© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: The logo of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency is shown in the lobby of the CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia March 3, 2005. REUTERS/Jason Reed

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Central Intelligence Agency said on Thursday it has created a new group to focus solely on China and the national security challenges it poses, calling it the most important threat the United States faces.

The China Mission Center was formed “to address the global challenge posed by the People’s Republic of China that cuts across all of the Agency’s mission areas,” the CIA said in a statement.

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Welcome back. It seems I was wise not to write about the market implications of the debt limit kerfuffle; a truce is set to put the whole mess off until the end of the year. Like everyone else, I watch the prices of US credit default swaps rise as these dumb arguments escalate, but always assume it is ultimately SFSN (sound and fury signifying nothing). Maybe one day I will be wrong. Email me: robert.armstrong@ft.com

Energy

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The latest data leak detailing the financial affairs of the global elite makes clear how much progress has been achieved since the world began to clamp down in earnest on offshore tax evasion and avoidance in 2008 — and how much still remains to be done.

Leaders including King Abdullah of Jordan, Czech prime minister Andrej Babis and Ilham Aliyev, Azerbaijan’s strongman president of 13 years, have been named by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists for using offshore tax havens to store and move their money.

Russian president Vladimir Putin and former UK prime minister Tony Blair are among

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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis speaks at a parliamentary session in Prague, Czech Republic, June 3, 2021. REUTERS/David W Cerny

By Jason Hovet

PRAGUE (Reuters) – The Czech government has ditched a long tradition of frugality over the last few years by piling tax cuts and wage hikes on top of pandemic spending, putting the country’s debt on course to hit critical levels much faster than anyone expected.

That leaves an unenviable challenge for whichever party wins this weekend’s national election in the Czech Republic.

The Czech Finance Ministry forecasts public debt will hit 43.5% of

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