News

News Briefing – 30/11/20

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.

Politics

  1. The General Services Administration, responsible for presidential transitions, has recognised Biden as the winner of the 2020 election after weeks of contentious court cases. Shortly after, Trump pardoned Michael Flynn, who was accused of making false statements to the FBI.
  2. Joe Biden has started to announce more members of his transition team. Antony Blinken will become Secretary of State, and former Secretary of State John Kerry will take up a new role as climate tsar. Biden passed over Pete Buttigieg for Ambassador to the UN, instead picking Linda Thomas-Greenfield.
  3. The government have announced that the tier system will return once the national lockdown ends on December 2nd. Only a select few will be in Tier 1, the lightest level of restrictions, with the vast majority of the country including London entering Tiers 2 and 3.
  4. Serious doubts have been raised about the efficiency of Oxford’s vaccine candidate. Different volunteers were mistakenly given different doses of the vaccine, with the wrong dosage proving to be the most effective. However, the group who received the wrong dosage were all under the age of 55.
  5. The Ethiopian government is now engaged in a manhunt for the leaders of Tigray, after federal forces captured the regional capital, Mekelle. Meanwhile, Tigrayan troops in the federal army have been disarmed and there have been reports of the federal army massacring both Tigrayans and non-Tigrayans.
  6. Iran has accused Israel of state sponsored terrorism after the Iranian nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh was murdered. It is unclear who ordered the assassination, but Iran have been quick to accuse Mossad, Israel’s national intelligence agency, of coordinating the attack, which reports suggest involved up to 12 assassins.
  7. Covid-19 cases continue to grow around the world, particularly in Asian countries such as Japan and Malaysia. In the US, total Covid cases passed 13 million, with the CDC predicting as many as 300,000 deaths next month.
  8. Carrie Lam, Hong Kong’s Chief Executive, has announced that she has been forced to receive her roughly £500,000 salary in cash as a result of sanctions imposed on her by the US Treasury. Meanwhile, activist Joshua Wong faces jail after pleading guilty to unlawful assembly during protests last year.

Business & Economics

  1. Rishi Sunak has announced a Spending Review, setting out his plans for the next year. Public sector pay will be frozen for most, while foreign aid will be cut from 0.7% of GDP to 0.5%. He predicts that the economy will not return to its pre-pandemic size until 2022.
  2. The Dow Jones has passed 30,000 points for the first time after another surge in stock prices driven by news of future Covid vaccines. The S&P 500 is also on track for its best November since 1980.
  3. Joe Biden has announced his intention to nominate Janet Yellen as Treasury Secretary. She will become the first female Treasury Secretary and will help guide the Biden administration’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic. She previously served as chair of the US Federal Reserve.
  4. Arcadia group, Philip Green’s retail company, is on the brink of collapse, threatening 13,000 jobs in stores such as Topshop and Burton. The company is expected to enter administration on Monday, as no last-minute deals are expected. The collapse will leave a £350 million shortfall in Arcadia’s pension fund.
  5. Indivior, a drugs company, has announced that it is being sued by Reckitt Benckiser, its former parent company, for over $1 billion, more than the value of the company itself.  The dispute relates to the marketing of Indivior’s Suboxone Film drug. The share price fell over 40% on the news.
  6. The chairman and one of the biggest investors in Remote Monitored Systems sold their entire positions in the company a week before news came out that the company’s antiviral facemask would be delayed. The share price fell by over 25% once the news was announced.
  7. Argentina has made clear that it is in little rush to make a deal with the IMF over the repayment of $44 billion in debt. Argentina has been struggling with a recession for several years, with the IMF stepping in to provide a $57 billion programme after a currency crisis. The Covid crisis has worsened the situation, as President Alberto Fernández imposed a strict lockdown.

Written by Milo Dennison and Ed Hilditch

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