“$88 trillion in debt and a wave of elections. World leaders are hamstrung.
“World leaders are flocking to Davos this week to pontificate on the planet’s most pressing problems. Two major wars, a shipping crisis, cyber attacks on state institutions and yet more alarming evidence of the climate emergency mean there’s no shortage of talking points.
“But turning ideas into action when governments owe an unprecedented $88.1 trillion — equivalent almost to the world’s annual economic output — will be hard.”
“Red Sea crisis could shatter hopes of global economic recovery.
“A prolonged conflict in the Red Sea and escalating tensions across the Middle East risk having devastating effects on the global economy, reigniting inflation and disrupting energy supplies, some of the world’s leading economists warn this weekend.”
“Houthi missile targeting US warship intercepted, says US, amid Red Sea tensions…
“The missile was fired towards the USS Laboon which was operating in the Southern Red Sea, US Central Command said in a statement, in what appears to be the first such attempt on a US destroyer.”
“The US isn’t the biggest power in the Middle East any more. Iran is.
“This fraught, open-ended escalation highlights another unwelcome fact. The dominant power in the Middle East is no longer the US, western-aligned Egypt, Saudi Arabia or even Israel. It is the Houthis’ main ally, Iran.”
“Ships in the Red Sea appear to be trying to avoid Houthi attacks by declaring themselves Chinese.
“They’ve started switching their AIS trackers to say their crews are “ALL CHINESE.” China has been critical of the war in Gaza, and pushed back against US and UK strikes on the Houthis.”
“Taiwan election: China says US ‘gravely wrong’ to congratulate new leader.
“US Secretary of State Antony Blinken sent Taiwanese president-elect William Lai a message of congratulations following the result. Beijing called the message a violation of Washington’s commitment to maintain only unofficial ties with Taiwan. Mr Lai has vowed to protect Taiwan from an increasingly aggressive China.”
“Taiwan election: global leaders draw Beijing’s ire for congratulating new president…
“…the UK, the European Union and Canada also offered their congratulations to the DPP. The UK’s foreign secretary, David Cameron, said the result was “testament to Taiwan’s vibrant democracy”.”
“Nauru to sever diplomatic ties with Taiwan in favour of China.
“Nauru become the first ally to switch allegiances to Beijing after the weekend’s presidential elections in Taiwan… The Nauru government said that “in the best interests” of the country and its people it was seeking full resumption of diplomatic relations with China.”
“Deaths in Rio Grande Intensify Tensions Between Texas, Biden Administration.
““Texas has demonstrated that even in the most exigent circumstances, it will not allow Border Patrol agents access to the border to conduct law enforcement and emergency response activities,” wrote Jonathan E. Meyer, Homeland Security’s general counsel… Meyer threatened legal action if Texas doesn’t restore access by the end of Wednesday.”
“Dangerously low temperatures worsen migrant crisis in Chicago…
“Chicago continues to receive new arrivals sent north by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) even as the area experiences its coldest temperatures in half a decade, with wind chills bottoming out at minus-32 degrees on Sunday, according to the National Weather Service.”
“Fast-food giants overwork teenagers, driving America’s child labor crisis…
“Since the widespread labor shortages of the pandemic, fast-food companies have illegally scheduled thousands of teenagers to work late and long hours and to operate dangerous kitchen equipment, The Post found.”
“UK faces a cost of dying crisis as funeral costs reach record high…
“Growing numbers of grieving families are having to sell belongings, raid their savings or borrow from friends to cover the cost of a loved one’s funeral, according to a report that says the “cost of dying” has hit a record high.”
“One by one, England’s councils are going bankrupt – and nobody in Westminster wants to talk about it.
“One in five say they will be insolvent by next year. These local crises add up to a national catastrophe that’s about to explode.. all over the country, the picture is now the same, and things are rapidly nearing the point of complete breakdown.”
“A council is poised to push back a city’s net zero carbon deadline by a decade.
“Peterborough city councillors will be asked to move the target from 2030 to 2040 at a meeting on Wednesday. The original goal was adopted in 2019… The revised date follows a feasibility study undertaken last year which found 2040 is the earliest plausible date for the city to reach net zero.”
