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As US relations with Russia and Ukraine become a rising issue in the presidential campaign, a secret ledger has revealed how Donald Trump’s campaign chairman previously received cash payments from a pro-Russian political party in Ukraine. The handwritten ledgers show $12.7m in undisclosed payments designated for Paul Manafort from the party of former president Viktor Yanukovich from 2007 to 2012. According to the country’s National Anti-Corruption Bureau, they were part of an illegal off-the-books system whose recipients also included election officials.
Mr Trump has taken a stance on Russia that is at odds with US political orthodoxy — praising President Vladimir Putin’s leadership skills and saying he would consider lifting sanctions imposed on Russia after its 2014 annexation of the Crimean peninsula in Ukraine. Critics have asked whether Mr Trump’s business interests might be colouring his policies. He says he has “zero investments in Russia”, but that is not the whole story, as an FT analysis shows. Mr Trump has worked diligently to forge alliances with Russia-connected businessmen that would position him to profit from capital pouring out of the former states of the Soviet Union. (NYT, FT)
In the news
EU to tighten grip on web services Brussels will tighten its regulatory grip over online services such as WhatsApp and Skype in a radical overhaul of the EU’s rules on telecoms due out in September. According to internal documents seen by the FT, so-called “over-the-top” services would in future have to abide by “security and confidentiality provisions” demanded by the EU, as the bloc seeks to assert some measure of control over the predominantly US companies that dominate the sector. (FT)
Bolt wins third 100m gold Jamaican Usain Bolt won the 100-metre final on Sunday night to become the first man to win the Olympic title three times.
Team GB also had a historic day, with victories in gymnastics, track cycling, golf and tennis taking it to second place in the medal table behind the US and ahead of China. (FT)
1MDB probe ensnares Emirati elite Swiss criminal authorities are probing a well-connected former top Abu Dhabi finance official over an alleged international conspiracy to embezzle money from Malaysia’s 1MDB wealth fund. Investigators suspect Khadem al-Qubaisi, ex-head of the Emirati government’s International Petroleum Investment Company, of fraud, money laundering and corruption, according to a letter seen by the FT. (FT)
PwC sued for $5.5bn over TBW The firm is being sued for a record $5.5bn for failing to detect fraud that led to a bank collapse during the global financial crisis, in a case that could bring more auditing firms into the line of fire. (FT)
Google wireless rollout hits snags After initial rollouts proved costly, Google Fiber is rethinking how to deliver connections in urban areas. The company has spent hundreds of millions dollars digging up streets and laying fibre-optic cables in a handful of cities to offer web connections roughly 30 times faster than the US average. Now it is hoping to use wireless technology to connect homes, rather than cables, in about a dozen new metro areas. As a result Alphabet has suspended projects in San Jose, California, and Portland, Oregon. (WSJ)
Five dead in Louisiana flooding At least five people have died and thousands have been rescued after “historic” flooding swamped the US state of Louisiana. President Barack Obama has declared the state a disaster area, meaning federal aid can be sent to the affected areas. Soldiers and emergency teams have rescued more than 20,000 people from their homes or cars after the floods, which were caused by torrential rain. (BBC)
It’s a big day for
Japanese growth Data this morning showed the Japanese economy posted no growth in the three months to June 30 on a quarter-on-quarter basis, down from a 0.5 per cent pace in the March quarter, and weaker than expectations for 0.2 per cent growth. The weak data suggest that a combination of monetary and fiscal stimulus under the prime minister’s Abenomics programme since the end of 2012 has not been sufficient to boost domestic demand.
Meanwhile a war of words between the Bank of Japan and the Cabinet Office translates into a 30-trillion-yen difference in recent GDP figures. (FT, NAR)
Food for thought
The return of American exceptionalism Barack Obama charted a foreign policy course that was neither exceptionalist nor realist, but rather a hybrid of the two. Hillary Clinton, on the other hand, has no time for such ambivalence. When it comes to organising principles, she is an unabashed cheerleader of US exceptionalism. (FT)
The unlikely slipper magnate Ankur Shah’s story is interesting as an exemplar of the speed at which technology allows a business to be built. Three years ago, Mr Shah hadn’t given slippers a thought, although he was wearing a pair all day, as he was at home with a back injury. Today, he claims 200,000 people in 40 countries wear his Mahabis brand. It began with Mr Shah’s data obsession. (FT)
Parents, don’t try too hard We may think we can shape our offspring’s futures by micromanaging their childhoods, but history — and neuroscience — show that taking a loving step back could be more productive. (FT)
The paradox of ‘New India’ Berlin-based Indian graphic novelist Sarnath Banerjee captures the ironic tension in a country hurtling towards modernity even as much of it is mired in poverty. (New Yorker)
Malaria is back in Venezuela The economic collapse has sent desperate people panning for gold in the watery, mosquito-infested pits of abandoned mines. (NYT)
Video of the day
The week ahead Daniel Garrahan highlights what to watch in the coming days, including Walmart's second-quarter earnings, the former French president Nicolas Sarkozy potentially confirming he’s running for office again, and inflation readings coming from both the UK and the US. (FT)