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

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

Market risk: Gambling on volatility  

The Vix index is known as Wall Street's 'fear gauge' and was once just a measure of market movements. But volatility has itself become a tradable asset and financial engineers have used the index to create high-risk products and strategies that can act as siren calls to unwary investors, says Robin Wigglesworth

Switzerland: A new mould for chocolate  

Chocolate has been a Swiss national industry for almost 200 years but aggressive pricing and a shift to healthier snacks are forcing confectioners like Lindt and Nestlé to adapt, says Ralph Atkins. Focusing on premium brands and fighting the increasingly popular craft chocolatiers on their own territory are just two of the strategies the traditional groups are turning to, Ralph says

Agnelli dynasty: Grandson of Gianni bets on family fortune  

Since John Elkann inherited the Exor business six years ago he has changed its strategy, diversifying away from the car industry and from its Italian homeland, say Sarah Gordon and Rachel Sanderson. But the relocation of the group's HQ to the Netherlands and heavy investment by the owner of the Fiat and Ferrari brands in the US have been controversial

Squid catch: the search to replace vanishing fish  

Supplies of traditionally popular species have become so depleted through overfishing that commercial fleets — especially the Chinese — are trawling further from home, deeper and wider in the oceans, says Lucy Hornby. This has led to clashes as they impinge on local hunting grounds halfway across the world, Lucy says

Mexico: Optimism breaks through uncertainty  

Donald Trump’s protectionist rhetoric, tax plans and threatened wall have battered the peso but hopes for an economic bounceback have grown as Mexicans adjust to the volatility, says Jude Webber. Confidence is rising south of the border despite the storm unleashed by the White House, Jude says

European Union: The integration project  

Marking the 60th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome while Britain tussles with its exit highlights the fractures in unity on the Continent, says Philip Stephens. The global environment is very different now from that of 1957 — but national solutions are not the answer to the problems individual member states face

Vatican: The Pope and the populists  

The reformist Argentine Francis is encountering opposition from those who claim his zeal threatens Catholic Church unity, says James Politi. The Pope enjoys very high popularity, but his critics are becoming bolder

Turkey: Erdogan's second revolution  

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has taken the opportunity provided by the failed coup in 2016 to further his societal engineering. And the forthcoming referendum in April could give him power beyond the scope of even the country's founder Ataturk, says Mehul Srivastava

Beating the billionaires: How Unilever fought off Warren Buffett, 3G and Kraft Heinz  

Warren Buffett and 3G were taken aback by the harsh rejection of the takeover offer they had backed but people close to the Anglo-Dutch group say the deal made no financial or strategic sense for them. Arash Massoudi and James Fontanella-Khan tell a tale of miscalculation and culture divide

Executive pay: Outsize rewards  

The scale of remuneration for CEOs has caused anger and triggered debate about the effectiveness of how it's structured and whether it's time to rein in their huge increases, says Patrick Jenkins in his Big Read report for the FT's Runaway Pay series. Here, Christopher Grimes talks to Patrick and John Gapper about how executive pay became so out of proportion to average wages and what changes we are likely to see

Fighting cancer: Rocky path for immunotherapies  

High hopes that new immunotherapy drugs would prove to have benefits over toxic chemotherapy were dashed by large-scale trials, says David Crow. Pharmaceutical groups are now working on combinations of the immunotherapies and using them with chemo, but some pharma groups have suffered big losses and Wall Street has become sceptical

Nafta: Trade deal in Trump's sights  

The $580bn relationship between Mexico and the US is vulnerable as the new American president picks his targets, say Jude Webber, Shawn Donnan and John Paul Rathbone. But Enrique Peña Nieto does have some negotiating leverage

Indonesia: A trial of tolerance  

The blasphemy case against Jakarta's governor and ally of President Widodo could land Basuki Tjahaja Purnama in jail, says Ben Bland. Religious and ethnic tensions are rising in the Muslim-majority country and critics say the backlash against the Chinese minority — to which Purnama belongs — is being stoked by political rivals

Toshiba: Falling star  

The former leader in Japan's global corporate expansion and technological innovation has faced humiliation after humiliation from soured investments, nuclear disaster and scandal. And after sell-offs, writedowns and a boardroom clear-out Toshiba's troubles do not appear to be over yet, say Leo Lewis and Kana Inagaki.

Wall Street: The path ahead under President Trump  

Donald Trump's promise to lighten financial services regulation has boosted the big banks' spirits. But Ben McLannahan and Barney Jopson's Big Read report 'What Wall Street wants from Trump' asked how realistic their hopes are. Here, Ben, Brooke Masters and Chris Grimes discuss the chances of the Dodd-Frank regulatory regime being dismantled

Martin Wolf: The west's global order unravels  

We are at the end of both an economic era and a geopolitical one, says Martin Wolf. What lies ahead? Will the post-world-war period led by the US descend into deglobalisation and conflict, or will a new order emerge with non-western powers such as China and India playing a bigger role in stability?

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