News Briefing - Monday, January 15th 2024
From US Top News and Analysis
Hertz makes 'agile' decision to shift strategy and sell EVs, Teslas
Hertz has announced that it will sell about a third of its global electric vehicle (EV) fleet, reversing its previous strategy of betting big on EVs. This move comes in response to the rest of the auto industry cutting production of EVs or reducing prices due to slowing demand and increased inventory. Hertz CEO Stephen Scherr stated that the company is "responding to the reality" of the market, acknowledging that EVs, particularly those from Tesla, are not yet the best rental car option. The company plans to sell around 20,000 EVs and use the proceeds to purchase internal combustion engine (ICE) cars. Hertz expects to improve its bottom line by $245 million over the next two years as a result of this shift. The decision to sell part of its Tesla fleet is seen as a "black eye" for Hertz by Wedbush analyst Dan Ives, who believes the company miscalculated the marketing and roll-out of its EVs. Hertz had previously aimed to have a quarter of its fleet composed of EVs by the end of 2024.
Taiwan's new president will face a divided parliament. Here's why it matters
The emergence of Ko Wen-je as Taiwan People's Party's presidential candidate has caused a split in the usual duopoly of the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) and the Kuomintang (KMT) in Taiwan. This split is attributed to growing discontent among Taiwanese youth who feel that the ruling DPP has not adequately addressed their economic concerns. With a split legislature, it is expected that the Lai administration will face difficulties passing its agenda without coordinating with the Taiwan People's Party (TPP) or focusing on areas of broader consensus. The TPP is now in a strategic position to influence the success of Lai's legislative plans. President-elect Lai has identified the financial stability of Taiwan's labor and health insurance, as well as the transition to renewable energy, as key issues to prioritize and build consensus on. Furthermore, Lai has stated his intention to appoint qualified professionals regardless of political affiliation, emphasizing a democratic alliance. While the split may have negative implications, some experts argue that it could be beneficial for Taiwan's democracy, promoting compromise and potentially moderating Lai's policies.
Biotech and pharma companies are betting on a promising class of cancer drugs to drive growth
Antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs), a group of cancer drugs that deliver targeted therapies to kill cancer cells while minimizing damage to healthy ones, has become a red-hot market in 2023. During the JPMorgan Healthcare Conference, the largest gathering of biotech and pharmaceutical executives, analysts, and investors, the industry showed its enthusiasm for ADCs. Companies like Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer, and Merck have made significant investments in ADCs and expect them to be key growth drivers for their businesses. Factors driving the rise of ADCs include increased confidence in the technology, potentially longer market exclusivity, and the emergence of attractive ADCs from drugmakers in Asia. Analysts predict continued interest in ADCs in 2024, with more dealmaking and advancements in ADC development. ADCs have the potential to generate huge profits, with estimates suggesting they could account for $31 billion of the $375 billion worldwide cancer market in 2028.
From BBC News - Home
Rishi Sunak to address MPs about strikes on Houthis in Yemen
UK Chancellor Rishi Sunak is set to address Parliament about the recent strikes on Houthi targets in Yemen. The UK joined the US in carrying out the strikes, which were described as "limited" and "necessary" by Sunak. The action was authorized by Prime Minister Boris Johnson without consulting Parliament, sparking criticism from opposition members. The strikes came in response to a series of Houthi attacks on ships in the Red Sea, which have disrupted trade routes and pushed up commodity prices. The Houthis, who control a large part of Yemen and are backed by Iran, have been targeting ships they believe are connected to Israel. Sunak's address to Parliament will provide an opportunity for MPs to question him about the decision to participate in the strikes and the government's plans for further action.
