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FirstFT: Sarah Palin’s bid at political comeback fails


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Good morning.

Sarah Palin has failed in her attempt at an audacious political comeback after losing a special election for Alaska’s only seat in the House of Representatives to Democrat Mary Peltola.

Peltola beat her Republican rival by 51 per cent to 49 per cent in an election to fill a seat left vacant by the death of longtime representative Don Young.

She will become the first Native Alaskan to serve in Congress but will hold the seat for only three months before having to contest it again in the midterm elections. Her campaign focused heavily on her pro-choice and pro-union positions.

For Palin, the result is a significant setback to her ambitions to return to elected office. She first burst on to the national and international political stage in 2008 as John McCain’s vice-presidential running mate. But she was widely derided for comments about Russia.

In recent years, the former governor of Alaska has been a vociferous champion of Donald Trump, who supported her during the campaign, calling her a “wonderful patriot”.

Many factors had pointed to a Palin victory in the congressional race. She spent four times as much as her Democratic rival in a state that Trump won in 2020 by 10 percentage points. She had huge national name recognition and was enthusiastically endorsed by Trump.

  • Go deeper: In a primetime address from Philadelphia this evening, Joe Biden will sharpen his attacks on ‘extreme’ Republicans as campaigning ahead of the midterm elections heats up

Thank you for reading FirstFT Americas and here is the rest of the day’s news — Gordon.

1. Chip design group Arm sues Qualcomm UK-based chip design group Arm has sued one of its most important customers, Qualcomm, accusing the company of breach of contract and trademark infringement. Earlier this year, Qualcomm had said it wanted to buy a stake in Arm and create a consortium to acquire it in order to guarantee that its technology remained widely available.

  • Related news: US officials have ordered Nvidia to immediately cease supplying Chinese and Russian customers with its A100 and forthcoming H100 integrated circuits used in the machine learning processes that enhance artificial intelligence systems.

2. Pound posts worst month since Brexit referendum Sterling has recorded its steepest monthly decline against the dollar since October 2016, falling 4.5 per cent in August to $1.16 amid a deteriorating outlook for Britain’s economy, an energy crisis and political uncertainty. The pound also declined almost 3 per cent against the euro.

3. Binance expands free trading to include ether The world’s biggest cryptocurrency exchange by volume is ramping up efforts to secure market share and lure back clients following this year’s market crash by offering free trading in ether — the second-biggest digital token — ahead of an upgrade to the ethereum blockchain, where transactions in the popular token are recorded.

Column chart of monthly spot trading volume ($bn) showing Binance dominates the market for trading cryptocurrencies

4. China committed human rights violations in Xinjiang, UN finds The UN high commissioner for human rights has accused the Chinese government of committing “serious human rights violations” in its treatment of Uyghurs and other Muslim ethnic minorities in Xinjiang. The long-anticipated report said there was credible evidence of torture and gender-based violence in detention camps in the north-western region of China.

5. UN inspectors in Ukraine head for Russian-held nuclear plant A mission from the UN’s atomic safety agency to Ukraine departed this morning towards the Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, despite reports of increased hostilities and competing claims by both Russia and Ukraine about incidents around the plant.

The day ahead

Mar-a-Lago investigation Donald Trump should find out today whether his request for a “special master” to review documents recovered by the FBI during its search of his Florida home on August 8 will be granted.

Economic data Growth in the US manufacturing sector is expected to have slowed for the third consecutive month in August, according to the Institute for Supply Management’s purchasing managers’ index. Figures showing new applications for unemployment aid for the week ended August 27 are also published as is second-quarter growth data in Brazil.

Corporate earnings Athletic apparel retailer Lululemon should report solid revenue and profit growth in its second quarter over expectations that trends that served it well during the pandemic — such as demand for sweatpants and leggings — continue. Consumer goods companies Hormel Foods and Campbell Soup report before the bell, while semiconductor manufacturing company Broadcom reports after the bell.

Premier League transfer window closes This summer’s English Premier League transfer window officially closes at midnight London time today. It has smashed all records, with gross spending already topping £1.5bn. Premium subscribers can click here to sign up for Scoreboard, our newsletter on the business of sport.

Chart showing Europe’s highest-spending football clubs this summer

What else we’re reading

Governor of wind-rich Oklahoma says clean energy tax credits not needed Kevin Stitt was one of a group of 22 Republican governors who slammed the Inflation Reduction Act. In an interview with the Financial Times, Stitt questioned the necessity of the federal clean-energy incentives. “If you ask me do I think we need those tax credits, no I don’t.”

How Dana White made the UFC Over the past two decades, Dana White built the Ultimate Fighting Championship into a $4bn company that made more than $1bn in revenue in the past year. The foul-mouthed, art-loving pacifist did it by cursing at press conferences, threatening ­adversaries and publicly trashing the weaknesses of his workers, the fighters.

Self-driving cars have nothing on Japan’s self-captaining ships The global race to perfect fully autonomous operations for large commercial vessels is intense, and arguably of far greater practical importance, than that for self-driving cars, writes Leo Lewis.

Why intellectual humility matters Intellectual humility can be thought of as a willingness to recognise our cognitive limitations and biases, and to be more interested in understanding the truth of an issue than in being right. A lack of it can make some people believe in conspiracy theories and false news reports, writes Jemima Kelly.

The Financial Times is compiling the fourth edition of The Americas’ Fastest Growing Companies. In partnership with Statista, the German data provider, the FT will seek to identify the 500 companies in the Americas with the strongest revenue growth between 2018 and 2021. The results will be published in March 2023

Science

The headlines this year have been dominated by war in Europe, soaring inflation and worries about climate change. But there has also been a series of remarkable breakthroughs in everything from microbiology to astronomy. The FT’s science desk has put together the top five stories this year.

A young, star-forming region called NGC 3324 in the Carina Nebula, as captured by the newly operational James Webb Space Telescope
A young, star-forming region called NGC 3324 in the Carina Nebula, as captured by the newly operational James Webb Space Telescope © Nasa, ESA, CSA, STScI

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