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Joe Biden pleaded for Congress to “act now” on a new $1.9tn economic rescue plan, setting it up as his top legislative priority as he prepares to enter the White House next week.
The plan, announced by the president-elect on Thursday evening in Delaware, includes new direct payments to Americans, aid for state and local governments and more funding for the coronavirus pandemic response.
Concerns about the state of the US recovery resurfaced after an unexpected jump in first-time weekly claims for jobless benefits, adding impetus to Mr Biden’s calls for fresh stimulus. But reaction from investors on Friday was muted. Shares in Europe fell and futures indicated a lower opening on Wall Street.
Meanwhile, FBI director Christopher Wray warned of “potential armed protests” surrounding Joe Biden’s presidential inauguration next week. He said the bureau had detected “an extensive amount of concerning online chatter” since last week’s attack on the US Capitol.
Far-right supporters of Donald Trump, forced to move off mainstream social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter, have switched to services including Telegram, Signal and Gab, which are harder to monitor, experts say. (FT)
FT data journalist John Burn-Murdoch debunks the myths around the UK’s Covid-19 death rate. (FT)
Pension funds stick by Blackstone despite closeness to Trump Public pension funds that invest billions of dollars with Blackstone are resisting activists’ calls to distance themselves from a firm led by Stephen Schwarzman, one of President Donald Trump’s most important backers. (FT)
Powell moves to quell market fears of an exit from loose policy Jay Powell sought to stamp out fears that the Federal Reserve will begin winding down its asset purchases later this year, saying the central bank was far from considering an “exit” from its ultra-loose monetary policies. (FT)
US watchdog blames senior Trump officials for border separations Trump administration officials failed to prepare for families separated during the pursuit of its “zero tolerance” policy for parents and children crossing the southern US border with Mexico, according to a scathing government watchdog report. (FT)
Ant IPO investors left in limbo Investors, including BlackRock, GIC and Silver Lake, have been left holding illiquid stakes in Ant Group after pouring $10.3bn into the Chinese payments company before its $37bn initial public offering was scuttled. (FT)
UK plans to rip up EU labour market rules Worker protections enshrined in EU law — including the 48-hour week — would be ripped up under plans being drawn up by Boris Johnson’s government as part of a post-Brexit overhaul of UK labour markets. (FT)
Commerzbank suspends coverage of ex-Wirecard analyst’s companies Commerzbank suspended coverage of companies tracked by its former Wirecard analyst after it emerged on Thursday that she had briefed executives of the disgraced payments provider about criticism that a hedge fund had shared with her. (FT)
Ghosn feared Renault dismissal over scale of Nissan salary Carlos Ghosn feared the French carmaker would sack him if the true scale of his Nissan salary was disclosed, according to court testimony by the whistleblower who triggered the downfall of the former automotive supremo. (FT)
US bank earnings JPMorgan, Wells Fargo and Citigroup report fourth-quarter earnings. A strong end to 2020 has paved the way for the US’s top lenders to buy back more than $10bn of their own shares. The banks voluntarily halted share repurchases last March, as the pandemic threatened to spark a steep recession and catastrophic loan losses. (FT)
US economic data US retail figures for December are out and will offer greater insight into the severity of the broader economic slowdown, while industrial production is expected to increase in the same month. (WSJ)
Germany’s CDU faces momentous choice The Christian Democratic Union party, which has governed the country for 50 of the past 70 years, chooses its new leader this weekend. Much is at stake: whoever wins has a good chance of succeeding Angela Merkel, who is retiring in September after 16 years as chancellor. (FT)
Joe Biden needs a new playbook The Biden administration will include many veterans of 2008, writes Simon Kuper. But the world and the US of 2008 no longer exist. Here are a few of the dizzying and distressing changes of the past 12 years. The Trump family’s influence will probably continue in White House exile in Florida, writes Edward Luce. (FT)
From Suez to Brexit and back again There are a lot of reasons why so many people in 2016 backed Britain’s departure from the EU. Stagnant incomes, austerity and immigration fears all played their part. But the decision was part of a broader tapestry, woven through the postwar decades as Britain struggled to find an identity after the loss of empire, writes Philip Stephens. (FT)
India’s banks face biggest test Even before Covid-19, India’s banks were struggling. With some of the highest ratios of bad loans in the world, at least five lenders have had to be rescued from collapse since late 2018. Now, the sector faces one of its biggest tests: emerging intact from the pandemic. (FT)
Certainty is over-rated and over-rewarded We live in a world that rewards those who speak with conviction — even when that is misplaced — and gives very little airtime to those who acknowledge doubt, Jemima Kelly writes. It’s time to question our approach. John Thornhill articulates a strategy to resist conspiracy theorists. (FT)
Should we quit social media, too? While there’s plenty of evidence to suggest that getting off social media would make me happier, more productive and a great deal less anxious, am I quitting? Absolutely not, writes Jo Ellison. (FT)
Are we in a stock market bubble? The FT's Robert Armstrong looks at the surging stock prices of Tesla, bitcoin and Nasdaq index stalwarts that the Federal Reserve could view as a tech-led asset bubble.