Timeframe: January 29 to February 4, 2022
Contributors: Affan Bin Saber, Anika Bushra, G.M. Sifat Iqbal, and Farhan Uddin Ahmed
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Myanmar Coup Anniversary: ‘Silent Strike’ Protests Against Two Years of Military Rule
Pro-democracy activists in Myanmar are holding a “silent strike” to mark the two-year anniversary of a military coup that ousted Aung San Suu Kyi.
Streets in many cities were quiet after protesters urged people to stay indoors and asked businesses to close.
Meanwhile, the military administration has extended the state of emergency in the country for another 6 months.
The UK, US, Canada and Australia have announced new sanctions against military-linked companies.
After the overthrow of the government two years ago, large parts of Myanmar descended into chaos, with more than a million people displaced.
The military accused widespread fraud in a vote held months earlier in November 2020, which Ms Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD) won with more than 80% of the vote.
The army’s claims have been dismissed as unfounded by the vast majority of the international community, and plans to hold new elections to cement the junta’s rule have been dismissed as “fraud”, including by the United Nations.
French protests intensify against pension age rise
France has seen a second wave of protests and strikes against President Emmanuel Macron’s plans to raise the retirement age from 62 to 64.
The number of marchers was expected to surpass the 1.12 million recorded 12 days ago.
Eight key unions took part in the strike, which disrupted schools, public transport and oil refineries.
But for all the mass mobilisation, it is still far from clear if the protesters can force Mr Macron to back down. Mr Macron’s government is pushing ahead with its pension age reforms in the face of opinion polls that suggest two-thirds of voters are opposed to the changes, which begin their passage through the National Assembly next week.
At 62, France’s retirement age is lower than most other countries in Western Europe. Italy, Germany and Spain have moved towards raising the official retirement age to 67, while in the UK it is 66.
Economist Prof Philippe Aghion said the reforms were necessary because France had a structural deficit of some €13bn ($14bn; £11bn) and raising the retirement age would also help increase the rate of employment in France.
2. Economics & Business
Oil prices up after the drone attack in Iran
Oil prices rose in early Asian trade after tensions in the Middle East followed a drone strike in Iran and Beijing pledged over the weekend to promote a cost recovery that would support energy demand.
Brent crude futures rose 54 cents, or 0.6 percent, to $87.20 a barrel by 0115 GMT while U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude was at $80.22 a barrel, up 54 cents, or 0.7 percent, on Monday.
Israel appears to be behind an overnight drone attack on an Iranian military factory, a US official said on Sunday.
“It’s not yet clear what’s happening in Iran, but any escalation there is likely to disrupt crude flows,” said Stefano Grasso, senior portfolio manager at 8VantEdge in Singapore.
FBCCI encourages Japanese investors to establish automobile industries in Bangladesh
Japanese investors are being urged to establish car companies in Bangladesh by the Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI). In this approach, FBCCI wants to collaborate closely with Japanese entrepreneurs.
The FBCCI President made this appeal on Wednesday at the FBCCI headquarters in Dhaka during a polite meeting with the delegation from the Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO). According to BSS, Kazushige Nobutani, president of JETRO, headed the visiting group. According to Md. Jashim Uddin, there is a significant market for Japanese goods in Bangladesh, particularly vehicles. According to Jashim, establishing factories might be advantageous for both nations because the cost of the goods would be rather low.
The president of FBCCI said, “Entrepreneurs in Bangladesh are eager to increase commerce with Japan. Setting up eco-friendly and legal enterprises has been stressed. To maintain sustainable industrialization, technology transfer between the two nations is crucial “. He also mentioned that Bangladesh and Japan have long-standing collaborations and through business-friendly policies and methods the two nations’ commercial relations will be expedited.
Source: Financial Express
UK expected to be only major economy to shrink in 2023 – IMF
Among all the advanced and emerging economies, the UK is the only country that is expected to shrink by 0.6% in 2023. This is because of rising living standards encompassing rising energy prices, high mortgage costs, worker shortages, and rising taxes. This contraction can mean companies will not yield better profits, and unemployment will increase.
The Institute for Fiscal Studies director was apprehensive about the IMF projections as they arénot always right. He predicts that the UK economy will stagnate throughout the year but will not suffer a deep recession.
Uk’s economic environment deteriorated after the budget cut in September; increased tax and interest along with high energy prices will slow the UK economy. However, things can improve as inflation may fall in the UK as energy prices stabilize. This can be a silver lining for the UK as falling inflation can allow the economy of the UK to grow.
3. Science & Technology
Boeing’s 747, the original jumbo jet, prepares for final send-off
Boeing’s (BA.N) 747, the original and arguably most aesthetic “Jumbo Jet”, revolutionized air travel only to see its more than five-decade reign as “Queen of the Skies” ended by more efficient twinjet planes.
The last commercial Boeing jumbo will be delivered to Atlas Air (AAWW.O) in the surviving freighter version on Tuesday, 53 years after the 747’s instantly recognizable humped silhouette grabbed global attention as a Pan Am passenger jet.
Designed in the late 1960s to meet demand for mass travel, the world’s first twin-aisle wide body jetliner’s nose and upper deck became the world’s most luxurious club above the clouds.
“This was THE airplane that introduced flying for the middle class in the U.S.,” said Air France-KLM CEO Ben Smith.
“Prior to the 747 your average family couldn’t fly from the U.S. to Europe affordably,” Smith told Reuters.
The jumbo also made its mark on global affairs, symbolising war and peace, from America’s “Doomsday Plane” nuclear command post to papal visits on chartered 747s nicknamed Shepherd One.
Although it eventually became a cash cow, the 747’s initial years were riddled with problems and the $1-billion development costs almost bankrupted Boeing, which believed the future of air travel lay in supersonic jets.
After a slump during the 1970s oil crisis, the plane’s heyday arrived in 1989 when Boeing introduced the 747-400 with new engines and lighter materials, making it a perfect fit to meet growing demand for trans-Pacific flights.
The same swell of innovation that got the 747 off the ground has spelled its end, as advances made it possible for dual-engine jets to replicate its range and capacity at lower cost.
Yet the 777X, set to take the 747’s place at the top of the jet market, will not be ready until at least 2025 after delays.
Least costly carbon capture system unveiled by Scientists
With every CO2 molecule that enters the Earth’s atmosphere, the need for technology that can capture, remove, and recycle carbon dioxide increases. Scientists at the Department of Energy’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory have accomplished a new feat in their attempts to make carbon capture more widely available and inexpensive in order to satisfy that requirement.
They have developed a brand-new technology that effectively gathers CO2 at the lowest cost to date and transforms it into methanol, one of the most often used chemicals in the world. One of the most important factors in reducing global warming is catching CO2 before it floats into the atmosphere. However, a crucial first step is to provide incentives for the biggest emitters to use carbon capture technologies. Commercial capture technology’s high cost has long been a deterrent to its general adoption. David Heldebrant, a chemist at PNNL who is in charge of the research group developing the new technique, likens the method to recycling. Carbon may be recycled, just as one might select between single-use and recyclable materials.
According to Heldebrant, using this technique will lower emissions. However, it might also encourage the creation of additional carbon capture technologies and provide a market for CO2-containing goods. A market like this would make it easier to reconstitute carbon captured by predicted direct air capture technology into products with a longer lifespan.
Source: Tech Xplore
Brazil plans green bond sale this year
Brazil is planning to issue a green bond, the first of its kind, in 2023. This is an initiative of the Brazilian government to embrace a green economy as a focal point of state-driven development policy.
The bonds offered will be associated with green projects, which would signal the country’s environmental dedication.
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.