Fri. Dec 3rd, 2021

China’s hypersonic arms test in July included technological advances that enabled it fire a missile as it approached its target, it moved at least five times the speed of sound – a capability that no country had demonstrated before.

Pentagon scientists were caught off guard by the march, which allowed the hypersonic glider, a mobile spacecraft capable of carrying a nuclear warhead, to fire a separate missile in mid-flight over the South China Sea, according to people who are familiar with intelligence.

Experts at Darpa, the Pentagon’s advanced research agency, remain unsure how China has overcome the limitations of physics by firing countermeasures from a vehicle traveling at hypersonic speeds, said the people familiar with details of the demonstration.

Military experts examined information about the test to understand how China has mastered the technology. They also debate the purpose of the projectile, which was fired by the hypersonic vehicle with no obvious target of its own, before diving into the water.

What is your reaction to China’s technological progress? Tell us what you think at Thank you for reading FirstFT Europe / Africa. – Jennifer

1. KKR makes a buyout offer of € 33 billion for Telecom Italia The US buyout fund has a more than Offer of € 33 billion To take Telecom Italia privately in what would be one of the largest private equity acquisitions of a European company in history.

2. HSBC struggles to attract Big Four bids The UK’s largest lender fears it will struggle to persuade some of the country’s largest accounting firms to bid for its $ 94ma-year audit after initial outreach to competitors suggested that a number of Big Four firms were reluctant to accept the role.

3. El Salvador plans ‘bitcoin city’ driven by volcano President Nayib Bukele said the Central American country was planning a volcano-powered “bitcoin city” partly financed by an issue of $ 1 billion in sovereign bonds backed by the cryptocurrency.

4. Tories ‘lose support’ over migrant boom Senior Conservatives have warned Boris Johnson of a setback by their fans about an increase in the number of migrants crossing the English Channel as the British Prime Minister has put together a new cross-departmental task force to tackle the issue.

5. Olympic Games chief holds video call with missing Chinese tennis star Thomas Bach said he has a 30 minute video call Sunday with Peng Shuai, with the International Olympic Committee declaring that she is “safe and sound” in Beijing, but that she “would like to respect her privacy at this time”.

IOC chief Thomas Bach holds a video call with Chinese tennis player Peng Shuai,

Peng’s case drew widespread attention to China’s authoritarian practices of censorship, forced disappearances and suppression of women’s rights activism © Greg Martin / International Olympic Committee / AFP via Getty Images

Coronavirus consumed

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The days ahead

World Trade Organization meeting The organisation’s general council will meet before its meeting in Geneva 12th Ministerial Conference, a meeting of its highest decision-making body, on 30 November. (BBG)

CBI Annual Conference Tony Danker, Director-General of the UK’s largest employers’ group, will announce plans for a new regional unit with its own management committee and director to boost growth, skills and investment across the country. He told the FT that five decades of “benevolent neglect” of regional industries had left Britain with a “branch line”, London-centered economy. CBI is also due to release her monthly industrial trends survey.

Zoom earnings The video conferencing platform reports figures for the third quarter as it struggles with the need to broaden its scope as staff return to the workplace and become less reliant on screen-based meetings. US financial software maker Intuit is announcing first-quarter results.

What else are we reading

Is it time to worry about inflation? With prices at multi-decade highs in the US and other advanced economies, the topic has shot so fast to the top of the economic agenda that what was a niche issue at the beginning of 2021 is now at the heart of politics. For policymakers, a wrong reaction can derail the recovery.

  • Opinion: Long-term interest rates have barely moved in recent months despite inflation making a return. Why? The world is in a debt trap, writes Ruchir Sharma, Morgan Stanley Investment Management’s Chief Global Strategist.

The Spac machine splashes back Sponsors hope the market’s signs of life indicates that it is mature. Some drew analogies with the junk bond market, which went through an insane boom period followed by scandal in the 1980s before it became an integral part of the modern financial system.

Big Read chart showing how Spac IPOs started to recover

Too much choice is confusing and unsustainable In a restaurant, Andrew Hill tends to choose the set menu rather than go à la carte. “Faced with an abundance of choice, I am an indecisive buyer, so news of simplification is rejoicing,” he writes. Similarly, supply chain shortages and a climate crisis remind companies of this. less is often more.

Where did all the workers go? Two years of unprecedented upheaval in labor markets have caused millions to retire from the workforce on both sides of the Atlantic. Is it due to reduced migration? Early retirement? And will keep it? This is the first part of an FT series that analyzes how the pandemic has changed the labor market.

EU fiscal rules need more than technical adjustments In Freudian psychoanalysis, neurotic behavior is the manifestation of repressed feelings. In the EU’s obsession with codified rules, it is politics that is suppressed. This is why the recharging debate on fiscal rules is going to be difficult, writes Martin Sandbu.


Can you work from home in the Alps? During the pandemic, some skiers did just that. FT’s Liz Rowlinson examines whether the romantic vision corresponds to reality.

Skiers in the Val d'Isère

Val d’Isère: French resort installs fiber optic broadband, another lure for remote workers ©

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