Ella the toy poodle and this carefree parrot have been best friends since day 1. So cute! @ella_thetoypoodle
Ella the toy poodle and this carefree parrot have been best friends since day 1. So cute! @ella_thetoypoodle
The former secretary of state struck a sarcastic tone with her withering tweet.
The cats are now being cared for by their rescuers at their command post on the island of Koh Lipe.
Xlife Sciences AG and Solothurn-based anfass Life Technologies AG have entered a joint venture. Hence, the jointly founded Quadira Biosciences AG has access to the 3D CoSeedis(TM) technology platform of abc biopply ag. This unique 3D cell technology enables the replication of human tissue for reliable testing and characterization of antibodies without animal testing. Xlife's technology platform for the development of antibodies will be used even more efficiently.
SBS suspends broadcasts from Chinese state-run channels over 'forced confessions'Human rights organisation says CGTN and CCTV channels regularly featured footage of prisoners making confessions under duress A program from the CGTN archives. SBS has suspended broadcasts from the Chinese state-owned channel over human rights concerns. Photograph: Leon Neal/Getty Images
(Bloomberg) -- Oil headed toward $65 a barrel after OPEC+ chose not to relax supply curbs even as the global economy pulls out of its pandemic-driven slump, confounding widespread expectations the group would loosen the taps.The surprise decision spurred a wave of crude price forecast upgrades by major banks. The producer alliance agreed to hold output steady in April, while Saudi Arabia said that it will maintain its 1 million barrel-a-day voluntary production cut. West Texas Intermediate rose a further 1.5% in Asian trading, after surging by more than 4% to the highest close since April 2019 on Thursday. Brent climbed to as much as $68 a barrel.See also: Saudis Bet ‘Drill, Baby, Drill’ Is Over in Push for Pricier OilCrude has soared this year, shepherded higher by OPEC+ restraining supplies and the vaccine-aided recovery in consumption that’s drained inventories. The group’s decision represents a victory for Riyadh, which has advocated for tight curbs to keep prices supported.The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies including Russia had been debating whether to restore as much as 1.5 million barrels a day of output. As part of the agreement, which was struck at a virtual meeting on Thursday, Russia and Kazakhstan were granted exemptions. The group’s next meeting is set for April 1 to discuss production levels for May.Saudi Arabia’s bold and unexpected gamble to restrain production is founded upon its view that, this time around, higher prices will not lead to a big increase in output by American shale drillers. Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman told Bloomberg News in an interview after the OPEC+ meeting that shale companies are now more focused on dividends.Oil’s rapid gains this year stand to intensify the debate about the potential resurgence in inflation, and complicate the task facing the Federal Reserve as it supports the U.S. recovery. The Treasury market is already on edge for signs of faster price gains, with yields rising rapidly. Crude is up more than 8% since Tuesday’s close despite a strengthening of the dollar and a steep sell-off in other major commodities, especially economic bellwether copper.Saudi Arabia’s optimism over U.S. shale remaining subdued appears plausible for now, said Vandana Hari, founder of Vanda Insights in Singapore. However, “the kingdom might be pushing its luck if it pursues the hawkish path for too long” and oil can’t remain fully immune to broader risk-aversion, she said.See also: Here’s What Top Banks Are Saying About the Saudi-Led Oil ShockGoldman Sachs Group Inc. raised its Brent forecasts by $5 a barrel and now sees the global crude benchmark at $80 in the third quarter. JPMorgan Chase & Co. increased its Brent projection by $2 to $3 a barrel and Australia & New Zealand Banking Group Ltd. boosted its three-month target to $70. Citigroup Inc. said crude prices could top $70 before the end of this month.Change CourseOil rising to these levels will likely increase strains within OPEC+ as some members will want to pump more to relieve under-pressure economies, Citi said in a note. Top importers such as China and India would also not be happy and the alliance is likely to change course at its next meeting, it said.The lack of fresh supply was reflected in oil’s futures curve. Brent’s prompt timespread widened to 61 cents in backwardation, a bullish structure where near-dated prices are higher than later-dated ones, from 54 cents Thursday.More evidence of the demand recovery continued to emerge, especially in Asia. Gasoline and diesel consumption in China has extended its run above pre-virus levels this year after the faster-than-expected return of factory activity and infrastructure building following the Lunar New Year holiday.In addition to the fallout from the OPEC+ shock, investors are tracking China’s National People’s Congress, the nation’s biggest political meeting of the year. Beijing set a conservative economic growth target of above 6% for the year, well below what economists had forecast. It said it will increase stockpiles of oil and gas in its new five-year plan and improve the reserves system, while it will also seek to diversify its sources of energy imports.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2021 Bloomberg L.P.
