The world this week
The American Senate began debate on Joe Biden’s $1.9trn stimulus bill, after it passed the House of Representatives. Mr Biden will need the support of all 50 Democratic senators if it is to succeed. In one setback, the Senate’s parliamentarian said that a measure to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour could not be included in the legislation under the procedure by which the Democrats have introduced the bill.
Spend now, pay later
In Britain the government’s budget provided yet more spending on workers and businesses to cushion the blow of the pandemic. The furlough scheme, which pays staff wages and has been in place for a year, was extended to September. Fiscal support for the pandemic now totals 407bn pounds ($570bn). To pay for all this the government set out tax increases, including a rise in corporation tax from 19% to 25% in 2023. Before that there will be a two-year tax break for companies intended to spur investment.
India’s economy pulled out of recession in the last three months of 2020, but only just. GDP expanded by 0.4% in the quarter, year on year.
A huge stimulus package helped Brazil limit the pandemic’s damage to its GDP, which shrank by 4.1% last year, a better performance than economies of similar size.
February was a record month for the value of SPACs, shell companies that list on a stock exchange with the intent of merging with an existing company, and so avoid the rigours of an IPO. spacs struck 50 merger deals last month, totalling almost $109bn.
Rio Tinto’s chairman decided to step down within a year because of the mining company’s demolition of a sacred Aboriginal cave in Australia in May 2020. Australian pension funds had pressed Rio’s board to hold senior executives to account for the destruction.
Another week and another carmaker announced an ambitious electrification strategy, as Volvo said it would phase out all petrol-powered cars, including hybrids, by 2030, and sell only fully electric ones. It also plans to disrupt the established way of selling cars by ditching dealerships and making its new cars available only online.
又过了一周，又有一家汽车制造商宣布了一项雄心勃勃的电动化战略。沃尔沃表示，到2030年，它将逐步淘汰包括混合动力车在内的所有汽油动力汽车，只销售全电动汽车 。该公司还计划打破现有的汽车销售方式，取消经销商，只在线上销售新车 。
1. phase out 逐步淘汰
In Brandenburg voters threaten to phase out lignite mining.
2. account for 对...负责；占比
The social services account for a substantial part of public spending.
3. step down 辞职；下台
The manager had to step down on account of poor health.
4. pull out of 退出
The World Bank should pull out of the project.