Listen to this article
This is an experimental feature. Give us your feedback. Thank you for your feedback.
What do you think?
Sign up to receive FirstFT by email here
Apple’s main supplier in Asia has been employing Chinese students illegally working overtime to assemble the iPhone X as production delays have left Apple struggling to catch up with demand.
Six high school students told the Financial Times they routinely work 11-hour days assembling the iPhone X at a Foxconn factory in Zhengzhou, which constitutes illegal overtime for student interns under Chinese law. The students said they were told that a three-month working stint at the factory was required “work experience” that they had to complete to graduate. Apple confirmed instances of student interns working overtime, but said they worked voluntarily. (FT)
In the news
Mugabe steps down
Zimbabwe president Robert Mugabe resigned, ending his 37-year rule on Tuesday, six days after the military took over the country and placed the world’s oldest leader under house arrest. (FT)
North Korea sanctions
The US has imposed more sanctions on North Korea as well as on Chinese firms that trade with Pyongyang. The new sanctions on one Chinese individual and four Chinese trading companies, among others, are a part of the US campaign to convince North Korea to abandon its missile and nuclear weapons programs. (FT)
Trump-appointed US regulators unveiled a proposal that would give internet providers “broad powers” to decide what websites and online services their customers can use and at what cost. The vote on the plan could reshape the entire digital ecosystem. (WaPo, FT)
State Department revolt
A group of around a dozen US State Department officials have taken the unusual step of formally accusing secretary of state Rex Tillerson of violating a federal law designed to prevent foreign militaries from using child soldiers. (Reuters)
US yield curve flattens
The US yield curve has hit its flattest point since 2007, dropping below the 1 per cent mark for the first time in a decade. The flattening has sparked concerns that the post-crisis economic expansion may be approaching its end. (FT)
AT&T and Time Warner
The US Department of Justice’s move to block AT&T’s $85.4bn takeover of Time Warner has prompted the telecoms group’s chief to warn the Trump administration’s decision would have a chilling effect on dealmaking. Lawyers have said they see few precedents for the justice department’s intervention. (FT)
Turkey’s central bank took steps on Tuesday to support its currency after the lira fell to a record low. But the bank faces an uphill battle to win investors’ trust as it confronts political interference, deteriorating US relations and rising inflation. Meanwhile, the Swedish krona fell to and bounced back from a crisis-era milestone as it faces pressure from soft inflation data and worries about the housing market. (FT)
The day ahead
British chancellor Philip Hammond will deliver his second budget amid tight public finances and political instability at the top of Theresa May’s government.
The US Federal Reserve’s Federal Open Market Committee releases the minutes from its October policy meeting when it kept rates unchanged.
Keep up with the important business, economic and political stories in the coming days with the FT’s Week Ahead.
What we’re reading
China in Africa
The crisis in Zimbabwe has turned the spotlight on China’s role in Africa, which has become a testing ground for Chinese foreign policy. (FT)
A plan for plutocrats
The tax bill going through Congress demonstrates Republicans’ primary objectives, says the FT’s Martin Wolf, which are to shift resources from the bottom and middle classes to the very top. But how is it that a party with these objectives has successfully gained power? (FT)
Google collecting location data
Phones running Android software gather users’ location data and send it back to Google even when users actively turn off location services, haven’t used any apps and haven’t inserted a SIM card. Google confirmed the finding to Quartz. (Quartz)
‘An average of one sexual comment every quarter’
The wave of sexual harassment scandals continues to spread, with journalist Charlie Rose fired from CBS and Glenn Thrush suspended from the New York Times. Nearly 100 women and men have told the FT about their own experiences of inappropriate behaviour in the workplace. The responses have been edited to remove any identifying aspects. (FT, Vox)
Nearly one in four Syrians live in exile after six years of war, but life has changed drastically for those who have stayed in Damascus, according to a reporter with a rare journalist visa. (NYT)
Video of the day
Merkel’s political options explained The German chancellor faces a tough decision on what to do next. What are her options? (FT)