Friday Morning Briefing: In British PM race, a former Russian tycoon quietly wields influence






Top News

Special Report: From Russia to London. Publicly, former Russian tycoon Alexander Temerko presents himself as an opponent of Brexit and a dissident critic of Vladimir Putin. In a series of conversations as part of research for a book he’s voiced strong support for Boris Johnson’s bid to lead Britain out of the EU, praised senior Russian intelligence officials and spoken about his past work with the Kremlin.

The United States is struggling to win its allies’ support for an initiative to heighten surveillance of vital Middle East oil shipping lanes because of fears it will increase tension with Iran, six sources familiar with the matter said. Iran denied Trump’s assertion that the U.S. Navy has destroyed one of its drones, saying all of its unmanned planes were safe, but there was no sign of a major Gulf escalation despite fears both sides could blunder into war.

Rain-swollen rivers in Bangladesh broke through at least four embankments, submerging dozens of villages and doubling the number of people fleeing their homes overnight to 400,000 in one of the worst floods in recent years, officials said. Heavy rains and overflowing rivers have swamped 23 districts in northern and northwestern Bangladesh, officials said. At least 30 people have been killed since the floods began last week.

Politics

Donald Trump tried to distance himself from supporters’ chants of “send her back” at a rally where he blasted Somalia-born Representative Ilhan Omar, as Republicans worry the incendiary mantra could set the tone for the 2020 campaign. Omar shot back that Trump was “spewing fascist ideology,” and Republicans expressed alarm that the inflammatory chant might become a theme of his 2020 re-election campaign.

Trump’s vilification of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley and Rashida Tlaib, has largely left Joe Biden out of this week’s political conversation. But it may give Biden’s campaign the boost it needs after his widely panned debate performance last month. The former Vice President and U.S. Senator Kamala Harris will have the chance for a re-match during the second round of Democratic presidential debates later this month in Detroit.





Business

Boeing said on it would take an after-tax charge of $4.9 billion in the second quarter on estimated disruptions from the prolonged grounding of its lucrative 737 MAX passenger jets after two deadly crashes. The charge is from “potential concessions and other considerations to customers,” and the impact of continued lower production, the world’s largest planemaker said in a statement, as airlines that use the planes extend flight cancellations until November. The charge will result in a $5.6 billion reduction in revenue and pre-tax earnings in the second quarter, Boeing said.
Exclusive: J.C. Penney has hired advisers to explore debt restructuring options that would buy more time for the money-losing U.S. retailer to forge a turnaround, people familiar with the matter said. The 117-year-old department store chain’s move represents a high-stakes attempt to get its financial house in order before its cash coffers dwindle and its debt, totaling roughly $4 billion, comes due in the next few years.
In the depths of the financial crisis, when the world was shunning debt and battening down for the worst, city officials in Nashville zagged in what seemed a preposterous direction and spent $600 million on a new convention center. A decade later thousands of new hotel rooms soar over the site, including a 33-story Marriott that is just a tiny part of the investment and jobs boom that has made Nashville an envy of other cities trying to find their footing, an image cemented when Amazon announced it would put a 5,000-job logistics center here.
Microsoft beat analysts’ estimates for fourth-quarter revenue and profit, driven by continued sales increases from its cloud business and sending its shares to all-time highs. Since Chief Executive Satya Nadella took over in 2014, Microsoft has been shifting away from its Windows operating system software and toward cloud services, in which customers move their computing work to data centers managed by Microsoft.


Japan

Animation fans lay flowers, pay respects at Japan studio ravaged by arson

Animation fans gathered at the site of Japan’s worst mass killing in 18 years, laying flowers and offering prayers for the 33 people killed in an arson attack on an animation studio. A man had on Thursday shouted “die”, and that he had been plagiarized, before pouring what appeared to be petrol in the three-storey studio of Kyoto Animation and setting it ablaze.
3 min read

From beer to pens, South Koreans boycott Japanese brands as diplomatic row intensifies

As soon as supermarket manager Cho Min-hyuk got to work the day after Tokyo imposed curbs on exports to South Korea, he pulled all Japanese products off the shelves. It was Cho’s way of taking a stand against Japan in a quickly worsening political and economic dispute between the two east Asian neighbors. Such anger has prompted a widespread boycott of Japanese products and services, from beer to clothes and travel, disrupting businesses in what was already the worst economic climate for South Korea in a decade.
5 Min Read

Japanese minister admonishes South Korea's envoy as dispute escalates

Japan’s foreign minister publicly admonished South Korea’s ambassador in a worsening dispute over compensation for Korean forced laborers that has spilled over into their trade in high-tech materials used to make memory chips and screens.
5 min read



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