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US and China scuffled over nuclear ‘football’ during Trump’s Beijing visit: Axios

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The military aide carrying the nuclear football (second from left) with U.S. President Donald Trump and China's President Xi Jinping at Beijing's Great Hall of the People.

Thomas Peter – Pool/Getty Images

The military aide carrying the nuclear football (second from left) with U.S. President Donald Trump and China’s President Xi Jinping at Beijing’s Great Hall of the People.

Things got physical between U.S. and Chinese officials over the nuclear “football” during President Donald Trump’s visit to Beijing last year, Axios reported Sunday.

A military aide carrying the “football” — a briefcase with contents for the president to authorize a nuclear strike — was blocked by Chinese security officials at Beijing’s Great Hall of the People in November 2017, according to the report, which cited five sources “familiar with the events.”

The briefcase is supposed to be close to the president at all times. Chief of Staff John Kelly, after hearing about the incident, rushed over and told U.S. officials to keep walking, Axios said. That resulted in a commotion between the Americans and the Chinese.

“A Chinese security official grabbed Kelly, and Kelly shoved the man’s hand off of his body. Then a U.S. Secret Service agent grabbed the Chinese security official and tackled him to the ground,” according to the report.

The news outlet reported the scuffle was over “in a flash” and the Chinese never touched the briefcase. The chief of the Beijing security detail apologized, Axios said.

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment sent outside of normal business hours.

For more on the skirmish, see the full story from Axios.

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Stock futures muted after Dow starts week lower

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Traders on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange

Source: NYSE

Stock futures are little changed in early morning trading Tuesday after the Dow and S&P 500 both started the week lower.

Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 25 points, while the S&P 500 futures and Nasdaq 100 futures both traded in mildly positive territory.

The Dow fell 126 points, or 0.36%, in the regular session Monday for its worst daily performance since May 19. The S&P 500 dipped 0.08%, and a losing materials sector — down 1.2% — weighed on the market.

The Nasdaq Composite edged 0.5% higher on Monday, boosted by shares of Biogen. The biopharmaceutical stock surged 38% after the FDA approved its groundbreaking Alzheimer’s drug.

Meme stocks continued their rally Monday. Shares of AMC Entertainment jumped 14.8%, and BlackBerry and GameStop shares also popped double-digits. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission said Monday it’s watching ongoing volatility in the market and vowed to protect retail investors.

Investors are awaiting new inflation signals later this week following Friday’s jobs report. While the U.S. added fewer jobs than expected in May, the unemployment rate dropped to 5.8% from 6.1% and markets reacted positively to the readout.

“The reflation trade is taking a bit of a backseat even as Friday’s ‘Goldilocks’ payrolls report served to quell some concerns that the economy might be doing a bit too well,” Goldman Sachs’ Chris Hussey said in a note Monday. “Today’s market action shows that these concerns might be here to stay.”

May’s consumer price index is set to be released Thursday. Economists are expecting the CPI to rise 4.7% from a year earlier, according to Dow Jones. In April, the CPI increased 4.2% on an annual basis, the fastest rise since 2008.

All eyes are on the next Federal Open Market Committee meeting scheduled for June 15-16 as investors look for what Fed officials will say about inflation and monetary policy. Recent comments by officials suggest the Fed is beginning to prepare markets for tapering its asset purchases.

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Bitcoin (BTC) price slides as US seizes most of Colonial ransom

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A banner with the logo of bitcoin is seen during the crypto-currency conference Bitcoin 2021 Convention at the Mana Convention Center in Miami, Florida, on June 4, 2021.

Marco Bello | AFP | Getty Images

Bitcoin’s price slipped again Tuesday. The reason for the move was unclear, however it may be related to concerns over security of the cryptocurrency after U.S. officials managed to recover most of the ransom paid to hackers that targeted Colonial Pipeline.

Court documents said investigators were able to access the password for one of the hackers’ bitcoin wallets. The money was recovered by a recently launched task force in Washington created as part of the government’s response to a rise in cyberattacks.

The world’s largest cryptocurrency slid over 7% at 5 a.m. ET to a price of $32,952, according to Coin Metrics data. Smaller digital coins also slumped, with ether falling 7% to $2,524 and XRP losing around 6%.

In April, 2021 was looking to be a banner year for digital assets, with bitcoin having topped $60,000 for the first time ever. But a recent plunge in crypto prices has shaken confidence in the market. Bitcoin sank to nearly $30,000 last month, and is currently down almost 50% from its all-time high.

The digital currency is now up only 14% since the start of the year, though it’s still more than tripled in price from a year ago.

U.S. recovers most of Colonial ransom

On Monday, U.S. law enforcement officials said they had seized $2.3 million in bitcoin paid to DarkSide, the cybercriminal gang behind a crippling cyberattack on Colonial Pipeline.

According to a court document, the Federal Bureau of Investigation was able to access the “private key,” or password, for one of the hackers’ bitcoin wallets. Bitcoin has often been the currency of choice for hackers demanding ransom payments to decrypt data locked by malware known as “ransomware.”

Crypto media outlet Decrypt reported there were unfounded rumors that the attackers’ bitcoin wallet had been “hacked,” an unlikely scenario.

DarkSide, which reportedly received $90 million in bitcoin ransom payments before shutting down, operated a so-called “ransomware as a service” business model, where hackers develop and market ransomware tools and sell them to affiliates who then carry out attacks.

According to blockchain analytics firm Elliptic, the seized funds represented the bulk of the DarkSide affiliate’s share of the ransom paid out by Colonial.

John Hultquist, vice president of analysis at Mandiant Threat Intelligence, called the move a “welcome development.”

“It has become clear that we need to use several tools to stem the tide of this serious problem, and even law enforcement agencies need to broaden their approach beyond building cases against criminals who may be beyond the grasp of the law,” said Hultquist.

“In addition to the immediate benefits of this approach, a stronger focus on disruption may disincentivize this behavior, which is growing in a vicious cycle,” he added.

Crypto crackdown

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Alibaba expands cloud products with livestream shopping in its battle against Amazon

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Alibaba trails Amazon and Microsoft in the global cloud computing market and hopes new products such as livestreaming e-commerce can help it stand out.

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