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COVID-19 World News

Covid 19 death toll passes 1.42 Mn worldwide

The overall number of global coronavirus cases has topped 60.8 million, while the deaths have surged to more than 1.42 million, according to the Johns Hopkins University.

In its latest update on Friday, the University’s Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE) revealed that the current global caseload and death toll stood at 60,860,169 and 1,429,733, respectively.

The US is the worst-hit country with the world’s highest number of cases and deaths at 12,879,861 and 263,413, respectively, according to the CSSE.

India comes in second place in terms of cases at 9,266,705, while the country’s death toll soared to 135,223.

The other countries with more than a million confirmed cases are Brazil (6,166,606), France (2,235,537), Russia (2,169,424), Spain (1,617,355), the UK (1,578,429), Italy (1,509,875), Argentina (1,399,431), Colombia (1,280,487), Mexico (1,078,594) and Germany (1,005,307), the CSSE figures showed.

Brazil currently accounts for the second highest number of fatalities at 170,769.

Also Read-UK To Face Harsh Covid Restrictions

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Business World News

Samsung’s Smartphone Profits Spike in Q3

Samsung Electronics narrowed the gap with Apple in terms of profit shares in the third quarter, with more than 30 per cent smartphone market share globally, a new report said on Friday.

The South Korean tech giant accounted for a 32.6 per cent share of profits worldwide generated from the smartphone segment in the third quarter, up from a 18.8 per cent share a year earlier, according to market researcher Strategy Analytics.

The latest figure was the largest for Samsung since the second quarter of 2014, when it took 37.9 per cent of global smartphone profits.

Apple defended its status as the world’s most profitable smartphone vendor with a dominant 60.5 per cent share in the third quarter. But its market share was down from 66.9 percent from a year ago, reports Yonhap news agency.

By shipment, Samsung was the leader in the third-quarter global smartphone market with a 21.9 per cent share, followed by Chinese brands Huawei Technologies with 14.1 per cent and Xiaomi with 12.7 percent.

Apple took the fourth spot with a 11.9 per cent share.

Strategy Analytics said the late release of the iPhone 12 dragged down Apple’s operating margin to 21 per cent in the third quarter, which was down from 23 per cent a year earlier.

In contrast, Samsung saw its third-quarter operating margin increase to 14 per cent from 11 per cent a year ago, thanks to its enhanced product mix covering both premium and midrange smartphones.

Samsung also narrowed the gap with Apple in terms of revenue in the third quarter.

Samsung took a 22.6 per cent revenue share in the third quarter, which was 6.9 percentage points fewer than Apple.

In the third quarter of last year, Samsung’s revenue share stood at 20.2 percent, while that of Apple reached 33.8 per cent.

Also Read: Samsung pips Apple in US smartphone sales

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Business World News

Disney to lay off 32,000 employees

Disney has increased the number of people it is planning to lay off in the first half of fiscal 2021 from 28,000 to 32,000, the company said in a filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

The company is taking the step due to the impact of the pandemic mainly on its theme parks business.

In September, the company said it planned to reduced its staff by 28,000, two-thirds of whom are part-time staffers.

The new figure revealed in a 10-K filing on Wednesday includes the layoffs that were previously announced, Variety reported.

“Due to the current climate, including Covid-19 impacts, and changing environment in which we are operating, the Company has generated efficiencies in its staffing, including limiting hiring to critical business roles, furloughs and reductions-in-force,” said the company in the SEC filing.

“As part of these actions, the employment of approximately 32,000 employees primarily at Parks, Experiences and Products will terminate in the first half of fiscal 2021.”

Additionally, as of October 3, approximately 37,000 employees who are not scheduled for employment termination were on furlough as a result of the pandemic’s impact on the company’s businesses.

The company noted that Covid-19 and measures to prevent its spread impacted its business in a number of ways, most significantly at Parks, Experiences and Products where its theme parks were closed or operating at significantly reduced capacity for a significant portion of the year.

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Also Read: Italy Allocates More Funds To Reboot Economy


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Economy World News

Venezuela to step up ties with ASEAN

Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza has ratified his country’s formal request to join the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

“We want to express what we did at the beginning of the year in writing, the formal request for Venezuela to be part of the ASEAN Treaty of Amity and Cooperation,” Arreaza said during the third day of the virtual ASEAN Conference on Thursday.

