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
- The US Federal Reserve is discussing an increase in interest rates by 0.5% in an attempt to combat rising inflation, which is currently running roughly three times the Fed’s 2% target, despite having already increased the rate by 0.25% in March. In part due to this news, the Dow finished nearly 1,000 points lower on April 22nd in the worst day since October 2020.
- This week, Netflix’s share price dropped by 35% following the company’s report that they experienced a fall in subscribers for the first time in a decade. The internet streaming provider has blamed increased competition and a squeeze on household incomes for the decline of online subscribers.
- World Bank president David Malpass has warned of a “human catastrophe” the world faces in light of the food crisis arising from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The World Bank calculates there could be an increase of 37% in global food prices. If the crisis continues, the world’s poorest countries are expected to be hit the hardest, pushing hundreds of millions into poverty and threatening malnutrition.
- Retail sales in the UK have fallen 1.4% as costs of living continue to rise, with a 54% rise in utility bills in April particularly affecting household budgets. Online sales have been hit particularly hard due to lower levels of discretionary spending, and have been falling steadily from pandemic highs as COVID restrictions ease.
- In its latest monthly bulletin, the German central bank has warned that an EU ban on Russian gas imports would reduce the nation’s GDP by 5% this year. Following a simulation, the Bundesbank estimates a lost output of €165 billion, making it one of the largest possible recessions in the past 30 years.
- Sri Lanka, facing its worst economic crisis since its independence in 1948, has declared it is going to default on U$35 billion of foreign debt for the first time in its history. This has caused significant political turmoil in the country, with the opposition set to stage a no-confidence vote on Monday.
- Russian bitcoin mining firm Bitriver has been hit by US sanctions over concerns that Russia may monetize its vast oil reserves with power-intensive crypto mining as a way to raise funds and bypass Western sanctions. The sanctions will prohibit Bitriver and its subsidiaries from accessing U.S. crypto exchanges and mining equipment.
- Emmanuel Macron has won another 5 years as French President, making him the first candidate to be re-elected in 20 years. In a total poll turnout of 72%, Macron won a 58.54% share of the vote compared to his far-right rival Marine Le Pen who amounted a 41.45% share; more voters abstained than voted for Le Pen.
- Boris Johnson paid his first visit to India on the 21st and 22nd of April in hopes of signing a post-Brexit trade deal with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Mr Johnson vowed to settle negotiations by Diwali this October. Among the list of high priorities, the PM aims to boost British exports of whiskey, cars, and professional services.
- Boris Johnson is set to face another “Partygate” investigation after a motion was passed in parliament by opposition parties to question the Prime Minister’s attendance at at least two illegal lockdown parties. This follows shortly after Mr Johnson received a £50 fine by the metropolitan police for attending an “impromptu” gathering for “nine minutes”.
- Former Brazilian president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, whose charges of money laundering and corruption in 2017 have since been annulled, has confirmed he will kickstart his presidential campaign in hopes of securing a third term as the leader of Latin America’s largest economy.
- Following its fifth week of lockdown, city officials in Shanghai have announced that the nation‘s largest city will escalate measures even further to prevent the spread of coronavirus. Actions include placing electronic door alarms to prevent citizens from leaving their homes and forcibly evacuating people from their homes.
- The Turkish Foreign minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has announced that Russian military aircraft may no longer enter Turkish airspace to travel to Syria. Moscow has been supporting Bashar al-Assad’s regime since 2011, and recent interruptions of Russia warships transiting from the Black Sea to the Mediterranean have made Russian logistics even harder to manage.
- Boris Johnson has revealed the UK is considering donating tanks to Poland, replacing any heavy armoured vehicles which the country may donate to Ukraine, and has set out plans for a long-term “security guarantee” for Ukraine after the end of the war.
- 56 unnamed MPs, including three cabinet ministers, have been reported to the Independent Complaints and Grievance Scheme (ICGS) under allegations of sexual misconduct. This comes just over a week after Imran Khan, disgraced former Conservative MP, resigned following a conviction of sexually-assaulting a 15-year-old boy in 2008.
Written by Rob Webb and Philip Weaver