Ukrainians strongly approve of how the UK and US responded to Russia’s full-scale invasion last year — but they have a much less positive view of the role China has played, according to a poll.

The November survey of 1,000 Ukrainians logged net approval ratings of 77 per cent for the UK and 76 per cent for the US. The research was conducted in the same month that Rishi Sunak paid his first visit to Kyiv as British prime minister.

US president Joe Biden visited the Ukrainian capital in a surprise trip this month.

A chart showing the results of a survey of 1,000 Ukrainians answering the question 'How well have these countries responded to the Russian invasion'? Ranked by net score (which is all those saying well minus those saying badly), the UK and the US lead those Ukrainians consider to have responded well, while India and China have the lowest net scores

Ukrainians scored China’s response to the invasion at a net -37 per cent, the lowest in the survey, although half of respondents replied to the question by saying that either their view was neither positive nor negative, or they did not know.

Ukrainians were also unenthusiastic about the response of the UN, giving it a net score of -2 per cent. Nato scored 32 per cent while the G7 was on 39 per cent and the EU got the best net favourability rating of all supranational organisations, at 61 per cent.

Alan Smith

Our other charts of the week . . . 

Artificial intelligence chatbot ChatGPT has become speedily popular, amassing 1mn users within five days of its launch according to the company itself. A UBS study found that two months after its launch, ChatGPT had reached 100mn active users.

By contrast, most of the world’s best-used apps took months to reach the 1mn mark.

ChatGPT, which produces text in multiple languages as well as programming code, was launched by research company OpenAI in November.

Its popularity has driven competitors to develop their own AI-powered chatbots.

Earlier this month Google announced it planned to launch Bard, a conversational AI service. Similarly, Microsoft said it would launch a new Bing search powered by OpenAI’s language model that is “more powerful than ChatGPT and customised specifically for search”.

Baidu plans to launch a chatbot named Ernie in its search engine in the next few months.

Serena Chan

Tourists are flocking back to hotspots around the world as the industry rebounds after its pandemic-related crisis.

The biggest beneficiary has been the Middle East, where visitor levels are back to those of early 2020, before coronavirus hit, according to the UN World Tourism Organization.

Volumes have almost recovered in most of the rest of the world; the main exception is Asia and the Pacific, where tourism numbers remain less than half their pre-pandemic level.

The most affected area is north-east Asia, as countries like China maintained strict Covid restrictions until recently. In December last year the region welcomed just a fifth as many international tourists as it did two years previously.

Amy Borrett

Men in France and Belgium tend to retire from the labour force earliest of all rich nations, according to data from the OECD.

They retire 4.1 years earlier than the age the OECD defines as “normal” for retirement — when all pension schemes become eligible without penalty. Belgian women retire 4.9 years earlier than “normal”, also the earliest for women in the OECD club of rich nations.

At the other end of the spectrum is Turkey, where male workers spend 8.7 years longer in the labour force than “normal”, and female workers 10.3 years more. However Turkey’s official retirement age is considerably younger than those of its peers.

While most nations saw the same trend among both male and female workers, Italy, Mexico, Sweden, Austria, Israel and Poland were outliers. The first three saw men stay in labour force longer, while women exited earlier. In Austria, Israel and Poland, men exited earlier but women continued to work for longer.

Shotaro Tani

Late last year the Nintendo Switch became the third best-selling gaming console of all time, overtaking the company’s Game Boy which was released in 1989.

Can the Switch overtake Sony’s PlayStation 2, the best selling console? Maybe; it is less than 30mn units behind that record, and counting.

But in its seventh year, Switch sales are slowing. Nintendo expects to sell 18mn Switch units in the fiscal year 2023, some 21 per cent lower than the previous year.

PS2 sales reached 155mn in 2012, 12 years after it was launched and long after its successor the PlayStation 3 went on sale.

If the Switch is set for a similar lifespan, it has another couple of years to rack up sales — and that could be enough to power it to the top of the chart.

Shotaro Tani

All primary school pupils in London will receive free school meals for a year, according to plans announced this week by London mayor Sadiq Khan.

The £130mn plan will benefit 270,000 children, many of whom do not qualify for the government’s free school meals scheme but whose families still struggle to afford healthy meals.

It is a nationwide issue. In 439 interviews with English primary schoolteachers last August, 81 per cent said that the number of children coming to school hungry had increased in the past six months.

These students exhibited excessive tiredness and found it harder to concentrate, making it more difficult to learn, according to many of the teachers surveyed.

Joanna S Kao


Welcome to Datawatch — regular readers of the print edition of the Financial Times might recognise it from its weekday home on the front page.

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