From Australia’s new Prime Minister to Biden’s greeting to North Korea – Here is your May 23 news briefing

From Australia’s new Prime Minister to Biden’s greeting to North Korea – Here is your May 23 news briefing
FILE PHOTO: Australian Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese during the second leaders’ debate of the 2022 federal election campaign at the Nine studio in Sydney, Australia May 8, 2022. Alex Ellinghausen/Pool via REUTERS/File Photo

To start off, we’re looking into:

Australia’s new prime minister

After nine years of conservative rule, Australians have decided to go for the center-left opposition. Labor Party leader Anthony Albanese declared victory as the country’s 31st prime minister on Saturday, and incumbent Scott Morrison having declared defeat.

Meanwhile, Albanese’s Labor Party isn’t certain to have won a majority in Parliament, with more than a dozen electorates still too close to call.

Contrary to the conservatives, Albanese and his party promised stronger action toward climate change, which may have played a role in the outcome of this election. Labor says it aims to cut emissions by 43% by 2030 and net zero by 2050.

Ukraine rules out a land swap

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskiy and Poland’s President Andrzej Duda arrive for a meeting after a parliament session, as Russia’s attack on Ukraine continues, in Kyiv, Ukraine May 22, 2022. Ukrainian Presidential Press Service/Handout via REUTERS

The Ukrainian government has said that it refuses to hand over land to Russia as part of a peace agreement. This is a big deal since Russia’s goal in this war seems to be taking control over Ukrainian territory, and many have speculated that a peace deal would involve a land exchange.

And that comes as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said that as many as 100 Ukrainian soldiers are dying each day in the Donbas region in eastern Ukraine.

Meanwhile, Polish President Andrzej Duda became the first foreign leader to address the Ukrainian Parliament during the war, vowing to fight for the country’s entrance into the EU. On the other hand, France isn’t so confident the process will be fast.

Biden says “Hello. Period.” to Kim Jong Un

Biden North Korea
U.S. President Joe Biden arrives at the White House following an interagency briefing on hurricane preparedness at Joint Base Andrews, in Washington, U.S., May 18, 2022. REUTERS/Evelyn Hockstein

Just before US President Joe Biden wrapped up his three-day visit to South Korea on Sunday, he reportedly said, “Hello. Period.” to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un when asked for a message. That’s it.

Here’s why.

While the US has been trying to restart diplomatic communications diplomacy with North Korea, most attempts have been unsuccessful. Even if it does agree to talk, North Korea refuses to go forward without preconditions. Thus, US intelligence believes that the dictator might be setting up a nuclear test during Biden’s Asia tour.

Biden’s message was a sharp redirection from former President Donald Trump’s attitude toward the dictator, who summed up one of their meetings by saying, “We fell in love.” Regardless, though, the US is reportedly prepared for potential retaliation. For now, Biden has landed in Japan, his second stop in Asia.

To end, we’ll look into:

Mandatory fun at the office

We’ve all been there – those mandatory work events that are supposed to be fun. Maybe there are some sad-looking pizzas in the corner of the conference room, an unbearable amount of small talk, a happy hour that doesn’t feel too … well, happy. But you go anyway because you’re a #teamplayer and not a lonely hermit who prefers Zoom calls in your PJs.

Amid COVID and lockdowns, that obligatory office fun went away. But with many people not that interested in coming back to the office (that is if they can help it), companies are trying to solve this elusive problem of “fun.”

According to a February Pew Research study, nearly 60% of people who worked remotely during the pandemic want to keep doing it. And according to Adrian Gostick, an executive-leadership coach and co-author of books on employee engagement, employees who are forced to come back to the office are more likely to pack up their things and walk out.

The solution? Gostick says the answer is to do things that are … actually fun. We know, right? Mind-blowing.

This is a win for everyone, he said. For employees, it means not feeling guilty for wanting to go home and have dinner with their family on a Friday night. For employers, it means that the team building that this mandatory fun is supposed to do actually works.

Ultimately, it’ll look different from group to group, but the point is to do things that people actually enjoy doing instead of things that are supposed to be fun that everyone agrees just aren’t.

In other news…

📈According to Bloomberg economics, because of China’s lockdown, the US economy will grow faster than China for the first time since 1976.

🦠On Saturday, the WHO confirmed 92 cases and 28 suspected cases of monkeypox around the world, some of the cases being detected in countries where the disease typically wouldn’t be found.

🌏Biden is on an Asia trip at the moment, increasing political and economic ties with countries to counter Beijing’s influence. And in a statement, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said the US strategy is “doomed to fail."

🇦🇫The Taliban has imposed increasing restrictions on women’s lives in recent weeks. All women are now required to cover their faces in public, with women TV presenters going on air on Sunday with their faces covered – only a day after defying the Taliban’s order on Saturday.

🧳With China’s COVID situation a bit unclear, if the city had to choose between resuming quarantine-free travel with China or foreign countries, it should choose foreign countries, said Betty Yuen, chairperson of Hong Kong General Chamber of Commerce.

Davos WEF

🇨🇭The world’s rich and influential are gathering again at the Alpine retreat of Davos, Switzerland, to kick off the annual World Economic Forum. Almost 2,500 people are expected to attend, none of which include any Russian government official or company.

🛎Adding to the “we might have a recession" chimes, former chief economist of the US SEC Larry Harris agreed that it’s likely. But adding to the “no, we’ll be OK" waves, the CEO of Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund said that if the global economy saw a recession, it would be “light."

🍼On Sunday, a military cargo plane carrying baby formula from Europe landed in Indianapolis. The US is seeing one of the worst infant formula shortages in recent history.

🚀SpaceX is raising US$1.7 billion in fresh funding, bringing its valuation to US$127 billion.

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