Розділ: Нерухомість

August 15th, 2020 by Vbiz

There are more than 21 million COVID-19 cases worldwide, according to Johns Hopkins University.  The U.S., with more than 5.3 million infections, has more COVID-19 cases than anyplace else. Following the U.S. is Brazil, with 3.2 million cases, and India, with 2.5 million.“I think it’s fair to say we really have not distinguished ourselves in a positive way by how we responded to the crisis when it was upon us,” U.S. Senator Mitt Romney said Friday.  “And the proof of the pudding of that is simply that we have 5 percent of the world’s population but 25 percent of the world’s deaths due to COVID-19,” the Republican senator from Utah added in an interview with the Sutherland Institute, a conservative public policy think tank located in Salt Lake City.A report in The New York Times says TeleTracking Technologies, the new manager of the Trump administration’s coronavirus database, is citing its non-disclosure agreement for not answering Democratic senators’ questions about the organization’s $10.2 million contract.Canada announced Friday that the border it shares with the U.S. will remain closed to nonessential travel for another month. Many Canadians remain concerned about reopening the border after Canada successfully flattened its epidemic curve.Canada has more than 123,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus and more than 9,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.Canada, which first announced the border restrictions in March, made the announcement one day after Mexico announced similar restrictions for its border with the U.S.Spain announced Friday a new set of restrictions to contain a surge in coronavirus cases. Health Minister Salvador Illa said all discos and night clubs will be closed across the country. He also said smoking in public areas would be banned if smokers are unable to stay at least 2 meters from other people.Spanish authorities have recorded nearly 50,000 COVID-19 cases over the past two weeks, an average of about 3,500 new cases a day.In Paris, officials are expanding the areas of the city where pedestrians are required to wear face masks, including the Champs-Elysees Avenue and the area around the Louvre museum, as cases continue to increase. France has nearly 250,000 cases and more than 30,400 deaths.Meanwhile, a glitch in California’s COVID-19 reporting system undercounted the state’s cases by as many as 300,000 cases, state officials say.According to a New York Times database Friday, California is the first U.S. state to reach more than 600,000 COVID-19 cases, with almost 11,000 deaths.Gov. Gavin Newsom said Friday that while the number of cases in California is increasing, the number of confirmed infections as a percentage of tests done has declined from 7% to 6% statewide over the past two weeks.”I’m not going to back off on more tests because I fear (more cases),” Newsom said.The U.S. Postal Service is warning states that it cannot guarantee all ballots cast by mail for the November election will arrive in time to be counted as the country ramps up preparations for larger numbers of mail-in votes amid the coronavirus pandemic.The Washington Post reported Friday that the Postal Service sent warning letters to 46 states and the District of Columbia.Many states have made it easier to vote by mail to address voters’ concerns about public gatherings at election precincts during the pandemic.     

Posted in Бізнес, Нерухомість, Новини, Фінанси

August 15th, 2020 by Vbiz

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in his Independence Day speech Saturday, said the South Asian nation has three COVID-19 trials underway.Modi, speaking at Delhi’s historic 17th century Red Fort, said India is ready to mass-produce the vaccines when the scientists give the OK.“Along with mass production,” he said, “the roadmap for distribution of vaccine to every single Indian in the least possible time is also ready.”In addition, Modi announced the launching of a National Digital Health Mission that creates a health ID for each of India’s more than 1 billion people, designed to keep track of every individual’s health tests, medications, diagnoses, and more.Without naming them, Modi also issued a warning to India’s neighbors, China and Pakistan, countries with which India shares disputed borders.”Anyone who has cast an eye on the country’s sovereignty, the country’s army has answered them in their own language,” he said. “India’s integrity is supreme for us.”

Posted in Бізнес, Нерухомість, Новини, Фінанси

August 15th, 2020 by Vbiz

President Donald Trump ordered ByteDance on Friday to divest the U.S. operations of its video-sharing app TikTok within 90 days, the latest effort to ramp up pressure on the Chinese company over concerns about the safety of the personal data it handles.”There is credible evidence that leads me to believe that ByteDance … might take action that threatens to impair the national security of the United States,” Trump said in the Order.Trump’s latest move comes on top of an executive order he issued last week that would prohibit certain transactions with TikTok unless ByteDance divests it within 45 days. ByteDance is already in talks to sell the North America, Australia and New Zealand operations of TikTok to Microsoft Corp.The new order adds to pressure for ByteDance to divest TikTok, and legally buttresses the U.S. government’s crackdown on the Chinese-owned social media app. It authorizes U.S. officials to inspect TikTok and ByteDance’s books and information systems to ensure the safety of personal data while the sale talks are ongoing.While TikTok is best known for its anodyne videos of people dancing and going viral among teenagers, U.S. officials have expressed concerns that information on users could be passed on to China’s communist government.ByteDance said on Friday in response to the order that it is used by 100 million Americans “because it is their home for entertainment, self-expression, and connection. We’re committed to continuing to bring joy to families and meaningful careers to those who create on our platform for many years to come.”Trump has said he would support an effort by Microsoft to buy TikTok’s American operations if the U.S. government got a “substantial portion” of the proceeds but has also said there are other interested potential buyers.Last year, the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), a U.S. government panel that reviews deals for potential national security risks, opened a new review of ByteDance’s acquisition of app Musical.ly in 2017. That deal created TikTok in its current form.Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on Friday the order also requires ByteDance to divest “any data obtained or derived from TikTok or Musical.ly users in the United States.”He said CFIUS “conducted an exhaustive review of the case and unanimously recommended this action to the president in order to protect U.S. Users from exploitation of their personal data.”The Trump administration has stepped up its efforts to purge what it deems “untrusted” Chinese apps from U.S. digital networks. Beyond TikTok, Trump has also issued an order that would prohibit transactions with Tencent Holding Ltd’s WeChat.Asked on Friday if he was concerned that the sweeping ban on WeChat could prevent Apple Inc from selling iPhones in China, Trump did not express worry.”I do what’s good in terms of the security of our country,” he told reporters.A group of major U.S. companies, including Apple, raised concerns this week about the potential negative implications on U.S. firms from the TikTok and WeChat orders.   

Posted in Бізнес, Нерухомість, Новини, Фінанси

August 15th, 2020 by Vbiz

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres urged Yemeni rebels on Friday to allow international experts to access an old, neglected oil tanker carrying more than a million barrels of crude oil, which is at risk of leaking or completely spilling into the Red Sea.“The aging tanker has had almost no maintenance since 2015 and risks causing a major oil spill, explosion or fire that would have catastrophic environmental and humanitarian consequences for Yemen and the region,” said Guterres’ spokesperson Stephane Dujarric.U.N. officials have been seeking access to the vessel, known as the FSO Safer, for two years in order to assess its safety, do light repairs and eventually tow it to a safe port to remove the oil, but the Houthi rebels in control of the area have repeatedly reneged on promises to allow that to happen. The U.N. says as soon as authorizations and visas are granted their experts are ready to deploy.The recent oil spill off Mauritius and last week’s catastrophic explosion in the Lebanese capital, apparently from improperly stored ammonium nitrate, have highlighted the urgency to prevent yet another disaster.The U.N. says the FSO Safer has the potential to cause an oil spill four times greater than the 1989 Exxon Valdez disaster in Alaska, which involved about 257,000 barrels of oil.Time is running outOn May 27, seawater leaked into the engine room of the FSO Safer, threatening to destabilize and sink the ship and release its oil into the sea. The U.N. says a temporary fix contained the leak, but it is unlikely to hold for very long.“A spill would have catastrophic environmental and humanitarian consequences, including destroying livelihoods and shutting down Hodeida port, a vital lifeline for millions of Yemenis who depend on commercial imports and humanitarian aid,” Dujarric said.If there is a spill, the U.N. says, the marine-rich coastal areas of Hodeida, Hajjah and Taiz would likely be the worst hit, and the port at Hodeida, which is lifeline for the country, would have to close for as long as six months.“Yemen cannot afford the closure of its largest port as it is almost entirely dependent on imports for its basic needs of food and medicines,” Dujarric said.There is also concern that if oil spills or explodes, it would be extremely difficult to bring in the specialized equipment and personnel to mount the necessary response, especially as Yemen is in the midst of a civil war.In addition to environmental and human tolls, the U.N. projects that the impact of an oil spill from the tanker could cost an estimated $1.5 billion over 25 years.The government of President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi, with the support of Saudi Arabia, has been fighting the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels since 2015 for control of the country. More than five years of war has pushed the Middle East’s poorest country to the brink, with about four out of every five people in need of humanitarian assistance.  

