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Gary Cohn is out, Peter Navarro is unleashed at White House

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Peter Navarro, center, during the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Peter Navarro, center, during the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

Peter Navarro suffered any number of humiliations in his first year in the White House, where the trade advisor was out of favor with President Donald Trump and his superiors for months.

But nothing was more degrading than an order handed down by White House Chief of Staff John Kelly: Navarro had to copy his boss, Gary Cohn, on every single email he sent at the White House.

“The chief wanted him under control,” a senior administration official told CNBC on Tuesday, referring to Kelly

But now the free-trading Cohn is stepping down as National Economic Council director, and Navarro’s brand of protectionist nationalism is in the ascendency.

Presumably, there will be no one else at the White House looking over Navarro’s email now.

“Peter was quietly effective for nine months,” said an administration official. “He helped his reputation by keeping a low profile and being a model prisoner during his period of captivity. And when his opportunity came, he took it and he won.”

Another administration official told CNBC that Cohn’s resignation is “a huge victory for the nationalists.”

“Peter Navarro won the trade battle and now Gary’s given up,” that administration official said. “It literally reestablishes the intellectual framework and the personnel who were originally envisioned after Trump won the election. We can let Trump be Trump.”

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Windows 11: What to expect

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Satya Nadella, chief executive officer of Microsoft Corp., speaks during the Windows 10 Devices event in New York on Oct. 6, 2015. Microsoft Corp. introduced its first-ever laptop, three Lumia phones and a Surface Pro 4 tablet, the first indication of the company’s revamped hardware strategy three months after saying it would scale back plans to make its own smartphones.

John Taggart | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Last month, Microsoft chief Satya Nadella teased “one of the most significant updates of Windows of the past decade,” and on Thursday the company is planning to present it to the public.

Refreshing the 35-year-old operating system can result in additional revenue growth for the world’s second most valuable public company, behind only Apple. Over time, the new Windows will likely be widely adopted as millions of consumers and office workers make the upgrade from Windows 10, the top PC operating system.

In the past few days early adopters have been able to give people a sense of what’s to come, thanks to a leak of a next-generation version of Windows that appeared online last week. The operating system seemed to be part of an incomplete early build, according to a person familiar with the matter.

The leaked build contains a variety of changes, many of which Microsoft could describe at its virtual event on Thursday. Here’s a rundown of what to expect:

Design changes

If the next version of Windows looks anything like the leaked build, then it will be borrowing elements from the shelved Windows 10X, which had originally been conceived to run on dual-screen PCs, for an operating system that went by the name Windows 11. Just as Windows 10X located the Start button and icons for open programs at the center of the taskbar at the bottom of the display instead of the left side, Windows 11 does that, too.

The build incorporates a new Windows icon with four equally sized squares, unlike the icon used for Windows 8 and Windows 10 with window panes that widen from left to right. Individual application windows retain rounded corners, not unlike those in Apple’s MacOS, instead of the sharp corners in Windows 10.

The animations people see while opening and closing windows have changed, and the Start menu displays apps and files in a way that’s similar to the Windows 10X approach. Sounds for notifications and other events have also been revamped.

Modern features

The leaked build came with a few new ways for users to customize their PCs.

Pushing new buttons could make application windows snap into pre-set configurations on screen. And the Settings app included an option to enable the operating system to “remember window locations based on monitor connection.” That could alleviate one issue people have had with Windows failing to return applications to their previous configuration when people were using multiple displays with their computers.

Computers with touchscreens exposed a new setting called Wake on Touch — presumably a Windows equivalent of the feature on some mobile devices that allows users to quickly turn on the display by tapping the screen a couple of times.

A performance boost

Some of the people who installed the leaked Windows 11 build ran tests and found that the operating system delivered faster performance than the latest version of Windows 10, which itself was advertised as being “fast and familiar” when it was released in 2015.

The new version delivered better results than Windows 10 in a variety of comparisons on a Samsung PC running an Intel “Lakefield” chip, according to a report from Hot Hardware.

A revamped store

Nadella said last month that the Windows update would benefit developers. One place developers can expose their applications to end users in Windows is Microsoft’s app store. The company already said in April that it will lower the percentage of revenue that it keeps for itself from app store purchases, and Windows 11 could build on that.

Microsoft has been taking steps to permit developers to use third-party commerce systems for apps they’d like to list in the Store, and the company wants to make room for classic Win32 applications in the Store without requiring software changes, Windows Central reported in April.

Surprises

Finally, there could be unexpected announcements. On Tuesday Microsoft employee Miguel de Icaza said on Twitter that the company will talk about something he spent years pushing for. De Icaza joined Microsoft in 2016 as part of its acquisition of Xamarin, which allows software developers to build mobile apps for multiple platforms — including Apple‘s IOS and Google‘s Android — using Microsoft’s C# programming language.

