From the US sending another US$40 billion of aid to Ukraine to the rare monkeypox outbreak – Here is your May 20 news briefing

From the US sending another US$40 billion of aid to Ukraine to the rare monkeypox outbreak – Here is your May 20 news briefing
A teddy bear hangs on a swing next to a damaged building in Saltivka district, amid Russia’s attack on Ukraine, in Kharkiv, Ukraine, May 17, 2022. REUTERS/Ricardo Moraes

To start off, we’re looking into:

The US is sending more than thoughts and prayers to Ukraine

On Wednesday, American lawmakers passed more than US$40 billion worth of aid for Ukraine across party lines, which is about US$7 billion more than Biden originally proposed. The aid includes direct assistance to Ukraine’s military, as well as economic assistance for the country.

As that was happening in Congress, Biden met with leaders from Finland and Sweden at the White House, offering his “strong support” for their bid to join NATO. The move will strengthen NATO in northern Europe, including along Finland’s border with Russia.

Elon’s 24-hour loss of US$12.3 billion

Elon Musk
FILE PHOTO: Elon Musk looks at his mobile phone in Cape Canaveral, Florida, U.S. January 19, 2020. REUTERS/Joe Skipper

Wednesday was probably the typical mid-week “hump day for most people.” But Elon Musk, the world’s richest man and Tesla CEO, was busy tweeting away US$12.3 billion of his wealth.

That day, Tesla lost its spot on the widely-known S&P 500 ESG Index, in which companies are assessed based on environmental, social and governance standards. Musk then responded by calling the index “a scam” on Twitter. He talked about his political shift from Democrat to Republican in a separate tweet.

While this was happening, Tesla shares dropped to a record low, shaving off a chunk of Musk’s riches. According to business heads, though, the car company has unresolved issues with racial discrimination, poor working conditions and autopilot-related crashes, just to name a few, which led to it losing its spot on the S&P.

Indonesia will reverse palm oil export ban

Indonesia palm oil
FILE PHOTO – Workers load palm oil fresh fruit bunches to be transported from the collector site to CPO factories in Pekanbaru, Riau province, Indonesia, April 27, 2022. REUTERS/Willy Kurniawan

Indonesia will reverse its palm oil export ban from Monday, allowing export shipments for the first time in more than three weeks. The president said the ban would be lifted due to improvements in the domestic supply.

The country initially put the ban in place to combat the rising prices of palm oil because of local shortages. This added to the stress global markets were already dealing with as there is currently also a sunflower oil shortage amid the war in Ukraine, one of the world’s top sunflower oil producers.

The Indonesian government says the reversal comes after domestic stocks have improved. However, angry farmers have recently rallied over losing money since the demand for palm fruits had drastically reduced and the prices of their crops plummeted.

Rare monkeypox detected in the US and UK

FILE PHOTO: An electron microscopic (EM) image shows mature, oval-shaped monkeypox virus particles as well as crescents and spherical particles of immature virions, obtained from a clinical human skin sample associated with the 2003 prairie dog outbreak in this undated image obtained by Reuters on May 18, 2022. Cynthia S. Goldsmith, Russell Regnery/CDC/Handout via REUTERS THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY./File Photo

Just when we’ve pretty much learned to handle COVID, another viral outbreak is making headlines – monkeypox.

Monkeypox isn’t a new virus, though, as it was discovered in monkeys decades ago and typically originates in central and western Africa. Yet currently, a small number of confirmed infections have been found in the US and UK, and other suspected cases in Portugal, Spain and Canada are under investigation.

The virus is typically transmitted after close contact with infected animals in Africa, and person-to-person transmission is rare. However, these recent cases suggest that the virus could be sexually-transmitted, which is unusual for the virus, according to health experts. The cases are not entirely linked to travel, either, which suggests it could be spreading within the community undetected.

Monkeypox symptoms include fever, chills, body aches and “pox,” or painful, fluid-filled blisters on the face, hands and feet. Experts say that a widespread monkeypox outbreak is unlikely, but it’s worth watching current cases very closely as health officials try to determine how the virus is spreading.

To end, we’ll look into:

Some tips from your TMS crew (that you probably already know) on how to pamper your brain and soul

We’re easing into the weekend after another Monday to Friday. Was it the best week? Eh. Regardless, the point is that it’s done and dusted, and we can only look ahead. Now, for those who want to spend it getting drunk, swimming in debauchery and making questionable life choices – we don’t blame you. COVID was tough, and apparently, there’s a recession coming our way. On top of that, there’s a new, strange outbreak of monkeypox, and our stock and crypto portfolios are making us teary-eyed. So, do what you need to do.

But, right now, burnout is higher than before the pandemic, according to studies on LinkedIn, with workers saying that they would opt for a mental health day.

So for those of you looking for something a little more wholesome to recharge your batteries for the work week ahead, we’ve got some tips on doing it right. Well, not “right,” but better.

  • First and foremost, plan when you’re going to be pampering your mind. It can be the weekend or the weekdays when you have fewer meetings, but plan it out – because it won’t just happen on its own.
  • Second, try to spend time away from a screen. So no browsing Netflix shows for an hour and binge-watching them for eight. No mindless scrolls on the ‘gram, nada.
  • Lastly, go outside, exercise and spend quality time with valued people – those are activities that truly recharge dem batteries in the long run.

In other news …

🇨🇳Beijing and Moscow are in talks to buy sanctioned, canceled and cheap Russian oil so that the country can refill its strategic reserves.

🇱🇰Sri Lanka has defaulted on its debt for the first time in its history, with its central bank labeling it as a “pre-emptive default."

👨‍⚖️There is a bipartisan proposal right now called The Competition and Transparency in Digital Advertising Act​​, which would force companies like Google and Meta to break off and spin off their digital advertising business if it passes.

🇸🇦According to an anonymous administration official, Biden is thinking about meeting with Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman after avoiding him after the two countries’ relations have been strained since journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s murder.

📉We mentioned the recession fears in the US, but not everyone is as concerned, with strategists on Wall Street, including at both Goldman and JP Morgan, now saying the fears are overblown.

🇷🇺McDonald’s has found a local buyer for its Russian business, and they’ll be rebranding the former home of the Golden Arches in Russia.

📅Apple has a big new product coming your way – a  mixed-reality headset.

🇭🇰Hong Kong’s LKF was buzzing again on Thursday night as some bars and restaurants were fully booked.

Gucci and Adidas are in a bit of a pickle after releasing an 11,100 yuan (US$1,644) umbrella that … isn’t waterproof. The brands have said that the product was only meant to protect tan-scared consumers from the sun. But people are still mad.

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