The Brexit conundrum continues
Following the defeat of UK Prime Minister Theresa May’s second Brexit deal, British MPs participated in a series of votes Wednesday, defeating by four votes a “no-deal” scenario.
This vote was reinforced as the MPs rejected another no-deal proposal, by 321 to 248, that suggested the UK should not leave the EU without a deal on 29 March (the Brexit deadline), but could do so at any other point of time.
Another vote Thursday will seek parliament’s opinion on whether to seek permission from the EU to extend the Brexit deadline beyond 29 March.
This explainer by BBC lists out the scenarios possible if the EU agrees to extend the Brexit deadline. Over the last few weeks, signals from the EU have suggested that they are prepared to extend the deadline.
Boeing decides to ground all of its 737 Max 8 aircraft
The US aerospace giant Boeing has announced that it will ground its 371-strong global fleet of 737 Max 8 aircraft operational around the world, after two planes of the make crashed within five months, killing over 350 people.
The second crash took place over the last weekend, and involved a months-old Max 8 of the Ethiopian Airlines fleet.
“We are doing everything we can to understand the cause of the accidents in partnership with the investigators, deploy safety enhancements and help ensure this does not happen again,” Dennis Muilenburg, Boeing’s president, chief executive and chairman, said.
Ruling party of Botswana, one of Africa’s most stable countries, braces for tussle
Botswana has been an unusually stable country in a continent fraught with political and economic disruptions. Since its formation in the 1960s, Botswana has had no coups or civil wars. It is the world’s largest producer of diamonds after Russia, and has the highest investment ratings across all of Africa. But a recent leadership tussle in the ruling party threatens to affect some of that hard-earned stability.
A political feud has emerged between President Mokgweetsi Masisi and his predecessor, Ian Khama. Masisi has reversed some of his predecessor’s policies, such as a ban on elephant hunting and higher levies on alcohol. He has also wooed China by giving up on the country’s relations with Taiwan.
These policy shifts have not gone down well with Khama, who now supports a former local government minister, Pelonomi Venson-Moitoi, in his bid to dislodge Masisi at an elective congress of the party next month.
As slowdown grows, Chinese firms experience bond defaults and payment delays
As China’s economic growth and debt problems continue to grow, several Chinese firms are facing the heat. Trade credit insurer Coface says that a record number of firms have started to default on their bond payments and are also lagging behind in paying their suppliers. Corporate bond defaults have quadrupled to $16 billion, and 40 per cent of the companies are reporting delays in payments, according to a report in the South China Morning Post. The construction and car industries are reportedly the two worst-affected sectors.