Biden, Schumer Pushing Accelerated Buys, Use of Electric Vehicles

Posted on 01/26/2021 6:54 AM

China’s Xi flexes power at confab | Biden withdraws poultry, RFS proposed rules
 


In Today’s Updates


Market Focus:
• IMF releases its world economic outlook
• Manufacturing lithium-ion batteries surges on push for electric vehicles
• CME Group raises corn, soybean futures margins
• Cold storage update reminds of strong demand.
• Ag demand
• Cordonnier: South American weather has “turned the corner” for now
• Attaché less optimistic than USDA about Argentine corn production, wheat exports
• CNTRC pushing ahead with Feb. 1 strike
• Operations slowly returning to normal amid a pause in Argentine trucker strike
• Attaché expects Australian wheat crop to be its second largest on record

Policy Focus:
• Little change in CFAP 1 or 2 payment totals
• Update on regs under review at OMB
• Biden signs executive order to boost federal agencies’ purchases of U.S. products
• Biden suggests two-week timeline for bipartisan Covid-19 aid talks

Biden Administration Personnel
• Yellen confirmed as first female Treasury secretary
• Senate today will take up Antony Blinken’s nomination to be secretary of State
• Alejandro Mayorkas will move one step closer to confirmation today
* Commerce nominee hearing today

China Update:
• Xi warned world leaders against starting a ‘new cold war’
• China to conduct South China Sea drills
• China to auction more pork later this week

Trade Policy:
• Russia officials approves higher wheat export duty from March 1

Energy & Climate Change:
• Proposed rule from EPA on 2021 biofuel/2022 biodiesel levels formally withdrawn
• Commodities traders, producers earn cheaper rates from banks for lowering carbon output
• Schumer urges Biden to declare climate emergency
• Biden wants to replace federal govt’s vehicle fleet with electric vehicles

Food & Beverage Industry Update:
• Biden halts Trump’s poultry plan
• Chinese officials blaming frozen food imports for carrying coronavirus on packaging

Coronavirus Update:
• European Union threatens to block exports of AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine
• Moderna claims Covid-19 vaccine protects recipients against two new strains
• Covid-19 pandemic shortages reaching the most basic, life-saving goods

Politics & Elections:
• Senate leaders moving ahead with a power-sharing agreement
• Leahy to preside over Senate impeachment trial
• Portman announces retirement
• House Ag GOP members announced
• DeLauro announces Bishop as House Ag Approps chair, members
• Justice Dept. to investigate whether officials tried to overturn Biden’s victory


Other Items of Note:
• Treasury Department resuming efforts to put Harriet Tubman on $20 bill
• India’s farmers protest on Republic Day

 


MARKET FOCUS


Equities today: Global stock markets were mixed overnight, with Asian indexes mostly down and European indexes mostly up. U.S. stock indexes are pointed toward narrowly mixed openings.

     U.S. equities yesterday: The Dow ended down 36.98 points, 0.12%, at 30,960.00. But the Nasdaq and S&P 500 both moved to new record closes. The Nasdaq rose 92.93 points, 0.69%, at 13,635.99. The S&P 500 was up 13.89 points, 0.36%, at 3,855.36.

     The New York Stock Exchange had its largest volume day of 2021 on Monday, as 6,974,407,173 shares changed hands.

     The Global Cannabis Stock Index, which tracks U.S.-listed marijuana stocks, has climbed 35% since the start of this year.

On tap today:

     • International Monetary Fund releases its world economic outlook at 8 a.m. ET.
     • S&P/Case Shiller 20-City home-price index for November, due at 9 a.m. ET, is expected to increase 8.8% from a year earlier.
     • Conference Board's consumer confidence index for January, due at 10 a.m. ET, is expected to fall to 88 from 88.6 a month earlier.
     • Richmond Fed's manufacturing survey for January, due at 10 a.m. ET, is expected to tick down to 17 from 19 a month earlier.
     • Federal Reserve starts its two-day policy meeting.
     • China's industrial profit figures for December are out at 8:30 p.m. ET.
     • World Economic Forum's virtual summit continues. Speakers include South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron.

Market perspectives:

     • Outside markets: The U.S. dollar index near steady. Meantime, Nymex crude oil futures prices are firmer and trading around $53.15 a barrel. The yield on the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury note stands at 1.04%.

