FirstFT: Today's Top Stories |  Financial Times

FirstFT: Today’s Top Stories | Financial Times

A Covid-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer and Germany’s BioNTech has been shown to be more than 90 percent effective. This could enable the breakthrough, which could make the shot available by the end of the year if drug regulators give it the go-ahead.

The finding was the result of the first independent analysis of a Covid-19 vaccine in phase 3 trials – the final phase before commercial approval. Of the 43,000 study participants, the small number of people infected enabled the independent evaluators to calculate effectiveness after two doses.

The drug is expected to be presented to authorities for emergency approval in the third week of November before other vaccine developers. The next big challenge after getting a vaccine approved is giving it to enough people.

Pfizer shares rose almost 15 percent in pre-market trading in New York, while BioNTech shares, which are listed on the Nasdaq, rose 25 percent. Global equity markets surged on a rally led by companies hardest hit by the pandemic after the breakthrough became known.

US President-elect Joe Biden, who unveiled the members of his coronavirus task force on Monday, urged all Americans to wear a mask while the US waits for a vaccine and warned the nation of a “dark winter” in the middle of one sharp increase in the number of Covid-19 cases. (FT, WSJ)

Coronavirus digest

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In the news

Apple suspends iPhone assembler in China Apple stopped giving “new business” to its second largest iPhone assembler, Pegatron, after using illegal student labor at its facility near Shanghai. The allegations reflect the abuses previously identified by the Financial Times in Foxconn. (FT)

Employees line up for roll call before entering their workplaces in a Pegatron factory in Shanghai. © Bloomberg

Biden team ready to move on to cabinet picks. . . Joe Biden and his transition team are expected to act swiftly to fill positions in his cabinet even if a government agency administrator refuses to trigger the release of resources to aid the transition. Mr Biden could be forced to make more moderate decisions if Republicans retain control of the Senate. Here’s a look at who’s at a dispute. (FT, Politico)

. . . Trump displaces one of his own Donald Trump fired his Secretary of Defense, Mark Esper, on Monday, weeks after the Pentagon chief clashed with the president by speaking out against the use of US troops to quell protests in American cities. (FT)

India orders Google investigation India’s competition watchdog has ordered an in-depth investigation into the close links between Google’s mobile app store and its payment service after an initial review found the internet company was wrongly ousting competitors. (FT)

The Indian investigation follows a complaint that the US company is forcing developers to use its internal payment system, resulting in “arbitrary and onerous” fees of 30 percent. © REUTERS

SoftBank posts $ 1.3 billion on Nasdaq whale bets In its first results since the Financial Times announced that it was behind the purchase of US $ billion in equity derivatives, the Japanese tech company reported net income of US $ 6 billion for the three months ended September. (FT)

Ant faces a winding path back to the market The announcement by banking regulators that it will treat fintech more like banks threatens the Ant Group’s already belated IPO. The setback signals a settlement for the industry, writes Patrick Jenkins. According to our editorial team, Ant was a threat to China’s centralized control. (FT)

US sanctions in Hong Kong The Hong Kong Securities Commission has privately advised financial institutions to impose US sanctions without automatically violating a tough national security law that Beijing has imposed on the city. (FT)

Azerbaijan conquers the strategic city in Nagorno-Karabakh Azerbaijan’s armed forces have captured a strategically important city in the war for control of Nagorno-Karabakh. This is a major breakthrough that effectively separates the disputed area’s lifeline from Armenia. (FT)

A still image from a video released by the Azerbaijani Ministry of Defense shows an Azerbaijani national flag hanging on a sign in Shusha city. © via REUTERS

The day ahead

Obamacare hearing at Scotus The US Supreme Court is expected to hear on Tuesday of a case questioning the legality of the Affordable Care Act.

Summary of results The UK-listed food manufacturer Premier Foods, the sporting goods manufacturer Adidas and the Persil manufacturer Henkel published the results on Tuesday. Heavily indebted Occidental Petroleum will bring investors up to speed. (FT)

The global boardroom

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What else are we reading?

What Biden means to Asia U.S. allies in Asia have urged Joe Biden not to repeat the Obama administration’s strategic failures as the U.S. president-elect tries to repair the diplomatic damage Donald Trump wrought in the White House for four years. Beijing expects less volatility but tough relations among Mr Biden. (FT)

  • In terms of trade, Mr Biden is not going to return to the globalist days of President Bill Clinton, but he is going to deviate from Mr Trump’s vicious unpredictability, writes Alan Beattie in Trade Secrets.

Officials across Asia fear that measures to alleviate US-China tensions could affect Washington’s relations with Taiwan. © Ann Wang / Reuters

Populists around the world have lost their leader Donald Trump’s loss will dump, but not defeat, many autocrats outside the US, writes Gideon Rachman. Mr Trump is the informal leader of the populist movement. The main outposts are the governments of Brazil, Poland and Hungary. (FT)

The journalist against Facebook Maria Ressa, the CEO of the Philippine news site Rappler, has for years taken over the disinformation of the president of her country, Rodrigo Duterte. Now she’s turned her attention to a new enemy, one of Mr. Duterte’s most powerful enablers: Facebook. (Rest of the world)

The politics of Chinese sports The Beijing Winter Olympics, slated for 2022 if it can go on schedule, could be the most controversial games of recent times as the world grapples with China’s alleged human rights abuses. (SCMP)

Poland’s draconian abortion restrictions The FT view is that the government continues to divert the country from the EU mainstream despite thousands protesting a law banning almost all abortions. (FT)

Protesters hold signs in Polish
Protesters hold signs reading “Women’s Strike” as they block a street in Warsaw for the 12th consecutive day following the tightening of Poland’s strict abortion law. © AP

An ode to Trump Derangement Syndrome For those outside of Washington DC, explaining the pressure cooker psychology of living in Donald Trump’s town is difficult, writes Edward Luce in the latest issue of Swamp Notes (sign up here). Liberals misunderstand the seductive appeal of populism, writes Princeton professor Jan-Werner Müller. (FT)

Will the UK cut back on private equity tax breaks? The existing agreement enables UK private equity executives to pay lower tax rates on their multi-million pound bonuses than workers for annual wages over £ 50,000. Any step to the ax could mark how the post-pandemic sector will be taxed globally. (FT).

Video of the day

Will Donald Trump Accept Defeat? FT’s Kiran Stacey asks if Joe Biden can ever convince Donald Trump supporters he won fairly. (FT)

Video: Will Donald Trump Ever Accept Defeat? | DC diary

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