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
- Prices in the UK have risen by 5.4% in December 2021, up from 5.1% in the 12 months to November. The upward contributions to the December 2021 CPI were caused in part by rising food prices. This rate of inflation is the highest level in 30 years.
- Shares in Netflix tumbled by almost 20%, following its 2022 forecasts. Netflix expects to add just 2.5 million members from January to March, far lower than analysts had predicted. Overall, Netflix added 18.2 million members last year – roughly half the number who subscribed in 2020.
- Global stocks have suffered their worst week in over a year. Heavy losses in Netflix have propagated through equity markets, accelerating a sell-off in tech stocks that has since spilt into other sectors.
- The UK labour market shows a continued recovery, with an increase in the employment rate to 75.5%. This remains 1.1 percentage points lower than before the pandemic (December 2019 to February 2020), but 0.2 percentage points higher than the previous three months.
- Microsoft has announced its plans to acquire Activision Blizzard for $68.7 billion, the most Microsoft has spent on an acquisition. Activision Blizzard publishes video games such as Overwatch, Call of Duty, and Candy Crush. The deal follows several months of sexual harassment claims against Activision Blizzard.
- António Horta-Osório has resigned as chairman of global banking giant Credit Suisse. This comes after he repeatedly breached quarantine rules last year, including by attending the Wimbledon tennis finals.
- Amazon has backed down from plans to block UK Visa credit card payments on January 19, following a dispute between Visa and Amazon over payment fees. Visa said it was “working closely to reach an agreement.”
- Bitcoin has dropped to a six-month low, extending a steep fall over the past month. Investors appear to be dumping speculative assets; Bitcoin has lost almost a quarter of its value this year.
- Party-gate continues with Boris Johnson facing an angry House of Commons last Wednesday over his alleged involvement with various lockdown parties. Whilst he apologised for hosting one the day before Prince Philip’s funeral, he said he would wait until Sue Gray’s report before saying anything more.
- Christian Wakeford walked the floor before PMQs on Wednesday, defecting from the Conservatives to Labour. He cited many reasons including his displeasure of the £20 benefits uplift being removed as well as the entitled actions of Boris Johnson attending parties.
- Russia has moved 100,000 troops to the border with Ukraine amid rising tensions. Both the UK and US have condemned Putin’s actions and have promised retaliation for any incursion into Ukraine. Russia cites increased NATO involvement in the region as a threat which is necessary to defend.
- The UK and EU are set to start more talks over the Northern Ireland border next week following a meeting between Liz Truss and Maroš Šefčovič. A quarter of manufacturing firms in NI are still confused over the current arrangements and whilst lots is still to be discussed, a change to the protocol could boost trade.
- Soldiers in Burkina Faso have mutinied demanding high-ranking officers resign, and that more resources are given to fight Islamic extremists. Local people came out in support of the soldiers, marching in the capital and torching the ruling party’s headquarters. The government have said the President is safe and that the incidents were localised to a few barracks.
- Kamala Harris’ approval ratings have dropped to the lowest of all vice-presidents in recent history. Just 28% say she is doing a good job following a former staff member calling her a “bully” and recent gaffes on interviews. Despite the limited progress she has made on solving the migrant crisis on the southern border, Biden has committed to run with her in the 2024 election.
- New restrictions have been put in place in New Zealand following 9 cases of the Omicron variant being discovered. This has led to the Prime Minister cancelling her wedding as gatherings are limited to 100 people and masks become mandatory inside. Tonga, also following a strict Covid policy, have turned away aid flights when a positive case was found onboard a plane from Australia.
Written by Chenyang Li and Tristan Hand