Two plants of the UK’s largest fertilizer producer shut down

International Business News – According to Reuters, CF Industries, the UK’s largest fertilizer producer, recently announced that it will suspend operations at two of its plants in England due to the high cost of natural gas as a raw material, which means that carbon dioxide, a byproduct, will also be discontinued and the UK food supply chain is facing a new round of shocks.

CF Industries recently said it has suspended operations at two of its plants in Billingham, northeast England, and Ince, northwest England, due to soaring natural gas prices for a key raw material, halting production of its fertilizer products and carbon dioxide as a byproduct. CF Industries warned of the shutdown in late August of this year. In September last year, the company also received a bailout from the U.K. government after it shut down two major plants due to high gas prices, causing disruptions in the food supply chain in the U.K. market. But the British media reported that the British government may not come to the aid of the shutdown.

Carbon dioxide is used in a wide range of applications in the food industry, such as slaughtering animals to render them unconscious; filling bags with carbon dioxide to extend the shelf life of food; using carbon dioxide to make dry ice to keep food fresh; and filling beer and carbonated drinks with large amounts of carbon dioxide. The Financial Times reported that although CF Industries’ current share of the U.K. carbon dioxide market is down from last year’s shutdown, it still holds nearly a third of the market.

The British Meat Processors Association said the shutdown has already put pressure on slaughterers, and that even before the shutdown, wholesale CO2 prices had risen sharply. A brewer in the Greater Manchester area said the price of carbon dioxide was £250 per tonne in June this year, while it recently reached £2,800 per tonne. Many brewers have been unable to supply the number of beers originally booked by pubs and retail businesses and are losing customers, industry insiders said.

UK may sacrifice copyright laws to attract large AI companies

International Business News – Text-generated images are a new technology. Some argue that a recent proposed rule in the UK is detrimental to copyrighted photographs.

Matt Growcoot, news editor for the professional photography equipment review site PetaPixel, writes, “For photographers, they need to ask themselves. For photographers, they need to ask themselves a few questions: How would you feel if you saw an artificially intelligent image based on your photo? The second question is, what are you going to do about it?”

“In the age of the Internet, no other type of creator’s rights are trampled on as often as the photographer’s. Artificial intelligence image generators have the potential to be the next trampler.”

If you enter an idea into a text image generator like DALL-E 2, for example, you want a picture of the legendary photographer Ansel Adams. Ansel Adams style, it will provide you with photos that look like the ones Adams took. How does the text image generator know what these photos look like? Obviously, the AI is trained based on these images, which means that the images are fed into the system. However, these images are protected by copyright, so why can they be used for AI training?

OpenAI, an American AI research company, cleverly sidesteps this question and says it has trained DALL-E 2 based on “publicly available” images, including, of course, those that are copyrighted. Just because images can be found in a Google search doesn’t mean they are free to use. This is a gray area of the law, but U.K. government officials are interested in clarifying the issue.

A new proposed exception in U.K. copyright law makes it clear that it is legal to make any online content available to AI. The new regulation would allow machine learning programs to freely use all images posted online, according to a scathing review of the proposed change by the Association of Photographers (AOP).

AOP writes: “On a practical level, this means that the AI bot/crawler will scan or read any digital images on your website or social media accounts and extract any data that the bot has been programmed to search for (images and metadata embedded in the original source and all versions available elsewhere).”

“The bot will make copies for the AI platform so that the AI can learn from them and create new images.”

It’s hard to argue that companies like OpenAI aren’t already doing this. But the U.K. wants to make such practices a safe and protected legal practice. It’s not hard to infer that the U.K. envisions itself as a haven for AI companies and is willing to sacrifice photographers’ copyrights to make that happen, industry insiders say.

UK inflation fuels cost of living crisis

International Business News – Last week, the UK Office for National Statistics released data showing that the UK consumer price index (CPI) rose 9.9% year-on-year in August, a slight drop from the 10.1% rise in July, as auto fuel inflation eased. Still, the figure is more than three times higher than the same period in 2021 (3.2%) and nearly five times higher than the government’s inflation target (2%).

In fact, lower vehicle fuel prices cannot offset the impact of higher food prices. In August, food prices in the UK rose for 13 consecutive months, with an increase of 13.1%, a 14-year high, especially for milk, cheese and eggs, which may exacerbate the cost of living crisis in the UK.

According to market research firm Kantar, the annual average household spending on food in the UK is £5,181, up 12.4% (£571). To cut costs, British households are targeting affordable supermarkets where goods are more affordable. According to the BBC, as of early September, the sales of affordable supermarket Aldi in the UK in the past 12 weeks increased by nearly 20% compared with the same period last year, and its market share surpassed the supermarket chain Morrisons to become the fourth largest supermarket in the UK. At the same time, the sales of private label products launched by supermarket merchants increased by more than 30% compared with last year due to cheaper prices.

In addition to food prices, the British people have to deal with expensive energy expenses in winter.

