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Here’s what you need to know
The European Commission is taking AstraZeneca to court. The bloc reportedly plans to sue the vaccine maker for greatly under-delivering on promised jabs.
The UK’s parliament accused China of genocide. It voted to endorse a motion alleging Beijing authorities committed crimes against humanity towards ethnic and religious minorities, including Uyghurs. Meanwhile, despite sanctions, Xinjiang’s exports to the US doubled in the first quarter.
Russia said it’s pulling back troops from the Ukrainian border. The recent military buildup in Crimea alarmed Ukraine and its European neighbors.
Israel retaliated after a Syrian missile hit close to a nuclear reactor. The attack could be tied to Israel’s recent covert actions against Iran’s nuclear program.
Credit Suisse needs cash. The bank is asking investors for up to $2 billion as losses mount from exposure to Archegos Capital Management and Greensill Capital.
European automakers are slowing production because of the chip shortage. Jaguar Land Rover and Daimler are among the global car manufacturers that have been forced to idle factories.
Asian countries doubled down on their climate pledges. Japan set an aggressive new target to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 46% by 2030, while South Korea said it would stop funding foreign coal-powered plants and China said its coal consumption would peak in 2025.
What to watch for
After adding India to its “red list” of countries that are deemed to pose a danger to Britain, the UK ban on Indian travelers starts today.
If policymakers in the US, Europe, and elsewhere follow suit, Indians could find themselves increasingly isolated.
In April 2021, it took just weeks for India’s situation to go from bad to catastrophic. On April 21, the country had nearly 316,000 new coronavirus infections, the highest daily number in any country so far in this pandemic. Meanwhile:
- India’s oxygen crisis is deepening with each passing day.
- Hospital beds are in desperately short supply.
- Vaccines are scarce.
- There is no official lockdown, but India is suffering the consequences of restrictions anyway.
- Bad loans, largely caused by growing unemployment, are hitting the banking system hard.
- The huge Indian diaspora is struggling to help.
For the latest on India’s crisis—and the rest of the global economy— head to our coronavirus living briefing, our regularly updated guide to the impact of the pandemic.
Charting fashion’s slow European recovery
The dog days of the pandemic appear over for top names in luxury fashion, except those firms located in Europe. Hermès’s European sales were down 4.4% versus last year. LVMH saw a 9% decline , and Kering dipped 34%.
Through the end of March, new cases of Covid-19 spiked in the region, where the rollout of vaccines has been “unacceptably slow,” according to the World Health Organization. Luxury sellers are still contending with numerous store closures.
Modi’s Twitter feed and India’s Covid paradox
Indian prime minister Narendra Modi’s Twitter feed has been a constant stream of condolences for noted Indians who lost their lives to Covid-19, peppered with excitement over the people in the state of West Bengal exercising their voting rights. This emotional whiplash is emblematic of what’s happening across the country.
In under a month, India’s coronavirus infections went from approximately 60,000 daily to over 300,000 a day, yet Modi and his allies have conducted mass rallies in West Bengal. The current government of Bengal had requested India’s election commission wrap up the remaining two phases of the election together. The commission denied this request.
On April 21, as Hindus observed Ram Navami, the birth of their god Ram, over 80,000 people took a dip in the river Ganga where Kumbh was earlier being observed. While short of the usual millions, the outing was less than ideal.
On Twitter, Modi called for restraint while wishing his followers well on the occasion of Ram Navami.
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You asked about vaccine profits
How much money are drug companies making from vaccines?
For many Americans, Johnson & Johnson (J&J) these days is most closely associated with the pharmaceutical company’s Covid-19 vaccine, which has been recently suspended in the US as authorities investigate its risk of causing a rare blood clot syndrome.
But for J&J, the vaccine is nowhere near its main product, at least not in terms of revenue. Out of over $22 billion in sales, Covid-19 vaccines accounted for $100 million—or just above 2%, the company announced earlier this week.
Meanwhile, the makers of the other vaccines licensed in the US, Moderna and Pfizer, stand to rake in quite a bit of cash. Both Pfizer and Moderna will likely require a booster shot at some point in the coming months, and while neither would comment on booster shot pricing, Moderna’s forecast for sales of the first two doses of the vaccine was $18.4 billion for 2021, so the booster shot could add about $9 billion to that. Pfizer projected at least $15 billion in sales for 1 billion Covid-19 vaccine doses, so the booster would bring an additional $7.5 billion to the pharma giant.
👵 Older people are the one group egalitarians discriminate against
🇮🇳 Will other countries copy the UK’s India travel ban?
😷 The Indian diaspora is struggling to help with the Covid-19 crisis in India
⌨️ A Hong Kong investigative journalist was convicted for a public records search
🇿🇦 South Africa wants to enshrine the right to be non-binary
🏭 It’s never been this expensive to finance a new coal power plant
Scientists can’t decide what to call a group of black holes. Suggestions include a scream, a crush, or a silence.
Dementia prevention may start with a good night’s rest. New research suggests people who get fewer than 6 hours of sleep a night during middle age are more at risk.
Installing sails on cargo ships would greatly reduce their emissions. It’d be more effective than switching to alternative fuels.
Pet food manufacturers are working on lab-grown meat. Fido’s kibble could soon be made from cell-cultured rabbit or chicken.
A small-town deli worth $100 million had its stock delisted. It’s still a mystery how the single store was able to rack up such a sky-high valuation.
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