The well-regarded International Monetary Fund boss Christine Lagarde has been convicted of criminal negligence in a trial that some in France have dismissed as highly politicized. The prosecutor in the case described last week the evidence against Lagarde as “very weak.” Lagarde was found negligent for not having ordered the appeal of an arbitration award. For those of you who don’t follow French politics: the New York Times has the best summary we’ve seen in English of what landed Lagarde in hot water in the first place (scroll down about 2/3 of the way through the piece.)
Lagarde will not step down and will not face jail time, the Guardian adds, while the Financial Times explains that “Within hours, however, the former French finance minister won the support of her board, clearing the way for her to continue on at the head of the fund.” The IMF executive board’s short, blunt statement is here.
A “night of terror” in Europe: Yesterday evening is being dubbed by some Western media outlets as the “night of terror” after a quick succession of three terror attacks rocked major European capitals:
Russia’s ambassador to Turkey was assassinated at a photo exhibition in an Ankara art gallery in a terror attack last night. Andrey Karlov was shot by a 22-year-old off-duty policeman in an attack captured on video (watch, runtime: 0:45) who cameras later captured shouting “God is great” and “Don’t forget Aleppo, don’t forget Syria.” Turkish authorities say the gunman was “neutralized” in a shootout with other officers. Both Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdo_an decried the attack as an attempt to undermine Russian-Turkish relations and sabotage efforts for peace in Syria, according to the state-owned Sputnik.
At least 12 are believed dead after a suspected terrorist ran a truck into a crowded Christmas market in Berlin. One person in the truck was dead at the scene and a second, believed to be the driver, has been arrested. Police are calling the incident a “deliberate act.”
Three people were wounded in a shooting at a mosque in Zurich when a gunman “stormed in … and opened fire on people praying.” Police said early this morning that the male gunman was still at large and were investigating whether a body found nearby was related to the attack, which they have not characterized as a terror attack. Speculation on social media is that the shooting was the work of right-wing terrorists.
Egypt denounced the assassination of the Russian ambassador, while members of the Ikhwan have reportedly described the attack as “heroic” in a poll posted on affiliate news network Rassd’s Facebook page, according to Youm7. Network owner Amr Farrag also allegedly hailed the attack on his official Facebook page.
Central Bank Governor Tarek Amer will reportedly meet with members of the Egyptian Automotive Manufacturing Association (EAMA) today to discuss the industry’s challenges in light of the float of the EGP and inflation at an eight-year high, Al Borsa reported. On the agenda: pre-float LCs, limits on deposits and withdrawals and caps on monthly repayment installments. Among those reportedly set to attend are senior leaders from GB Auto, Nissan Egypt, General Motors Egypt, Brilliance, and AAV.
The World Bank’s board of directors will vote today to disburse the second tranche of a USD 3 bn loan to Egypt. The vote follows thesigning of the USD 500 mn second tranche of the USD 1.5 bnAfrican Development Bank (AfDB) funding agreement yesterday after it was approved by the AfDB board last week. International Cooperation Minister Sahar Nasr is expected to sign another agreement with the EU today for financing SMEs, Al Shorouk reports.
Oh, and the US Electoral College (the body that — in historical terms — was conceived to prevent yokels from the sticks from exerting too much influence on a presidential election) voted yesterday to make Donald Trump the nation’s forty-fifth president, ending the liberal fantasy that electors would reject him. As the New York Times reports: “Normally a political footnote, the electoral vote acquired an unexpected element of drama this winter after Mr. Trump’s upset of Hillary Clinton, who received 2.86 mn more popular votes but won in states that totaled only 232 electoral votes. The states Mr. Trump won held 306 electoral votes.”