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Digital Transition

Blockchain to Ease Logjams as Supply Chains Ditch Paper for Digital (Enda Curran, Bloomberg)

The Covid-19 pandemic is speeding up a technological transformation of global trade as supply chains play catchup in shifting from paper to digital transactions.

That’s an emerging industry view as the ongoing disruptions force manufacturers, ship operators and importers to accelerate their investments in technology to smooth out kinks, reduce delays and ultimately cut costs.

Supply Chain Latest: Blockchain to Cut Logjams as Logistics Ditch Paper – Bloomberg

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Afghanistan

A Taliban ban on women in the workforce can cost economy $1bn (Eltaf Najafizada, Bloomberg, Al Jazeera)

The Taliban’s move to restrict women from working could immediately cost the Afghan economy up to $1 billion, or 5% of GDP, the United Nations Development Programme said in a new report as the militant group seeks global help to avert a deepening crisis.

The UN report painted a grim picture of Afghanistan’s economy which is under strain with soaring inflation and an ongoing cash crunch. Women account for 20% of the country’s workforce and preventing them from working could shave half a billion dollars alone from household consumption, it said.

A Taliban ban on women in the workforce can cost economy $1bn | Business and Economy News | Al Jazeera

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Turkey

Turkey’s central bank sells foreign reserves to stem lira crash (Onur Ant and Selcan Hacaoglu, Bloomberg, Al Jazeera)

Turkey’s central bank fought to shore up the plunging lira, directly intervening in foreign-exchange markets for the first time in seven years.

The central bank sold foreign currencies, including the U.S. dollar, to combat “unhealthy price formations” in the market, according to a statement, which didn’t provide specific figures. People familiar with the matter put the sales at around $1 billion.

Turkey’s central bank sells foreign reserves to stem lira crash | Business and Economy News | Al Jazeera

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USA

US Fed chief says Omicron poses ‘downside risks’ (Bloomberg, Al Jazeera)

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell, in his first public remarks on the omicron variant of the coronavirus, said it poses risks to both sides of the central bank’s mandate to achieve stable prices and maximum employment.

“The recent rise in Covid-19 cases and the emergence of the omicron variant pose downside risks to employment and economic activity and increased uncertainty for inflation,” Powell said in prepared testimony released Monday, a day ahead of his appearance before the Senate Banking Committee. “Greater concerns about the virus could reduce people’s willingness to work in person, which would slow progress in the labor market and intensify supply-chain disruptions.”

US Fed chief says Omicron poses ‘downside risks’ | Business and Economy News | Al Jazeera

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Twitter

Twitter’s new CEO is latest on list of India-born US tech honchos (Vlad Savov and Saritha Rai, Bloomberg, Al Jazeera)

Twitter Inc. on Monday became the latest Silicon Valley titan to appoint an Indian-born chief executive officer, joining the likes of Microsoft and Google in recognizing the Asian country as one of the world’s richest pools of tech talent.

The appointment of former Chief Technology Officer Parag Agrawal to the top spot at Twitter amplifies the role played by immigrants in the world’s largest technology companies. He joins Satya Nadella of Microsoft Corp., Shantanu Narayen of Adobe Inc., Arvind Krishna of International Business Machines Corp. and Sundar Pichai of Alphabet Inc. among the highest-profile leaders of U.S. firms from Indian origin. Between them, that group of executives pilots companies with a combined market value nearing $5 trillion. Outside of tech, Indra Nooyi led PepsiCo Inc. for 12 years and Ajay Banga is executive chairman of Mastercard Inc. after a decade as CEO.

Twitter’s new CEO is latest on list of India-born US tech honchos | Business and Economy News | Al Jazeera

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USA

US jobless claims plunge to the lowest level since 1969 (Molly Smith, Bloomberg, Al Jazeera)

Applications for U.S. state unemployment benefits plunged last week to a level not seen since 1969, which if sustained would mark the next milestone in the labor market’s uneven recovery.

Initial unemployment claims in regular state programs fell by 71,000 to a seasonally adjusted 199,000 in the week ended Nov. 20, Labor Department data showed Wednesday. The median estimate in a Bloomberg survey of economists called for 260,000 applications.

US jobless claims plunge to the lowest level since 1969 | Unemployment News | Al Jazeera

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USA

New York City Is Building a Wall of Oysters to Fend Off Floods (Julia Hotz, Bloomberg)

A row of plastic bins sits in a gravel lot next to Brooklyn’s Domino Park promenade; each holds small pieces of New York City’s more climate-proof future.

They’re full of oyster shells, leftovers collected from the plates of patrons at more than 45 New York restaurants. Every week, a truck drops the shells at a Greenpoint processing site. (Any ordinary oyster-eater can drop off shells, too.) Then the discards — 1.8 million pounds of them to date — are cleaned, cured in the sun and “set” with microscopic larvae. Redeployed in bags all around the city’s waters, the recycled shells serve as a home for baby oysters to grow on, ultimately building a reef that can soften the blow of big waves, ease erosion, and help prevent coastal flooding from rising seas.

To Fight Floods, New York City Rebuilds a Wall of Oysters – Bloomberg

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Ethiopia USA

US suspends duty-free access to Ethiopia over human rights abuses (Samuel Gebre and Fasika Tadesse, Bloomberg, Al Jazeera)

The U.S. suspended duty-free access to Ethiopian exports because of a yearlong civil war that’s spawned a humanitarian crisis in the Horn of Africa nation.

Ethiopia is not in compliance with the eligibility requirements of the African Growth and Opportunity Act because of gross violations of internationally recognized human rights, a senior U.S. official told reporters on a conference call. The determination can be reversed if the government addresses human rights, humanitarian and political crises by Jan. 1, the official said.

US suspends duty-free access to Ethiopia over human rights abuses | Human Rights News | Al Jazeera

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Brazil

Brazil’s assets sink on fears aid programme will hurt fiscal rule (Martha Beck, Rachel Gamarski, Vinícius Andrade, Bloomberg, Al Jazeera)

Brazilian assets tumbled on Tuesday, leading losses across the globe, on reports the government will breach the country’s spending cap rule to finance a new social program, hurting the fiscal position of Latin America’s largest economy.

The new aid program to the poorest, dubbed Auxilio Brasil, will give handouts of as much as 400 reais ($72) per individual, according to people with knowledge of the matter. That amount is higher than the economic team had said was possible, which should mean about 30 billion reais of the new expenses will bypass Brazil’s spending cap rule this year, one of the people said, asking not to be named because discussions are private.

Brazil’s assets sink on fears aid programme will hurt fiscal rule | Business and Economy News | Al Jazeera

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