From Gucci’s crypto payments to the hundreds of thousands of Russians moving to the UAE – Here is your May 6 news briefing
Fauci criticizes China’s lockdown strategy
Lockdowns in Shanghai have been going on for over a month now, and officials say they will continue until the community reaches zero COVID cases for three days straight. Things are also getting stricter in Beijing. For example, schools are being suspended for another week, and dining in at restaurants has been banned. Subway stations have also been shut down.
According to Dr. Fauci, though, these punishing rules are probably ineffective in containing the highly-infectious omicron variant. He added that If China doesn’t start using vaccine shots other than its homegrown ones, like Sinovac, which are believed to be less effective, the lockdown won’t bring any good social or economic outcomes.
Coinbase CEO’s bold bet
Crypto is obviously a very divisive topic. The ones who love it can’t stop talking about it and touting their love. On the other hand, skeptics dismiss the whole thing as a phase. This has pretty much been the dynamic since the crypto wave began. Bitcoin, one of the biggest digital assets, reached an all-time high in valuation in November last year at US$69,000, but since then has been falling. In fact, it’s down 17% since the beginning of this year.
But even though this is the case, the CEO of Coinbase is telling fellow crypto enthusiasts and skeptics alike to be strong and push through. At the Milken Institute Global Conference earlier this week, CEO Brian Armstrong said that 1 billion people would have tried or used crypto within a decade, up from the around 200 million currently. He also added that it’s really hard to find a “true crypto skeptic” in Washington D.C., where US lawmakers have been quite torn on what to do with it.
An influx of Russians in the UAE
The Russian invasion of Ukraine led to multiple rounds of Western sanctions against Russian businesses and billionaires. With that, many Russian oligarchs are trying to flee these measures, finding a home in the UAE because the region has neither denounced the invasion nor has it put sanctions on these individuals. But it’s not just oligarchs – hundreds of thousands of Russian business owners, workers and everyday nationals have fled, worried about the country’s economic situation and future.
Because the UAE is also providing visas to non-sanctioned Russians, an estimated few hundred thousand have left the country over the last two months. Property purchases in Dubai, for example, surged by 67% in the first quarter of this year, according to Dubai-based Betterhomes, with some real estate agencies hiring Russian-speaking agents to cater to their new market.
Online investment scams spike in Hong Kong
If someone approaches you with a promise of a low-risk, high-return investment plan that sounds too good to be true – it probably is. So far this year in Hong Kong, online fraudsters have scammed over HK$132 million out of victims’ pockets, nearly four times more than in 2021. Just this week, police arrested seven people in a low-interest loan scam, which cost 48 victims a total of HK$2.8 million.
With COVID raising unemployment rates in Hong Kong, more people have become susceptible to falling into investment traps rampant on social media.
Whether you’re a student, housewife or business owner, watch out for con artists who try to lure you with their good looks and charm.
No comment, says corporate America on abortion
A Supreme Court leak showed the court was ready to let states make their own decisions about abortion laws. In response, both Apple and Amazon are offering more financial support to women to access reproductive healthcare.
But when Fortune magazine reached out to 30 of the biggest companies to see what they had to say about the leak, the answer was not much, with most of them having “no comment.”
This was a similar stance as that of both The Chamber of Commerce and the Business Roundtable, which are groups of a few hundred CEOs from the largest companies.
This will likely be a big company issue that makes its way into boardroom and exec meetings, similar to the BLM movement after the murder of George Floyd.
In other news …
💰Gucci will start accepting crypto payments this month.
🇺🇸US Fed Chair Jerome Powell said that US policymakers again reminded Americans of their commitment to bringing down inflation, but the S&P tumbled after many worried that the US wouldn’t be able to both fight inflation and avoid a recession.
👨⚖️Amber Heard took the witness stand on week four of the high-profile court case between her and her ex-husband Johnny Depp, where she said Depp struck while on drugs. She also testified that he sexually assaulted her with a liquor bottle.
🚙Apple has brought in a Ford company veteran to help them with their slow-moving Apple car project, which no one has held their breath for.
🤑Musk secured US$7.1 billion in financing for his Twitter takeover and will reportedly be the company’s temporary CEO when the deal closes.
🇬🇧Bank of England hiked rates to 1%, which is the most since the Global Financial Crisis.
🇵🇭The upcoming Philippine elections are on May 9, and online polls are seeing Philippine presidential candidate Ferdinand Marcos Jr. as the current frontrunner. Many are worried that if he does follow in his father’s footsteps, the country might find itself in a perpetual cycle of corruption, deadly martial laws and repressive regimes.
Written and put together by Jake Shropshire, Christine Dulion, Julianna Barcela and Krystal Lai