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Mukesh Ambani, chairman of Reliance Industries Limited, poses for photographers before addressing the annual shareholders meeting in Mumbai June 6, 2013.
Image copyright: Reuters/Danish Siddiqui
Looking in a new direction.

Here’s what you need to know

Reliance Jio snapped up airwaves worth $7.8 billion. The company was the largest buyer in India’s latest 778.2 billion rupee ($11 billion) spectrum auction.

Japan arrested two Americans accused of helping Carlos Ghosn flee. The men had been extradited from the US.

China said, “What cyber attack?” The country called a report it had used malware to cause a major power outage in Mumbai last October “pure rumors and slander.”

Jack Ma is no longer China’s richest man. The Alibaba and Ant Group founder is now fourth, following months of conflict with Chinese authorities.

The US announced sanctions over Russia’s poisoning of Alexei Navalny. It also acknowledged the FSB intelligence agency was responsible.

India wants Tesla to manufacture its cars in the country. The transport minister said India is prepared to offer incentives that would make it cheaper than producing vehicles in China.

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What to watch for

Image copyright: REUTERS/Henry Nicholls
UK chancellor Rishi Sunak and the red box.

The famous red box, which has carried the British chancellor’s annual budget speech since 1853, today contains details of the UK’s most important economic plans for a generation. (It’s not Gladstone’s original box—a replica has been used since 2011.)

The UK heads into a fiscal period that will be defined by the dual economic shocks of Brexit and Covid-19. The government believes it has a solid plan to emerge from the expensive cycle of lockdowns, and has put together one of the most successful vaccination programs in the world.

💸Will the UK government keep spending? Yes, and it won’t be alone.

🏋🏾‍♀️Will there be tax rises? Very likely, but this is a Conservative government, and there’s already internal dissent.

🦠How much has Covid cost the UK? Nearly £400 billion ($550 billion)—the budget may have to somehow account for that.

The coronavirus living briefing helps you keep track of all major pandemic-related economic developments, from European economies to retail, China, and airlines.


Charting AstraZeneca’s vaccine in the EU

For all the talk of Covid-19 vaccine supply issues in the European Union, official data show that close to 13 million doses distributed to member states have not even been administered. Most of those are from AstraZeneca, with many Europeans apparently unwilling to accept that particular jab.

The above chart doesn’t quite tell the full story, but it does make it clear that EU countries have administered a lower share of their available AstraZeneca doses. That may be because of public mistrust, but it also shows the pitfalls of “vaccine preference,” a problem that is becoming global.


Markets haiku: bullseye!

Image copyright: Reuters/Rick Wilking
Target’s stores are the foundation of its e-commerce business.

Target beats Target
Because we showed our love with
Gifts instead of hugs

Earnings for the retailer blew past Wall Street predictions, mostly due to holiday and post-stimulus shopping. Still, shares were down at close.

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What will canceling $10,000 of student loan debt really do?

Image copyright: Reuters/Jonathan Ernst
Opening doors.

On the campaign trail, US president Joe Biden pledged to clear $10,000 of federal student loan debt per borrower—a small dent in the more than $1.5 trillion of student loans issued or guaranteed by the government.

  • It could help individuals. Forgiving $10,000 in debt would completely wipe out the student loan burden for one-third of America’s 43 million federal borrowers. But mostly, it would benefit the rich.
  • It could shrink the race gap. A little, anyway. Disparities in home ownership and property values are bigger factors in the wealth gap than education is.
  • Could it help the economy? Meh. It’s not the most effective way to get cash to households who will turn it around and put it into the economy.

Michelle Cheng sorts through the pros and cons, and asks how Americans got into so much student debt in the first place.

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Surprising discoveries

Image copyright: Martin Pettitt/Flickr, CC-BY-2.0
Come one, come all.

Oh, the places these books won’t go! Dr. Seuss Enterprises said six of the author’s books will no longer be published because they contain racist or insensitive content.

A dental X-ray scanner let researchers read a 300-year-old sealed letter. The intricately folded missive was a request for a death certificate.

Archaeologists found a 2,000-year-old Egyptian pet cemetery. And Stephen King found the plot of his next book.

Microdosing LSD isn’t the mind hack Silicon Valley thinks it is. A study found its purported boost to creativity and mental sharpness could just be the placebo effect.

Canada Post wants to make sure you stay in touch. The postal service is giving every Canadian a prepaid postcard to send to a loved one.


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