BRIEF-Le Saunda Holdings Sees Consol Profit Of About Rmb2 MLN For Interim Period 2019/20

Sept 6 (Reuters) - Le Saunda Holdings Ltd:

* GROUP EXPECTS TO RECORD A CONSOLIDATED PROFIT OF APPROXIMATELY RMB2 MILLION FOR INTERIM PERIOD 2019/20

* Q2 GROUP'S E-COMMERCE BUSINESS RECORDED A TOTAL SALES DECLINE OF 28.4%, COMPARING WITH SAME PERIOD OF LAST YEAR

* IN Q2 GROUP'S SELF-OWNED RETAIL BUSINESS RECORDED A TOTAL SALES DECLINE OF 6.5% AND A SAME STORE SALES GROWTH OF 17.5%

* EXPECTED INTERIM RESULT DUE TO DECREASE IN GENERAL AND ADMINISTRATION EXPENSES Source text for Eikon: Further company coverage:

  • Hong Kong tourism chief pins hopes on recovery starting by July
    Business
    Reuters

    Hong Kong tourism chief pins hopes on recovery starting by July

    The impact of the novel coronavirus on Hong Kong's tourism sector is unprecedented and the city can hope to start seeing things returning to normal by July, in part by trying to develop new markets, the head of the tourism board told Reuters. The coronavirus crisis has paralysed the global financial hub's economy, which was already reeling from months of anti-government protests, with travel restrictions to curb the spread of infection grinding tourism to a halt. Dane Cheng, executive director of the Hong Kong Tourism Board, said it would focus on boosting local consumer spending, attracting more mainland visitors and promoting the city to new markets such as India and Vietnam and to Muslim tourists.

  • Chinese stay close to home after coronavirus brought under control
    World
    Reuters

    Chinese stay close to home after coronavirus brought under control

    China's first test of travel demand after its coronavirus outbreak was the Qingming festival last weekend, but rather than hopping on a plane or train, Shan Mingyu and five of her family drove to a resort town close to her eastern home of Yixing. "We did not want to travel too far away and we did not want to take public transport," said the 22-year-old student, who spent about a month cooped up at home during China's lockdown to rein in the virus. The global tourism industry is closely watching trends in China for clues to travel patterns in other major markets once the virus, which has infected 1.4 million and killed 83,400 worldwide, is under control and curbs on movement are lifted.

  • Taiwan demands apology from WHO chief over virus 'slander'
    World
    AFP News

    Taiwan demands apology from WHO chief over virus 'slander'

    Taiwan demanded an apology from the World Health Organization chief on Thursday after he accused the island's government of leading personal attacks against him and his agency's response to the coronavirus pandemic. WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus called for unity to fight the disease on Wednesday after US President Donald Trump criticised the global health body and threatened to cut its funding. Tedros largely avoided mentioning Trump by name but he did single out the government in Taipei, which has been frozen out of the WHO after political pressure from Beijing.

  • OPEC, allies consider output cut after price crash
    World
    AFP News

    OPEC, allies consider output cut after price crash

    Top crude producers will on Thursday hold a crucial teleconference to discuss a possible cut in output after a collapse in demand caused by the coronavirus and a damaging Saudi-Russia price war caused a crash in the market. The talks between OPEC and its allies including Russia (OPEC+) along with key non-members is seen as the best chance to provide some much-needed support to prices, which are wallowing around two-decade lows. Last week US President Donald Trump claimed Russia and Saudi Arabia would step back from their stand-off and agree to slash output.

  • Ex-Kazakh president's grandson wins UK case over purchase of London mansion
    World
    Reuters

    Ex-Kazakh president's grandson wins UK case over purchase of London mansion

    London's High Court removed anti-graft orders against the grandson of the former president of Kazakhstan on Wednesday, dealing a blow to powers that British crime fighters use to target dirty money. The National Crime Agency (NCA) had sought Unexplained Wealth Orders (UWOs) against the companies which owned a London mansion in which Nurali Aliyev lived and two other properties to try to force him to explain where the money to buy them had come from.

  • Symptom-free Covid-19 patients must be reported within two hours: Chinese government
    Health
    South China Morning Post

    Symptom-free Covid-19 patients must be reported within two hours: Chinese government

