A draft Chinese national security bill for Hong Kong, supporters argue, could help police tackle violent street protests, like those held for months last year. Opponents argue the law would erode the territory’s freedoms and semi-autonomous status. Library picture: Hong Kong riot police arrest a demonstrator, 1 October 2019. Photo credit: Alan Ko / Shutterstock.com
Facebook makes home office and e-commerce announcements, AstraZeneca gets vaccine development boost and UK goes negative. Delano’s breakfast briefing for Friday.
New Zealand’s prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, suggested employers consider a four-day working week as way to boost domestic tourism and rebuild the country’s post-pandemic economy. Sources: CBC, CNN, The Guardian, NPR and Radio New Zealand.
US jobless claims continue to climb
An additional 2.44m Americans filed for unemployment insurance for the first time last week, bringing the total since the pandemic started to 38.6m. One economist estimated the unemployment rate at 18.5%. Sources: BBC, CNBC, CNN, Financial Times and The Guardian.
AstraZeneca gets vaccine funding boost
The drugmaker AstraZeneca has received advanced orders for 400m doses of an unapproved covid-19 vaccine that it is developing with Oxford University and received $1bn in research funding from the US government. Sources: Financial Times, The Guardian, Quartz, Reuters and Seeking Alpha.
Baidu considers US delisting
The Chinese search giant Baidu could voluntary delist from the Nasdaq stock exchange in order to boost its valuation. The US is considering legislation that would clamp down on Chinese company listings on Wall Street. First reported by: Reuters. Additional coverage: Financial Times and Marketwatch.
Facebook started an online shopping service to compete with Amazon and Ebay this week, initially focused on helping small businesses boost sales. Sources: CNBC, Cnet, Financial Times, the Telegraph and The Verge.
UK goes negative and could go more negative
Sovereign debt: The British government sold bonds with negative yields (meaning investors effectively pay the UK to lend it money) for the first time this week. The UK joins a short list of countries paying negative yields, including Germany, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Switzerland. Sources: CNBC, Financial Times, Marketwatch, Press Association and Reuters. Central bank deposits: The Bank of England’s governor said it was considering negative interest rates on the money it holds for banks. Andrew Bailey told a parliamentary committee: “We’re not ruling it in but we’re not ruling it out.” In theory, negative interest rates would encourage banks to lend more and thus stimulate the economy. Sources: CityAM, Financial Times, The Guardian, Sky News and the Telegraph.
Benelux vodka rights seized in Yukos case
Earlier this week, a Dutch court ordered the transfer of the trademark rights of the Stolichnaya and Moskovskaya vodka brands in Belgium, Luxembourg and the Netherlands to shareholders of the former Russian energy firm Yukos, as part of $50bn legal battle against the Russian state. Sources: AFP, Meduza, Moscow Times, Radio Free Europe and Reuters.
US could quit international military surveillance pact
Donald Trump said Washington would withdrawal from the Open Skies treaty, an international arms control agreement, unless Russia adheres with its terms. Sources: BBC, Bloomberg, Deutsche Welle, NPR and RTE.
US authorities arrested two men wanted by Tokyo for helping the former Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn escape Japan while awaiting trial for financial misconduct (charges he strenuously denies). Sources: BBC, CNBC, Financial Times, NHK and Reuters.
Now showing: Here are current exhibitions in Luxembourg City museums. Monday 25 May, 5pm: Luxembourg Private Equity and Venture Capital Association’s “10 years, 10 minutes” interview with Mark Tluszcz of Mangrove Capital Partners. Tuesday 26 May, 8pm: British Ladies Club hosts a virtual bingo night; register via [email protected]Wednesday 27 May, 5:30pm-6:30pm: 10 speakers have 6 minutes to give their take on the state of impact investing during this Paperjam Club streamed conference (in French and English). Wednesday 27 May, 6pm-7pm: The women’s networking group Hub Dot hosts its next “piazza” via Zoom.
Here are 10 science & technology stories you may have missed
Animals: A US Navy dolphin found a lost 19th century torpedo off the coast of southern California, per Popular Mechanics. Archeology: A study of ancient genomes found that China was settled by two distinct groups that eventually intermarried, per Nature. Autonomous vehicles: An industry survey found that the more Americans know about self-driving technology, the more they trust it, per Ars Technica. E-economics: A pizzeria owner in the US made a profit ordering his own $24 pizzas from the food delivery service Doordash, which charged customers just $16, per The Verge. Health: It is hard to fix sleeping problems once they set in, a psychiatry professor writes in Popular Science. Health: Two academics explain to the BBC why videoconferences are so exhausting, a condition sometimes known as Zoom fatigue. Medicine: In a recent trial, injections every two months of the experimental drug cabotegravir seemed pretty effective in preventive HIV infections among men who have sex with men and transgender women, per Science magazine. Meteorology: A study suggests that nuclear bomb tests in the US and Soviet Union during the Cold War led to increased rainfall in the Shetland islands, per The Guardian. Space exploration: Nasa published its “Artemis Accords”, proposed rules on how countries and private space companies should operate on the Moon given the absence of an international treaty, per The Register. Teleconferencing: A court in Texas held what is believed to be the first virtual trial with jurors connecting to the proceedings by Zoom, per Reuters.
The Sun has pictures of an “eerily well-preserved” mansion north of London, abandoned in 2016 for unknown reasons, with personal effects still inside and a rusting Bentley sitting in the driveway.
Nature giving us something to ruminate
Andrew Stuart, a video producer at the Manchester Evening News, tracked the “invasion” of the northern Welsh town of Llandudno by a group of goats on his Twitter account. Meanwhile, The Guardian has video of 200 goats roaming somewhat wild through a residential neighbourhood in Silicon Valley after breaking through their enclosure.