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World - 2021-02-22
Yellen says to judge Biden stimulus on speed of return to pre-pandemic unemployment
USA

Yellen says to judge Biden stimulus on speed of return to pre-pandemic unemployment

  • The current US unemployment rate is 6.3%, compared with 3.5% before the pandemic - a level widely viewed as effectively full employment.
  • Success to me would be if we could get back to pre-pandemic levels of unemployment and see the re-employment of those who have lost jobs in the service sector, particularly - I would also consider them a measure of success.
Published 22 Feb, 2021 09:38pm
Ukraine accuses Russian networks of new massive cyber attacks
Europe

Ukraine accuses Russian networks of new massive cyber attacks

  • "It was revealed that addresses belonging to certain Russian traffic networks were the source of these coordinated attacks," the Council said.
  • Ukraine's army said this month that five of its service personnel were killed over the week ended on Feb. 14 despite a ceasefire with pro-Russian separatists in the east of the country.
Published 22 Feb, 2021 09:34pm
'Real-world' UK data shows 70pc decline in COVID infections after first Pfizer shot
Europe

'Real-world' UK data shows 70pc decline in COVID infections after first Pfizer shot

  • "Overall, we're seeing a really strong effect to reducing any infection, asymptomatic and symptomatic," PHE's strategic response director Susan Hopkins told a media briefing.
  • "Hospitalisation and deaths rates are falling in all age groups, but the oldest age groups are seeing the fastest decline since the peak in mid-January," a PHE statement said.
Published 22 Feb, 2021 09:27pm
US Supreme Court paves way for release of Trump's tax returns
USA

US Supreme Court paves way for release of Trump's tax returns

  • "The work continues," Vance said in a statement issued after the court's action.
  • Vance had previously said in a letter to Trump's lawyers that his office would be free to immediately enforce the subpoena if the justices rejected Trump's request.
Published 22 Feb, 2021 09:25pm
Irish COVID-19 jobless claims fall for second successive week
Europe

Irish COVID-19 jobless claims fall for second successive week

  • Pandemic Unemployment Payment claims dropped by 0.9% week-on-week to 473,400, still around 200,000 higher than in December, before most building sites, shops and hospitality facilities shut.
  • The government has said any reopening of society from next month will be very gradual, with the hospitality sector likely to remain shut until mid-summer.
Published 22 Feb, 2021 09:13pm
US moderates reject Biden budget pick Tanden over 'mean tweets,' risking confirmation
USA

US moderates reject Biden budget pick Tanden over 'mean tweets,' risking confirmation

  • Neera Tanden has neither the experience nor the temperament to lead this critical agency. Her past actions have demonstrated exactly the kind of animosity that President Biden has pledged to transcend.
  • The confirmation fight underscored the influence a small group of moderates will have as Biden seeks to achieve his policy goals in the narrowly divided Congress.
Updated 22 Feb, 2021 10:05pm
Biden to revise small business loans to reach smaller, minority firms
USA

Biden to revise small business loans to reach smaller, minority firms

  • Biden administration officials said that for two weeks starting on Wednesday, the Small Business Administration will only accept applications for forgivable Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans from firms with fewer than 20 employees to ensure that they are not crowded out by larger firms.
  • The Small Business Administration will revise the rules to match the approach used to allow small farmers and ranchers to receive aid, the businesses said.
Updated 22 Feb, 2021 10:05pm
UAE and Qatar hold first meeting since Gulf détente
Middle East

UAE and Qatar hold first meeting since Gulf détente

  • The two sides discussed joint mechanisms and procedures for implementing the al-Ula statement. They emphasised the importance of preserving Gulf kinship and developing joint Gulf action in the interest of GCC countries and their citizens, and of achieving stability and prosperity in the region.
Updated 22 Feb, 2021 10:04pm
Vietnam to start COVID-19 vaccinations in March
South Asia

Vietnam to start COVID-19 vaccinations in March

  • The first wave of COVID-19 vaccinations, prioritising frontline medical workers and high-risk groups, will begin in March right after the first batch of the AstraZeneca vaccine arrives and passes quality checks.
  • The government said previously it was in talks with Russian and US vaccine manufacturers on potential supply agreements.
Updated 22 Feb, 2021 10:07pm
Using trade ties to secure doses, Chile moves fast on COVID-19 vaccination drive
USA

Using trade ties to secure doses, Chile moves fast on COVID-19 vaccination drive

  • That puts it in the top 10 globally of larger countries and compares to 172 days for Brazil and over 1,000 days for Mexico, which has faced delays in its inoculation program.
  • This global tragedy perhaps gives us the opportunity as Chileans not just to get a shot in the arm but reach out to people and soothe the nation's soul.
Updated 22 Feb, 2021 10:06pm
IMF says COVID-19 might widen wealth differences in Europe
Europe

IMF says COVID-19 might widen wealth differences in Europe

  • She said in the 27-nation EU, countries that are traditional tourist destinations, such as Spain, Greece, and Italy, contracted more than 9% in 2020 compared to an average contraction of 6.4% across the bloc.
  • According to IMF forecasts, by the end of 2022, per capita income for central and eastern Europe would be 3.8% below pre-crisis projections, compared with a shortfall of just 1.3% for advanced EU economies.
Updated 22 Feb, 2021 10:06pm
US seeks to extend, strengthen nuclear pact with Iran: Blinken
USA

US seeks to extend, strengthen nuclear pact with Iran: Blinken

  • Working with allies and partners, we will also seek to lengthen and strengthen the JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) and address other areas of concern, including Iran's destabilizing regional behavior and ballistic missile development and proliferation.
Updated 22 Feb, 2021 10:06pm
UK temporarily bans some 777s from its airspace after Denver incident
Europe

