it to rise after months of stimulus policies that the European Central Bank had brought in to try to lift inflation to its 2 percent target.

In Sweden, which is also battling persistently low inflation, the board of the central bank gave the governor the power to intervene directly in currency markets if the krona continues to strengthen. The Riksbank has already lowered its benchmark interest rate to -0.35 percent and expanded its quantitative-easing program.

Some British Parliament members called for a hearing into the decision by the Financial Conduct Authority to drop its inquiry into banking pay and culture. The regulator said that rather than pursue an industrywide investigation, it would work with individual banks to promote "the delivery of cultural change."

Carmakers sold 17.47 million light vehicles in the United States in 2015, their best year ever, beating a record that had stood since 2000. This was driven mostly by surging sales of light trucks at the expense of midsize and compact cars, in part because of the lower price of gasoline.

Tesla Motors had its best quarter in the last three months of 2015, delivering 17,400 cars to customers, some of whom had placed orders three years ago. However, the electric-car company's share price fell sharply, mainly over worries that it won't be able to ramp up production to meet the growing backlog of orders for its new Model X.

Sainsbury's, a British supermarket chain, revealed that it had made a takeover offer for Home Retail Group, but had been rejected. HRG owns Argos, which used to sell its wares primarily through a hefty shopping catalog but has beefed up its online and same-day delivery business. Those operations would benefit Sainsbury's as it and others face increased competition from Amazon's entry into Britain's online groceries market. It is considering whether to pursue its bid.

Twitter's share price dipped amid reports that it is contemplating extending the maximum limit of characters in tweets from 140 to 10,000. The Twittersphere lit up upon news of the possible change, with many tweeters griping that it would end the short, pithy comments for which Twitter is known and turn the service into something more akin to Facebook.

Global politics

Burundi's government refused to join peace talks with the opposition. Sporadic violence continued in the capital, Bujumbura. Around 400 people have been killed since April, when President Pierre Nkurunziza said he would seek a third term in office.

In Bangladesh, the Supreme Court upheld the death sentence for Motiur Rahman Nizami, who heads Jamaat-e-Islami, the largest Islamic party. He was convicted last year for war crimes committed during the independence war against Pakistan in 1971, when he helped the Pakistani army identify and kill pro-independence activists. Critics claim he didn't receive a fair trial.

Hong Kong's chief executive, Leung Chun-ying, said his government was very concerned about the disappearance of Lee Bo, the owner of a shop selling books about Chinese politics. There are widespread suspicions that he was abducted from the territory by mainland Chinese agents. Four others connected with the shop disappeared last October while visiting Thailand and mainland China.

Gisela Mota, the mayor of Temixco, a town south of Mexico City, was murdered less than a day after her inauguration. The killers are thought to have links to Los Rojos, a drug gang.

Police in Guatemala arrested 18 former military and government officials on charges that they committed human-rights abuses during the country's civil war, which lasted from 1960 to 1996. Prosecutors said that the accused commanded forces that were responsible for massacring civilians.

David Cameron, Britain's prime minister, confirmed that the government will take a clear position in a referendum, expected this year or next, on whether to leave the European Union, but that he would let ministers hold a "different personal position."