Mexican cannabis, Elizabeth Holmes on trial and a shredded Banksy | Arts and Culture News


The United States announced Friday that it plans to spend as much as $2,275 per person to help resettle tens of thousands of Afghans who fled their country after the Taliban took over. The move comes days after the United States formally withdrew its troops from the country after 20 years of war.

People within Afghanistan are struggling to access money even as banks have reopened. Money-transfer service Western Union announced Thursday it was resuming its services in the country after suspending them when the Taliban took over.

The new government is facing its own cash crunch: a senior official at Afghanistan’s central bank asked the US Treasury and the International Monetary Fund this week to release assets the bank holds abroad and aid that the country has been allocated. Both have so far refused.

In addition to the developments in Afghanistan, there have been plenty of other major business and economic news stories this week you might have missed. But fear not, we’ve got you covered for the weekend ahead.

At least 55

The number of people who have been killed after Ida, the fifth most powerful hurricane in US history, made landfall this week. At least nine people died in the southern state of Louisiana, and at least another 46 people lost their lives in the Northeast.

President Joe Biden and state and local officials are now taking stock of the storm’s aftermath, which also includes hundreds of thousands of people being left without power or access to clean water as well as homes and businesses being damaged or destroyed.

The devastation could cost insurers as much as $18bn, according to risk modellers. It’s also drawing attention to the urgency with which the US must address climate change — and reinforce its infrastructure to withstand stronger and more frequent storms.

Al Jazeera has more as the country takes stock after Hurricane Ida here.

$60m

The investment that Chinese firm Sinovac is making to open a vaccine manufacturing plant in Chile. Officials are targeting the second quarter of 2022 to get it up and running, and once operational, the Sinovac plant in the Santiago Metropolitan Region will be able to churn out 60 million doses of Sinovac’s CoronaVac vaccine.

But while the Chilean health minister praised Sinovac’s announcement as marking “a happy day for Chile,” not everyone is enthused about Chinese investments in the copper-rich South American nation.

Al Jazeera’s Odette Magnet has the full story here.

Legal cannabis firms are eager to cash in if Mexico’s senate approves a legalisation bill, which it is set to take up this month [File: Maurio Palos/Bloomberg]

$249.6m

The value Mexico’s medical cannabis market is expected to reach by 2025 — and that figure doesn’t even count the potential money to be made in recreational cannabis sales if the Mexican senate legalises the drug this month.

International legal cannabis firms are chomping at the bit to enter the lucrative Mexican market. But in a country wracked by drug-war violence, are those companies ready to deal with the risks of doing business in an industry that was historically controlled by organised crime?

Al Jazeera’s Ann Deslandes has more here.

More than 1,000 United States colleges and universities are requiring students, employees or both to be vaccinated against the coronavirus this academic year, including Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut [File: Ted Shaffrey/AP Photo]

More than 1,000

The number of US colleges and universities that are requiring some or all students and staff to be vaccinated as they head back to campus for the fall semester.

Amid surging COVID-19 cases driven by the Delta variant, the list of schools requiring shots has grown over the summer. More were added after the US Food and Drug Administration made Pfizer-BioNTech’s vaccine the first to win full approval.

But while some students say mandatory vaccination takes the stress out of going back to school, others believe it should be a personal choice. Al Jazeera’s Cinnamon Janzer takes the pulse of American students on the issue here.

12

The number of jurors who have been sworn in for the upcoming trial of Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes.

Just a few years ago, Holmes was a Silicon Valley wunderkind who dropped out of Stanford University at 19, donned a Steve Jobs-esque black turtleneck, adopted a raspy voice and wowed high-profile investors with a machine she claimed could test for dozens of diseases using a single drop of blood.

But US authorities say the machine didn’t work — and Holmes is facing fraud and conspiracy charges. Her story has since been the subject of a slew of podcasts, books and documentaries, which made selecting a jury tough. But with 12 jurors ready to go, Holmes’ trial can officially begin.

Al Jazeera’s Anna Davies has everything you need to know here.

While other works by Banksy have sold for more, the painting, which was initially titled ‘Girl with Balloon’ and which the artist renamed ‘Love is in the Bin’ after it was shredded, carries the highest presale estimate ever placed on his pieces [File: Bloomberg]

$5.5m

The lower-end estimate of what a shredded piece of Banksy artwork is expected to fetch at a Sotheby’s auction later in October. Yes, you heard that right — shredded.

Initially titled “Girl with Balloon”, the work was sold for 1 million British pounds ($1.4m) in 2018. But just after the winning bid was rung in, a hidden shredder built into the picture’s frame began to turn the work into ribbons before stopping about halfway through.

The shredded work, now titled “Love is in the Bin”, will go up for auction again in October, Sotheby’s announced, and this time is expected to fetch between 4 to 6 million British pounds ($5.5m to $8.3m).

As the saying goes: rip it up and start again.





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