     • Crude oil futures have swung higher ahead of the U.S. trading start on reports of an explosion in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, reversing losses seen earlier. U.S. crude is trading around $53 per barrel while Brent is around $55.90 per barrel. Crude oil prices retreated in Asian action, with U.S. crude down 27 cents at $52.50 per barrel while Brent crude was down 37 cents at $55.31 per barrel.

     • The auto industry’s quickening shift to electric cars is spurring investment in another emerging industry in the U.S.: manufacturing lithium-ion batteries for those vehicles.

     • CME Group raises corn, soybean futures margins. The CME Group announced new maintenance margins for corn and soybean futures contracts, effective at the close of business today (Jan. 26). Maintenance margins for soybean futures will rise to $3,000 per contract, up 1.7% from the prior $2,950 per contract for March 2021, and for corn futures will rise to $1,400 per contract, up 7.7% from the prior $1,300 per contract for March 2021.

     • Cold storage update reminds of strong demand. Yesterday’s Cold Storage report showed a dramatic 172.1 million lb. (29.6%) year-over-year decline in frozen pork stocks at the close of December, reminding how the pandemic and China’s African swine fever outbreak reshaped the sector.  The pork cutout value slipped 70 cents to start the week and movement was light at 307.79 loads. And cash hog bids slipped 16 cents on Monday. A Midwest storm could slow animal movement, with yesterday’s kill down 13,000 head from year-ago.

     • Ag demand: Algeria tendered to buy a nominal 50,000 MT of milling wheat. Japan’s ag ministry is seeking 60,715 MT of food-quality wheat from Australia in a regular tender.
 

Items in Pro Farmer's First Thing Today include (Link to subscribe to FTT):

Cordonnier: South American weather has “turned the corner” for now
• Attaché less optimistic than USDA about Argentine corn production, wheat exports
• CNTRC pushing ahead with Feb. 1 strike
• Operations slowly returning to normal amid a pause in Argentine trucker strike
• Attaché expects Australian wheat crop to be its second largest on record

 


POLICY FOCUS


—  Little change in CFAP 1 or 2 payment totals. Payment information released by USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA) show $13.24 billion in payments under the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program 2 (CFAP 2) as of Jan. 23, up from $13.23 billion the prior week, while CFAP 1 payments are at $10.55 billion, essentially steady with the prior week.

—  Update on regs under review at OMB. The regulatory review launched by the Biden administration relative to unfinished regulations from the Trump administration has resulted in only a handful of regulations or notices that are under review at the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). Only the Departments of Commerce, Energy, Homeland Security, Housing and Urban Development, Interior, State, Transportation and Office of Government Ethnics are currently shown as having any actions under review at OMB.

— Biden signs executive order to boost federal agencies’ purchases of U.S. products, fulfilling a campaign pledge to lay out a “buy American” plan. The order directs agencies to strengthen requirements so that they acquire more goods and services from U.S. companies and workers, according to administration officials. The agencies spend almost $600 billion through these contracts.

     The new policy makes it harder for federal officials to obtain waivers to purchase products from overseas, addressing what the administration called were loopholes that allowed agencies to skirt existing requirements. It establishes a new position in the White House Office of Management and Budget to oversee the changes and forces agencies seeking a waiver to post them on a public website where U.S. companies can check if they could fill the contract.

     Biden’s order also directs a federal panel to finalize changes within six months that would tighten standards defining American-made products to ensure they are manufactured with a higher percentage of U.S. components and labor, officials said.

     Impact on USDA school meals purchases. The National Council of Farm Cooperatives (NCFC) said the executive order President Biden signed Monday to enforce and strengthen “Buy American” provisions should lead to oversight of USDA school meals purchases. NCFC noted that it and its members have expressed deep concern in recent years over a marked increase in the amount of foreign-produced food served under the school lunch and breakfast programs “when comparable American-grown products are readily available and competitively priced, something that is contrary to the intent of the Buy American provisions.” A White House fact sheet did not make specific mention of school food purchases. Chuck Conner, president and CEO of NCFC, said he hopes “this administration will be more active in enforcing existing requirements in the law and in working with Congress to strengthen these provisions.” NCFC said that examples of schools buying foreign foods are:

     • 81% of apple juice served in U.S. schools is imported;
     • 50-60% of the fish served in schools are caught by Russian ships and processed in China;
     • 26 states, including the two largest peach growing states of California and Georgia, serve Chinese canned peaches to students.

