Daily updates on climate change and the global economy.

3rd May 2024 Today’s Round-Up of Economic News

“Climate ‘poses systemic financial risks’…

“As Christian Mumenthaler, chief executive of Swiss Re, one of the world’s biggest reinsurers, told delegates to the annual Davos gathering of the world’s elite, back in January this year: “This is the first time we actually bring a climate change bill back to the consumer.”…

“What’s critical about climate change, from the financial system’s point of view, is that it makes it more and more likely that many disasters will arrive all at the same time – you get more and often bigger extreme weather events so at any point in time you, as the insurer, are likely to face more claims. It’s a guarantee of rising systemic risk in the financial system…”


“Climate change-driven insurance crisis threatens new US states.

“After major providers quit California, Florida, and Louisiana, insurers are starting to pull back in other U.S. states, leaving homeowners struggling to find affordable cover for the risk of being hit by floods, wildfires or hurricanes.”


“Property market braces for $200mn+ Dollar Tree loss after direct tornado hit…

“Underwriters are expecting losses from the direct tornado hit on the Dollar Tree distribution centre in Marietta, Oklahoma to exceed $200mn, with carriers on the retail company’s Marsh-placed cover thought to include Zurich, Chubb, Everest, AIG and CNA, The Insurer can reveal.”


“Climate change is pushing some New York City neighborhoods into dozens of nearly daylong blackouts per year, a new study has found…

“The risk to the grid is rising as more frequent extreme weather knocks down power lines, damages transformers and threatens the stability of the grid, said first author Nina Flores, a doctoral student at Columbia’s Mailman School of Public Health.”


“America’s reckless borrowing is a danger to its economy—and the world’s…

“How has it come to this? The costs of wars, a global financial crisis and pandemic, unfunded tax cuts and stimulus programmes have all piled up. Both Republicans and Democrats pay lip service to fiscal responsibility. But the record of each side in office is of throwing caution to the wind…”


“Federal Reserve signals that rates will remain higher for longer…

“The US Federal Reserve has signalled that interest rates are likely to remain higher for longer, as it wrestles with persistent inflation across the world’s biggest economy. The US central bank left rates unchanged yesterday and said there had been “a lack of further progress” towards its 2 per cent inflation goal…”


“Fed’s rate decision to put pressure on emerging market central banks…

““This puts the squeeze on emerging market central banks, including countries like South Africa, India and Mexico, to hike their own rates in order to address currency depreciation, inflationary pressures, capital flight risks, and external debt servicing concerns.””


“Japan used $59bn [this week] to prop up the yen but consumers may still cut back…

“Economists, traders and companies said the size and urgency of the interventions, pointed to the unprecedented challenges confronting an ageing, shrinking economy that is only just emerging from decades of deflation.”


“Higher interest rates make government debt unviable as an economic solution.

“While developed countries rarely formally default on their domestic debt – often resorting to other tactics such as surprise inflation and financial repression to manage their liabilities – a high debt burden is generally detrimental to economic growth.”


“Ørsted boss warns on high prices for renewable energy…

“Renewable energy projects are sensitive to interest rates, which have been rising since 2021, because developers need to raise money to cover high upfront costs… Energy consultancy Wood Mackenzie found in a recent report that a 2 percentage point rise in US interest rates could drive up the overall cost of a renewable energy project by 20 per cent.”


“UK will be worst performer in G7 next year, OECD forecasts…

“The UK will be the worst-performing economy in the G7 next year, according to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, as high interest rates and the lingering effects of last year’s surge in inflation drag on growth.”


“Britain must invest in an Iron Dome defence system, a former US national security adviser said as he warned that another world war was on the horizon.

“General HR McMaster also urged the Government and the US to spend 4 per cent of GDP on the military because “it’s a heck of a lot cheaper to prevent a war than have a fight”.”


“NATO says Russian hybrid attacks intensify on members’ territories.

“NATO members are ‘deeply concerned’ about recent attacks they attribute to Russia that namely affected the Czech Republic, Estonia, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, and the United Kingdom, the defence alliance said in a statement on Thursday.”


“Macron floats Ukraine troop deployment if frontline breached…

“French President Emmanuel Macron has said the question of sending Western troops to Ukraine would “legitimately” arise if Russia broke through Ukrainian front lines and Kyiv made such a request, in an interview with the Economist published today.”


“Macron’s analysis of the threats encircling Europe is resolutely bleak.

“At stake is the survival of Europe as a safe place, a guarantor of prosperity and the liberal democratic order. “A civilisation can die,” Mr Macron warns, and the end can be “brutal”. “Things can happen much more quickly than we think.””


“The clash over whether to commandeer Russia’s frozen assets…

“At the recent gathering of G20 finance ministers in Brazil, delegates were gripped by a deep sense of unease over a pressing issue: the potential seizure or use of Russian assets frozen under the western sanctions that followed its invasion of Ukraine…”


“US Senate passes Russian uranium import ban…

“However, the Department of Energy (DOE) can waive the bill if it determines that “no alternative viable source of low-enriched uranium is available to sustain the continued operation of a nuclear reactor or a U.S. nuclear energy company” or if imports are deemed in the national interest.”


“New U.S sanctions take aim at Russian Arctic shipping…

“US. authorities continue to lash out against Russian natural gas company Novatek and its LNG projects in the Arctic. An updated sanctions list made public by the U.S Treasury on May 1st includes a number of vessels of paramount importance for Russian Arctic shipping.”


“US includes Chinese groups in sanctions over aid to Russian military…

“The US has imposed sanctions on more than 300 Russian and international entities, including some in China and Turkey… The fresh measures reflect Washington’s increasing concern about China and other countries providing critical inputs to sustain Russia’s military industrial base.”


“US official urges China, Russia to declare only humans, not AI, control nuclear weapons…

“A senior U.S. official on Thursday urged China and Russia to match declarations by the United States and others that only humans, and never artificial intelligence, would make decisions on deploying nuclear weapons.”


“U.S. officials wary of Chinese plans for floating nuclear plants…

““China’s intended use of floating nuclear power plants has potential impacts to all nations in the region,” said Admiral John Aquilino, who is relinquishing his command Friday. “Chinese state media has stated publicly Beijing’s intent to use them to strengthen its military control of the South China Sea…”


“China-US Great Power Rivalry a Boiling Hot Pot… the temperature of the China-U.S. broth is unstably high…

“The verbal vibes following Blinken’s visit do not suggest a positive arc in the relationship. To the contrary, it seems to be spiraling downward at a time of complex geopolitical convulsions across the world.”


“Tens of thousands of farmers in Pakistan are holding protests in several cities over the government’s decision not to buy their wheat, causing them huge losses in income.

“The farmers in Punjab, the country’s largest province and often called the “bread basket” of Pakistan, are demanding that the government stop wheat imports…”


“Trucker Protests Over Fuel Cuts Feed Labor Unrest Sweeping Iran…

“A surge of labor unrest, buffeted by widespread protests over sharp cuts to fuel quotas for truck drivers, has swept across Iran as economic hardship and poor living standards wrack the country’s workforce.”


