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The president of the European Commission is on a drive for reform. In his annual State of the Union address at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, Jean-Claude Juncker set out his vision for greater EU integration, identifying trade policy, security and migration among a list of priorities ahead of 2019 European elections. He also wants to expand the borderless Schengen area and the countries using the common euro currency. You can read an annotated version of the entire speech here.
This year’s address has been characterised as Mr Juncker’s last opportunity to be remembered for more than just Brexit, which happened on his watch. In his speech, he described the UK’s decision to leave the bloc as “a tragic moment” but “not the be all and end all” of the EU. He added: “I have been through thick and thin with the European Union and never have I lost my love for the European Union. As we all know there is no love without disappointment, or very rarely.” (FT, Politico.eu, Guardian)
In the news
Apple’s ‘super premium’ phone
Apple chief executive Tim Cook has billed the new iPhone X (pronounced “10”, not “ex”) as “the biggest leap forward since the original iPhone”. The tech giant released the latest version of its flagship smartphone, with a bevy of fancy features and a wallet-busting price tag. It has 3D face-scanning security, an edge-to-edge screen and no home button. Despite leaks and an embarrassing hiccup during a demo of its new Face ID unlocking feature, analysts say this year’s launch puts Apple in an “extraordinarily strong” position. (FT, Guardian)
N Korea sanctions not enough: Trump
The Trump administration has warned China that the US will target Chinese banks unless Beijing takes much stronger measures to impose economic pain on North Korea. Donald Trump described the latest UN sanctions as “a very small step” and said more needed to happen. In its first official response to the sanctions, North Korea vowed to accelerate its plans to acquire a nuclear weapon that can strike the US. The sabre-rattling has prompted fears of a new arms build-up in Asia. (FT, Bloomberg, NAR)
China-born New Zealand MP probed by spy agency
New Zealand’s national intelligence agency has investigated a China-born sitting member of parliament in connection with the decade he spent at leading Chinese military colleges. The FT investigation raises questions about western preparedness to deal with China’s increasingly aggressive efforts to influence foreign governments. (FT)
Suu Kyi avoids the UN
The Nobel Prize winning leader of Myanmar is not attending the upcoming UN General Assembly because of security concerns related to the Rohingya crisis, according to her office. Aung San Suu Kyi has been widely criticised for failing to do more to halt violence against the Muslim minority. Aid agencies say that neighbouring Bangladesh is becoming overwhelmed after an estimated 370,000 people crossed the border in the past two-and-a-half weeks. (Reuters, FT)
Is KPMG the next Bell Pottinger?
The auditor is in the line of fire in South Africa, where businesses are coming under pressure to cut ties over its work for companies owned by the controversial Gupta family, as the fallout deepens from a scandal that has already caused the implosion of British PR company Bell Pottinger. (FT)
Iran wins Syria reconstruction bid
Tehran has signed a deal with the Syrian government to repair the war-torn country’s power grid, cementing its growing influence in the country. Electricity generation dropped by more than a half from 2010 to 2014, according to the latest figures available from the OECD’s International Energy Agency monitoring group. (Jazeera)
The day ahead
The International Olympic Committee announces the winning host city for the 2024 Olympic Games. Paris is all but assured of being chosen to host the games after rival Los Angeles agreed to accept the consolation prize of the 2028 Olympics in a rare two-way contest between the cities. Meanwhile, South Korea is trying to boost slow ticket sales for next year’s winter Olympiad. (USA Today)
Keep up with the important business, economic and political stories in the coming days with the FT’s Week Ahead.
What we’re reading
Driving workers to distraction
Forcing people to move around in campuses is pointless, according to the FT’s John Gapper, no matter how lofty the reason: “Utopias are tricky: people do not always enjoy collisions, nor having their social behaviour pushed.” (FT)
Taming Korea Inc
Family-run conglomerates account for a large chunk of the national economy, but new controversies have put fresh pressure on President Moon Jae-in, to rein them in. (FT)
America’s secret role in Rwanda’s genocide
The violence of the Rwandan genocide that shocked the world in 1994 did not come from nowhere. While the CIA looked on, its allies in the Ugandan government helped to spread terror and fuel ethnic hatred. (Guardian)
Did our ancient ancestors have it better?
Civilisation’s pivotal moments — the neolithic revolution, when our ancestors moved from hunter-gatherer to settled agrarian society, and the development of writing — may not be progress after all. John Lanchester explains how “every complicated and beautiful thing humanity ever made has, if you look at it long enough, a shadow, a history of oppression”. (New Yorker)
Goop’s baffling rise
By outward appearances it is a successful media company. But Goop’s medical advice has been called into question more than a few times by medical professionals and consumer advocacy groups. So how has the new-agey website started by actress Gwyneth Paltrow become so popular — and what does it say about the future of health journalism? (Atlantic)
Video of the day
Apple’s new iPhone X — FT verdict
After years of incremental improvements, Apple is hoping its latest smartphone will be a radical upgrade. The FT’s Tim Bradshaw tests out the $1,000 iPhone at the company’s new Cupertino headquarters, where the architecture almost upstaged the technology. (FT)