🌍 Russia-Ukraine negotiators possibly poisoned

Sanctioned Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich on March 14, 2022
Sanctioned Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich on March 14, 2022
Image: Reuters

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Russia-Ukraine peace negotiators may have been poisoned. After meeting in Kyiv earlier this month, Ukrainian representatives and Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich had symptoms compatible with poisoning, but all are downplaying the incident.

Both sides are preparing for cease-fire talks in Turkey. Russia and Ukraine have both stepped up military activity in the meantime.

Novaya Gazeta was forced to suspend publication. The last Russian publication critical of the Kremlin—and whose editor won a Nobel Peace Prize—promises to return once the conflict is over.

Tesla is planning a stock split. The company, following Amazon and Alphabet’s lead, will ask shareholders at their next meeting.

Nuclear power is back in Japan’s good graces. High energy prices have changed the post-Fukushima anti-nuclear sentiment.

AstraZeneca’s preventive drug for covid-19 has been approved by the EU. Evusheld, already authorized in the US, reduces risk of developing symptoms by 77%.

What to watch for

Athleisure icon Lululemon reports earnings today. In January, the brand admitted to investors that its full year earnings would be impacted by an omicron holiday season. That, plus the anticipation of rising denim sales—although not so much the skinny jean—as people get more social, has cut its stock price by 20% year to date.

Analysts are still expecting Lululemon to deliver lots of value, especially since it’s dipping its toes into a new product category. Last week, it debuted its first shoe line designed specifically for women (most sneakers are initially designed for men and merely downsized for women’s feet, despite their many differences). A men’s shoe collection is due next year in an ambitious play that positions it head-to-head or, rather, head-to-toe with Nike and Adidas. At the same time, Adidas is encroaching on Lululemon’s traditional territory with the rehaul of its entire sports bra collection.

Singapore’s covid turning point

Hong Kong and Singapore started off with somewhat similar pandemic responses, including widespread masking, strict quarantine requirements for travelers, and aggressive contact tracing.

But Singapore this week is significantly easing coronavirus restrictions in a decisive shift towards “living with covid,” including allowing fully vaccinated travelers to enter the country without a quarantine starting April 1. By contrast, Hong Kong is still sticking with a “dynamic zero” covid strategy that seeks to quash case counts and seal borders, but has not prevented thousands of deaths this year.

Hong Kong’s lack of sovereignty means it must follow Beijing’s cues on covid strategy, and it also diverges with Singapore in vaccine uptake: More than 94% of people older than 80 are vaccinated in Singapore, compared with a little over 40% in Hong Kong.

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