Xpat Weekly Update: The 5 Most Important Global Stories Of The Week

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1. China Tumble Leads Markets Lower

The Chinese market’s fall from bull to bear territory in these first two weeks of 2016 has reverberated through the global economy, pulling down stocks everywhere and raising investor fears of more bad news to come.

Indeed, some analysts remain concerned that many of the factors behind the Chinese collapse are unlikely to change in the near-to-midterm, regardless of how Beijing may intercede: an aging population, a labor shortage that grows worse over time, and reduced demand from other economies that have been hit hard by the collapse in oil and commodity prices, and thus can no longer afford to buy Chinese manufactured goods.

Forbes..

2. Oil Prices: What’s Behind the Drop?

The oil industry is seeing its deepest downturn since the 1990s, affecting the world’s economies in some good, but mostly negative ways. With a barrel of oil now trading at about $31, its lowest level since 2004, Americans are seeing $2 a gallon gas, and energy costs globally are down.

However, those savings come at a price: stock markets from China to Wall Street are also reaching for new lows, based in part on steeply lower earnings by energy companies. That has lead the companies to decommission roughly two-thirds of their rigs and sharply cut investments in exploration and production. An estimated 250,000 oil workers have lost their jobs, and manufacturing of drilling and production equipment has fallen sharply.

NY Times…

3. Capture Of El Chapo

After months on the run, Mexican drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzmán was finally caught, in large part a victim of his own vanity. His contacts with a beautiful actress, who connected him to actor Sean Penn, were monitored and used to electronically locate Mexico’s most wanted criminal.

Penn had been summoned to El Chapo’s side as part of a public relations campaign of sorts, as the kingpin sought to ensure his legacy, perhaps via a Penn-written biography. Again now in Mexican custody, El Chapo faces his biggest fight ever: avoiding deportation to the United States for drug crimes.

NPR…

4. David Bowie Dies of Cancer at Age 69

…He took it all too far, but boy could he play guitar sang rock legend David Bowie, as if to pen his own eulogy. Bowie died peacefully after an 18 month battle with cancer. For 40-some years stretching back into the late 1960s, Bowie broke new ground in music, fashion and, by his mere presence, societal and political trends.

Bowie’s artistic breakthrough came with 1972’s The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars, an album that fostered the notion of rock star as space alien. Fusing British mod with kabuki and rock with theater, Bowie created his most famous persona, the androgynous Ziggy Stardust.

BBC..

5. Neglect May Do What ISIS Didn’t: Breach Iraqi Dam

Iraq’s problems mount, with the continuing war against ISIS decimating its western cities, and the falling price of oil gutting its treasury. Now, some 16 months after Kurdish forces reclaimed Mosul Dam from Islamic State, Iraq faces a new threat: the dam’s deteriorating condition.

A result of decades of neglect, the dam threatens that an estimated 500,000 people could be killed, with a million more rendered homeless if the structure collapses in the spring, when the Tigris River swells with water from melting snow. Worse yet, it is unclear where the estimated $380 million in repair costs will come from, even if there is enough time to complete work.

NY Times…


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