Hard Numbers: Crypto upgrade, Angolan inauguration, Iran’s SCO bid, soaring US mortgage rates, enthusiasm for omicron boosters

Representation of Ethereum, with its native cryptocurrency ether.

Reuters

99: Ethereum, the world's no. 2 cryptocurrency after Bitcoin, successfully completed a long-awaited software upgrade that will reduce carbon emissions linked to its mining by 99%. Crypto fans hope “the merge” will help get environmentalists off their backs and end the crypto price slump they’ve suffered since May.


2: Following an unusually competitive election, João Lourenço was inaugurated on Thursday for his second term as Angola’s president. What should we expect? Protests from the opposition, which contested the result as rigged.

9: Iran just inched a step closer to becoming the ninth member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization by signing a memo to join the Central Asian security bloc. Increasingly isolated on the global stage, Tehran needs all the friends it can get — it also recently applied to join BRICS.

6: Thirty-year fixed mortgages, the most common home loan in America, surpassed 6% for the first time since 2008, double what it was nine months ago. This comes as the consumer price index released this week showed the cost of housing remains stubbornly high despite rising interest rates.

72: Around 72% of Americans say they would get a new COVID booster shot, the first vaccine developed to match developing Omicron variants, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Still, this comes amid growing criticism that the public awareness campaign around the new shots has been sluggish.

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