“Turkey stops all trade with Israel over ‘humanitarian tragedy’ in Gaza…

““Export and import transactions related to Israel have been stopped, covering all products,” Turkey’s trade ministry said late on Thursday. “Turkey will strictly and decisively implement these new measures until the Israeli government allows an uninterrupted and sufficient flow of humanitarian aid to Gaza.””


“The unprecedented destruction of housing in Gaza hasn’t been seen since World War II, the UN says.

“The United Nations says the world hasn’t seen anything like the unprecedented destruction of housing in Gaza since World War II, and it would take at least until 2040 to restore the homes devastated in Israel’s bombing and ground offensive if the conflict ended today.”


“Joe Biden denounces violent pro-Palestinian campus protests after police storm UCLA…

“President Joe Biden has denounced the violence associated with pro-Palestinian demonstrations on elite campuses across the US, saying that while peaceful protests are protected speech, lawlessness will not be tolerated.”


“Houthis extend attacks on shipping to wider Indian Ocean…

“Yemen’s Iranian-backed Houthis are now threatening merchant ships hundreds of miles out in the Indian Ocean after striking a container vessel well beyond the Red Sea last week, maritime officials and experts have warned.”


“Thousands of desperate people still fleeing Sudan’s war into South Sudan…

“Since the war broke out in Sudan a year ago, more than half a million people have crossed into South Sudan using various border crossings. The small town of Renk, some 45 kilometres across the border in South Sudan’s Upper Nile state, is the biggest entry and transit point.”


“Russian troops enter base housing US military in Niger, US official says…

“A senior U.S. defense official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Russian forces were not mingling with U.S. troops but were using a separate hangar at Airbase 101, which is next to Diori Hamani International Airport in Niamey, Niger’s capital.”


“US-Morocco Arms Deal Could Spark North African Tensions.

“Morocco’s military upgrade with US support has reignited tensions with Algeria, raising fears of an arms race and wider instability in the already fragile region… Algeria, a long-standing Russian client, has responded by acquiring advanced weaponry, including Su-57 jets and S-400 air defense systems.”


“Pirates, refugees & risk: The global economic consequences of Haiti’s collapse…

“Many nations in the region already face high levels of violence and adding a haven for illicit activities would only worsen matters. A collapse in Haiti could also destabilize other fragile states in the Caribbean and Central America, leading to increased migration and political turmoil, creating a domino effect.”


“Political tensions weaken battle against biggest diseases, warns health charity chief…

“Rising friction between western countries and China and Russia had combined with a “sense of unfairness” in poorer countries over Covid-19 pandemic resources to make it harder to broker international deals, said the Wellcome Trust’s John-Arne Røttingen.”


“How ‘apocalypse’ became a secular as well as religious idea…

“Fears of AI are not the only things driving public concern about the end of the world. Climate change and pandemic diseases are also well-known threats. Reporting on these challenges and dubbing them a potential “apocalypse” has become common in the media…”


You can read the previous “Economic” thread here. I’ll be back tomorrow with a “Climate” thread.

If you found value in this content, please help me continue this work by becoming a patron of my work via Patreon. And if you are already a subscriber or have donated – thank you!

1st May 2024 Today’s Round-Up of Economic News

“The Fed Won’t Climb Down Yet. Others Can’t Wait… big central banks can’t hang on forever for the US to start cutting rates — but still fear going first.

“Developed market central banks are facing an unwanted problem: It no longer seems certain that they can manage a descent to pre-pandemic levels of inflation or interest rates.”


“The Strong Dollar Could Kick off a New Currency War in Asia…

“Bank Indonesia’s surprising tightening move last week is a terrible omen for investors from New York to Tokyo… A runaway dollar is wrestling capital away from emerging economies everywhere… It’s but the latest example of the 1997-like vibes in Asia as the dollar surges.”


“Japanese government spent $35bn to prop up yen on Monday, BoJ figures suggest…

“Traders and economists said the data, released on Tuesday evening, all but confirmed that the Japanese authorities had stepped into the markets on Monday shortly after the yen hit a 34-year low of just under ¥160 against the US dollar.”


“Famed MONY tower that inspired hit song sells for a lot less cash than it fetched a decade ago in troubling sign for NYC market…

“Yellowstone Real Estate forked over a mere $185 million — a massive $420 million haircut from how much the famed Mutual of New York tower fetched a decade ago — to purchase the remaining debt on the near-empty office building now simply called 1740 Broadway, according city Department of Finance records.”


“US Small-Business Rent Delinquencies Rise to a Three-Year High…

“The Small Business Rent report from Alignable, which provides an online networking platform for owners, found that 43% of small businesses were unable to pay their rent in full due to economic headwinds. That’s the highest rent delinquency rate since March 2021 [during the pandemic].”


“Nearly one-in-five UK-listed companies have issued a profit warning in the last 12 months…

“The sector most affected in this period was the FTSE Consumer Discretionary sector, which saw a third of the total warnings. Notably, the FTSE Personal Goods sector, which includes luxury goods, experienced a significant rise in warnings, with more than 50% of the sector affected in the first quarter alone.”


“UK Taxpayers brace for £100bn money-printing bill – as George Osborne says it’s ‘not my responsibility’…

“George Osborne has insisted a money-printing spree that is set to cost the taxpayer £100bn seemed “sensible at the time”. The former chancellor said QE, under which the Bank of England created £895bn of money to buy bonds, “was a necessary policy to get us out of the financial crash, and contributed to the fastest recovery of any G7 economy”.”


“Nationwide stops lending on some flood-risk properties. Banks may follow suit after UK weather-related claims on home insurance reach new high…

“Nationwide’s head of property risk, Rob Stevens, said the lender used mapping technology to identify which homes were vulnerable to flooding, and it would decline to grant a mortgage to buy a property it deemed to be at high risk.”


“Home Office to detain asylum seekers across UK in shock Rwanda operation…

“The Home Office will launch a major operation to detain asylum seekers across the UK on Monday, weeks earlier than expected, in preparation for their deportation to Rwanda, the Guardian can reveal.”


“UK-Ireland migration dispute deepens as Dublin says it expects London to honour deal…

“Ireland insisted on Tuesday that it expected London to honour a bilateral agreement from 2020 allowing it to return asylum seekers to the UK, despite Prime Minister Rishi Sunak saying he would not take them back.”


“Removal of migrants is ‘social cleansing’ before Paris Olympics…

“The façade of Paris Town Hall was covered in giant colourful banners announcing a summer of Olympics celebrations in the capital. At the rear of the majestic edifice, however, police were engaged in an operation that critics said illustrated a darker side of the Games.”


“‘A paradigm shift’: will Jordan Bardella finally normalise Le Pen’s far right? [France]…

“Bardella, who was elected to the European parliament five years ago when he was 23, is leading the National Rally’s European election campaign to unprecedented heights in the polls ahead of the 9 June vote.”