He stressed that it would be a very important step for Venezuela “to have a much closer and much more productive relationship with the ASEAN”, Xinhua news agency reported.

From a bilateral perspective, Venezuela already maintains “extraordinary relations” with the 10 members of the Southeast Asian bloc, said Arreaza.

The Foreign Minister said that as soon as pandemic restrictions on international flights are lifted, he plans to visit each of the ASEAN members.

The Treaty of Amity and Cooperation is a peace treaty established by the ASEAN founding members in 1976.

India and China were the first countries outside ASEAN to sign the treaty in 2003.

As of July 2009, sixteen countries outside the bloc had acceded to the treaty.

In July 2009, then US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton signed the treaty.

The European Union announced in 2009 its intention to accede as soon as the treaty would be amended to allow for the accession of non-states and joined accordingly in July 2012.

Also Read: Indian economy’s recovery better than expected: Das

Also Read: Mexico’s economy to shrink in 2020

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-Top News Sport World News

OBIT: Diego Maradona

Rarely can a sportsperson legitimately be described by as wide an array of adjectives that have been used for Maradona. His skills on the pitch made him captivating, talismanic, charismatic, and went on to establish him as a legend of the game and at the same time, his behaviour off it, and at times on it, have led to people calling him reckless, obnoxious, disgraceful, clownish, and so on…writes Rohit Mundayur

Widely rated as the greatest footballer of all time, there was no stopping Diego Maradona’s aura from reaching levels of divinity wherever he went, with or without the ball on his feet. His murals, most of which show him with a halo behind or over his head or in the garb of Jesus Christ himself, adorn the streets of Buenos Aires, Argentina and Naples, Italy.

It was evident when Maradona arrived in Kolkata in 2008 and 2017 to cheering crowds. He had been retired from the game for well over a decade by then and his health was making more headlines than any football related activities. None of that mattered for the more than 1,00,000 people who flocked the Salt Lake Stadium on December 6, 2008.

It was also evident by the flood of tributes that came from all walks of life as news of his death spread around the world on November 25, 2020.

Rarely can a sportsperson legitimately be described by as wide an array of adjectives that have been used for Maradona. His skills on the pitch made him captivating, talismanic, charismatic, and went on to establish him as a legend of the game and at the same time, his behaviour off it, and at times on it, have led to people calling him reckless, obnoxious, disgraceful, clownish, and so on.

The dichotomy that came with loving Maradona was best captured by former England and Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand after Argentina’s group stage match against Nigeria in the 2018 World Cup. Maradona was in the stands and was at his absurd best, making obscene gestures and overdoing his celebrations as Lionel Messi and company got a crucial win.

“That guy was my idol. He is my idol. What that man did on a football pitch — he is the governor. He is the main man. He made me believe that football was achievable from an estate in Peckham. I have the most love for this guy, the way that he was on a football pitch. I don’t condone what he did last night. The pictures that we have seen. The finger gesturing. But I don’t condone people laughing at him either. I just hope he’s alright. The pictures that we saw weren’t great but I hope he’s going to be OK,” said Ferdinand in a video he tweeted later.

Born in a slum area in the southern outskirts of Buenos Aires on October 30, 1960, Maradona made his senior debut for Buenos Aires-based Argentinos Juniors in 1976. He went on to a play for Argentine giants Boca Juniors in the 1981-82 season. He then shifted to Europe where he spent two tumultuous seasons with Spanish giants Barcelona. His tenure with the Catalan club ended with a nasty brawl that triggered crowd trouble in the 1984 Copa del Rey final against Athletic Bilbao.

Maradona then went to Italian club Napoli, where he had arguably the most productive period of his career. He won two Serie A titles, a Coppa Italia and one UEFA Cup in his seven seasons with the club, leaving as their all-time highest goalscorer, a record that stood until Marek Hamsik overtook his tally in 2017. He went on to spend a season each at Spanish club Sevilla and Argentina’s Newell’s Old Boys before ending his career at Boca.

