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FirstFT: Massive earthquake kills over 100 in Turkey and Syria

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A massive earthquake struck southern Turkey and northern Syria early this morning, tearing down buildings in several cities and killing more than 100 people.

Turkey’s disaster agency said 76 had been killed and 440 injured in the earthquake, which hit at 4.17am local time. Syrian state media reported that 42 people had been killed and 200 people injured in the northern provinces of Aleppo, Hama and Latakia.

The quake measured a magnitude of 7.8 on the Richter scale, with its epicentre in the province of Kahramanmaraş, according to the US Geological Survey.

Turkish interior minister Süleyman Soylu said in televised remarks that Turkey was ready to accept international aid in response to the quake and had dispatched rescue teams, with the military and cargo planes carrying supplies to the region.

In Turkey, 12 people were killed in the city of Şanlıurfa, some 200km east of the epicentre, broadcaster Habertürk cited the provincial governor Salih Ayhan as saying. In Malatya, 185km to the north-east, three bodies were recovered from some of the 140 buildings that had collapsed, Habertürk said. Five people were killed in Osmaniye province, Reuters reported.

Buildings in the provinces of Diyarbakir and Adana also came down, officials said, indicating that the trail of affected areas spanned at least 500km across south-east Turkey.

1. ‘Spy’ balloon dashes US-China reset hopes Hopes for a stabilisation of the rocky relationship between Washington and Beijing have deflated after a Chinese “spy” balloon was shot down by a US F-22 fighter jet in American waters on Saturday. China sharply rebuked the move, accusing the US of “seriously violating international conventions”.

  • Beijing’s balloon fleet: After years of research, China is now using its sprawling “lighter than air” programme for military purposes.

  • Opinion: In the long run, the stakes are too high for US-China diplomacy to fall victim to a spy balloon, writes Gideon Rachman.

2. Ukraine to replace defence minister In Kyiv’s biggest shake-up since Russia launched its invasion, defence minister Oleksiy Reznikov is set to be replaced by head of military intelligence Kyrylo Budanov. Reznikov said he did not know of the change and added he would reject a new senior government role.

Ukraine’s defence minister Oleksiy Reznikov addresses a press conference yesterday
Ukraine’s defence minister Oleksiy Reznikov addresses a press conference yesterday © Oleg Petrasyuk/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

3. Carlyle hires ex-Goldman executive as CEO Carlyle Group is set to announce it has hired two-decade Goldman Sachs veteran Harvey Schwartz to be the private equity group’s next chief executive, completing a long search after Kewsong Lee’s abrupt resignation in August. Carlyle’s board met yesterday to vote on the appointment and Schwartz has accepted the top job, sources said.

4. France and Germany to push back against US green tech poaching France and Germany’s economy ministers will ask the US to stop making “aggressive” overtures to European companies in a bid to lure green investment across the Atlantic, French officials said ahead of a visit to Washington tomorrow. France’s Bruno Le Maire and Germany’s Robert Habeck aim to underscore EU concerns about Joe Biden’s climate bill and push for better co-operation.

5. Adani’s UK subsidiaries ditched Big Four auditor Corporate filings show that the Adani Group last year shifted the audit of its British subsidiaries from a Big Four firm to one outside the ranks of the 10 biggest in the UK. Indian billionaire Gautam Adani’s empire has been reeling since US short seller Hindenburg Research last month accused the group of stock price manipulation and fraud.

The day ahead

Economic data The EU has December retail sales figures, Germany releases factory orders for the same month and S&P Global publishes its construction purchasing managers’ index for the UK.

Military meeting The defence ministers of Sweden and Finland meet Nato’s deputy secretary-general and Norwegian military chiefs at a two-day security conference in Oslo to discuss the war in Ukraine.

Gold bid Newcrest, Australia’s largest listed gold company, is considering a weekend takeover bid from rival Newmont. Newcrest shares rose more than 9 per cent in Australia.

Corporate results Activision Blizzard, Anima, Pinterest and Tyson Foods report.

UK strikes Another day of strikes begins as more than 10,000 ambulance workers and tens of thousands of nurses walk out today and tomorrow.

What else we’re reading

Cradle to grave: can the NHS be fixed? A system that once embodied an ultimate form of security, with its founding guarantee to “relieve your money worries in time of illness”, is itself seemingly on life support. While new ways of working are vital, experts say the UK’s generations-long healthcare experiment simply needs more cash.

Biden makes his case for a second term Encouraging labour figures and a better than expected performance by Democrats in last year’s midterm elections — historically regarded as a referendum on the incumbent administration — have put US president Joe Biden in a much stronger position to launch another general election campaign.

Can the pioneer of blockchain gaming survive the crypto winter? Serial entrepreneur Yat Siu has been kicked off the App Store, delisted from a stock exchange and clashed with his auditors. Now, as the pre-eminent investor in blockchain-based gaming, he faces questions from regulators while confronting a slump in crypto assets.

Opinion: Letting the public decide is key to regulating Big Tech The US justice department is quite right that ordinary people should hear arguments on a second major antitrust case filed against Google, writes Rana Foroohar. It is dangerous to allow important decisions on key issues such as corporate power and the rules of surveillance capitalism to be made by technocrats behind closed doors.

Opinion: The paradox of financial conditions A gap has emerged between the US central bank and its peers at a time when its policy signals have become at odds with financial conditions, writes Mohamed El-Erian. Central banks should be careful to avoid their communication becoming an undue source of economic and financial volatility even as they seek to address the same.

Take a break from the news

In searching for tomorrow’s furniture design classics, how does one go about spotting the Eames lounge chair of the future?

(Clockwise from top left) Cabinet salvaged from a Mayfair jewellery shop by Retrouvius; Bold Chair by Moustache; Lewis Kemmenoe’s Patchwork Cabinet; cabinet by mid-century Czech designer Jiří Jiroutek (mobile view only), at Merchant & Found; oak table by Simon Pengelly; Jupiter chair by Mac Collins; Screen by Casey McCafferty

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