US bank earnings, GCHQ on Trump-Russia ties and India’s bovine vigilantes 

JPMorgan and Citi had a strong quarter, but Wells was hampered by bogus accounts affair

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The US bank earnings season got off to a hot start with JPMorgan Chase and Citigroup but fell flat for Wells Fargo, highlighting how the bogus customer account crisis is weighing on the bank’s financial performance.

Wells Fargo’s results saw revenues and net income fall 1 per cent while Citi enjoyed an expectations-beating quarter and JPMorgan racked up a record for investment banking in the period. Finally, here’s Lex on what it all means. (FT)

In the news

US strike kills 18 rebel allies in Syria An air strike by the US-led coalition mistakenly killed 18 members of a militia that Washington backs in the fight against Isis in Syria. Meanwhile, the US dropped the “mother of all bombs” — the largest non-nuclear bomb in its arsenal — on an Isis cave complex in Afghanistan. (FT, NYT)

GCHQ spies first to spot Trump team’s Russia links Britain’s spy agencies first became aware in late 2015 of suspicious interactions between Mr Trump’s associates and Russians who have been known or suspected to be agents. They passed the intelligence on to US officials. (Guardian)

Japan’s show of strength and warning on Pyongyang Japan scrambled a record number of fighter jets in the past year, in a sign of rising tensions with China that highlights Beijing’s growing assertion of military power in east Asia. Meanwhile, Shinzo Abe, prime minister, warned that North Korea might already have the ability to launch chemical weapons attacks, as Tokyo seeks to rally public support for pressure on Pyongyang. (FT)

ChemChina-Syngenta deal could close in May The Chinese chemicals conglomerate is moving quickly to secure its $43bn deal to purchase Syngenta, announcing the end of its main offer period for the Swiss agri-chemicals business only a day after it received pro-forma clearance from the Chinese Ministry of Commerce. The offer period will end on May 4, ChemChina said in an announcement on Thursday. That means the deal could be completed by the end of May. (FT)

Manafort and murky dealings After his exit from Donald Trump’s campaign, Paul Manafort borrowed from businesses with ties to the billionaire. The transactions raise a number of questions, including whether his decision to turn to lenders connected to Mr Trump was related to his role in the campaign. (NYT)

Beslan failure Russia failed to take sufficient steps to prevent the 2004 school siege that led to more than 330 deaths, the European court of human rights ruled. It said the authorities had received information about a planned terror attack. (Guardian)

Hackers can take control of your self-driving cars using Bluetooth That’s right, the technology that barely gets your headphones connected to your smartphone can be used by cybercriminals to take you for a ride like the Penguin in Batman Returns. (WSJ, YouTube)

Legalise it, up north The Canadian government has unveiled a bill to legalise recreational marijuana use. If, as expected, the bill passes, it would make Canada only the second country in the world, after Uruguay, to completely legalise marijuana (as opposed to simply decriminalising it). (FT)

Test your knowledge with the FirstFT week in news quiz. What was the name of the aircraft carrier the US sent to waters off North Korea?

It's a big day for

Turkish electors President Recept Tayyip Erdogan puts his new constitution to the vote on Sunday in a referendum. Business leaders hope it will draw a line under tumult. The stakes are enormous, writes David Gardner: if he wins, pluralism will not end but he will strengthen his power and is eligible to remain in office till 2029. (FT)

Food for thought

How Trump won Christian America Gary Silverman goes long on how a divorced adulterer who ran a gambling empire won over the US’s “moral majority”. (FT)

Bovine vigilantes Self styled defenders of the sacred cow in India are attacking livestock sellers, as the Hindu nationalist government and its supporters step up protection as a national priority. (FT)

Going back to Saturn where the rings all glow Hydrothermal activity is taking place in a liquid ocean beneath the icy surface of Saturn’s moon Enceladus, Nasa scientists say, providing the best evidence so far that it would be hospitable to life. The same process sustains marine organisms around hot vents on Earth’s sea floor. (FT)

Muji is at home abroad Once an in-house supermarket brand, the number of outlets outside Japan will surpass those domestically for the first time this fiscal year. (NAR)

Murder in Malaysia As court proceedings for the two women accused of murder in the killing of Kim Jong Nam begin this week, how did a waitress and a masseuse became cogs in such a high-profile killing. (WSJ)

Fingerprint sensors are not as safe as you think They have turned smartphones into miracles of convenience, and pressing a finger can buy everything from a bag of groceries to an Aston Martin. A new US study suggests they can be easily fooled. (NYT)

Video of the day

The Trump effect on the US dollar Donald Trump sent the currency retreating late on Wednesday with his assertion that it is “getting too strong” and made a policy U-turn as he said that the US government would not label China a currency manipulator.

(FT)


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