29 August


29 August

Good morning,

Japan’s government put residents of Hokkaido, its second largest island, on alarm and issued a warning to take cover in the early hours of this morning, as a North Korean missile headed over land in a significant escalation of Kim Jong-un's military posturing.
In response, the UN Security Council will hold an emergency meeting over the North Korean ballistic missile test today. The launch was condemned in strong terms by South Korea and Japan.
While Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe said the missile was an “unprecedented, serious and grave threat” to his country, South Korean president Moon Jae-in ordered a show of "overwhelming" force against
Japan’s Abe also had a 40-minute phone conversation with president Donald Trump, in which they discussed potential actions. During the call, "president Trump expressed his strong commitment to defending Japan, saying he was 100 per cent with Japan as an ally”.
The last time Pyongyang launched a missile over Japan was in 2009; at the time it claimed the launch was of a satellite, and it provided advance warnings to both planes and ships in the area.
If the escalation of tensions with North Korea doesn’t keep Trump awake at night, then a major natural disaster at home might. Hurricane Harvey may have been downgraded to tropical storm status, but life-threatening flooding continues in and around Houston as citizens with boats assist authorities in search and rescue efforts.
At least eight people are now believed to have died and more than 30,000 expected to seek temporary shelter as Tropical Storm Harvey continues to drench south-eastern Texas and Louisiana with heavy rains and surging floodwaters.
President Donald Trump is heading to Texas today to address the largest natural disaster of his presidency, but is expected to sidestep Houston “not to interrupt evacuations and emergency responses”.


British officials arrived in Brussels yesterday for the third round of Brexit talks, urging the EU to show “flexibility and imagination” and talk about future ties rather than just the divorce settlement. The European Union's chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, expressed concern about the progress so far and urged Britain to provide more clarity on its Brexit position in order to "start negotiating seriously". “Citizens’ rights, Ireland and the financial settlement are priorities before talks about the future,” according to Barnier.
Companies that are publicly listed in the UK will be obliged to publish the pay ratio between their chief executive and their average British worker under government plans to be unveiled later today. The proposals are expected to come into force by next June. The new corporate governance laws will also aim to give workers a voice at boardroom level, but the plans fall short of the corporate governance revolution promised last year by prime minister Theresa May.
Anti-whaling group Sea Shepherd has announced it will not intercept Japanese vessels in the Southern Ocean this season. The anti-whaling group's ships have confronted ships off Antarctica each year since 2005. Sea Shepherd founder Captain Paul Watson said the group could no longer match Japan's surveillance technology. He accused nations including Australia, New Zealand and the US of being "in league" with Japan.


Expedia’s chief executive Dara Khosrowshahi is poised to become Uber Technologies’ new CEO, according to an internal memo sent to Expedia staff, putting him in charge of turning around the loss-making, scandal-ridden ride-services company. Shares in Expedia, which Khosrowshahi has run for 12 years, were down more than four per cent in response to the news.
The majority of people mis-sold payment protection insurance (PPI) may not yet have made a claim for compensation, according to the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). A deadline of 29 August, 2019, has been set by the regulator for the final claims to be made and a major advertising campaign by the FCA marking the two-year countdown will soon be unveiled. So far, £27bn has been paid out in compensation with major banks having set aside more than £37bn.
Manufacturers have warned of a recruitment crunch if they are unable to keep hiring EU workers after Brexit. Trade body the EEF says the government must clarify the rights of EU workers "as a matter of urgency". It said a quarter of 243 firms surveyed had already seen an increase in EU nationals leaving their business. A government spokesperson said it would set out its initial proposals for a post-Brexit immigration system in the autumn.


The London Stock Exchange was closed yesterday due to the Summer Bank Holiday.

Trading Announcements
OPG Power Ventures (OPG)

Bank Of Cyprus Holdings Plc (BOCH)
Cadence Minerals plc (KDNC)
Livermore Investments Group Ltd (LIV)
Omega Diagnostics Group Plc (ODX)
Puma VCT 12 plc (PU12)

International Economic Announcements
(7:00) GFK Consumer Confidence (GER) 

Interim results
Bunzl plc (BNZL)
Polymetal International plc (POLY)


In today’s The Times, Rachel Sylvester examines the style and charisma of UK’s foreign secretary Boris Johnson. She is critical of Johnson’s achievements so far, claiming he’s often “irrelevant”. And while some MPs believe Johnson is pursuing a deliberate strategy of what Henry Kissinger liked to call “constructive ambiguity” — keeping his options open for the sake of personal ambition — the author goes further concluding, “he is rapidly becoming a national embarrassment”.

Writing in The Daily Telegraph, William Hague, the UK's former foreign secretary, examines the third round of Brexit negotiations and claims the lack of EU flexibility is the reason why Britain is leaving the block. Hague insists the EU’s demands to settle the issues of payments, the border with Ireland and the rights of EU citizens in the UK first, is a convenient way of putting David Davis and his negotiators under the maximum possible pressure to make concessions on these subjects at an early stage.


On August 29, 2005, Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast of the United States. When the storm made landfall, it had a Category 3 rating on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale; bringing sustained winds of 100–140 miles per hour in a band 400 miles wide. 


House of Commons
In recess until 5th September

House of Lords
In recess until 5th September

Scottish Parliament
In recess until 3rd September