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
- Inflation in the US jumped to 7% in December 2021. The consumer price index illustrated that food and energy prices were the most significant contributor to the rise in prices, and this is the fastest pace for inflation in the US since June 1982.
- Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro stated that their economy grew by more than 4% last year, following eight years of recession and rising prices.
- US retail sales during November and December 2021 were valued at $886.7 billion, an increase of 14.1%, which was due to customers returning to stores and spending more online, even as a jump in COVID-19 cases and supply chain issues threatened to damage the critical shopping season.
- Average new home prices in China’s 70 major cities declined 0.2% in December from a month earlier, slower than a 0.3% drop in November. Marginal easing on financing curbs and promotions by property developers helped to stabilise demand in the property market.
- GlaxoSmithKline have rejected a 50-billion-pound offer from Unilever for its consumer goods arm, saying Unilever “fundamentally undervalued” their business.
- The French government had built its budget planning on expectations for the economy to grow 6.25% last year, but the most recent indications are that the figure was probably around 6.7%. The budget minister said in an interview that he was optimistic that the budget deficit would be lower.
- The London Stock Exchange Group has proposed a special market for private companies to trade their shares publicly on the exchange on certain days.
- Boris Johnson’s office is under heightened scrutiny as further details of his disregard for pandemic restrictions were revealed. Many MPs, including those in his own Conservative Party, are calling for the PM to resign after he admitted to attending an alcohol garden party at Number 10 whilst the rest of the country were restricted to only meeting one person outdoors.
- The Duke of York, Prince Andrew, is facing a court case over sexual abuse allegations connected with deceased financier Jeffrey Epstein and socialite Ghislaine Maxwell, who was convicted of child sex trafficking last week. Buckingham Palace has stripped him of his military titles and royal duties, letting him face court as a ‘private citizen’.
- The World Health Organisation has estimated that half of Europe is expected to catch Omicron within the next two months. This comes as Pedro Sánchez, Spain’s Prime Minister, asked the EU to reclassify Covid-19 as an endemic in hopes to see restrictions loosed.
- Quebec has seen the largest number of Covid-19 related deaths in Canada. The leader of the province disclosed that his government will impose a tax on any resident of Quebec who refuses to be vaccinated, citing that they pose a significant financial burden to the rest of the population.
- After a long court battle with the Australian authorities, it has been decided that tennis star Novak Djokovic will be deported from the country on ‘health and good order’ grounds. The ‘anti-vax’ world number 1 will therefore not be able to defend his Australian Open title.
- Many West African leaders have agreed to impose economic sanctions and close borders against Mali in retaliation to Mali’s military government’s announcement to delay elections planned for this February until late 2025.
- Gavin Newsom, the governor of California, has proposed to make California the first US state to extend the federal-state health insurance system, Medicaid, to illegal immigrants, regardless of their age.
- The US has accused Russia of planting a ‘false-flag’ operation by staging acts of provocation as a pretext to invading Ukraine. These remarks follow a week of US-Russia talks to defuse the growing tensions between Ukraine and Russia.
Written by Rohan Battula and Aaryan Haria