Theresa May pledge, Nigeria famine warning and how lasers can help clean beaches

Britain’s new prime minister pledges to create ‘a country that works for everyone’

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Theresa May entered Downing Street with a pledge to make Britain “a country that works for everyone”. She also began filling out her cabinet, replacing chancellor George Osborne with Philip Hammond, who is expected to scale back the austerity of his predecessor. A trio of Brexiters has been appointed to handle the UK’s divorce from the EU — among them Boris Johnson, who becomes foreign secretary.

The new prime minister will face a daunting set of challenges, not least extricating the UK from the EU. The FT’s Philip Stephens warns that untangling 40 years of political and economic integration will be a long and costly process and should not be rushed.

Other items on Mrs May’s agenda include the economy, social reform and perhaps even Mr Johnson himself. The Atlantic has composed a short history of the numerous times he insulted foreign leaders. Highlights include likening Hillary Clinton to “a sadistic nurse in a mental hospital”.

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In the news

Poll puts Trump ahead Donald Trump has overtaken rival Hillary Clinton in the crucial US swing states of Florida and Pennsylvania and caught up in Ohio in the latest poll, as speculation mounts about his choice of vice-presidential running mate. (FT)

Global trade slowdown worse than thought Volumes have levelled out over the past 18 months amid a rise in protectionism, according to a new report. (FT)

Famine risk in Nigeria The UN and Nigerian government are under fire for failing to react quickly enough to a fast-developing food crisis in northern Nigeria. A seven-year insurgency by the militant group Boko Haram has destroyed the area’s farmland and hundreds are dying of hunger each day. (Guardian)

Isis ‘minister’ death The jihadi group has admitted that its “minister” of war, Abu Omar al-Shishani, has been killed in combat. Last March the Pentagon and the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights claimed the infamous Chechen, who sported a distinctive red beard, was killed in an air strike in Syria, but according to Amaq, the Isis “news agency”, he was killed in fighting in Iraq. (Reuters)

Calming South China Sea tension The US is asking Asian nations to avoid antagonising China after the UN ruled against its claims to the South China Sea. Officials in Washington have sent messages asking the region’s capitals to “let things calm down” after Taiwan dispatched a warship to defend its claims in the area and amid a bounce in Asian defence-related stocks. (Reuters, FT, NAR)

It’s a big day for

US banks Earnings season begins on Wall Street, with JPMorgan — the largest by assets — playing its customary role as the curtainraiser and bellwether for the rest of the banking sector. Here are five things to watch. (FT)

UK rates The Bank of England will announce its first monetary policy decision since the Brexit vote. Here’s what to watch. (FT)

Food for thought

SoftBank: Waiting for the next ‘big idea’ Backed by a $40bn war chest and driven by a zeal for deals, company chairman Masayoshi Son is ready to let his big, “crazy” ideas take shape. The only snag — both for shareholders and for SoftBank’s 63,000 employees — is that no one is quite sure what these big ideas might be. (FT)

Nintendo leaves the ‘walled garden’ Shares are up 50 per cent and investors are going a bit crazy. It’s time to calm down and examine the reality, writes John Gapper. (FT)

‘Everyone needs their hair done, non?’ French president François Hollande has come under fire after a magazine disclosed his hairdresser is paid nearly $11,000 a month — more than a member of the European Parliament. “He’s not just anybody,” said a spokesman for the government. (Bloomberg)

Lasers on the beach Monitoring and cleaning the increasing amount of rubbish strewn on the world’s beaches and oceans is costly and time-consuming, but 3D laser scanners may be able to help. Researchers at East China Normal University in Shanghai are developing light detection and ranging technology that can spot garbage on beaches. Next step: getting robots to pick up the debris. (Atlantic)

The hidden messages in children’s movies Ever suspected Frozen was more than a simple singalong? Did the Lego Movie make you reflect on the nature of our consumer-capitalist culture? Here are nine family flicks that have been mined for meaning. (The Guardian)

Video of the day

China in three numbers The FT’s emerging markets editor James Kynge tells the economic story of the world’s most populous country. (FT)

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