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The biggest winner in this week's Italian election was undoubtedly the populist Five Star movement, which walked off with 32 per cent of the vote. Founded as an online protest movement in 2009, its promises to stop public corruption, end austerity and provide income support to the downtrodden drew support from young voters, poorer people and the country's less prosperous south.
Luigi Di Maio, its leader, still faces an uphill struggle to become prime minister. But he will undoubtedly play a central role in the coming coalition talks. This 31-year-old has never held a permanent job — he worked briefly in internet marketing and as a steward at a local football stadium, home to SSC Napoli, James Politi writes in a profile.
When he first ran for town councillor in 2010, even his father refused to vote for him. Dapper and hard to ruffle, Mr Di Maio has become the appealing face of a party that rose to prominence through ranting, insulting polemics against mandatory vaccines and immigration.
Troubled trade: Donald Trump's decision to slap tariffs on steel imports sent shivers up the spines of business executives and economists who believe international trade is critical to economic health. Although he later offered exemptions to "real friends" of the US, the move is deeply damaging to the current multilateral regime, writes Christina Davis. The best hope for restoring normality may lie with China, she argues.
Noisy neighbours: A single female banker and her mother won more than £100,000 in damages this week from the family of four that lived above their posh London flat. Sarvenaz Fouladi had claimed she was subjected to "intolerable" noise from late night parties and boisterous children. Henry Mance contemplates the implications of the decision for fathers like himself. "Are parents finally going to be called to account for all those times that our children have abbreviated sleep, interrupted conversations, stained carpets?" he asks.
The battle for GKN: In some ways, the controversy over Melrose's hostile bid for GKN, the FTSE 100 automotive and aerospace parts supplier, is a bit unexpected. Melrose, after all, is a London-listed turnaround specialist rather than a foreign predator. But the political opposition to the deal has its roots in the historic mutual suspicion between industry and finance in the UK, writes Brian Groom.
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What you've been saying
Passengers like WiFi less if they have to pay for it— letter from Rupert Day
As providers of content and media services to airlines, we have read many reports on the revenue opportunities from connectivity on board aircraft. In our experience, both consultancies and academia tend to overstate this revenue opportunity. First, the proposed model seems to be driven by the need for “ancillary” revenues to cover the cost of delivery of the connectivity, rather than by a real understanding of travellers or their needs when in-flight. Second, evidence shows that today’s consumers “expect” connectivity as part of the service. Usage rates drop when they are asked to pay for it. Third, it takes no account of the “passenger mindset”, which changes at different times during the journey and which also depends on variables such as the reason for travel and the length of the flight.
If Saudi Aramco listing is the cornerstone of MbS policies, then his reforms palace is built on really shaky grounds. Not only is Saudi Aramco too big to be listed, but also it will always be valued at discount due to its unique position in shoring SAK political risks, both inside and outside the country. As it is now Saudi Aramco is a part of a State and, as such, it serves the Kingdom. Therefore, any industrial policy is justified to that end: the common welfare of the kingdom and its subjects. As soon as these two interests will not be perfectly aligned, then Saudi Aramco will become a countervailing power, an alternative State and not any more a State within a State. As a consequence, political risk that its policies will become politically unviable to SAK public opinion will increase dramatically.
Public trust in mutual interests is trashed— letter from Robert McDowell
Many voters, especially in Brexit UK, do not believe in multilateral benefits. Voters were led to believe in austerity’s notion of mutual exclusivity between private and public sectors; less for government translates into more for business and economic growth. This binary failed. Voters today smell hypocrisy in all governing parties. Even when it is logical to presume on shared interests, as in the UK’s stance on Brexit as it unties from Europe in favour of a chance to throw the dice for bilateral trade agreements, all signs point in the opposite direction: to an increasingly fractious world of win-lose, zero-sum games-playing. This hardening risk environment is no time for our gamblers-in-chief to abandon short odds for extremely long ones.
FT Collections: European politics: can the centre hold?
Italian elections and the German coalition show centrist parties under pressure
Instant Insight: Westminster must take responsibility for a bullying culture
Most parliamentarians are excellent mentors, but too often bad behaviour is ignored
It is up to China to save the global trading system
Faced with a recalcitrant America, Beijing is the last best hope for reviving the WTO
Free Lunch: We live in revolutionary times
Regime changers in the US and Europe
GKN takeover row reveals UK doubts about open markets
Britain is haunted by past industrial decline and the buccaneering raids of the 1980s
Sonja Bata, philanthropist and business leader, 1926-2018
The Swiss-Canadian who founded a shoe museum and helped build a footwear empire
Person in the News: Luigi Di Maio, leader of Italy’s Five Star Movement
After his victory in the election, the impoverished south has a champion at last
Instant Insight: Kim Jong Un offers Donald Trump his ‘Nixon in China’ moment
Just as Mao meeting was all about the Soviets, these talks will be all about China
EM Squared: Emerging market investors fail to reap benefits of GDP growth
High level of dilution blamed for disconnect between economic and earnings growth
FT View: Mohammed bin Salman, strongman in the making In Saudi Arabia, too much power rests on one man’s shoulders
FT View: More ethical dilemmas for Norway’s oil fund Selling out of oil and gas groups will not change much. Dialogue may
The Big Read
The Big Read: The unanswered questions over the attack on a Russian double agent The poisoning of Sergei Skripal involved the use of a nerve agent. With suspicion of Russian involvement, the attack strains relations between London and Moscow
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