FirstFT: Today’s top stories | Financial Times

FirstFT: Today’s top stories | Financial Times

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Donald Trump said that he would shortly be leaving Walter Reed military hospital, where he has spent the last three nights being treated for coronavirus.

“I will be leaving the great Walter Reed Medical Center today at 6:30 P.M. (ET) Feeling really good!” Mr Trump wrote on Twitter. “Don’t be afraid of Covid. Don’t let it dominate your life. We have developed, under the Trump Administration, some really great drugs & knowledge. I feel better than I did 20 years ago!”

White House physician Dr Sean Conley said that Mr Trump’s “clinical status” supported his departure from the hospital but warned the president “may not be entirely out of the woods yet”. Some of Mr Trump’s advisers urged him to remain in the hospital as recently as this morning.

The president sparked intense criticism on Sunday evening after he briefly left Walter Reed in an SUV to thank supporters who were gathered outside the facility. Critics accused him of conducting a political stunt that put his driver and secret service team at risk and broke CDC protocol. Dr Conley on Monday defended the SUV ride.

Meanwhile, the White House outbreak continued to spread: Kayleigh McEnany, the White House press secretary, announced on Monday that she had tested positive for the virus.

Here are the coronavirus drugs Trump has been prescribed. Plus, Aime Williams and Demetri Sevastopulo break down what else we know about Trump’s Covid-19 infection. (FT, WSJ, CNN)

Coronavirus digest

  • Muhyiddin Yassin started a two-week quarantine after the Indonesian prime minister had contact with a minister who later tested positive for coronavirus.

  • Exclusive: Less than half the UK’s population can expect to be vaccinated, the head of the government’s vaccine task force told the FT.

  • Paris bars and cafés are ordered to close for two weeks from Tuesday as the city and its nearest suburbs contend with a rise in virus cases.

  • The IMF has called on rich countries to increase public investment as the best way to encourage a strong economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.

  • Cineworld will close all its UK and US cinemas indefinitely, threatening tens of thousands of jobs, after the long-awaited next instalment in the James Bond franchise became the latest movie to be pulled by Hollywood studios. (FT)

In the news

Scandal threatens Yoshihide Suga’s honeymoon period Japan’s new prime minister Yoshihide Suga has become embroiled in his first scandal after refusing to confirm the nomination of six professors to an advisory council, in apparent retaliation for their political views. Mr Suga also faces China’s claim of sovereignty of the Senkaku Islands. (FT, SCMP)

Yoshihide Suga is known as a hard-nosed powerbroker © AFP via Getty Images

Indonesia’s parliament passes sweeping reform bill The so-called omnibus law will overhaul several dozen tax and labour market laws as south-east Asia’s largest economy strives to boost foreign investment and counter the economic impact of coronavirus. (FT)

Iran’s stock-buying frenzy gives way to market fall The benchmark Tedpix index saw record gains earlier this year after share sales in state-owned companies encouraged a new generation of Iranians to buy stocks. But the index has since slumped about 28 per cent, trading below 1.5m points on Monday, in what analysts say is one of the most dramatic swings on record. (FT)

Google defers enforcement of app store fee in India The company postponed the enforcement of a 30 per cent fee on some in-app payments from September 2021 until April 2022 after facing an outcry from more than 150 start-ups in India. A decade-long legal battle between Google and Oracle finally reaches the US Supreme Court this week. (FT)

Thousands of companies sue US over China tariffs More than 3,500 companies have filed lawsuits against the US government over its tariffs on China in recent weeks, demonstrating the extent of unhappiness among businesses over Donald Trump’s trade wars. (FT)

Discoverers of hepatitis C virus win Nobel medicine prize The Nobel Assembly said on Monday that research carried out by Harvey Alter, Charles Rice and Michael Houghton in the 1970s and 80s made a “decisive contribution to the fight against blood-borne hepatitis”, calling their work a “landmark achievement in the battle against viral diseases”. (FT)