“Rise of Europe’s new far Right: From Spain to Greece, an army of young nationalists is on the march…

“‘It’s not racist to protect my own people from extinction,’ said the young man in the T-shirt, who refused to give his name but agreed to a photo, as he joined a noisy rally of the far-Right [Spanish] nationalist movement, Nucleo Nacional…”


“In Austria, the far right leads the race for European parliamentary elections.

“Austria’s far-right Freedom Party has been leading the opinion polls for over a year, hovering near 30 percent ahead of June elections for the European Parliament. It’s a rise of some 10 points from the party’s showing in the 2019 European elections, fuelling the hopes of its leader, Herbert Kickl, for a victory…”


“China’s young people are rushing to buy gold. They seek security in troubled times…

“Young people don’t have much spare cash. The youth-unemployment rate in cities is about 15%. Many companies are cutting salaries. So youngsters are hoping to make the most of what little savings they have. But traditional investments aren’t doing well. The stockmarket is slumping and house prices have fallen for ten months in a row.”


“As border reopens, North Koreans in China vanish…

“After fleeing famine in North Korea, Kim Cheol Ok laid low in China for decades — until a doomed run for freedom got her sent back to her repressive homeland, her family says. She is among hundreds of North Koreans repatriated by China in recent months, according to rights groups…”


“Wild video captures a Chinese Coast Guard ship collide with a Philippine vessel while battering it with a powerful water cannon…

“The footage shows Chinese vessels firing water cannons at a Philippine Coast Guard ship and a vessel of the country’s Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, the BRP Bagacay and BRP Datu Bankaw, as the two vessels carried out a “legitimate maritime patrol” near Scarborough Shoal…”


“Armenia turns towards west in search of allies amid Azerbaijan tensions…

“The quest for suitable allies is a constant in Armenia’s history, as testified to by a statue of a 17th-century Armenian diplomat, Israel Ori, on the outskirts of town. Ori dedicated his life to the country’s liberation from the Persian and Ottoman empires.”


“Georgia: Police use water cannon, tear gas and stun grenades to disperse protesters opposing ‘foreign agent’ bill…

“The bill has heightened political divisions, setting the ruling Georgian Dream party against a protest movement backed by opposition groups, communities, celebrities and the figurehead president. It is viewed by the opposition as authoritarian and bearing a resemblance to Russian anti-independent media legislation.”


“Residents of northern Israel brace for possible all-out war with Hezbollah…

“Israel and Hezbollah have been engaged in escalating daily cross-border strikes over the past six months – in parallel with the war in Gaza – and their increasing range and sophistication has spurred fears of a wider regional conflict.”


“International Court of Justice rejects request to order Germany to stop selling arms to Israel…

“Nicaragua faced a hurdle in its attempt to persuade the ICJ that German arms sales made it complicit in alleged genocide of Palestinians due to the decrease in arms sales to Israel since the start of the war in Gaza on 7 October 2023.”


“Riot police storm Columbia campus [US] and drag pro-Palestine protesters from barricade…

“Police in riot gear formed up in the streets around the campus shortly before 9pm Eastern Time on Tuesday, staring down demonstrators who had come out in sympathy with the students… “Oink, oink, piggie, piggie, we’re going to make your life s—ty,’’ the crowd shouted.””


“Netanyahu: Israel will invade Rafah — regardless of hostage deal…

““The idea that we will halt the war before achieving all of its goals is out of the question,” Netanyahu said, at a meeting with representatives of families of people taken hostage by the Palestinian militant group.”


“Zimbabwe’s ZiG is the world’s newest currency and its latest attempt to resolve a money crisis…

“Since it was launched electronically on April 5, the ZiG — short for Zimbabwe Gold and backed by the country’s gold reserves — appears to be heading down the same path of mistrust, with some government departments refusing to accept it.”


“Nigerians struggle with fuel shortages as queues form across major cities.

“Nigerians were queuing for hours to buy fuel across major cities on Tuesday as the West African nation struggled with its latest fuel shortage, causing more hardship for millions already struggling in an economic crisis.”


“As famine looms in Sudan, the hungry eat soil and leaves…

“In the Al Lait refugee camp, they are eating dirt… Akok said he watches helplessly as his wife and children dig holes in the ground with a stick, slide their hands in and grab some soil. Then they roll the soil into a ball, put it in their mouths and swallow it with water.”


“Huge supply shortages put cocoa market under strain…

“This has left the price more than $3,000 per tonne higher than a contract to deliver in a year’s time, as traders frantically search for a reliable source of beans. The wild swings and sharply diverging prices are a sign of market volatility and stress following successive poor harvests in Ivory Coast and Ghana…”


“Demand for critical minerals drives massive changes in global economy…

““The harsh realities of cobalt mining in the Congo are an inconvenience to every stakeholder in the chain. No company wants to concede that the rechargeable batteries used to power smartphones, tablets, laptops, and electric vehicles contain cobalt mined by peasants and children in hazardous conditions…””


“Solid US Space Mining Regs Could Attract Investors, VC Predicts…

“The 2015 law that explicitly okays asteroid mining doesn’t make any explicit mention of the Moon, but does allow an American to collect and sell a “space resource,” defined as any “abiotic resource in situ in outer space” (so no selling aliens).”


You can read the previous “Economic” thread here. I’ll be back tomorrow with a “Climate” thread.

If you found value in this content, please help me continue this work by becoming a patron of my work via Patreon. And if you are already a subscriber or have donated – thank you!

29th April 2024 Today’s Round-Up of Economic News

“WEF president: ‘We haven’t seen this kind of debt since the Napoleonic Wars’…

“Borge Brende, president of the World Economic Forum, gave a stark outlook for the global economy… he warned that global debt ratios are close to levels not seen since the 1820s and there was a “stagflation” risk for advanced economies.”


“As multilateral bank leaders meet, where is the wisdom the world needs?

“The world is at war – or at least parts of it, such as Ukraine and Gaza, are – while the South China Sea and Taiwan are theatres of brewing conflict. This hardly speaks of a wiser world that has learned from mistakes. We are battling (rather unconvincingly and indecisively) against climate changes that are largely of our making and which could prove fatal to our planet.”


“Insurers warn climate change means an unhealthy prognosis for cover…

“…a less-followed risk is adding to unease at companies offering life and health insurance: scientists’ warnings, and research findings, that a warming climate is causing an increasing number of excess deaths, and forcing more people into ill-health.”


“The crippling home insurance crisis hitting America. While climate is changing, the model for insurance has not…

“It’s no secret that there’s a housing crisis in America. Shelter has accounted for the bulk of core inflation over the past couple of years. But even if you can afford a home, you may not be able to insure it.”


“Fed Rate-Cut Debate Shifts From When Toward If on Inflation Data…

“Policymakers are widely expected to hold rates steady at a more than two-decade high at the conclusion of their meeting Wednesday, so much of the focus will be on any pivot in the tone of the post-meeting statement and Chair Jerome Powell’s press conference.”


“U.S. regulators have seized Republic First Bancorp, opens new tab and agreed to sell it to Fulton Bank, underscoring the challenges facing regional banks a year after the collapse of three peers.

