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On November 28, the US Treasury Department took an important step in responding to the SamSam ransomware cyberattacks, which occurred earlier this year. Considered one of the most effective cyberattacks in US history, the hackers behind SamSam since 2015 have targeted institutions ranging from companies to hospitals to schools, demanding payments in Bitcoin as ransom. After being paid, the hackers laundered these funds through online cryptocurrency exchanges into Iranian riyals, reaping the rewards of their malicious behavior. As part of their designation, the US Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) included the Bitcoin addresses of Iran-based Ali Khorashadizadeh and Mohammed Ghorbaniyan, who are accused of assisting the hackers in laundering payments through online cryptocurrency exchanges.
US President Donald J. Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping on December 1 agreed to a truce in their trade war in order to allow time for negotiations. In what is a significant de-escalation of a conflict that has been marked by tit-for-tat tariffs, Trump and Xi put on hold threatened tariff increases for ninety days.

The agreement was reached during a dinner meeting between the two leaders after the Group of 20 (G20) summit in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
On November 30, global leaders will convene in Buenos Aires, Argentina, to discuss areas of economic cooperation and the world trading system. The tenth Group of Twenty (G20) summit, which convenes the leaders of twenty of the largest economies in the world, will focus on fair and sustainable development, but the numerous side meetings between allies and adversaries alike could provide some of the most significant diplomatic action.

US President Donald J. Trump will not only attend the G20 meetings but also host meetings with Chinese President Xi Jinping, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Argentine President Mauricio Macri, South Korean Prime Minister Lee Nak-yeon, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Additionally, Trump is expected to hold a signing ceremony for the new United States-Mexico-Canada  Agreement (USMCA) with his Mexican and Canadian counterparts before the summit.
US President Donald J. Trump has cast doubt on the possibility of completing a US-UK free trade agreement under the terms of the Brexit deal British Prime Minister Theresa May has negotiated with the European Union.

“I think we have to take a look at, seriously, whether or not the UK is allowed to trade, because, you know, right now, if you look at the deal, they [the UK] may not be able to trade with us,” Trump told reporters on November 26.

May rejected Trump’s characterization, saying: “We will have the ability, outside the European Union, to make those decisions on trade policy for ourselves. It will no longer be a decision being taken by Brussels.”

Brexit supporters had touted the ability to conduct an independent trade policy with non-EU countries as one of the main advantages of the UK leaving the EU.
At an extraordinary summit on November 25, European Union leaders approved a draft agreement with British Prime Minister Theresa May setting out the terms of the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the EU.

It is hard to understate the importance of this milestone in the Brexit process. The 585-page draft agreement comprehensively dictates the terms of the UK’s exit from the EU on a broad range of issues, from the UK’s financial obligations toward the EU, the Northern Ireland border regime, citizens’ rights, jurisdiction delimitation, and financial services regulation among others.
Over the past few months, US President Donald J. Trump’s administration has engaged in trade disputes with several of the United States’ trading partners, most notably China, but also traditional allies like the European Union (EU), Canada, and Mexico. EU Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmström, who was in Washington last week for discussions with US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, was unable to make much headway in transatlantic trade talks. All eyes are now on the G20 summit in Buenos Aires on November 30 and December 1 at which Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping are expected to try and de-escalate trade tensions between their two countries.

These trade disputes do have a silver lining: your Thanksgiving turkey will be cheaper this year. But before we celebrate this price drop let’s take a closer look at what it tells us about what is going on in the world of trade.
China has incurred the largest debt buildup in recorded economic history—and the prognosis is not good. The International Monetary Fund surveyed five-year credit booms near the size of China’s and found that essentially all such cases ended in major growth slowdowns and half also collapsed into financial crises.

A 50 percent chance of a financial crisis for the world’s second-largest economy would represent one of the greatest threats to the global economy.

Can China avoid a crisis? Both bears and bulls make equally compelling arguments about China’s current challenges, suggesting the probability of a major crisis is in line with the historic precedent of 50/50.
British Prime Minister Theresa May said on November 14 that her Cabinet had agreed to a draft Brexit agreement between the United Kingdom and the European Union (EU). Following a five-hour meeting with her Cabinet ministers in London, May said that the decision was “a decisive step which enables us to move on and finalize the deal in the days ahead.” The deal, which must next be approved by the British Parliament, faces significant opposition both from within May’s Conservative Party and from other parties.

"Theresa May has finally reached the first base camp on Britain’s way to exiting the EU," said Fran Burwell, a distinguished fellow with the Atlantic Council’s Future Europe Initiative.
The European Union has reached its mid-twenties.

On its twenty-fifth birthday on November 1, however, there were no fireworks, inspiring speeches, or fancy receptions in Brussels though. Mired in internal quarrels, from Brexit to rising Euroscepticism, European leaders may feel there is not much to celebrate.


    

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