Holiday hopes have been raised for Britons after Cyrpus said it will open its borders to people in the UK who have received a Covid-19 vaccine from the beginning of May. Royal College of Nursing general secretary Dame Donna Kinnair accused the Government of being “dangerously” out of touch. Meanwhile, scientists are tracking the emergence of a new coronavirus variant in the UK.
The Ministry of Health has confirmed nine new COVID-19 cases in Singapore on Friday (5 March), taking the country's total case count to 60,007.
London Stock Exchange Group posted steady full year results for 2020 on Friday, announcing a 7% dividend increase as integration of its $27 billion acquisition of data and analytics company Refinitiv stepped up a gear. The exchange said that its FTSE Russell stock indexes business in Britain and most of its other information services will be slotted into a newly formed data and analytics division, as data eclipses the group's trading operations. "While early days, the work we have done so far confirms the quality of the business and the extent of the opportunities across the group as we focus on integration and delivering the strategic and financial benefits of the transaction," LSE chief executive David Schwimmer said in a statement.
Health minister Nadine Dorries opened the door to a possible U-turn on NHS pay after a furious backlash over a proposed hike of just one per cent for doctors and nurses who have led the battle against Covid-19. Former nurse Ms Dorries insisted that the offer for health workers was what the Government could afford but then suggested it could “move” on it. “That will be discussed, then we will wait for feedback from unions and other health sector stakeholders, and see where we move to on this but the one per cent is what the Government can afford.”
Buckingham Palace has announced a probe into allegations of bullying made against Meghan by former members of staff
It’s leaving fans very entertained
Britain's Financial Conduct Authority on Friday called a formal end to nearly all Libor rates on December 31 as anticipated, piling pressure on markets to complete their biggest change in decades. The London Interbank Offered Rate or Libor is being replaced by rates compiled by central banks after lenders were fined billions of dollars for trying to rig what was once dubbed the world's most important number, used for pricing home loans and credit cards across the world. "This is an important step towards the end of Libor, and the Bank of England and FCA urge market participants to continue to take the necessary action to ensure they are ready," the FCA said in a statement.
The spinach stems were too long; that’s what I got for shopping at the bougiest supermarket in Astoria, New York. But, I would make them work regardless. I dumped the greens — freakishly long stems and all — into a nearby bowl. I grabbed a pair of kitchen scissors, ready to chop them down to size. As my hands began to move on autopilot, trimming and discarding the stems, I found myself smirking, then smiled, chuckling aloud. My housemate, Alex, looked up at me. “I feel like my grandma,” I said, proudly. Alex let out a loud, “Awww.” I smiled even more widely. When I was growing up, my maternal grandmother, Lois Ann, could usually be found in one of two places in her Queens Village home: at the kitchen sink or at the dining room table, peeling potatoes, washing tilapia, or snapping string beans. It’s a ritual that’s continued even as she’s entered her ninth decade. Just last month, during a casual Sunday visit, my grandma asked me to snap that night’s string beans with her. Grandma prefers to take charge in the kitchen, so an invitation to join in on meal prep always feels like receiving a golden ticket. She endearingly shook her head at the way I snapped my beans — clumsy and crooked — before finally saying: “Watch me.” I did, just as I always had, in awe of her speed and skill. My grandmother grew up on a farm in North Carolina, in the years after WWII. Her mother died when she was six, so she was raised by her grandma, Ella Louise. Grandma grew sweet potatoes in the backyard with her younger sister and caught and killed chickens for Sunday dinner. She eyed Ella Louise as the older woman cooked, watching her grandmother’s skilled hands. When my grandmother turned 10, it was finally her turn. Soon enough, she was perfecting mouth-watering dishes like collard greens seasoned with bell peppers, onions, and bacon fat; coconut and pecan pies; and macaroni and cheese made with margarine. When Grandma left the South for New York and married my grandfather in 1960, she carried the recipes of her youth into this next chapter of her life with him in the Bronx. Grandpa, born and bred in South Carolina, quickly learned to love the North’s preference for rice over white potatoes. The next two generations of her family held up my grandma’s dishes as the definition of what good home cooking was supposed to be. Even the most mundane weekday could turn into an impromptu gathering at her dining table. Grandma would buy pounds of cod, tilapia, and flounder at the Sutphin Boulevard fish market in Jamaica, Queens, and set off a phone tree between my aunts, cousins, mom, sister, and me: “Grandma’s making fish, you coming over?” Every birthday meant a chocolate, vanilla, or strawberry cake — baked from scratch, of course — was waiting for the birthday girl — or Grandpa — at the head of the table. From the mid-2000s to the early-2010s, we observed “spaghetti day” every Wednesday — a tradition born out of our collective love of Grandma’s spaghetti dressed in meat sauce, which was always served with fried fish and a side of steamed carrots or broccoli. There was only one downside to growing up under a matriarch whose talent was throwing down in the kitchen: Grandma allowed no one to help her fry, boil, or steam anything. And I never learned on my own. Why go through the trouble of learning to cook or bake if I could just wait for my grandmother to place a plate in front of me? As a result, cooking instructions of any kind made my eyes glaze over. Advice about the ideal water-to-rice ratio or how to know when pasta is done went in one ear and out the other. The desire to prepare meals more involved than a tuna-and-cheese sandwich got further away from me as I got older. I was spoiled, but also intimidated, and clumsy around food. Grandma’s gusto in the kitchen had trickled down to my mom, aunts, sister, and cousins — all of whom taught themselves how to cook — but skipped teaching me. I moved upstate for college in 2010, then commuted to and from grad school four years later. The time away from Grandma’s dining table jump-started my survival instincts. I learned some basics, though I still mostly stalled out at microwaved curry over minute-rice and rigatoni alfredo. It wasn’t until I moved into my first apartment an hour away from my family in 2018 that I became responsible for cooking all my own meals. And my transition from boxed pasta to glazed carrots wasn’t seamless. When I wasn’t charring vegetables by accident, I was drying out salmon. Grandma would have cringed if she’d seen me. Progress was slow, but by the third preparation of each meal in my mental Rolodex, I’d gotten the portions of salt right and learned how hot was too hot. Mastering some more involved dishes also helped me realize that I was less proud of a perfectly prepared meal than I was of my burgeoning food prep skills. The times I most wanted to brag to my grandma were when I found myself expertly chopping tofu into cubes of eight, sautéeing spinach leaves in garlic, or seasoning a salmon fillet “just right” with jerk powder. The act of preparing each meal mirrored the familiar sight of my grandma sitting at the dining room table and snapping her string beans; it was when I felt closest to her. My visits to Grandma’s kitchen have slowed to a near halt; commuting across the borough admittedly gets time-consuming and expensive, and the pandemic has only made it harder. But I still recount my efforts and milestones to Grandma over the phone, and am gratified when I hear the surprise in her soft laughter as I tell her of my accomplishments. The times I am able to stop by are cause for a celebration these days, events honored by Grandma frying flounder, making spaghetti, and steaming broccoli, even if it’s just the two of us catching up at her kitchen table. Occasionally, one of us has brought up the spaghetti days of yesteryear, over a decade earlier. I’ve asked Grandma if she misses them, and she rested her chin in her hands. “Oh yes,” she said wistfully. “But it’s just not the same anymore.” Outside of holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas, my grandma’s kitchen is the emptiest it’s ever been. The years have moved not only me, but also my aunts and my cousins further away. Age and illness have slowed my grandma down. But even so, Grandma recently told me she never stopped calling my cousins on Wednesdays to ask if anyone was coming over. The days of us gathering around her table while she refilled our plates with a smile stayed fresh in her mind. “Anything for the grandkids,” she still says. There are times when the distance between Grandma’s kitchen and my own feel especially wide. But during mealtimes, I always feel close to her. I’ll stand by the stove and watch as the ingredients I chopped, seasoned, and toasted come together to create my breakfast, lunch, dinner, or dessert. As I eat, I imagine sitting at my grandma’s table, rambling excitedly to her about some dessert I read about that I just have to bake next, while she cleanly snaps string beans and watches me go on, a smile forming. I’ll watch her work the whole time, and consider buying string beans at the supermarket the next day. Mine may be more snapped more crookedly than the ones Grandma prepares, but they’ll still taste nearly as good. Like what you see? How about some more R29 goodness, right here?5 Delicious Recipes From The Diaspora You Must TryCooking Shortcuts To Improve Your Lockdown MealsThe Tastiest Batch Cook Recipes To End Washing Up
A 1% pay rise for NHS workers is "the most" the government can afford due to the economic cost of the COVID crisis, a health minister has told Sky News. The government is facing a furious backlash after calling for healthcare staff in England to be restricted to a pay rise of 1%.
Carpenter said she shared her story to ‘identify a very real problem that is still happening 20 years later’
After the worst season of his career, Ender Inciarte is eager to show he’s not washed up. The Atlanta Braves outfielder batted just .190 in the pandemic-shortened year and was left off the roster for all three rounds of a postseason run that came up one win short of the World Series. “I was really sad,” Inciarte said.