“Philadelphia-based Republic First, which had abandoned funding talks with a group of investors, was seized by the Pennsylvania Department of Banking and Securities.”


“Echoes of Vietnam era as pro-Palestinian student protests roil US campuses…

“In what is perhaps the most significant student movement since the anti-Vietnam campus protests of the late 1960s, the conflict between pro-Palestinian students and university administrators has revealed an entire subset of conflicts.”


“Four water retailers serving regional homes were forced to make last-minute pleas to borrow a combined extra $36.5 million last year to deal with floods and infrastructure blowouts [Victoria, Australia].

“The increases in borrowing limits, approved by Victorian Treasurer Tim Pallas in June, were detailed in a ministerial briefing provided to the state opposition under freedom of information and obtained by The Age.”


“Thames Water collapse could trigger Truss-style borrowing crisis, Whitehall officials fear…

“Such is their concern about the impact on wider borrowing costs for the UK, even beyond utilities and infrastructure, that they believe Thames should be renationalised before the general election.”


“Workers at the UK’s last active coal-fired power station say ‘it’ll be a sad day’ when the plant closes for good in September 2024…

“Coal once dominated the East Midlands region, but the coal mines have shut, and the UK’s last coal-fired power station will cease production in September 2024. Coal is a fossil fuel and has been generating electricity in Great Britain since the Industrial Revolution…”


“Britain must spend £30bn to strip CO2 from atmosphere and hit net zero, experts warn…

“The “direct air carbon capture systems” would remove up to 48 million tonnes of CO2 from the air each year and then pump it into disused oil and gas reservoirs under the North Sea or Irish Sea. Without such a scheme the UK will never reach its target of net zero emissions by 2050…”


“‘Washout winter’ spells price rises for UK shoppers with key crops down by a fifth…

“UK harvests of important crops could be down by nearly a fifth this year due to the unprecedented wet weather farmers have faced, increasing the likelihood that the prices of bread, beer and biscuits will rise.”


“German Green’s minister Robert Habeck under fire over 2022 nuclear shutdown…

“Following a lawsuit by the monthly political magazine Cicero, documents have come to light that implicate the two German Green-run ministries, for putting aside expert opinion while concluding the 2022 nuclear exit.”


“Italy can do without Russian gas, says energy minister…

“Italy has emancipated itself from Russian natural gas and would have no problem with a proposed package of EU sanctions on liquified natural gas (LNG) that the European Commission is considering, Italian Energy Minister Gilberto Pichetto Fratin said.”


“Russia’s latest missile attack on Ukraine hit energy infrastructure used to supply the European Union with natural gas, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said…

“The attack targeted “the power grid and the gas transit system, particularly the gas infrastructure that ensures the security of deliveries to the EU,” the president said.”


“Western banks in Russia paid €800mn in taxes to Kremlin last year.

“The largest western banks that remain in Russia paid the Kremlin more than €800mn of taxes last year, a fourfold increase on prewar levels, despite promises to minimise their Russian exposure after the full-scale invasion of Ukraine.”


“China firms go ‘underground’ on Russia payments as banks pull back…

“As China’s big banks pull back from financing Russia-related transactions, some Chinese companies are turning to small banks on the border and underground financing channels such as money brokers – even banned cryptocurrency – the sources told Reuters.”


“Is China stockpiling oil and other resources in case of future war?

“…Beijing’s stockpiling of oil is just one example of what appears a broad national effort to significantly increase the holdings of key raw materials. It is a move that some increasingly suspect is intended to help insulate Beijing against any future war or international sanctions…”


“Myanmar: Civil war of ‘many against many’ tearing country up…

“Myanmar is now four years into a civil war that shows no sign of abating. Following an October 2023 offensive in the north-eastern state Shan, the military junta, known as the State Administrative Council (SAC), lost control over swathes of territory on the border with China.”


“Millions of Afghans made Pakistan home to escape war. Now many are hiding to avoid deportation…

“…at least a million remain in Pakistan in hiding. They’ve retreated from public view, abandoning their jobs and rarely leaving their neighborhoods out of fear they could be next for deportation. It’s harder for them to earn money, rent accommodation, buy food or get medical help…”


“Dissident rapper Toomaj Salehi has been given a death sentence for his involvement in the widespread protests that swept Iran in 2022, according to his lawyer.

““An order for the execution of Toomaj Salehi has been issued,” Salehi’s lawyer Amir Raesian tweeted Wednesday.”


“The Iraqi Council of Representatives passed a law Saturday criminalizing same sex relationships and transgender individuals…

“The Anti-Prostitution and Homosexuality Law amends a previous law from 1988. It provides prison sentences and fines for most of its offenses. Anyone convicted of participating in a same sex relationship could face imprisonment for ten to fifteen years.”


“‘Everyone knows something’s going to happen’: fears of a new war on Israel’s border with Lebanon…

“For the Israeli communities evacuated from the country’s far north in the aftermath of 7 October, there is no longer any doubt about whether full-scale war with Hezbollah in Lebanon is going to happen. For most people, the only question is when.”


“Israel Scrambles as Netanyahu, Gallant and IDF Chief Face ICC Arrest Warrants for War Crimes in Gaza

“Warrants could be issued this week against Netanyahu, Defense Minister Yoav Gallant and army chief Herzl Halevi. Some legal experts say the attorney general and army lawyers are partly to blame for not doing enough to prevent Israeli violations of international law.”


“Two children die in Gaza’s high temperatures as 1.2 million people living in tents under threat…

“High temperatures are bringing further danger to Gaza’s suffering population following reports that two children died from overheating in tents as temperatures reached 40 degrees Celsius this week.”


“A crude oil tanker has been damaged in a missile attack off the coast of Yemen – the latest strike to be carried out by the Houthis.

“The incident happened roughly 15 nautical miles south-west of the Yemeni city of Mocha. British maritime security agency UKMTO reported that the Panama-flagged ship was struck twice and suffered damage.”


“Red Sea Shipping Crisis Has Now Resulted In Extra 14 Million Tonnes Of CO2…

“Approximately 13.6 million tonnes of CO2 have been emitted by ships rerouted from the Suez Canal around the Cape of Good Hope since the start of the crisis* says supply chain experts INVERTO, part of Boston Consulting Group.”


“Shipping costs on the rise with conflict, pirates, protectionism and profits sharing the blame…

“Getting stuff to you is harder than it looks — and it’s getting harder. After the COVID years of lockdowns, staff shortages and global supply chain issues, people in the business of moving things around the world are finding new problems.”


“Cash crisis in Cuba: Long queues outside banks amid severe peso shortage…

“Experts have said that there are several reasons behind the cash shortage and all somehow are related to the country’s economic crisis, which is one of the worst in decades.”


“Eco-collapse hasn’t happened but you can see it coming…

“This year, a simulation using an updated version of The Limits to Growth model showed industrial production peaking just about now, while food production, too, could hit a peak soon. Like the 1972 original, this updated analysis foresees distinct declines on the other side of those peaks.”


You can read the previous “Economic” thread here. I’ll be back tomorrow with a “Climate” thread.

