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As failures go, Theresa May’s snap election gamble is pretty spectacular. The UK prime minister aimed for a stronger mandate; instead she was comprehensively humiliated and lost 12 seats. One of the big surprises of the vote was the success of the opposition Labour party, thanks to a surge of enthusiastic young voters and older people fed up with the Conservatives’ austerity policies. With no political party having an overall majority, Britain is heading for a hung parliament. For now Mrs May is hanging on as prime minister, despite questions over her leadership, and later on Friday will seek permission from the queen to form a new government with the support of Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party, which won 10 seats.
The surprise result has hugely complicated the Brexit negotiations with the European Union, which are due to start on June 19. European leaders fear that political disarray in London will damage the country’s ability to agree on an exit strategy. The uncertainty is already hitting markets. The British pound has fallen more than 2 per cent in London, hitting a new low against the dollar. It has also fallen against the euro, while broader financial volatility looms. Here are the key numbers and charts behind the vote. And here is the FT’s live blog for the latest news. (FT, Guardian, Politico, BBC)
In the news
Awful but lawful?
James Comey’s testimony presented a strong case that President Trump attempted to violate the FBI’s independence, accusing him of “lies, plain and simple”. Did Mr Trump’s actions break the law? Possibly not, but that doesn’t make them acceptable, experts said. What was new was that Mr Comey alluded to not-yet-public information about attorney-general Jeff Sessions and his contacts with the Russian ambassador. Here are seven takeaways from his testimony and here’s Edward Luce on how Mr Comey’s testimony put Mr Trump’s character on trial. (FT, NYT, NBC)
An empress in Japan?
Japan’s parliament has passed a law allowing Emperor Akihito to become the country’s first monarch to abdicate in more than 200 years, but left the door open to a debate over the possibility of allowing females to ascend the throne. (Guardian)
Iran offers support for Qatar
Tehran rallied to Qatar’s aid, offering the Gulf state the use of three of its ports to import supplies as its Arab neighbours seek to isolate the emirate. Meanwhile, Al Jazeera, the TV network at the centre of the dispute, said it was being hit by “ systematic and continual hacking attempts”. Qatar is lobbying hard for Donald Trump— who has supported the isolation of Doha — to help solve the diplomatic crisis in the Gulf region. (FT)
SoftBank gets robotic
Japan’s SoftBank has announced it is buying robotics group Boston Dynamics— the makers of the bipedal Atlas, the jumping Sand Flea and the animal-like BigDog, Spot and Wildcat robots — and Japan’s Schaft. Both companies are under the umbrella of Alphabet, Google’s holding company. Shares in SoftBank Group hit a 17-year high on the news. (FT, NAR)
A new generation of girl bands
Can entertainment be manufactured? SNH48, a Chinese pop group run like a tech start-up, is betting on it. Instead of a core group it runs on teams of interchangeable singers — and it has raised more than $150m from investors. (FT)
The bank’s chief operating officer, Matt Zames, has resigned. He joins a long line of departing potential successors to current chief executive Jamie Dimon, dubbed the great “survivor” after 12 years as chief executive and 11 as chairman. (FT)
Test your knowledge of this week’s news with the FirstFT quiz. What city’s stock market holds the greatest litigation risk for Saudi Aramco’s IPO?
The day ahead
Bank of Russia head speaks
The governor, Elvira Nabiullina, who has steadfastly pursued a lower inflation policy, is due to speak before deputies in the state Duma in Moscow. (FT)
And over the weekend . . .
Elections take place in Kosovo, where the government lost a vote of confidence in parliament in May. (Reuters)
What we’re reading
London’s Jihadi gym
A rundown gym in east London links the men behind last week’s terrorist attack on the UK capital with the 7/7 attacks in 2005. The ability of Ummah Fitness Centre to function despite its longstanding links to known or suspected terrorist sympathisers raises questions about the UK’s security services and their ability to manage several hundred active terror plots. (FT)
The gilded glut
It is not just New York that has a surplus of luxury flats. High-end developers in other cities from Vancouver to Shanghai are feeling the chill, as overseas buyers retreat. (FT)
Antifa vs the alt right
Anti-fascist groups — or Antifa — are increasingly clashing with alt-right fight squads empowered by the election of Donald Trump. The confrontations, which Antifa says are intended to shut down far-right demonstrations and block platforms for hate speech, are growing in intensity in cities and towns across the US. (Al Jazeera)
MAGA v MOPGA
French president Emmanuel Macron appears to be goading US leader Donald Trump. He has launched a website encouraging researchers, entrepreneurs and NGO workers concerned about climate change to emigrate to France. It cheekily features a Californian scientist. Its address is www.MakeOurPlanetGreatAgain. (Politico)
Why yoga makes us happy
It is well known that yoga improves mental and physical health, but there are a number of theories why. A new study says these benefits could be linked to the vagus nerve, which is responsible for the body’s unconscious functioning such as breathing, circulation and digestion, and is associated with social competence and beneficial emotional regulation. (The Conversation)
Video of the day
May’s gamble backfires: the night as it unfolded
Theresa May’s gamble on a snap election has dramatically backfired after her quest for a “stronger mandate” to deliver Brexit was rejected by voters, leaving her future as prime minister in doubt. (FT)
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