US-Germany tie; China crackdown on crypto; Qantas to cut costs

In today’s episode, we revisit the Russia-Germany Nord Stream II gas pipeline project after Washington eased some pressure towards its construction, discuss how China’s fresh crackdown on cryptocurrencies are affecting Bitcoin and Ethereum trade, and look at Australian airline career Qantas and its plans to cut costs after estimating losses of approximately $1.5 billion.

Today on The Leaders' Brief -
  • Last week, the US withdrew sanctions on a company and an individual involved with the construction of the contentious US-Germany undersea gas pipeline project, Nord Stream 2. The US state department said that it was in the US National interest to lift sanctions on Nord Stream 2 AG and its CEO Matthias Warnig, an ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin. The department, however, noted that the two remain engaged in sanctionable activity. 

  • China’s announcement that it was increasing curbs on crypto trade in the country has escalated concerns of crypto owners worldwide. Between May 19th and 20th, the crypto market saw $460 billion in losses, a large portion of which is not expected to be recovered. China, which has launched and is experimenting with its own digital currency, had since 2017 brought in several regulations to discourage crypto trade in the country. At that time China accounted for almost 90% of all bitcoin mining. 

  • Australian air carrier Qantas announced a new voluntary redundancy program for the international crew as part of additional cost-cutting measures after revealing that it estimates losses at about $2 billion this year. The announcement came days after Australia said that it has no intention of lifting international border restrictions before mid-2022. 

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