Theresa May is prepared to risk a furious Eurosceptic backlash by pushing ahead with her preferred hybrid customs plan. Last week Mrs May’s inner Brexit cabinet committee rejected her “new customs partnership” plan, which Eurosceptic ministers declared “unworkable” and what one Whitehall official called “a dead parrot”.
But the prime minister has told her Brexiter colleagues that unless they accept her compromise plan, parliament could inflict an even less palatable option on them: a full customs union with the EU. She wants to settle the issue in the next two weeks.
Here are Mrs May’s options: including reviving the “dead parrot”. (FT)
In the news
Emerging markets ructions
Emerging markets investors are braced for turbulence in the coming days following last week’s sharp currencies sell-off. However, some analysts said the extent of the damage may be limited because of better macroeconomic conditions in developing countries in recent years. “I’m willing to defend the idea that this time really is different,” one fund manager said. (FT)
Airline industry game changer
An unlikely challenger to credit card companies has emerged. The global airline industry and Deutsche Bank have teamed up to provide a new electronic real-time payment system for plane tickets that seeks to save carriers billions of euros in transaction fees. It has no name yet but is scheduled to be rolled out across Europe from the end of 2018, with Germany as the first market. (FT)
The White House criticised China’s efforts to force foreign airlines to change how they refer to Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macau at the weekend. It comes as fears intensify over the US-China trade spat, with a major Apple supplier warning that the dispute could upset the iPhonemaker’s supply chain. The FT’s global business columnist Rana Foroohar says it’s the Faangs — Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix and Google — and not China that the US should worry about. (FT)
Warren Buffett: Long live Berkshire Hathaway
The 87-year-old business magnate has led his investment conglomerate for decades — so what would a post-Buffett Berkshire really look like? This was the question that dominated the company’s annual meeting over the weekend and the investor had one answer: Don’t worry, Berkshire’s reputation is “not dependent on me”. (FT)
It’s been almost a year since a group of countries led by Saudi Arabia closed off Qatar’s access to their ports and airspace. But Qatar has weathered the embargo storm and is now accelerating economic reforms aimed at boosting investment. Ali Shareef al-Emadi, Qatar finance minister, told the FT that he now views the emirate as “an open hub for the region”. (FT)
UK’s oldest bank gets young face
C Hoare & Co, which in the past has proclaimed itself “ proud to be boring ”, is branching out. The bank is replacing two of its octogenarian owners with a 32-year-old partner — to inject some “millennial thinking” into the venerable family-controlled institution. (FT)
The day ahead
Saving the Iran deal
Boris Johnson, UK foreign secretary, is in Washington DC in an effort to convince the Trump administration to remain in the Iran nuclear accord. It came as Iran’s president warned Donald Trump that he would be making a “historic” mistake if the US were to withdraw from the global nuclear deal with Tehran. (FT)
Vladimir Putin will be inaugurated for the fourth time in Moscow. The Russian president was elected to another six-year term in March after 18 years in power. More than 1,000 Russians who had protested against Mr Putin remained in detention overnight ahead of the ceremony. (FT)
Nafta talks scheduled to resume
Senior trade officials from the US, Canada and Mexico are scheduled to resume talks on the North American Free Trade Agreement in Washington. Donald Trump wants the negotiations thrashed out by the end of May, and his trade representative Robert Lighthizer has previously said that Nafta would be “on thin ice” unless an agreement could be struck in the coming weeks. (FT)
Keep up with the important business, economic and political stories in the coming days with the FT’s Week Ahead.
What we’re reading
Is beauty Amazon-proof?
Last year was a bloodbath for US retail. But one type of shopping has not only escaped the malaise, it is booming. Is it surprising that the beauty industry is in vogue? It plays into the influence of YouTube and Instagram over traditional advertising, reimagining the physical store and an obsession with “wellness”. (FT)
Talkin’ bout education
The UK’s former education secretary called time on privileged students last week, and the FT’s Miranda Green concurs, saying the DODs — “Daddy owns Devon” should face greater scrutiny despite A-grades. Across the channel, debate is also raging about French universities. The Economist says Emmanuel Macron is right to try to reform the system: the model is inefficient, inequitable and allows too many young people to sink without a chance. (FT, Economist)
How giant rats are saving lives
An elite special-forces unit is training in Tanzania for a dangerous mission: ridding the world’s formerly war-torn regions of landmines. It can take a person with a metal detector up to four days to clear an area the size of a tennis court. It takes an African giant pouched rat 30 minutes. (WSJ)
The case for five-hour work days
Pilita’s Clark’s column on the case for a five-hour working day has been one of our most popular articles overnight. We couldn’t guess why. (FT)
The gambler who cracked the horseracing code
Veteran gamblers know you can’t beat the horses. But what if that weren’t true? Bill Benter did the impossible: he wrote an algorithm that couldn’t lose at the track. Close to a billion dollars later, he tells his story for the first time. (Bloomberg)
Should Brazil keep its Amazon tribes from taking the lives of their children?
For generations, many tribes have killed children born with disabilities. A controversial bill aimed at eradicating the practice has raised a fundamental question: to what extent should the state interfere with customs that seem inhumane to the outside world but that indigenous peoples developed long ago as a means to ensure group survival? (Foreign Policy)
Podcast of the day
LGBT employees face hurdles at home and abroad
Emma Jacobs discusses the dangers for gay staff working abroad off the back of the Stonewall charity report. Foreign postings are often tough for gay expats, but managers can take steps to help. (FT)