If you found value in this content, please help me continue this work by becoming a patron of my work via Patreon. And if you are already a subscriber or have donated – thank you!

26th April 2024 Today’s Round-Up of Economic News

“World seeing near breakdown of international law amid wars in Gaza and Ukraine, Amnesty says.

“Amnesty International says the world is seeing a near breakdown of international law amid flagrant rule-breaking in Gaza and Ukraine, multiplying armed conflicts, the rise of authoritarianism and huge rights violations in Sudan, Ethiopia and Myanmar.”


“The ‘promise of a peaceful world’ eclipsed by the ‘reality of a fragmented world’…

“Amid a fractured world and decades of ‘paralysis’… the UN Security Council struggles to find any common ground among a wide array of geopolitical crises…”


“Student anti-Israel protests continue to sweep the US, with almost 550 arrests…

“Student protests against Israel’s war in Gaza continue to spread across the US, following last week’s arrest of more than 100 demonstrators at Columbia University… The students want universities to cut ties with companies helping Israel’s war in Gaza and, in some cases, with Israel itself.”


“US stocks fall amid fears of stagflation in the American economy, which grew at its slowest pace in nearly two years just as inflation jumped.

“Shares on Wall Street plummeted as official figures showed US GDP grew less than expected in the first three months of the year.”


“Commodity prices could keep inflation high, warns World Bank…

“The multilateral lender said in a report on Thursday that the sharp decline in commodity prices over the past two years had come to a halt, as geopolitical tensions tighten supplies and demand for industrial metals and those used in the energy transition continues to grow.”


“Russia says it may downgrade ties with US if its assets are confiscated…

“”Lowering the level of diplomatic relations is one of the options, of course. Many high-ranking representatives in our government have already spoken about the issues of our financial, economic and material response to this step, which we are warning our opponents, as before, not to take,” RIA quoted Ryabkov as saying.”


“Russia vetoes US-backed UN resolution to ban nuclear weapons in space.

“Russia on Wednesday vetoed a United Nations resolution that proposed a ban on the use of nuclear weapons in outer space amid US intelligence-backed concerns that Moscow is trying to develop a nuclear device capable of destroying satellites.”


“US secretly sent long-range ATACMS weapons to Ukraine… The weapons, which can hit targets as far as 300 kilometres away, have been used twice already…

““The US is directly involved in this conflict. They are following the path of increasing the operating range of the weapon systems they supply,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.”


“Belarus moves troops to border and warns of nuclear ‘apocalypse’…

“Belarus has moved combat-ready troops closer to the border with Poland, President Lukashenko said as he warned that a growing stand-off between his country, its ally Russia and the West could end in nuclear “apocalypse”.”


“Nuclear Tensions Rise as Poland Offers Territory for NATO Warheads…

“Polish President Andrzej Duda declared in a fresh and hugely provocative statement that Poland is “ready” to host nuclear weapons should NATO decide to do so as reinforcement of its eastern flank.”


“Kazakhstan’s Oil Flows to Germany Threatened as Russia Demands Transit Fees…

…the Russian pipeline monopoly Transneft has recently told Kazakh suppliers that Polish state pipeline operator PERN has until June to pay for metering services at its Adamowo base on the Polish-Belarussian border, according to Reuters’ trading sources.”


“‘Europe could die’: Macron urges stronger defences, economic reforms.

“In the speech lasting nearly two hours, he warned that military, economic and other pressures could weaken and fragment the 27-nation EU… he also said the continent must not become a vassal of the United States. “There is a risk our Europe could die. We are not equipped to face the risks…””


“Pulled real estate deals highest in Europe since global financial crisis, says MSCI…

“Europe’s commercial property sector has been hammered in recent years by a punishing rise in debt costs and tumbling prices, exacerbated by some offices and high streets emptying after the pandemic… Investors globally are rethinking when they expect central banks to start cutting interest rates…”


“French cities introduce curfew to curb youth violence…

“Two French cities are imposing night-time curfews for children under 13 in a bid to reduce youth violence following a series of recent fatal assaults involving minors. The southern cities of Nice and Beziers introduced the controversial curfews…”


“Great Britain has worst rate of child alcohol consumption in world, report finds.

“Britain has a significant issue with underage alcohol abuse. More than a third of boys (35%) and girls (34%) had drunk alcohol by the age of 11, and by 13, 57% of girls and 50% of boys in England had consumed alcohol – the highest rate included in the analysis.”


“Scotland is worst in world for teenage boys smoking cannabis…

“Boys in Scotland who are aged 15 have the highest rate of smoking cannabis, according to new data from the World Health Organisation. Almost a quarter (23%) of 15-year-old boys in Scotland involved in the study said that they had tried the drug.”


“Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić tepidly apologized Wednesday for calling Slovenians “disgusting,” clarifying that he was only referring to their politicians…

“He hit out at Slovenia… by accusing them of being part of a “set-up” with the U.S. and Switzerland to allow Kosovo’s delegation to bring alleged survivors of rape by Serbian forces during the 1998-1999 war to the UN security council session…”


“Greece’s economic rebound in (painful) context…

“The latest rebound has only just slightly lifted Greek living standards relative to the EU average in the last couple of years — and not enough to lift them from their place as the poorest people in the eurozone… Strong tourism numbers… are helping.”


“Venice residents clash with riot police as city launches world’s first tourist entry fee…

“Venice became the first city in the world to charge a payment for tourists in an attempt to alleviate the pressures of mass tourism and make the city more livable for its residents.”


“Locals fear tourism is consuming the Canary Islands…

“”The archipelago is marked by a pattern of social and political organization that is predatory to the land, pollutes the water, destroys cultural heritage and is generally detrimental to all the species that inhabit the islands,” outlined the manifesto for the April 20 demonstrations…”


“A huge barrier to block views of Mount Fuji will be installed at a popular photo spot by Japanese authorities exasperated by crowds of badly behaved foreign tourists.

“Construction of the mesh net – 2.5 metres (8ft) high and the length of a cricket pitch at 20 metres – will begin as early as next week…”


“The yen fell to a new 34-year low on Friday after the Bank of Japan held interest rates near zero, despite rising pressure on the central bank to tighten its policy to prop up the currency…

““Ueda will have his work cut out for him at the press conference [on Friday afternoon] to avoid further yen decline,” said Benjamin Shatil, senior Japan economist at JPMorgan.”


“What’s behind a dramatic fall in Indian families’ savings?

“… something seems to be amiss… Recent data from the Reserve Bank of India says India’s net household savings stood at a 47-year-old low… There has also been a sharp jump in household debt in the same period. Annual borrowings stood at 5.8% of GDP – the second-highest level after the 1970s.”


“Israeli strikes hit southern Lebanon as cross-border fire escalates…

“The Israeli military says it hit dozens of targets in southern Lebanon while the Lebabese armed group Hezbollah said it fired dozens of rockets at an Israeli border village as fighting continues to escalate.”