(Bloomberg) -- China’s most senior officials gathered in Beijing to kick off the annual full-session of the country’s parliament, the National People’s Congress.Chinese Premier Li Keqiang unveiled a conservative target for economic growth this year of above 6% that signals more restrained monetary and fiscal policies this year, in contrast to other major nations still pumping in stimulus. But China’s new five-year plan that runs through 2025 didn’t give a numeric target for average growth.What to Know:Click here to read more on this year’s NPCEverything you need to knowFull NPC reports. Highlights hereA QuickTake explainer on the NPCWhat analysts say to watch out for this yearBloomberg Intelligence previews the NPC. Reaction to GDP goalHow China plans to be greener by 2025Clips of other reactions here and here. Key takeaways hereLatest developments: (Time-stamps are local time in Beijing)Upcoming Events: Foreign Minister, 5-Year Plan BriefingKey upcoming NPC events that have been announced so far include:March 7, afternoon — Foreign Minister Wang Yi speaks to mediaMarch 8, 10 a.m. — NDRC Vice Chairman Ning Jizhe discusses 14th five-year plan at briefingMarch 8, 3 p.m. — NPC plenary session, with delegates listening to work reports delivered by NPC standing committee chairman, head of of the supreme court and the top procuratorMarch 11, 3 p.m. — NPC closing session. Delegates will vote on work reports, 14th Five-Year Plan, and other legislative revisions including decision on revising Hong Kong’s electoral systemMaskless Xi (2:22 p.m.)Despite being one of the first countries in the world to authorize vaccines for use, China has said nothing about the vaccination status of its top leaders, who all — including President Xi Jinping — appeared without face masks in Beijing Friday, mingling with thousands of delegates from across China at the country’s biggest political gathering of the year.While officials seated in the rows behind them were all masked, Xi and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang moved around the Great Hall of the People, where the National People’s Congress is opened every year, mask-free. The exception seemed to apply only to members of the Politburo and a handful of other top Communist Party leaders. Xi also went without a mask at last year’s NPC, seen as a statement on China’s virus success with the Wuhan outbreak largely quelled.Export to Rise More Than 50% (2:20 p.m.)China’s exports may have risen more than 50% in January to February, He Lifeng, head of the nation’s economic planning agency, said in a group interview. Power consumption and generation increased by more than 20%, the economy kept improving in the first two months, though the external environment poses challenges to the Chinese economy, he said.Family Offices Overhaul (12:30 p.m.)Xiao Gang, former chairman of China’s securities regulator, proposed revising the nation’s family trust law, saying impediments such as high taxes have forced many family trusts to hoard cash rather than make investments, according to the China Securities Journal.Assets controlled by China’s wealthiest people are expected to double from 2019 to 116 trillion yuan ($18 trillion) by 2025, according to UBS Global Research. But according to a Credit Suisse Group AG report in October, wealth inequality has also risen rapidly, estimating that the country had 5.8 million millionaires and 21,100 residents had wealth of above $50 million — more than any country except the U.S. — at the end of 2019.Steelmakers Optimistic (12:27 p.m.)Chinese steelmakers are optimistic for this year as the nation’s efforts to decarbonize and consolidate the industry continue, the China Economic Times reported, citing steel mill executives at the National People’s Congress. Demand will improve this year, benefiting from high growth targets set by local governments at the start of the 14th five-year plan, according to Xia Wenyong, chairman of Xinyu Iron & Steel Group. Steel production may drop marginally after the country’s pledge to cut output from a record high last year, said Li Lijian, chairman of Anyang Iron & Steel Group.Feeding 1.4 Billion Mouths (12:25 p.m.)China rolled out a roadmap to boost crop production in the world’s most populous nation, highlighting concerns over food security after the country imported record amounts of meat, corn and soybeans last year. Measures include creating agricultural belts devoted to large-scale farming and providing sufficient subsidies to motivate grain farmers, according to the latest five-year plan that sets out key economic and political goals through 2025.Food security is moving to the top of the government’s agenda after the coronavirus pandemic and outbreaks of African swine fever raised concerns over whether China could guarantee food supplies for its 1.4 billion people. Imports of meat and grains surged last year, driving global prices higher and stoking worries over food inflation.Fresh Blow to Tech Giants (12:27 p.m.)China called on its technology giants to share key data, dealing a further blow to the companies already reeling from heightened antitrust scrutiny.Companies are encouraged to open up data related to areas from search to e-commerce and social media, in order to promote the healthy development of the sharing and online economies, according to a government report outlining the Communist Party’s top priorities for the next five years. Beijing is also establishing a platform for sharing public and government data.China also pledged to boost spending and drive research into cutting-edge chips and artificial intelligence in its latest five-year targets, laying out a technological blueprint to vie for global influence with the U.S.Biosecurity (11:45 a.m.)China plans to