Earlier, the British energy market regulator (Ofgem) announced that the energy price ceiling in October this year may rise to a staggering 3549 pounds. In this regard, AFP cited the views of charitable groups, assuming that in the coming months, if the inflation rate as predicted by the Bank of England reached 13%, coupled with soaring energy costs, many British families will spend the “most miserable Christmas”, they have to choose between food and heating.

To deal with this situation, the newly appointed British Prime Minister Truss on September 8 announced a cost of more than 100 billion pounds of “energy price guarantee” mechanism, the annual cap on household energy bills set at 2,500 pounds. In comparison, British families last year, the annual cap on energy bills is only 1138 pounds, even with the guarantee mechanism, for many British families, this winter’s energy spending will still be a considerable expense. According to the British media, “The Guardian” reported that an interviewer said that if the annual cap on household energy bills is 2,500 pounds, then his monthly household expenses will be only 200 pounds, to buy food, baby supplies and gasoline budget of only 50 pounds.

Truss: UK-US free trade agreement can not be reached in the short term

International Business News  –  On September 21, local time, the new British Prime Minister Truss will hold a bilateral meeting with US President Biden. The British “Guardian” reported on the 20th that Truss has said that the United Kingdom may not reach a free trade agreement with the United States for several years.

On September 20, local time, Jack Sullivan, assistant to the US president for national security affairs, said at a White House briefing that US President Biden and British Prime Minister Truss will hold talks on the 21st, and the two sides will discuss economic relations between the two countries and North Korea. Irish question, etc. According to the British Prime Minister’s Office, Truss will hold a “comprehensive bilateral meeting” with Biden on the 21st local time. An informal meeting between the two, scheduled for the Queen’s funeral, has been cancelled.

The British “Guardian” said that on the plane to New York, Truss confessed to reporters: “There is no negotiation with the United States at present, and I do not expect to start negotiations in the short to medium term.” The report pointed out that this is the British government. It was admitted for the first time that there was little chance of a preliminary bilateral trade deal with the United States, Britain’s largest trading partner. And this has always been seen by supporters of Britain’s “Brexit” as a major potential benefit of the UK leaving the EU. The Guardian said the downplaying of expectations, disappointing for Brexiters, was because Truss feared that over-promising but failing to start negotiations would damage the new government.

In 2019, coinciding with Britain’s exit from the European Union, then-Prime Minister Johnson placed strong hopes on the United States for future trade partnerships. The U.S. also pledged to sign a free trade agreement with the U.K. to help mitigate the economic impact of Brexit. At the time, Truss was the British Minister of International Trade, responsible for negotiations with the United States. However, due to the subsequent new crown epidemic, coupled with the U.S. opposition to the U.K.’s desire to amend the Northern Ireland Protocol, agriculture and trade in services and many other issues emerged, so that the U.K.’s expectations here in the U.S. first fell short. Some analysts believe that on the issue of trade, the UK needs more than the United States. And without the “protection” of the relevant EU free trade agreements, the UK is bound to be at a disadvantage in the negotiations with the United States.

There is also public opinion that the relationship between Truss and Biden has previously become strained due to the Northern Ireland issue, and Truss may take a tougher diplomatic stance in key areas of British national interest. But for the U.S., Britain’s position is declining day by day, and the EU clearly has a greater voice than Britain on matters of a range of international and regional issues.

Queen Elizabeth II dies at age 96

International Business News  –  Buckingham Palace confirmed on the 8th that Queen Elizabeth II died at Balmoral Castle in Scotland that afternoon at the age of 96.

After Queen Elizabeth II’s death, her eldest son, Crown Prince Charles, took over the throne. The King and Queen are due to return to the capital, London, on the 9th, a statement from Buckingham Palace said.

Buckingham Palace released information earlier on the 8th that the Queen’s health was worrying, and many of her relatives rushed to Scotland.

Queen Elizabeth II has seen a marked reduction in public engagements following the death of her husband, Prince Philip, in April last year, and canceled or postponed several official engagements following a hospital check in October last year. In February this year, she was diagnosed with the new crown virus. In early June, the United Kingdom held a series of events to celebrate the 70th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II’s accession to the throne, and she missed several official functions due to illness. On the 6th of this month, Elizabeth II appointed Truss as the new prime minister at Balmoral Castle. The royal family announced the next day that the Queen had postponed a virtual Privy Council meeting.

Queen Elizabeth II was born in April 1926 and succeeded to the throne in 1952, making her the longest-reigning monarch in British history.

To make the UK a country of aspirations

International Business News – The new British Prime Minister Truss officially took office on September 6. She delivered a speech after taking office, saying that the UK is facing global challenges brought about by the Russian-Ukrainian war and the new crown epidemic, threatening to implement a “bold plan” to reform the UK, and put forward three policy policies, including tax cuts and dealing with the energy crisis. Confidence that the country can “go through the storm”.

According to reports, after former British Prime Minister Johnson stepped down on the 6th and officially resigned to the Queen, Truss went to Balmoral Castle in Scotland on the same day to meet the Queen to accept her appointment and become the new Prime Minister. Truss became the fifteenth Prime Minister appointed by the Queen of England.