“Syria crisis intensifies in shadow of Gaza war…

“The war in Gaza continues to cast a dark shadow over the wider Middle East region, in particular Syria where a series of strikes and attacks are exacerbating an already dire humanitarian situation, the UN Special Envoy for the country said on Thursday.”


“Yemen’s Houthis launch attacks on US, Israeli vessels as warships defend…

“The US military confirmed that the Houthis launched an antiship ballistic missile from their territory towards the vessel, which it identified as a “US-flagged, owned, and operated vessel with 18 US and four Greek crew members”.”


“Sudan civil war wipes out city that was once home to 500,000…

“Dozens of cities and villages in Darfur have been razed to the ground in Sudan’s brutal year-long war, new satellite pictures have revealed. Shocking images of the city of El Geneina show large sections have been burnt down since the country was engulfed in war in April 2023.”


“Big Tech keeps spending billions on AI. There’s no end in sight… Much of the money is going to new data centers, which are predicted to place huge demands on the U.S. power grid…

“In quarterly earnings calls this week, Google, Microsoft and Meta all underlined just how big their investments in AI are.”


“Biden Curbs on Power Plant Pollution Collide With Soaring Demand.

“The Biden administration is cracking down on planet-warming pollution from the nation’s electricity sector, with mandates likely to encourage the closure of coal plants that advocates argue are vital to meet surging power demand.”


“US seeing rise in climate-related power outages, report says…

“Power outages in the US are rising, as climate-related extreme weather strain an already burdened energy grid. Over the last decade, severe storm outages increased by 74% compared with the previous 10 years.”


“Nature destruction will cause bigger economic slump in UK than 2008 crisis, experts warn…

“Sounding the alarm over the rising financial cost from pollution, damage to water systems, soil erosion, and threats from disease, the report by the Green Finance Institute warned that further breakdown in the UK’s natural environment could lead to a 12% loss of gross domestic product (GDP) by the 2030s.”


“Policymakers must recognize global economic risks posed by ecosystem ‘tipping points,’ says report…

“Ecosystem tipping points are not well represented in economic models that aim to quantify the risks of environmental change, meaning financial risks are significantly underestimated and new approaches are needed, the report says.”


“World’s billionaires should pay minimum 2% wealth tax, say G20 ministers…

“The world’s 3,000 billionaires should pay a minimum 2% tax on their fast-growing wealth to raise £250bn a year for the global fight against poverty, inequality and global heating, ministers from four leading economies have suggested.”


“About 282 million people faced acute hunger last year: UN-led report.

“Food insecurity worsened around the world in 2023, with about 282 million people suffering from acute hunger due to conflicts, particularly in Gaza and Sudan, according to United Nations agencies and development groups. Extreme weather events and economic shocks added to the number…”


You can read the previous “Economic” thread here. I’ll be back tomorrow with a “Climate” thread.

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24th April 2024 Today’s Round-Up of Economic News

“Unstable nuclear-waste dams threaten fertile Central Asia heartland… Dams holding vast amounts of uranium mine tailings above the fertile Fergana valley in Central Asia are unstable, threatening a possible Chernobyl-scale nuclear disaster if they collapse that would make the region uninhabitable, studies have revealed…

“A further landslide or earthquake could send their contents into a river system used to irrigate Kyrgyz, Uzbek and Tajik farmlands…”


“‘Extraordinary’ U.S. government debt may mean prolonged bond-market volatility.

“…uncertainty over the fiscal outlook is raising the possibility that the market will continue to remain unsettled. The focus is shifting to the U.S. government-debt burden as tensions fade in the Middle East…”


“Dollar touches new 34-year peak vs yen on US rate outlook.

“The U.S. dollar climbed to a fresh 34-year peak against the yen in quiet trading on Monday, with investors taking their cue from the Federal Reserve’s higher-for-longer interest rate stance, even as they remained alert to any signs of intervention by Japan to prop up its struggling currency.”


“Why a stronger dollar is dangerous.

“…the greenback has shot up. It has risen by 4% this year, measured against a trade-weighted basket of currencies, and the fundamentals point to further appreciation… This situation is made still more difficult by the fact that the currency’s strength reflects weakness elsewhere.”


“Shadow Banking Stress in South Korea Sends Warning to Global Investors.

“South Korea is emerging as a closely watched weak link in the $63 trillion world of shadow banking. Real estate exposure has been showing cracks at home and abroad after interest rates rose…”


“Millions of jobs will be at risk if a surge in lending by so-called shadow banks ends in disaster, a top Bank of England official has warned.

“Nathanaël Benjamin, executive director for financial stability, strategy and risk at Threadneedle Street, advised that runaway growth in lending by private equity companies is complex, opaque and potentially risky.”


“Rishi Sunak said he would put Britain’s defence industry “on a war footing” as he unveiled the biggest boost to military spending in a generation.

“…the Prime Minister unveiled £75 billion in new funding… He said the plan, which will make Britain “by far the largest defence power in Europe”, would serve to “show our enemies that we are resolute and determined”.


“UK budget deficit overshoots, turning fiscal screw on Sunak government.

“Britain’s government borrowed more than expected in the 2023/24 financial year, data showed on Tuesday, in bad news for Prime Minister Rishi Sunak who hopes to woo back voters with tax cuts ahead of a national election.”


“Could France’s soaring deficit and debt lead to a rating downgrade?

“France is under intense fiscal scrutiny as it approaches weeks filled with critical events, including imminent ratings reviews from credit rating agencies. Economists warn that significant fiscal tightening may be required to prevent a downgrade.”


“Italy still vulnerable on deficit, debt and growth says EC…

“”Italy continues to be faced with the vulnerabilities linked to an elevated public debt, combined with consistent budget deficits and weak growth of productivity in a context of labour market fragility and some residual weaknesses in the financial sector,” it said.”


“Plant apocalypse: how new diseases are destroying EU trees and crops.

“From ancient olive groves to root vegetables, foreign pests introduced via the bloc’s open import system are causing damage worth billions – and outbreaks are on the rise… As the climate heats, scientists warn the problem will get worse.”


“EU green deal at ‘very high’ risk of being killed off, says Greens co-leader…

“The Belgian MEP Philippe Lamberts said the green deal, which has informed everything from tax policy to environment law making, would be a thing of the past if the far right made significant gains in the June EU parliamentary elections.”


“Russia warns Europe: if you take our assets, we have a response that will hurt.

“An ally of President Vladimir Putin warned Europe on Tuesday that Russia has already drafted legislation to retaliate if nearly $300 billion of Russian assets were seized by the West and used to help Ukraine… “And the Europeans will lose more than we do,” Matviyenko, who is a member of Russia’s powerful Security Council, said.”


“Ukraine’s agriculture minister has been made a suspect in a corruption probe…

“The case is the first against a minister under President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. The post of agriculture minister is particularly sensitive given Kyiv’s efforts to maintain its massive grain exports – a vital economic pillar – in the face of Russia’s invasion.”


“Russian law enforcement officers have detained Deputy Defense Minister Timur Ivanov on suspicion of taking bribes, Russia’s Investigative Committee said on Tuesday.

