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First female veep, corporate America gets ‘woke’ and MLK at 92 | Business and Economy News


We round up the numbers to know from the week’s biggest economic and business news stories so you can impress yourself and your friends.

People around the world tuned in to watch the United States inaugurate its 46th president this week, and eyes were trained once again on the steps of the US Capitol building — but for different reasons than the January 6 siege.

President Joe Biden is generally a less headline-grabbing politician than his predecessor, but it still feels like it’s been politics, politics, politics all week. We couldn’t resist sprinkling some of that inaugural glitter in this week, as well as some big economic and business news stories that you might have missed.

49th

Kamala Devi Harris was sworn in as the 49th vice president of the US on Wednesday, becoming the first woman, first Black American and first person of Asian descent to hold the office.

Vice President Harris, the daughter of immigrants from Jamaica and India, shattered that major glass ceiling and then got right to work alongside President Biden. The two have outlined an ambitious agenda to tackle the coronavirus pandemic, the economic recession, climate change and racial justice.

Biden kicked off his first day in office by signing several executive orders, many of which reversed some of Trump’s biggest policies on immigration and the environment.

Dozens

We know you called us out on “lots” last week. How’s dozens? Okay, well, as you know, a bunch of businesses cut ties with Trump and the Republican lawmakers who refused to certify Biden’s win after the violent siege of the US Capitol by Trump’s supporters on January 6.

In response to the mayhem, other corporations announced they were halting all of their political contributions while they reassessed their policies. It was definitely an unprecedented move for many big businesses used to paying their way through US politics. But does it mean corporate America is finally getting “woke”, or just taking performative actions to protect profits?

Bitcoin investors have been on a roller-coaster ride this month with major fluctuations in the cryptocurrency’s value [File: Dado Ruvic/Illustration/Reuters]

$31,000

Buckle up, bitcoiners, because the roller-coaster ride is far from over. The world’s biggest cryptocurrency slid by as much as 11.3 percent on Thursday to hit a three-week low.

After breaking $40,000, bitcoin has trended downward — but the past few days have been especially tough. Bloomberg News has more on what might be behind investors’ decisions.

$400m

That’s the amount in question in a money-laundering probe that has Swiss investigators questioning Lebanon’s central bank chief, Riad Salameh.

Salameh was questioned by a Lebanese prosecutor on Thursday after Swiss authorities asked Lebanon to comply with an investigation concerning Salameh and the bank he has led for 27 years.

The Swiss public prosecutor’s office has not said whether Salameh is a suspect, but confirmed on Wednesday that it opened an investigation into “aggravated money laundering” and potential embezzlement at Lebanon’s central bank.

People around the world remembered Dr Martin Luther King Jr’s legacy after what would have been his 92nd birthday [Getty Images]

92

The age American civil rights leader Dr Martin Luther King Jr would be if he were alive today. People in the US and around the world reflected on Dr King’s legacy on the holiday set aside in his honour on Monday, using it as an opportunity to continue to call for racial justice and social change decades after he delivered his iconic “I Have A Dream” speech.

Ann Frank, the teenage girl who documented her family’s life in hiding from the Nazis in Amsterdam, would have also turned 92 this year. It’s an important reminder that history is very recent — and the fight for justice is far from over.





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