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To start off, we're looking into:
China's education vision
The backstory: With COVID restrictions, the number of international students in China dropped over the past few years. On top of that, there's a talent shortage in many sectors and too many college grads in others, contributing to a high unemployment rate among China's youth.
The development: President Xi Jinping has just announced a major plan to revamp China's education system and make it a global powerhouse. He wants to create top-notch universities that offer cutting-edge scientific courses tailored to meet the country's needs and attract more international students. And guess what? The nation hopes to attract more international students to solidify its influence in global education. The idea is to build a “Study in China” brand that makes the country’s education sector more competitive globally.
Click the link here for more on the revamp and initiatives.
Stopping an oil spill in Yemen
The backstory: In 2015, an oil storage tanker called the FSO Safer anchored in the Red Sea off Yemen’s coast started deteriorating after Houthi rebels seized parts of the country and the ship's maintenance operations were suspended. The problem is that this tanker holds 1.1 million barrels of crude oil. That’s four times the amount of oil spilled during the 1989 Exxon Valdez disaster in Alaska. Because of its deterioration, the ship could explode or break apart at any time. This means that we could be looking at another oil spill catastrophe kind of soon.
The development: This week, the UN will finally begin a mission to save the oil from the tanker. A crew arrived Tuesday to inspect the rusting ship. Click the link here for more on the rescue plan.
Activision Blizzard deal in China
The backstory: Last year, Microsoft spilled the beans about its plan to acquire US-based Activision Blizzard. You know, the company behind games like World of Warcraft, Call of Duty and even the addictive Candy Crush? The truth is that before this acquisition can go through, Microsoft has to jump through some hoops.
The development: But Microsoft just scored a huge win in China. The tech giant got the green light from China's State Administration for Market Regulation (SAMR) to buy Blizzard. SAMR is just the latest regulator of many, like some in the EU, Japan and Brazil, that said "go for it." Click the link here for more on this buyout.
To end, we'll look into:
What’s up with CEO salaries in the current economy?
In 2023, the global economy looks a lot different. With the war in Ukraine and an economy still shaken by the effects of a global pandemic, the global supply chain and energy costs have been upset. The cost of living has skyrocketed in many places. Plus, major companies, like Amazon, Microsoft and Disney, have held layoffs in the thousands.
But last year, the Economic Policy Institute released a report saying that “CEO pay has skyrocketed 1,460% since 1978.” And how much had a typical worker’s pay gone up in that same stretch of time? Only about 18.1%.
Click the link here to learn more about this big divide in CEO pay raises versus regular workers.
In other news ...
- Dow Jones dipped 0.41% to 32,908.27.
- Nasdaq Composite dropped 0.63% to 12,935.29.
- S&P 500 slipped 0.61% to 4,179.83.
- The Hang Seng Index lost 1.94% to 18,234.27.
- The 10-year treasury yield is at 3.64%
- At the time of writing, bitcoin is down 2.16% at US$27,102.20.
- US crude lost 2% to US$68.09 per barrel, and Brent was down to US$72.60 per barrel.
📉Market snapshot and key quotes:
- In the US: US stocks got hit on Wednesday as investors were nervous about the federal debt ceiling vote looming large in Congress and the possibility of another interest rate hike by the Fed in June.
- In Hong Kong: Hong Kong shares took a serious beating and hit rock bottom for 2023, with disappointing factory activity from China adding to the gloomy sentiment.
📊Top gainers/losers and company news
- In the US: Advance Auto Parts took a nosedive of 35%, stealing the spotlight as the biggest loser on the S&P 500. Why? The auto parts retailer pulled the rug from under everyone's feet by missing its Q1 earnings expectations and cutting its full-year forecasts.
- AI software maker C3 sank about 9% before the company spilled the beans on its quarterly results after the closing bell. Investors were on pins and needles, waiting for the big reveal.
- In Hong Kong: Tech stocks in Hong Kong took a massive hit. Meituan took a gut punch with a 5.3% decline, NetEase stumbled 4.95%, Bilibili plummeted 4.8%, JD.com wasn't spared either and saw a drop of 3.15%, and Alibaba tumbled over 1%.
👀The numbers everyone is watching:
- In the US: US job openings caught everyone off guard and shot up unexpectedly in April, hinting at a robust labor market. This could give the Fed a nudge to raise interest rates in June.
