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FirstFT: King Charles embarks on tour of nations to fortify the UK

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Good morning. King Charles III will embark on a tour of the United Kingdom this week, in a public show of commitment to the architecture of the UK as it comes under increasing strain.

The new King will address both houses of parliament in London before embarking on a series of visits, including Scotland today, Northern Ireland tomorrow and Wales on Friday.

His trip will begin in Edinburgh, where the body of the late Queen Elizabeth II arrived yesterday after a six-hour procession from Balmoral that attracted large crowds along the route.

Liz Truss, the new prime minister, will accompany King Charles at church services during his tour under long-planned official arrangements. Some constitutional experts warned that her presence risked politicising events designed to cement the King’s promise to serve his subjects “wherever you may live in the United Kingdom”.

“It’s a strategic mistake for Charles III early on because royalty is meant to be apolitical” — Gerry Hassan, professor at Glasgow Caledonian University

After leading a procession that will take his mother’s coffin up Edinburgh’s Royal Mile to St Giles’ Cathedral, King Charles will meet Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland’s first minister, and join a session of the Scottish parliament.

Queen Elizabeth II met countless people during her 70-year reign. Did she ever come to your workplace or community? Please share your story via this short form. Thank you for reading FirstFT Europe/Africa — Jennifer

1. Ukraine’s defence minister warns of Russian counter-attack In an interview with the Financial Times, Oleksii Reznikov said that while a lightning offensive had gone far “better than expected”, Kyiv’s forces needed to secure the vast territory — more than 3,000 sq km — that they have recaptured since the beginning of September.

The Ukrainian offensive has pushed Russian forces back to within 50km of the border in the north-eastern frontier, according to General Valeriy Zaluzhnyi © Juan Barreto/AFP/Getty Images

2. Swedish election results The nationalist Sweden Democrats, condemned by the centre-left government as “neo-fascists” have become the country’s second-largest party, pushing the opposition rightwing to a slender lead in parliamentary elections that remained too close to call.

3. Brussels offers to reduce Northern Ireland border controls Maroš Šefčovič, the EU’s Brexit chief, has said he could reduce physical customs checks across the Irish Sea to only a few lorries a day as he expressed hope that the UK was ready to do a deal over post-Brexit trading arrangements.

“If the first 25 years were about peace, I think that the next 25 years should be about peace and prosperity for Northern Ireland” — Maroš Šefčovič

4. LumRisk suffers exodus of senior staff The Switzerland-based risk analytics fintech chaired by multi-millionaire financier Arki Busson has lost a number of senior managers as it tries to raise capital and repay bondholders including Louis Bacon’s investment firm Moore Capital.

5. Scientists discover how air pollution causes lung cancer An international team of scientists has made a breakthrough in identifying how air pollution causes lung cancer in people who have never smoked, a development that could help medical experts prevent and treat tumours.

The day ahead

ECB conference The European Central Bank’s seventh annual flagship research conference begins, with opening comments from board member Isabel Schnabel. The Jean Monnet Lecture will be delivered this year by Nobel laureate Jean Tirole.

UK economic data The Office for National Statistics publishes gross domestic product and trade figures for July, plus construction output data. The economy shrank in the second quarter, with GDP falling 0.6 per cent in June.

IAEA gathers The International Atomic Energy Agency’s board meets in Vienna, three months after it passed a resolution condemning Iran for failing to satisfy its inquiries over uranium traces found in three sites.

UK Trades Union Congress The annual conference begins in Brighton as workers threaten further industrial action over pay disputes. However, the main rail and postal unions suspended planned walkouts this week following the Queen’s death.

EU Covid vaccines The European Court of Auditors publishes a special report on the procurement of jabs in the bloc.

What else we’re reading

Inside the royal finances Elizabeth II was one of the world’s wealthiest individuals, with property holdings ranging from prime London real estate to farmland. But she had limited ability to profit from or sell many of those assets. “The Queen’s fortune” is in fact a number of highly regulated areas, most of which now pass to her successor.

The Merge: a blockchain revolution or just more hype? If there is one thing the crypto community has in good supply, it is promises. Critics have highlighted the industry’s links to criminal activity and its huge carbon footprint. But enthusiasts say Ethereum’s switch to a greener system is a long-awaited chance to prove them wrong.

Sabine Weyand on the EU’s trade plans No one loves free trade anymore, the great powers have embraced protection and the EU can achieve little. So the narrative goes. Speaking with Henry Mance, Europe’s director-general of trade has discovered that assertiveness pays — and that economic ties can mask vulnerabilities.

“We found out that we are dependent on Russia not just for fossil fuel, but on a number of critical raw materials. We can’t afford that” — Sabine Weyand

A crisis grips Nigerian universities Students of all ages in Africa’s most populous country have been left in limbo amid a staff walkout over pay and funding of higher education institutions, while negotiations remain deadlocked, reflecting the frailties of government finances.

Don’t be indispensable at work The internet teems with advice on how to become “the person no one can live without”. While making people dependent on you may seem clever, it creates problems for you, your bosses and colleagues, writes Miranda Green.

Business schools

European schools offer some of the best masters in management programmes in the world, according to the 2022 FT ranking. Find out which institutions rank the highest here.

Disrupted Times — Documenting the changes in business and the economy between Covid and conflict. Sign up here

Asset Management — Sign up here for the inside story of the movers and shakers behind a multitrillion-dollar industry

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