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Cuma, Şubat 3, 2023
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TOP NEWS STORIES
WEEKLY INSIGHTS
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BUSINESS
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SOUL OF THE CITY
LONDON TOWN

Highlights of the week: Interest Rates, Energy Crisis, Climate Emergency

Top stories of the week, curated by the editors at Aposto.

Hello!

As our selection of publications keeps growing, we are sharing highlights from the English-language Aposto publications every week. Curated by the editors at Aposto, the issues will feature the best articles from our media service from business to technology, travel to literature, politics to wine culture...

We hope you enjoy your reading!

Aposto Team

TOP NEWS STORIES

Aposto Europe delivers your daily briefing on markets, politics, business, tech and more - all under 5 minutes. Don't miss out on what's happening in the world.


Friday

Wirecard's former CEO Markus Braun, who steered the payments company through its rise and spectacular collapse two years ago, went on trial for fraud on Thursday after a scandal that shook German politics and tarnished the country's business reputation. The accused, which include two other managers of the defunct blue chip company, could be jailed for up to 15 years if convicted.

  • What happened? Wirecard admitted in June 2020 that €1.9 billion were missing from its balance sheet. Within days, Wirecard became the first-ever DAX member to file for insolvency, owing creditors nearly $4 billion. The prosecution asserts that Wirecard invented vast sums of phantom revenue to mislead investors and creditors and drive up the share price.

Thursday

Germany arrested 25 people from a far-right extremist group who were preparing to overthrow the government in an armed coup, the prosecutor's office said. Around 3,000 officers conducted raids at 130 sites in Germany's 11 states, with investigators suspecting that members had concrete plans to storm the parliament with a small armed group, with one active soldier and several reservists among those under investigation.

  • Who are they: Members of the Reichsbuerger (Citizens of the Reich) do not recognize post-WWII Germany as a legitimate state, with some members devoted to the German empire under a monarchy, some devoted to Nazi ideas, and some believe Germany is still under Allied military occupation.

Wednesday

• Hungary blocked the approval of an €18 billion EU package for financial aid to Ukraine, a veto that caused a delay on three other key votes, including an internationally-backed deal to reform corporate taxation. Ukraine is in urgent need of aid to cover its booming state deficit and keep the economy running against Russia's invasion.

  • Good to know: Hungary is on the verge of having its €7.5 billion EU budget frozen after failing to complete a series of reforms to address corruption-related issues.

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WEEKLY INSIGHTS

Spektrum is a weekly politics publication focusing on Turkey, city agendas and international policy.


Foreign policy in the AKP program

The AKP states in its program that Turkey's location is a magnet for many collaborations and that the use of this potential ‘depends on the wise use of geopolitics.’ Turkey needs to reorganise its relations with power centres in an ‘alternative, flexible, and multi-axis’ manner while claiming that ‘the quality of military alliances and blocs as the determining factor of international relations has significantly diminished’, even though the opposite is true today, especially after Russia invading Ukraine and the NATO’s role getting bigger.

The governing party promises ‘a realistic foreign policy based on mutual interest relations.’ Instead of relying solely on the bureaucracy for foreign policy decision-making and implementation, the party also aims to involve parliament and society. Turkey, ‘an element of regional stability with its democracy, economy, and respect for human rights,’ will take more initiative to resolve crises and increase efforts to maintain good relations with its neighbours, based on dialogue.

Good relations with European countries and the European Union will be established, ‘the conditions for EU membership will be met as soon as possible, and the agenda will be prevented from being occupied with artificial problems.’ It is stated that cooperation with the US will continue, with an emphasis on defense, and that there will be more cooperation in the fields of economy, investment, science, and technology, and that ‘friendly relations based on cooperation rather than competition’ will be established with Russia. ‘In addition to the traditional Atlantic and European dimensions of Turkish foreign policy, efforts to develop a Eurasian-oriented policy will continue.’ It is said that closer relations will be established with China and the dynamic economies of Asia.

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FURTHER READING

Aposto Europe's Friday issue features an article by Nobel laureate in economics, Professor at Columbia University and member of the Independent Commission for the Reform of International Corporate Taxation, Joseph E. Stiglitz in collaboration with Project Syndicate.  


All pain and no gain from higher interest rates

Central banks’ unwavering determination to increase interest rates is truly remarkable. In the name of taming inflation, they have deliberately set themselves on a path to cause a recession – or to worsen it if it comes anyway. Moreover, they openly acknowledge the pain their policies will cause, even if they don’t emphasize that it is the poor and marginalized, not their friends on Wall Street, who will bear the brunt of it. And in the United States, this pain will disproportionately befall people of color.

As a new Roosevelt Institute report that I co-authored shows, any benefits from the extra interest-rate-driven reduction in inflation will be minimal, compared to what would have happened anyway. Inflation already appears to be easing. It may be moderating more slowly than optimists hoped a year ago – before Russia’s war in Ukraine – but it is moderating nonetheless, and for the same reasons that optimists had outlined. For example, high auto prices, caused by a shortage of computer chips, would come down as the bottlenecks were resolved. That has been happening, and car inventories have indeed been rising.