Posted in Бізнес, Нерухомість, Новини, Фінанси

August 15th, 2020 by Vbiz

The United States failed Friday to get an extension of an expiring U.N. arms embargo against Iran, raising the likelihood that Washington will seek to force a “snapback” of all prior international sanctions on Tehran.U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo criticized the U.N. Security Council for failing to uphold its mandate of maintaining international peace and security.FILE – U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks during a news conference in Vienna, Austria, Aug. 14, 2020.”It rejected a reasonable resolution to extend the 13-year-old arms embargo on Iran and paved the way for the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism to buy and sell conventional weapons without specific U.N. restrictions in place for the first time in over a decade,” he said in a statement. “The Security Council’s failure to act decisively in defense of international peace and security is inexcusable.”The resolution obtained only two votes in favor – the United States and the Dominican Republic. Russia and China voted against the measure, and the other 11 council members abstained. A resolution needs at least nine positive votes and no vetoes to be adopted.China’s U.N. mission tweeted that the vote result “shows again that unilateralism enjoys no support, and bullying will fail. Any attempt to place one’s own interest above the common interest of the international community is a dead end.”FILE – Iranian Ambassador to the United Nations Majid Takht-Ravanchi speaks to the media outside Security Council chambers at the U.N. headquarters in New York, June 24, 2019.Iran’s U.N. ambassador Majid Takht-Ravanchi said in a statement that any imposition of sanctions or restrictions by the Security Council would “be met severely by Iran and our options are not limited.”The embargo against the sale or transfer to or from Iran of conventional weapons is set to expire Oct. 18, 2020, under the 2015 nuclear deal, known formally as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). Washington has warned that an Iran free from restrictions would lead to further regional destabilization, intensified conflicts and a regional arms race.The U.S. also pointed to regional support it received for extending the embargo from Israel and concerned Arab Gulf states as a reason for the council to extend it.’Snapback’ optionInitially, Washington wanted more than an indefinite renewal of the arms embargo, seeking additional sanctions and international interdiction rights. It backed down earlier this week, presenting a streamlined text calling only for continuation of the arms embargo.”Council members have been under no illusion about U.S. intentions in this game,” said Richard Gowan, U.N. director of International Crisis Group (ICG). “Washington needed to table this resolution so it could claim to have given diplomacy a chance before making a bigger push to snapback sanctions on Iran, potentially killing off the 2015 nuclear deal once and for all.”    “Snapback” refers to the process that would trigger the re-imposition of previous U.N. sanctions on Iran. If the U.S. takes this route, it will be very controversial, because it is open only to members of the deal, and Washington withdrew from it two years ago. The U.S. argues it has the right to do it under the U.N. resolution that enshrined the agreement in international law, but as one diplomat put it, “you cannot have the cake and eat it [too].””It is now very clear that there is no appetite for a U.S. push to snapback sanctions on Iran in the council,” ICG’s Gowan added. “Washington will push ahead regardless, but it should expect a profoundly skeptical response from other council members.”  Compromise elusiveCouncil diplomats said JCPOA members Britain, France and Germany worked hard to try to find a compromise agreeable to the Americans on one side and Russia and China on the other, but that their positions were very entrenched.The three Europeans acknowledge that lifting the embargo could negatively impact regional security but say their priority is to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon. They have also stressed that European Union embargoes on conventional arms exports and missile technology will remain in force on Tehran until 2023.Germany’s envoy said more time and discussions are needed to find an acceptable way forward for all council members.”We are ready to continue these discussions in order to find a pragmatic way forward, which addresses our collective concerns,” said Deputy U.N. Ambassador Günter Sautter.FILE – Russian President Vladimir Putin chairs a Security Council meeting via videoconference at the Novo-Ogaryovo residence outside Moscow, Russia, July 17, 2020.Earlier Friday, Russia’s president acknowledged the growing tensions among the permanent five Security Council members over the Iranian issue. Vladimir Putin proposed urgently convening a video summit with them, plus Germany and Iran.”We call on our partners to carefully consider this proposal. Otherwise, we could see the further escalation of tension and an increased risk of conflict,” Putin said in a statement. “This must be avoided. Russia is open to working constructively with anyone interested in taking the situation back from the dangerous brink.”Under the JCPOA, the five permanent Security Council members, plus Germany, agreed with Iran to gradually lift international sanctions in return for limits on Tehran’s nuclear activities, to prevent it from making a nuclear bomb. It also opened Iran’s markets back up to many foreign investors.But President Donald Trump withdrew the United States from the deal in May 2018 and re-imposed unilateral sanctions. On Friday, he referred to the Obama-era agreement as a “horror show” and said his predecessor paid billions of dollars to Tehran and got nothing but “trouble” in return.In response to the U.S. withdrawal from the deal, Tehran resumed some of its nuclear activities, and in July 2019, it breached the deal by exceeding limits on both uranium enrichment and stockpile levels.Iran denies that its nuclear activities are for military purposes. 
 

Posted in Бізнес, Нерухомість, Новини, Фінанси

August 15th, 2020 by Vbiz

The U.S. Postal Service is warning states that it cannot guarantee all ballots cast by mail for the November election will be counted as the country ramps up preparations for larger numbers of mail-in votes amid the coronavirus pandemic.The Washington Post reported Friday that the Postal Service sent warning letters to 46 states and the District of Columbia.In letters sent to at least several states, including the key battleground states of Michigan and Pennsylvania, the Postal Service said there is “significant risk” voters will not have enough time to complete their ballots and return them on time under current state laws.In its letter to Pennsylvania, the Postal Service recommended that completed ballots be mailed no later than October 27, a week before the November 3 election, to ensure they can make the Election Day deadline and be counted. Pennsylvania has said voters can request a ballot as late as October 27.In response to the Postal Service’s letter, Pennsylvania election officials late Thursday asked the state Supreme Court for permission to count ballots delivered three days after Election Day.This illustration photo shows a Virginia resident filling out an application to vote by mail ahead of the November Presidential election, on Aug. 6, 2020, in Arlington, Virginia.Many states have made it easier to vote by mail to address voters’ concerns about public gatherings at election precincts during the coronavirus pandemic.The Washington Post reports there are more than 60 lawsuits in the courts of a least two dozen states over the mechanics of mail-in votes.Trump has repeatedly said, without evidence, that the November election could be rigged because of mail-in votes, claiming that Russia and China could forge U.S. paper ballots.“This is going to be the greatest election disaster in history,” Trump told reporters at the White House last month.Trump has also said he does not want to wait “weeks, months or even years” for the results of the election because of problems he predicts will occur with mailed-in ballots.Representatives for the National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS) and the National Association of State Election Directors (NASED) told VOA in July that if there is any evidence to support Trump’s claims of potential mail-in ballot fraud, the administration has yet to share it with them.On Thursday, Trump said he opposes emergency funding for the Postal Service to make voting by mail easier. However, on Friday he told reporters at a White House news briefing that he would agree to additional funding for the Postal Service if Democrats made concessions as part of a larger coronavirus stimulus bill. Talks on a new stimulus bill have largely broken down between Republicans and Democrats over sharp policy differences.Most states already offer some form of mail-in voting, so-called “absentee” ballots, but because of the coronavirus pandemic, some states have moved to expand the use of mail-in ballots for the November election.

Posted in Бізнес, Нерухомість, Новини, Фінанси

August 14th, 2020 by Vbiz

We continue our special series on Guns in America, tattoos for changing skin and hearts, global ocean rescue and a drive-thru theater.

Posted in Бізнес, Нерухомість, Новини, Фінанси

August 14th, 2020 by Vbiz

If you cannot go into the theater, in Annapolis, Maryland, you can see live performances, and from the comfort of your own car.

Posted in Бізнес, Нерухомість, Новини, Фінанси

August 14th, 2020 by Vbiz

Uncertainly hovered over Belarus on Friday as thousands continued to protest against President Alexander Lukashenko, disputing his claims of a landslide victory during Sunday’s elections, marred by voter fraud and a police crackdown against unarmed demonstrators.Indeed, while the past 36 hours witnessed fewer arrests than the days following the vote, there were a flurry of developments suggesting resistance to Lukashenko’s rule was spreading.   Across the country, thousands of Belarusian women and medical workers gathered along roadways holding hands to demand an end to the violence — a tactic that seemed to neutralize police who previously had gone after demonstrators with startling aggression.   Key factories across the country announced they were entering work stoppages until  Lukashenko had resigned — in several cases rejecting entreaties to return to work from plant directors loyal to the government.   Рабочие на БЕЛАЗе кричат «Уходи», «Жыве Беларусь». Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko speaks at a meeting in Minsk, Belarus, Aug. 14, 2020.”You just want power and your desire will end up with blood,” she said in an interview with VOA partner Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.    On Friday, Lukashenko addressed rumors — never substantiated — he had indeed vacated the presidency.”For starters, I’m still alive and in the country,” said Lukashenko as he began a meeting focused on the work stoppages.   Questionable victory The political standoff stems from an August 9 presidential vote in which Lukashenko claimed 80% of the vote — an astounding result given the election was supposed to have been the most serious challenge to his 26-year rule.   His primary challenger, Svetlana Tikhanovskaya — a schoolteacher who only entered the race after her husband was barred from the election and arrested — had electrified huge crowds in the run-up to the vote. Joined by the wives of two other banned candidates, they rallied the country around a simple promise: to hold real elections within six months of winning the presidency.   But Tikhanovskaya received less than 10% of the vote — with widespread evidence of vote-rigging triggering protests. After initially insisting she would contest the results to the state election commission, she fled the country Tuesday hinting at threats to her family. Yet she reappeared again in a video released Friday from exile in Lithuania.  “Belarussians no longer want to live with the previous ruler. No one believes in his victory,” said Tikhanovskaya.  “We need to stop the violence on the streets of Belarusian cities. I call on the authorities to stop this and enter into dialogue.”  Since Sunday, authorities report near 7,000 arrests, hundreds of injuries, and two reported deaths resulting from clashes between demonstrators and police.   Activists report some 1,500 people have gone missing.  State torture documented  Late Thursday, hundreds of prisoners, maybe close to 1,000 according to some reports, were released from Minsk’s central Okrestina prison bearing grim accounts of torture at the hands of police.  “They beat them like animals. There was a sea of blood,” said one woman, as she exited the facility in a widely shared video.  Relatives and friends greet people after being released from a detention center where protesters were detained during a mass rally following the presidential election in Minsk, Belarus, Aug. 14, 2020.Many broke into tears upon being reunited with family members waiting outside the prison walls.  Nikita Telizhenko, a journalist for Russia’s znak.com news service, People detained during recent rallies of opposition supporters, who accuse Alexander Lukashenko of falsifying the polls in the presidential election, show their marks from beatings as they leave the Okrestina prison, in Minsk, Aug. 14, 2020.The head of Belarus’s Interior Ministry, Yuri Karayev, later apologized to those “accidentally” swept up by the police.”Provocateurs are making it so that the people hate us,” said Karayev.”But the majority of the population doesn’t support the protests,” he added.   International response  Foreign Ministers from the European Union were set to meet Friday to discuss the possibility of sanctions against the Lukashenko regime.   U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has suggested the U.S. may join allies in introducing penalties against the government in Minsk.  People light flares and wave Belarusian flags in front of the Belarusian Embassy in Kyiv, Ukraine, Aug. 14, 2020.Meanwhile, Russia reiterated its support for Lukashenko — essentially doubling down on an earlier decision by President Vladimir Putin to join China among major powers congratulating Lukashenko on his reelection to a 6th term in office.Russia’s Foreign Ministry released a statement saying it was concerned about “unprecedented pressure” by foreign states to interfere in the internal affairs of Belarus “with the goal of dividing society and destabilizing the situation.” The Kremlin gesture came despite thorny relations between nominal allies over issues such as Lukashenko’s response to the coronavirus, gas prices, and a long-stalled creation of a supra-state union between the two countries.  Most recently, Moscow and Minsk clashed over the arrest of 33 alleged Russian mercenaries that Lukashenko said were intent on disrupting the election.  The Russians remain in prison on criminal charges of coordinating with the opposition to foment mass unrest.  
 

