Trump says he’ll leave White House peacefully; Victoria’s 28-day virus milestone, officially coronavirus-free; NSW train delays; Biden faces test over sharing Trump’s secret calls; Nation braces for severe heatwave; Shopping centres added to South Australia virus alert list


People who attended certain shopping centres are certain times need to monitor for symptoms and get tested, South Australia’s Chief Medical Officer has said.

“Even mild symptoms, so feeling a bit down or tired, a slightly itchy nose, scratchy throat, a bit of a headache even, a bit of an upset tummy,” Dr Nicola Spurrier said.

“Anything at all and you’ve been in this locations, get tested.”

The Kilkenny Arndale shopping centre last Sunday from 11am to 11.30am, or Sunday, November 15, from 11.30am to 12.30pm.

Port Adelaide Plaza on Friday November 13 from 6.40pm until 9.30pm, or Sunday November 15 from 3pm to 3.30pm.



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War of words – The imminent Biden presidency reawakens Europe’s defence debate | Europe


EMMANUEL MACRON does not shy from controversy. But the French president’s recent dig at Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, Germany’s defence minister, was sharp. Earlier this month she wrote: “Illusions of European strategic autonomy must come to an end.” Since “strategic autonomy” is a centrepiece of Mr Macron’s European ambitions, he did not hold back. Calling her views a “historical misinterpretation”, he added pointedly: “Fortunately, if I understood things correctly, the chancellor does not share this point of view.”

Franco-German differences are not just normal; they are the basis of the post-war Franco-German link. Usually leaders try to avoid making disagreements personal, and work through them in private. This time, the spat is out in the open. As Europeans prepare for an American presidency under Joe Biden, it has exposed old cracks within the European Union over how far Europe should, or could, do more to defend itself.

Under Donald Trump, Mr Macron edged the European debate in his direction. An American president with undisguised contempt for NATO helped focus European minds, and prompted concerns about the solidity of the American security guarantee. In terms of capacity, European defence does not yet add up to much. An alphabet soup of embryonic security programmes focuses on new co-operation mechanisms, rather than step-changes in Europe’s ability to handle collective defence. Yet France and Germany now agree that Europe must do more. German defence spending, though a smaller share of GDP than in France, has been growing steadily since 2015. A common EU military-strategy document will be concluded under France’s EU presidency in 2022. A new poll finds that 51% of Germans think Europe should grow more independent of America. There is deepening European co-operation in a counter-terrorism operation in the Sahel, albeit with American intelligence backing.

So why do France and Germany appear to be talking past one another? Mr Macron has neither called for America to withdraw from Europe, nor suggested that NATO is “superfluous”, as Ms Kramp-Karrenbauer has hinted. He sees beefing up European defence as a response to a pre-Trump American pivot to Asia, and stresses that it should be “complementary” to NATO. In Germany the deeper divide is not between pro-NATO Atlanticists and pro-Europeans; but between those, like Ms Kramp-Karrenbauer, who encourage difficult domestic conversations about defence spending and military capabilities, and those who would prefer to ignore the subject. If Mr Macron worries that a Biden administration will induce the German establishment back into deep strategic sleep, Ms Kramp-Karrenbauer ought to be among his closest allies in Berlin, not the subject of his barbs.

The difficulty may stem partly from language. Mr Macron uses “European sovereignty” and “strategic autonomy” almost interchangeably, sometimes to cover broader industrial and technological independence. Yet full defence sovereignty means a great deal more than merely Europe’s ability to act autonomously, for example to resolve a limited regional crisis. As Mr Macron pointed out in a speech to the Bundestag in 2018: “In France, ‘sovereignty’ is a common term; in Germany I know it can cause surprise, even fear.” Many Germans also resist Mr Macron’s emphasis on “strategic autonomy”, preferring to talk about the “European pillar of NATO” in order to avoid ambiguity about America’s security role in Europe.

There is also old distrust in Berlin (and elsewhere in the EU) about French intentions. Some officials see in Mr Macron an old-style Gaullist wrapping French interests in a European flag. They suspect him of seeking to undermine NATO and substitute French leadership in Europe for American influence. Others appreciate Mr Macron’s energy but find his unilateralism exhausting—and sometimes counter-productive, as in Libya or the eastern Mediterranean.

