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Moscow’s plan to halt grain exports from Ukraine a “blow” to people in need



Ukraine is one of the world’s largest exporters of grain – especially to the developing world – sparking fears of widespread food shortages

Russia has taken a drastic step by halting its participation in a U.N.-brokered deal that permitted Ukraine to export grain through the Black Sea.

This move has sparked concerns among poorer nations, who fear that the resulting price rises will make food inaccessible to many.

“Today’s decision by the Russian Federation will strike a blow to people in need everywhere,” said U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres

Adding to the tension, a recent explosion knocked out Russia’s bridge to Crimea, with Moscow accusing Ukrainian sea drones of launching a strike.

The incident, portrayed as a terrorist attack on a critical Russian supply route, resulted in the deaths of two people and escalated hostilities in the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine.

The Kremlin denies any connection between the bridge attack and its decision to suspend the grain deal.

Instead, Moscow cites the failure to meet its demands for implementing a parallel agreement to ease rules for its own food and fertiliser exports as the reason for the suspension.

“Unfortunately, the part of these Black Sea agreements concerning Russia has not been implemented so far, so its effect is terminated,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on a conference call.

Russia suggests that it might reconsider its stance if it sees concrete progress on its demands. However, during this period, the safety guarantees for navigation will be revoked.

In response to Russia’s actions, the White House in Washington expressed concerns that the suspension of the pact would worsen global food security and harm millions of people. U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken labelled Russia’s move as unconscionable.

Both Ukraine and Russia are major exporters of grain and other food products, making any disruption in their trade a potential catalyst for driving up food prices worldwide.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy responded to Russia’s decision by proposing the resumption of grain exports without Russia’s involvement.

He sought Turkey’s support to counteract the de facto blockade that Russia imposed last year.

As the situation unfolds, the international community closely monitors developments and hopes for a resolution that would restore stability to the grain trade and mitigate the impact on global food prices.

However, the political tensions and hostilities between Russia and Ukraine continue to create uncertainty and anxiety among nations dependent on these vital food supplies.


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Streaming wars: can Apple compete with Spotify?



Spotify’s 2023 Wrapped has dropped prompting listeners to review their top artists, genres, and songs of the year.

Many are taking to social media platforms to share their listening trends with family, friends, coworkers, and even other fans on the internet.

While Apple Music, a rival platform, has its own year-end campaign—it hasn’t quite ignited the same online response.

Seth Schachner, the Managing Director at StratAmericas and a former Sony Music Executive joins Veronica Dudo to discuss. #Spotify #music #Apple #AppleMusic #SpotifyWrapped #streaming #featured #IN AMERICA TODAY

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What Australia can learn from NZ’s supermarket inquiry



Coles and Woolworths, two of Australia’s largest supermarket chains, are about to face a Senate inquiry that aims to scrutinise their market dominance and business practices.

The inquiry’s parallels with a past New Zealand investigation highlight the growing concern over the duopoly’s impact on consumers and smaller businesses.

The Senate inquiry, set to begin next month, comes as a response to mounting public pressure and allegations of anti-competitive behavior in the grocery sector.

New Zealand example

Similar concerns led New Zealand to conduct its own inquiry into the supermarket industry back in 2019, resulting in recommendations for increased regulation and transparency.

The central question here is whether Coles and Woolworths wield too much power in the Australian market, potentially stifling competition and limiting choices for consumers.

With the New Zealand example as a cautionary tale, many are wondering if this inquiry will result in meaningful changes to the Australian grocery landscape.

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Elon Musk: Nikki Haley’s ‘campaign is dead’



Elon Musk has thrown a verbal jab at former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley, declaring her political campaign as “dead” on X.

The unexpected comment from the Tesla and SpaceX CEO has ignited a new wave of discussion within the political sphere, leaving many wondering about the implications for Haley’s political future.

In a tweet that garnered significant attention, Musk criticized Haley’s recent policy stance, writing, “Nikki Haley’s campaign is dead on arrival if she continues to ignore the urgency of climate change.

We need leaders who prioritize the planet’s future.” The tech mogul’s remarks come as Haley, a prominent Republican figure, has been exploring the possibility of running for president in the upcoming election cycle.

Musk’s statement has reignited the debate over climate change within the Republican Party, with many conservatives emphasizing economic interests over environmental concerns.

This raises questions about whether Musk’s endorsement or critique could influence the GOP’s stance on climate issues and potentially impact the 2024 presidential race.

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