Lobbying by companies to dilute environment regulation unacceptable: Major financial investors pulling back

Major financial institutions have woken up to the threat posed by  climate change, and have started disinvesting from polluting industries to limit their risk exposure. But recently a Norwegian hedge fund has come up with a new methodology to do so. 

The said methodology adopted by the Nordic asset manager, Storebrand, is to divest first from companies that are lobbying to slow the pace of reforms targeted towards climate action.

Lobbying by corporations such as ExxonMobil, Chevron, and BASF to undermine solutions in the works to deal with biggest challenge facing the humanity at the moment is being viewed as “unacceptable” by major investment firms.

Climate lobbying watchdog InfluenceMap has brought to notice, the attempt made by ExxonMobil lobbyists to water down the European green deal by meeting key European commission officials before it was negotiated and agreed upon.

Source: The Guardian

Replacing China as a supplier may not come easy for most businesses globally

Contrary to the need being felt by numerous businesses globally for diversifying their suppliers out of China, no country is in a position to weed out China completely from either it’s supply chain or it’s list of buyers for high-tech products, as China features on top for both categories.

Following lockdown in Italy and China, many jewellery makers for example were unable to source precious metals and gift boxes which they used to source from these countries. Forcing them to learn the lesson of not being over-reliant on any single country for the supplies. The said businesses along with others are now looking at alternative suppliers from different countries to mitigate such risk, if the possibility of a global lockdown arises again in the future.

For companies which sell high-tech goods, China remains on their list of top buyers. To cite an example, China is one of the biggest buyers of industrial computers in the world presently, as it is pursuing the expansion of both – 5G as well as high-speed rail network in the mainland.

From being the biggest supplier to world economy, China today has become one of its most important buyers. And is expected to be the only country that is going to witness economic growth. In the same way as China has been a major driver of world trade for the past couple of decades, it is still going to retain this position for the foreseeable future.

Which country do you think is going to emerge in the future as a fitting substitute for the role played by China in today’s world economy?

What to expect from second round of US-China trade talks?

What to expect from second round of US-China trade talks-global-annal-bhavesh-kumar

In the second round of US-China trade talks which is expected to take place soon, ensuing trade tensions between both the countries is not expected to ease anytime soon.

The commitment given by China to import $200bn worth of US goods to minimise the mammoth gap in balance of trade figures between both the nations may also not be honoured by China due to the coronavirus related economic slowdown faced by its economy. It was for this assurance that the US agreed to cut back the tariffs on Chinese imports by 50%.

The key topics for discussion are largely going to be centered around the new security law introduced by China in Hong Kong, sanctions levelled by US against dozens of Chinese firms with the most prominent of those being on communications firm Huawei and apps such as TikTok and WeChat due to national security concerns, and the origin of coronavirus.

Some other areas of concern are going to be how to stop the storage of US data on Chinese owned cloud based systems and its resulting impact on the use of undersea optical fibre network by US as a part of global internet. 


What does Jimmy Lai’s arrest means for press freedom in Hong Kong?

What does Jimmy Lai's arrest means for press freedom in Hong Kong— China has recently arrested Jimmy Lai, a pro-democracy activist and owner of Apple Daily, a Hong Kong based media publication. The arrest confirmed fears of pro-democracy activists around the recently introduced National Security Law (came into effect on June 30) being used as a tool to silence dissenters.

-Jimmy Lai, has been long known to be a critic of Beijing’s authoritarian government’s crackdown on the Tiananmen Square pro-democracy protests which occurred in 1989. Lai regularly mentioned about it in his publication, Apple Daily and Next Digital, and was detested by Beijing for the same.

-Lai also met with US vice president Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo last year which further added to the displeasure which China had for Lai.

-Apart from Lai, his two sons and two senior executives of Next Digital have also been arrested as reported by China’s propaganda outlets, which also accused all arrested to be ‘traitors’.

-Lai’s arrest is particularly viewed as a hit to press freedom in Hong Kong. Commenting on the development, Nigel Adams at UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office said: “Media freedom must be upheld. More evidence the National security law being used as pretext to silence opposition.”

Source: Indian Express


China meddling in US elections to uproot ‘Unpredictable’ Trump: US Intelligence


– Foreign state actors such as China, Iran and Russia are interfering in US elections according to a recently concluded assessment from the National Counterintelligence and Security Center.

– China is meddling with the aim of toppling Donald Trump, who it views as unpredictable. And for the recent stances taken by US on issues such as:

    • Introduction of new security law in Hong-Kong,
    • Increasing military presence by US and its allies to check China’s strategic build-up in the South China Sea
    • The closure of China’s consulate in Houston by US

-Russia, on the other hand, is working to damage Democrat Joe Biden’s presidential campaign. For the role Joe Biden’s played in forming policies against Russia’s advances in Ukraine, and the support he lent to anti-putin dissenters inside Russia while he was serving as a vice-president in the Obama administration.

-Iran is believed to be acting against President Trump’s 2020 presidential campaign by pushing a misinformation campaign on social media – highlighting his handling of the coronavirus pandemic, and stoking racial tensions in the aftermath of George Floyd & Breonna Taylor’s killing by local police.

Source: DW

Australia to spend $1.2 billion on cybersecurity for private sector

As cyber attacks on private businesses and households have risen in Australia recently, the country has announced a host measures to deal with the menace.

One such measure announced by Australian government entails  spending about $1.2 billion on enhancing it’s cyber security defence, through which hopes to bring the vulnerability under control.

Continue reading “Australia to spend $1.2 billion on cybersecurity for private sector”

Which European nation’s economy is least hit by coronavirus?

The right answer is Sweden.Continue reading “Which European nation’s economy is least hit by coronavirus?”

Euthanasia law for healthy over-75 year olds proposed by Dutch MP

A Dutch MP, Pia Dijkstra, who is the medical ethics lead for D66 has proposed to create a law which will give healthy over-75 year olds the option to voluntarily end their life in case they have a serious death wish for more than two months.

Dijkstra decided to go ahead with the Euthanasia law in January after a government research found about 10000 people of over-55 year old had serious death wish.

Challenges ahead for Euthanasia law

The law is expected to stoke controversy as the two christian parties who are in a coalition to form government are both opposed to it.

Source: Dutch News

Volkswagen emissions scandal executive approved by US judge for transfer to Germany

The former Volkswagen executive, Oliver Schmidt, who violated clean air laws by misleading US regulators has been approved for transfer to Germany by US judge in Detroit.

Oliver Schmidt was awarded a seven year jail term and $400,000 in fines in 2017.

More lawsuits in store for Volkswagen

Also, despite already incurring a heavy penalty of about $33 billion in fines, penalties and vehicle buyback costs, Volkswagen will be facing lawsuits from two counties, which will add up to the significant financial penalties it may have to pay in the future.

Source: Reuters

COVID-19 infection may cause thyroid disease: case study

Patients with COVID-19 may develop an inflammatory thyroid disease called subacute thyroiditis – which causes neck pain and upper tract respiratory infection, according to a new case study published in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.

The said case has emerged in a 18-year-old woman from the University Hospital of Pisa, Italy.

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