Top international headlines: Musk accepts R92 billion challenge to end world hunger

Elon Musk is willing to donate billions to end world hunger, finance chiefs face climate activists at COP26 and more.

Climate activist Greta Thunberg takes finance chiefs to task on greenwashing, at COP26. The US Federal Reserve announces its decision to scale back on pandemic-induced bond-buying programme, while airlines in the world’s largest economy cancel flights amid worker shortages. In other news, supply and other constraints result in soaring beer input costs and Elon Musk is willing to consider a R92 billion proposal to stop world hunger.

Beer costs soar
Beer input costs are soaring across the globe, driven by withering barley supplies and surging aluminium costs as well as the labour and transport bottlenecks affecting other industries.

Input costs have been rising globally, across industries, due to a confluence of factors including extreme weather, shipping logjams and a worsening energy crisis in Europe and Asia.

Fed to scale back bond-buying
The Federal Reserve said it would begin scaling back its massive $120 billion (R1,836 billion) monthly bond-buying programme this month, a critical milestone for a US economy that is recovering from the pandemic and contending with surging inflation, reports the Financial Times.

The decision comes in wake of debate regarding the level of support the world’s largest economy needs as price pressures begin to extend beyond the sectors most sensitive to the post-pandemic reopening.

The move aligns with decisions by a number of central banks to tighten monetary policy, including the Reserve Bank of Australia and the Bank of Canada.

Musk accepts R92 billion stop world hunger challenge
Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, estimated to be worth about $300 billion (R4,589 billion), is willing to consider a proposal from David Beasley, the director of the UN’s World Food Programme (WFP), who said that a $6 billion (R92 billion) donation from one of the world’s wealthiest people could help to stop world hunger.

Musk replied to a Twitter user who pointed out that the amount would be just two percent of his net worth, saying that if the WFP could describe “exactly” how the donation would solve world hunger, he would “sell Tesla stock right now and do it”, reports CNBC.

Greta Thunberg calls out finance chiefs on ‘greenwashing’
Greta Thunberg and other activists from Greenpeace and the Indigenous Environmental Network interrupted a COP26 panel on carbon offsets to protest about “greenwashing” and the dangers of relying on the credits to compensate for emissions.

Thunberg chose the day that finance chiefs rallied trillions of dollars to deploy in the fight against climate change to make her presence felt at COP26, reports Bloomberg.

Worker shortages continue in the US
Flight cancellations have put a spotlight on worker shortages at US airlines, triggering warnings of new delays over the holiday period as airlines scramble for staff.

It is a dramatic shift for an industry that was grappling with surplus labour as Covid-19 hammered air travel just a year ago, and is the latest evidence of a widening labour crunch, reports Reuters.