Colombian activists face ‘extermination’ by criminal gangs

Nearly two years after the signing of a historic peace agreement, violence in the country continues

Enrique Fernández cannot remember the last night he slept peacefully.

He is tall and heavyset, and does not look like someone who scares easily, but as he sits in his humble rented home in western Colombia, his eyes dart nervously from left to right, scanning for any threat.

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Oil giant Aramco’s $2tn flotation is still on, says Saudi Arabia

Energy minister in Riyadh denies reports that world’s largest ever IPO has been cancelled

Saudi Arabia has denied reports it has cancelled plans to partially float the state oil giant, Aramco, in what has been billed as the biggest ever stock market flotation.

Reuters first reported on Wednesday that financial advisers working on the plans to sell a 5% stake in Aramco had been disbanded as Saudi Arabia instead focused on a proposed acquisition of a stake in a local petrochemicals maker.

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Markets nervous amid new US-China tariffs and Trump’s troubles – business live

China retaliates as US imposes 25% taxes on another $16bn worth of imports

Here are the opening calls for the European markets:

European Opening Calls:#FTSE 7562 -0.16%#DAX 12365 -0.17%#CAC 5418 -0.05%#MIB 20679 -0.10%#IBEX 9566 -0.15%

Weaker tone across European stock indices as fresh round of US-China tariffs kick in. #Trump issues continue to weigh #FTSE called 20 lower

Good morning, and welcome to our rolling coverage of the world economy, the financial markets, the eurozone and business.

The bull run in the US market may have broken a new record on Wednesday, but investors have plenty to be nervous about at the moment.

The US-China trade spat continues as representatives from both countries engage in low level talks in the US. The tit-for-tat tariffs conflict continues as both sides will impose tariffs on $16 billion worth of each other’s goods today. The monetary size is small but the gesture is big, and traders will be eyeing developments.

There has been a lot of negative news on Trump over the past 36 hours; the job of markets will now be to decide whether Trump can ride the storm, or whether the double blow is likely to damage the Republican Party’s election prospects at the mid terms in November and result in the extension of a criminal investigation, which is already overshadowing Trump’s Presidency. The reality is that the market’s reaction so far has been limited and contained, suggesting that traders believe, at least for now, that Trump can move past this.

The flash manufacturing and services PMI reports from major eurozone countries will be in focus today. At 8.15am (UK time) France will release their numbers, and economists are expecting the manufacturing report to come in at 53.4, a slight improvement on July’s 53.3. The consensus estimate for the services report is 55.1, up from 54.9 last month. Germany will announce their figures at 8.30am (UK time) and traders are expecting a slight cooling in the manufacturing sector from 56.9 in July to 56.5. Economists are expecting the services report to be 54.3, and the July reading was 54.1.

The composite PMI is likely to edge up slightly in August, to 54.5 from 54.3 in the previous month (10:00 CET). We expect both the manufacturing and the services components to contribute to the headline reading. While a pickup in global trade activity during the second half of 2018, as indicated by our own global leading indicator, is likely to bolster sentiment of eurozone export-dependent manufacturers going forward, solid domestic fundamentals stemming from robust consumer spending and record-low unemployment should keep economic activity in the services sector well supported.

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Australia headed for ‘ugly’ election based on race, warns Julia Gillard

Former Labor PM says Liberal leadership crisis is part of worrying trend in global politics

Julia Gillard has warned Australia could be headed for an “ugly” election focused on questions of race and ethnicity, amid an ongoing political crisis in Canberra that may see Peter Dutton elevated to the prime ministership.

As a defiant Malcolm Turnbull refused a request from the former home affairs minister for a leadership spill on Thursday, Gillard told an audience in Melbourne that the current political crisis in Canberra should be viewed in a global context.

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How Turkey’s lira crisis was written in Istanbul’s skyline

Those observing Istanbul’s construction boom will not have been surprised by last week’s currency collapse – it’s all based on debt

From a distance, Esenyurt, a newly built up neighbourhood on the edges of Istanbul, looks a bit like Hong Kong or Dubai, with a bustling downtown of shiny skyscrapers. Upon closer examination, however, you notice that tower after tower stands incomplete, lacking windows or furnishings; others are only half-occupied, their windows dark after nightfall.

“In the residential areas, 100% of the construction has stopped,” says Mohamed Karman, a local estate agent, from his small office in the central square of Esenyurt. “Do you know why? The materials. Everything is in dollars, you pay in dollars.”

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Tribes in deep water: gold, guns and the Amazon’s last frontier | Dom Phillips and Gary Calton

Mining reserves – and plentiful fish – mean Brazil’s Javari Valley is increasingly at risk from armed poachers seeking to plunder its resources. So, too, are the tribes who call it home

Francisco Lima sits in the wooden watchtower, flicking a searchlight on and off as he surveys the dark river for the commercial fishermen who pillage the rivers of the Javari Valley, a remote indigenous reserve on Brazil’s Peruvian border.

