The FTSE 100 has fallen by 0.2% in the first few minutes of trading on Friday.
Germany’s Dax has lost 0.4%, while France’s Cac 40 has lost 0.2%. Europe’s Stoxx 600 index, which tracks large-cap stocks across the continent, fell by 0.3% at the open.
Good morning, and welcome to our rolling coverage of the world economy, the financial markets, the eurozone and business.
Ministers from the G20 group of large economies will discuss yesterday’s oil tanker attacks at a meeting in Japan, ahead of a full summit to be held at the end of the month.
The attack on two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman has raised the geopolitical temperature even further in the region, at a time when it is high already, given the strained relations between the US and Iran. With the US pinning the blame firmly on the Iranians the scope for a misstep is only likely to increase, hence the rebound in oil prices which characterised yesterday’s price action, and has seen prices also push higher this morning.
While oil prices rebounded, the bounce was much shallower than might be expected given that prices are already near five-month lows.
Labor leader is confident Victorian unionist will be expelled from party on 5 July
Anthony Albanese has expressed confidence Victorian unionist John Setka will be expelled from Labor on 5 July despite a stubborn impasse over whether he can be forced to relinquish his union office.
On Friday the teachers’ union joined the Australian Council of Trade Unions’ call for Setka to resign, and the shadow communications minister, Michelle Rowland, suggested Labor may have to consider disaffiliating itself from the Victorian construction union if he refused to quit.
US secretary of state accuses Tehran of ‘lashing out’
Iran denies responsibility for early morning attack
The US military has released video footage it says shows an Iranian military patrol boat approach one of two tankers attacked in the Gulf of Oman, to support the Trump administration’s claims that Iran was responsible.
The blurry black and white footage, taken from the air, shows a small military boat alongside the Japanese-owned Kokuka Courageous, and someone standing up on the prow of the boat to remove an object from the tanker’s hull. The small boat then pulls away from the tanker.
Michael Herbig’s overwrought drama sucks the thrills out of this story of two families fleeing communist East Germany
You could probably choose a less conspicuous method of defecting than floating across the border in what looks like a giant glowing lightbulb. Yet a spectacular nocturnal breakout from communist East Germany by hot-air balloon is exactly what two families did in September 1979 – the basis of this glossy mainstream thriller released in Germany for last year’s reunification anniversary. Sadly, director Michael Bully Herbig – a well-known German comedy star – does them no favours with a frantic shooting style that somehow manages to render this terrifying endeavour both bombastic and trivial.
Friedrich Mücke and Karoline Schuch play the Strezlks, a disaffected electrician and his wife who, desiring an unfettered future for their two sons, decide to Montgolfier it out of the GDR. When a northerly wind rears up, they break out the balloon they have painstakingly constructed with their friends the Kretzels, before realising that it will hold only one family. The Strezlks go it alone, but their jerrybuilt rig fails them at 1,800 metres, leaving them short of the west and back to square one.
The pipeline poses grave risk to animals and Indigenous communities. As leaders of four sovereign tribes, we are calling on the government to say no
In February, Canada’s National Energy Board released its final report recommending approval of the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, in spite of devastating risks to the Salish Sea and the salmon, orca and tribal nations that rely on it. On 18 June, the government of Justin Trudeau is expected to issue its final decision.
The Trans Mountain pipeline, first proposed by oil giant Kinder Morgan in 2013, would transport Alberta tar sands oil to a shipping terminal in Vancouver, British Columbia. This would mean a massive increase in oil tanker traffic through the Salish Sea, which comprises the water bodies of Puget Sound, the Strait of Juan de Fuca and the Strait of Georgia. The marine species in these waters know no border, and the risks to Indigenous peoples in both Canada and the US also cross borders. As leaders of four sovereign tribes, we are calling on the Trudeau government to do the right thing and say no.
Wary of being tracked and targeted like activists inside China, protesters are keeping a low profile online
In early June, Ivan Ip, 22, joined a public chat group on Telegram called “Parade 69”, named for a mass demonstration planned in central Hong Kong to protest a bill allowing for the transfer of suspects from the city to China. According to Ip, an administrator of the group of more than 30,000 people, they discussed things like bringing sunscreen, water, and umbrellas to block the sun or rain.
Two days after the protest, which saw as many as one million Hong Kong residents march against the proposed extradition law, authorities arrived at Ip’s apartment in the evening. Banging on the door, they yelled: “Police! Open up the door!”
