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World Business Report
Analysis of the big global business and economic issues, as they affect consumers and investors. Broadcast on weekdays.
11 hours ago
Sweden's government on brink of collapse in row over rent
A vote of no confidence in prime minister Stefan Lofven's government will be held on Monday as politicians remain divided over rent control for newly-built apartments. Jenny Madestam, associate professor of political science at the Swedish Defence University in Stockholm, gives us the background. And Kit Yeung from the credit ratings agency Fitch explains how the vote could impact Sweden's economic recovery. As the country emerges from lockdown, car showrooms across the US are struggling to keep up with demand for both new and used cars. We get the latest from automotive analyst Michelle Krebs. Also in the programme, an investigation has found that North Korea is avoiding sanctions by doing business in the Democratic Republic of Congo. We speak to Michelle Krendler-Kretsch of anti-corruption group The Sentry, which discovered the practice. And Bill Ribbans, the surgeon who spent his career treating famous athletes, tells us how more lucrative sponsorship deals are putting more pressure on top sportsmen and women to get back in action.
2 days ago
Harry Potter publisher demands staff prove vaccination
Bloomsbury publishing joins major firms in forcing employees to show proof of vaccination - we speak with US, UK and European legal experts to find out if this violates any staff rights - including Dr Catherine Barnard, Professor of European Union and Labour Law at the University of Cambridge. Plus, will raising the wage of a job attract more people to apply? It seems like the answer is yes - but the economic repercussions aren't always so positive, as we hear from Barry Ritholtz of Barry Ritholtz Capital in the US. Finally, Chris Low from FHN Financial tells us why the American stock index the Dow Jones has had its worst week of the year.
2 days ago
Dispute over fans at Tokyo Olympics
An official report says having no spectators at the games is the 'least risky' option. Robin Harding, Tokyo bureau chief of the Financial Times, talks us through the arguments on both sides. Also in the programme, ByteDance, the parent company of social media app TikTok, has seen its earnings more than double in 2020. Chris Stokel-Walker is a journalist and author of TikTok Boom, and explains its success. We have an in-depth report on reductions to government international aid budgets in some parts of the world. Chiku Lweno works in Tanzania for the charity Children in Crossfire and tells us about the impact on her organisation of a cut in support from UK aid. Susanna Moorehead of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development makes the case for boosting aid spending. And Ben Harris-Quinney of the UK conservative think tank the Bow Group argues that the British government should spend its money closer to home. Plus, we meet a doggy day care specialist who has seen a surge in interest for her services, as people who bought dogs during lockdown start returning to work.
3 days ago
Update: US supreme court upholds Obamacare
The US Supreme Court has rejected a Trump-backed challenge by Republican-led states to former President Barack Obama's healthcare overhaul. We speak to Amy Lotven who is a senior editor at InsideHealthPolicy.com. And we are joined by our market's guest Cary Leahy of Decision Economics.
3 days ago
Arrests at Hong Kong's Apple Daily
Several senior figures have been arrested at Hong Kong's pro-democracy paper Apple Daily. We get reaction to the developments from Hong Kong investor Alan Zeman of the Lan Kwai Fong Group, and Selina Cheng, who is a senior reporter with Hong Kong Free Press. Also in the programme, a slim majority of countries at the UN's shipping agency, the International Maritime Organisation, have voted in favour of a package of measures that will require companies to reduce their carbon intensity in the coming years, but will allow overall emissions to keep rising. Critics have dismissed the plans as not being ambitious enough, and we find out more from Simon Bergulf, regulatory affairs director at the world's largest shipping company, Maersk. The BBC's Adam Easton brings us the latest in a dispute between the Czech Republic and Poland over water shortages said to be caused by a coal mine in Poland. Plus, with the popularity of one-day and Twenty20 cricket formats on the rise, we ask whether it is game over for the five day test match version of the game.
