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Oil Sanctions, Japan's Economy, and Long-COVID.
Russia has reportedly been gaming oil (and gas) prices, despite Western sanctions on both following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. (They’re getting around other sorts of sanctions, too.)
Space is big, but the orbital space around Earth (those that are useful using today’s technologies, at least) are getting pretty packed (for objects moving faster than bullets, anyway), and regulators are concerned about the increasing potential for Kessler Syndrome.
(Interesting fact I didn’t realize till I read that last piece: Rwanda has filed plans to launch a multi-layered satellite megaconstellation that will eventually contain 337,320 tiny satellites).
Content creators (making videos and such for social media) are reaching larger audiences with their news (and “news”) reporting, while traditional media entities are largely floundering.
China’s Xi met with Biden and was called a dictator (though I think the context of that statement dampens the impoliteness of saying so during such a meeting, even if it’s technically true). From the piece:
Biden held a solo news conference after four hours of talks with Xi on the outskirts of San Francisco. At the end of the news conference, he was asked whether he still held the view that Xi was a dictator, something he said in June.
"Look, he is. He's a dictator in the sense that he's a guy who runs a country that is a communist country that's based on a form of government totally different than ours," Biden said.
In response, China's foreign ministry said it "strongly opposes" the remarks, without mentioning Biden by name.
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Ukraine’s top military officer, General Valeriy Zaluzhniy, said that the conflict with Russia has become a stalemate, and everyone else in the command chain has been trying to walk that back ever since—probably over fears that the rest of the world will lose interest or assume a loss for Ukraine (since Russia would presumably have the advantage in a drawn-out, attritional war) and stop providing them with support.
Japan’s economy has been doing pretty well, and the government recently passed a $110 billion stimulus package, which may help things even further along.
The Trump Slump for news entities is apparently real.
By most indications the US economy is killing it, but US citizens don’t feel great about it, possibly because of carried-over dissatisfaction about a slew of other (non-economic) things:
Long-COVID’s cognitive effects might be showing up in new surveys.
The $1.5 trillion nuclear weapon upgrade/update program.
Ethiopian government says it won’t launch an invasion to gain access to Red Sea (though I think that’s what I would say if I wanted to launch a successful invasion?).
AI deepfakes complicate Slovakia’s election (and likely all other elections, everywhere, from this point forward).
And reporting on the Israel-Hamas conflict has been tricky, including for journalists who believe their employers are putting their thumbs on the scale.