     “Sourcing non-U.S. foods — even when competitively priced domestic alternatives are available — not only runs counter to the law, but destroys jobs across the value chain, especially in fruit and vegetable processing, which employs over 1.5 million Americans,” Conner concluded.

— Biden suggests two-week timeline for bipartisan Covid-19 aid talks. President Joe Biden on Monday suggested he could pursue a bipartisan deal on coronavirus aid for a “couple weeks” before going the budget reconciliation route. Biden said he’s “reluctant to cherry pick” pieces of the $1.9 trillion proposal and pass them separately. “The decision to use reconciliation will depend upon how these negotiations go,” Biden told reporters at the White House. “I don't expect we'll know whether we have an agreement — and to what extent the entire package will be able to pass or not pass — until we get right down to the very end of this process, which will be probably in a couple weeks.”

     Biden signaled that his administration might be willing to meet centrist lawmakers’ demands to reduce the $1.9 trillion price tag of the White House plan, which is the new administration’s top legislative priority. One way to shrink the cost of the bill would be to make $1,400 payments to individuals — the centerpiece of the package — accessible to fewer higher-income Americans. As it stands, Americans earning up to $75,000 per year are eligible for the payments, which are gradually reduced the more recipients make. “There is legitimate reason for people to say, ‘Do you have the lines drawn the exact right way? Should it go to anybody making over X number of dollars?’ I’m open to negotiate those things,” Biden said.

     Democrats are laying the groundwork for the reconciliation process, a way to avoid the risk of a filibuster. Congress would need to adopt a budget resolution, which Democrats have said they may take up in a matter of days or weeks. Raising the federal minimum wage through the budget reconciliation process would be a “stretch,” but House Democrats plan to try it anyway, Budget Chairman John Yarmuth (D-Ky.) said Monday. Yarmuth told CNN the provision could run afoul of the Senate’s so-called Byrd rule, which restricts the use of reconciliation. The rule requires that legislation passed under that procedure must affect spending or revenue and have a budgetary impact that is not “merely incidental” to any policy change.

     Republicans have criticized the size of the Covid aid package and some of its provisions, including a push to raise the federal minimum wage to $15 an hour.

     Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) told reporters yesterday that lawmakers had received more details on the justification for the $1.9 trillion, and the bipartisan group is evaluating the information.
 


BIDEN ADMINISTRATION PERSONNEL


— Yellen confirmed as first female Treasury secretary. The Senate on Monday as expected confirmed Janet Yellen as secretary of the Treasury, the first woman to hold the position. The 84-15 vote makes Yellen the third of President Joe Biden's nominees to be confirmed, after Senate confirmation last week of Avril Haines as director of national intelligence and Lloyd Austin as secretary of Defense. The 74-year-old economist, who has been at the forefront of policymaking for 25 years, will now play a key role advancing President Biden’s economic agenda. She’ll also oversee ties with the Federal Reserve, which she previously chaired.

— Senate today will take up Antony Blinken’s nomination to be secretary of State, as committees process other nominations.

— Alejandro Mayorkas will move one step closer to confirmation today when the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee meets to vote on his nomination to lead DHS. A spokesperson for the committee said Mayorkas is expected to be approved with bipartisan support.

— Commerce nominee. The Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee plans a hearing today on the nomination of Gina Raimondo to be secretary of Commerce.
 


CHINA UPDATE



Xi Jinping, the president of China, warned world leaders against starting a “new cold war” in his first speech since Joe Biden was sworn in as America’s president, given at a virtual Davos event. He stressed that countries should not foist their own social systems on each other. In its final days the Trump administration declared China’s treatment of Uyghurs, an ethnic minority, a “genocide”. Biden has also strongly criticized human-rights abuses in the country. The Chinese president said Beijing would continue to open its economy and honor its global commitments but emphasized that each country had a right to blaze its own path.

