Juncker reassures on Brexit, China’s vote-buying scandal and the trend toward ‘gamifying’ cities

Listen to this article

00:00
00:00

Sign up to receive FirstFT by email here

The EU’s future will not be affected by Brexit, according to the EU Commission President. In his eagerly awaited State of the Union address, Jean-Claude Juncker urged European leaders not to let the UK’s vote to leave the union dominate the agenda and said that members needed to confront “galloping populism”, which he said was responsible for many of the bloc’s problems.

Saying that many Europeans had “forgotten what it is like to be European”, Mr Juncker warned against hate crime, and raised the issue of a Polish man who was killed in the UK following the EU referendum. He also highlighted the union’s achievements, pointing out that eurozone members had saved some €50bn thanks to the European Central Bank’s low interest rate policies. (Politico, FT)

In the news

Agribusiness blockbuster Bayer and Monsanto have agreed a $65bn takeover deal. The German company sweetened its offer for the US seed maker to just under $130 a share, people informed about the negotiations said. The deal is the latest in a series of transactions in the agrichemical industry, which produces the seeds and fertilisers needed to grow the food we eat. (FT)

Record-breaking military deal The US and Israel have reached an agreement on the biggest global package of military aid that will see Israel receive $38bn over the next 10 years. The deal, which took months to negotiate, underlines the strong bipartisan support for Israel in Washington, despite international condemnation of its policy of expanding settlements in the occupied territories. (NYT)

North Korean enrichment warning North Korea has ramped up uranium enrichment facilities so that it will have enough material for about 20 nuclear bombs by the end of this year with its existing stockpile of plutonium, according to new assessments by weapons experts. (Reuters)

China vote-buying scandal China’s parliament has expelled 45 lawmakers from the northeastern province of Liaoning over a bribery and vote-buying scandal. The rare expulsion suggests political jostling is under way ahead of next year’s 19th Communist party congress (FT)

Wada accuses Russians of taking hacking to the field The World Anti-Doping Agency has accused a Russian cyber espionage group of hacking confidential files of athletes who competed at the Rio Olympics, claiming it had become a target as a result of its revelations of the country’s state-sponsored cheating. (FT)

It’s a big day for

Myanmar-US relations Aung San Suu Kyi begins her first visit to Washington since her party’s electoral victory this year. She has one goal above all others: to end the sanctions that remain from those imposed during the country’s brutal military rule. (NAR)

Food for thought

Monetary policy in a low-rate world The FT’s Martin Wolf on how premature rate rises might trigger a sharper slowdown than people expect. (FT)

Trump as a symptom of national PTSD The 9/11 attacks produced a psychic shock in the US, which was compounded by the global financial crisis. The country has a lingering sense of vulnerability, despite having few real enemies, and the emergence of Donald Trump is a sign of this ongoing psychological trauma. (Foreign Policy) Keep track of the 2016 race with our daily US politics newsletter. Sign up here

The trend toward ‘gamifying’ cities You can play Snake on a London fountain, Battleship across the river Thames and “Pac-Manhattan” on the grid of New York City’s streets — but some game developers are thinking seriously about how to connect citizens with their cities. (The Guardian)

Wartime supply hub reborn in Myanmar Muse, a remote Myanmarese settlement on the border with China, for decades languished amid clashes between the Myanmar government and armed ethnic groups. But the town, which was a key point in supply routes used by the UK and US to send supplies to Chiang Kai-shek, is now booming as centre for trade with China. (NAR)

Timber! New building techniques and technological advances mean that wood can now be used for much taller buildings than before. Wood weighs less than concrete and is a natural “sink” for CO2 because trees lock in carbon from the atmosphere. Plans have been drawn for a 40-floor residential tower in Stockholm and an 18-storey university dormitory is under construction in Western Canada. (Economist)

Video of the day

Globalisation ‘not to blame’ for income woes The FT’s Chris Giles reports on a study by the Resolution Foundation that shows that globalisation does not appear to have hurt the lower middle classes in wealthy countries. (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.