According to reports, Truss returned to No. 10 Downing Street to deliver her inaugural speech later. She first announced that she had accepted the Queen’s invitation to form a government and thanked Johnson for his contributions to Brexit and the new crown vaccine. Afterwards, Truss said it was time to tackle the issues holding back the UK, including building roads, houses and fast broadband to ease the burden on households and make the UK an “aspirational nation”.

Truss reportedly suggested three jobs to tackle first:

The first, on the economy, focuses on ‘getting Britain working again’, including tax cuts and reforms to the tax system to boost growth and investment from businesses so the UK can operate, build and grow. She also promised that the country would build more hospitals, schools and broadband networks.

The second item is about energy. She pledged to deal with the energy crisis immediately, taking action this week to tackle high energy prices and secure future energy supplies.

The third is for national health care. She said it would allow people to make an appointment to see a doctor and get the NHS services they need to keep the health service on the ground.

The report pointed out that the United Kingdom is currently facing an inflation crisis, and what policies will be launched after Truss comes to power has always been concerned. British and American media quoted news earlier that Truss intends to freeze household energy bills for one and a half years, and is preparing to give business Provide a support package of up to 40 billion pounds.

Truss to take over as UK Prime Minister

International Business News  –  According to Agence France-Presse London news, British Foreign Secretary Elizabeth Truss has won the internal leadership battle of the ruling British Conservative Party and was announced on September 5 local time as the new leader of the Conservative Party and will succeed Boris Johnson. Became Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.

After Johnson’s resignation in July, the Conservative Party’s internal rivalry lasted a full summer, with Truss finally beating his rival, former chancellor Rishi Sunak, by 81,326 votes to 60,399 votes.

UK slips to world’s sixth-largest economy, behind India

International Business News  –  Britain has fallen behind India to become the world’s sixth-largest economy, in another blow to the government as it grapples with a brutal cost-of-living crisis.

India overtook the UK to become the fifth-largest economy in the final three months of 2021, the report said. The ranking is based on gross domestic product (GDP) figures in dollar terms by the International Monetary Fund, and India widened its lead over Britain in the first quarter of this year.

Britain’s slide in international rankings is an unwelcome backdrop for the new prime minister. Conservative Party members will choose Boris Johnson’s successor on the 5th. The winner will take over a country facing the fastest inflation in 40 years and a growing risk of recession. The Bank of England says the recession is likely to last until 2024.

In contrast, India’s economy is expected to grow by more than 7% this year. Indian stocks were the world’s biggest gainer this quarter, rising to the second-highest weighting on the MSCI Emerging Markets index behind China.

The IMF’s own projections show that in dollar terms, India will overtake Britain this year as an economic power behind the United States, China, Japan and Germany. A decade ago, India was the 11th largest economy and the UK was the fifth.

GCC and UK Launch FTA Talks

International Business News – The first phase of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC)-UK FTA negotiations was officially launched on August 22 with the presence of GCC member states’ trade ministers, GCC Secretary General Dr. Nayef Al Hajraf and UK Trade Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan, according to the Bahrain Daily Forum. A joint declaration to launch FTA negotiations between GCC member states and the UK, signed in Riyadh on June 22, 2022, laid the groundwork for the official launch of the negotiations.

In his speech at the opening of the first phase of the FTA negotiations, Dr. Nayef expressed hope that the negotiations would lead to an ambitious free trade agreement (FTA) and open new horizons for joint investment.The GCC leaders believe that these negotiations will deepen cooperation between the countries and the UK in all areas of the economy, trade and investment. The first phase of the negotiations took place by video and lasted until Aug. 25.

UK domestic output fell by 11.0% in 2020

International Business News  –  According to several foreign media reports, the latest official data released by the United Kingdom on Monday showed that the country’s domestic output in 2020 recorded its sharpest decline in more than 300 years. The UK economy has been hit particularly hard by the impact of the coronavirus, with domestic output falling more sharply in 2020 than any other major economy.

UK domestic output fell by 11.0% in 2020, according to the latest revisions from the Office for National Statistics. According to historical data provided by the Bank of England, the drop was larger than any previous estimate by the Office for National Statistics and the largest drop in domestic output in Britain since 1709.

Earlier, preliminary calculations by the Office for National Statistics showed that domestic output in the UK in 2020 fell by the most since the “Great Frost” of 1709. But the ONS later revised the drop to 9.3%, the country’s biggest annual drop since the First World War.

As more data came out, the ONS further revised its domestic output decline figure, and the 11.0% drop also made the UK surpass Spain’s 10.8% as the largest decline among major economies.

However, U.S. News & World Report said the ONS cautioned against making direct comparisons with other countries, as most countries, except the U.S., do not apply such in-depth revisions to domestic output as in the U.K.

It is worth mentioning that although the UK economy will rebound sharply in 2021, it is facing the risk of recession again this year due to difficulties such as the energy crisis and soaring inflation. Recently, analysts at Europe’s Saxo Bank warned that the UK is becoming an “emerging market country”.