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Global Headlines for 2023 March 01

Extending reach | Xi moved to consolidate the Communist Party’s hold over the world’s second-biggest economy, touting plans for sweeping changes to China’s bureaucracy and more influence within private companies. He said the party would roll out plans for “deepening structural reform” in the financial sector and boost control over science and technology, as well as “step up party-building work” in private businesses.

  • China’s economy is showing signs of a stronger rebound after it abandoned Covid restrictions, with manufacturing posting its biggest improvement in more than a decade.

Nuclear reaction | Russian uranium deliveries to a new Chinese reactor are raising US concerns about the potential to produce weapons-grade plutonium, Jonathan Tirone reports. The CFR-600 fast-breeder reactor on Changbiao Island is one of the world’s most closely watched nuclear installations, with US intelligence forecasting it could help Beijing increase its stockpile of warheads by as much as four-fold in the next 12 years.

  • Read how a satellite network used throughout Europe and by the Ukrainian military faced an unprecedented cyberattack as Putin began his invasion of Ukraine.

For all of Putin’s upbeat talk of expecting “some growth” in the economy this year, Russian retail sales remain in a contraction more drawn out than during the pandemic. The downturn represents a “permanent drop” in living standards, similar to the impoverishment seen after the 2014 annexation of Crimea, according to Bloomberg Economics.

Powering up | The usually sleepy US Department of Commerce isn’t a sought-after perch for those looking to make their mark in Washington. Jenny Leonard and Eric Martin report on how Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo is injecting new energy into the role that under President Joe Biden has become more high profile and more politically perilous, overseeing a lot of what is China policy these days.

Best of Bloomberg Opinion

No letup | Even as Prime Minister Rishi Sunak basks in rare positive coverage following his Brexit deal with the European Union, the UK’s economic and social malaise keeps intervening. Inflation in shops hit a record, while house prices fell at their steepest annual pace since 2012 last month. Meanwhile, treatment waiting times for cancer patients in England are at an all-time high.

Explainers you can use

Economic challenges | Bola Tinubu was declared the winner of Nigeria’s presidential election, which was marred by glitches and delays in collating the results, prompting the two main opposition parties to boycott the process. The victory places him at the helm of Africa’s biggest economy as it confronts a deepening fiscal crisis, acute shortages of local and foreign currency and gasoline, and widespread insecurity.

Tinubu during celebrations at his campaign headquarters in Abuja.  Photographer: Kola Sulaimon/AFP/Getty Images

News to Note

  • FBI Director Christopher Wray said his department previously concluded that Covid-19 most likely originated from a “potential lab incident” in Wuhan, China, contradicting scientific claims that it emerged naturally like other outbreaks.
  • Israel was rocked by further protests against the government’s planned judicial overhaul in the wake of increased violence in the West Bank, piling pressure on recently elected Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
  • Hong Kong’s cancellation of one of the world’s longest mask mandates has produced little visible change among its residents, with most people appearing to wear face coverings in public today.
  • For the first time in about 25 years, China isn’t a top three investment priority for most US firms, with geopolitical tensions and domestic economic issues driving businesses to focus elsewhere, the American Chamber of Commerce in China said.
  • The US Supreme Court’s conservative majority cast doubt on Biden’s plan to slash the student debt of more than 40 million people, imperiling one of his signature initiatives in a high-stakes showdown over presidential power.
  • Vietnam’s Communist Party nominated a close ally of its chief Nguyen Phu Trong to take over the presidency, boosting his control over economic policy after an anti-graft crackdown that sidelined rivals.

And finally … You can fly for hours above Gabon over a nearly unbroken stretch of textured green carpet — one of the world’s largest intact rainforests that absorbs and stores millions of tons of Earth-warming, ozone-destroying carbon dioxide each year. Yet as Antony Sguazzin and Natasha White explain, in today’s financial markets, Gabon’s trees are worth more dead than alive, critical to the African nation’s timber industry. Despite the billions pledged worldwide to fight climate change, little has been distributed as compensation for the global benefit that trees provide.

Logs awaiting shipment in 2022. Photographer: Guillem Sartorio/Bloomberg

Published by Guestspeaker

A joint effort of several authors who do find that nobody can keep standing at the side and that “Everyone" must care about what is going on in today’s world. We are a bunch of people who do not mind that somebody has a totally different idea but is willing to share the ideas with others and to be Active and willing to let others understand how "today’s decisions will influence the future”. Therefore we would love to see many others to "Act today".

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