     In his address to the World Economic Forum, Xi called for more coordination through the Group of 20 leading economies, the WTO, U.N. and WHO — all bodies where China holds powerful sway — but offered no initiatives to address Western criticisms of Chinese policies in such areas as trade, human rights and the military.

— China to conduct South China Sea drills. China is to conduct military exercises in the South China Sea this week in what appears to be partly in response to a U.S. carrier group entering the area on Saturday. On Monday, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian admonished the U.S. government, saying the U.S. operations were merely to “flex its muscles… This is not conducive to peace and stability in the region,” Zhao added.

— China to auction more pork later this week. China announced it will sell another 30,000 MT of frozen pork from its state reserves on Jan. 28. This latest sale will push its 2021 sales tally to 110,000 MT, amid preparations for its Lunar New Year holiday and spring festival. 

U.S./China Phase 1 tracker: China’s purchases of U.S. goods. Link
 


TRADE POLICY



— Russia officials approves higher wheat export duty from March 1. Russia’s government has formally approved a proposal to hit wheat exports with a 50 euro ($61) per metric ton tax from March 1 to June 30, which would be an increase from the 25-euro per MT tariff set to take effect Feb. 15. The country also approved export duties of 10 euros per MT for barley and 25 euros per MT for corn from March 15 to June 30. Deputy Economy Minister Vladimir Llyichyov says Moscow will continue to monitor the situation and will make further adjustments to regulate grain exports if necessary. “At the same time, we hope that in the near future the price situation will stabilize, and we will be able to switch to a permanent export duty mechanism,” he said.
 


ENERGY & CLIMATE CHANGE


— Proposed rule from EPA on 2021 biofuel/2022 biodiesel levels formally withdrawn from OMB review. The proposed rule on 2021 biofuel and 2022 biodiesel levels under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) that has been shown as under review at the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) since May has been formally withdrawn. The development means that the Biden administration EPA will now have to send forth a new proposed rule on the levels. The Trump administration had previously set a goal of putting for the proposed levels by December and finalizing them by June. It is not clear what the new timeline will be for the proposed and final levels. The move is not surprising given the Biden administration undertaking a review of uncompleted and completed regulations from the Trump administration. Normally, the proposed RFS levels are released in June or July of the year prior to them taking effect with a statutory deadline of Nov. 30 for the levels to be finalized for the coming year (biodiesel levels are set a year in advance).

— Commodities traders, producers earn cheaper rates from banks for lowering carbon output. Two of the world’s largest commodity traders, Trafigura Group and Gunvor Group, have lines of credit from banks that give them cheaper rates to finance reduced-carbon production of everything from oil to aluminum, the Wall Street Journal reports (link). JPMorgan Chase has a deal with European energy giant Enel that offers incentives for the company to meet certain environmental targets by the end of 2022 — and a penalty if those targets aren’t met.

— Schumer urges Biden to declare climate emergency. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) last night called for President Biden to declare a climate emergency, a controversial move that would give the new administration sweeping authority to circumvent Congress to combat global warming. Declaring a climate emergency could unlock new powers for Biden, including the ability to redirect funding for clean energy projects, shut down crude oil exports, suspend offshore drilling and curtail the movement of fossil fuels on pipelines, trains, and ships. Former President Donald Trump used the approach in February 2019 to divert billions of dollars to start construction on the wall along the southern border after Congress refused to appropriate the funding.

     Schumer also said he thought his party could advance major parts of a climate agenda — even a ban on conventional, gas-powered cars — through budget reconciliation, a process that allows easier passage of some tax and spending legislation on a simple majority vote.

— Biden said he wanted to replace the federal government’s vehicle fleet with electric vehicles. President Biden will start the process of phasing out the federal government’s use of gas-powered vehicles and replacing them with ones that run on electricity. The announcement is the fulfillment of a promise Biden made on the campaign trail to swap government fleet vehicles with American-made EVs. “The federal government also owns an enormous fleet of vehicles, which we’re going to replace with clean electric vehicles made right here in America, by American workers,” Biden said during a briefing Monday announcing his “Buy American” executive order.

     As of 2019, there were nearly 650,000 vehicles in the federal government’s fleet, according to the General Services Administration. This includes 245,000 civilian vehicles, 173,000 military vehicles, and 225,000 post office vehicles. Those vehicles traveled 4.5 billion miles in 2019.

