From the aftermath of the Tangshan women’s assault to the fourth day of the January 6 hearings – Here’s your June 22 news briefing

From the aftermath of the Tangshan women’s assault to the fourth day of the January 6 hearings – Here’s your June 22 news briefing

To start off, we’re looking into:

The Tangshan assault

In the early hours of June 10, there was a harrowing attack on four women at a restaurant in the northern city of Tangshan in the Hebei province of China after one of the women rejected a man’s advances. A surveillance video of the attack, which showed the attackers dragging the women by their hair, throwing chairs at them, hitting them with bottles and kicking them in the head while onlookers tried to look away, sparked outrage on social media. Since then, it has revived the #Metoo movement, which originated in the West but has yet to gain the same traction in China. Nine suspects have been arrested over the incident, with some also suspected of other crimes like money laundering.

The hashtag “Tangshan beaten girls follow-up” was viewed over 200 million times the following day and received over 220,000 comments, with many demanding to know what happened to the women. Hours after the attack, the local police said two women were hospitalized with “non-life-threatening injuries” and were in “stable condition,” but there haven’t been any updates on their condition since then.

Now China is launching an investigation into the law enforcement officials over their handling of the incident, with some questioning whether the police were protecting gangsters. CCTV reported Tuesday that five officers, including Tangshan’s police chief Ma Aijun, were being investigated for “severe disciplinary violations.”

Elon Musk at the Qatar Economic Forum

Elon Musk Qatar
FILE PHOTO: Elon Musk arrives at the In America: An Anthology of Fashion themed Met Gala at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, New York, U.S., May 2, 2022. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly

On Tuesday, Elon Musk spoke about a range of issues at the Qatar Economic Forum in Doha in an around 20-minute interview with Bloomberg. First, regarding the economy, which he said earlier this month that he had a “super bad feeling” about, he warned that a recession in the US was inevitable at some point and that it would be more likely than not in the near term.

When speaking about the increasingly saturated EV market, Musk said that the current limitations to Tesla’s growth were more related to the supply chain headaches plaguing businesses worldwide than to competition in the industry. He also confirmed that Tesla would be cutting about 10% of its salaried workforce over the next several months. “A year from now, I think our headcount will be higher,” he added.

Meanwhile, when it came to Twitter, Musk mentioned that from the financing to the shareholders’ consensus, there are still “unresolved matters” in the US$44 billion deal. Musk has also reportedly supported the idea of integrating payments in Twitter should the deal go through – both for fiat and cryptocurrency. But, he also suggested that if he does acquire Twitter, that doesn’t necessarily mean he will serve as the company’s CEO. “Whether I am CEO is much less important than my ability to drive the product in the right direction,” he said.

On crypto, specifically, Musk said that people “who are not that wealthy” have encouraged him to support Dogecoin, so he will.

Day four of the Jan 6 hearings

January 6 hearings
The House select committee tasked with investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol meets to hold Steve Bannon, one of former President Donald Trump’s allies in contempt, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday evening, Oct. 19, 2021. From left to right are Rep. Pete Aguilar, D-Calif., Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., Chairman Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., Vice Chair Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., and Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

On Tuesday, the special committee investigating the events of January 6, 2021, focused on the threats made to state lawmakers and election officials in two key states from the 2020 election, Georgia and Arizona.

The hearing laid out its evidence that Donald Trump and Rudy Giuliani put pressure on officials and ordinary Americans to promote the “big lie” that Trump had actually won the election and that the election had been unfair. It also laid out the plan that the former president and his Arizona allies worked out to replace legitimate electors in the state with fake electors that would have voted in favor of Trump.

The hearings also focused on Arizona House Speaker Rusty Bowers and Georgia’s Fulton County election worker Wandrea Arshaye Moss, who both experienced significant backlash from Trump’s supporters because of false allegations of fraud. Bowers said that his family regularly had to deal with Trump supporters driving around his neighborhood calling him a pedophile and corrupt politician. Moss said that she dealt with death threats and was forced into hiding because of threats of violence against her.

To end, we’ll look into:

A Chinese real estate company is taking wheat and garlic as a down payment?

After the near-total collapse of Evergrande, a company that was once China’s biggest real estate developer, China’s real estate market has been struggling, with some of its smaller players even turning to state support to survive.

With that, it’s time for creative solutions, and Central China Real Estate may just have one.

See, instead of putting down cash for a down payment, the company is trying to entice farmers into buying homes by offsetting their down payment with purchases of their crops like wheat or garlic. Weeks ago, it said it was willing to take garlic from growers in Kaifeng city, and now it’s offering up to 160,000 yuan (about US$24,000) for wheat to put toward a down payment on a house in Shangqiu, in the Henan province known for wheat production.

And they’re not trying to skimp farmers out either – Central China is reportedly buying wheat at 4 yuan per kilo (as opposed to the record high of 3.1 yuan per kilo that the Chinese state was paying earlier this month) and garlic at 10 yuan per kilo (as opposed to the June 10 wholesale price of 6.92 yuan per kilo).

China real estate
FILE PHOTO: Screenshot of advertisement from Central China Real Estate offering to let buyers use garlic crops to make their downpayment on a property

This just goes to show how far developers are willing to go to attract homebuyers who, after the Evergrande crisis and amid a slowing economy, are warier of real estate in general. And for those investors still left out there, it turns out that buying the (garlic) dip might be the best option available.

In other news …

🛢Stocks, oil and Bitcoin: Stocks on global indexes jumped, with the Dow jumping over 600 points and S&P adding about 2.5% on Tuesday. But whether this is just a bear market bounce or whether it marks a new turn is the bigger question. Big bounces like this are common in the bear market, with the S&P, for example, climbing over 2% since January only to wipe out those gains and trade lower. Some suspect it’s just a bounce, though, because there’s no news driving a pivot.

Oil prices rose, with the Brent crude increasing 0.5% to US$114.65 a barrel and US crude gaining 1% to US$110.65.

Bitcoin also saw a rebound, settling at around US$20,891.

😷COVID in China: As the COVID situation in China’s capital and Shanghai has relatively settled, flare-ups have been detected in the manufacturing and tech hub of the country, Shenzhen, and the world’s largest gambling hub, Macau.

🎰Speaking of Macau: Officials in the region have just approved a new gaming law bill, which will give them more power over the gambling industry – from punishing the region’s handful of casino operators for threatening national security to not raking in enough money. Gaming revenue taxes have been increased 1% to 40%, and license terms will be cut from 20 years to 10 years.

🥣Kellog’s divorce: Breakfast cereal staple company Kellog announced on Tuesday that it would be splitting its company into three independent public companies; one snacking, one cereal and one plant-based business.

📜Elon Musk’s daughter: Musk’s transgender daughter has formally requested a name change to reflect her gender identity, adding, “I no longer live with or wish to be related to my biological father in any way, shape or form."

Meta VR

🎤Ed Sheeran lookalike surrounded: Ed Sheeran’s lookalike Wes Byrne bought tickets to watch Sheeran sing in Manchester, only to be surrounded by fans asking for selfies and signatures when he went to the toilet, creating such a fire risk that security moved him to the VIP zone.

👓Meta’s VR and AR investment: Meta is spending US$10 billion this year on R&D for VR and AR technology. Earlier this week, Zuck showed the world how much progress his team had made in this area by revealing a whole bunch of unfinished prototypes in the company’s labs.

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