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The age of US-UK liberal interventionism is over. That was the message Theresa May gave Republican politicians ahead of her meeting with Donald Trump on Friday. She also warned that Mr Trump should “beware” of Russia’s Vladimir Putin. Mrs May will be the first head of state to meet the new US president with whom she disagrees on many fundamental issues, and she faces a delicate balancing act in trying to foster a close relationship with him while trying to convince him of the need to sustain western values.
Europe looms large over the talks and the two leaders are expected to take a symbolic step towards a US-UK trade deal. But in prioritising a pact with the UK, the new US president is putting much larger trade talks with the EU launched in 2013 on ice, while Mrs May is seeking leverage for her own negotiations with the EU. Given Mr Trump’s unpredictability the meeting is his first diplomatic test. European and other world leaders will be watching nervously. (FT, WaPo, Politico)
In the news
Taxing Mexico The White House threatened to impose a 20 per cent tax on all imports from Mexico — and other countries with which the US runs a trade deficit — to finance Donald Trump’s proposed border wall. The news comes after Mexico’s President Enrique Peña Nieto cancelled a summit with Donald Trump. Critics say the tax is more likely to cost American consumers than Mexicans. (NYT, Politico)
Brexit’s shrinking labour pool Hospitality, agriculture, construction and manufacturing will have to compete with each other for a smaller pool of low-skilled migrants after Brexit when tighter border controls are imposed, according to a new report. (FT)
New supermarket giant The Uk’s biggest supermarket has just got even bigger. Tesco has announced a deal to buy wholesale supplier Booker Group for £3.7bn. Tesco already controls a 28 per cent market share and the acquisition could raise questions about competition. (FT)
Madcap military US and South Korean marines have been carrying out unusual military exercises on the ski slopes of South Korea. A US marine spokesman says the shirtless hand-to-hand combat in sub-zero temperatures is part of preparation for possible threats from North Korea in the 2018 Winter Olympics. Pyongyang is not amused and has threatened to retaliate over what it says are “madcap midwinter” drills. (Reuters)
Toshiba breaks off chip business The Japanese company said it would split off its operation that makes memory chips for smartphones and computers, and will sell a stake in the new business. It needs to raise funds after revealing a heavy one-off loss at its US nuclear power business. (BBC, NAR)
Test your knowledge with the FirstFT news quiz. Which leftwing politician won the French Socialist primary?
It’s a big day for
US growth The latest snapshot of US GDP remains the big-ticket item on investors’ agenda. The data are expected to show that economic growth slowed in the last three months of the year. (FT)
China The world’s biggest migration gets under way as millions of people head home to celebrate the lunar new year. (NYT)
Food for thought
What the world hears from Donald Trump “The lights have been burning late as policymakers around the world deliberate on how to handle a president with so slight a grip on history or strategic realities,” writes the FT’s Philip Stephens. “From France to China, what unites these various friends and foes is a view that the US president will prove a force for dangerous instability. Yes, the crowds on the Washington Mall may have been on the small side but yes, Mr Trump, the world was listening.” (FT)
Indonesia: A nation’s tolerance on trial Religious and ethnic tensions are on the rise as Jakarta’s governor fights blasphemy charges during his bid for re-election. (FT)
The end of the world is 30 seconds closer The fateful minute-hand on the Doomsday Clock moved a little nearer to midnight in its symbolic measure of the apocalypse. The reason? The White House’s new occupant. (Bloomberg)
Tragedy of a revolution undone Six years after Egyptians overthrew Hosni Mubarak the revolution has come full circle: the army has reasserted its control and a new authoritarianism is strangling civil liberties. (Jazeera)
Sexism and the beautiful game The FT’s Siona Jenkins on how after almost a century of being forgotten, women’s football is rising in the country where the game was invented — but misogyny on the pitch persists. It comes as a new study in the UK shows that by the age of six, girls see themselves as less talented than boys. (FT, BBC)
Video of the day
What to expect from the Trump-May talks Philip Stephens, the FT’s chief political commentator, talks to Vanessa Kortekaas about UK prime minister Theresa May’s quest for a deal with the US. (FT)
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