The Weekly – Reading tea leaves

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As World Password Day gave way to Mental Health Awareness Week, we were decoding signals, with the Bank of England following the Federal Reserve in raising interest rates as job openings equated to 1.8m UK positions and double the number of America’s unemployed. Britain’s cost of household goods rose at the fastest rate for 15 years, while a think tank claimed the biggest boom in City bonuses and pay since the 2008 financial crisis risked widening inequality. COVID-19 passed the grim landmark of claiming a million lives in the US and was on track for nearly 15 million worldwide.

COUNTING POSITIVES AND NEGATIVES

As Labour’s historic capture of three Conservative councils in London put Boris under renewed pressure, we learned that he’s considering reviving Margaret Thatcher’s ‘right to buy’ policy on council houses, while Sir Keir Starmer got a ‘beergate’ investigation to rival ‘partygate’s’. After years of delays and cost overruns, it was revealed that Crossrail is to finally open in just 16 days’ time. In Europe, the first major study of Brexit’s effect on UK citizens living in the EU found they’re ‘embarrassed to be British’. In America, as a leaked provisional Supreme Court ruling presaged the revoking of Roe v Wade, Harvard research claimed moral values are a luxury good. The Dow suffered its biggest loss of 2022.

WEIGHING OPTIONS

Some corporates struggled to move with the times, with BP and Shell’s bumper profits prompting calls for a windfall tax but newsagent chain McColl’s falling into administration. Others were future gazing, as a top 50 London law firm announced that its staff can work permanently from home full-time if they take a 20% wage cut, Snap’s selfie drone was heralded as the gadget that could help create ‘the next Apple’ and Tropicana launched cereal for those who like it with orange juice. As a robot chef that imitates the human eating process to create tastier food was dubbed ‘R2-D-Chew’, American shoppers asked why their crisps come in such boring flavours.

KEEPING OUT OF TROUBLE

Canada took steps to change the law so that its astronauts are no longer allowed to murder each other in outer space. But there was not a peep of discontent from a 100-year-old man who broke a Guinness World Record by working at the same company for 84 years.

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