Clinton’s email woes, oil breaks $50 and the trouble with bonuses

Critical report could haunt Democrat nominee in tightening presidential campaign

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Hillary Clinton created “security risks” by using a personal email account and private email server when she was secretary of state, according to a sharply critical report by the state department that could haunt her in the tightening presidential election campaign.

However, it’s worth keeping the big picture in mind, says Vox’s Andrew Prokop. First, the Clinton emails that have been publicly released have tended to be banal rather than scandal-worthy; and second, no evidence of successful hacking of Mrs Clinton’s email account has yet turned up.

“If either of these happen — or, of course, if the FBI turns up anything else untoward — then Clinton’s candidacy might really be in deep trouble. But so far, neither has.”

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In the news

Exxon shareholders win power to nominate directors Investors controlling 61.9 per cent of shares in the oil company have backed a resolution calling for shareholders to have greater powers to nominate board members. The vote in favour of “proxy access” to nominate directors was the first defeat for Exxon’s board in a shareholder vote since 2006 and comes as the company faces growing pressure over its position on climate change. (FT)

French taps strategic fuel reserves France has released its strategic fuel reserves for the first time in six years following strikes at refineries that caused nationwide shortages. Alain Vidalies, transport secretary, said the government had already used three days’ worth of reserves to supply the thousands of petrol stations around the country that have been running dry. The move follows more than a week of strikes that have disrupted production at France’s eight oil refineries. (FT)

Gawker seeks review of Thiel-funded lawsuit Gawker Media will call on a Florida appeals court to overturn $140m in damages against the company after Silicon Valley billionaire Peter Thiel admitted he had secretly financed the lawsuit against the online news group. “Thiel is entitled to his opinions, but his broader strategy — using vast sums of money to ostensibly shut down a media company whose coverage he doesn’t like — could set a dangerous precedent and have a chilling effect on the press as a whole,” writes Maya Kosoff in Vanity Fair. (FT, Vanity Fair)

Rehabilitating Greece Eurozone central bankers are set to take a big step towards rehabilitating Greece’s banking system next week by agreeing once again to accept bonds issued by Athens as collateral for European Central Bank loans. (FT)

Venezuela sells its gold The country’s gold reserves have plunged to their lowest level on record after it sold $1.7bn of the precious metal in the first quarter of the year to repay debts. The country is grappling with an economic crisis that has left it struggling to feed its population. (FT)

US nuclear force uses floppy disks A government report has revealed that the US nuclear weapons force still uses a 1970s-era computer system and floppy disks. Taxpayers spent $61bn a year maintaining such ageing technologies — three times more than investment in modern systems would cost. (BBC)

It’s a big day for

The G7 Japan hosts the annual summit of the leaders of the world’s seven richest democracies (minus Russia, which has been excluded), where they are set to discuss the world economy. The push by Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe for more fiscal stimulus is set to meet resistance from Germany’s Angela Merkel and the UK’s David Cameron, who will be seeking support for his campaign to keep Britain inside the EU. (FT) 

Food for thought

Why burger flippers, not bankers, deserve bonuses Bonus schemes and incentive plans tend to be tied to easily observable indicators such as the share price or a year’s trading profits. This helps explain why such schemes distort behaviour, incentivising short-term over long-term gains and quarterly share price increases over customer satisfaction. The more complex the job, the more dimensions involved — as in being a corporate chief executive, say — the less justification there is for an incentive reward scheme, writes Diane Coyle. (FT)

Curious links between creativity, criminality and infidelity Companies that employed users of adultery website Ashley Madison had a higher record of involvement in bribery, fraud and tax scandals, according to a research paper “Fifty Shades of Corporate Culture”. The same companies, however, were more inventive and creative and claimed more successful patent applications. (FT)

Rwanda’s leader is both Solomon and Saddam The country is being remade in Paul Kagame’s image, writes the FT’s David Pilling. “Stick thin, cerebral and quietly spoken (usually), he is cast as a man with Solomon-like wisdom and Saddam-like ruthlessness.” (FT)

Why drones won’t save Xiaomi Xiaomi has enjoyed success in China by pinpointing up-and-coming product categories, producing “good enough” versions of them, and then selling them online at low prices to edge out competitors. If its “astonishingly cheap” drone doesn’t sell, the company will have a dud on its hands; if consumers flock to it, it will earn short-term profits, but face “a wave of hardware commoditisation” as more players enter the market. “To justify its valuation, Xiaomi needs to make more money through software, not hardware.” (Quartz)

Does infection cause Alzheimer’s? The protein plaques in the brain associated with Alzheimer’s may be the result of our immune system fighting off microbes, suggests research by Rudolph Tanzi of Harvard Medical School and Robert Moir at the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. The discovery could open up a new way to think about Alzheimer’s disease and how it might be treated. “You could vaccinate against those pathogens, and potentially prevent this problem arising later in life,” says Moir. (New Scientist)

Video of the day

Market Minute — Brent crude hits high Katie Martin, head of FastFT, highlights what to look for in the markets on Thursday, including the highest benchmark oil price this year. (FT)

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