Economic Insider

Illumina Names New CEO Following Investor Dispute

Biotech Company Illumina Faces Criticism for Acquisition Amid Regulatory Approval Delays

In recent news, biotech company Illumina has appointed a new CEO after facing criticism for closing an $8 billion acquisition of cancer test company Grail without obtaining regulatory approval. The move has sparked controversy and led to a battle with investors. This article will provide a detailed explanation of the situation and its implications for the company.

Illumina, a renowned biotechnology firm, has been a significant player in the field of DNA sequencing. With its innovative technologies, the company has revolutionized genomics research and contributed to advancements in various sectors, including healthcare and agriculture. However, its recent decision to proceed with the acquisition of Grail has drawn considerable attention and raised concerns among stakeholders.

The acquisition of Grail, a company specializing in early cancer detection, was seen as a strategic move by Illumina to expand its portfolio and enter the promising field of liquid biopsy testing. This approach involves the analysis of small fragments of DNA circulating in the bloodstream to detect the presence of cancer. While this technology holds great potential in improving cancer diagnosis and treatment, it also requires rigorous regulatory scrutiny due to its impact on patient care and public health.

The controversy surrounding Illumina stems from its decision to finalize the acquisition before obtaining the necessary regulatory approvals. The company’s rationale for this approach was to secure Grail’s assets and intellectual property, which it believed to be crucial for maintaining a competitive edge in the market. However, this move faced significant backlash from investors and regulatory authorities alike.

The delay in regulatory approval has raised concerns about potential risks associated with the acquisition. Critics argue that Illumina’s decision to proceed without obtaining clearance could lead to legal and financial consequences. Furthermore, the acquisition could face scrutiny from antitrust regulators who may deem it anti-competitive, potentially hampering Illumina’s expansion plans.

To address the mounting challenges, Illumina has appointed a new CEO, signaling a shift in leadership and a renewed focus on resolving the dispute. The new CEO will be tasked with navigating the regulatory landscape, mending relationships with investors, and ensuring that the acquisition process moves forward smoothly and in compliance with all legal requirements.

The appointment of a new CEO underscores the seriousness with which Illumina is addressing the situation. The company recognizes the importance of restoring investor confidence and mitigating any potential damage to its reputation. It also highlights the company’s commitment to adhering to regulatory standards and conducting business ethically.

Moving forward, Illumina will need to work closely with regulatory authorities to obtain the necessary approvals for the acquisition. This process will likely involve providing additional information and addressing any concerns raised during the review. By actively cooperating with regulators and demonstrating transparency, Illumina can demonstrate its commitment to complying with regulatory requirements.

Additionally, Illumina should engage in open dialogue with its investors to address their concerns and provide updates on the progress of the acquisition. By being transparent about the situation and actively involving stakeholders, the company can rebuild trust and foster a more positive relationship with its investors.

Illumina’s decision to proceed with the acquisition of Grail without regulatory approval has led to criticism and a battle with investors. The company has taken steps to address the situation by appointing a new CEO and signaling its commitment to resolving the dispute and obtaining the necessary approvals. By working closely with regulatory authorities and engaging in open communication with investors, Illumina aims to overcome the challenges and move forward with its expansion plans. This situation serves as a reminder of the importance of regulatory compliance and maintaining trust with stakeholders in the biotech industry.

Chicago White Sox Shake-Up: Leadership Changes and Rebuilding Reflections

Owner Jerry Reinsdorf Announces Immediate Departure of Executives and Plans for Future Leadership

In a significant move that underscores the ever-evolving landscape of professional sports, the Chicago White Sox have taken decisive action by parting ways with their executive vice president, Ken Williams, and general manager, Rick Hahn. The decision, announced through an official news release and social media post on Tuesday, marks a pivotal juncture for the organization’s trajectory.

Change in Leadership Unveiled: A Reflective Perspective by Owner Jerry Reinsdorf

Delving into the heart of the matter, team owner Jerry Reinsdorf provided insightful context on the departure of Williams and Hahn. In a candid statement, Reinsdorf acknowledged the timeless adage that professional sports are unequivocally results-oriented. He articulated that, despite the organization’s prior successes and the optimism surrounding their rebuilding phase, the current year has proven to be a source of profound disappointment across multiple dimensions.

Reinsdorf’s thoughtful assessment and introspection have led him to a resolute conclusion: a change in leadership within the baseball department is imperative for the organization’s future strides.

Challenges and Reflections: The White Sox’s Recent Performance

The White Sox embarked on their journey with a 49-76 record at the onset of this announcement. This statistic, along with a 16-game gap behind the leading Minnesota Twins, signifies a challenging season. Amidst these circumstances, the team hosted the Seattle Mariners on the day of the announcement, highlighting the continuous dedication to competitive spirit.

In the backdrop of a stated rebuild over the past decade, the White Sox managed to secure playoff berths in both 2020 and 2021. However, the culmination of these appearances yielded only two postseason victories during this period. A notable aspect of this narrative is the team’s ability to navigate adversity and maintain a competitive stance, even in the face of challenging circumstances.

Unveiling the Past and Present Leadership: Ken Williams and Rick Hahn’s Contributions

Ken Williams, a stalwart presence within the White Sox organization since 1992, has traversed a journey of roles and responsibilities. From his inception as a general manager to his elevation to the position of executive vice president in 2012, Williams has been an integral force behind the scenes. His stewardship was instrumental in the team’s triumph in the 2005 World Series, a landmark achievement that left an indelible mark on the franchise’s history.

Rick Hahn’s ascent to the role of general manager in 2012 ran parallel to Williams’ promotion. However, the initial years under Hahn’s leadership saw the team grappling with postseason aspirations that remained unfulfilled. This marked the catalyst for a rebuilding endeavor, which, much like the neighboring Cubs, aimed to rejuvenate the team’s dynamics and future prospects.

Struggles and the Path Forward: The White Sox’s Rebuilding Odyssey

The White Sox’s journey of rebuilding bore witness to an infusion of promising young talent. While these individual parts showcased remarkable potential, the challenge lay in synthesizing them into a harmonious lineup and cultivating a formidable defensive unit. The dynamic nature of this process led to fluctuations in managerial leadership, from Rick Renteria’s promotion in 2017 to the unexpected return of Tony La Russa from retirement in 2021.

The team’s managerial changes, coupled with shifts in performance, set the stage for introspection and transformation. The White Sox’s progression towards clinching the AL Central by a considerable margin in 2021, under La Russa’s leadership, demonstrated the team’s potential. However, subsequent seasons brought forth setbacks and hurdles, prompting the eventual retirement of La Russa due to health considerations.

Ownership’s Gratitude and a Glimpse into the Future

Against the backdrop of this transformation, Jerry Reinsdorf conveyed a profound sentiment of appreciation for both Ken Williams and Rick Hahn. Expressing the deep bond between Reinsdorf and Williams, the owner likened Williams to a family member, emphasizing the enduring nature of their relationship. He extended gratitude towards both individuals for their pivotal roles in the White Sox’s triumph during the 2005 World Series and their consistent efforts in guiding the team towards postseason accolades.

Looking ahead, the White Sox announced their intent to embark on a search for a singular decision-maker who will helm the baseball operations department. This strategic move underscores the organization’s commitment to charting a forward-looking trajectory and embracing leadership that aligns with their future ambitions. The White Sox aim to finalize this pivotal appointment by the culmination of the ongoing season, signaling an era of renewed focus and purpose.

In a landscape where results shape the narrative, the Chicago White Sox’s recent transformation highlights the dynamic interplay between leadership, performance, and the unyielding pursuit of excellence. As the organization turns its gaze toward an evolving future, the lessons from their past and the aspirations for their upcoming endeavors serve as guiding lights on the journey ahead.

Read also: Inflation update: CPI records a 3.2% increase

Home foreclosure in the US spike by 22%

According to ATTOM’s recently released Q1 2023 U.S. home Foreclosure Market Report, there were foreclosure filings on 95,712 U.S. properties during the first quarter of 2023. This is a 6 percent increase from the previous quarter and a 22 percent increase from last year.

The report also shows home foreclosure filings on 36,617 U.S. properties in March 2023. This is up 20% from the previous month and up 10% from a year ago. This is the 23rd month that U.S. foreclosure activity has increased from the previous year.

“Even though government agencies and policymakers are trying to lower the number of foreclosures, the number of foreclosures is on the rise,” said Rob Barber, the CEO of ATTOM. “This is a bad trend that can be caused by several things, like rising unemployment rates, foreclosure filings moving through the system after two years of government help, and other long-term economic problems. But since many homeowners still have a lot of equity in their homes, that may help keep the number of foreclosures from going up.”

Nationwide, more homes are going into foreclosure.

In Q1 2023, the foreclosure process began on 65,346 U.S. homes, up 3% from the previous quarter and up 29% from a year ago.

In Q1 2023, California (6,867 foreclosure starts), Texas (6,764 foreclosure starts), Florida (5,724 foreclosure starts), New York (4,345 foreclosure starts), and Illinois were the states with the most foreclosure starts (4,006 foreclosure starts).

In Q1 2023, New York, New York (4,674 foreclosure starts), Chicago, Illinois (3,549 foreclosure starts), Los Angeles, California (2,210 foreclosure starts), Houston, Texas (2,120 foreclosure starts), and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (2,120 foreclosure starts) were the big cities with 200,000 or more people with the most foreclosure starts (1,985 foreclosure starts).

Some of the highest home foreclosure rates in the US

In Q1 2023, one out of every 1,459 homes in the country was in foreclosure. The states with the highest foreclosure rates were Illinois, with one filing for foreclosure for every 762 homes, Delaware, with one for every 812 homes, New Jersey, with one for every 824 homes, Maryland, with one for every 897 homes; and Nevada, with one for every 897 homes (one in every 947 housing units).

The cities with the highest foreclosure rates in Q1 2023 were Fayetteville, North Carolina (one in every 526 homes), Cleveland, Ohio (one in every 582 homes), Atlantic City, New Jersey (one in every 661 homes), Columbia, South Carolina (one in every 671 homes), and Bakersfield, California (one in every 671 homes) (one in 688).

Other major metros with populations of at least 1 million and home foreclosure rates in the top 15 in the country were Cleveland, Ohio, at No. 2, Chicago, Illinois, at No. 6, Las Vegas, Nevada, at No. 10, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania at No. 12, and Riverside, California at No. 14.

The number of bank repossessions is up by 8%

In the first quarter of 2023, lenders took back 12,518 U.S. properties through foreclosure (REO). This was up 8% from the previous quarter and up 6% from the same time last year.

In Q1 of 2023, Michigan (1,819 REOs), Illinois (1,039 REOs), California (846 REOs), Pennsylvania (788 REOs), and New York had the most REOs (774 REOs).

The average time to foreclose is 12 percent longer than in the last quarter.

In the first quarter of 2023, properties that went into foreclosure had been in the process for an average of 950 days. This was the highest average number of days since the first quarter of 2018. This is up 12% from the last quarter and 4% from the first quarter of 2022.

Louisiana (2,770 days), Hawaii (2,486 days), New York (1,963 days), Kentucky (1,881 days), and New Jersey (1,881 days) had the longest average time to foreclose on a home in Q1 2023. (1,697 days).

Wyoming (111 days), Minnesota (141 days), Montana (143 days), Texas (146 days), and Arkansas had the shortest average time to foreclose on a home in Q1 2023. (157 days).

High-Level Lessons from March 2023 Foreclosure Activity

In March 2023, one out of every 3,813 homes in the country was in foreclosure.

In March 2022, the states with the highest home foreclosure rates were Illinois (one filing for foreclosure for every 2,050 housing units), Delaware (one filing for every 2,161 housing units), Nevada (one filing for every 2,178 housing units), Indiana (one filing for every 2,223 housing units), and New Jersey (one filing for foreclosure for every 2,223 housing units) (one in every 2,299 housing units).

In March 2023, the process began on 24,234 U.S. homes, up 19% from the month before and up 8% from March 2022.

Read Also: Home prices fall nearly 1% in March

In March 2023, lenders finished the process on 4,791 U.S. homes. This was up 25% from the month before and 9% from March 2022.

Reference: Home Foreclosures Spike 22 Percent Annually in the U.S

Why Wizz Air leads in terms of delays

New numbers show that for the second year in a row, Wizz Air had the most flight delays from UK airports of any major airline.

The Hungarian airline left the UK on time by an average of 46 minutes and 6 seconds in 2022.

It is based on a study done by the PA news agency using data from the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).

That was a lot longer than the year before, which was also the worst year for being on time.

Wizz Air has short-haul flights from eight UK airports, including Birmingham, Edinburgh, Gatwick, and Luton.

All chartered and scheduled flights from UK airports by airlines with over 2,500 flights were taken into account in the study.

There were no flights that were canceled.

All of these flights were late by an average of 23 minutes.

Tui was second, with a delay average of 40 minutes and 18 seconds, while, Qatar Airways was third, with an average delay of 31 minutes and 48 seconds.

Norwegian Air Shuttle did the best, with an average delay of only 13 minutes and 42 seconds.

A man sent bailiffs to get his refund from Wizz Air

After his family’s flights were canceled at the last minute, a passenger sent bailiffs to Luton Airport to demand money from Wizz Air.

Russell Quirk said he had no choice but to find a different way to get to Portugal, which cost him £4,500.

After waiting for Wizz Air to pay him back for months, he went to court, and the bailiffs were sent to his house.

Wizz Air paid the money, said they were sorry, and said they “fell short of our own goals and what our customers expected.”

Consumer magazine Which? said that the company is one of several low-cost airlines that are being sued in county court.

Mr. Quirk, a property expert from Brentwood, Essex, told the BBC that the way Wizz Air treated its customers was “shocking, shambolic, and shoddy.”

In January of last year, he booked flights from Luton Airport to Faro for a trip with his wife and three daughters during the May half-term.

When he got up early on the day of their flight, he saw a message from Wizz Air saying that the flight had been canceled.

Figures from CAA show that this is the longest flight delay ever

Last year, air travel in the UK got back to 75% of what it was like before the pandemic of 2019. However, official figures show that there were “unacceptable” delays and cancellations in the early summer.

According to new data from the Civil Aviation Authority, more than 224 million people went to and from UK airports.

The number was up from 65.4 million passengers in 2021, showing strong demand for flights as the industry continued to recover from the pandemic.

About 2% of all flights were canceled in 2022. May and June were the worst months for this, as travel picked up after the Covid crisis.

The CAA said that the increased demand for air travel in the first half of 2017 “created challenges” for travel operators. As a result, steps were taken to deal with flight disruptions and make the system more resilient.

This made it harder for flights to arrive on time. Before the pandemic, 75% of flights arrived within 15 minutes of when they were supposed to. On average, there was a 22-minute delay.

In December, cancellations were also caused by the weather, such as snow and ice.

Bristol was the closest of the ten biggest airports in the UK to its levels before the pandemic. It had almost 8 million passengers, which was 89% of 2019’s total, and Stansted was right behind it with 83%.

Read Also: Plane tickets prices went up by 44%

Spain, including the Canary Islands, was the most popular place to visit in Europe in 2022. Nearly 37 million people went there, which is 83% more than in 2019.

10.3 million people went to Ireland, and 11.9 million went to Italy, which is about 5% of the total. This is 78% and 74% of their 2019 levels, respectively.

Travel to the US kept getting better, with more than 15 million people going there, which is 70% of what it will be in 2019.

Recovery has been pretty even across the country, with London, regional, and Scottish airports all at about 74% of their 2019 levels.

Wales got to 79%, which is the same as the same period. Northern Ireland was home to 77% of the passengers who went through Belfast International in 2019.

News jobs in the US slows last month

The American labor market slowed last month, although the jobless rate remained low. This is because the world’s greatest economy remains strong, despite sharp increases in borrowing prices.

According to the Labor Department, companies gained 236,000 jobs in March. This was lower than in February, but it was close to expectations.

The unemployment rate remained close to all-time lows at 3.5%.

People are paying close attention to the data as the US central bank hikes interest rates to keep prices from rising too quickly.

Borrowing money becomes more costly when interest rates rise. As a result, businesses will borrow less, making it less likely to hire new workers or lay them off.

Nonetheless, the US labor market has resisted projections that it would slow.

Employers have added more than 330,000 positions each month on average over the last six months, and there are currently more job opportunities than employees.

According to analysts, the recent US Department of Labor report indicated that things might be changing. They cited fewer construction, manufacturing, and retail jobs as examples.

Why the creation of new jobs slowed

Wage growth has slowed as well. The average hourly wage increased by 4.2% between March 2018 and March 2019. This is lower growth than the 4.6% seen in February and the lowest since the middle of 2021.

“Overall, the headline growth was slightly greater than we expected, but it remains the weakest monthly gain since December 2020,” said Capital Economics’ deputy chief US economist Andrew Hunter.

In recent weeks, major corporations such as the consulting firm Accenture, the entertainment giant Disney, and the fast food chain McDonald’s have all announced job cuts.

Yet, more employees have been hired in bars, restaurants, schools, and hospitals. This offers people hope that the economy will slow and inflation will fall without triggering a terrible recession.

In February, the rate of price rises in the United States reached 6%.

This is down from more than 9% in June last year but remains far above the Federal Reserve’s 2% target.

Numerous central banks throughout the world, including the Federal Reserve, have raised interest rates to restrain the rate of price increases.

The bank has hiked interest rates nine times since March of last year. One of those times was when two of the largest bank failures in the United States occurred since the 2008 global financial crisis.

According to Ian Shepherdson, chief economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics, the March jobs report was the “quiet before the storm.”

He predicted hiring would plummet when Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) and Signature Bank left the business.

He stated that the March numbers reflect life before the SVB but that the impact of stricter lending conditions is on the way. Yet, he believes unemployment will climb dramatically for the rest of the year.

Some politicians are placing additional pressure on Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell. They claim the bank is pursuing moves that will force businesses to lay off many employees.

When asked about the increase from last month, Mr. Powell cited the robust labor market and expressed optimism that the government could achieve a “soft landing.” This suggests there will be no recession; if there is, it will be brief.

Despite the banking crisis, the United States hiked interest rates

Following a run of bank failures, the US Federal Reserve has boosted interest rates once more. This is despite concerns that the move may exacerbate the economy’s problems.

The Federal Reserve hiked its interest rate by 0.25 percentage points and declared the banking sector “sound and resilient.”

But, it also stated that the consequences of collapsed banks could hinder economic growth in the following months.

To keep prices steady, the Fed has increased borrowing money costs.

Nonetheless, interest rates have climbed dramatically since last year, straining the financial system.

Two US banks, Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank, went out of business last month. Increasing borrowing rates contributed to their failure.

There are concerns regarding the value of bonds owned by banks, as rising interest rates may reduce their value.

Banks typically hold many bonds in their portfolios, meaning they could lose significant money. Banks, on the other hand, may be alright if the value of their bonds falls as long as they are not obliged to sell them.

Authorities worldwide have stated that they do not believe the failures threaten global financial stability and that there is no need to divert attention away from measures to reduce inflation.

Last month, the European Central Bank raised its key interest rate by 0.5 percentage points.

Read Also: Job vacancies fall for the eighth time

Subsequently, the Bank of England will set its interest rate. This comes just a day after official figures indicated that inflation in February soared to 10.4%, significantly higher than predicted.

The Federal Reserve’s chairman, Jerome Powell, stated that the Fed was still fighting inflation. He described Silicon Valley Bank as an “outlier” in a robust financial sector.

He did, however, agree that the recent turmoil was likely to delay growth, albeit he did not know how much.

Swiss begins probe of Credit Suisse takeover

Swiss prosecutors are looking into the sudden takeover of Switzerland’s second-largest bank, Credit Suisse, by its rival, UBS.

People were worried about Credit Suisse’s finances, so the deal had to be done quickly last month.

On Sunday, Switzerland’s Federal Prosecutor said it would check to see if there were any “criminal offenses.”

Both Credit Suisse and UBS said that they did not have anything to say.

The Swiss government supported the deal for UBS to buy Credit Suisse. After the two banks and the country’s financial regulators talked about it over the weekend, the deal was made quickly.

At the time, the Swiss National Bank said the deal was the best way to restore confidence in the financial markets and keep economic risks under control.

People worried about the health of the global financial system after two smaller US banks failed. This made the markets shake.

When the deal was first announced, it was worth $3.15 billion (£2.6 billion), but it was worth about $8 billion on the Friday before the settlement.

But taxpayers and shareholders of both banks are upset about the deal because they didn’t get to vote on the takeover. Some have also said that it hurt Switzerland’s reputation as a financial center worldwide.

In a statement released on Sunday, Switzerland’s Federal Prosecutor said that “many parts of what happened with Credit Suisse” need to be looked into to see if any “criminal offenses” might have been committed.

It also said that calls had been made to “national and cantonal authorities” and that “investigation orders” had been given.

Separately, the Swiss newspaper Tages-Anzeiger reported on Sunday that the newly merged UBS-Credit Suisse bank was planning to cut its staff by 20–30%.

More than 120,000 people will work for the new bank worldwide. But the report said that about 11,000 jobs could be lost in Switzerland.

UK banking system ‘safe.’

The UK’s central bank said banks are “safe” after regulators agreed to a deal to help Credit Suisse. This was done to stop fears about banks from spreading.

On Sunday, rival UBS bought the bank in a deal backed by the Swiss government. Regulators worked all day and night to reach a deal.

It comes after two smaller US banks failed recently, making people worry about the world’s financial system.

Even though regulators did something on Sunday, bank stocks in Europe fell.

After gaining some ground, Deutsche Bank and UBS traded for 1.8% and 3.7% less.

Last week, British banks fell the most in more than a year and stayed in the red.

But experts don’t think there will be another financial crisis like the one in 2008 when the failure of some big banks led to a global recession.

The Swiss National Bank said the deal to save Credit Suisse was the best way to restore confidence in the financial markets and keep economic risks under control.

The last-minute deal put Credit Suisse’s value at just over $3.15 billion (£2.6 billion), much less than the $8 billion it was worth on Friday.

But the sale did what regulators wanted it to do: get a result before Monday’s opening of the financial markets.

Mark Yallop, who used to be in charge of UBS in the UK, said that the fact that UBS bought Credit Suisse “should” make investors feel better.

Mr. Yallop said that the sale of Credit Suisse should be looked at separately from the failure of two smaller US banks, which he said was caused by rising interest rates.

Six central banks, including the Bank of England, said they would increase the flow of US dollars through the global financial system to keep cash flowing through the global financial system.

The Bank of England, the European Central Bank, the Bank of Canada, the Bank of Japan, the US Federal Reserve, and the Swiss National Bank said the move was an “important backstop to ease strains in global funding markets” and take the pressure off banks.

How important is Credit Suisse

Credit Suisse is the latest and most important victim of a crisis of confidence that has already led to the failure of two mid-sized US banks and an emergency industry whip-round for another. But this is different. The second-largest bank in Switzerland was one of the 30 most significant banks in the world, so the Swiss government moved quickly to take it over.

Even though each failure has its reasons, the main reason is a sharp rise in interest rates worldwide. This has made safe investments that banks use to keep some of their money worth less. This has scared off investors, and the share prices of all banks have dropped, with the weakest banks taking the biggest hit.

Read Also: Credit Suisse investors worry as shares hit

The financial authorities in the EU, the US, and the UK all back this deal and say that banks are strong and people’s savings and deposits are safe.

When markets open, we’ll know if the Swiss rescue has calmed nerves in the financial sector. This is why getting this done as soon as possible was so important.

House prices fell by the most since 2009

In March, house prices fell at the fastest annual rate in 14 years, according to the latest data from Nationwide.

The lender said house prices were down 3.1% annually, the most significant annual drop since July 2009.

Nationwide says that after the mini-budget caused financial chaos, the housing market reached a “tipping point” last year.

The report says that since then, “activity has remained low.”

Potential first-time buyers, who have seen house prices rise even during the pandemic, would usually be glad to see house prices decrease.

Sadly, many people find that the cost of renting has increased and that mortgage rates are higher than expected. Also, bills and food prices keep increasing, making it harder to make ends meet.

Based on its lending data, Nationwide has found that prices have decreased for the past seven months. This fits with what other surveys and articles about house prices have found, which is that the market is slowing down and prices are falling.

In March, the Office of Budget Responsibility, a government group that advises on the economy’s health, said that housing prices would drop by 10% between last year’s peak and the middle of next year.

After considering things like the time of year, Nationwide said that house prices were already 4.6% lower than they were at their peak.

A big reason for the sector’s decline is worries about mortgage rates. Last year, rates increased after the Liz Truss government passed a “mini-budget.”

Even though rates have gone down a little because the Bank of England has been raising its base rate, interest rates on home loans are still higher than what people have been used to for the last ten years.

Even though the UK housing market is made up of many different local property sectors, Nationwide’s regional breakdown for the first quarter of the year showed that all parts of the country were slowing down.

Where are house prices right now?

In recent months, house prices have gone down because rising interest rates have made mortgages more expensive and high inflation has made it harder for people to buy things.

But mortgage interest rates may soon stop going up and down. So how might this affect the prices of homes?

From the beginning of 2020 to the end of 2022, house prices rose by about 25% in most of the UK.

Nationwide Building Society data from March shows that they have dropped by more than 4% since their highest point.

Considering seasonal highs and lows, these numbers show that Scotland had the biggest fall and the West Midlands had the smallest.

Different growth patterns over the past 15 years have led to these recent changes.

Northern Ireland’s house prices have not gotten back to where they were before the global financial crisis.

In contrast, prices in London and the South East rose quickly until 2015. After that, they went up more slowly as people moved to cheaper places during the panic over space caused by the pandemic.

What happens when the value of a property goes down?

The most immediate effect is on people who want to move.

Some sellers may need more time to get their houses on the market. In addition, homeowners who are thinking about moving may also find that they need more money.

Since asking prices haven’t gone down enough to make up for the higher cost of borrowing rates, buying a home won’t be cheaper for first-time buyers any time soon.

In the long run, housing will be more affordable if incomes rise faster than home prices recover.

Long-term changes also depend on whether or not enough houses are being built to meet demand.

Do people need help to pay their mortgages?

The Financial Conduct Authority thinks that there are more “financially stretched” mortgages in London and the South East than anywhere else in the country.

Most loans in the South are bigger than the incomes of the people who take them out. So when mortgage rates increase, or inflation hits, it might take much work to repay the debts.

This analysis is one way to find potential weaknesses in the market.

Still, there are other ways to ensure people in these places would pay their mortgages on time.

In recent years, most borrowers have been tested by interest rates that are higher than what we’re seeing now.

After the disaster of 2008, lending laws were changed to ensure that households were better ready for a tougher economy.

The number of people who needed to catch up on their mortgage payments did not increase much in 2022. Instead, it stayed at half the level of 2008.

In 2022, there were less than a tenth as many repossessions as there had been in the years after the recession.

The amount of money a person can put down on a mortgage is also affected by how much energy costs, how much money they make, and how secure their job is.

Read Also: Housing prices see biggest fall in over a decade 

And all of these things can change in big ways.

The future of home prices depends on the economy as a whole, which is also hard to predict.

Rival BancShares buys Silicon Valley Bank

Silicon Valley Bank (SVB), a failed US bank, is selling its assets and loans to First Citizens BancShares.

When SVB declared bankruptcy earlier this month, people were concerned about the safety of other lenders. This prompted bank stocks around the world to plummet.

Those in Europe concerned about Credit Suisse’s strength hastened a deal for rival UBS to acquire it.

Despite the fact that bank stocks were up when the market opened on Monday, investors have remained cautious.

The shares of Germany’s Deutsche Bank fell by 14% at one point on Friday, but then they started to go up again. When trading began on Monday, they went up by about 3%.

There was a rush on the bank this month, so US regulators took over SVB. Soon after, Signature Bank, another US bank, closed its doors.

This was the biggest bank failure in the US since the financial crisis in 2008.

Silicon Valley Bank is back

The US Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) said that SVB would be taken over, and on Monday, all 17 former Silicon Valley Bank branches will open as First Citizens branches.

Customers of Silicon Valley Bank should keep using their current branch until they hear from First Citizens Bank that their account has been moved over completely.

First Citizens is the largest bank in the United States that a single family runs. The headquarters are in Raleigh, North Carolina. It has been one of the biggest buyers of troubled banks in the past few years.

It bought loans and assets from SVB worth about $72 billion at a discount of $16.5 billion. The FDIC will still own about $90 billion of SVB’s assets.

If Silicon Valley Bank failed, the FDIC said, it would cost its deposit insurance fund about $20bn.

This month, HSBC paid £1 to buy the UK branch of SVB.

The chance that rates will go up

During the 2008 global financial crisis and the Covid pandemic, central banks worldwide cut interest rates sharply to help the economy grow.

But rates have been increasing over the past year as central banks try to stop prices from increasing too quickly.

Because of these rate hikes, the value of the investments where banks put some of their money has decreased. This has made it harder for US banks to stay in business.

The financial markets are worried that the banking sector could have more problems that have yet to show up.

The world’s central banks have all said that banks are safe and that lenders have enough money to cover their costs.

Sarah Hewin, who is in charge of research at Standard Chartered bank for Europe and the Americas, said on the BBC’s Today show that investors are in a “febrile environment.”

“Right now, emotions are more important than facts regarding markets.”

On Sunday, the head of the International Monetary Fund, Kristalina Georgieva, said that banks “need to be vigilant” and that it is “clear that risks to financial stability have increased.”

Is this as bad as the 2008 financial crisis?

There isn’t a problem that affects the whole system, like in 2008, when banks worldwide suddenly realized they had made bad investments in the US housing market.

This made the government give out huge bailouts and caused a global recession.

Since then, banks have been told to keep more capital on hand, and rules about risk have become stricter. Nevertheless, most experts think that our problems will be manageable.

Even so, it still needs to be easier to figure out how banking works. When the system is under a lot of stress, it can be hard to find new weak spots. This happened in September when Liz Truss’s government surprised the markets with a new economic plan, and it’s happening again now with higher interest rates and less confidence.

Read Also: SVB’s collapse: Digital banks are winning

Also, concerns about the health of banks like Credit Suisse and Deutsche Bank tend to spread quickly. People can move their deposits with the click of a mouse if they start to worry about them.

Even if the trust only breaks down partially, as it did during the financial crisis, regulators could make the rules even stricter, and banks might be less willing to lend.

This could slow the world economy down when it needs to speed up.

Mississippi: Tornado leaves dozens dead

In Mississippi, storm chasers and meteorologists were shocked to see a powerful tornado that had never been seen before. It caused a lot of damage where it went.

People are still looking for at least 25 people who died in the state on Sunday.

The tornado looked very big when it got to the small town of Rolling Fork. Some people said it looked like a wedge.

The National Weather Service says that the storm lasted more than an hour.

Stephanie Cox, a storm chaser from Oklahoma, told the BBC that she didn’t know how big or strong the storm would be at first. But then, she said, she heard a huge roar and a bolt of lightning lit up what she called a “monster” of a tornado.

After forming over the Mississippi River, the tornado hit western Mississippi on Friday night. The NWS says it went 59 miles (94 kilometers), was 3/4 of a mile wide, and lasted about an hour and ten minutes.

It started as a supercell, a storm with a rotating updraft and a separate downdraft. It’s caused by warm, unstable air close to the ground and wind that changes speed and direction as it rises.

The National Weather Service (NWS) says that these storms are some of the rarest and worst. However, people also know that storms with supercells can last longer than usual.

Some people, like Ms. Cox, have called it a “wedge tornado.” This is an unofficial name for tornadoes that look wider than they are long as they are coming.

Damages done by the Mississippi tornado

These types of tornadoes are known for doing a lot of damage over a large area because they are so wide.

The storm destroyed Rolling Fork’s homes and buildings, and cars and trucks were tossed around and damaged.

Samuel Emmerson, who works at the University of Oklahoma on radar research, said that the tornado threw things as high as 30,000 feet (9 km).

Mr. Perrilloux said the tornado was a four on the Enhanced Fujita (EF) scale, which means it had a three-second gust of 166 to 200 mph.

He also said that after hitting Rolling Fork, the tornado went up. It went down about 76 miles (122 km) northeast into Black Hawk, Mississippi, where it was downgraded to an EF-3. Tornadoes also hit parts of Alabama.

Another thing that made the damage in Mississippi so bad was the time of day when the storm hit.

Even though the NWS had only issued a tornado warning 20 minutes before, it hit Rolling Fork at 20:00 local time (2:00 GMT).

Studies have shown that nighttime tornadoes can kill twice as many people as daytime tornadoes. Part of this is because it’s hard to see them coming.

After the tornado hit Mississippi, people started looking for ways to help.

A tornado killed 26 people in Mississippi and Alabama on Friday night, including a baby and her father. People are being saved in both states right now.

The tornado flattened a town and destroyed homes and businesses. Now, emergency workers will have to dig through the debris left behind by the storm.

Mississippi was put into a state of emergency on Sunday.

President Joe Biden asked the federal government for help in the affected areas.

The storms continued as people from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) came to Mississippi to check out the damage.

The initial rating for the tornado on Friday is EF-4, the second-highest rating that can be given. People have called it “violent.”

Sunday at 1:00 p.m. ET, the National Weather Service also issued a tornado watch for large parts of Alabama and Georgia (18:00 BST).

Broken cars, bricks, and glass are all over the streets of Rolling Fork. Almost the whole town was wiped out.

One person who lived there told the BBC that hiding in his bathtub saved his life.

Nothing seems strange when you get close to the neighborhood in the western part of Sharkey County.

The lush farmland around it hasn’t been touched, and the wind hasn’t even moved the trees.

Then, all of a sudden, you can see where the tornado hit the houses.

Not there anymore

The tornado destroyed dozens of buildings in this small town of just 2,000 people, where one in five people live in poverty.

Less than 24 hours ago, families and friends were getting ready for the weekend in homes that are now just piles of rubble.

Read Also: Investors sweat as Deutsche bank shares slide 

Frames made of wood are missing pieces. On their sides, there are washing machines, but nothing looks like it could have been a kitchen.

In the mess, some cars have been thrown around. A few toys and other things show that people just hours ago lived here.

Bank of England governor criticizes prices

The Bank of England governor has warned firms that boosting prices could increase the cost of living even further, hurting the poor the most.

“If all prices try to beat inflation, inflation will go up,” Andrew Bailey stated on the BBC’s Today show.

The Bank of England governor stated that increased inflation “hurts people” and warned that the Bank would hike interest rates again if prices continued to rise.

The day before Mr. Bailey spoke, the Bank hiked interest rates to a 14-year high.

Prices had unexpectedly risen last month, prompting the adjustment.

Inflation makes it more difficult for people in the UK and worldwide to pay their expenses as energy and food prices rise.

Cost of living pressures disproportionately affects the poor because they spend the majority of their money on food and gas.

The Bank has regularly raised interest rates to make borrowing money more expensive and encourage individuals to spend less so that prices rise gradually.

Higher interest rates, however, negatively impact those who have debts, such as mortgages.

According to the Bank of England governor, firms should keep in mind that inflation will likely decline dramatically this year.

He said he hadn’t seen any evidence that businesses were boosting prices more than necessary but that prices should “represent the costs they incur.”

“Restaurant owners are already in the red”

Martin Williams, CEO of Rare Restaurants, which owns the Gaucho and M restaurant chains, said that businesses had already been cautious about boosting prices in reaction to the warning by the Bank of England governor.

He claimed that restaurant owners have “responsibly tried to keep pricing low and their businesses running” despite rising labor, food, and energy costs.

Businesses will receive less assistance with their energy bills beginning in April. According to a trade association named UK Hospitality, this would cost pubs, restaurants, and hotels 82% more energy expenses.

According to Kate Nicholls, CEO of UK Hospitality, no firm wanted to hike costs because they were terrified of losing revenue. “It’s a minor miracle that many have kept their prices the same for as long as they have,” she remarked.

To argue that the sector can “take these enormous cost rises” is to overlook the brutal reality that many UK businesses face, she said.

According to a government official, “Businesses will receive an “unprecedented” package of energy cost assistance, with additional assistance beginning in April.”

Profiteering claims

Mr. Bailey’s remarks come after Tesco’s chairman, John Allan, stated in January that food businesses may be exploiting inflation as a pretext to hike prices beyond what is necessary.

Mr. Bailey advised employees last year not to ask for large salary raises. As a result, unions spoke out against him.

The rate of price growth is still close to the highest in the last 40 years. It reached 10.4% in the year to February, more than five times the Bank of England’s target.

The price of eggs, cheese, and milk has risen dramatically, which is one of the primary reasons for the rise in inflation.

The Bank of England governor also stated that he believed the UK banking sector was “secure and sound,” notwithstanding the failure of two US banks and the rescue of the Swiss bank Credit Suisse.

He also stated that the UK’s recession risk “has gone down quite a deal” and that economic growth prospects are “today a lot stronger.”

Businesses claps back at the Bank of England governor

Business leaders have responded to the statement by the Bank of England governor that they should think twice before raising prices to combat inflation.

According to the Bank of England governor, if prices rise, the cost of living will rise even more, harming the poor the most.

However, Tim Martin, the owner of the JD Wetherspoon pub chain, claimed that bank executives were “breathing down the necks” of business owners.

Mr. Bailey, according to UK Hospitality, was unconcerned about the “dire condition” that many people were in.

The Bank of England governor said increasing inflation “hurts people” a day after the Bank lifted interest rates to their highest level in 14 years, and he warned that rates would rise again if prices continued to rise.

Mr. Martin, on the other hand, warned that even if businesses “want to adopt his advice, many won’t be able to” and that prices at the pub chain could rise.

Wetherspoons’ chairman said he was looking forward to the industry’s “ferocious” inflationary pressures easing.

The low-cost food and drink company, which has 843 pubs throughout the UK and Ireland, reported a 5% increase in sales in the six months running up to January 29 compared to the previous year.

Their figures are consistent with those of the British Retail Consortium (BRC), which reported that retail sales climbed by 6.3%, the largest since March 2022.

Read Also: Is there a problem with inflation in the UK?

Nonetheless, because of rising inflation, sales volumes remained negative.

According to the BRC, customers were still eager to buy what they needed, despite rising living costs. Clothing and cosmetics sales, for example, were up.

British Gas executive takes £3.7m bonus

The CEO of British Gas owner Centrica would receive a £3.7 million bonus if the company achieved record profits in 2022.

Chris O’Shea, who has refused bonuses for the past three years, would also be paid £790,000 each year.

That comes at a time when millions of people are struggling to pay their energy bills, and debt collectors for the corporation are breaking into vulnerable people’s homes to install prepayment meters.

The firm recognized Mr. O’Shea for creating “shareholder value” and negotiating “regulatory and political challenges.”

Centrica’s profits for 2022 increased to £3.3 billion as oil and gas prices surged due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The data, revealed in February, fueled calls for energy corporations to pay more tax as interest rates rose, affecting consumers.

Mr. O’Shea stated it was “too early to have a conversation” about any potential reward.

Despite this, Centrica stated in its annual report released on Wednesday that it needs to pay bonuses to attract and retain leaders.

Mr. O’Shea turned down a £1.1 million incentive in 2021 owing to “client issues.” He also renounced bonuses in 2020 and 2019 due to the outbreak.

The energy business has recently come under fire after a Times investigation revealed that debt agents working for British Gas broke into vulnerable people’s homes to force-fit prepayment meters.

As a result, countless such incidents have emerged.

As a result, the energy regulator, Ofgem, has ordered all suppliers to stop installing forced prepayment meters. Courts in England and Wales also halted firms’ applications to install them.

Centrica claimed that it was “extremely disappointed” by the claims made against one of its contractors, Avarto Financial Solutions and that an investigation was being conducted.

Centrica’s high profits in 2022 were driven primarily by its nuclear and oil and gas activities rather than its British Gas retail division.

Centrica is unable to offer a discount on its gas to British Gas customers due to competition restrictions.

Centrica paid £1 billion in tax on its gains, £54 million of which came from the government’s windfall tax, known as the Energy Gains Levy, enacted last year. The levy is meant to recoup some of the firms’ recent “extraordinary” profits while also cutting household energy bills.

The government’s windfall tax solely applies to UK oil and gas extraction income. The current rate is 35%, but energy businesses must pay an additional 30% corporate tax and a 10% surcharge for 75%.

On the other hand, businesses might reduce their taxable income by deducting losses or investments. As a result, BP and Shell have paid little or no UK tax in recent years.

British Gas is committed to paying the windfall tax

Grant Shapps, Secretary of Energy Security, remarked that energy companies must “do more” and that their “extraordinary gains” contrast sharply with customers’ high expenses.

“That’s why the government interfered, imposing a new 35% tax on these revenues, which would contribute to the ongoing cost of living assistance,” he added, emphasizing his desire to see more energy company profits invested in green energy, which would “shield” customers from rising bills.

Mr. O’Shea noted that Centrica contributed £75 million last year to aiding British Gas customers, the UK’s largest power and gas supplier, providing “much-needed stability and assistance,” and that the proceeds would help the firm move to cleaner energy and reduce consumer bills “in the future.”

