FirstFT: Today's Top Stories |  Financial Times

FirstFT: Today’s Top Stories | Financial Times

A growing number of EU countries, including Germany, France, Italy, Belgium, Austria, Ireland and the Netherlands, moved over the weekend to suspend travel from the UK after a sharp surge in coronavirus cases, partly due to a contagious new one Strain was caused.

Germany, Italy and the Netherlands announced on Sunday that they are suspending flights from the UK, while Belgium bans air and rail travel. France said it has stopped entry of all passengers from the UK with any type of transport.

Transport Minister Jean-Baptiste Djebbari said the movement of goods from the UK to France would also be suspended for 48 hours. Germany, which holds the EU presidency, convened an emergency meeting of the bloc’s representatives on Monday to discuss a coordinated response to the new strain, Berlin said on Sunday.

The first patient in Italy tested positive for the new variant on Sunday evening. The patient and his partner had returned from Fiumicino Airport in Rome a few days ago on a flight from the UK. (FT)

Coronavirus digest

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In the news

Apple employees in the Asian supply chain protest against payment The Silicon Valley company’s supply chain in Asia was hit by labor unrest after employees of the iPhone maker’s contractors in India and China protested over unpaid wages and bonuses. (FT)

A security guard outside a Wistron-run iPhone factory in Narsapura near Bangalore, India, where worker protests escalated to riot earlier this month. © AFP via Getty Images

US lawmakers reach economic agreement Congress members were reported to have reached an agreement on Sunday evening after reaching an agreement on a $ 900 billion economic aid package before midnight. Earlier this weekend they agreed on Republican calls to curb the Federal Reserve’s crisis lending powers. (Politico, FT)

China’s largest chip maker has been blacklisted by the US The Trump administration has put Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation and DJI, the drone maker, on a U.S. export blacklist and heightened tensions with China as Joe Biden prepares for office. Under Mr. Biden, the Chinese company’s development of the US capital markets will be more difficult. (FT, SCMP)

Fish are stuck in the Brexit network as the clock ticks towards the deadline The fate of future trade relations between Great Britain and the EU depended on hundreds of millions of euros in fishing rights. The EU Parliament has committed itself to voting on an agreement only before January 1st if it has been reached by the end of Sunday – an attitude that may force Brussels to look for emergency solutions. (FT)

In terms of the fishing rights EU boats should have in UK waters and the length of a transition period, the two sides are still far apart. © Oli Scarf / AFP / Getty

Jack Ma offers to reassure the regulators When the founder of the Alibaba and Ant Group tried to find common ground with Beijing last month, he reportedly offered to hand over parts of Ant to the Chinese government. (WSJ)

Trump contradicts officials by downplaying cyberattacks Donald Trump tried to downplay the gravity of a widespread cyber attack on the US government and businesses a day after his own foreign secretary said the “very significant effort” could be attributed to Russian actors. (FT)

Ikea is pushing for greater presence in India The Swedish giant adds an Indian twist to its sleek Nordic aesthetic as the world’s largest furniture chain tries to crack a notoriously tough retail market when a new 30,000-square-foot store opens in suburban Mumbai on Friday. (FT)

Ikea, which has opened its second store in India, is keen to attract the country’s growing middle class through Getty Images. © AFP

Gucci joins Alibaba The European fashion house will open two online stores in China alongside e-commerce group Alibaba as the high-end brand is banking on a post-coronavirus boom in spending on luxury goods in the country to offset sluggish sales in the west . (FT)

Kidnapped Nigerian students released More than 300 students kidnapped from Boko Haram in northwestern Nigeria were released last week, according to a government official. (FT)

the following days

Possible reshuffle of the Indonesian cabinet President Joko Widodo could mix below-average cabinet members as early as this week. A replacement for Health Minister Terawan Agus Putranto is being considered, among other things. (Straits Times)

Indonesian President Joko Widodo during an interview with Reuters last month. © Reuters

Tesla was added to the S&P 500 The electric car maker’s introduction to the S&P 500 on Monday is expected to spike in trade and volatility. (NBC)

Biden receives Covid-19 vaccine President-elect Joe Biden and his wife Jill Biden will receive their first doses of the Covid-19 vaccine on Monday. People aged 75 and over and key workers will be in the next group to be vaccinated in the US, a committee of experts decided on Sunday. (Washington Post, AP)

What else are we reading?

How do I avoid a crisis in emerging markets? So far, the global response has been piecemeal, and little of the coordinated action that followed the financial crisis a decade ago. However, Joe Biden’s victory in the US presidential election has raised hopes that multilateral action could be revived next year. (FT)

Line graph of total debt as a percentage of GDP in 30 emerging countries (%) showing that emerging market debt rose sharply during the pandemic

China is rethinking the Jack Ma model After years of growth, China’s largest internet conglomerates extend into most sectors of the economy, from transportation to finance. While they used to have a vacant passport on regulatory issues, they are now under unprecedented scrutiny and the state is once again claiming its dominance. (NAR)

“Rebel” children of the Iranian revolution The execution of Ruhollah Zam, the son of Mohammed Ali Zam – a clergyman whose support for Iran’s theocratic revolution of 1979 led him to name his child after its founder, Ruhollah Khomeini – has the children of the revolutionaries who changed Iran , moved into the spotlight. (FT)

A CEO’s challenge to meet stratospheric demand 3M’s Mike Roman acted quickly when his company’s N95 face masks became the most sought-after item in the world. Mr. Roman is one of the rare executives whose company had prepared for a pandemic. But America’s PPE supply chain looks downright sick, writes Gillian Tett. (FT)

© Ingram Pinn / Financial Times

The year Bitcoin went institutional Bitcoin is on tears. And this time the hyper-reviews could continue, writes Izabella Kaminska. The recent price movements since then could point to a pragmatic acceptance of Bitcoin in investment circles. If so, these four key factors matter. (FT)

Invisible photos of astronauts training for a mission During the lockdown, photographer John Angerson visited photos he took in 1995 at the Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas – the control center that made history with the Apollo moon landing in 1969. The never before published images reveal a unique intimacy seldom seen among astronauts. (FT)

“All hell broke loose”: Spike Lee in 2020 The Oscar-winning filmmaker spoke to FT’s Danny Leigh about his latest film, a turbulent year and the next steps for the US. “People went through holy hell.” Mr. Lee said. “But we are learning. We learn. What else can we do? Many people died in vain, if not. “(FT)

© D’Angelo Lovell Williams

Podcast of the day

Culture call The final episode of the third season features Shantell Martin, an artist who draws large, bold lines. Moderator Lilah Raptopoulos discusses with the artist how he can teach the next generation his craft, what it means to be “sold out”, British versus American racism and an urgent question for this time: Who are you? (FT)

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