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
- S&P Global, a credit ratings agency, has cut Russia’s credit rating to “junk” status in the latest sign that Western sanctions are already taking effect on the country’s financial markets.
- Wind power companies bid more than $4bn for ocean waters near New York, outstripping any oil and gas auction in American waters.
- The G20 has pledged $60bn to developing countries struggling under the financial impact of the pandemic, failing to reach their target of $100bn.
- The Bank of England has indicated that it is likely to undertake a gradual sale of the £895bn of assets it has bought in the past 13 years of quantitative easing.
- New research shows that governments worldwide are spending at least $1.8tn a year on subsidies in support of heavily polluting industries led by coal, oil, gas, and agriculture despite their commitment to climate change targets.
- Berkshire Hathaway purchased a nearly $1bn stake in Activision Blizzard weeks before the video game maker agreed to sell itself to Microsoft for $75bn.
- Elon Musk and his brother are under SEC investigation over share sales. After Elon Musk sent out a Twitter poll last November, asking whether he should sell a large stake in Tesla, the company’s share price fell by 5% on the next trading day.
- On the fourth day of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, it is reported that 370,000 people have fled the country. Former comedian President Volodymyr Zelensky has been praised for rallying the nation and rising to face Russia. The governor of Kharkiv, Ukraine’s 2nd largest city, said on Sunday that Russian forces have been repelled after they entered the city.
- Last week, more than 190 people were arrested in Ottawa, following the occupation of the city centre by protestors who oppose vaccine mandates for cross-border truckers. Canada’s parliament approved PM Justin Trudeau’s decision to impose emergency powers and declared the situation as “still fragile” after a large police crackdown which began on Friday.
- The European Court of Justice has blocked a lawsuit by Hungary and Poland, who wanted to challenge legislation that enables the EU to refuse funding to non-compliant countries. Both populist governments have been repeatedly accused of violating democratic rights and rule of law.
- President Joe Biden has extended the state of emergency declared by former President Donald Trump two years ago over the coronavirus crisis. While the Omicron wave is slowing (daily cases are down to 80,000 from a high of 800,000 in January), deaths continue to rise in 14 states. The nationwide daily death toll is around 2,300.
- France has withdrawn its forces from its former colony Mali after a nine year mission. In 2013 the Malian government requested help to fight jihadists in northern cities. The withdrawal comes after France declared the new military government as “illegitimate”, which seized power in a 2020 coup.
- A Saudi Arabian job advert for 30 female drivers for a bullet train service between Medina and Mecca has received 28,000 applicants. Until recently, women were restricted to working in sectors like education and healthcare with strict gender segregation and women were only allowed to drive since 2018.
- The Welsh government has introduced a Universal Basic Income scheme. The scheme will give children leaving care £1,600 a month (£19,000 per year). Similar schemes for the homeless in Vancouver and San Francisco have been promising so far.
- As the pandemic winds down across the world, Hong Kong is engulfed in another wave, with over 17,000 recorded cases. One issue is distrust of the government, which has resulted in low vaccination rates. Among over 70s only 56% have had a single dose, many of which is the Chinese Sinovac, which provides limited protection.
Written by Ludlow Morris and Faris Lovejoy