Centrica’s record profits were driven mostly by its nuclear and oil and gas divisions, as opposed to its British Gas energy supply sector, which contributed only £72 million. The company sold its Spirit Energy oil and gas subsidiary in May, contributing to the data spike.

According to competition restrictions, Centrica is forbidden to offer its gas at a discount to British Gas customers.

Indeed, British Gas’ profits dropped 39% last year compared to 2021 levels, thanks mostly to “voluntary donations” from customers and the repayment of vacation funds.

Centrica also revealed that it paid £1 billion in taxes on its 2022 profits, the vast majority of which was paid in the United Kingdom. About £54 million of that was paid due to the government’s windfall tax, known as the Energy Gains Levy, established last year to recoup some of the “exceptional” revenues made by firms and assist families in paying lower gas and electricity bills.

Centrica has announced a £300 million share purchase scheme, increasing the amount of money returned to shareholders.

Centrica is made up of two separate companies, one of which is profitable and the other which is not.

Read Also: Labor Party reveals the UK is at risk

Consumers will undoubtedly be outraged if they see a company swimming in cash while deploying debt collection agencies to break into poor families and install prepayment meters.

Centrica is unable to sell the energy it produces to its retail consumers at a lower cost than competitors due to competition constraints, so what does it do with its embarrassment of riches?

It has already halted the agency in charge of installing compulsory prepayment meters. In addition, the firm expects to pay £2.5 billion in windfall tax by 2028, which many will consider insufficient.

It is the government’s responsibility to address it, not firms like Centrica, Shell, and BP.

Prices are rising despite inflation fall

We put out data on UK inflation every month, but what does this percentage change mean for your money?

The inflation rate shows how quickly the cost of living in the UK is going up, but there are a few other things you should know.

  1. Inflation is going down, so prices are still going up, but not as fast

From 10.5% in December to 10.7% in November, inflation dropped to 10.1% in January. So, does this mean that prices are going down as well?

Regrettably, no. Prices are going up quickly compared to a year ago, though not as quickly as before.

Prices are expected to go up more in the coming months, but not as quickly as last year, shocking people and businesses all over the country.

  1. Your costs may be going up much more quickly

The inflation number is average, so depending on how you spend your money, your own cost of living may be going up much faster than what you hear in the news.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS), which figures out inflation, used a “basket” of things that most people in the UK buy to make its estimates. But it only has a few things. So, if you buy a lot of rare or specialized items or have unusual tastes, you may find that the cost of your shopping bag is going up faster – or slower – than what the headlines say.

The current food inflation rate is 16.7%, much higher than the average rate. Because of this, consumers who spend a larger portion of their income on food will have a personal inflation rate higher than the headline rate of 10.1%.

The ONS says that energy, food, and drink comprise about 15% of the spending of lower-income households but only 10% of the spending of higher-income households.

The Bank of England tries to keep inflation in check by raising interest rates, making borrowing money more expensive. This makes people less likely to borrow and more likely to save.

The Bank is likely to stick to its plan to raise interest rates once a year. So, you may pay more interest on a tracked mortgage, credit card, or loan. It’s also another thing that could affect the inflation rate in your country.

  1. Are prices ever going to go down?

Prices may decrease slightly from one month to the next, but this is less likely to happen from one year to the next.

Even though it may be hard to believe right now, prices going down isn’t always good.

When people think prices will go down, they put off spending to get a better deal later.

Because of this, companies are looking for ways to save money, most likely by lowering wages or letting people go.

People might quit their jobs because prices are going down, making prices go down even more. This is called “deflation,” a different kind of economic crisis that makes things hard.

So, the Bank of England consistently aims for 2% inflation. It’s better to aim for a little inflation than to risk the bad effects of prices going down.

It’s important to remember that most of the recent price increases have been caused by rising global energy costs. Because of this, prices are expected to go down, but not as much as they did before, and it will take time for any drop in energy prices to affect the rest of the economy.

Vegetable shortage causes a surprising rise in UK inflation

Last month, the cost of living went up more than expected. Food prices reached their highest level in 45 years because there wasn’t enough salad and vegetables.

Inflation went up from 10.1% in January to 10.4% in February because prices of alcohol in restaurants and bars increased.

Last month, clothes prices for children and women went up, but fuel prices stayed low.

The unexpected numbers came out before the interest rate announcement on Thursday.

As part of its fight against inflation, the Bank of England, the UK’s central bank, will decide whether to raise, lower, or keep interest rates where they are.

The unexpected jump in overall inflation was largely caused by a steady rise in food prices in February. Unfortunately, this happened at the same time that some stores ran out of salad and vegetable products.

Tomatoes, peppers, and cucumbers were in short supply, mostly because it took a lot of work to harvest them in Spain and North Africa.

High energy prices, which hurt UK producers and caused problems in the supply chain, made shortages even worse.

Read Also: Credit Suisse investors worry as shares hit 

Grant Fitzner, a chief economist at the Office for National Statistics (ONS), said that higher food prices in February were “no real surprise.” However, “people hadn’t been expecting to see the price of alcohol in pubs and restaurants go up in February after being discounted,” he said.

Most economists thought that inflation would go down again in February, but Chancellor Jeremy Hunt said it was not “inevitable” that inflation would go down.

HSBC buys out UK arm of Silicon Valley Bank

HSBC has acquired the UK branch of the bankrupt US Silicon Valley Bank (SVB). This is wonderful news for UK tech companies that have stated that they may go bankrupt if they do not receive assistance.

Consumers and businesses who previously had to wait for their money can now receive it as usual.

The talks were overseen by the UK government and the Bank of England, who worked all night to reach an agreement that did not involve taxpayer funds.

HSBC stated it paid £1 for the UK branch of Silicon Valley Bank.

Silicon Valley Bank was shut down by regulators in the US on Friday. This was the largest bank failure in the United States since 2008.

Because of the implications for businesses, its failure sent shockwaves through the tech world. Some businesses warned the BBC that they would go out of business if their deposits were in jeopardy.

Worried about how firms would access cash on Monday morning, Chancellor Hunt, Prime Minister Theresa May, Bank of England Governor Mark Carney, HSBC executives, and civil employees worked rapidly to find a solution.

The Bank of England stated that the failure of Silicon Valley Bank had “materially impacted” none of the other UK banks and that the banking system remained “safe, sound, and well capitalized.”

Although the UK branch of Silicon Valley Bank only had a little more than 3,000 customers, its failure would have meant a risk to a sector that the government deems critical to the Kingdom’s future economic success.

According to Mr. Hunt, some businesses only had bank accounts with SVB UK. “As a result, we were in a scenario where some of our most essential and strategic enterprises could have been wiped out,” he explained.

However, he stated, “there was never a systemic risk to the UK’s financial stability.”

Toby Mather, CEO and co-founder of Lingumi, an education technology business, said that 85% of the company’s capital was locked up in the bank and that he had an “anxious weekend.”

Sebastian Weidt, CEO of Universal Quantum, a tech business with approximately 40 workers that kept all of its money with SVB, said the arrangement was a “great relief” after a few “unbelievably tense” days.

Although Silicon Valley Bank in the United States was experiencing financial difficulties, Silicon Valley Bank UK was in relatively excellent health when HSBC purchased it for £1.

It had enough money and was earning a good profit. But, according to Bank of England sources, the weekend intervention was more of a precautionary measure before the collapse of its US parent forced much staff to leave the UK business.

That means HSBC received a wonderful bargain due to its size and power. Authorities were confident that Europe’s largest bank could handle any risk SVB UK’s customers posed.

Silicon Valley Bank UK’s sole issue was its name. Even while this is hardly a Lehman Brothers moment, the fall of SVB US has demonstrated that many banks are riskier than they appear on paper. This is because they have all lost money on their investments in government bonds as interest rates have risen, making those bonds less valuable.

One reason bank stocks fell again on Monday is that investors are starting to think about what’s happening.

What occurred at Silicon Valley Bank?

The US agreed to a rescue package for the consumers of the US bank, and the UK has now agreed to a rescue agreement for the UK branch. The US agreement completely protects all depositors.

Silicon Valley Bank specialized in lending to new enterprises, and it worked with nearly half of the US venture-backed healthcare and technology companies that went public last year.

Rising interest rates made it difficult for its consumers to raise funds by selling shares or through private fundraising. This put the company under strain. Clients withdrew more deposits, continuing a pattern that began last week.

The bank failed in the United States on Friday because it couldn’t raise enough capital to offset losses from selling assets, primarily US government bonds, which were harmed by increased interest rates.

More than 200 tech industry leaders signed a letter requesting the government to intervene because of the repercussions on SVB’s UK operation and how they may affect other smaller UK IT enterprises.

Former investment banker Sir Philip Augar claimed the UK government and authorities had a “successful weekend avoiding a disaster.” However, he also noted that it was ironic that SVB went bankrupt when the government considered “loosening” restrictions in the financial services business.

Most people liked the HSBC agreement, but the Bank of London, the UK’s clearing bank, called it a “lost opportunity.”

Read Also: US Government says money in SVB is safe

The bank, one of the entities that put in a rescue proposal for Silicon Valley Bank UK, claimed it couldn’t be acceptable for the legacy banks, who have been awful to UK company owners for many years, to benefit from their existing strong position.

Credit score: How do I improve my rating

Most people believe a good credit score is important to creditors and lenders.

Nevertheless, many people are unaware that having a good credit score may help you in all parts of your life, from getting approved for a mortgage or vehicle loan to getting the best interest on new accounts and lines of credit.

You’ll learn how credit scores function and how to improve your right now.

What exactly is a good credit score?

According to Equifax, a good credit score ranges between 670 and 739 and is termed prime credit. A prime credit score indicates that you are a low-risk borrower, which lenders prefer.

Scores from 580 to 669 are fair credit but need to catch up to the all-important prime credit threshold.

Your credit score is influenced by five major factors: payment history, quantities due, duration of credit history, new credit, and credit mix.

The most important factor is payment history, which accounts for 35% of your score. This is followed by credit use (30%), credit history length (15%), new credit (10%), and credit mix (10%).

There are various credit scores for various credit ranges, but the most extensively utilized credit score models are FICO and VantageScore.

FICO Rating

FICO scores are three-digit numbers that measure your creditworthiness. The FICO score range is 300-850, with individuals with scores above 700 receiving the majority of the best rates and credit limits.


The VantageScorecredit score, like the FICO score, goes from 300 to 850, with anything above 700 considered an “excellent” score.

The VantageScore, developed in 2006 as an alternative to the FICO credit scoring methodology, is employed by many lenders and is less prejudiced towards consumers with short credit history than FICO ratings.

The advantages of a high credit score

A strong credit score is necessary for a variety of reasons. For example, it can assist you in obtaining a business loan, a reduced interest rate, a greater credit limit, more competitive credit accounts, and renting an apartment, among other things.

A high score indicates financial responsibility and the ability to manage your resources. It also demonstrates to lenders that you are likely to repay your loans. As a result, those with the greatest credit ratings receive the best prices.

Keeping a strong credit score is vital; if you have a low score, you should work to raise it as quickly as feasible. You can accomplish this by paying your payments on time, keeping your debt levels low, and applying for credit only when necessary.

Knowing the significance of improving your credit score may encourage you to adjust.

How to improve your credit rating

Raising your credit score can be difficult, but simple tactics can help you get there quickly (as long as you commit to them).

These are some tried-and-true strategies:

On-time payment:

This covers any loan, credit card, or energy bill (as long as the utility company reports your payments to the credit bureaus). One of the most straightforward strategies to maintain a decent credit score is to make on-time payments. It indicates your dependability regarding financial commitments and can also assist you in avoiding interest payments and late penalties.

All of these factors can add up to improve your credit score. But on the other hand, missed and late payments on things like credit card debt or student loans can severely damage your credit.

Maintain a modest credit utilization ratio:

Your credit use ratio calculates how much of your available credit you use. It is computed by dividing the entire balance of your credit cards by the total credit limit. A high credit use rate might damage your credit score, so keeping it low is critical.

Keep your ratio between 30 and 35% of your available credit (on all your credit cards). And, if you have more than one card, aim to keep the overall ratio below that same threshold. There are various methods for accomplishing this, but the simplest is to spread your spending among your credit cards.

Eraser unfavorable information from your credit record:

It’s critical to check your credit reports for accuracy frequently. If you discover any inaccuracies, notify the credit bureau immediately and have them corrected. This can be accomplished by filing a dispute online or by mail.

The bureau will investigate your claim and update your record if the information needs to be corrected.

Note that the bureau may take some time to resolve the disagreement, so be patient. If you are not satisfied with the result of the bureau’s inquiry, you can take your complaint to the your state attorney general or the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Credit reporting errors can be costly; therefore, they must be corrected quickly.

Maintain a healthy mix of credit:

Borrowers who handle their credit accounts well (for example, mortgages, loans, and credit cards) are seen favorably by credit scoring algorithms and lenders. On the other hand, if you only have one account, you may be overly reliant on credit, a major red flag for lenders.

How can you better your credit rating?

A credit score is an important measure that influences your ability to get financial products and services. A good credit score can help you open doors, while a bad credit score can help you close them.

You can improve your financial situation by knowing how different credit scores are calculated and developing an action plan for improving your credit.

Read Also: Personal loan: Tips to get a reduction in repayment

If you have a low credit score or need assistance improving your credit, emphasize on-time payments, seek a reliable financial counselor, and investigate the multitude of online tools available to you.

Personal loan: Tips to get a reduction

Personal loans are a terrific method to borrow money for your business, but getting money in and out of business can be challenging if the payments are too high.

Because interest rates are rising, repaying your loan will cost you more. Even if you only have one personal loan, if your monthly payments increase, keeping track of your money and remaining on top of your debt can be difficult.

Paying less on your personal loans is one approach to reducing your financial burden. Personal loans are a terrific method to borrow money for your company, but if the payments are too high, getting money in and out can be difficult.

Best ways to reduce your loan repayments

Here are some strategies for lowering your personal loan payments as a business owner.

  • Make an early repayment

This is the best-case scenario; even if you cannot repay the loan in full, you can reduce the interest and installments. You can pay off your loans completely at once if you have enough savings. Find out whether any of your loans have early repayment penalties. If you do, you will have to pay a large percentage fee, which may render the early payment ineffective.

If you don’t have any savings, look at your budget. If you still require one, make one. Check your bank records, credit card bills, and other papers to determine your necessary costs, such as rent or mortgage payments, food, electricity, and taxes.

  • Modify the loan’s terms

Another approach to reducing payments is to extend the loan’s term. This reduces your monthly payment, but it will cost you more in interest over the length of the loan. However, this technique may be a fantastic option if you require more time to establish your business and produce more money.

You will need to speak with your lender or set up a new loan contract for this technique. If you extend the loan term, you will pay less each month, but you will pay more in the long run. Yet, if you’re in a pinch and ready to repay your loan over a longer length of time, it could be a viable option. If you have money left over, you could utilize it to pay off your debt more quickly. You’ll pay more now if you return your loan faster, but you’ll pay less interest and pay off the loan sooner.

  • Obtain a pay increase

If you have extra cash, making extra payments on your loan will help you pay it off faster and save you money on interest. This can also help you build credit, which will make it easier to get money in the future.

You must consider how this method will work for you in your specific situation. For example, you can persuade your boss to give you a raise or find a better-paying position.

Yet, many business owners need help to handle both, so you may need to take on a second job. In addition, numerous side jobs are available, such as food delivery, ridesharing, freelancing, and numerous other opportunities to earn money from a hobby or talent you already possess. You might also sell unwanted items online or rent out space in your home.

  • Refinance

You can refinance your loan at a cheaper interest rate if you have a strong credit score and a consistent income. This can significantly reduce your monthly expenses, making them easier to manage for your company.

If you receive a debt consolidation loan, you can combine your unsecured loans into a single loan. This is a fantastic strategy, especially if you have high-interest credit card debt. You’ll pay less each month, and staying on top of your responsibilities will be easier because you’ll only have one bill to pay each month.

You can lock in a cheaper interest rate, making it easier to repay your debt.

  • Make contact with your lender

If you’ve always paid your payments on time and have a solid business plan, you can negotiate a reduced interest rate with your lender. You can accomplish this by providing them with your financial statements and a business strategy outlining how you intend to create more money. In addition, several lenders will cooperate with customers suffering financial difficulties.

To understand how paying off your debt will influence your credit, ask your lender what they will notify the credit bureaus while negotiating with them. You should be aware that this may hurt your credit score.

While many of us are suffering the impacts of the uncertain economy, it’s natural to be concerned about your personal loan obligations. There are various ways to reduce the amount owed on a personal loan. Yet, it would help if you considered how modifying your personal loan would influence your credit in the long run.

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If you’re experiencing temporary financial difficulties, it may be wiser to tighten your belt for a few months to get through a rough patch rather than do something that could harm your credit score. The sooner you recognize that making personal loan payments may be difficult, the more likely you will discover a viable solution.

Net zero emissions may mean higher taxes

The UK is making good progress toward its goal of having net zero carbon emissions by 2050, but it may need to raise taxes to reach that goal.

Lord Nicholas Stern, a well-known economist, says that the government and private sector must as a a matter of urgency invest in new technologies.

A former boss of oil giant BP also says that the UK should follow the US in promoting green technology.

But the government said that the UK is “leading the way as far as climate change and net zero carbon emissions is concerned.”

Lord Stern told the BBC, “We need growth, and we need to cut down on emissions, and we’ll get there by investing in new technologies.”

He also said, “I’m not saying that investments in health and education should be put off. On the contrary, we must work on both of them at the same time.

His words come when the country is struggling with a high cost of living and taxes are higher than they have been since the Second World War.

Tax cuts are also something that some people want the government to do.

On the other hand, Lord Stern says that more public investment could be good for jobs and the environment.

Lord Stern wrote a groundbreaking report on climate change for Prime Minister Tony Blair’s government in 2006. In 2021, he gave the updated version to Boris Johnson, who had been Prime Minister before.

He is hopeful that key green technologies, like making energy, car batteries, and fertilizer, will reach a tipping point within a few years. Artificial intelligence will be a big part of this.

Lord Stern thinks that private investment will be able to pay for most of it, but the government will also have to help.

Lord Browne, who used to run BP and now runs a private equity fund that invests in companies that cut greenhouse gas emissions, wants the government to help businesses more.

He wants the government to learn from what is going on on the other side of the ocean.

President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act includes tax credits and subsidies for making electric cars, renewable electricity, sustainable aviation fuel, and hydrogen. It also gives people who buy electric cars made in the US money back.

Lord Browne says, “I will give the US an A for the Inflation Reduction Act; that’s pretty dramatic.” “It’s far from enough, but it’s a good start and got people’s attention.”

But some UK Ministers, such as Grant Shapps, who used to be the Business Secretary and now runs the new Department for Energy Security and Net Zero, have criticized President Biden’s move.

They have been worried that it gives unfair advantages to US businesses.

Most of the time, tax money or borrowing is used to pay for these kinds of subsidies.

Lord Browne says, however, that there is already a source of tax money that could be used better.

He agrees with the current windfall tax on production of oil and gas in the North Sea. However, he says it is only fair that producers pay over some of the unexpected profits they make on assets that belong to the country in the end.

He wants those funds to be used to help experts in renewable energy find new ways to make energy.

But Lord Brown is worried that policymakers may have forgotten about environmental issues because they have many other things to consider, like ensuring the UK has enough energy.

He said that government ministers are worried about very simple things, like finding out about inflation and security again.

Last year, however, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said at the COP 27 climate meeting that the energy crisis was a reason to speed up the energy transition.

In a statement, the government said that the UK “leads the world in fighting climate change with policies that have created 68,000 green jobs since 2020.”

The UK’s net zero strategy

The Department for Energy Security and Net Zero was set up just last week.

This was one of 129 suggestions made in a review of the UK’s progression toward “net zero” that the previous Prime Minister, Liz Truss, asked to be done. The review urged the government to be braver.

But stepping up that role in fighting climate change might require some tough talks about acheiving net zero carbon emission.

Read Also: Heathrow records largest numbers since COVID

Ipsos pollsters found that people are still worried about climate change, but now they are more worried about inflation, the economy, and public services.

And when it tried out different policies, like charging environmental fees for frequent flights or other products and phasing out fossil fuels for heating, the support went down.

Voters want to do the right thing but might be less excited about funding change.

Green trade war: The US and the UK at war

The quest for a green environment is set to usher in a green trade war like never before.

The Inflation Reduction Act that the U.S. Congress passed last summer was a good idea. People who buy electric vehicles and other products that are good for the environment got tax breaks worth billions of dollars because of the act. This was done to improve the United States’ green economy and fight climate change.

But many European nations are upset that these subsidies will only be available to people who buy U.S.-made products. They think it is a thinly veiled attempt to get a piece of the high-tech manufacturing market in Britain and Europe by getting European companies to move their factories to the U.S.

Welcome to the global race to be the leader in green technology, where the future of the planet and the global economy are linked in a geopolitical game that could be risky.

The U.S. and the European Union have different opinions, but some East Asian countries are also unhappy. Some business people in the U.K. want to know where the U.K. stands in this fight.

Most countries give money to green technology, but Joe Biden’s decision to only give money for cars made in North America scared many allies. People who buy cars made in the United States can now get tax credits of up to $7,500 (£6,000).

What is happening in the U.K.?

We need to know more about where the U.K. fits into this.

Even though it is known that the Business and Trade Secretaries have talked to their U.S. counterparts about their concerns, they need to know more about what they want. For example, grant Shapps, who is in charge of the business in the U.K., says that the country doesn’t need a package of green incentives like the U.S. does because it is “ahead of the game.”

He is also sure that the U.K. will be a part of what could become a split between the E.U. and the U.S. as a result of the green trade war.

He also said that he had talked to John Kerry, who is the climate envoy for the Biden ministry, and that a lot of what the U.S. is doing is good. “The protectionist parts of this new bill, which could affect us, need to be cut back.”

How does the U.S. leadership feel?

Leaders who have talked to their U.S. counterparts about the Inflation Reduction Act say that it was an accident and that the U.S. “forgot” about Europe when they wrote this law, which is an economic “half aggression.”

Some people have said this was meant for China, not Europe. But there’s no doubt that big European manufacturers are changing their minds. Even though the need for net zero does lead to more manufacturing in Europe and North America, one European leader says that there is a red line that shouldn’t be crossed.

People believe that with the green trade war, things could get hard if European export production, investments, and jobs started moving across the Atlantic.

People also worry that “green technologies” won’t be enough to solve the problem. Because the pandemic caused bottlenecks in the supply chain, countries are rethinking how much they depend on East Asia to make their goods, not just China.

Building new places to make microchips in the E.U. and the U.S. costs big tech companies in the west a lot of money. The Europeans call this “strategic autonomy,” and the Americans call it “friend shoring,” which means putting back in place supply chains for friendly countries.

Even though many industries are going through big changes, much money will be moved from where it is now. The green trade war could affect how things are made for the next 100 years.

Some people in the business world in Britain worry that the E.U. and the U.S. will fight over important technologies like microchips, electric cars, and other important technologies. And it’s clear that the “global” that “global Britain” wanted to be a part of after Brexit has changed significantly, which raises some important strategic questions about Britain’s future.

Green trade war?

But now, new tensions are making people wonder how much inflation will go down and worry about where Britain fits into a world that has changed a lot.

A green trade war on the other side of the Atlantic is a huge worry. Joe Biden’s new bill to boost the green economy in the U.S. includes subsidies of £300 billion for buying electric cars, but only if most of them are made in North America. The Inflation Reduction Act also affects a wide range of other manufacturing and production, which has caused some European companies to move their factories to the U.S. Fertilizer companies are scratching their heads and wondering why European leaders don’t make the same rules.

Read Also: Davos is torn over a green trade war

The U.S. says that its new laws will make things hard for China. But the leaders of the E.U. are angry and ready to fight back, possibly with their big subsidies that will probably also include “Buy European” clauses.

Toyota wants to convert gas-powered cars

Toyota CEO Akio Toyoda believes the Japanese automaker still has the potential to be a major contender.

“I don’t want to leave any automobile fan behind,” Toyota CEO Akio Toyoda proclaimed at the Tokyo Auto Salon in Chiba, Japan, on Friday. In order to achieve this goal, the Japanese automaker has recommended replacing existing automobile engines with more environmentally friendly alternatives such as fuel cells and electric motors. The goal is to hasten the global shift to greener automobiles.

Toyoda told the Associated Press (AP) that Toyota still has the resources and knowledge to be a market leader in the green vehicle business. Despite this, he admitted that it would take some time for all vehicles to be completely emission-free. However, retrofitting older vehicles with contemporary technologies, according to the CEO, is a cost-effective option.

Toyoda also endeavored to dispel the idea that green cars are less enjoyable to drive than conventional gasoline-powered vehicles. To demonstrate Toyota’s adherence to the “conversion” strategy. He showcased Toyota AE86 cars powered by batteries and hydrogen, including the Toyota Corolla Levin.

As the automotive industry faces substantial upheaval as a result of climate change fears, automakers are under increased pressure to reduce their environmental impact. Toyoda, on the other hand, remarked that, while many countries are beginning to appreciate the automotive industry’s efforts to become more environmentally friendly, Japan has yet to recognize the value of these efforts.

Toyota to help Suzuki with compact electric vehicles.

Suzuki Motor’s president, Toshihiro Suzuki, told reporters at a recent auto show that the company plans to learn how to build compact electric cars utilizing EV technology from partner Toyota. Suzuki indicated that it is learning from Toyota about EVs and other technology to build autos that are more in line with its offerings.

“We need to work on and discuss with Toyota how to implement this EV technology on compact cars,” he stated on the show’s sidelines. Given the growing popularity of electric vehicles, Toyota, which owns 4.89 percent of Suzuki, is considering relaunching its electric vehicle strategy. Toyota currently offers only one fully electric vehicle, the bZ4X crossover, but plans to introduce five further EVs in Europe under the bZ sub-brand by 2026.

Previously, the Japanese manufacturer assumed that demand for EVs would not take off for several decades, so it favored hybrid technology. When asked if SMC would sell EVs based on gasoline engine platforms, Suzuki said the company would have to create an EV from the ground up. Suzuki is increasing its footprint in India, which is scheduled to become an EV center for the Japanese automaker, with up to $1.3 billion in planned investments to produce EVs and batteries locally.

Suzuki owns a majority share in Maruti, which has faced greater competition from rivals as buyers shift to larger vehicles such as SUVs and regulators demand safer and more environmentally friendly vehicles, rising costs. As a result, its market share has dropped to less than 43%, down from more than 50% in 2019.

“One of the reasons we couldn’t sustain 50 percent market share… was our delay in launching SUVs,” Suzuki Motor President Toshihiro Suzuki acknowledged, adding that the company was seeking to reclaim market share by launching more SUVs.

“We feel there is long-term growth potential in the compact car industry.”

“We need to work harder to achieve deeper penetration and spread the sale of compact and small autos in India,” he said, adding that Suzuki would work with Maruti to recapture market share.

With its compact, low-cost automobiles, Maruti Suzuki leads car sales in India, making the South Asian country one of the Japanese company’s most important markets.

‘De-carbonization’ Roadmap

Last October, the Departments of Energy, Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and the Environmental Protection Agency announced a collaboration to create a “clean, safe, accessible, equitable, and decarbonized transportation system for all.” The agencies issued their promised blueprint this week, adding meat to those bones.

The study, dubbed the United States National Blueprint for Transportation Decarbonization, is the first of its kind, and it predicts three common technology choices for net-zero travel by 2050: batteries, hydrogen, and sustainable liquid fuels. For drivers, the blueprint’s projection of how these three technologies would be employed is particularly intriguing, if not wholly startling. For example, battery power provides the “greatest long-term possibility” to decarbonize light-duty vehicles. For long-distance heavy trucks, on the other hand, hydrogen is at the top of the list. Furthermore, sustainable liquid fuels are considered appropriate for boats and planes.

Read Also: Winklevoss crypto firm charged in the US 

The future is electric

Electric vehicles have the potential to dominate the transportation sector in the future. Manufacturing production lines are making solid-state batteries a reality.

Because of the rising cost of gasoline in the United States, electric vehicle purchases are becoming more appealing in the United States and Europe. All automakers are discontinuing gasoline-powered automobiles. These markets are being driven by China’s and India’s growing populations and favorable government laws. Electric vehicles aim to reduce vehicle carbon emissions and increase the usage of nonpolluting automobiles.

Solid-State Batteries represent the next phase of automation in electricity storage, an industry that is expected to grow significantly. From 2022 to 2028, it is predicted to increase at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 147.8%. The growing demand for solid-state batteries across end-use sectors and increased R&D activity are aimed at commercializing the battery. In addition, lower solid-state battery costs are predicted to drive industry expansion.

Cryptocurrency: UK to considers plan for digital pound

The economic secretary to the Treasury told MPs that the government is considering making a “digital pound” or national cryptocurrency.

Andrew Griffith said that the UK was determined to make crypto a world center.

And the government was “a long way from putting together a way for stablecoins to be widely used as a way to pay.”

Stablecoins are designed to have a value that can be predicted based on traditional currencies or assets like gold.

A game-changing piece of technology

Mr. Griffith told the Treasury Select Committee that the public would be asked what features a digital pound should have in the next few weeks.

“I want us to set up a system so that stablecoins can be widely used as a form of payment,” he said. This is part of the FSMB, which is being discussed in Parliament now.

Central banks all over the world are making or looking into digital currencies.

Mr. Griffith told the committee, “It is right to try to embrace potentially disruptive technologies, especially when our fintech and financial sectors are so strong.”

He said he wanted to give this “potentially disruptive game-changing technology” a chance because it could “challenge but also turbocharge all of those industries.”

Taking care of the consumer

People are worried about whether any cryptocurrency can ever be considered stable because of the “crypto winter,” when the value of Bitcoin and other assets dropped quickly.

It could also raise questions about how the government should be run.

There will also be talks about Britain’s first general plan for regulating crypto assets, which have become a focus of consumer protection worries in recent weeks.

But the consultation will be part of a “research and exploration” phase that will help the Bank of England and the government make plans for the next few years.

Given the UK’s “strong financial reputation,” Mr. Griffith told the committee that it was more important to be right than first when regulating crypto.

“It will take a long time to plan,” he said.

“Right weights”

The EU has made the first full set of global rules for how crypto markets should be regulated.

If they get final approval in the next few weeks, they will go into effect in 2024.

Mr. Griffith said that UK rules could be changed to include decentralized finance and that everyone would benefit from more openness.

“We want the right system, run the right way, with the right checks and balances,” he told the committee.

He also promised to have “at least” six roundtables with people in the crypto industry to “showcase us as regulators and decision-makers.”

The UK Treasury will regulate some stablecoins

The Treasury has said it will regulate some cryptocurrencies as part of a larger plan to make the UK a center for digital payment companies.

It said that “stablecoins” would be accepted as a way to pay so that people would feel more comfortable using digital currencies.

Stablecoins are made to have a stable value tied to traditional currencies or assets like gold.

People think they are less risky than Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.

The Treasury also said it would hold a public meeting later this year to talk about how to regulate a much wider range of digital currencies, but it didn’t say which ones.

The Treasury hasn’t said which stablecoins will be regulated yet. But Tether and Binance USD are two that many people know about.

Stablecoins make it easier to trade, lend, or borrow other digital assets in the United States.

But they don’t agree on everything. For example, Tether is a Hong Kong-based company whose business practices have been questioned. In 2021, the US Commodities Futures Trading Commission said it lied about how much money it had and fined it $41 million.

The UK’s Treasury said that making rules for stablecoins would ensure that people could use them “safely.”

Cryptocurrencies are virtual or digital currencies that can be traded or used to buy goods and services, but only a few stores accept them yet, and some countries have banned them completely.

They are traded “peer-to-peer,” which means there are no banks or other middlemen.

Because the value of some digital currencies changes in crazy ways, regulators have warned that they are dangerous. But they are getting more and more popular, and now big financial companies are putting money into them.

Elon Musk, who started Tesla and is the richest person in the world, has said that virtual currencies like Bitcoin are “good.”

Cryptocurrency and environmental concerns

Regulators are in a hurry to figure out how to handle cryptocurrencies because there is concern that their growing popularity could threaten the financial systems that are already in place.

In December, the deputy governor of the Bank of England said that only about 0.1% of UK wealth was in digital assets, but that number was growing quickly.

Sir Jon Cunliffe told the BBC that a sharp drop in the value of cryptocurrencies could cause a chain reaction.

Read Also: Silvergate faces $8bn in withdrawals 

In the meantime, the US is working on rules because more and more people are worried that criminals can hide in the cryptocurrency industry.

Mining is making digital coins using a group of powerful computers and a lot of energy. According to new research, Bitcoin now makes as much carbon as the whole country of Greece.

Mr. Glen said that people were worried about the environmental effects and that the government “will look closely at how much energy certain crypto-technologies use.”

Pakistan major cities experience blackouts

Millions of people in Pakistan lost power early Monday because of a problem with the country’s national grid.

All the big cities, including Karachi, the largest, and Islamabad, the capital, were without power.

The power minister, Khurrum Dastagir, said the grid went down because of “frequency variation” in southern Pakistan.

He said this wasn’t a big problem, and the power would be back soon.

People say Pakistan’s frequent power outages are caused by bad management and insufficient infrastructure investment. For instance, it took hours to get the power back on after it went out in October.

In a statement, the energy ministry said that the grid “lost frequency” at about 7:30 local time (02:30 GMT), which caused a major breakdown. But they also said that the problem was being fixed with “quick work.”

Mr. Dastagir said that some of the country’s grids were already fixed. He told Reuters that the power would come back on at 22:00 local time.

He told Geo TV that some parts of the power were turned off overnight because less power was needed in the winter than in the summer when high temperatures and people use air conditioning and fans.

When they turned them on in the morning, they saw “frequency variation and voltage fluctuation” in southern Pakistan, “somewhere between Dadu and Jamshoro,” and “power generating units shut down one after the other,” he told the TV station.

It meant the fans stopped turning, and the lights went out throughout the country.

According to the BBC, the power outage stopped the Orange Line metro, a fast train in Lahore that doesn’t have a driver.

People in Pakistan are used to dealing with power outages and “load shedding,” when power is temporarily cut off in some areas to keep the whole system from failing.

When the power goes out, many businesses, factories, and homes have generators that kick on. In addition, a Pakistan Civil Aviation Authority spokesman said that airports usually work on Monday because they have their back-up power systems.

Officials at Lady Reading Hospital in Peshawar, the capital of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, told the BBC that the power outage didn’t affect most departments because generators were used to power all of them, even the emergency wards and intensive care units.

But while hospitals and larger businesses might have bigger generators, smaller businesses or private homes might need more power to last for several days.

Businesses close early in Pakistan

As part of a new plan to save energy, the government told malls, markets, and restaurants to shut down at 20:30 and 22:00, respectively.

The cabinet said this would save the country around 62 billion Pakistani rupees, which is about $270 million or £220 million. In addition, the government has told federal agencies to use 30% less electricity.

Most of Pakistan’s power comes from fossil fuels that it imports.

As prices for energy worldwide have gone up in the last year, the country’s finances and foreign reserves, which it needs to pay for energy imports, have been put under more pressure.

Due to Pakistan’s economic crisis, malls and markets have to close early.

Pakistan is in the middle of an economic crisis, so the government has told shops and markets to close early daily.

Khawaja Asif, Pakistan’s defense minister, says these changes will save the country about 62 billion Pakistani rupees, which is about $274,3 million or £228,9 million.

Most of Pakistan’s power comes from fossil fuels that it imports.

Last year, the price of energy went up all over the world, which hurt the country’s finances.

The country needs foreign currency, especially US dollars, to pay for these energy imports.

Pakistan’s government had $11.7 billion in foreign currency on hand at the end of last month. It did this because its foreign currency reserves had dropped by about 50% in the past year.

That’s not enough to pay for the country’s imports for more than a month, and most of those imports are energy.

Mr. Asif told reporters on Tuesday that stores and markets would have to close at 20:30 local time and that government agencies had been told to cut their electricity use by 30%.

At the same time, after July 1, electric fans that don’t work well will no longer be made.

The country of 220 million people has been working for years to get its economy back on track.

Pakistan was saved by the International Monetary Fund with $6 billion in 2019 and another $1.1 billion in August of last year.

The government is also talking with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) about holding back $1.1 billion in bailout money.

Read Also: Cryptocurrency: UK to plan for digital pound

The terrible floods in Pakistan last year also hurt the country’s finances.

In October, the World Bank said the flooding had caused the country $40 billion worth of damage.

Silvergate faces with $8bn in withdrawals

Customers of the US bank Silvergate, which provides cryptocurrency services, have withdrawn more than $8 billion (£6.7 billion) from their crypto-linked savings.

Approximately two-thirds of the bank’s customers withdrew their deposits in the Q3 of 2022.

The bank sold assets worth $5.2 billion to cover the costs and remain liquid.

It happened after three US authorities warned banks that issuing cryptocurrency was “very likely to be inconsistent with safe banking standards.”

Silvergate is listed on the New York Stock Exchange; hence it is governed by the financial industry. It is one of only a handful of businesses in this industry that provides cryptocurrency-related services.

The withdrawals occurred after the FTX crypto exchange, which was once worth $32 billion and filed for bankruptcy in November, shut down.

Former FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried has pleaded not guilty to defrauding consumers and investors. According to prosecutors, up to one million debtors may have lost money.

The lawsuit has rattled the whole crypto industry, leading several companies to declare bankruptcy and cryptocurrency prices to plummet.

Silvergate’s CEO, Alan Lane, stated that the bank was selling assets to fund consumer withdrawals “because the digital asset business is evolving quickly.”

Silvergate is experiencing the “crypto winter”

Silvergate is the latest victim of the industry’s chilly “crypto winter,” which began last spring.

The so-called “crypto bank” occupied an unusual niche in the market. It was a bank for bitcoin startups that needed help to obtain banking services from regular sources.

One of its customers was the now-bankrupt Alameda Research, controlled by Sam Bankman-Fried, awaiting his fraud trial in the United States.

This is awful for Silvergate, but Bankman-downfall is far worse. Moreover, fried’s has inflicted the corporation with an even larger blow: a loss of market trust.

Since Bankman-empire Fried’s collapsed, investors of all sizes have begun withdrawing funds from crypto firms. In addition, billions of dollars have been transferred from cryptocurrency storage businesses.

So far, the top companies in the market, like Binance and Coinbase, have been able to withstand extraordinary withdrawals. Silvergate is likewise clinging on for the time being, albeit at a high cost to its balance sheet.

Before it went into cryptocurrency, Silvergate was a tiny US bank. It went public in November 2019.

At the top of the market in 2021, its shares had increased by more than 1,500%, owing partly to the massive expansion of crypto at the time.

During this time, it attempted to launch its stablecoin, a sort of cryptocurrency directly linked to an asset such as the US dollar, gold, or other cryptocurrencies.

In January 2022, Silvergate paid $182 million for the technology underpinning Meta’s projected Diem (previously Libra) stablecoin, which has yet to materialize.

In a filing with the SEC, the bank stated that it sold the debt to cover the withdrawals and wrote off the Diem purchase, which means it is no longer counted as an asset.

It has also reduced its workforce by 40%, or around 200 individuals. The withdrawals have cost the bank $718 million, more than it has made since 2013.

US regulators are warning banks about the risks of cryptocurrencies.

For the first time, US regulators have warned banks about the risks of the cryptocurrency market.

The regulators warned financial institutions to be on the lookout for potential fraud, legal uncertainty, and misleading information from digital asset providers.

Banks were also warned about the “danger of spreading” from the sector.

It comes just two months after the bankruptcy of the trading platform FTX sent shockwaves across the crypto market.

The US Federal Reserve, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation issued a joint statement saying they were keeping an eye on what banks were doing with cryptocurrencies.

The regulators also stated that owning or issuing crypto tokens kept on decentralized networks was “very likely not in line with safe and sound banking standards.”

Banks were also instructed to take precautions to ensure that issues in the digital asset market would not extend to the rest of the financial system.

The statement on Tuesday comes after months of hesitation by US financial sector watchdogs to issue universal guidelines regarding cryptocurrency, despite banks’ requests for clearer guidance.

The fall of FTX

The fall of FTX in November sent shockwaves through the cryptocurrency market.

It was the world’s second-largest cryptocurrency exchange, and millions of individuals utilized it to get started in the market for digital assets.

On Tuesday, Sam Bankman-Fried, the former CEO of FTX, categorically disputed that he had defrauded consumers and investors.

He pled not guilty to claims that he used FTX customer deposits to fund his other business, Alameda Research, buy a house, and contribute to political campaigns.

Two of Mr. Bankman-closest Fried’s coworkers, have already pled guilty and are cooperating with the inquiry. The inquiry has shaken the whole bitcoin sector.

Read Also: FTX founder denies allegations of fraud

Mr. Bankman-Fried was one of the most influential people in the field. He was well-known for his political ties, celebrity endorsements, and bailouts of other troubled businesses.

They claim he established “a house of cards on a foundation of lies while assuring investors that it was one of the safest in crypto.”

