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Daily briefing: May focuses on Brexit, Macron meets Putin and basketball sharing in China

Daily briefing: May focuses on Brexit, Macron meets Putin and basketball sharing in China

May 30
05:00 2017

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Theresa May has turned the focus of her election campaign from security to Brexit by talking up the European Commission’s “aggressive negotiating position” in an effort to re-energise her campaign following a damaging U-turn on social care. Mrs May has accepted the commission’s proposal to hold Brexit talks on June 19 – just 11 days after the election, telling an audience in London: “There won’t be any putting it off . . . The Europeans are ready, that’s the timetable that has been set.”

Mrs May and Jeremy Corbyn survived the Jeremy Paxman treatment in live television interviews ahead of the June 8 general election. Mrs May was pressed on her numerous U-turns with Mr Paxman asking whether the EU would see her as a “blowhard who collapses at the first sign of gunfire” for her changes of heart on domestic policy. Mr Corbyn was asked to explain his foreign policy stance with a question on whether he would conduct a drone strike on suspected terrorists. “You can’t answer a hypothetical question without the evidence. It is a completely hypothetical question,” the Labour leader said. (FT, BBC)

In the news

Russian reset
President Emmanuel Macron hosted Vladimir Putin on Monday at the Palace of Versailles in an attempt to reboot France’s troubled relations with Moscow amid tensions over Syria and suspected Russian meddling in its presidential election. Mr Macron described the meeting as “extremely frank and direct”. (FT)

MI5 investigating missed signals over Manchester bomber
The UK’s domestic intelligence service has opened two internal investigations following reports that British authorities had been told of the bomber’s extremist views at least three times ahead of last Monday’s bombing. Police tracing the movements of bomber Salman Abedi have asked the public to help them find a blue suitcase he was seen with on the day of the attack. (NYT, FT)

BA’s IT woes
British Airways is under pressure to explain how it mishandled an IT outage over the weekend that left 75,000 passengers stranded. Its chief executive, Alex Cruz, has apologised but insisted he would not resign. (FT, BBC)

Fred Goodwin to avoid court appearance
The former chief executive of Royal Bank of Scotland is likely to escape a potentially embarrassing court appearance after the bank reached a legal settlement in principle with a shareholder action group. (FT)

US banks hit the brakes
Big banks are throttling back from the $1.2tn US car loan market on fears consumers have taken on more debt than they can handle. Lenders piled into the sector following the financial crisis as mortgages soured, but recent data shows the first sequential drop in car loans outstanding at commercial banks in at least six years. (FT)

The day ahead

Modi visits Spain Narendra Modi will visit Spain in the first official visit by an Indian prime minister in almost three decades.

Keep up with the important business, economic and political stories in the coming days with the FT’s Week Ahead.

What we’re reading

Trump’s secret habit
At around 10.30 most mornings, President Donald Trump sits down for his classified intelligence briefing. He demands brevity from his briefers, asks questions, pores over maps, charts and “killer graphics” and always has a Diet Coke to hand. (WaPo)

Taxing games
Chess, Scrabble and Monopoly are set to become 20 per cent more expensive in India after the government decided to class board games as a “luxury item” in the new national goods and services tax, manufacturers have warned. (FT)

Angela Merkel, Donald Trump and the end of the West
In the wake of Donald Trump’s awkward first visit to Europe and Angela Merkel’s warning that Europeans must “really take our destiny into our own hands”, the FT’s Gideon Rachman argues “it is a mistake to allow four months of the Trump presidency to throw into doubt a Transatlantic alliance that has kept the peace in Europe for 70 years”. (FT)

Rome mourns after Totti’s final game
Francesco Totti’s last game in an AS Roma shirt is seen as yet another knock for the city as it struggles against rubbish in the streets and a sputtering economy. (NYT)

Sharing with Chinese characteristics
The sharing economy trend has taken root in China with everything from basketballs to umbrellas on offer, but its adoption in the country has taken a mercantile twist with venture capital rather than citizens taking the spoils. (FT)

How Ramadan brings the joys of cooking into focus
Many of the world’s 1.6bn Muslims began fasting on Saturday as part of Ramadan. When they eat after the sun goes down — and before it rises again — their food is imbued with an added meaning. (NYT)

Video of the day

The week ahead 
Josh de la Mare provides a briefing of the stories to watch in the week ahead, including the UK election campaign after the Manchester bombing, European unemployment figures and the latest rocket launch by SpaceX. (FT)

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