Carl Icahn vs. McDonald’s, Russian Sanctions, and Megan Thee Stallion’s ‘Album’ Case
Picture of the Week: Flying Kangaroo
As if it weren’t good news that Australia has reopened its borders for vaccinated visa holders, tourists and business travellers, arrivals at Sydney International Airport earlier this week received the best of all greetings: the silly enthusiasm of a giant animal mascot. Qantas’ flying kangaroo was there to greet long-haulers with flowers and high-fives as it generally tried to do its part to resurrect the good feeling after nearly two years of closed borders that have helped Australia to manage Covid outbreaks but have cut off millions from the rest of the world and vice versa. Vaccinated citizens and permanent residents have been allowed to return since November 2021, and once Western Australia joins the lifting of border controls on March 3, the island-continent known as Fortress Australia will be again fully open to vaccinated tourists. But as for getting what was a booming sector before the pandemic back to growth, well, that might take more than the promise of a happy mascot.
By the Numbers: Pigfight
Number of directors veteran investor Carl Icahn has named to McDonald’s board as he takes the fast food chain to task for its commitment to pig welfare – or “a narrow issue”, as McDonald’s said.
Share of U.S.-produced pork that comes from McDonald’s, the fast-food chain said as it tried to defend itself against Icahn’s objections to “unnecessary suffering” sparked by worries about his vegetarian daughter.
By the end of 2022, this large portion of McDonald’s U.S. pork volumes will come from sows not housed in gestation crates during pregnancy, with a goal of 100% set for the end of 2024. But he called the Icahn’s call for a complete end to providers’ use of non-pregnancy cases ‘impossible’.
Getting to Know: Megan Thee Stallion
Readers already know Megan Thee Stallion from the hits WAP, Body, Savage, and Hot Girl Summer, but now the American rapper is doing a stellar job fighting for artists’ rights not to get screwed over by the music industry, by suing his label 1501 Certified Entertainment on the grounds that it prevents him from fulfilling the terms of his contract. This isn’t the first time she’s come up against 1501, with previous legal skirmishes over her refusal to let her release new music. The new lawsuit revolves around a record released last November. According to the rapper, born Megan Pete, 1501 now says the record, Something for Thee Hotties, was a “mixtape”, not an album. Her lawyers take a different view, arguing that it “clearly meets the definition” of an album because it is longer than 45 minutes and classifying it otherwise is a “ruse” to keep her locked into her contract for longer. Either way, it’s good material for his next track.
The list: Sanctions against Russia
Ahead of the heralded, but still shocking, Russian invasion of Ukraine, Vladimir Putin’s aggression finally prompted Western powers to unveil new sanctions against Russia’s elite, though they have been lambasted by many as a long way off. to be sufficient. So what kind of thing do they involve?
1. Banking crackdowns. On Tuesday, US President Joe Biden applied sanctions to two of Russia’s state-owned banks, VEB and military bank Promsvyazbank, known for its defense deals.
2. Asset freezes. Londongrad, sorry Westminster, froze the assets of five banks and three Russian billionaires in a first round of sanctions seen by many as a bit lackluster.
3. Pipeline reversal. German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has halted the certification process for the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline from Russia, a massive project owned by Russian gas giant Gazprom. After the invasion, however, Europe’s reliance on Russian gas supplies was cited as an obstacle to tougher sanctions.
4. Bond Trading Bans. The United States and the EU have banned investors from trading in new Russian bonds, which could well increase the cost of borrowing for Moscow.
5. Travel restrictions. The EU imposed travel bans on 351 Duma members and prominent Russian ‘propagandists’ as well as the Internet Research Agency, aka Glavset, a St Petersburg-based ‘troll factory’ that pumps pro-Putin content onto the web for the naive to lap up.
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