From Shanghai roaring back to Johnny Depp’s win – Here’s your June 2 news briefing

From Shanghai roaring back to Johnny Depp’s win – Here’s your June 2 news briefing
People walk at a main shopping area during lockdown, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, in Shanghai, China, May 30, 2022. REUTERS/Aly Song

To start off, we’re looking into:

Shanghai is roaring back

After two months of an intense lockdown that drew international attention as China stuck firmly with its COVID-zero policies, Shanghai, the mainland’s COVID outbreak epicenter, is picking back up. With shopping centers confirming their reopening on June 1, crowds of Chinese consumers were seen rushing to the frontlines of the Diors, Pradas and LVs of the world for a bit (or a lot) of retail therapy.

Reports of hesitant vibes across the city are still looming, though, as some COVID controls are still in place and people get used to their post-lockdown lifestyles. But with that said, around 2.67 million businesses resumed operations on Wednesday. The city reported its fewest number of COVID cases in three months, and residents celebrated with fireworks and parties across the financial hub.

The Shanghainese government also thanked the residents with a letter and promised to try and “promote the full restoration” of normalcy. The letter ended up trending on Weibo and was broadly criticized, with people saying the letter should have been an apology and whoever led the virus response should get in trouble.

Biden clarifies in The New York Times

Ukraine weapons
Ukrainian servicemen walk as seeds burn in a grain silos after it was shelled repeatedly, amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, in Donetsk region, Ukraine May 31, 2022. REUTERS/Serhii Nuzhnenko

Ukraine has been requesting the US to send more advanced rocket systems for quite some time now, which will essentially help Ukrainian forces strike targets more accurately from a greater distance. But up to now, there has been hesitation from the US, with officials worried that the weapons could be used against targets in Russia.

But in The New York Times on Wednesday, US President Biden wrote an op-ed where he said that the US would send the weapons to Ukraine to increase the country’s negotiating power against Russia as the invasion continues into its third month. It’s one of the US’ strongest military commitments so far, but Biden has clarified that it has only agreed to do this after being promised by Zelenskiy that the weapons wouldn’t be used against targets in Russia. “We’re not interested in what is happening in Russia,” Zelenskiy said in an interview. “We’re only interested in our own territory in Ukraine.”

Russia wasn’t happy, saying that it views the situation “extremely negatively.”

Inflation in Argentina

Argentina inflation
Costumers shop in a supermarket as Argentine peso bill continues to devalue by years of inflation, meaning people need to carry huge wads of cash, in Buenos Aires, Argentina May 23, 2022. Picture taken May 23, 2022. REUTERS/Cristina Sille

Inflation has reached decade highs in many countries around the world, but in Argentina – which has been dealing with ultra-high inflation rates for at least a decade now – it’s on a whole other level. Inflation in the country is at 58% – and rising.

Prices there have been rising fast enough for long enough now that people have pretty much no sense of what things cost. Dinner could cost the same as a car payment; a new phone could be the price of a few months of rent.

On top of that, prices vary from place to place, so it takes a lot of time for Argentines to find the most economical options, and it’s hard for businesses to keep up with the competition.

To end, we’ll look into:

The Depp-Heard case is over. Here’s what the jury ruled

Amber Johnny case
FILE PHOTO: Actor Johnny Depp gestures as he leaves the Fairfax County Circuit Courthouse following his defamation trial against his ex-wife Amber Heard, in Fairfax, Virginia, U.S., May 27, 2022. REUTERS/Evelyn Hockstein

After about six weeks of hearing the defamation case launched by Johnny Depp against his ex-wife Amber Heard, the jury decided that she was guilty of defamation.

But, they said he was, too.

See, Depp sued Heard for defamation over an article she wrote in The Washington Post. In the article, she said she was a public figure that represented domestic abuse, but she never mentioned Depp by name. Over the course of the trial, Depp’s legal team had to prove three things – one, that it was Depp she was talking about; two, that the statements she made in the op-ed were false; and three, that the statements she made led to a loss for him in terms of his ability to work (in this case, his ability to get movie roles).

The jury said that it was clear that the article was about him, so she was guilty of defaming him and his reputation.

But they also ruled that Depp, through his lawyer, defamed Heard during the court case, and so she was entitled to some compensation for that.

Heard was awarded US$2 million based on the charges she won, but that gets curbed pretty quickly compared to the US$15 million that Depp won from his charges.

Ultimately, though, whether you think this is the pinnacle of legal disputes, or you think this is just another example of #richpeopleproblems, there’s one thing we can all agree is good about this case – that it’s over.

In other news …

📉Stocks, oil and Bitcoin: Oil prices have fallen from the week’s high to around US$115 a barrel as Shanghai reopens and the EU starts to phase out Russian oil. Global equities fell, and the USD strengthened. Bitcoin closed 5.2% lower at US$30,121.82 on Wednesday.

🌪Brace yourself: JP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon said to investors that we should brace ourselves for an economic “hurricane.” “We don’t know if it’s a minor one or Superstorm Sandy. You better brace yourself.”

🇺🇸Uvalde: More details about the Uvalde shooting are emerging, as is public anger. Most recently, an investigation into the incident revealed that the gunman entered the school through a door that was meant to be locked but wasn’t.

🤑HSBC doubles down: HSBC CEO Noel Quinn has told Chinese state media that the company plans to invest more than 3 billion yuan (US$448 million) in its Chinese operations. He didn’t specify the divisions that would get the cash but did say it would span over five years.

🇭🇰Hong Kong COVID: There’s a rise in subvariants in Hong Kong as COVID cases jump to 505. With that, people infected with the new COVID variants (like BA.2.12.1) and their close contacts will be sent to iso facilities like Penny’s Bay. Meanwhile, The Board of Airlines Representatives of Hong Kong is reportedly pushing the government for three days of hotel quarantine and to scrap pre-flight testing.

🎾Nadal’s victory: Rafael Nadal beat long-time rival Novak Djokovic at The French Open after more than four hours on the court. The 21-time Grand Slam winner will compete with Alexander Zverev on Friday in the semi-finals.

💼Not a fan: Musk is not a fan of the WFH movement, saying in an unverified email that Tesla employees should either get back into the office for 40 hours or quit. When asked about it, Musk said, “They should pretend to work somewhere else.”

👩‍💻Sandberg steps down: After 14 years, Meta COO and second in command to Zuck, Sheryl Sandberg, is stepping down.

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