Posted in Бізнес, Нерухомість, Новини, Фінанси

August 14th, 2020 by Vbiz

More than a quarter of South Korea’s medical clinics closed on Friday for a one-day strike in protest at government plans to train new doctors, as the country reported the highest number of domestic coronavirus cases since the end of March.
The government plans to increase the number of medical students by 4,000 over the next 10 years, which it says is necessary to be better prepared for public health crises like the coronavirus pandemic.
But the Korean Medical Association (KMA), which helped organise the protest, says the country already has more than enough physicians.
Some 28,000 doctors and trainees protested nationwide on Friday, 20,000 of them in the capital Seoul, the KMA said.
At least 10,584 of the country’s 33,836 medical facilities, including private clinics, staged a walkout on Friday, a health ministry official told Reuters.
KMA deemed the government’s unilateral decision “backstabbing” to physicians dealing with COVID-19.
“Faced with the COVID-19 in February, we – the doctors – have devoted ourselves with the single sense of duty to protect lives and the safety of the citizens,” KMA President Choi Dae-zip said at a rally outside the parliament.
“The number of physicians per 1,000 people has increased by 3.1% annually for the past 10 years, which is 6 times greater than the OECD average,” KMA said in a statement.
The strike comes as South Korea on Friday reported 103 new coronavirus cases, of which 85 were domestic, the most locally transmitted cases since March 31, the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) said.
The new cases bring the country’s tally to 14,873 infections, with 305 deaths, as of midnight Thursday.
The latest infections were clustered around churches, where many engaged in high-risk activities such as choir, sharing meals and not properly wearing masks, KCDC chief Jeong Eun-kyeong told a briefing.
Authorities said they were reviewing whether to resume tighter social distancing measures, which could include restricting gatherings to 50 people indoors and 100 outside.
South Korea used invasive tracing and widespread testing to contain its first outbreak of the novel coronavirus, but Asia’s fourth-largest economy has experienced persistent outbreaks in recent weeks, mostly in the densely populated capital area.

Posted in Бізнес, Нерухомість, Новини, Фінанси

August 14th, 2020 by Vbiz

One of the Iranian lawyers representing a minority Kurdish political prisoner facing execution in Iran has reportedly asked for a retrial to overturn the man’s death sentence, which supporters say was unjustly based on forced confessions.In a Tuesday interview with VOA Persian, a source with knowledge of the situation said the lawyer submitted the request for a retrial of Heydar Ghorbani to Iran’s judiciary in response to an August 6 ruling in which the Iranian Supreme Court upheld Ghorbani’s death sentence. VOA has not named the lawyer cited by the source at the source’s request. Iran has a record of harassing citizens who speak to Western-based media outlets that it deems hostile.Ghorbani was arrested in October 2016 in Iranian Kurdistan’s Kamyaran County and charged in connection with a violent incident there in the previous month involving the killings of three members of Iran’s top military force, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.In the following years, rights activists reported that Iranian authorities sentenced Ghorbani to death on charges of collaborating in an armed attack that killed the IRCG personnel and being a member of the outlawed Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan rebel group. During the period, Iranian state-run network Press TV aired a 2017 program titled The Death Driver, in which Ghorbani seemingly confessed to having driven the DPIK rebels involved in the killings.Amnesty International has said Ghorbani is one of several minority Kurds persecuted by Iranian authorities for “real or perceived affiliation with armed Kurdish political opposition groups.” Those Kurds were sentenced to death following what the group has called “grossly unfair trials that relied primarily or exclusively on confessions obtained without the presence of a lawyer and under torture and other ill-treatment.”The source who spoke to VOA said the Iranian Supreme Court’s August 6 action entitles authorities in Iranian Kurdistan’s provincial capital of Sanandaj to carry out Ghorbani’s execution. However, the source said the ruling also gave Ghorbani’s lawyer access to the case files for the first time, showing the lawyer that the entire verdict was based on what Ghorbani’s supporters have said were forced confessions.“Ghorbani has never admitted to being armed or being a member of the Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan,” the source said. Ghorbani’s lawyer requested the retrial citing the lack of evidence besides the apparent forced confessions, the source added.Article 477 of Iran’s Code of Criminal Procedure gives Iran’s judiciary chief the power to order the Supreme Court to overturn a verdict that he deems to be “evidently in contravention of Sharia [Islamic law]” and issue a new one.There have been no references to Ghorbani’s case or his lawyer’s reported retrial request in Iranian state media in recent days.In a video shared with VOA Persian and published Tuesday, Ghorbani’s wife Sharareh Sadeghi reiterated her belief in his innocence, saying he had been tortured into confessing.“I call on the Iranian people, relevant authorities, the people of the world and international organizations to respond to the upheld death sentence of my husband by stopping Iranian security forces from depriving my children of having a father,” Sadeghi said.She also identified one member of her husband’s legal team as Morteza Javanmardi. No recent comments from him about the case could be found online.In an August 3 message on the case of another Iranian Kurd at risk of execution, Amnesty International said statements elicited as a result of torture, ill-treatment or other forms of coercion “must be excluded as evidence in criminal proceedings, except those brought against suspected perpetrators of such abuse.”“In view of the irreversible nature of the death penalty, the proceedings in capital cases must scrupulously observe all relevant international standards protecting the right to a fair trial,” the group added.This article originated in VOA’s Persian Service. Click here for the original Persian version of the story. 

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August 14th, 2020 by Vbiz

Pakistan is celebrating its Independence Day on Friday with rallies across the country.In his Independence Day message, President Arif Alvi used the occasion to assure whom he called the “resilient people of Indian illegally occupied Jammu and Kashmir” that Pakistan will “continue to support them in their just struggle for their right to self-determination as enshrined in the United Nations Security Council resolutions.”  Both India and Pakistan lay claim to the disputed region.Prime Minister Imran Khan said in his holiday statement, “The day is an occasion to pay tribute to all those sons of the soil who laid their lives while defending and protecting territorial as well as ideological frontiers of the motherland.”Various groups and organizations began their holiday celebrations Thursday. 

