Failing to ensure wider access to COVID vaccines could undermine global eco recovery: WTO report

Failing to ensure wider access to COVID-19 vaccines could undermine the global economic and trade recovery, a report of the World Trade Organization (WTO) warned on Thursday.

The Director-General’s mid-year report on trade-related developments presented to members on Thursday calls on WTO member countries to ensure that markets remain open and predictable.

WTO Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala said this report clearly suggests that trade policy restraint by member countries has helped limit harm to the world economy.

However, some

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Delta variant drives virus spread to three China provinces

China Thursday reported small coronavirus outbreaks driven by the Delta variant in three provinces as a cluster linked to an eastern airport spreads despite mass testing and a vaccination drive.

The flare-up, which began after nine workers at the Nanjing airport tested positive on July 20, has seen 171 cases detected in Jiangsu province, while infections have spread to at least four other provinces.

It is geographically the largest spread for several months, challenging China’s aggressive containment efforts which

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IMF sees “critical role” as world transitions to digital money

The International Monetary Fund must ramp up its resources as it seeks to “monitor, advise on, and help manage this far-reaching and complex transition” to digital money, according to an IMF paper published on Thursday.

Digital money can make payments more accessible, faster and cheaper, the paper said. But to make that happen, policymakers must step up to key challenges: digital cash must be trustworthy, must protect domestic economic and financial stability, and the stability of the international monetary

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US economy contracted 19.2% during COVID-19 pandemic recession

The U.S. economy contracted at a record average annualized rate of 19.2% from its peak in the fourth quarter of 2019 through the second quarter of 2020, government data showed on Thursday, confirming that the COVID-19 recession was the worst ever.

The pace of recovery from the pandemic downturn, the deepest going back to 1947, was equally stunning. The Commerce Department’s Bureau of Economic Analysis said gross domestic product rebounded at a historic average rate of 18.3% between the second

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Qatar’s emir approves electoral law for first legislative polls

Qatar’s emir approved an electoral law on Thursday for the country’s first legislative election, which is due to be held in October, his office said.

The vote, a year before the Gulf Arab state hosts the World Cup soccer tournament, will be for two-thirds, or 30 members, of the 45-seat Shura Council, for which a new law was also approved by Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani on Thursday.

The emir will continue to appoint the remaining 15 members.


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China to allow electricity prices to rise by 20% during peak hours

China will allow electricity prices to further rise by at least 20% during peak demand hours from current peak electricity prices, the state planner said on Thursday, but did not specify when this would take effect.

The power price increases comes as the country looks to reform and improve its power price mechanisms and pushes for green and low carbon energy development.

The peak period is determined based on the period of time when the highest load of the local

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AstraZeneca to seek US approval of COVID vaccine in 2nd half

said Thursday that it intends to seek U.S. authorization for its COVID-19 vaccine in the second half of this year, offering a new timetable for the much-delayed application.

The Anglo-Swedish drugmaker announced the schedule as it released second-quarter financial results, which showed that the company and its sub-licensees delivered more than 700 million doses of the vaccine to over 170 countries in the first half of this year. That includes 80 million doses that went to the COVAX initiative for

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ArcelorMittal to invest $10 billion to cut global carbon emissions by 25% by 2030

ArcelorMittal, the world’s top steel firm, announced Thursday it will invest $10 billion to cut its global carbon emissions by a quarter by the end of the decade.

The company also increased its European target to a 35-percent reduction by the end of the decade.

ArcelorMittal, which had already set itself a 2050 target to make its operations carbon neutral, plans to launch its first carbon-neutral facility in Spain by 2025.

“As the world’s most prolific material, steel can

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International Olympic Committee sees no link between Games, Japan case rise

The International Olympic Committee said Thursday that it saw no connection between the current rise of COVID-19 cases in Japan and the Tokyo Games. spokesman Mark Adams said at a daily briefing that no infection has spread from participants in the Summer Games to the Japanese population as far as he is aware.

310,000 tests have been carried out at the Games in total so far, only a small fraction of which were positive.

Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee spokesperson Masa

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Officials in Tokyo alarmed as Covid-19 cases hit record highs

Japanese officials sounded the alarm Thursday after Tokyo reported record-breaking coronavirus cases for two straight days with the Olympics well underway.