ramp up the construction and management of biosecurity labs to prepare for future emerging diseases, while it also grapples with allegations from the U.S. that the coronavirus outbreak could have resulted from a lab leak.The country seeks to “comprehensively enhance biosecurity governance capabilities” by improving its monitoring and emergence preparedness, according to a document outlining major policy priorities through 2025. The report was released Friday as lawmakers from the world’s second-largest economy meet in Beijing for the annual parliamentary session.More Oversight of Ant? (11:30 a.m.)China plans to step up oversight of financial holding companies and the nation’s booming fintech industry, Premier Li Keqiang said, setting the tone for closer scrutiny over the next five years of behemoths including Jack Ma’s Ant Group Co.The authorities will also expand an anti-monopoly crackdown and prevent the “unregulated” expansion of capital to create fair competition, Li said Friday at the opening of the National People’s Congress. The fintech sector should be developed in a “prudent” manner and China aims to create a “deviation correction” mechanism to fix and suspend innovative financial products when needed, according to a separate plan covering policies for 2021 to 2025.China’s policymakers are walking a fine line of trying to curb risks at home while encouraging local champions as the economy opens wider to foreign capital. Fintech has become the latest target of scrutiny since the nation’s leaders pledged in 2017 to clean up threats to its $53 trillion financial industry, tackling property loans, opaque wealth management products and fraud-riddled peer-to-peer lending.Overhauling H.K. Electoral System (11:16 a.m.)China is curbing the ability of democracy activists to win elections in Hong Kong, with local reports saying a vote for the territory’s legislature would be delayed another year to September 2022.The National People’s Congress will review a draft resolution on changes to Hong Kong’s electoral system in the coming days, according to an agenda published Thursday by the official Xinhua News Agency. For weeks Chinese President Xi Jinping and other officials have called for “patriots” to run Hong Kong, effectively signaling that anybody deemed disloyal to Beijing couldn’t hold a leadership position.Separately, Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam said the city will amend local election legislation after China’s top legislative body passes new election rules for the city’s leader and lawmakers. The amendments will be tabled at the legislature for vetting, the principle of “patriots ruling Hong Kong” is fully in line with constitutional requirements of the city and “One Country, Two Systems” will be placed in jeopardy if forces that oppose China and stir up trouble in Hong Kong enter the political system via elections, she said.Tackling Housing (11:02 a.m.)China pledged to solve the housing problem in large cities at its top legislative session, as monetary loosening after the pandemic spurred a rush to real estate in the biggest hubs, pushing home affordability there to the worst ever.“We will address prominent housing issues in large cities,” Premier Li Keqiang said. Li echoed President Xi Jinping’s mantra that houses are “for living in, not for speculation” in the key report, signaling that policy makers may maintain a tight rein on the bubble-prone sector. “We will keep the prices of land and housing as well as market expectations stable,” he said.Boosting Usage of Non-Fossil Fuels (10:52 a.m.)In its 14th 5-year plan released Friday, China said it plans non-fossil fuels to account for 20% of energy use by 2025, versus 15% at the end of 2019. The country is also targeting it nuclear power capacity to increase about 40% to 70 gigawatts by 2025.China will also boost oil-and-gas exploration, expand its gas pipeline network, improve coal transportation and increase its ability to ensure supply.More Charging Stations for Electric Cars (10:40 a.m.)China aims to boost auto sales and add more charging facilities for electric vehicles this year. The government will encourage “steady increases” in spending on cars and “abolish excessive restrictions” on the sale of used vehicles, Premier Li Keqiang said Friday. More car parks, EV charging stations and battery-swapping facilities will be built, and battery recycling systems developed at a faster pace, Li said.Premier Calls for Breakthroughs in Core Tech (10:29 a.m.)In his address Friday, Premier Li Keqiang outlined steps the government will take to make China into a global tech power. That includes building more national laboratories and innovation centers, as well as ramping up efforts to implement a little-heard of program called the Sci-Tech Innovation 2030 Agenda. Li also said China’s R&D spending will increase by more than 7% per year, which “is expected to account for a higher percentage of GDP” than during the previous five-year plan.Defense Budget Growth Fastest in Two Years (10:20 a.m.)China’s defense spending is expected to grow 6.8% this year to 1.35 trillion yuan ($208 billion), according a budget report released today. That would be the fastest pace in two years. “We will boost military training and preparedness across the board, make overall plans for responding to security risks in all areas and for all situations,” Premier Li Keqiang said in his work report.Boosting Trade with U.S. Allies (10:05 a.m.)China may join an Asia-Pacific trade pact comprised of key U.S. allies that former President Donald Trump exited, Premier Li Keqiang said Friday. In his work report, Li said Beijing “will actively consider joining” the 11-nation agreement known as the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership. It