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Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and New South Wales Premier Chris Minns join other politicians as they lay flowers at the scene of Saturday's mass stabbing at Bondi Junction, Sydney, Australia April 14, 2024.

AAP Image/Dean Lewins via REUTERS

Hard numbers: Sydney stabbing, Pricey Pakistan, US Steel deal, Costco gold rush

6: Australia is reeling from one of the country’s deadliest mass killings after six shoppers were stabbed to death at a mall in Sydney on Saturday. The attack left several others injured, including a baby who is in intensive care. The assailant, who was shot dead by police, was known to authorities and had been diagnosed with a mental illness as a teenager.

25: Pakistan has the highest cost of living in Asia, according to a report from the Asian Development Bank, and it’s only set to grow with a crushing 25% inflation rate. Authorities have hiked interest rates to 22% to try to alleviate the problem, but Pakistan’s economy will likely require further support from the International Monetary Fund.

14.9 billion: Shareholders in US Steel overwhelmingly voted to approve an offer from Nippon Steel to acquire the company at about $55 a share — but don’t expect the deal to close anytime soon. US President Joe Biden has expressed opposition to the deal, which could cost him crucial support from steelworkers in upper Midwestern swing states like Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.

200 million: Wholesaler Costco is estimated to be selling over $200 million worth in one-ounce gold barsevery month, according to an analysis by Wells Fargo. Those who made their purchases in the fall, when Costco was selling the bars for around $2,000 each have earned a nice bit of profit, as gold has surged to over $2,300 an ounce since March.

Thick plates of steel for use in construction and ship building are hot-rolled by machinery at the Nippon Steel Corp. Kimitsu steel mill in Kimitsu, Japan near Tokyo February 6, 2008.

Biden slams Nippon Steel deal — but Tokyo plays it cool

US President Joe Biden on Thursday came out against Japan’s largest steel producer acquiring Pittsburgh-based US Steel, saying America must “maintain strong American steel companies powered by American steelworkers.”

Nippon Steel made an offer worth over $14 billion in December, and shortly afterward the White House indicated it would be scrutinized by the Committee on Foreign Investments in the United States. For now, the deal is still on, but CFIUS review is usually reserved for deals involving companies from potential adversaries – not from trusted allies like Japan — and presidents rarely comment before the committee finishes.

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An entrance to the U.S. Steel Great Lakes Works plant is seen in Ecorse, Michigan, U.S., September 24, 2019. Picture taken September 24, 2019.

REUTERS/Rebecca Cook

Nippon Steel’s US deal may be good business, but it’s bad politics

The Global Business Alliance, a group of multinational corporations, is urging the Biden administration to keep politics out of any national security review of Nippon Steel’s offer to buy U.S. Steel — but politics is precisely the problem.

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