Crypto crackdown, Doge mania, space tourism and a big divorce | Business and Economy News

There has been no shortage of business and economic stories making headlines this week.

Once again, the pandemic has dominated global news with the devastating second wave of COVID-19 infections in India. But there was also good news: US President Joe Biden’s administration joined dozens of other countries in backing a plan to drop patent protection on COVID vaccines and increase supply. global bites, especially for less developed countries.

We’ve rounded up the numbers you need to know this week, including a sobering read on the U.S. labor market recovery; an uplifting step (literally) from private space company SpaceX; a high-profile divorce announcement from two of the biggest names in philanthropy; and lots of crypto-mania, including a regulatory crackdown that came too late for some Turks.

So before you unplug for the weekend, pour yourself another cup of coffee and scroll through these in-depth reads.

61

The number of countries that have lent their support to a World Trade Organization proposal to temporarily waive intellectual property protections for COVID-19 vaccines.

In a move described by the World Health Organization as “monumental”, the Biden administration announced this week that it would also back the plan.

Al Jazeera’s Virginia Pietromarchi breaks down what you need to know about the battle over COVID vaccine intellectual property protections — and what’s at stake in the global fight against the virus — here.

389,000

The number of new COVID-19 infections in India has averaged daily for the past seven days, bringing the total number of reported cases to 21.4 million.

“The spiraling numbers have overwhelmed the country’s creaky healthcare system, leaving millions scrambling for medicine, oxygen cylinders and beds,” Al Jazeera’s Megha Bahree writes.

Into this void came volunteers, including an all-female network of 50 people who “divided into sub-groups to meet various demands – such as for beds, intensive care facilities at home and oxygen – and to search for locations for COVID-19 tests”, often for complete strangers. Read inspiring stories of Indians stepping in to help here.

10 percent

The fall in value (just over 10%, in fact) of the Turkish lira against the dollar since the start of 2021, prompting some in Turkey to bet on hot cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin instead.

But hundreds of Turkish investors ended up losing their shirts after two cryptocurrency exchanges in the country collapsed within days of each other, prompting regulators to tighten the noose on the sector.

But for those who have lost their life savings, the crackdown is coming too late, as Al Jazeera’s Andrew Wilks reports here.

A

The number of seats available on Blue Origin’s first commercial flight into suborbital space, scheduled for July 20.

Jeff Bezos’ space company announced on Wednesday that it was ready to take fare-paying passengers – and opened online auctions for the last seat on its maiden flight.

Not to be outdone, Elon Musk’s SpaceX launched the fifth test flight of its Starship on the same day.

The two space-obsessed billionaires have made no secret that they are far from best friends. They are even in the middle of a moon feud. Al Jazeera’s Amy Thompson has that story here.

The Blue Origin’s massive crew capsule windows are designed to give passengers an unobstructed view as they spend around 10 minutes floating in zero gravity before returning to Earth [Credit: Blue Origin]

266,000

The number of jobs the US economy added in April was a huge disappointment, given that many Wall Street analysts were expecting around a million jobs to be added last month.

And the slow labor market recovery is not affecting everyone equally. In April, the share of women over the age of 20 in the United States who were in paid employment or actively seeking work fell to 56.2%, from 56.6% in previous months.

Women have quit their jobs in droves during the pandemic as they have been forced to bear the brunt of a greater childcare burden resulting from the closure of distance schools and daycares.

This means that women, especially working mothers, could lose years of progress in the workplace, which is also bad for businesses and the economy because diversity and inclusion improves outcomes.

So, will the disruptions of the pandemic translate into more blue-collar jobs for mothers? Al Jazeera’s Laurin-Whitney Gottbrath explores the debate here.

69 cents

Dogecoin’s high price hit this week, part of the Shiba Inu-themed cryptocurrency’s meteoric rise since the turn of the year.

A mix of daytrader FOMO and high profile shouting from Elon Musk, who hosts Saturday Night Live this weekend, helped fuel a dramatic rally.

But critics say the joke coin could end in tears for less savvy investors. Weft. Al Jazeera’s Ben Piven breaks down what you need to know about Doge mania here.

$43.3 billion

The net assets of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation as of 2019, making it the largest private philanthropic foundation in the United States and one of the largest in the world.

The news that Bill and Melinda Gates are divorcing after 27 years of marriage sent shockwaves through the world of philanthropy this week. The Gates are among the wealthiest people in the world, and their divorce will likely result in a complicated division of their substantial assets.

This process appears to have already begun: Following the announcement, Bill Gates’ company transferred $1.8 billion worth of stock to Melinda.

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