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 US Presidential Election takes place this week after months of campaigning. Already the number of people who have voted early has surpassed two thirds of the 2016 total ballots cast, suggesting that turnout will be extremely high. Polling suggests Biden is the front-runner, and the Democrats may flip the Senate.
- Boris Johnson has been forced to announce a month-long lockdown in England after modelling suggested the NHS could be overwhelmed by Covid-19 cases. The new lockdown is not as strict as the one announced in March, with schools and universities allowed to remain open.
- Only weeks after the murder of Samuel Paty, three people have been murdered in Nice in another act of Islamic terrorism. Tensions between France and Muslims worldwide have risen in recent weeks after President Macron took a strong stance against what he described as “Islamic separatism”.
- The preliminary results of two referendums that took place in New Zealand at the same time as the general election have been released. New Zealanders voted to legalize euthanasia, which currently is only legal in five other countries. However, so far, the results suggest that there is not support for the legalization of marijuana, although this may change once special votes are counted.
- Belarus was crippled by a nationwide general strike called by the opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya against President Lukashenko. Protests have rocked Belarus for three months since its troubled election. Russia has promised support to the president, while Biden has vowed to support the opposition if elected.
- Chile has overwhelmingly voted to rewrite its constitution in a referendum called in November last year after severe protests against inequality. They also voted by 79% for the new constitution to be drawn up by a body that has been completely elected, rather than large numbers of congressmen.
- TfL and the Government reached an agreement over a bailout package just hours before the deadline for talks was due to pass. TfL will receive £1.8 billion as an emergency bailout and will not be forced to extend the congestion zone. However, further negotiations will take place during the mayoral campaign, and many fear government may try to impose conditions that influence voters.
- Tanzania’s President Magufuli has been re-elected for a second term with 84% of the vote. Opposition parties claim the vote was rigged and have called for new elections and widespread protests. The US embassy said that there were concerns about the “credibility of the results”.
Business & Economics
- The government has announced that the furlough scheme will be extended until the end of November in order to prevent major job losses as a result of the second lockdown. Critics argue that it is too late and unfair on the Welsh and Scottish, who weren’t offered similar support for their circuit breaker lockdowns.
- The US Commerce Department have announced that US GDP grew by 33.1% during the third quarter of 2020, exceeding economists’ expectations by only 1%. Yet while it doesn’t fully recover the second quarter’s 31.4% fall, it is the largest quarterly jump in US GDP since data started being collected in the 1940s.
- The launch of Amazon in Sweden got off to a rocky start this week. The Argentinian flag was used instead of the Swedish flag and a flawed translation algorithm led to numerous incorrect translations, including the game “Need for Speed: Payback” being translated to “Do You Require Speed: Refund”. It is only the seventh national Amazon site in Europe, and it is the first in the Scandinavian countries.
- The US is attempting to block the appointment of the first African woman as head of the World Trade Organisation. The WTO Nominations Committee recommended the former Nigerian finance minister Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala for the job, but the US are refusing to withdraw their support for Yoo Myung-hee, the South Korean trade minister.
- HSBC has reported that its profit fell by 96% in the second quarter as a result of the coronavirus. The bank was forced to increase provisions for potential loan losses to $3.8 billion this quarter and a program to cut some 35,000 has been accelerated. The share price fell 6.5% at the news.
- Heathrow has lost its crown as Europe’s busiest airport by Paris Charles de Gaulle airport after European countries adopted testing at airports. Berlin also opened its new Brandenburg Airport this week after nine years of delays, but the engineer appointed in 2017 to get its opening on track has described it as a “laughing stock’.
- Ant Group’s IPO has drawn almost $3 trillion in demand, helping push the fundraising total to $37 billion. This makes it the largest ever market listing, overtaking Saudi Aramco’s record. The Chinese financial technology company is controlled by Jack Ma and the listing is taking place in both Shanghai and Hong Kong.
Written by Milo Dennison and Ed Hilditch