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White House dismisses hearing on Russia ties

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Days after Donald Trump was elected, President Barack Obama warned his successor against hiring former general Michael Flynn as his security adviser. Mr Trump ignored the advice and Mr Flynn resigned after 17 days on the job amid the growing investigation of the Trump team’s ties to Russia. This is just one of the revelations to emerge following a Senate judiciary committee investigation into Russian interference in the US election.

The probe was also back in the news thanks to the testimony of former acting attorney-general Sally Yates, who spoke to the Senate panel about Russian meddling. Less than a week into the Trump administration, Ms Yates also warned Mr Flynn was vulnerable to foreign blackmail. Writing on Twitter, Mr Trump called the congressional investigations a “taxpayer funded charade”. Here are the six key takeaways from the hearing. (Guardian, FT, WSJ, NYT)

In the news

Banks to export 9,000 jobs from Brexit Britain The exodus of finance jobs from Britain is starting to take shape and Europe will be the beneficiary. Separately, a growing number of European citizens are applying for British passports ahead of the UK’s departure from the EU, in an unexpected counter to the flood of applications by Britons for citizenship of other EU countries since the Brexit vote. (Reuters, FT)

Bill Clinton and James Patterson team up The former US president and the New York Times bestselling writer are going to pen a ‘unique’ White House thriller novel, hitting shelves in 2018. (FT)

There goes the fear Wall Street’s “fear gauge”, the Vix index, has tumbled to its lowest in more than two decades. The gauge has only been lower on three days since its inception in 1992. (FT)

Macron: phase two The 39-year-old French president-elect will have to overcome the risk of paralysis in parliament. The three defeated parties are already plotting revenge in the June parliamentary elections in the hope of becoming the leading opposition force. It is a tough task given his En Marche! party has no seats at all. (FT, BBC)

Chemical romance ChemChina and Sinochem are planning to merge next year, creating the world’s largest chemicals group with $100bn of revenues. The deal would follow ChemChina’s $43bn purchase of Swiss agrochemicals leader Syngenta, which was backed by 80 per cent of the Swiss group’s shareholders last week, amid more general consolidation of the global agrochemicals industry. (FT)

Jakarta’s governor sentenced The Christan governor of Indonesia’s capital, Basuki Tjahaja Purnama, has been sentenced to two years in prison for blasphemy and inciting violence. He was accused of insulting Islam by referring to a verse in the Quran during a campaign speech. Here’s a read on how the overwhelmingly Muslim country has been resistant to extremism — until now. (BBC, Economist)

It’s a big day for

South Korea Record turnout is expected in the country’s presidential elections, with South Koreans civic spirit revived by a vast corruption saga. Leading opinion polls is Moon Jae-in, a liberal candidate with the Democratic party. (FT)

Keep up with the important business, economic and political stories in the coming days with the FT’s Week Ahead.

Food for thought

Iraq fears for its future once Isis falls The liberation of Mosul is imminent, but when the troops roll out of town they will leave behind a region mired in complex tensions. This on-the-ground long read looks at the lives of those grappling with what comes next. (FT)

The charm of Madame Macron A read on the life and times of the 64-year-old grandmother of seven who first captivated her husband when he was a 15-year-old student in her literature classes at a Jesuit school in Amiens. The wife of Emmanuel Macron now enters the Elysée Palace as France’s second-oldest first lady. Ooh la la! (FT)

Rise of the alt-left British media They have been mocked, ignored, and dismissed as conspiracy mongers — but a small group of hyperpartisan British media outlets have quietly built enormous audiences on Facebook in the space of just two years with pro-Jeremy Corbyn coverage. A read on the UK’s splintering media. (BuzzFeed)

The supermarket that shook Croatia It is the supermarket group that is too big to fail. Attempts to save Agrokor have brought down the country’s ruling centre-right coalition and may force an early parliamentary election. (Politico)

Replaced by a robot Industries that automate tend to increase output but with dire consequences for workers. A recent study found that jobs and wages have fallen in parts of the US where more robots are installed. (Bloomberg)

Video of the day

Japan’s ageing bosses When the president of a small company steps down, it is no longer a certainty that a son or daughter will take over. Leo Lewis looks at the demise of family business succession in Japan and the opportunities that it creates. (FT)

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