UK temporarily bans some 777s from its airspace after Denver incident

  • After issues this weekend, Boeing B777s with Pratt & Whitney 4000-112 series engines will be temporarily banned from entering the UK airspace.
  • Britain's regulator, the Civil Aviation Authority, noted on twitter that the particular configuration is not used by any UK airlines.
Updated 22 Feb, 2021 10:06pm
Singapore freezes two firms' bank accounts after alleged nickel fraud
South Asia

Singapore freezes two firms' bank accounts after alleged nickel fraud

  • Investors were promised varying returns, depending on the scheme they joined. Investigations arose due to the suspicion that investor monies were misused.
  • While investigations are being conducted, the local bank accounts of Envy Global Trading and Envy Asset Management have been frozen by authorities and customer funds are fully protected.
Published 22 Feb, 2021 07:03pm
UK's Prince Philip is ‘OK’, says grandson Prince William
Europe

UK's Prince Philip is ‘OK’, says grandson Prince William

  • "Yes, he's OK, they're keeping an eye on him," William said on a visit to a vaccination centre in eastern England. Royal reporters said he delivered his message with a wink.
  • A royal source said doctors had been acting out of an abundance of caution and that Philip was in good spirits.
Published 22 Feb, 2021 07:00pm
Don't ignore ‘lockdown fatigue’, UK watchdog tells finance bosses
Europe

Don't ignore ‘lockdown fatigue’, UK watchdog tells finance bosses

  • Many staff at financial companies have been working from home since Britain went into its first lockdown in March last year to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • During this third lockdown, there has been a greater impact on mental well-being, with many people struggling with job security, caring responsibilities, home schooling, bereavements and lockdown fatigue.
Published 22 Feb, 2021 06:44pm
Iranian lawmakers criticise Tehran's deal with IAEA on snap inspections
South Asia

Iranian lawmakers criticise Tehran's deal with IAEA on snap inspections

  • "The government has no right to decide and act arbitrarily," said Mojtaba Zolnour
  • "This arrangement is an insult to the parliament."
  • Iran has not said which cameras at which facilities, but the Additional Protocol Iran is scrapping does generally extend IAEA monitoring to some activities such as uranium mining.
Published 22 Feb, 2021 06:20pm
Armenia seeks bigger Russian military presence on its territory
Europe

Armenia seeks bigger Russian military presence on its territory

  • Ethnic Armenian troops in the Nagorno-Karabakh region ceded swathes of territory in and around the enclave to Azerbaijan in a six-week conflict in 2020 that claimed thousands of lives.
  • The question of expanding and bolstering the Russian military base on the territory of Armenia has always been on the agenda.
Published 22 Feb, 2021 06:17pm
Turkey to streamline monthly labour market data
Europe

Turkey to streamline monthly labour market data

  • The agency will publish data for the first two months of the year at the same time in April, as well as comparable series, according to the new definitions and methodology.
  • The last published labour data showed Turkey's unemployment rate ticked up to 12.9% in the October-December period.
Published 22 Feb, 2021 06:08pm
Uganda's Wine withdraws election result challenge, alleges bias
Africa

Uganda's Wine withdraws election result challenge, alleges bias

  • Museveni, a former guerrilla leader who has led the East African country since 1986, was declared winner of the Jan. 14 election with 59% of the vote, while Wine was given 35%.
  • "We have decided to withdraw from their court," Wine told a news conference in the capital Kampala. "The courts are not independent, it is clear these people (judges) are working for Mr. Museveni."
Published 22 Feb, 2021 05:46pm
COVID-19 caused $220 billion of global dividend cuts in 2020: Research

COVID-19 caused $220 billion of global dividend cuts in 2020: Research

  • According to research, the coronavirus pandemic led to a sharp decline in global dividends last year, with the amount of investor payouts declining by 12.6% to $1.26 trillion.
  • As the public health crisis impacted every corner of the globe, prompting lockdowns and inhibiting economic activity, dividend cuts amounted to $220 billion, according to the Global Dividend Index.
Updated 22 Feb, 2021 03:42pm
Pandemic used as 'pretext' to crush dissent: UN chief

Pandemic used as 'pretext' to crush dissent: UN chief

  • Speaking in a pre-recorded video message to the largely virtual meeting of the Geneva-based body, the UN chief also decried widespread misinformation around the world about the coronavirus and the pandemic.
Published 22 Feb, 2021 02:50pm
US nears 500,000 Covid deaths

US nears 500,000 Covid deaths

  • Though concern has grown over variants of the virus, especially those that appear to spread more easily and render current shots less potent, Fauci sounded a hopeful note on whether another surge was coming.
Published 22 Feb, 2021 10:54am
Australia health chiefs freeze Facebook ads

Australia health chiefs freeze Facebook ads

  • While Australians remained unable to share news articles or view media groups' Facebook pages, the country began its vaccination drive on Sunday.
Published 22 Feb, 2021 10:44am
Erdogan aims to mend strained relations with the United States under Biden Administration
Middle East

Erdogan aims to mend strained relations with the United States under Biden Administration

  • According to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey wants to improve cooperation with the United States on a "win-win basis", as he aimed to mend the strained relations between the two NATO allies.
  • In recent years, ties between the United States and Turkey have been enormously strained, with the former sanctioning the NATO member in December over its purchase of the Russian S-400 defense systems.
Updated 22 Feb, 2021 10:50am
US nears 500,000 Covid deaths

US nears 500,000 Covid deaths

WASHINGTON: The United States was on the brink Sunday of the grim milestone of 500,000 Covid-related deaths since ...
Published 22 Feb, 2021 04:25am