FirstFT: Johnson attended ‘Bring your own booze’ event in Downing Street


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Boris Johnson attended a “bring your own alcohol” event in Downing Street Garden less than an hour after a senior minister warned Britons that social gatherings were banned, witnesses said.

The event of May 20, 2020, when England was under lockdown restrictions, was hosted by the Chief of Staff to the Prime Minister. More than 100 staff from number 10 were invited.

The post of Martin Reynolds, Johnson’s top private secretary, was under threat after a leaked email showed he urged staff to “make the most of the good weather”.

Johnson’s presence, confirmed by several and not denied by the government, is expected to spark further criticism of his leadership, which has been rocked by reports of allegedly illegal government parties.

What is your response to the report that the Prime Minister attended an event during the lockdown? Share your impressions with us on [email protected] and we could include your response in the next newsletter. Thanks for reading FirstFT Europe / Africa. Here’s the rest of today’s news – Jennifer

1. Companies raise $ 100 billion in global debt market Corporate bond issuance reached $ 101 billion in the first week of 2022, with U.S. deals reaching an all-time high as finance chiefs sought to secure low borrowing costs before rates hit. benchmark interest does not climb. Transportation was lagging behind a blockbuster of $ 118 billion until 2021, Refinitiv’s highest level of records dating back 19 years.

2. United States and Russia extend talks with Ukraine Russia has warned that it will forgo diplomatic efforts to end the crisis, with 100,000 of its troops massed on its border with Ukraine, if the West continues to ignore demands for security guarantees, but has agreed to extend talks this week.

3. Signal CEO resigns Moxie Marlinspike, chief executive of the encrypted messaging app, which rose to popularity last year in a backlash against rival WhatsApp’s privacy policies, is stepping down. He will be replaced on an interim basis by WhatsApp co-founder Brian Acton.

4. Google’s ultimate lobbying to influence EU technology rules The Silicon Valley giant is making a last-minute effort to change incoming Big Tech laws, as Brussels politicians and officials target targeted advertising, emails and social media posts.

“California’s top leaders have experienced the [Digital Markets Act] all along but they don’t wake up until now ” – A Google insider

5. Credit Suisse-SoftBank relations deteriorate The Swiss bank is taking issue with SoftBank founder Masayoshi Son’s account of a controversial deal the Japanese group struck with Greensill Capital, as the once-close ties between the companies grew increasingly bitter.

Coronavirus digest

  • Novak Djokovic won his appeal against deportation from Australia for his exemption from vaccination against Covid-19.

  • China Tightens restrictions in Tianjin, a 14m town near Beijing, after discovering the first community-transmitted cases of the Omicron variant.

  • Ministers are optimistic that most of the restrictions England will end on January 26 as data suggests health services are unlikely to be overwhelmed. Omicron is only expected to pose a slight shock to the economy in December and January.

  • Ikea and Wessex water have established policies to reduce sickness benefits for unvaccinated staff in the UK who self-isolate after contact with a positive Covid case.

  • Novartis will seek expedited approval for its drug Covid, developed with biotech group Molecular Partners, following strong trial results.

  • The media and pro-Beijing politicians in Hong Kong have called for Cathay pacific be punished after his crew violates quarantine rules and sparked an Omicron outbreak.

Novak Djokovic

Novak Djokovic’s legal victory hinges on a judge’s ruling that Australian border officials acted unreasonably when they canceled his visa © Reuters

The day to come

World Economic Forum releases report on global risks The World Economic Forum’s latest global risk report is expected to note divergent recoveries from the pandemic, climate change, cybersecurity, and sparkling asset prices, including in cryptocurrencies. (FEM)

UK cost of living crisis Labor opposition will pressure Boris Johnson to remove value added tax on household energy bills by forcing a parliamentary vote.

Jay Powell Confirmation Hearing In his testimony before the Senate Banking Committee, Powell – whom President Joe Biden has appointed for a second term as Federal Reserve Chairman – will reaffirm that the US central bank is ready to take action to ensure that high inflation does not take root.

Economic data The EU has figures on industrial production. In the UK, the British Retail Consortium-KPMG’s monthly retail sales monitoring report is also expected.

What else do we read

China slows down lending to Africa From next to nothing, Chinese banks now account for about a fifth of all lending to Africa, concentrated in strategic or resource-rich countries like Angola, Kenya and Zambia. But Beijing has signaled a more cautious approach after a 20-year lending spree. What does this mean for the continent?

You see a snapshot of an interactive chart. This is most likely because you are offline or JavaScript is disabled in your browser.

Troubles in Kazakhstan: Foreign “terrorists” or disorderly power struggle? Rather than a planned coup, as President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev has asserted, the seemingly spontaneous uprising – initially because of rising fuel prices – drew on deep social and economic resentments. With 164 dead, the situation continues to spiral out of control.

Don’t roll your eyes when lawyers complain about overwork Sarah O’Connor’s instinct is to reach for a tiny violin when she hears complaints of burnout from junior lawyers and bankers. But listening to the concerns of people at the top can inform the debate about how to improve jobs at the bottom.

Will UK and EU agree to a Northern Ireland deal? Discussions will resume this week on how to resolve the long-standing trade agreement dispute. But officials remain distant on the merits of the management of the new trade border in the Irish Sea. The Financial Times examines the prospects for a deal.

What happens when the Web3 bubble bursts? Web3 builds on Web 2.0, which was all about social media and user-centric content. Rana Foroohar argues that investors should pay less attention to the metaverse and more to those who use capital to build the sustainable assets of the future.


Silicon Valley loves hard-hitting marketing slogans. Web3 has become a shortcut for blockchain, cryptocurrencies, meme-driven retail investing apps, and even the metaverse © Matt Kenyon

Your reactions

Last week we asked whether nations should pursue a ‘zero-Covid’ policy. Here’s what readers had to say:

“Pursuing a zero Covid policy is essentially a futile and fragile strategy. Indeed, a country has to open up and when it does, there will be transmission of Covid, so ultimately it is a flawed approach that makes the extreme measures that came before meaningless. We sometimes praise countries for their alleged successful removal of the virus, but at what cost to their society? We need to adopt a more measured balance.

It also seems to me that these countries pursuing zero Covid are shamelessly leaving other countries to suffer as they develop medical and societal approaches to overcome Covid as they themselves seek to reap the rewards of these gains. A zero Covid approach only works if other countries aren’t sealed off and take the same approach (you just have to watch supply chain challenges to understand it). The ultimate free ride perhaps? – AM, Hong Kong

“Unfortunately, even the fact that we can discuss zero Covid means that it is a policy, and therefore political. Certainly public health concerns are enveloped in it, but the main driver of zero Covid for.. Leaders is to. highlight the success of their previous lockdown and continued supply of substandard vaccines. It’s hard to criticize their lockdown strategy, but Covid has proven that more than brute force is needed to stop the common health and economic damage of the pandemic. Truly impressive leadership should accept that the direction of policy must change with changing realities, even if those realities admit of scientific errors ”- Spencer Dodington, Islington, London

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