Tag Archives: int

The Factbox-Coronavirus variant, found in the UK and South Africa, travels the world | Instant News


LONDON (Reuters) – British Prime Minister Boris Johnson says a variant of the coronavirus, which can be up to 70% more contagious, is spreading rapidly in Britain. A separate variant, first discovered in South Africa, is also a cause for concern.

FILE PHOTO: Deputy nurse Katie McIntosh awaits to deliver the first of two shots of the Pfizer / BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine to staff, at the Western General Hospital, on the first day of the largest immunization program in British history, in Edinburgh, Scotland UK 8 December 2020. Andrew Milligan / Pool via REUTERS

The World Health Organization (WHO) says there is not enough information to determine whether the new variant could damage an internationally launched vaccine.

The following countries are among countries that have reported the new coronavirus variant, which was first identified in China a year ago, among their populations.

* SWISS has documented five cases of the British variant and two cases of the South African mutation, a health ministry official said on Tuesday, adding he anticipates more cases will emerge.

* DENMARK has identified 33 infections with a variant spreading in the UK, authorities said on December 24.

* FRANCE, with the highest number of coronavirus cases in the European Union, recorded the first variant of a Frenchman arriving back from London.

* INDIA has found six cases of the coronavirus variant on flights from the UK and is likely to extend a flight ban to keep it safe, officials said on Tuesday.

* JAPAN on Monday detected a variant found in South Africa, the government said, the first in a country that has identified more than a dozen cases of the variant spreading in Britain.

* SOUTH KOREA said the variant found in Britain was found in three people who entered South Korea from London on December 22. Officials promised to speed up vaccinations.

* NORWAY says a variant circulating in the UK has been detected in two people who arrived from the UK in early December.

* AUSTRALIA said two travelers from England carried a variant found in England.

* JORDAN has detected the first two cases of the variant spreading in the UK. The kingdom last week banned flights to and from the UK until January 3.

* GERMANY says a British variant has been found in passengers flying to Frankfurt from London on December 20. It appears that the variant has been present in Germany since November, Die Welt daily reported on Monday.

* ITALY detected a patient infected with a variant found in Britain, the health ministry said on December 20.

* A variant linked to the UK has been detected on the island of Madeira in PORTUGAL, the regional civil protection authority said.

* Health officials in FINLAND say a variant circulating in the UK has been detected in two people, while a variant spreading in South Africa has been detected in one other person.

* SWEDEN says a variant circulating in the UK has been detected after a traveler from the UK fell ill on arrival and tested positive.

* Officials in CANADA say that two confirmed cases of the variant detected in the UK have emerged in the Canadian province of Ontario.

* IRELAND on Christmas Day confirmed the presence of the British variant and said further testing will determine how far it will spread.

* LEBANON detects first case of the coronavirus variant on a flight arriving from London.

* UNITED ARAB EMIRATES found a “limited number” of cases of people infected with the new variant, a government official said on Tuesday. He said those affected had traveled from abroad, without specifying where or the number of cases.

* SINGAPORE confirmed the first case of the variant found in Britain, a patient who arrived from the UK on December 6, while 11 others who are already in quarantine have given initial positive results for the new strain.

* ISRAEL detected four cases of the coronavirus that emerged in the UK. Three of the cases were refugees returning from the UK.

* The variant spreading in Britain appears to have infected two students returning to HONG KONG from Britain, the Health Ministry said last week.

* PAKISTAN health officials said on Tuesday that a variant found in Britain had been detected in the southern province of Sindh.

* And other variants of the coronavirus may have emerged in NIGERIA, said the head of the African disease control agency, warning that further investigation was needed.

Written by Nick Macfie; Edited by Bernadette Baum

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A new strain of COVID-19 inflicts pain on stocks, sterling, threatening more volatility | Instant News


LONDON (Reuters) – European stocks fell 2% on Monday, the dollar strengthened and market volatility surged amid growing jitters over the economic impact of a new strain of coronavirus in Britain that has led several European countries to close their borders to the UK.

FILE PHOTOS: An investor puts his hand on the back of his head in front of an electronic board showing stock information at a brokerage house in Hefei, Anhui province, China, May 2, 2012. REUTERS / Stringer

News of the new tensions, which are said to be up to 70% more transmissible than the original, has put some 16 million Britons under tighter lockdown and has overshadowed US lawmakers’ agreement on a long-awaited stimulus bill.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson will chair an emergency response meeting to discuss international travel and the flow of goods into and out of the UK.

Coinciding with the lack of a post-Brexit trade deal ahead of the December 31 deadline, the development sent the pound nearly 2% lower at $ 1.3272. The more than 1% loss in UK equities was led by a 6% -7% drop at Lloyds and Barclays banks.

