Apr. 16, 2021

CANADA IS #1 (2021 BEST COUNTRIES REPORT)

  • Canada took 1st place (up from 2nd in 2020) in the 2021 Best Countries Report from US News & World Report, BAV Group, and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.
    • Based on how global perceptions define 78 countries in terms of a number pf qualitative characteristics and impressions that have the potential to drive trade, travel and investment.
  • Canada also took 1st place in quality of life and social purpose.
    • Perceived as having a good job market, caring about human rights, committed to social justice, viewed as not corrupt, and respecting property rights.
  • Japan placed 2nd; Germany 3rd, Switzerland 4th; Australia 5th; US 6th; New Zealand 7th; UK 8th; Sweden 9th; Netherlands 10th in the overall rankings.

COVID-19 UPDATE…WHERE ARE WE NOW?

  • World Health Organization (WHO) says the number of new COVID-19 cases per week has nearly doubled globally over the past 2 months, approaching the highest rate so far.
    • Reiterated that the world is on the brink of a “catastrophic moral failure” if countries do not share vaccines.
  • Many US states and cities have a growing surplus of COVID-19 vaccines; 11% – 31% of vaccines received are still waiting to be administered.
    • 1 in 7 Americans are wary about getting a vaccine, largely due to concerns of side-effects.
  • Pfizer CEO, Albert Bourla, said people will ‘likely’ need a 3rd booster dose of COVID-19 vaccine within 12 months and could need annual booster shots.
  • EU Commission has decided not renew vaccine contracts next year with AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson.

ENERGY

  • Alberta launched Canada’s first hydrogen hub this week; a $2 million alliance of government, Indigenous, academic and economic development leaders to find ways to produce, use, sell and store hydrogen.
  • Net Power (a US start-up) is building 2 natural-gas power plants using a new turbine to burn natural gas in pure oxygen, rather than air. Emissions are carbon dioxide and water, all emissions will be captured and buried deep underground.
  • Shell is joining a project to build one of the UK’s first large-scale carbon capture and hydrogen hubs based in NE Scotland.
  • For the 2nd time this month, Newfoundland’s crude oil is being shipped by tanker to Washington State on the US west coast to meet higher diesel demand.
  • The US provided 77% of crude oil imported into Canada in 2020 vs 72% in 2019 and 6% in 2010.

TIDBITS

  • Canada ordered the 3 large wireless carriers (Rogers, BCE and Telus) to resell access to their networks to small players, in an effort to provide more competition.
  • Magna International will build modular electric vehicles with Israeli start-up ‘REE Automotive’.
  • Walmart is going to convert 2/3 of their US hourly positions to full-time positions by the end of the current fiscal year to retain workers.
  • Matchbox is launching a new series of toy cars based on real-life electric and hybrid vehicles.
  • Japan will release treated radioactive water from the wrecked Fukushima Dai-Ichia nuclear power plant into the Pacific Ocean starting in about 2 years.
  • NYC commuters appear to be opting for cars vs mass transit as toll traffic for April is at a 7-year high and mass transit ridership is lagging.