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August 14th, 2020 by Vbiz

Michael Pack, head of the U.S. government’s global news networks, took steps Wednesday to remove several top officials in a move at least two said appeared to be retaliatory.In a statement sent to Politico and the New York Post, a U.S. Agency for Global Media spokesperson said the action was meant to restore “respect for the rule of law in our work” at the USAGM after a recent review found lax vetting of foreign and other journalists hired by agency’s five networks, which include the Voice of America.The officials were placed on administrative leave, and their security clearances revoked.However, the highest-ranking official sidelined, Chief Financial Officer Grant Turner, said it was punishment for speaking up about “patterns of gross mismanagement” since Pack took over in June and about violations of the legal “firewall” that shields USAGM journalists from political interference.“I think this is really retaliation for a lot of issues that I’ve been bringing to the front office,” Turner told VOA in an interview. He called the stated reasons for his removal “meritless.”David Kligerman, who had served as general counsel for USAGM and previously the Voice of America, also was shoved out.”As a career civil servant, I was disappointed to learn of these actions,” he said in a statement to VOA. “There is no other conclusion to draw except that it is in retaliation for attempting to do my job in an apolitical manner and to speak truth to power.”FILE – Michael Pack, President Donald Trump’s nominee to lead the U.S. Agency for Global Media, is seen at his confirmation hearing, on Capitol Hill, in Washington, Sept. 19, 2019. Pack’s nomination was confirmed June 4, 2020.The USAGM did not immediately respond to questions about the retaliation claims or confirm media reports saying four other senior USAGM executives also had been forced out in the purge.After nearly two years of delay, Pack was confirmed by the Senate in June to take over USAGM’s top post, replacing Turner, who had been acting CEO. Since then, the top leaders at VOA and other networks have resigned or been removed, hiring and spending were frozen, and Pack has stopped approving visa renewals for the agency’s foreign journalists.Critics say the moves appear to be politically motivated and in defiance of laws that are designed to protect the independence of USAGM journalists and ensure that news reports are accurate, balanced and comprehensive.After being sworn in, Pack told VOA staff via email that he is “fully committed to honoring VOA’s charter … and the independence of our heroic journalists around the world.”Rep. Eliot Engel, chair of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, which has oversight responsibility for USAGM, said in a statement that the removals of Turner and others “smack of illegal retaliation” and that he would ask for an inspector general’s investigation.“I understand that a number of the individuals who have been relieved had tried to make agency leadership aware of potentially inappropriate or unlawful actions during Mr. Pack’s first months in his position,” Engel said in the statement.“It is a clear attempt to cover up his wrongdoing to date and to silence those who might voice concern about his future actions,” the statement said.Pack is scheduled to testify before the committee on September 24.In interviews with conservative media and in news releases, Pack has cast himself as a change agent who intends to root out bias and mismanagement at USAGM. Last week, his office released a previously confidential Office of Personnel Management report saying the agency had failed for years to conduct appropriate security checks for new hires, including foreign journalists brought in for their specialized language skills.The USAGM programming in more 60 languages is aimed at some 100 countries where government controls and censorship stifle press freedom, including China, Iran, the Balkans and dozens of nations in Africa, Latin America and South and Central Asia.Many of USAGM’s journalists are hired on temporary J-1 visas that in the past have been regularly extended by the agency’s CEO. But last month, Pack abruptly halted the extensions, with USAGM saying the visa process is being reviewed, in a move that created uncertainty across VOA language services and tensions with Pack’s office.In a July 23 email to staff, he said past reviews of USAGM by other agencies had uncovered “systematic, severe and fundamental security failures” and that the agency was “working with our federal partners to ensure findings are swiftly and appropriately addressed.”Pack said he had ordered the investigation into agency operations out of concern that “the failures identified compromise the agency’s ability to fulfill its mission, undermine the efficiency and effectiveness of the federal workforce, and pose a threat to U.S. national security.” His office also cited national security in defending the shift to a case-by-case review of J-1 visas.The Voice of America’s entrance hall, leading to VOA offices and studios. (Photo: Diaa Bekheet)John Lansing, the Obama appointee who preceded Pack as the USAGM’s leader from September 2015 to September 2019, said in a statement Thursday that the executives being shoved aside are “some of the finest public servants I have ever had the privilege to work with.”“Pack’s attempt to discredit them is merely a smokescreen for his attempt to dismantle the legitimate editorial independence of VOA in favor of propagandizing the agency to favor the administration, which is illegal according to the congressional charter that established VOA and USAGM,” Lansing wrote.In an interview, Turner also brought up the firewall and pressures on journalistic resources.He said potential violations include the temporary reassignment of VOA’s journalistic standards editor, Steven Springer, and the J-1 visa policy, saying it was “consistent with what I’ve seen as a pattern of trying to starve our various broadcasting networks of resources.”As interim CEO, Turner handled visa extensions and said he wasn’t aware of any flaws in the process.“We have people from many countries, and the agency, I believe, has taken security very seriously over the years and tried to do very clear investigations of staff,” he said.“Since Mr. Pack’s tenure began there’s been a pattern of gross mismanagement at the agency that I’ve raised concerns about,” Turner said. “Obviously people in VOA and our journalist entities have seen what I believe are clear violations of the firewall.”Pack’s spokesperson defended the removal of Turner and others in Politico, saying: “We took action today to restore integrity to and respect for the rule of law in our work at USAGM. We will take additional steps to help return this agency to its glory days.”FILE – Voice of America offices in Washington, D.C.Pack, a conservative filmmaker, has repeatedly pledged to support the independence of USAGM journalists. At the same time, he has signaled in interviews with conservative news outlets a concern with bias and a belief that the agency has strayed from its mission.The USAGM should “advance America’s broad foreign policy goals, [which] includes fighting for American ideas and institutions against … views from China and Iran,” Pack said in an interview last month with The Epoch Times.Regarding editorial bias, the agency announced in late July that it was investigating VOA’s Urdu language service for a two-minute video posted on the service’s Facebook page showing Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden speaking about President Donald Trump’s policies restricting immigration from some Muslim countries.In a July 30 statement, Pack’s office said the video “can only be described as an apparent election advertisement for [the] presumptive Democratic presidential nominee.”“This investigation – and, indeed, every action that I have taken since starting my tenure last month – has been to repair USAGM so that, once again, U.S. government international broadcasting advances the American national interest,” Pack said in the statement.On Wednesday, the New York Post reported that the Urdu service’s digital managing editor had been placed on administrative leave and that four contractors working on the video would be terminated. USAGM did not respond to VOA’s request to confirm the report.The USAGM oversees five media networks, including VOA, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, the Office of Cuba Broadcasting, the Middle East Broadcasting Networks and Radio Free Asia. Also under its umbrella is the Open Technology Fund, a nonprofit that funds technology to get around internet censors and support democracy movements.Pack’s initial move to clean out the heads of the networks and their advisory boards drew objections from a bipartisan group of senators, who said they would review the agency’s funding. USAGM has a budget of about $800 million, with VOA getting the biggest share.Turner took Lansing’s place as interim CEO and director from October 2019 to June 2020. He joined USAGM in February 2016 after five years as the budget director for the Millennium Challenge Corporation, which provides U.S. foreign aid to end poverty. Before then, he worked at the Office of Management and Budget under Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama.Before becoming USAGM general counsel, Kligerman was the lead counsel for Voice of America and the Office of Cuba Broadcasting. He previously worked at the State Department as a legal adviser and in the European and Eurasian Bureau.Other USAGM officials reportedly caught in the purge:Oanh Tran, the executive director of USAGM, who managed internal workflow and communication with other agencies along with advisory board operations. She has worked in the U.S. government for 25 years.Matthew Walsh, deputy director for operations. Walsh previously spent nine years at the State Department as a senior adviser for United Nations Political Affairs, member of the secretary of state’s planning policy staff and adviser to the assistant secretary of state for Africa. He also worked at the U.S. Agency for International Development.Shawn Powers, chief strategy officer, also oversaw the Office of Policy and Research as well as Internet Freedom and circumvention programs. He previously served as the senior adviser for global strategy and innovation from July 2018 to November 2019. Before joining USAGM, he worked as executive director for the United States Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy. Powers launched and directed the Center for Global Information Studies at Georgia State University.Marie Lennon, who oversaw human resources, contracts, security and civil rights as USAGM director of management services. She is a 35-year government employee who held jobs at VOA, the Navy and Defense departments, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the former WORLDNET Television, where Pack was once a political appointee. 

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August 14th, 2020 by Vbiz

After the country reported its deadliest day of the coronavirus outbreak since May, the nation’s top infectious disease expert says he is not pleased with the way things are going in the United States.“We certainly are not where I hope we would be, we are in the middle of very serious historic pandemic,” Dr. Anthony Fauci said at a National Geographic panel discussion Thursday.Even though President Donald Trump said this week he expects the outbreak to be in “good shape … in a very short period of time,” Fauci said the number of cases will continue to rise unless federal and state governments can work together.That’s the thing that I’m concerned about because I believe we can, we have within our power to be able to get that down,” he said.There has been no single coordinated strategy from Washington and states on how to fight the outbreak. Some states have mask mandates and are continuing restrictions, while others do not require masks in public places and have eased the rules on social gatherings.Some states are seeing the number of cases rise while such hot spots as Arizona, California and Florida are improving and are “having now, less deaths, less hospitalizations, less cases,” Fauci said.Fauci has said that the coronavirus will likely never go away but that health officials can work to bring it down to “low levels.”World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus says governments must “do it all” – test, isolate and treat patients, and trace and quarantine all the people with whom they had contact.A backhoe places the coffin containing the body of Marina Salazar, 75, who died from COVID-19 complications, into her tomb at a cemetery in Carabayllo, Lima, Peru, Aug. 13, 2020.Wednesday’s 1,500 deaths was the highest single day total in the U.S. since May. The U.S., with 5.2 million cases and 167,000 deaths, leads the world by far in both categories.Other experts are warning that unless world leaders take more action to contain it, the coronavirus could be just as or even deadlier than the 1918 flu pandemic, which is believed to have killed 50 million people worldwide.A new study in the Journal of the American Medical Association Network Open looked at New York City.It says even when doctors take into account the technology, lifesaving drugs and information that did not exist 100 years ago, the increase in the number of COVID-19 cases during the first two months of the outbreak was “substantially greater” than the peak of the 1918 epidemic.“If insufficiently treated, SARS-CoV-2 infection (COVID-19) may have comparable or greater mortality than 1918 H1N1 influenza virus infection,” Harvard Medical School’s Dr. Jeremy Faust writes.New appsThree more states – Alabama, North Dakota and Wyoming – are launching apps to warn people about potential exposure to COVID-19, Reuters reports.Virginia is the first state to implement the technology, and other states are testing apps and plan to introduce them in the coming weeks.Users who download the apps on their smartphones get a map of the state and dots where the most cases are clustered, so travelers and others can avoid those areas.In GermanyThe premier of Germany’s Bavaria state is apologizing for problems with a data entry system that meant about 900 people who tested positive for COVID-19 were never told about it.Nearly 44,000 people who traveled to Bavaria about two weeks ago have been waiting for their test results. Officials believe about 900 tests were positive.“It is really extremely galling. We can only apologize,” Bavarian leader Markus Soeder told reporters. He promised to fix the problems by adding more staff to the testing centers. The Bavarian state health minister has offered to resign.Soeder has been touted as a possible successor to Chancellor Angela Merkel.Dental careMeanwhile, dentists are angry with the WHO’s recommendation that people put off routine checkups in areas where the coronavirus appears to be spreading.”Dentists have been experts in infection control for over 20 years due to the HIV-AIDS scare,” California Dental Association president Dr. Richard Nagy said. “So we’re used to preparing our offices for infection disease control. We really increased our knowledge of airborne base pathogens and prepare their offices in terms of enhanced PPE enhanced training for our staff,” he explained.The American Dental Association says it “strongly disagrees” with the WHO and says doctors and hygienists can work safely with the appropriate equipment.Many U.S. medical practices immediately perform temperature checks on all patients who walk through their doors and limit the number of people allowed inside the offices at the same time.  

