Exclusive: EU lawmakers overseeing new digital regulation in Europe want to force Big Tech companies to pay for news, echoing a move in Australia and strengthening the hand of publishers against Google and Facebook.

The initiative would be a serious blow to Google, which has threatened to leave Australia in protest against a planned new law that would compel it to pay for news. Some analysts warn the group’s strong-arm lobbying tactics could prove counterproductive, writes Jamie Smyth.

Facebook has also warned it will stop users in Australia from sharing news on its platform if the legislation is passed.

MEPs working on the draft digital regulations — the Digital Services Act and the Digital Markets Act — told the Financial Times the laws could be amended as they pass through the EU parliament.

These include the option of binding arbitration for licensing agreements and requiring tech companies to inform publishers about changes to how they rank news stories on their sites. (FT)

The FT editorial board discussed how to make up for lost school time during the pandemic. Get the latest with our live blog and Coronavirus Business Update newsletter.

Tesla’s $1.5bn bitcoin bump Elon Musk’s electric carmaker gave bitcoin a significant corporate endorsement as it revealed that it had ploughed $1.5bn of its reserves into the cryptocurrency. Bitcoin rose more than 10 per cent to a record of $44,100, extending its 50 per cent surge this year. (FT)

Line chart of $ per coin showing Bitcoin soars after Tesla reveals $1.5bn investment

EU-Russia diplomatic discord Germany, Sweden and Poland said they would each expel one Russian diplomat in retaliation for Russia’s ouster last week of three European diplomats — one from each of the countries — after Moscow accused them of attending protests in support of jailed critic Alexei Navalny. (FT)

Gove: be ‘pragmatic’ over N Ireland Brussels must “reset” its approach to the Northern Ireland protocol and be more “pragmatic” in its application of the post-Brexit arrangements for the region, Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove warned on Monday ahead of a critical meeting with his EU counterpart this week on persistent border trade tensions. (FT)

Beijing targets chat app Clubhouse Chinese authorities moved to block access to the popular Clubhouse app on Monday night, marking the likely closure of a rare venue for the country’s internet users to freely discuss politically sensitive subjects from the detention of ethnic minorities in Xinjiang to Taiwan. (FT)

Saudi Arabia central bank overhaul Saudi Arabia’s central bank is set for its most significant changes in decades under a law that comes into force this month. Analysts said it could diminish the bank’s role in investing the nation’s hard currency surpluses in favour of the sovereign wealth fund chaired by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. (FT)

Qatar warns of gas price spikes Saad al-Kaabi, Qatar’s energy minister, has warned gas importers they face winter spikes in energy prices unless they sign up to long-term contracts as the slowdown in the US shale industry and financial challenges faced by international oil companies put a freeze on projects.

SoftBank’s Vision Fund soars The Japanese tech conglomerate recorded its best performance since its launch in 2017 even as the group’s new trading arm racked up losses of $2.7bn from its “Nasdaq whale” trades in the final quarter of 2020. Japan’s Topix stock index on Monday closed at its highest level in 30 years. (FT)

UK royals vetted more than 1,000 laws More than 1,000 laws have been screened by the Queen or Prince Charles before they were approved by British MPs. The laws covered matters ranging from pensions, race relations and those that affected the Queen’s personal property. (Guardian)

Trump impeachment trial begins The US Senate is set to open its second impeachment trial of Donald Trump on Tuesday, a day after the former president’s lawyers filed a memo calling the proceedings “political theatre”. Here’s what to expect. (FT)

Earnings round-up Centene, Cisco Systems, S&P Global, DuPont, Twenty First Century Fox, Total, Twitter, Willis, Kakao, Ocado, Nissan Motor, Lyft, and Royal Mail Group are set to report. (FT)

Draghi and the EU recovery fund As Italy draws up ambitious reform plans to relaunch its weak economy, powered by €200bn of EU funds, uprooting entrenched barriers to investment will determine whether the scheme is a success. Now the country is turning to Mario Draghi, the former European Central Bank president, to carry out the programme. (FT)

Line chart of Real GDP per capita, in purchasing power parity terms (rebased) showing Italy

Britain’s toxic nuclear waste dilemma In recent weeks, the UK has asked two communities in north-west England to consider whether they would be prepared to solve one of the greatest environmental challenges facing the country: what to do with more than half a century’s worth of toxic nuclear waste. (FT)

Lessons from ‘meme stock’ mania The reason the GameStop story has so unnerved so many is because it reminds us how incredibly dependent the US is on very volatile stock markets, writes Rana Foroohar. Reddit’s valuation doubled to $6bn as the social media company added users and attracted attention for its role in the retail trading frenzy. Its 5-second advertisement was also an unlikely Super Bowl winner. (FT, NYT)

Investors set for commodities ‘bull run’ The broad upswing in commodity prices since the depths of the coronavirus crisis represents just the first leg of a sector-wide “bull market” fanned by government spending, analysts and investors say, while gains have spurred talk of a “supercycle”. (FT)

Line chart of Rebased, % change over one year showing Commodities have swept higher since their pandemic lows

Why rich nations need a wealth tax Amid pandemic recovery efforts, governments will soon have to choose between losing control of inflation or giving up policy objectives. Both are unpalatable choices. In the US and the UK there is an obvious solution: a wealth tax, writes Tim Bond, portfolio manager at Odey Asset Management. (FT)

How can I use Isas to invest or buy a property? Claer Barrett explores how young people can use the popular tax-free accounts to invest or buy their first property. Expert help is on hand from Harleigh Reid, who used a Help to Buy Isa to buy her first flat at the age of 24, and Young Money blogger Iona Bain. (FT)