“We have never experienced the expansion of the infections of this magnitude,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato told reporters. He said the new cases were soaring not only in the Tokyo area but across the country.

Tokyo reported 3,177 new cases on Wednesday, up from 2,848 on Tuesday, setting an all-time high and exceeding 3,000 for the first time.

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As Fed tiptoes around tapering, investors look to Jackson Hole meeting for clarity

NEW YORK: Investors looking for clear guidelines on when the Federal Reserve will begin tapering its massive bond purchases were left waiting Wednesday, with all eyes next on the annual Jackson Hole conference of central bankers in August.

The central bank has been buying $120 billion in fixed income assets per month – $80 billion in Treasuries and $40 billion in mortgage-backed securities – to support the economy as it recovers from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, and markets

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Airbus challenges Boeing cargo dominance with A350 freighter

Airbus said its board had backed plans for a new freighter version of its A350 passenger jet as it seeks to break rival Boeing‘s dominance of the air cargo market.

Chief Executive Guillaume Faury said that following the green light, “we are enhancing our product line with an A350 freighter derivative, responding to customer feedback for increased competition and efficiency in this market segment.”

Plans by the European firm to challenge Boeing’s control of the freight market with a

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China names ‘Wolf Warrior’ diplomat as new ambassador in Washington

One of China’s most prominent “Wolf Warrior” diplomats was on Wednesday announced as his nation’s new ambassador to the United States.

The hawkish Qin Gang, a close confidante of President Xi Jinping, has arrived in Washington at a time of high tensions between China and the United States, and is expected to deliver a combative message.

He gained prominence during his two stints as foreign ministry spokesman, issuing barbed responses to foreign reporters and pioneering an aggressive

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A Covid-weary world is facing a distressing reality check

Just a few weeks ago, much of the world seemed poised to leave Covid behind.

U.S. President Joe Biden declared the U.S. close to independence from the virus. Britons hit the dance floor to celebrate “Freedom Day.” Singapore’s legendarily strict government signaled it would begin to loosen its zero-cases approach and make life and travel more manageable.

But if those places were ready to be done with Covid, Covid wasn’t done with them.

The sputtering U.S. vaccine campaign has run

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Saudi Arabia’s oil exports climb 147% to $16 billion in May

The value of Saudi Arabia‘s oil exports in May increased 147% to just over 60 billion riyals ($16 billion) from a year earlier while non-oil exports rose by 70%, official data showed on Wednesday.

“Overall merchandise exports increased by 120.1% in May 2021 compared to May 2020, when international trade was impacted by COVID-related lockdowns and travel bans in numerous countries”, the General Authority for Statistics said.

Oil exports accounted for 73.2% of total exports, up from 65.3% in

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WHO says coronavirus deaths up 21% in last week

The World Health Organisation says the number of coronavirus deaths globally jumped by 21% in the last week. Most of the 69,000 deaths were reported in the Americas and Southeast Asia. The U.N. health agency also noted that COVID-19 cases rose by 8% worldwide and that there are now nearly 194 million infections.
WHO said that “if these trends continue, the cumulative number of cases reported globally could exceed 200 million in the next two weeks.” It added that
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Boeing, for first time since 2019, has a profitable quarter

Boeing reported its first quarterly profit since 2019 and revenue topped expectations, as the giant aircraft maker tries to dig out from the most difficult stretch in its history.

Boeing said Wednesday that it earned $567 million in the second quarter, compared with a $2.4 billion loss a year ago.

The company delivered 79 commercial planes in the quarter, compared with 20 a year earlier. Deliveries are an important source of cash because that’s when airlines usually pay the bulk

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Pfizer raises 2021 COVID-19 vaccine sales forecast to $33.5 billion

Inc on Wednesday raised its forecast for sales of the COVID-19 vaccine that it developed with Germany’s BioNTech by 28.8% to $33.5 billion, as countries scramble to secure supply of the shots.

The company said the raised sales forecast of the vaccine is based on signed deals for 2.1 billion doses this year, and that it could increase if it signs additional contracts. Pfizer and BioNTech expect to produce 3 billion doses of the vaccine this year.

Pfizer gained a

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