World Bank: Ajay Banga is US nominee to lead

US President Joe Biden has chosen Ajay Banga, an Indian-American businessman, to lead the World Bank.

The US is putting more pressure on the bank to do more to fight climate change.

Mr. Banga ran the credit card company Mastercard for more than a decade. He now works in private equity.

US officials said he had enough experience to work with the private sector to help the bank reach its goals.

The board will choose the bank’s next official head.

‘Force multiplier’

The bank said on Wednesday that it would interview up to three finalists and choose a new leader by the start of May. It said that women should run for office as much as possible.

It must be made clear if different ideas come from other countries.

Since the US has the most shares in the World Bank, it has always had the power to choose who runs the organization, which lends billions of dollars to countries annually.

When she was in the Treasury, Janet Yellen wanted the World Bank to be a “force multiplier for good” by making the right plans.

She said that Mr. Banga was “uniquely” qualified to do this job because he had a history of making partnerships between governments, businesses, and non-profits.

Mr. Banga was born in India and is now an American citizen. He started his career in India, where his father was an army officer.

He worked at Nestle and Citigroup before he joined Mastercard.

Mr. Banga left the company in 2021 and is now a vice chairman at General Atlantic, a private equity firm, on the advisory board of its $3.5bn climate fund.

He has also worked with the White House as the Partnership for Central America co-chair. This is an effort to stop people from coming to the US by getting more private investment in the area.

Amanda Glassman, executive vice president of the Center for Global Development, said that Mr. Banga’s many years in business could help Congress, especially Republicans who often criticize international organizations, trust the bank.

But she said it was too soon to tell if he was the right choice because he needed more experience with government and development work, which is at the heart of what the bank does.

She said that the CGD is eager to hear what he has to say about how the bank should work.

Whoever becomes the next head of the bank will have to face the challenge of trying to meet the immediate financial needs of low-income countries, many of which are in the middle of debt crises, while also shifting to deal with things like climate change, global conflict, and pandemic risks without any clear extra money on the table.

Ms. Glassman said that the next strategic step for the World Bank is a very important one. Now is a time when the World Bank can either step up and become more important or stay on the sidelines and become less important.

Even though everyone agrees that the bank needs to change, she said, not everyone agrees on how, and people are worried about finding the right balance.

Mr. Banga will replace David Malpass if he is approved. Former US President Donald Trump chose Mr. Malpass. He said this month that he would step down in June, which is almost a year before the end of his five-year term.

People who care about the environment criticized him for waiting too long to use the bank’s resources to fight climate change.

Last year, when he said he didn’t know if fossil fuels were causing climate change, the White House called him out. He later apologized for what he had said.

David Malpass: The head of the World Bank quits

The World Bank president will leave his job in June, which is almost a year before the end of his term.

David Malpass wrote on social media that he was leaving but didn’t say why.

Even though Trump chose him, some people say he doesn’t believe in climate change.

The White House told him to shut up last year when he said he didn’t know if fossil fuels were causing climate change.

He later apologized for what he had said.

Mr. Malpass began his five-year term in April 2019. Before that, he worked at the US Department of Treasury for the Trump government.

In a statement, Mr. Malpass said he was proud of his work at the bank, which gives billions of dollars to developing countries every year.

Read Also: Why the UK economy is lagging behind

He also said that under his leadership, financing had reached new highs, “including financing for climate change.”

Retailers Brace for Budget-Conscious Buyers in 2023

January is a crucial month for many retailers in the market since it signals the end of their fiscal year. But, according to industry analysts, businesses should be extra careful this month due to a pragmatic shift in how shoppers spend their money.

Normally, shoppers bring gift cards to retailers in January. This is also when retailers pay out all of their inventory in preparation for new things entering the shop for the next fiscal year. January would also be a tipping moment for the economy since many analysts believe a recession would occur sooner rather than later.

Retailers and industry analysts, on the other hand, have expressed delight at the better-than-expected Christmas performance. Market participants predicted months ago that Christmas shopping would be slower and weaker.

Market sales increased 7.6% from November 1 to December 24, according to MasterCard SpendingPulse. Meanwhile, restaurant sales increased 7.1% year on year in November, indicating an improved sentiment among company owners and other industry experts.

Despite the upbeat attitude, many believe it will not continue long. Individuals’ credit cards, for example, may have been maxed out, indicating a halt in purchasing for several months. Furthermore, people’s finances have been emptied due to the expenditures made over the holidays.

Several retailers, including Best Buy, Target, Walmart, Kohl’s, Macy’s, and Nordstrom, claimed that foot traffic in their stores fell by 3.22% year over year in the weeks leading up to Christmas. The present rate is 5% lower than the pre-pandemic period. Retailers are concerned about this tendency.

“It seems like a lot of the brands are anticipating a bigger thud in January,” noted SW Retail Advisors president Stacey Widlitz.

Widlitz noted that many retailers have chosen to provide more gift cards to their consumers to increase Christmas sales. For example, store Urban Outfitter offered $50 off purchases of $200 or more.

She claims that many firms utilize this method to get clients to pay since they have been in a downturn for several months. On the other, other merchants, such as Walmart, anticipate an increase in sales as shoppers become more price-conscious.

“Sometimes these quarters work out where the very end of December and January end up being stronger when people are particularly price sensitive. So that’s kind of what I’m expecting,” said Walmart CEO Doug McMillon.

Read Also: Logistics Managers say Supply Chain will not Return to Normal until 2024

Retailers brace for another year

Economists are keeping an eye on consumer data as 2023 approaches. Data and other observations might assist retailers in making administrative decisions that could enhance sales or avert catastrophic losses.

Furthermore, interest rates are projected to climb because the Fed will maintain its anti-inflationary stance. If the Fed can keep inflation at bay, that might bode well for the prices of goods and services. For example, in early December, official statistics indicated that the price rise was smaller than projected.

“Cooling inflation will boost the markets and take pressure off the Fed for raising rates, but most importantly, this spells real relief starting for Americans whose finances have been punished by higher prices. This is especially true for lower-income Americans who are disproportionately hurt by inflation,” explained Navy Federal Credit Union corporate economist Robert Frick.

“The Fed could dismiss the better-than-expected October as just one month’s data, but the further slowdown in November makes this new disinflationary trend harder to dismiss,” added economist Paul Ashworth.

However, because the fight against inflation is still ongoing, businesses and consumers continue to be concerned about price fluctuations in the market. Food costs remain greater than they were years ago, and petrol prices have skyrocketed as a result of global scarcity.

Furthermore, Widlitz advises consumers to be mindful of their buying habits because extensive credits should be credited to their cards shortly.

“Everyone gets through the holidays in denial, and February 1, when you get your [credit card] statement, or January 15, whenever it comes, it’s like, ‘Oh!'”

Read Also: The Feds has a Critical Role in Market Prices

America’s holiday spending

Retailers were astounded by the number of people buying throughout the holidays, from Black Friday to New Year’s. Of course, merchants had lower expectations. They were proven wrong, however, as a swarm marched into businesses to buy what they needed for the holidays. The GenZs had the highest turnout.

“One standout this Black Friday was the high turnout of Gen Z in stores. Younger consumers flooded the mall, treating Black Friday as a social event. They came early, they came with friends, and they came to shop,” said economist Kristen Classi-Zummo.

“Over Black Friday weekend, we saw shoppers of all ages but certainly saw a strong showing from a youthful crowd, and some of our strongest anecdotal sales reports came from top Gen Z brands and fashion department stores,” said Joe Coradino, CEO of PREIT, a mall operator.

“Promotions aren’t the draw for these shoppers. Instead, one in three shoppers aged 18 to 24 looks at social media first to do their shopping research,” added Classi Zummo.

“At the same time, this generation is also open to finding inspiration in other channels, including browsing in stores. And we saw that over Black Friday. So they will get the must-haves on their wish list, regardless of price, and maybe put back the nice-to-have items.”

“Mostly beauty items and electronics. Their top retailers were Best Buy, Sephora, Ulta and TJ Maxx. Gen Z and their spending, by and large, are all discretionary. They aren’t burdened as much by bills, so they’re not thinking as much about inflation and prices,” said Brian Mandelbaum, CEO of a consumer data company.



Logistics Managers say Supply Chain will not Return to Normal until 2024

Most large company logistics managers and trade associations predict that the supply chain will stabilize in 2024 or later.

According to a media site’s poll, the supply chain only occasionally operates for half of the managers or 61%. In contrast, 32% disagree.

When asked when they anticipated the situation would return to normal, the managers gave varying answers: around 22% were doubtful, 19% indicated next year, and 30% felt it would be normal in 2024. The last 29% stated that everything should return to normal in 2025, with some stating that this is impossible.

Trade managers have a bleak view due to the supply chain disruption that began about three years ago with the start of Covid-19 in Wuhan, China. Since that time, the globe has experienced extreme strain and difficulty restoring the various nations’ economies.

However, strict Covid regulations across countries have hampered international trade in products and services. Members of the National Retail Foundation, the Agriculture Transportation Coalition, the Pacific Coast Council, the American Apparel and Footwear Association, and the Coalition of New England Companies for Trade participated in the poll.

“The administration needs to remain focused and continue to convene the right supply chain stakeholders to discuss ways to improve supply chain operations and expand data sharing to create a truly 21st century supply chain,” said Jon Gold, the NRF supply chain and customs policy vice president.

Read Also: The Feds has a Critical Role in Market Prices

The government and managers

59% of managers believe that the Biden administration must be aware of the difficulties in the supply chain. Management asserted that data sharing between the government and logistics managers would benefit the supply chain. This would hasten the movement of freight.

“The carriers have arbitrarily imposed such charges on customs brokers, even though we may not have had any role in booking or managing the transportation,” added Eduardo Acosta, Pacific Coast Council of Customs Brokers and Freight Forwarders Association president.

“The survey provides data supporting the imperative for the Federal Maritime Commission to advance its proposed rule to end this unreasonable carrier practice,” Acosta added.

“Hard data is the backbone of effective supply chain management, especially amidst the uncertainty shown in this survey. Intelligence about real-time cargo flows is essential. The survey highlights the need for the industry to rally around better data-sharing solutions,” said Karen Kenney, CONECT chair.

“Now is the time to double down on bringing all stakeholders together to create and implement real solutions to structural problems so that we don’t end up skipping from crisis to crisis,” said AAFA senior vice president Nate Herman.

Hurdles faced by managers

Most logistics managers claim that their raw material shortage has worsened things. Additionally, their situation needs to be helped by port congestion, a labor shortage, and a reduction in storage capacity. The cancellation of sailings, exorbitant costs, and stringent terminal regulations are additional challenges management confronts.

“US agriculture and forest products industries are being rendered less competitive in the global marketplace, driving inflation in domestic food costs,” explained AgTC executive director Peter Friedmann.

“The survey’s inventory of impacts of ocean carrier practices accurately reflects the experiences of AgTC membership – the agriculture sector nationwide. Detention and Demurrage Billing Practices determine the cost of exporting and importing a vast amount of goods crossing our seaport docks, and thus a significant driver of inflation,” he added.

The weakening of American consumer spending has caused stockpiles to occupy warehouse areas for years. The cost of renting a facility rises when warehouse capacity is depleted. The management claim that warehouse prices have increased by 400%. Due to this, many merchants give customers discounts to empty their warehouses, giving them room for new items to arrive.

“Customers are shopping discounts, and we are seeing that in the items we are moving. It’s the higher value products like tennis shoes over a lower cost t-shirt,” said DHL Supply Chain CEO Scott Sureddin.

“I have never seen inventory levels like this, and after the first of the year, retailers can’t continue to sit on this inventory, so the discounts they’ve been pushing will have to continue,” he added.

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The US inflation

Inflation in the US has driven up logistics prices even further. Companies now have to spend more on these services due to rising labor and energy prices. Managers require assistance overseeing supply chain organizations’ financial operations due to the increased expenses of warehouses and other limitations.

In addition, major international markets and commodities, including wheat and grain, were affected by the conflict between Russia and Ukraine. Given the labor scarcity, which may lead to burnout and stress, managers are becoming increasingly worried about the mental health of their employees.

And now that the Christmas season has begun, the winter storm is making it difficult for various freights to enter and exit states. Due to the inches of snow covering the streets, many airline companies and couriers have warned of delays. In addition, many individuals have passed away due to government services becoming stuck on inaccessible roads.

“International logistics is still a business driven by people. “The survey highlights all sorts of challenges in the supply chain, but none of those will get solved without the right talent and expertise,” explained Kenney.

Photo Credit: Deskera

Source: CNBC


The Feds has a Critical Role in Market Prices

Throughout its century-long existence, the Feds has played a vital role in determining the mood of the stock market and market pricing.

The Central Bank has quickly warned that the economy would tighten as the nation fights against inflation this year. Sadly, a tight economy indicates the Fed will attempt to take action to ameliorate the situation. Undoubtedly, the pandemic has had a negative economic impact on the world, resulting in tight labor markets, higher commodity prices, fewer open positions, lower pay, and other adverse economic dynamics. For instance, to calm the market, the Fed had to raise interest rates, which caused changes in mortgage rates.

“I think they know they gambled and lost and have to do something serious to get inflation back under control. I fear that they took a gamble that inflation wasn’t too real at the beginning of 2021,” said Notre Dame University economics professor Jeffrey Campbell.

The Feds’ policies have become tighter, frequently characterized by an aggressive approach to economic variables. But, according to Feds Chairman Jerome Powell, the Feds will maintain strict measures as long as they combat inflation in the United States.

“Their message is that we should expect them to remain in restrictive policy mode even after we start to see inflation data head in the right direction. So he went to pretty extensive lengths to dispel assumptions of any pivot coming forward soon,” said Keith Buchanan, Globalt Investments portfolio manager.

“It would be sufficient for them to acknowledge that the near-term rate is trending in the right direction, but, definitely, they should not allow that to [influence] their trajectory. The real dilemma is, how much good data do they need in hand before they pause?” said Brad Conger, a deputy chief investment officer from Hirtle Callaghan.

“Given current rates of inflation, I believe that the Fed has more work to do in order to get inflation under control. This will entail further rate increases to tighten financial conditions,” added Cleveland Feds Bank President Loretta Mester.

“Our responsibility to deliver price stability is unconditional. While higher interest rates, slower growth, and softer labor market conditions will bring down inflation, they will also bring some pain to households and businesses,” Powell said.

“The longer the current bout of high inflation continues, the greater the chance that expectations of higher inflation will become entrenched,” the Chairman added.

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Feds impacting mortgage rates

Mortgage rates, fortunately, have been falling in recent months. As a result, demand for mortgage applications has inevitably grown. However, because prices are still considerably higher year over year, many buyers believe they must wait for the economy to improve—buyer hesitancy puts pressure on many house sellers and home builders. As a result, in November, home construction in the United States slowed.

“The ongoing moderation in home-price growth, along with further declines in mortgage rates, may encourage more buyers to return to the market in the coming months,” said MBA economist Joel Kan.

“A friendly enough Fed could easily break the range, but we have doubts about how much fuel the Fed will want to add to the fire. If anything, the Fed is more likely to try to temper the exuberance. Because the exuberance is counterproductive to the Fed’s goals,” added Matthew Graham, Mortgage Daily News chief operating officer.

“There are some very, very modest green shoots over the last few weeks, as rates have come down, but I am not ready to get sucked back into the conversation we had in August when we felt better,” said the CEO of Toll Brothers, Doug Yearley.

“There have been a handful of pieces of relatively good news for the housing market lately, but we’re far from out of the woods. Key indicators of homebuying demand will likely be teetering on a knife’s edge with every data release that comes out related to the Fed’s path to eventually bringing rates down,” added economist Taylor Marr from Redfin.

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Fewer home-building projects

The Fed’s shifting interest rates have dampened house builders’ spirits. The pace of new home construction fell in November. While the market’s house inventory is larger than last year, prices remain high. This implies that many purchasers will put off their purchases.

“In essence, the residential real estate market was frozen in November, resembling the sales activity seen during the Covid-19 economic lockdowns in 2020,” NAR chief economist Lawrence Yun said.

“The principal factor was the rapid increase in mortgage rates, which hurt housing affordability and reduced incentives for homeowners to list their homes. Plus, available housing inventory remains near historic lows,” he added.

“We have seen home prices come down from their summer peaks over the past five months. But, at the same time, we have also seen rent growth retreat for ten consecutive months,” added George Ratiu from

“However, the cost of real estate remains challenging for many households looking for a place to call home, especially as high inflation and still-elevated interest rates have been eroding purchasing power,” he added.

Photo Credit: The New York Times

Source: CNBC


UK economy beats growth expectation

Official numbers show that the UK economy grew in November, which was a surprise. But, of course, the World Cup helped with this.

Gross domestic product (GDP), a key economic indicator that measures the output of services, construction, and manufacturing, went up by 0.1% in the UK.

The Office of National Statistics (ONS) said that people going out to pubs and restaurants to watch football helped the economy grow.

But since October, growth has slowed down a lot. One thing that stands out is why this is the case.

In November, people who worked on trains and for Royal Mail went on strike. On the BBC show Today, Darren Morgan, who is in charge of economic statistics at the ONS, said, “We saw the effects of strike action in Today’s numbers.

In December, workers from the NHS and the Border Force went on strike again at six UK airports.

Even though things got better in November, it’s still not clear if the UK will stay out of a recession this year. In October, the economy grew by 0.5% because businesses opened again after being closed for Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral in September.

When the economy shrinks for two successive three-month periods, or “quarters,” this is called a recession.

The UK lost 0.3% of what it made from July to September.

Prices are still going up in the UK at the fastest rate in 40 years. This is called inflation. This is mostly because energy costs are going up. The Bank of England has said since December 2021 that it will raise interest rates more than once to slow down consumer demand and keep prices from increasing too much.

“We have a clear plan to cut inflation in half this year,” said Jeremy Hunt, the Chancellor. Inflation is a sneaky hidden tax that has caused interest rates and mortgage costs to go up and has slowed growth worldwide.

The ONS says GDP fell by 0.3% from September to November. This was mostly because there was an extra bank holiday for the state funeral in September.

Rachel Reeves, the shadow chancellor, said, “Families who are already struggling with the rising cost of living will be very worried by the news of more economic pain.”

After the numbers for November were slightly better than expected, Pantheon Macroeconomics said, “It is still too early to say if the UK economy is already in recession.”

Mr. Morgan from the ONS said the economy would have to shrink by 0.6% in December for the UK to slow down.

He said that one in six businesses had told the ONS that “industrial action” had hurt them, so “we would have to wait a few weeks to see how the effects of industrial action affect our December figure.”

Pantheon said that the GDP could drop significantly in December because “all the major business surveys point to falling production” and “heavy snowfall and, to a lesser extent, rail strikes likely slowed down activity for a while.”

In November, the manufacturing sector shrunk, and the construction sector stayed the same, but the services sector grew. There are many industries in the services sector, from hospitality to accounting.

“Job agencies did pretty well,” said Mr. Morgan. But, according to our labour market data, this could be because businesses are looking for help to fill job openings, which has been a problem in some sectors.

The ONS also said there was “anecdotal evidence” that the Fifa World Cup had helped some businesses, like pubs, restaurants, wine sales, and pizza delivery orders.

Even though the economy grew in November, a surprise, the long-term trend is still down. So overall, the UK economy still looks weak, but we will know if it’s in a recession once the next numbers come out in a month.

Because of the World Cup, pubs, pizza delivery, and advertising all did better, which helped the economy more than usual. But some of the monthly numbers from last year were changed to be lower, so the more stable three-month measure is going down. Strikes partly caused the 4.7% and 3.1% drops in transportation and postal services.

Because of a mix of new and one-time factors and changes to statistics, the Bank of England will probably still raise rates again next month when it does its most thorough look at the state of the economy.

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The UK economy worsened in Q4 of 2022

According to revised numbers, the UK economy shrank more than expected in the three months leading up to September.

The ONS said that business investment did worse than first thought, which is why the economy shrank by 0.3% instead of 0.2%.

The growth rates for the first half of 2022 have also been changed.

In the third quarter of 2022, the UK is expected to go into recession because rising prices will hurt growth.

A country’s economy is said to be in recession when it shrinks for two consecutive three-month periods, or “quarters.” This is because companies usually make less money, pay goes down, and the number of people who need jobs increases. This means that the government needs more tax money to pay for services for the public.

Elon Musk Must Relinquish his Post says Users

Users may vote in a poll that Elon Musk established to determine if he should leave his position as CEO of the social media giant. More than half of those who responded to the study believe Elon ought to resign from his position.

Musk stated he would monitor the poll results before the results were announced. 57.5% of respondents said yes, and 42.5% said no when the poll was over. Elon still needs to respond to this, though. Many months after Elon’s acquisition of Twitter, Elon conducted a 17-million-user referendum. Elon received a lot of criticism from professionals and well-known people for his policies and actions, which included significant layoffs, feature modifications, and suspensions.

After Elon introduced the blue check verification on Twitter, it drew harsh criticism from many users. Musk decided to halt the Blue Check membership for one month. Users of other social networking platforms are no longer allowed to publish links, according to Elon. Less than 24 hours after its introduction, he changed his mind in response to significant disapproval from numerous people. Elon continued by saying that going ahead, and users should be involved in Twitter’s policy adjustments.

“No one wants the job who can keep Twitter alive. There is no successor. The question is not finding a CEO. The question is finding a CEO who can keep Twitter alive,” Tweeted Musk.

“This has been a black eye moment for Musk and been a major overhang on Tesla’s stock which continues to suffer in a brutal way since the Twitter soap opera began with brand deterioration related to Musk a real issue,” said Dan Ives, Wedbush Securities analyst.

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The check mark plan

To provide another means of collecting income for Twitter, Elon developed the blue check mark. A blue checkmark will be available for users’ profiles for just $8 per month. However, since other users might impersonate other well-known individuals, several people responded adversely to this. To illustrate this, a user altered her profile picture and user name to Musk.

“Going forward, any Twitter handles engaging in impersonation without clearly specifying ‘parody’ will be permanently suspended,” said the CEO.

“Previously, we issued a warning before the suspension, but now that we are rolling out widespread verification, there will be no warning. This will be clearly identified as a condition for signing up for Twitter Bl3ue. Any name change will cause temporary loss of verified checkmark,” Elon added.

“The new Blue isn’t live yet — the sprint to our launch continues, but some folks may see us making updates because we are testing and pushing changes in real-time. The Twitter team is legendary. New Blue, coming soon!” added the Twitter product team manager.

“Eight dollars is not cost-prohibitive for scammers. So it is essential that Twitter figures out this whole official or not issue,” said Rache Tobac from Social Proof Security.

“Right now, we have people making jokes, impersonating the president, impersonating Nintendo, and Elon Musk is laughing at those jokes because he thinks they’re funny right now. What’s not going to be funny is someone impersonating an election official. And meddling and causing interference with the election results,” she added.

Going bankrupt?

Many analysts said that Twitter might declare bankruptcy in light of its current issues to avoid future financial difficulties. Elon made significant staff layoffs and substantial budget cuts at the business. According to the CEO of Twitter, the company is having financial problems and is having trouble paying off its debt.

“It’s hypothetically possible that he could use more of his Tesla stock to bail out Twitter or turn to his cadre of co-investors, who would probably have no trouble finding the money. So the saying, ‘if you owe the bank $100, that’s your problem, but if you owe the bank $100 million, that’s the bank’s problem’ might apply here,” Wu explained.

“Bankruptcy would also allow Musk to refinance the debt, which would make the company more financially stable. But, in addition to potential financial returns, my sense is that Musk and his co-investors are ideologically driven. And that they’re really driven by values,” he added.

Read Also: Pelosi Honored in US Capitol Ceremony

Modifying the blue check feature

With the name Twitter Blue, Twitter re-released the updated Blue check functionality. Whether users are individuals, businesses, or other types of entities, Twitter Blue will continue to be available as a monthly subscription plan with various color options. Elon will charge Apple users extra, starting at $11, which is an unexpected change in the redesign. A monthly charge of $8 is required from other customers.

“On Monday, we are bringing back the ability to subscribe to TwitterBlue — it’ll be $8/mo on the web and $11/mo on iOS. In addition, we’ve added a review step before applying a blue checkmark to an account as one of our new steps to combat impersonation (which is against the Twitter Rules),” said Twitter Product Management Director Esther Crawford.

“You’ll start seeing gold checkmarks appear in your timeline — those are indicators for businesses. Soon afterward, you’ll see gray checkmarks which are for government and multilateral accounts.”

“Big thanks to the Blue team for all your hard work — this continues to be a collaborative effort involving folks from eng, product, design, health, legal, marketing, sales, and more!”


Vasectomy is Becoming Popular in the US

Many states have already curtailed abortion after Supreme Court overturned the Roe v Wade decision. This has caused many guys to reconsider how they may avoid unplanned pregnancies.

According to several health specialists, more men are inquiring about the possibility of vasectomy. For example, Dustin May from Saint Louis described his experience following the treatment and stated that males, not only women, should stand forward. Men should be actively involved in reproductive health decisions, preventing women exclusively from being exposed to risks and sacrifices.

“If she got pregnant, an abortion would be something we would consider. So this is a step to prevent that,” said May.

He admitted to having tried a variety of birth control techniques. However, they all had terrible adverse effects. May and his fiancée said they do not wish to become kids because they are still in their twenties. And vasectomy is one effective technique to avoid this. A vasectomy prevents sperm from being released from the sperm.

“Vasectomy is minor surgery to block sperm from reaching the semen that is ejaculated from the penis. Semen still exists, but it has no sperm in it. After a vasectomy, the testes still make sperm, but the body soaks them up,” said Urology Care Foundation.

“Each year, more than 500,000 men in the U.S. choose vasectomy for birth control. A vasectomy prevents pregnancy better than any other method of birth control, except abstinence,” it added.

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Discovering other ways

Many states are continuing their anti-abortion effort. Meanwhile, Republican lawmakers have pledged to enact further abortion restrictions. Many couples have previously contemplated getting the treatment, with vasectomy available in several health institutions. For example, the Saint Louis Planned Parenthood facility began providing free vasectomies to insured members. Otherwise, the patient will have to spend about $1,000.

“What has happened is that since Roe v. Wade was overturned, many men have realized that they perhaps have been absent in contraception, particularly in contraceptive decisions,” said Dr. Esgar Guarin, a health practitioner who performs vasectomy.

Many scientists and researchers have also investigated alternative hormonal treatments to prevent sperm from fertilizing the egg cell. And they want to make one that doesn’t have any short- or long-term adverse effects for those who use it.

“We would like to create a menu of options for men similar to what women have available to them,” said Stephanie Page from the University of Washington.

“We have worked really hard to develop methods that don’t impact those other physiologic parameters. So we don’t see any impacts on kidney function, liver function and the like,” she added.

“I hear stories about how men are tired of hearing about their partner suffering from hormonal side effects or, in some cases, complications related to IUDs or implants. And they want to do something,” said Brian Nguyen from the Keck School of Medicine.

“The male reproductive system is cool in that there are hundreds and hundreds of links in this chain, [so] that if you take out any one of them, you end up with effectively an infertile man,” contended Logan Nickels from the Male Contraceptive Initiative.

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The dangers of vasectomy

According to Guarin, vasectomy’s health hazards are modest compared to other contraceptive forms. For example, in the hands of a qualified surgeon, the procedure may take as little as 10 minutes. Furthermore, it is less dangerous than tubal ligation, which cuts or plugs the fallopian tubes in women. Again, vasectomy has a lower failure rate than any other contraceptive surgery. The apparent cost, however, is the persistence of its effects.

“They’ve been thinking about getting it for a long time, and then what’s happening in this country has motivated them that much more to get the vasectomy,” said Meera Shah, Planned Parenthood Hudson Peconic chief medical officer.

“If somebody is going into a vasectomy saying, ‘Oh, it can be reversed,’ then I say that they may not be a candidate for it,” added Shah.

“I kind of played the card of like, ‘Do you guys want me to have kids? Because you guys seem the most upset about this procedure, you guys should invest some money in me freezing the sperm,'” shared Collin Mack, a patient at the St. Louis Planned Parenthood clinic.

“I’m not too worried about it. I’d prefer not to have kids – I think that’s the choice that I’m going to stick with,” he adds.

“Vasectomies are usually done in your urologist’s office, but they may also be done at a surgery center or in a hospital. You and your urologist may decide if you need to be fully sedated (put to sleep) for the procedure. If you need to be sedated, you may have your vasectomy at a surgery center or hospital,” adds the Urology Care Foundation.

“The need for sedation is based on your anatomy, how nervous you are, or if you might need other surgery at the same time. You may be asked to sign a form that gives your urologist permission to do the procedure. Some states have special laws about the type of consent and when you need to sign it.”



Pelosi Honored in US Capitol Ceremony

The US Capitol unveiled a photo of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi during a ceremony intended to honor the Democratic leader.

Many of the politician’s allies and friends offered their spiels to highlight Pelosi’s contribution to America’s political landscape. The photograph is in the Speaker’s Lobby and depicts Pelosi holding a gavel while standing next to the Speaker’s chair. The US Capitol did the ceremony weeks after the House Speaker announced that she would relinquish her post as the Democratic Party’s leader after serving for several years.

“This program was wonderful to me. It was like seeing the story of my political life revealed in front of me, not in terms of believing all the accolades, but in identifying with the persons who were presenting,” said Pelosi.

“You know the younger generation today has a saying, game recognizes game,” explained John Boehner, the former House Speaker who handed Pelosi the gavel in 2007.

“And the fact of the matter is, no other speaker of the House in the modern era – Republican or Democrat – has wielded the gavel with such authority or such consistent results,” he continued.

“You’ve been a fierce warrior for your party, but when the stakes were highest, you were willing to put the nation’s interest first and take the heat for it. Now that’s leadership. Leaders lead, Madame Speaker, and you, Madame Speaker, have led. And I’m here to say thank you for that.”

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Pelosi served her time well

While Pelosi and Boehner sometimes disagreed on specific policies, both maintained a good relationship. And during the ceremony, both exchanged jeers and comments that showed their friendship that pierced their political difference. Boehner is a Republican, while Pelosi comes from the Democratic Party. Former President Barack Obama also appeared during the event and described Pelosi as “one of the most accomplished legislators” of the United States.

“Just last week, she helped keep marriage equality, the law of the land, even after insurrectionists broke into her office. She never stopped defending democracy here at home and around the world,” Obama said.

“While you won’t be in leadership anymore, I’ll still feel better knowing that your portrait will be looking down from these walls, fighting everyone who sees it to keep up the fight,” he continued.

In light of Pelosi’s exit as the Speaker of the House, she threw her support to 52-year-old Representative Hakeem Jeffries. Meanwhile, the House Democratic Steering and Policy Committee voted to designate Pelosi as “Speaker Emerita,” which the leader gladly accepted and felt grateful about. The news about Pelosi’s exit from the Democratic leadership came after an assailant launched a violent strike against her but ended up hurting her husband, Paul Pelosi.

“Sadly, a violent man broke into our family home yesterday morning, demanded to confront me and brutally attacked my husband, Paul. Our children, our grandchildren and I are heartbroken and traumatized by the life-threatening attack on our Pop. We are grateful for the quick response of law enforcement and emergency services and for the life-saving medical care he is receiving,” Pelosi said in a press release.

“Please know that your prayers and warm wishes are a comfort to our family and helping Paul make progress with his recovery. His condition continues to improve.”

Jeffries as a popular replacement for Pelosi

Even before Pelosi threw her support for Jeffries, many Democratic leaders and representatives had already vouched for their confidence in Jeffries as Pelosi’s replacement. With Jeffries at the helm, he heads a party filled with lawmakers and leaders older than him. This represents a generational shift in the leadership within the party.

“If she steps aside, I’m very clear that Hakeem Jeffries is the person I will be voting for and leading the Congressional Black Caucus to vote for. Of course, I don’t always speak for everybody. Still, I’m very comfortable saying I believe that every member of the Congressional Black Caucus would vote for Hakeem Jeffries,” said Ohio representative Joyce Beatty.

“Nonetheless, a great deal is at stake because we’ll be in a presidential election. So my decision will again be rooted in my family’s wishes and my caucus’s wishes. But none of it will be very much considered until we see what the outcome of all of this is. And there are all kinds of ways to exert influence,” she added.

“Let’s spend the day at this moment continuing to process the historic nature of Speaker Pelosi and the opportunity that we’ve all had to serve with her. And it’s been an amazing experience,” Jeffries said.

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Her legacy

Even with Pelosi stepping down, many marvels at her political run. Leaders underscored Pelosi’s unhampered efforts to fight for women’s and children’s rights. Throughout her career in US politics, she championed legislation for health care, climate change, and child care. According to Pelosi, it will always be her mission to safeguard the future of the nation and the children.

“I’ve been elected for 26 years. I’ve been doing this for a while. I believe she has been the most effective Speaker and leader the House of Representatives has ever had. To me, every moment has been a blessing and an honor to serve with her,” said Tony Cardenas.

“Because of Nancy Pelosi, the lives of millions and millions of Americans are better, even in districts represented by Republicans who voted against her bills and too often vilified her. That’s Nancy — always working for the dignity of all of the people,” wrote a White House statement.


Fed Hike Interest Rates Once More

The Federal Reserve chooses to raise interest rates once more to combat the increasing inflation in the US.

But compared to earlier Fed-imposed rises, this one is lower. The decreased rate can indicate a slowdown in national inflation. According to recent research, consumer prices are still higher than they were a year ago. Prices increased by 7.1%, surpassing the Fed’s target rate reduction of 2%.

“It’s good to see progress, but let’s just understand we have a long ways to go to get better price stability,” added Fed Chairman Jerome Powell.

“The Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) rose 0.1 percent in November on a seasonally adjusted basis, after increasing 0.4 percent in October, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Over the last 12 months, the all items index increased 7.1 percent before seasonal adjustment,” said the report.

“The index for all items less food and energy rose 0.2 percent in November, its smallest increase since August 2021. The shelter index continued to increase, rising 0.6 percent over the month. The rent index rose 0.8 percent over the month, and the owners’ equivalent rent index rose 0.7 percent. The index for lodging away from home decreased 0.7 percent in November, after rising 4.9 percent in October,” it continued.

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Higher market prices

Americans currently suffer from the skyrocketing costs of nearly everything on the market. As interest, mortgages, and loans rise, many people pay more. However, specialists and regular people alike take heart from the recent decline in the inflation rate. For instance, gas prices decreased by 2% between October and November. For grocery costs, it’s the exact opposite, as some goods in the food market saw increases of 0.5% in November.

“I’ve never seen it like this. You can’t put lettuce on a hoagie and expect not to put an upcharge on it when you’re paying $100 for 24 heads of lettuce,” said Brian Guarino, a distributor.

“It is far too early to declare goods inflation vanquished. But if current trends continue, goods prices should begin to exert downward pressure on overall inflation in coming months,” explained Powell.

“We see goods prices coming down. We understand what will happen with housing services. But the big story will be the rest of it, and there’s not much progress there. And that’s going to take some time,” he added.

Tighter job market

The price of services has been growing over time. And the reason for this is the increased cost of labor. Due to rising market prices, workers demand greater compensation, which prompts companies to look for additional revenue streams to improve pay for their critical employees. Powell claims that the employment market is unbalanced since more jobs exist than applicants.

“The labor market remains far too hot for the Fed’s liking. So the Fed has essentially said they need to see a cooler job market to help reduce those inflationary pressures,” said Wells Fargo.

“In the labor market, demand for workers far exceeds the supply of available workers, and nominal wages have been growing at a pace well above what would be consistent with 2 percent inflation over time.3 Thus, another condition we are looking for is restoring the balance between supply and demand in the labor market,” said Powell in a press release.

“Comparing the current labor force with the Congressional Budget Office’s pre-pandemic forecast of labor force growth reveals a current labor force shortfall of roughly 3-1/2 million people,” he continued.

“Participation dropped sharply at the onset of the pandemic because of many factors, including sickness, caregiving, and fear of infection. As a result, many forecasters expected participation to move back up fairly quickly as the pandemic faded. And for workers in their prime working years, it mostly has. Overall participation, however, remains well below pre-pandemic trends.”

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Lower mortgage rates

Mortgage rates also significantly decreased, which fueled the home market’s demand. However, analysts claim that while lower mortgage rates would stimulate involvement from investors and home purchasers, the Fed may decide not to engage with the development.

“The ongoing moderation in home-price growth, along with further declines in mortgage rates, may encourage more buyers to return to the market in the coming months,” said MBA economist Joel Kan.

“A friendly enough Fed could easily break the range, but we have doubts about how much fuel the Fed will want to add to the fire. If anything, the Fed is more likely to try to temper the exuberance. Because the exuberance is counterproductive to the Fed’s goals,” added Matthew Graham, Mortgage Daily News chief operating officer.

“There are some very, very modest green shoots over the last few weeks, as rates have come down, but I am not ready to get sucked back into the conversation we had in August when we felt better,” said the CEO of Toll Brothers, Doug Yearley.

“There have been a handful of pieces of relatively good news for the housing market lately, but we’re far from out of the woods. Key indicators of homebuying demand will likely be teetering on a knife’s edge with every data release related to the Fed’s path to eventually bringing rates down,” added economist Taylor Marr from Redfin.


Covid-19 Cases Anew Affect Beijing

As a result of an increase in Covid-19 instances, Beijing streets are empty, and retail centers are also deserted.

Since the country was affected by the epidemic more than two years ago, the rise in cases in Beijing is the first notable increase. Restaurants and stores, for instance, had no patrons in Sanlitun’s retail district.

Additionally, several businesses were only offering takeaway and had a small staff. In an ironic turn of events, several medical professionals relate the rise to the country’s Covid-19 policy being relaxed. The public has fiercely criticized the Covid-19 policy for several weeks.

Given the increase in Covid-19 cases, several companies are slowing down. Due to illness, some employees declined to report to work. As a result of their concern about getting Covid-19, many customers stayed at home. A source claims that Covid-19 symptoms have been detected in 21 of 24 Beijing agencies responsible for keeping an eye on residential activity.

“As our superiors are mostly infected, there’s not much work given to us. (The usual) events, lectures, performances, and parent-child activities will not be held,” said the source.

In the weeks prior, Beijing had few instances. In recent weeks, there have been unheard-of incidents, though. Since Wuhan in 2020, there haven’t been many widespread infections, but Covid-19 has a staggering amount of cases. Officials can visualize the amount of the virus’s spread using the authorities’ limited statistical data.

Additionally, unlike earlier, China reversed course on extensive, mandated Covid-19 testing in cities, which made it difficult to monitor the precise number of positive cases in various areas.

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Assessing the Covid-19 infected individuals

China’s National Health Commission stated that it was impossible to determine the exact number of people who were afflicted nationwide. As an illustration, the NHC noted that it would not include asymptomatic people in its tally. Officials discovered two thousand two hundred forty-nine symptomatic Covid-19 cases this week. 20% of these were found in the nation’s capital,

“Many asymptomatic patients no longer participate in nucleic acid testing. As a result, it is impossible to grasp the number of asymptomatic infections accurately,” said the NHC.

“It’s deeply frustrating. Businesses have to close due to sick staff, even though they can legally be open. Blame is starting to flow from companies’ [foreign] headquarters to the team on the ground in China, with HQ asking, ‘Why can’t the China operations navigate these restrictions?’ All other markets have had to adjust and did so successfully,” said Noah Fraser, a managing director based in Beijing.

“It feels quite bizarre, actually. They’ve gone from 100 to zero, it seems. However, I think people are [still] concerned about catching Covid as there are fewer people out than normal, I’ve observed,” added a resident from Guangzhou.

“Some obviously miserable. Many nursing kids/parents are at home. Our’ work at home policy is now ‘work at home if you’re well enough.’ This thing came on like a runaway freight train,” explained James Zimmerman, a lawyer in Beijing.

A protest against Covid-19 policy

The stringent Covid-19 lockdowns were the subject of protests by Chinese residents a few weeks ago. Due to this, various areas of China’s government decided to relax its lockdown policies. As a result, the citizens partially met the development with celebration. Authorities in China, however, continued to impose further limitations, which were still severe.

“I feel like everyone’s hard work is paying off,” said one protester.

“In our view, ending the pandemic [measures] as soon as possible is the key to the recovery in credit demand and economic growth,” said an analyst from Nomura.

“For China’s official institutions, there are no easy paths. Accelerating reopening plans when new Covid cases are rising is unlikely, given the low vaccination coverage of the elderly. But, on the other hand, mass protests would deeply tilt the scales in favor of an even weaker economy and likely be accompanied by a massive surge in Covid cases, leaving policymakers with a considerable dilemma,” added SPI Asset Management’s Innes.

“It appears that moving away from zero-Covid is pretty much a decentralized process in China: while some localities are easing restrictions, some allegedly still cling to zero-Covid, and still others are waiting and watching,” said Yanzhing Huang, a fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations.

“There will be no compensations, no apologies, no discovery of the truth, just moving on. What can lock us down can also easily unlock us. How terrifying is this capricious power, and when will it overturn your life again? I don’t celebrate. I just remember those brave friends with gratitude,” said a resident in a video posted on Weibo.

