FirstFT: McCarthy’s fight to be House Speaker to continue into


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The contest for the next Speaker of the US House of Representatives is to drag into a fourth day after lawmakers voted to adjourn proceedings yesterday evening following a historic 11th ballot defeat for Republican Kevin McCarthy amid a gruelling impasse in Washington.

Despite last-ditch attempts by McCarthy to quell opposition and secure the votes he needs to be elected Speaker, 20 Republicans repeatedly voted against him, depriving him of the simple majority needed to clinch the gavel.

The enduring gridlock exposed long-simmering tensions in the Republican party and prompted questions about how lawmakers might be able to chart a path forward.

McCarthy has resisted calls for him to step aside in favour of another Republican, and Democrats have demurred at suggestions that they might back McCarthy or work with Republicans to select a different Speaker.

1. UK signs cancer trials deal with BioNTech The UK government is partnering with German Covid-19 vaccine maker BioNTech to enrol up to 10,000 patients in clinical trials for cutting-edge cancer treatments. BioNTech said it would open a research and development centre with 75 staff in Cambridge and an office in London, and may later consider investing in UK manufacturing.

2. Taiwan to create domestic satellite champion to resist China Taiwan is in talks with a number of domestic and international investors to help its space agency establish its own satellite communications provider. Inspired by the role Elon Musk’s Starlink has played in the war in Ukraine, Taipei is ramping up efforts to fortify itself against a potential assault from China.

3. ‘Social tariff’ needed in Britain with high energy bills to endure Large energy suppliers and fuel poverty campaigners are urging UK ministers to engage in an “open and frank” conversation about how to tackle high energy costs in future years, particularly for the most vulnerable, as analysts caution that wholesale gas prices may not return to “normality” before 2030.

Line chart of Pence per therm showing Average monthly wholesale gas prices over winter

4. Falling inflation unlikely to deter ECB from more rate rises Eurozone inflation likely fell back into single digits for the first time in three months in December. It is also likely, however, that the European Central Bank will “stick to its hawkish rhetoric” and rate rises in the near term, said Franziska Palmas, senior Europe economist at research group Capital Economics.

5. China’s new renminbi tactics leave traders guessing China’s currency fell almost 8 per cent last year against the dollar, but Beijing smoothed out that decline using tools such as so-called “invisible reserves” held by state banks, rather than its more typical heavy-handed intervention by the People’s Bank of China.

How well did you keep up with the news this week? Take our quiz.

The day ahead

Putin’s 36-hour ceasefire due to start in Ukraine The ceasefire ordered by Russian president Vladimir Putin over the Orthodox Christmas is set to begin, even though it has been rejected by Kyiv, which has described the order as hypocritical and a propaganda attempt.

Anniversary of US Capitol attack US president Joe Biden will deliver remarks at the White House to mark the second anniversary of the January 6 insurrection. In a final report released at the end of the year, a congressional panel said former president Donald Trump was the “central cause” of last year’s attack on the US Capitol. (The Hill, FT)

Eurozone inflation figures In mainland Europe, optimism is growing that inflation has peaked. Falling inflation in member states suggests the eurozone-wide figure due today could drop lower than the forecast 9.7 per cent. Read more in our Disrupted Times newsletter.

Returning to its regular January schedule, the World Economic Forum’s 2023 annual meeting will bring together global leaders in Switzerland next week. Join FT Live at Davos for in-person and digital events January 16-20. View the events and register for free here.

What else we’re reading and watching

A Moscow diary: fear, loathing and deep denial While missiles rain down on Kyiv and villages in Russia’s backwaters have lost much of their adult male populations to the draft, Putin’s war does not seem to have changed Moscow that much. “Nobody is doing any self-reflection. What’s the point? If you pause to stop and think about it, things just get worse,” one Kremlin-connected businessman grumbles to Max Seddon, the FT’s Moscow bureau chief.

A New Year decoration of the Kremlin star bearing the letter Z at the entrance of Gorky Park
A New Year decoration of the Kremlin star bearing the letter Z at the entrance of Gorky Park © Getty Images

Ruchir Sharma’s investor guide: from peak dollar to better TV The sudden change in the price of money marks a fundamental break with the past, but many business leaders are not acting, writes Ruchir Sharma. As this phase wears on, tycoons, companies, currencies and countries that thrived on easy money will stumble, making way for new winners, with discriminating judgment shaping the trends of 2023.

🎥 Watch: How India can revolutionise women’s cricket The Indian Premier League transformed cricket from a game struggling to find a future to one of the most valuable sporting assets in the world. While top men’s players have become millionaires, female players have struggled to make ends meet. The launch of a women’s league could change the game around the world.

Premium subscribers can get more on the business of sport by signing up to the Scoreboard newsletter.

Whatever happened to Google Search? Google Search was once one of the wonders of the online world, writes Elaine Moore. “Its clean, organised pages of results filtered the otherwise unmanageable slog of information on the internet. That was until it became cluttered with adverts.”

How a pharma partnership led to a breast cancer breakthrough It is not often that a drug receives a standing ovation. When Daiichi Sankyo and AstraZeneca announced impressive results for their breast cancer treatment Enhertu, oncologists took to their feet to applaud. “It was a goosebump moment, sending shivers down my spine,” said Susan Galbraith, who leads oncology research and development at AstraZeneca.

Take a break from the news

Our six films to watch this week include a grouchy Tom Hanks in A Man Called Otto, Antonio Banderas as a killer in a classic car in The Enforcer and Christian Bale meeting Edgar Allan Poe in The Pale Blue Eye.

Tom Hanks and Mariana Treviño in ‘A Man Called Otto’
Tom Hanks and Mariana Treviño in ‘A Man Called Otto’ © Niko Tavernise

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