Evergrande, the harms of Instagram for teenage girls and the K craze in India | Business and Economy News

Another week has passed, and Friday is here. What is the status of vaccines? Depends on who you ask. Is the pandemic getting better or worse? Depends on where you look. And how is the global economy doing as it tries to bounce back from COVID-19? Again, it’s in the eye of the beholder. The United Nations this week warned that developing countries could shoulder the lion’s share of the costs of the pandemic.

This week we had a choice of numbers and stories. We’ve picked some easy-to-digest news nuggets for you – five numbers we think you need to know before the weekend.

Some are updates on already dire situations such as the worsening oil price crisis in Lebanon. Others are new discoveries. The Wall Street Journal revealed this week that Facebook knows exactly how its Instagram photo-sharing app is hurting girls’ mental health.

And of course, we haven’t forgotten the story that has more and more legions of edgy investors. Chinese group Evergrande – the world’s most indebted real estate developer – could be heading for a messy default that could have far-reaching consequences for the world’s second-largest economy and beyond.

If all of this makes you want to squat at home, rock your remote, and watch Netflix all weekend, you’re not alone. Indians, locked up to stop the spread of the coronavirus, have done just that – binge on Netflix. Their preference so clear? South Korean dramas.

We have these stories and more. So start reading and enjoy the weekend.


That’s the number of years since Occupy Wall Street protesters gathered in Zuccotti Park in lower Manhattan. Their protest sparked a national dialogue in the United States and beyond on income inequality, and incorporated terms such as “1%” and “the 99%” into the modern lexicon.

Occupy Wall Street was born out of the Great Recession which spanned from December 2007 to June 2009. As the world marks Occupy 10th anniversary, Al Jazeera’s Courtney Kealy explores what the movement has accomplished, its influence over a generation and where it is headed at a time when the richest 1% control 28.8% of America’s wealth. Read this story here.

38 percent

The Lebanese government on Friday hiked gasoline prices by nearly 38% in a bid to completely cut fuel subsidies and tackle crippling fuel shortages.

The price of 20 liters of 95 and 98 octane gasoline rose to 174,300 ($ 11.24) and 180,000 ($ 11.64) Lebanese pounds respectively on Friday – the equivalent of nearly a quarter what a minimum wage person earns per month.

Lebanese authorities hike gasoline prices to deal with fuel shortages [File: Mohamed Azakir/Reuters]

The rise in oil prices is one of the first steps taken by the new Lebanese government of Prime Minister Najib Mikati, which has the Herculean task of pulling the country out of an economic crisis which the World Bank classifies as one of three worst in the world for 150 years.

Because Al Jazeera’s Kareem Chehayeb has this story here.

$ 300 billion

This is the amount of debt under which the Chinese group Evergrande is sinking. And concerns are growing that if it defaults on its debt, it could spell disaster for the Chinese real estate market and send shockwaves through the world’s second largest economy.

Evergrande, founded in 1996, is currently the most indebted real estate developer in the world with 1,300 real estate projects in 280 cities in China.

Are Chinese authorities planning to allow Evergrande’s creditors to absorb the pain of a default, or will the country’s Communist government step in to soften the blow?

Al Jazeera’s Kaelyn Forde takes a look at everything you need to know about Evergrande and its potentially far-reaching issues. Read this story here.

One on three

This is how many teenage body problems are made worse by using Facebook’s Instagram photo-sharing app, a wealth of documents viewed by the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) revealed.

Instagram Owner Facebook Knows His Photo Sharing App Is Disrupting The Mental Health Of An Entire Generation Of Girls, Wall Street Journal Report Says [File: Thomas White/Reuters]

“Teens blame Instagram for increased rates of anxiety and depression,” reads a slide seen by the WSJ. “This reaction was spontaneous and consistent across all groups. “

The findings are part of the WSJ’s “The Facebook Files” series, which this week revealed, among other things, that Facebook executives are fully aware that their Instagram app is toxic to teenage girls.

Facebook paid $ 1 billion for Instagram in 2012 and sees the photo sharing app – focused on posting perfect photos – as an essential tool for growing its young user base.

Over 40 percent of Instagram users are 22 or younger, while Facebook’s younger audience has declined in recent years. You do the math. More on this story here.

178 percent

This is the number of Korean noodles that Indians have consumed so far in 2021 compared to the whole of 2020, and this is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the growing craze for l ‘India for all things Korean.

South Korean TV series have taken India by storm since the country entered strict closures last year, sparking a love for Korean cuisine, language classes and beauty products.

Indians across the country are copying dance moves from K-pop groups like BTS [File: Yoan Valat/Reuters]

As Indians over-watched K-dramas, Netflix saw a massive 370% increase in K-drama viewers in 2020 compared to 2019, according to Euromonitor.

“For Indians accustomed to masala and Bollywood melodrama, K-dramas have it all: songs, a Mills and Boon romance often conducted in foreign places, a bit of light humor and all the tropes for which Indian commercial cinema is famous, ”writes Al Jazeera’s Suparna. Sharma. Read his report here.

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