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A healthcare system problem

The nation’s healthcare system would be under duress due to the rise of Covid-19 sufferers being rushed to the hospital. When people have slight or light symptoms, Beijing’s government advises residents not to visit hospitals. And yet, in only six days, the flu-like symptoms have spread to nearly 19,000 hospitalized patients.

“The current strains will spread faster in China than they have spread in other parts of the world. Because those other parts of the world have some immunity against infection from previous waves of earlier Omicron strains,” said Ben Cowling, an epidemiology professor from the University of Hong Kong.

“At present, the number of newly infected people in Beijing is increasing rapidly, but most of them are asymptomatic and mild cases,” said Sun Chunlan, a top Chinese official directed to manage Covid-19 in the country.


Electric Buses Provide Greener Trips

Electric buses in Boston provide a cleaner and safer way for children to travel from home to school.

It’s a usual morning in Boston as a bus traverses along the neighborhood’s streets and to a school for the children. But, while the bus is filled with the chats and giggles of young ones excited to make their way to their classrooms, the bus is quiet. And this is because it is electric-powered.

Currently, there are only around 480,000 electric school buses across the United States that are powered by a battery. A massive fraction of school buses in the country still use gasoline and have diesel engines. These have been the same engines that have been running the school buses of many schools in the US for many decades.

However, technological advancements have led to a rise in electric buses. These are more efficient and green. As a result, the US government has emphasized the importance of employing these buses. As such, the creation of these buses is guaranteed under the Inflation Reduction Act and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

“It’s like a big huge go-kart. When you accelerate, you move. When you stop accelerating, you stop. And you don’t hear any sound. Driving a diesel bus is not like driving a go-kart,” said an electric bus driver.

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Replacing the usual with electric buses

Many environmental activists have since called to stop producing and using diesel and gasoline school buses. Their calls underscore the viability of electric buses for the environment and the safety of children. While some companies heeded their call, there were many problems to think about. One of them is the price of electric buses. There were relatively pricey than buses with gasoline engines.

“They’re much better, and their savings are much greater once you actually get them into the depot. But the upfront is such that, without [government] incentives, you can’t break even [in comparison to diesel buses],” said former Environmental Protection Agency official Sue Gander.

“We think for the next three or four years, as costs come down, as the scale goes up, we’ll need to have those incentives in place to make the numbers work,” she added.

“You’ve got more expensive equipment, but it operates much cheaper. [The last piece], which everyone overlooks, is that those bus batteries can send power back to the grid to meet peak demand. And that’s an energy market’s opportunity to create additional revenue,” says Duncan McIntyre, founder of Highland Fleets.

Government in support of the switch

Through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the US government allocates around $5 billion in subsidies for zero-emission school buses for five years. As a result, many school districts in the US reached out, intending to participate in the program. However, according to the EPA, authorities will still evaluate the school before giving a subsidy. For instance, the EPA prioritized low-income communities in the country first, giving over $1 billion for them to use.

“It’s really about supporting school districts, helping them understand where do electric buses fit into my fleet at the moment. And how do I plan for continuing to add them into my fleet as I go along?” Gander asked.

“How do I develop the infrastructure? How do I access the funding and financing that’s out there? And how do I involve the community in this process?”

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A further call to protect the environment

The effort to switch to battery-powered buses is a step of the Biden administration to lessen its emissions. In addition, the latest COP27 ended with a strong call to stop emissions, with the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres warning the world of the consequences of the climate crisis.

“We are in the fight of our lives, and we are losing. Greenhouse gas emissions keep growing, global temperatures keep rising, and our planet is fast approaching tipping points that will make climate chaos irreversible,” the secretary-general said.

“We are on a highway to climate hell with our foot still on the accelerator. (The war Ukraine and other conflicts) caused so much bloodshed and violence and had dramatic impacts all over the world. But we cannot accept that our attention is not focused on climate change,” he added.

“To avoid that dire fate, all G-20 countries must accelerate their transition now. Developed countries must take the lead, but emerging economies are critical to bending the global emissions curve. End dependence on fossil fuels and building new coal plants — phasing out coal in OECD countries by 2030 and everywhere else by 2040.”

“The consensus is that we need to be at zero greenhouse gas emissions economy-wide by about 2050 to avert the worst impacts of climate change,” said Ben King from the Rhodium Group.

“There is no reason to take any utility’s net-zero commitment seriously, especially if they are investing in anything that emits new CO2 or has any new emissions,” added Daniel Tait from the Energy and Policy Institute.

“The more we accelerate and keep putting greenhouse gasses into the climate now, the more we have a chance of reaching tipping points in the Earth’s system. If you start to get to these tipping points, our climate starts to change in ways that are possibly irreversible, possibly self-perpetuating,” explained Lisa Dillling, an environmental studies professor at the University of Colorado Boulder.


Basketball Star Brittney Griner Returns to US After Months in Russian Prison

Almost ten months after his arrest, basketball player Brittney Griner returned from Russia to the United States as part of a prisoner swap.

In the deal, the US traded Russian prisoner Viktor Bout to Brittney. The swap represented another accomplishment for US President Joe Biden before the general elections. Paul Whelan, an American detained in Russia for more than four years, remained in the country after the US failed to negotiate his release.

“She is safe. And she is on a plane. She is on her way home. She will soon be back in the arms of her loved ones. And she should have been there all along,” said Biden in a White House speech.

Biden’s administration will vigorously negotiate the Russian government’s argument, and he reassured the people. Meanwhile, Brittney Griner’s wife, Cherelle, spoke with President Biden to express her appreciation for the advancement in the case. Finally, Brittney will travel to a medical center in San Antonio for treatment and evaluation.

Russian authorities allegedly discovered vape cans with cannabis oil in the suitcase in February, when Griner’s case got underway. Due to drug charges, the Sheremetyevo Airport authorities in Moscow imprisoned the basketball star. Biden mediated a deal for Griner’s release with the Russian government while Russia’s conflict with Ukraine continued.

Griner staying inside a Russian prison

Griner’s imprisonment alarmed many experts. They argue the US needs to take back Griner from the Russian prison due to the risks. Crimes and abuse in Russian prisons were widespread, according to a report from the US State Department. Additionally, Griner and his safety are in danger because several authorities torture prisoners.

“Conditions in prisons and detention centers varied but were often harsh and life-threatening. Overcrowding, abuse by guards and inmates, limited access to health care, food shortages, and inadequate sanitation were common in prisons, penal colonies, and other detention facilities,” said the report.

“Russian prisons are grim, even relative to prisons in other countries. And the Putin regime has ramped up hostility towards gays and lesbians as part of its broader policy of hard-line nationalism,” added Murial Atkin, a Russian history instructor from George Washington University.

“Brittney Griner’s nine-plus year sentence is regarded as harsh and extreme by Russian legal standards. Today’s disappointing yet unsurprising appeal outcome further validates that she is being held hostage and used as a political pawn. Brittney Griner is being held by Russia simply because she is an American,” explained Linsay Colas, Griner’s agent.

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The danger of Russian prisons

Serving in a Russian jail would be highly challenging as a well-known Black homosexual woman. Rudra Sil, a professor of political science and a historian from Russia, was concerned about Griner’s existence within a forbidding institution. Sil claimed that Griner would experience harsh conditions if she remained in the Russian penal colony for an extended time.

“She’s Black. She’s gay. And this is a marijuana case. So what are the three biggest issues in the United States in terms of domestic politics? Marijuana convictions, LGBTQ issues, anti-Black racism — and the carceral system,” said Kimberly St. Julian Varnon, a doctoral student at the University of Pennsylvania.

“What Brittney represents is new in terms of the treatment of African Americans in Russia because she no longer has the privilege that many African Americans had,” she added.

“The Africans were seen as the little brothers who needed socialist education and needed the leadership of the Soviet Union to obtain modernity.”

“The image of suffering, particularly African American suffering, became the controlling image of Blackness in Russia. In many ways, Russia has always used anti-Black racism and Black suffering for its own gain.”

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Cases involving prisoners

Biden mentioned his efforts to release former US Marine Paul Whelan from Russian custody. After suspecting Whelan of spying, the Russian government imprisoned him. As a result, the government apprehended him and imprisoned him. According to sources in the official media, Whelan will complete a 16-year sentence.

“There was no evidence recited by the judge that justified the detention that he’s already been subjected to, which is a year and a half,” said John J. Sullivan, a US ambassador to Russia.

“Russia failed to provide Mr. Whelan with a fair hearing before an independent and impartial tribunal. And during his detention has put his life at risk by ignoring his long-standing medical condition. And unconscionably kept him isolated from family and friends,” said Mike Pompeo.

“We had hoped that the court might show some independence. But in the end, Russian judges are political, not legal, entities. So we look to the US government to immediately take steps to bring Paul home,” said David Whelan, Paul’s brother.

Atkin claimed that although prison life in Russia was dangerous, things eventually improved. According to the Penal Reform Organization, Russia has reportedly been implementing practical reforms within its prisons.”

“Russia has been undergoing a process of reform of the criminal justice system over the last 20 years, but there is still far too little consideration given to the promotion of gender equality and protection of the rights of women and girls in conflict with the law,” said the report.


UK Approves Coal Operation, Critics Slam Government

Critics and environmental organizations slam the UK government for approving the coal mine operation in Northwest England.

West Cumbria Mining will lead the operations. According to the company’s statement, the decision lifted their mood. They added the government’s approval would open over 500 jobs for the locals. Moreover, the coal mine would supply high-quality coal products for the country’s steel industry. However,  the UK benefitted from coal mining for many years. But the decision confused many critics since the government promised to reach its climate goals.

“The Secretary of State recognizes the views of many objectors to the scheme that the use of offsetting is contrary to the attainment of a net zero model. However, it is acknowledged as a valid approach by the CCC to achieving net zero in the sixth carbon budget,” explained the government.

“I’ve been inundated with messages from across my community tonight. And we’ve got a community in the celebration about one of the biggest positive economic impacts on our area in a generation. This is fantastic news for West Cumbria and our community,” said Mike Starkie, a mayor of Cumbria.

“Phasing out coal use is the clearest requirement of the global effort towards Net Zero,” said Lord Deben, the chairman of the Climate Chance Committee.

“We condemn, therefore, the Secretary of State’s decision to consent a new deep coal mine in Cumbria, contrary to our previous advice,” he added.

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The UK disregarded the advice

In a former letter sent to the UK government, Deben outlined several pieces of advise to cancel the coal mine operation in Cumbria. He added that the Cumbria plant would not benefit the country. One, because it will increase emissions. And two, the plant will supply more than 80% of its coal to other countries.

“The opening of a new deep coking coal mine in Cumbria will increase global emission. And it will have an appreciable impact on the UK’s legally binding carbon budgets. The mine will increase UK emissions by 0.4Mt CO2e per year. This is greater than the level of annual emissions we have projected from all open UK coal mines to 2050,” explained Deben in the letter.

“It is for Ministers to decide how the effort to reach Net Zero should be allocated across the economy. But it is also important to note that this decision gives a negative impression of the UK’s climate priorities in the year of COP26,” it added.

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More criticisms

The UK government faces criticism from the CCC and other organizations. For instance, Friends of the Earth organization campaigner Tony Bosworth said he disagrees with the government’s decision. Meanwhile, Policy Director of Greenpeace UK Doug Parr echoed the same sentiment.

“[The mine would] do nothing for the UK’s energy security since the coal it contains can only be used for steelmaking, not generating power, and more than 80% of it is earmarked for sale in Europe anyway,” Parr said.

“There’s a technological revolution building in steelmaking. But this approach could make the UK a backwater in the 21st-century clean tech race,” he added.

“Approving this mine is a misguided and deeply damaging mistake that flies in the face of all the evidence. The mine will add to global climate emissions, and won’t replace Russian coal,” Bosworth said.


Manhattan Jury Finds Trump Liable for Tax Fraud

A Manhattan jury convicted Donald Trump’s business guilty of a long-running criminal tax fraud that predated his presidency.

Before assuming office, the former president held various enterprises. His business prowess helped him win the presidency a few years ago. And, even though several courts and parties attempted to condemn several of Trump’s businesses, he could avoid judgment or punishment. Until now, that is.

The jury in Manhattan has decided to charge two Trump-owned corporations with 17 counts of felony tax fraud. They will also bring a complaint against the company for misrepresenting its documents. The penalty would amount to $1.6 million in total.

“This was a case about lying and cheating, false documents to the aid of evading taxes for the benefit of individuals and the corporation,” sad Alvin Bragg, the Manhattan district attorney.

“The notion that a company could be held responsible for an employee’s actions, to benefit themselves, on their own personal tax returns is simply preposterous,” answered Trump’s party.

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More liabilities for Trump with Manhattan jury

The Manhattan conviction came when Trump was dealing with several other legal issues. One of them is his legal defense in New York. For example, Trump faces a legal battle with New York Attorney General Letitia James. If the prosecution finds Trump guilty of the civil counts, he will face a $250 million fine.

“We can have no tolerance for individuals or organizations that violate our laws to line their pockets,” said James.

“I was proud to assist in this important case. This verdict sends a clear message that no one, and no organization, is above our laws,” she added.

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A lawsuit in New York

Several months ago, Democratic Attorney James launched a legal case against Trump. The case brief implicated Trump and three of his children in an alleged scam. The inquiry into the case lasted three years before the court resolved it. The complaint includes Donald Trump, Donald Trump Jr., Ivanka Trump, and Eric Trump as accused persons.

“The complaint demonstrates that Donald Trump falsely inflated his net worth by billions of dollars to enrich himself, to cheat the system unjustly,” James said.

“Letitia James is the most corrupt Attorney General in United States History. She campaigned on the promise to sue my father,” reacted Eric Trump.

The case will bar Trump from doing business in New York if convicted. Furthermore, the lawsuit attempts to prevent Trump from having any commercial presence in the state. They might take the case to a criminal court, according to James. However, for the time being, James has filed the $250 million claim in civil court.

“The inflated asset valuations in the statements cannot be brushed aside or excused as merely the result of exaggeration. Rather, they result from the defendants utilizing objectively false assumptions and blatantly improper methodologies,” said the lawsuit.

“[She fights] for very powerful and well-represented banks and insurance companies, who were fully paid, made a lot of money, and never had a complaint about me,” answered Trump to James’ allegations.


Nike Terminates Contract with Kyrie Irving Over Antisemitic Post

As a result of an association with an anti-Semitic statement, leading sportswear company, Nike formally ended their contract with Kyrie Irving.

An anti-Semitic article was posted by the basketball player on one of his social media pages. The management was under pressure to explain Irving’s actions after they garnered harsh condemnation from the public. On a particular occasion, Irving resisted expressing his disapproval of antisemitism, which led to more public rumors. Agent for the celebrity Shetellia Riley Irving stated that they would abide by business choices.

“We have mutually decided to part ways and wish Nike the best in their future endeavors,” said the agent.

Irving steadfastly declined to offer any commentary. He recently referred to Nike terminating his contract in a Tweet, though. Months after postponing the sale of the star’s newest Kyrie sneakers, Nike decided to halt production.

As a result of their antisemitic posts in recent months, other well-known people are now suffering. As an illustration, Adidas recently fired Ye, also known as Kanye West, due to his antisemitic comments and videos.

“At Nike, we believe there is no place for hate speech. And we condemn any form of antisemitism,” Nike said.

“Ye’s recent comments and actions have been unacceptable, hateful and dangerous. And they violate the company’s values of diversity and inclusion, mutual respect and fairness,” said Adidas in a statement months ago.

“After a thorough review, the company has decided to terminate the partnership with Ye immediately, end production of Yeezy branded products and stop all payments to Ye and his companies. As a result, Adidas will stop the Adidas Yeezy business with immediate effect,” it added.

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Irving crossed the line

Irving crossed the line, according to Nike co-founder Phil Knight. By doing this, antisemitism in society as a whole is progressively legitimized. Due to the event, the Brooklyn Nets administration suspended Irving’s ability to play on the floor. In addition, Adam Silver, the commissioner of the NBA, prompted the player to apologize in front of the public.

“I feel we all should have an opportunity to speak for ourselves when things are assumed about us. And I feel it was necessary for me to stand in this place and take accountability for my actions,” Irving said.

“Because there was a way I should have handled all this. And as I look back and reflect on when I had the opportunity to offer my deep regrets to anyone that felt threatened or felt hurt by what I posted. That wasn’t my intent at all,” he added.

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Antisemitism’s rise

Due to recent accusations of antisemitism against well-known people, experts worry that prejudice against Jews may become widespread. Antisemitic tweets by well-known people can be justified, according to Debora Lipstadt, an envoy charged with suppressing it in the US.

“It’s both physical dangers — we just commemorated the anniversary of the Tree of Life synagogue [shooting], where people were murdered just for going to synagogue,” she said.

“It’s also little kids learning that instead of [being Jewish] being a source of joy, it’s something that can bring you bodily harm.”

“There have always been threats, and there’s always been antisemitism. But it feels like an epidemic right now. And the spread of hate and lies is just happening at lightning speed. And Kanye opened the floodgates a couple of weeks ago with his comments,” added Beth Kean, Holocaust Museum LA CEO.


‘Tripledemic’ Impacts Children, Stores Run Low of Flu Medecines

As consumers fight the flu outbreak among children, supplies of cold and flu medication run short. The scientific community calls the phenomenon a “tripledemic.”

According to medication producers, the demand for drugs like Tylenol, Motrin, and Advil increased. During the holidays, something happened. Due to the high volume of travel over the holidays, scientists expected this would occur. Due to the large number of people congregating in public areas and homes, experts predicted that three different flu strains would undoubtedly spread.

“Consumer demand for pediatric pain relievers in the U.S. is high, but there are no supply chain issues, and we do not have an overall shortage in the U.S.,” said Melissa Witt, Johnson & Johnson spokesperson.

“(The company experiences) high consumer demand and are doing everything we can to ensure people have access to the products they need,” she added.

“We’re facing an onslaught of three viruses — COVID, RSV and influenza. All simultaneously. We’re calling this a tripledemic,” said Vanderbilt University infectious disease specialist Dr. William Schaffner before the holidays.

“Intensive care units are at or above capacity in every children’s hospital in the United States. So it’s very, very scary for parents,” reported Amy Knight, the Children’s Hospital Association president.

“Influenza has hit the southeastern United States. Then, it moved into the Southwest. Then, it’s going up the East Coast and into the Midwest with some ferocity,” Schaffner added.

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The flu affected children

According to the Consumer Healthcare Products Association, pediatric analgesics had a significant increase in sales in October. Acetaminophen and ibuprofen are examples of such medications. In addition, the group noted that Westchester County in New York State had the highest demand for flu medications. Unfortunately, there are still certain regions where it is challenging to get flu medications, despite the makers’ claims that there is an adequate supply across the country.

“The supply chain is strong,” said Anita Brikman, CHPA spokesperson.

“These medicines are not curative. They don’t alter the duration of the illness or anything like that. They are essentially purely for comfort. Fevers from common respiratory viruses in and of themselves are not harmful,” said Dr. Sean O’Leary, a pediatrics professor from the University of Colorado School of Medicine.

“If [a child’s] temp is 103, but he’s running around the room having a good time playing, you don’t need to do anything with that. That’s not going to hurt him. Fever represents our body’s immune response to an infection. But, on the other hand, if he doesn’t have a fever, but his throat is hurting, something is bothering him, he’s pretty fussy — that’s where things like ibuprofen or Tylenol, acetaminophen can be helpful,” Dr. O’Leary explained.

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Picking the appropriate medication

O’Leary continued by stressing the need for prudence on the part of parents when selecting the appropriate medication for a sick kid and the possibility that adult medications might not be the most effective course of action for young patients with the flu. To ensure proper care, O’Leary stressed that parents must visit a doctor.

“For acetaminophen and ibuprofen, there are potential toxicities from taking too much — some of which can be quite severe, particularly for acetaminophen. So you have to be careful when you do that,” he said.

“It’s best to talk to the doctor or pharmacist. (If a parent or caregiver) can weigh [the child] at home, tell us what they weigh on their scale at home, we can figure out what an appropriate dose would be for them to take,” added Wendy Mobley-Bukstein, pharmacy practice professor from Drake University.


A Poultry Disaster: Virus Afflicting Millions of Birds

The United States faces an unexpected, highly contagious and deadly bird flu virus, harming poultry farms and businesses across the country.

The disaster wiped out more than 52.7 million animals across the country. Avian influenza, or HPAI, causes widespread poultry casualty. Since February, the virus has afflicted chicken yards and farms across 46 states.

According to experts, the disaster overwhelms previous records, including the high number of recorded deaths in 2014-2015, totaling 50 million. The spike in cases started over the winter. However, it died down for several months and re-emerged during the summer.

However, the World Health Organization found that wild birds drive the proliferation of the virus.

“I’m hopeful that this is not the new normal for us. We don’t know what it is about it. But it does seem to be able to grow and transmit better in wild birds. Wild birds are the perfect mechanism to spread a virus. Because they fly everywhere,” said Dr. Richard Webby, the WHOS’s Collaborating Center for Studies on the Ecology of Influenza in Animals director.

Meanwhile, the United States Department of Agriculture revealed that in 11 states they monitored, more than 1 million birds died within each state. The states include those from Utah to the Midwest and Delaware.

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A new poultry problem

Webby added that the virus is a new kind affecting poultry animals in the country. Meanwhile, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that the virus rarely affects humans. However, they reported a case back in April in Colorado. But the patient recovered after a few days.

While this might worry some, the CDC ensured the public that the crisis would not significantly impact the country’s food supply. This remains true as long as the authorities handled it well.

“The bird populations haven’t seen viruses like this before. So in terms of their immune response, they’re all immunologically naïve. Right now, it’s like a kid in a candy store racing around,” added Webby.

“When the virus came into the Americas, it started to interact with the viruses we have in our wild birds here. So from the outside looking in, they look very similar. But when you go on the inside and look, the viruses we have here are quite different now from what was in Europe.”

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Selective infections

Amy Hagerman, an assistant professor from Oklahoma State University, said she remains baffled as to why the influenza virus only affects several birds.

But she warned poultry owners to start vaccinations as soon as possible to prevent the virus from further affecting food products.

“For whatever reason, turkeys and layer birds tend to be more susceptible. The chicken that most people think of, their chicken tenders, their chicken sandwiches. All of those things haven’t tended to have the same impact,” she said.

“Generally speaking, these complexes are over a million birds, easily. So it takes fewer egg-laying operations being affected by HPAI to drive up the price of eggs and egg products,” she added.

“One of the big complications is timing on a vaccine. Generally you need two doses of a vaccine and then a length of time to achieve full effectiveness. If you have a bird that has a very short feeding window before it’s ready for harvest, that can be a lot more challenging. Because you also need to allow the withdrawal period after the vaccine before the bird is harvested.”


Media Companies Ache Amid Budget Cuts

Amid budget cuts and economic uncertainty, some media businesses decided to dismiss several employees and halt new recruiting.

For instance, the management of CNN informed its many workers that staff dismissals would start. The corporation recently underwent its worst round of layoffs. Chris Licht, the company’s chief executive, claims they were forced to make this decision because the business could not keep up with the rising spending.

Earlier, Licht tweeted about potential alterations and layoffs at the business. However, he acknowledged that the decision would result in a significant loss for the business.

“It will be a difficult time for everyone. If your job has been impacted, you will learn more through an in-person meeting or via Zoom, depending on your location. In those meetings, you will receive information specific to you about the notice period or any severance that would apply and your anticipated last day. I want to be clear that everyone who is bonus eligible will still receive their 2022 bonuses, which are determined by company performance,” Licht said in a memo.

Meanwhile, NPR, a media organization, declared a hiring moratorium. The management assured them that they would not lay off workers, nevertheless.

The corporation said it needed to reduce its budget by at least $10 million. According to NPR Chief Executive John Lansing, the company decided due to a considerable decline in income.

“As we did during the pandemic, we are prioritizing our staff and not anticipating layoffs at this time. But, unfortunately, it means we won’t have the skills and support of those who would have been in the roles that must remain vacant,” Lansing said.

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Media corporation CNN

The executive for CNN Licht informed staff that they would receive a message about their dismissal.

The firm decided to make staff reductions due to the difficulties it confronts. Additionally, the United States’ dire economic situation worsens the situation, impacting the company’s future.

“Our people are the heart and soul of this organization. It is tough to say goodbye to any one member of the CNN team, much less many. I recently described this process as a gut punch because I know that is how it feels for all of us,” he wrote to the employees.

“Today, we will notify a limited number of individuals, largely some of our paid contributors, as part of a recalibrated reporting strategy. Tomorrow, we will notify impacted employees, and tomorrow afternoon I will follow up with more details on these changes.”

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NPR’s hiring freeze

Lansing, the CEO of NPR, met with 700 other employees. The executive presented the company’s plans and issues during the all-staff meeting.

The NPR members discussed how the budget cuts are affecting their daily operations. However, they also spoke about damage control so the business could continue working on a smaller budget.

Photo: Saul Loeb

“It’s a slowdown in the advertising market, just like every other media company. The pacing [of revenue] just indicates a range of potential pain. And that’s what drives those numbers,” Lansing said.

“NPR is going to be in New York for a long time. The effects of the pandemic are just barely understood at this point. But updating the New York office was a critical need for NPR, absolutely,” he added.


Walmart Employee Lodges a $50 Million Lawsuit Against Company After Virginia Shooting

A Walmart employee lodged a $50 million lawsuit against the business for its potential responsibility in the Virginia store shooting last week.

According to the employee, Walmart maintained the perpetrator despite his “propensities for violence, threats, and strange behavior.” The perpetrator, 31-year-old Andre Bing, opened fire inside the shop and shot six people. He then committed suicide. As a result, the tragedy instilled terror among Walmart customers and workers. The case, filed in Chesapeake Circuit Court, marked the first action taken against the firm after the event.

Donya Prioleau, who lodged the case, said that the incident caused her to incur from post-traumatic stress disorder as well as physical and mental suffering. The lawsuit further said that Prioleau observed the incident and was nearly wounded by the gunshot. More distressingly, she watched several colleagues collapse and eventually die after being struck by gunshots fired by Bing at 10 p.m. inside the Walmart shop.

“Ms. Prioleau looked at one of her coworkers in the eyes right after she had been shot in the neck. Ms. Prioleau saw the bullet wound in her coworker’s neck, the blood rushing out of it, and the shocked look on her coworker’s helpless face,” the lawsuit said.

“Bullets whizzed by Plaintiff Donya Prioleau’s face and left side, barely missing her. She witnessed several of her coworkers being brutally murdered on either side of her,” it added.

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The Walmart shooter’s suicide note

Authorities discovered a cell phone after a comprehensive examination. The phone belonged to the assailant, and it contained a suicide note. The officers read the message and came up with various ideas about what caused his outburst. The complaint principally faulted Walmart for overlooking Bing’s poor mental health. Meanwhile, Bing attributed his confusion to pestering. His coworkers, he alleges, tormented him to the point of shattering his will.

“Sorry, everyone, but I did not plan this I promise things just fell in place like I was led by Satan. My only wish would have been to start over from scratch and that my parents would have paid closer attention to my social deficits,” Bing wrote.

“Idiots harassed me with low intelligence and a lack of wisdom. The associates gave me evil twisted grins, mocked me and celebrated my downfall the last day,” he added.

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A mismanagement from the company

According to the lawsuit, Bing already had a list of people to pursue. His ‘kill list’ must include the persons he called ‘idiots’ in his suicide letter. In addition, many staff had previously observed Bing’s odd conduct before the incident. However, the complaint claims that Walmart ignored Bing’s health.

“Despite Mr. Bing’s long-standing pattern of disturbing and threatening behavior, Walmart knew or should have known about Mr. Bing’s disturbing and threatening behavior, but failed to terminate Mr. Bing, restrict his access to common areas, conduct a thorough background investigation, or subject him to a mental health examination,” the lawsuit said.

Meanwhile, the authorities and the firm admired those who acted bravely during the crisis.

“We are grateful to the first responders who mobilized to assist victims. I have directed federal officials to provide any support and assistance needed to the people of Chesapeake,” said president Biden.

“The devastating news of last night’s shooting at our Chesapeake, VA store at the hands of one of our associates has hit our Walmart family hard. My heart hurts for our associates and the Chesapeake community who have lost or injured loved ones. We are here for them today, and in the challenging days ahead, they will have our support,” announced Walmart CEO Doug McMillon in a LinkedIn post.


Australian Environment Minister Disagrees with UNESCO

The Australian environment minister said she would submit a request against UNESCO’s decision to put the Great Barrier Reef on the list of threatened World Heritage sites.

The official said that the Great Barrier Reef is being preserved and protected to the extent of Australia’s capacity. Additionally, UNESCO should rebut government accusations of environmental site neglect. The government must, however, take “ambitious, rapid, and sustained” climate action, according to representatives of the UN Cultural Agency and the International Union for Conservation of Nature. The Great Barrier Reef will collapse if this does not happen.

“We’ll very clearly make the point to UNESCO that there is no need to single the Great Barrier Reef out in this way,” said Tanya Plibersk, the environment minister.

“The reason that UNESCO in the past has singled out a place as at risk is that they wanted to see greater government investment or greater government action and, since the change of government, both of those things have happened,” she added.

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The Australian government will safeguard the site

According to Plibersek, the Australian government has already started taking action to safeguard the reefs. The nation’s lawmakers enacted a measure that cuts greenhouse gas emissions by 43%. Additionally, she stated that the Australian government would set aside $798 million, or 1.2 billion Australian dollars, to protect the reef. Plibersek worked to scrap the two dams the previous administration intended to build in Queensland. The development would have been harmful to marine ecology and corals.

“If the Great Barrier Reef is in danger, then every coral reef in the world is in danger. If this World Heritage site is in danger, then most World Heritage sites around the world are in danger from climate change,” Plibersek added.

According to the study, a better set of climate targets was stressed by the Australian federal government. The government must aggressively curtail Australian emissions to keep global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius or 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit, per the global norm. Jodie Rummer, a marine scientist at James Cook University, agreed that the government needed loftier objectives.

“We are taking action, but that action needs to be much more rapid and much more urgent,” she attested.

“We cannot claim to be doing all we can for the reef at this point. And we aren’t. So we need to be sending that message to the rest of the world that we are doing everything that we possibly can for the reef, and that means we need to take urgent action on emissions immediately,” she added.

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Making the decision

To make a decision, UNESCO will still convene. The previous Australian administration’s prevented UNESCO from labeling the reef as “in danger.” This is what Plibersek hopes to accomplish this time.  Scientists claim that coral bleaching afflicted over 90% of the Great Barrier Reef. In 2016, 2017, and 2020, the coral bleaching destroyed two-thirds of the site.

10% of the corals on the planet are present in the Great Barrier Reef. More than 2,500 reef habitats may be found there, spread across a region of about 348,000 square miles. But over time, the Pacific Ocean’s extreme warming harmed the reefs, causing widespread coral bleaching. The environment minister did, however, reaffirm that her administration will use all of its resources to restore the nation’s coral reefs.


Adidas Starts an Inquiry to Alleged Harassment by Ye

Adidas confirmed it is opening an inquiry in response to allegations of abuse he made to Yeezy staff members while working with the company.

Ye reportedly exposed his workers to pornographic and sexually explicit content. It continued for a while. Ye would show the material during staff meetings with Yeezy and target the female employees. Adidas promised to look into the issue.

The business, though, still needs to confirm its assertions. The anonymous group made the accusations against Ye in a published Rolling Stones piece. Adidas also committed to resolving the issue.

“It is currently unclear whether the accusations made in an anonymous letter are true. However, we take these allegations very seriously and have decided to launch an independent investigation of the matter immediately to address the allegations,” said the company.

The story also mentioned a group that wrote to Adidas with complaints about how senior executives disregarded their accusations. The Adidas employees accused the authorities of delaying in taking action and refusing to provide an apology to the harassed individuals.

Adidas is still waiting on a response from Ye’s side on the accusations made against the singer. The probe comes after Ye’s employment with the firm was terminated due to his anti-Semitic comments.

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Adidas terminating the contract with Ye

Many people urged to “cancel” Ye after he made antisemitic comments. Numerous businesses, including Adidas, dissolved their alliance with Ye due to the calls.

Companies like Gap and Foot Locker also opted to let Ye go, resulting in him suffering billions of losses. Adidas resigned in October, calling his behavior “unacceptable, hateful, and dangerous.”

“Ye’s recent comments and actions have been unacceptable, hateful and dangerous. And they violate the company’s values of diversity and inclusion, mutual respect and fairness,” said Adidas.

“After a thorough review, the company has decided to terminate the partnership with Ye immediately, end production of Yeezy branded products and stop all payments to Ye and his companies. Adidas will stop the Adidas Yeezy business with immediate effect,” it added.

“This is expected to have a short-term negative impact of up to €250 million on the company’s net income in 2022. Given the high seasonality of the fourth quarter. In addition, Adidas is the sole owner of all design rights to existing products and previous and new colorways under the partnership. More information will be given as part of the company’s upcoming Q3 earnings announcement on November 9, 2022,” the statement explained.

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Not tolerating violent behavior

Adidas further stated that the brand does not support violent conduct. However, the company intends to investigate the matter as Ye performed the activities while still partnering with the business.

“He (Ye) has, in years past, exploded at women in the room with offensive remarks. And would resort to sexually disturbing references when providing design feedback. So this type of response from a brand partner is one that Adidas employees should never be subjected to. Nor should Adidas leadership ever tolerate,” said the letter addressed to the company.

“No wonder he didn’t want senior business managers in the room. He wanted to continue to use his power to violate you quietly. And threaten your role and existence within the team,” it added.


Wefox CEO Slams Tech Firms for Firing Staff

Wefox CEO, a multibillion-dollar digital insurance firm located in Europe, attacks other tech companies for cutting off thousands of workers.

According to Julian Teicke, widespread layoffs of employees would not benefit those struggling to make ends meet in the face of rising prices. Due to financial difficulties, several businesses, including Meta, Twitter, and Amazon, announced the termination of a sizeable portion of their personnel. Layoffs, in the opinion of the businesses, will enable each to deal with the dreadful state of the world economy.

Wefox CEO Teicke expressed his disappointment with how his colleagues handled the issue. Many venture capitalists believe the best action is reducing expenses and laying off employees. Recruiting must be frozen, and companies must drastically reduce the workforce to balance the growing costs of resources.

“I’m a little disgusted by statements like, ‘never miss a good crisis’ [or] ‘we have to cut the fat,'” said Teicke in an interview.

According to Doug Leone of Sequoia Capital, investors need to create plans to cope with the economy’s issues in the most effective ways. Leone contends that in the upcoming years, people with the necessary crisis management skills will fare better than others.

“You have a great opportunity in front of you if you play your cards right. You have an opportunity to pass ten cars. So do not waste a good recession,” he said.

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Wefox CEO unimpressed with others

Sebastian Siemiatkowski, the CEO of Klarna, claimed that he considers himself “lucky” even though his business cut thousands of employees earlier this year. Siemiatkowski said that 90% of those fired had, in fact, already secured new employment. So he views himself as fortunate for that reason. But because of their poor management, the Wefox CEO still needs to be more fond of others.

“If we would have done that today, that probably, unfortunately, would not have been the case,” said Siemiatkowski.

“These are people that have maybe quit other jobs to join your business. These are people that have maybe moved to other places because of you. And these are people that have maybe ended romantic relationships,” Teicke said.

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A significant responsibility

Wefox CEO acknowledged that managers and CEOs have a powerful impact on their workers’ life, perhaps to raise his concerns. However, he added that CEOs have a responsibility to safeguard their workers. And today, with everyone experiencing economic troubles, it has become much more noticeable.

“I believe CEOs have to do everything in their power to protect their employees. I haven’t seen that in the tech industry, and I’m disgusted by that. These are humans. I don’t believe in mass layoffs. We’re going to focus on performance but not on mass layoffs,” he said.

Wefox won’t dismiss staff, claims Teicke. Furthermore, he adds that his business has become “crisis-resistant” by preparing for the most catastrophic case. Finally, Teicke added that Wefox must research the macroeconomic situation to maintain its viability despite challenges in the European economy.


House Republicans Slam TikTok Over Security Concerns

Global content-sharing platform TikTok faces another round of criticism, this time under the lens of House Republicans.

According to them, TikTok deliberately misled congress about how the company handled the data of its US-based users. The complainants wrote to TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew and amplified the issues raised earlier by US lawmakers.

In addition, the letter highlighted the national security concerns that TikTok poses to the US. Experts contend that Republican members of the House will echo the calls to put TikTok under fire, having gained the majority of the House of Representatives.

“Both claims appear to be misleading at best, and at worst, false,” said Comer and McMorris Rodgers.

“Americans deserve answers about how TikTok knowingly allows China to access their data, and E&C Republicans will continue to demand those answers,” said Sean Kelly, the spokesperson for Rodgers.

“One immediate next step is to pass the American Data Privacy and Protection Act this Congress. This would require companies like TikTok to alert users if their personal information is being stored or accessed in countries like China. And give people the option to stop that information from being shared,” Kelly added.

US officials grow concerned about how TikTok could use the US-based user data for their benefit. For example, Virginia Democratic Senator Mark Warner said that TikTok poses an “enormous threat” because it can obtain data. It also allegedly influences the content that US users see.

“That is a distribution model that would make RT, Sputnik. Or some of the Russian propaganda models pale in comparison,” Warner said.

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TikTok repeatedly denies the allegations

TikTok management repeatedly dismissed the allegations thrown at them. It said that the company would “satisfy all national security concerns.” They further said that ByteDance, its Chinese-owned parent company, have no US data access since it remains stored in the US.

TikTok Chief Operating Officer Vanessa Pappas appeared in front of the Senate. She then answered the questions thrown to them by authorities.

“Will TikTok commit to cutting off all data and data flows to China, China-based TikTok employees, ByteDance employees? Or any other party in China that might have the capability to access information on US users?” asked Senator Rob Portman.

“Again, we take this incredibly seriously in terms of upholding trust with US citizens and ensuring the safety of US user data,” Pappas said.

“As it relates to access and controls, we are going to be going above and beyond in leading initiative efforts with our partner, Oracle, and also to the satisfaction of the US government through our work with [the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States], which we do hope to share more information on,” she added.

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Cutting data from China

Amid criticisms, Pappas promised TikTok would cut off “all data and metadata flows to China.” However, she ensured the Senate panel that Chinese authorities do not influence US users’ content algorithms.

Although Chinese employees have access to the data, Pappas said that she will not “give that data to China.” Moreover, she denied the existence of a ‘Master Admin’ who has access to all data of US users.

“Those allegations were not found. There was talk [in the article] of a master account, which does not exist at our company,” she said.


Colorado Gay Bar Shooter Kills Five, Families Mourn for Victims

An armed man entered an LGBTQ nightclub in Colorado and started firing into the crowd, leading to the death of five people.

The gunman,  Anderson Lee Aldrich, 22, faces several offenses, including five counts of first-degree murder and five counts of bias-motivated crime. Following an emergency call, the police managed to catch the culprit at midnight. The inquiry is still underway, according to Colorado Springs Police Chief Adrian Vasquez. Despite efforts at interrogation, the suspect declined to give a statement.

“I haven’t heard that he has not been cooperative, just simply that he has determined not to speak to investigators,” said Vazquez.

The police said the shooter was equipped with two weapons: a pistol and a long rifle. The man pulls out a long gun and starts shooting at the crowd. The location of the suspect’s gun purchase is still unknown to the authorities. Owner of the Colorado club Matthew Haynes claimed to have seen the gunman enter the building with “tremendous firepower.” Around 11:56 PM, onlookers contacted 911 to report the incident; a minute later, the police showed up, and they took the culprit under their custody.

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The savior of the incident in Colorado

However, the army veteran who stood up for the tavern’s patrons was honored by the police. Rich Fierro was the first to react at the scene of the crime and put an end to the shooter’s rage. He said in an interview that he controlled the situation because of his quick reflexes. However, he claimed that the need to defend his family and others around him ultimately drove him to face the armed man.

“It’s the reflex. Go! Go to the fire. Stop the action. Stop the activity. Don’t let anyone get hurt. I tried to bring everybody back. There were five people that I could not help. And one of which was family to me. I’m going to see that guy in court. And that guy’s going to see who did him,” he said.

“At least two heroic people inside the club confronted and fought with the suspect and were able to stop the suspect. We owe them a great debt of thanks. I have never encountered a person who had engaged in such heroic actions and who was so humble about it. He said to me, ‘I was trying to protect my family,” said Vasquez.

“He saved dozens and dozens of lives. Stopped the man cold. Everyone else was running away, and he ran toward him,” recounted the shop owner.

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The bar’s significance

The victims’ families, friends, and relatives gathered in the area shortly after the catastrophe. Given what occurred and the location of the incident, the resultant atmosphere was grim. The Colorado gay club gave the LGBTQ community a space to express themselves and a sense of freedom. It also allowed heterosexual people to witness the joy of socializing with the LGBTQ Community. Unfortunately, sorrow and anxiety now replaced freedom and enjoyment.

