We’ve summarised the top 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.
Business & Economics
- US Inflation has reached its highest level since 2008, increasing by 5% in May compared to last year. This jump in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) exceeds economists’ predictions and comes after a build-up of savings from US stimulus as the economy reopens. Federal Reserve policymakers view this increase as transitionary.
- Following probes into Facebook’s anti-competitive behaviour, the UK Competitions and Markets Authority (CMA) are likely to investigate whether Amazon’s use of data unfairly promotes its own products, with increased scrutiny of Big Tech companies.
- El Salvador has become the first country to make the cryptocurrency Bitcoin legal tender. Under the new law, bitcoin can be used for purchases or tax payments: exchanges will be exempt from capital gains tax.
- China’s producer prices rose at their fastest pace in 13 years, driving the producer price index up to 9%. This index has been rising gradually after increased demand for commodities and raw materials and is set to contribute to global inflationary pressures by increasing costs for businesses and exporters.
- In June, the UK economy grew at its fastest pace since last summer. Eased restrictions, full resumption of schooling, and high retail spending led to the service sector growing by 3.4%. With performance already exceeding optimistic forecasts, GDP has reached 3.7% below the pre-pandemic levels of February 2020.
- AMC, the cinema chain, has seen its share price surge as it reached “meme Biden rallied world leaders at the G7 summit to back expansionary policies to facilitate a strong recovery of the global economy as he called on the West to “meet the moment and support the economy”. This includes heavier spending on vaccines and aid to poorer countries to tackle climate change.
- The World Bank has predicted rapid economic recovery for India in the coming two years. Originally expected to grow by only 1.5% in 2021, India is now approaching 5.6% GDP growth, in spite of economic damage from its second wave of COVID-19 – up to 8.3% growth next year.
- The G7 has agreed to reduce coal emissions to achieve climate change targets. The group will remove the usage of coal power plants unless they have the technology to capture the emissions. In addition, they will provide up to £2 billion to poorer nations to dissuade them from using coal for power.
- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been ousted from government by a right-wing coalition led by Naftali Bennett. This ends a 12-year streak of time in office for Netanyahu and may bring back some political stability to a country that has seen four elections in the past two years. However, some critics believe that the coalition will be too unstable to last.
- Boris Johnson has warned that the UK must “be cautious” when deciding whether to ease restrictions on 21 June. Previously, it had been expected that all restrictions would be lifted on 21 June; this now seems unlikely.
- The chair of the Committee on Standards in Public Life, Lord Evans, has said that there needs to be more regulation surrounding ministerial lobbying. This follows controversy surrounding former Prime Minister David Cameron, who used his contacts to lobby ministers for the now-defunct Greensill Capital.
- Despite pushback from a group of MPs, there is still talk of the use of “vaccine passports” in the UK. It is understood that they might be used for admission to large events such as concerts and sports matches. Critics warn that they are “discriminatory” and “not the answer”.
- US President Joe Biden has called for major gun reforms in order to solve their “public health epidemic of gun violence”. Despite the devastating number of mass shootings this year, this reform is still likely to face steadfast opposition from the Republican party in the Senate.
- The Islamic Hajj pilgrimage will be limited to just 60,000 people this year, due to health worries surrounding Covid-19. Last year, only 1000 were selected to attend. However, those permitted this year will have to be fully vaccinated residents of the kingdom of Saudi Arabia. In a normal year, up to 2 million people attend.
- Joe Biden is calling for the G7 leaders to work together to combat human rights abuses in China, particularly the forced labour conditions in internment camps. Other world leaders are not so keen.
Written by Ludlow Morris and Ollie Weldon