- In Hong Kong: China's factory activity in May took a nosedive, sinking five-month low. It's all due to weakened demand. The May manufacturing purchasing managers index (PMI) didn't just slip. It plunged to a shocking 48.8 in May. That's even worse than the already grim reading of 49.2 in April.
📅To check out our economic calendar for this week, click here.
More headlines ...
💣Russia reports hits to oil refinery: Ukraine’s counteroffensive against Russia is now in full swing. On Tuesday, it continued striking Russia for the second day this week, with artillery hitting a Russian town and drones damaging two oil refineries.
🌲Indigenous land threatened by new bill in Brazil: Indigenous tribes in Brazil have the rights to a lot of protected land within the Amazon rainforest, and they’re responsible for many initiatives to protect the forest. New legislation is going through Brazil’s federal government that could allow construction and development on some of this land, allow the government to reclaim some of it and even invalidate Indigenous claims to land they can’t prove they physically occupied when Brazil’s constitution was enacted in 1988. The bill just passed in the lower house of Brazil’s congress and is moving to the upper house for a vote.
🚀North Korea satellite launch fails: This week, we reported that North Korea was going to launch a satellite at some point in the next few days. Well, it sure did try to do that on Wednesday. But because of issues with the rocket’s engine and fuel system, the launch ended up failing, with the booster and payload ending up in the ocean. More launches are expected to come.
🕵️♀️Dutch inquiry into Chinese acquisition: Nowi, a Netherlands-based semiconductor manufacturer, was recently acquired by a Chinese-owned firm, Nexperia, but some people are having a bit of a problem with the deal. New legislation in place will allow authorities to review whether or not the deal is all good, and it’s mainly because the Dutch want to keep their business local and secure and protect them from foreign takeovers that may be problematic. This will be the first time it has had the power to stop a foreign takeover, and it will be looking back on past acquisitions to review as well.
🚫Germany closes Russian consulates: Recently, Russia set a limit of 350 German government officials who are allowed to stay in Russia, including those working in education and culture. In response, Germany just announced it would be revoking the licenses for four of the five Russian consulates there. By the end of the year, Russia can only operate its consulate in Berlin and one other one, affecting hundreds of Russian residents in Germany.
🌎Earth is in the “danger zone”: Scientists have established eight areas to determine the health of Earth and those living on it, which are climate, air pollution, water contamination, groundwater supplies, fresh surface water, unbuilt natural environment and the general natural and human-built environments. According to a new study, Earth is past the safety limits in seven of these eight areas, pushing it into “the danger zone.” The only area not past its danger limit globally is air pollution, although they did say it’s dangerous at local and regional levels.
🤑Musk is back on top: While things might not have been going the best over at Twitter lately, at least Musk can finally say he’s the richest person in the world… again. Twitter owner and Tesla CEO surpassed Bernard Arnault after shares of LVMH fell 2.6%. He’s still US$150 billion short of his peak value, but his US$193.2 billion value is still impressive.
📢Amazon worker walkout: Amazon’s corporate workers have been frustrated about recent job cuts (27,000 since November), being forced to return to the office and the company’s lack of action when it comes to climate change. So, around 2,000 employees organized to take action on Wednesday at noon, with 900 of them planning to walk off the job and meet outside of Amazon’s headquarters in Seattle. A thousand others said they’d join the protest from offices in other parts of the world.
💸Amazon Ring settlement: Ding-dong, who’s at the door? Settlements! It looks like Amazon has finally settled the privacy problems with the Ring doorbell that it took on when buying the company back in 2018. Basically, the FTC found that Ring employees had accessed the cameras of customers illegally – and a lot. A US$6 million settlement to the FTC will make it go away. This isn’t the only settlement the company has made. In a separate suit that Amazon acquired all on its lonesome, the company paid out US$25 million after it faced accusations of children’s privacy issues with Alexa.
🕶New Apple VR/AR headset: Rumors have been swirling around about Apple launching a new AR/VR mixed reality headset. At its WWDC conference on June 5, it looks like Apple will finally unveil this new device. Most likely called the “Reality Pro,” the headset is expected to work on a new operating system called xrOS and cost around US$3,000.
👑Gearing up for a royal wedding in Jordan: Jordan’s Crown Prince Hussein is getting married on Thursday to his fiancee, a Saudi architect named Rajwa Al Saif. The country is experiencing wedding fever, with the royal family sharing a lot about the pre-wedding festivities on social media (which is a bit out of the ordinary for royals). The wedding will be attended by other regional monarchs, the US first lady Jill Biden and the king of the Netherlands.
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