Morning Briefing France's New Reign of Terror

A terror attack in Paris has France on high alert ahead of Sunday's presidential elections. Wolfgang Schäuble will defend Germany's powerful export economy at today's meeting with G20 finance ministers and central bank heads.

Terror and fear have once again overshadowed the upcoming French presidential election, after a radical Islamist terrorist opened fire last night on Paris’ iconic Champs-Élysées boulevard, killing one police officer and wounding two others. The gunman also injured a bystander before being shot dead by police. France has lived under a state of emergency since the Paris terror attacks in 2015, which left 130 people dead. In this state of anxiety, the army and police now have the difficult task of preserving the democratic integrity of the elections, the outcome of which is unforeseeable. For our great and proud European neighbor, these are fateful times.

Donald Trump is now facing headwinds from US business: 162 tech companies, including industry giants Amazon, Uber and Google parent-company Alphabet, filed a brief with the federal appeals court in Virginia to protest the administration’s restrictive travel laws. Good! A modern company offers not only products but also values. And enlightened capitalism is not just about making profit but also about taking a stance.

G20 finance ministers and central bank heads will convene today at the spring meeting of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank. Their most urgent objective is to hash out differences in trade policy, which have become more pronounced with the current US administration. More specifically, Germany’s strong export economy will be on trial. Wolfgang Schäuble will be forced to act not only as finance minister but also as a lawyer defending the German model before a skeptical jury.

When the doors open on Monday to the Hannover Messe, the world’s largest industrial trade fair, the focus will be on transformation. The world’s industrial titans are on the move, especially in Germany. Hence our feature today, “A Future Made in Germany,” which presents 25 German innovations that will change the world. Experts on our editorial staff selected the inventions, with advice from Ulrich Weinberg, head of the School of Design Thinking at the Hasso-Plattner-Institut in Potsdam, and Wilhelm Bauer, head of the Fraunhofer Institute for Industrial Engineering. Here is one break-through: A computer that has no keys or buttons because glass, the chassis or air itself function as control panels. Here’s another: Smart concrete that doubles as a digital display. Or: A car manufacturing simulator that will let companies avoid building expensive prototypes. The list goes on: Thin and bendable window glass; a chemical that prevents tumor growth; or Siemens’ electric airplane, which can reach speeds of up to 340 kilometers an hour (211mph).

Speaking of Siemens, I will be meeting with boss Joe Kaeser on Monday evening for our Deutschland Dinner at the Hannover trade fair. Over food and wine in the Peppermint Pavillion we’ll be discussing the world as it is today: innovative and dynamic but also protectionist and increasingly bellicose. Whoever uses the phrase “world order” must be tongue-in-cheek. While the 350 seats in the hall have been sold out for weeks, I have reserved two tickets for the most loyal readers of the Morning Briefing. So what are you waiting for? [email protected].


Picture of the Day

French police secure the area around the iconic Champs-Élysées boulevard in Paris after Thursday's terror attack.