‘UK Fuel Crisis’

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The World

A slew of high-stakes deadlines will collide on Capitol Hill this week, setting up potentially chaotic negotiations against the backdrop of expiring government funding and the threat of a possible U.S. default. Even by the standards of a Capitol used to operating under pressure, this week’s maelstrom of legislative and fiscal crosscurrents is setting the stage for an extraordinary sprint. Democratic leaders are trying to shepherd two complicated legislative packages: a roughly $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill and a sprawling healthcare, education and climate package whose proposed $3.5 trillion price tag and contents are still under intense debate within the party. At the same time, the government’s funding is set to expire at 12:01 a.m. on Friday, Oct. 1, which would partially shut down the government if Congress doesn’t act. (Wall Street Journal)

  • U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the chamber will vote on passage of the $1 trillion infrastructure bill on Thursday. Pelosi had committed last month to holding a vote on the legislation by today, but progressive lawmakers have vowed not to support the infrastructure bill until Congress acts on the $3.5 trillion plan to provide vast new investments in education, health, child care, paid leave and climate programs. That package has yet to be completed. (Reuters, New York Times)

  • The 5 biggest issues dividing Democrats: 1) Healthcare: Democrats are wrestling with the funding for and duration of the three central healthcare provisions of the bill. 2) Long-Term Home Care and Child Care. 3) Climate: The centerpiece of Democrats’ plan to address the climate crisis is the Clean Electricity Performance Program, which would pay utilities that switch to clean energy and penalize those that don’t. 4) Immigration: Democrats are seeking a path forward after the Senate parliamentarian ruled that they couldn’t include a pathway to citizenship for millions of immigrants living in the country illegally in the budget legislation. 5) Taxes. (Wall Street Journal)

Senior U.S. and European officials meet in Pittsburgh on Wednesday, aiming to show that closer trans-Atlantic ties have value—in dollars and euros. Underpinning the talks is a fact often lost in debates both sides have about voluminous trade with China: The U.S. and European Union are by far each other’s most important economic partner, by orders of magnitude. Businesses on both sides are eager to expand the partnership. (Wall Street Journal)

UK PM Boris Johnson is preparing to draft in hundreds of soldiers to address the UK’s fuel crisis as at least half of petrol stations outside the motorway network have run out of fuel after Britons engaged in panic buying. One senior government insider said, “the situation in England is very bad.” Johnson will consider plans to use the Army to drive tankers around the country, under contingency planning known as Operation Escalin. One Whitehall official said that petrol sales on Friday were up 180% on normal circumstances as a result of panic buying. (Financial Times)

  • BP said nearly a third of its British petrol stations had run out of the two main grades of fuel. The fuel panic comes as Britain faces several crises: an international gas price surge that is forcing energy firms out of business, a related shortage of carbon dioxide that threatens to derail meat production, and a shortage of truck drivers that is playing havoc with retailers and leaving some shelves bare. Shell said that it had also seen increased demand for fuel. (Reuters)

The center-left Social Democrats have won the biggest share of the vote in Germany’s national election, beating outgoing Chancellor Angela Merkel’s center-right Union bloc in a closely fought race. Election officials said that a count of all 299 constituencies showed the Social Democrats won 25.9% of the vote, ahead of 24.1% for the Union bloc. The environmentalist Greens came third with 14.8% followed by the pro-business Free Democrats with 11.5%. The two parties have already signaled that they are willing to discuss forging a three-way alliance with either of their two bigger rivals to form a government. (Associated Press)

  • Berliners cast their referendum votes on whether to nationalize thousands of housing units owned by real estate giants. After counting 27% of the votes, results found that over half voted yes while just 39% voted no. (Deutsche Welle)

The COVID-19 pandemic reduced life expectancy in 2020 by the largest amount since World War Two, according to a study published on Monday by Oxford University, with the life expectancy of American men dropping by more than two years. Life expectancy fell by more than six months compared with 2019 in 22 of the 29 countries analysed in the study, which spanned Europe, the United States and Chile. There were reductions in life expectancy in 27 of the 29 countries overall. The university said most life expectancy reductions across different countries could be linked to official COVID-19 deaths. (Reuters)

Switzerland will alter its civil code to enshrine marriage and adoption rights for gay couples after voters gave overwhelming support for the change in a nationwide referendum. Bern said that with all cantons having declared their results, just over 64 per cent of ballots cast favoured equal rights for same-sex couples. (Financial Times)

Children born during last year will on average endure seven times more extreme heatwaves and more than twice as many droughts as their grandparents, a new global study found. They will also live through almost three times as many river floods and crop failures and twice the number of wildfires as people born 60 years ago. (The Times)


Economy

A buyout boom fueled by easy money and a looming hike in the capital-gains tax is sweeping Wall Street deal making to highs not seen since before the 2008 financial crisis. Companies have issued $120 billion of “leveraged loans” this year through Sept. 23 to finance corporate buyouts by private-equity firms—just shy of the $124 billion record for the first nine months of the year set in 2007, according to data from S&P Global Market Intelligence’s LCD. Most deals have also gotten bigger. The average leveraged buyout cost about $2.5 billion in debt and equity this year, eclipsing the mean of roughly $2 billion in 2007. (Wall Street Journal)

U.S. supply chain struggles to adapt as delays worsen: Despite mounting shipping delays and cargo backlogs, the busiest U.S. port complex shuts its gates for hours on most days and remains closed on Sundays. Major ports in Asia and Europe have operated round-the-clock for years. (Wall Street Journal)

Shares of China Evergrande's electric car unit plunged as much as 26% after it warned it faced an uncertain future unless it got a swift injection of cash and after it said it will not proceed with plans to issue RMB shares. (Reuters)

Kaiser Permanente union in California nearing strike: The union contends the health system is planning "hefty cuts" to nurse wages and benefits despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and high levels of burnout among staff. (Healthcare Dive)

The great generational shift within venture capital: Over the course of the past week, three venture capitalists have announced plans to step back from their investing roles at their respective firms. Lightspeed’s Jeremy Liew, known well for his early bet on Snap, made his news public last Friday. Six days later, Spark Capital co-founder and general partner Bijan Sabet announced he too was stepping back, as did IA Ventures’ Roger Ehrenberg. (Fortune)


Technology

How Google spies on its employees: Looking up COBRA health insurance costs. Screenshotting and using encrypted messaging apps at the same time. Google employees can attract scrutiny from the company’s corporate security team through ordinary actions. Now a new trial is calling attention to the search giant’s surveillance of staffers. (The Information)

Google is reducing the amount of revenue it keeps when customers buy software from other vendors on its cloud marketplace, as the top tech companies face increasing pressure to lower their so-called take rates. The Google Cloud Platform is cutting its percentage revenue share to 3% from 20%. (CNBC)

Several key Apple and Tesla suppliers have halted production at some of their Chinese facilities to comply with Beijing's tighter energy consumption policy, putting supply-chain continuity at risk during a peak season for electronics goods including the latest iPhones. (Nikkei Asian Review)

How Facebook’s ‘metaverse’ became a political strategy in Washington. (Washington Post)

States at disadvantage in race to recruit cybersecurity pros. (Associated Press)


Smart Links

How the winner of Japan's PM race could affect markets. (Nikkei Asian Markets)

Why Comcast is getting into the smart TV business. (Protocol)

Brain-machine interface technology: Will It Be Possible to Upload Information to My Brain? (Gizmodo)

Tax strategies you don’t want to miss before the end of the year. (Wall Street Journal)

Lab-grown meat isn’t about sustainability, it’s big business. (Financial Times)

New type of dark energy could solve Universe expansion mystery. (Nature)