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South Korean prosecutors have announced they are charging Lee Jae-yong, Samsung’s detained boss, with bribery, embezzlement and other offences in connection with the country’s sprawling corruption scandal. The indictment of the 48-year-old vice-chairman of Samsung Electronics, along with four other Samsung executives, has prompted concern over a leadership vacuum at the conglomerate as it scrambles to revive its mobile business following last year’s costly safety debacle over its fire-prone Galaxy Note 7 smartphone.

South Korea’s Constitutional Court is due to rule in March on whether to uphold parliament’s impeachment of President Park Geun-hye, which was triggered by accusations that she colluded with her adviser Choi Soon-sil to pressure big businesses, including Samsung, to donate to two foundations set up to back the president’s policy initiatives. (FT, Reuters) 

In the news

Trump’s military spending bonanza Donald Trump’s administration is seeking to add $54bn to the US security budget, the biggest boost to US defence spending since 2008. The 10 per cent increase would be offset by drastic cuts elsewhere, particularly the Environmental Protection Agency, the state department and the social safety net. Experts reckon the White House stands a 50 per cent chance of getting the increase through Congress. (FT, NYT)

Kim murder charges Malaysia’s attorney-general said two women — an Indonesian and a Vietnamese — will be charged with murder over the killing of the estranged half-brother of North Korea’s leader. Police are also holding one North Korean man and have identified seven other North Koreans wanted in connection with the case. A high-level North Korean delegation has arrived in Kuala Lumpur to try and retrieve Kim’s body and secure the release of the North Korean suspect. (Reuters, Guardian) 

Asia’s $26tn infrastructure hole Asia needs to invest $26tn by 2030 to resolve a serious infrastructure shortage that threatens to hold back some of the world’s fastest growing economies, the Asian Development Bank has warned. The shortfall is most acute outside China, which is already spending at more than 90 per cent the level it is projected to need. (FT)

Rise of the superbugs The World Health Organization has issued a call to arms to companies and governments to develop antibiotics to combat superbugs’ growing resistance to existing medicines. (FT)

Take me to the moon Elon Musk’s SpaceX rocket company has raised the bar again for private space flight, with the announcement that it plans to fly two private individuals around the moon before the end of next year. (FT)

It’s a big day for

Donald Trump The president will address a joint session of the US Congress, the first such speech of his tenure as he confronts scrutiny of his team’s ties to Russia, resistance from Democrats and historically low approval ratings. (Slate)

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

Food for thought

The Trump-Le Pen connection For political reasons, Marine Le Pen has to handle the Trump connection with care. Opinion polls show that the new US president is unpopular with French voters, even those on the far right. “But, on balance, the Trump victory is a plus for Ms Le Pen,” writes the FT’s Gideon Rachman. (FT)

Turkey’s ‘second revolution’ As Recep Tayyip Erdogan consolidates his position, an April referendum looms — it could give the president power beyond the scope of even Kemal Ataturk, the founder of the republic. His opponents say a win would emasculate parliament and formalise Mr Erdogan’s majoritarian style of rule. (FT)

Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, founder of the Turkish republic, looms over President Recep Tayyip Erdogan © AP

Staying on the bench With fears that Donald Trump could change the balance of the US Supreme Court during his presidency, the health of 83-year-old liberal judge Ruth Bader Ginsberg has become a matter of concern for liberals. But the two-time cancer survivor is tough, with a training routine that left a much younger male reporter puffing. (Politico)

The dark underbelly of Chinese loan sharking A large volume of nude photos and sex videos of Chinese female college students has leaked on the internet in the past few months, exposing the widespread presence of loan sharks preying on struggling borrowers who use compromising images as collateral. (NAR)

The grandmothers running rural South Africa Eleven per cent of South African households are run by grandmothers using their meagre monthly pensions and child support grants to support their children, who are unable to find work, and their grandchildren. (Jazeera) 

Video of the day

Trump draws battle lines in currency wars Roger Blitz explains how Mr Trump is tackling the issue of a rising dollar and its effect on American competitiveness. (FT)

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