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
- Unions have criticised Andrew Bailey, Governor of the Bank of England, after he urged workers not to ask for big pay rises. Bailey asked workers to show “restraint” in pay talks in order to prevent increases in inflation arising from greater wages. These comments resulted in a backlash from unions including the TUC and the GMB union.
- In the UK, energy prices are set to rise as the energy price cap rises by 54% from £1,277 to £1,971 per year. According to Ofgem, the British energy regulator, this is the result of a number of factors, of which the collapse of 28 British energy suppliers is most significant.
- The Transport Select Committee has asked the government to create a new ‘Motoring Tax’ in order to make up for decreasing tax revenue from fuel and excise duties. The fall in revenue comes as more and more British consumers replace their petrol or diesel cars with electric ones. The committee has reported that if no such tax is implemented, the UK will face a £35 billion “black hole” in its finances.
- Facebook owner, Meta Platforms, has seen one of its largest ever stock market wipeouts as its value dropped by over $230 billion on Thursday. The loss came as a result of disappointing quarterly revenue figures, as Meta reported that Facebook’s DAUs (Daily active users) fell for the first time ever to 1.929 billion towards the end of December.
- Nestle has announced that it will close its confectionary factory in Newcastle, resulting in a loss of 474 jobs. The Fawdon factory will shut down production in 2023, with production likely moving to Poland and the Czech Republic, a move which the GMB and Unite unions labelled “unacceptable”.
- Amazon has raised prices for its US prime members by 17% to $139 for annual membership. The rise is the first since 2018, with Amazon citing rising wages and shipping costs as the reason for the increased prices. News of this price hike saw Amazon shares increase by 15% in after hours trade.
- India’s rapidly growing Twitter alternative, Koo, is now expected to surpass Twitter’s 25 million user base. The Bangalore-based company has now expanded to 10 languages, currently has 20 million downloads, and is aiming to reach 100 million users by the end of 2022.
- President Joe Biden ordered the provision of thousands of American troops to the European countries that border Ukraine. US sources claim Russia is “70% ready” to invade. Putin maintains that his intentions are entirely peaceful.
- Sergio Mattarella, Italy’s 80-year-old president, was sworn in for a second term by Italy’s electoral college. While the role of presidency in Italy is largely ceremonial, Mattarella’s re-election came after parties failed to agree upon a successor.
- In what came as a surprise for Portugal, prime minister António Costa won an outright majority for his Socialist Democratic Party, ending the previous coalition government.
- Prime Minister Boris Johnson named two new aides amid turmoil concerning parties held at No. 10 Downing Street during lockdown. Some questioned how Steve Barclay, the PM’s new chief of staff, would be able to perform the role while being an MP at the same time.
- The head of the IMF defended its plan to restructure $44.5bn of Argentinian debt. The IMF faces increasing criticism for its plan to help Argentina, especially after Máximo Kirchner resigned as the head of the ruling coalition in protest.
- Jacinda Ardern announced plans to open up New Zealand to the rest of the world by October. The country has been under strict border controls over the pandemic, and Prime Minister Ardern has seen her approval ratings go down over the past year.
- The UK government unveiled its Levelling Up White Paper, which plans to extend infrastructure projects to all of the UK. Most parts of the UK will see their quality of public transport, broadband coverage, and education being increased in a bid to equalise opportunity across the country.
- The arrest of the editor of a leading Kashmir-based news site has sparked outrage in India. Supporters of freedom of the press claim India is snuffing out dissidents of the government under labels of “anti-nationalism”.
Written by Felipe Dreesmann and Vimal Kamath