Boston Celtics All-Star small forward Jayson Tatum watched his team stumble again on the night he was honored with an All-Star nod for the second time. To make matters worse, it came after Celtic helped boost a strong comeback effort late in Tuesday’s game against the Dallas Mavericks.
There is speculation that perhaps the team’s two-star wingers, Tatum and first-time All-Star forward Jaylen Brown, have lost faith in their team-mates as everyone from two-way point guard Tremont Waters to early point guard Kemba Walker had problems with their play over the years. this …
PARIS / BERLIN (Reuters) – Laurent Fignon, a geriatric doctor in southern France, had to improvise while administering Pfizer and BioNTech’s Covid-19 vaccine shots to orphanage residents and health workers because of the proper supply of syringes. and a short syringe.
Getting six full doses from a Pfizer / BioNTech syringe – as permitted this month by European Union health regulators – requires a needle thin enough to minimize waste and long enough to deliver the injection, as needed, to the recipient’s shoulder muscle.
Fignon hospital in the Mediterranean resort of Cannes was sent syringes from French public health authorities that were too short, he said, forcing him to hunt for supplies locally. Other nearby hospitals got proper syringes and were generous enough to share several.
“For us, it is like Russian roulette,” Fignon told Reuters. “You don’t know what you will get.”
Similar shortcomings emerged elsewhere in Europe, complicating the stuttering beginnings of vaccination efforts that have been exacerbated by warnings from Pfizer and AstraZeneca, its Anglo-Swedish partner, that they will not be able to meet vaccine supply commitments any time soon.
Pfizer now predicts it will produce 2 billion doses this year, but this assumes that it will be possible to extract the full six from each bottle. It fills on a dose basis, meaning the cost of the bottle has gone up by 20%.
The European Commission is urging Pfizer and German partner BioNTech to provide more low dead space needles to extract extra doses.
BioNTech says it has purchased 50 million marketable needles to countries around the world, and is working to buy more. That compares with the EU order for up to 600 million doses of its vaccine.
Industry executives say that, while the yield of syringes is sufficient to meet current demand, chaotic ordering means they often don’t reach where they need it most. Work is underway to assess future demand and find ways to meet it, they said.
In Germany, vaccine distribution is handled by the central government but 16 federal states are responsible for obtaining the syringes needed to inject them – with mixed results.
Some, like Baden-Wuerttemberg and Thuringia, have had the luck of ordering the right needles and syringes early on. But others, including Bavaria, Saarland and Lower Saxony, did not and had to carry out follow-up orders, officials said.
Saxony, on the Czech border, also has to shop as scarce supplies push prices up, said Lars Werthmann, regional head of vaccine logistics at the German Red Cross.
“We can’t miss a single dose at this point. And we cannot justify failure for a 5 cent syringe, “Werthmann told Reuters.
Europe’s leading injection equipment manufacturer, a private German company called B.Braun, said it was facing increased demand for syringes and other products needed for vaccination.
“With our competitors, we are currently able to meet all the demands regarding the products required for vaccination,” said spokeswoman Christine Bossek. “We are working on solutions in parallel to ensure that this will also happen in the future.”
The German medical technology industry association, BVMed, said there were no production barriers and the supply of syringes and syringes was sufficient. But chaotic orders make distribution difficult, he added, calling for better coordination.
Switzerland has ordered so-called “firing equipment” to deliver five doses per bottle. With six now permitted, it is in talks with Pfizer to supply the equipment needed to withdraw those doses, the Federal Office of Public Health said.
Officials in the UK, which have started vaccination efforts earlier, say the health team is equipped with the right injection equipment.
Back in Cannes, Fignon says he and his colleagues have managed to extract six doses from a Pfizer bottle but this will not last unless doctors get the equipment they need.
“Some countries have the right equipment from the start; we are not here in France, “he said. The French health ministry has acknowledged that extracting the sixth dose is challenging and requires specialized equipment. It said it was in the process of making sure the right syringe reached the doctor.
In addition to BioNTech’s pledge to supply syringes at a cost, Pfizer said it was in discussions with the European Commission and EU governments about their vaccination plans, including “supporting governments in securing a low supply of dead space syringes if they need them”.
Additional reporting by John Miller in Zurich, Francesco Guarascio in Brussels, Alistair Smout in London and Ludwig Burger in Frankfurt; Written by Douglas Busvine; Edited by Nick Macfie
LONDON (Reuters) – Some of the world’s largest sovereign wealth funds and public pension funds are caught in rising technology-related tensions between the United States and China, according to a Reuters analysis of their archival data and public disclosures.
These range from the sovereign wealth funds of Norway and Singapore to the Swiss central bank and the US $ 1.1 trillion TIAA, which was founded more than a century ago by Andrew Carnegie as the American Teacher Insurance and Annuity Association.
US investors are barred from owning stakes in more than 40 Chinese companies seen as having military ties in a series of moves since November as US President Donald Trump seeks to strengthen his hardline policies toward Beijing.
That prompted Nuveen’s TIAA unit to sell stakes in blacklisted companies including China Telecom, China Mobile and China Unicom, as well as microchip giant SMIC, state oil company CNOOC and cellphone and gadget maker Xiaomi.
