Daily briefing: Missile stand-off, Volvo ditches petrol, the fragility of the global recovery

Top US general in South Korea warns that ‘self-restraint’ is only thing keeping Washington and Seoul from going to war with North Korea

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The stakes are getting higher with North Korea. The top American general in South Korea has warned that “self-restraint” was the only thing keeping Washington and Seoul from going to war with the secretive state. The allies carried out a ballistic missile drill to reinforce their point. The US also called for a global effort to ratchet up economic pressure on Pyongyang after it proclaimed that its new intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) can carry a large nuclear warhead — and it could potentially reach the US.

However, Donald Trump has limited options in dealing with North Korea. The leaders of China and Russia have pointedly vowed to work together to peacefully defuse the deepening crisis, in a diplomatic double act that contrasts with the US president’s sabre-rattling. The issue will be high on the agenda of this week’s G20 summit, according to Japan’s prime minister, Shinzo Abe. But while the US traditionally leads the search for common approaches to the big global issues of the day at the meetings, China and Germany appear likely to usurp the role. (Reuters, FT, NYT, BBC, Guardian, NAR, Bloomberg)

In the news

Worldpay deal
Worldpay Group, the UK’s leading payments processor, is close to agreeing a preliminary deal to combine with US rival Vantiv in a predominantly share-based transaction that could be announced as soon as the New York market opens. It would come less than a day after Worldpay revealed that it had been approached by both Vantiv and JPMorgan Chase, the world’s largest bank by market value, though the structure of the two offers contrasted sharply. (FT)

Laptop ban lifted
Emirates and Turkish Airlines say Washington has lifted the ban on laptops and other electronic devices in cabins on flights to the US from their respective hubs in Dubai and Istanbul. The announcements come three days after restrictions were lifted on Etihad Airways’ hub Abu Dhabi International Airport. (Reuters)

Volvo goes electric
The carmaker announced that every model from 2019 onwards would have an electric motor, making it the first traditional carmaker to call time on vehicles powered solely by an internal combustion engine. (FT)

UN appoints Syria war crimes judge
Catherine Marchi-Uhel, a former French judge, will take on the task of preparing evidence that may eventually lead to war crimes charges for atrocities committed in Syria’s brutal civil war. Meanwhile, the conflict grinds on. The FT’s David Gardner warns Russia to beware of prematurely declaring victory. (NYT, FT)

China-Russia deal
Beijing is to extend nearly $11bn to two Russian state entities that are under western sanctions. The two countries’ “co-operation fund” will invest in mutually beneficial projects but the agreements come at a time of growing scepticism in Moscow over the benefits of its relationship with Beijing. (FT)

The day ahead

Donald Trump arrives in Poland
The US president is expected to receive a warm welcome in Warsaw when he arrives for a visit ahead of the G20 summit in Hamburg later in the week. The ruling Law and Justice party (PiS) shares Mr Trump’s hostility towards accepting refugees, as well as his scepticism over multinational organisations. (FT)

Qatar’s deadline passes
The foreign ministers of Saudi Arabia and its allies are scheduled to meet in Cairo on Wednesday to consider their next move in their dispute with Qatar. (FT)

Fed releases June minutes
The US Federal Reserve will release the minutes from last month’s meeting, where it raised rates for the second time in 2017. Investors will be looking for clues when the next rise will come. (CNBC)

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

What we’re reading

Bracing for a fall
The question being asked in Britain and Europe is simple: how long can Theresa May last and can she deliver Brexit? A look inside the public battle raging between ministers over leaving the EU following the UK election. (FT)

Drone business use soars
Commercial drone use is shaking up the $6bn industry, as companies use unmanned aerial vehicles for delivering packages, pizzas and blood — and even helping conserve animals. (FT)

The fragility of the global recovery
The FT’s Martin Wolf argues that the world economy is recovering from the effects of the financial crisis but is not yet out of danger. (FT)

Dashing through the snow
Siberia’s reindeer herders have opened their tents to tourists. Camping in traditional nomad’s tepee, the FT gets a glimpse into the lives of the Nenets. (FT)

San Francisco is burning
Homes in San Francisco’s Mission District keep mysteriously going up in flames. Could there be a plot by landlord arsonists to clear out the district to make way for the Silicon Valley tech elite? (GQ)

Grunting for victory
Wimbledon, the world’s favourite two-week tennis extravaganza, is under way. And, as usual, there is controversy over the noises players make on the court. Despite criticism by pundits — Maria Sharapova’s grunts were compared with the sound of a chainsaw — studies demonstrate that grunting allows players to hit the ball significantly harder, without increasing their heart rate or oxygen consumption. (The Conversation)

Video of the day

North Korea’s long-range missile
Pyongyang risks provoking confrontation with the US after it claimed a rocket fired on Tuesday was its first intercontinental ballistic missile launch. (FT)


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