Daily briefing: North Korean missile, Nasdaq’s $123.47 puzzle, Ethiopia’s economic boom

Pyongyang claims to have launched its first long-range ballistic missile, which flew for 40 minutes and appears to have reached an altitude of 2,500km

Listen to this article

00:00
00:00

Sign up to receive FirstFT by email here

North Korea claims to have launched its first long-range missile. The ballistic missile flew for 40 minutes and appears to have reached an altitude of more than 2,500km before falling into the waters between Korea and Japan. If confirmed it would mean that Alaska would be in range of Pyongyang — an alarming prospect for the US government. The launch, on the eve of Independence Day in the US, also risks inflaming tensions between Washington and Beijing, with President Trump tweeting: “Perhaps China will put a heavy move on North Korea and end this nonsense once and for all.”

At this week’s G20 summit Donald Trump is expected to press Chinese leader Xi Jinping for more help in curtailing North Korea. But Washington has made it clear it is prepared to act on its own. And here’s a look at whether the US can defend itself from a North Korean missile attack. (BBC, NYT)

In the news

Battle for Raqqa
US-backed Syrian forces have breached the old city walls of Raqqa, the self-declared capital of Isis, as they try to retake the city from the jihadi group. The historic Old City is the most heavily fortified part of Raqqa, which was seized by Isis in 2014. Elsewhere in Syria, residents are returning to another historic centre to find it almost completely destroyed. The FT’s Erika Solomon reports on how residents of the ancient city of Aleppo have been shattered as they return to a city in ruins. (Jazeera, FT)

New blow for Uber
An EU court adviser said France could charge local managers of the ride-hailing company with running an illegal taxi service. Although the decision is not binding, judges at the European Court of Justice generally follow the advice of their advocates general. The company has been struggling with the departure of its founder and chief executive, Travis Kalanick, after a series of scandals that included widespread sexual harassment claims. In the wake of Mr Kalanick’s departure, Arianna Huffington has emerged as the public face of the company. (Reuters, FT)

Nasdaq reset
A data glitch briefly made online games group Zynga more valuable than Goldman Sachs when prices of a host of Nasdaq-listed stocks including Amazon, Apple and Microsoft were reset to exactly $123.47. The error caused confusion among traders as Wall Street closed early for the US Independence Day holiday. The actual prices of the stocks were not affected and no trades were completed at that price, a Nasdaq spokesman confirmed. (FT, Reuters)

Qatar crisis
Qatar has responded to a list of demands from Saudi Arabia and its allies after they agreed to give it another 48 hours to address their grievances. The content of the letter from Qatar’s emir has not been released but Doha’s response will be the focus of a gathering in Egypt on Wednesday of foreign ministers from the four blockading countries. (FT, Al Jazeera)

Clariant takeover block
Two US activist investor funds have bought a 7.2 per cent stake in the Swiss chemicals group Clariant in the hope of derailing its $20bn merger with US rival Huntsman. They claim the proposed deal has “no strategic rationale” and is a “value destructive merger”. (FT)

A drink too far
Europe’s drinking habits are putting its people at a higher risk of developing digestive cancers, a new report by the continent’s leading doctors found. Even more moderate drinkers are still consuming enough to increase their risk. (Bloomberg)

The day ahead

Philippe address
French prime minister Edouard Philippe will be laying out his deficit reduction plans at the French National Assembly. (Politico)

India-Israel summit
Narendra Modi will become the first Indian prime minister to pay an official visit to Israel. Mr Modi’s trip is another step in a shift by the world’s largest democracy away from its traditional Soviet cold war allies and towards to the US and the west. (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

The contest for global leadership
As the G20 prepares to meet in Germany, there is a vacuum at the top. The US has been the world’s “leader” for two decades but has stepped back under the “America First” of Donald Trump. Into the breach are stepping Xi Jinping, the president of China and Angela Merkel, the German chancellor. The FT’s Gideon Rachman compares their strengths and weaknesses. (FT)

Ethiopia’s China-style boom
For decades, it was known for little beyond being a famine-blighted wasteland. Now Ethiopia aims to become the next global manufacturing hub as costs rise in places such as Bangladesh and even China. In the process, the country’s authoritarian government is making a China-style bet on its own survival. (FT)

Meet Morocco’s ‘terrorist hunter’
Abdelhak El Khiyame, head of the Central Bureau of Judicial Investigation, claims he has disbanded 167 terrorist cells and, most recently, prevented a large-scale Isis attack on the populist surfing resort of Essaouira. The career detective has brought modernising zeal to the country’s security apparatus, and — unusually for a counter-terror chief in the Arab world — is a familiar presence on television and in newspapers. (The National)

Could the left lose its mind?
The US rightwing media ecosystem — from talk radio to Breitbart to Fox News — has long been in the news for its influence over Republican politics. But could the same thing happen on the US left? (The Atlantic)

Check your cupboards
Scientists have found new evidence of a link between a common kind of household disinfectant and resistance to antibiotics. The disinfectant triclosan is often found in domestic products such as toothpaste and make-up. (FT)

Video of the day

US-China tensions rising
Donald Trump has spoken to Xi Jinping after a week of friction capped by the US Navy’s move to test Beijing’s South China Sea territorial claims. (FT)

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2017. All rights reserved. You may share using our article tools. Please don't copy articles from FT.com and redistribute by email or post to the web.