Above all, the gulf between the two countries’ defence cultures is just extremely hard to bridge. Defence, says Claudia Major of the German Institute for International and Security Affairs, remains the “problem child”. France has a tradition of military intervention and the use of expeditionary force (and boasts nuclear weapons); Germany’s culture of military restraint is as strong as ever, and politicians struggle to articulate a national strategic interest. Where France instinctively sees threats to Europe’s south, Germans look eastward—and take seriously scepticism towards Mr Macron from eastern Europeans who balk at any hint of weakening transatlantic security ties. The defence minister of Poland has intervened in the spat to say he agrees with the Germans (as has Spain’s prime minister).

If Europeans accept the need to “do more” for their own defence, they have yet to agree on what this means. The idea of partial defence autonomy commands wide and growing support, but not when coupled with the more ambitious and pricey idea of total sovereignty in defence. Instead of a war of words, Europeans must work out what capabilities they need and when, and how to pay for them—no matter who is president in America.

This article appeared in the Europe section of the print edition under the headline “War of words”

Reuse this contentThe Trust Project



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Trump says he will leave White House if Electoral College votes for Biden


President Donald Trump participates in a Thanksgiving teleconference with members of the United States Military, at the White House in Washington, DC, on November 26, 2020.

Andrew Caballero-Reynolds | AFP | Getty Images

President Donald Trump said on Thursday he will leave the White House if the Electoral College votes for President-elect Joe Biden, the closest he has come to conceding the Nov. 3 election, even as he reiterated his unfounded claims of massive voter fraud.

Speaking to reporters on the Thanksgiving holiday, Republican Trump said if Democrat Biden — who is due to be sworn in on Jan. 20 — is certified the election winner by the Electoral College, he will depart the White House.

But Trump said it would be hard for him to concede under the current circumstances and declined to say whether he would attend Biden’s inauguration. The electors are scheduled to meet on Dec. 14.

“This election was a fraud,” Trump insisted, while offering no concrete evidence of such voting irregularities.

Biden and Trump both stayed close to home to celebrate Thanksgiving on Thursday as the coronavirus pandemic raged across the country.

Biden spent the holiday in the small seaside town of Rehoboth, Delaware, where he and his wife Jill have a vacation home. The Bidens are hosting daughter Ashley Biden and her husband Dr. Howard Krein for the holiday meal.

The former vice president, appearing with his wife in a video message posted to his Twitter account on Thanksgiving, said his family typically holds a large gathering on the island of Nantucket off Massachusetts, but would remain in Delaware this year “with just a small group around our dinner table” because of the pandemic.

In the presidential-style address to a nation that has lost more than 260,000 lives to the coronavirus, the Democratic president-elect said Americans were making a “shared sacrifice for the whole country” and a “statement of common purpose” by staying at home with their immediate families.

“I know this isn’t the way many of us hoped we’d spend our holiday. We know that a small act of staying home is a gift to our fellow Americans,” said Biden. “I know better days are coming.”

Republican President Trump often likes to celebrate holidays at his Mar-a-Largo resort in Florida. But on Thursday he remained in the Washington area, spending part of the morning at his Trump National Golf Club in Virginia where he played a round of golf.

It was a far cry from last year when he made a surprise visit to Afghanistan, where he served turkey to U.S. troops before sitting down to eat Thanksgiving dinner with them.

This time, Trump spoke by video link from the White House to members of the military.



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Joe Biden considers Roger Ferguson, Brian Deese to lead his economic council


President-elect Joe Biden is considering Roger Ferguson, a former Federal Reserve vice chair, and Brian Deese, an executive at BlackRock, to be his top White House economic adviser, according to people familiar with the matter. If selected, Ferguson, now the chief executive of TIAA, would become the first African-American in the role of director of the National Economic Council, a prime position to guide the president on the direction of policy making. Deese, who was hired by BlackRock in 2017 to oversee its sustainable investment strategies, was a senior adviser to President Barack Obama on climate, conservation and energy.