Microsoft could also use the event as a chance to discuss structural changes to the Windows business.

“We’ll be listening carefully for any hint that Microsoft might use this launch to accelerate the transition of Windows revs to more of a subscription/ratable model, via a ‘Windows-as-a-Service’ offering or via a stronger M365 push (which bundles Office 365, Windows 10 and EMS), and whether an OS/desktop upgrade might boost enterprise Teams adoption,” analysts at UBS, which has a buy rating on Microsoft stock, wrote in a Monday note.

CNBC will cover the event as it unfolds starting at 11 a.m. ET on Thursday.

WATCH: Microsoft’s head of gaming on video game ecosystem

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Warren Buffett donates another $4.1 billion, resigns as Gates trustee

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Warren Buffett said Wednesday he will donate $4.1 billion worth of Berkshire Hathaway shares to five foundations, and that he will resign as the trustee at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

This year’s donation marked the halfway point for the 90-year-old Oracle of Omaha, who in 2006 pledged to give away all of his Berkshire shares through annual gifts to Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation, Sherwood Foundation, Howard G. Buffett Foundation and NoVo Foundation. Back then, Buffett owned 474,998 Berkshire A shares. Today, he said he owns 238,624 shares, worth about $100 billion.

“Today is a milestone for me,” Buffett said in a statement. “In 2006, I pledged to distribute all of my Berkshire Hathaway shares — more than 99% of my net worth — to philanthropy. With today’s $4.1 billion distribution, I’m halfway there.”

Buffett’s resignation as Gates Foundation trustee comes as the charitable organization faces a tumultuous time with the divorce of its two founders.

“For years I have been a trustee — an inactive trustee at that — of only one recipient of my funds, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMG). I am now resigning from that post, just as I have done at all corporate boards other than Berkshire’s,” Buffett said. “The CEO of BMG is Mark Suzman, an outstanding recent selection who has my full support. My goals are 100% in sync with those of the foundation, and my physical participation is in no way needed to achieve these goals.”

Bill Gates, co-founder and former CEO of Microsoft, and his wife, Melinda French Gates, announced their divorce in May. The couple along with Buffett were creators of the Giving Pledge, a program that requires participants to give away more than half of their wealth.

Buffett said his 16 annual contributions to the five foundations over the years were worth $41 billion when disbursed. Buffett is Berkshire’s largest shareholder, owning about 39% of the Class A shares, according to FactSet. 

Berkshire A shares have rebounded more than 20% to hit a record high in 2021 as many of the conglomerate’s business recovered better than expected from the pandemic hit.

“I’m optimistic. Though naysayers abound — as they have throughout my life — America’s best days most certainly lie ahead,” Buffett said. “Philanthropy will continue to pair human talent with financial resources. So, too, will business and government. Each force has its particular strengths and weaknesses. Combined, they will make the world a better place — a much better place — for future generations.”

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These are the most expensive cities for working abroad in 2021

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Ashgabat, Turkmenistan.

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The most expensive city to live and work overseas in 2021 has been found to be Ashgabat, the capital of Central Asia’s Turkmenistan, according to an annual report by asset manager Mercer. 

Ashgabat moved up one place from Mercer’s 2020 Cost of Living City index, swapping with Hong Kong, which had topped the rankings for the previous three years. 

Mercer’s 2021 index ranked the cost of living in 209 cities, by comparing the cost of more than 200 items in each location, including food, household goods, transportation and housing. 

In the case of Turkmenistan’s capital city, Mercer highlighted that inflation had jumped 11% on 2020 and a “lack of foreign currency in the country has impacted the availability and cost of basic grocery items,” said Kate Fitzpatrick, Mercer’s global mobility practice leader for the U.K. and Ireland. 

The Lebanese capital of Beirut came in as the third most expensive city for expatriates. It jumped 42 places in the 2021 rankings “as a result of a severe and extensive economic depression due to escalation of several crises — the country’s largest financial crisis, COVID-19 and the Port of Beirut explosion in 2020.” 

Bishkek, the capital of Kyrgyzstan, was named the least expensive city for expats by Mercer, followed by Lusaka, Zambia and Tbilisi, Georgia. 

In the wake of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, Mercer noted how moving overseas for work was evolving from “long-term assignments” to other kinds of moves. This included short-term assignees, international foreign hires, permanent transferees, commuters, international remote workers and international freelancers. 

Here’s a rundown of the 10 most expensive cities for expats, according to Mercer’s findings. 

The most expensive cities for expats 

  1. Ashgabat, Turkmenistan
  2. Hong Kong
  3. Beirut, Lebanon
  4. Tokyo, Japan
  5. Zurich, Switzerland
  6. Shanghai, China
  7. Singapore
  8. Geneva, Switzerland
  9. Beijing, China
  10. Bern, Switzerland

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