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Theresa May, the UK prime minister, is coming under pressure to call a snap election as polls give her party its strongest lead over the opposition in six years. Mrs May’s Conservatives were on 40 per cent, with the opposition Labour party on 28 per cent. An election win would give the prime minister an increased majority and could give her greater leeway in negotiating Brexit.

The poll came as Lloyds Banking Group, which is 9 per cent owned by the UK government, announced it was shedding 3,000 jobs over fears of an economic slowdown following Brexit. A new survey of international students compounded nervousness over the economic effects of Brexit. More than a third said they are now less likely to study at a UK university following the vote to leave the EU. (FT)

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In the news

French attacker identified Police in France have identified the second attacker involved in the killing of a priest at a Normandy church this week. Abdel-Malik Nabil Petitjean, 19, had been identified as a potential militant and was the subject of a police search in the run-up to the attack. (Reuters)

A new high for Facebook The company’s advertising business maintained its vigorous growth in the latest quarter on a surge in mobile messages, pushing its earnings well above expectations and driving a 6 per cent jump in its shares to a new record high. (FT)

Mugabe strikes back Zimbabwe’s 92-year-old president has begun a crackdown against the long-time loyalists who turned against him last week. Vowing to stay in power for “a long time”, Robert Mugabe vowed that his opponents would face “severe” punishment. Ageing veterans of Zimbabwe’s liberation had previously been key pillars of Mugabe’s 36-year presidency. (Guardian, African Arguments)

Crackdown on Turkish media Turkey’s government has ordered the closure of dozens of media outlets as part of its widespread crackdown in the wake of the failed coup attempt. Ninety reporters and columnists have been ordered detained this week for alleged involvement in the putsch. Rights groups accuse President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of using the coup as cover to limit press freedom and quash dissent. (Washington Post)

Isis document trove US-backed forces gathered a massive cache of data and documents related to the jihadi group, which could provide greater insight into its operations. More than 10,000 documents and 4.5 terabytes of data were seized by US-backed Syrian militias in Manbij, northern Syria. Officials hope the discovery will help on the battlefield and prevent plotters from slipping into Europe. (Reuters, NYT)

It’s a big day for

Peru New president Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, a 77-year-old liberal former businessman and investment banker, takes office today. (ABC)

Carmakers Ford, Volkswagen and Renault all report results as a new industry poll shows more than half of Britain’s largest car groups are now concerned about securing investment in the future because of Brexit (FT)

Food for thought

Xi’s China: Smothering dissent In part three of our series, critics of President Xi Jinping fear that the erosion of civic freedoms and an environment that brooks no dissent is denying citizens the ability to air their concerns about the direction of the country. (FT)

Sex, lies and hedge funds Bridgewater, the world’s largest hedge fund, operates under what its founder calls “radical transparency” when it comes to airing employee concerns. But, according to a lawsuit, the fund is also a “cauldron of fear and intimidation”. (NYT)

Summer lifesaver Understanding rip currents can save your life. The narrow, fast-flowing currents are found along most coastlines, and where they form near popular beaches they can be deadly. A harrowing account of their deadly consequences was written by journalist Decca Aitkenhead whose husband was swept out to sea by a rip current while rescuing their son. (The Conversation, Guardian)

Desk jobs shorten your life Here is the bad news: sitting at a desk all day is as bad for your health as smoking and requires at least an hour of daily physical activity to offset the negative effects. The good news? Scientists say you don’t need to play sports or go to the gym. A brisk walk or a bike ride will do. (Guardian)

Top of the hops The US has jumped to the top of the pile of the world’s hop growers for the first time in almost half a century, with farmers rushing to increase their acreage. The reason? A growing thirst for craft beer. (FT)

Video of the day

Did Russia hack the US election? Phil Gordon, one of Hillary Clinton’s foreign policy advisers, tells the FT’s Gideon Rachman how the alleged involvement of Russian hackers in the leak of Democratic party emails could revive tension between Washington and Moscow and affect November’s vote. (FT)

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