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GLOBAL RISK

Italy promises G7 with geopolitical focus Next month’s session has potential to be a flashpoint between the United States and the hosts who are promoting multiple agenda items at odds with Trump -GN

Geopolitics has biggest negative impact on investments -Money Manager

Cyber breaches have cost shareholders billions since 2013: report Severe cyber security breaches, such as those having legal or regulatory consequences, involve the loss of hundreds of thousands of records and hurt the firm's brand, caused share prices to fall on average 1.8 percent on a permanent basis, the analysis of 65 companies affected since 2013 globally has found. -Reuters

EUROPE RISK

'Pulse of Europe' rallies converge across Germany and EU for an united Europe Thousands of pro-Europe demonstrators have taken to the streets for the ninth time in cities across Germany and Europe. A minute's silence was also held for the victims of the Stockholm and St. Petersburg attacks. -DW

Europe’s Reform Opportunity Because national governments are politically accountable to their own citizens, they often lack incentive to increase cooperation at the EU level. This disconnect is now hampering further Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) reforms. -Project Syndicate

Mogherini’s mid-term report card We grade the EU’s foreign policy chief on everything from Iran to migration -Politico

“The challenge for the rest of her term — and very possibly for who comes after her — is finding hard power to match the soft power.”

Germany won't spend 2 percent on defense, says SPD candidate In a Q&A session with foreign journalists, Social Democrat Martin Schulz said there would be no big defense spending boosts in the context of NATO. Instead, he stressed the primacy of the European Union. -DW

APRIL 24 ELECTION WATCH >> As goes France, so goes the EU French voters hold the Continent’s future in their hands. If the opinion polls are accurate and fickle voters, angry with the political class, don’t change their minds at the ballot box, the second-round runoff on May 7 is likely to pit anti-EU nationalist Marine Le Pen against pro-EU centrist Emmanuel Macron. Still in contention in the first round on April 24 are conservative Gaullist François Fillon and evergreen leftist Jean-Luc Mélenchon. -Politico.eu

France election: South-west voters eye Brexit with envy -BBC

"How lovely, a lady from Brexit Britain. I think Brexit's great. I'd like France to get out of Europe so she could find her own identity again."

Basque separatists ETA deliver weapons inventory to French police on 'Disarmament Day' -France24

TRUMP-XI MEETING WITH EUROPEAN CHARACTERISTICS WATCH >> The Quadrangle Relationship via Philippe Le Corre (YouTube)

RUSSIA RISK

Putin says trust erodes under Trump, Moscow icily receives Tillerson Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday trust had eroded between the United States and Russia under President Donald Trump, as Moscow delivered an unusually hostile reception to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in a face-off over Syria. -Reuters

US, German, UK leaders discuss pressure on Russia to end Syria links US President Donald Trump and his German and British counterparts have agreed that Moscow must be urged to halt links with Syria. Both Berlin and London have stressed their support for holding Assad's regime to account. -DW

YET >> Syria war: G7 rejects sanctions on Russia after 'chemical attack' -BBC

MIDDLE EAST RISK

Assad allies threaten to act against further 'aggression' A joint command centre made up of forces from Russia, Iran and militias backing Syrian President Bashar al Assad threatened reprisals against any party that carries out "aggression" against Syria, two days after US missiles hit a Syrian air base. -France24

BACK >> Ahmadinejad Stirs Up Iran Presidential Race With Shock Bid -Bloomberg

Turkey Deserves a Better EU Trade Deal With European roots reaching back to the mid-19th century, Turkey clearly sees its future in Europe. But ever since the European Union and Turkey signed an association agreement in 1963, progress has come at a snail’s pace. Now even the linchpin of that relationship -- the customs union that took effect in 1996 -- is no longer fit for purpose. -BloombergView

AFRICA RISK

South Africans protest against Zuma as country downgraded to 'junk' Sporadic violence broke out in Johannesburg as more than 50,000 people marched in South African cities to protest against President Jacob Zuma on Friday, demanding he quit after a cabinet reshuffle triggered the latest crisis of his presidency. -France24

Trump administration 'to sell Nigeria planes' for Boko Haram fight -BBC

EMEA || GLOBAL MARKETS IMPACT + OPPORTUNITY

GLOBAL BUSINESS

French election: Macron vows to tackle terrorism by taking on tech companies -BBC

He said it was "no longer acceptable" for companies to insist that they have a contractual obligation to clients after offering protected communication.

He cited Google, Facebook, Apple and Twitter as those he wants to have frank discussions with.

31 CITIES IN FRANCE Airbnb signs dozens more tax agreements in the U.S., France -Reuters

German Car Brand Gets New Lease on Life With Chinese Money Borgward, the Bremen car brand revived by a state-owned Chinese bus maker after going bust in 1961, has surprised many including its own CEO by racking up more than 30,000 units in sales for its first model over eight months. The winning formula: touting its German heritage while saying as little as possible about its Chinese backers. -Bloomberg

POLITICAL WINDS WINDS CHANGE>> China's President Xi praises normalization of relations with Norway after long Nobel rift The leaders of China and Norway have met, signaling the resolution of a diplomatic spat which lasted six years. It followed the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to an imprisoned dissident in China. -DW

GLOBAL MACRO

World trade seen growing 2.4 percent in 2017, uncertainty weighs: WTO World trade is on track to expand by 2.4 percent this year, though there is "deep uncertainty" about economic and policy developments, particularly in the United States, the World Trade Organization (WTO) said on Wednesday. -Reuters

MIND THE SPREAD >> France's Bond Roller-Coaster The spread in yield between French two-year government bonds and their German equivalents has widened to the most in almost five years. -Bloomberg Gadfly

Jean-Claude Juncker: ‘I rule out Italy leaving the euro’ The country’s economy is on the right track after budget cuts, European Commission president said. -Politico.eu

Commodities: Crude futures rise on Libya oilfield shutdown, Middle East geopolitical tensions -Digital Look