He played at a time when global broadcast deals were not even in the sphere of relevances for most European football leagues which meant that most of the world got a glimpse of Maradona only when he turned out for the Albiceleste of Argentina at the World Cup. He was immortalised in his country and beyond by his performance in the 1986 World Cup, particularly, the quarter-final against England in which he scored two of the most famous goals in the hallowed history of the tournament.

Diego Maradona

The first goal was scored with his hand and his explanation in the immediate aftermath that he had made contact with the ball “a little with his head, and a little with the hand of God”, led to the goal being known as “The Hand of God”.

Four minutes later, Maradona went on a 60-yard run with the ball from midfield, dribbling past six English players, and ended the move with a feint that left goalkeeper Peter Shilton on the ground, and scored what has since been called “The Goal of the Century”.

The extremes of his life is best summarised by the fact that his 17-year-long international career, which perhaps did more to forge an identity for Argentine football than anything else, ended when he was sent home from the 1994 World Cup after a failed drug test. He played only two matches in the tournament.

It may have been an ignominious end but hardly a surprising one. Fans had long accepted that Maradona’s devils were part of the package — a package that was too good to hate.

Also Read: BREAKING: Football Legend Diego Maradona Dies Aged 60

Also Read: Legendary Diego Maradona turns 60

Read More: Maradona Wishes Ronaldo Was Argentine

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-Top News Arab News World News

Expo 2020 Dubai: Canada to forge ties with UAE

During the meeting, Canada confirmed its continued commitment to the success of Expo 2020 Dubai, and its close collaboration with UAE partners…reports Asian Lite News

Expo 2020 Dubai officials and the Canadian diplomatic missions in the UAE met to discuss ongoing collaboration as the countdown to the Expo in October next year continues.

The meeting was chaired by Reem bint Ibrahim Al Hashemy, Director General of Expo 2020 Dubai Bureau and UAE Minister of State for International Cooperation, and Marcy Grossman, Ambassador of Canada to the UAE. It was also attended by Jean-Philippe Linteau, Consul General of Canada in Dubai and the Northern Emirates.

All participants highlighted the significance of Expo 2020 Dubai in the post-COVID context as a catalyst to convene the world. At a time of unprecedented global uncertainty and insecurity, Expo 2020 Dubai will bring together more than 200 participants – including countries, companies, international organisations and educational institutions – and millions of visitors to celebrate humanity and help build a better future.

Reem Al Hashemy, said, “Expo 2020 is bringing the world together to encourage collaboration and international cooperation at a time when it is most needed.

“Though much has changed this year, there are pressing challenges that existed before the pandemic and will remain when it is over. By bringing countries and people together to help find solutions to these challenges, Expo aims to inspire hope, optimism and a shared purpose for the future.”

During the meeting, Canada confirmed its continued commitment to the success of Expo 2020 Dubai, and its close collaboration with UAE partners to offer visitors events and experiences addressing shared interests including innovation, tolerance and cooperation.

Marcy Grossman, said, “Canada’s participation at Expo 2020 Dubai will showcase Canada’s commitment to the future, and bringing solutions to the world’s most pressing issues under our theme “The Future in Mind”. I am thrilled to witness the progress made on the expansive and impressive Expo site.”

Jean-Philippe Linteau, said, “I look forward to welcome many in-person and virtual visitors to Canada’s beautiful pavilion, taking shape in Expo’s Sustainability District. Sustainability is at the centre of Canada’s approach to COVID economic recovery.”

The importance of the bilateral relationship between Canada and the UAE in building a more sustainable, peaceful and prosperous future was also underlined in the meeting.

Expo 2020 Dubai – the first World Expo to be held in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia region – will run from 1st October 2021 until 31st March 2022.

Also read:Canada witnessing sharp rise of Covid cases

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-Top News World News

Mexico’s economy to shrink in 2020

Banxico’s economic growth forecast shows gross domestic product (GDP) will expand by 3.3 per cent in 2021 and by a more moderate 2.6 per cent in 2022…reports Asian Lite News

Mexico’s economy could contract 8.9 per cent in 2020, amid a slow recovery in global productivity affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, the Bank of Mexico (Banxico) said in a report.

Banxico’s economic growth forecast shows gross domestic product (GDP) will expand by 3.3 per cent in 2021 and by a more moderate 2.6 per cent in 2022.