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August 14th, 2020 by Vbiz

Drone footage filmed Thursday, August 13, shows countless destroyed buildings, hundreds of shattered windows and a still-smoldering Beirut port. ––––––––– READ MORE: Lebanese Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri called for the speedy formation of a new government Thursday as lawmakers approved the government’s two-week state of emergency after the recent devastating explosion that killed scores of people and injured thousands of others. Lebanese state media said Berri urged lawmakers at parliament’s first legislative session since the August 4 blast to begin “speeding up the formation of a (new) government.” Lawmakers have begun consultations on forming a new cabinet, a process complicated by divisions in a country governed by a sectarian power-sharing system. Parliament approved the state of emergency to suppress resurgent protests over corruption, mismanagement and negligence by the long-entrenched political elite. Hundreds of people have been injured in clashes with security forces who fired tear gas. ––––––––– LINK: https://www.voanews.com/middle-east/lebanese-parliament-speaker-calls-speedy-formation-new-government 

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August 14th, 2020 by Vbiz

Presumptive Democratic Party presidential nominee Joe Biden is calling for a national mask mandate to cut the number of future deaths from the coronavirus in the United States.  “It doesn’t have anything to do with Democrats, Republican or independents,” Biden said, but “every single American should be wearing a mask when they are outside for the next three months at a minimum.”  Hour later, President Donald Trump accused Biden of politicizing the pandemic with the request, asserting that a mask mandate would cripple the economy, leading to a depression by wanting to “lock all Americans in their basements for months on end.”The former vice president, in Wilmington, said the governors of every U.S. state “should mandate mandatory mask wearing,” adding that experts estimate such compliance “will save 40,000 lives in the next three months.”    Democratic presidential nominee, former Vice President Joe Biden, speaks to the press after receiving a briefing on COVID-19 in Wilmington, Delaware, on Aug. 13, 2020.The Trump administration has repeatedly rejected calls for a national mask mandate, leaving such decisions to state governors.  “It’s not about your rights,” Biden said to a group of reporters in his home state of Delaware. “It’s about your responsibility as an American. This is America. Be a patriot. Protect your fellow citizens. Step up. Do the right thing.”  The president, at an evening news conference, responded that he had emphasized that wearing a mask is a patriotic thing to do.“Maybe they’re great and maybe they’re just good, maybe they’re not so good,” Trump said of masks. “But frankly what do you have to lose?”Trump said, however, there is an issue of freedom when it comes to wearing masks — which has become a politically divisive issue in the United States.“We want to have a certain freedom. That’s what we’re about,” the president said.Biden’s running mate, Senator Kamala Harris of California, said it is important that Americans looking at the upcoming election “ask the current occupant of the White House, ‘When am I going to get vaccinated? When am I actually going to get vaccinated?’”  Most public health officials expect no vaccine ready for mass inoculations in the United States prior to 2021. Trump, however, has spoken of a vaccine possibly being ready by the time of the presidential election in early November.  Biden and Harris made their remarks inside a luxury Wilmington hotel after receiving two virtual briefings — one on the COVID-19 public health crisis, and the other on the economic downturn.  The presumptive Democratic Party nominees sat at desks in a hotel ballroom, facing each other without wearing masks but socially distanced. Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden and his running mate Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., receive a virtual briefing on COVID-19 from public health experts in Wilmington, Del., Aug. 13, 2020.The other participants joined via video links, and their faces were displayed on a large screen behind Biden and Harris.  Among those briefing the candidates about the coronavirus pandemic were Dr. Vivek Murthy, a former U.S. surgeon general, and Dr. Nicki Lurie, a former assistant secretary for preparedness and response at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.  The participants in the economic briefing included Janet Yellen, former chair of the Federal Reserve Board. Patsy Widakuswara contributed to this report. 

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August 13th, 2020 by Vbiz

Fake news about the coronavirus can do real harm. Polygraph.info is spotlighting fact-checks from other reliable sources here​.Daily DebunkClaim: Asymptomatic spread of coronavirus is “very rare.”Verdict: MisleadingRead the full story at: Health FeedbackSocial Media DisinfoScreenshotCirculating on social media: Claim that Samsung is running a giveaway to help students who have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.Verdict: FalseRead the full story at: PesaCheck​Factual Reads on CoronavirusThe ever-expanding list of COVID-19 symptoms
We last wrote about COVID-19 symptoms at the end of April. Since then, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has added several new symptoms of possible infection: congestion, runny nose, nausea or vomiting, and diarrhea.
— MITMedical, August 11

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August 13th, 2020 by Vbiz

A newly developed saliva test is aiming to determine coronavirus infections in less than a second, Israel’s largest hospital said Thursday, August 13. In an initial clinical trial, a new artificial intelligence-based device was able to identify evidence of the virus in the body at a 95% success rate, according to Sheba Medical Center. Patients wash their mouth and spit into a vial, which is examined by a small spectral device. The device essentially shines light and analyses the reaction of the saliva. An algorithm determines whether the reaction lines up with COVID-19 samples. With machine learning, the results should get more accurate over time as more samples are testing. (REUTERS) 

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August 13th, 2020 by Vbiz

The annual Great Migration of wildlife across Tanzania and Kenya usually attracts thousands of tourists on safari, bringing income to trades that depend on them — such as souvenir makers.  But, as the COVID-19 pandemic has dropped tourism numbers, Kenya’s craftsmen and women are suffering.  In Narok, Kenya, women who specialize in beadwork for tourists have seen their incomes drop to a fraction of what they were last year, as Lenny Ruvaga reports from Narok.   Camera: Amos Wangwa
Producer: Barry Unger  

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August 13th, 2020 by Vbiz

Lebanese Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri called for the speedy formation of a new government Thursday as lawmakers approved the government’s two-week state of emergency after the recent devastating explosion that killed scores of people and injured thousands of others.Lebanese state media said Berri urged lawmakers at parliament’s first legislative session since the August 4 blast to begin “speeding up the formation of a (new) government.” Lebanon declares state of emergencyLebanon’s Parliament met Thursday for the first time since last week’s blast that killed over 170 people. A state of emergency was declared after another night of protests as citizens continue to cry out for accountability. Plus, an update on the Japanese bulk carrier that struck a coral reef off the coast of Mauritius and leaked 1,000 tons of oil. And how scientists plan on bringing back the Malaysian variant of the Sumatran rhinoceros.Lawmakers have begun consultations on forming a new cabinet, a process complicated by divisions in a country governed by a sectarian power-sharing system. Parliament approved the state of emergency to suppress resurgent protests over corruption, mismanagement and negligence by the long-entrenched political elite.Hundreds of people have been injured in clashes with security forces who fired tear gas.WHO Appeals for $76 Million to Help LebanonMassive August 4 blast put hospitals and clinics out of commissionPrime Minister Hassan Diab announced his government’s resignation Monday night in the aftermath of the blast. The resignations were confirmed at Thursday’s legislative session.U.S. diplomat David Hale was to visit Beirut Thursday to emphasize the need for reform, the U.S. Embassy said.The Lebanese government took office in January with support from Iran-backed Shi’ite Muslim Hezbollah and other parties. Hezbollah, which the U.S. considers a terrorist organization, and its allies have a majority of seats in parliament.According to the U.S. Embassy, Hale “will underscore America’s willingness to support any government that reflects the will of the people and is genuinely committed to and acting upon such a reform agenda.”The massive blast, which killed 172 people, injured about 6,000 others and left about 300,000 homeless, is blamed on the detonation of 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate that had been improperly stored for six years at the Port of Beirut.Rebuilding is expected to cost billions of dollars. Economists have forecast the damage could erase up to 25% of the country’s economic output.Humanitarian aid is being provided to Lebanon, but foreign countries have made clear they will not provide funds to help the country avoid economic collapse without reform.