She wanted to rule the world – and did. Madonna looks back on four decades of fame, why the music industry needs a #MeToo moment, and her still insatiable ambition
On YouTube, you can find a clip of Madonna appearing on American Bandstand in January 1984. She is still promoting her eponymous debut album, released six months before, and still just one among a raft of young singers mining a vein of post-disco dance-pop. She has yet to have a Top 10 hit in the United States, and the host, Dick Clark, still finds it necessary to explain who she is when introducing her. Her label’s expectations for the single she performs, Holiday, are so modest, it hasn’t bothered commissioning a video for it.
And yet it’s not just hindsight that makes the viewer realise something big is about to happen to her career. After she mimes to Holiday, the audience won’t stop screaming and cheering: Clark has to plead for quiet so he can interview her. Answering his questions, Madonna is funny and flirtatious and very, very confident. He asks her what her ambitions are. “To rule the world,” she answers.
You could argue that the world’s biggest city has hit a sweet spot: a flatlining population, pervasive transit and little gentrification. But is ‘peak city’ even possible – and where does Tokyo go from here?
Tokyo is often described as crowded, mushrooming, figuratively bursting at the seams. Except, in many ways, it’s not.
Unlike many megacities, the world’s largest metropolitan area has largely stopped growing, either in land or population. Where Mumbai, Lagos or São Paulo continually sprout new informal neighbourhoods that are constantly outstripping the ability of the city to catch up, Tokyo’s urban planning and services more or less seamlessly encompass the central wards and the neighbouring cities of Kawasaki, Yokohama, Chiba and Saitama that form its unbroken metropolitan area.
State lawmakers vote to repeal exemption amid country’s worst measles outbreak in decades
New York eliminated the religious exemption to vaccine requirements for schoolchildren Thursday, as the country’s worst measles outbreak in decades prompts states to reconsider giving parents ways to opt out of immunization rules.
The Democratic-led state senate and assembly voted Thursday to repeal the exemption, which allows parents to cite religious beliefs to forego getting their child the vaccines required for school enrollment.
Activists say official visit risks affirming China’s narrative that camps thought to hold a million people are not an abuse of human rights
The UN’s counter-terrorism tsar is on a visit this week to China’s Xinjiang region, where Beijing insists the estimated 1 million Uighurs and other Muslims it is detaining constitute a potential terrorist threat.
Natasha Elcock andEd Daffarn escaped from Grenfell Tower on 14 June 2017. Karim Mussilhy’s uncle died in the fire. Together with other survivors and bereaved people, they formed Grenfell United. They talk about their work over the past two years, while the Guardian’s social affairs correspondent, Rob Booth, discusses government inaction
In the early hours of 14 June 2017, a fire broke out at Grenfell Tower in North Kensington, west London. It killed 72 people, including 18 children. In the chaos that followed, survivors and the bereaved felt abandoned by local authorities and the government, and began to organise into a community group, which became known as Grenfell United.
Today, on the second anniversary of the fire, Natasha Elcock, Ed Daffarn and Karim Mussilhy discuss the work the group has been doing and their attempts to tackle what they see as one of the most devastating aspects of the fire: government inaction. The Guardian’s social affairs correspondent, Rob Booth, has been covering the story of Grenfell since the blaze. He talks to Anushka Asthana about why more progress has not been made.
CNN unearths clip highlighting Democratic presidential candidate’s inconsistent record on the issue
A 2006 video of Joe Biden unearthed by CNN on Thursday shows the then senator saying he does not see abortion as “a choice and a right”.
“I do not view abortion as a choice and a right,” the 2020 Democratic presidential candidate said in a videotaped interview with Texas Monthly. “I think it’s always a tragedy. I think it should be rare and safe,” he added. “I think we should be focusing on how to limit the number of abortions.”
Analysis: the departing White House spokeswoman, who has not held a press briefing in months, spun a web of deceit in her role
Donald Trump was joking when he barked these words at his press secretary, Sarah Sanders, during a rally in Green Bay, Wisconsin, in April – on a night when both were snubbing the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner.
A US federal watchdog is recommending that Donald Trump fire one of his most ardent and high-profile defenders, White House counselor Kellyanne Conway, for repeatedly violating a law that limits political activity by government workers.
Conway should be removed from federal office, the US Office of Special Counsel (OSC) announced on Thursday.
Knox, twice acquitted of killing Meredith Kercher, is to attend a debate on ‘trial by media’
Amanda Knox’s return to Italy has been described as “inappropriate” and “very painful” by a lawyer for the family of the murdered British student Meredith Kercher.
Knox was twice convicted and twice acquitted of killing Kercher, 21, in the home they shared in the university town of Perugia in November 2007. The body of Kercher, a student from Coulsdon, Surrey, who was in Italy on an Erasmus programme, was found under a duvet in her bedroom, partly undressed with multiple stab wounds. She had also been sexually assaulted.
