Your Friday Briefing
If the German election was held today, Scholz’ party would receive only 14% of the vote - the lowest since June 2021. 17% of eligible voters say that they are satisfied with the SPD-led government, the lowest approval rating of a German chancellor since polls began in 1997 - though there have been worse German chancellors.
Slovakia’s opposition is warning that Fico’s government is working to gain absolute control of the arms industry, which… uh, yeah? That’s how… war typically works…?
Armenia and Azerbaijan have reportedly had a breakthrough, and are exchanging prisoners and working towards normalization. Meanwhile, a US diplomat visited Azerbaijan and was received positively, although it doesn’t seem like the hunt for US spies will be curtailed. And Aliyev warned that India and France arming Armenia will increase the chances of more war.
Burkina Faso’s government has revised the constitution to ban French as an official language, demoting it to the role of “working language”.
China is banning new steel plants in order to cut atmospheric pollution, and is working on converting factories creating blast furnace-produced steel into factories creating electric furnace-produced steel, which involves the import of scrap steel from abroad and has lower emissions (69% of US steel production uses this method). In Hebei, the top steel producing province, the number of iron and steel companies have been cut by 70% over the years to meet local targets, which has dramatically cut particulate emissions.
China has granted tariff-free access to Angola, Gambia, DRC, Madagascar, Mali, and Mauritania, in order to boost agricultural imports from Africa. They join 21 other African countries with similar tariff cuts. Xi says that he plans to import products worth $300 billion from Africa by 2024; in 2023 so far, total trade was $234 billion and imports to China a “mere” $91 billion. Meanwhile, Chinese global exports have edged up for the first time in seven months, increasing by 0.5% year-on-year to $291 billion, probably due to exporters cutting prices.
Thousands of protestors have rallied against the new far-right government of New Zealand, organized by the Maori Party, due to the anti-Maori policies that they are proposing. The co-leader of the Maori Party has said that the laws would take New Zealand “back to the 1800s”
Most Americans have depleted their excess savings accumulated during the pandemic, and 99% of Americans will be financially worse off than pre-pandemic by mid-2024. I’m still not entirely sure whether this whole “excess savings” thing is even an actual thing that has existed, because most Americans seem exceptionally unhappy about the economy and going into major debt to continue survival and have been for many months, which contradicts the idea that they had much savings at all.
Famous penis owner, Hunter Biden, has been indicted on new federal tax evasion charges, following previous charges of tax evasion and unlawfully owning a gun.
Zelensky is going to attend Milei’s inauguration, which is so freaking epic. It’s like that scene in Endgame where Captain America (more like Captain Ukraine!) is like, standing there, and then the dude comes flying out of the portal behind him, and they’re like, about to fight Thanos’s army, but Putin is Thanos and the army is worldwide communism. Thanks for the gold, kind stranger!