The Week Unwrapped: Saudi feud, a snap election and taxing burps

Olly Mann and The Week delve behind the headlines and debate what really matters from the past seven days.

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In this week’s episode, we discuss:

Joe Biden vs Saudi Arabia

Opec’s recent decision to cut oil production was not only a blow to hopes that falling fuel prices would alleviate pressure on the global economy, it was also a personal snub to Joe Biden. He had flown to Saudi Arabia and urged the oil-rich country’s leaders to keep production levels up in order to increase the effectiveness of sanctions against Russia. He may also have had an eye on the midterm elections: petrol prices may help to determine who controls Congress in 2023. Now Biden says Saudi Arabia will face consequences for its decision.

Malaysian elections

The prime minister of Malaysia announced this week that he would seek re-election in a snap election next month. The unexpected poll will be the latest in a series of political upheavals that have rippled through the country since the 1MDB corruption scandal embroiled its sovereign wealth fund in 2015. The campaign will also fuel a complex web of personal rivalries. But could the result put Malaysia on the path to political stability.

Bovine emissions

The New Zealand government is planning to tax farmers for the methane produced by their cattle, as it seeks to rein in greenhouse gas emissions. Unusually, the country’s livestock are responsible for more emissions than its human population. Under the new proposals the new farm levy, due to come in to effect in 2025, will fund technology, research and incentive payments for people working in agriculture. But the Federated Farmers trade body has said the tax will “rip the guts out of small town New Zealand”.


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