Yemen: US shoots down missile from Houthi-run area fired towards warship
The US military has intercepted a missile fired from a Houthi area in Yemen towards the USS Laboon, an American warship in the Red Sea. The missile was successfully downed off the coast of Hudaydah by a US fighter aircraft, and there were no injuries or damage reported. The incident follows recent strikes launched by the US and UK aimed at weakening the military capabilities of the Houthis, who have been targeting cargo ships in the Red Sea. The US and UK carried out strikes on around 30 locations in Yemen, including arms depots, logistical hubs, and air defense systems. President Joe Biden has stated that he would not hesitate to take further measures to protect American people and international commerce. The UK has also expressed readiness to take further action against the Houthis. In response, a prominent Houthi supporter warned that fighters would target US and UK battleships if strikes on Yemen continue. The Houthis, who control a large part of Yemen, are known allies of Hamas and reportedly receive weapons from Iran.
They were Israel's 'eyes on the border' - but their Hamas warnings went unheard
Female Israeli soldiers stationed on the Israeli-Gaza border had repeatedly reported suspicious activity in the months leading up to the attacks by Hamas on 7 October. The soldiers reported seeing Hamas conducting practice raids, mock hostage-taking, and farmers acting unusually near the border fence. Despite passing this information to their superiors and intelligence officers, the soldiers felt their warnings went unanswered. The women's concerns are supported by testimony from other sources. The families of female surveillance soldiers who were killed in the attacks speak about their daughters' heightened anxieties and the soldiers with whom they shared WhatsApp messages express long-held fears proving accurate. Some 1,300 people were killed and 240 taken hostage in the surprise Hamas assault on Israeli army bases. At present, the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) have not answered questions put to them by the BBC.
From - RSS Channel - App International Edition
Trump pleads not guilty to 34 felony counts
Former President Donald Trump's arraignment in a New York state court will not be broadcasted by news outlets, as ruled by Acting New York Supreme Court Judge Juan Merchan. However, the judge will allow five pool photographers to take still photos in the courtroom before the proceedings commence. Several media organizations, including CNN, had requested permission to broadcast the event, but their request was rejected. Trump's lawyers also urged the judge to deny the media's request for live cameras in the courtroom, while the Manhattan District Attorney's office remained neutral. The media outlets argued that the significance of the proceeding necessitated broad public access. Trump was indicted by a grand jury last week, and the arraignment is expected to reveal the criminal charges against him in relation to hush-money payments made during the 2016 presidential campaign. Trump denies any wrongdoing and intends to fight the charges.
Haberman reveals why Trump attacked judge and his family in speech
CNN political contributor Maggie Haberman offers insights into the motivations behind former President Donald Trump's attacks on a judge and his family during a recent speech at his Mar-a-Lago resort. Trump's outburst came on the heels of his arraignment on felony charges, and Haberman suggests that the attack was a strategic move to deflect attention away from his legal issues. Haberman argues that Trump has long utilized personal attacks as a means of distracting from negative situations, such as legal troubles or policy setbacks. By targeting the judge and his family, Trump aimed to shift public focus onto a different narrative and portray himself as a victim of a biased judicial system. Additionally, Haberman highlights Trump's persistent animosity towards judges who ruled against him in legal battles, indicating a pattern of seeking revenge against those he perceives as standing in his way. The attack on the judge and his family was thus not only a deflection tactic but also a continuation of Trump's well-established tendency to retaliate against perceived adversaries. Overall, Haberman suggests that Trump's attacks on the judge and his family are part of a broader strategy to manipulate public perception and maintain a sense of control over his own narrative, particularly in the face of legal challenges.
Russian authorities detain suspect over St. Petersburg cafe blast
Ukraine has received the first tranche of $2.7 billion from a new International Monetary Fund (IMF) program. The IMF approved a new four-year extended arrangement under the Extended Fund Facility (EFF) of around $15.6 billion for Ukraine. This is part of a $115 billion total support package aimed at stabilizing the country's economy and promoting long-term growth. The program will also help Ukraine carry out more ambitious structural reforms. The EFF loan is the first major conventional financing program approved by the IMF for a country involved in a large-scale war. However, the risks to the arrangement are considered exceptionally high, according to Gita Gopinath, the first deputy managing director of the IMF. The success of the program depends on the size, composition, and timing of external financing on concessional terms to help close fiscal and external financing gaps and restore debt sustainability.