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France’s Socialist party is “dead and gone”. This is the verdict of former French prime minister Manuel Valls, who has ditched his membership to join president-elect Emmanuel Macron’s new centrist “En Marche” movement. Mr Valls’ decision signals the opening move in what Mr Macron hopes will be a broad realignment of French politics around a reformist centre, but the socialists to the left and the republicans to the right are divided over whether to join the new president or fight him.

Mr Macron does not have long to consolidate his win. Although France showed that the centre can resist identity politics and anti-globalisation sentiment in the wake of the Brexit vote in the UK and the election of Donald Trump in the US, France’s electorate is fractured and legislative elections are looming in June. His success matters beyond France’s borders. The FT’s Gideon Rachman writes that if he fails, populism, nationalism and protectionism will be resurgent. Meanwhile, there is some evidence of French exceptionalism in the failure of the massive pre-election hacking attack on Mr Macron’s campaign. (FT, Politico, NYT)

In the news

Precision timing Intercontinental Exchange will start timestamping thousands of European futures trades using an atomic clock in order to meet new European standards trying to keep up with high-frequency traders. Under new EU rules, from January next year traders and venues must timestamp deals far more accurately, against a standard known as Co-ordinated Universal Time. (FT)

There goes the fear Wall Street’s “fear gauge”, the Vix index, has tumbled to its lowest in more than two decades. The gauge has only been lower on three days since its inception in 1992. (FT)

Trump revelations A Senate judiciary committee investigation into Russian interference in the US election has found that Donald Trump was warned twice against hiring former general Michael Flynn as his security adviser. This was just one of the revelations to emerge from the testimony of former justice chief Sally Yates, who warned that Mr Flynn could be vulnerable to foreign blackmail. (FT, Guardian)

Jakarta’s governor sentenced The Christan governor of Indonesia’s capital, Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, has been sentenced to two years in prison for blasphemy and inciting violence. He was accused of insulting Islam by referring to a verse in the Koran during a campaign speech. Here’s a read on how the overwhelmingly Muslim country has been resistant to extremism — until now. (BBC, Economist)

Chemical romance ChemChina and Sinochem are planning to merge next year, creating the world’s largest chemicals group with $100bn of revenues. The deal would follow ChemChina’s $43bn purchase of Swiss agrochemicals leader Syngenta, which was backed by 80 per cent of the Swiss group’s shareholders last week, amid more general consolidation of the global agrochemicals industry. (FT)

It’s a big day for

South Korea High numbers of South Korean voters have turned out in the country’s presidential elections, their civic spirit revived by a vast corruption saga. Leading opinion polls is Moon Jae-in, a liberal candidate with the Democratic party. (NAR, FT)

Keep up with the important business, economic and political stories in the coming days with the FT’s Week Ahead.

Food for thought

Why paternal age matters Mick Jagger may have had a child — his eighth — at the age of 73 but there is evidence that fathers who conceive in their forties or older have children who run two to three times the usual risk of developing an autism spectrum disorder and schizophrenia. With paternal age rising as men and women defer parenthood, this matters. (FT)

Iraq fears for its future once Isis falls The liberation of Mosul is imminent, but when the troops roll out of town they will leave behind a region mired in complex tensions. This on-the-ground long read looks at the lives of those grappling with what comes next. (FT)

Rise of the alt-left British media They have been mocked, ignored and dismissed as conspiracy mongers — but a small group of hyperpartisan British media outlets have quietly built enormous audiences on Facebook in the space of just two years with coverage favourable to opposition leader, Jeremy Corbyn. A read on the UK’s splintering media. (BuzzFeed)

Saving the world’s second biggest copper mine The copper mine at Grasberg, in the mountains of Indonesia, last year produced about 3 per cent of global supply. But government interference means it may never be developed to its full potential. (FT)

How Hijabs became big business When Nike introduced a sports hijab earlier this year, it highlighted the growing market for so-called Islamic fashion. The marketing of “Islamic” clothing goes back to the 1980s and is now a multibillion-dollar global industry. (The Conversation)

Video of the day

Macron — What next? His win makes him France’s youngest president, and overturns the decades-long dominance of France’s two main political parties. (FT)



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