“President Vladimir Putin was informed of the detention of the high-ranking official, a rare move amid the offensive in Ukraine, Russian state media reported.”


“For all the diplomatic reassurance, US-China trade tensions are growing.

“A flurry of US trade actions targeting China point to a looming intensification of the US-China trade war and raise questions over whether the relationship is moving towards more stable ground, as officials have recently asserted.”


“Trump is taking to first step towards war with China. The presidential hopeful plans to stack his cabinet with hardcore China hawks…

“Today’s Trump has a personal animus toward China, placing heavy blame on Xi Jinping’s handling of the Covid-19 pandemic for his loss in the 2020 presidential election. The presidential hopeful’s sympathy for populist trade policies has only grown since he left office…”


“Missiles, military aid, China tensions in focus as ‘biggest ever’ US-Philippines drills begin.

“This year’s Balikatan drills kicked off as Manila received BrahMos cruise missiles from India – and had hopes for US$2.5 billion in US military aid. Manila’s armed forces chief says Balikatan is all about ‘peace and security’. Critics call it ‘warmongering’ by the US in it ‘proxy war with China’.”


“Argentina’s Milei faces biggest protest yet as students march over budget cuts.

“Hundreds of thousands of Argentines took to the streets of Buenos Aires on Tuesday in an anti-government march against budget cuts to public universities, the biggest protest yet against President Javier Milei’s painful austerity measures.”


“Haiti fuel terminal operations halted as gangs seize trucks, source says.

“Operations at Haiti’s main fuel import terminal were suspended on Monday as armed men seized trucks and demanded the port be shut down, according to a source with information on the matter, likely exacerbating existing fuel shortages.”


“Sahel seeing ‘Cold War’ in parallel to counter-terrorism efforts, expert says.

“Africa’s Sahel region now accounts for almost half of all deaths from terrorism worldwide. That was the stark warning heard at a high-level summit in Nigeria that aims to counter terrorism across Africa.”


“Sudan: Last battle for Darfur rages in El Fasher.

“Senior UN officials are warning of a looming catastrophe and the risks of a new front opening around El Fasher in Sudan’s Darfur region, as reports of a possible imminent Rapid Support Forces attack on the town and the use of artillery bombardment and airstrikes by the Sudan Armed Forces signal the last battle for Darfur.”


“More than 50,000 displaced by clashes in northern Ethiopia: UN.

“Amid escalating violence, over 50,000 are displaced in northern Ethiopia… “The humanitarian situation is dire, with thousands of women and children in need of humanitarian support to survive,” the UN said late Monday, citing local authorities in the disputed area, which is claimed by Tigray and neighbouring Amhara.”


“At least 21 people have died after a boat capsized off the coast of Djibouti…

“It was the second fatal maritime accident in two weeks off the Horn of Africa nation, which lies on the perilous so-called eastern migration route from Africa to the Middle East. Another vessel carrying mainly Ethiopian migrants sank in the same area on 8 April, claiming the lives of several dozen people.”


“Houthis poised to ramp up Red Sea attacks following recent lull…

“Whether naval operation have degraded Houthi capabilities or the Iran-backed militants were simply regrouping, the latest warnings suggest that a resurgence of attacks targeting vessels in the Red Sea is imminent.”


“Iranian air defence radar was struck in Israeli attack, satellite photos suggest.

“The pictures by Planet Labs PBC show burn marks around an area near Isfahan’s dual-use airport and airbase that analysts previously identified as a “flap-lid” radar system used for the S-300.”


“Iran’s Israel strike coincided with crackdown on dissent at home.

“The same day Iran launched its first ever direct attack on Israel it embarked on a less-noticed confrontation at home, ordering police in several cities to take to the streets to arrest women accused of flouting its strict Islamic dress code… The laws have become a political flashpoint…”


“What’s Behind The Deadly Surge Of Violence In Pakistan’s Balochistan?

“Pakistan’s southwestern province of Balochistan has been the scene of a low-level insurgency and a brutal government crackdown for decades. But the vast and resource-rich province — home to the South Asian country’s ethnic Baluch minority — has witnessed a surge in deadly attacks in recent months.”


“Hundreds of civil war victims treated every day as Myanmar chaos spills over Thailand border.

“Mae Tao clinic in Mae Sot, a frontier town along the border with Myanmar, is a harrowing window into a civil war that has suddenly escalated. In the searing heat of early morning, the wards are packed full of patients, some with catastrophic injuries.”


“Bird flu ‘likely spreading in cows since last year’ as concern grows over US virus detection systems…

“Of particular concern is whether H5N1 might now be able to infect pigs, often described as ‘mixing vessels’ for influenza and making it more likely that the virus could spill over into humans. There have also been unconfirmed reports that the virus has jumped from cows back to birds, highlighting the potential threat of recombination…”


“Bird Flu Virus Remnants Found In U.S. Milk Supply—FDA Says Milk Remains Safe…

“The Food and Drug Administration announced Tuesday that samples of pasteurized milk from around the U.S. tested positive for remnants of the H5N1 bird flu—a finding that comes about a month after the infection began spreading in dairy cows across multiple states.”


“Bird flu: Global spread of the virus fuels fears of human contamination…

“…the alert level has just been raised a notch… This telling change in tone reflects the experts’ struggle to balance the reassuring and worrying aspects of the epizootic… All the experts agree on one point: To limit the risk of transmission to humans, vigilance is essential.”


“Green subsidies making poor nations poorer, World Bank warns.

“Industrial policies that pump green subsidies worth billions into advanced economies risk widening inequalities between rich and poor countries, the World Bank has said as it warned of a “great reversal” in the growth prospects of the most vulnerable nations.”


You can read the previous “Economic” thread here. I’ll be back tomorrow with a “Climate” thread.

If you found value in this content, please help me continue this work by becoming a patron of my work via Patreon. And if you are already a subscriber or have donated – thank you!

22nd April 2024 Today’s Round-Up of Economic News

“Is the decline in global piracy over?

“Global piracy and armed robbery incidents increased by 4% in 2023 compared to 2022, according to the International Maritime Bureau’s Piracy Reporting Centre (IMB PRC). While this does not appear to be a substantial overall change, a closer look at the figures reveals some alarming trends.”


“Conflicts push global military expenditure in 2023 to ‘all-time high’…

“”Total military spending is at an all time high … and for the first time since 2009, we saw spending increase across all five geographical regions,” Nan Tian, a senior researcher at SIPRI, told AFP… “It’s a reflection of the deterioration of peace and security around the world. There’s really not a region in the world where things have gotten better,” Tian said.”


“We are closer to nuclear disaster today than at any point in the Cold War.

“The great battle of the last century was between ideologies that could understand one another. There is no common ground now… A generation on, where are we? In a volatile, anarchic void where the great superpower stand-off has given way to regional conflicts which threaten to explode in uncontainable ways.”


“The Second Cold War Is Escalating Faster Than the First…

“Then, as now, cold war has an ideological dimension: at least some Republicans are back to talking about defending freedom. To Putin and Xi, that is just code for CIA-backed “color revolutions.” Then, as now, cold war is a technological race… Then, as now, cold war is inflationary and domestically divisive.”


