Experimental feature

Listen to this article

Experimental feature

Sign up to receive FirstFT by email here

At least 28 people were reported killed after a series of bomb attacks in Brussels, with two blasts at the city’s airport and another at a metro station in the heart of the EU quarter. Public transport, including the Eurostar service, was cancelled in Brussels and mobile telephone networks were immediately overloaded.

The seemingly co-ordinated attacks in Brussels come a day after Jan Jambon, Belgium’s interior minister, warned that jihadis could be looking for a counter-attack after the arrest last week of Salah Abdeslam, a suspect in the Paris attacks in November. (FT)

In the news

Obama and Castro spar on human rights Disputes over human rights marred a groundbreaking meeting in Cuba between President Barack Obama and President Raúl Castro. Asked about political prisoners in Cuba, Mr Castro gave a defiant response. “Provide me the list. What political prisoners?” He went on to defend a version of human rights that gives more emphasis to healthcare access and education. “There are 61 international instruments recognised. How many countries in the world comply with them all?” he asked. (NYT, FT)

Trump questions US Nato role The Republican frontrunner has suggested the US can no longer afford to maintain its commitment to the 28-member military alliance. In an interview with the Washington Post, he said America should focus on domestic challenges and pay less attention to problems in other parts of the world. (FT, WaPo)

Myanmar cabinet to include Aung San Suu Kyi Myanmar’s president-elect has nominated Aung San Suu Kyi to join the incoming cabinet, giving the National League for Democracy leader a formal role in the government that the constitution bars her from leading. She will head up foreign affairs, energy, education and be minister in the president's office. (FT)

Valeant shake-up Michael Pearson's departure as chief executive marks a stunning fall from grace that could reverberate throughout the pharmaceuticals industry. The announcement was one in a series of changes made by Valeant, which faces an increasing number of questions from both investors and regulators. Moody’s, the rating agency, has warned of the risks facing managers of bonds backed by leveraged loans that include Valeant debt. (NYT, FT)

Scientists warn on global warming Permitting global warming of 2°C could lead to killer storms, the disintegration of polar ice sheets and a rise of the sea sufficient to begin drowning the world’s coastal cities before the end of this century. “We’re in danger of handing young people a situation that’s out of their control,” said James Hansen, who led the research. (NYT)

Starwood backs Marriott bid A last-minute cash-and-stock deal has edged out Chinese company Anbang’s rival bid, in the fiercest bidding war dealmakers have seen in recent history. (FT)

FBI dispute with Apple The FBI says it may have found a way to unlock the San Bernardino attacker’s iPhone without Apple’s assistance. A court hearing with Apple scheduled for Tuesday has been postponed at the request of the US justice department, Apple has confirmed.

It’s a big day for

UK chancellor George Osborne is to defend his handling of the economy ahead of a vote to approve his Budget in parliament. He will confirm he has dropped controversial cuts to disability benefits, but will be under pressure to explain how he will cover the £4.4bn gap left by the rethink. (BBC)

Food for thought

Central banks prove Einstein’s theory The theoretical physicist defined insanity as doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Diana Choyleva argues that the world’s main central banks are proving him right. (FT)

Decade of debt Investors have suffered massive losses in the value of oil and gas company bonds as the crude rout fuelled fears of a wave of defaults in the US and emerging markets. (FT)

Is Britain heading for Brexit? The British debate about Brexit reminds Gideon Rachman of discussions he heard in the US late last year about Donald Trump. The conclusion? Both contests have taken populist and unpredictable turns, and all bets are off. (FT)

Richard III’s grave in 3D Archaeologists from the University of Leicester have released a detailed 3D rendering of the grave and skeleton of King Richard III, as discovered during a 2012 archaeological dig. Photogrammetry software was used to create the representation, accurately capturing the depth and detail of objects (Sketchfab, Phys.org)

Video of the day

Brussels rocked by explosions Jim Brunsden, Brussels correspondent, reports from the site of one of the blasts at the Belgian capital. (FT)

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2019. All rights reserved.

Follow the topics in this article