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August 13th, 2020 by Vbiz

Hong Kong media mogul Jimmy Lai, who has been released on bail after his arrest Monday, said Thursday he has accepted imprisonment as his “destiny” and that the widespread support he has received proves his struggle for democracy is a worthy cause.Lai, 71, was one of 10 people arrested Monday for violating the national security law imposed by China on July 1. Among them, two were his sons, four were senior executives at Lai’s Next Digital company, and three were activists, including 23-year-old Agnes Chow. Local news reports say he was released on bail and that $6.5 million of his assets have been frozen.The arrest of Lai, a high-profile supporter of the pro-democracy movement, and the police raid on the Apple Daily newspaper owned by Next Digital this week have stoked widespread fears of the end of Hong Kong as a city where information and opinions are freely aired.Speaking in public for the first time since his release, Lai said in an Apple Daily live link Thursday morning that he had his moments of doubt when he was handcuffed and struggled to sleep on the floor in custody.“If I knew I would end up here, or eventually in prison, would I have changed myself?” he said has asked himself.“[But] my character is my destiny. Once I accepted my destiny, all of a sudden, I felt the grace of God, the blessing of God, and I was totally relieved. And I left myself to my destiny and accepted it,” said Lai, a Catholic.“It was such a wonderful feeling … culminating in such a situation. It was like God telling me, ‘Don’t fear, just do what you have to do, I’m with you,’” he said.He said he was overwhelmed by the public support for him and his paper.After Apple Daily’s office was raided by around 200 police officers, Next Digital’s share price more than doubled on Monday and rocketed five times again the next day to reach a six-year high.The paper said it printed 550,000 copies of Tuesday’s paper, compared with the usual run of around 70,000. People lined up in the early hours of Tuesday to buy the paper, which sold out across Hong Kong. Some bought multiple copies to leave on the streets for others.Lai said he was filled with emotion when he was released, to be greeted by supporters, who were shouting for joy. He said the images of 200 police officers raiding the newsroom have angered many as it was “a violation of the people’s belief in the freedom of the speech.”“It shows that people really support us, they give us so much comfort to be part of this community,” he said. “I was so touched. This has reaffirmed that whatever I’ve done wrong in the past, what I’m doing now is right. The message is: ‘Let’s go on!’”Likening freedom to oxygen, he said, “The oxygen is getting thin, we’re all choking, [but] we’re still taking care of each other and we keep resisting and fighting for the rule of law and freedoms.”Lai said he was relieved that he had not been taken to mainland China and the police who dealt with his case were Hong Kongers.However, as Lai’s charges included subversion and collusion with a foreign country, which are new offenses under the new national security law, analysts have warned that under the law’s Clause 55 and 56, he risks being sent to China for trial, and could be given the maximum, life imprisonment.After Lai’s arrest, the Chinese government’s Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office accused him and his paper of being a mastermind behind protests in Hong Kong, using his media platforms to “fabricate and spread rumors and to incite and support violence,” and of providing financial support for anti-China and pro-independence forces.It called for “severe punishment” of those who “collude with foreign forces” and “act as their agents” to harm national security by “secession, subversion and infiltration.”Lai said China does not understand that Hong Kong’s best assets are the rule of law and its civil liberties, and that they are the foundation of its success as an international financial center. He conceded, though, that Hong Kongers are helpless against such a powerful country.“It’s a long fight, I agree. We cannot be radical, we cannot confront them face to face,” he said.  “We are just eggs and they’re the wall. We have to be flexible and innovative, and patient but to achieve [our goal], that’s the way.”Wiping away tears from time to time during the livestream, Lai said the international support meant “what we are doing is right.”“I am in my 70s and there was never a time when I felt so moved and so happy, knowing that I’ve been doing the right thing. I’m near the end of my life, it’s a very precious feeling,” he said.

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August 13th, 2020 by Vbiz

Police in the northwestern U.S. city of Portland, Oregon, used tear gas Wednesday night to disperse protesters at a building that houses a police precinct and jail.Authorities declared the latest in what have been several months of nightly protests a riot and said some demonstrators engaged in criminal activity that included setting fires and lighting fireworks outside a federal courthouse.The protests began after the death in police custody of George Floyd in the state of Minnesota, with those in Portland and many other places across the country calling for police reforms and steps to address racial inequality.Portland gained prominence when federal agents deployed there in July over the objections of local officials.They have since withdrawn. 

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August 13th, 2020 by Vbiz

Police have detained former Ecuadorian President Abdala Bucaram for the second time in two months, this time in an organized crime probe.Ecuadorian Interior Minister Maria Paula Romo told a local radio station that Bucaram was arrested at his home in the port city of Guayaquil on Wednesday as part of investigation into whether he is linked to the murder of an Israeli man jailed in a possible COVID-19 medical supply scandal.So far, Bucaram has not been charged in connection to the inmate’s death at the Litoral Penitentiary in Guayaquil on Saturday.In June, Bucaram was detained for a time following a raid on his home in an investigation into the sale of COVID-19 medical supplies to hospitals.Authorities seized thousands of face masks and coronavirus antibody rapid test kits.A gun and artwork were also seized, and Bucaram was charged with illegal possession of a firearm and state-owned sculptures.Bucaram’s three adult sons are being sought in connection with the inquiry into sale of overpriced medical supplies to hospitals.

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August 13th, 2020 by Vbiz

Two U.S men charged with selling a bleach-like chemical concoction billed as a cure for COVID-19 and other diseases are under arrest in Colombia.The Associated Press quoted authorities as saying Mark and Joseph Grennon were arrested Tuesday in the beach town of Santa Marta, where the father-and-son team shipped their “Miracle Mineral Solution” to the United States, Colombia and Africa.Prosecutors say seven Americans died from using their product.Mark Grenon, the archbishop of the Genesis II Church of Health and Healing in Bradenton, Florida, promoted the substance as a sort of sacrament with healing powers.Grenon ignored a Miami federal judge’s order in April to stop selling the substance, which has been legalized in Bolivia despite opposition from medical experts.Grenon and his three adult sons, including Joseph, are charged with conspiracy to defraud the United States, conspiracy to violate the Federal Food Drug and Cosmetic Act and criminal contempt.  

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August 13th, 2020 by Vbiz

Two top U.S. health officials are expressing skepticism about Vladimir Putin’s claim that Russian scientists have come up with the world’s first safe and effective vaccine.“I seriously doubt that they’ve done that,” infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci said. But he added that he hopes Moscow has indeed “actually definitively proven that the vaccine is safe and effective.”Fauci said a number of U.S. labs are working on a vaccine and could, if they wanted to, roll them out anytime.“If we wanted to take the chance of hurting a lot of people or giving them something that doesn’t work, we could start doing this, you know, next week if we wanted to. But that’s not the way it works,” Fauci said in remarks to be broadcast Thursday by National Geographic.Fauci has said he hopes to have millions of doses of a COVID-19 vaccine ready in the U.S. by early 2021 but has warned there is no way to guarantee the long-term effectiveness of a vaccine.Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar thumbs up as he visits a mask factory with Director of the American Institute in Taiwan William Brent Christensen, right, in New Taipei City, Aug. 12, 2020.Meantime, U.S. Health and Human Services chief Alex Azar said during a visit to Taiwan on Wednesday that developing a COVID-19 vaccine is “not a race to be first.”He said the Trump administration is working with the U.S. pharmaceutical industry to “deliver as quickly as we can for the benefit of the United States’ citizens, but also for the people of the world, safe and effective vaccines.”The Food and Drug Administration must approve any vaccine of any kind before it is distributed to doctors and other health care professionals.China on Wednesday called Azar’s performance in handling COVID-19 in the U.S. “the worst in the world” and said his trip to Taiwan was a stunt.“He ignored millions of Americans suffering from the virus and went to Taiwan to put on a political show,” foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijan said. “His behavior proves once again that in the eyes of U.S. politicians, American lives mean nothing when compared with their selfish political gains.”The Trump administration has accused China of trying to cover up the outbreak of COVID-19 when it began in Wuhan in December and failing to contain the disease — allegations China denies.Azar said if the coronavirus outbreak started in Taiwan or the U.S., it could have been “snuffed out easily.”People wearing face masks wait their turn to be called for a PCR test for the COVID-19 outside a local clinic in Santa Coloma de Gramanet in Barcelona, Spain, Aug. 11, 2020.Spain’s Galicia region has banned cigarette smoking in the streets, in outdoor restaurants, and anywhere social distancing is impractical.Although it’s unclear if cigarette smokers are more susceptible to COVID-19, smoking contributes to the underlying health problems that make recovery from the disease much more difficult. Second-hand cigarette smoke is also a health hazard.Officials in Spain’s Aragon region have ordered a military field hospital, and testing in Catalonia, including its capital Barcelona, is being expanded after Spain reported 1,700 hundred new COVID cases in just 24 hours Wednesday.Greece reported 262 new cases Wednesday — its highest one-day total since the outbreak began — and Italy is ordering visitors from Greece, Spain, Croatia and Malta to be tested for COVID-19 when they cross the border. Italy is a popular vacation spot for tourists from those four nations.The pandemic continues to have an effect on the sporting world. Two major U.S. college athletic conferences — the Big Ten and the Pac-12 — announced Tuesday they are postponing their upcoming fall football seasons.Now, one of the world’s top golf tournaments — The Masters — will be played this year with no spectators.It’s the third major U.S. golf match to be fan-free this year. The PGA Championship was played last week with no one watching from the sidelines. The U.S. Open, which was moved from June to September, will also have no spectators.The Masters is usually held every April at Augusta National Golf Club in Georgia. The club has been closed because of the coronavirus, and this year’s tournament has been postponed until November.Pop singer and guitarist Trini Lopez, best known for his smash recordings of “If I Had a Hammer” and “Lemon Tree” in the 1960s, has died from COVID-19. He was 83 years old.Along with his hit records, Lopez was also an actor, appearing on television and co-starring in the 1967 World War II film “The Dirty Dozen.”