Ferguson, 69, was vice chairman of the Fed’s Board of Governors from 1999 to 2006, the first Black person to hold that post. After the September 11 terrorist attacks, then Fed chairman Alan Greenspan was overseas and deputised Ferguson to carry out what was essentially the central bank’s war plan for market crises. He has spent about 12 years as the chief executive of TIAA, arriving there from the reinsurance company Swiss Re, where he headed financial services. He steered TIAA through the 2008 financial crisis. The organisation oversaw $1.2 trillion as of September 30, including the retirement savings of many Americans.





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Joe Biden interview: Raw emotions in president-elect’s first post-election grilling


Joe Biden just sat down for his first TV interview since the election, and at one point the president-elect seemed to be on the verge of tears.

US president-elect Joe Biden has given his first TV interview since winning the election, facing questions on the state of the presidential transition and what he intends to do with his first hundred days in office.

Mr Biden sat down for a chat with Lester Holt, the host of NBC Nightly News, a short time after introducing several of his nominees for Cabinet posts to the public this afternoon.

Several of his choices are alumni of the Obama administration. Earlier today, Politico reported that had caused some resentment among some of Mr Biden’s longtime loyalists, who fear they are being overlooked.

“People are pissed,” is how one senior official put it.

Holt alluded to that tension early in the interview.

“This line-up, those you’ve selected so far – a lot of familiar faces among them. What do you say to those who are wondering if you’re trying to create a third Obama term?” he asked.

“This is not a third Obama term. Because we face a totally different world than we faced in the Obama-Biden administration,” Mr Biden said.

President Trump has changed the landscape. It has become America First, which means America alone. We find ourselves in a position where our alliances are being frayed. It’s totally different.

“That’s why I’ve found people that represent the spectrum of the American people as well as the spectrum of the Democratic Party.”

Mr Biden stressed there were “a lot more appointments” still to be announced. Holt asked whether he had considered nominating any Republicans – perhaps even one who voted for Donald Trump – as a unifying gesture.

“Yes,” the president-elect said.

“I want this country to be united. We can’t keep this virulent political dialogue going.”

“Should we expect an announcement?” asked Holt.

“No,” said Mr Biden.

“Not ever, or not soon?” said Holt.

“Not soon,” he clarified.

RELATED: ‘People are pissed’: Drama in Biden camp

Another talking point here is the relative lack of Democratic Party politicians among Mr Biden’s nominees.

That may change as he announces more of them. For now though, Senator John Kerry is the only politician who has been named to serve in Mr Biden’s Cabinet, and he will fill the niche role of climate envoy.

This is somewhat unexpected. A prestige role like secretary of state, for example, is often given to a prominent politician.

The man currently in the job, Mike Pompeo, is a former Republican congressman. Barack Obama gave the gig first to then-senator Hillary Clinton, and then to Mr Kerry.

Mr Biden has gone for Antony Blinken, a man you have likely never heard of who served as deputy secretary of state under Mr Obama.

Before the election, there was talk that Mr Biden might give Cabinet posts to some of his vanquished rivals for the Democratic nomination.

Senator Elizabeth Warren was floated as a potential treasury secretary. Senator Bernie Sanders has openly expressed interest in the position of labour secretary. Former South Bend mayor Pete Buttigieg has been mentioned as a potential secretary for veterans’ affairs.

Again, Holt addressed the issue head-on.

“What about former rivals from your own party? Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren – have you talked to them about Cabinet positions?” he asked.

The answer was quite obviously no, though Mr Biden didn’t put it quite so bluntly.

“Look, as I said, we already have significant representation among progressives in our administration, but there’s nothing really off the table,” he said.

“But one thing’s really critical. Taking someone out of the Senate, taking someone out of the House – particularly a person of consequence – is a really difficult decision.

“I have a very ambitious, very progressive agenda, and it’s going to take really strong leaders in the House and the Senate to get it done.”

If he were to choose a serving senator, such as Mr Sanders or Ms Warren, their seat in the Senate would be vacated and then contested in a special election, potentially sapping the Democrats’ numbers for an extended period.

Hence, don’t expect a Cabinet post for either of them.

RELATED: Reporters react to Trump’s ‘weird’ appearance

Mr Biden’s interview came a day after the General Services Administration (GSA) allowed the transition process to formally begin, releasing funds and enabling members of the president-elect’s team to make contact with their counterparts in the Trump administration.

