From Chinese military might to struggling investment funds, take a tour of what made the news through some of the most interesting facts about them.
The People’s Republic of China celebrated its 70th birthday this week. The Communist Party, the ruling party in China, highlighted the economic prosperity it has brought to the most populous nation in the world over the past seven decades. But it also showed off its growing military might. A new ICBM was unveiled, with the range to hit nearly anywhere in the world. China has arrived as a superpower and the next century will be defined by the relationship between it and the only other superpower in the world, America.
The Saudi’s have had a bad year. The assassination of Jamal Khashoggi brought international condemnation, the war in Yemen is going very badly and its economy, reliant on the price of oil, is suffering from an overreliance on hydrocarbons. Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the power in the kingdom, wants to diversify Saudi Arabia. To fund that he plans to make a portion of the world’s most valuable company, the state-owned Saudi Aramco oil company, public.
Often the news is dominated by dramatic events. These are easy to understand as newsworthy. The presidency of Donald Trump, Brexit and tragedies take up most of the headlines. But the slower-moving trends that will change the world are also important. AI is taking over the stock market. Much faster than human traders, they can make money with lightning-quick trades. But their presence is reshaping financial markets. The question is if that is good or bad.
But sometimes those dramatic events are important. President Donald Trump is under pressure. He has lashed out against his political rivals on Twitter as they start impeachment proceedings against him. More and more American citizens support the move. President Trump has publicly called on China and Ukraine to investigate the Democratic Party’s frontrunner for their party’s nomination in the 2020 election. Is this the scandal that brings down Trump?
WeWork’s IPO collapsed spectacularly last week. A company valued at $47bn at the beginning of the year, it has now fallen to $12bn as investors got a look at its books. That doesn’t spell bad news just for WeWork. Its main backer, SoftBank, put in tens of billions of dollars into the firm through its Vision Fund. Now it is struggling to raise interest in a second similar fund. Are backers finally tiring of loss-making Silicon Valley startups?