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Good morning. OpenAI’s co-founder Ilya Sutskever is starting a rival AI start-up focused on “building safe superintelligence”, just a month after he quit the AI company following an unsuccessful coup attempt against its chief executive Sam Altman

Sutskever, one of the world’s most respected AI researchers, has co-founded Safe Superintelligence Inc with former OpenAI employee Daniel Levy and AI investor and entrepreneur Daniel Gross, who worked as a partner at Y Combinator, the Silicon Valley start-up incubator that Altman used to run.

The trio said developing safe superintelligence — a type of machine intelligence that could supersede human cognitive abilities — was the company’s “sole focus”. Here’s more on the company that will be based in Palo Alto and Tel Aviv.

And here’s what I’m keeping tabs on today:

  • US monetary policy: Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis president Neel Kashkari participates in an event hosted by the Michigan Bankers Association. The event comes a day after a top Fed official suggested consumer spending has “finally” begun to slow down.

  • UK interest rates: Despite inflation falling to a three-year low, stubbornly high price rises for services are cooling hopes for rate cuts when the Bank of England announces its decision today.

  • Summer solstice: Today marks the longest day of the year in the northern hemisphere and the shortest in the southern hemisphere.

Thank you to readers who pointed out an error in Tuesday’s FirstFT, where I inadvertently misnamed Apple’s “buy now, pay later” service in the subject line of the newsletter.

Five more top stories

1. Japan and South Korea have sounded the alarm over deepening military collaboration between Russia and North Korea after Vladimir Putin and Kim Jong Un signed a far-reaching strategic partnership that included mutual assistance against “aggression”. The agreement recalls a 1961 cold war treaty between the Soviet Union and North Korea and is one of Moscow’s strongest commitments in Asia. Here’s more reaction to the increasingly cozy relationship between the pariah states.

2. JPMorgan Chase has told its employees in the UK that it will remove caps on banker bonuses, following a similar move by rival Goldman Sachs. Employees at the Wall Street bank’s UK operations will now be able to earn up to 10 times their base salary in bonuses while fixed pay will remain the same. The move follows the UK’s decision to drop its bonus cap, a relic of the country’s EU membership.

3. US private equity group Carlyle has announced plans to build an oil and gas company focused on the Mediterranean after agreeing to buy a portfolio of projects in Italy, Egypt and Croatia from London-listed Energean. The new company will be chaired by former BP chief executive Tony Hayward and supply markets in Europe and north Africa. Read more on the £945mn deal.

4. Rishi Sunak is on track to become the first sitting prime minister in the UK to lose their seat at a general election, according to a new poll released yesterday that predicted a catastrophic result for the ruling Conservative party. Analysis by Savanta and Electoral Calculus for The Telegraph newspaper showed Labour could win 516 MPs, which would hand Sir Keir Starmer a colossal 382-seat majority.

5. Hizbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah has warned that the Iran-backed militant group would fight “without rules and without limits” if its conflict with Israel widens. In a televised address, the Lebanese militant group’s leader also threatened neighbouring Cyprus for the first time. Here’s why.

The Big Read

© FT montage/Getty Images/Alamy

Before Vladimir Putin’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, Russia already accounted for about half of all international agreements on nuclear power plant construction, reactor and fuel supply, decommissioning or waste management. The country continues to be an unrivalled exporter of plants despite sanctions winning Moscow new friends and global influence.

We’re also reading . . . 

  • US election: There are only three times in US history that a presidential debate has arguably changed the course of the election, writes Edward Luce. Next week’s encounter has the potential to become a fourth.

  • ‘Not all AI-generated content is harmful’: The FT sat down with the co-chair of Meta’s Oversight Board and former Danish prime minister Helle-Thorning Schmidt.

  • Golden Goose: Here’s how private equity owner Permira’s last-minute decision killed the highly anticipated Milan listing of the luxury footwear brand.

Chart of the day

Birth rates in the world’s rich economies have more than halved since 1960 to hit a record low, according to a study that urged countries to prepare for a “lower fertility future”. The fertility rate is now well below the “replacement level” of 2.1 children per woman — at which a country’s population is considered to be stable without immigration — in all OECD countries apart from Israel.

Take a break from the news

Why is there a fashion boutique on the Tibetan Plateau? Cattle herders and farmers are the main passers-by in the rural village of Ritoma, where Norlha opened its flagship store. But there’s a reason for the far-flung location, and Norlha’s yak down collections are worth the trek.

A herder with a cow
Tsering Dhundup, a local herder © Kin Chan Coedel

Additional contributions from Tee Zhuo and Benjamin Wilhelm

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