     Biden also promised to create a system that offers rebates or incentives for consumers to replace gas cars with electric vehicles. One of Biden’s goals is to create 1 million new jobs in the auto sector and to “position America to be the global leader in the manufacture of electric vehicles and their input materials and parts.” The president has said he will reach that goal by swapping out the government’s fleet for electric vehicles and through a “cash-for-clunkers”-style plan to ensure that every vehicle on the road is zero-emission by 2040. And he pledged to spend billions of dollars to add 550,000 EV charging stations in the U.S. Biden has also said he supports the $7,500 federal tax credit for electric vehicles and would be open to considering new incentives to encourage car buyers to consider making the switch to electric.
 


FOOD & BEVERAGE INDUSTRY


— Biden halts Trump’s poultry plan. Biden blocked a rule from the Trump administration that would have allowed faster line speeds in poultry plants as a pandemic raged. Worker safety groups and a prominent labor union had warned that raising the line speeds would exhaust already-taxed workers and lead to more injuries and Covid-19 infections.

     The proposed rule from USDA on allowing poultry slaughter establishments to increase the line speed was withdrawn from review at the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). The Trump administration had proposed to allow line speeds of up to 175 birds per minute (bpm) if certain criteria were met. Food safety advocates have welcomed the withdrawal of the plan but signal they will continue to closely track the issue if the Biden administration opts to revise the plan in the future.

— Chinese officials are blaming frozen food imports including U.S. pork for carrying the coronavirus on their packaging, while the U.S., EU and other exporters are pushing back against stricter checks on trade shipments. Draft guidance from global health officials last week warned that the virus could indeed spread via the cold chain, though the WHO says the document was not cleared for publication and was sent in error, the Wall Street Journal reports (link).
 


CORONAVIRUS UPDATE


 Summary: Global cases of Covid-19 are at 99,786,313 with 2,142,224 deaths, according to data compiled by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University. The U.S. case count is at 25,297,546 with 421,134 deaths.
 

       Link to Covid Case Tracker
       Link to Our World in Data

— European Union threatened to block exports of AstraZeneca’s Covid-19 vaccine manufactured within its borders. The British drug firm has told the EU it will not be able to supply all of the doses it originally promised because of production problems. The bloc’s health commissioner called that “unacceptable.” The EU’s vaccination program lags others in the rich world; it has yet to approve the AstraZeneca jab.

— Moderna, an American drugmaker, claimed its Covid-19 vaccine protects recipients against two new strains of the virus, discovered in Britain and South Africa, although it may be less effective against the latter. The early test results are yet to be peer-reviewed. The company is also developing a booster shot it hopes will offer better protection against the South African variant.

— Covid-19 pandemic shortages are reaching the most basic, life-saving goods. A global scarcity of oxygen is forcing hospitals to ration the gas for patients and is driving up the coronavirus pandemic’s death toll. The Wall Street Journal reports (link) the shortage has hit hospitals in London and Los Angeles but is especially acute in the developing world, where health-care providers are pleading for resupplies. In Mexico, Lebanon and South Africa, people are stockpiling oxygen canisters to try to avoid overflowing Covid-19 wards, sending prices higher and making it harder for poorer families to rent tanks. Brazil is even importing oxygen from strife-torn Venezuela and armed bandits in Mexico are stealing oxygen tanks. Nigeria’s air force has been deployed to manufacture oxygen supplies but shipping the material through makeshift supply chains remains a challenge.
 


POLITICS & ELECTIONS


— Mitch McConnell, the Republican minority leader in the Senate, will pursue a power-sharing agreement with Democrats. McConnell (Ky.) had been holding out for a guarantee that Democrats wouldn’t get rid of the filibuster, a mechanism through which the minority party can block legislation. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), the Democrat majority leader, has made no promises, but two Democratic senators have pledged not to vote the filibuster out Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.). “With these assurances, I look forward to moving ahead,” McConnell said in a statement.

