Experimental feature

Listen to this article

Experimental feature

Sign up to receive FirstFT by email here

The US House of Representatives descended into chaos as Democrats staged a dramatic protest in an effort to force the Republican leadership to allow votes on gun-control legislation in the wake of the Orlando massacre. The protest stretched into a second day, even as Republicans sought to end the sit-in by adjourning for a recess that will last to July 5.

Furious Democrats remained on the House floor until the early hours of Thursday morning, where they huddled around their leader, Representative Nancy Pelosi of California, who praised their stand as a “discussion heard around the world.”

Ms Pelosi expressed bewilderment at the Republican position. “What could they be thinking?” she asked. “Whatever it is, they don’t want to tell anybody about it. That’s why they left in the dead of night.” (FT, Reuters, NYT)

In the news

Trump turns focus on rival Presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump attempted to shift attention away from a series of self-inflicted wounds with a speech attacking Hillary Clinton as a disastrous secretary of state and “corrupt” politician. Fact checkers found a number of questionable claims in the speech, which came as Mr Trump's former Republican rival Marco Rubio announced he would run for re-election, in part to act as a check on the former reality TV star's “worrisome” positions. (FT, NYT) Keep track of the race with the FT’s daily US politics newsletter. Sign up here. (FT)

Twilio valued at $1.2bn Twilio, a San Francisco-based communications company, priced shares above expectations in an initial public offering, valuing it at $1.2bn and offering hope to fellow “unicorns” interested in listing. The company, which enables voice, messaging and video in apps for customers including Uber and WhatsApp, has been widely watched as a barometer of sentiment for unicorns in the public market. Market participants will be watching its trading debut on Thursday to see if the IPO valuation holds. Unicorns: the game! Try out a new FT interactive where you get to play the part of an IPO investor in a hot new tech start-up. (FT)

Republicans present ‘alternative’ to Obamacare The proposal, part of broader effort by House Speaker Paul Ryan to offer a Republican agenda ahead of the November elections, is the latest bid to “repeal and replace” the 2010 law. The plan contains little that is new, writes Slate’s Jordan Weissmann. “It is also missing what is by far the most important detail of the entire plan — namely, how much money it will give Americans to buy coverage.” (Reuters, Slate)

ECB votes to reinstate measure to aid troubled Greek banks Greece’s banking system on Wednesday took a big step towards rehabilitation, after monetary policymakers backed a move to allow Athens’ bonds to be used as collateral for regular European Central Bank loans for the first time in more than a year. (FT)

Solar plane crosses Atlantic The zero-fuel aeroplane, Solar Impulse, has landed in Seville in Spain, completing the Atlantic leg of its historic bid to circumnavigate the globe. Pilot Bertrand Piccard made swift progress over the ocean after leaving New York on Monday. Mission managers will now plot a route to Abu Dhabi where the venture began in March, 2015. (BBC)

Japanese workplaces inching towards LGBT inclusion Employers in Japan are at long last being pushed towards embracing LGBT-friendly policies by businesses overseas, though changing corporate cultures could prove a tougher challenge. (NAR)

It’s a big day for

Britain and Europe There’s a bit of a referendum being held on Thursday. Perhaps you’ve heard.

FT View: A moment of destiny for Britain and Europe

First results arrive around midnight from Gibraltar and the Scilly Isles, though the first major contribution to declare will be Sunderland at around 12.30am GMT. From there results will continue to trickle in and the overall picture should be clear when Lancaster reports three hours later.

Click here to see our special Brexit hub page on the new FT website (FT)

Food for thought

Bromance that came unstuck Before his sudden resignation this week, Nikesh Arora, the Indian tech titan, talked about the challenges of being an outsider in Japan, gambling with his own money and his love for his now former SoftBank boss Masayoshi Son. When asked this week if the love affair between the two was over, Mr Arora demurred, “I am still in love. He is the nicest person I know”. But it seems clear that “the two men’s very modern internet bromance ultimately came unstuck against the backdrop of those rather more old-fashioned business issues: ambition and control, and ego”, writes James Crabtree. (FT)

Dutch test ocean clean-up barrier Boyan Slat was just 18 when he founded The Ocean Cleanup in 2013, with his vision of creating long floating barriers that would use the ocean’s current to collect the plastics that blight the Great Pacific garbage patch, an area thought to contain a third of the world’s oceanic plastic. Now, his first prototype oceanic barrier is ready to be installed and will be deployed for a year in the North Sea, 23 kilometres off the Dutch coast. (Resource)

The new Panama Canal: a risky bet A multimedia look at the $3.1bn expansion of the waterway, which raises questions about its safety, the quality of its construction and its economic viability. (NYT)

Latin America: under new management Populism may be rising in Europe and the US — but a near continent-wide romance with the leftist leaders who rose to power in the 2000s has given way to “populism fatigue”, rage over state-sanctioned corruption and a swing to the political centre. (FT)

At home with the Grand Master of the Knights of Malta How did Matthew Festing, a former Grenadier Guardsman from Northumbria, become the leader of an enigmatic Catholic fraternity founded in the 11th century? Visit his home in a 16th-century villa to find out. (FT)

Video of the day

Soon we’ll know John Authers assesses the markets that could be most affected by the UK referendum result as the day of the vote finally dawns. (FT)

Get alerts on World when a new story is published

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2018. All rights reserved.

Follow the topics in this article