A contentious running mate
Mitt Romney’s decision to choose Paul Ryan as his running mate has energised the race for the White House. Is it a masterstroke or a terrible mistake? Gideon Rachman is joined by Washington bureau chief Richard McGregor and US economics editor Robin Harding to discuss where the truth lies and what Mr Ryan really stands for.

The Curiosity Rover (NASA/JPL-Caltech)

By Ines Burckhardt and Amie Tsang

Curiosity, Nasa’s $2.5bn robotic rover, landed safely on Mars on Monday, reinforcing US dominance of space even after the end of the shuttle programme.

Different space agencies have made their own attempts to reach Mars over the years, with varying degrees of success. These articles take a look at some of those endeavours. Read more

London 2012: The first week of the Olympic games
FT sports writers Matthew Engel and Simon Kuper join Gideon Rachman to provide their mid-term assessment of the London Olympics.

Conflict intensifies in Syria
This week the FT’s world news editor Shawn Donnan is joined by James Blitz, diplomatic editor and Abigail Fielding-Smith in Beirut to discuss the conflict in Syria. Violence in the capital Damascus and commercial centre Aleppo, the disclosure that the regime possesses chemical weapons, refugee flight and the risk of instability spreading into Lebanon – is there now a case for western intervention?

Articles piquing our interest today:

Britain takes le Tour

As the Tour de France enters its final stages, Shawn Donnan is joined by Jennifer Hughes and Hugh Carnegy to discuss the rise of Team Sky and Bradley “Wiggo” Wiggins, concerns over doping and the shadow it casts over the sport. Could a Brit ride up the Champs Elysées to glory for the first time?

Welcome to the FT’s live blog assessing the outcome of an extraordinarily dramatic night in Brussels. Markets have responded powerfully with sharp moves in equities, bonds and currencies after EU leaders agreed measures that will see a shift towards central supervision of eurozone banks in exchange for short-term support on Italian and Spanish sovereign debt. We will bring you details of the overnight deal and trace reaction.

18.10: We’re wrapping up the live blog after a day that started very early in Brussels. The action is now shifting over to Berlin, where the German parliament will hold a key vote to approve the ESM and the previously agreed fiscal discipline treaty. For updates on the Bundestag this evening from our own Gerrit Wiesmann, please follow FT.com.

In the meantime, here are some of the highlights from a busy day following the summit’s late-night deal. Read more

Photo AFP

Welcome to our coverage of the EU summit in Brussels on Thursday. By John Aglionby and Ben Fenton in London, and Shannon Bond in New York. All times BST.

The big question will be whether the European leaders who favour quick fixes to the eurozone crisis can persuade German chancellor Angela Merkel that she is wrong to describe their proposals as “eyewash and fake solutions”.

The key event today will be the Italy-Germany semifinal of the Euro 2012 championship the leaders’ dinner but we’re expecting much jockeying and market action before then.

01.40: As of pixel time, negotiations continue in Brussels and our crack team is still on the case.

[blackbirdpie url="https://twitter.com/SpiegelPeter/status/218497885057191936"]


We’re shutting down our live updates from New York, but this blog will be back in the swing of things soon, anchored by the FT’s Hong Kong bureau and later by our London colleagues.

As always, keep tuned to FT.com for the latest news. Read more

Euro 2012: Football and politics in Poland and Ukraine

With the European football championship reaching its climax this week, we look at how Poland and Ukraine have fared by hosting the tournament. Neil Buckley, east Europe editor, Jan Cienski, Warsaw correspondent and Simon Kuper, the FT columnist covering the tournament, join Gideon Rachman.

For anyone reading the tea leaves ahead of a major EU summit, early drafts of the final communiqué are always essential reading – not necessarily for what’s in them, but for what’s not, says Peter Spiegel.  Read more

Pilita Clark, the FT’s environment correspondent, gives us the lowdown on the biggest conference the UN has ever organised. Read more

A new dawn for Greece? Photo AP

Welcome to our rolling coverage of the eurozone, following  a narrow victory for parties supporting the bailout in Greece’s election. By Tom Burgis and John Aglionby in London and Shannon Bond in New York, with contributions from FT correspondents around the world. All times are London time.