Optimists also expected oil prices to decrease, rather than continue to increase; that, too, is precisely what has happened. In fact, the declining cost of renewables implies that the long-run price of oil will fall even lower than today’s price. It is a shame that we didn’t move to renewables earlier. We would have been much better insulated from the vagaries of fossil-fuel prices, and far less vulnerable to the whims of petrostate dictators like Russian President Vladimir Putin and Saudi Arabia’s own war-mongering, journalist-murdering leader, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (widely known as MBS). We should be thankful that both men failed in their apparent attempt to influence the US 2022 midterm election by sharply cutting oil production in early October.

Yet another reason for optimism has to do with mark-ups – the amount by which prices exceed costs. While markups have risen slowly with the increased monopolization of the US economy, they have soared since the onset of the Covid-19 crisis. As the economy emerges more fully from the pandemic (and, one hopes, from the war) they should decrease, thereby moderating inflation. Yes, wages have been temporarily rising faster than in the pre-pandemic period, but that is a good thing. There has been a huge secular increase in inequality, which the recent decrease in workers’ real (inflation-adjusted) wages has only made worse.

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BUSINESS

Aposto Business offers the best articles on business at Aposto, curated by our editors. Topics include micro-mobility, future of work, energy, green economy, consumer products, marketing and more.


Energy crisis: A threat or an opportunity for climate goals?

Since the beginning of the pandemic the world has gone through many dynamic changes. One of the most significant changes was undoubtedly in the energy sector. Oil futures prices, which went negative in the CME in the early days of the Covid-19 pandemic, were replaced by discourses such as ‘the highest price in recent years’ with normalisation. Russia's invasion of Ukraine has paved the way for a deeper and more complex crisis in the energy sector. Due to mutual sanctions imposed between the European Union and Russia, natural gas prices in Europe hit records high. 

The price of oil, which fell to -40.32 dollars at the beginning of the pandemic and caused a shock in financial markets, rose to 130.50 dollars with the impact of the war, European natural gas prices, which averaged 17 euros during the pandemic, peaked at 349.87 euros, and the ‘energy crisis’ became indispensable for news headlines.

What is the current situation?

If we were to answer this question during the crisis, we would probably have given the wrong answer. But, there has been a major pullback in energy prices around the world. The globally rising inflation led central banks to adopt a tight monetary policy, which suppressed the global energy demand. Concerns of recession in financial markets amid rising interest rates caused market players to end their buying positions in oil and natural gas futures markets. The normalisation in oil prices, which hovered at a 10-year high due to the recession concerns forced OPEC+ members to change their policies. OPEC+ decided to cut production to keep prices at the desired level.

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POPULAR ON APOSTO

Aposto Tech gathers the best articles on technology at Aposto, curated by our editors.


Key technologies against the climate crisis

Putting aside all the complexity and perspective most of us have a hard time grasping, two very simple reasons lie at the core of the existence of technology: coming up with solutions to simplify and interpret life with the implacable curiosity of humanity.

We made weapons by sharpening stones to fulfill the need to protect ourselves. With the discovery of fire, we gave a start to the age of ‘enlightenment’. With the invention of the wheel, we laid the base of all transportation systems and logistics of today 

When we reached the second half of the 1800s, we went through The Second Industrial Revolution, known as the ‘Technological Revolution’. With the start of coal use for electricity generation, technology’s first profound effect on climate change kicked in and paved the way for carbon emissions to reach more-serious-than-ever levels. Although the amount of coal used to produce energy was relatively small during the 1880s, it was the year 1961 when coal became the dominant fossil fuel to produce electricity generation. Later scientific studies have documented the destructive effects of carbon emission on the planet; however, fossil fuels are still the most common way to generate energy. 

Concerning that, as technology developed, the number of technological devices used by consumers increased in direct proportion to that. This caused an increase in energy consumption, which directly led to the use of more fossil fuels.

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SOUL OF THE CITY

Aposto Istanbul is a weekly city guide for Istanbul lovers who want to make this city their neighbourhood. Hand-picked events, local news, recommendations and more.


What we don’t see: You Know Who

What is it? Exhibition. Inspired by the Byzantine Empire, the exhibition, which pursues representations of historical and cultural heritage, hosts a mixed selection that explores that which is hidden beyond the visible. 

Where? Abdülmecid Efendi Köşkü

When? Until 11 December

Why should you go? The exhibition, which is prepared with different mediums and spread over 3 floors in total, has a curation that emphasises the beyond-meaningfulness of contemporary art based on the cultural tradition of Istanbul.

Duly noted: The interactive installation in the basement promises an intersensory experience for those interested in Byzantine cosmology and iconography.

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LONDON TOWN

Aposto London is a weekly, practical zine to London for those who want to make this city their neighbourhood.


TO HACKNEY WICK TUNES

Hackney Wick - Wick as it is known in the neighbourhood - where many asphalt, paper and silk factories were established, became the centre of artists' workshops in the 2000s and the base of many urban transformation projects after the construction of the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park. Today, we are wandering the streets of Wick, where the communal life in the warehouses has shifted to galleries and music venues. The aim is to find where the jazz tunes and afro-beats are coming from.

Dance it up at the Grow

In London, it is not customary to party until the first light of the morning - of course, this doesn’t apply to the summer months, but it is pitch black at the moment. Pubs close their doors at 11:00 p.m. and nightclubs at 1:00 a.m. Grow in Hackney Wick is an exception to this. Here you can find live jazz jam on Thursdays;  neo-soul, club 90s/00s; dancehall/ reggae/bashment, old school garage on Fridays; open mic poetry nights on Tuesdays or Matt Johnson, who is for the last 20-years, has been the keyboard player for Jamiroquai.

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