Daily briefing: Malware attack reverberates, Hamburg prepares for G20, science for the masses

Household products group Reckitt Benckiser set to issue a sales warning that it blames on the impact of the ‘Petya’ cyber attack

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The effects of last month’s “Petya” malware attack continue to reverberate around the world. Reckitt Benckiser, which manufactures painkillers, condoms and stain remover among other products, is to issue a sales warning later today that it blames on the impact of the cyber attack. Global insurers are increasingly concerned about cyber crime exposure. Executives fear that years of punishing competition in the property and casualty market have produced an unknown — but potentially huge — vulnerability.

Those responsible for the June ransomware attack have yet to be identified. Here is a profile of the unlikely hero who stopped the WannaCry malware in its tracks in May and is working with other researchers to prevent or mitigate the effects of similar events. Companies can take small comfort in a Moscow court sentencing the leader of Russia’s “Humpty Dumpty” online collective to two years in prison for leaking the hacked correspondence of senior Kremlin officials and members of the Russian elite. (FT, Bloomberg)

In the news

Hamburg prepares for G20
Hamburg, the host city for the summit, is bracing itself for the arrival of leaders of the world’s biggest economies for the G20 summit, which starts on Friday. Some 100,000 protesters are expected to do their best to disrupt proceedings. Global leaders have begun to descend on Europe ahead of the meeting, which is expected to be dominated by trade and climate change, although economic issues are likely to be overshadowed by heightened North Korea tensions. (Reuters, FT, NYT)

EU tells UK to ‘face the facts’
Michel Barnier, the European Union’s chief Brexit negotiator, has said that Britain has not yet realised the negative consequences of leaving the EU. In a speech on Thursday he warned London that it should not have unrealistic expectations about its relations with Europe after it leaves the bloc. (FT)

Trump urges Nato to spend more
The US president said it was “past time” for all countries in the alliance to “get going” on their financial obligations. He was speaking on a stopover in Warsaw, where he said Washington was working with Poland to address Russia’s “destabilising behaviour”. (Reuters)

US prepared to use force
The US has raised the spectre of military action to deal with North Korea, as it warns that the path to a diplomatic solution is narrowing. There were signs that US allies South Korea and Japan were joining the more confrontational American stance. But even limited scenarios of an attack point to staggering civilian casualties in the South. (FT, NYT)

Mob storms Venezuela parliament
Pro-government supporters forced their way into the opposition-controlled National Assembly, in session to mark the country’s Independence Day. They beat up several lawmakers and about 350 people were besieged for hours. Here is a refresher on the situation in Venezuela, which has been shaken by violent protests in recent months and is in economic crisis. (BBC)

Japan’s ant alert
Harbours around the country have been put on alert for a tiny invader: tropical fire ants. The discovery of a queen fire ant and potential nest in the port of Osaka has prompted searches at Japan’s 933 ports. Other countries have also struggled to prevent the ants from taking root: after an infestation in 2001, New Zealand spent $883,500 over two years to eradicate a single nest. (NAR)

The day ahead

BoE rate decision
The Bank of England Monetary Policy Committee meeting will almost certainly keep UK interest rates at the historic low rate of 0.25 per cent, but the MPC is now closer to a rate rise than at any other time in the past decade. Markets think the BoE will tighten policy by the end of 2017. (FT)

EU-Japan trade deal
Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe and Jean-Claude Juncker, the European Commission president, will present the agreement in Brussels, a day before the G20 summit. (FT)

Keep up with the important business, economic and political stories in the coming days with the FT’s Week Ahead.

What we’re reading

Science for the masses
Do you enjoy explaining scientific theory to a general audience? Then there is a job for you. The public’s growing desire to learn more about science and the parallel wish of researchers to engage the world more closely in their work has created a new growth industry: science communication. (FT)

Eurozone’s strange recovery
The depression in the European jobs market is beginning to reverse after almost a decade, but there remains a long way to go. While European Central Bank president Mario Draghi urges patience, many fear the scars of the crisis are permanent. (FT)

What should the US do? 
This month’s Atlantic cover story, built from interviews with national-security experts working in the White House, Pentagon and academia, examines the four strategic options — “all of them are bad” — that the US could use to deal with North Korea. Also, here’s a handy map showing the countries with the most dangerous nuclear missiles. (The Atlantic, Foreign Policy)

Isis nears its end
American-led forces have breached the walls of the old city of Raqqa, Isis’s Syrian capital. Initial relief at liberation is turning to grumbling. Even before the battle is won, hopes of a fresh dawn for Iraq are fading. (Economist)

The US vs 450 cuneiform tablets
In possibly the most oddly-named court case ever, hundreds of ancient cuneiform tablets and thousands of ancient clay bullae defended themselves from forfeiture by the US government. The artefacts were smuggled out of Iraq and bought by the owners of US company Hobby Lobby in a murky deal that involved dubious traders and muddy provenance. (Atlantic)

Video of the day

Volvo to go electric from 2019
Volvo Cars announced that every model from 2019 onwards would have an electric motor, making it the first traditional carmaker to call time on vehicles powered solely by an internal combustion engine. (FT)

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