China Revs Up Its Goal of Technological Autonomy
When China’s leaders released their most important economic plans last week, they laid out their ambitions to become an innovation superpower beholden to none. Anticipating efforts by the Biden administration to continue to challenge China’s technological rise, the country’s leaders are accelerating plans to go it alone, seeking to address vulnerabilities in the country’s economy that could thwart its ambitions in industries from smartphones to jet engines. With more countries becoming wary of China’s growing might, Beijing’s drive for technological independence has taken on new urgency. The country’s new five-year plan called tech development a matter of national security, not just economic development.
Economy Poised to Soar, But Some Fear Inflation
While the Biden administration’s ambitious effort to salve the pandemic’s deep economic wounds made its way through Congress, proponents insisted that funneling $1.9 trillion to American households and businesses wouldn’t unshackle inflation. Officials at the Federal Reserve, responsible for balancing the job needs of Americans with price pressures that could erode their buying power, have said there is little cause for worry. Yet as the legislation moved toward the finish line, inflation prospects increasingly influenced political commentary and Wall Street trading. The inflation fixation has been one driver behind a sharp sell-off in government bonds since the start of the year.
In Bankruptcy Filing, Paper Source Angers Largest Vendor Base
Paper Source, the stationery chain founded in 1983, is the latest national retailer to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection during the pandemic. Its vendors say that the company placed significant new orders for cards and gifts in the run-up to the March 2 filing, even pushing to expedite deliveries. Now, it is unclear how much money vendors will recoup. The vendors are largely creative women who run small businesses on their own or with a handful of employees. Paper Source is now dealing with the unusually public fallout with its vendors, who happen to be in the trade of sharp and skilled communication, as it aims to keep operating.
As Online Gaming Booms, Roblox Wins Big With Its Initial Public Listing
On Wednesday, the pandemic’s booming effect on gaming was even more starkly on display when Roblox, a gaming platform aimed at children, went public. The Silicon Valley company closed its first day of trading at $69.50 a share, rising from a reference price of $45 that was set Tuesday. That valued Roblox at $45 billion, up from $4 billion just over a year ago. The company went public in a direct listing in which no new shares were issued. Roblox’s performance was another sign of an increasingly hot public offering market.That hype has been compounded for Roblox by the euphoria over video gaming in general.
Vaccine Misinformation Deepens Distrust in Black and Hispanic Communities
Black and Hispanic communities, which were hit harder by the pandemic and whose vaccination rates are lagging that for white people, are confronting vaccine conspiracy theories, rumors and misleading news reports on social media outlets like Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Twitter and in private online messaging, health authorities and misinformation researchers said. Foreign news outlets and anti-vaccine activists have also aggressively tried to cast doubt on the safety and efficacy of vaccines made in the United States and Europe. Misinformation has complicated efforts by some states to reach out to Black and Hispanic residents, particularly when health officials have provided special registration codes for vaccine appointments.
Iowa Jury Acquits Reporter Arrested at Protest Rally
An Iowa jury acquitted a journalist on Wednesday in a highly unusual trial of a reporter who was arrested last spring as she covered a protest against racism and police violence. Andrea Sahouri, a public safety reporter for The Des Moines Register, was arrested May 31 while covering a sometimes chaotic demonstration in Des Moines. Police officers ordered protesters to disperse. Sahouri, who said she had identified herself as a reporter, was arrested along with her boyfriend at the time, Spenser Robnett, who had accompanied her. Sahouri, 25, pleaded not guilty to misdemeanor charges of failing to disperse and interference with official acts. A six-person jury found Sahouri and Robnett not guilty of both charges.