Listen to this article
This is an experimental feature. Give us your feedback. Thank you for your feedback.
What do you think?
Sign up to receive FirstFT by email here
The Group of Seven industrial powers is increasing the pressure on Russia to abandon its Syrian ally, Bashar al-Assad, after last week’s chemical weapons attack. G7 foreign ministers meeting in Italy have condemned Moscow’s support for the Syrian president but are split on whether or not to impose sanctions on Russian military officers working with the Syrian regime. US secretary of state Rex Tillerson will fly to Moscow to reinforce the message — although it is unclear whether Vladimir Putin will see him.
The Syrian president appears unconcerned about the mounting opposition. Since the US bombed one of his main airbases last week, his forces have intensified attacks on rebel-held areas, with activists accusing them of dropping barrel bombs on civilians in Hama province. Investigators say there is also mounting evidence of the culpability of Damascus in the chemical attack, despite the Assad government’s denials. (Reuters, FT, Belling Cat)
In the news
Toshiba files unaudited results The troubled Japanese conglomerate filed its third-quarter earnings after repeated delays, but without a proper sign-off from its auditor. They showed a net loss of ¥532.5bn. (FT, NAR)
Wells Fargo bankers cough up Directors at the bank are clawing back an extra $75m in executive bonus payouts after an internal investigation into the sham accounts scandal placed the blame largely at the door of the US bank’s former top executives. Here are five damning revelations from the probe. (FT)
Japan’s shrinking population The country’s population will plummet to just 51m by 2115 — down from 127m today and an estimated 88m by 2065 — in a new forecast that lays bare the severity of its demographic time bomb. (FT)
‘Re-accommodation’, United-style The boss of United Airlines has an interesting way of describing the removal of paying passengers from his company’s planes. After a video showing a doctor being dragged, screaming and bleeding, from the overbooked flight went viral, Oscar Munoz apologised for “having to re-accommodate” customers. Social media audiences were not impressed. (NPR, Twitter, FT)
Foxconn offers $27bn for Toshiba’s chip business The Taiwanese Apple supplier’s reported bid for a major pillar of the Japanese company’s business is said to have blown the next highest bidder’s $18bn tip out of the water. (WSJ)
It's a big day for
The US economy The National Federation of Independent Business will publish its Small Business Credit Survey. (Bloomberg)
Keep up with the important business, economic and political stories in the coming days with the FT’s Week Ahead.
Food for thought
Will France’s centre hold? This year’s French presidential election has unusual global significance as a measure of the continued strength of nationalist populist movements. With less than two weeks until voting begins, the outcome is uncertain. A look at the French town of Béziers shows how far-right National Front leader Marine Le Pen could win. But if you believe the polls, the centre will hold. (FT)
Erdogan stirs up German Turks Recep Tayyip Erdogan has taken his battle for increased powers to Germany, where 1.4m Turks are eligible to vote in this weekend’s referendum. The result is an increasingly divided diaspora and a headache for Angela Merkel. Back home, Mr Erdogan is pulling out all the stops to win the vote. If he succeeds he will cement his role as the most constitutionally powerful president in Turkey’s history. (FT)
The Premier League versus the pirates In order to stop illegal viewing of its lucrative football matches (the broadcast rights were worth £5.1bn over three years in the UK), the Premier League has resorted to the courts. But if the world’s richest soccer league wants to really stop piracy, it should look to the NFL’s experiments with digital broadcasts and make live streaming available to fans. (The Conversation)
The Isis plan in Egypt The jihadi group is under fire across the Middle East but Sunday’s suicide attacks on the region’s largest Christian community suggest it has found a new battleground: the cities of mainland Egypt. The victims of the violence were not all Christian worshippers; security personnel at Saint Mark’s Coptic Orthodox Cathedral in Alexandria — including three Muslim policewomen — were also killed. (NYT, Egypt Independent)
How much do you know about bitcoin? Investors are enticed by bitcoin’s record run and a sense that, nearing its 10th birthday, the cryptocurrency is here to stay — and millennials are making big money by trading it. But this quiz might prove how little you know about digital currency. (Guardian, WSJ)
Video of the day
Barclays chief faces investigation Lex on what the whistleblowing case means for the bank and its chief executive Jes Staley. (FT)