Syria impasse, biggest known data breach at Yahoo and the strangest research of the year

US-Russia talks on Syria have ground to a halt in New York

Listen to this article

00:00
00:00

Sign up to receive FirstFT by email here

Test your knowledge with our week in news quiz.

US-Russia talks on Syria have ground to a halt in New York. Even the ever-diplomatic UN Syria envoy Staffan de Mistura couldn’t hide his frustration at the lack of progress, describing the meeting as “long, painful and disappointing”.

The diplomatic impasse has dramatic consequences for the 250,000 people in rebel-held Aleppo, where the Syrian army has declared a new offensive. Warplanes are bombing the eastern part of the city and the Syrian government has warned residents of the area to stay away from “terrorist positions”. It said the army would open exit points for anyone who wanted to leave.

Syria analyst Charles Lister blames the failure to end the war on US policy over the past six years, which he says has ”indirectly abetted the wholesale destruction of a nation-state”. (BBC, FT, Foreign Policy)

In the news

Yahoo’s lost data The internet giant says a “state-sponsored actor” stole names, email addresses and some security information from more than 500m Yahoo users in the biggest known data breach to date.

WTO rules on Airbus aid The EU has failed to eliminate billions of dollars in illegal aid to Airbus, according to the World Trade Organisation, handing US rival Boeing one of the biggest triumphs on the global stage in its 12-year battle with the European aircraft maker. (FT)

Charlotte fans tensions Demands for officials to release a video showing the police shooting of African American Keith L. Scott in Charlotte, North Carolina, have added more fuel to tensions in the city. The unrest has become an issue in the presidential race, with Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump taking divergent paths to addressing the violence and black voters. (NYT, FT)

Maersk break-up One of the world’s leading industrial groups has been forced to break itself in two over the twin pressures of a worsening slowdown in global trade and slumping oil prices. AP Moller-Maersk has faced what it calls a “perfect storm” in recent years as the Danish conglomerate’s container shipping business — the world’s largest — has suffered from record low freight rates that pushed South Korea’s Hanjin Shipping into bankruptcy at the same time as oil prices more than halved. (FT)

Race to the bottom Southeast Asian governments are racing to cut corporation taxes as they compete to to lure foreign companies. Vietnam is slashing taxes to as little as 10 per cent in smaller cities and villages in the hopes of boosting its industrialisation programme. (NAR)

Test your knowledge with our week in news quiz. Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic party suffered a historic defeat in regional elections in which state?

It’s a big day for

National Grid First-round bids for a 51 per cent stake in the UK electricity network operator’s gas distribution business are due on Friday. Asian tycoon Li Ka-shing is among the big names leading a group of investors likely to submit an offer. (FT)

Robo taxis Grab, Southeast Asia’s rival to Uber, has agreed a partnership with the robotics company testing self-driving taxis on the streets of Singapore. The agreement, announced on Friday, could ultimately see the ride-hailing app offering a robot taxi service alongside human drivers. (FT)

India’s military The country’s decade-long process to acquire new fighter jets to renew its ageing air force fleet will take a significant step forward when it signs a deal with France to buy 36 Rafale aircraft expected to be worth €8bn. (FT)

Food for thought

The Trumpian threat to global order Philip Stephens on how the former reality TV star, and would-be leader of the free world, would put the liberal rules-based system established after 1945 under unprecedented strain. (FT) Keep track of the 2016 race with our daily US politics newsletter. Sign up here.

Greenland is melting — fast Greenland’s ice sheet is melting far quicker than previously thought. New research shows the loss of an average of 590tn pounds of ice a year between 2003 and 2013, 40tn pounds more than previous calculations, and enough to have an impact on the rate our oceans rise. (Quartz)

Franco lives on Francisco Franco died more than four decades ago but the censorship imposed by the Spanish dictator lives on in dozens of works by writers such as Ernest Hemingway, George Orwell, James Baldwin and Ian Fleming. (FT)

From the absurd to the genuinely curious Investigations into rats wearing underpants, the personalities of rocks and the truthfulness of 1,000 liars won Ig Nobel Prizes on Thursday night at Harvard, where Nobel-winning scientists gathered to honour the strangest research of the year. (The Guardian)

Replacing Riek South Sudan’s first vice-president Riek Machar was pushed out by Salva Kiir, the president, in July amid a longstanding rivalry that helped fuel a civil war in the world’s newest country. But will his absence from government help bring about peace? (African Arguments)

Video of the day

Crypto wars enter new phase Technology companies are rolling out stronger end-to-end encryption in their messaging apps and some say the battle over encryption has been won. But Jaya Baloo of KPN Telecom tells Hannah Kuchler we are entering a new phase of the “crypto wars”. (FT)

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2017. All rights reserved. You may share using our article tools. Please don't copy articles from FT.com and redistribute by email or post to the web.