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 UK has now given more than 11 million people the first dose of a Covid-19 vaccine. The government is on track to hit its mid-February target for vaccinating all over 70s and seems likely to hit its target of all over 50s by May. This would pave the way for the loosening of restrictions over the next few months.
- The House of Representatives has voted with bipartisan support to remove Marjorie Taylor Green, a Republican congresswoman, from the education and budget committees. It came after it was discovered that she had believed in the QAnon conspiracy theory and suggested that 9/11 was staged.
- The Democrats came closer to passing their $1.9 trillion package after they won a key vote in the Senate. Under the reconciliation process, the Democrats only need a simple majority to pass their budget. Since the Senate is split 50-50, Vice-President Kamala Harris, a Democrat, gets the tie-breaking vote.
- The democratically elected government of Myanmar has been overthrown in a coup by the military. Aung San Suu Kyi, the leader, has been detained and the military are demanding a rerun of the election.
- President Joe Biden has taken his first actions in foreign policy. He vowed to keep a tariff on aluminium exports from the UAE but said that the US would no longer support Saudi Arabia’s offensive in Yemen. He also strongly criticised Russia and called for the release of Alexei Navalny.
- India has continued to be rocked by protests as farmers continue to protest against new agricultural laws. Police are now barricading the roads into Delhi to try and prevent protestors entering the capital, while protestors across the country have blockaded main roads.
- Mario Draghi has been asked by the President of Italy to try and form a government. So far, the former head of the European Central Bank has received the preliminary support of both the Five Star Movement and League, raising hopes he will be able to form a government.
- Alexei Navalny has been sentenced to three and a half years in prison as Putin cracks down on the opposition leader. More than 1000 protestors were arrested after marches in Moscow. Protestors hope his wife Yulia will be able to take over as opposition leader.
Business & Economics
- Exports from the UK to the EU fell by 68% in January compared to January 2020, largely as a result of problems caused by Brexit. It has become clear that there are not enough customs officers to handle the extra paperwork, with the Road Haulage Association suggesting five times as many are needed.
- Jeff Bezos is to stand down as CEO of Amazon this summer after nearly 30 years in the role. He will become executive chairman of Amazon in a move designed to give him more time to focus on his other ventures. He will be replaced by Andy Jassy, who leads Amazon’s cloud computing business currently
- Rolls Royce is to shut down its production of jet engines for two weeks this summer in a desperate bid to cut costs. 19,000 employees will be affected, although the loss of pay will be spread across the year. The company thinks it will take several years for the industry to recover from the pandemic.
- GameStop stock surged again this week, after the trading app Robinhood restarted trading of the stock. Meanwhile, the cryptocurrency Dogecoin has also surged, in part spurred on by Elon Musk, who has promoted the currency on Twitter.
- The UK has applied to join the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, a trading block made up of 11 Asian and Pacific countries that encompasses 500 million people. If accepted, tariffs would be removed on numerous British products.
- America’s economic recovery has continued to stall, after it was revealed that only 49,000 jobs were added in January. After adjusting for people who have dropped out of the labour force, economists estimate that the unemployment rate is 9%, with total employment 9.9 million lower than it was before the pandemic.
- Royal Dutch Shell has reported a loss of $21.7 billion in 2020, compared to $15.3 billion profit in 2019. It is one of the biggest losses in UK corporate history, driven largely by the dramatic fall in the price of oil and the collapse of demand.
Written by Milo Dennison and Ed Hilditch