“Most difficult global outlook since 1930s heralds end of US-led world order…

“The pre-first world war era of globalisation fell apart as a result of war, a pandemic, inflation and protectionism. Little by little, history is repeating itself.”


“Welcome to the jungle – the new Cold War era of investing is upon us…

“The Stock Market Sceptic: deglobalisation and rearmament will reshape the economy… The inflationary nature of war and the attractiveness of “outside” money means that gold – and its more volatile peer silver – should replace government bonds as a portfolio risk diversifier.”


“‘Priced to Perfection’ Starts to Unravel as Debt Markets Get Jitters…

“Credit investors got a dose of economic and geopolitical reality this week as hawkish comments from central bank officials about borrowing costs and tensions in the Middle East sent jitters through debt markets… The return of the higher-for-longer mantra is a headache…”


“US-China trade war ramping up: China slaps a 43% tariff on widely-used US chemical…

“ICYMI from Friday, a Chinese Ministry Of Commerce statement had a new impost on US goods. China has hit imports of propionic acid from the United States with a levy of 43.5%. The chemical is widely used in food, feed, pesticides and medical fields.”


“Pharma groups warn of supply crunch over China spying law.

“Western pharmaceutical groups are warning of worsening disruption to supply chains because of problems certifying manufacturing sites in China, with some factory inspectors refusing to visit the country over fears of arrest for spying and others denied entry to facilities.”


“Senate Passes Spying Bill, Rejecting Privacy Concerns.

“The Senate passed legislation early Saturday renewing a controversial foreign spying power, prevailing over objections from privacy advocates who warned the measure could lead to a dramatic expansion of government surveillance on Americans.”


“Congress passes bill that could unlock billions in frozen Russian assets for Ukraine…

“The REPO Act, which would authorize Biden to confiscate the frozen Russian assets in U.S. banks and transfer them to a special fund for Ukraine, is part of the foreign aid package that was stalled for months in the House.”


“Ukraine is the front line of a much larger conflict…

“As these four autocracies [Russia, China, Iran and North Korea] pull closer together, so America’s democratic allies are also tightening their links. In Washington, the US and Japan recently announced a raft of new agreements that will take their security partnership to a new level. South Korea is also a major supplier of weapons for Ukraine.”


“Russia said on Sunday U.S. lawmakers’ support for $60.84 billion more in aid for Ukraine showed that Washington was wading much deeper into a hybrid war against Moscow that would end in humiliation on a par with the Vietnam or Afghanistan conflicts…

“Russia, said Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova, will give “an unconditional and resolute response” to the U.S. move to get more involved in the Ukraine war.”


“Szijjarto [Hungary’s Foreign Minister]: EU, NATO ‘preparing for world war’.

“Peter Szijjarto said that European and North Atlantic leaders “are suffering from war psychosis and feel they are at war with Russia”. The greatest difference between that approach and Hungary’s is that “we don’t think the events in Ukraine are our war,” he added.”


“Balkan clouds over EU enlargement. Friction between Bulgaria and North Macedonia may be about to take a turn for the worse…

“In short, Bulgaria and North Macedonia may soon be even more at loggerheads on one of the core issues that needs to be resolved in order to advance EU enlargement.”


“North Kosovo Serbs boycott referendum on removing ethnic Albanian mayors…

“Most Serbs in volatile north Kosovo boycotted a local referendum on Sunday on whether to remove ethnic Albanian mayors in four municipalities whose appointment led to violence last year, the country’s election commission said.”


“Tens of thousands of people in Spain’s Canary Islands have rallied against a model of mass tourism they say is overwhelming the Atlantic archipelago.

“The protesters want limits on tourist numbers and curbs on what they describe as uncontrolled development harmful for the environment and residents.”


“Hundreds of thousands of Colombians protest President Petro’s economic, social reforms.

“Hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets of Colombia’s main cities on Sunday to protest against the left-wing government of Gustavo Petro, whose popularity is at an all-time low.”


“North Korea fired a ballistic missile on Monday towards the sea off its east coast, South Korea’s military said.

“A Japanese government alert and its coast guard also said North Korea had fired what appeared to be a ballistic missile. The projectile appeared to have landed outside Japan’s exclusive economic zone area, the NHK broadcaster said.”


“Fighting rages at Myanmar’s border with Thailand as rebels target junta troops.

“Resistance fighters and ethnic minority rebels seized the key trading town of Myawaddy on the Myanmar side of the frontier on 11 April, a blow to a well-equipped military struggling to govern and facing a test of battlefield credibility.”


“Afghanistan faces bleak economic prospects.

“Despite efforts by the Taliban to increase domestic revenues, overall economic activity remained depressed, unemployment remained high, and the banking sector faced challenges due to constraints on international transfers and concerns about liquidity.”


“Iran’s historical sites being starved of funds during economic crisis

“Iran’s budget to preserve its ancient heritage amounts to a paltry £161 per site and £3,000 per building, a minister has complained. Ali Darabi, the deputy minister for cultural heritage, tourism and handicrafts, said that the country’s historical sites risk falling into total disrepair…”


“Iraq militant group says it is resuming attacks on US forces as base in Syria is targeted.

“An Iraqi militant group has said it will resume attacks on US forces in the country, as it appeared to claim responsibility for a strike on an American military base in north-eastern Syria which saw at least five rockets launched from Iraq’s town of Zummar.”


“Israel is fighting on four fronts – but the defeat may come at home.

““The problem,” Hayman suggested, “is not the IDF; the problem is the home front. The problem is the damage to Israeli society and the resilience of Israeli society. Two fronts is not a military problem. It’s a social, resilience, and home-front defence problem.””


“Netanyahu furious over US sanctions on army battalion.

“Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Sunday (Monday AEST) he would fight against sanctions being imposed on any Israeli military units for alleged rights violations, after media reports said Washington was planning such a step.”


“American troops withdraw from Niger while facing pressure from Chad.

“Washington’s announcement on Friday that it is withdrawing 1,100 soldiers from the Agadez base in Niger marks the loss of a strategic point for intelligence operations on armed groups in the Sahel, coinciding with Russia’s growing influence in the region.”


“‘Where can you hide from pollution?’: cancer rises 30% in Beirut as diesel generators poison city.

“Lebanon’s economy and electricity system are broken and much power is now generated locally, with devastating effects on air quality and health… Since 2017, the last time AUB took these measurements, the level of carcinogenic pollutants emitted into the atmosphere has doubled across three areas of Beirut.”


“Global Climate Goals Still Unreachable Despite Record Renewable Growth.

“Projections show that the sector’s expansion will continue to accelerate, with an anticipated 2.5-fold increase by 2030. While this is a promising trend in the right direction, however, experts say that it’s not enough to reach global climate goals.”


You can read the previous “Economic” thread here. I’ll be back tomorrow with a “Climate” thread.

If you found value in this content, please help me continue this work by becoming a patron of my work via Patreon. And if you are already a subscriber or have donated – thank you!