We’ve summarised the 15 key stories of the last week into an easily digestible briefing so that you can stay up to date on what’s happening around the world. You can subscribe to receive the briefing in your inbox each week.
- The final presidential debate between Joe Biden and Donald Trump took place this week in Nashville. It was significantly calmer than the first debate, helped in part by the muting of microphones and the moderator, Kristen Welker. However, preliminary polls suggest the debate had little effect on the race.
- After a deal fell through for Manchester, Tier 3 restrictions were imposed and only £22 million was given in economic support, significantly less than the £65 million Andy Burnham, the mayor of Manchester, had requested. Nationwide, over 26,000 cases of Covid-19 were reported on Wednesday.
- The US Senate voted 52-48 to approve Amy Coney Barret as the next Supreme Court Justice on Monday evening. Her appointment gives the Republicans a 6-3 majority in the Supreme Court for the foreseeable future, prompting outrage from Democrats, who argue that a justice should not be confirmed so close to an election.
- Protests against the Nigeria police force have escalated significantly after at least 12 unarmed protestors were shot in Lagos on Tuesday. The chief of police has ordered the mobilisation of all police assets in order to quell the looting and street violence that is becoming increasingly commonplace.
- Saad Hariri has been appointed as the new Prime Minister of Lebanon, taking up the role a year after he was forced to step down last October. During his previous tenure, Lebanon’s economic situation rapidly declined, so it remains unclear whether the news will be positive for a country scarred by Covid-19 and the Beirut explosion.
- Israel and Sudan have agreed to normalize relations between the two countries, making Sudan the third country to do so after Bahrain and the UAE. The deal was partially facilitated by the US, who removed Sudan from their terrorism hotlist.
- Parliament voted against providing free school meals to 1.3 million vulnerable children during the school holidays. In response to a campaign by the footballer Marcus Rashford, hundreds of councils have pledged to provide the meals instead and McDonald’s has offered one million free meals.
- A vaccine for Covid-19 has moved another step closer after permission was given for human challenge trials to take place. The news came as the WHO announced that the results of phase three vaccine trials may be available by late November.
Business & Economics
- The US Department of Justice, along with eleven other states, has filed charges against Google in federal court. They claim Google has violated competition laws in its pursuit of monopoly power over internet searching. It is the most significant antitrust action against a large technology company in the US for many years.
- The UK’s national debt as a share of GDP has reached 103.5%, its highest point since 1960. This has been helped by the £208.5 billion borrowed from January to June to help support schemes such as furlough through lockdown. However, interest on 10-year bonds is only 0.19%, meaning that it is cheaper for the government to service the debt.
- The ONS has reported that inflation was 0.5% in September, up from 0.2% in August. This was partially the result of the end of the Eat Out to Help Out scheme, as prices in restaurants and cafes rose by 4% between August and September.
- Goldman Sachs has agreed to pay almost $3 billion in fines in order to end a probe into its role in the 1MDB scandal. Goldman’s Malaysian branch admitted that it had paid more than $1 billion in bribes and said in a statement that it had been an “institutional failure”.
- PayPal has announced that it will now handle a number of cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin, Ethereum and Litecoin. From next year it will be possible to pay any merchants who use PayPal with cryptocurrencies, which may lead to their wider adoption.
- Netflix has announced that it gained only 2.2 million in the third quarter of 2020, significantly less than they and many investors had predicted. However, revenue was higher than expected due to increased earnings per user and an operating margin of 20% will leave them with almost $2 billion in free cash flow at the end of the year.
- China’s GDP grew by 4.9% in the third quarter of 2020, driven largely by industrial growth of 6.9%. While many had expected more growth, the figure still shows that China has recovered quickly from the fall in GDP in the first quarter caused by Covid-19.
Written by Milo Dennison and Ed Hilditch