4 days ago
Update: Russia-US summit in Geneva concluded
As the Russian and US presidents meet in Geneva, we examine the state of Russia's economy and those separate media briefings - in which Mr Putin spoke first, followed by Mr Biden. Nina Jankovich of the Wilson Center in Washington picks out her highlight from each leader's remarks.
4 days ago
Putin and Biden meet in Geneva
As the Russian and US presidents meet in Geneva, we examine the state of Russia's economy. Chris Weafer is chief executive of the economic consultancy Macro Advisory, and offers us his analysis. Also in the programme, the presidents of Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo have officially opened a major new bridge between the countries. Nebert Rugadya is a business journalist in Kampala and tells us what difference the new border crossing will make. Andrew Ssentongo of energy company GRS Commodities discusses whether solar power might offer a solution to get reliable electricity to those off the grid across Africa. Plus, as the European Union starts releasing pandemic recovery funds, we ask how Spain's tourism sector is faring, with Giles Brown from Spanish radio station, Talk Radio Europe. (Picture: Presidents Biden and Putin meet in Geneva. Picture credit: Reuters.)
5 days ago
US and EU resolve aircraft subsidies row
The US and the EU have resolved a 17-year long dispute over Boeing and Airbus subsidies. The two parties have agreed to phase out billions of dollars in punitive tariffs, and we get reaction from Markus Beyrer, director general of lobbying group BusinessEurope. Also in the programme, the UK and Australia have announced the first post-Brexit trade deal negotiated entirely from scratch. Mary Quicke is a cheesemaker who currently exports 10% of her cheeses to Australia, and tells us she is cautiously optimistic about what the deal might lead to. Five years ago, American broadcaster Gretchen Carlson successfully sued her former boss at Fox News, Roger Ailes, for sexual harassment. She discusses her concern that major American companies continue to gag employees, and protect workplace predators through non-disclosure agreements. Plus, scientists have developed a technique to turn waste plastic bottles into the synthetic vanilla flavouring vanillin. Joanna Sadler of the University of Edinburgh, who conducted the research, explains how the process works.
6 days ago
Update: NATO makes China 'challenge' its new priority
China was identified as a rising challenge in NATO's latest summit, as we heard from defence analyst Dr Jacob Parakilas, who outlines the new defence economy of the transatlantic organisation. Plus, we hear the latest on the stock markets with Peter Jankovskis, an independent analyst in the US.
6 days ago
WhatsApp launches privacy campaign
Messaging service WhatsApp has launched its first big privacy-focused campaign in the UK. It follows a customer backlash against changes to its terms and conditions, announced earlier this year. We hear from WhatsApp's chief executive, Will Cathcart. Also in the programme, an American father and son have told a court in Japan how they smuggled former Nissan boss Carlos Ghosn out of the country. Hans Greimel is Asia editor for Automotive News, and brings us the details of the case. Plus, the BBC's Elizabeth Hotson finds out about the best technique for delivering bad news in the workplace. (Picture: A WhatsApp logo on a smartphone. (Picture credit: Getty Images.)
Jun 13, 2021
G7: Vaccines and climate pledges but plenty of questions as summit ends
G7 leaders meeting in the UK made big pledges around vaccines for developing countries, and new climate targets. But did they go far enough, and is there a financial will both inside and outside the G7 to press ahead with the plans? We ask Terry Haines of Pangaea Policy in Washington DC and Anthony Dworkin from the European Council on Foreign Relations. Also on the programme the economist Michael Hughes looks at looming inflation worries in the US, whilst Paul McBride the founder of Irish technology firm Peroptyx ponders whether the unpredictability of the pandemic, is actually impacting the predictability the algorithms that dictate our digital world rely on.
Jun 11, 2021
Update: US markets relax as week ends
A regular update from Wall Street, with Chris Low of FHN Financial in New York.