“In a world that can be so dark and so angry, it’s that one place that feels like home. We’re able to unwind and forget about our troubles with work, family, and society. Because of Club Q, we’re able to make friends that turn into family and be accepted for our true selves,” said Jewels Park.

“The LGBTQIA+ community has undergone so much bigotry and hatred already. To have our safe place ripped from us and to lose members of our community is a whole other type of hurt,” she added.



Taylor Swift Completes Historic AMA Run

At the 50th American Music Awards on Sunday at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles, Taylor Swift made another unprecedented career streak.

Producing the program was a joint effort between ABC and Dick Clark Productions. Wayne Brady presided over the show. The American Music Awards have recognized and honored the top musical and theatrical performances for the past 50 years. The night’s top nomination recipient was Puerto Rican musician Bad Bunny, who received eight nominations overall. His victories included Favorite Male Latin Artist and Favorite Latin Album.

Taylor, though, went down in history as the AMA’s most honored Artist. With 40 victories throughout her career, she is now the Artist with the most accolades from the organization. She won all her nominations during the 50th awards ceremony, including the Artist of the Year honor, which is the most coveted AMA award.

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Taylor thanking her fans

When the musician accepted her trophy on stage, she thanked her supporters. She claims that the support of her followers worldwide gives her the drive and inspiration to keep creating music that stirs emotions.

“In the past few years, I have released more music than I did in the decade preceding that. And I feel like that’s down to the fact that you, the fans, made it clear that you wanted to hear lots of music. I found that the more music I made [and] the more music I put out, the happier I was,” she said.

“I have the fans to thank, essentially, for my happiness. So I love you more than I can say. And I cannot express how unbelievable it is that I get to do this and that you still care. So, thank you, underlined with 13 exclamation points.”

Her legendary AMA run comes on the heels of the recent triumph of her Midnights album. Taylor’s album helped it become the Spotify song with the most streams. She also won every Top 10 position on the Billboard list, making her the only Artist to do it with tracks from a single album.

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Below are the other roll of winners at the AMA:

Artist of the year

Taylor Swift

New artist of the year

Dove Cameron

Collaboration of the year

Elton John & Dua Lipa, “Cold Heart – PNAU Remix”

Favorite male pop artist

Harry Styles

Favorite female pop artist

Taylor Swift

Favorite pop duo or group


Favorite pop album

Taylor Swift, “Red (Taylor’s Version)”

Favorite pop song

Harry Styles, “As It Was”

Favorite music video

Taylor Swift, “All Too Well (Taylor’s Version)”

Favorite male country artist

Morgan Wallen

Favorite female country artist

Taylor Swift

Favorite country group or duo

Dan & Shay

Favorite male hip-hop artist

Kendrick Lamar

Favorite female hip-hop artist

Nicki Minaj

Favorite hip-hop song

Future ft. Drake & Tems, “Wait For U”

Favorite male R&B artist

Chris Brown

Favorite female R&B artist


Favorite rock artist

Machine Gun Kelly

Favorite rock song

Måneskin, “Beggin’

Favorite male Latin artist

Bad Bunny

Favorite female Latin artist


Favorite Afrobeats Artist


Favorite K-pop artist


Other non-televised Favorite winners:

Dance/electronic artist: Marshmello

Gospel artist: Tamela Mann

Inspirational artist: for KING & COUNTRY

Latin duo or group: Yahritza Y Su Esencia

Touring artist: Coldplay

Country album: Taylor Swift “Red (Taylor’s Version)”

Hip-hop album: Kendrick Lamar “Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers”

Latin album: Bad Bunny “Un Verano Sin Ti”

R&B album: Beyoncé “Renaissance”

Rock album: Ghost “Impera”

Soundtrack: “ELVIS”

Country song: Morgan Wallen “Wasted On You”

Latin song: Sebastián Yatra “Dos Oruguit

Pelosi Resigns, Vacates Democratic Party Leadership

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced her abdication as Democratic Party leader after nearly 20 years in the job.

She announced after Republicans narrowly won control of the Lower House. In the meantime, the Democratic Party seizes control of the Senate. As a result, different parties direct each house. Nancy functioned as a courageous symbol of female political leadership. Pelosi, on the other hand, confirmed her possible resignation in 2018. When she was elected speaker, she told the Democratic Party that she would step aside in 2022.

With Pelosi gone, many Democrats began a frenzy of suppositions about a potential successor. According to sources, party members are expected to vote for New York Representative Hakeem Jeffries. The Democrats, however, will cast ballots on it at the end of the month. Pelosi kept quiet when asked who she would vote for. On the other hand, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer and House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn endorsed Jeffries. Following Pelosi, the two leaders also confirmed their resignations.

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The Pelosi successor

“If she steps aside, I’m very clear that Hakeem Jeffries is the person I will be voting for and leading the Congressional Black Caucus to vote for. Of course, I don’t always speak for everybody. Still, I’m very comfortable saying I believe that every member of the Congressional Black Caucus would vote for Hakeem Jeffries,” said Ohio representative Joyce Beatty.

“Nonetheless, a great deal is at stake because we’ll be in a presidential election. So my decision will again be rooted in the wishes of my family and the wishes of my caucus. But none of it will be very much considered until we see the outcome of all of this. And there are all kinds of ways to exert influence,” she added.

On the other hand, Jeffries did not provide details about a possible Democratic leadership run. Instead, he stated that now was not the right time to respond. Instead, he argues that individuals should first honor Pelosi. Pelosi, as a leader, led and inspired many, including women striving to join the US political scene.

“Let’s spend the day at this moment continuing to process the historic nature of Speaker Pelosi and the opportunity that we’ve all had to serve with her. And it’s been an amazing experience,” Jeffries said.

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A strong force in US politics

Pelosi made a variety of changes in US politics. In 2007, she took the gavel while standing on the podium surrounded by children. During her tenure, Pelosi emphasized progressive legislation on child care, climate change, and health care. Pelosi vigorously championed these policies for a child to live in a better world.

“I’ve been elected for 26 years. I’ve been doing this for a while. I believe she has been the most effective speaker and leader the House of Representatives has ever had. To me, every moment has been a blessing and an honor to serve with her,” said Tony Cardenas.

“Because of Nancy Pelosi, the lives of millions and millions of Americans are better, even in districts represented by Republicans who voted against her bills and too often vilified her. That’s Nancy — always working for the dignity of all of the people,” wrote a White House statement.


New York Authorities on Alert as Thundersnow Looms Over the Region

As the holiday season draws near, New York weather bureaus monitor a rare thundersnow unfolding over Western New York.

Weather experts now refer to it as ‘thundersnow.’ It is fully liable for much of the heavy snowfall that has gone down in several parts of New York over the past few days. Experts estimate that the ‘snowy thunderstorm’ will bury several areas of the region in snow. They also included thunderstorms, which are prevalent in the spring and summer. However, they are rarely observed in the winter. However, New Yorkers can expect cooler weather and more snow than usual with its emergence.

“Two intense plumes of lake effect snow with snowfall rates of at least 3 inches per hour will continue northeast of [Lake Erie and Lake Ontario] through tonight. In addition, periodic thundersnow will remain possible near the lakes through tonight, as well as areas of blowing snow with winds gusting to 35 mph,” said the National Weather Service office in Buffalo after almost 3 feet of snow buried Orchard Park in New York.

“Wind direction is a key component in determining which areas will receive lake-effect snow. For example, heavy snow may be falling in one location, while the sun may be shining just a mile or two away in either direction,” the weather service added.

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New York will receive more snow

The National Weather Service has posted a list of overall snowfall in New York over the previous 48 hours:

  • Orchard Park, NY: 42.5″
  • Hamburg, NY: 37″
  • Blasdell: 31.0″
  • Wales: 26.3″
  • Angola: 22.0″
  • South Buffalo: 19.5″
  • Buffalo Airport, NY: 12.9″

As more snow falls, district officials urge citizens to remain calm. Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown said his government is prepared for the effects of heavy snowfall in the area. According to the mayor, Western Buffalo has already received nearly 20 inches of snow. So he advised residents to stay at home and avoid driving to avoid accidents.

“After consulting with @MayorByronBrown, a TRAVEL BAN is being reinstituted for the City of Buffalo from William Street downtown to the Town of Cheektowaga line and everything south. Please do not drive in or into this area. Conditions have deteriorated very quickly,” tweeted Erie Country Executive Mark Poloncarz.

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Postponement and cancellations

As more snow fell on Buffalo, many agencies and organizations confirmed cancelations or postponement of their scheduled events. Some examples are as follows:

  • Travel advisories announced a ban on commercial traffics on several roads across the region, with some bans replaced by authorities on Friday.
  • Buffalo Niagara International Airport canceled many flights in and out of the state as inches of snow fell on the ports.
  • The Buffalo Bills will not meet the Cleveland Browns near the state. Instead, the NFL will move the Sunday match to Detroit.
  • Public schools in Buffalo announce the cancellation of classes across all grade levels. The administration also dismissed remote instruction to help families brace against the heavy snowfall.


Russia Will Continue Black Sea Wheat Export

According to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, Russia chose to lengthen the Black Sea Grain Agreement.

Russian Foreign Minister Oleksandr Kubrakov earlier hinted that Russia would not extend the UN-brokered pact. Hence, several stakeholders became anxious about its likely termination. However, Ukraine and other partners must maintain the agreement’s provisions. Otherwise, Russia will stop collaborating with Ukraine on the grain agreement.

The combined wheat exports of Russia and Ukraine account for one-third of global supplies. If the nations vote to terminate the agreement, prices will skyrocket. Moreover, dependent countries will face supply shortages. Other countries fear the possibility because of high rates of inflation in their respective countries.

“I welcome the agreement by all parties to continue the Black Sea Grain Initiative. To facilitate the safe navigation of export of grain, foodstuffs and fertilizers from Ukraine. The initiative demonstrates the importance of discreet diplomacy in finding multilateral solutions,” said Guterres.

Without the renewal, the transaction will expire on Saturday. However, under the revised terms, Ukraine and Russia will continue to fund export operations for an additional 120 days. Russia withdrew from the agreement a few weeks earlier in response to reported attacks on its Black Sea Fleet.

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Russia abandoned the agreement before

The Russian ministry issued a statement months ago. He said the act purportedly done by Ukraine is an act of terrorism. The minister further explained that Russia withdrew from the agreement because he learned that Ukraine participated on the attack of its Black Sea Fleet.

Russia insisted that Ukraine assaulted its Black Sea fleet. On the other hand, Ukraine dismissed the allegations thrown by Russia. Meanwhile, the UN reacted and responded quickly to the emergency. Other analysts forecast a significant surge in world wheat prices if Russia withdraws altogether from the agreement. As a result, the United Nations appealed to Russia.

“We’ve seen the reports from the Russian Federation regarding the suspension of their participation in the Black Sea Grain Initiative following an attack on the Russian Black Sea Fleet. We are in touch with the Russian authorities on this matter,” said the UN spokesperson Stephane Dujarric.

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Keeping the provisions

Lavrov expressed doubts about the deal’s continuation. In an interview, he claims Ukraine is using the export agreement to transfer guns and for military purposes. Furthermore, he does not want the UN to interfere with Russia’s exports. If the UN honors its pledge, Russia will be happy to work with the countries to complete the deal.

The minister said that Guterres assured him that the UN will cooperate. He added the UN must not sanction any grain or fertilizer supply coming out of the country. Also included in the terms is the entry of Russian ships to ports in Europe and vice versa.


Trump will Run for President in 2024

Donald Trump, a former president of the United States, declared he will run for president in 2024 and seek the Republican Party’s nomination.

This past Tuesday, Trump declared in the presence of his advisors, allies, and key figures. He gave a speech in which he established himself as one of the top candidates to be the Republican Party’s nominee for president. The former top official denied rumors that he will face other nomination rivals in the upcoming months. Ron DeSantis, the governor of Florida, has been the subject of discussions about a potential nomination. Trump, though, remains optimistic that he will gain the appointment from the party.

“In order to make America great and glorious again, I am tonight announcing my candidacy for president of the United States,” Trump said.

He continued by saying that if the Republicans want to win the presidency in the upcoming presidential elections, they must nominate him. The revelation comes in the wake of the GOP’s disappointing election results, which saw the Democratic Party gain control of several key states. In addition, the Democrats took over the Senate after winning Nevada. However, as they go closer to a majority, the Republicans aim to take the House. However, this is hardly the kind of electoral triumph they envisioned.

“Anyone who truly seeks to take on this rigged and corrupt system will be faced with a storm of fire that only a few could understand. I have no doubt that by 2024, it will sadly be much worse, and they will see clearly what has happened and is happening to our country – and the voting will be much different,” he added.

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Trump making the first move

Trump announced his intention to run for president in 2024 before any other politician. Experts predict that Trump’s declaration will give him an edge over possible opponents who intend to run for president. Additionally, it will help Trump position himself in the eyes of wealthy contributors. While the DOJ is looking into the riots on January 6, Trump is still dealing with legal issues. As Trump pursues the party’s candidacy, this may become an issue.

Mike Pence is another opponent who may challenge Trump. Pence already has a solid reputation in politics due to his experience as the previous vice president of the United States. With Trump around, Pence could find it challenging to win over Trump’s supporters. Ron DeSantis, the governor of Florida, might challenge Trump for the nomination as well. Many Republicans gained confidence in DeSantis’ appeal and impact after the midterm elections, pleasing them by supporting them during the midterm elections.

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Preparing for the 2024 elections

Trump made plans for a White House comeback after his crushing loss in 2021. He invested a lot of his resources in this situation. The former president formed alliances with other politicians and gained supporters, eventually leading to a presidential campaign.

The road to winning the presidency will be difficult, though. Trump has some campaign-related concerns to handle, including litigation and investigations. He also encounters opposition as he contends that the 2020 elections were fraudulent.

Thanksgiving Might be a Costly Celebration as Prices Hike

As each home prepares for an expensive holiday like Thanksgiving, inflation stresses many American households, especially this year.

In the US, Thanksgiving marks a historical remembrance celebrated by many households. Several meals, most notably turkey, are prepared in many homes that host the event. But compared to the previous year, the cost of wholesale turkey increased by 23%. So, purchasing a turkey necessitates allocating a considerable portion of the holiday spending budget. A price rise was also seen for potatoes and cranberries.

Many factors cause price increases for many marketable commodities, like climate change, declining labor, and rising energy prices. These, in turn, impact crop harvesting and animal health, and as a result, the cost of groceries has grown 12.4% since last year, according to the Labor Department.

As of right now, the US inflation rate is 7.7%. Given the pace of price rises, the head economist at Wells Fargo, Michael Swanson, forecasts that households will reduce their Thanksgiving spending. Swanson said that many customers would shop at supermarkets with lower costs for their groceries. Only a select handful, he claims, will make significant food purchases for the holidays.

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Traveling for Thanksgiving

For family members who want to fly to visit their distant relatives for Thanksgiving, the process isn’t becoming any smoother. Over the past month, airline prices have increased dramatically. In October, airfares increased 43% over the previous year, according to data. Nevertheless, despite the rise, many people still opt to purchase holiday travel plans. For instance, three of the biggest airline firms in the US anticipate fully booked flights throughout the holiday season despite sharply increased ticket rates.

“We are seeing a lot of strength for the holidays or approaching the Thanksgiving period, and our bookings are incredibly strong. However, the bookings are a little bit different this year, and they’re more spread out across multiple days than they were on any single day,” said Andrew Nocella, the chief commercial officer of United Airlines.

“Travelers are resilient. Thanksgiving and Christmas travel to see the family is considered essential by many, and something they won’t compromise on, even when there are higher prices,” said Haley Berg, a lead economist from Hopper, a traveling app.

“Keep in mind that in November and December of last year, we had the delta and omicron waves of COVID, which caused mass cancellations and many travelers to change their plans at the last minute. There’s been a relief on the supply side. Car rental companies [have been] bulking up the number of cars they have available,” she added.

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Post-holiday debt problems

Many people use various financial methods to cover their holiday costs. While others use credit cards, some people pay for their expenses out of savings. Ted Rossman, however, anticipates that after the holidays, consumers will accumulate unpaid debt, particularly in light of the Federal Reserve’s recent rate increases, which have been more rapid than in any year over the previous ten years.

“The most important point for consumers is: your [credit card interest] rate is way up. It’s probably going to go up more. So it’s more important than ever to pay down this debt. I think there’s going to be a lot of post-holiday debt hangovers. A lot of sticker shock in January, unfortunately,” added Rossman.


Jezz Bezos will Donate Most of His Wealth to Global Causes

Jeff Bezos, one of the world’s wealthiest people, plans to donate his fortune to charity during his lifetime. Lauren Sanchez, his partner, agrees and supports the choice.

According to the Amazon founder, Bezos plans to invest most of his $124 billion yearly net worth in worthwhile projects. He stated that he would use his fortune to combat climate change and assist those who serve the community politically and socially. The news comes after Bezos faced public outcry for declining to join Giving Pledge. The organization serves as a channel for the world’s wealthiest individuals to donate a portion of their money to philanthropic causes.

Bezos said in an interview that when he and his partner began dating three years ago, they already had efforts to construct the Bezos Courage and Civility Award. Dolly Parton got the honor this year, receiving $100 million. Parton is the third award recipient, following chef Jose Andres and CNN climate activist Van Jones.

“When you think of Dolly. Look, everyone smiles, right? She is just beaming with light. And all she wants to do is bring light into other people’s worlds. And so we couldn’t have thought of someone better than to give this award to Dolly, and we know she’s going to do amazing things with it,” Sanchez said.

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Bezos acknowledging Parton

Bezos stated that the Courage and Civility Award serves as a reminder of those who go above and beyond to serve the community. Over a decade, Parton gave her money to several causes and charities. Parton, for example, donated $1 million to Vanderbilt University Medical Center to assist with vaccination research.

“I felt so proud to have been part of that little seed money that will hopefully grow into something great and help heal this world. I’m a very proud girl today to know I had anything at all to do with something that’s going to help us through this crazy pandemic,” she said at the time.

Furthermore, in 1998, she established the Dollywood Foundation to assist children worldwide. She later introduced The Imagination Library to help youngsters have access to literature. She also handed $15,000 in scholarships to college students through the Dolly Parton Scholarship. Parton used the initiative to reach out to people who couldn’t afford a college education. Bezos and Sanchez saw Parton’s desire to serve others. As a result, they decided to honor the artist with the Courage and Civility Award.

“Jeff [Bezos] and I are so proud to share that we have a new Bezos Courage and Civility Award winner — a woman who gives with her heart and leads with love and compassion in every aspect of her work,” wrote Sanchez in an Instagram post.

“I try to put my money where my heart is. I will do my best to do good things with this money. Thank you @JeffBezos #LaurenSanchez,” answered Parton in a Tweet.

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Dividing the donation money

Bezos and Sanchez must still agree on how much money they will donate to charities.

“The hard part is figuring out how to do it in a levered way. It’s not easy. Building Amazon was not easy. It took a lot of hard work and a bunch of very smart teammates, hard-working teammates, and I’m finding — and I think Lauren is finding the same thing — that charity and philanthropy are very similar. There are a bunch of ways that I think you could do ineffective things, too. So you have to think about it carefully, and you have to have brilliant people on the team,” he said.


Elon Musk Temporarily Rescinds from Launching Blue Check Plan

After the midterm elections, new Twitter CEO Elon Musk promised to reinstate the paid Twitter Blue subscription plan.

Twitter announced the delay a day after the company unveiled its iOS app, which enables users to get the blue checkmark on their profiles by subscribing to a monthly plan. According to Twitter’s new owner Elon, the system stops the spread of spam accounts on the website. Before Musk purchased the company, users had warned about the risks of spam and bot accounts.

“Going forward, any Twitter handles engaging in impersonation without clearly specifying ‘parody’ will be permanently suspended,” said the CEO.

“Previously, we issued a warning before the suspension, but now that we are rolling out widespread verification, there will be no warning. Any name change will cause temporary loss of verified checkmark,” Elon added.

Elon deferred it after the feature was supposed to go live because of this week’s midterm elections. Aside from the polls, a significant backlash from the general public forced the company to reschedule the rollout of the new feature.

The product team manager at Twitter wrote, “The new Blue isn’t live yet — the sprint to our launch continues, but some folks may see us making updates because we are testing and pushing changes in real time. The Twitter team is legendary. New Blue, coming soon!”

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Trolling Elon

Many criticized the idea of charging for a blue checkmark on Twitter and stated their opposition. Ironically, as Elon did, well-known people with large followings demonstrated this by altering their Twitter handle and profile picture. For instance, Sarah Silverman, a comedian, used Elon’s profile picture as her own on her verified Twitter account.

She tweeted, “I am a freedom of speech absolutist, and I eat doody for breakfast every day.”

Following the stunt, Twitter suspended Silverman’s account was briefly; as a result, she went back to using her original name and photo. In addition, actress Valerie Bertinelli morphed her account to look like Musk in a similar effort.

“The blue checkmark simply meant your identity was verified. So scammers would have a harder time impersonating you. That no longer applies. Good luck out there! [Y]ou can buy a blue check mark for $7.99 a month without verifying who you are,” she tweeted.

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Cutting Twitter’s workforce

Another conundrum Twitter faces cutting off nearly half of its workforce. As a result, Twitter plans to reduce costs, according to Elon, who claims that the company loses over $4 million every day needlessly. In addition, many believe Elon will be able to make more money for the business due to the monthly blue check subscription. However, the CEO claimed to have another reason for the verification feature.

“Far too many legacies ‘verified’ checkmarks were handed out, often arbitrarily, so in reality, they are not verified. With a Google search, you can buy as many as you want. Piggybacking off payment system plus Apple/Android is a much better way to ensure verification,” he said.


Twitter Executives Abandons Posts Following Mass Terminations

Only a few days after Elon Musk dismissed hundreds of employees from Twitter, the company’s senior executives announced their resignations.

The organization’s Chief Information Security Officer (CISO), Lea Kissner, declared she would step down on Thursday. The role, which has since been filled, was one of the most critical parts of the business, especially now that Twitter is dealing with many security and privacy issues.

Elon Musk, Twitter’s newest CEO and owner, is also under public scrutiny for some hasty managerial choices. She remained silent about her decision to resign from her position as CISO.

“I’ve made the hard decision to leave Twitter. I’ve had the opportunity to work with amazing people, and I’m proud of the privacy, security, and IT teams and our work. I’m looking forward to figuring out what’s next,” Kissner wrote.

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More Twitter resignation

Meanwhile, reports claim that Yoel Roth, the director of integrity and safety, also decided to leave his position. Regarding the adjustments Twitter had to make once Elon became the new owner, Roth has regularly communicated with investors and other stakeholders. He spoke about how Twitter manages damaging data posted to the site during an appearance alongside Musk at a Twitter Spaces conference on Wednesday.

“Verification! Impersonation! Twitter Blue! There’s a lot going on around identity on Twitter — let’s break down what our policies are, and some of the big questions we still need to answer,” he wrote.

“First, impersonation has always been banned on Twitter. Misleading profiles make Twitter worse for everyone. Last year, we banned more than half a million accounts for impersonating people and brands.”

“When Verified accounts use impersonation as a tactic — whether for parody or not — it creates an especially confusing experience. It’s been our long-standing practice to suspend Verified users when they do this.”

“The planned changes to Twitter Blue to make Verification more widely available raise the stakes for this impersonation. Here’s what we’re going to do about it:”

“In the short term, we’ll ramp up a proactive review of Blue Verified accounts that show signs of impersonating another user. When we find them, we’ll suspend them. See something that looks off? You can report it directly in the app.”

“Long-term, we need to invest more in identity verification to complement proof-of-humanness. Paid Verification is a strong (not perfect) signal of humanness, which helps fight bots and spam. But that’s not the same thing as identity verification.”

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FTC making its move

The head of Musk’s legal team, Alex Spiro, stated that the FTC and his team are often in communication. He stressed that Twitter would try its utmost to adhere to legal standards. But a source overheard Spiro mentioning how Musk is unfazed by the FTC. On the other hand, an FTC spokesperson claimed that the agency follows any activity from Twitter “with deep concern.”

“No CEO or company is above the law, and companies must follow our consent decrees. Our revised consent order gives us new tools to ensure compliance, and we are prepared to use them,” the spokesperson added.


Democrat Maxwell Frost is the First GenZ Member to Win Congressional Seat

Maxwell Alejandro Frost, a Democratic candidate, became the first member of Generation Z to snatch a seat in Congress.

The 25-year-old Afro-American won a Congressional seat in Florida’s 10th Congressional District by besting Republican Calvin Wimbish, 72. Frost claims that when the news about his win spread, the US President Joe Biden called him to congratulate him. Furthermore, given Frost’s age, the two discussed how monumental the feat is. At 29, the US president entered politics and became a Senator.

“He asked me if it was the same situation. I said, ‘No, Mr. President, you had me beat on that. I’m already old enough to be sworn in on January 3.’ So, it was great to talk with him. You know, he was elected at a very young age, too, so he understands that experience,” Frost said.

The candidate for representative focused his campaign on combating gun violence. Following a spate of mass shootings across the country, this made waves among Floridians. Frost stated in an interview that he intends to pass the universal background check bill as a protective measure against irresponsible gun sales.

In a Tweet, he wrote, “WE WON! We made history for Floridians, for Gen Z, and for everyone who believes we deserve a better future. I am beyond thankful for the opportunity to represent my home in the United States Congress.”

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Frost taking a few steps forward

People in their 58s are the most likely to run for a significant public office. To run for the US House, one must be at least 25 years old, 30 for the US Senate, and 35 for the presidential race, according to federal laws. Frost manages to obtain a seat and make history for the GenZs while standing at the front of the line. The Pew Research Center defines Generation Z as people born between 1997 and 2012.

And, while the law allows 25-year-olds to run for the House of Representatives, only a few do. For many, running at a younger age proves a more complex situation. On the other hand, Frost withstood the odds and took a chance. Frost embodies the Afro-Cuban community more than his age, as he serves as the first member of the community elected to Congress.

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Serving the people

Frost, born on January 17, 1997, grew up experiencing abuse and violence. His mother is Puerto Rican, and his father is from Haiti.

He said, his community became “ravaged by gun violence. And I’ve experienced how working people and people of color are unjustly marginalized and left behind in our society.”

As he grew older, his background pushed him to fight against gun violence. Frost became a gun control activist following the Newtown, Connecticut, school shooting. When Barack Obama ran for president in 2012, he campaigned for him He is the national organizing director for March for Our Lives.

Many politicians, including Senators Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Ed Markey, and Rev. Jesse Jackson, have expressed their admiration and support for him. The Congressional Progressive Caucus also backed him.


Twitter Bankruptcy Might be a Better Choice

Elon Musk stated that Twitter might go bankrupt due to many changes within the firm, including the firing and departure of key people.

Before Musk’s takeover, social media competitors such as Facebook and TikTok overwhelmed Twitter’s advertising income. As a result, the company’s earnings are sluggish and irregular compared to other firms. However, the possibility of Twitter going bankrupt is only sometimes acknowledged by many, including business leaders. However, now that Musk owns Twitter, he expresses concern about the company’s decline.

Musk paid $44 billion for the firm. However, after obtaining Twitter, the new CEO faced various obstacles, including repaying a $13 million debt. Musk faces a substantial liability because the debt exceeds seven times the company’s income in 2022.

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Twitter ceasing its operations

According to Andy Wu of Harvard Business School, Musk may be compelled to declare bankruptcy for various reasons. Musk must first address Twitter’s debt and yearly payments. If Musk and other investors believe Twitter will not generate any money, declaring bankruptcy may be a more plausible option for them.

“It’s hypothetically possible that he could use more of his Tesla stock to bail out Twitter or turn to his cadre of co-investors, who would probably have no trouble finding the money. So the saying, ‘if you owe the bank $100, that’s your problem, but if you owe the bank $100 million, that’s the bank’s problem’ might apply here,” Wu explained.

“Bankruptcy would also allow Musk to refinance the debt, making the company more financially stable. But, in addition to potential financial returns, I sense that Musk and his co-investors are ideologically driven, that values really drive them,” he added.

Wedbush Securities, an investment group, believes Musk overpaid for Twitter. The company’s social networking platform is only worth $25 billion. As a result, Wedbush Securities described Musk’s acquisition of Twitter as “one of the most overpaid tech acquisitions in history.” Wedbush Securities also stated that filing for bankruptcy would allow Musk to restructure the company’s debt more advantageously.

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Losing more revenue

Many questioned Twitter’s long-term sustainability as a business. Musk claims that the corporation loses roughly $3 million every day. As a result, he chose to lay off around 11,000 staff. Furthermore, the bearish attitude of investors about investing in internet advertising led other businesses to slash costs. For example, Meta laid off 11,000 employees, while Snap cut off 20% of its workforce.

Musk recognized another method to create revenue: Twitter Blue. This function allows users to get a Blue Checkmark for $8 per month. However, celebrities and ordinary individuals received it with condemnation. Some even went so far as to duplicate Musk’s profile to convey their concern about anyone obtaining the blue mark for a fee.

“Eight dollars is not cost-prohibitive for scammers. So it is essential that Twitter figures out this whole official or not issue,” said Rache Tobac from Social Proof Security.

“Right now, we have people making jokes, impersonating the president, impersonating Nintendo, and Elon Musk is laughing at those jokes because he thinks they’re funny right now. What’s not going to be funny is someone impersonating an election official. And meddling and causing interference with the election results,” she added.


Republicans and Democrats in Tight Race to Gain Control

As the nation readies for the midterm elections this Tuesday, Democrats and Republicans make their final-ditch efforts to influence voters.

US President Joe Biden struck Republicans in a speech last week. He also supports the Democratic party’s call for peaceful and “democratic” midterm elections. He accuses former President Donald Trump of endangering the nation’s democracy. Republicans, meanwhile, responded by rapping about how the other party was to blame for the nation’s rising crime and inflation.

Over the weekend, four US presidents visited various states to advocate for their respective political parties. Bill Clinton, president Joe Biden, Donald Trump, and Barack Obama all participated in the campaign. They all want to advance the positions of the parties to which they belong. For instance, former president Trump traveled to Ohio and urged Republicans to support J.D. Vance for the Senate. Experts view Trump’s campaign trail as a prelude to his 2024 White House bid. Trump said voters should “elect an incredible slate of true MAGA warriors to Congress.”

In the meantime, Biden spent his weekend in Pennsylvania with Obama, underscoring the concerns of Trump and the Republicans. Biden talked about the Republican’s role in the upheaval at the US Capitol and the assault on Nancy Pelosi’s husband, Paul.

“Democracy is literally on the ballot. So this is a defining moment for the nation. And we all must speak with one voice regardless of our party. There’s no place in America for political violence,” said President Biden.

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A last chance for the Democrats and Republicans

Democratic candidates intend to stand their ground in states like New York, Washington, and Oregon. Republicans make efforts to retake the Senate, and they only need to gain five seats. So the parties must influence voters in swing states like Pennsylvania, Georgia, Nevada, and Arizona. Winning these states could tip the election in that party’s favor. According to current polls, there is a 50/50 chance that the Republicans or the Democrats will win control of the Senate.

Ronna McDaniel, the chair of the Republican National Committee, predicted that her party would take control of the House of Representatives and the Senate. She emphasized what she perceived as Biden’s inaction on the nation’s economic problems.

“Here’s where the Democrats are: they’re inflation deniers, crime deniers, education deniers,” McDaniel said.

“Look, they’re all about the wealthier getting wealthy. And the wealthier stay wealthy. The middle class gets stiffed. The poor get poorer under their policy,” Biden warned in a speech.

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To take the risk

Biden and Obama make one final effort to support Democratic candidate John Fetterman in the Pennsylvania Senate race as the campaign period ends. The state is where the Democrats have the best chance of capturing a seat currently held by the GOP. However, in Arizona and Nevada, where they still have a 50% chance of winning the seat, the Democrats are confronted with a different issue. Republicans will take control of the Senate with a majority if they win seats in both states.

“I know the average election rally is just ‘whoop dee doo do vote for me,’ but your life is on the line. For young people in the audience, your life is on the line,” said Bill Clinton.


AirAsia Earns More than Expected Amid Economic Uncertainty

Despite the economic downturn, AirAsia X’s revenue has grown. According to aviation experts, “strong demand” influences a positive aviation outlook.

“We’re looking to add 20 more aircraft to the fleet for the first time in a long, long time, even before Covid,” said Tony Fernandes, the CEO of Capital A, the parent company of AirAsia.

“In AirAsia, we have 205 aircraft, and in AirAsia X, we have about 20 aircraft. So getting slots and getting them ready for service has been a big challenge.”

Fernandes stepped down as CEO of AirAsia this week. Despite the market’s bad reactions, the company pushed through and earned more than anticipated. AirAsia X is the airline’s low-cost service. Shares dropped at the end of October after the former CEO left the service. Nonetheless, the company outperformed expectations by 5%.

“Unfortunately, whatever I do gets blown out of proportion. I went in there [AirAsia X] for a short period … I just went in there to kickstart an airline that would have been heavily restructured and was in hibernation,” Fernandes added.

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AirAsia operating under Capital A

Bursa Malaysia regard AirAsia as PN17. This indicates that the firm is currently experiencing financial woes. However, with the recent report, company management is confident they will be able to exit PN17 soon.

“I think we’re coming out of PN17. While I was very against it, I thought it was harsh to put us into PN17. We’ve turned a negative into a positive. My job now is to ensure we deliver profitability, good cash flow growth, have the right funding on all of these, and from where we were. The sky looks really good,” the Capital A CEO added.

Fernandes, who left AirAsia to oversee Capital A, stated that he would concentrate on the overall business. He stated that he is trying to discover Capital A’s true value.

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Boosted by e-commerce

“I’ve been through many economic slowdowns, and people will go to the best-value operator,” said Fernandes.

The pandemic accelerated the growth of e-commerce. Fernandes is also responsible for the company’s e-commerce operations. He believes that e-commerce is here to stay.

Capital A intends to expand its offerings in the future. For example, plans have already been laid out for its engineering firm, Asia Digital Engineering, and its restaurant brand, Santan. Capital A also plans to expand its consulting division. Following the report, Fernandes became more confident that AirAsia X will continue to perform well, given its current services and cost struct.

Biden says He Wants a Peaceful Midterm Elections

With the upcoming midterm elections just around the corner, United States President Joe Biden implored the populace.

In the opinion of the senior official, the outcome of the upcoming elections will influence the future of democracy. He issued a strong warning to the nation’s electorate six days before the election. The Democratic Party, which the incumbent president belongs to, was alarmed when many people declared their non-participation in the midterm elections. It would become a challenging issue for the president, and his party should the odds shift in favor of the Republicans.

“We can’t take democracy for granted any longer. Yet, as I stand here today, candidates are running for every level of office in America – for governor, for Congress, for attorney general, for secretary of state who won’t commit to accepting the results of the elections they’re in. That is the path to chaos in America. It’s unprecedented. And it’s unlawful. And it is un-American,” Biden said.

Read Also: Russia Resumes Participation in Grain Export Deal 

Biden blames Trump

Trump supporters raised numerous issues regarding the results of the presidential election, in which Biden defeated Trump. But according to Biden, the web of lies that Trump’s relentless advertising of the theory that the ruling party rigged the elections has sparked threats to democracy.

“This intimidation, this violence against Democrats, Republicans and non-partisan officials just doing their jobs, is the consequence of lies told for power and profit, lies of conspiracy and malice, lies repeated over and over to generate a cycle of anger, hate, vitriol and even violence,” Biden added.

“At this moment, we must confront those lies with the truth. The very future of our nation depends on it. American democracy is under attack because the defeated former president refuses to accept the will of the people,” he said.

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Ending violence

The focus of Biden’s speech was on his calls to put an end to violence. The Democratic National Committee sponsored the event, which also affirmed the president’s call for nonviolence. Furthermore, should the Democratic Party defeat the Republicans in the congressional elections, they pledged to the public that they would boost the nation’s financial climate.

Additionally, Biden based his speech on the recent altercation involving Nancy Pelosi’s husband, Paul Pelosi. According to sources, the attacker allegedly committed the crime because he thought Biden sabotaged the most recent national elections. Biden emphasized the need to forgo violence and turn to a calm, orderly election.

“I believe the voices excusing or calling for violence and intimidation are a distinct minority in America. But they’re loud, and they are determined,” Biden said.

Supporters of Biden lauded the president for raising the issue. The president’s advisers contend that Biden’s public mention of the incident plays a crucial part in the Democratic Party’s push for dialogue on democracy. The nation’s security and democracy were critical points in Biden’s 2020 presidential campaign. In light of this, Biden bringing it up before the midterm elections would encourage supporters.

“How can you say that you care about democracy when you deny the existence of a win? The only way you could win is either you win or the other guy cheated. This has not happened since the Civil War. It sounds like hyperbole, but it hadn’t happened since then, as bad as it is now,” Biden said at an event in Florida.


Russia Resumes Participation in Grain Export Deal

Russia declared that it would continue to participate in the Black Sea Grain export agreement, sending a positive message to nations.

The Russian government claims that Putin decided to reopen the negotiations because Ukraine pledged not to militarize the maritime agreement. The export of grains is essential for the global community. Numerous nations rely heavily on Russian and Ukrainian grain exports. A third of the world’s grain supply is made up of the exports of the two countries combined. Therefore, experts predicted prices would soar as soon as Russia announced it would no longer support the deal.

“Taking into account the act of terrorism committed by the Kyiv regime with the participation of British experts on October 29 this year against the ships of the Black Sea Fleet and civil vessels involved in the security of the ‘grain corridor,’ the Russian side suspends its participation in the implementation of the agreements on the export of agricultural products from the Ukrainian ports,” the Russian defense ministry said a while back.

Nevertheless, after being pressed for days by the international community, Russia bowed to continue to support the agreement. The nations initially drafted the agreement to address global food shortages and cap the price of wheat and rice.

“Thanks to the participation of an international organization, as well as the assistance of Turkey, it was possible to obtain the necessary written guarantees from Ukraine on the non-use of the humanitarian corridor and Ukrainian ports designated for the export of agricultural products for conducting military operations against the Russian Federation,” the Russian defense said in a statement.

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To pressure Russia

Following Russia’s withdrawal from the agreement, the United Nations directly appealed to Russia. But, unfortunately, the country’s decreased exports will cause yet another global catastrophe.

“We’ve seen the reports from the Russian Federation regarding the suspension of their participation in the Black Sea Grain Initiative following an attack on the Russian Black Sea Fleet. We are in touch with the Russian authorities on this matter,” announced UN spokesperson Stephane Dujarric.

Meanwhile, Ukraine and Russia had discussions aimed at reviving the export agreement. Numerous nations hoped for a solution, and the efforts successfully produced outcomes.

“The Ukrainian side officially assured that the maritime humanitarian corridor will be used only in accordance with the provisions of the Black Sea Initiative,” the Russian Defense Ministry added.

“The Russian Federation considers that the guarantees received at the moment seem sufficient and resumes the implementation of the agreement – the Initiative for the safe transportation of grain and food from the ports of Ukraine (the “Black Sea Initiative”), suspended after the terrorist attack in Sevastopol.”

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‘Blackmailing’ the country

Mykhailo Podolyak, a presidential adviser, addressed the concerns about Russia’s continued participation in the agreement. According to him, the country resumed the grain export agreement because they had another goal in mind. And not because the Russian government caved into the “blackmail” attempts against them.

“One way or another, Russia, embarrassed, returned to the grain initiative. Because it suddenly turned out that the grain corridor would work. And even without the Kremlin’s participation. This says only one thing: Russia is always inferior to those who are stronger, those who know how to take a blow, those who argue their position strongly,” he said.


BP Beats Analysts’ Expectations in Third Quarter

British Petroleum (BP), an oil and gas company, reported strong third-quarter earnings due to high market demand and prices.

In September and the three months prior, the oil company reported an $8.2 billion replacement cost profit. BP earned $8.5 billion during the previous quarter. However, BP management anticipated lower profits as a result of the crisis. However, they were able to outperform forecasts and increase their earnings. Only about $3.3 billion in profits were generated by the company during the same period the previous year. Refinitiv analysts estimate that the company’s net profit will only be $6 billion.

The company also stated that due to $2.5 billion in share repurchases, its debt decreased from $22.8 billion to $22 billion. Additionally, the company saw a $2.2 billion net loss for the quarter. In the morning markets, shares of BP increased by 1% due to its recent upswing.

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Headwinds for BP

The increase in gas prices was very beneficial for international oil companies. Due to Russia’s reductions in oil exports, market demand and oil prices have increased. For instance, BP, Exxon, Chevron, and TotalEnergies reported combined earnings of almost $50 billion. The current profits faced by massive oil companies have prompted many to call for higher oil taxes for businesses making record profits.

Joe Biden, the president of the United States, threatened to raise taxes if oil companies refused to cap or lower oil prices. However, organizations that support the oil industry claim that higher taxes would only result in less investment and higher oil prices.

“This quarter’s results reflect us continuing to perform while transforming. We remain focused on helping to solve the energy trilemma – secure, affordable and lower carbon energy. We are providing the oil and gas the world needs today – while at the same time – investing to accelerate the energy transition,” said Bernard Looner, the CEO of BP.

