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Shares in Toshiba suffered their biggest drop in 40 years on fears of a full-blown crisis over huge writedowns at the Japanese industrial conglomerate. The company revealed in December that it faced a writedown — estimated by some to be as high as $8bn — on its US nuclear business. It reflects cost overruns and delays on nuclear projects belonging to the US company Stone & Webster, which Toshiba bought in 2015. The news that the Development Bank of Japan, a government-backed lender, was considering how it could help the group, did little to stem the share price drop.
There are now questions over the survival of the industrial giant, which in its earliest incarnations gave Japan its first electric streetlamps, power stations, lightbulbs, refrigerators and colour televisions. (FT, NAR)
In the news
Two presidents in Gambia? Gambians appear to have two presidents after Yahya Jammeh, who lost in a December election, refused to step down when his term expired at midnight on Wednesday. The president-elect, Adama Barrow was due to be inaugurated in Banjul on Thursday but is instead holding the ceremony at the Gambian embassy in neighbouring Senegal. A number of ministers, including the vice-president, Isatou Njie Saidy, have stepped down as tensions rise in the country. Senegalese troops have massed on the border to enforce the election result. (FT, Jazeera)
Relief at Samsung A South Korean court has denied the request of prosecutors to arrest Samsung group heir-apparent and de facto head Lee Jae-yong for his alleged role in a snowballing corruption scandal poised to topple President Park Geun-hye. (FT)
Erdogan’s constitution Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s bid to widen his powers was boosted by Turkish lawmakers who approved seven articles of his constitutional reform bill overnight. Opponents charge that the reforms will weaken parliament and concentrate too much power in the presidency. (Reuters, Jazeera)
US interest rates Janet Yellen, the Fed chair, has warned that the US risks a “nasty surprise” if it waits too long to continue raising interest rates. It comes as China cut its holdings of US Treasuries by $66bn in November, reducing its position in the haven debt to the lowest level since 2010— an acceleration in sales that threatens a rise in US interest rates if it continues. (FT)
May talks to the global elite British prime minister Theresa May made her pitch for “ global Britain” in a speech to political and business leaders at Davos on Thursday. A growing number of business leaders and international bank executives at the Swiss resort have voiced concerns about her announcement that Britain would withdraw from the EU’s single market after Brexit. (FT)
Read our full special report The World, coinciding with Davos.
A wary embrace for Trump from Davos leaders The corporate chieftains at Davos are warming to Mr Trump: expressing the hope that, despite his sometimes anti-business rhetoric, he will pursue a pro-business agenda and help push the world on to a path of higher growth. (FT)
New vaccine coalition to prevent epidemics A billion-dollar global coalition will create new vaccines to protect the world against emerging viruses that could cause catastrophic epidemics. Bill Gates, one of the coalition’s biggest backers through his foundation, said he hoped to cut the time between identifying and deploying a vaccine from as many as 10 years today to less than 12 months. (FT)
Biden’s parting words Joe Biden, outgoing vice-president, used his final speech to take a parting shot at Vladimir Putin— whom he accused of trying to “whittle away at the European project” — and draw stark contrasts between the Obama administration’s Russia policies and those of Mr Trump. (FT)
How tech is taking over finance It is a transformation, leading professionals attending Davos have told the Financial Times, that is likely to lead to widespread automation, a blur in the dividing line between finance and technology and, ultimately, widespread consolidation. (FT)
Follow Davos events on the World Economic Forum website.
It’s a big day for
The European Central Bank The ECB holds its first monetary policy meeting of 2017, about a month after it extended its landmark bond purchase programme by at least nine months. Here is what to expect. (FT)
Keep up with the important business, economic and political stories in the coming days with the FT’s Week Ahead.
Food for thought
Obama’s legacy When President Obama arrived in office eight years ago, the departing President George W Bush essentially withdrew from public life, declaring that his successor “deserves my silence”. It was an approach Mr Obama appreciated, but judging by his final news conference on Thursday not one he intends to follow. But the onset of full Republican control of the federal government may mean doom for the outgoing president’s legacy. Here’s a look at the complicated legacy he leaves behind for black America and his historic clemency record. (FT, NYT)
The Jesse James of the Libor scandal Bankers lied, cheated and colluded to rig the one of the world’s most important numbers for years. But after the global financial crisis hit, regulators were hot on their trail. An in-depth read on Tom Hayes, the scandal’s star player. (Guardian)
Russia’s Middle East push From Syria to Libya, Egypt and Iran, Moscow is back as a key player in the Middle East after decades of declining influence. As well as trying to establish a bulwark against destabilising Islamist terrorism, Russia has an economic incentive: the region has traditionally been a big market for Russian weapons sales and could provide investment opportunities for Russian companies. (FT)
Killing our cousins Sixty per cent of primate species are threatened with extinction, largely because of humans. They are mainly threatened by habitat loss due to logging or farming but are also hunted for meat, or to supply the illegal trade in pets and body parts. Road construction, oil and gas extraction, mining, pollution, disease and climate change all add to the list of threats. (The Conversation)
Meet the team running Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook page They do not just write his Facebook posts or delete spam on his page. Facebook also has professional photographers snap him, say, taking a run in Beijing or reading to his daughter. As the chief executive also spends more time meeting diplomats and investing his personal fortune in philanthropic causes, it is no wonder people are speculating he might run for public office. (Bloomberg)
Video of the day
Why Macron is on the rise Paris bureau chief Anne-Sylvaine Chassany looks at what’s behind the rise in popularity of Emmanuel Macron in the French presidential race. Mr Macron, a former Socialist economy minister, is standing as an independent. (FT)
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