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America Sells Consulate in Hong Kong for $332 Million

The US has disposed of its Hong Kong consulate compound in one of the most exclusive neighborhoods for $332 million.

Amid increasing tensions between the US and China, the site was sold to Hang Lung Properties Ltd., a local developer. 

Interestingly, the price announced by CBRE Group Inc., which handled the sale on Thursday, was lower than the valuation of HK$3.1 billion to HK$3.5 billion done by Vincorn Consulting and Appraisal Ltd.

According to an American government spokesman, ‘The decision to sell the compound was part of its global reinvestment program, and some of the proceeds from the transaction would be reinvested into multiple properties the US owns in Hong Kong.’

There have been escalating political conflicts in the city, mainly from China’s national security laws, and many US firms are now contemplating moving out.

According to a survey done in August by the American Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong, 40% of the 154 members had considered exiting Hong Kong.

South Africa Nearing Failed-State Status

Unless South Africa reconsiders its economic model and initiates growth-friendly policies, it will be hit by a precipitous economic collapse by 2030.

This is according to Eunomix Business & Economics Ltd., a Johannesburg-based economic and political risk consultancy.

Utilizing several measures, Eunomix predicted that the country would be ranked near the bottom of a 180-country list as far as security is concerned, similar to Ukraine and Nigeria, and prosperity similar to Ivory Coast or Bangladesh.

In the report, Eunomix explained, ‘Bar a meaningful change of trajectory, South Africa will be a failed state by 2030.’

The think-tank lays blame on structures developed during South Africa’s apartheid period, designed to alienate the Black majority.

Eunomix recommends a ‘dual-track’ formula of ‘developing and maintaining high levels of social support and paying for it by adopting an aggressive special economic zone policy, which boosts growth and employment, albeit at lower wages.’

IAG Initiates Discounted 3:2 Rights Issue to Raise $3.2 Billion

On Thursday, IAG, the owner of British Airways, initiated a highly discounted rights issue to raise $3.2 billion for shoring up its finances devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

In the conditions of the fully underwritten capital increase communicated in July and approved on Tuesday by shareholders, shareholders have the liberty of subscribing to 3 new stocks for every two they have.

IAG stated plans to issue 2.97 billion new stocks at 0.92 Euros, ‘a 36% discount to the theoretical ex-rights price based on the closing price on Wednesday’.

Qatar Airways Group, the group’s biggest shareholder with a 25.1% ownership, has decided to subscribe for its pro-rata entitlement.

According to IAG, the capital increase would diminish its balance sheet debt. Do you think it is also preparing for a prolonged downturn in the travel industry?

US Revoked More Than 1,000 Chinese Visas Citing National Security

The US has revoked visas of over one thousand Chinese researchers and students, citing national security reasons, amid rising tensions between the two largest economies in the world.

According to a spokesperson for the US embassy, the action by the US was meant to restrict China’s ability to activate researchers and graduate students from stealing US technologies, intellectual property and information to develop advanced military capabilities.

While saying that America continues to welcome ‘legitimate students and researchers,’ the statement said that the people whose visas were revoked ‘represent a small subset of students and scholars going to the US.’

The statement said that the cancelation took place in May under a presidential proclamation targeting Chinese nationals with ties to the People’s Liberation Army.

According to Chinese social media users, the students were linked to or are graduates of seven universities in China with national defense ties.

‘Mission of the Century’: 8,000 Jets to Haul COVID-19 Vaccines

As pharmaceutical companies race against time to finalize COVID-19 vaccine trials, the logistics needed to deliver them globally are staggering, to say the least.

According to the International Air Transport Association (IATA), transporting the vaccine to 7.8 billion people will need 8,000 Boeing 747 cargo planes, and that time is of the essence.

Alexandre de Juniac, the IATA’s director general and CEO, said, ’Safely delivering COVID-19 vaccines will be the mission of the century for the global air cargo industry. We urge governments to take the lead in facilitating cooperation across the logistics chain so that the facilities, security arrangements, and border processes are ready for the mammoth and complex task ahead.’

There has to be temperature-controlled equipment and facilities on the planes to deliver the vaccines, plus well-trained staff and dependable monitoring capabilities. 

Don’t you think that this is the best time to start preparations, considering the optimism surrounding an effective vaccine?

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