LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - Clothing makers’ fair labour credentials are hanging by a thread – a cotton thread. More than 80% of China’s crop comes from the Uighurs’ home region, Xinjiang. Beijing denies allegations from activist groups that forced labour taints that supply. Still, fashion giants risk being caught out.
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - Russian anti-corruption activist and politician Alexei Navalny is fighting for his life. His allies say he has been poisoned. His damaging exposés of leading figures’ corruption and cronyism have been popular - and embarrassing to the country’s kleptocrats. A suspected attempt on his life will deter the remaining independent voices, reducing even further the constraints on dodgy business practices.
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - Here is a joke doing the rounds in Belarus, where protesters over President Alexander Lukashenko’s reported landslide victory in the Aug. 9 election threaten to end his 26-year reign. Policemen arrest a man in Minsk, the capital. “But I voted for Lukashenko,” he declares. “Don’t lie,” the police retort, “nobody voted for him!” Lukashenko’s potential departure is no laughing matter for the Russian President Vladimir Putin.
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - After a period of high productivity in response to the pandemic, businesses face “war room fatigue”. Executive coach Merete Wedell-Wedellsborg explains how leaders can get their teams out of this regression phase as quickly as possible, keeping staff motivated and effective.
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - WPP boss Mark Read is tidying up during difficult times. Finsbury and two other public relations companies owned by the $10 billion advertising giant are joining forces, they said on Tuesday. The new setup, which will see the trio’s managers hold nearly 50% of the merged company, will suit Read well.
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - Shortly after Vladimir Putin became president of Russia in 2000, he quipped in a speech to his former colleagues in the security services that the mission to take back power had been accomplished. Like all good jokes, the statement contained a large grain of truth. Behind the chaotic facade of the Soviet Union’s collapse, the KGB had been planning its revival. “Putin’s People: How the KGB took back Russia and then took on the West”, by Catherine Belton, describes how the president’s rise was part of the calculated return of the organisation where he had cut his teeth. Together with other murky networks, the former secret police force built a political and economic system which keeps its participants hostage, she writes. Half of Russian workers suffer a similar fate.
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - Unilever has bowed to the power of the FTSE 100 index. The consumer giant on Thursday unveiled a plan to unify its dual holding companies in London, less than two years after UK shareholders rejected an attempt to create a single Dutch parent. This attempt has a greater chance of success.
LONDON, May 27 (Reuters Breakingviews) - Tuesday was a busy
day for European equity capital market bankers. They rushed to
place shares on behalf of clients like Saint Gobain,
which offloaded $2.7 billion of stock in Swiss chemical group
Sika through a so-called block trade. The return of
these risky transactions, and surge in secondary share sales,
send a warning over the durability of the recent stock market
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - For the euro’s many critics, the sovereign debt crisis that peaked in 2012 was a sign that the single currency is doomed. For Olli Rehn, one of the lessons is that its members need to integrate further and share more risks. In “Walking the Highwire: Rebalancing the European Economy in Crisis”, the former European Union commissioner describes his experience of firefighting to keep the euro zone intact. Though the book was written before the coronavirus outbreak, the pandemic has revived debates about sharing financial burdens among its members. Reluctance to support weaker countries suggests Rehn’s vision remains out of reach.
LONDON (Reuters Breakingviews) - Frantic stockpiling has given unfashionable food brands a new lease of life. Widespread lockdowns sent consumers rushing to hoard humdrum products like PG Tips tea or frozen Hot Pockets. The shift is forcing chief executives of consumer giants such as Unilever and Nestlé to rethink their priorities.