From Google Translate exiting China to Elon Musk getting dragged on the internet – Here’s your October 4 news briefing

From Google Translate exiting China to Elon Musk getting dragged on the internet – Here’s your October 4 news briefing
A logo of Google is seen at its exhibition space, at the Viva Technology conference dedicated to innovation and startups at Porte de Versailles exhibition center in Paris, France June 15, 2022. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

To start off, we’re looking into:

Google’s retreat from China

Google has struggled to survive in China for the better part of the last two decades. Back in 2010, Google pulled its search engine from mainland China because of the country’s internet censorship. At one point, Google considered a search service specifically for the Chinese market, but that project never panned out. After Google’s search engine left, local competitors Baidu and Tencent dominated in China. But, in 2017, Google Translate became available for China’s residents through its own website and app.

Now, Google Translate is also being pulled from mainland China. The company announced this development on Monday. Basically, no one is using the service, so it’s shutting it down. But, this version of Google Translate was one of the last services that the company actually offered in China. Now, the Chinese website for Google Translate takes users to the Hong Kong site, which isn’t accessible in the mainland.

Iran’s supreme leader breaks his silence

Iran protests
Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei reviews armed forces during a graduation ceremony for armed Forces Officers’ Universities at the police academy in Tehran, Iran October 3, 2022. Office of the Iranian Supreme Leader/WANA (West Asia News Agency)/Handout via REUTERS

A couple of weeks ago, 22-year-old Mahsa Amini died in police custody after she was taken in by the “morality police” for allegedly not wearing her hijab correctly. Her death has stirred up mass protests and demonstrations throughout Iran and international outrage. Recently, Amnesty International reported that leaked documents revealed that Iran’s military told commanders everywhere to “severely confront” protesters they encountered. But, until now, Iran’s supreme leader hasn’t made any public statements about the country’s unrest.

Yesterday, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei finally publicly spoke about Mahsa Amini’s death and the following protests. While Khamenei did say he was saddened by Amini’s death, he also pushed the blame onto Iran’s enemies for some reason. In fact, he accused the US and Israel of planning and provoking the protests. He also condemned protesters who ripped off their hijabs and set fire to mosques, banks and police cars, saying they deserve “harsh prosecution and punishment.”

Credit Suisse recovers after stock plunge

Credit Suisse
FILE PHOTO: The logo of Swiss bank Credit Suisse is seen at a branch office in Bern, Switzerland September 26, 2022. REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann/

Swiss bank Credit Suisse has sort of been going through it lately. It’s dealt with scandals in recent years, and it’s going through an overhaul later this month.

But Monday was a whole different weird, kind of bad day for the bank. See, on Friday, CEO Ulrich Koerner sent out a memo saying the bank’s capital levels and liquidity are holding up, even though the bank is at a “critical moment." The idea was to shut down rumors surrounding the bank’s overhaul plans. But as a result, it saw some massive jerking around of its stocks.

Only 15 minutes after trading opened on Monday, the company was down about 12% in stock value. It stayed pretty low until some analysts backed up Koerner’s claim that the company was doing better than speculation suggested, and by the end of the day, its stocks were back up to around the amount they closed at on Friday.

To end, we’ll look into:

Elon picks a fight with Zelenskiy

On Monday, world renowned political science expert Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk waded into a Twitter discussion about the Ukraine war. Recently, Russia claimed a bunch of land in eastern Ukraine for itself. But this kind of annexation is entirely illegal under international law, and the referenda that were held to decide whether or not those regions would be incorporated into Russia were, well, complete shams. That all came just after Putin announced a “partial mobilization,” which meant calling up reserve soldiers and going into a wartime economy.

According to Musk’s not-so-expert analysis: “They go full war mobilization if Crimea is at risk. Death on both sides will be devastating.” For reference here, Crimea is a former-Ukraine state that was annexed by Russia in 2014. That said, Ukrainian leaders have said they won’t consider the war over until all Ukrainian territory is returned, including Crimea. It isn’t clear whether that’s a legitimate demand or a negotiating tactic.

Trying to help, good-ol’-Musk said peace was the best way to go (which, in fairness, isn’t wrong). He said that the UN should redo the sham votes held in the Donbas region and that the people should decide if they want to be a part of Russia or not. He also posted a poll asking if his followers agreed that the people in the annexed regions should be able to decide which country they’re a part of.