Jun 11, 2021
Acute food shortages in northern Ethiopia
The UN warns of food shortages in Ethiopia's Tigray region, so is famine being concealed? Freelance journalist Samuel Getachew has visited the affected areas in recent weeks, and tells us what he saw. And we get wider context from Peter Smerdon of the UN's World Food Programme. Also in the programme, following last week's agreement by G7 finance ministers to harmonise corporate tax policies around the world, Ireland's finance minister Paschal Donohoe explains why Dublin wants to see changes to the plan. The BBC's Maddy Savage visits Northvolt's new electric car battery factory in northern Sweden. Plus, as Hong Kong introduces strict new movie censorship rules as a result of the territory's new national security law, former civil servant Rachel Cartland, who still lives in Hong Kong, gives us her reaction.
Jun 10, 2021
Update: Ireland's Finance Minister: seeking to change global minimum tax plan
Ireland's finance minister, Pascal Donohoe, tells the BBC's Rob Young that the country will be "strenuously" making the case for changes to a tax plan that seeks to bring in a global minimum tax rate. Plus, we hear about why the Standard and Poor's business index has surged so much, and what it did to the stock market, from Dr Cary Leahey from Decision Economics in New York.
Jun 10, 2021
Yantian Port operations hit by coronavirus
A Covid-19 outbreak has brought China's Yantian port to a standstill, threatening trade. Tom Hale of the Financial Times in Hong Kong explains the background to the disruption, and we consider the potential impact on global trade with Nils Haupt, senior director at German shipping firm Hapag-Lloyd. Also in the programme, earlier this week El Salvador decided to adopt the cryptocurrency Bitcoin as legal tender. Nic Carter is founding partner at Castle Island Ventures, and his Twitter event on cryptocurrency was joined by El Salvador's President Bukele just as the country's parliament passed the new law. Finance ministers across the largest member states of the East African Community, such as Kenya and Tanzania, present their national budgets for 2021/22 today. Dario Kenner is a development economist with the Catholic charity Cafod, and discusses the budgetary challenges the countries face. Plus, the BBC's Shingai Nyoka reports from Zimbabwe on efforts in the country to bring down its hi…
Jun 9, 2021
Update: US Senate passes bill to counter China tech
The US Senate has approved a $250bn spending plan to boost tech research and production. It's aimed at countering China’s growing influence in the sector, Scott Kennedy, the senior advisor and trustee chair in Chinese business and economics at the Center for Strategic and International Studies give us more details. Also in the programme, Samira Hussain tells us what's been happening on the markets.
Jun 9, 2021
US Senate passes bill to counter China tech
The US Senate has approved a $250bn spending plan to boost tech research and production. Aimed at countering China’s growing influence in the sector, Mark Montgomery, of the Center on Cyber and Technology Innovation at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies tells us why he believes the legislation is so important. Also in the programme, the Nigerian government’s ban on the use of Twitter has run into widespread opposition in the country. Nicholas Ibekwe is head of investigations at Premium Times, and explains the background to the dispute. Plus, the BBC’s Laura Bicker reports from Thailand on the challenges young people there face in making a living, in the absence of the country’s vital tourism sector, as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
Jun 8, 2021
Update: FBI app lures criminals into police hands
Hundreds of suspected criminals have been arrested after using an FBI-run messaging app. The joint operation with 16 law enforcement agencies worldwide was an effort to crack down on serious organised crime. Professor Robert Chesney, the Chair of The University of Texas's school of law, tells us how the sting operation worked. Plus Brian Dorst of Themis Trading brings us the latest news from the financial markets.
Jun 8, 2021
FBI app lures criminals into police hands
Hundreds of suspected criminals have been arrested after using an FBI-run messaging app. The joint operation with 16 law enforcement agencies worldwide was an effort to crack down on serious organised crime. Joseph Cox, technology reporter with the US website Vice, tells us how the sting operation worked. Also in the programme, US authorities say they've recovered part of a multimillion dollar Bitcoin ransom paid to a gang of cybercriminals who forced one of America's most important energy links, the Colonial Pipeline, to be taken offline last month. Kim Grauer is head of research at Chainalysis, and explains how those using Bitcoin leave a digital trail of their activities. The BBC's Samira Hussain reports from New York on the challenges young people are experiencing with finding jobs. Plus, on World Oceans Day, Christina Dixon of campaign group the Environmental Investigation Agency discusses what role business can play in helping to prevent what is currently around eight million ton…
Jun 7, 2021
Update: Google fined $267m in France
Search giant Google is to pay a $267m fine in France because of its advertising dominance. Katrin Schallenberg is an antitrust expert with Clifford Chance and explains the background to the case. Plus, Peter Jankovskis brings us the latest news from the financial markets.
