Your April 22 news briefing

Your April 22 news briefing
A screen shows Chinese President Xi Jinping delivering a keynote speech at the opening ceremony of the Boao Forum for Asia via video link, at a media centre in Boao, Hainan province, China April 21, 2022. REUTERS/Kevin Yao

Xi’s speech at the Boao Forum

Yesterday, President Xi spoke via video call at the Boao Forum for Asia. Here’s a quick snapshot:

  • COVID: There was no mention of the current outbreak in the country, but Xi repeated the goal of reducing deaths, saying, “We need to work together to defend people’s lives and health.”
  • Economy: The fundamentals of the Chinese economy “remain unchanged,” but it remains committed to “reform and opening up.”
  • International relations: Xi told countries to “reject the Cold War mentality, oppose unilateralism, and say no to group politics and bloc confrontation.” He referred to the international community as a ship and how you can’t just throw someone overboard. Xi also floated the idea of a security framework that promotes world peace and respects other countries.

The Fed’s fight against inflation

Jerome Powell
FILE PHOTO: Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell testifies during the Senate Banking Committee hearing titled “The Semiannual Monetary Policy Report to the Congress", in Washington, U.S., March 3, 2022. Tom Williams/Pool via REUTERS/File Photo

Generally speaking, when the Fed increases its rate, it does it in quarter-point increments. But right now, inflation is at a four-decade high, and it’s a problem around the world because of supply disruptions from various things like the Russia-Ukraine war and the lockdowns in China.

So in a panel discussion, Fed Chairman Jerome Powell said that it’s possible the Fed will be increasing interest rates by two or more half percentage points starting from the next policy meeting in May to try to cool down the economy. Wall Street already saw this coming, though.

Shanghai COVID update

A worker in protective suit rests on a street during a lockdown, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, in Shanghai, China, April 17, 2022. REUTERS/Aly Song

After weeks of lockdown, Shanghai’s battle with COVID seems far from over, with the city recording triple the number of severe cases from the previous day. On the one hand, daily infection rates have fallen consecutively. But, critical conditions and deaths have increased, many of which involve unvaccinated elderly patients. A lack of natural immunity also means that the unvaccinated are especially vulnerable.

Among the nearly 18,500 new cases reported Wednesday in Shanghai, most are asymptomatic, which acts as a challenge for tracing the virus going forward, especially with the country’s zero-COVID policy.

Cathay’s pilots’ allowances and perks

Cathay Pacific
FILE PHOTO: A Cathay Pacific aircraft takes off at the airport in Hong Kong, China, March 31, 2022. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu/File Photo

Once a “glamour industry,” pilots are finding roles at Cathay Pacific airlines less and less enticing. With exhausting “closed loop” flights meant to avoid triggering quarantine and Hong Kong’s strict COVID rules, pilots have often been kept away from their families for weeks at a time. Plus, a drastically reduced capacity has grounded many pilots, leading to lower wages and forced unpaid leave. All of this has led to a spike in resignations from flight crew in the company.

So to combat the surge of resignations, the airline will now offer higher monthly allowances and other perks, depending on the position.

Reels, but only IG originals, please


Insta content aggregators, beware. Instagram head Adam Mosseri said that Instagram is going to be making some changes to its platform to benefit creators, like promoting original content over reposts. The main target seems to be Reels, where we’ve all probably seen reposted videos that did well on TikTok and have just been moved over. So now, IG is going to be giving some extra oomph to original Reels and burying reposts down in the rankings.

They’re also letting anyone use product tags now, and they’re going to allow profiles to be put into different categories – we, for example, will land in the “news” category! #watchout

In other news …

👯‍♂️Yesterday was a school night, but Hong Kongers didn’t care, with many out and about as it marked the first day that restrictions eased.

🚦Elon Musk’s vision to solve traffic issues (which he calls “soul-destroying”) with his company Boring, which builds tunnels underground, just raised US$675 million bringing the company’s valuation to nearly US$5.7 billion.

🍑OnlyFans has “temporarily paused” Russian accounts due to “a further tightening of payment restrictions to and from Russia.”

🎾Tennis tournament ​​Wimbledon’s move to ban Russian and Belarusian players has gotten the criticism of Novak Djokovic, who says that even though he’s a “child of war,” he “cannot support” the decision. “I think it’s crazy,” he said.

Written and put together by Jake Shropshire, Julianna Barcela, Christine Dulion and Krystal Lai