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.

UK Economics and Business

  1. Vodafone released its plan to cut 11,000 jobs over the next three years, equating to about 12 percent of all employees. Chief executive Margherita Della Valle claimed this change was necessary to end the poor performance the telecoms group was experiencing.
  2. Tesco’s chair, John Allan, will step down next month following allegations about his behaviour towards women, which risked ‘becoming a distraction’ to the UK’s largest supermarket chain.
  3. Record numbers of people are not working due to ill health, as more than two and a half million people are out of work due to health problems says the ONS. Typically for every 13 people currently working, one person is long-term sick.
  4. Junior doctors in Scotland were today offered a 14.5% pay rise, now to be put to members. Also today, junior doctors in England announced a new 72 hour walkout in June, saying the government’s current 5% offer was ‘simply not credible’. 

World Economics and Business

  1. Japan’s stock market reached a 33-year high after figures were released that its economy expanded by 1.6% on an annualised basis, more than America’s GDP growth.
  2. According to the International Energy Agency, Russia’s oil exports reached 8.3 million barrels a day in April, which is the most since the invasion of Ukraine in February last year. The IEA says that China will account for 60% of the growth in oil demand this year.
  3. The EU approved the world’s first framework for regulating crypto assets; from next year onwards, firms will have to obtain a licence to issue or trade cryptocurrencies, tokens and stablecoins.
  4. Argentina’s central bank raised its interest rate by six percentage points to 97% in an ongoing battle against inflation higher than 100%, not seen since the 1990s.
  5. In the run up to the Greek election on May 21st, investors shorted Greece’s government debt as they became concerned about the possibility of political paralysis. The total value of Greek bonds shorted has hit its highest level since 2014.
  6. Meta, the owner of Facebook, has been hit with a €1.2bn fine by the EU for privacy violations. This is the largest penalty of this sort in the bloc’s history; Meta has been ordered to suspend transfers of user data to the US.

UK Politics

  1. Sinn Féin last week scored a record win in Northern Ireland’s local elections, as supporters of the Irish republican party made huge gains from the DUP, notorious in recent months for blocking the formation of government in Stormont and preventing Sinn Féin’s leader from taking the first ministership.
  2. Ben Wallace this week called for UK defence spending to be upped to 2.5% of GDP as he warned of an increased wider threat of global conflict.
  3. SNP MP Margaret Ferrier, who was banned from the House of Commons after attending parliament in Westminster while awaiting a COVID test (that later turned out to be positive), has had her suspension of 30 days upheld, a move expected to trigger a by-election via recall petition in the coming weeks.
  4. Home secretary Suella Braverman currently is refusing to confirm whether she asked civil servants to arrange a one-to-one speed awareness course for her, in order to ‘avoid being recognised’ when serving the penalty for a speeding offence last year, behaviour which has led PM Rishi Sunak to have to seek the advice of his ethics advisor on the matter.

World Politics

  1. Ukraine’s Zelensky attended the G7 conference, following his visit to several countries in Europe. His visit comes as senior figures within Europe have expressed fears about the supply of aid drying up in the near future, especially as the US moves into a crucial election year. 
  2. Greece’s conservative prime minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis has won national elections, hailing his party’s big victory as a “political earthquake”, however, his New Democracy party remain 5 seats short of a majority, and target a second election in June.
  3. China’s vice foreign minister Sun Weidong said G7 hosts Japan and attendees had colluded to ‘smear and attack China’, and summoned the Japanese ambassador to China to challenge the “hype around China-related issues”.
  4. Sinan Ogan, the third-place candidate in the Turkish presidential election, announced that would back Erdogan in the run-off on May 28th. This has seen the chances of a victory for Kemal Kilcdargolu, the opposition candidate, fall further.
  5. Ron DeSantis, Florida’s governor, signed new bills stopping colleges in the state from spending money on diversity programmes and creating new restrictions on transgenderism for minors. DeSantis exclaimed that “if you want to do things like gender ideology, go to Berkeley.”
  6. On May 17th Guillermo Lasso, Ecuador’s conservative president, employed a previously unused rule to dissolve the National Assembly after it threatened to impeach him. Accusations had included corruption and ties to Albanian drug gangs.

Written by Zihan Tian and Angus McIntyre