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A necessity

Environmental organizations stepped up their calls for a tax on oil companies. In light of the economic crisis British citizens are experiencing, they explained, businesses must lower oil prices. The third quarter’s results only highlight the need for price reductions.

“The case for a bigger, bolder windfall tax is now overwhelming. This must address the ridiculous loophole that undermines the levy by enabling companies to pay the bare minimum if they invest in more planet-warming gas and oil projects,” explained Friends of the Earth campaigner Sana Yusuf.

“Some of the billions of pounds raised should be used to pay for a street-by-street home insulation program to cut energy bills and reduce emissions,” Yusuf said.

“A proper windfall tax on the profits of big polluters is no longer a far cry; it is now a necessity. But the new U.K. Government must also urgently put us on track for a rapid transition away from dirty fossil fuels and onto renewables and decent home insulation, so we can fix this broken energy system once and for all,” added Jonathan Noronha-Gant, a campaigner from Global Witness.

The BP CEO, however, maintained his position and stated, “We are facing a very difficult winter ahead in the U.K., in Europe and across the world. Our job is to pay our taxes; our job is to invest. We just announced a $4 billion acquisition in the United States last week in renewable natural gas, so that’s what our job is to do. We will continue to do that and do the very best that we can.”


Da Silva Triumphs Over Bolsonaro in Nail-Biting Polls

In the Sunday polls, Luiz Inacio da Silva, also known as Lula, won successfully. As a result, he will take office as Brazil’s new president.

Bolsonaro’s bid for a second term ended when da Silva overtook him after months of intense campaigning. As a result, the left-leaning challenger was imprisoned, causing him to leave the political arena years ago. Da Silva defeated his rivals in the first round of the elections a few months ago. However, when he fell short of the required 50% plus votes, it came down to a fight between him and Bolsonaro.

The presidential election in the nation came down to the wire, with Lula winning 50.9% of the vote to Bolsonaro’s 49.1%. Many polls predicted a large lead for Lula. But because he was ahead in every poll, he could gain support as the election came to a close. On January 1, the newly elected president will formally assume the position.

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A celebration for da Silva supporters

A 33-year-old supporter of the left-leaning challenger, Victor Costelo, expressed his joy at the election’s outcome. After declaring the victor in the official election results, Da Silva’s supporters flooded the streets. Supporters went out, dressed in red, to signify the color of his Workers’ Party. Costelo claimed it gave him hope because he believed in da Silva, and winning the election against an authoritarian presented a better option for the nation.

“I’m really happy. The next four years will be more hopeful for us,” he said.

Photo Credit: Diego Vara

Many of da Silva’s supporters lost hope after the preliminary results were announced, and the government decided to hold a second round. They anticipated better outcomes. Da Silva, however, only received less than 50%, which was insufficient if he wanted to win the presidency.

“We came here expecting to have a party, to get very happy, to have some beers. But now we are going home just to sleep and wait for the next four weeks to see how they go,” said a supporter.

Now that da Silva is finally taking the job, they rejoice. But unfortunately, despite a peaceful election, murders happened during the campaign. Bolsonaro supporters, in one incident, killed four da Silva supporters.

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World leaders congratulate the new president

The political career of Da Silva has been unpredictable. From 2003 to 2010, he was Brazil’s president, serving two terms. But after that, he spent 580 days in prison for graft. The courts’ cases against him were thrown out in 2019, giving him another chance to be the nation’s leader. He eventually won the support of a large number of people, particularly in the left wing. Leaders from around the world quickly congratulated Brazil’s new president.

“I send my congratulations to Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva on his election to be the next president of Brazil following free, fair, and credible elections. I look forward to working together to continue the cooperation between our two countries in the months and years ahead,” said United States President Joe Biden.

“The people of Brazil have spoken,” said Trudeau.


Pelosi ‘Traumatized’ by Attack on her Husband

The police in San Francisco captured a man after violently attacking United States House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband, Paul Pelosi.

The police discovered David DePape, 42, inside the Pelosi home around 2:30 AM. As the suspect confronted Mr. Pelosi, who was seen brandishing a hammer, San Francisco Police Chief William Scott said they discovered the suspect carrying a hammer. DePape was planning to attack Nancy Pelosi, speaker of the House, according to the police.

“Our officers observed Mr. Pelosi and the suspect both holding a hammer. The suspect pulled the hammer away from Mr. Pelosi and violently assaulted him with it. So our officers immediately tackled the suspect, disarmed him, took him into custody, requested emergency backup and rendered medical aid,” said police Chief Officer Scott.

DePape went to the Pelosi home, according to the police, in search of Nancy Pelosi, the speaker of the House. But all he got was Paul. “Where is Nancy?” the assailant asked Paul. But Paul remained silent, and at that point, the quarrel got physical. Following a skull fracture and injuries to his hands and right arm, Paul underwent immediate close observation. The doctors in charge of Paul’s procedure gave the public the thumbs-up. Fortunately, they expect a full recovery.

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Identifying the motive

DePape’s accusations include burglary, attempted murder, elder abuse, assault with a deadly weapon, and others. The criminal suspect awaits trial in San Francisco County Jail. According to reports, they established no connections yet between DePape and Pelosi. The attacker seems oblivious about the house speaker’s whereabouts.

Pelosi was in Washington when the crime took place. However, it made her husband more open to attack without Pelosi and her security detail in her San Francisco home. Drew Hammill, Pelosi’s speaker, thanked the authorities for their urgent action and wished for privacy from the media. Meanwhile, the FBI, San Francisco Police, and the United States Capitol Police teamed up to investigate the incident.

The attacker’s ploy is only one of the tens of thousands of threats US lawmakers receive yearly. The US Capitol flags up over 4,000 threats every year. Due to more than 10,000 threats against government officials last year, the Capitol police established two brand-new offices, one in Florida and one in California.

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‘Brokenhearted’ says Pelosi

Using social media, the senior US official expressed her sorrow over the situation. Her complete quote is as follows:

“Sadly, a violent man broke into our family home yesterday morning, demanded to confront me and brutally attacked my husband, Paul. Our children, our grandchildren and I are heartbroken and traumatized by the life-threatening attack on our Pop. So we are grateful for the quick response of law enforcement and emergency services and for the life-saving medical care he is receiving.”

“Please know that your prayers and warm wishes are a comfort to our family and helping Paul make progress with his recovery. His condition continues to improve.”

“We are also comforted by these words from the Book of Isaiah: “Do not fear, for I am with you. Do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

“We thank you for your prayers and warm wishes as well as the work you do to strengthen our Democracy.”


Elon Musk is the New Owner of Twitter

Now, Twitter is owned by Elon Musk. After several months of trepidation, the CEO of Tesla purchases the social media site for $44 billion.

Musk removed Parag Agrawal, the CEO of Twitter, and other company executives after the purchase. After declaring his intent to buy it last April, Musk tried to back out of the agreement. On Twitter, there are a colossal amount of bots, according to a whistleblower. So, Musk decided against buying it at first after learning this. As a result, he now controls one of the world’s most powerful social media platforms, despite his original plan being unsuccessful.

“This is not a way to make money. My strong intuitive sense is that having a public platform that is maximally trusted and broadly inclusive is extremely important to the future of civilization,” Musk said a few months ago.

A trial was nearly initiated had Musk not purchased the business. Thanks to the acquisition agreement, Musk and Twitter, fortunately, avoided going to court. However, experts are concerned about how the new CEO will approach the company’s operations in light of Musk’s firing of Twitter executives. However, Musk claims he already has plans for the business. Further discussion of free speech and fewer restrictions is also included.

Musk, for instance, wishes to get rid of Twitter’s rule and permanently ban accounts that repeatedly break it. Sadly, this results in previously banned accounts reappearing. Additionally, the Tesla CEO plans to crack down on bots by allowing a system of one account per person.

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Musk wants to make changes

Elon initially told the public he wanted to buy Twitter to stop bots. Customers loved the concept.

“Elon, the next step is the bots. Please. We are begging you,” a user said.

“All user accounts need a verified human behind it, can be anonymous to the public, but required and verified by twitter behind the curtain. Rid this world of Bots and trolls!” another user tweeted.

“I am looking forward to tweeting and not having 50 bot replies within the first 10 seconds,” added another.

Musk expresses additional worries about spam bots and fake accounts. He claims that the existence of these phony accounts prompted him to acquire Twitter.

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The primary reason

Musk sent out a tweet to sponsors that read:

“I wanted to reach out personally to share my motivation in acquiring Twitter. There has been much speculation about why I bought Twitter and what I think about advertising. Most of it has been wrong.”

“The reason I acquired Twitter is that it is important to the future of civilization to have a common digital town square where a wide range of beliefs can be debated in a healthy manner without resorting to violence. There is currently great danger that social media will splinter into far right wing and far left-wing echo chambers that generate more hat and divide our society.”

“In the relentless pursuit of clicks, much of traditional media has fueled and catered to those polarized extremes, as they believe that is what brings in the money, but, in doing so, the opportunity for dialogue is lost.”

“That is why I bought Twitter. I didn’t do it because it would be easy. And I didn’t do it to make more money. I did it to try to help humanity, whom I love. And I do so with humility, recognizing that failure in pursuing this goal, despite our best efforts, is a very real responsibility.”

Miss Universe Organization Investigates Miss USA After Reports From Candidates

Following claims of a rigged October competition, the Miss Universe Organization decided to probe into Miss USA President Crystle Stewart.

Stewart serves as Miss Brand Corporation’s CEO. In addition, she leads the organization of the yearly Miss Universe USA pageant with the organization’s help. Since the country’s admission, the United States has already won eight Miss Universe crowns. Along with Shawn Weatherly (1980), Chelsi Smith (1995), Brook Lee (1997), and Olivia Culpo, this group also includes Miriam Stevenson (1954), Carol Morris (1956), Linda Bement (1960), Sylvia Louise Hitchcock (1967), and Olivia Culpo (1980). (2012).

“After thorough deliberation, Miss Universe Organization has decided to suspend Miss Brand immediately. Miss Universe Organization will be taking over the Miss USA program while a comprehensive,” said the Miss Universe Organization.

Stewart informed the public that she would assist with the probe in the meantime. She stated that she wished for a proper inquiry. Further, she contradicted several pageant competitors’ claims.

“The current allegations that the 2022 Miss USA pageant favored one contestant over another are misleading and not factual. The last thing I would ever want to do is discredit or deny the contestants an equal opportunity to a fair competition. Furthermore, I would never jeopardize my dream of running an organization that empowers these young women,” she stated.

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Favoring a Miss Universe candidate

On October 3, Miss USA concluded, and R’Bonney Gabriel won. Thanks to her victory, she qualified to compete in this year’s Miss Universe pageant as the country’s representative. Nevertheless, several Miss USA contestants perforated their displeasure on social media over the results. They claim that the group staged the pageant, clearly indicating bias and resulting in Gabriel being crowned.

A Montana-based Miss USA candidate, Laa O’Keefe, shared a TikTok video in which she described how Gabriel attended a sponsor’s spa. In her response, Gabriel mentioned that the spa was one of the sponsors when she won Miss USA Texas, adding she paid for the services and just so happened to film a video when she was a guest at the spa.

“We can’t blame this girl, and it’s really sad because her performance was amazing, and she probably could have won fair and square. But, the issue is not with Miss Texas or R’Bonney winning. The issue is with the alleged corruption of the Miss USA organization,” said O’Keefe.

“I want to start by saying it was not rigged because I would never enter any pageant or any competition that I know I would win. I have a lot of integrity,” Gabriel answered.

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Clearing her name

During a previous interview, Gabriel stated that she was ready to respond to queries. She is also adamant that the company will resolve the problem. Gabriel added she will speak with all individuals concerned to clear her name and maintain her status.

“I think I’m open to talking to her about it. And I would love to communicate with her because I think there’s a lot of allegations coming up that aren’t true,” she said.

“I will talk to anybody because I want to be transparent, and I want everybody to know that there was no unfair advantage and nothing was rigged, and as a titleholder and as Miss USA, I don’t want girls to think that this is how pageantry works. This is to celebrate women. We work very hard, and I have respect for all the women that showed up on that stage.”


The World Sees the Tunnel After Covid-19 Affected Lives, But Omicron is Still Mutating

The Covid-19 epidemic is coming to an end, as per reports of the international community. The omicron variety, however, never stops evolving.

The World Health Organization named new Covid-19 variations based on the degree of harm an infection may bring to a person. However, until it significantly affects humans, the WHO has yet to give the newest omicron form of Covid-19 a name.

Many in the scientific community now dispute if the development of the Covid-19 variety begun to slow down. Others might respond in the affirmative. Biologists, virologists, and immunologists disagree, nevertheless.

“SARS-CoV-2 is continuing to evolve extremely rapidly. There’s no evidence that the evolution is slowing down,” said a biologist at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center, Trevor Bedford.

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The omicron form of the virus

Since the virus first infected the world three years ago, scientists designated several varieties. This comprises, among others, alpha, beta, and gamma versions. The omicron variant, however, dwarfs the potential of the aforementioned Covid-19 forms to evolve. Therefore, scientists examined the virus’s more virulent variant and found that it doesn’t appear to be waning. In reality, the omicron split into several subvariants, albeit the effects for this are yet unknown.

“The children of omicron — so the many direct children and cousins within the diverse omicron family. Those that displaced each other. But that same family (dominates other variants),” explained Emma Hodcroft, an epidemiologist from the University of Bern.

“We seem to be seeing evidence of widescale convergent evolution for the first time. We have what people are calling a swarm of omicron viruses, which have different ancestries within omicron, but which have the same set of mutations,” added Manon Ragonnet-Cronin of the University of Chicago.

The ability of the variation to surpass the protection that people acquired from their vaccinations provides a worse situation for global communities.

“When you see convergence in evolution, that’s evolution’s way of saying, ‘this mutation is repeatedly getting selected over and over again because it’s really helpful,'” said Jesse Bloom, a biologist at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Center.

Read Also: Jan 6 Committee Subpoenaed Former President Trump

A good outlook

Experts anticipate the omicron variant’s continuous evolution to have a better outcome. They hypothesize that omicron may develop into the typical flu over time. And its effects not making it any more deadly than it is now.

“The fact that we’ve perhaps stepped out of a phase [in the pandemic] where we’re getting completely new viruses from different parts of the tree sweeping in and dominating might be a sign that we’re moving towards a more kind of stable future for the virus,” Hodcroft added.

However, scientists keep a close eye on everything because viruses are unpredictable. For instance, specialists are still trying to predict if a brand-new, deadlier version would develop from the ones we now have.

“We are dealing with a completely novel virus here. And we don’t know how many other paths this particular virus might have. We don’t know at this stage,” said Kristian Andersen from Scripps Research.

“I guarantee you that there are people who have been persistently infected with delta and alpha who have some weird combinations of mutations. And I’m fully prepared for a delta-based or alpha-based omicron-like event where one of those zombie viruses that’s been cooking away within someone emerges,” concluded Michael Worobey of the University of Arizona.


High Airfares to Continue Until Next Year says Analysts

This year, many passengers found it difficult to find affordable airfares. Unfortunately, analysts say this will extend until 2023.

Airlines place responsibility for several causes for the rise in ticket costs. High gas prices, inflation, and a shortage of seats for customers are a few of them. In addition, because of workforce shortages, constrained flight schedules, and delays, airline management is forced to increase costs dramatically. Yet, even with this, travelers continue to buy tickets without hesitation.

“Holiday flights are going to be expensive once again. This is because the pricing power has shifted back to the airlines for winter holiday travel,” said Scott Keyes, the founder of Scott’s Cheap Flights.

Last May, Hopper, a fare-tracking company, observed a significant increase in domestic airfares. Costs increased more this year than the previous, though. Hopper stated that the average flight increased by 19% to $274 compared to costs from the previous year. Meanwhile, the cost of domestic roundtrips increased this year by 40% to $390.

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A windfall caused an increase in airfares

The three largest US airlines—Delta, American, and United—remain profitable despite the nation’s rising inflation. In fact, during the third quarter of 2022, they all reported sales and profit highs. As the Christmas season approaches, market analysts anticipate that the airlines will maintain their streak. Additionally, this trend occurs without decreasing airfare pricing.

Due to the significant losses they suffered during the Covid pandemic, analysts claim that airlines are now optimizing their revenue streak. However, in light of the worldwide lockdowns, airline firms suffered an unprecedented loss, forcing several to declare bankruptcy or temporarily cease operations. In addition, many airline employees left their employment since the firms could no longer afford the expenses.

“With hybrid work, every weekend could be a holiday weekend. That’s why September, a normally off-peak month, was the third strongest month in our history,” added the CEO of Unites, Scott Kirby.

“If you go look at our Thanksgiving schedule right now, there’s less peak-to-trough variability there than certainly, I’ve seen in the schedule for a number of years,” said Vasu Raja, the chief commercial officer of American.

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Limited seats of airlines

One of the top US airline firms, Delta, stated that it still needs to return to its full capacity. American plans to restore between 95% and 100% of its seating capacity by the following year. The three major airlines said they would reduce their planes’ seating capacity by as much as 10% for the fourth quarter. And this is the main reason why airfares are rising.

“It shows you customers want to treat themselves. I think that’s a phenomenon that continues not just now. But also if there is any type of stagnation in the economy as well,” said Robert Isom, the CEO of American.

Booking ahead

To avoid exorbitant prices and completely booked flights during the busy season, Keyes, Scott’s creator of Cheap Flights, recommended customers make their reservations early.

“When you are opening your Christmas presents, ideally, that’s when you should be thinking about booking those summer flights,” he said.

“You can make your plans in pencil rather than in pen. Last-minute fares tend to move in one direction, and it’s not down,” Keyes added.


Jan 6 Committee Subpoenaed Former President Trump

The House Select Committee for the Jan 6 Capitol Riot Hearing served a subpoena for former United States president Donald Trump.

The Committee stated they requested Trump to testify under oath and that Trump must present documents related to the Jan 6 violence by November 4. Trump must come before the Court on or before November 14 to provide his testimony.

“As demonstrated in our hearings, we have assembled overwhelming evidence, including from dozens of your former appointees and staff, that you personally orchestrated and oversaw a multi-part effort to overturn the 2020 presidential election and to obstruct the peaceful transition of power,” wrote the Committee to Trump.

As stated in the letter, the committee members feel that Trump sought to rig the election and played a significant role in the rioting on Jan 6.

“In short, you were at the center of the first and only effort by any US President to overturn an election and obstruct the peaceful transition of power, ultimately culminating in a bloody attack on our own Capitol and on the Congress itself,” the letter added.

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The answer to the subpoena

The statement met with a rapid response from Trump and his legal team. The judgment is unusual, added Trump’s legal advisor David Warrington. Meanwhile, the former president called the Committee’s statement “a total bust.” However, he did reassure the populace that they would respond to the subpoena following their inquiry.

“We understand that the Committee has publicly released a copy of its subpoena once again, flouting norms and appropriate and customary process. As with any similar matter, we will review and analyze it. And will respond as appropriate to this unprecedented action,” he said.

“Why didn’t the Unselect Committee ask me to testify months ago? Why did they wait until the very end, the final moments of their last meeting? Because the Committee is a total ‘BUST’ that has only served to divide further our Country, which, by the way, is doing very badly. A laughing stock all over the World?” Trump said.

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The basics of the Jan 6 riot subpoena

Ignoring the subpoena

To issue a subpoena means legally compelling someone to produce a document or give a courtroom testimony. However, Aziz Huq from the University of Chicago thinks that the Court must uphold the subpoena. In effect, this should force Trump to turn up the document. Trump and his team must thus appear in Court to answer questions.

Not cooperating

The Committee may pursue two significant legal options if Trump refuses to cooperate. One is to find Trump guilty in accordance with a statute from 1857 that allows prosecutors to charge someone with contempt of Congress. The second is to bring a civil action or criminal contempt. Trump may face a $1,000 fine or jail time as a result.

If Republicans win, what happens to Jan 6 hearing

Republicans would have enough power to get the subpoena against Trump withdrawn if they win the November elections. Additionally, they have the authority to invalidate the Jan 6 committee, relieving Trump of the legal issues it raised.


CDC Plans to Continue Giving Free Vaccinations to Uninsured Children

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guaranteed Covid vaccinations for uninsured children.

The CDC initiated the step when vaccine manufacturers intended to commercialize Covid vaccinations. According to the health department, they plan to administer vaccines to uninsured youngsters for free as a precaution so that Covid will no longer claim lives, as it has done in recent years.

The United States Federal Government created the Vaccines for Children initiative. And as part of the scheme, the CDC declared that children without insurance would receive the vaccination for free.

The CDC and the government’s initiative

The US government set up Vaccinations for Children to assist low-income families in obtaining Covid-19 vaccines. The CDC program hands out vaccines to children under the age of 19, with qualified beneficiaries including uninsured children, underinsured persons, Native Americans, and those on Medicaid.

During the pandemic, the Biden administration provided free Covid vaccinations. However, now that the conditions have improved, Biden seeks to commercialize the vaccinations. Unfortunately, this entails that individuals must pay for the vaccination starting in 2023.

The CDC, on the other hand, regards the change as regressive to low-income families. As a result, the CDC announced many healthcare grants to qualifying persons to provide free immunizations. Children as young as six months old receive immunizations from Moderna and Pfizer. Furthermore, the organization vows to give immunizations targeting the newer Omicron version to eligible children.

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Affecting many people

According to the CDC, the final removal of the Covid emergency programs resulted in vaccination inaccessibility for children. Many would suffer, for example, if Biden repeals the Children’s Health Insurance Program, which is in operation during the pandemic. As a result, the CDC’s new initiative favors the poor by allowing the vulnerable and those without finances to continue receiving the vaccination.

“This is an access issue. This is an issue to allow children that don’t have insurance to gain access to this vaccine,” said Dr. Jose Romero, the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases director.

According to CDC data, nearly 162,000 children under 18 have already been hospitalized due to COVID-19 since August 2020. Even though the effects are less extreme than in adults, the CDC stated that increasing children’s access to vaccinations is crucial to help the nation reduce further fatalities.

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Removing Covid emergency programs

The possibility of the health programs being repealed during the pandemic prompted alarm among health authorities. According to agencies, they expect the withdrawal to affect around 15 million people.

“We’re in the third year of the pandemic. We’ve gone through hell. And we’ve sacrificed. We’ve used all kinds of emergency powers. So if you’re going to end all that, you have to end it transparently, honestly, with the American public about what they gain and what they lose,” said Lawrence Gostin from Georgetown University in Washington, DC.

“It could affect emergency use authorization, where you couldn’t give these EUAs, so the FDA would have to approve the drug fully. So it could have enormous knock-on effects that need to be carefully thought through,” he added.


Time Out Publishes Top Neighborhoods to Visit

Time Out enables you to finish your journey by learning about the hidden gems of a location. So, tourists often seek to learn more about the local way of life.

There is something about getting to know a town outside the popular attractions and eateries that captures a culture in its purest state.

Firstly, It may be a hidden pub only locals know about or a café serving a beverage you’ve never tried before. On the other side, it may be a restaurant serving regional dishes unavailable at the hotels you are presently staying at.

Time Out lists the places. Additionally, Time Out publishes an annual list of hidden treasures in various locations. The media company argues that since they better represent the local culture than the general tourist packages, tourists should pay greater attention to the local scene.

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Time Out and its top spots

Colonia Americana heads the list of hippest neighborhoods. The crowded and bustling site is located in western Mexico’s Guadalajara City. However, the media brand said Colonia Americana won the prize because of its ideal fusion of its old houses, indigenous art, music, and scenery.

“Guadalajara is just emerging as a must-visit — and Colonia Americana is the place to be right now. It’s home to a boundary-pushing creative community, a growing number of amazing places to eat, and some of the best nightlife in the western hemisphere. And the street life is unbeatable,” said James Manning, the Travel Editor of Time Out.

The long list of spots

Time Out interviews people from around the world, including residents and visitors. The organization starts by asking the respondents about their preferred locations close to or inside their locale. Time Out tallies the top spot after compiling all replies, frequently producing a list of more than 50 sites. The number of slots is then reduced to 20, then to 10. The top 50 locations are all the greatest to visit, according to Time Out. The greatest of the best, nevertheless, may be found in the top ten slots.

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Here are the Top 25  coolest neighborhoods:

  1. Colonia Americana – Guadalajara, Mexico
  2. Cais do Sodré – Lisbon, Portugal
  3. Wat Bo Village – Siem Reap, Cambodia
  4. Ridgewood – New York City, USA
  5. Mile End – Montreal, Canada
  6. Barrio Logan – San Diego, USA
  7. Shimokitazawa – Tokyo, Japan
  8. Cliftonville – Margate, UK
  9. Barrio Yungay – Santiago, Chile
  10. Cours Julien – Marseille, France
  11. Shawlands – Glasglow, UK
  12. Dundas West – Toronto, Canada
  13. Vila Madalena – Sao Paulo, Brazil
  14. San Isidro – Havana, Cuba
  15. Neukolln – Berlin, Germany
  16. Avondale – Chicago, USA
  17. Walthamstow – London, UK
  18. Sants – Barcelona, Spain
  19. Little India – Singapore
  20. Rione Sanita – Naples, Italy
  21. Silver Lake – Los Angeles, USA
  22. Wan Chai – Hong Kong
  23. Barrio de las Letras – Madrid, Spain
  24. Vesterbro – Copenhagen, Denmark
  25. West End – Vancouver, Canada

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Source: CNN

WHO Asks for Help From Other Countries Following Ebola Outbreak in Africa

In the East African country, an Ebola epidemic is causing widespread panic. The World Health Organization is already monitoring the situation in order to prevent the deadly virus from spreading to other African countries.

However, the WHO is appealing to the international community for assistance as Ebola cases continue to be reported in the region.

In East Africa’s five districts, the health agency has now documented 74 confirmed cases of the Ebola virus. 39 of the 74 individuals died as a result of the illness, while 14 recovered. The WHO is confident that with adequate interventions and international support, they will be able to block Ebola before it spreads further throughout the country and beyond. Furthermore, the WHO is monitoring around 660 people who might have been infected with Ebola.

 “Our primary focus now is to support the government Uganda now to rapidly control and contain this outbreak, to stop it from spreading to neighboring districts and neighboring countries,” said WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.

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Most cases recorded in Uganda

The Ebola virus was discovered in Uganda in late September when a villager began to develop various symptoms and was proven positive for the infection by health officials. The viral strain is known as Sudan ebolavirus, and there are currently no certified or licensed vaccines or therapies for it.

Ebola is not transmitted over the air, according to the WHO. People catch the illness instead when they come into touch with someone who has been infected with it or has died from it. In addition, Ebola spreads when a person comes into contact with infected items or materials.

Furthermore, health professionals warned that Ebola would not be able to spread until its symptoms appeared, which usually takes 2 to 21 days. Infected people in Uganda’s Ebola outbreak currently display symptoms of the virus for 8 to 10 days on average.

The US takes precautions

Meanwhile, the US government has instructed visitors and residents who have visited Uganda to contact the hospital promptly for testing and monitoring. Furthermore, several airports now demand medical exams before allowing a person to enter the nation. This covers New York, Atlanta, Chicago O’Hare, Washington Dulles, and Newark airports.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are also working with airlines to conduct the testing, and airlines are making trip information readily available to the health agency as a precaution. According to a federal health official, the database is also being used by state and local health authorities. The US wants to make certain that no stone is left unturned, as Ebola is infectious and might pose a new concern in a post-Covid economy.

Fortunately, there have been no verified Ebola cases in years. The latest Ebola case in the United States was discovered in 2014 following a trip to West Africa. The sickness killed the Dallas native, infecting two other healthcare personnel, both of whom have since recovered.

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According to the CDC website, symptoms of Ebola include:

  • Fever
  • Aches and pains, such as severe headache and muscle and joint pain
  • Weakness and fatigue
  • Sore throat
  • Loss of appetite
  • Gastrointestinal symptoms, including abdominal pain, diarrhea, and vomiting
  • Unexplained hemorrhaging, bleeding or bruising
  • Other symptoms may include red eyes, skin rash, and hiccups (late-stage)


As Hurricane Ian Pummelled Through Florida, Thousands are at Risk of Losing their Jobs

Hurricane Ian caused enormous devastation, and numerous U.S. regions continued to experience its impacts for weeks and months. Florida will probably be impacted, given the state took the brunt of the hurricane’s destruction.

According to analysts, employees could be pushed to leave their positions, especially those who would apply for unemployment benefits. The local economy would suffer if this occurred and would only make a gradual recovery.

While estimations far exceed those of prior Florida records, the full amount of Ian’s devastation has not yet been determined. It will be the most expensive storm damage in Florida history, though, if the current forecasts are accurate and continue to rise.

Damage estimates from RMS, a company that models disasters, ranging from $53 billion to $74 billion.

According to Action Economics’ Minke Englund, who compared the situation in Florida to what occurred in Texas after Hurricane Harvey, when almost 50,000 Texans lost their jobs, joblessness is unavoidable.

“Certainly, there’s going to be some short-term displacement, but it’s hard to predict exactly what that will look like in the Florida context or in the Southeast more generally. Particularly in coastal communities and within tourism, how long those effects persist depends on the sector’s ability to rebuild,” said Lynn Karoly from the RAND Corporation.

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Low-income individuals suffer the most

Due to access to insurance, catastrophe funds, cash flows, and taking on debt to rebuild their buildings and resume operations, larger businesses will generally do better in terms of recovering from a disaster.

However, employees will face more difficulties, particularly low-wage ones.

“The resilience factor could be lower among the lower-wage workforce, and even their employers may also be rethinking about how they staff the positions that they need to fill,” Karoly added.

Before Ian struck, Florida already had a competitive market. However, workers will find it more challenging to adapt to the market under changing circumstances.

According to Dave Gilbertson, vice president of the technology firm UKG, parts of Florida that have been severely affected have already had a 50% reduction in workforce activity, which means a loss of economic activity and money for workers.

“It’s pretty uncommon to see a nearly 50% decline. This is a deeper disaster than we’ve seen over the past couple of years. They’re losing so much personally, but they’re also losing the ability to work and support their family. A lot of hourly workers are living paycheck-to-paycheck [and] dealing with rising inflation by pulling down their savings and utilizing more credit cards. The ability to withstand any kind of disruption is minimal,” Gilbertson said.

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A similarity with Hurricane Katrina

Economists are contrasting the current situation with what happened after Hurricane Katrina. However, they also concluded that there could be some similarities between the issues raised by Hurricane Katrina’s aftermath and those raised by Ian.

“There will be a significant slowdown in the job openings in the state, [but] it’s a very strong economy, and hurricanes are not new to them,” said an economist at ZipRecruiter.

“Hurricanes have differing economic effects, depending on whether the area is one that people are moving into or out of. Hurricane recoveries tend to accelerate whatever economic transitions might have been underway when the storm hit, leaving a building surge in growing areas but economic blight in contracting areas,” added Englund.


Three Economists Awarded with the Nobel Prize in Economics

One of those honored with the Nobel Prize in economics is Ben Bernanke, the former head of the US Federal Reserve. Douglas Diamond and Philip Dybvig are also awarded together with Bernanke.

The three Nobel prize recipients were recognized for their contributions to economics, notably in managing financial crises.

The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences claims that economists were honored for their critical works from the 1980s.

According to the academy, the three people were crucial in determining whether a bank is important, which also said that effective bank administration might lessen economic downturns and avert financial meltdowns.

The economists’ work

Bernanke conducted a study on the Depression. He was able to win the Nobel Prize as a result of this. In addition, using his knowledge, Bernanke was able to manage the 2008 global financial crisis.

“People had seen that banks fail, but it was more thought [of] as a consequence of the crisis rather than [a] cause of the crisis,” said the Nobel Committee, John Hassler.

“Now the views of Bernanke have become the conventional wisdom.”

Meanwhile, Diamond and Dyvbig received awards for strengthening the bond between the bank, the borrowers, and the savers. The two contend that these organizations’ objectives are linked together.

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For instance, savers want to keep a cash reserve in case of an emergency, whereas borrowers want to access funds but wish to pay the amount in installments.

Therefore, lenders should be in good standing, according to Diamond and Dyvbig, as this might damage their transactions.

In a news conference, Diamond underlined that the United Kingdom’s markets would be unstable due to the increase in interest rates.

However, he thinks that UK professionals and economists are sufficiently aware of the lessons learned from the 2008 market meltdown.

“Recent memories of that crisis and improvements in regulatory policies around the world have left the system much, much less vulnerable,” he said.

What Bernanke did

Looking more closely at Bernanke’s accomplishments, he previously chaired the Fed from 2006 to 2014. He successfully stopped the repercussions that hurt the US economy when he was in charge of the agency.

In his capacity as chair, Bernanke also started a program to buy assets that would support economic growth. He also improved communication between the public and the central bank.

Bernanke thought that disclosing the intentions and strategies of the central bank to the public may benefit both parties in managing their finances. These tactics are now the guidelines established by the Feds.

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“There’s a lot of question on … the legal ways the US regulators could have resolved Lehman, and some claim it was essentially impossible for them to do it. But had they found a way I think the world would have had less of a severe crisis than it did,” Diamond added.

The Nobel Prize, also known as the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences, is given to those whose achievements in their particular professions have had a significant impact on society and the globe.

A monetary reward of 10 million Swedish kronor, or $885,370, is also included. The three will each receive an equal share of the prize.


Peloton Decides to Cut Back on Costs Again, Slashing Jobs and Increasing Prices

To escape its present financial problems, Peloton will undertake another round of layoffs. The business is likewise raising the prices of its goods and services.

Barry McCarthy, the CEO of Peloton, stated that his new management’s cost-cutting plan would assist the business in making up for the losses it suffered in the previous fiscal year.

Peloton has reduced employment a few times recently; the most recent layoff occurred in August of this year. This time, the fitness center will let rid of 500 staff members.

“A key aspect of Peloton’s transformation journey is optimizing efficiencies and implementing cost savings to simplify our business and achieve break-even cash flow by the end of our fiscal year,” stated Peloton in a statement.

The corporation also stated that the layoffs are a part of the restructuring process, which started this year in February. In addition, McCarthy began serving as the company’s CEO during this time frame.

McCarthy backed Peloton’s choice and told the company’s staff that it was a price worth paying to prevent Peloton from falling, particularly in light of the fact that the US economy is now struggling due to inflation and other challenges, which is driving up the price of raw materials.

McCarthy stated that Peloton’s retail division had large losses in 2021, amounting to $100 million.

“Together, we have dramatically restructured Peloton’s business. You should be incredibly proud of what we have accomplished. This has not been easy,” said the CEO.

With the most recent round of dismissals, Peloton has already let go of more than 12% of its workforce. Less than half as many people work for the firm now as there were for Peloton a year ago, about 4,000.

The decision was the “heaviest in its marketing operation,” according to The Wall Street Journal.

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The decision made by the company in August

When the business announced a deficit of more than $1.2 billion in August, workforce reductions were implemented. Comparing the amount to what Peloton made last year, the overall revenue has decreased by 30%. In August, Peloton made the decision to let go of roughly 800 workers, claiming that this was done to make the business “more efficient, cost-effective, and agile.”

“We have to make our revenues stop shrinking and start growing again. Cash is oxygen. Oxygen is life,” said McCarthy.

Peloton also made the decision to scale back the number of its operating outlets in North America as part of its cost-cutting plan. Re-establishing the gym environment as the primary fitness setting is the company’s biggest issue. The outcome was stagnation in Peloton’s subscription and bike sales.

Peloton’s natural enemy

An expert noted that Peloton would face significant difficulties given its natural opponent. As more people attend gyms and other leisure activities in person, thanks to the ease of constraints, the corporation cannot compel individuals to stop attending gyms.

“(The changes are a) continuation of the company trying to right-size itself after grossly overestimating post-pandemic demand for its products,” said the economist.

“While Peloton has already taken some corrective action, its losses are spiraling out of control, and there is a desperate need to course correct to stabilize the balance sheet and restore investor confidence.”

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McCarthy, as the CEO

Tech executive McCarthy served as the CEO of Peloton. The firm is hopeful that he will be able to aid them in recovering from their situation. The price increases, layoffs, and shop closings were announced by Peloton when he took control in February. For instance, Peloton upped the cost of its Bike+, raising the price by $500 to $2,495 while increasing the cost of its treadmill by $800 to $3,495.

McCarthy decided to take out a $750 million loan from Wall Street in order to cover its operating costs after Peloton reported reduced sales and the firm only had $879 million in reserves.


Investigative Report Shows Persistence of Abuses in NWSL Even Amid Players’ Complaints

The National Women’s Soccer League is in a bind following an investigation that uncovered sexual coercion, verbal abuse, and sexual misbehavior by various league coaches.

The study also highlights the league’s officials’ apathy despite years of complaints from players.

The report was put together by former US Attorney General Sally Q. Yates. Following criticism from The Athletic and The Washington Post, the league decided to request that Yates undertake a more comprehensive inspection of soccer players’ charges.

We can formulate significant ideas from Yate’s report after rigorous inspection and analysis of the cases.

The issue is systemic

Yates was mainly influenced by the actions of the NWSL’s coaches, Rory Dames, Christy Holly, and Paul Riley. However, the US Soccer Federation, teams, and the league and their absence of responsibility also had a role in persisting abuses.

The study, however, did not simply tackle the individual crimes perpetrated by the parties; it also linked and addressed the matter to the more extensive systematic abuse against women.

“Our investigation has revealed a league in which abuse and misconduct—verbal and emotional abuse and sexual misconduct—had become systemic, spanning multiple teams, coaches, and victims,” added the report.

“Abuse in the NWSL is rooted in a deeper culture in women’s soccer, beginning in youth leagues, that normalizes verbally abusive coaching and blurs boundaries between coaches and players.”

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Still accepted despite being found guilty

While some teams terminated their coaches after being caught, others continued to welcome them. This simply indicates that the penalties for the atrocities they committed had no impact on their careers.

“[A]busive coaches moved from team to team, laundered by press releases thanking them for their service, and positive references from teams that minimized or even concealed misconduct.”

“Those at the NWSL and USSF in a position to correct the record stayed silent. And no one at the teams, the League, or the Federation demanded better of coaches.”

Stakeholders did not participate

Yates tried to connect with other coaches and teams involved in the claims but was unsuccessful. Furthermore, additional interviews that might have broadened the treatment of the matter were omitted from Yates’ 300-page report.

“Certain witnesses— including the former Commissioner of the NWSL, Jeff Plush—never responded to our outreach. Others refused to be interviewed, some because they feared retaliation. Still others—including former USSF Chief Executive Officer Dan Flynn—agreed only to respond to written questions rather than sit for an interview. Certain teams did not fully cooperate, notwithstanding public statements to the contrary.”

“The Portland Thorns interfered with our access to relevant witnesses and raised specious legal arguments in an attempt to impede our use of relevant documents. Racing Louisville FC refused to produce documents concerning Christy Holly and would not permit witnesses (even former employees) to answer relevant questions regarding Holly’s tenure, citing the non-disclosure and non-disparagement agreements it signed with Holly. The Chicago Red Stars unnecessarily delayed the production of relevant documents over the course of nearly nine months.”

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In-charge’s inaction

Yates noted that the lack of progress is due not to a lack of substantive complaints by the players but to the unwillingness of those in control to act on the complaints hurled by the players to abusive coaches.

“(Players) repeatedly brought their concerns to the teams, to the league, and to the Federation, which founded and acted as manager of the league during much of the relevant time period.”

“But those who were in a position to make a difference didn’t. They not only failed to respond appropriately to evidence of abuse, they had also failed to institute the most basic measures to prevent and address these issues to begin with, even as some of them privately acknowledged the need for these things like an anti-harassment policy,” stated Yates.

“Without these protections in place and without the transparency necessary to ensure misconduct wasn’t swept under the rug, abusive coaches moved from team to team.”


Authors to Receive Rewards for the 2022 National Books Awards

The finalists for this year’s National Book Awards have already been unveiled by the organization that endows the honors. The occasion should highlight this year’s up-and-coming authors while welcoming back many others.

To give one example, Yoko Tawada and Margaret Mistutani were shortlisted for Translated Literature after winning the National Book Award in the same category in 2018.

The lineup also includes nominees Sharon Olds, Scholastique Mukasonga, and Gayl Jones. For her work on “The Birdcatcher,” Jones received a nomination in the Fiction category. In addition, Mukasonga received a nomination for “Kibogo” in the Translated Literature category, while Olds received a nomination for “Balladz” in the Poetry Category.

Meanwhile, Alejandro Varela (The Town of Babylon), Sarah Thankam Mathews (All This Could Be Different), and Sarah Tess Gunty (The Rabbit Hutch) were all listed for their debut novels in the Fiction category.

The Young People’s Literature Category Finalists will also get acknowledgment from the National Books Awards, the first of its kind in the organization’s history.

Tommie Smith, a finalist who is well-known for speaking out against racial discrimination at the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico, is among the top seeds. Smith is well-known in the United States as an athlete and for his bravery.