Other US public pension funds are expected to follow.
CalPERS, the largest fund, holds Hong Kong-listed ‘H’ shares in several companies, including a 1.1% stake in China Telecom and 0.2% of China Mobile and China Unicom respectively, according to Refinitiv data. CalPERS, which has been criticized by Republican politicians for its investment in China, did not respond to a request for comment.
Florida State Administration, which manages $ 200 billion in assets and has small stakes in China Telecom, China Mobile and Xiaomi, according to Refinitiv data, told Reuters it would comply with the ban.
“Those sanctions really bite US institutions,” said Elliot Hentov, head of policy research at State Street Global Advisors.
And the ripples aren’t just felt in the United States.
A number of sovereign wealth funds (SWF) have been affected as the New York Stock Exchange and index providers MSCI, S&P Dow Jones, and FTSE Russell have removed blacklisted companies from the benchmark, causing some share prices to drop more than 20%.
Norway’s $ 1.3 trillion SWF, the world’s largest, owns a 0.2% -0.6% stake in China Telecom, China Mobile, Xiaomi, CNOOC and China Unicom Hong Kong as part of its $ 35 billion Chinese equity portfolio. more broadly, according to the most recent disclosure running through early 2020. It said it would not comment on specific holdings.
Singapore’s GIC, which is referred to as an “independent country investor”, owns 10% of Hong Kong-listed China Telecom’s ‘H’ shares and owns about 1.4% of mainland’s SMIC, A- and H-shares, Reuters calculations based on stock exchange filings shows. GIC declined to comment.
Other holders are the Canadian pension fund Caisse de Depot et Placement du Quebec (CDPQ), British Columbia Investment Management, CPP Investment Board, PGGM Vermogensbeheer, an independent pension fund based in the Netherlands and APG Asset Management.
Non-US investors are not legally obliged to make any changes and many will see the value of their Chinese investment soar in recent years.
China’s equity market is at a 13-year high and the market capitalization of a major technology index has doubled from two years ago.
“We view our investment in China – an important country in the global economy – with a long-term perspective,” CDPQ told Reuters, declining to comment on specific investments.
Graph: Increased Chinese equity investment from the Norwegian sovereign wealth fund –
While China’s increasing weight in global markets is driving state funds to hold onto a larger Chinese portfolio, recent cyber espionage bans and claims of 5G company Huawei and the social media dance craze app TikTok show how technology is now a major geopolitical battleground. .
With no indication of a new approach by US President Joe Biden, China Telecom, China Mobile, Xiaomi and CNOOC shares have fallen between 12% and 22% since being blacklisted in November or this month.
SMIC has bucked the trend with double digit gains.
“Some of the shares that are being released may be taken from owners of bargain-hunting assets outside the US,” said Winston Ma, a former managing director of the sovereign wealth fund China Investment Corp. “However, it may be difficult for them to absorb all of them.”
Graph: Gains mixed for Chinese companies amid blacklist uncertainty –
It wasn’t just Washington’s actions that caused trouble.
Beijing shocked markets in November when it suspended Ant Group’s $ 37 billion IPO plan by a few days and just as the Trump administration pushed through with its ban.
Alibaba, which owns a third of Ant, saw its market value shrink by more than a quarter. These are the top 10 global stocks and are widely held by government funds and pension funds.
US Stock Exchange Commission data sec.report/CIK/0001582202 suggests the Swiss central bank has doubled Alibaba’s stake in the past two years to $ 1.4 billion from the company’s $ 650 billion stake in September.
The November fall will remove about $ 350 million from that holdings. Alibaba shares recovered nearly half of their January losses after escaping a US blacklist.
Graph: Ownership of China Mobile by sovereign wealth funds, pension funds –
Graph: Ownership of Xiaomi Corp by sovereign wealth funds, pension funds –
Graph: Ownership of China Telecom Corp by sovereign wealth funds, pension funds –
Additional reporting by Terje Solsvik in Oslo, Brenda Goh in Shanghai, Anshuman Daga in Singapore, Maiya Keidan in Toronto and John Revill in Zurich; Edited by Catherine Evans
A fisherman tries his luck at Pilot Bay, Mt Maunganui, on a sunny November day. The year ended one of the warmest NZ has ever seen in and out of water. Photo / George Novak
Last year was not only one of the 10 hottest for New Zealand, but also for our wider ocean area, new figures show.
Climate scientist Professor Jim Salinger said his calculations – placing 2020 as the ninth hottest year on record for New Zealand’s land and ocean regions combined – underlined the need for urgent action to slow the rate of warming.
The national average of 13.24C follows a climate change trend that places six of our last eight years among the warmest on record, and was pushed for 47 consecutive months without temperatures below the overall average.
Salinger said the wider picture could be seen as more climate stations and ocean temperatures were added.
Nonetheless, it is also consistent with planetary changes.
Sea surface temperatures around New Zealand’s four million square kilometers of exclusive economic zone averaged 14.16C last year, which was 0.38C above normal and the 11th warmest on record.
