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December 21, 2018updated 20 Dec 2018 12:50pm

Trump Administration turns attention to Africa / Germany seals final black coal mine / The shortest day of the year

By Luke Christou


Good morning, here’s your Friday morning briefing to set you up for the day ahead. Look out for these three things happening around the world today.

Trump Administration turns attention to Africa

Following the recent announcement of the Trump administration’s strategy for Africa, the United States’ Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Tibor Nagy will hold a live video briefing to discuss the new approach.

The new strategy has been put together as a result of which the administration describes as “predatory” practices of China and Russia in the region, which Trump’s national security advisor accusing Russia of “corrupt economic dealings” which is holding Africa back.

With the new strategy, the United States hopes to provide opportunities for American businesses, while also helping to grow Africa’s middle class, tackle unemployment, and improve the region’s business climate.

The decision could be seen as yet more hostility towards China, which could pose another threat to the truce agreed to end the US-China trade war.

The briefing will begin at 1:30pm London time and can be watched via Slido.

Germany seals final black coal mine

Germany will seal up its last black coal mine today, bringing an end to two centuries of coal mining in the Ruhr region.

With much of Europe working towards a renewable future, German chancellor Angela Merkel began phasing out subsidies for coal miners in 2007. Despite once being viewed as the country’s economic saviour following World War II, Germany’s hard coal can no longer compete with cheaper, foreign imports.

“[Bringing up] a tonne of German hard coal costs €250, but only sells for €80 on the market,” according to RAG Foundation (which is overseeing the ”socially acceptable” closure of German mines) spokesperson Christof Beike.

To mark the occasion, a ceremony will be held at the mine attended by German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker.

The shortest day of the year

The Northern Hemisphere will today have its shortest day of the year as the Sun shines at its most southern point.

Otherwise known as the winter solstice, Yule or midwinter, this astronomical phenomenon results in the longest night and shortest day of the year.

While the day’s importance has been lost somewhat in recent times, winter solstice is still celebrated in a number of ways around the world. In Japan the occasion is celebrated by eating Kabocha, a Japanese pumpkin, while in the UK pagans gather around Stonehenge to watch the sunset.

Yesterday’s Highlights


Huawei rejects spying fears: “No evidence that Huawei is damaging cybersecurity”

Adobe share price drops off through Q4, despite strong year and an even brighter 2019

DeVere urges investors to stand ground amid growing global concerns

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