It took a few weeks longer than usual to reach that point, with Mr Trump refusing to concede defeat and the relevant official at the GSA backing him up.

Nevertheless, Mr Biden told Holt he was satisfied his incoming administration would be able to get up to speed before Inauguration Day on January 20.

“Immediately, we’ve gotten outreach across the board. They’re already working out my ability to get presidential daily briefs (and) meet with the COVID team in the White House,” he said.

“I think we’re going to be not quite so far behind the curve as I thought we might be in the past. I must say, the outreach has been sincere. It has not been begrudging so far, and I don’t expect it to be.”

For context here, Mr Biden has been receiving intelligence briefings since he became the Democratic nominee earlier this year. The presidential daily brief – the same thing Mr Trump gets every day – is a more comprehensive document to which he could not be given access without the GSA’s approval.

The other thing Mr Biden hasn’t had yet is a conversation with the President. The pair have not spoken since the election.

“I believe that his chief of staff and my chief of staff have spoken, but no, I have not heard anything from President Trump,” he said.

“It’s a slow start. But it’s starting, and there’s two months left to go. So I’m feeling good about the ability to get up to speed.”

Holt asked what, exactly, Mr Biden planned to do with his first hundred days in power.

“Some of it is going to depend on the kind of co-operation I can or cannot get from the Congress,” he said.

The Republicans are likely to hold a majority in the Senate, unless the Democrats manage to win both upcoming run-off elections in Georgia – an unlikely feat. That means Mr Biden will need to secure at least a couple of Republican votes to pass legislation.

“I will send an immigration bill to the Senate with a pathway to citizenship for over 11 million undocumented people in America,” said Mr Biden.

“I will also be moving to do away with some of the very damaging executive orders that have significantly impacted on making the climate worse and making us less healthy.

“There’s also things that I want to do that relate to the ability to make sure we get immediate assistance to state and local governments to keep them from basically going under.

“There’s multiple things that are going to have to be taking place at the same time.

“But the most important thing, I think, is to focus on those folks who are always – when the crisis hits, they are the first ones hit, and when the recovery comes they’re the last ones in. That’s minority communities, who’ve been hurt very badly.

“Making sure we get the aid that was voted on in the House and passed by the Senate and some cases, and much of which has not passed, get the kind of help to keep people afloat.”

For months, Republicans and Democrats in Congress, along with the Trump White House, have been unable to reach an agreement on a second coronavirus relief package, which would help Americans who are struggling economically amid the pandemic.

The two sides have been unable to agree on the scope or content of such a package, meaning nothing has been passed. Meanwhile, the initial relief measures passed in the early months of the crisis have expired.

Mr Biden appeared to tear up at this point, and he had to take a moment to gather himself before launching into an anecdote about his own father’s economic struggles.

“I remember … I remember my dad being restless. And I remember, one night, feeling – I could hear my dad, you could just feel the bed moving. So the next morning I said, ‘Mum, what’s wrong with dad?’” he recounted.

“She said, ‘He’s worried. He just lost – he moved jobs, he lost his health insurance. He doesn’t know what to do.’

“Think of all the people, all the people, who are laying awake at night, staring at the ceiling, thinking, ‘God forbid. What happens?’ We have to act. We have to act to guarantee they have access to affordable health insurance.

“This is more than just a financial crisis. It’s a crisis that is causing real mental stress for millions of people. Millions of people. And it’s within our power to solve it.”

RELATED: Do Trump’s lawyers actually have a point?

The incoming administration’s other initial focus will, of course, be rolling out vaccines to the general public as efficiently as possible.

“Allegedly the administration has set up a rollout, how they think it should occur, what will be available when and how. And we’ll look at that, we may alter that. But that’s in train now. We haven’t got that briefing yet,” said Mr Biden.

He referred to his conversations with state governors from both political parties.

“We’ve talked extensively about the need to co-operate and get the vaccine into places where you can actually get vaccinated,” he said.

“I think we should be focusing obviously on the doctors, the nurses, the first responders. I think we should also be focused on trying to open schools as fast as we can. I think it can be done safely.

“The hope is this administration can begin to distribute it before we’re sworn in. So it’s all in train now. But I’m feeling good now that we’ll be able to get all the hard data we need.”

