Listen to this article
Sign up to receive FirstFT by email here
Test your knowledge of this week’s news with the FirstFT quiz.
France has launched a terror investigation after a policeman was killed and two other officers were injured in a suspected Islamist attack in Paris on Thursday night, just as the country prepared to vote for a new president. The suspected gunman was shot dead in the assault on the Champs-Élysées shortly before 9pm local time.
On Sunday, the French head to the polls for the first round of the most unpredictable election in memory. It has boiled down to a choice between Emmanuel Macron, the 39-year-old former Rothschild banker, far-left candidate Jean-Luc Mélenchon, conservative François Fillon and far-right leader Marine Le Pen, who leads the anti-immigrant National Front.
Meanwhile, markets appear a bit too sanguine about the election risk. For a deeper dive, here’s a look at how Ms Le Pen “played the media” to bring her father’s fringe party into the mainstream. (FT, BuzzFeed, Guardian)
In the news
A steely showdown The US has set the stage for a global showdown over steel, launching a national security investigation that could lead to sweeping tariffs on steel imports in what would be the first significant act of economic protectionism by President Donald Trump. Mr Trump has insisted this has “nothing to do with China”. (FT)
Trumpcare is back White House officials are making a fresh attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act ahead of Donald Trump's 100th day in office next week. (NYT)
Football attacker German prosecutors say the man arrested in relation to the bomb attack on the Borussia Dortmund team bus last week was a market speculator. The suspect had bought 15,000 put options on shares in the club in a bet they would fall in the aftermath of the blast. Shares closed the day 3 per cent down following the incident. (FT)
Death tax ditched As the UK gears up for a snap general election on June 8, the government has dropped plans for a “stealth death tax” that would have led to a huge jump in probate fees, the charges paid when someone dies and the executor of their estate distributes their assets. (FT)
Venezuela chips in to Trump’s inauguration The country’s state-owned oil company donated $500,000 to US President Donald Trump’s inauguration, newly released records show. The revelation comes as the Venezuelan economy has been crippled by food shortages, violent crime and inflation. (BBC)
South Koreans fume over Trump-Xi chat Xi Jinping’s views on Korean history are causing waves in South Korea’s presidential race. (Nikkei Asian review)
China presses Apple over porn Chinese regulators have told app companies to tighten censorship on video streams, including screening out pornography, and authorities planned to question Apple about the offerings in its App Store. (WSJ, NYT)
Test your knowledge of this week’s news with the FirstFT quiz. China posted its strongest quarterly growth in how many months?
It’s a big day for
The global economy The IMF and World Bank will start their spring meetings in Washington, where both organisations are expected to stress the importance of combating protectionism and ensuring the benefits of growth are more evenly distributed. (Reuters)
Samsung The South Korean conglomerate launches the Galaxy S8, its first smartphone since the exploding Note 7, in the US. Some customers in South Korea are already complaining their screens have a red hue. (WSJ)
Food for thought
China’s bond party attracts few takers Beijing wants foreigners to invest in its debt markets. Its bond market is the third largest in the world, making it too big to ignore — but still too opaque to entirely trust. (FT)
Bridging the divide Against the backdrop of a partisan US media, some news organisations are trying to bridge the rift between liberals and conservatives and an increasingly uncivil public discourse. (FT)
These go to $400m The creators of This is Spinal Tap, one of the most influential comedies ever made, earned a total of $179 in global merchandising income and soundtrack sales from 1984 to 2006. This year, the fake band’s creators have decided to sue Vivendi, which owns the rights, for $400m, in a case that has broad implications for the film business. (Bloomberg)
Sending a message with British pledge on aid Martin Wolf on why spending on development is an important way to show that Brexit does not mean the UK is going down the path of isolationism. (FT)
The 100 most influential people Time magazine’s annual list, featuring Henry Kissinger writing about Jared Kushner, Pankaj Mishra on Narendra Modi, Buzz Aldrin on Jeff Bezos, DJ Khaled on Evan Spiegel, Sheryl Sandberg on Melinda Gates, Bill English on Theresa May and John Kerry on Xi Jinping. (Time)
Fit for a queen Caffeine for connoisseurs with a conscience, a bed that offers the support of a “muddy swamp” and more of the winners of the Queen’s Awards for Enterprise. Read the full report showcasing UK companies’ exports of their goods and know-how. (FT)
Video of the day
Rivals fear Lula comeback In what could be one of Latin America’s most striking comebacks, ex-President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva is said to be considering a return to the campaign trail in time for Brazil’s elections next year. Joe Leahy reports on the chances of an audacious bid for office by the charismatic former leader of the PT Workers’ Party in spite of fraud allegations. (FT)