23.40 Alright folks, we’re wrapping up for the night, but you can keep up with the latest developments on FT.com. Here are some of our top stories from Monday:

 Read more

Putin’s agenda for Russia

As Vladimir Putin settles back into the Kremlin, we focus on his vision for Russia, both domestically and in terms of its relationship with China and the west. Charles Clover, Moscow bureau chief, and Neil Buckley, eastern Europe editor, join Gideon Rachman to discuss Putin’s return to the presidency.

In our Reporting Back series, we ask FT foreign correspondents to tell us about a recent trip.

Xan Rice, the FT’s West Africa correspondent, visited Mali, spending time in Bamako, and Mopti – a riverside town around 4oo miles northwest of the capital.

Why now? Mali is known as one of west Africa’s more peaceful countries. But now it faces two major crises. The first is political: on March 22, army officers staged a coup. An interim government has been formed, but the junta still wields considerable influence.

An Islamist rebel of Ansar Dine gestures on April 24, 2012 near Timbuktu, rebel-held northern Mali, during the release of a Swiss hostage. AFP PHOTO / ROMARIC OLLO HIEN

A member of Ansar Dine. AFP PHOTO/ Romaric Ollo Hien

The second crisis concerns northern Mali, a vast desert region. Since late March, the area has been controlled by a loose alliance of rebels whose victories over the poorly-equipped army helped spark the coup. One of the groups, the MNLA, is a Tuareg nationalist movement that wants independence. The other, Ansar Dine, or “defenders of the faith”, is a hardline Islamist group with close links to al-Qaeda in the Maghreb (AQIM), a terrorist organisation. Neighbouring countries and Western nations fear that northern Mali could become a safe haven for jihadis and criminal networks, a “west African Afghanistan”, in the words of France’s defence minister. Read more

In talking to senior officials about plans for a Spanish bailout for our story in today’s dead tree edition of the FT, several steered us to the seemingly overlooked bank recaptialisation guidelines for the eurozone’s €440bn rescue fund that were adopted last year.

Those six pages, available for all to see on the website of the rescue fund, the European Financial Stability Facility, make clear European leaders were contemplating exactly the situation Spain now finds itself in: having done the hard work on fiscal reform, but suffering from a teetering banking sector that needs to be recapitalised.

The important thing to note in the current context is that the EFSF guidelines, adopted after more than a year of fighting over whether the fund should be used for bank rescues at all, allow for a very thin layer of conditionality for bailout assistance if the aid goes to financial institutions – notably, it foresees no need for a full-scale “troika” mission of monitors poking around in national budget plans. That’s something the government of Mariano Rajoy has been demanding for weeks.

 Read more

Well, when I say ‘We’, I mean the Financial Times, and to be more specific, a group of Europe specialists who work at the Financial Times. Yes. The FT has published its very first ebook [drum roll here], which means that even when you are lying on a beach in the middle of nowhere with nothing but a Kindle, Nook, iPad or other branded e-reader in your sandy hands, you can still tickle your braincells with FT content and feel yourself grow more knowledgeable about a multitude of things. Read more

Egypt’s presidential election

Egyptians are voting in the first democratic presidential election in their nation’s history this week, but with the powers of the office that the winner will hold still unclear and the economy in tatters, many questions remain. Heba Saleh and Borzou Daragahi, FT correspondents in Egypt, and Roula Khalaf, Middle East editor, join Shawn Donnan to discuss.

Greece in political limbo

With Greece in political limbo ahead of a new election in June, what is the the economic and political future of that country and the eurozone? How feasible is for Greece to leave the euro, and how are other European countries managing the increasingly anti-bailout mood in Athens? Read more

Growth vs austerity in the eurozone

The growth vs austerity debate has been a focal point of eurozone politics over the past weeks. With voters in France and Greece appearing to reject austerity in this weekend’s elections, are we beginning to see a shift in policy from austerity towards spurring growth? Ralph Atkins, Hugh Carnegy, Chris Giles and Ben Hall join Shawn Donnan to discuss.

AP Photo/Patrick Kovarik, Pool

AP Photo/Patrick Kovarik, Pool

By Tony Barber in Paris

The temperature of France’s presidential election debate shot up on Thursday night when Nicolas Sarkozy snapped at François Hollande that he was “a little slanderer”. Up to that point, Sarkozy had contented himself with the rather more tame accusation that Hollande was telling lies. But “a little slanderer” – that stood out.

Otherwise, the really striking feature of the debate, I thought, was how little the two candidates had to say about international affairs. Read more