Unsurprisingly, not everyone was happy with Musk butting in. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy posted a poll on his account to troll Musk, asking people if they preferred an Elon Musk that supports Russia or Ukraine. And the country’s top diplomat in Germany didn’t hold back, saying, “no Ukrainian will EVER buy your f…ing tesla crap.” Savage.

In other news …

📈Stocks: MSCI’s global gauge of stocks went up 2.16% to 2,429.91.

📰Some specifics:

  • S&P 500 rose 2.59%, reaching 3,678.43.
  • Nasdaq Composite lifted 2.27% to 10,815.44.
  • Dow Jones jumped 2.66% to 29,490.89.
  • Hang Seng Index slipped 0.83%, hitting 17,079.51.

🧠Some quick factors to bear in mind:

  • The market could see a fourth-quarter comeback after a disappointing past month. Year-end rallies are historically stronger in midterm election years (and this is one of them)
  • US Treasury yields have finally begun easing up from record highs of 4% back down to around 3.65%.
  • And, with new data showing a slowdown in US manufacturing (it’s at its slowest pace in 2.5 years), investors are hopeful that the Fed might back off from interest rate hiking.
  • In the East, there’s some good news for China, too. As it becomes less and less likely for Chinese companies to become delisted from the US market, their IPOs could jump up.
  • At the same time, though, foreign funds are pulling their money from Asia at a faster rate than back in 2008. So far, they’ve pulled US$111 billion from Asian markets this year, but in 2008 they had pulled US$93 billion.

👄Some comments and chatter:

  • “We could see a rally because these fourth-quarter midterm election years are the second-best average quarter and also have the second-highest frequency of advance. The best one is the next one, meaning the first quarter of the third year. We could be surprised with at least a near-term upward movement,” explained Sam Stovall, CFRA chief investment strategist.
  • “We hope that everything goes smoothly and that in the next few months, we will have clarity and certainty that companies from China will continue to remain listed. That will give confidence to other ones to come to the U.S. capital markets,” said Bob McCooey, vice chairman of Nasdaq, about Chinese IPOs.

🛢Oil: Crude prices went up after OPEC+ said it might reduce output. Worries about limited supply pushed Brent crude up 4.3% to US$88.79 a barrel. U.S. crude rose 4.9% to US$83.35 a barrel.

👛Bitcoin: At the time of writing, Bitcoin was up 2.52%, settling at US$19,539.90.

Brazil’s election runoff: Earlier polls in Brazil pretty much guaranteed Lula’s election win. But that didn’t exactly pan out as expected. Although Lula did get more votes than incumbent Bolsonaro, neither got over 50%, so now there will be a runoff election between the two.

Violence at Iranian university: Instead of losing steam after security forces cracked down on demonstrations and protests, Iranian students have continued pushing back. Hard. On Sunday night in Tehran, security forces allegedly shot several students at the prestigious Sharif University of Technology. Riot police were armed with teargas, paintball guns and non-lethal steel pellet guns.

😎Ukraine reclaims Russian-annexed provinces: As the Russian Parliament began to approve Putin’s proposed annexation of four Ukrainian provinces on Monday, Ukraine has been making moves to physically reclaim them. In fact, Russia no longer has complete control of any of these four provinces, with Ukrainian forces recovering their territory.

UK scraps tax cut: British PM Liz Truss introduced some controversial economic moves for the UK last week. Now, the government is starting to backpedal after these decisions sparked market concerns. Now, Treasury chief Kwasi Kwarteng announced plans to get rid of a tax cut that brought the top tax rate to 45% on earnings above 150,000 pounds (US$$167,000). The pound is already recovering after this turnaround.

China to boost oil exports? At the end of this year and in 2023, China will likely boost refined oil product exports, with refiners receiving a major allocation from Beijing. This increase could help the global oil market and replace some supplies from Russia after the EU embargo.

🤑Kim K charged by the SEC: Kim K is usually paid to post Instagram stories, but now she’s being charged for one of them. The US SEC is fining her US$1.26 million for a cryptocurrency ad she posted last year. Kardashian failed to disclose enough info when it comes to security endorsements.

🏆Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine awarded: The Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine has been awarded to Svante Pääbo, a Swedish geneticist who sequenced the neanderthal genome. By doing this, he was able to create an entirely new field of ancient DNA studies and identify populations at higher risk of certain diseases.

😡Fighting words: Ukrainian diplomat Andriy Melnyk had some choice words for Elon Musk after he butted in and suggested Ukraine sacrifice some territory and hold new elections in contested regions to bring peace and end the war. Melnyk simply replied, “F– off is my very diplomatic reply to you.”

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