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🌍 What’s making Elon nervous?

A massive screen on the side of a building displays an image of the People's Liberation Army. In the foreground are people moving, blurry. One main faces the camera wearing a red shirt and a blue face mask pulled down under his chin.
Wang Tingshu
Pedestrians walk past a screen showing footage of Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) soldiers during an evening news programme, in Beijing.
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Here’s what you need to know

China will launch military drills effectively blockading Taiwan. The exercises will extend until Sunday as a response to US House speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit, who made comments that the US commitment to Taiwan “remains ironclad.”

The Netherlands declared a water shortage. Lack of rainfall has led to a drought. In France, energy supplier EDF cut nuclear power production to keep rivers, which cool the plants, from overheating. Meanwhile, Europe’s Rhine River, a key shipping route, may close due to low water levels.

OPEC+ agreed to a small rise in crude oil production. Output will increase by 100,000 barrels per day in what analysts have called an insult to Biden’s diplomacy.

Indian authorities stated Vivo avoided $280 million in customs duties. The Chinese phone vendor’s offices in India were raided last month following allegations of money laundering.

London’s average room rent increased by 15% in a year. Data from SpareRoom also shows that poorer areas have been harder hit than affluent neighborhoods.

Fallen debris found on Australian farmland belongs to SpaceX. The parts are likely from a 2020 mission. Elon Musk’s company has yet to claim ownership.



What to watch for

Alibaba’s growth once symbolized the dynamism of the Chinese economy. Now, as analysts expect the company to declare its first quarter of declining revenue, it serves as an example of the challenges Chinese companies face at both a local and global level.

Alibaba’s earnings report, due for release pre-market opening today, follows the US Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) announcement that Alibaba risked delisting over failure to comply with disclosure requirements. It’s a stunning turn of events for a company whose 2014 IPO was the New York Stock Exchange’s biggest.

Complying with the SEC’s request is not fully in Alibaba’s control, as it depends on Beijing’s approval of Washington’s request to access audit files—something the Chinese government is currently considering. In the meantime, Alibaba is applying for a primary listing in Hong Kong to obtain dual-primary status.


What’s making Elon nervous?

Christian Marquardt
Elon Musk takes a breath.

Well, who knows what’s going on in the SpaceX and Tesla founder’s famously mercurial brain. But we did ask experts what should be making Musk toss and turn:

😰 Kathaleen McCormick. The ruling of the Delaware Chancery Court chancellor in Twitter v. Elon Musk could force him to complete the $44 billion deal, rather than merely pay damages.

😬 The SEC. The US regulatory body is currently investigating whether Musk and his brother Kimbal violated insider trading rules, and whether Musk broke the law by waiting more than two weeks before reporting a large purchase of Twitter stock.

😳 Luigi Crispo. This shareholder is suing Musk for breaching his contract with Twitter and his fiduciary duty to Twitter shareholders. If it obtains class-action status, the suit could spell serious trouble for Musk.

🙀 Tesla shareholders. If Musk loses in court, Tesla shareholders could get squirrely, and he needs his Tesla shareholdings to use as collateral.


Sri Lanka’s scientific exodus

When Sri Lankan president Gotabaya Rajapaksa fled a popular uprising and emailed his resignation from exile on July 14, he left behind an economy in shambles. The covid pandemic affected both tourism and remittances, depleting Sri Lanka’s foreign exchange reserves and the country’s capacity to repay loans. When Russia, who buys tea from and sends tourists to Sri Lanka, invaded the island nation’s other big tourist source, Ukraine, things only got worse.

Ananya Bhattacharya and Malaka Rodrigo explore the devastating impact these dire economic straits have had on Sri Lankan scientists and researchers, who are now starting to look for greener pastures.

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