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Trump-Xi summit, Unilever restructures, Silicon Valley diversity

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The world’s eyes will be on Florida again today as Donald Trump’s meeting with Xi Jinping at Mr Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club goes into its second day. This first summit between the two superpowers since Mr Trump took office comes at a time when relations between the nations are perhaps at their most “antagonistic, complex and consequential” in decades. Issues on the agenda include North Korea, China’s expanding influence in the South China Sea and — importantly for the US president — trade.

Personal chemistry will be important to keeping communications open between the two leaders, who are opposites temperamentally. There will be no golf, for example. Unlike his host, Mr Xi is not a fan. Here is a list of five things to watch.

Back in DC, Republican lawmakers dramatically overhauled Senate rules using a so-called “nuclear option” to push through a vote to confirm Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court. The move came after Democrats attempted to block the appointment. (FT, NYT)

In the news

Russian investigation shake-up Devin Nunes, the Republican lawmaker tasked with leading a probe into Moscow’s interference in the US election, stepped down from the investigation after accusations that Mr Nunes improperly briefed President Trump about wiretapping allegations. (FT)

Iranian candidates nominated Iran’s hardliners have nominated five candidates, including a powerful cleric, in hopes of defeating the centrist president Hassan Rouhani in presidential elections next month. The group of hardliners has said the frontrunner of the five will challenge Mr Rouhani while the other four will step aside. (FT)

Asia to lead global growth Asian economic growth is projected to slow 0.1 percentage point to 5.7 per cent this year, according to the Asian Development Bank, but Asian economies are still forecasted to drive global growth. (NAR, FT)

Russia hits back at gas attack accusations Russian President Vladimir Putin accused the US of unfairly blaming the Syrian government for a suspected gas attack that killed more than 70 people, 20 of them children. (FT)

Draghi dispels rumours The head of the European Central Bank, Mario Draghi, has tried to squash speculation that the ECB’s experiment with negative interests will finish before the end of the year. Bankers whose profits are being eroded by the policy will not be happy. (FT)

Unilever restructures In an effort to shore up investor support after rejecting a takeover bid from Kraft Heinz, the Anglo-Dutch consumer goods group plans to sell its margarine business, launch a €5bn share buyback and aim for substantially higher profit margins. (FT)

Reduce reduce reduce Most US Federal Reserve policymakers expect to begin the process of cutting the size of the central bank’s balance sheet later this year if the economy stays on track. Starting that process would be a major landmark for the Fed as it unwinds its ultra-loose monetary policy built up after the financial crisis. (FT, WSJ)

Test your knowledge with the week in news quiz. Which country did Donald Trump tell the FT he was willing to act unilaterally against?

It’s a big day for

The US US President Donald Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping’s first summit will enter its second day, while the country’s newest Supreme Court justice is expected to be confirmed today. US national employment statistics will also be released, which will show jobs data for the second full month of Mr Trump’s presidency.

Food for thought

Silicon Valley’s diversity woes Silicon Valley has a long way to go on gender diversity, particularly at start-ups with fewer than 100 employees, where only 23 per cent of employees are female. Some larger companies, like Airbnb, have made progress, while Uber has fallen behind. Even for women who do make it to tech roles, a new study has shown male computer programmers make 28 per cent more than their female counterparts. (FT)

Botox boost Allergan, the manufacturer of the wrinkle-smoothing injection Botox, will conduct a large clinical trial to determine whether Botox can treat depression. The decision puzzled investors after a smaller study yielded patchy results. (FT)

Syrian second chance It is rare that history serves up second chances, writes Council on Foreign Relations president Richard Haass, but this week one such opportunity arose when the Syrian government again used chemical weapons against its own people. The US and UK should not squander this second chance to make the Syrian government pay a price for its actions, Haass writes. (FT)

Lessons in digital disruption Music was among the first industries to be digitally disrupted and music labels were badly hurt. The industry’s recovery — and even growth — thanks to audio streaming has useful lessons for those where piracy remains widespread, writes John Gapper. (FT)

Colour blindness in Brazil In an effort to determine who is — and who isn’t — disadvantaged, race tribunals are resorting to measuring skull shape and nose width to prevent people from taking advantage of affirmative action policies. (Foreign Policy)

Miracle drug that no one wants A male contraceptive nearing approval in India is 98 per cent effective. But Big Pharma could not be less interested. (Bloomberg)

Video of the day

The town that turned to Le Pen Henin Beaumont, a mining town in northern France, voted Socialist for decades but is now a model for the way Marine Le Pen’s far-right National Front party is capitalising on economic hardship. Anne-Sylvaine Chassany visited the region to find out why. (FT)


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