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August 13th, 2020 by Vbiz

Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden took note of the historic moment Wednesday when introducing Sen. Kamala Harris, his vice presidential choice, at a campaign event in Delaware.Biden and Harris, both wearing face masks because of the coronavirus pandemic, spoke from the stage of a high school in Biden’s hometown of Wilmington, Delaware.  Their speeches focused on the theme of their campaign, stressing their leadership in helping Americans during the crises of the pandemic and growing economic turmoil, as well as the inspirational message of choosing Harris.  “This morning, all across the nation, little girls woke up — especially little Black and brown girls, who so often feel overlooked and undervalued in their communities — but today, just maybe they’re seeing themselves for the first time in a new way,” Biden said.  Democratic presidential candidate former Vice President Joe Biden, joined by his running mate Sen. Kamala Harris, speaks during a campaign event at Alexis Dupont High School in Wilmington, Del., Aug. 12, 2020.But roughly one hundred people, most of them Wilmington residents, gathered outside Alexis DuPont high school on Wednesday for just a glimpse of the candidates.“I thought it was important to come out to see history,” Janice Nelson, a Delaware native standing alongside her 14-year-old son, told VOA.“We don’t know if I’ll get a glimpse of them or not. It doesn’t matter. We just want to be here to say that we’re voting,” she said.A few attendees wore Biden shirts or hats. One man had fashioned his own “Biden Harris” sign, just hours after Harris was named Biden’s running mate when little merchandise featuring both names has been made available. Biden officially named Harris as his running mate Tuesday, making her the first Black woman and South Asian American woman to be named on a major party ticket for a presidential election. Due to the pandemic, the candidates’ first joint event was held in a nearly empty gymnasium. COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, has killed more than 165,000 people in the U.S.  Biden said he and Harris would work to “rebuild this country.” He accused President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence of failing to lead during the COVID-19 crisis and said that he and Harris would fix “the mess” created in the U.S. and abroad by Trump and Pence, whom the Democrats are seeking to defeat in the November general election. Harris, from California, also attacked Trump in her speech.  “America is crying out for leadership, yet we have a president who cares more about himself than the people who elected him, a president who is making every challenge we face even more difficult to solve,” she said, saying Trump has endangered Americans by not taking the pandemic seriously. Ahead of their appearance Wednesday, a number of Wilmington residents — including many members of Harris’s Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority, dressed in the group’s signature salmon pink and apple green — dropped by on their lunch breaks from work, hoping to witness either Biden or Harris entering the building. About 100 people now at the back of the high school – including a handful of people protesting Biden for his stance on abortion. Unclear who is already inside. pic.twitter.com/lRBTabxLUa— Esha is at #AAJA20 (@egkaur) August 12, 2020“We are coming out to support this monumental experience,” Melanie Daniels, an AKA member dressed all in pink, told VOA outside the high school. “And as a Delaware native and a graduate, class of ’88, Alexis DuPont High School, it’s just an awesome moment in time for us,” her colleague, Shealese Russell-Reams, who was dressed all in green, added. The two women were among more than a dozen people who stopped by over the lunch hour in hopes of catching a glimpse of Biden and Harris entering the high school, where a virtual fundraiser was scheduled to take place later Wednesday afternoon. After winning enough primaries to secure the nomination earlier this year, Biden, 77, committed himself to picking a female running mate. There was much speculation he would choose a Black woman to run with him. A number of familiar and respected names surfaced in the press as potential candidates.  Harris delivered stinging criticism of Biden during the primary debates but had high praise for him during a campaign event several weeks ago.  “Joe has empathy. He has a proven track record of leadership, and more than ever before, we need a president of the United States who understands who the people are, sees them where they are, and has a genuine desire to help and knows how to fight to get us where we need to be,” Harris said.  Harris, 55, was born in Oakland, California. She is the daughter of immigrants — her father is from Jamaica, and her mother is from India.  She graduated from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law and was elected district attorney for San Francisco in 2003 and California attorney general in 2010.  Harris arrived in Washington less than four years ago as a U.S Democratic senator from California.  In her 2020 presidential campaign, Harris was briefly the Democratic front-runner after success in the early debates.Harris is only the third woman ever picked for vice president by a major party. Semocratic Congresswoman Geraldine Ferraro was Vice President Walter Mondale’s running mate in 1984 when they lost by a landslide to the Republican ticket of Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush.  Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin ran with Republican John McCain in 2008 but lost to Democrats Barack Obama and Biden. 

Posted in Бізнес, Нерухомість, Новини, Фінанси

August 12th, 2020 by Vbiz

Presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden and his newly named running mate, Senator Kamala Harris, are set to make their first joint appearance Wednesday as a team seeking to defeat President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence in the November general election.The Biden-Harris campaign said the pair would speak in Wilmington, Delaware, about “working together to restore the soul of the nation and fight for working families to move the country forward.”Biden, Harris to Make First Public Appearance Together as Running Mates Pair will speak in Wilmington, Delaware Wednesday, as they seek to defeat President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence in November general electionAhead of their appearance at Alexis DuPont High School Wednesday afternoon, several Delaware locals — including many members of Harris’ sorority, Alpha Kappa Alpha, dressed in the group’s signature salmon pink and apple green — came to show their support.“We are coming out to support this monumental experience,” Melanie Daniels, an AKA member dressed all in pink, told VOA outside the high school.”And as a Delaware native and a graduate, class of ’88, Alexis DuPont High School, it’s just an awesome moment in time for us,” her colleague, Shealese Russell-Reams, who was dressed all in green, added.The two women were among the more than a dozen people who stopped by over the lunch hour in hopes of catching a glimpse of Biden and Harris enter the high school, where a virtual fundraiser is scheduled to take place later Wednesday afternoon.
Ahead of the appearance, Biden said he picked Harris, because if they are elected on November 3, “She’s ready to lead on day one.”If @KamalaHarris and I are elected, we’re going to inherit multiple crises, a nation divided, and a world in disarray. We won’t have a minute to waste.
That’s exactly why I picked her: She’s ready to lead on day one.
— Joe Biden (@JoeBiden) FILE – U.S. Senator Kamala Harris holds her first organizing event in Los Angeles as she campaigns in the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination race in Los Angeles, California, U.S., May 19, 2019.But Biden and Harris have a long friendship going back to the days when she was California attorney general at the same time Biden’s late son, Beau Biden, was attorney general in Delaware.“She worked closely with Beau. I watched as they took on the big banks, lifted up working people, and protected women and kids from abuse,” Joe Biden tweeted Tuesday. “I was proud then, and I’m proud now to have her as my partner in this campaign.”Harris delivered stinging criticism of her rival during the primary debates but had high praise for Biden during a campaign event several weeks ago, before she was named as his running mate.“Joe has empathy, he has a proven track record of leadership and more than ever before, we need a president of the United States who understands who the people are, sees them where they are, and has a genuine desire to help and knows how to fight to get us where we need to be,” Harris said.Harris, 55, was born in Oakland, California. She is the daughter of immigrants, her father from Jamaica and her mother from India.She graduated from the University of California, Hastings College of the Law and was elected district attorney for San Francisco in 2003 and California attorney general in 2010.Harris arrived in Washington less than four years ago as a U.S Democratic senator from California.In her 2020 presidential campaign, Harris was briefly the Democratic front-runner after success in the early debates. Her criticism of Biden’s one-time opposition to court-ordered busing to achieve racial balance in public schools strained their relationship.But Harris’ overall centrist political stance in the early debates, including her support for law enforcement as an attorney general, failed to excite progressives and liberals, and she dropped out of the presidential race before the first primaries.Some Democrats accused her of being out of touch over issues of police violence – questions that are bound to be raised again amid nationwide protests against police brutality against Black people and other people of color.Several other women whom Biden considered for a running mate gave their endorsements of Harris after her selection Tuesday.US UN Ambassador Susan Rice speaks in the UN General Assembly at UN headquarters in New York after a vote to suspend Libya from the UN Human Rights Council, March 1, 2011“Senator Harris is a tenacious and trailblazing leader who will make a great partner on the campaign trail,” said Susan Rice, former U.S. national security adviser and U.N. ambassador.Congresswoman Karen Bass, who leads the Congressional Black Caucus, a group of most African Americans in Congress, called Harris a “great choice.””Her tenacious pursuit of justice and relentless advocacy for the people is what is needed right now,” Bass said.Senator Elizabeth Warren, who also ran unsuccessfully for the Democratic presidential nomination, said of Harris: “She’ll be a great partner to Joe Biden in making our government a powerful force for good in the fight for social, racial and economic justice.”FILE – In this Dec. 12, 2018, photo, former President Barack Obama accepts the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Ripple of Hope Award at a ceremony in New York.Former President Barack Obama was among other prominent Democrats who welcomed the Harris selection.“I’ve known Senator Kamala Harris for a long time. She is more than prepared for the job. She’s spent her career defending our Constitution and fighting for folks who need a fair shake. This is a good day for our country. Now let’s go win this thing,” Obama tweeted Tuesday.Democratic Congressman Raja Krishnamoorthi, who was born in New Delhi, tweeted: “Regardless of your political leanings, it says so much about the progress our country has made that a major party ticket now includes a Black and South Asian American woman.”Trump said Tuesday he was “surprised” Biden chose Harris.“I was more surprised than anything else because she did so poorly, many people did much better than her in the primaries,” Trump said.Harris is the third woman to run for vice president on a major party ticket.Democratic representative Geraldine Ferraro was Walter Mondale’s running mate in 1984 when they lost by a landslide to the Republican ticket of Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush.Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin ran with Republican John McCain in 2008 but lost to Democrats Obama and Biden. 

Posted in Бізнес, Нерухомість, Новини, Фінанси

August 12th, 2020 by Vbiz

Africa recently counted its one-millionth confirmed case of coronavirus and health officials fear there are many more uncounted. Plugged In with Greta Van Susteren examines the challenges of dealing with a pandemic with Dr. Michel Yao, the Emergency Operations Manager for WHO Africa and Dr. Linda Mobula, Professor at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Airdate: August 12, 2020.