German stocks fell about 2%, while pan-European travel and leisure shares lost more than 5%.

MUFG analysts note stricter restrictions may have to stay in place for months until more people are vaccinated.

As a result, the economic slowdown will worsen and continue into the next year. This will dampen optimism for a stronger economic recovery in 2021, “they told clients, noting this pullback could require more monetary stimulus.

Volatility, a measure of price change on an asset class, swung higher overall, with the Wall Street VIX’s “fear gauge” – rising above 25% for the first time since December 11.

Sterling volatility overnight implied near nine-month highs

Earlier, Asian stocks outside Japan slumped 0.2% after hitting a series of record peaks last week. Japan’s Nikkei slumped 0.4%, down from its highest level since April 1991.

Futures for the S&P 500 fell 0.6%, although they opened stronger after US Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell said a deal had been reached by congressional leaders on an estimated $ 900 billion COVID-19 aid bill.

The pullback could raise bullish bets on commodities such as oil and copper which are expected to benefit from higher growth next year.

Brent crude futures were down more than 3% while copper, a major barometer of economic growth, fell from the $ 8,000 per tonne mark that was recently scaled for the first time since 2013.

“Investors’ bright expectations for 2021 suddenly disappeared due to the new variant of the virus,” Kazuhiko Saito, chief analyst at commodities brokerage Fujitomi Co., said.

TIME DOLLAR

The risk-off picture provided a boost to safe-haven assets, from government bonds to gold to the US dollar. Speculators, who had taken dollar bearish positions to their biggest since September, trimmed those positions in the week to December 15, data showed on Friday.

The dollar index is up as high as 90.68, up nearly half a percent, away from last week’s 89,723 level which marked its lowest since April 2018.

The euro was slightly lower at $ 1,222 while the yen was slightly higher at 103.5 per dollar.

The greenback also found support from a Nikkei report that Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga has told officials to make sure the dollar doesn’t fall below 100 yen.

Meanwhile, gold prices rose to a six-week high of $ 1,896 an ounce while US and German bonds strengthened, with yields falling three to four basis points.

The US two-year / 10-year Treasury yield curve, another important gauge of growth expectations, flattened slightly. The curve climbed Friday to its highest level in nearly three years amid optimism about the stimulus bill.

Reporting by Sujata Rao; additional reporting by Wayne Cole in Sydney, Editing by William Maclean

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The ban on restrictions on food aid is blocked at the WTO | Instant News


GENEVA (Reuters) – Members of the World Trade Organization clashed on Friday over proposals that would ban countries from limiting food aid deliveries, potentially complicating responses to next year’s dreaded COVID-triggered humanitarian catastrophe.

FILE PHOTO: A delegation arrives before a meeting at the World Trade Organization (WTO) in Geneva, Switzerland, October 28, 2020. REUTERS / Denis Balibouse

The proposal is one of two related to a pandemic that failed to make progress at a three-day meeting of the Geneva-based trade body, a result its spokesman described as “disappointing” in a difficult year for the agency.

The 164-member WTO, which currently has no leader and no appeals body to function on trade disputes, is facing the biggest crisis in its 25-year history.

US Ambassador Dennis Shea, in his final major address to the organization this week, described “wide differences among members” and said the WTO was underperforming.

However, critics blame the Trump administration for its predicament, saying Washington has paralyzed the WTO by blocking the appointment of a new director general and the appointment of opposing judges to the highest court.

Nearly 100 countries voiced support for a food aid proposal, originally submitted by Singapore, which is considering a ban on export restrictions on food intended for the World Food Program (WFP).

The UN agency, which won this year’s Nobel Peace Prize for its efforts to fight global hunger, has warned that 2021 will be a “catastrophe” with possible famine due in part to the fall of the COVID-19 pandemic.

WTO spokesman Keith Rockwell said WTO members, who have to decide by consensus, cannot agree. Some countries seem worried the proposal might interfere with their own domestic food security, he added, saying India was among them.

WFP’s Tomson Phiri said the ban would be a “shot in the arm” for his organization, illustrating how a blockage had delayed rice deliveries to West Africa earlier this year.

Another proposal that WTO members cannot agree to is a waiver of intellectual property rights for COVID drugs, Rockwell told reporters, confirming the outcome of last week’s meeting.

The appointment of a new WTO director general was also raised at Friday’s meeting and there is still no consensus.

“I think what the last three days have shown us so clearly is that we need a DG,” said Rockwell.

