Good morning! Here’s what you need to know.
1. North Korea leader Kim Jong-Un has promised more missile flights over Japan, insisting his nuclear-armed nation’s provocative launch was a mere “curtain-raiser.” The Hwasong-12 intermediate-range missile that Pyongyang unleashed on Tuesday represented a major escalation in the face of tensions over its weapons programmes.
2. Japan’s Nikkei share average rebounded on Wednesday morning, recovering from a near four-month low as Wall Street rose and the yen weakened on receding concerns over North Korea’s firing of the missile over Japan. The Nikkei rose 0.6% to 19,481.44 in mid-morning trade.
3. The US branch of embattled German carmaker Volkswagen announced it was recalling 281,000 vehicles to fix a faulty fuel pump in another blow to the company’s image. While the number is far smaller than the 11 million cars worldwide recalled in the “dieselgate” emissions cheating scandal, including about 600,000 vehicles in the United States, news of another problem comes as the company is trying to restore its image with customers.
4. The leaders of Germany and France said they are ready to press ahead with deeper European integration, promising a tighter euro zone at the core of the European Union shaken by Britain’s vote to leave. French President Emmanuel Macron, elected in May on a pro-EU platform, said he wanted to strengthen Europe’s single currency union in light of Brexit and pledged to announce proposals after Germany’s election on Sept. 24.
5. Brazil is threatening to turn down Total’s bid to drill in the mouth of the Amazon river, saying the French oil giant has not allayed concerns over its ability to protect a huge offshore coral reef. The government environmental agency Ibama said in a statement that Total is required to “leave no doubt about possible impacts to the coral reef and the wider marine biodiversity.”
6. Standard & Poor’s said the United States would maintain its AA+ credit rating, its second highest, as long as the federal government avoids a default even if it does not increase the debt ceiling in a timely manner. “If the debt ceiling is not raised in a timely way, we expect, at a AA+ level of confidence, that the government will take necessary measures to avoid default on the debt which our ratings address,” Robert Sifon-Arevalo, a managing director in S&P’s sovereign ratings group, said.
7. German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she would not form a government coalition after elections with either the far left or the far right. Supporters of the far-right, anti-immigrant Alternative for Germany (AfD) party jeered her throughout a 30-minute campaign speech in the eastern city of Bitterfeld-Wolfen.
8. US consumer confidence surged to a five-month high in August as households grew increasingly upbeat about the labour market while house prices rose further in June. The data on Tuesday also supported views that economic growth would accelerate in the second half of the year after a sluggish performance earlier.
9. Rupert Murdoch has pulled his Fox News channel from the Sky platform in Britain, where the government is assessing a bid by the media mogul to buy the broader Sky pay-TV company for $US15 billion. In a statement, Murdoch’s Twenty-First Century Fox said it had decided it was no longer in its commercial interest to provide Fox News in Britain, where only a few thousand viewers watch it.
10. Toshiba may not seal a $US17.5 billion deal to sell its memory chip unit by a self-imposed Aug. 31 deadline due to disagreements over details of an offer by the bidders, Reuters reported. Talks with a consortium led by Western Digital Corp were in final stages, with the head of the US firm in Japan to hammer out details.