From US recession fears to an update on the Musk-Twitter deal – Here is your May 17 news briefing

From US recession fears to an update on the Musk-Twitter deal – Here is your May 17 news briefing
FILE PHOTO: Empty shelves show a shortage of baby formula at CVS in San Antonio, Texas, U.S. May 10, 2022. REUTERS/Kaylee Greenlee Beal/File Photo

To start off, we’re looking into:

The US will very likely face recession

According to Goldman Sachs experts, the US is likely headed towards a recession, and there’s a “narrow path” to avoid it.

Let’s back up just a second – the US economy is “overheated,” with a ton of money flowing into the economy from things like COVID stimulus checks and low interest rates. And eventually, the bubble has to burst. According to the Goldman report, there needs to be ​​a “necessary growth slowdown” to reduce wage growth and lower inflation closer to the Fed’s 2% target. On top of that, the company’s economists have revised their US GDP growth expectations for the year down to 2.4% from 2.6%.

Goldman Sachs Senior Chairman Lloyd Blankfein explained that this is happening right now, and he said that both consumers and company heads need to brace themselves.

India is banning wheat exports

India wheat
FILE PHOTO: A combine deposits harvested wheat in a tractor trolley at a field on the outskirts of Ahmedabad, India, March 16, 2022. REUTERS/Amit Dave

A couple of days ago, India banned wheat exports because of local price increases, a move that freaked out much of the rest of the global community. See, Ukraine is a major provider of wheat, and because of the Russia-Ukraine war, it isn’t able to export very much this year. So, the international community was hoping and somewhat expecting countries like India to step up and meet global food security needs.

But moves like this indicate that producers like India might not be able to singlehandedly solve the world’s food supply problems. India isn’t alone either; Indonesia has also introduced an export ban on palm oil – the most widely used vegetable oil in the world – and palm oil products.

No more McDonald’s in Russia

McDonald's Russia
Soviet customers stand in line outside the just opened first McDonald’s in the Soviet Union on January 31, 1990 at Moscow’s Pushkin Square. AFP PHOTO VITALY ARMAND (Photo by VITALY ARMAND / AFP) (Photo by VITALY ARMAND/AFP via Getty Images)

Three decades ago, McDonald’s opened its doors in Russia for the first time, and just a year later the Soviet Union fell. The opening broke records – the first Russian McDonald’s served around 30,000 customers, even staying open past closing time to accommodate the long line of customers. Since then, the Golden Arches have symbolically represented the end of the Cold War era and Russia’s embrace of Western capitalism.

In March of this year, though, McDonald’s temporarily closed its 850 stores across Russia amid the country’s invasion of Ukraine. Now, the American fast-food chain has announced it will be “de-arching” all of its Russian locations and leaving the country for good.

But, departure will come with a hefty price tag, ranging between US$1.2 to US$1.4 billion. According to McDonald’s recent earnings report, the company lost about US$127 million last quarter after closing its Russian locations temporarily.

The company, which employs around 62,000 people across Russia, said that its “priorities include seeking to ensure the employees of McDonald’s Russia continue to be paid until the close of any transaction and that employees have future employment with any potential buyer.” But, some have said that this move came after the company faced online criticism for its reaction to the war.

Is Elon Musk getting cold feet?

Musk Twitter
FILE PHOTO: An image of Elon Musk is seen on a smartphone placed on printed Twitter logos in this picture illustration taken April 28, 2022. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

Elon Musk is starting to sound a little bit skeptical about his US$44 billion deal to buy Twitter, mostly because of the platform’s problem with spam bot accounts.

Twitter’s CEO Parag Agrawal pushed back on Twitter, saying that some of Elon’s ideas about tracking and removing bot accounts wouldn’t work. To that, Elon had the classiest of responses – the poop emoji.

On top of that, Musk got into a disagreement with Twitter’s former CEO about how the algorithm is manipulating users. According to a source in touch with The New York Times, Musk commented at a tech conference in Miami that making a deal for Twitter at a lower price is “not out of the question.”

So the question remains: is Musk still planning on buying Twitter, maybe for less than his initial bid – or is he looking for a way out?

To end, we’ll look into:

Pay 50 million rupees or give your parents a grandkid – you choose

Indian parents sue son

Some of us here will really relate to getting persistent questions from parents about when we’ll finally give them grandbabies. But after this story, you’ll feel lucky that question is all you’re getting.

A retired Indian couple is suing their son and daughter-in-law, demanding that they either give them a grandkid within the year or pay them 50 million rupees (US$675,000). The choice is theirs … sort of.

According to Sanjeev Ranjan Prasad, he has spent his life’s earnings on his son and his education. He says that his son and daughter-in-law have been married for six years but have yet to provide them with their bundle of joy.

“The main issue is that, at this age, we need a grandchild, but these people (my son and daughter-in-law) have an attitude that they don’t think about us,” Prasad said.

“We are not getting love and affection from where we want it the most,” he said. “I feel very unlucky.”

In other news …

🇮🇳The heat waves in India are set to ease this week before temperatures will rise again.

🇨🇳Shanghai’s total lockdown will end on June 1, with authorities planning a phased reopening.

🇺🇸In a New York supermarket, a white gunman shot 13 people, killing 10. Of the 13 victims shot, 11 were Black, and authorities are calling it a racially motivated hate crime.

🇦🇫The Taliban has dissolved the country’s Human Rights Commission and other departments created under the previous US-backed Afghan government, calling them unnecessary during economic hardship.

📉Bitcoin is back below US$30,000.

📄We recently covered JP Morgan accidentally publishing a report calling Chinese internet stocks “uninvestable” when they really meant “unattractive.” That same team have upgraded their analyses, upgrading the ratings on these Chinese tech companies.

⚖️The jury was shown pictures of Amber Heard’s swollen face after a fight with Johnny Depp.

🍿Cannes Film Festival has kicked into full swing for its 75th anniversary.

🇪🇸Today the Spanish government will discuss a proposal to give several days of leave per month to those who experience severe period pain.

💸CEO packages rose for a sixth straight record year, with the median pay package for CEOs of the biggest US companies reaching US$14.7 million in 2021. Nine CEOs got packages of US$50 million or more.

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