Fur, teeth and tissue largely intact on remains of animal bigger than a modern wolf
The severed head of a wolf that died about 40,000 years ago has been found in Siberia, and because of the freezing conditions, the remains are so well preserved that the fur, teeth, brain and facial tissue are largely intact.
Pavel Yefimov, a local resident, discovered the head last summer on the banks of the Tirekhtyakh river close to the Arctic Circle in the region of Yakutia, according to the Siberian Times.
The explosions, on a vital passageway for the world’s oil supply, may prove Trump’s policy of coercion has backfired
The explosions were bigger and the damage more extensive. But the message and its means of delivery have some similarities.
Thursday’s attacks on two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman caused jitters in global markets and unease across a region that has been bracing for conflict throughout much of the year. As with the earlier attacks on 12 May, news of the latest strikes was again broken by media outlets aligned to Hezbollah in Lebanon and Iran, who broadcast images of the attacks within minutes of them taking place.
Demonstrations against the extradition bill follow a 50-year tradition of publicly challenging authority
In Hong Kong, people have most of the freedoms of a democracy except the right to choose their leaders. The city’s last British governor, Chris Patten, described it as a place that enjoyed “liberty without democracy”.
That has made protests particularly important as a political tool and an expression of Hong Kong identity. For more than half a century, the people of Hong Kong have been taking to the streets to force distant authorities – first in Britain and later in Beijing – to reconsider how they govern the city.
Campaigners applaud move to curb gender-based violence after courts hold special sessions to clear backlog of cases
Hundreds of men in Uganda have been jailed for sexual offences against girls and women during a month of special court sessions to clear a backlog of cases.
Between November and December last year, 414 men and nine women were found guilty during 13 trials held in selected courts in 13 districts around the country, according to the justice, law and order sector, a body that brings together government ministries working on legal matters.
More than 100 rivers and canals flow beneath Tokyo, but from the ground it’s hard to notice them. Why has the city turned its back on water?
Of the near-endless flow of people over the busy Shibuya scramble crossing every day, few realise that beneath their feet is something else flowing, unseen and unnoticed: the crossing of two ancient rivers, the Uda and the Onden.
Beneath all the concrete and neon, Tokyo is a city built on water. It is the reason the Japanese capital’s 37 million citizens are here at all. From fishing village to seat of political power, canny water management was a key driver of the city’s extraordinary growth.
Japan has a 27.5% gender pay gap and ranks just 110th in the world for gender equality – but social change is slowly happening
Last week, after Yumi Ishikawa’s petition against being forced to wear high heels at work went viral around the world, responses ranged from solidarity – with some cheering Ishikawa and denouncing “modern footbinding” – to surprised disappointment. In 2019, in a liberal democracy such as Japan, could the issue of women’s rights still be stuck on stilettos?
But the global spotlight on the hashtag #KuToo (a pun on a word for shoes and a word for pain) may have obscured what’s really happening in Japan. “It’s so trivial,” says one senior female publishing executive, who wished to remain anonymous. After all, on the streets of Tokyo, there is a growing movement for real change for women, not merely more comfortable footwear.
Giant dam and irrigated sugar plantations mean people in lower Omo valley face starvation and conflict, says US thinktank
A giant dam and irrigated sugar plantations are “wreaking havoc” in southern Ethiopia and threaten to wipe out tens of thousands of indigenous peoples , a US-based thinktank has claimed.
The Oakland Institute says that while the Ethiopian government has made considerable progress on human rights under prime minister Abiy Ahmed, it has yet to address the impact of state development plans on indigenous populations in the lower Omo valley, where people face loss of livelihoods, starvation, and violent conflict .
Short tour allowed inside Japanese prison accused of keeping suspects in conditions designed to ‘break’ them for confessions
The forbidding outline of Tokyo detention centre is impossible to miss, even on a dark, wet afternoon in early June. The X-shaped building dominates the skyline of the unfashionable Kosuge neighbourhood in the city’s north-east.
Aside from brief eruptions of media interest when a high-profile killer is led to the gallows, for much of the time there is little public scrutiny of its occupants – more than 1,600 inmates and about 800 staff.
Money and power are the cornerstones of exploitation, and rich donors have both. No wonder saints have become sinners
Just over a year since the allegations of sexual abuse in Haiti were revealed, Oxfam has been through the equivalent of a reality TV colonoscopy: the organisation has been turned inside out and upside down to reveal what lurks beneath.
An independent investigation on sexual misconduct found abuse far beyond Haiti. The independent commission’s conclusion, after visiting 20% of countries where Oxfam works, was that the issues were endemic.