Xinjiang probe, HSBC’s choice, 4,000 big bangs

HSBC headquarters is seen at the financial Central district in Hong Kong, China September 6, 2017. REUTERS/Bobby Yip
HSBC headquarters is seen at the financial Central district in Hong Kong, China September 6, 2017. REUTERS/Bobby Yip
Image: Reuters/Bobby Yip

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Here’s what you need to know

The UK called for an official Xinjiang probe. Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab asked the United Nations to immediately investigate reports of abuse against Uyghur Muslims in Chinese camps.

The US Supreme Court ruled against Donald Trump. The former US president will finally have to turn over his tax records to New York state prosecutors.

Boris Johnson announced the process for getting past Covid-19. The British prime minister laid out reopening plans, bolstered by strict lockdowns and a robust vaccination program.

The US National Transportation Safety Board knows more about the failed Boeing 777 engine. It fell apart. Boeing has grounded all other 777s until the investigation is complete.

WhatsApp has an ultimatum for users. If you don’t accept its new terms, you may get your chats switched off.

NASA demonstrated how to land on Mars. The US space agency released video from the Perseverance rover’s perspective as it made its descent.

What to watch for

Scheduled to release earnings and further restructuring plans today, HSBC finds itself in the midst of a tug of war between China and the West. Regardless of the victor, the bank will likely lose. As Western politicians accuse it of doing China’s bidding in its fight to crack down on dissent in Hong Kong and elsewhere, HSBC is left with a few not-so-great options.

💔 Break up: HSBC’s business model is built on the premise that the bank serves as a bridge between East and West, but an HSBC East listed on the UK’s exchange and an HSBC West listed in Hong Kong could tamp down any concerns over loyalty.

🧳 Find a new home: If restructuring the bank is a bit too nuclear for HSBC heads, they could always move operations and personnel to new locales, said one compliance expert in Hong Kong. But different cities carry different concerns: a move to Hong Kong or mainland China, for example, would likely anger the US.

🤷🏻‍♂️ Do nothing: It should be noted that other prominent banks have also done Beijing’s bidding from time to time. If HSBC figures that business on both sides of the Atlantic will eventually return to usual, it could wait until the whole kerfuffle blows over.

Charting the global garment workers’ struggle

For garment workers only getting by before the pandemic, life during Covid-19’s spread has been difficult.

The gap keeps growing.
The gap keeps growing.

Without shoppers in the US or Europe buying as much, fashion companies canceled billions of dollars worth of orders. As long as this persists, the future of the backbone of the garment industry remains largely unclear. Brands don’t usually own factories or employ garment workers directly, but, if the pact made between three major garment manufacturer associations catches on, the imbalance of power could shift some towards workers.

A new bill for Kenyan loans

Mobile lending apps have become a go-to source of credit for Kenyans without traditional bank accounts, and a new bill seeks to clamp down on predatory loans and practices by licensing and regulating digital lending platforms in the country.

Since Safaricom’s M-Shwari debuted in 2012, the market has ballooned to include Silicon Valley-backed Tala and Branch, as well as Zenka, Opesa, and Okash, which is owned by the Norwegian software maker Opera.

While access to useful, responsible, and affordable financial products and services has risen in Kenya for more than a decade—and digital loan apps have further helped grant access to finance—the country’s unregulated app-based lenders have been accused of illegal data mining and shaming defaulters.

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