Holt asked what Mr Biden could do, as president, to change people’s attitudes towards the pandemic – to stop them from ignoring medical advice, for example – that he couldn’t do as a candidate.

“I hope as president – and many of the Republican governors and mayors felt the same way – I hope we’re going to be able to have a united voice on the need to mask, socially distance, testing and tracing. They’re critical, critical pieces to dealing with bringing down this virus into a more manageable place,” he said.

“The words of a president matter.”

Finally, Holt asked how Mr Biden would deal with the calls from some Democrats for Mr Trump to be prosecuted after leaving office.

There are currently multiple active investigations of Mr Trump and his businesses at the state level. Once he is no longer in office, prosecutors could conceivably try to indict him.

“I will not do what this President has done and use the Justice Department as my vehicle to insist that something happen,” Mr Biden said.

“There are a number of investigations that I’ve read about at a state level. There’s nothing at all I can or can’t do about that.

“I’m focused on getting the public back to a place where they have some certainty, some knowledge they can make it. The middle class are being crushed. That’s my focus.”



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Progressive groups want ‘squad member’ Rashida Tlaib in Biden cabinet


Progressive groups are pushing President-elect Joe Biden to include more candidates who lean further to the left than him in his cabinet, including a member of the “Squad,” as they seek influence over policymaking.

The Sunrise Movement, a group focused on the urgency of climate change, is advocating for cabinet picks who have no ties to fossil fuel companies or corporate lobbyists. It’s a wish list that includes Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., for secretary of Housing and Urban Development.

Justice Democrats, which has a stated goal of building a “mission-driven caucus” in Congress by electing more leaders like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., also signed off on the list, which also includes Reps. Barbara Lee, D-Calif., and Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash.

Tlaib, one of the first two Muslim women elected to Congress, is a vocal critic of President Trump.

She also recently lashed out at fellow Democrats, some of whom blamed down-ballot losses on progressive members of the party, telling Politico that she isn’t interested in unity if it comes at the cost of people’s rights and freedoms.

BLACK LIVES MATTER PROTESTERS DEMAND LA MAYOR BE EXCLUDED FROM BIDEN CABINET: REPORTS

Meanwhile, Biden appeared to throw cold water on the idea that Sens. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., and Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., might be tapped for cabinet roles during an interview with NBC this week.

He claimed he already had “significant representation among progressives” in his administration, and taking a Democrat out of the Senate or the House would be a difficult decision.

“I have a very ambitious, very progressive agenda and it’s going to take really strong leaders in the House and Senate to get it done,” Biden said.

Sanders has been a progressive favorite for labor secretary, and Warren had been eyeing the role of Treasury Secretary, which was  offered to former Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen.

Biden has also taken on a number of staffers who previously served in the Obama administration, and is consequently fending off the idea that his tenure will essentially resemble a third term for former President Barack Obama.

“This is not a third Obama term because we face a totally different world than we faced in the Obama-Biden administration,” Biden told NBC News. “President Trump has changed the landscape, it’s become ‘America first,’ which meant America alone.”

Biden said he selected certain individuals to serve in his administration because they represent the spectrums of both the American people and the Democratic Party.

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US politics live news: Donald Trump ramps up baseless fraud claims as Joe Biden delivers Thanksgiving coronavirus warning


Joe Biden gave a Thanksgiving address begging Americans to ‘hang on’

AP

The president-elect gave a short address today before Thanksgiving. In it, he begged Americans not to fall victim to COVID-19 fatigue an stick it out a little bit longer to try and contain a pandemic that is raging out of control.

“I’m hoping the news of a vaccine will serve as an incentive to every American to take these simple steps to get control of this virus,” Biden said.

“There is real hope, tangible hope. So hang on. Don’t let yourself surrender to the fatigue.”

He also gave a stark accounting of where the United States was at in this moment in time.

“Now, we find ourselves again facing a long, hard winter. We have fought a nearly year-long battle with a virus in this nation. It’s brought us pain and loss and frustration, and it has cost so many lives. 260,000 Americans — and counting. It has divided us. Angered us. And set us against one another. I know the country has grown weary of the fight,” he said.

But as he has for almost the entire campaign, Biden made appeals to national unity and asked Americans to think of others.

