From US-China economy talks to TikTok’s #Gentleminions trend – Here’s your July 6 news briefing

From US-China economy talks to TikTok’s #Gentleminions trend – Here’s your July 6 news briefing
FILE PHOTO: Chinese Vice Premier Liu He attends the closing session of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China May 27, 2020. REUTERS/Thomas Peter/Pool

To start off, we’re looking into:

China and the US talk about the economy

We’ve previously mentioned that the US is in the middle of considering rolling back some tariffs on Chinese goods that were put in place back when Trump was in office. The reason is to try and make everyday goods cheaper for Americans in light of the country’s decade-high inflation.

With this, official statements from both China and the US have revealed that China’s Vice Premier Liu and US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen had a call on Tuesday that was described as “candid,” to talk about macroeconomic issues, planting the seeds for a potential bigger announcement later. Their last known chat was in October, and the pair agreed to keep an open dialogue.

Sri Lanka’s 60% inflation forecast

Sri Lanka economy
FILE PHOTO: A worker stands in front of a closed essential food store during a nationwide strike in Colombo, Sri Lanka, April 28, 2022. REUTERS/Dinuka Liyanawatte

Sri Lanka is in the middle of an economic crisis with eye-watering high levels of inflation and usable foreign reserves at a low. This comes after the country failed to make payment on a foreign debt for the first time in its history in May and while it’s struggling to buy fuel, with suppliers saying it still owed them money for previous shipments. Now, people familiar with talks have said that India, for example, won’t sell fuel to the country unless it gets payment in advance.

With that, residents have been told to stay at home, and sales of fuel for private vehicles have been temporarily banned. 70% of the nation’s families have cut down on food due to tight supplies and soaring prices. Now, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has said Sri Lanka is on the edge of a humanitarian crisis.

With this, the country has announced that it aims to stop pumping cash into its economy to try and reign in the soaring high inflation, which is forecasted to reach 60%. A monetary policy review is scheduled for Thursday, and the country is still in talks with the IMF for a bailout program as a bankrupt state.

Is Johnson in trouble yet?

Boris Johnson
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson addresses his cabinet ahead of the weekly cabinet meeting in Downing Street in London, Britain July 5, 2022. Ian Vogler/Pool via REUTERS

Less than a month ago, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson narrowly survived a vote of no confidence held by his own party. The vote was held in response to a number of reports that showed Johnson, along with a lot of his staff, had thrown parties and celebrations on Downing Street while the British people were on national lockdown because of the pandemic. Even though he survived the vote, there has been a question about how long he could remain in office, considering previous survivors of no-confidence votes didn’t last all that long.

Now, Johnson’s ability to defy political gravity is being put to the test. Two of his most senior cabinet members, Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak and Health Secretary Sajid Javid, resigned on Tuesday, saying they’d lost confidence in him. Their resignation was in response to Johnson’s appointment as whip of Tory MP Chris Pincher, who resigned his post after allegations emerged that Pincher had groped two men. Johnson has apologized for the appointment, admitting that he was told about the sexual misconduct complaint in 2019 and made a “bad mistake” by not acting on it.

Now the question is whether or not Johnson can weather this storm or if it’s only a matter of time before he tenders his own resignation.

To end, we’ll look into:

The #Gentleminions trend is driving theaters bananas

Just imagine this – you’re all excited to go to the movies again, and you make your way to the theater to see a new animated film about a bunch of highlighter-colored tic tacs. You buy a ticket, spend too much money on popcorn and snacks and get in line behind … 50 high school students wearing suits and ties?

Well, that’s exactly what happened during the opening weekend of “Minions: Rise of Gru.” A recent TikTok trend called #Gentleminions had teens showing up to theaters en masse, dressed in the clothes they probably wore to prom three months ago. These dapper teens then saw screenings of the movie with a jokingly serious attitude, giving the film standing ovations and 5-star ratings for the fun of it.

Oh, and did we mention that some of them also smuggled bananas into the theaters, too?

But movie theaters are finding the trend more despicable than fun, with some in the UK banning people wearing formal attire altogether from screenings of the film. Those theaters claim that, as a result of the trend, there have been disturbances such as people throwing bananas at the movie screen and moshing during viewings.

Understandably, though, Universal Pictures, the studio behind the “Despicable Me” franchise, was not unhappy with the trend, tweeting, “to everyone showing up to @Minions in suits: we see you and we love you.”

In other news …

📉Stocks, oil and Bitcoin: MSCI’s gauge of global stocks fell 0.49% over fears of the economic slowdown. Asian equity futures are in the red, whereas US stocks wavered with tech and consumer stocks rallying and some investors betting that the fall in oil prices will help lift consumer spending.

🛢Oil prices fell with two major forces at play: China’s COVID rules are starting to ease, and, with that, demand is expected to pick back up, further tightening the supply in the oil market. But, at the same time, predictions that a recession will cut the demand for petroleum products are also circulating. With that, US crude landed at around US$99 per barrel and Brent at US$102.77.

💰Bitcoin rose to US$20,379.

🚔July 4 shooting suspect arrested: 22-year-old Robert E. Crimo III, the suspected July 4 shooter who started firing into a crowd from a rooftop in Highland Park (outside of Chicago), has been arrested. Five adults were killed at the scene, and one died later in the hospital. Over 20 people were injured.

Sydney evacuations: There have been pockets of Sydney – Australia’s largest city – that have been hit with about eight months of rain in just a few days. Now over 100 evacuation orders have been issued, with around 50,000 people urged to leave their homes.

📊Nomura’s recession calls: Brokerage firm Nomura has said that many of the world’s major economies will suffer a recession in the next 12 months, with chief economist Rob Subbaraman saying: ​​“Right now central banks many of them have shifted to essentially a single mandate and that’s to get inflation down. Monetary policy credibility is too precious an asset to lose. So they’re going to be very aggressive.”

Australia’s rate lift: … And on that note, Australia’s central bank has hiked rates for a third time, bringing the official cash rate from 0.85% to 1.35%.

💻The Dutch and their WFH rights: The Dutch Parliament has approved a law that makes WFH a legal right. This makes the Netherlands one of the first to write this into law.

🍔India bans service charges: After increasing customer complaints around having to pay a 5-15% service charge on top of their bills, India’s consumer protection body has banned hotels and restaurants from charging a service fee.

💲US$1.4 million in cash: Documents made public on Monday to the Hong Kong government’s Registration and Electoral Office showed that Hong Kong’s leader John Lee received over HK$11 million (US$1.4 million) in physical cash to sidestep US sanctions while running his campaign for the chief executive position.

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