We’ve summarised the key stories from the Easter break 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.
Business & Economics
- Plans for a European Super League have collapsed after two days, as all English teams announced their intention to withdraw. Criticised for its perceived elitism and uncompetitiveness, the project received widespread condemnation from fans, players, managers, and politicians.
- Alibaba, a Chinese e-commerce giant, has been fined $2.8 billion by Chinese regulators. This followed an anti-monopoly investigation, which found that the company has abused its dominant market position for several years. The fine represents 4% of its total domestic revenue in 2019.
- An ongoing shortage of semiconductor chips has crippled manufacturers of home appliances, automobiles, smartphones, televisions, and consumer electronics. Caused by booming consumer demand and disruption at large production facilities, the current shortage is predicted to continue for most of 2021, leading to price increases and shortages.
- UK retail sales jumped 5.4% in March, as shoppers took to the streets following the partial reopening of lockdown. Most notably, sales volumes for clothing rose by 17%, a welcome relief for many high street stores. Online sales remained strong and accounted for 35% of total spending, far higher than before lockdown.
- UK property transactions were at the highest since 2005 with over 180,000 houses sold in March. House prices rose 8% year on year, following surging demand and the extension of the stamp duty holiday into the summer.
- The UK is close to securing a trade deal with Australia, after “the vast majority” was agreed in talks last Friday. Estimated to be worth £500 million to UK GDP, this new deal will be one of the first major trade deals signed by the UK since leaving the EU.
- The ship Ever Given ran aground in the Suez Canal and was refloated after 6 days. The closure of the Suez Canal caused major disruption to global supply chains, as it is estimated that 10% of global shipping traffic travels through the canal.
- Coronavirus cases have broken daily records in India, with over 300,000 new cases announced in the latest 24-hour period. Exacerbated by an extreme shortage of medical supplies and oxygen, the new surge in deaths has overwhelmed India’s crematoriums and cemeteries. Scientists are puzzled at the cause of the unprecedented surge, but currently suspect the emergence of particularly infectious variants, a rise in unrestricted social interactions, and low vaccine coverage.
- The US and China, the world’s two largest carbon polluters, have agreed to tackle climate change together, following a landmark meeting in Shanghai last week. The agreement marks a thaw in what commentators have called an otherwise “frosty relationship.”
- Derek Chauvin was found guilty of the murder of George Floyd, following a 15-day trial. He will be sentenced in June and could face up to 75 years in prison. Following the verdict, an investigation was launched into Minneapolis’s policing practices; the news was welcomed by President Joe Biden.
- A lobbying row has broken out in Westminster, over David Cameron’s attempt to allow Greensill Capital (a now-defunct financial services company) to issue government-backed loans. Despite being accused by Labour of “sleaze”, Cameron denies breaking the ministerial code.
- Thirty-nine former postmasters have been cleared of historic fraud convictions, following a judgement from the Royal Courts of Justice. Hundreds of post office operators, often known as postmasters, were charged with theft and false accounting due to a defective accounting system.
- Miguel Díaz-Canel has been appointed as the First Secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba. The change in leadership marks the end of 62 years of Castro rule- by Fidel Castro, and then his younger brother Raul. Analysts believe it is unlikely to cause any policy changes.
- Violent clashes have erupted in East Jerusalem after tensions rose at the beginning of Ramadan. Jewish extremists attacked Palestinians. resulting in 100 people injured and 20 being arrested. Police deployed tear gas and water cannons.
- 35,000 civilians have been displaced in Mozambique after Islamist militants seized the city of Palma. Government forces have struggled to regain control of the area, amid reports of brutal killings by the extremists. The predominantly Muslim area has been the scene of a violent insurgency since 2017.
Written by Tristan Hand and Chenyang Li