FirstFT: Today’s top stories | Financial Times

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Joe Biden will today name a new 12-person panel of scientists to advise him on dealing with the spread of the coronavirus after declaring victory in the 2020 US election.

The president-elect is also preparing a series of executive orders to reverse some of the signature policies of Donald Trump’s one-term presidency, including re-entering the Paris climate accord and reversing the process of leaving the World Health Organization.

He is also expected to reinstate the programme offering a path to US citizenship for “Dreamers” — the young undocumented immigrants who came to the US as small children — and to undo Mr Trump’s travel ban that blocked visitors from several Muslim-majority countries.

But Mr Biden has made ending the coronavirus pandemic his first priority as the number of confirmed daily cases in the US tops 100,000, bringing the total number to nearly 10m, according to the Covid Tracking Project.

The 12-member team will reportedly include three co-chairs: Vivek Murthy, a former surgeon general; David Kessler, a former head of the Food and Drug Administration; and Marcella Nunez-Smith, associate professor of medicine at Yale University.

Elsewhere, Mr Biden and his transition team are expected to move quickly to fill positions in his cabinet.

Mr Trump has yet to concede the race, and has vowed to keep filing lawsuits to contest the election result, despite already seeing a run of losses in the courts. Executives across the US called for a peaceful transfer of power as the one-term presidency of the former reality TV star nears its end.

The FT View is that Mr Biden could turn the page on a presidency of rancour through tone and behaviour alone. (FT)

Election round-up

People celebrate in Times Square, New York after it was announced that Democratic nominee Joe Biden would be the next US president. © Getty

Vice-president elect Kamala Harris will be the first African-American, the first Asian-American and the first woman to hold that office.

The election focus now switches to the two run-off races in Georgia, where black and other ethnic minority voters, particularly those that former gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams mobilised, were key to Mr Biden’s success. But even with a divided Congress Mr Biden can still get plenty done, says Rana Foroohar.

What’s on Mr Biden’s foreign policy agenda? One adviser described the president-elect’s priorities as “China. China. China. Russia”. Boris Johnson faces acute challenges in preserving the UK’s special relationship with the US. Sebastian Payne digs deeper in the latest Payne’s Politics podcast.

In Mr Trump’s hometown of New York, crowds celebrated his defeat. But in the land of “Trump Democrats” jubilation was not the order of the day, writes Patti Waldmeir.

Shares of Big Tech companies surged after polls closed as hopes of rapid stimulus faded without Democratic control of the Senate. But across Silicon Valley, few expect a return to the cosy relationship enjoyed with Barack Obama’s White House. Global stocks hit a record high on Monday.

Line chart of Ratio of price to trailing 12-month earnings showing Tech profits have become more valuable this year

Within his own party, Mr Biden also faces a power struggle between progressives and moderates. Meanwhile, Mitch McConnell is on track to cement his position as the most powerful Republican in Washington. (FT)

A preliminary snapshot of how the US voted suggests the wealthy stood by Trump but the more highly educated backed Mr Biden.

Exit polls suggest Trump lost ground to Biden with white men, but gained support among some groups of non-white voters, particularly those without a college degree

Mr Biden’s victory speech shows he lacks Barack Obama’s ability to inspire, but America may be ready for a quiet man, writes Peter Spiegel. Here’s the FT’s profile of the president-elect. (FT)

Coronavirus digest

  • A Covid-19 vaccine being developed by Pfizer and Germany’s BioNTech has been found to be more than 90 per cent effective. A study found that 94 participants who received the two-dose vaccine were protected against the disease 28 days after their first inoculation.

  • Hungary will close schools and universities as it imposes a curfew, going further than many European peers to stem rising Covid-19 infections 

  • Almost two-thirds of adults in England support the new Covid-19 lockdown, a weekend survey found, but almost the same number think it was implemented too late.

  • New Zealand’s businesses have reaped the benefits of a tough lockdown. (FT)

Follow our coronavirus tracker and our live blog for the latest. Find more coverage at

In the news

Apple suspends iPhone assembler in China Apple has stopped giving “new business” to its second-largest iPhone assembler, Pegatron, after it used illegal student labour at its plant near Shanghai. The alleged coercive use of students during the factory’s peak production periods, especially during Apple’s annual new iPhone launch in October, mirrors the abuses previously found by the Financial Times at Foxconn. (FT)

Workers line up for role call before entering their work stations at a Pegatron factory in Shanghai © Bloomberg

Exclusive: Deutsche Bank rebuffs ECB Germany’s largest lender rejected a request from the European Central Bank to halt parts of its leveraged finance operations, according to people familiar with the matter. (FT)

