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Theresa May has survived. After a turbulent week in which she had to delay a critical vote on her Brexit deal and fight off a confidence vote in her leadership, the British prime minister has emerged bloodied but still standing. Yet the chances of her passing a withdrawal agreement have scarcely improved - and may have in fact decreased.

Philip Stephens argues in his latest column  that there is now only one avenue left to avoid chaos. Mrs May should soften elements of her Brexit deal and reach out to opposition MPs to see it through the House of Commons. There is a majority for this, Philip argues, but it would have to be assembled outside the existing party structures. Throughout this process, the prime minister focused on trying to please those in her own party. But the events of this week show there are some Tories impervious to any compromise. Further efforts to convince them are probably worthless.

Martin Wolf thinks that the nightmare of a no-deal Brexit is looming and must be stopped. He says that there are Tory fanatics seeking to impose a disruptive experiment on fellow citizens

Gillian Tett considers the impact of Donald Trump's trade 'victory' on German car manufacturers. For now, it is they, and not American automakers, who are benefiting. 

David Pilling argues that Congo has a chance to move on from Joseph Kabila, with democratic elections due to take place soon after two years of obfuscation. 

Henry Mance imagines Donald Trump's efforts to find a new chief of staff. It might be time to bring back The Apprentice.

What you’ve been saying

Central banks ignore climate risks at their peril: letter from Rens van Tilburg, Director, Sustainable Finance Lab, Utrecht University, Netherlands

Your Special Report on Sustainable Finance (December 6), shows that few central bankers still dispute that climate is a material risk. Few, however, also act on this. Central banks can either stick to their current practices, or they can start taking climate-related risks and opportunities into account. Not knowing exactly how, but moving in the direction that by now most agree on: that fossil fuel-intensive assets carry a larger transition risk. This is not about abusing capital weights for climate policies at a cost to financial stability. On the contrary, it is about taking all relevant information into account when setting risk weights. It is about deciding that it is better to be roughly right, rather than to be exactly wrong.

In response to " The US constitution is working to constrain Donald Trump", Limburger says: 

To date, the opposition to Trump excesses has been the judiciary. Recently the Senate (50-51) approved a Federal judge deemed unfit by the ABA. The Republicans are packing the courts with judges based on ideology, not experience and competence. Their anti-democratic intent is clear: attempts to undermine the legal system (and the press) and recent moves of States to hobble incoming Democratic governors.

Soil microbes act as nature’s hidden defence: letter from Karen Sillence, Bristol, UK

I was excited to see that farmers are using microbes to boost seeds (“ Disrupters take root”, December 11). However, current agricultural methods, which emphasise fertilisers and herbicides, often kill micro wildlife, including microbes. If managed properly, micro wildlife in soil breaks down and releases otherwise inaccessible macro and micro nutrients, and builds highly sophisticated defences, tailored specifically to each plant to protect against pests and disease. In the light of phosphorus reserves running out I would love to encourage farmers to work with microbes and micro wildlife for healthy seeds, healthy plants and healthy ecosystems, including addressing the unconscionable decline of wildlife.

Today’s opinion

German carmakers to usurp Trump’s trade ‘victory’
It is just one example of the consequences if America rips apart global supply chains

The nightmare of a no-deal Brexit looms and must be prevented
Fanatics seek to impose a highly disruptive experiment on their fellow citizens

You’re fired! Trump’s search for a new chief of staff
In the absence of obvious candidates, perhaps it is time to reboot ‘The Apprentice’

Tail Risk: Despite judicious efforts, miners remain risky bet for investors
Lack of trust compounded by fears that trade war will hit Chinese demand

Theresa May’s last path to an orderly Brexit
UK prime minister has a chance but may not seize it

Why do we still keep schtum about our salaries?
In an age of transparency, it is time to compare our worth with others

Finally, Congo has a chance to move on from Kabila
If vote rigging is too blatant, the urban youth that demanded elections will erupt again

Theresa May clings on but nothing has changed for her
PM survives crucial vote but confirms the impression of a zombie leader 

FT View

The FT View: The ECB makes a return to normality — for now
The central bank should be ready to use quantitative easing again

The FT View: May survives not beaten but bloodied from leadership vote
UK prime minister still faces an uphill struggle to sell her Brexit deal to sceptical colleagues

The Big Read

The Big Read: Universities challenged: scrutiny over Gulf money
Recent scandals have put Middle East funding of US and UK institutions in the spotlight

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