His watchtower guards rivers leading into this reserve, home to 6,000 people from eight tribes, each with its own languages and customs, and the world’s highest concentration of “non-contacted” indigenous groups. Only authorised visitors and indigenous locals are allowed to enter. But the 12-volt light that Lima, 55, is operating is unlikely to stop intruders.

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‘No point in living’: diary reveals Japanese emperor’s upset over second world war

Hirohito voiced ‘anguish’ at the Pacific war, says newly released diary written by Hirohito’s former chamberlain

Japan’s wartime emperor Hirohito believed there was “no point living” during the final years of his life, fearing he would continue to attract blame for his country’s involvement in the second world war, according to a newly released diary.

In the diary, written by his then chamberlain, Shinobu Kobayashi, Shinobu alleges that Hirohito voiced “anguish” over the Pacific war, a sentiment that contrasts with other recent accounts of his feelings about Japan’s entry into the conflict with the attack on Pearl Harbor.

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Europe to ban halogen lightbulbs

After nearly 60 years of lighting homes halogens will be replaced with more energy efficient LEDs

After nearly 60 years of brightening our homes and streets, halogen lightbulbs will finally be banned across Europe on 1 September.

The lights will dim gradually for halogen. Remaining stocks may still be sold, and capsules, linear and low voltage incandescents used in oven lights will be exempted. But a continent-wide switchover to light-emitting diodes (LEDs) is underway that will slash emissions and energy bills, according to industry, campaigners and experts.

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What’s happened with Michael Cohen and Paul Manafort?

Manafort was convicted the same day Trump’s ex-lawyer pleaded guilty to campaign finance violations. Here’s what we know so far

On any given day the Trump administration has proven itself capable of compressing what would under any other presidency be weeks worth of news into a few scant hours. The sheer rate of controversies compels us to move onto the next before last has been fully digested. It’s safe to say that Tuesday, however, was not just any other day, as Donald Trump’s longtime personal lawyer Michael Cohen pleaded guilty to a raft of campaign finance violations shortly after a guilty verdict arrived in the case of Paul Manafort, his former campaign chairman, for bank and tax fraud.

To update Lenin, sometimes there are minutes when decades happen. It may yet take a while to fully unpack the extent of yesterday’s overstuffed news cycle, but here’s what we know so far.

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Australia in crisis as prime minister faces down political coup attempt

Malcolm Turnbull stares down group of his own Liberal party MPs and ministers but could be gone within 24 hours

Australia is on the brink of its sixth prime minister in a decade after a chaotic, internecine coup attempted, but failed, to topple the incumbent Malcolm Turnbull on Thursday.

Related: Turnbull digs in and demands Dutton show evidence of support - politics live

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Country diary: the old church seems oddly bereft

Eyeworth, Bedfordshire: Puritanical winds and rain had stripped the limestone walls of their medieval ornamentation


A thunderbolt from heaven had struck the village church half a century earlier. After it toppled the tower, the parish plugged the gap with a tiny turret. The pitifully crowned building looked oddly bereft – a stag without antlers, a unicorn without its lance. Odd enough in appearance to entice me off the high street – the only street – down a grass track, where an elderly man in a loose orange T-shirt was strimming back the vegetation, “makin’ it better for tomorrow’s funeral”.

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Trump asks for ‘close study’ of South Africa farmer killings

President picks up on Fox News segment where host discussed land seizures and murders

Donald Trump has asked his secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, to “closely study the South Africa land and farm seizures” and the killing of farmers there.

Trump posted a quote from Fox News on Twitter alleging the South African government was “seizing land from white farmers”.

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‘We need to change’: Death of New Zealand newsreader puts spotlight on depression

Greg Boyed’s death shocks the nation, and brings hope that the taboo subject can be brought into the open

The sudden death of a popular New Zealand TV news presenter has prompted the country to once again examine its high rates of depression and suicide.

Greg Boyed, 48, was “battling depression” and died on holiday in Switzerland, a statement from his family said. “Greg was the kindest and most caring man, a devoted father who cherished and loved his two children. We are all struggling to come to terms with this,” it read.

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Woman jailed in Indonesia for saying call to prayer too loud

Islamic groups criticise blasphemy sentence imposed on ethnic Chinese Buddhist who asked mosque to turn it down

Indonesia’s largest Islamic bodies have denounced the jailing of a Buddhist woman in Sumatra, after she complained about the volume of the adzan, or call to prayer, from her local mosque.

The Medan district court sentenced Meiliana, a 44-year-old ethnic Chinese Buddhist, to 18 months in jail after she reportedly asked the mosque to turn it down.

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