Scrutiny for the ECB, Trump’s climate change rollback and waiting for a boom in Iran

Transparency International says bank improperly veered into political activity during eurozone crisis

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The European Central Bank should be placed under greater scrutiny, according to anti-corruption watchdog Transparency International. In a review of the central bank’s actions, the ECB was accused of improperly veering into political activity during the eurozone crisis, and rapidly developed into a “dominant force in European economic governance” during the bank bailouts and emergency monetary policy measures over the past seven years.

Among its recommendations, Transparency International urged the ECB to withdraw from the “Troika” of creditors with the European Commission and International Monetary Fund during further bailouts, to publish the diaries of its senior policymakers, and to make public all decisions and opinions. (FT)

In the news

No post-Brexit cap for EU workers Brexit secretary David Davis has said the British government will not put an upper limit on the number of EU migrants working in the UK after departure from the bloc. Mr Davis said migration policy will be set according to the needs of the economy. His statement comes ahead of the triggering of Article 50 by the government on Wednesday amid increasing business jitters about the effects of leaving the EU. (FT)

Questions for Kushner Jared Kushner, Donald Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, has been asked to appear before the Senate Intelligence Committee to discuss communications between Trump aides and Russian officials. He is expected to be questioned about his interactions with Sergei Kislyak, the Russian ambassador to the US. Mr Kushner reportedly met the head of a state-owned bank, which is under US sanctions, during a bank roadshow last year at the request of the ambassador. (FT, NYT, Reuters)

Climate change rollback Donald Trump is to sign an executive order rolling back Barack Obama’s effort to cut greenhouse gas emissions from power plants, striking at the heart of the US commitments made in the landmark 2015 Paris climate deal. (FT)

The time for an EU-Japan pact is running out Such a deal could benefit automakers and wine lovers alike — and help solve some key Brexit dilemmas. (NAR)

Pentagon opens Mosul investigation A spike in deaths after air strikes in Mosul has raised concerns that the US-led coalition in Iraq is failing to adequately protect civilians, prompting an investigation by the Pentagon. American-led air strikes last week almost flattened an entire block in the city, and the final death toll could reach 200 or more. (Guardian, NYT)

An icon passes Anti-apartheid activist Ahmed Kathrada has died at the age of 87. Known as a “giant of the struggle” in South Africa, he spent 26 years in jail on Robben Island with Nelson Mandela and later served as a parliamentary counsellor in the first ANC government. (Jazeera, Mail and Guardian)

It’s a big day for

Scotland The Scottish parliament on Tuesday is expected to vote in favour of another independence vote — the day after Theresa May’s meeting with first minister Nicola Sturgeon did nothing to resolve the two governments’ differences over Brexit and independence. (FT)

The rand The South African currency dropped 2 per cent in less than 20 minutes on Tuesday on reports that President Jacob Zuma is planning to remove respected finance minister Pravin Gordhan. (FT)

The British pound A new £1 coin goes into circulation today. The Royal Mint says it is the most secure coin in the world. (The Conversation)

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

Food for thought

China casts a wide net As stocks of traditional fish have depleted, Beijing subsidies are pushing fishermen to far-flung places in search of a new catch of the day: squid. (FT)

Waiting for a boom in Iran Joblessness and poverty are increasing in Iran despite economic growth and the lifting of sanctions nearly two years ago. The non-oil economy has been slow to improve thanks to sluggish structural reforms and fears among international companies that they could face US sanctions if they do business with the Islamic Republic. (FT)

Backdoors and bad guys British politicians have called for WhatsApp and other messaging services to provide access allowing police and security forces to monitor terrorist communications. But tech experts oppose this, saying opening up backdoors on services using end-to-end encryption creates its own issues. (FT)

Russian generation stirring The Kremlin was taken by surprise at the size and spread of protests that roiled Russia last weekend. But even more unexpected was the youthfulness of the protesters, who were in their teens and twenties. (NYT)

Golfer in chief Donald Trump spent the Obama years criticising the then president for playing “too much” golf. But in his first 66 days in office, he has reportedly played golf at least a dozen times — more than once a week — and has visited Trump branded properties nearly one out of every three days of his presidency. The behaviour is again raising questions about whether he is using the presidency to boost his family’s business. (WaPo, NYT)

Video of the day

Trump trade under scrutiny Global equities are on the defensive, led by weaker commodities and financials as investors scrutinise the viability of the Trump trade. The FT’s Michael Mackenzie reports. (FT)

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