“There remains a high degree of uncertainty about the future evolution of (economic) activity, both nationally and globally,” the Governor of Banxico, Alejandro Diaz de Leon, said in a videoconference presenting the report.

“The baseline scenario assumes a gradual recovery, at a moderate pace, throughout the forecast timeframe, converging to inertial growth by 2022,” Diaz said.

Diaz added the economic projections are skewed downwards, due to the presence of several risks, such as the possibility of stricter lockdowns due to a resurgence in Covid-19.

Also read:Mexico urges to tackle global debt crisis

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-Top News World News

One child infected with HIV every 100 seconds

Prevention efforts and treatment for children remain some of the lowest amongst key affected populations, and in 2019, a little less than half of children worldwide did not have access to life-saving treatment, UNICEF said in a new report…reports Asian Lite News

Approximately once every minute and 40 seconds, a child or young person under the age of 20 was infected with HIV last year, the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said on Wednesday.

Prevention efforts and treatment for children remain some of the lowest amongst key affected populations, and in 2019, a little less than half of children worldwide did not have access to life-saving treatment, UNICEF said in a new report.

Nearly 3,20,000 children and adolescents were newly infected with HIV and 1,10,000 children died of AIDS last year, the Xinhua news agency reported.

“Children are still getting infected at alarming rates, and they are still dying from AIDS. This was even before Covid-19 interrupted vital HIV treatment and prevention services putting countless more lives at risk,” said UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore.

According to UNICEF, the Covid-19 pandemic has worsened inequalities in access to life-saving HIV services for children, adolescents and pregnant mothers everywhere, and there are serious concerns that one-third of high HIV burden countries could face coronavirus-related disruptions.

“Even as the world struggles in the midst of an ongoing global pandemic, hundreds of thousands of children continue to suffer the ravages of the HIV epidemic,” said Fore.

Data from the Joint UN Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), cited in the report, showed the impact of control measures, supply chain disruptions, lack of personal protective equipment, and the redeployment of healthcare workers on HIV services.

Pediatric HIV treatment and viral load testing in children in some countries fell by 50 to 70 per cent, and new treatment initiation by 25 to 50 percent in April and May, coinciding with partial and full lockdowns to control the novel coronavirus.

Health facility deliveries and maternal treatment were also reported to have reduced by 20 to 60 per cent, maternal HIV testing and antiretroviral therapy (ART) initiation by 25 to 50 per cent, and infant testing services by approximately 10 percent.

Though the easing of control measures and the strategic targeting of children and pregnant mothers have successfully led to a rebound of services in recent months, challenges remain, and the world is still far from achieving the global 2020 pediatric HIV targets, said UNICEF.

Despite some progress in the decades-long fight against HIV and AIDS, deep regional disparities persist among all populations, especially for children.

While the Middle East and North Africa region recorded 81 percent pediatric ART coverage, only 46 per cent and 32 per cent were covered in Latin America and the Caribbean, West and Central Africa, respectively.

The South Asia region recorded 76 per cent coverage, Eastern and Southern Africa 58 per cent, and East Asia and the Pacific 50 per cent.

Also read:UNICEF to deliver Covid-19 vaccines to 92 poorest countries

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Business Tech Lite World News

South Korea fines Facebook for sharing private information

South Korea’s information watchdog on Wednesday fined Facebook Inc. 6.7 billion won (US$6 million) for passing information of at least 3.3 million South Koreans to other companies in its first crackdown on the U.S. tech giant.

The Personal Information Protection Commission (PIPC) said Facebook violated the country’s personal information law by providing personal information of at least 3.3 million of the country’s total 18 million local users from May 2012 to June 2018 to other companies without their consent.

It marked the commission’s first punishment against Facebook since it was launched in August this year, reports Yonhap news agency.

The commission said that when users logged into other company’s services using their Facebook accounts, the personal information of their Facebook friends was also shared to such service providers without consent.

The personal information that was shared with other companies included users’ names, their addresses, dates of birth, work experience, hometowns and relationship statuses.

The watchdog said the exact amount of the shared information is unclear as Facebook did not provide relevant documentation.

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg. (File Photo: IANS)

Considering the information could be provided to at most 10,000 other companies, the watchdog said a considerable amount of personal information could have been shared.