And the extended data set for ground temperatures, covering 22 stations, recorded a 2020 average of 13.75C – 0.58C above normal and the eighth warmest year in the series.
When those extra ocean and land temperatures put together, the result was 13.93C – or 0.39 above average and the ninth warmest year on record for a combined 150 years.
Salinger said it was important to consider how New Zealand’s vast marine area is also warming, given its economic and environmental importance to our country.
About 20 times the size of our landmass, New Zealand’s oceans support a marine economy that is estimated to be worth $ 4 billion a year.
The resources it relies on are increasingly threatened by rising sea temperatures.
The Tasman Sea, in particular, is warming at one of the fastest speeds on Earth – up to three times the global average.
“If we are in a situation where we are effectively taking a warm shower, it will affect us dramatically,” he said.
“These numbers really show that warming is leaping forward, and we need to do it now, both in terms of mitigation and adaptation.”
Annular Southern Mode, or SAM – a key climate indicator – is also in a positive phase for the 2020 period, bringing westerly winds further south over the southern oceans but lighter winds and clearer skies over New Zealand.
This week our coastal waters are warmer than usual – ranging from 0.5C to 0.9 above average – but ocean temperatures are expected to drop as the south changes.
ISTANBUL (Reuters) – Food has become so expensive in Turkey that some people are spending what they have on rice and pasta supplies to avoid swallowing higher prices in the coming months.
Parents have turned to discounts on baby biscuits, the cost of eggs nearly doubling in a year, and a mock photo circulating on Twitter where a man on his knees offers a woman a can of cooking oil instead of an engagement ring.
“We only buy the absolute necessary and cheapest brands out there. All food prices went up but especially infant formula, ”said Huseyin Duran, 43, a father of three from Istanbul and a security guard who received part of the state salary for losing his job.
“I’m worried about my children,” he said. “We can only cover our rent, groceries and loan payments.”
In a world with near-zero inflation and the economic collapse due to the coronavirus, Turkey stands out with annual consumer prices up 15%, second only to Argentina among emerging markets and the highest by far in the OECD.
Rising oil and fertilizer prices and dry weather are part of the reason food inflation soars by more than 20% a year. But economists also pointed to a government policy decision that saw the lira plunge to a record low last year, driving up import costs by about $ 9 billion for food.
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan reluctantly accepts a sharp interest rate hike that will slow economic recovery right when the COVID-19 vaccine is launched.
With a survey showing kitchens running low, Erdogan may need to do more about the basic cost of living even after lifting the head of a new central bank that in November pledged to tame inflation.
A policymaker told Reuters the government expects inflation to be tough in 2021 and must be monitored.
Turkey is “mired in painful stagflation” even amid the curfew due to the coronavirus and high borrowing costs, said Yesenn El-Radhi, senior analyst at Capital Intelligence Ratings.
“Inflationary pressure continues to be high due to the recent increase in global commodity prices and the effects of the sharp depreciation of the lira,” he said.
LIGHTWEIGHT SHOPPING BAG
The trip to the market – where prices for eggplant, oranges and sunflower oil rose more than 50% last year – has become a serious burden for Turks besides the pandemic, which has stressed workers and incomes.
“Every time I fill the kitchen, the shopping bag gets lighter but the bill gets higher,” said Pinar, 31, who declined to give her last name. “I buy in bulk so I don’t have to shop again for three or four months.”
As a chef on leave, Pinar gets part of his salary under a temporary layoff ban which he says only covers rent and utilities. “I had many sleepless nights (and) in the end I thought I was going to be unemployed.”
Hyperinflation swept through Turkey in the 1990s and only ended with an International Monetary Fund program that tamed prices right when Erdogan came to power in 2003.
Inflation, led by food, surged again in the 2018 currency crisis and has remained mostly in double digits since. Economists blame chronic trade imbalances and the country’s costly FX interventions depleting reserves.
A Metropoll survey last month showed 80% believed inflation was higher than the official tally. A separate survey by the Deep Poverty Network showed more than half of respondents in Istanbul rely on food aid from the city government.
Kemal Kilicdaroglu, leader of the main opposition Republican People’s Party, said the situation was getting worse. “There has never been a hunger in Turkey before. But hunger is a reality now. “
In a turnaround, Erdogan said in November that a “bitter pill” of such high prices was needed to cool prices. Lutfi Elvan, his new finance minister, said he would take structural steps to fight inflation, which is expected to rise until April.
The government has several levers it can pull out to relieve pressure on the public. Ankara has cut tobacco taxes, which weigh heavily on the consumer price index (CPI), even as it raised alcohol and toll duties with less impact on headline numbers.
State agencies also set prices for utilities such as natural gas and electricity. Last month the government raised the net minimum wage by 16% for 2021, to 2,825 liras ($ 377) per month, to encourage workers but also to the overall CPI.
“You can’t solve the food problem with interest rates,” Gizem Oztok Altinsac, chief economist at Turkey’s top business organization TUSIAD, told a conference last week.
“Our problem with inflation is too big, so we have to take more appropriate steps to solve it.”
Additional reporting by Nevzat Devranoglu, Orhan Coskun and Murad Sezer; Edited by Toby Chopra