Listen to this article
Sign up to receive FirstFT by email here
The UN Security Council has strongly condemned North Korea’s long-range rocket launch. After an urgent meeting in New York, the council said it would adopt a new sanctions resolution in response.
Pyongyang said it fired the rocket to place a satellite in orbit but critics believe the real purpose was to test ballistic missile technology.
The US has ramped up pressure on China over North Korea, urging the UN to “come up with something tough”. But China took a less stern line, saying any resolution should “do the work of reducing tension, of working toward denuclearisation, of maintaining peace and stability, and of encouraging a negotiated solution”.
Beijing has so far resisted tough action as this could also hit Chinese banks and companies doing business with Pyongyang. Chinese analysts say Beijing feels humiliated by North Korea’s actions, but there are no signs it will turn away from its traditional ally.
Seoul and Washington have begun talks on an advanced missile defence system, the strategic implications of which for China could be serious, as such a system could potentially limit its military reach in the region. Japan also eyed tightening its sanctions on Pyongyang. (BBC, FT, NYT, NAR)
In the news
Algeria passes constitutional reforms MPs have passed a package of reforms to strengthen democracy, reinstating a limit on presidential terms and giving the Berber language official status. The language can now appear on official documents, although Arabic will remain the language of government. A two-term limit on the presidency was lifted in 2008 to allow Abdelaziz Bouteflika to run for a third term. Where is Algeria heading? (BBC, Bloomberg)
Clinton appeal to sisterhood failing Polls show Hillary Clinton is failing to win over female voters in New Hampshire, or to exploit the history-making potential of her candidacy in the way Barack Obama mobilised minorities and white liberals excited about electing the first black president. While many older women’s rights advocates see her election as the next logical step, some younger activists have argued that Bernie Sanders, with his calls to end income inequality and make college free, is the more feminist candidate. (WaPo)
Google to launch new headset The Alphabet unit is developing a new virtual-reality headset for smartphones, and adding extra support for the technology to its Android operating system, as it challenges Facebook’s Oculus for an early lead in Silicon Valley’s latest platform war. The new headset will be a successor to Cardboard, the cheap-and-cheerful mobile VR viewer that Google launched in 2014, and feature better sensors, lenses and a more solid plastic casing, said people familiar with its plans. (FT)
Credit Suisse chief requests bonus cut Tidjane Thiam, chief executive of Credit Suisse, has asked the bank’s board to slash his 2015 bonus by between 25 and 50 per cent, after reporting its first full-year loss in eight years. He had previously described remuneration as a “battle ground”, pointing out that he was not against bonuses for investment bankers if pay goes up and down with performance, but noting that some bankers were unwilling to accept the “down” part. (FT)
It’s a big day for
Jerome Cahuzac French President François Hollande’s disgraced former budget minister goes on trial on charges of squirrelling away funds in a secret Swiss bank account. Mr Cahuzac, now 63, was forced to resign in 2013 after a media report said the trained surgeon had hidden €600,000 from France’s tax authorities — first in an account in Switzerland and then, when the country’s banking secrecy laws began to show cracks, in Singapore.
Food for thought
Women leaders boost profits Forget women on boards and focus on women in leadership: that is the message from a study of more than 21,000 companies in 91 countries that found increasing the number of women in top management positions boosts profitability. It found that a company with 30 per cent female leadership could expect to add up to six percentage points to its net margin when compared with an otherwise similar business with no female leaders. (FT)
Pentagon’s robot wars After 15 years of grinding conflict in the Middle East, the Pentagon is gearing up for a new era of what Ashton Carter, defence secretary, defines as “great power competition”. He is trying to galvanise the US defence establishment to think about a future high-tech conflict with China and Russia. Only by reasserting American technological superiority, he argues, can deterrence be maintained. (FT)
Should Twitter ignore its users? An article in BuzzFeed suggesting that the social network was about to introduce what is known as an algorithmic timeline — promoting tweets deemed most relevant rather than publishing them in reverse chronological order — sparked a wave of what can only be described as furious panic. CEO Jack Dorsey swiftly denied the rumour, but was he right? Facebook’s example shows that the customer is not always right “and if you listen too closely to your existing users, you will end up preserving your site in aspic”. (BBC)
Through the past, darkly Wolfgang Munchau explores the dangerous parallels between 1930s Europe and today, with a focus on the role played by central bankers. (FT)
Kellaway comeback PR lieutenant at Hewlett-Packard picks a fight with FT columnist Lucy Kellaway. Oh dear. Here is her considered response. (FT)
Fukushima radiation down 65% The amount of radiation in an 80km radius surrounding the Japanese nuclear plant has decreased by two-thirds since the disaster nearly five years ago. But there is still much work to be done. (NAR)
Video of the day
President Obama proposes new US oil tax Ed Crooks discusses the controversial plan set to be rejected by Congress. (FT)