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One Sentence News / Sept 15, 2021

Colin Wright
Colin Wright
The news simply summarized / September 15, 2021

Summary: One of China’s biggest companies (and at times their largest property developer), Evergrande, has suffered a slow-motion series of disasters ever since the Chinese government told developers they needed to reduce their leverage before taking on additional debt; the company since fallen behind on paying some of their suppliers, which has led to the suspension of development on some of their properties, which in turn has led to a stock-price plunge and a frantic struggle to sell assets fast enough to service their debts.
Context: This is related to the larger recalibration of Chinese industries being led by the government, but it’s also the consequence of incredibly rapid growth predicated on gobs of debt no longer being acceptable in China, and then everyone seeming to see the writing on the wall about this one company simultaneously, trying to get their money out before the ship sinks and making the problem worse as they do so; there have now been large protests held by individual investors in the company (who stand to lose everything) at Evergrande’s offices, and there’s a real concern that its diminished debt rating and hundreds of unfinished housing projects around the country could reverberate widely throughout the Chinese economy, impacting the millions of people who are waiting to move into those homes, but also the financial system of the country as a whole (this isn’t like what happened in the US in 2008, but it’s not entirely dissimilar, either—especially if we soon find out that other developers in China have been using the same playbook).
—The Wall Street Journal, BBC News
Summary: Voters in Norway have elected a center-left leader, removing their conservative Prime Minister from power after eight years in office.
Context: The exact composition of the new government will be determined by the usual horse-trading that has to be done to figure out who will be working with whom, but it would seem that the center-left Labour Party has won in a landslide and will likely form a coalition with (at least) the Center Party; this landslide victory is thought to be the consequence of Labour’s firm stance on de-carbonizing the Norwegian economy, as they put fairly ambitious climate-related policies front and center while running.
—The New York Times
Summary: The Prime Minister of Haiti, Ariel Henry, has been told he cannot leave the country by a prosecutor who is seeking charges again him based on evidence that may link Henry to the July 7th assassination of the late-Haitian president.
Context: This investigation is still ongoing, but it would seem that a key suspect in the killing of the late president Jovenel Moïse, had multiple phone calls with the PM mere hours before the killing took place; there’s no word on exactly what charges are being sought against Henry at the moment, but he has so far publicly called the accusations “diversionary tactics” that are intended to “sow confusion” without ever addressing them, directly.
—BBC News
Seemingly as a consequence of about five-years’ worth of politics-heavy journalism and other sorts of media, 56% of Americans can now name the three branches of government (executive, judicial, and legislative), which is up from just 33% in 2006; that said, misunderstandings still abound—61% of Americans were shown (in the same study) to believe that the First Amendment (free speech) requires companies like Facebook to let everyone say anything they want on their network, which isn’t the case.
Cut to Covax’s vaccine supply forecast for 2021, despite an expected deployment speed-up in the coming months.
This shortfall for the global COVID vaccine-distribution program (to which dozens of countries have committed resources and vaccine doses) is partially the consequence of new surges in vaccine-providing countries, and partially the consequence of supply shortfalls from sluggish manufacturing schedules (and in a few cases, suspected preferential treatment for other vaccine customers).
Covax has already delivered about 243 million doses to 139 countries, and originally expected to have 2 billion doses available for distribution by the end of 2021—it now expects to have that quantity sometime in the first quarter of 2022.
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Colin Wright
Colin Wright @colinismyname

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