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The World’s Most Powerful Women: January 27

When U.K. PM Theresa May becomes the first world leader to meet with President Donald Trump today, she will likely try to stick to script. She’s expected to emphasize the need for the two countries to uphold “freedom, liberty, and the rights of man” in a discussion that will likely focus on the need for a U.S.-U.K. trade deal and cooperation in fighting terrorism. But some issues threaten to inject some awkwardness into May’s charm offensive:

Torture: In a recent interview with ABC News, Trump indicated support for waterboarding, a technique widely viewed as torture. Trump said intelligence officials had told him that torture is effective. An MP this week asked May to reiterate Britain’s refusal to participate in that kind of mistreatment. To that, May said the U.K.’s position was clear: “We do not sanction torture and do not get involved in it. That will continue to be our position.”

Women: Earlier this week, May gave a murky answer when asked if she would confront Trump about his track record with women, considering the millions of women who protested his rhetoric last weekend. “Whenever there is something that I find unacceptable I won’t be afraid to say that to Donald Trump,” she said. On Wednesday, opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn pushed May further, asking her to “congratulate the 100,000 people who marched in Britain…and to express their concerns about his misogyny.”

Food standards: Another MP urged May to be wary of U.S. food exports as they factor into a potential U.K.-U.S. trade deal, claiming that the U.S. “wants to export genetically modified organisms, beef raised using growth hormones, and chicken meat washed with chlorinated water.” May replied that she will seek a trade deal that “will bring prosperity and growth to this country.”

As she heads to the White House, May has reassured her colleagues that she won’t shy away from speaking her mind to Trump. But if Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto’s experience is any indication, that tactic won’t be easy to pull off. After Pena Nieto rebutted Trump’s claim that Mexico would pay for a border wall, their public sparring ended with Pena Nieto canceling a scheduled trip to Washington.

@clairezillman

EUROPE/MIDDLE EAST/AFRICA

Secret’s outSpeaking at the IT Awards in London, the head of MI6 urged more women to join Britain’s secret service. Sir Alex Younger made his plea by revealing that the agent known as Q—the fictional head of gadgets who features prominently in James Bond films—is a woman in real life. “If any of you would like to join us … the real-life Q is looking forward to meeting you,” he said.Guardian

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Driven to distraction
Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma is considered a contender to succeed her ex-husband, Jacob Zuma, as South African president in 2019. But this Economist story details how her jockeying for that job diminished her effectiveness in her previous post as the head of the African Union.
Economist
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Didn’t see that coming
Many thought the biggest challenge in German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s reelection bid would be pressure from the populist Alternative for Germany party. But the candidacy of pro-EU socialist Martin Schulz, who’s considered a legitimate contender, is an unexpected twist in Merkel’s path to a fourth term.
Quartz

 

THE AMERICAS

Science in the boardroom
Exxon has ceded to investor pressure by appointing Susan Avery, a leading atmospheric scientist, to its board. Avery is the former director of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts and has worked extensively on climate change. In the past, executives at the world’s largest listed oil company have been dismissive of climate change concerns, but investors argue the board needs to better understand climate science and related policy for the good of the business.
Financial Times
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A publishing protest
Author Roxane Gay is taking a stand against Simon & Schuster’s deal with alt-right writer Milo Yiannopoulos by pulling her upcoming book from the publisher. Yiannopoulos is known for inciting hateful attacks on Twitter, where he was banned last year. Gay’s upcoming book How to Be Heard, was supposed to be published under a Simon & Schuster imprint in 2018, but she says couldn’t bring herself to turn it in.
Buzzfeed
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Aha food
Media mogul and notorious dieter Oprah Winfrey has a new project with Kraft Heinz. They’ve formed a joint venture called Mealtime Stories that will develop a new line of ready-to-eat refrigerated food products in the U.S. Ten percent of its profits will be donated to charities focusing on eradicating hunger. Winfrey published her first cookbook earlier this month.
Fortune

ASIA-PACIFIC

A model leader?
Carrie Lam, a candidate for Hong Kong’s next chief executive, testified yesterday at the high-profile corruption trial of the city’s former leader. On the stand, Lam said Donald Tsang, who’s charged with misconduct and bribery, was her “role model.” Her ties to Tsang could exacerbate criticism that she is out of touch with ordinary people; earlier this week she was ridiculed after appearing to hesitate before using a subway turnstile.
Strait Times
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Trailblazer
National Geographic has named Nepali trail runner Mira Rai its Adventurer of the Year. The 29-year-old grew up wanting to escape the conventional expectations of Nepali women. “As a girl, I would constantly be told to know my place, suppress my voice, and act in a certain manner,” she says. “For me, breaking free from these traditions itself was a big dream.”
National Geographic

IN BRIEF

For female journalists, Mary Tyler Moore showed us the life we wanted
Washington Post

Miss Universe Pia Wurtzbach: Why I stand up for LGBTQ rights in the Philippines
Motto

More than half of female British MPs have been threatened with violence by public, survey says
Independent

The D.I.Y. revolutionaries of the pussyhat project
New Yorker

Google Doodle celebrates the legacy of this pioneering aviator
Fortune

25 famous women on their mentors
New York Magazine

PARTING WORDS

“I was raised Catholic, became Episcopalian and found out later my family was Jewish. I stand ready to register as Muslim in #solidarity.”
--Former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, tweeting in response to Trump's proposed immigration policy.