Reporting by Emma Farge; Edited by Mark Heinrich

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The OCA chairman is looking for a ‘win-win’ solution as Doha, Riyadh compete with the Asian Games | Instant News


(Reuters) – Chairman of the Asian Olympic Council (OCA) Sheikh Ahmad Al Fahad Al Saba said on Tuesday that he was looking for a solution in which Doha and Riyadh would host the Asian Games in the future as the two candidate cities compete for the 2030 edition.

More bitter neighbors Qatar and Saudi Arabia will know the fate of their bid to host the second biggest multi-sport event after the Olympics when the OCA votes to vote between Doha and Riyadh at its general assembly on Wednesday.

However, in a last-minute effort to stave off diplomatic strife, Sheikh Ahmad said he wanted to avoid voting by persuading one city to hold the 2030 Olympics while another stage its next edition in 2034.

Doha hosted the 2006 Olympics but Saudi Arabia never hosted an OCA multi-sport event.

“I believe in OCA that we have always shown solidarity and unity, and for this reason I will try to find a solution,” said the head of the OCA. here at the executive board meeting in Muscat.

“I have visited both cities and they are ready to host the 2030 Asian Games. They have great financial support, good sports infrastructure and great support from all levels of government.

“I’ll talk to the two of them tonight and try to find a win-win situation.”

The OCA said Sheikh Ahmad received “unanimous support” from executive board members in his efforts to find solutions for the two candidate cities.

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt have maintained diplomatic, trade and travel embargoes on Qatar since mid-2017, accusing Doha of supporting terrorism.

Qatar denies the allegations and says the embargo by its fellow Gulf Arabs is aimed at undermining its sovereignty.

Ng Ser Miang, chair of the OCA advisory committee and vice president of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), said the proposed hosting solution was similar to the IOC’s decision to award the Olympics to Paris in 2024 and Los Angeles in 2028.

“In this case, everyone is a winner and no one loses,” he said.

The Chinese city of Hangzhou will host the next Asian Games in 2022 with the 2026 edition taking place in Aichi-Nagoya, Japan.

Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru; Edited by Ken Ferris

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Dollar weakens as markets look to US stimulus; sterling fell | Instant News


NEW YORK (Reuters) – The dollar slumped against most currencies on Monday in choppy trading, as investors looked past a surge in coronavirus cases and ahead of a possible deal on new US COVID-19 stimulus and a vaccine to fight the pandemic.

FILE PHOTO: Pound and US dollar banknotes seen in illustration taken on January 6, 2020. REUTERS / Dado Ruvic / Illustration

Sterling, meanwhile, slumped after the UK and EU said on Monday the conditions for a Brexit trade deal were “non-existent”.

White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow on Monday said talks about another round of stimulus funding to tackle the deadly coronavirus pandemic are moving in the right direction, and President Donald Trump’s administration and Congress are moving closer to a deal.

The United States has seen an increasing number of COVID-19 cases, with a death toll of around 283,000.

Negotiations on an aid deal gathered momentum in the US Congress on Friday, as a group of bipartisan lawmakers worked to finalize the finishing touches on a $ 908 billion stimulus plan.

“The market is expecting a stimulus deal to eventually arrive with a vaccine and that is seen as putting the US recovery on a faster and more sustainable path,” said Joe Manimbo, senior market analyst at Western Union Business Solutions in Washington. “That’s negative for the dollar.”

In addition, the Federal Reserve is expected to make more adjustments to quantitative easing later this month.

“The question for most is whether this is just the start of a decline in the US dollar and whether the theme has more power,” said Mark McCormick, global head of FX strategy at TD Securities in Toronto.

“The US dollar is likely to slide throughout 2021. The cycle of the US dollar tends to last an average of six years, and this one is just getting started,” he added.

The dollar fell 0.2% against the Japanese currency to 104.01 yen, it slumped also against the Swiss franc to 0.8904 francs, also down 0.2%.

The greenback also fell against commodity currencies such as the Australian and New Zealand dollars and the Norwegian crown.

The index that tracks the dollar against a basket of currencies was little changed at 90.843, not far from 90.471, its weakest since April 2018.

The British pound came off steep lows and was down 0.4% at $ 1.3379, down 0.4 also against the euro, which was last trading up at 90.52 pence.

EU chief Ursula von der Leyen and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said in a joint statement on Monday that sealing a new trade deal is impossible now “because of remaining differences on critical issues.”

But Johnson will travel to Brussels in the coming days in an effort to bridge significant differences in Brexit talks on equal play, governance and fisheries.

“The market is still betting that in the end, there will be a Brexit deal,” said Western Union’s Manimbo.

Chart: World FX Rates in 2020 – here

Reporting Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss; Edited by Andrea Ricci, Will Dunham and Cynthia Osterman

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