— Leahy to preside over Senate impeachment trial. Senators will be sworn in for former President Donald Trump’s second impeachment trial today, with the trial in February. The House impeachment managers delivered the impeachment article to the Senate on Monday.  Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), the president pro tempore, will preside over the trial. The Constitution doesn’t specify who should preside over the trial of a former president. Some Republicans have argued that holding a trial with Trump already out of office would be unconstitutional. The issue could also arise today, as it's possible that Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) will raise a constitutional point of order on whether the Senate can hold a trial of a private citizen and trigger a Senate vote. Democrats and others, including some legal experts, say it is allowed and there is a precedent for trying officials after they have left office. Many are skeptical that 17 Republican senators would join all Democrats and vote to convict him. So far, Senator Mitt Romney (R-Utah) is the only Republican in the chamber to have expressed support for the House’s decision to impeach Trump on a charge of incitement to insurrection.

— Portman announces retirement. The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee’s top Republican, Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), yesterday announced that he will not seek re-election when his term expires in 2022. His resignation will leave a spot open on the committee. “I have a number of oversight projects and legislative initiatives I’m eager to get across the finish line. Over the next two years, I look forward to being able to focus all my energy on legislation and the challenges our country faces rather than on fundraising and campaigning,” he said in a statement. Most election watchers are labeling Portman’s Senate seat as leaning Republican in the 2022 election. Widely seen as a leading contender to replace him is Rep. Jim Jordan, a major Trump ally whose heavily gerrymandered district is likely to be redrawn this year — and reportedly not in his favor.

— House Ag GOP members announced. The House Republican Steering Committee late Monday announced the 23 members it has recommended to serve on the House Agriculture Committee.

     The new Republican House Agriculture Committee members:

     • Michelle Fischbach of Minnesota
     • Tracey Mann of Kansas
     • Randy Feenstra of Iowa
     • Micheal Cloud of Texas
     • Kat Cammack of Florida
     • Barry Moore of Alabama
     • Mary Miller of Illinois

     Republican members returning to the committee:

     • Ranking member Glenn ‘GT’ Thompson of Pennsylvania
     • Austin Scott of Georgia
     • Rick Crawford of Arkansas
     • Scott DesJarlais of Tennessee
     • Vicky Hartzler of Missouri
     • Doug LaMalfa of California
     • Rodney Davis of Illinois
     • Rick Allen of Georgia
     • David Rouzer of North Carolina
     • Trent Kelly of Mississippi
     • Don Bacon of Nebraska
     • Dusty Johnson of South Dakota
     • Jim Baird of Indiana
     • Jim Hagedorn of Minnesota
     • Chris Jacobs of New York
     • Troy Balderson of Ohio

     The House leadership has not yet announced a complete list of Democratic members for the Agriculture panel.

— DeLauro announces Bishop as House Ag Approps chair, members. Rep. Sanford Bishop Jr. (D-Ga.) will remain as chairman of the House Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee, House Appropriations Committee Chair Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.), announced Monday. DeLauro also announced the leaders of the other subcommittees and the roster of Democratic members of each subcommittee. She said the following nine Democrats — two more than in the 116th Congress — will serve on the House Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee:

     • Sanford Bishop Jr., chairman
     • Chellie Pingree of Maine
     • Mark Pocan of Wisconsin
     • Lauren Underwood of Illinois
     • Barbara Lee of California
     • Betty McCollum of Minnesota
     • Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida
     • Henry Cuellar of Texas
     • Grace Meng of New York

— Justice Department’s inspector general said his office will investigate whether department officials tried to overturn President Biden’s victory in the 2020 election. Meanwhile, Dominion Voting Systems sued Rudy Giuliani, saying he defamed the company by spreading accusations that it rigged the 2020 election for Biden.
 


OTHER ITEMS OF NOTE     


—Treasury Department resuming efforts to put escaped slave turned abolitionist Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill. Putting Tubman’s image on the currency had been undertaken by the Obama administration but the work wasn’t completed during former President Donald Trump’s tenure. Tubman, a former slave who helped others to freedom, was to become the first woman and first minority to appear on U.S. paper currency. Andrew Jackson, the seventh U.S. president, is currently on $20 bills.

— India’s farmers protest on Republic Day. Indian farmers have once again marched on New Delhi today, on a national holiday, in continued protest of agricultural reforms passed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government. The mass demonstrations come after the Indian government last week proposed suspending the implementation of the new laws for 18 months, an offer that was swiftly rejected.


 

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