FirstFT: Today’s top stories | Financial Times

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Facebook has agreed to restore Australian news on its platform “in the coming days” following an agreement with the government on amendments to a proposed law that would force Big Tech to pay for news.

The world’s largest social media company said on Tuesday it was satisfied that “a number of changes and guarantees” it had agreed with Canberra addressed its concerns over the bill.

The proposed law is being debated in parliament and could become a model for other governments’ efforts to reframe the relationship between dominant tech platforms and the media. Facebook had argued that the legislation “fundamentally misunderstood” its interaction with publishers and penalised the company “for content it didn’t take or ask for”.

It abruptly blocked the sharing of news in the country altogether last week, causing a public backlash after access to critical emergency services and health pages was cut off. (FT)

Coronavirus digest

When Covid-19 shook the world last year, CureVac seemed positioned to produce a “best-in-class” vaccine. Now, the company’s product is lagging up to six months behind. Here’s how it is trying to get back on track. (FT)

A transatlantic tug of love and a CEO brain haemorrhage has afflicted the Bill Gates-backed biotech
A transatlantic tug of love and a CEO brain haemorrhage has afflicted the Bill Gates-backed biotech © FT montage; Curevac AG; NIAID

Follow the latest Covid-19 news with our live blog and vaccine tracker.

In the news

Fed chair signals no early tightening of monetary policy Jay Powell, the chair of the Federal Reserve, has told Congress there was “hope for a return to more normal conditions” this year but signalled that the central bank intended to maintain its heavy support of the economy. Treasury secretary Janet Yellen dropped hints of her priorities in a recent interview. (FT, NYT)

  • US stocks clawed back losses to end a wild trading day higher after Powell signalled he had no immediate plans to change monetary policy. Meanwhile, a commodities price surge raises fears of an “overshoot”. (FT)

HSBC shifts ‘heart of business’ to Asia Europe’s largest bank pledged to invest $6bn to expand in Hong Kong, China and Singapore and confirmed it would sell its US retail arm as it reported a 50 per cent fall in fourth-quarter profits — albeit with a resumption of dividends. The bank’s pivot to China is a recognition of the country’s decoupling from the west, writes our editorial board. (FT)

Jailed Indian environmental activist to be freed on bail Disha Ravi, the 22-year-old linked to Sweden’s Greta Thunberg, is to be freed on bail 10 days after she was arrested and accused of sedition for her efforts in supporting a protest by farmers against new agricultural laws. (FT)

Disha Ravi’s arrest reflects the authorities growing use of India’s sweeping colonial-era sedition law © Adnan Abidi/Reuters
Disha Ravi’s arrest reflects the authorities growing use of India’s sweeping colonial-era sedition law © Adnan Abidi/Reuters

US considers Russia sanctions over SolarWinds hack The Biden administration is planning a package of measures, including sanctions, to punish Russia over the SolarWinds espionage campaign that struck at the heart of the US government. Actions will also include measures to secure commercial networks and improve third-party services. (FT)

Ex-Capitol officers say they did not see FBI warning before riot Former security officials cited a failure in intelligence sharing between law-enforcement agencies during testimony in the first public hearing on the storming of the Capitol by a pro-Trump mob, which left five people dead and resulted in scores of criminal charges. (FT)

Dumped WeWork co-founder set for gains ahead of Spac deal Adam Neumann could reap almost $500m in cash from his holdings in WeWork and emerge with a stake in a public company, less than 18 months after the high-profile failure of its initial public offering cost him his job as chief executive. (FT)

South African bank challenger Tyme to launch in Asia The banking…



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