includes nations that China has sparred with recently such as Australia, Canada and Japan.China Stocks Fall 10% From Recent Peak (9:59 a.m.)Chinese markets opened as Premier Li Keqiang was delivering his work report at the NPC and continued their recent slide, with the benchmark CSI 300 Index dropping as much as 2% at the start of trading. That put the index down 10% from a peak reached on Feb. 10. The rout has come amid growing concern that Beijing will begin to tighten liquidity conditions as the country’s economy recovers from the effects of the coronavirus.Cuts in Carbon Emissions (09:43 a.m.)China will devise a plan for carbon emissions to peak by 2030 and is targeting an 18% cut per unit of GDP by 2025, according to Premier Li’s work report. The nation will also aim for a 3% reduction in energy consumption per unit of GDP in 2021 and a 13.5% reduction by 2025.Tencent’s Pony Ma Makes Proposals (09:16 a.m.)Tencent founder and Chief Executive Pony Ma, who is an NPC delegate, is attending this year’s event in Beijing and submitted a proposal for better preserving China’s natural resources. Ma’s whereabouts have attracted attention after he skipped last year’s NPC and was also absent from several major Tencent events due to health reasons.China Sets Modest GDP Target for 2021 (09:00 a.m.)China set a conservative economic growth target of above 6% for the year, well below what economists forecast, and outlined ongoing fiscal support to keep the country’s recovery going. Other key economic targets include:Fiscal deficit target set at 3.2% of GDP for 2021, versus 3.6% in 2020CPI target set at 3% for 2021, versus around 3.5% in 2020Target for new urban job creation set at 11 million in 2021, versus 9 million in 2020Special government bond quota set at 3.65 trillion yuan in 2021, versus 3.75 trillion yuan in 2020For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2021 Bloomberg L.P.
A TikTok user has documented the jaw-dropping moment she realises something is hiding in her New York apartment.
Orders for German-made goods rose by twice as much as expected in January as robust foreign demand more than offset domestic weakness to buoy manufacturers in Europe's largest economy, official data showed on Friday. The data published by the Federal Statistics Offices showed orders for industrial goods rose on the month by 1.4% in seasonally adjusted terms, compared with a Reuters forecast for a rise of 0.7%. Domestic orders fell by 2.6% on the month while orders from abroad rose by 4.2%.
Laura* had been a fully employed member of the workforce since 1985, and at her most recent job as an office administrator since 1999. In August of 2020, however, in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic and with no other job lined up — or even a plan to find one — she made the decision to quit. “For 21 years, I had been commuting 90 minutes each way to my job,” Laura tells Refinery29 “This was eating away at what little personal time I had.” She had long contemplated making a change — perhaps moving or reducing her hours — but it wasn’t until the pandemic hit, and she was furloughed for two months in the spring of 2020 that she actually committed to acting on her feelings. “I finally had the opportunity and the luxury of time to reevaluate my priorities, spend time with my family and with myself,” she says. “My partner and I really enjoyed being home together, spending time with each other and my daughter.” At the start of the pandemic, countless workers around the country were in a similar position, and while temporarily losing your job can be stressful and dire, for some — particularly those with a certain amount of economic privilege — it can provide an epiphany. Like Laura, Olivia was furloughed from her job in digital content at the end of March 2020. After three months, she was asked to return to work in June. “Being out of the business for that amount of time — which I know is a lot shorter than some furloughed folk have experienced — really made me realise what was important to me,” she says, “and opened my eyes to just how unhappy I was.” By September, without a backup plan in place, Olivia had also quit. Last October, Dr Erin Cech, assistant professor of sociology at the University of Michigan, surveyed college-educated workers in the US for her forthcoming book The Trouble with Passion: How the Search for Fulfilling Work Fosters Inequality. She specifically asked survey participants — all of whom were employed — whether they had lost their jobs or were furloughed as a result of COVID, and the results were surprising. “There’s this sentiment that people who go through employment instability are automatically going to become more economically rational and that they’re going to prioritize finding a job and salary,” she explains. “But, what I found is people who encounter this kind of employment instability as a result of COVID are actually more likely to value passion and value work-family balance in a job.” Of course, it isn’t just those who were furloughed who chose to leave their jobs without another lined up in the last year. As the world changed due to the pandemic, so did the way we work. While some companies adjusted to allow employees more flexibility, others took advantage of the illusion of constant availability that working from home created and tried to maintain productivity and profitability, even with fewer resources and reduced headcounts. Dan left his job as a credit analyst in August 2020 in part because the highly bureaucratic job felt “meaningless,” but also because the worsening economic environment had made the job even more stressful. Dan was already in pursuit of a career change and was working on another degree in order to make