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Each day FT Leader writers on the Editorial Board meet to discuss the topics to be considered for Leader columns. Here are the issues that dominated this week:

The Editorial Board opined again on Elon Musk’s prospective takeover of Twitter. Whether he is a “jester or a genius”, now is the time for lawmakers to draft rules on social media ownership.

“Broadcast ownership is vetted in part because lawmakers have understood that the airwaves can be used to enhance or subvert the democratic process. Twitter is no different.”

We welcomed the prospect of an EU embargo on Russian oil. “This is a momentous but risky move… Handled carefully, however, the costs can be contained. And the pain for Russia is ultimately far greater.”

And we are likely to return to the topic of US abortion rights after a Supreme Court leak suggested the landmark Roe v Wade judgment could be overturned, making abortion illegal for many.

The Fed just got more aggressive in its approach to tackling inflation. After weeks of speculation, the US central bank raised its benchmark policy interest rate by half a per cent yesterday, for the first time since 2000. The Fed’s top ranks now endorse moving monetary policy “expeditiously” this year to a “neutral’ setting that it hopes will neither speed up nor slow economic activity.

The bank risks falling further behind if it fails to act, and has sent a strong signal that there could be more aggressive action in its next two meetings until red-hot inflation - fuelled by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, a conflict expected to drag on - is brought under control. Shell just reported its highest profits in 14 years.

Economists are concerned about impending recession and job losses, given the Fed’s patchy record in successfully engineering a soft landing. FT commentator Ed Luce writes that the central bank is guilty of wishful thinking: for most of 2021, it insisted higher inflation was “transitory”, only admitting the problem was stickier in November.

In the UK, the Bank of England warned of recession as it followed suit today with a 0.25 percentage point increase.

The EU, meanwhile, is treading a fine line. It wants to phase out Russian oil supplies to punish Vladimir Putin with a ban on almost all imports of crude oil within six months and refined products by the end of the year.

Its pace may be steady but the strategy is still risky: Hungary says it will block the move, arguing that its energy security could not be maintained. Sanctions that limit adverse effects on EU economies will test Europe’s moral mettle, writes Martin Wolf. Some analysts believe the Russian economy could weather a ban regardless.

Shareholder activists have dominated corporate news this week. In the US, a new question could tarnish ESG gloss for tech companies: tax. It may have not grabbed much attention from ESG investors in the past, but last autumn, two shareholders filed a motion demanding Amazon become more transparent about its tax strategies in a campaign that is gaining momentum. Gillian Tett and James Fernyhough explain developments - and what they mean - in our Moral Money newsletter this week.

Meanwhile in South Korea, millennial fund manager Changhwan Lee took on senior executives at private equity group KKR - one of the country’s leading entertainment companies, to demand improvements to governance at SM Entertainment, the publicly traded K-pop company.

Days later, Lee’s Align Partners fund won support from other investors to impose a new independent auditor on a reluctant board. His victory was a fillip for activist investing in the country. “Everyone in the Korean stock market is frustrated by local companies not realising their value because of poor governance,” Lee told the FT.

Observers say the real activist watershed moment will come when local investors force big changes on cherished, established national companies: Samsung or Hyundai, say.

Also in Asia, HSBC found itself in conflict with its largest shareholder, the insurer Ping An, which is calling for a split of the bank’s Asian and western operations - what would be the biggest shake-up in HSBC’s 157-year history. The consequences would be significant: the bank is headquartered in the UK but makes around two-thirds of its profits in Asia.

Ping An argues the effort of balancing tensions between Washington and Beijing are dragging down the bank’s share price. It is not the first shareholder to call for the break-up of the bank, but with a 9.2 per cent stake, it is by far the most powerful.

That blow came immediately after another: HSBC faced accusations of greenwashing this week by the UK advertising watchdog the ASA, which accused it of misleading customers. That could have far-reaching implications for financial services marketing and advertising generally.

And it is not the only sector in regulators’ sights. As Camilla Cavendish writes this week, Big Food is also on the run, with Kellogg suing the UK government for its failure to consider the benefits of milk in new restrictions on fatty, sugary foods - such as breakfast cereals. Pressure to regulate is also coming from investors, who may start to see junk food companies as potentially risky stranded assets. BMO and Legal & General are among those to have written to the boards of Kellogg, Danone, Nestlé and Kraft Heinz asking for greater disclosure of health information.

Even mainstream investors are waking up.

Race and equity audits: what boards need to know

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