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President Trump and British Prime Minister Theresa May during a news conference in Jan. 2017. PhotoL Evan Vucci / AP

British Prime Minister Theresa May yesterday pitched London's stock exchange as the best location for the massive IPO of state oil giant Saudi Aramco next year, a move that comes two weeks after President Trump publicly urged the kingdom to select the U.S. for the offering slated for 2018.

Why it matters: The international venue selected for the listing will bring huge fees to the exchange that wins the IPO of 5% of the company, which Saudi officials hope will raise tens of billions of dollars to help fund the kingdom's economic diversification and modernization efforts.

Making her case: "I think London is extremely well placed, not only from its importance as an international financial centre, also technically well placed in relation to Aramco," she told reporters just ahead of her visit with top Saudi officials in Riyadh, according to the Mirror.

  • The outcome of the very public courtships — not to mention behind-the-scenes appeals — also carry geopolitical ramifications, forcing the Saudi rulers to make a choice between the U.S. and the U.K. (or perhaps another venue like Hong Kong) at a time of tensions between Trump and May.

Separately: Yesterday May rebuked Trump for retweeting anti-Muslim hate videos from British far-right leader Jayda Fransen.

Go deeper

U.S. sounds alarm on Ukraine

Conscripts line up at a Russian railway station yesterday before departing for Army service. Photo: Sergei Malgavko/TASS via Getty Images

The Biden administration is "deeply concerned" by new intelligence — detailed for Axios and other outlets — showing Russia stepping up preparations to invade Ukraine as soon as early 2022.

Why it matters: Most of this was known from public sources and satellite imagery, but the administration is sending a stronger signal by releasing specific details from the intelligence community.

Felix Salmon, author of Capital
1 hour ago - Economy & Business

Philanthropy in the age of crypto

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

The best charities are increasingly effective. That's the clear message sent by Open Philanthropy, the think tank that doubles as the grant-making vehicle for Facebook co-founder Dustin Moskovitz and his wife Cari Tuna.

Why it matters: With tech and crypto wealth becoming a fast-growing part of the philanthropic pie, there's more of an emphasis than ever on effectiveness — what the newly-divorced Melinda French Gates, in her recent Giving Pledge update, characterizes as giving as "impactfully as possible."

4 hours ago - Health

Prior coronavirus infections may not protect well against Omicron

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

New data from South Africa suggests the Omicron variant spreads more than twice as quickly as the Delta variant, and that immunity from prior infection doesn't appear to protect a person very well against Omicron variant.

Why it matters: The findings are extremely preliminary, and there are still many open questions about how well vaccines work against the variant. But these initial breadcrumbs of data are helping the world begin to understand what it's up against.