The commission said it will refer Facebook Ireland Ltd — which was in charge of Facebook operations in South Korea from May 2012 to June 2018 — to the prosecution for a criminal investigation.

Facebook Ireland’s director in charge of user privacy could face up to five years in prison or a maximum of 50 million won in fines if convicted of violating South Korea’s relevant personal information law.

It added that Facebook was uncooperative in its investigation as it submitted incomplete or false documents.

The commission also levied Facebook with a separate penalty of 66 million won for the false documentation.

Facebook expressed regret at the commission’s move.

“We cooperated with the investigation in its entirety,” Facebook said in a statement. “We have yet to closely review PIPC’s measure.”

In 2018, the Korea Communications Commission, South Korea’s telecommunications regulator, started investigations into Facebook before handing it off to the commission.

Also Read: Facebook removes racist posts about US Vice-President-Elect

Also Read: Facebook Extends Ban On Political Ads in US

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COVID-19 Environment Health UK News World News

Fresh indoor air reduces COVID19 risk by 70%: Report

  • Research shows that being in a room with fresh air can reduce risk of infection from particles by over 70%
  • The film is part of the Hands. Face. Space. campaign which urges public to adopt simple health behaviours to help reduce the risk of the virus spreading

A new public information campaign launched by the Government to highlight how letting fresh air into indoor spaces can reduce the risk of infection from coronavirus by over 70%.

The campaign, which forms part of wider ‘Hands. Face. Space’ guidance, sees the release of a new short film created with scientists and an engineer at Leeds University.

Dr Amir Khan

The film illustrates how coronavirus lingers in the air in spaces with no fresh air, increasing the risk of people breathing in infected particles, and how the risk can be reduced significantly by regularly ventilating enclosed areas.

As we spend more time indoors, experts are recommending that the public open windows for short, sharp bursts of 10 -15 minutes regularly throughout the day, or leave windows open a small amount continuously, to remove any infected particles lingering in the room.

Additionally, it is advised that any household systems that use outdoor air, including kitchen or bathroom extractor fans, are used correctly and regularly as an additional method to remove infected particles. 

Airing indoor spaces is particularly important when:

1.       People have visitors (when permitted) or tradespeople in their home, for example for construction or emergencies;

2.       Someone from a support bubble is meeting with another household indoors;

3.       A care worker is seeing a patient indoors; or

4.       If someone in the household has the virus, as this can help prevent transmission to other household members

Coronavirus.

Professor Catherine Noakes, from Leeds University who advised on the film, said:

“When a room does not have any fresh air, and where people are generating large amounts of aerosol through activities such as singing and loud speech, that is when transmission of coronavirus is most likely. Fresh air must come from outdoors – recirculating air just means the aerosols containing the virus move around the same room rather than being extracted outdoors.

Coronavirus is spread through the air bydroplets andsmaller particles (known asaerosolsthat are exhaled from the nose and mouth of an infected person as they breathe, speak or cough[2]. They behave in a similar way to smoke but are invisible. The majority of virus transmissions happen indoors. Being indoors, with no fresh air, the particles can remain suspended in the air for hours and build up over time[3]

The longer people spend in the same room as these particles, the more likely they are to become infected.

GP, Dr Amir Khan said:

“As we approach winter, and inevitably spend more time indoors, fresh air is extremely beneficial. For COVID-19, it is important to ventilate indoor spaces if someone in your home has the virus as this can help prevent transmission to other household members.

“You should also let fresh air into your home when you have any visitors and just after they leave in case they are infected. Remember, opening windows alongside washing your hands, covering your face and making space is also essential in reducing your risk of COVID-19.”

Ventilation to provide fresh air in enclosed spaces is just as important as the other actions, so remember this as well as Hands, Face, Space. These are the most effective ways we can all control the spread of the virus. Visit gov.uk/coronavirus for more information.

The public are encouraged to continue to be vigilant of coronavirus symptoms which include a new continuous cough, high temperature, or a loss or change in your sense of taste or smell. If you or someone you know, displays any symptoms please get a free test by calling 119 or visiting NHS.uk.

Also Read: WHO voices ‘real hope’ to end COVID-19

Also Read: UNICEF to deliver Covid-19 vaccines to 92 poorest countries