“German Chancellor Olaf Scholz called for calm on Saturday as the country faces protests by farmers angry about a plan to cut their fuel subsidies…
“The German chancellor said in a video message that “we took the farmers’ arguments to heart” and insisted the government came up with “a good compromise”, though farmers continue to insist on fully reversing the subsidy cuts.”
“German insolvencies set to rise as Covid aid ends and economy stagnates…
“Restructuring experts warn that many “zombie” companies kept afloat after the coronavirus pandemic by generous government aid and a suspension of the obligation to file for bankruptcy — which caused insolvencies to drop to unusually low levels — are now collapsing.”
“Romanian Truck Drivers, Farmers Protest About Taxes, Subsidies, Ukraine.
“Farmers complained that they have been losing money for the last two years because of the cheaper grains arriving from Ukraine, according to a video put on Facebook by the protesters. Russia’s blockade of Ukraine’s seaports on the Black Sea has transformed Romania into a hub for the transit of Ukrainian grain…”
“Peace in Ukraine has never seemed further away. Zelenksyy’s dream of outright victory is over…
“Over 2024 then, both sides will aim to degrade each other’s forces as much as possible: the staggering casualty rates of the past year look certain to escalate even further.”
“Missiles from Iran and North Korea boost Russia’s onslaught on Ukraine.
“The second big strike of the year came on Monday, when Russia launched 59 drones and missiles and Ukraine’s air defences shot down less than half of them, compared with their usual 80 per cent interception rates.”
“‘We are at war’: Ecuador’s president vows to crack down on gangs behind week of violence.
“Ecuador’s president, Daniel Noboa, has denied that his government is embarking on an indiscriminate campaign to hunt down and kill gang members, as the South American country continues to reel from a week of chaos and deadly violence that he has classified as a war.”
“‘We are ready for a war’: Somalia threatens conflict with Ethiopia over breakaway region…
“A memorandum of understanding signed on 1 January allowing landlocked Ethiopia to develop a naval base on Somaliland’s coast has rattled the Horn of Africa, one of the world’s most volatile regions.”
“While all the headline attention regarding the tanker and energy market is focused on the Red Sea, another source of disruption could be emerging in Libya.
“…this week has seen the North African producer back in the spotlight, with Libya’s NOC declaring force majeure at the 300kbd Sharara oil field due to a resurgence in local protests over fuel prices and a reported lack of economic opportunities.”
“Türkiye’s looming economic and financial crisis…
“Türkiye’s new economic team, appointed last summer, has been pursuing an aggressive interest rate hike policy recently in a last-ditch attempt to rectify the country’s long years of unorthodox policymaking that has left many Turks struggling to afford food and other basic goods.”
“Turkish air strikes hit 24 Kurdish militant targets in northern Iraq, Syria, ministry says.
“In a statement on social messaging platform X, the ministry said the targets included caves, shelters, bunkers, depots and natural gas production facilities… Turkish forces have been carrying out a cross-border operation called “Claw-Lock” in Iraq as part of the country’s offensive against PKK militants.”
“Syrian farmers abandon the land for steadier jobs.
“After years of war, drought and economic crisis, Omar Abdel-Fattah was forced to rent out his farmland in northeast Syria, preferring a more stable job to provide for his family. “It breaks my heart to see someone else working my land,” said Abdel-Fattah…”
“Israel vows not to ‘stop’ as Gaza death toll nears 24,000 on day 100 of war.
“Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has promised to “continue [the war] until victory”, saying in a televised address late on Saturday that “it is possible and necessary”. “No one will stop us – not The Hague, not the Axis of Evil and no one else,” Netanyahu said.”
“Scale of vast tent city in Gaza revealed – with destruction leaving residents little to return to.
“100 days after the conflict began, satellite images show how a camp in Rafah is now a tent city the size of almost 400 football pitches. Sky News analysis reveals how most of Gaza now lies in ruins, with experts saying the scale of destruction is unlike anything they’ve seen before.”
“The clue that a banking crisis is coming.
“Redundancies in the City could prefigure a bigger problem with financial markets… By the end of 2023, the Financial Times estimated that some 60,000 people were out of a job at the world’s largest banks. More are expected to come.”
You can read the previous “Economic” thread here. I’ll be back tomorrow with a “Climate” thread.
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