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A violent earthquake has struck central Italy, killing at least 20 people and destroying dozens of buildings across the regions of Lazio, Umbria and Marche.

The quake, which took place around 3.36am local time, was followed by a series of aftershocks and was felt across central Italy as far as Rome.

Officials say the quake was comparable in intensity to one that struck the nearby L’Aquila region in 2009. “Half the town is gone,” Sergio Pirozzi, mayor of Amatrice, a town close to the epicentre, told Italian state broadcaster Rai. (FT)

In the news

Harnessing the power of blockchain Four of the world’s biggest banks have teamed up to develop a new form of digital cash that they believe will become an industry standard to clear and settle financial trades over blockchain, the technology underpinning bitcoin. UBS, the Swiss bank, pioneered the “utility settlement coin” and has now joined forces with Deutsche Bank, Santander and BNY Mellon — as well as the broker ICAP — to pitch the idea to central banks, aiming for its first commercial launch by early 2018. (FT)

Turkey launches ground offensive inside Syria Turkish tanks have crossed the border into Syria, backed by artillery and air force jets, as Ankara launched a large-scale operation against Isis. The tank deployment, is part of a sustained effort to force out the jihadi group from Jarablus, a town that straddles the Turkey-Syria border. The offensive began hours before Joe Biden, US vice-president, arrived in Turkey, the most senior US official to visit the country since an attempted coup last month. (FT)

WPP shrugs off Brexit impact Shares in the world’s biggest advertising group jumped more than 5 per cent to a record high after it reported strong growth in the first half of 2016, shrugging off the effects of a vote to leave Europe in its home market. Sales growth was helped by the weakness of the pound, but also by an improved performance in western European markets such as Germany and Italy, as well as resilience in the UK advertising sector. (FT) Read our daily Brexit Briefing, or forward to other FT subscribers who can sign up to receive it daily by email here.

World Bank opts for continuity, not change The international institution has ignored calls by staff to find a new president, instead unveiling a process that clears the way for the reappointment of Jim Yong Kim of the US. Mr Kim’s aggressive restructuring of the bank has made him a controversial figure. (FT)

Chinese aircraft carrier afloat this year China’s second aircraft carrier — its first build domestically — is likely to be afloat by the end of the year, though it may be years until it is officially put to use by the navy. (NAR)

Apollo to pay $52.7m for misleading investors The Securities and Exchange Commission has been ramping up its scrutiny of private equity firms and the fees they charge. (FT)

It’s a big day for

Asian diplomacy Amid simmering regional tensions, Japan, China and South Korea have inched closer to arranging a meeting between their leaders, after the foreign ministers of the three countries met in Tokyo. On the same day, North Korea fired a ballistic missile from a submarine off its east coast, as South Korea and the US began annual military drills. (NAR, BBC)

The Standing Rock Sioux tribe has sued to block the Dakota Access oil pipeline, which it says threatens water supplies and sacred lands. The dispute moves to federal court on Wednesday. (NYT)

Food for thought

Trump’s dystopian message It’s clear that Donald Trump’s “black outreach” isn’t actual outreach to black communities, says Jamell Bouie. The Republican candidate has made his pitch to “lily-white audiences in towns and neighborhoods with few black residents”. Speaking in Akron, Ohio, on Monday evening, Mr Trump said: “You can go to war zones in countries that we’re fighting and it’s safer than living in some of our inner cities. They’re run by the Democrats.” But this world does not exist for the vast majority of black Americans, for whom “crime is at historic lows and cities are safer than they’ve ever been”. (Slate)

Negative rates: no drama The fuss over negative interest rates is too much, writes Adam Posen. “Negative rates are just another monetary policy tool, good for some situations and not for others, with no deep mystery or drama required.” (FT)

When banlieue residents grow up Far from being ghettos, France’s “Sensitive Urban Zones” are the parts of the country that have the highest population turnover. Two-thirds of those who lived there 10 years ago have left and been replaced by newcomers, typically other migrant families, says Christophe Guilluy, a geographer. It is true that the ZUS score poorly on every economic indicator. But this disturbing social picture is not inconsistent with individual success. “The jobless banlieue-dwellers of today are not the same as yesterday’s and will not be the same tomorrow.” (BBC)

Consider the 4am start Some rise early because they have to — think flight attendants, currency traders and postal workers. Others do so because they want to. For those people, the wee hours can be the “most planned, most organised and most scheduled part of the day”. And there is a long line of executives who echo that sentiment. (WSJ)

Video of the day

Euro’s prospects could change The euro has rallied 18 per cent against the pound, not far off the levels it hit in 2008. But with central bankers meeting at Jackson Hole this week, the FT’s Katie Martin warns that the US Federal Reserve may well change prospects for the euro. (FT)

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