Trump softens tone, Uber chief caught on camera, and the 85-page nightmare

US president strikes a conciliatory tone in his first address to Congress

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Donald Trump has changed tack. Or, at least, he has softened his tone, striking a conciliatory — even presidential — note in his first address to Congress. Quoting Abraham Lincoln and invoking the spirit of Eisenhower, Mr Trump appealed for unity between Democrats and Republicans. He also stated his support for Nato, and vowed to make it “much, much harder for companies to leave our country”. For the FT’s Edward Luce “it was by far the most presidential speech Mr Trump has yet given. The question is whether he can stick to it for hours, days or even weeks”.

But for all the lofty sentiment, the address was short on specifics and contained some misleading statements. Here is the annotated speech and the verdict of the liberal and conservative twitterati. (FT, WaPo, NYT Slate)

In the news

Campaign interrupted French presidential candidate François Fillon has abruptly cancelled a campaign appearance amid reports that he has been forced to appear before investigative judges probing allegations of misuse of state funds. The Republican party candidate told supporters that he would not withdraw from the presidential race, and described himself as the victim of an attempted political assassination. (FT)

Caught on camera An Uber driver has leaked a dashboard recording of chief executive Travis Kalanick telling him to take responsibility for his problems and boasting about the company’s tough culture. Mr Kalanick admitted that he needed leadership help after the footage surfaced. The viral video caps two bad weeks for the transportation company. Oh, and Mr Kalanick received a one-star rating after his journey. (Bloomberg, FT)

Syria sanctions vetoed Russia and China have vetoed a UN resolution to impose sanctions on Syria over the alleged use of chemical weapons during the six-year war. It is Russia’s seventh veto to protect the Syrian government from UN Security Council action. But despite its support of the regime in Damascus, Moscow has balked at paying for the country’s reconstruction, should the conflict ever end. (Guardian, FT)

Democracy, Chinese style Electors and candidates in the race for Hong Kong’s chief executive say they have received calls or pressure from mainland China urging support for a specific candidate. (WSJ)

The Obamas’ $65m book deal A blockbuster auction for the global rights to two books by Barack and Michelle Obama reached more than $65m, a record sum for US presidential memoirs. The former president had a reputation as a writer before entering the White House but the prospect of a joint book deal with his wife propelled the auction to record levels. (FT)

It’s a big day for

Theresa May The British prime minister is facing a likely defeat of her Brexit bill in the House of Lords over a post-Brexit guarantee for EU citizens currently in Britain. (Independent)

Snap The owner of the Snapchat messaging app will price its initial public offering after US markets close on Wednesday. The final market value of the company behind the popular messaging app could be between $19.7bn-$20.8bn. (Reuters, FT)

US-South Korea relations The two countries are beginning their biggest ever annual joint exercises in South Korean and nearby waters as neighbouring North Korea accelerates its nuclear and missile programmes. (NAR)

Keep up with the important business, economic and political stories in the coming days with the FT’s Week Ahead.

Food for thought

A new virtuous cycle for emerging markets? Optimism over growth and returning investment on the back of Chinese demand is offset by fears of problems ahead. But to some, it could be an era in which optimism begets investment, which in turn begets higher productivity and earnings, leading to yet more investment and faster growth. (FT)

Europe’s Libya gamble The EU is hoping co-operation with a deeply unstable Libya and a resource-poor coast guard can control migration in a year of big elections in countries including France, Germany and the Netherlands. But human rights groups are concerned that the EU’s policies will inadvertently boost the smugglers and local militias who exploit migrants and refugees desperate to cross into Europe at any cost. (Politico.eu)

When the internet dies A widespread technical failure at Amazon Web Services hit hundreds of websites on Tuesday. The company powers much of the internet and every once in a while it has a technical problem such as this, most often in its US-East region. What that means is that something is broken in northern Virginia, where Amazon’s data centres are hidden deep in spy country. (FT, Atlantic)

A nightmare in 85 pages EU citizens living in the UK are grappling with an onerous 85-page form that has stymied even highly educated residents hoping to remain in the country after it leaves the EU. (FT)

Samsung chief’s new home Lee Jae-yong has been in a cell measuring 68 sq ft, roughly half the size of a standard parking space. The 48-year-old has a communal shower, eats three meals a day valued at $1.25 each and can watch TV for seven hours daily. It is unprecedented treatment for the de facto head of the country’s largest conglomerate, but South Koreans’ “anger about chaebols has never been so high”. (WSJ)

Video of the day

Wall Street records help European equities Michael Mackenzie explains what to watch for in markets today as European equities open higher following yet another record day for Wall Street. Is this level of enthusiasm for Donald Trump's fiscal deregulation and for a tightening in monetary policy sustainable? (FT)

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