Posted in Бізнес, Нерухомість, Новини, Фінанси

August 12th, 2020 by Vbiz

Just a few months ago, Italy was seen as an example of how NOT to handle the coronavirus. Now Italians are enjoying their summer and learning to live with the virus even though a few hundred new cases are still being reported every day and more young people are being infected. The country’s recovery is underway even though the virus remains a threat.Italians would like to forget March 29 of this year, when the country recorded its highest number of deaths from coronavirus in a single day: 969. That is no easy matter as people recall how Italy’s authorities had to deploy the army to help remove dead bodies.No one in this country believes the virus has been defeated. In fact, most people are only too aware of just how present it continues to be. The daily bulletin of new infections, a few hundred, is a reminder that Covid-19 is still circulating on Italian territory.  Gianni Rezza, Director General of Prevention at Italy’s Ministry of Health, says the number of cases in Italy is on the rise, with more young people being infected.Various clusters are present on Italian territory, he said, and many of them are caused by imported cases. Even though the Italian situation is better than that of other European countries, Rezza added, Italy’s epidemiological situation merits careful attention. He warned that Italians must continue to be cautious in their behavior adding that efforts to contain the virus must focus on quickly identifying new outbreaks.Young Italians are the ones finding it most difficult not to return to their previous lives of gathering with their many friends and going to summer parties and discos.Italy was the first European country to be hit hard by coronavirus and the harsh lockdown experience has led to an understanding now that the only way forward is to live together with the virus until a vaccine is available for the whole population.  Since the country gradually re-opened, Italians have been doing their best to limit the spread of the virus with the only known defenses: social distancing, wearing protective masks and avoiding large gatherings.At the height of the Italian summer, people are now enjoying themselves at the beach. Bars and restaurants have managed to re-open and are making money again. Italy’s economy is slowly picking up after having been severely affected by a two-month lockdown.

Posted in Бізнес, Нерухомість, Новини, Фінанси

August 12th, 2020 by Vbiz

The arrest of pro-democracy media mogul Jimmy Lai and the high-profile police raid on the Apple Daily newspaper this week has stoked widespread fears of the end of Hong Kong as a flourishing city where information and opinions were freely aired.Lai, 71, was one of ten people arrested Monday for violating the national security law imposed by China on July 1. Among them, two were his sons, four were senior executives at Lai’s Next Digital company, and three were activists, including 23-year-old Agnes Chow.  Lai and Chow were released on bail late Tuesday.Pro-democracy activist Agnes Chow Ting is arrested from her home in Hong Kong, Aug. 10, 2020.Lai was held on charges including subversion and collusion with a foreign country, which are new offenses under the new national security law carrying a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.  The legislation allows for people accused of breaching the law to be transferred to mainland courts for trial, where 99% of cases result in conviction.Reporters said the high-profile raid, in which police officers rummaged through documents on their desks, left them feeling shocked, angry and humiliated.“We thought they might arrest our boss someday, but no one expected 200 police officers rushing into our office and going through stuff on our desks,” said a journalist at the Apple Daily, who declined to be named.Another journalist at the paper who returned to the office during the raid said she was “heartbroken” by the sight of a boss handcuffed and led away by the police and felt humiliated that police escorted her at every step. “I felt very upset and helpless but angry too,” she said.Hong Kong media tycoon Jimmy Lai, center, who founded local newspaper Apple Daily, is arrested under the new national security law by police officers, Aug. 10, 2020.Veteran media professionals say Apple Daily stands as a lone, critical voice among Hong Kong’s mainstream media outlets and say the authorities may close it down under the national security law.  The attack on the newspaper is an indication that press freedom is no longer tolerated in Hong Kong, they say.”Apple Daily is almost the only one among mainstream media outlets that is not afraid of antagonizing the Hong Kong or Chinese governments.  Now it has become a lonely voice,” said Daisy Li, veteran journalist and chief editor at online media CitizenNews.Hong Kong police officers set up police cordon as they search Apple Daily office, Aug. 10, 2020. (Credit: Apple Daily)Since Hong Kong’s return to Chinese rule in 1997, press freedom has been gradually eroding, as media outlets become co-opted by the Chinese authorities through ownership or major stakes of mainland companies or businesses with strong ties to China.Two television companies, NOW and Cable TV, well known for their independent reporting, recently had their head of news replaced, while respected public broadcaster RTHK has been put under government review after the removal of a 31-year-old satirical political comedy show.“Apple Daily is an outspoken media whose reporting have often embarrassed the Beijing and Hong Kong authorities. It’s the bellwether of press freedom in Hong Kong,” said Bruce Lui, senior journalism lecturer at the Hong Kong Baptist University. “All kinds of opinions should co-exist when there is press freedom, and when there is no longer Apple Daily, it means the authorities no longer tolerate these voices and can silence them.”Since the mainland state media characterize Apple Daily as a paper that engages in “collusion with foreign powers”, according to the national security law’s Clause 55 and 56, Lai risks being sent to China for trial, and could be given the maximum life imprisonment, Lui said.The Chinese government’s opinions on Lai and his freewheeling paper could be gleaned from a statement from its Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office.  It called for the “severe punishment” of those who “collude with foreign forces” and “act as their agents” to harm national security by “secession, subversion and infiltration.”The office accused Lai and his paper of being a mastermind behind protests in Hong Kong, using his media platforms to “fabricate and spread rumors and to incite and support violence,” and of providing financial support for anti-China and pro-independence forces.Kenneth Chan, a political scientist at the Hong Kong Baptist University, said press freedom has long been Hong Kong’s asset and “an indispensable element” of the city’s comparative advantage over other countries in Asia.“The raid on Apple Daily … can but tell the world that the government sees in press freedom in the context of a communist-style power struggle,” he said.Despite the hardship, Hong Kong journalists insist they would not be cowed into silence. And members of the public have also shown overwhelming support for the Apple Daily. After the raid, the paper’s parent company Next Digital’s share price more than doubled on Monday and rocketed five times again the next day to reach a six-year high. Regardless of the arrests, the paper printed five times as many copies and newspapers sold out across Hong Kong on Tuesday.People queue up at a news stand to buy copies of Apple Daily in downtown Hong Kong, Aug. 11, 2020, as a show of support, a day after the arrest of its founder Jimmy Lai.Lai returned to his office on Wednesday, receiving a hero’s welcome from his applauding staff.An Apple Daily journalist said he would not be surprised if the authorities closed the paper soon, but “most of our colleagues want to stay for as long as we can.”“The future is difficult, but the spirit of defiance is alive and strong among Hong Kongers, including journalists. There will still be people willing to safeguard Hong Kong’s press freedom,” said Mak Yin Ting, former chairwoman of the Hong Kong Journalists Association. 

Posted in Бізнес, Нерухомість, Новини, Фінанси

August 12th, 2020 by Vbiz

New Zealand is again under lockdown restrictions Wednesday after four COVID-19 infections were detected in Auckland, the South Pacific’s country’s biggest city. They are the first confirmed cases of community transmission of coronavirus in more than 100 days.                                                         In June, New Zealand declared a victory in its fight against COVID-19.  Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said the country had “united in unprecedented ways to crush the virus.”  Restrictions were lifted, and life began to return to what it was before the pandemic, although New Zealand’s international borders stayed closed.   But the coronavirus had not gone away. After more than three months without a local infection, four cases have been found among a family in Auckland. None had recently traveled overseas and the source of the disease is being urgently investigated.    Auckland, a city of 1.6 million people, is now subject to stage three restrictions. Bars and restaurants have closed, along with schools. Workers have been told to stay at home, although staff in essential services are exempt.  The lockdown will last for at least three days.  Less stringent measures, including limits on gatherings and social distancing protocols, apply to the rest of New Zealand.  The health minister Chris Hipkins told New Zealand radio that the government wanted to avoid a surge in cases seen overseas, including in the Australian city of Melbourne.   “We are taking a very, very precautionary approach here.  One of the reasons that we are moving very swiftly and that we are moving to level three (restrictions) for Auckland very quickly is we want to do everything we can to avoid (a) situation like Melbourne.  You know, one of the lessons from overseas is you cannot be too hard, too soon.  The faster you move the better your chances,” Hipkins said.Ahead of Wednesday’s lockdown, large crowds of shoppers were seen queuing at supermarkets despite officials insisting that panic-buying was not necessary.  The World Health Organization had highlighted New Zealand as an example to other nations for having “successfully eliminated community transmission.”  The re-emergence of the virus shows how difficult it is to stamp it out. Australia, too, has seen a resurgence of COVID-19 in some states, including New South Wales and Victoria, where a strict lockdown has been imposed. 

Posted in Бізнес, Нерухомість, Новини, Фінанси

August 12th, 2020 by Vbiz

The continued stalemate in Washington over a new coronavirus relief package sent Asian markets mostly lower Wednesday. Tokyo’s Nikkei index ended the day’s trading session 0.4% higher.  The S&P/ASX index in Sydney dropped 0.1%.  Seoul’s KOSPI index is up 0.5%, and the TSEC index in Taipei is down 0.8%.   In late afternoon trading, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng is up 1.1%, Shanghai’s Composite is down 0.6%, and Mumbai’s Sensex is down 0.1%.  European markets have begun the day in mixed territory.  The FTSE index in London is up 0.5% and the CAC-40 in Paris is up 0.1%, while the DAX in Frankfurt is down 0.1%.  In commodities trading, gold is selling at $1,942.30 an ounce, down 0.2%.  U.S. crude oil is selling at $42.01 an ounce, up 0.9%, and Brent crude, the international benchmark, is selling at $44.94, also up 0.9%.   All three major U.S. indices are trending upward in futures trading.   

Posted in Бізнес, Нерухомість, Новини, Фінанси