FT Big Read

FT Big Read

United Kingdom

An audio version of the best of the Financial Times's Big Reads — in-depth reporting from FT correspondents around the world. Listen to longform stories that explore and explain key themes in world news, science and business. Produced by Anna Dedhar.

Episodes

Japan's stem-cell race  

The country believes it is leading the world in the field, but scientists feel constrained by regulation and fear government interference, say Leo Lewis and Clive Cookson. Does Japan risk being overtaken by the US or another rival? Image by Dreamstime

Robots and morality  

Now our mechanical creations can act independently, what happens when AI goes wrong? Where does moral, ethical and legal responsibility for robots lie — with the manufacturers, the programmers, the users or the robots themselves, asks John Thornhill. And who owns their rights?

Isis: Waging a campaign for cash  

The jihadis may be in retreat in Syria and Iraq but there is another front in their war: the battle to make as many US dollars as fast as they can, say Erika Solomon and Ahmad Mhidi. And imposing their own currency helps them transfer the funds

Markets: Bubble territory  

By many measures, stock markets today are overvalued. But calling the peak of the equities bull run is fraught with peril, says Ben McCrum

Russia: Alexei Navalny, Putin's challenger  

The anti-corruption campaigner has built up a surprisingly large popular movement ahead of presidential elections next March, says Kathrin Hille. But he is short on policies and numbers and can appear out of his depth. Does he offer a genuine alternative, asks Kathrin

Biotechnology: The US, China and gene data security  

America is building up a genetic database but there are concerns about the risk of the information leaving the country, says David J Lynch. Genomics is one of the most exciting fields of medical research but it is also the latest area where Chinese investment is raising security fears in the US

Technology: Elon Musk's bet on Tesla's Model 3  

The Californian company's CEO is hoping the car being launched this week will be the world's first mass market electric vehicle and stem the marque's losses, says Richard Waters. But there will soon be stiff competition

China: Brakes on railway diplomacy  

Beijing hopes that sharing its high speed rail technology will win allies and open markets as it pushes forward with the One Belt, One Road project. But cancelled schemes and poorer countries' struggles with the debt they can bring are hindering China's ambitions. This report by James Kynge, Michael Peel and Ben Bland is narrated by James

US healthcare: Crunch time for Republicans' Obamacare reform  

Millions of Americans could lose insurance cover if the bill passes but if it fails the uncertainty will undermine the system, says Edward Luce. Even Donald Trump doesn't want to lend his brand to the new measure

Brexit: Theresa May's struggle  

The UK prime minister's grip on power is fragile, says George Parker. Weakened by the election, vulnerable to rebellion at home and diminished in Europe, can she survive long enough to negotiate the withdrawal from the EU?

Hong Kong: Identity crisis  

Twenty years on the former British colony is deeply divided over its relations with China

Corporate leadership: The war for talent  

To buy or build the next boss? The changes of regime at General Electric and Uber highlight the shifts we are seeing in how companies choose their senior executives, says Andrew Hill. GE has always meticulously groomed its leaders in house and had John Flannery primed ready to take over when Jeff Immelt stood down. But that model is becoming rare

Medical science: Cancer challenge  

Can remarkable science be turned into mass-market products, asks David Crow. Cell therapies to treat blood cancers offer hope to patients who have exhausted all other possibilities and are likely to get regulatory approval this year. But they are expensive and production is time consuming, says David. The process needs to be streamlined and capacity matched to demand

Real estate: The global luxury condo glut  

Has the party ended for high-end housing developers, asks Judith Evans. After a five-year boom, they are feeling the chill as apartments in their gleaming towers stand empty, with many failing to sell despite offered discounts and gifts

Is China heading for a Japanese-style bubble?  

Rising house prices and stock market values are fuelling fears of an implosion like the one that dogged Tokyo for decades and President Xi Jinping has urged China's leadership to safeguard their country's financial security, say Leo Lewis, Tom Mitchell and Yuan Yang.

Brazil: The poison of corruption  

President Michel Temer has been caught up in the latest bribery probe, centred on JBS, one of the country's biggest multinationals. A series of investigations since 2014 has exposed a system of patronage that is entrenched among the business and political elite but Joe Leahy and Andres Schipani say the culture is proving hard to change

Iranian presidential election: The blame game  

The run-up to Friday's polls has resounded with arguments over inequality and corruption in the deeply divided Islamic Republic, says Najmeh Bozorgmehr. And there is more at stake than who is to be president. The incumbent Hassan Rouhani or his hardline challenger Ebrahim Raisi could become the next supreme leader, says Najmeh

Europe: a welcome reprieve from populism  

The solace that the European establishment is drawing from the election of Emmanuel Macron as French president should not disguise the fact that the political extremes are still gaining ground in Europe - and the centre is still fragmenting. But Gideon Rachman argues that for all the tension around slow eurozone growth, security and migration, European voters have nevertheless demonstrated more resilience and calm than many pundits and politicians anticipated

China trade: Wielding the boycott weapon  

Companies and countries that displease Beijing can find state-backed consumer campaigns marshalled against them. James Kynge, the FT's emerging markets editor, asks south China correspondent Ben Bland how effective such sanctions are. You can read the full report on China's 'boycott diplomacy' on www.ft.com/

Sport: Cricket eyes Olympic wicket  

The sport has only once been played in the summer Games but some now believe the wider exposure inclusion would give it is necessary for its survival, says Murad Ahmed. First, though, cricket modernisers must convince sceptics in India

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