Our World briefs
G-7 joins EU on $60-per-barrel price cap on Russian oil
WASHINGTON — The Group of Seven nations and Australia agreed Friday to adopt a $60-per-barrel price cap on Russian oil, acting shortly after the European Union reached unanimous agreement on the same price earlier in the day.
The move is a key step as Western sanctions aim to reorder the global oil market to prevent price spikes and starve President Vladimir Putin of funding for his war in Ukraine.
Europe needed to set the discounted price that other nations will pay by Monday, when an EU embargo on Russian oil shipped by sea and a ban on insurance for those supplies take effect.
U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said in a statement that the agreement will help nations participating in the plan achieve the goal of restricting Putin’s “primary source of revenue for his illegal war in Ukraine while simultaneously preserving the stability of global energy supplies.”
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“Today’s announcement is the culmination of months of effort by our coalition, and I commend the hard work of our partners in achieving this outcome,” she said.
Biden sees economy avoiding recession, but risks remain
WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden assured Americans on Friday that the U.S. economy is chugging along in the holiday season, but the very strength of a new jobs report showed that high inflation remains a recession threat.
At the White House, the president signed an emergency bill to avert a rail strike that he said could have caused 765,000 job losses in two weeks and plunged the country into a painful downturn. But many voters and economists still fear that a recession is nigh and the price of reducing high prices will be layoffs.
Biden pointed to the addition of 263,000 jobs in November — with the unemployment rate holding steady at 3.7% — as proof that his policies have bulked up the economy. He suggested that the major recession risk was the freight rail strike, a problem the country avoided by having Congress impose an agreement that raises pay but fails to provide the additional paid sick leave that workers demanded.
“Things are moving — they’re moving in the right direction,” Biden said. “As we go into the holiday season, here’s what this all means: The Americans are working, the economy is growing.”
White House officials do see reason for optimism. Gasoline prices are averaging $3.45 a gallon, down sharply from a June peak, according to AAA. The economy is expanding after shrinking in size during the first half of the year. And since July, workers’ average hourly earnings have been rising faster than consumer prices.
Prosecutor: Evidence shows Trump ‘explicitly’ OK’d tax fraud
NEW YORK — In the end, it wasn’t a last-minute smoking gun but a prosecutor insisting that evidence shows Donald Trump was aware of a scheme that his Trump Organization’s executives hatched to avoid paying personal income taxes on millions of dollars worth of company-paid perks.
After telling jurors on Thursday that Trump “knew exactly what was going on” with the scheme, Assistant Manhattan District Attorney Joshua Steinglass followed up by citing trial evidence and testimony that he said made clear “Mr. Trump is explicitly sanctioning tax fraud.”
Steinglass, speaking on the last day before deliberations at the Trump Organization’s criminal tax fraud, showed jurors a lease Trump signed for one executive’s Manhattan apartment and a memo the former president initialed authorizing a pay cut for another executive who got perks.
He also cited Weisselberg’s claim, during his three days of testimony, that he told Trump he would pay him back after Trump agreed to cover his grandchildren’s hefty private school tuition cost. Weisselberg then adjusted his payroll records to cut his pre-tax salary by the cost of the tuition.
“I mention this all to show that this whole narrative that Mr. Trump was blissfully ignorant is just not real,” Steinglass said.