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The National Books Awards are ready to unveil the recipients on November 16 in New York City. The lifetime achievement awards will also go to Traci D. Hall and Art Spiegelman.

Hall is the first African American woman to hold the role of executive director of the American Library Association.

In addition, the winners of the categories will receive $10,000 in monetary rewards from the National Books Awards. The complete list of contestants, along with the books they submitted, is shown below.


Tess Gunty, The Rabbit Hutch

Gayl Jones, The Birdcatcher

Jamil Jan Kochai, The Haunting of Hajji Hotak and Other Stories

Sarah Thankam Mathews, All This Could Be Different

Alejandro Varela, The Town of Babylon


Meghan O’Rourke, The Invisible Kingdom: Reimagining Chronic Illness

Imani Perry, South to America: A Journey Below the Mason-Dixon to Understand the Soul of a Nation

David Quammen, Breathless: The Scientific Race to Defeat a Deadly Virus

Ingrid Rojas Contreras, The Man Who Could Move Clouds: A Memoir

Robert Samuels and Toluse Olorunnipa, His Name Is George Floyd: One Man’s Life and the Struggle for Racial Justice

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Allison Adelle Hedge Coke, Look at This Blue

John Keene, Punks: New & Selected Poems

Sharon Olds, Balladz

Roger Reeves, Best Barbarian

Jenny Xie, The Rupture Tense

Translated Literature

Jon Fosse, A New Name: Septology VI-VII. Translated by Damion Searls

Scholastique Mukasonga, Kibogo. Translated by Mark Polizzotti

Mónica Ojeda, Jawbone. Translated by Sarah Booker

Samanta Schweblin, Seven Empty Houses. Translated by Megan McDowell

Yoko Tawada, Scattered All Over the Earth. Translated by Margaret Mitsutani

Young People’s Literature

Kelly Barnhill, The Ogress and the Orphans

Sonora Reyes, The Lesbiana’s Guide to Catholic School

Tommie Smith, Derrick Barnes and Dawud Anyabwile, Victory. Stand!: Raising My Fist for Justice

Sabaa Tahir, All My Rage

Lisa Yee, Maizy Chen’s Last Chance


New Study Finds Coffee an Effective Beverage Against Cardiovascular Illnesses

According to a recent study, having two to three cups of coffee each day can help prevent cardiovascular diseases and early mortality.

“The results suggest that mild to moderate intake of ground, instant and decaffeinated coffee should be considered part of a healthy lifestyle,” the author of the study, Peter Kistler, said.

Kistler oversees the Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute’s clinical electrophysiology research. In addition, he supervises electrophysiology at Melbourne’s Alfred Hospital.

The team has discovered three varieties of coffee with a number of other experts that greatly lower the risk of stroke, congestive heart failure, and coronary heart disease, among other disorders.

Caffeine-containing instant and ground coffee lower the risk of arrhythmia.

Decaffeinated coffee did not, however, reduce the likelihood of persons suffering irregular heartbeats, according to research published in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology.

On the other hand, drinking 3 to 5 cups of black coffee can help with a variety of disorders, including heart conditions, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, prostate cancer, type 2 diabetes, and liver disease.

“This manuscript adds to the body of evidence from observational trials associating moderate coffee consumption with cardioprotection, which looks promising,” nutritional sciences lecturer Charlotte Mills stated.

However, Mills notes that because the researchers’ results are observational in nature, they cannot completely rule out a cause-and-effect connection between the disorders and coffee consumption.

“Does coffee make you healthy, or do inherently healthier people consume coffee? Randomized controlled trials are needed to prove the relationship between coffee and cardiovascular health,” added Mills.

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Caffeinated ground coffee works wonders

Data from UK Biobank were used in the study. Over 450,000 persons in the research database who were free of arrhythmia and other cardiovascular disorders were assessed.

Individuals who preferred caffeinated ground coffee, those who opted to drink decaffeinated coffee, those who preferred caffeinated instant coffee, and those who did not consume coffee were split into groups by the researchers.

The patients’ data were compared by the researchers over a period of 12 and a half years, considering information on cardiovascular illnesses, arrhythmia, stroke, and mortality.

Additionally, other elements were factored. These include smoking status, blood alcohol content, age, diabetes, ethnicity, sex, obesity, high blood pressure, and tea consumption.

All varieties of coffee were shown to be moderately associated with lowering illnesses among people after analysis by the researchers.

Dietitian and professor Duane Mellow from Aston University Medical School, admits the benefits of caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee in lowering the incidence of cardiovascular illnesses.

Mellow argues that additional coffee compounds could contribute to the results, though.

“Caffeine is the most well-known constituent in coffee, but the beverage contains more than 100 biologically active components. It is likely that the non-caffeinated compounds were responsible for the positive relationships observed between coffee drinking, cardiovascular disease and survival,” contends Kistler.

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It needs more study

Even if the study provides excellent news for coffee lovers, experts are not quite confident in the study’s findings.

According to Annette Creedon of the British Nutrition Foundation, the study had a flaw since respondents to the survey self-reported how much coffee they drank.

“This study had a median follow-up period of 12.5 years during which many aspects of the participants’ diet and lifestyle may have changed,” she said.

Coffee advertises itself as a medicinal beverage, but certain people—such as those who have difficulties falling and staying asleep and those with uncontrolled diabetes—react adversely to it, according to Creedon.

So before making coffee a daily beverage, she thinks people should see their doctors.

“(These negative side effects” can be particularly relevant to individuals who are sensitive to the effects of caffeine. Hence, the findings of this study do not indicate that people should start drinking coffee if they do not already drink it or that they should increase their consumption,” Creedon said.

The findings are also significantly influenced by the coffee’s brewing technique. Mellor continues by advising people to think about the quantity of sugar, cream, milk, and other additives in the coffee they want to drink.

“A simple cup of coffee, perhaps with a little milk, is very different to a large latte flavored with a syrup and added cream,” stated Mellor.


Maldivian Resorts Spearhead Fight Against Improper Waste Disposal

With the majority of its islands barely a few feet above sea level, the Maldives is the world’s lowest-lying country. Most of the nation’s population won’t be able to live there by 2050 because, according to NASA, 80% of the country’s 1,200 islands in the Indian Ocean will be inundated in seawater.

But this is not the only issue the country is now dealing with. People worldwide visit the Maldives because of its beautiful beaches and locations.

Over 1.7 million visitors visited the Maldives annually before the outbreak. While the number decreased after the pandemic crippled the tourism industry, the movement is slowly gaining pace now that most countries have nearly thwarted the pandemic.

Due to a large number of visitors, the nation must deal with problems with inappropriate trash disposal. The Maldives tourist authority has repeatedly urged individuals to be responsible for the disposal of non-biodegradable waste.

However, it is insufficient to eliminate cases of inappropriate trash disposal.

The country’s abundant corals have suffered as a result. The treasure is particularly significant to the Maldives since it shapes their national identity.

But when scientists conducted a study of the region in 2016, they found that more than 60% of the Maldives’ pristine reefs were affected by coral bleaching caused by climate change.

“A large draw for tourism is the healthy ocean environment that visitors come to see. Clearly, this type of environment must be preserved in order to continue attracting high-spending tourism,” stated James Ellsmoor, the CEO of Island Innovation.

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Tourism, a paradox

The Maldives’ economy is mostly growing due to the tourist industry. Frequent tourist visits encourage local enterprises, which thrive primarily on delivering and selling products and services.

Simply put, the tourist industry is extremely important to the 540,000 residents of the Maldives.

However, the tourism industry is held accountable for environmental harm.

For example, resorts in the Maldives utilize a lot of energy annually to serve their millions of visitors. Therefore, an excessive amount of waste is being released into the environment.

Therefore, the 150+ resorts in the country are urged to “go green” in order to protect the environment.

“The high cost of importing fuel to power noisy, polluting generators simply does not make sense when compared to the much lower cost of solar, wind and battery storage,” Ellsmoor said.

In response to this situation, the Maldives government announced its efforts to save the environment, striving to become a carbon-neutral nation by 2030.

As a result, all single-use plastics should be prohibited in the Maldives starting next year.

Thankfully, Maldivian resorts have taken up the cause and are leading the charge to achieve sustainability, offering the same high level of luxury service while safeguarding the environment.

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Resorts are taking the helm

Up until now, little attention has been paid to waste in the Maldives. This is because the vast amounts of waste dumped into the environment over a long period were mostly caused by the tourism industry.

But a number of resorts and institutions have stepped up in response to recent appeals to protect the Maldives’ future.

Soneva Resorts, for instance, introduced its Eco Centro program. The project collects the resort’s trash and recycles about 90% of it.

Additionally, Soneva Resorts is the driving force behind Makers’ Place, which enables people to reinvent recycling and include art into it, producing marketable art and items like wall tiles and glassware.

This year saw the launch of Fairmont Maldives’ Sustainability Lab. The facility would collect plastics discovered on the resort property and those nearby, then modify the plastic for trade.

Maldivians who participate in the program develop their artistic talents, generate income, and preserve the environment.

The management of Fairmont Maldives says its goal is to become the “first zero-waste-generating resort in the country.”

“(We are) encouraging the next generation to care passionately about protecting the ecosystem and marine life that inhabits it,” said Sam Dixon, the company’s manager and resident marine biologist.



Nobel Peace Prize to be Awarded Amid Increasing Tension in Europe

This Friday in Norway, the Nobel Peace Prize will once more be awarded. The award is given in the midst of the tensest standoff in Europe in more than 70 years.

The ongoing hostility between the two nations makes this year’s Nobel Peace Prize one of the most significant and challenging ever. Consequently, the Norwegian committee found it challenging to choose the winner of one of the most prized honors on the globe.

Being awarded the Nobel Prize carries a lot of responsibility since it represents courage and optimism in the face of uncertainty, especially during turbulent times. But, according to experts, a number of circumstances would make the Nobel Peace Prize announcement ambiguous.

Dan Smith, director of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), said, “Sometimes, it’s hard to figure out who might get the prize because there are so many possible candidates.”

“This year, it’s hard to figure out who might get the prize because there’s so little good that is happening in the world of peace and security.”

Of all, the Nobel Prize is incredibly unexpected, and anyone might win the distinction. Therefore, the screening committee that evaluates applicants for the honor has maintained a secret. Experts in peace and security undoubtedly have candidates in mind who may win the prize, but even they are dubious because the selection committee’s decision-making procedure is unknown.

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The war between Ukraine and Russia

The Nobel Peace Prize was not awarded to any contender during the First and Second World Wars. Additionally, the reward has occasionally not been awarded at all. However, traditionally, the Nobel Prize was awarded when there was little hope or when several nations were struggling due to war.

And those who choose the prize laureate would have to make a critical choice given the current geopolitical circumstances in Europe. The reward will represent fostering peace, and as such, it will significantly impact their thoughts.

Several analysts have Volodymyr Zelensky, the president of Ukraine, and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees on their radar (UNCHR). Both have made a significant contribution to helping those in need. While the commissioner has aided displaced individuals due to conflict, Volodymyr is a figurehead who protects his people from Russian attacks.

“Zelensky is a war leader, and what is happening at the moment is war. You can admire or not admire the action he’s undertaking, but it’s about war and the armed defense of his country. That’s a fact that should be respected in and of itself,” added Smith.

“Hopefully, the war will come to an end, and they will make peace. If Zelensky or somebody else can contribute to making that peace, then there will be time to acknowledge that enormous achievement.”

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Russian critics might be considered

Due to the harsh treatment of its smaller neighbor by Russia, critics of Putin’s government may be in line to receive the Nobel Peace Prize, according to analysts. Alexey Navalny is one example who has subsequently spoken out against Russia’s policy and its conflict with Ukraine. It led to the imprisonment of Navalny. In addition, he was poisoned in 2020, and Navalny publicly assigned responsibility to the Russian government.

“Navalny, I think, is heroic, (but) he’s a political leader. It’s a prize that is to be awarded not for how great you are but for how great the things you’ve done are,” said Smith.

Another person who might be nominated for the Nobel prize is Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, an opposition leader in Belarus who campaigned against Putin’s staunch friend.

“Both Tsikhanouskaya and Navalny are vocal critics of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. A shared Nobel Peace Prize between them would be seen as a clear protest of the Russian aggression and the assistance by Belarus, and as support of democratic and non-violent alternatives to Lukashenko and Putin.”


Hurricane Ian Almost Became a Category 5 Hurricane, a Rarity in the US

This week’s Hurricane Ian already made landfall in Florida, carrying winds of more than 155 mph. Hurricane Ian strengthened after it made landfall in Cuba, and weather forecasters anticipated that it was on track to become a Category 5 hurricane—a category that the United States had only rarely risen in its history.

Only four storms that were classified as Category 5 have been documented in US history. Category 5 hurricanes, according to meteorologists, are storms with maximum sustained winds of 157 miles per hour or higher. So, Hurricane Ian was on the verge of becoming one.

The US has been affected by four Category 5 hurricanes, three of which made landfall in Florida and one in Mississippi.

Categorization of hurricanes

The Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale is used in the US to classify hurricanes that are forming locally. The scale is also used to estimate the potential degree of harm that a storm may do to the areas it strikes.

According to the National Hurricane Center, Category 5 storms: “Catastrophic damage will occur: A high percentage of framed homes will be destroyed, with total roof failure and wall collapse. Fallen trees and power poles will isolate residential areas. Power outages will last for weeks to possibly months. Most of the area will be uninhabitable for weeks or months.”

Although Category 5 hurricanes are the fiercest, lesser category storms can occasionally cause more damage. Hurricanes like Category 3 Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and Category 4 Hurricane Maria in 2017 have caused considerable damage.

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Here are four Category 5 storms in the US:

Labor Day Hurricane in 1935

The Labor Day Hurricane, which had gusts of up to 185 mph, devastated the Florida Keys on September 2, 1935. It is regarded as the most powerful hurricane to ever make landfall in the US. Four hundred nine lives were lost, and countless houses were damaged by the Labor Day Hurricane.

“Practically all losses from the hurricane were suffered in Florida, with most occurring in the Florida Keys. A swath of destruction 40 [miles] wide occurred across the Keys, from just south of Key Largo to just north of Marathon,” said the Hurricanes: Science and Society.

“Most manmade structures were destroyed by the hurricane’s Category 5 winds, which gusted at times to over 200 mph, and the complete inundation of the islands by a 15-20 ft storm surge.”

Hurricane Camille (1969)

Hurricane Camille is regarded as the second-strongest hurricane to ever make landfall in the US, with a maximum sustained wind of more than 170 miles per hour. On August 17, 1969, it struck Mississippi and left more than 250 people dead.

“The impacts of Hurricane Camille were felt across much of the southeast U.S., especially southeast Mississippi and southwest Alabama. Most of the inland damage was a result of fallen trees and power lines, while damage on the immediate coast was caused by both wind and storm surges. Communities saw homes and buildings damaged or destroyed, fallen trees, and flooded roads,” the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said.

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Hurricane Andrew (1992)

The 165 mph winds of Hurricane Andrew caused devastation in South Miami-Dade County.

“Hurricane Andrew destroyed more than 50,000 homes and caused an estimated $26 billion in damage, making it at the time the most expensive natural disaster in the United States history, not to be surpassed until Hurricane Katrina 13 years later,” NOOA said.

Hurricane Michael (2018)

Hurricane Michael is the most recent addition to the rare group of Category 5 storms to make landfall in the United States, clocking in at over 161 miles per hour. On October 10, 2018, it struck the Florida Panhandle with maximum sustained winds of 161 miles per hour.

“Wind and storm surge caused catastrophic damage, particularly in the Panama City Beach and Mexico Beach areas. Eight direct fatalities were reported: seven in Florida and one in Georgia. In addition, 43 indirect deaths were attributed to the storm.” said the National Weather Service.

Photo Credit: Universal Images Group

Source: NPR

Cuba is Without Electricity After Hurricane Ian Hit, Florida Braces

This Wednesday, after Hurricane Ian’s powerful winds wreaked havoc on the country’s western area, energy company employees in Cuba strive to restore the electricity to thousands of homes in the nation. Following the hurricane’s impact, there is currently a widespread blackout across the country.

On Tuesday, the Pinar del Rio province was badly affected by the Category 3 hurricane, which made landfall near La Coloma’s southwest. Weather forecasters predicted that Hurricane Ian would bring around 16 inches of rain, resulting in risky storm surges, mudslides, and flash floods. Authorities’ warnings prompted residents to leave their homes and head to evacuation shelters.

Cubans saw the devastation left behind by the hurricane, including trees torn from the ground, places immersed in water, and a country without electricity. Within a week, according to officials, electrical systems will resume functioning and supply power to nearly 11 million people.

To protect people, the National Electric System cut off its power in the interim. An underwater community is vulnerable to electrocutions, fatalities, and other associated harm or fatalities. However, as the water recedes and the weather improves, the management of the state-run power company said they would probably resume the grid’s electricity.

In the nation, blackouts are already frequent. In addition, power networks were often vulnerable to blackouts due to supply interruptions and limitations in fuel and other resources.

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Cubans chose to evacuate

Authorities were warned of Hurricane Ian, and a major evacuation was ordered. More than 38,000 people were compelled to leave their homes, particularly those in the Pinar del Rio Province. In order to prepare for the hurricane, other nearby regions were encouraged to take refuge in evacuation centers. The Pinal del Rio province is where many folk’s families are staying, and many reported having trouble communicating after the disaster hit.

Adriana Rivera, a resident of Spain, mentioned that she was unable to contact her relatives. They were among the people of Pinar del Rio who Hurricane Ian impacted. Rivera claims that she last spoke to her family during Hurricane Ian’s assault when she learned that her mother, sister, cousin, and nephew needed to go up to the house’s second story due to the flooding.

“They didn’t expect the hurricane to be this strong. I hope they’re okay. The uncertainty is killing me,” Rivera said.

Mayelin Suarez, who was exposed to Hurricane Ian’s fury, found the situation to be terrifying.

“We almost lost the roof of our house. My daughter, my husband and I tied it down with a rope to keep it from flying away,” Suarez shares.

The legendary tobacco of Cuba is farmed in Pinar del Rio, an area with millions of inhabitants. Pictures of Hurricane Ian’s severe damage to the area’s tobacco plantations were sent to the Cuban state media after the storm.

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The hurricane traveling to Florida

The storm is still not over. It is moving towards Florida after Cuba and has intensified into a Category 5 hurricane, alarming locals and government officials. Over 2.5 million people have been warned by weather officials to be prepared for the worst today.

Kevin Guthrie, Florida Division of Emergency Management Director, said, “I implore, I urge everyone that is in an evacuation zone that has been asked to evacuate – the time is now. You must evacuate now. There will be a time when it will not be safe to travel the roads.”

“There will come a point in time when local public safety officials will not be able to respond to your cry for help. You may be left to fend for yourself,” he added.

Meanwhile, Governor Ron DeSantis issued the same caution to millions of Floridians, saying, “This is going to be a lot of impacts that will be felt far and wide throughout the state of Florida. As the storm moves in, you’re going to potentially have (evacuation) directives issued from folks in the interior of our state or even the east coast of the state for low-lying areas that absolutely could end up flooding.”


The Dollar is Strengthening, What Does this Entail to Market Players

Right now, the U.S. dollar is strengthening and may soon reach its highest level in 20 years. As a result, many local, national, and international actors have experienced waves of excitement and anxiety as a result of the unexpected increase in the value of the American dollar.

The American economy is in a recession, which has led the Fed to raise interest rates. That, however, is not preventing the dollar from appreciating in value. Within economies all around the world, this process eventually produces winners and losers.

The British pound hit a record low on Monday as it lost ground against the U.S. dollar. To support economic development in the U.K., newly-installed Prime Minister Liz Truss proposed tax reductions and the suspension of increased business taxation. The energy crisis brought on by Russia’s supply restrictions is putting pressure on the U.K. to keep up with the mounting worries of Britons.

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The British pound has recently lost so much ground that its worth is approaching that of the U.S. dollar, alarming the Central Bank of the United Kingdom over the present dollar-to-pound exchange rate. Governor Andrew Bailey of the Bank of England stated that officials closely watch the issue.

A double-edged sword, the ascent of the dollar offers many people possibilities while also causing a catastrophe. Similar to the job market, where an increase in the unemployment rate creates work chances for certain people while creating a labor scarcity for others, the phenomenon is analogous to that.

Several political considerations, most notably the Ukraine and Russia conflict, helped propel the dollar’s rise. This is because businesses, investors, and nations convert their reserves into dollars whenever crises arise in specific parts of the world.

The Winners

Importers in the United States

Purchasing goods and raw materials overseas results in cheaper business costs since the dollar is worth more than other currencies.

“For importers, it’s a positive story. For anyone importing from the likes of China, importing raw metals and energy from abroad, that’s going to be positive for you — as long as it’s not priced in dollars, of course,” stated Jordan Rochester, a senior foreign strategist from Nomura Securities.

Travelers in the country

Since the value of the dollar and the euro are already equal, tourists from the U.S. would be able to get a better and more affordable hotel and lodging bargains. In addition, using the dollar might result in lower costs for them when they visit Europe and other adjacent regions.

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The Losers


American multinational corporations are suffering significantly due to the stronger currency. Multinational corporate leaders say that this has reduced their profitability in recent poll.

As an illustration, the San Francisco-based corporation Salesforce sells its software in several nations using multiple currencies. The company’s CEO, Marc Benioff, stated in the most recent financial report that the higher monetary worth would cost the business more than $800 million.

A decrease in value might occur, according to Michael Klein, a professor at Tufts University, particularly when businesses like Salesforce sell their products in a different currency before transferring them into American accounts.

“Repatriated profits from abroad, in euros or pounds or yen, are going to be worth less in dollars because a dollar is stronger,” he said.

U.S. Exporters

It is the opposite for exporters as the situation for importers improves. A greater dollar value will discourage foreign consumers from buying American products since they will be more costly on supermarket shelves.


Pakistan Confronts Another Crisis Following Widespread Floods

Following the torrential rains and flooding, Pakistan’s population is now faced with a new issue. Infants lie on hospital beds, some of whom are battling for their lives and others who have already succumbed to illnesses brought on by the accumulated floodwater that has killed people and afflicted millions.

Fatalities occur every hour, and the hospital’s hallways are filled with the wails of guardians who have done all their power to stop the worst from happening. In Pakistani hospitals, cholera is the leading cause of baby mortality. Bacteria that can be acquired from consuming contaminated drinking water are what causes the sickness.

Numerous areas of Pakistan now often experience other waterborne illnesses. For instance, the Mother and Child Healthcare Hospital in Pakistan’s Sindh Province record roughly ten child fatalities per day. All of them are brought on by ailments from water-related illnesses, which were mostly brought on by the most recent floods.

Numerous young patients are crowded together inside wards and the emergency room of the same hospital. Children are seen crying out in agony while some are still unconscious in the heartbreaking sights. Patients who are obviously malnourished and seem pale and skinny are cared for by nurses.

In the hopes that their children may survive, the parents of the patients wait impatiently outside the emergency department.

“The floods came, and the rain fell. And then our patients came in like the floods,” said Dr. Nazia Urooj.

The problem is unprecedented, experts said, and Pakistan now more than ever needs assistance from outside agencies. However, many healthcare facilities have not yet offered assistance, and if this pattern continues, the situation might worsen and result in additional infant fatalities.

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Only the beginning

Pakistan’s floods have claimed the lives of almost 1,600 people, while the increasing water has reportedly impacted an additional 33 million people. The catastrophe was brought on by melting glaciers in Pakistan’s north and monsoon rainfall.

Citizens were left at community centers without access to food or clean water to drink due to the water forcing them from their houses. Moreover, there is no access to other areas of the nation. For instance, due to impassable roads, Sindh residents have a challenging time getting medical care.

“Many children are not even reaching hospitals because the medical facilities they could access are either underwater or just not accessible,” said Aardarsh Leghari, the Communications Officer of UNICEF based in Pakistan.

Pakistan is plagued with many diseases

A number of ailments have now taken center stage as the floods are almost over and the water is slowly receding. The illnesses that have arisen as a result of the floods include dysentery, diarrhea, dengue fever, malaria, and others.

In addition to spreading illnesses, the flood displaced individuals from their houses or possibly rendered them completely homeless. For instance, Rani takes her ailing three-year-old kid to the Mother and Child Healthcare Hospital to get him medical attention. Despite her son’s illness, she reveals that their present living situation—on the side of the road with only a plastic sheet covering their roof—means that her health does not get any better.

The morning and the night provide new challenges, Rani said. She and a few other relocated families struggle with the sweltering heat in the morning, and at night, insects bite them.

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“We burn waste so mosquitoes cannot bite (the children). We remain active at night so our children can sleep,” Rani said.

Leghari claimed that mosquito infestations cause Pakistan’s problems.

“There are no mosquito nets. It’s the mosquitoes that are bringing in malaria and disease. The other is cholera. It’s like a plethora of diseases coming out of these floodwater lakes. This is going to turn into a bigger health crisis,” he said.

Mai Sabagi cries after her granddaughter succumbs from cholera. Photo: Javed Iqbal

Grandmother Mai Sabagi sobs as she remembers her five-year-old granddaughter, who had recently passed away from cholera.

“All this has happened because of the rains. We lost our clothes – everything. Our house has been damaged. We have not been given any relief. Poor people cannot afford treatment,” Mai said.


Residents Depending on Lake Mead for Supply Fear of Water Shortage

The largest water reservoir in the nation, Lake Mead, is on the verge of becoming a “deadpool,” meaning that the turbines of the nearby hydroelectric facilities would not be able to operate effectively. The incident would be the first in 86 years.

The likelihood of the possibility is quite high considering the clear changes Lake Mead is undergoing. For instance, Arthur Murzeau, a local traveler who made the trip to Las Vegas to visit the famed lake, claimed that the water is much lower than in pictures.

“I think we need [politicians] to take action. We need people to react and to be really aware of what’s going on,” said Murzeau.

Are people aware of the problem? — this is the issue.

Authorities have frequently sounded the alarm, warning of the looming disaster the country may face if the pattern continues, as the drought is at its worst in 1,200 years. Nevertheless, nothing has changed in Colorado’s population’s everyday lifestyle or activities. Over 40 million people rely on the river for their needs, according to statistics.

The increased calls informed numerous concerned departments, and protective measures were put in place. However, because areas anticipate a scarcity in the near future, analysts believe that the attempts may not be sufficient.

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What is ‘Mas Vegas’

Houses keep popping up south of Highway 39 and Hoover Dam, where there aren’t many water resources. RVs frequently go through the region known as “Mas Vegas,” which is continually being developed with homes.

The situation is the same in Rio Verde, in Phoenix’s northern outskirts. Realtor Karen Nabity expressed disappointment that so many individuals continue to be permitted to purchase properties in the region and construct homes there despite the scarcity of water.

“They don’t have a disclosure to the owner of that property to say, ‘you’re building this house, but do you know on January first we don’t have a water source for you,” Nabity said.

In the Rio Verde Foothills neighborhood, 500 homes will be at risk of running out of water in January 2023. Unfortunately, the towns in Scottsdale are using up all the water supplied by the Colorado River, so there isn’t much left over to distribute.

“The Colorado River won’t be flowing, water won’t be flowing down the [Central Arizona Project] canals, that should be an ‘oh shit’ to this entire state. I’m an Arizona native, and for God’s sakes, wake up, Arizona, we need to do something, and we need to do it now,” added Nabity.

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The solution to the problem

Nabity said that due to communication provided to them in 2016, they were not caught off guard by the water scarcity. Therefore, Nabity started to assemble her neighbors in order to propose to the government the creation of a water district made to acquire property and water rights in order to discover a new source for their water reservoir. The suggestion is a widely used method in the nation. The Maricopa Country, however, rejected their proposal.

“What is our state doing? People are still planting grass; people are still watering yards. We need to have our state step up more and start doing bigger cutbacks now,” she said.

The Tucson city councilman expressed the same worry as many locals and suggested that more interventions be made.

“Three years from now, five years from now, whenever it is, we can all be standing along the banks of Colorado looking at a dry riverbed, saying all I did was take what I was entitled to, and we sucked it dry.”


Puerto Rico Sustains Damage from Floods, Power System Needs Improvement

Due to Hurricane Fiona’s onslaught this week, most of Puerto Rico is currently without electricity. Winds from the hurricane toppled trees and damaged power lines, leaving homes and commercial buildings without electricity.

Puerto Rico’s present energy crisis is evidence of its inadequate energy infrastructure. If the nation wants to avoid what happened when Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico five years ago, experts believe this needs to be handled as soon as possible.

The longest blackout in American history, lasting 11 months, occurred in numerous sections of Puerto Rico due to Hurricane Maria’s tremendous destruction of the island. Additionally, 3,000 people lost their lives as a result of the disaster.

Senator Chuck Schumer claims that Puerto Rico’s neglect of the issue has resulted in the island’s electrical infrastructure being “almost 50 years out of date,” even though international help was rushed in after Hurricane Maria, according to legislators. Schumer does, however, emphasize that the US government is making every effort to assist Puerto Rico.

“As our fellow Americans in Puerto Rico continue to feel the wrath of Hurricane Fiona, we continue to monitor the situation here in Congress. Over the weekend, President Biden issued an Emergency Disaster Declaration for Puerto Rico, where 75% of the costs of emergency medical care, disaster response, and food distribution will be covered by the Federal Government,” the senator said.

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“The electric grid is almost 50 years out of date. It’s particularly susceptible to hurricanes. It hasn’t even been repaired since the damage Hurricane Maria five years ago put upon it. And yet we’ve given lots of federal money for the reestablishment, or the rebuilding of the grid and very little has happened. So we need to focus on that issue as well as others.”

“Five years to the day after the arrival of Hurricane Maria, Puerto Rico needs help to recover from Hurricane Fiona. We need to make sure this time, Puerto Rico has absolutely everything it needs, as soon as possible, for as long as they need it.”

The hope amid the disaster

In preparation for power disruptions, Puerto Rico began installing solar and improved power systems for homes five years ago. According to Chris Rauscher, a senior director at Sunrun, the biggest residential solar provider in the US, the system lights up homes when there are power outages.

Solar firms claim that they would invest in improved solar setups even if the climate problem has given rise to larger and wetter hurricanes. Puerto Rico will notably benefit since stronger hurricanes are more likely to damage electricity infrastructure more frequently.

“It’s showing that renewables paired with storage … are really the fundamental building blocks of a clean recovery that we need to really focus on on the island and elsewhere,” said Rauscher.

According to John Berger, a senior executive of Sunnova, a similarly large solar firm, Puerto Rico is one of the ideal locations for advancing and expanding the use of solar-powered houses. He also asserts that modern technology, including solar energy, is superior to conventional power sources.

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Fossil fuel should be outed

As the US commits to renewable energy sources in the near future, Puerto Rico’s reliance on fossil fuels to power its electric networks is set to alter. The need for an alternative energy source increased due to the Russian reduction, which increased costs.

An agreement was made between the US and Puerto Rico in February of last year to complete the island’s electricity grid.

The energy reform of the nation, bringing it to sustainability and efficiency, is a goal of his administration, according to the governor of Puerto Rico, Pedro Pierluisi.

“I will make sure that every federal fund appropriated to Puerto Rico and allocated for the reconstruction of the power grid is used efficiently and effectively,” Pierluisi said.


U.N. Secretary General Emphasizes Need to Halt Use of Fossil Fuels

The United Nations secretary general urgently urges member countries to take a more aggressive position in the struggle against the use of fossil fuels. According to Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, countries should impose higher taxes on these businesses to raise money for the mitigation of climate change’s consequences.

As the economy falters and commodity prices soar to record highs, Guterres stressed that nations would use the tax revenue to provide financial aid to households.

The top official of the UN highlighted to the General Assembly that the fossil fuel sector is “feasting on hundreds of billions of dollars in subsidies and windfall profits while households’ budgets shrink and our planet burns.”

Guterres mentioned various players who keep the fossil fuel sector operating. However, he believes that they should all be held accountable for the global harm caused by the enterprise. “That includes the banks, private equity, asset managers and other financial institutions that continue to invest and underwrite carbon pollution,” he said.

The secretary-general also emphasized the need for public relations firms to protect their industry from any backlash from the populace by using marketing, propaganda, and other information-dissemination tools to divert the populace’s attention away from the underlying issue.

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Fossil fuel is still needed

Although Guterres forbids the use of fossil fuels and other associated items, he acknowledged that most nations still require them. Many businesses utilize gas, coal, and oil extensively in their operations. However, he thinks that nations must start preparing for their transition now to safeguard the environment.

“Of course, fossil fuels cannot be shut down overnight. A just transition means leaving no person or country behind. But it’s high time to put fossil fuel producers, investors and enablers on notice.”

“Polluters must pay. And today, I am calling on all developed economies to tax the windfall profits of fossil fuel companies.”

Where would the tax go?

It is now crucial to understand where the tax income flows if nations implement the idea. Guterres contends that the funds ought to be distributed to “countries suffering loss and damage caused by the climate crisis; and to people struggling with rising food and energy prices.”

The secretary previously made a similar speech in August, during which he called the record profits made by businesses during the energy crisis “immoral.” According to him, it is incredibly unfair for businesses to make the most money at a time when many people are struggling, and communities are being negatively impacted by the climate crisis.

“The combined profits of the largest energy companies in the first quarter of this year are close to 100 billion U.S. dollars. I urge all governments to tax these excessive profits and use the funds to support the most vulnerable people through these difficult times.”

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Fuel companies should have higher taxes

Other leaders, notably British politician Rishi Sunak, have already expressed support for Guterres’ suggestion, together with Ursula von der Leyen, the president of the European Commission.

“And don’t get me wrong: In our social market economy, profits are OK, they are good. But in these times, it is wrong to receive extraordinary, record revenues and profits benefitting from war and on the back of our consumers,” said von der Leyen.

“In these times, profits must be shared and channeled to those who need it most. And therefore, our proposal also includes the fossil fuel electricity producers, who have to give a crisis contribution.”

However, the CEO of Standard Chartered believes that it’s essential to provide a framework for businesses to “just transition” if nations want to stop using fossil fuels.

“Those are two really important words … just means fair, it also means implementable. And transition means transition — it means it takes some time,” said Winters.

“The idea that we can turn off the taps and end fossil fuels tomorrow, it’s obviously ridiculous and naive.”


Global Study Reveals Women Being More Susceptible to Health Complications after Pandemic

Women all around the world have been reported to have medical issues years after the pandemic, but the dangers are greater in the second year than in the first.

Hologic, a medical technology business, worked alongside Gallup to launch a worldwide poll examining women’s health demands and how nations manage them. The questionnaire was divided into five sections: general health, mental health, safety, preventative care, and basic necessities.

The 2020 poll had a score of 54 out of 100. However, a year later, the score had slipped significantly to 53 out of 100. Furthermore, the Global Women’s Health Index has been substantially lower across all countries globally, with all assessed nations scoring no more than 70 points in 2021.

Four countries received the highest scores. Taiwan, Latvia, Austria, and Denmark are among them. Meanwhile, three countries received the lowest scores: Venezuela, Congo, and Afghanistan. The United States was placed 23rd, with a score of 61 out of 100.

“The economic and psychological burden of the pandemic will weigh down many households for a while, and we know that it particularly affected women,” stated Gertraud Stadler, the director of Berlin’s Institute of Gender in Medicine.

According to Gallup and Hologic statistics, women got more depressed, furious, anxious, and stressed in 2021 than they had in the previous decade.

“We understand you can only impact and improve what you measure. Overall, the data is sobering. And we understand that we need women to be healthy to fully engage and be empowered. It’s clear that the time has come to work together and begin to find solutions and improve women’s health care,” Dr. Susan Harvey said from the John Hopkins School of Medicine.

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Women should be taken care of

Gallup and Hologic’s five primary measurement areas would highlight which areas need to be addressed. These factors may also influence how long women expect their lives to endure. For example, women who had access to medical care had a two-year longer life expectancy than those who did not.

In preventive care, the United States faired better in 2021 than it did in 2020. Overall, the country ranks second only to Latvia. Dr. Harvey stated that, while it is a minor improvement, the country should be impressed.

“Overall, though, the world is failing women in preventive care,” she added.

Over 1.5 billion women were unable to get preventative care in 2021. A report also showed that cancer is commonly discovered in women.

CEO of the Society for Women’s Health Research, Katie Schubert, said, “This goes back to a lot of those different burdens that women are taking on, both from the perspective of being a caregiver but also being a part of their community.”

“In the US, for example, Schubert says, women are more likely to go to a well visit for their child than they are for themselves. And the share of women who don’t show up for a key doctor’s visit at six weeks postpartum is “pretty striking.”

Read Also: Hong Kong Residents Gather in Public to Commemorate the Queen, a Silent Protest

Women should be lifted for the benefit of all

Scientists agree that women must be cared for in order for society to reach its full potential.

“Women often have the role of health manager in their families and communities. And they are taking on a large share of care work, so children, partners, parents benefit as well from women’s health,” Stadler explained.

“Without this foundational health and well-being of women, we won’t be able to advance any of the goals related to economic stability or equity in socio-economic development. That really all stands on the shoulders of a healthy environment, a healthy person and healthy outcomes.”

The executive director of UN Women, Sima Bahous, said, “It is critical that we rally now to invest in women and girls to reclaim and accelerate progress. The data show undeniable regressions in their lives made worse by the global crises – in incomes, safety, education, and health. The longer we take to reverse this trend, the more it will cost us all.”


Hong Kong Residents Gather in Public to Commemorate the Queen, a Silent Protest

Thousands of people have gathered in Hong Kong to pay their respects to Queen Elizabeth II, marking the largest crowd gathering in the nation since China outright banned public protests more than two years ago.

On Monday, about 2,500 people gathered in front of the British Consulate. To demonstrate their support for the UK, people from all walks of life and from different parts of Hong Kong braved the heat that reached 33 degrees Celsius or 91 degrees Fahrenheit. The deceased Queen received letters addressed to the “boss lady” or “lady in charge” and presented them with flowers, picture frames, and other gifts.

While many people view the occasion merely as a means to honor the British Queen, others see it as a form of protest against China, which has since banned large gatherings under a rule passed in June 2020.

Hong Kong residents were not allowed to demonstrate due to national security laws. Protests in favor of democracy have been successfully put to rest thanks to the act. Others assert that the law was implemented under the pretense of a covid limitation.

The occasion has also come to address the Chinese Communist Party’s goal of making the people of Hong Kong forget the time. It has also disputed the assertion made in several publications published there, according which Hong Kong was never a colony. Instead, the term “forcible occupation” is used by the government.

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Residents are glad about the gathering

People were delighted that they had come to the event. After a long absence, a guy who went by the moniker Wing and declined to provide his full name said it felt good to be around so many people.

“I feel angry that the Hong Kong government is not showing any respect properly (to the Queen). They’re scared of the Chinese government telling them off, but we were part of the colony,” he said.

The passing of Queen Elizabeth, according to another resident named Sylvia Lee, was a sad day for the rest of the globe since she stood for female strength and stability.

“No one lives forever, and we knew this day would come someday. She was a respected figure, and the government during the colonial period made many contributions to Hong Kong’s development, especially in the 70s and 80s,” she said.

Read Also: Twitter Downplayed Threats to User Data Alleges Whistleblower in Senate Hearing

A subtle protest for the residents

At first look, the ceremony could appear to signify little more than that China and Hong Kong share the sadness of the Western nation over the death of Queen Elizabeth II. Xi Jinping, the president of China, and John Lee, the leader of Hong Kong, have both conveyed their best wishes to the United Kingdom; therefore, it is safe to assume that the event is only for solidarity.

More than that, though, is the overwhelming feeling that the populace experienced, which made them think of previous pro-democracy protests in the nation that condemned China.

More than a century has passed since Britain and the UK first encountered. In the 19th century, Hong Kong grew to become a hub for the opium trade between China and Britain. Over 156 years of Hong Kong’s history were spent under British control. However, they were regrettably given up to China when the colonizers left the nation.

“It was (the Queen’s) empire that, in 1997, handed us over to China against our wishes,” Jeffrey Ngo said.

“The feeling is understandable, given that the intuitive point of comparison is Hong Kong under Chinese rule. I respect their lived experience, albeit it’s not something I share. For me, the monarchy’s wealth and prestige are impossible to disentangle from the empire’s violence and expansionism,” he added.


African-Americans who Engage in Religious Activities have Better Heart Health

It has been shown that African American individuals who regularly participate in religious activities benefit greatly. According to a new study, those who engage in regular spiritual activities scored better on tests, showing that their hearts are in excellent shape. The research further found a noticeable difference between individuals who do and those who do not.

According to research published in the American Heart Association’s journal, religious African Americans who participated in the study had superior results on tests for blood pressure, cholesterol, and other factors essential to the cardiovascular system’s overall wellness.

Engaging in religious events boosts the probability of good scores in eight measures, such as physical activity, nicotine exposure, food, and sleep, by 15%.

Dr. LaPrincess C. Brewer, the author of the research, said, “I was slightly surprised by the findings that multiple dimensions of religiosity and spirituality were associated with improved cardiovascular health across multiple health behaviors that are extremely challenging to change, such as diet, physical activity and smoking.”

