FT Big Read

The Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has led the Islamic Republic since 1989. But after the nuclear deal with the US, questions have been raised over whether it is necessary to have a senior cleric in charge, says Najmeh Bozorgmehr. Now reformists and hardliners have begun to position themselves for influence over the future of the country


Tech groups and digital media stars are taking the initiative in challenging terrorist propaganda from groups like Isis, say Madhumita Murgia and Hannah Kuchler. They are using ‘counter speech’ to fight extremists’ propaganda with their own chosen tools of persuasion — such as YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and Google


A property boom and an influx of new residents have put pressure on the city’s affordable rental market, says Guy Chazan. The big fear of officials is that the German capital will see a housing crisis like London’s


A growing number of business advisers are seeking the flexibility and creativity of working for themselves independent of the big brands, says Andrew Hill, the FT’s management editor. But the disruptive edge where McKinsey meets Uber has perils as well as attractions


Post-Brexit vote, the UK’s new prime minister faces the challenge of negotiating the country’s exit from the EU while navigating its biggest political upheaval in a generation, say George Parker, Alex Barker and Kate Allen. With her speeches at the Conservative party conference, she has the chance to assert her authority


The sunshine state is a key battleground, and it is one that Donald Trump must win to clinch the US presidential election, says Sam Fleming. Victory in the biggest swing state hinges on whether older white voters or the rapidly growing Hispanic population hold more sway


The burkini bans are not the first time the country has been divided over religious dress, says Anne-Sylvaine Chassany. In 1908 the Catholic soutane was at the centre of a clash as the hijab and niqab are today, highlighting the tension between hardline and liberal secularism, dividing Muslims and threatening national unity


Regulators have pushed the banking sector to behave more like the most humdrum utilities in a bid to end the ‘too big to fail’ culture. Now with valuations and profit levels converging, Patrick Jenkins assesses what the shift means for the sector


The number of electric cars topped 1 million last year, boosted by government subsidies, and they could make up a quarter of the world’s automobiles by 2040. How will this shift in the auto industry affect oil demand — and price, ask Pilita Clark and Peter Campbell


A dramatic decline in bond yields has added to the pressures of longer lifespans and falling birth rates to create a looming social and political pensions crisis, say John Authers and Robin Wigglesworth. In this report they examine the outlook for retirees. You can also listen to John and Robin discuss the pensions squeeze at podcast.ft.com.