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This is an audio transcript of the FT News Briefing podcast episode: Auto industry chip shortage worsens

Joanna Kao
Good morning from the Financial Times, today is Friday, August 20th, and this is your FT News Briefing. The chip shortage is back and it’s hitting the car industry in a big way. The Taliban’s rule in Afghanistan is raising the spectre of new refugee flows. We’ll talk to our correspondent in Germany, where memories of the 2015 Syrian refugee crisis are still fresh in people’s minds. But . . . 

Guy Chazan
Experts who know about the situation with migration say that any parallels with 2015 are completely misplaced.

Joanna Kao
And in the last of our summer book chats. We’ll talk about the titles that made the long list for this year’s FT & McKinsey Business Book of the Year Award. I’m Joanna Kao, in for Marc Filippino. And here’s the news you need to start your day.

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Three of the world’s biggest carmakers yesterday announced their production would be disrupted because they don’t have enough semiconductor chips. Now, this comes as Covid sweeps across south-east Asia, where many chips are made. One of the carmakers, Ford, said one of its plants would halt assembly of the popular F-150 pick-up truck for a week starting Monday. General Motors added or extended downtime at production lines in North America, and Toyota said it would slash global production by 40 per cent starting next month. Here’s the FT’s Tokyo correspondent, Kana Inagaki.

Kana Inagaki
Toyota is blaming the sudden surge in coronavirus cases. And the two big countries that have been affected is Vietnam and Malaysia, which have critical roles in producing electronics, as well as packaging and testing components. It’s going to affect basically all the plants across the world. But the biggest area that will be hit is its home market in Japan, where 14 out of the 15 plants will be affected, but also other places like North America, China, other parts of Asia and Europe.

Joanna Kao
That’s the FT’s Tokyo correspondent, Kana Inagaki.

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In Afghanistan, Taliban rule is prompting many people to try to flee the country, and that could mean more refugees. In Europe, the refugee issue is fraught with memories of the Syrian refugee crisis, and some Europeans are rattled by estimates they’re hearing now. Here’s the FT’s Berlin bureau chief, Guy Chazan.

Guy Chazan
The German interior minister Horst Seehofer said earlier this week that the number could range from 300 thousand to five million. That got a lot of attention in Germany, which obviously has the experience of the big refugee crisis in 2015-16, when more than a million asylum seekers converged on Germany. Figures like that obviously have an enormous resonance in this country, as they do in other European states.

Joanna Kao
Guy, how similar is this to the Syrian refugee crisis?

Guy Chazan
Experts who know about the situation with migration say that any parallels with 2015 are completely misplaced because in 2015 it was largely Syrian refugees who were converging on Europe. Afghan refugees have much longer routes to cover to get to Europe. And the other problem is that actually a lot of the transit countries have beefed up their border security over recent years. And that means it’s far more difficult for Afghans to actually leave their country and travel to Europe than it even was in 2015. And then it was pretty hard. Also, the other thing is that they have much fewer financial resources than the Syrians did back in 2015. And the other problem is that not only can they not leave their country, it’s very difficult for them to actually move around Afghanistan as well. Internally, the Taliban are now in control. So women and girls can’t move around without a male escort. And that means it’s actually very difficult to be a refugee, to be a displaced person, to actually leave your home, let alone try and get to Europe.

Joanna Kao
Guy Kazan is the FT’s Berlin bureau chief.

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This summer, we’ve had FT columnists join us on the podcast to share their favourite summer book picks on beach-friendly topics like economics and climate. Today, we’re gonna talk about books that made the long list for this year’s FT & McKinsey Business Book of the Year. Out of 600 entries, 15 titles made the long list, which was just released. And the FT’s management editor, Andrew Hill, is with me now to talk about them. Hi, Andrew.

Andrew Hill
Hi.

Joanna Kao
So are there any books that you think in this long list that wouldn’t have been interesting in a previous year but have been published at just the right time, given that we’re all in a pandemic?

Andrew Hill
Yeah, I mean, I think there are a few here that rose to the top of the pile to some degree because they are right on the money in terms of the discussions that we’re having post-pandemic or during the second stage of the pandemic. Among those clearly Tsedal Neeley’s book Remote Work Revolution. Neeley is an academic who studied remote work over many years, a bit of a pioneer in this field and whose work has taken on enormous relevance, obviously, as we’ve all been thrust into lockdown. On a different topic, nothing really to do with the pandemic, Robert Livingston’s The Conversation is a book about race and racism in the workplace, which clearly got firmly into the headlines last year with the Black Lives Matter protests over George Floyd’s murder and the subsequent trials. And I think this one, again, has a lot of lessons for managers. And then the third one, which is very straightforwardly about the pandemic, is Gregory Zuckerman’s A Shot to Save the World, which, unlike the other two I’ve mentioned, has not come out yet. It’s not published until the end of October. And Zuckerman is a journalist who has looked at the race for the vaccines. Now, it would be fair to say that there have been a couple of books on this topic on the list this year, and I’m sure there’ll be many more in coming years. But, you know, our take is that Zuckerman has nailed this in a book that is an instant analysis, one that has tried to take a shot at a moving target, but has hit it pretty well, I think.

Joanna Kao
We’re seeing lots of different kinds of books entered in the contest and we’ve seen differences over the last 17 years that we’ve been running it. How are you seeing the books evolve over time? How is that changing?

Andrew Hill
Well, one thing that I should mention is I’m glad to say we’re getting we’re getting more books written by women. I think in the early stages, perhaps we were guilty as a prize for not encouraging this. But I feel like there are more books that are contenders now that have women as authors and co-authors. And indeed, we’ve had a number of winners, including last year’s by Sarah Frier, No Filter, and the previous years by Caroline Criado Perez, Invisible Women. Still a minority, I have to say, in the books that are entered. I think another one is that, of course, as the prize has matured it’s become clearer that this is a prize where often, in fact, always criticised for not producing on our long list as many, if you like, traditional business books. But that’s partly because we deliberately set out in 2005 to organise a prize that was going to be sort of genre bending and expand the business book genre. It’s supposed to be compelling and enjoyable insights into business issues. And there’s been already some criticism of this year’s award for including books about the pandemic and climate change, for example. But, you know, I think it’s hard to argue that those are not books with big themes that profoundly affect business.

Joanna Kao
And finally, before we let you go, what are some of your personal favourites on the list?

Andrew Hill
I am always a sucker for books about deep investigation into companies, because that’s something that I’ve been writing about. So I thoroughly enjoyed The Cult of We, which is about the extraordinary WeWork fiasco, a fine book. And then and then finally, I’m deliberately hedging my bets here, Maxine Bédat’s book Unraveled: the Life and Death of a Garment, which is a clever, clever way of looking at globalisation and the garment and clothing industry. Those are those are of just a handful of the ones that I’ve enjoyed. Whether it coincides with the judge’s picks, we will wait and see in September when they come back to pick the shortlist of six.

Joanna Kao
And we’re looking forward to seeing that short list. And the winner will be announced December 1st. Andrew Hill is the FT’s management editor.

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You can see details of the books on the long list. And you can read more on all the stories in today’s show at FT.com. This has been your daily FT News Briefing. Make sure you check back next week for the latest business news. The FT News Briefing is produced by Fiona Symon and Marc Filippino. Our editor is Jess Smith. We had help this week from Lauren Fedor, Zoe Han, Gavin Kallmann, Michael Bruning and Persis Love. Our theme song is by Metaphor Music.

This transcript has been automatically generated. If by any chance there is an error please send the details for a correction to: typo@ft.com. We will do our best to make the amendment as soon as possible.

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