Jun 7, 2021
Google fined $267m in France
Search giant Google is to pay a $267m fine in France because of its advertising dominance. Laura Kayali is technology reporter for Politico in Paris, and explains the background to the case. Also in the programme, protesters voiced their anger over environmental concerns as a giant cruise ship set sail from Venice on Saturday. The MSC Orchestra was the first cruise ship to leave the city since coronavirus restrictions were imposed in early 2020, and Tom Parry of the Travel Trade Gazette tells us whether the global cruise industry is getting the wind back in its sails. Production of the luxury jet plane Learjet is set to end later this year, and the BBC's Russell Padmore takes an in-depth look at the global market for private jets. Plus, as people around the world return to the office, our regular workplace commentator Peter Morgan discusses the experience of those who have to try and fit into traditional office attire again, after spending time at home wearing baggy loungewear.
Jun 6, 2021
G7 agrees global tax deal
The G7 has agreed a deal to ensure multi-national companies pay a tax of 15% in the countries where transactions take place. But is it enough? We hear from Jeeven Sander, an economist at Kings College in London, Pieter Baert a tax specialist at Business Europe in Brussels and Danny McCoy, the Chief Executive of IBEC in Ireland. Governments in East Africa will unveil their budget spending plans this week as the region struggles to recover from the impact of coronavirus. We hear from the BBC's Michael Kaloki in Nairobi and Razia Khan who follows the fortunes of economies in Africa for Standard Chartered Bank. A team of researchers in the UK has revealed that we usually only preserve the main gist of an event, because our memories become less detailed over time; we hear from Professor Maria Wimber, from the University of Glasgow, who's the lead author of the report. Independent economic commentator Michael Hughes tells us why China's yuan currency has continued to gain in value against th…
Jun 4, 2021
G7 nations 'millimetre away' from tax deal for tech companies
France and Germany's finance ministers said an agreement on a global minimum tax rate was very close. We have a round-up of the latest news from the G7 summit, and hear from Tove Maria Ryding from European Network on Debt and Development for her take on the plans. Plus, we speak to the COO of Boom Supersonic, Kathy Savitt, on the return of supersonic passenger air travel following the news that United Airlines has ordered 15 aircraft from the company. And Chris Low of FHN Financial in New York brings us up to date on the US job figures.
Jun 4, 2021
Tax shake-up on the table at G7 meeting
Finance Ministers from some of the world's biggest economies are meeting in London, and on the table discussions for a major shake-up of how companies are taxed globally. We hear from Tove Maria Ryding from European Network on Debt and Development for her take on the plans. Also on the programme, the BBC's Mike Johnson takes an extended look at the issue of where our plastic recycling waste, really ends up. We'll ask whether supersonic passenger air travel is really set to make a return, with the help of Professor Keith Hayward from the UK's Royal Aeronautical Society. And we're in the front row as Nigerian musicians finally get back in front of a live audience again.
Jun 3, 2021
G7 finance ministers prepare to meet
Finance ministers from the G7 - the group representing seven of the world's wealthiest nations - are meeting on Friday and Saturday in the UK - a week ahead of the full G7 Summit. Top of the agenda is global corporation tax reform, as we hear from Richard Partington, the Guardian's Economics Correspondent. Plus Cary Leahey on the day's trading on Wall Street.
