FirstFT: Today’s top stories

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US and Chinese officials clashed at the start of two days of talks in Alaska, with Antony Blinken, secretary of state, accusing his Chinese counterpart of undermining global stability with its actions towards Hong Kong, Xinjiang and Taiwan.

“Each of these actions threaten the rules-based order that maintains global stability,” Blinken said in his opening remarks in Anchorage. “The alternative to a rules-based order is a world in which might makes right and winners take all.”

Yang Jiechi, China’s top diplomat, fired back by accusing the US of having a “cold war mentality”, and saying Washington had used its military and financial clout to “suppress” other nations and to “incite some countries to attack China”.

Expectations for the first-high level meeting between Washington and Beijing since Joe Biden took office in January were low but the blunt exchange suggested relations, already at a four-decade low, could plummet further.

Elisabeth Braw, a national security expert at the American Enterprise Institute think-tank, said Yang’s remarks showed China was increasingly willing to abandon the kind of protocols that normally make the public part of diplomatic meetings staid. 

“The Chinese government clearly feels it doesn’t need to adhere to long-established standards,” she said. (FT)

Coronavirus digest

Chart showing how vaccine supplies travel the world
Chart showing how vaccine supplies travel the world

What have we learnt from a year of Covid-19? If you show us images of selfish covidiots, we are more likely to be selfish. Show us noble altruists and we aspire to be like them, writes Tim Harford. Follow our live blog and vaccine tracker for the latest updates.

In the news

NFL inks 11-year media rights deal worth billions The National Football League has signed a wide-ranging media rights package reportedly worth as much as $110bn over 11 years, including the first exclusive broadcasting rights for Amazon. The deal more than doubles the value of the NFL’s existing rights. (FT)

Action picture from an American football game
Amazon will become the sole broadcaster for weekly Thursday night games when the rights take effect in 2023 © AP

Junior Goldman Sachs bankers complain of 95-hour week A group of first-year investment banking analysts at Goldman Sachs presented management with a slide deck describing arduous working conditions last month, shining a rare spotlight on the stresses faced by young people working in investment banking. (FT)

Kodak claws back millions after share award error Eastman Kodak has recouped almost all of the $3.9m five former executives collected last year by exercising share options that they were supposed to have forfeited. The former executives capitalised on a steep rise in Kodak’s stock last July after it signed a letter of intent about a possible $765m US government loan. (FT)

David Cameron lobbied for Greensill access to loan schemes The former UK prime minister lobbied Boris Johnson’s government to increase Greensill Capital’s access to state-backed emergency Covid-19 loan schemes, months before the finance company collapsed. (FT)

The former UK prime minister became an adviser to Greensill in 2018
The former UK prime minister became an adviser to Greensill in 2018 © FT montage; Shutterstock, AFP via Getty Images

Apple warns Chinese apps not to dodge its new privacy rules Apple on Thursday fired pre-emptive warnings to at least two Chinese tech companies as the iPhone maker tries to enforce its new privacy policies in China.

  • Facebook has unveiled its vision for a wristband that will control its forthcoming augmented-reality glasses, marking the latest step in the social media company’s efforts to take on Apple in the next generation of computing.

  • Google is to spend $7bn this year on expanding its network of US offices and data centres, saying it still saw value in employees “coming together in person to collaborate”.

Two Canadians held in China over arrest of Huawei CFO go on trial China has begun the trials of two Canadians who have been held for more than two years in retaliation for the detention of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou, in a case that has deepened mistrust of Beijing in the west. (FT)

The days ahead

Prime ministers receive jab Boris Johnson and Jean Castex, the prime ministers of the UK and France respectively, will receive their first AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine today. Ireland is set to become the latest EU country to lift its suspension of the controversial vaccine later on Friday. (FT)

US men’s college basketball championship The first of 64 teams will begin playing in the roughly two-week tournament that is the financial linchpin of the National Collegiate Athletic Association. (FT)

Earnings Saudi Aramco reports earnings on Sunday, when investors are expected to focus on output, dividend and crude production forecasts. Oil prices, meanwhile, are on course for their biggest weekly fall since October. (FT)

What else we’re reading

Mark Carney: a chance to reboot globalisation As we seek to recover from the pandemic, the former governor of the Bank of England offers four principles for a more equitable global economy: resilience, solidarity, connectivity and sustainability. (FT)

“We need to fashion a renewed global economy founded on new dispersed networks of trade, capital and ideas that harness the creativity of billions of people, who will share fully in its rewards.”

Can the lightest gas turn heavy industry green? With EU nations committed to a 55 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, companies need to decarbonise fast. Detractors say hydrogen is just one of a number of solutions, but experts insist there is little choice if heavy industry is to reduce its emissions. This article is part of the FT’s series on hydrogen.

Asian-Americans suffer surge of Covid-era hate crimes Robert Aaron Long, 21, a white man, suspected of this week’s shooting in Atlanta, said his crimes were not racially but sexually motivated, according to police. Long’s claims offer little comfort to an Asian-American community that has suffered a surge of hate attacks in recent months. (FT)

A year without Broadway: ‘It’s like missing the punchline of the city’ Before the pandemic, Broadway was enjoying another banner year. But the devastating impact of a year-long shutdown raises questions about how New York’s theatreland will emerge. (FT)

How the KitKat went global From wasabi to match flavours, there is a way to interpret that Scottish-Swiss-Japanese innovation: as a symbol of the paradoxical nature of globalisation today, writes Gillian Tett. But as digital platforms, cargo ships and planes create connections (and contagions), we are also living through an anti-globalisation backlash. (FT)

Podcast of the day

Joe Biden’s Covid-19 vaccine programme speeds ahead US president Joe Biden has promised every American adult a vaccine by the end of May. The success of the vaccine programme begs a more sensitive question: What should happen to any spare doses the US can produce? Washington correspondent Kiran Stacey investigates. (FT)

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