1) Loans for Gas Shortage
There is a shortage of gas and energy shortage worldwide. This is accentuated by the increase of demand in Asia and the suspicions that Russia, who is major gas supplier, has restricted output. Additionally, UK has limited gas storage facilities which means that it is vulnerable to price increases in the gas market.
Manufacturers who are suffering due to increases in price have warned that this will likely lead to an increase in customer cost. Hence, the Business Secretary submitted a proposal asking the Treasury for aid. However, since this is a competitive market, the government is reluctant to give grants and will instead grant loans (though the proposal is still being considered). Some firms are in danger of closing factories due to the rising cost of production. James Cropper PLC has said that this issue has made it clear that firms should start considering more renewable forms of energy.
2) Microsoft Shutting Down LinkedIn in China
According to LinkedIn this week, Chinese state regulations have made it virtually impossible to operate its site there. LinkedIn – which was bought by Microsoft for $26 billion in 2016 – said it will ‘continue to have a strong presence in China’ despite the ‘challenging operating environment’ that the Senior Vice-President, Mohak Shroff said the company was facing. This ‘strong presence’ refers to ‘InJobs’ which LinkedIn will replace the traditional site with later this year. The substitute will not include the networking features of LinkedIn, but will instead be dedicated to apply to jobs.
China says this is part of a drive to promote socialist ideals and to clamp down on the private sector, with tech firms a particular target for their connectivity with the West. LinkedIn was the last major Western social network operating in China before its withdrawal. Just this Friday, Apple has taken down one of the most popular Koran apps after a request from Chinese officials.
3) Supply Issues Spotted Approaching Christmas
The Entertainer has said that due to port delays, there is likely to be shortages for Christmas. Port delays have now spread concern amongst retailers about supply shortages regarding future stock. A lack of port staff and lorry drivers has led to a container logjam. The issue isn't that there isn't enough stock but rather with transportation. This delay will likely lead to price increases. Firms will potentially lose sales as this is the busiest time of the year for retailers and seasonal demand will soon end.
The French finance minister, Bruno Le Maire, has commented on the situation, saying that Brexit meant that the UK left the Single Market which has directly worsened the supply chain issue. He further expanded on the issue, explaining that Europe instead of the UK, will be one of three major economic powers due to the single market.
4) Scottish Rail Workers Plan to Strike During COP26
The COP26 UN climate summit held in Glasgow seems likely to be hit by rail strikes as the RMT confirms industrial action beginning on the 1st of November, lasting for two weeks. Many of the thousands of people attending the event will be intending to use the services provided by ScotRail and the Caledonian Sleeper (both essential for travel from London), but workers’ disputes over pay will leave that travel in jeopardy. Despite the strike action, the Transport Minister insists the government has made the ‘best offer that can be made in the circumstances’.
World leaders including Joe Biden will be attending the conference which will also be mired by the striking of refuse collectors. Nicola Sturgeon has been strongly criticised by the Scottish Conservatives and the RMT union alike.
5) Squid Game Internet Traffic Convinces Broadband Firm to Sue Netflix
This week, Netflix’s new most popular show has caused ripples in the legal world too. The South Korean internet provider, SK Broadband, is suing Netflix as they claim the popularity of the show, ‘Squid Game’, has led to a surge in traffic. It is asking Netflix to pay the associated costs. According to SK, from May 2019 to September 2021 (when Squid Game launched), Netflix’s data traffic handled by SK Broadband jumped 24 times.
This follows from a case earlier this year where Netflix was forced to pay such costs by a South Korean court, again because of SK’s legal action. If precedent were to be followed, Netflix – and others – could be in receipt of some hefty bills.
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