Timeframe: September 17th – September 23rd, 2021
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Maisha Maliha, Mansib Khan, Musarrat Sarwar Chowdhury, Sabyasachi Karmaker, Samia Tahsin Hoque, and Farhan Uddin Ahmed.
1. Economics & Business
Evergrande: Crisis-hit firm strikes China debt deal
Evergrande’s major property unit has announced that it has reached an agreement on a bond interest payment due on Thursday. The announcement has provided some comfort to nervous markets that had been on edge amid fears that a default of Evergrande could ripple through the global financial system. Hengda Real Estate Group announced in a statement that the coupon payment on its 5.8% September 2025 bond, which is traded in Shenzhen, will be made on time on September 23. The news comes as Evergrande, once the country’s top-selling developer, approaches a major deadline for a dollar bond interest payment, causing financial markets to tremble. Still, investors and analysts downplayed the risk of the company’s problems becoming the country’s “Lehman moment.”
Source: The Guardian
Aukus: Australia’s big gamble on the US over China
By signing the Aukus pact last week, Australia revealed where it stands in the world: It is taking the side of the US over China.
It’s a definitive move for a country in the Asia-Pacific region, experts say.
The security deal with the US (and the UK) gives Australia a huge defense upgrade from the world’s most powerful military.
3. Significant Corona Update
Arsenal of Vaccines: Biden pledges 500m more doses to COVAX as the WHO warns the target of 40% in each country getting the shots likely to be missed by year-end
In spite of the CDC turning down booster shots, the FDA authorizes the third dose of Pfizer vaccine for those 65 and above in the US. This is in spite of an Oxford study warning only 2% in the developing world has had the first dose. While President Biden promises additional shots, the COVAX initiative warns that this might be too little, too late for the perishable shots. While India and other developing countries have significantly ramped up vaccine administration, it remains to be seen how to resolve the global inequality between those in the developed world looking for a third dose and those in the developing still waiting for the first. The US birthrate has picked up again as markets pick up while a vaccine developed by China’s Sichuan Clover was found to prevent 79% of Covid-19 cases of any severity caused by the delta variant in late-stage trials – the first Chinese shot to offer efficacy against the Delta.
4. Science & Technology
Scientists created the world’s whitest paint that could eliminate the need for air conditioning
The whitest paint in the world has been created in a lab at Purdue University, a paint so white that it could eventually reduce or even eliminate the need for air conditioning, scientists say. Because the paint absorbs less heat from the sun than it emits, a surface coated with this paint is cooled below the surrounding temperature without consuming power.
Source: USA Today
5. RMG/ Agriculture
Lankan food crisis shows perils of organic farming
President Rajapaksa banned the import of chemical farm inputs in April, hoping to make his country the first fully organic one. Alas, the result has been spiraling food prices, severe food shortages, and fears of production crash of export crops like tea and rubber. Rajapaksa has blamed it all on hoarders and used the army help to crack down on traders. This reminds me of Indira Gandhi’s crackdowns on traders and takeover of the entire wholesale trade in grain in her Garibi Hatao period (the early 1970s). Alas, this failed miserably and had to be abandoned.
Source: Times of India
6. Social and Education
Cough Cough: WHO slashes down maximum safe levels as 7m die prematurely from related diseases each year
The WHO found air pollution to be as dangerous as smoking and unhealthy eating ahead of the COP26 climate summit in November. The maximum recommended exposure to PM2.5s (particles such as engine exhausts smaller than 2.5 microns across) to half of the current recommended, which is expected to curb premature deaths by 80%. Ozone, nitrogen dioxide, sulfur dioxide, and carbon monoxide are the culprits behind heart disease, strokes, and asthma.
Bees kill 63 endangered penguins in South Africa
A swarm of bees has killed 63 endangered African penguins on a beach outside Cape Town, in what bird conservationists described as an unusual incident. A post-mortem report revealed that all of the penguins had multiple bee stings. Preliminary findings suggest that they died after being stung by a swarm of Cape honey bees. They were part of a colony of African penguins (Spheniscus demersus) living in a nature reserve, which is considered endangered, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List. The area is a national park and the Cape honey bees are part of the ecosystem.
Source: Al Jazeera
8. Expert Opinion
Canadian Conservative leader tested leftward shift against Trudeau. Will the new course stick?- Andy Blatchford
The new, more “progressive” approach Erin O’Toole employed during the 2021 federal election campaign may serve as a test run for future leaders of the traditionally center-right organization. The party’s faithful now have to decide if they liked it.
Disclaimer: The information provided here is obtained solely from the third parties mentioned above. Youth Policy Forum (YPF) is not responsible for any misinformation or misrepresentation.