Bloomberg Businessweek November 22, 2021

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50 Numeri

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2 min
◼ in brief

● Global coronavirus cases have topped 255 million, 5.1m people have died, and more than 7.5 billion vaccine doses have been given. Many countries are grappling with a new surge in infections. Austria has imposed a lockdown for all unvaccinated residents to control the pandemic’s fourth wave in the country. ● Royal Dutch Shell plans to eliminate its dual-share structure. Europe’s largest energy company will also relocate its tax residence to the U.K., moving its top executives from the Hague to London. Finally, it’s dropping “Royal Dutch” from its name, a designation it will no longer meet under the restructuring. ● China’s coal output rose to more than 357m tons in October, the highest level since at least 2015. Last year, the world’s dirtiest fossil fuel accounted for about 62% of the country’s…

3 min
don’t despair over the glasgow talks: get to work

The United Nations’ COP26 summit, billed as the “last, best hope” to keep ambitious climate goals alive, made progress on many fronts, despite ending on a note of disappointment. A commitment to “phase out” coal and fossil fuel subsidies was changed in the closing moments to a promise to “phase down” coal and rid the world of “inefficient” subsidies. For many, this seemed to sum things up. The U.K.’s Alok Sharma, the minister serving as the meeting’s president, offered an emotional apology. Activists dismissed the gathering as an empty exercise. That’s far too bleak. COP26 can take credit for real achievements. Fossil fuel use was included in the final agreement for the first time. The U.S. is back at the table. Agreements such as the one to curb methane emissions are…

1 min
▶ lines of communication

▶ New Zealand sets interest rates on Nov. 24. The central bank already lifted borrowing costs in October and signaled that further increases are likely as it seeks to tame inflation. ▶ Zoom Video reports earnings on Nov. 22. It’s been among the big winners of the coronavirus era, but its prospects are less clear now that people are returning to the office. ▶ Civilian workers in the U.S. Department of Defense have until Nov. 22 to get Covid vaccinations. Those without medical or religious exemptions who refuse will be fired. ▶ Jamie Dimon attends a fireside chat on Nov. 23 at Boston College. The JPMorgan Chase CEO has been a major proponent of getting employees back to the office. ▶ Nominations for the 64th Grammy Awards will be announced on Nov. 23; the…

7 min
strongmen? us?

China’s President Xi Jinping is cracking down on Big Tech, rattling sabers over Taiwan, and testing hypersonic missiles in space. Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has taken on global financial markets and briefly threatened to throw out ambassadors from 10 countries. And in Moscow, President Vladimir Putin moved enough troops toward Ukraine to convince the U.S. that invasion could be imminent. Almost two years into a pandemic that left many democracies reeling, authoritarians around the globe are getting feisty. But scratch through the rhetoric—sometimes triumphant, other times belligerent—and much of what these strongmen do also reveals their domestic vulnerability, because the pandemic has been tough on them, too. Many failed the Covid-19 response test at least as dismally as their counterparts in democratic countries. The resulting mix of insecurity at home…

5 min
retailers gain the upper hand

Christmas holiday discounts have become a ritual of U.S. retailing, with shoppers lining up outside malls on the day after Thanksgiving hoping to snag a deal for $19 air fryers or cheap flat-screen TVs. Even during the pandemic, the traditional yearend dash for deals continued, as shoppers accustomed to price cuts of up to 40% simply shifted to ordering online. But U.S. retailers are making a risky bet this holiday season by cutting back on discounting. Their calculation is a simple one. Many merchants are forecasting demand to be strong, while gummed up supply chains translate into having less inventory to sell. That means there’s no need to be as promotional as during Christmases past. While it makes sense on paper, the strategy has plenty of risks. After cutting back at the…

5 min
gm’s exit from india hits a roadblock

Flanked by green hills flecked with yellow and orange wildflowers, General Motors Co.’s 300-acre plant in the town of Talegaon in western India stands largely idle, as it has for most of the past year. Only a moldy layoff notice pinned outside the mothballed factory hints at the difficulties GM now faces in disentangling itself from the country. Four years after ceasing sales in India and more than a year since its final car for export rolled off the production line, the carmaker remains mired in legal challenges from the union that represents more than 1,000 former workers that the company let go from the plant, effectively barring its exit. GM’s sale of the factory complex to China’s Great Wall Motor Co. is also in limbo, despite a deal signed in…