Introduction: Equity markets slump and the price of gold soars amid growing fears of US bank nationalisation, notably Citigroup and Bank of America; Sir Allen Stanford, the Texan cricket tycoon, is charged with fraud by the SEC; the Department of Justice fines UBS $780m and seeks to force the disclosure of the names of 52,000 clients suspected of tax evasion; UK public borrowing heads toward 10 per cent of national income; and Japan’s pickled finance minister is forced to resign.
And if you failed to pick up or read the Financial Times or ft.com this week, you would have missed the following gems:
Themes of the week: The Geithner plan to save the US banking system receives a raspberry; Rio Tinto agrees to a rescue plan with Chinalco, the Chinese metals giant; HBOS reveals appalling results driven by reckless property lending; Lloyds admits it failed to do due diligence ahead of the purchase; bankers are barbecued in the House of Commons and Capitol Hill; Israel’s elections produce deadlock; and a Dr Strangelove satellite collision takes place in space.
And if you failed to pick up and read the FT or ft.com, you would have missed the following unique items.
There have been quite a few changes recently to the FT blogging system, so we’d like to let you know about them.
We’ve upgraded our blogging platform, WordPress, to version 2.6.5, which has some benefits behind the scenes, but also gave us a chance to update the look and feel. We have cleaned up the design, and moved from three columns to two. This allows for a neater layout of content on the right of the page, and modules that can be hidden or expanded, so readers can customise the page view as they like. We will use this area for other new modules and widgets in the future, giving you interesting ways of accessing our content as well as content from around the web.
The comments system has been revamped. Now a single user ID works on the main FT.com site, Alphaville and FT blogs, which makes it easier for you to post comments. It also means that we can view comment profiles across all of our products, so we can identify our more dedicated commenters, as well as moderate our blogs more effectively.
Our Lex vs Martin Wolf debate has taken FT blogs into a new area – externalising part of the FT’s in-house debate. We don’t always agree with each other, and when it involves some of our most interesting commentators, we are happy to share it with you. It shows how our arguments help shape our editorial direction, and that we are happy to agree to disagree.
If you missed this week’s FT or FT.com, you would have missed the following gems:
1. The “shrinking titans” interactive graphic on FT.com, an easy-to-use guide which combines information and wit on the changing fortunes of the world’s top bankers.
2. The succinct Lex note on the flaws in the Obama plan to curb bankers’ pay. One of several sharp Lex notes this week.
3. Aviva, the UK’s biggest insurer, is to cut a promised £1bn (€1.1bn) pay-out for more than 1m policyholders after sharp falls in stock markets. Andrea Felsted broke a big UK corporate scoop.
It has been a week in which our digging deep into running stories – and displaying the results big – has paid huge dividends. We have had superb coverage of the fall of John Thain and the Madoff and Satyam scandals.