Harvey Alter, Michael Houghton and Charles Rice, all pictured on screen, are announced as the winners of the Nobel Prize for medicine at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden © Claudio Bresciani/POOL/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock

Business ethics guru accused Dov Seidman, author of a bestselling book on moral leadership, has been accused of cheating investors out of millions of dollars when he sold his business ethics consultancy LRN to a private equity company in 2018. (FT)

Elected governments turn on NGOs International civil society groups say they are facing intensifying pressure even in democracies as elected governments wield political, legal and financial weapons to halt their work. The statement comes after Amnesty International’s suspension last week of its Indian operations. (FT)

The day ahead

Reserve Bank of Australia The central bank is broadly expected to keep its rates on hold at 0.25 per cent at its meeting on Tuesday. (FX Street)

UK Conservative party conference ends Observers will be closely watching on Tuesday whether the party will show a common front under Boris Johnson’s leadership, as he deals with a backlash from his own backbench relating to the latest Covid-19 restrictions. (FT)

Pompeo visits Japan Secretary of state Mike Pompeo is scheduled to visit Japan on Tuesday, curtailing plans to also visit South Korea and Mongolia after Mr Trump was hospitalised. (Japan Times)

What else we’re reading

A new cold war Once again, the US is facing a rival superpower, military tensions are taking shape and a conflict is being framed between the free world and a dictatorship. In the first of a new FT series, Gideon Rachman explores how deteriorating US-China relations feel eerily familiar. (FT)

Test before you board is the only route back to air travel If flying is to resume, governments, regulators and the industry need to move towards a common system of assuring themselves, and passengers, that people flying are infection-free, writes Michael Skapinker. (FT)

US, Europe and UK must unite to keep Chinese tech at bay With China singularly focused on catching up on new technologies that can propel them closer to military and economic supremacy, the time for complacency is over. The west needs a strategy to remain competitive, writes
Anja Manuel. (FT)

Citi’s new boss Jane Fraser faces hard choices Citigroup is not the strongest of America’s big banks. It is the most interesting, writes Rob Armstrong. The job for Jane Fraser, its next chief executive, is to make it a bit more dull. What makes Citi so fascinating and Ms Fraser’s task so hard, is the bank’s history. (FT)


Jane Fraser will take on the top job at Citi next year © Bloomberg

Save the planet — and make money Catastrophic climate change is humanity’s biggest challenge. It may also represent the most spectacular investment opportunity of our lifetimes, writes John Thornhill. Meanwhile, the Amazon rainforest is close to becoming an open savannah because of the climate crisis, researchers say. (FT, Guardian)

Samsung mounts 5G offensive Samsung Electronics may be finally poised to make meaningful inroads in 5G, where it has long lagged behind global peers, thanks to rollouts across the world and campaigns by US allies to block Huawei. (FT)

Alone at the top Tidjane Thiam made Credit Suisse profitable again. But the Swiss establishment rejected him as an outsider and a scandal led to his abrupt ousting. Here’s an inside look at how banking’s top tier lost its sole black chief executive. (NYT)

How to keep a booze business alive While other wine merchants fumbled their way through social media for the first time as countries entered lockdowns, Shop Cuvée founders Brodie Meah and Max Venning carpet-bombed their Instagram Stories with videos of themselves sabring the corks off rosé bottles, shucking oysters and delivering drinks by bike. (FT)


Top Cuvée’s Max Venning, Brodie Meah and Noel Venning

Video of the day

How coronavirus has stepped up geopolitical rivalry In an exclusive interview, Sir Alex Younger, codenamed ‘C’, who has stepped down from his role after 30 years at MI6, tells FT editor Roula Khalaf the global pandemic has redoubled the secret service’s mission and increased its myriad challenges.

Video: How coronavirus has stepped up geopolitical rivalry – outgoing UK spy chief

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