Jun 3, 2021
Equal pay argument upheld at Britain's biggest retailer
Thousands of current and former Tesco workers have had their legal argument in their fight for equal pay upheld. We speak with the BBC’s Emma Simpson to hear the details. Lebanon is no stranger to hardship; from the wreckage of its civil war to the world's largest ever non-nuclear explosion happening at its port, the country has not had an easy ride. Lebanon’s economic and financial crisis could rank as one of the three most severe the world has seen in the last century and a half. The BBC's Ed Butler has an extended report. The rollercoaster ride for American stocks continues as cinema chain AMC offers free popcorn to investors – the BBC’s Samira Hussain in New York tells us more about the trading frenzy. And finally, it’s been billed as an e-wallet that will give people a seamless way to access public and private services – but what about the privacy pitfalls? We speak with Julie Dawson, the Director of Regulation and Policy at the digital wallet and ID app Yoti.
Jun 2, 2021
Etsy buys sescond hand shopping app Depop
Online retailer Etsy has just bought Depop for $1.6 billion. We get the reaction of Elizabeth Paton, consumer business correspondent at the New York Times. Plus, the latest news from the day's trading on Wall Street with Susan Schmidt of Aviva Investors, in Chicago.
Jun 2, 2021
Sinking ship sparks environmental concerns
Sri Lanka faces an environmental crisis after a ship that caught fire off the coastline sinks – the BBC’s Ranga Sirilal gives us an update on what is one of the country’s worst marine disasters, and Lloyd’s List editor Richard Meade tells us the economic and financial implications. Sales of books have been booming during lockdown; we speak with the founder of Bloomsbury publishers, Nigel Newton, and ask how sustainable such a bumper year for books is. The rise of electric vehicles could see traditional service stations closing across the planet over the next two decades, and replacing pumps with fast chargers is unlikely to save them. The BBC’s Justin Rowlatt has an extended report on what this means for garage owners, and the landscape of our countries, if electric charging stations become the norm. And finally, the International Festival in Edinburgh is back on – famous for comedy, the festival was cancelled for the fist time in 73 years due to the coronavirus pandemic. E…
Jun 1, 2021
Update: Are inflation worries justified?
What's behind the rise in inflation across the US and Eurozone? We hear from Jason Furman, the Aetna Professor of Economic Policy at both Harvard Kennedy School and Harvard University. And Ebay has partially severed its ties to Paypal. The changes mean that while eBay buyers can still pay with PayPal, sellers will be paid straight into their bank accounts; we speak to Owen Thomas, senior editor at media company Protocol. And Joe Saluzzi from Themis Trading brings us the latest from the financial markets.
Jun 1, 2021
Greenpeace sound alarm over fish exports from Africa
There's concern about the volume of fish being caught by foreign boats off west Africa, not to feed people, but animals and the cosmetics industry abroad.
May 31, 2021
China allows couples to have three children
China has announced that it will allow couples to have up to three children, after census data showed a steep decline in birth rates.
May 30, 2021
Who owns the Covid-19 vaccine?
Informal talks continue at the World Trade Organisation on whether to waive Covid-19 vaccine patents, as developing countries call for more equity in the vaccines' distribution. Dr. Ingrid Katz of the Harvard Global Health Institute explains why waiving patents could help save more lives in the developing world, and also aid the global economy. But Arthur Appleton professor of International Law and partner with trade law firm Appleton Luff, says we should expect significant legal challenges to such a liberalisation. Also in the programme, the European Commission vice-president Margaritis Schinas will outline a new vision for the EU's Schengen area. Koert Debeuf of the EU Observer sets out the challenges the area will face in the future. And we'll conclude this edition with a view from economist Michael Hughes about the recovery on stock markets around the world, and Jeff Collins, chief economist of business services platform Coupa talks about the recovery they are seeing in their e-com…
May 28, 2021
Biden unveils $6 trillion budget plan
US President Joe Biden has unveiled a $6 trillion budget plan. The BBC's North America business correspondent Michelle Fleury explains what he wants to spend it on, and how he going to pay for it. Plus we find out if there's been any market reaction and the rest of the day's news on Wall Street from Chris Low of FHN Financial in New York.
