While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, Dec 18

Google to spend US$1 billion on new campus in New York 

Alphabet Inc's Google is investing more than US$1 billion (S$1.4 billion) on a new campus in New York, becoming the second major technology company after Amazon to pick America's financial capital to expand and create thousands of jobs.

The 1.7 million square-foot campus, called Google Hudson Square, will include leased properties at Hudson Street and Washington Street, the company said in a blog post on Monday (Dec 17).

Google hopes to start moving into the building by 2022 and plans to double its New York headcount to 14,000 in the next 10 years.


Trump attacks Fed on eve of policy meeting

US President Donald Trump again lashed out at the Federal Reserve on Monday (Dec 17) for considering raising interest rates, on the eve of a meeting at which policymakers are widely expected to do so.

The latest Twitter outburst renewed the president's rock throwing at the central bank, which he accuses of undermining his economic agenda of tax cuts, slashed regulations and multi-front trade offensives.

Trump has repeatedly broken with the norms respected by US presidents in recent decades, hammering the central bank this year over its move away from the zero interest rate policy implemented during the global financial crisis.


Goldman Sachs fires back after Malaysia charges bank in 1MDB probe

Malaysia on Monday (Dec 17) filed criminal charges against Goldman Sachs Group Inc related to its dealings with the sovereign wealth fund 1MDB, and Goldman Sachs fired back that the previous Malaysian government had lied to the investment bank. 

Malaysia authorities charged the bank and two former Goldman employees in connection with an investigation into suspected corruption and money laundering related to the scandal. 

Attorney General Tommy Thomas said in a statement that it will seek jail terms as well as billions in fines from Goldman Sachs and four other individuals who allegedly diverted about US$2.7 billion (S$3.7 billion)  from 1Malaysia Development Bhd (1MDB). 


Russia used social media for widespread meddling in US politics: Reports

Russian interference in the 2016 US presidential election on social media was more widespread than previously thought and included attempts to divide Americans by race and extreme ideology, said reports by private experts released on Monday (Dec 17) by US senators from both parties.

The Russian government's Internet Research Agency, based in St. Petersburg, Russia, tried to manipulate US politics, said the reports, one by social media analysts New Knowledge and the other by an Oxford University team working with analytical firm Graphika.

The twin reports largely verified earlier findings by US intelligence agencies, but offered much more detail about Russian activity going back years that continues even now, said the reports and senior lawmakers.


Facing opposition, Britain’s May will bring Brexit deal back to parliament

Prime Minister Theresa May said on Monday (Dec 17) she would bring her Brexit deal back to parliament for a mid-January vote, pledging to get assurances from the European Union before then to break a deadlock over Britain’s fraught efforts to quit the bloc. 

With just over 100 days until Britain is due to leave the bloc, May faced accusations from some lawmakers that she was trying to force a deeply divided parliament into backing her deal by running the clock down to exit day. 

As the March 29 departure date nears, a mid-January vote could force lawmakers to make a decision between her deal or leaving without one, a nightmare scenario for many businesses.