“We have to try to slow the growth of the virus. We owe that to the doctors, the nurses, and the other front-line health care workers who have risked so much and heroically battled this virus for so long. We owe that to our fellow citizens who will need access to hospital beds and the care to fight this disease,” Biden said.

“And we owe it to one another — it’s our patriotic duty as Americans.”



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China’s President Xi Jinping congratulates Joe Biden on US election victory



Chinese President Xi Jinping has congratulated Joe Biden on winning the US presidential election, voicing hope the two countries could promote a healthy and stable development of bilateral ties.

Sino-US relations have deteriorated to their worst in decades during incumbent US President’s Donald Trump’s four years in office.

Disputes have simmered over issues ranging from trade and technology to Hong Kong and the coronavirus.

In his congratulatory message to Mr Biden, Mr Xi said healthy ties between the world’s two biggest economies were not only in the fundamental interests of their two peoples but also expected by the international community, the official Xinhua news agency reported.

An official of Mr Biden’s transition team said: “We appreciate the congratulations from all world leaders who have conveyed them, including President Xi.”

During the election campaign, Mr Biden vowed to take a tough line on China’s expanding influence worldwide and referred to Mr Xi more than once as a “thug” for his human rights practices.

On Tuesday (local time), in formally unveiling his foreign policy team, Mr Biden said allies were looking forward to the United States reasserting its historic role as a global leader in the Pacific, where China has been seeking to supplant it as the dominant power.

At the same time, Mr Biden, who is due to take office on January 20, has prioritised progress on issues such as climate change, nuclear non-proliferation and global health, for which he will need Chinese cooperation.

China’s foreign ministry congratulated Mr Biden nearly a week after many US allies had, holding out as Donald Trump, who is still challenging the election results, refused to concede defeat.

In 2016, Mr Xi sent congratulations to Mr Trump on November 9, a day after that year’s election.

Chinese Vice-President Wang Qishan congratulated Biden’s running mate, Kamala Harris, on being elected as the next US vice-president, Xinhua said, without providing further details.

Reuters



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Europe—and Big Tech—will give Biden a headache from Day One


Good morning. David Meyer here in Berlin, filling in for Alan.

When it comes to trade relations with Europe, President-elect Joe Biden is going to have a tricky start to his term. And while that’s partly down to the generally fractious transatlantic relationship cultivated by his predecessor, the biggest reason is Big Tech.

According to the Financial Times, France has ended its uneasy truce with the Trump administration over the issue of its so-called digital services tax. The paper reports that French tax authorities have been in touch with the likes of Facebook and Amazon, demanding that they pay the tax—designed to ensure French sales generate French tax revenues—for this year.

It’s now likely that the U.S. will respond with tariffs on things like French cheese and handbags, as threatened by U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer earlier this year.

A multilateralist Biden administration will be well-placed to clean up this mess. The Franco-American truce only existed because the countries agreed to let global digital-tax talks play out, but the U.S. pulled out of those OECD negotiations in June, citing coronavirus distractions. France claims it’s only going it alone until the OECD members (or the EU) come up with common rules. In theory, the Biden administration could make a global deal a reality.

But that’s no certainty. After all, the tech giants targeted by the tax are mostly American, and a global agreement could leave the U.S. worse off—though on the other hand, as the OECD warned recently, failing to strike that deal could trigger a trade war that lops a point off global GDP.

Tough choices lie ahead for Biden and his team. Meanwhile, Europe will continue developing its own approach to digital regulation.

On that note, the European Commission just proposed a new law that would “offer an alternative European model to data handling [practices] of major tech platforms.” It promises companies that, if they choose to share commercially-sensitive or personal data with other firms, they will be able to do so through neutral intermediaries that keep the information “trusted and protected.”

There’s a lot that might be achieved with this approach—particularly when it comes to the green transition and the development of personalized medicine—but it’s also an explicit challenge to U.S. tech giants whose value is largely bound up in their data hoards.

So stay tuned to both these sagas, because they’re about to get interesting. News below. And for those of you in the U.S., enjoy your Thanksgiving weekend—CEO Daily will return Monday.

David Meyer
@superglaze

david.meyer@fortune.com





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