Justin Trudeau, Canada’s prime minister, said on 9 January 2019: “Evidence indicates the plane was shot down by an Iranian surface-to-air missile”. Image: @CanadianPM 

Iran accused of ‘unintentionally’ shooting down plane

The Canadian, UK and US governments believe the Ukrainian jet which crashed shortly after takeoff in Tehran, killing 176 people, was accidently shot down by an Iranian missile. Iran’s government said “these reports are a psychological warfare against Iran” and pointed to a possibly engine problem. First reported by: CBS News and Newsweek. More sources: CBC, The Guardian and Reuters.

House votes to limit Trump war powers on Iran

The US House of Representatives passed a resolution to limit Donald Trump’s ability to take military action against Iran. The move is mainly symbolic, as it is unlikely to pass the US Senate. Sources: BBC, Deutsche Welle, Financial Times and Reuters.

Market reactions

Earlier tensions between Iran and US apparently drove investors into bonds, per the Financial Times. However, equity strategists remain bullish, per the South China Morning Post, oil prices have been declining, per Marketwatch, and Asian markets opened higher on Friday, per CNBC.

Protests shut down Eiffel Tower

Paris and other French cities were hit by more widespread demonstrations against Emmanuel Macron’s proposed pension reforms. Sources: Financial Times, France 24, The Guardian, Independent and Telegraph.

UK House of Commons approves Brexit bill

British MPs passed the Withdrawal Agreement Bill, which will take the UK out of the EU on 31 January, and sent the legislation to the House of Lords. Sources: AFP, BBC, Deutsche Welle and The Guardian.

Plan to restore Stormont assembly

The British and Irish governments proposed restoring Northern Ireland’s devolved government, which collapsed 3 years ago. The Democratic Unionist Party accepted the plan and Sinn Féin said it would decide on Friday. Sources: Belfast Telegraph, Deutsche Welle, The Economist, The Guardian and Irish Times.

Ghosn banned from leaving Lebanon

Carlos Ghosn, the fugitive ex-Nissan chairman, was ordered to stay in Lebanon after meeting with prosecutors there. Sources: CNN, Financial Times, NHK and Reuters.

Blackrock signs up to climate change investing initiative

One of the world’s largest investment managers, Blackrock, has joined Climate Action 100+, a group that pressures energy firms to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. Sources: Bloomberg, Financial Times, The Guardian, Marketwatch and Wall Street Journal.

BA chief to resign

Willie Walsh, CEO of IAG, the company that owns Aer Lingus, British Airways, Iberia, Vueling and other carriers, said he would step down on 30 June. Sources: BBC, Financial Times and The Guardian.

Internal Boeing messages are “damning” says lawmaker

Boeing released internal messages that mocked its own 737 Max jets (“designed by clowns who in turn are supervised by monkeys”) and civil aviation regulators (“I still haven’t been forgiven by God for the covering up I did last year”). Boeing called the comments “completely unacceptable”. Sources: Marketwatch, NPR and Reuters.

Trump tariffs hitting wine drinkers

New trade tariffs introduced by Donald Trump have cost American consumers $46bn. Sources: Business Insider, Reuters and Yahoo Finance. Meanwhile, US wine sellers are asking Washington to drop European wine tariffs. Sources: Axios, BBC and Wine Spectator.


Friday 10-Sunday 12 January: Arts and crafts on show at the Creative Expo. Tuesday 14 January, 6:30pm: Network with internet infrastructure professionals at Lu-Cix’s new year get-together. Thursday 16 January, 3pm-8pm: DLA Piper, a law firm, hosts its “Cybersecurity: New War, New Rules?” conference. Thursday 23 January, 4pm-6:30pm: The consultancy Deloitte holds its “Future of Payments Conference”. Tuesday 4 February, 4pm: The 1st Ukraine-Luxembourg Industry Forum 2020.

Here are 7 science & technology stories you may have missed

Research ethics: The Chinese scientist who illicitly created gene-edited babies was fined 3m yuan (roughly €387,000) and sentenced to 3 years in prison for “illegal medical practice”, per Nature, Stat News and Reuters. Health: A frank-speaking Italian scientist has become a media celebrity by countering antivaccine claims, per Science magazine. Biology: Blue light on your screen is not what’s disrupting your sleep, a study concludes, per The GuardianArtificial intelligence: Researchers developed a technique using radio waves “that can detect human actions through walls” per MIT Technology ReviewComputer programming: Field tests by an American AI company fooled facial recognition systems checking passengers in China and the Netherlands, but not Apple’s iPhone X, per FortuneSpace: Astronomers have discovered a planet roughly the same size as Earth in a ‘habitable zone’ about 101 light years away, per NatureForensics: The Paris Review (back in May 2018) disclosed that koalas have fingerprints that are similar to humans and other surprising dactylogram facts.

What’s for dinner? 

Should it be called ‘cell-cultured meat’ or ‘in vitro meat’ or ‘lab-grown meat’? What about ‘clean meat’ or ‘cultivated meat’ or ‘lab-grown meat’? Quartz examines. 

Today’s breakfast briefing was written by Aaron Grunwald