the switch, but he had originally intended to wait to quit until he found another job in his new field. The pandemic made his day-to-day work and working conditions intolerable. “With everything going on, including serious orthopedic problems exacerbated by the lockdown and management’s unreasonable attitude, I reached my breaking point before finding another job,” he shares. “Also, once there was a crisis and we started talking about essential workers, it made me feel even more fundamentally embarrassed to be part of an organisation where about 40 people got paid six-figures each just to hop through bureaucratic hoops and write empty words in an expensive Midtown office, while people with actually necessary jobs couldn’t pay their rent.” For Grace, who worked in television production before quitting in July 2020, the pandemic also intensified workplace issues. For several months, she had been expected to work more hours without additional pay. “The office had been a pretty toxic place up to the pandemic — I was harassed by another member of staff for my first four months on the team without any recourse by HR, my supervisor, or his boss — so I had been aiming to get out for a while, but, obviously, the 11.5-hour days and minimal pay were big contributing factors to quitting,” she says. “Plus, the only reason I was allowed to start working from home was that, as I was told at 5.30pm on 18th March: ‘You may have been exposed to COVID-19 and we don’t want you getting anyone else sick.'” Rielle, who quit her job at a media charity in December 2020, had a similar experience. As her team worked to adapt to the changes caused by COVID-19, her role steadily expanded and demands became difficult to keep up with. “The crazy workload started to snowball for me. My boss was super-impressed by how much we were getting noticed by the community and kept bringing up his expectations, and they became unreasonable. He started becoming very rude during meetings, especially when his deliverables weren’t being met. This caused a lot of anxiety for me,” Rielle says. “I felt like I couldn’t escape from work or say no to additional tasks that were falling on my plate, because I didn’t have an excuse. I was just home. It didn’t help that, because of the pandemic and my toxic boss, all my workmates were also always on edge about everything. Working remotely has definitely hindered my team from bonding and creating relationships that help in collaboration, too.” According to Cech, the pandemic has acted as a “destabilising moment” in most people’s lives, which has prompted or even required us to stop and think about the things that we most value in society. “There is a vein of cultural evaluation that says: ‘Get as much money as you can; get as much economic success and prestige as you can.’ But, there are all these other countervailing cultural perspectives, like: ‘Love your work even if it doesn’t make as much money’ and ‘Prioritise time with your family and friends,'” she explains. “So we’re seeing this moment where the pandemic has allowed some people to step back and ask themselves, What do I really value? What’s really important to me? How do I align my decision-making with that?” However, she also says it’s important to point out the huge caveat in all of this: a financial safety net. Every person I spoke with about quitting their job acknowledged that privilege played a huge role in their ability to do so. Some had partners or other family members who could support them during their time off, while others dipped into savings or retirement funds. Even those who had to rethink their spending habits and tighten their budgets had enough of a cushion to get by without bringing in a steady pay cheque. Brisa, who just put in her two weeks notice and plans to spend her time off taking care of herself and dealing with a chronic illness, says that one of the main reasons she was able to quit was because she still lives with her parents. “I’ve had so many complicated feelings about having the privilege to leave my job,” she says. “At the same time, I don’t have the privilege of living in a healthy body. I didn’t have the privilege of working somewhere that was willing to make the necessary adjustments for me. All these details made a difference. Ultimately, my body’s limitations and the stress of the role outweighed the experience I was getting and any other positives of the job.” Though the pandemic has clearly been a catalyst for many people to re-evaluate their relationship with labour for a variety of reasons, many of those who chose to take a break from work during this time of economic uncertainty were still concerned about how others would react to their decision. Olivia said she was “absolutely terrified” to tell anyone that she was quitting her job without something else lined up. “After a couple of weeks of tears that ultimately led up to me handing in my notice, my manager came across as quite sincere and understanding, but also told me that I would find it hard to get another job in the current climate and would be lucky to find something that suited my skill set,” she says. “This was something that stuck with me and did make me feel nervous and somewhat question whether I should be quitting, but I knew that I didn’t want to find another job straight away.” Though Olivia’s colleagues were supportive and understood why she had decided to quit, there was still a noticeable shift in many of her daily conversations with them: “It went from the usual ‘what are you having for tea?’ to ‘have you found another job yet?'” Because our capitalist culture places such a high value on work, it’s hard not to pass judgment on or be seriously concerned about someone who chooses to stop working, even if it’s