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Covid lowers life expectancy. A worldwide study has found that the Covid pandemic has caused the
biggest decrease in life expectancy in western Europe since the Second World War. Even bigger declines were seen among males in the US, with a decline of 2.2 years relative to 2019 levels, followed by Lithuanian males (1.7 years). Last week the Office for National Statistics estimated that life expectancy for men in the UK had fallen for the first time in 40 years because of the impact of the pandemic. The Daily Mail

EU takes bite out of Apple charges. Apple may have to change its iPhone Lightning cable chargers in Europe, as the EU seeks to enforce a common USB-C standard in all phone chargers. The new legislation, unveiled by Thierry Breton, European commissioner for trade, would come into effect from 2024, and would bring “more freedom, fewer
costs” and less waste. According to a 2019 study, half the charging cables sold in the EU had a USB micro-B connector; 29 percent had a USB-C; 21percent had a Lightning connector. In a statement, Apple said: “We remain concerned that strict regulation mandating just one type of connector stiffles innovation.” The Guardian

The world’s running low on everything. From microchips to workers to fuel, the world is running short on just about everything. Part of this can be attributed to the pandemic. To prop up economiesduring the crisis, governments worldwide doled out $10.4 trillion in stimulus funds. That stimulus boosted consumer spending, but the global supplychain wasn’t equipped to meet demand. Meanwhile, rising trade tensions in recent years havefurther strained the movement of goods. This will not last forever. Stimulus funds will taper and spending patterns will shift. But for now, we’re in a diffcult game of global catch up. The Economist

The bottom line. Results from a Savanta ComRes poll revealed that two-thirds of voters believe Boris
Johnson should resign over the latest Downing Street party revelations – including 42% of people who voted Conservative in the 2019 election. The i Paper

Fertility rate drops. Data from the Offce for National Statistics showed the fertility rate in England and Wales fell to 1.58 children per woman last year – the lowest since records began in 1938. The current rate is 4.2% lower than in 2019. The ONS said improved access to contraception and the cost of raising children could be reasons for the decline, but the British Pregnancy Advisory Service also blamed Financial uncertainty caused by the Covid pandemic. Evening Standard

Oil giant overtakes Apple. Apple has lost its positionas the world’s most valuable company after it was
usurped by Saudi Arabian oil and gas producer Aramco. The oil giant traded near its highest level on record yesterday, reaching a market capitalisation of about $2.4 trillion (£1.9 trillion), while the iPhone maker fell 4.4% in New York to $147.53, for a valuation of $2.3 trillion. ‘Even if the move proves short-lived and Apple retakes the top spot again”, the
role reversal “underscores the power of major forces coursing through the global economy”. The Telegraph

UK becoming ‘fattest nation’. Britain is on track tobe the fattest nation in Europe in a decade, with takeaway companies and sedentary life styles being blamed. An expert from the World Health Organisation (WHO) has warned that, by the early 2030s, 37% of British men and women are expected to be obese. Dr Kremlin Wickramasinghe, the WHO lead for
non-communicable diseases in Europe, said the UK was adopting a lifestyle with “more and more digital screen time” and highlighted the prevalence of food delivery services such as Deliveroo and Just Eat. The Daily Mirror

ED Gladstone
Author: ED Gladstone

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