Glo­bal busi­ness

Falling energy costs were the main reason consumer prices fell on an annual basis, by 0.2 percent, in the eurozone last month for the first time since the 2009 financial crisis. (Excluding energy prices, the eurozone's inflation rate was 0.6 percent in December.) With the zone tipping into deflation, the European Central Bank is under increased pressure to introduce a program of buying government bonds at its January meeting.

Ukraine's annual inflation rate has soared to 24.9 percent, the state statistics agency reported. This is partly because of a steep rise in household gas prices after the government withdrew domestic subsidies.

JPMorgan Chase should break itself into at least two and maybe four parts, according to a report from Goldman Sachs, because its constituent businesses are worth more individually in light of new banking regulations. Goldman's note recommended America's biggest bank could be split into a commercial bank and an investment bank, or could trade as four units.

More concerns were raised about the security of bitcoin after Bitstamp, one of the largest exchanges for the digital currency, said hackers stole 19,000 bitcoins from its systems. It warned customers not to make transfers through their old bitcoin accounts. Bitstamp keeps only a small fraction of its bitcoin reserves online (most are held in offline computer systems), but the theft rekindled memories of the much larger cyberattack on Mount Gox last February.

In Britain, Tesco, the world's third biggest supermarket chain, said it would close 43 stores, postpone opening new ones, move to smaller headquarters and scrap its shareholder dividend this year to cut costs. Like other established supermarkets in Britain, Tesco is being squeezed by supercheap rivals like Aldi and Lidl.

Po­lit­i­cal ec­on­omy

Dilma Rousseff began her second term as Brazil's president by promising to revive the economy and root out corruption in Petrobras, the giant state-controlled oil company. The economy barely grew in 2014 and is likely to be further depressed in the short term by spending cuts to narrow the budget deficit and increases in interest rates to tame inflation.

The retrial of José Efraín Ríos Montt, Guatemala's dictator in 1982-83, on charges of genocide was suspended. The ailing 88-year-old appeared briefly on a trolley but proceedings stopped when the court accepted the defense's claim that one judge was not impartial. Ríos Montt was convicted in 2013 of responsibility for the murders of 1,771 Maya Ixils, an indigenous group thought by his regime to be supporters of a leftist insurgency. But this was overturned on a technicality.

South Korea's defense ministry formally declared its northern neighbor a nuclear-weapons state. It believes North Korea has the technical ability to mount a warhead on a long-range ballistic missile capable of threatening the American mainland.

Millions of coal miners in India went on strike briefly in protest at plans to open up the industry. This came days after the government of Narendra Modi approved a law allowing coal mines to be auctioned off.

Prodemocracy legislators in Hong Kong walked out at the start of a debate on political reform in the territory. They were angered by the government's refusal to amend plans for candidates for the post of chief executive to be limited to those approved by a committee stacked with supporters of the Communist Party.

The civil war in Libya took a turn for the worse. Jets from the authorities based in the eastern city of Tobruk bombed a steelworks in Misrata and a Greek oil tanker (killing two crew members) in the port of Derna, where militants have pledged allegiance to the jihadists of Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant.

The Palestinian Authority applied to join the International Criminal Court (ICC), after the U.N. Security Council voted down an Arab-sponsored resolution giving Israel two years to cease West Bank and Gaza occupation. The U.N. accepted the Palestinians' application, but America said it was counterproductive.

Prosecutors in Kenya ordered an investigation into the death of a witness in the ICC trial of Vice President William Ruto, who is accused of fomenting postelection killings in 2007. The court dropped charges against President Uhuru Kenyatta last month because of the government's lack of cooperation.