SoftBank posts $1.3bn loss on ‘Nasdaq whale’ bets In its first set of results since the Financial Times revealed it was behind the purchases of billions of dollars’ worth of US equity derivatives, the Japanese technology group reported a $6bn net profit for the three months to the end of September. (FT)

Philippine authorities investigate transactions for links to Wirecard Philippine authorities are probing the financial transactions of a law office and a tour operator for possible connections to Wirecard, the collapsed German payments firm, and its former chief operating officer Jan Marsalek, a government official said. (FT)

Change in Turkey’s economic leadership President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s son-in-law has resigned as Turkey’s finance minister in a surprise weekend shake-up of the country’s economic management after a period of intense pressure on the lira. The Turkish currency on Monday was on track for its biggest one-day rise in two years after the weekend tumult. (FT)

Ant faces tortuous path back to market The banking regulator’s announcement that it would begin treating fintech more like banks threatens Ant Group’s already-delayed IPO. The setback signals a reckoning for the industry, writes Patrick Jenkins. Alibaba founder Jack Ma is caught up in a mess that was a long time brewing — and is at least partly of his own making. (FT)

US sanctions in Hong Kong Hong Kong’s securities regulator has privately advised financial institutions they can implement US sanctions without automatically violating a tough national security law imposed on the city by Beijing. (FT)

Virgin claims hyperloop trial success Virgin Hyperloop, which is backed by French railway SNCF and General Electric as well as Richard Branson’s Virgin Group, said that two passengers had successfully ridden in its superfast vacuum tube at a test site near Las Vegas, Nevada on Sunday afternoon. (FT)

A hyperloop tube on display at a test site near Las Vegas, Nevada

Tropical Storm Eta kills dozens Dozens were dead and many more missing in Guatemala after one of the region’s most brutal storms in years triggered mudslides and turned roads into rivers. (FT)

The day ahead

EU seeks to ‘reboot’ US trade relationship EU foreign affairs ministers will meet virtually to discuss the bloc’s future trade relationship with the US after last week’s presidential election, as well as World Trade Organization reform, the bloc’s approach towards China and Brexit. (FT)

Brexit talks resume A new round of talks between British and EU negotiators starts on Monday in London as Boris Johnson is on course for a clash with US president-elect Joe Biden over the EU-UK trade agreement. Lawmakers in the upper House of Lords on Monday will vote on whether to remove clauses from the controversial internal market bill, something that Mr Biden has expressed deep concern about. (FT)

Earnings US meat-substitute producer Beyond Meat reports earnings on Monday as does fast-food chain McDonald’s. In the three months to the end of June, net income at McDonald’s dropped to its lowest level in 13 years after the pandemic forced the closure of thousands of restaurants. (FT)

Steve Bannon lawyers want off his criminal case The criminal defence lawyers for Steve Bannon, the former adviser to Donald Trump, will today seek to withdraw from a fraud case in a Manhattan federal court. (FT, CNBC)

What else we’re reading

A paean to Trump Derangement Syndrome For those who don’t inhabit DC it is hard to explain the pressure cooker psychology of living in Donald Trump’s town, writes Edward Luce. No public figure in my lifetime has ever messed with people’s heads like Trump, he says in the latest edition of Swamp Notes (sign up here). Liberals misunderstand the seductive appeal of populism, writes Princeton professor Jan-Werner Müller. (FT)

Boris Johnson needs an Australian-style Covid plan Australia’s special power may be its public safety policy prowess, writes Pilita Clark. Its strict approach to the virus has not been perfect or uniformly popular, but infections have plunged and a semblance of normal life has now resumed. (FT)

Poland’s draconian restrictions on abortion The FT View is the government pulls the country further from the EU mainstream despite thousands protesting against a bill to ban almost all abortions. (FT)

Protesters hold signs reading in Polish "women's strike" as they block a crossing in downtown Warsaw, Monday, November 9, 2020, on the 12th straight day of anti-government protests that were triggered by the tightening of Poland's strict abortion law.
Protesters hold signs reading in Polish ‘women’s strike’ as they block a crossing in downtown Warsaw on the 12th straight day of anti-government protests that were triggered by the tightening of Poland’s strict abortion law © AP

Will the UK axe private equity tax break? The existing agreement allows UK private equity executives to pay lower tax rates on their multimillion-pound bonuses than workers pay on annual wages over £50,000. Any move to axe it could mark how the sector is taxed globally post-pandemic. (FT).

Working from home: when the cracks start to show Much has rightly been written about the challenges of remote working, but what gets less attention is the simple communication error, writes Tim Harford. The challenges of remote leadership can be tackled with four Cs: clarity, connection, collaboration and compassion, argues Andrew Hill.

Video of the day

Will Donald Trump accept defeat? The FT’s Kiran Stacey asks if Joe Biden can ever persuade Donald Trump supporters he won fairly. (FT)

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