Joe Biden hailed the resilience of US democracy and appealed for unity in a polarised nation as he was sworn in as the 46th president, completing a turbulent transfer of power.
In his inaugural address on Wednesday, Mr Biden did not mention Donald Trump by name, but said the foundations of the country’s political system had been tested by his predecessor’s refusal to concede defeat. The event was attended by A-list celebrities. The ceremony — which QAnon hoped would mark a day of reckoning — took place on the steps of the US Capitol, two weeks after the seat of American democracy was attacked by pro-Trump rioters, leaving five people dead.
Following a visit to Arlington National Cemetery and a stripped-down inaugural parade because of the pandemic, Mr Biden arrived at the White House, where he signed an executive order to bring the US back into the Paris climate accord. It was one of 17 executive orders he pledged to sign on his first day in office.
The dramatic circumstances from coronavirus to the attack on democracy will shape Mr Biden’s presidency, writes Edward Luce. Mohamed El-Erian argues that the new president must combine agile political manoeuvring with smart economic policy. Catch up with all the inauguration events with the latest on our live blog.
Mr Trump, who did not attend Mr Biden’s inauguration, capped off one of the most tumultuous presidencies in US history by pardoning Albert Pirro, the ex-husband of Fox News host Jeanine Pirro, and issued eleventh-hour pardons to more than 140 others including his former political strategist Steve Bannon and rapper Lil Wayne. As Twitter transfers all the White House accounts to the Biden administration, here is a complete list of Mr Trump’s insults on the platform.
Beijing, meanwhile, has imposed sanctions on former Trump administration officials, including ex-secretary of state Mike Pompeo. (FT, NYT)
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Peter Spiegel, US managing editor, joined columnists Edward Luce and Rana Foroohar on the eve of the inauguration to discuss the prospects for Joe Biden’s first 100 days in office. Sign up for Swamp Notes, our newsletter on the intersection of US politics and power, for more from Ed and Rana.
UK risks fossil fuel dependency Britain risks “prolonging its dependency” on fossil fuel power stations if it fails to invest in nuclear reactors to counter the variability of renewables, according to a think-tank report that found wind and solar met less than a fifth of Britain’s daily electricity demand on 82 occasions last year. (FT)
Jack Ma resurfaces The Alibaba founder has made his first public appearance since Ant’s cancelled $37bn IPO almost three months ago, in a video praising China’s teachers. Mr Ma had not been seen since criticising China’s regulators and state-owned banks in late October, prompting speculation over his whereabouts. (FT)
Historic Tokyo Stock Exchange reshuffle Corporate Japan faces aggressive new guidelines designed to compel a selldown of the country’s widely criticised “cross-shareholding” networks — interconnected portfolios of ownership by listed Japanese companies in each other, which protect underperforming managements. (FT)
UK employers promised more say Employers will have more say in designing college courses and qualifications under a government blueprint for a further education system that promises to boost flagging skills and productivity, a white paper unveiled on Thursday. (FT)
Brazil braced for IPO spree An iron ore miner, a crematorium operator and an online furniture seller are among the 41 companies that have announced their intention to debut on São Paulo’s B3 exchange, as Brazil’s stock market gears up for a rush of flotations in 2021. (FT)
Post-Brexit music UK culture secretary Oliver Dowden is examining post-Brexit financial support for the music industry as it faces higher costs and red tape over EU tours. Separately, a British freight company director has said EU hauliers are rejecting UK business after being asked to provide tens of thousands of pounds in guarantees to cover tariffs. (FT, Guardian)
ECB meeting While the European Central Bank is expected to keep its main monetary policies unchanged on Thursday, Christine Lagarde has signalled that it could expand its main bond-buying programme further if Covid-19 vaccinations are delayed and lockdowns remain in place. (FT)
Scottish independence hearing A court case on holding a referendum on Scottish independence under current law without Westminster’s consent will be heard in Edinburgh. (FT)
Economic data US initial jobless claims are forecast to fall to 868,000. The pace rose last week to the highest level since August, with 965,000 applications. US housing starts are expected to have picked up in December. (FT, WSJ)
Earnings Entain, Sage Group, Intel, IBM, Northern Trust, Woodside Petroleum, Baker Hughes, United Airlines report. (FT)
Private equity buys the league Sports teams, once local institutions that morphed into global businesses, are entering a new phase: the entrance of private equity firms seeking financial returns from the emotional highs sport can provide. But as institutional investors look beyond clubs to governing bodies and competitions, fans risk being alienated. (FT)
The future of America’s local newspapers Small regional newspapers, once swimming in cash and an essential service to those living outside New York or San Francisco, have been converted into distressed assets boomeranged among investors for short-term profits. As hedge funds and private equity snap up titles, what does it mean for journalism? (FT)
Navalny’s detention test If the Kremlin thought locking up Alexei Navalny would silence Russia’s most vocal domestic critic, it was swiftly proved otherwise. Vladimir Putin’s iron-like grip on the levers of Russia’s skeleton democracy means Mr Navalny’s operation will struggle to make electoral inroads. But attempts to sideline the activist have all failed. (FT)
Why does Davos Man get it so wrong? Normally at this time of year, political and business leaders gather at the Swiss ski resort to reveal the future. But Davos has been called off until May. Simon Kuper says his aim isn’t to mock the event — that’s too easy. His question: how to improve the Davos product. (FT)
America’s big China question Resetting US-China relations will be near the top of Joe Biden’s agenda. FT global China editor James Kynge reviews three books that look at the challenge. Outgoing Trump trade chief Robert Lighthizer, speaking to Trade Secrets, defended his record on China — sign up here. (FT)
Business sends Biden a message, Vestager warns against patchwork tech regulation The FT’s Javier Espinoza continues his conversation with the European Commission’s competition and digital policy chief, Margrethe Vestager, about the future of big tech regulation on the FT News Briefing podcast. (FT)
Banx: Donald Trump vows “we will be back”.