FirstFT: Germany protests to Russia over wave of cyber attacks

Global Economy updates

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Germany has accused Russia of launching a spate of cyber attacks on politicians amid suspicions that Moscow is interfering in this month’s election to decide who succeeds Angela Merkel as chancellor.

The country’s foreign ministry said it held Russia responsible for illegally targeting a number of national and regional politicians with “phishing” emails to gain access to personal details.

These “unacceptable actions” posed a “risk to Germany’s security and its democratic decision-making processes, and [placed] a heavy burden on the bilateral relationship” with Russia, said Andrea Sasse, a spokeswoman for the German foreign ministry.

Berlin’s protest was passed directly to Russian deputy foreign minister Vladimir Titov last week, Sasse said. Concern has been growing in Berlin that Russia could attempt a reprise of its interference in the US election in 2016.

The warning comes ahead of what appears to be the most open election in recent German history, with polls pointing to an inconclusive outcome that could usher in months of uncertainty in Europe’s most powerful country. It will bring the curtain down on Merkel’s 16-year reign as chancellor.

Five more stories in the news

1. Taliban says it has captured the last Afghan region of resistance The Taliban has declared victory over Afghanistan’s last opposition stronghold after resistance fighters in the Panjshir Valley claimed that an attack had inflicted heavy casualties on their leadership. Meanwhile, Qatar has emerged as a bridge between the Taliban and the west. Read the rest of our Afghanistan coverage here.

2. Goldman Sachs plans IPO for $5bn Petershill Partners Goldman Sachs is planning a London listing for Petershill Partners, in a deal that would value the Wall Street bank’s stakes in alternative asset managers at more than $5bn.

3. Indian equities rally as Chinese shares struggle A rally for Indian equities has put the country’s market on course for its strongest performance since 2017, outpacing China. India’s BSE Sensex has risen a quarter since April, as foreign buying returned on signs of economic recovery following rampant Covid-19 outbreaks this year.

4. Chinese government funds invest in Didi’s rival Cao Cao Mobility announced yesterday that it raised $588m from a group of state-owned funds to accelerate its expansion. Meanwhile, the country’s largest ride-hailing app, Didi Chuxing, is still banned from registering new users until regulators complete an investigation into its data security.

5. ‘Shang-Chi’ smashes records in US cinemas Marvel’s first superhero movie with an Asian lead character, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, generated $90m in US ticket sales over the weekend, making it the most successful Labor Day release on record. The popularity of the movie was a milestone for Asian-American representation on the big screen.

Coronavirus digest

  • China’s Sinopharm seeks to develop its own mRNA Covid vaccine, becoming one of the first big Chinese pharmaceutical groups to pursue the technology to combat the disease.

  • Italy will start administering a booster shot of Covid-19 vaccines to the most vulnerable parts of its population this month, the country’s health minister said.

  • The number of over-50s suffering from depression almost doubled during the pandemic, according to a new study from the University of Surrey.

  • Covid cases are declining across much of Europe, according to the FT’s Covid-19 tracker. Caseloads across the EU have begun to plateau and sit at 11.7 cases per 100,000 people.

The pandemic has widened the gulf between rich and poor, but we can rebuild a more sustainable world by co-operating, writes Ian Goldin. Follow our live coverage and sign up to our Coronavirus Business Update for a regular briefing on how the pandemic is affecting the economy.

The day ahead

EU data Eurostat is to release its quarterly GDP figures today. Read the full list of economic data here.

Bitcoin Twenty years after it adopted the US dollar as its national currency, El Salvador will become the first country in the world to make bitcoin legal tender. The move has excited cryptocurrency advocates abroad but on the streets of the capital, few said they were prepared to using the digital currency.

© Marvin Recinos/AFP via Getty Im
© Marvin Recinos/AFP via Getty Im

What else we’re reading

The Maoist echoes of Xi’s power play A sudden frenzy of political activity over the past two weeks has people wondering if China is entering a new period of social upheaval, reminiscent of the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution in 1966. This time, it is under president Xi Jinping, the country’s most powerful leader since Mao Zedong.

EY is under scrutiny Documents seen by the FT raise questions about the work of the Big Four firm, which gave conglomerate Zeromax clean audits in 2005, 2006 and 2007. EY failed to raise the alarm over multimillion-dollar jewellery purchases and approved huge payments to opaque offshore companies in the years before the second-largest bankruptcy in Swiss history.

What is the cost of extreme weather? Over the past five decades, the losses owing to extreme weather amounted to $3.6tn and 2m deaths, according to the World Meteorological Organization. Economic losses have increased as extreme weather events became more frequent but the high death tolls have been partly reduced thanks to better evacuation planning.

More frequent severe weather events are leading to an increase in economic losses but improved evacuations have reduced death tolls. Charts showing Top 10 disasters by reported economic losses and deaths since 1970

Trump’s allies want to help Bolsonaro A conservative political event in Brasília over the weekend drew in hundreds of far-right supporters, including high-profile allies of the former US president. They descended on Brazil to throw their weight behind president Jair Bolsonaro, as the populist gears up for a re-election campaign next year.

FT’s new financial literacy and inclusion campaign Financial resilience can be boosted by understanding how money works in everyday life. To promote better financial literacy and inclusion around the world, the FT is launching a new charity. “Our hope is that with you, readers, we can make an ongoing impact in an area that is consistent with our values and expertise,” writes FT editor Roula Khalaf. Read about the initiative here.


Maria Shollenbarger travelled across the Alps on the Venice-Simplon Orient Express, arguably the most famous train in the world. Can its caviar and champagne welcomes, white-coat service and staggering scenery sell old-school, shading-to-decadent glamour in a world that’s still interrogating the idea of luxury post-pandemic?

© Belmond/Mattia Aquila
© Belmond/Mattia Aquila

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