temporary. It simply doesn’t feel natural. According to Cech, this is partly because, for most upwardly mobile adults, there is a strong tie between who we are and what we do. This is, in part, a result of what in sociological theory is called the reflexive project of the self, which posits that we, as individuals, are projects that have to be worked on, refined, and made better. “One of the clearest instructions we’re given culturally for figuring out how to do that is to find a job that aligns with our sense of self and work at it really hard and move up the ranks,” Dr. Cech explains. “So if we don’t have that career or we don’t have that occupation as an anchor, there are not a whole lot of other things that can fill that void.” However, when people leave their jobs, which are viewed as these instruments of self-improvement, they’re often freed from the pressure to constantly produce and grow. Instead, they’re able to simply live. “I have learned to relax for the first time in my life — this may seem like a throwaway line, but is actually THE most important thing I have accomplished,” Laura says of her time since quitting. “As an overachiever, I never felt I was doing enough, I never sat down, I never had a moment of peace, and the first few months at home, I didn’t know what to do with myself, I couldn’t sit still. I have slowly learned to be a different person, to do what pleases me, to read, listen to podcasts, make art, and do other things which I enjoy.” Olivia, too, began to do whatever she wanted. She started baking again, doing crafts, and sleeping better. “I absolutely loved having time to myself and actually feeling like I had time to myself,” she shares. “My mental wellbeing completely skyrocketed, and I felt so happy and free.” Dan feels similarly. “I like having a break to focus on myself and my health for the first time in a while,” he says. “It’s nice to not have to wear corporate drag every day — both physically and mentally.” Rielle is catching up on cookbooks she bought in the past and never had a chance to use. Grace has been spending quality time with her aging parents. “I really like being able to make my own schedule and plan things on my own terms,” she shares. Because of everything that has changed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, this time has come to be viewed as a sort of cultural reset. Certainly, the people to whom I spoke — as well as many others — have experienced transformations, to varying degrees, in their individual relationships with labour. Still, Cech isn’t convinced it will lead to a lasting change in our collective attitude toward work. “It may cause a shift to a very limited extent in terms of these people having to educate their family members or their friends on why they’re not engaged in the labor force or why they’ve stopped, and I think that will provide opportunities for reflection among the people that they are in conversation with,” she says. “But I don’t know that it would make a very big shift. I think the status quo understanding of who people are in terms of identifying with a career is quite deep.” And, because most everything costs money, many of those I spoke to mentioned that, despite getting financial support from elsewhere, the one thing they miss about being employed is having a steady source of income. Though they love their newfound freedom, they don’t enjoy the ever-present worry about being able to cover regular expenses or emergencies. That is the reason they’re all planning to eventually return to work. Olivia, in fact, recently started a new role, which is completely remote. “I feel a lot happier than I did in my last job,” she shares. Dan says he’ll probably start looking for something when he feels physically and mentally ready, likely within the next few months. Brisa isn’t in any hurry to find something else, and when she does, she expects it to be part-time or freelance. Grace, who is currently up for a few new positions that she’s hopeful will work out, has also been freelancing and taking on temp work. Though none of them decided to permanently stop working, their time away from the workforce, reexamining priorities has prompted changes. Rielle, who is actively looking for a new job, is being more choosy. “If I’ve learned anything in the past year it’s to be very intentional in the next career steps that I take,” she shares. “I’m really pushing myself to get a job that aligns with my goals and also being very speculative about my next company’s work culture. I’ve also learned to embrace the uncertainty, which was really hard to take.” Laura isn’t planning to return to work until the autumn. In order to assure that she’s able to work less and live more, she’s open to restructuring her assets, changing her living arrangements, and even moving away from the expensive city where she currently lives. Her mindset has been completely altered by her time off. “I have lived my entire adult life petrified about not having an income, about not being able to make ends meet, about losing what I have worked hard to achieve. What I feel has been the most profound change is that I now know there are other ways, other options — that I can make choices other than the tried and true,” she says. “I finally feel confident that I can make things work no matter what happens, and that the old model of having to work 9 to 5, Monday through Friday, while sacrificing everything else, is not the only model, and may in fact not be the healthiest model… I wish I had reevaluated sooner.” *Some names have been changed Like what you see? How about some more R29 goodness, right here?Long Live The Good Enough JobThe Dream Job Is Dead. Did It Ever Really Exist?"I Quit My Job As A Lawyer For A Spiritual Career"