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Recently Afghanistan has been at the center of world news as the country finally fell under Taliban rule, putting an end to a decades long fight. The Taliban was created in 1994 from former resistance fighters, attempting to halt a Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. Their purpose was to enforce a specific version of Islamic law at the time, and protect that law by eliminating any foreign influence. Two years after their conception, the Taliban was strong enough to capture Afghanistan’s capital, Kabul. The Taliban quickly enforced strict rules, such as head-to-toe coverings for women and banning TV and music. Their next most notable action, and the start of their downfall, happened on September 11th, 2001. The Taliban carried out a plan to hijack multiple planes in the United States, with two crashing into the World Trade Center towers. More than 2,700 people were killed in this terrorist attack.

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Inspiriation4 has officially concluded after a three-day-long trip this past Saturday, September 18, 2021, at 7:06 p.m. (EDT). Inspiration4 was a commercial, tourist space flight enacted by Elon Musk’s SpaceX, a United States-based company. This exploration has caught the eyes of many other countries and companies, as recent spaceflight has become an international news staple in the past few months. We’ll cover the recent space news, how companies are reacting, and what the next big plans are.

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Population issues have been a subject of discussion for decades.  While overpopulation puts a strain on natural resources, increases conflicts and wars, and causes water shortages and  malnutrition, population shrinkage also presents a host of issues.  The population on Earth is expected to stabilize and stop growing in 2100, however population growth rates vary drastically by region.  Some countries, such as Latvia, Japan, Venezuela, Syria, and Italy, have shrinking populations already, whether it be due to high rates of emigration or a declining birth rate.  Let’s dive into the unique set of issues that arise when countries are faced with a shrinking population.

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Pfizer-BioNTech, the American-German paired company, has been the leading company for providing a COVID-19 vaccine. The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) granted Emergency Use Authorization in early December of 2020. Pfizer-BioNTech was later given emergency validation by the World Health Organization. As of August 23, 2021, Pfizer-BioNTech is the first vaccine to be FDA approved, meaning they have met the rigorous standards of the FDA. This is a significant milestone for Pfizer-BioNTech. While many have already been vaccinated, there is now additional confidence in the vaccine.

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In the first eight months of 2021, global M&A activity has grossed $3.6 trillion, the highest mark at this point in the year since at least 1995, when Dealogic started keeping records. This unprecedented volume of activity has been aided by low interest rates, soaring stock prices, and executives’ ability to address the imperfections in their business exposed by the pandemic. The U.S. alone accounted for $2.14 trillion worth of M&A deals this year, while Europe and the Asia-Pacific accounted for $657 billion and $620 billion, respectively. This wave of deal-making has Wall Street setting records as well, as deal advisory revenue has reached new heights for multiple investment banks. It’s no surprise that Goldman Sachs is the best performing stock in the Dow this year, up 56%.

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Across California, the term “Boosters” has been gaining popularity, and rightfully so. “Boosting” is formally known as a form of organized retail crime. It consists of a network of organized crime professionals and it has stolen $50 million in products in northern California over the last 5 years. They commonly steal from large chain stores such as CVS and Walgreens and then resell the product on online storefronts such as Amazon or eBay. In some areas, the crimes have become so frequent that Walgreens closed 17 of its stores.

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The housing market is an unforeseen casualty amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the Bank for International Settlements (BIS), the hot housing markets are a global phenomenon. In the United States, Canada, Europe, New Zealand, and South Korea, the housing markets are seeing a surge in price growth, in some areas reaching price overvaluation of more than 20%. More specifically, global house prices are now 22.4% higher than their level immediately after the financial crisis and up 29.2% in advanced economies. The Bank of Korea even warned that real estate is “significantly overpriced” in June 2021, along with discussing the growing household debt repayment burden. In the rest of this blog, we will go over the reasons for the increased pricing, how countries and global institutions respond to them, and the actions different countries have taken to lower the costs.

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After a summer full of work, internships, and professional development, the globalEDGE team is excited to return to campus for the fall semester.  Our team is eager to begin writing blog posts and updating the globalEDGE website with the most current information on international business. Keep an eye out for blog posts about current events, various international business topics, and website updates! We will be returning to our regular Monday through Thursday blog posting schedule this week, the week of Monday, September 13.

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This marks the last week of our academic year at Michigan State, and the globalEDGE team will be taking the summer off while team members will be graduating, starting full-time jobs, completing internships, traveling, and furthering their education in an effort to continue to contribute innovative and real-time news to the globalEDGE website when we return in the fall.  During a year of virtual school and virtual work, we hope that our viewers were able to use our information to their benefit as we all take on these difficult times, and we appreciate your viewership and interaction with the site.  Thank you for all of your support and we will be anticipating our return to the blog come fall.

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Though COVID-19 is far from behind us, businesses and international trade are coming to life again after an unprecedented slowdown in 2020. While much of the world will be relieved by the global economy’s slow progression toward pre-pandemic levels, the recovery will inevitably bring with it some of our pre-pandemic problems. Pollution and waste represent a particular area of concern. No business comes without pollution, and in spring 2021, one facet of pollution is causing notable distress in the international business world: recyclable plastics.

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