To start off, we’re looking into:
More oil from OPEC+
After the Ukraine-Russia war led to piles of sanctions against the Russian economy, oil prices have increased drastically, putting added pressure on global inflation. Now, OPEC+ is opening its oil taps to boost supply. The boost is still somewhat small, though, at around 0.4% of the global demand over July and August.
In response to the announcement, oil prices fell slightly, but prices settled a little over 1% higher compared to the previous day as demand continues to outstrip supply.
In terms of alleviating the oil shortage, the US is also turning to Saudi Arabia. According to anonymous administration officials, Biden will travel there later this month to rebuild relations with the oil-rich country. This is the same country he said in 2019 that the US would turn into a “pariah” after the assassination of political dissident and journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
This comes after the White House praised the crown prince and King Salman for extending a ceasefire in Yemen on Thursday. “This truce would not be possible without the cooperative diplomacy from across the region,” said White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre. “We specifically recognize the leadership of King Salman and the crown prince of Saudi Arabia in helping consolidate the truce,” she said.
Made in Vietnam Airpods
When the US and China started having their problems, which worsened under the Trump administration, companies accelerated diversification efforts of their supply chain operations to essentially ensure business remained as usual and that politics didn’t make shipping to us modern consumers difficult.
But with China sticking firmly to its COVID-zero policy and Shanghai only earlier this week moving toward reopening, Nikkei Asia said on Wednesday that Apple will be moving some of its iPad production to Vietnam because lockdowns were creating product and component shortages. Apple already has the Southeast Asian nation producing some of its Airpods and apparently asked Foxconn to move iPad and MacBook Pro production from China to Vietnam two years ago.
With this move, the hope is that iPad’s revenue will pick back up after being the only segment of Apple that saw a drop.
Who is Meta’s new COO?
Compared to Sheryl Sandberg, not much is known about Javier Olivan, the person replacing Sandberg as COO at the social media giant. Olivan, who is reportedly known as “Javi” at the company, is one of the handful of senior execs that report to Zuckerberg himself. While Sandberg has 900,000 Instagram followers, Olivan has a private account with 17 followers. He’s been at the company for 15 years, and over the last five months, he became chief growth officer. He’s also vice president of cross-Meta products and infrastructure.
He was born in Sabiñánigo, Spain in 1977 and graduated from the University of Navarra with a master’s degree in electrical and industrial engineering. From there he worked in Europe and Asia before graduating from Stanford Business School in 2007 and landing in Silicon Valley at Facebook. He’s apparently one of the driving forces behind Meta’s global expansion, pushing for acquisitions like WhatsApp in 2014. Today, over 90% of monthly users are outside of North America.
To end, we’ll look into:
How does intellectual property apply to drag queens?
When we think of intellectual property, usually patents, logos and maybe even a trademarked phrase come to mind. What doesn’t, though, are drag queens.
Drag has gone mainstream in recent years, thanks in part to “RuPaul’s Drag Race,” with more well-known performers regularly selling out shows. Part of the creative process of drag involves performers developing unique acts and stage names that, much like any other performance art, are meant to be theirs alone.
But intellectual property laws haven’t really kept up with drag queens. So these acts and the drag personas themselves can run into challenges because of drag’s tendency to parody existing culture (and people). For example, New York drag queen Brita Filter dropped the “Filter” from her name and was discouraged from using her catchphrase “anything but pure!” on the show because of fear of a legal battle with the filter brand, Pur.
There are also issues with music licensing since drag-style acts aren’t exactly covered in existing music licensing categories, forcing queens to take legal risks or avoid publishing their performances.
“The way that these formalities are designed, they’re designed with a certain type of creativity in mind,” said University of Essex law professor Eden Sarid. “And seeing how much this impacts the everyday lives of people who are not part of mainstream culture was mind blowing to me.”
“IP loves to pride itself as something that is very neutral: ‘As long as you fall within the subject matter and the formalities, you’re good to go,’” said Sarid. “That’s not true.”
In other news …
💲Stocks, oil and Bitcoin: Oil prices fell slightly after OPEC+ agreed to boost output, but prices rose 1% as demand is still outstripping supply. Global equities rose after some US payroll data suggested that demand for labor had cooled down a bit, with investors hoping that less pressure will be put on wage increases and thus inflation, so the Fed won’t be as aggressive in its interest rate changes. And, Bitcoin remains at around the US$30,000 mark.
🦠Monkeypox: The WHO said on Wednesday that over 550 monkeypox cases across 30 countries have been reported.
🇭🇰MPFs emptied: According to government data, residents leaving Hong Kong for good withdrew HK$2.014 billion (US$256.7 million) from their pension accounts in the first quarter of this year – up 4.3% from 2021.
🇦🇺Australia has its first Asian-born and openly-gay top politician: Penny Wong has recently been sworn in as the nation’s foreign minister and, within days, Wong has made a trip to Pacific Island countries to strengthen ties in the region around the same time that Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi is trying to finish up a trade and security deal with 10 countries in the region.
💻Do you remember Toshiba? Well, the company has been in trouble for quite some time now and has gotten eight initial bids to take it private and two proposals that would keep the conglomerate listed. According to sources close to the matter, some of the potential investors include Blackstone Inc, Bain Capital and Apollo Global Management.
🎂The Queen’s big weekend: Queen Elizabeth is celebrating her 70 years as Monarch. Prince Harry and Meghan Markle were also there, but many noticed that the two kept a remarkably low profile.
🇺🇦Palantir is a listed data mining company that works closely with the US government and its allies. Its CEO, Alex Karp, met with Ukrainian President Zelenskiy to talk about ways the company’s tech could help with the country’s fight against Russia. Karp is the first CEO to visit the country since the start of the war.
🏀Phil in bball: Nike’s founder, Phil Knight, and the partial owner of MLB’s Los Angeles Dodgers, Alan Smolinisky, have reportedly made an offer to buy NBA’s Portland Trail Blazers for over US$2 billion, according to The New York Times.