Timeframe: September 2 to September 8, 2022
Contributors: Affan Bin Saber, Mansib Khan, G.M. Sifat Iqbal and Farhan Uddin Ahmed
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Xi’s Covid Zero Strategy Faces Make-or-Break Test in Chengdu
Chinese President Xi Jinping’s Covid Zero model is facing a major test, weeks before a crucial meeting that’s expected to hand him a third term in power. A lockdown in megacity Chengdu could either validate or discredit the strategy. If authorities stamp out cases by shutting down, mass testing groups, and isolating infections, the Chinese leader can tout Chengdu as proof that lives saved by Covid Zero are worth the economic pain. If things go wrong, Xi could head into the Communist Party’s twice-a-decade leadership summit next month with another major city struggling with food shortages, social unrest, and economic losses. China remains almost completely shut off from the world, with only about 100 flights in and out per day.
Kazakhstan leader seeks snap presidential vote with 7-year term
Kazakhstan’s President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev has proposed a snap presidential election this fall and proposed cutting the presidential term from the current two five-year terms to seven years.
In a speech to parliament on Thursday, Tokayev said he would seek a second term and suggested holding parliamentary elections in the first half of 2023.
A presidential vote is due in Kazakhstan in 2024 and parliamentary elections in 2025.
Tokayev said he would move the parliamentary vote forward after the successful referendum on constitutional changes in June which decentralise decision-making and strip former President Nursultan Nazarbayev of his “national leader” status.
Nazarbayev ruled the country for 29 years after it gained independence. In 2019, he stepped down and hand-picked Tokayev as his successor.
Should he win the vote, the upcoming election would strengthen Tokayev’s mandate as an independent leader.
EU plans Russian gas price cap despite Putin threat
The European Union’s executive body has proposed capping the price of Russian gas, within hours of Russia’s leader condemning the idea as stupidity.
“We must cut Russia’s revenues which Putin uses to finance this atrocious war,” said European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen.
But Mr Putin said Moscow would react to a cap by halting supplies completely.
“We will not supply gas, oil, coal, heating oil – we will not supply anything,” he said, if it went against Russia’s interests.
Last week, the G7 group of nations – announced a price cap for Russian oil – a move it said would reduce both Moscow’s revenue for its Ukraine invasion, and inflation in the West.
Finnish researchers recently estimated that Russia has made €158bn (£136bn) from surging fossil fuel prices during the six-month invasion – with EU imports accounting for more than half of that.
2. Economics & Business
Oil prices jump as OPEC+ agrees to small output cut
Oil prices rose about 3 percent on Monday, as OPEC+ members agreed to a small production cut of 100,000 barrels per day to bolster prices.
Brent crude futures for November delivery settled $2.72 higher at $95.74 a barrel, a 2.92 percent gain.
Prices had climbed nearly $4 earlier in the session, but were tamed by comments from the White House that United States President Joe Biden was committed to taking all steps necessary to shore up energy supplies and lower prices.
US crude rose $2 to $88.85 per barrel, a 2.3 percent rise after a 0.3 percent gain in the previous session, in thin volumes during the US Labor Day holiday.
Elevator industry of Bangladesh is rapidly changing with local players emerging
In the fast-paced era of today, the demand for elevators (locally known as lifts) has been skyrocketing all over Bangladesh with nearly 4.5 thousand lifts being sold every year half of which being sold in the capital alone.
Currently, the majority of the lift sector is imported based with 80-95% of lifts being imported by an estimated 250 – 300 firms. However, local companies especially ‘Walton’ is stepping into the market to locally produce elevators. The prices of elevators vary but if each is assumed to cost an average of 20 lakhs then the total market is to be valued at least Tk 1000 crore.
By the year 2028, the international market for lift is said to be reaching 12,000 crores US dollars which in 2021 was 9,900 crore US dollars. According to a local company, this is due to a massive expansion of building in the construction sector and is predicted to be only growing.
Source: Prothom Alo
3. Science & Technology
Selling of dangerous e-bike chargers found on online shopping sites in UK
According to Electronic Safety First (ESF) chargers for e-bikes that can potentially cause fire hazards were found on sale on Amazon and eBay. ESF said all the chargers failed to meet the UK plug standard, with most appearing not to have a fuse – a situation that has the potential to cause a serious fire.
The chargers are used to power the lithium-ion battery in e-bikes although a few listing further adds that they can be used to charge e-scooters and hoverboards. Despite failing UK’s safety check all the sites claimed that they had safety procedures in check. ESF further adds that out of 60 chargers listed, 21 of them don’t pass the safety check.
To combat this the products were removed from sale and stricter regulations should take place to prevent potential risks in the future.
India summons Wikipedia officials over edits to cricketer’s page
India has summoned executives of Wikipedia after a cricketer’s page on the online encyclopedia was edited with links to a separatist movement.
The country’s IT ministry made the order on Monday to seek clarification from Wikipedia executives over the incident.
The Wikipedia page of Arshdeep Singh, who had several lapses in a game between India and Pakistan on Sunday, was edited to incorrectly say that he had been selected to play for Khalistan, a fictitious independent homeland sought by some separatist groups.
India’s amended IT rules, which went into effect last year, impose greater scrutiny on intermediaries, requiring them to appoint and share details of representatives tasked with compliance and grievance redressals.
Source: Tech Crunch
Monsoon rains endanger Unesco World Heritage site Mohenjo Daro
In Pakistan, heavy monsoon rains threaten the archeological ruins of a 4,500-year-old city. Reportedly, parts of the ancient Mohenjo Daro are already damaged.
The ruins of Mohenjo Daro are located in the southern province of Sindh on the right bank of the Indus River, about 510 kilometers (317 miles) northeast of Pakistan’s largest city, Karachi, and 28 kilometers from Larkarna. The site is considered one of the best preserved urban centers in South Asia.
The Indus River floods did not directly hit Mohenjo Daro, Ahsan Abbasi, the site’s curator, told the AP news agency. Nonetheless, the unprecedented rainfall severely damaged the ruins of the ancient city, he said. Several big walls collapsed, he said, adding that extensive repair work has begun. However, the site’s landmark Buddhist stupa is intact, Abbasi said.
Disclaimer: The information provided here is obtained solely from the aforementioned third parties. Youth Policy Forum (YPF) is not responsible for any misinformation or misrepresentation.