May 28, 2021
Germany officially recognises Namibia genocide
Germany has promised $1.34bn to Namibia after formally acknowledging its genocide there. German colonisers killed tens of thousands of Herero and Nama people in Namibia in early 20th century massacres, and professor Ulrike Lindner of Cologne University explains the background. We also have an in depth report on a water dispute between Ethiopia and its neighbours over a huge hydro-electric dam it's building on the Nile. David Shinn is former US ambassador to Ethiopia and now with the Elliott School of International Affairs at George Washington University, and discusses the best case scenario for resolving the disagreement. Professor Aris Georgakakos of Georgia Tech argues that the new dam should be positive for all the nations involved. And we get wider context from Dr Tirusw Asefa, a water resources engineer based in Tampa, Florida. Plus, there's something of a mystery over a new $2.99 per month subscription service for Twitter, called Twitter Blue, which is now appearing in app stores…
May 27, 2021
UPDATE: Twitter concerned for freedom of expression in India
Twitter has expressed concern over freedom of expression in India, days after police visited its offices. The police served notice to the social media giant after it labelled a ruling party tweet "manipulated media". Twitter had applied the label to a post by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) spokesperson Sambit Patra. The government has said Twitter must obey the law. Tensions between the government and media firms have risen over new rules for digital content. Plus we get the latest from the US markets from Carey Leahy.
May 27, 2021
Germany opens direct power link with Norway
Germany's first direct power link with Norway, called NordLink, has officially opened. The cable under the North Sea will provide enough renewable hydroelectric power for 3.6m households. Sven Egenter is editor in chief of the news service Clean Energy Wire in Berlin, and tells us how the Nordlink cable will work. Also in the programme, following the deaths of more than 315,000 people from coronavirus, India could fast track the clearance of some foreign vaccines in a bid to speed up vaccination in the country. The BBC's Rahul Tandon has an extended report on how the country's rollout is going so far. The BBC's Theo Leggett visits plane engine maker Rolls Royce, which is inaugurating the world's biggest engine testbed in its home town of Derby in the English Midlands. Plus, as the cast of TV sitcom Friends reunite for a one-off special to look back at the making of the show, we discuss why it remains so popular, with Pete Allison, host of the Friends with Friends podcast, and Kelsey Mi…
May 26, 2021
Dutch court mandates Shell emissions reduction
A Dutch court ruled that Royal Dutch Shell should reduce carbon emissions by 45% by 2030. We hear from Harry Brekelmans, the Projects and Technology Director at Royal Dutch Shell. Sara Shaw from environmental campaign group Friends of the Earth, which is one of the organisations that brought the case, discusses the background. Also in the programme, online messaging service WhatsApp, which is owned by Facebook, has launched legal action in India to counter a new law there which gives the government greater power to monitor activity online, including on messaging apps. The BBC's Arunoday Mukharji explains the dispute. And - For years the ride sharing company Uber has resisted calls to recognise unions, which had criticised the firm for not granting drivers basic rights such as sick pay or a minimum wage. Now, Uber says it will, for the first time, recognise a union in the UK. Plus, will a craze for a cryptocurrency which was started as a joke, end in tears? The BBC's Ed Butler delves…
May 25, 2021
Update: Amazon accused of anti-competitive behaviour
Amazon gets taken to task over anti-competitive behaviour, but will a single case in a single state really make any difference to the e-commerce giant? We hear from Cat Zakreski, technology policy reporter for the Washington Post. And the US State Department and the Centres for Disease Control have warned against people travelling to the Olympic Games as the country struggles to contain the pandemic but the International Olympic Committee insists the Games will go ahead. We hear from Jules Boykoff, a professor of Politics and Government at Pacific University, Oregon in the US; he's also a former soccer professional and researches the politics of the Games. Plus, Joz Saluzzi of Themis Trading in New Jersey brings us the latest news from the financial markets.
May 25, 2021
Taxing The World's Businesses
The head of the OECD says progress is being made on a global minimum corporate tax rate. Angel Gurria tells us change of US administration has enabled plans to move forward.