Listen to this article
Sign up to receive FirstFT by email here
President Barack Obama is doing his best to reassure America’s allies in the wake of Donald Trump’s victory in last week’s election. In his first press conference since the vote, the outgoing leader said the president-elect planned to maintain US commitment to Nato and other core American alliances such as those with Japan and South Korea — despite Mr Trump openly threatening to downgrade the alliances during his campaign. He will soothe nerves further during a farewell visit to Germany and Greece this week.
Nonetheless, US allies in eastern Europe will be keeping a close eye on the president-elect’s ties to Moscow. He spoke to Vladimir Putin for the first time since the election late on Monday and said he was looking forward to a “strong and enduring” relationship with Russia.
In the news
Shades of Soviet era Alexei Ulyukaev, Russia’s economy minister, was detained in the middle of the night — a tactic common in soviet times but not seen in recent years. He was arrested on charges of corruption over an enormous oil deal involving state oil company Rosneft. But his detention may also be about Kremlin divisions over the direction and control of Russia’s economy. (NYT)
Sentence revoked An Egyptian court has revoked the death sentence imposed on Mohamed Morsi, the Islamist president ousted in 2013. The court of Cassation ordered a retrial of the country’s first democratically elected president. He remains in prison on a number of other charges. The ruling came as Egypt’s parliament condemned a UK report into Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood group as a whitewash. (Reuters, al-Ahram)
No Brexit plan The British government has no clear strategy for its Brexit negotiations, according to a leaked memo that has sparked a furore in London. The memo, reportedly written by a consultant, warns that industry faces the “unpleasant realisation” that “the government’s priority remains its political survival, not the economy”. (Times)
Warren Buffett: ‘aeroholic’ The head of Berkshire Hathaway used to call the airline industry “a death trap for investors” but the world’s most famous stockpicker has spent more than $1.2bn building stakes in four US airlines. (FT)
Wanted: Asian experts Asian foreign embassies in Washington are having difficulty building contacts in the Trump team. Tokyo is struggling to find out who is advising Donald Trump on Japan policy, as the president-elect prepares to meet Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in New York. However, it is worth remembering that within 48 hours of being elected Mr Trump was in touch with South Korea and Japan’s leaders — the country’s two main Asian allies. (FT, NAR, WSJ)
It's a big day for
The SEC Mary Jo White is stepping down as chair of the Securities and Exchange Commission, putting a spotlight on one of the many regulatory roles Donald Trump will have to fill having promised to loosen rules on the financial sector.
Keep up with the important business, economic and political stories in the coming days with the FT’s WeekAhead.
Food for thought
It’s hot in here May was the hottest May on record, June was the hottest June, July the hottest month on record and then August tied with July. Oh, and September was the hottest September on record. This has put 2016 on track to be the hottest year since records began in the 19th century — despite global carbon dioxide emissions staying almost flat for the third year in a row. (Popular Science, FT)
Nigeria’s delta blues President Muhammadu Buhari promised to reform the country’s troubled oil sector. But he is under fire for failing to halt attacks by disaffected groups in the oil-producing Niger Delta, and for his sluggish progress in overhauling the industry after years of mismanagement. Meanwhile, the drop in the oil price has curtailed revenues, slashing more than $13bn from foreign reserves. The oil-rich country has sunk into recession for the first time since 1991. (FT)
First Facebook, now Google The search engine company has been dragged into the controversy over fake news in the wake of last week’s US presidential election, adding to Silicon Valley’s discomfort over allegations that it may have played a role in tipping the vote. The important — and controversial — moments for Facebook during the 2016 election have been tracked, and a group of Facebook employees are forming a task force to battle fake news, challenging Mark Zuckerberg, who maintains the social media platform has no responsibility to address the issue. (FT, TrackChanges)
More noise please Owners may love the quiet of hybrid and electric vehicles but the US government does not. It has finalised new rules that manufacturers must install “alert beeps” to protect pedestrians when vehicles are travelling at low speeds. (NPR)
Rehearsing the unthinkable Imagine if scientists discovered that an asteroid was hurtling towards Los Angeles. Well, Nasa, the Federal Emergency Management Agency and other government agencies engaged last month in a planetary protection exercise to consider the potentially devastating consequences of a 330-foot asteroid hitting the Earth. Here is how it went. (NYT)
Video of the day
The final investment frontier Mike Massimino, a former Nasa astronaut turned actor and author, talks to Izabella Kaminska about whether space is the next big business opportunity. (FT)