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February 12: Internet Blackout Italy, IRS targets waiters, Record Crypto Hacks (Recap ep214)

Marcello is bringing us some news about a moment of internet blackout in Italy this week, As well as a new direction from the US’s IRS that might cause heavy consequences on the middle and lower class; We have also reached a new record regarding crypto hacks.

Days after a huge earthquake brought death & destruction across southern Turkey & northwest Syria, the confirmed death toll from the deadliest quake in the region in 2 decades stood at 21K in both countries on Friday. 100’s of 1000’s more people have been left homeless & short of food in very bleak winter conditions, now desperate for a multi-national relief effort to alleviate their suffering.
On Thursday, Turkey’s stock exchange suspended trading for 5 days & canceled all trades executed on Wednesday, following a selloff that erased billions of dollars from the value of main equities after the 2 devastating earthquakes. It is the 1st market-wide suspension of trading in Istanbul since 1999.
North American companies struggling to hire workers in the tightest labor market in decades brought on more robots last year than ever before. Companies, overwhelmingly located in the U.S. ordered just over 44,100 robots in 2022, an 11% increase over the previous year & a new record. The value of those machines totaled $2.38B, an +18% increase over the prior year, according to data.
Yahoo plans to lay off more than 20% of its total 8,600 workforce as part of a major restructuring. The tech company is reorganizing its advertising unit, which will lose over 50% of the department by the end of the year. Apollo Global Management, a private equity firm, acquired Yahoo in 2021 for $5B from Verizon, which had bought the company in 2017.
Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates believes ChatGPT, a chatbot that gives strikingly human-like responses to user queries, is as significant as the invention of the internet, in an interview published on Friday. “Until now, artificial intelligence could read & write, but could not understand the content. The new programs like ChatGPT will make many office jobs more efficient by helping to write invoices or letters. This will change our world,” he said.
Following a round of new sanctions from the West, Russia is now facing more challenges in holding up its production of oil, a key source of revenue for the state budget, which posted a $25B deficit in January alone. Reduced export volumes also shrank Russia’s current account surplus by 58.2% to $8B in January, squeezing Russia’s capital buffers at a time when Russia needs to ramp up budget spending due to the war in Ukraine.
The U.S. is preparing to impose a 200% tariff on Russian-made aluminum as soon as this week, to keep pressure on the Russian government, as the 1-year anniversary of the invasion of Ukraine nears. There are still concerns in the Biden administration about collateral damage on U.S. industries, specifically aerospace & automobiles

On Friday, a U.S. F-22 fighter jet shot down an unidentified object flying high over Alaska; The global gas & oil industry had historic gains from the fallout of the war in Ukraine; Credit Suisse is dealing with a disaster. Shares fell -14.73 on Thursday to the bottom of the European STOXX 600 index; The U.K. economy indicated zero growth in Q4 2022 – enough for it to avoid entering a recession for now, but faces tough prospects in 2023.

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