“Our findings highlight the substantial role that culturally tailored health promotion initiatives and recommendations for lifestyle change may play in advancing health equity,” Dr. Brewer added. “The cultural relevance of interventions may increase their likelihood of influencing cardiovascular health and also the sustainability and maintenance of healthy lifestyle changes.”

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Cardiovascular health among African-Americans is relatively poorer

According to health specialists, the cardiovascular health of African Americans is worse than that of non-Hispanic White people. As a result, the death rate from cardiovascular illnesses is greater among African-American adults than it is among White individuals.

African-Americans made up 2,967 of the study’s participants. A sample of Jackson, Mississippi, residents aged 21 to 84 had health exams and questionnaires done on them. Strong religious observance among locals is well-known in the tri-county region. Anyone with cardiac disease was not included in the research.

After that, groups of sampled people were created based on their religious practices. Religiosity is associated with improved outcomes for cardiovascular health, claims epidemiologist Mercedes R. Carnethon of the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University in Chicago.

“One hypothesis that could explain these observations is that both the practice of religion and the behaviors that are associated with better cardiovascular health, such as adherence to physician recommendations for behavior change, not smoking, and not drinking excessively, share a common origin or personality characteristic,” she said.

“Observing a religion requires discipline, conscientiousness and a willingness to follow the guidance of a leader. These traits may also lead people to engage in better health practices under the guidance of their healthcare providers.”

Read Also: A Legacy has Ended, What Will Transpire in the Next Few Days Following Queen’s Death

Fostering a faith-centered lifestyle is needed

It is beneficial for people to improve their lifestyle by adopting a more religious perspective, according to Jonathan Butler from the Department of Family and Community Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco.

“A potential way to address health inequities in the African American community is to leverage faith-based organizations’ physical and social capital capacity to improve health outcomes,” he said.


Winners Awarded in the 74th Annual Emmys

The 74th Emmy Awards was just finished by Television Academy, and on Monday, the winners were revealed. Saturday Night Live’s Kenan Thompson served as the event’s host, honoring the best of the best in television at the Emmy Awards.

The award-giving organization distributed a total of 24 prizes to be granted to individuals and productions for their outstanding work in the field. Sunday is normally when the ceremony airs. However, NBC decided to telecast the awards night on Monday due to a scheduling problem with the NFL.

With five wins, including Outstanding Limited Series, Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or TV Movie, and Outstanding Actress in a Limited Series or TV Movie, “The White Lotus,” an HBO production, took home the most honors. AppleTV+’s “Ted Lasso” also received four honors.

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The other winners and nominations across several categories are listed below:

Outstanding drama series


Other Nominees:

“Better Call Saul” (AMC)   
“Euphoria” (HBO)   
“Ozark” (Netflix)   
“Severance” (Apple TV+)   
“Squid Game” (Netflix)   
“Stranger Things” (Netflix)    
“Yellowjackets” (Showtime)  

Outstanding comedy series

“Ted Lasso”

Other Nominees:

“Abbott Elementary” (ABC)   
“Barry” (HBO)
“Curb Your Enthusiasm” (HBO)   
“Hacks” (HBO)   
“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” (Amazon Prime Video)
“Only Murders in the Building” (Hulu)
“What We Do in the Shadows” (FX)   

Outstanding limited series

“The White Lotus”

Other Nominees:

“Dopesick” (Hulu)   
“The Dropout” (Hulu)   
“Inventing Anna” (Netflix)   
“Pam and Tommy” (Hulu)   

Outstanding lead actor in a drama series

Lee Jung-jae, “Squid Game”

Other Nominees:

Jason Bateman (“Ozark”)  
Brian Cox (“Succession”)  
Bob Odenkirk (“Better Call Saul”)  
Adam Scott (“Severance”)  
Jeremy Strong (“Succession”) 

Outstanding lead actress in a drama series

Zendaya, “Euphoria”

Other Nominees:

Jodie Comer (“Killing Eve”)   
Laura Linney (“Ozark”)  
Melanie Lynskey (“Yellowjackets”)  
Sandra Oh (“Killing Eve”)  
Reese Witherspoon (“The Morning Show”)   

Winners of other Categories include:

Outstanding supporting actor in a drama series

Matthew Macfadyen, “Succession”

Outstanding supporting actress in a drama series

Julia Garner, “Ozark”

Outstanding lead actor in a comedy series

Jason Sudeikis, “Ted Lasso”

Outstanding lead actress in a comedy series

Jean Smart, “Hacks”

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Outstanding supporting actor in a comedy series

Brett Goldstein, “Ted Lasso”

Outstanding supporting actress in a comedy series

Sheryl Lee Ralph, “Abbott Elementary”

Outstanding lead actor in a limited series or TV movie

Michael Keaton, “Dopesick”

Outstanding lead actress in a limited series or TV movie

Amanda Seyfried, “The Dropout”

Outstanding supporting actor in a limited series or TV movie

Murray Bartlett, “The White Lotus”

Outstanding supporting actress in a limited series or TV movie

Jennifer Coolidge, “The White Lotus”

Outstanding reality/competition series

“Lizzo’s Watch Out for the Big Grrrls”

Outstanding variety talk series

“Last Week Tonight With John Oliver”

Outstanding variety sketch series

“Saturday Night Live”

Lead Actor in a Drama Series

Lee Jung-jae (“Squid Game”)   

Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series

Jesse Armstrong, “Succession”

Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series

MJ Delaney, “Ted Lasso”

Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series

Hwang Dong-hyuk, “Squid Game”

Outstanding Writing for a Variety Special

“Jerrod Carmichael: Rothaniel” (HBO Max)

Outstanding Writing for a Limited Series

Mike White, “The White Lotus”

Outstanding Directing for a Limited Series

Mike White, “The White Lotus”


Twitter Downplayed Threats to User Data Alleges Whistleblower in Senate Hearing

Peiter “Mudge” Zatko testified before Congress, informing them that Twitter lacks the ability to eliminate the dangers to its users’ data. He continued by saying that there may be spies among the company’s employees.

The whistleblower recounted in his testimony a situation in which a Twitter employee ignored a problem with a spy concern. Even though it may have provided hazards to the company’s operations, the employee, according to him, downplayed the worry.

Zatko also disclosed that, before coming forward in January as a whistleblower, the FBI had warned Twitter that there were Chinese spies working for the company. However, it’s unclear at this time whether Twitter has already addressed the issue. Meanwhile, the FBI appears to be keeping quiet about the matter.

Twitter has recurring issues, according to Zatko. These can jeopardize the user data security of the firm. Furthermore, the company’s alleged incompetence in resolving the problems creates a threat to US national security.

To back up his accusations against Twitter, Zatko highlighted a number of problems. The issues raised by the whistleblower included Twitter’s improper treatment of user data, its breach of the consent agreement reached with the US Federal Trade Commission in 2011, and its decision to provide the majority of its workers access to private user data.

All of the flaws Zatko listed in front of Congress relate to Twitter’s difficulty in locating and getting rid of these threats.

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A mission for Zatko’s camp

According to Zatko’s legal aid, Alexis Ronickher, they are doing their share to keep people safe on the internet.

“Mr. Zatko is hopeful that the Committee’s work today has helped educate the public about just how dire the security and privacy situation is at Twitter and how impacted we all are by these failures. He continues to believe that through this public disclosure process, real-world harm for Twitter users may be avoided and our country’s national security better protected,” he said.

Legislators also emphasized the implications of Zatko’s charges during the session. To safeguard the people and the nation, they argued, any danger to Twitter should be taken seriously. The head of the Judiciary Committee, Senator Dick Durbin, stated that Twitter is a strong platform and should not allow its defense measures to be easily breached.

External threats to Twitter

Zatko expanded on his revelation by claiming that China and Russia may be able to eavesdrop on data stored in the US. Over 7,000 Twitter workers, according to Zatko’s testimony, have access to sensitive user information, making that information accessible if the company employed spies.

The whistleblower continued by saying that private information such as email addresses, phone numbers, IP addresses, locations, home addresses, languages, and other details might all be exploited by foreign governments for whatever reason.

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Additionally, Twitter lacks an internal system monitoring mechanism that can determine who has accessed sensitive data, which implies that any employee may do so anonymously, and the firm won’t know who it is. The perpetrator of the terrible deeds would then be difficult to identify.

“There were thousands of failed attempts to access internal systems that were happening per week, and nobody was noticing. This fundamental lack of logging inside Twitter is a remnant of being so far behind on their infrastructure and the engineering,” Zatko added.

“A Twitter engineer, understanding how the running systems and the data flows were operating, could then access and inject, or put forward, information as … any of the senators sitting here today.”


Experts Share Tips on Saving on Grocery Amid Soaring Prices

At the current time, where inflation is record-high, going into the grocery is expensive. And experts predict that it will not get any cheaper in the future if the current trend continues.

Gas prices have surprisingly dropped in the last month; however, the rising prices of goods in the market triggered inflation to spike even higher. For example, in recent consumer price index data, the food index has increased 11.4% since the beginning of the year, the highest jump in decades. Meanwhile, the food-at-home index is also hitting a 43-year high at 13.5%.

A senior economic analyst, Mark Hamrick, said that because of the higher prices of food or goods, consumers are cutting back on their expenditures. However, since food is a necessity, households have no choice but to buy the goods in the market, and that is what makes it problematic.

Households are already clamoring after the price tags of essential goods like eggs, milk, bread, butter, and cereal, among others, have all seen price hikes over the past months. Meanwhile, companies have also been affected by inflation, causing company giants like Coca-Cola and PepsiCo to impose price hikes on their products like drinks and packaged goods.

As a result, many producers come up with other solutions, like using smaller packages and swapping for cheaper ingredients. These strategies are known as shrinkflation and skimpflation, respectively.

Read Also: European Companies Fear Worsening Gas Crisis as Russian Gas Supply Cuts Continue

“Grocery product manufacturers know that while most shoppers will immediately notice a price increase, they are less likely to catch a reduction in a product’s net weight or a switch to using cheaper ingredients,” said Edgar Dworsky, Consumer World founder.

To help the nation deal with worsening inflation, the Federal Reserve has taken steps, albeit aggressive ones, to combat issues that trouble companies and households.

“Consumers are prepared for high prices to persist in the foreseeable future, but there’s also a tendency for people to think that things might return to normal. [In the meantime], it’s prudent for individuals to continue to be cautious with their household budgets,” Hamrick said.

“It’s belt-tightening time and has been for a while,” Hamrick added.

Tips for saving on groceries

1. Scrutinize Sales. Paying attention to price changes and promos could benefit your pocket. For example, generic brands may charge lower than their premium counterparts. You also need to watch out for discounts that could help you save money.

2. Plan your meals. Lisa Thompson, a saving expert from said that having a meal plan helps you buy the necessary items at a given period. First, you need to have an idea of the possible meals you will be having for the week to identify the necessary goods to look for.

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3. Buy in bulk. Buying in bulk will help you save more money as they come in with discounts and extra items.

4. Use a cash-back app. Using cash-back applications has long-term benefits. For instance, the cash-back app Ibotta gives its users $10 to $20 per month.

5. Pay with the right card. Knowing what card gives you the highest percentage of cash-back will help you save and earn several dol

How to Counter the Heat and Sleep Soundly at Night

The blazing heat causes a slew of issues for countries all around the world. The United Kingdom, the United States, India, and China, among others, have previously experienced the economic damage that severe heat can inflict. Reports have emerged describing how the heat has harmed countries’ energy output as well as farmers’ ability to produce an abundance of items for export.

Individuals are the most harmed by the macro changes triggered by the heat; therefore, the problem is as personal as it gets. As a result, in addition to financial issues, they have another challenge: sleeping.

The harsh fact is that heat disrupts one’s sleep rhythm. Sometimes people wake up soaked in sweat or do not sleep at all.

In California, for example, temperatures reached all-time peaks of 110 degrees Fahrenheit, or 43 degrees Celsius. Power grids are stressed, causing blackouts. Furthermore, wildfires are becoming more common, contributing to the heat in the atmosphere. The most significant of them is the reduction in Russia’s gas supplies, which forces energy corporations to seek new energy sources. As a result, grids are now limited in the quantity of electricity they can offer to communities.

Read Also: UK and EU Pours in $500 Billion to Subsidize Energy Among Households, Businesses

As a result of the situation, many hotels and families do not have enough functional air conditioning equipment, leading to a large number of individuals demanding cooler AC outputs. Because of the cooler temperatures in the UK, a central air system was not previously required.

However, rising temperatures may change everything. According to new scientific research, extreme temperatures are forecast in the region and will worsen over time. According to experts’ projections, heat will become the norm by 2035.

Sleep patterns could be altered by intense heat

According to the Study of Sleep Research, sleep is “a vital function necessary for adaptive physical and mental wellbeing.” In a journal released last Thursday, the research body disclosed several ideas that might help people cope with the heat and sleep successfully in the hot temperatures.

According to the journal, the optimal room temperature for a person to sleep comfortably is between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit (15.6 to 19.4 degrees Celsius).

However, when heat waves become more often, how can people sleep peacefully? According to research, hotter nights induce alertness and diminish REM (Rapid Eye Movement). These elements are essential for bodily repair and rejuvenation every night.

How to sleep soundly amid heat

1. Drink plenty of water. Water aids the body in temperature regulation. Staying hydrated may help to mitigate the heat in the surroundings. However, doctors advise against drinking water an hour or two before bedtime unless you want to spend the night in the bathroom.

Dr. Phyllis Zee, a neurology professor at Northwestern University in Chicago, believes that eating lighter meals throughout the day may also be beneficial.

2. Wear comfortably in cotton. These types of fabrics allow for the unobstructed passage of wind. Wearing synthetics that can trap heat is not a good idea.

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3. Opening windows and other forms of airflow should assist cool your room if it is chilly in the morning for whatever reason. When the temperature begins to rise, quickly close it.

4. If the heat does not subside, close the curtains and shades.

5. Avoid consuming alcohol at night since it dehydrates your body and causes night sweats.

6. Calming tasks such as reading or listening to music can help your body relax and prep for sleep.

7. Before going to bed, take a cold shower or soak your feet in a warm bath.

“Your body temperature lowers after you leave the shower or bath as your body adapts to the cooler environment. This drop in temperature prepares your body for sleep because our body temperature has a natural circadian rhythm – the body is primed to cool down when you lay down and warm up when you get up,” said Dr. Raj Dasputa, a sleep specialist.

8. Find techniques to keep your bedroom temp below 77 degrees Fahrenheit or 25 degrees Celsius.

“There are also fairly inexpensive ice cooling fans that can be placed near the bed. If you’re unable to keep the bedroom cool, sleeping temporarily on lower floors like the basement (if there is one) will be cooler.

Scorching Heat, Severe Winds Affect Southern California

Damage to life and property is caused by a tropical storm in the southern region of California. In addition, there might be flooding and damage to power lines as a result of Friday’s strong winds and heavy rain. However, after a heat wave, the afflicted districts had relief from the extreme temperatures they had endured for more than 10 days.

According to the National Weather Service, the state of Baja California Sur was hit by Hurricane Kay last Thursday. Thankfully, the storm started to weaken as soon as it touched down on land. The storm’s winds were around 109 mph (175 kph).

Firefighters feared that the hurricane approaching Southern California could produce strong winds that might fan the Fairview fire, which is located 121 kilometers southeast of Los Angeles. However, the crew managed to keep the blaze under control, and they said that by Monday, they would have the situation totally under control. Nevertheless, the fire damaged more than 10,000 homes and other buildings, and hundreds of people are still in shelters.

Following a heat wave that caused temperatures to rise to above 100 degrees Fahrenheit (38 degrees Celsius) in the region, the hurricane arrived at an opportune moment. Unfortunately, the oppressive heat also took a toll on San Diego. Thankfully, the cyclone arrived and temporarily soothed the locals’ heat-related discomfort.

“The heat was killer, so for now, this feels good. I just hope the water doesn’t get too high. But I will rough it. I’ve got pallets I can put underneath to keep out the rain.”

Read Also: A Legacy has Ended, What Will Transpire in the Next Few Days Following Queen’s Death

Even while the rain was a respite, residents know the risks associated with prolonged, heavy rainfall. For example, a twin-engine aircraft landed and skidded off the runway at the Naval Air Station North Island in Colorado. The two pilots on board had to be brought to the hospital for observation due to the damage to the plane.

Moderate rainfall was experienced in a few locations in Southern California, but there was a risk of major downpours over the weekend. Officials say that if the rains continue, there is a very high likelihood of flooding. If the water level rises to the typical level, it has been recommended that low-lying homes and coastal towns be on the alert for possible evacuation procedures.

The heat affecting the state

September was the warmest it’s ever been in Western states, including California. In this region, the heat waves were the longest ever recorded. Energy grids were stressed as a result, which increased costs. This week, severe heat advisories and warnings were issued for multiple areas that are home to more than 54 million people.

The hottest temperature in nearly 79 years was recorded in Sacramento, the state capital of California, last Tuesday when it reached 116 degrees Fahrenheit or 46.7 degrees Celsius. As temperatures rose as high as 41.6 degrees Celsius, or 107 degrees Fahrenheit, in Salt Lake, it was confirmed that the city had also crossed the 40-degree Celsius barrier.

Read Also: European Companies Fear Worsening Gas Crisis as Russian Gas Supply Cuts Continue

Damage was inflicted to infrastructure

Multiple structures, notably electricity networks, have been harmed by the extreme heat and rain throughout many states. In order to combat the oppressive heat outside, businesses and families must upgrade their air conditioning systems. In addition, due to the increase in demand and electricity consumption, blackouts occurred stemming from the inability of the power systems to keep up.

Research shows that Western nations have grown warmer and drier due to climate change in the past thirty years. As a result, more severe and devastating wildfires increased in likelihood. In fact, California had the most disastrous wildfire ever recorded in only five years.

For example, the Mosquito Fire in eastern Sacramento doubled in size, spanning 46 square miles (119 square kilometers) of land and affecting over 3,600 dwellings in El Dorado and Placer counties.


European Companies Fear Worsening Gas Crisis as Russian Gas Supply Cuts Continue

As long as Russia keeps pushing down on gas supplies coming into the nation, the gas issue in Europe will only get worse. Prices increased as a result, and they will do so for the remainder of the winter. According to German energy firm Uniper, the nation will suffer the most if the trend continues.

“I have said this a number of times now over this year, and I’m also educating policymakers. Look, the worst is still to come,” stated Uniper’s CEO, Klaus-Dieter Maubach.

“What we see on the wholesale market is 20 times the price that we have seen two years ago — 20 times. That is why I think we need to have really an open discussion with everyone taking responsibility on how to fix that,” the company executive said further.

A shortage of Uniper exists. The situation has put prices over the roof as the primary gas provider in Germany. The German government gave Uniper a subsidy of 15 billion euros, or around $14.9 billion, to aid the firm with its issue. The rescue agreement should help the corporation overcome its current difficulties and stabilize its system.

Another danger to the business is Russia’s decision to halt supply from entering Nord Stream 1. As a result, shares of Uniper fell by 3.5% on Tuesday.

The primary pipeline used to transport gas from Russia to Europe is already being blocked by the energy giant Gazprom, which the Russian government owns. Suppliers voiced concerns over the action, which would require several parts of Europe to store their stock until the winter.

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Involvement of G7 in the issue

The G7 decided to restrict Russian oil prices as a gesture of protest against Russia’s war on Ukraine, and soon after that, Gazprom severed ties with the nation.

“We aim to align implementation with the timeline of related measures within the EU’s sixth sanctions package. [The initial price cap would be set] at a level based on a range of technical inputs,” the seven-membered block stated.

The US, Canada, Germany, France, Italy, the UK, and Japan are members of the G7. In a manifesto, the G7 stated:

“To deliver on this commitment, today we confirm our joint political intention to finalize and implement a comprehensive prohibition of services which enable maritime transportation of Russian-origin crude oil and petroleum products globally – the provision of such services would only be allowed if the oil and petroleum products are purchased at or below a price (“the price cap”) determined by the broad coalition of countries adhering to and implementing the price cap.

The price cap is specifically designed to reduce Russian revenues and Russia’s ability to fund its war of aggression while limiting the impact of Russia’s war on global energy prices, particularly for low and middle-income countries, by only permitting service providers to continue to do business related to Russian seaborne oil and petroleum products sold at or below the price cap. This measure would thus build on and amplify the reach of existing sanctions, notably the EU’s sixth package of sanctions, ensuring coherence through a strong global framework.”

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The connection between Gazprom and Uniper

It could be challenging for Uniper to resume its relationship with Gazprom in light of the statement of disapproval that Germany signed. Since 1970, a relationship between the two parties has existed. The cooperation, according to the CEO of Uniper, has already ended, and the business no longer intends to make amends with the Russian supplier, not in the next days, weeks, or months. Maubach added that it is urgent that Uniper replace its Russian partner and find a new gas supplier.

At the moment, Uniper is having trouble meeting the demand for energy. One of Gazprom’s largest pipelines was recently shut down because one of its compressors required maintenance. Consequently, the planned maintenance raised costs. Uniper is presently mustering the will to deal with its immediate problems and anticipates finding a new energy source now that they have severed connections with Gazprom.


A Legacy has Ended, What Will Transpire in the Next Few Days Following Queen’s Death

For more than 70 years, Queen Elizabeth II has presided as the Queen of the UK. The Balmoral Castle, where the monarch’s remains are located, was thronged by constituents when word of the monarch’s passing spread like wildfire. It was a time of national sorrow for Englishmen who held Queen Elizabeth in high respect.

Prince Charles, the Queen’s eldest son, is now King Charles III.

Officials at Buckingham Palace refer to the events surrounding the Queen’s burial and King Charles III’s coronation under the codename London Bridge. It has been years in the planning, and now that the Queen is gone, officials are enforcing it.

Here’s what will commence within 10 days:

Day 1

British citizens will observe the official national mourning until Queen Elizabeth II’s burial.

The new King, Prince Charles, who will hereafter be referred to as King Charles III, will meet with other officials, including Prime Minister Liz Truss, to prepare a written declaration and a national speech that will be aired on Friday.

The Great Tom, the Sebastopol Bell, the state bell of St. Paul Cathedral, and the tenor bell of Westminster Abbey will all chime in praise of the Queen. Additionally, gun salutes are anticipated to start in London’s Hyde Park and Edinburgh Castle in Scotland. Half-staff will be used for all flags.

Day 2

The corpse of Queen Elizabeth II will be moved from Balmoral Castle to Edinburgh, the monarch’s former home.

The new King will attend the Privy Council meeting and deliver his broadcast speech there. The Canterbury Archbishop will also be present. The national song, “God Save the King,” will be played in the backdrop as the prince is declared the new King while standing on a balcony of St. James’s Palace.

Flags will now be flown at full mast.

Day 3

The royal family will gather for a liturgy at St. Giles Cathedral. King Charles will meet with Scotland’s First Minister in the interim. There will be proclamations in honor of the late Queen Elizabeth II from other towns and cities as well.

Read Also: Queen Elizabeth II Passes Away at 96

Day 4

The Queen’s coffin will be transported slowly by rail from St. Giles Cathedral through most of London overnight. While the new King and his wife, Camilla, are in Westminster Hall, they will be speaking with those who are grieving the country’s loss and offering their sympathies.

Day 5

The Queen’s remains will arrive in London, where they will then be driven to Buckingham Palace. The King will continue his journey to consult with people while stopping at St. Anne’s Cathedral and Hillsborough Castle.

Millions of people are anticipated to pay their respects when the Queen’s corpse arrives at Westminster Hall for a brief halt.

Day 6

The Queen’s casket is carried in a ceremonial procession from Buckingham Palace to the Palace of Westminster. The royal family will accompany the parade on foot, including Prince Harry, Prince William, and their kids.

Throughout the march, the enormous Big Ben will be rung, and Hyde Park fire cannon salutes in solidarity. After the coffin arrives at Westminster Hall, it will be left there for five days while vigils are likely to start soon after. The casket will be closely watched.

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Day 7

World leaders are anticipated to arrive nearby and pay their respects in Westminster Hall to the Queen’s corpse. At Buckingham Palace, the Royal Family will also be seated alongside King Charles III.

Day 8

The Prime Minister will meet with King Charles III to address issues pertaining to governing his new subjects.

Day 9

There will be a formal send-off for the Queen. People of distinction and government representatives from all around the world are anticipated. All members of the royal family, and world leaders, including presidents and prime ministers, will gather in Westminster Abbey to bid the Queen farewell.

The path of the coffin will pass by Big Ben and the Grave of the Unknown Warrior when a two-minute national moment of silence is held. The casket will next go to Buckingham Palace and Wellington Arch before ending up at Windsor, the Queen’s last stop,


ECB says Interests Rates will Go up so Country Could Counter Effects of Inflation

The European Central Bank said that it would raise interest rates to their highest level in order to help countries deal with the growing energy crisis. On Thursday, the ECB hiked interest rates by three-quarters of a percent and stated that another increase was very expected in the coming days.

Following the blowback with Russia, which resulted in supply cuts of gas entering European countries via major pipelines, primarily the Nord Stream 1, Europe has been pushing to keep up with rising energy demand. The situation is aggravated by the extreme heat that is sweeping the country.

Years after the ECB set it to zero in 2011, the rate is currently above the zero thresholds. This is the first time the Central Bank has set interest rates over 0 percent and outside the negative area. The ECB stated in a statement that it expects future rate hikes to occur.

“The Governing Council took today’s decision and expects to raise interest rates further because inflation remains far too high and is likely to stay above target for an extended period,” said the Central Bank.

Inflation in the UK is presently 9.1% as a consequence of rising prices of commodities like food and energy.

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The energy crisis only worsened by Russia-Ukraine conflict

When Russia declared war on Ukraine, Europe attempted to extricate itself from its dependence on Russian petroleum exports. In reality, the G7 countries have already expressed their displeasure with Russia’s continuous aggressive behavior towards its neighbor.

In retaliation, Russia shut off the supply of natural gas to numerous European nations, including Germany. As a result of the supply reduction, energy costs skyrocketed, putting pressure on the government to bump up its subsidy on businesses and people in order to compensate for the abrupt consequences of the supply cuts.

Economists warn that a European recession is imminent as a result of these circumstances. Inflation is at a decades-high, firms are recording poor sales and activity, and Germany, Europe’s largest economy, is not growing as well as hoped. Furthermore, the region’s gross domestic product may fall in the coming quarter.

The ECB also rules that many people are already foreseeing high inflation rates in light of the present economic position. The following spending and investment patterns of corporate leaders and individuals may be affected, causing the ECB to be concerned about not meeting its objective for the year.

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“Price pressures have continued to strengthen and broaden across the economy, and inflation may rise further in the near term,” the Central Bank said.

The ECB is contemplating that inflation rates could hit 8.1% on average in 2022. However, the central bank also anticipates the rate to fall considerably to 5.5% next year. Economic growth, meanwhile, is estimated to fall from 3.1% this year to 0.9% in 2023.

“There seems universal agreement that higher rates are required to prevent higher inflation becoming embedded, though [Russian] President Putin is creating a lot of slack in the European economy already,” said Kit Juckes, Societe Generale strategist.

According to ECB President Christine Legarde, a negative scenario in which European nations plunge into recession is feasible. Rationing, supply cutbacks, and climatic issues all contribute to this.

Holger Schmieding, Berenber’s chief economist, stated, “It still seems likely that, once the ECB realizes the depth of the recession that we expect to unfold, the ECB will put rate hikes on hold at some time in early 2023.”


Ayman al-Zawahiri | Biography | Personal Life | Organizations | Death

Ayman al-Zawahiri was an Egyptian-born physician and Islamic Jihadist leader. He was the second-in-command of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad and al-Qaeda, serving as deputy to Osama bin Laden. He was the top candidate to succeed bin Laden in 2010. Al-Zawahiri is considered one of al Qaeda’s most influential leaders after its founder Osama Bin Laden. He is also al-Qaeda‘s Chief Executive Officer. Al-Zawahiri joined the mujahideen in Afghanistan and worked at a relief center for refugees fleeing into Pakistan, run by the Services Bureau. After the Soviets withdrew from Afghanistan, al-Zawahiri returned to Egypt where he helped form Egyptian Islamic Jihad (EIJ), an organization intended to replace Egypt’s government with an Islamic state.

Al-Zawahiri was designated as a “Specially Designated Global Terrorist” by the U.S. State Department in December 2001. The United States government also accused him of being involved in the 1998 assassination of Egyptian prime minister Ahmed Shuqair, but al-Zawahiri stated that he had only financed and recruited a member of the group who had later been arrested for the murder, and denied responsibility for it.

Al-Zawahiri has been on the United States’ most wanted list since its inception on 10 September 2001. In 2001, his name was placed on the Interpol Most Wanted list. In the video announcing bin Laden’s death, al-Zawahiri confirmed his loyalty to the new leader of al-Qaeda, Ayman al-Zawahri.

On 5 May 2011, al-Zawahiri was appointed as the leader of al-Qaeda. He released a 24-minute video in early February 2012. This video is an audio message to the people of the Peninsula, which includes a warning that Islamists are on their way to “purify” their land; he also claims that they will soon be able to “avert our eyes away from you” as Egyptian leaders “tie your hands”.

Ayman Al-Zawahiri Biography

He was born in 1951 in Giza, Kingdom of Egypt. Born in a family of doctors, al-Zawahiri graduated from Cairo University’s School of Medicine in 1974. He initially joined the Muslim Brotherhood, but due to his beliefs, he was expelled in 1981. In 1984, he co-founded Egyptian Islamic Jihad and became its leader after the arrest of group founder Dr. Aboud al-Zumarai by Egyptian authorities. Due to his membership to this group, he served three continuous terms in prison between 1984 and 1995.

He lived in the Saudi Arabian capital of Riyadh from 1995 to 1999. He also worked as a key member of al-Qaeda before he returned to Afghanistan in 1999 to take up his leadership role at the Egyptian Islamic Jihad. In 2002, he gave an interview with Al Jazeera Host Jamal Elshayyal. While in prison, he was permitted to read newspapers and magazines including Arab News, Al Ahram and The National. He is fluent in English and Arabic.

In August 2009, it was reported that the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) once considered a plan to assassinate al-Zawahiri in Qatar, and planned to use an undercover agent posing as a defector from al-Qaeda as the hitman in the plot. On 5 August 2011, al-Arabiya reported that the U.S. State Department had approved the placing of a reward worth up to US$25 million for information leading to his arrest.

On 28 June 2011, al-Zawahiri was officially named as the new leader of al-Qaeda. He assumed the role after U.S. Navy SEALs killed Osama bin Laden during a raid at a compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan. Since then, he has released a number of statements condemning the United States, Israel and Arab leaders. He also criticized the Arab Spring, which he claimed was supported by Western powers.

Marriages and children

Ayman al-Zawahiri has been married at least four times. Al-Zawahiri married his first wife, Azza Ahmed Nowari, a philosophy student at Cairo University, in 1978. They had six children together. After the September 11 attacks on the United States, Ayman al-Zawahiri’s first wife Azza and two of their six children, Mohammad and Aisha, were killed in an airstrike on Afghanistan by US forces in late December 2001.

In 2005, One of Ayman al-Zawahiri’s three surviving wife gave birth to a daughter named Nawwar. According to media reports, Al-Zawahiri’s third wife is a native of Saudi Arabia. She also gave birth to at least two children.

in June 2012 One of al-four Zawahiri’s wives, Umaima Hassan, posted a message on the internet praising the role Muslim women had in the Arab Spring. She is also believed to have penned a booklet outlining the contribution of women to jihad.

Militant activities

Ayman al-Zawahiri’s militant activities started in Egypt in the early 1980s. He was imprisoned from 1984 to 1995, and from 2001 to 2007. He left Egypt for Afghanistan after US forces invaded the country in 2001. There he became the top leader of al-Qaeda since Osama bin Laden’s death in May 2011. Many of al-Qaeda’s key figures, including Ayman al-Zawahiri and Osama bin Laden, have been killed by U.S. forces or affiliates in recent years. Al-Zawahiri reportedly is al-Qaeda’s second-in-command after Osama bin Laden was killed by U.S. forces. His knowledge of international events and his role as a voice for radical Islamic forces makes him a leader for the groups.

Al-Zawahiri has been known to be involved in many terrorist activities since 1990, including involvement in attacks and plots in Egypt, the United States, Yemen, Saudi Arabia and Somalia. He was also a key figure in the 1998 United States embassy bombings and the attack on the U.S.S. Cole. It is also suspected that he was involved in the 1981 Sadat assassination and a conspiracy to blow up multiple Saudi royal family members during Ramadan 2003.

Other activites

He is also suspected of being a key figure behind the September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. In these attacks, al-Zawahiri was reported to have been intimately involved in the planning, financing and training of the hijackers. It is also believed that he coordinated with Mohammed Atef who was killed three days before 9/11.

The U.S. State Department added al-Zawahiri to its list of Specially Designated Global Terrorists on 22 August 2006, and the U.S. Treasury Department also added him to its list of Specially Designated Global Terrorists on 13 November 2006. On 10 February 2008, al-Zawahiri was placed on the U.S.’s list of most wanted terrorists, which already includes Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri was later added to the list due to numerous alleged crimes by al-Qaeda and other groups. On 1 September 2007, al-Zawahiri was also on the 26 most wanted list of the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Rewards for Justice Program. He is also believed to be on the FBI’s Most Wanted Terrorists List.


Al-Zawahiri was a founder and leader of Egyptian Islamic Jihad (EIJ), which was responsible for numerous militant attacks and operations, including the assassination of President Anwar Sadat, until the group was destroyed in a 2003 military operation. He is also known to be one of the founders of Egyptian Islamic Jihad, which was later merged with Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaeda organization to create al-Qaeda.

Maktab al-Khadamat (KMD), an organization he founded in 1990, is suspected of being involved in terrorist activities, including suicide bombings and plots.

He became the top leader of al-Qaeda after Osama bin Laden was killed in May 2011. Since then, he has released numerous statements criticising the United States, Israel, and Arab leaders. He is also known to be a key figure in the violent opposition to the U.S.-led war in Afghanistan.


Al-Zawahiri was reportedly killed in an airstrike on July 31, 2022, by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency in Afghanistan. The U.S. government has declared that the al-Qaeda leader was killed in a drone strike. At the White House, President Joe Biden declared that in early 2022, when al-Zawahiri walked into the centre of Kabul, the U.S. Intelligence Community had tracked him down. A week earlier, President Biden had given the operation the go-ahead. Biden also stated that the operation did not harm any members of al-Zawahiri’s family or other civilians.

Thousands of Hectares of Forest Damaged by Wildfires, France Needs More Firefighters

Just two weeks after two major fires inflicted damage on more than 20,000 hectares of forest in the same area, the Gironde region in southwest France experienced another destructive fire on Wednesday. The French government was prompted by this to contact businesses and request that they dispatch volunteer firefighters to be on call during August.

Authorities have long warned people that these occurrences will become more prevalent as heat waves become more common throughout Europe. As experts anticipate more potential fires to be lit in August, businesses have requested volunteers to prepare. The issue, which has been getting worse since June, has been made worse by the drought conditions.

Gerald Darmanin, the French Interior Minister, visited one of the fire department’s offices in Aveyron, which is located in the South of France, and told the press, “We are getting to a point of exhaustion for the firefighters.”

Seventy-nine percent of the 250,000 firemen who have joined up with the French Fire Fighter Service are volunteers, according to the organization. Currently, more than 10,000 firemen have been sent to battle the wildfires that are raging around France. Companies have recently called for more people to help put out fires that have damaged France’s vegetation.

Read Also: Temperatures in Europe Reach Records High Prompting Authorities to Declare Heat Signals, Warnings

The Gironde fire damaged thousands of hectares

The Gironde fire broke out on Tuesday. When the fire was close to reaching communities, many people fled to the nearest safe refuge area. According to a recent count by authorities, over 10,000 residents have fled their homes to avoid the fires. Martin Guesperau, the deputy commissioner for defense and security for the Nouvelle-Aquitaine prefecture, said that the Gironde fire damaged over 6,000 hectares of forest.

The prefecture further announced that the key A63 roadway between Bordeaux and Bayonne would be closed because of the fire. It has now reached the Landes department and is a highly virulent fire, he continued.

According to a press release from those in charge of the situation, sixteen homes were affected by the fire. Thankfully, there have been no reported fatalities or injuries. However, the weather is currently highly unfavorable, and authorities warned the press that “We are entering a difficult day with very high risks.”

There are more wildfires occurring across the country

Besides the Gironde fire, three additional wildfires in the south of France are also being fought at the same time, according to French officials. In order to speak with the Gironde fire victims about potential relief and resolution, French Minister Elisabeth Borne visited the area.

The French government wants to make it apparent to its citizenry that they can count on them for support during emergencies and at all other times.

Temperatures could reach 40 degrees Celsius, or 104 degrees Fahrenheit, in the southern part of France, according to weather agency predictions.

Over 63% of the UK and EU’s land is under extreme drought warnings and signals, as reported by the European Drought Observatory of the European Union. The continent could experience more wildfires and scorching conditions as the weeks go by.

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The region the EU claims to cover is bigger than the three largest US states combined—Alaska, Texas, and California—and is almost as vast as India. In addition, the EU’s climate monitoring agency, Copernicus, stated that the region would experience cloudless weather over the coming several days.

“This new heatwave is associated with a robust high-pressure figure causing cloudlessness over much of western Europe,” said Copernicus in a statement.

“According to the national weather services, air temperatures between 9 and 14 August could again exceed 44°C (111.2 Fahrenheit) in Spain, 40°C (104 Fahrenheit) in France, 35°C (95 Fahrenheit) in the south of the United Kingdom and 30°C (86 Fahrenheit) in the Netherlands.”

“Then you combine that with the lack of rainfall — and for some parts of Europe, there’s been below average rainfall now for 15 or 16 months — there’s been a very prolonged period of dry weather, and so rivers and reservoirs have got down to very, very low levels,” Liz Bentley, the chief executive of the Royal Meteorological Society, said.


UK Energy Crisis Upsets Communities, Suppliers, Government Help Needed says Experts

If the United Kingdom does not address its worsening energy shortage soon, it may face a humanitarian crisis. In addition, increased demand in the face of a supply shortage has resulted in higher bills, and if this trend continues, experts believe that many consumers will protest.

The country intends to freeze electricity and gas prices in order to calm consumers’ nerves; however, this could cost the government more than £100 billion, or more than $118 billion.

The UK government has implemented tax cuts, direct payments, and bill rebates to protect its citizens from a planned increase in energy prices of 90%. Gas and energy prices, however, have risen to record highs as predicted, and the government might not be able to keep up.

The Institute of Government estimates that to shield its citizens from a 90% increase in costs until April 2023, the government may need to set aside an additional £23 billion. Nevertheless, if it wants to extend that protection until April 2024, a larger sum—£90 billion—is required.

One of the biggest UK energy companies, Scottish Power, gave the government the same advice. According to the Financial Times, the company stated in one of its interviews that to serve the public, the government must freeze prices within two years. They would have to pay billions of euros, though.

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The bills paid by average households

A household spends more than £1,971 annually, up 50% from the previous year. However, energy providers assert that the average annual cost could top £3,500. According to research firm Auxilione, the government must take action because the current trend indicates that a household could pay as much as £6,433 yearly.

Scottish Power recommended capping energy bills at £2,000 while sending assistance to suppliers to keep up with the cost of gas and electricity in wholesale markets. The Financial Times reported that the anticipated allocation of £100 billion for subsidies to energy providers would come from government borrowing to be paid for by general taxes.

“It is going to be truly, truly horrific for a large number of people. This is bigger than the pandemic. It’s a big national crisis,” said the CEO of Scottish Power, Keith Anderson.


The government could help agencies

Government funding for the impacted parties is nothing new in the UK. Many organizations were able to recover from the losses they suffered when the pandemic hit, thanks to the government’s £70 billion subsidy. In order to avoid unemployment among the affected businesses, the government also agreed to pay the salaries of employees back in March 2020.

To date this year, the government has allocated a total of £33 billion to help households cope with the skyrocketing cost of energy and gas.

A Department of Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy spokesperson said, “We know the pressures people are facing with rising costs, which is why we have continually taken action to help households by phasing in £37 billion worth of support.”

“We are giving a £400 discount on energy bills this winter, and eight million of the most vulnerable households will see £1,200 extra support. While no government can control global gas prices, over 22 million households are protected by the price cap, which continues to insulate households from even higher prices.”

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Households are alarmed

The UK industry continues to sound the alarms despite the government’s current interventions. In order to prevent fuel poverty in communities, the government should provide more assistance to suppliers and households, according to Philippe Commaret, an executive at EDF.

“[Many people could fall sick this winter as they] face the awful choice between skipping meals to heat their homes and having to live in cold, damp and very unpleasant conditions,” said the leaders from the UK National Health Service last week.

Russia’s reduction in supply to Europe has only made things worse. This is occurring as Western nations attempt to wean themselves from relying on Russian resources by forbidding the import of Russian coal and oil.