By Henry Mance

In an attempt to avert another cold war, Russian president Vladimir Putin invites European leaders to his dacha for an informal Christmas dinner.

Putin: Come in, my adorable Brussels sprouts! You must be colder than a Ukrainian gas power station in 2017. Don’t just stand there waiting – this isn’t Heathrow arrivals.

David Cameron: Talking of Heathr-

Putin: Oh, David, I’m so glad you made it. Such a long journey, and they say you are not a fan of the free movement of people?… Angela! Read more

By Daniel Gallucci

Half a world away from snowy Moscow, Russia’s deepening economic crisis is reverberating upon the palm-fringed beaches and castaway islands of Thailand. The droves of holidaymakers from Russian cities visiting Thai resorts are dwindling, deterred not so much by the southeast Asian nation’s military coup earlier this year as by the rout of the rouble.

As the chart below shows, Russians seeking a warm refuge from the prolonged winter of home were relatively unfazed in early 2014 by the mounting political tensions in Thailand that led to the May military coup. Read more

China slowdown, collapsing currencies and the double-edged sword of cheaper oil – Jonathan Wheatley and James Kynge of the FT’s emerging markets team discuss the outlook for 2015 in EM countries.

** FT News **

* Oil falls further as IEA cuts 2015 forecast | Energy watchdog says rout in prices has not stimulated buying

* China water diversion starts to flow | Controversial $60bn project will irrigate the country’s arid north Read more

** FT News **

* Ukraine PM calls on west to help avert default as bond yields surge | Ukraine’s prime minister says his cash-strapped government needs $15bn in fresh aid

* Venezuela loses faith in government | Much-need reforms are being stalled by rampant corruption Read more

** FT News **

* Land deals boost Bahrain royals’ wealth | King’s companies developed projects on disputed plots

* Qataris appoints Ken Costa to Songbird board | City grandee to be director of Canary Wharf owner Read more

** FT News **

* Turkish GDP disappoints with 1.7% growth in third quarter | Exports fail to compensate fully for fall in domestic demand

* Hungary and Russia confirm nuclear deal | Budapest awards energy contracts without public tender Read more

** FT News **

* IMF warns Ukraine bailout at risk of collapse | Shortfall of $15bn needed within weeks

* Shanghai suffers biggest fall in 5 years | Late-in-the-day 8% slide ends bull run for mainland benchmark Read more

** FT News **

* Oil and dollar hammer emerging markets | Developing currencies fall to 14-year low

* Risk aversion rises as oil slides anew | A tumble in the oil price is viewed as a warning signal for the global economy Read more

** FT News **

* Former chairman of India’s Satyam jailed | Incarceration of Ramalinga Raju draws line under $1bn accounting scandal

* Asia equities follow US and Europe lower | Crude hits five-year low and iron sees its biggest drop in three weeks Read more

Shares on the Shanghai stock exchange have climbed 22 per cent in the past month. fastFT’s Naomi Rovnick explains to Jonathan Wheatley, deputy emerging markets editor, how this is being driven by falling property prices and lower interest rates.

** FT News **

* Libya’s divisions pave way for oil tussle | Chaos and violence is exacerbated by dual governments taking control of key institutions Read more

** FT News **

* Putin threatens currency speculators | President says ‘outside enemies’ attempting to bring Russia to its knees

* Italy’s Renzi pivots to Africa for alternatives to Russian gas | Matteo Renzi, the Italian prime minister, plots a different vision for European energy policy. Read more

** FT News **

* Putin threatens currency speculators | President says ‘outside enemies’ attempting to bring Russia to its knees

* Investment focus: opportunities in China | Comment and statistics on the country’s economic growth Read more

By Daniel Gallucci in Bangkok

An expectant hush fell over about seven hundred foreign and Thai businessmen as they awaited the keynote speaker at an event in Bangkok this week. Army chief-turned-prime minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, leader of the May coup, was moments away from making his first address to the foreign business community.

Then, as a phalanx of security men signalled the general’s arrival, the venue exploded into song. Blaring from the loud speakers came the ponderous strains of “Returning Happiness to Thailand”, a song he composed just after the coup. Read more