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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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Last week, the European Union released a draft of strict regulations regarding the creation and use of artificial intelligence (AI). This 108-page document of rules and regulations aims to ban or restrict multiple “unacceptable” uses of AI, which the European Commission deems as any AI system that is considered a clear threat to the safety, livelihoods, and rights of people. This includes the use of AI in a range of activities like hiring decisions, bank lending, school enrollment selections, court decisions, and facial recognition in public places. Although the EU’s proposal faces a long road before it becomes law, as it must be approved by both the European Council and European Parliament, it has profound implications for big tech and national governments around the world.

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Tulum, located in Quintana Roo, Mexico, is known for its modern bohemian-style atmosphere, its beautiful beaches and cenotes, and its eco-friendly nature. Just a decade ago, Tulum was relatively untouched and undeveloped, but it is now one of the fastest-growing destinations in the world for both vacations and residency. A big reason for this is the developers’ strict commitment to preserving Tulum’s natural beauty by building highly sustainable and environmentally friendly infrastructures. These efforts have attracted some of the world’s best architecture firms and novel real estate investors alike.

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On March 27, 2021, foreign ministers from China and Iran signed a cooperation agreement that is expected to massively stimulate Iran’s economy, as well as deepen China’s presence in the middle east in general. The agreement promises around $400 billion of Chinese investments to be made in multiple Iranian economic sectors like banking, telecommunications, ports, railways, and health care and information technology. In exchange, China will receive a heavily discounted supply of Iranian oil for the next 25 years. Iran’s main contributors to these oil exports will likely be the government-owned National Petrochemical Company and National Iranian Oil Company.

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Last week, U.S. President Joe Biden signed an executive order that directs a review of supply chains that have been negatively affected due to the pandemic. The review is focused on four products—semiconductors, minerals and rare earths, pharmaceuticals, and advanced batteries. The goal of this executive order is to increase the domestic production of these products as well as increase imports from ally countries. The order mainly prioritized and placed heavy emphasis on semiconductors, as it included a $37 billion fund to dramatically increase semiconductor or “chip” manufacturing in the U.S.

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Electric vehicles have been around since the late 1800s, but they have only recently been discussed as the next big thing in the automotive industry. With increasing performance and technology improvements, government support, and lower production costs, electric vehicles are expected to have a huge impact on the industry in the coming decades.

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Xinjiang is an autonomous region of Northwest China, known for its vast deserts and mountains. Xinjiang is inhabited by several ethnicities, namely the Uyghur people of Turkish descent and the Han people of Chinese descent. The Uyghur and the Chinese have a long history of discord stemming from their religious differences, though it wasn’t suspected that there was severe oppression against the Uyghur people from the Han until early in 2020. It is now widely believed that the Chinese government has detained up to a million Uighurs over the past few years in “re-education camps.”

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Bitcoin, the digital currency created in 2009 by the mysterious pseudonym Satoshi Nakomoto, was known by few people on earth at its inception and was priced at less than a thousandth of a cent. It has grown to a current price of around $36,000 and is now debated as either the future of money or a worthless asset. It is an extremely unique currency in the way that it is an entirely digital token with no physical backing. It was created with the intention and ability to be a peer-to-peer technology, meaning no central authority or government can control it, making it entirely decentralized. This aspect of decentralization, along with many other unique features, have led many to believe that bitcoin could revolutionize the global financial system.

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On October 7th, two of the U.S.’ largest tech companies squared off in the Supreme Court via teleconference. Since 2005, Oracle and Google have been battling over whether common interfaces between software programs can be protected by copyright. The specific interface in question, known as an application programming interface, or API, lets certain software programs “speak” to Java programs. When Google developed the Android Smartphone over a decade ago, it used Java’s API, and because Oracle now owns Java, Oracle believes it’s owed money—$9billion to be exact. This has led to what some consider the copyright case of the century.