    Symptom-free Covid-19 patients are contagious and must be reported within two hours of confirmed diagnosis, the Chinese government said in its latest announcement.In a document published on Wednesday night, the Chinese State Council has issued official guidelines, particularly for managing asymptomatic patients, those who tested positive for coronavirus but have yet to develop symptoms such as cough, fever and pneumonia.The move came as official Covid-19 numbers have shown a daily increase in the number of asymptomatic patients from within China and from overseas.On Wednesday, an additional 56 asymptomatic patients were found in the country, with 28 being imported cases, bringing the total asymptomatic cases under medical surveillance in the country to 1104. The 56 patients without symptoms reported is not far short of the 63 new infections with symptoms on the same day.“Asymptomatic patients are infectious, and have risk of infecting others,” the guidelines said, adding that some of the cases were pre-symptomatic, meaning they would show symptoms later in the course of the infection.“[We should] strengthen the scope of testing and surveillance for asymptomatic patients …[and] standardise the reporting system of asymptomatic patients.”The guidelines recommended that local health institutions should report these cases within two hours of receiving positive test results. Then, within 24 hours, county-level health authorities needed to report through the central communicable disease report system.The issuing of the guidelines highlighted the increasing importance for Chinese authorities to manage and assess the risks posed by asymptomatic patients. Asymptomatic cases threaten Beijing’s efforts to contain the virus despite having drastically brought numbers of symptomatic patients down since January.Scientific research into asymptomatic patients and their transmission rates around the world has been controversial.Chinese authorities insist that patients without symptoms are not likely to trigger another major outbreak of the coronavirus and that their transmission rates are low.Yet, after citing the need to “address public concerns”, the Chinese National Health Commission began releasing the number of symptom-free cases last Wednesday, starting with figures for March 31. The national total of 81865 confirmed cases in China is therefore an underestimate of Covid-19 infections as it only records those showing symptoms.To assess the impact of asymptomatic patients, the latest guidelines have said the government will back scientific research related to the topic.Meanwhile, identified asymptomatic patients can only leave the health facility after testing negative for the virus twice after 14 days. They also must return for tests in the second and fourth week after being sent home, much like symptomatic patients discharged from hospitals.Once they displayed symptoms they would immediately be sent for medical treatment.All close contacts of asymptomatic patients must also be isolated and observed.Sign up now and get a 10% discount (original price US$400) off the China AI Report 2020 by SCMP Research. Learn about the AI ambitions of Alibaba, Baidu & JD.com through our in-depth case studies, and explore new applications of AI across industries. The report also includes exclusive access to webinars to interact with C-level executives from leading China AI companies (via live Q&A; sessions). Offer valid until 31 May 2020.More from South China Morning Post: * Covid-19 community transmission in Wuhan started earlier than thought, study finds * Coronavirus: Chinese police hunt close contacts of silent carriers in locked down Jia county in Henan province * China’s first report of coronavirus symptom-free carriers shows 130 new casesThis article Symptom-free Covid-19 patients must be reported within two hours: Chinese government first appeared on South China Morning PostFor the latest news from the South China Morning Post download our mobile app. Copyright 2020.

  • Chinese online retailers offer discounts on iPhone 11 as country recovers from coronavirus
    Business
    Reuters

    Chinese online retailers offer discounts on iPhone 11 as country recovers from coronavirus

    Several Chinese online retailers have offered discounts on Apple Inc's iPhone 11, Reuters checks on Thursday revealed. The price drops come as the hardware company braces for an uncertain year for the smartphone sector, as the global spread of the coronavirus dampens demand while Chinese rivals rush out 5G models. The online store for Suning, a popular Chinese electronics vendor, offers the 64GB version of the iPhone 11 for 4999 yuan ($707.54), a discount of 500 yuan from the price listed on Apple's official China Website.

  • Pacific's monster storm destroys tourist resorts in Tonga
    World
    AFP News

    Pacific's monster storm destroys tourist resorts in Tonga

    A resurgent Tropical Cyclone Harold flattened tourist resorts in Tonga Thursday, extending a week-long trail of destruction across four South Pacific island nations that has claimed more than two dozen lives. The cyclone gathered pace as it bore down on the tiny island kingdom, which declared a state of emergency, warning residents to seek shelter from destructive winds and massive sea surges. Packing winds of up to 260 kilometres per hour (160 miles per hour), it cut power in parts of the country and police said at least three tourist resorts north of the capital Nuku'alofa had been reduced to rubble.

  • Virgin Islands at odds with Epstein estate over 'broad' liability releases
    Celebrity
    Reuters

    Virgin Islands at odds with Epstein estate over 'broad' liability releases

    The office of Attorney General Denise George said in a statement that the estate was demanding the "broad releases," which would shield not only the estate but potentially other individuals from legal liability, as part of a proposed victim compensation fund. A spokeswoman for George said people covered by the releases could include anyone linked to Epstein who was involved in trafficking or abusing girls. George's office has asked the Virgin Islands probate court, which is overseeing the estate, to resolve the dispute.

  • US pharmacies authorized to test for coronavirus
    Health
    AFP Relax

    US pharmacies authorized to test for coronavirus

    The US authorized pharmacies on Wednesday to carry out tests for the coronavirus, including newly developed antibody tests that detect whether a person who has recovered from illness had COVID-19. Health secretary Alex Azar, announced that all tests approved by regulators could be carried out by pharmacies as the country seeks to ramp up its testing efforts. "The Trump Administration is pleased to give pharmacists the chance to play a bigger role in the COVID-19 response, alongside all of America's heroic healthcare workers," he said.

  • Coronavirus: Hong Kong businesses could be able to apply for cash from HK$137.5 billion relief fund in June, welfare minister says
    World
    South China Morning Post

    Coronavirus: Hong Kong businesses could be able to apply for cash from HK$137.5 billion relief fund in June, welfare minister says

    Hong Kong businesses could start applying for subsidies on wage bills under the new HK$137.5 billion (US$18 billion) coronavirus relief package in June, the welfare chief said on Thursday, as he admitted there could be difficulties in ensuring it was properly administered.Employers can pick a month between January and April as a basis to calculate their payroll when applying for a monthly subsidy of up to HK$9,000 for each of their workers, for six months from the end of June.The day after the government rolled out its biggest financial relief package to date, throwing a much-needed lifeline to ailing companies and struggling residents, Secretary for Labour and Welfare Law Chi-kwong revealed the preliminary design for a scheme that could benefit 1.5 million workers.Law said the money to help employers pay 50 per cent of their wage bills would be released in two phases, and firms must pass the cash on to their employees, and must not downsize.“We hope to start applications in June and give the first round of wage subsidies by the end of June,” he said on a radio programme.“For example, if employers hope to hire more people or let more employees work and give them salaries, maybe it’s best for them to pick January because January is least affected by the pandemic.”The HK$80 billion fund for wages is available to the city’s entire private sector, as long as employers make contributions to the Mandatory Provident Fund pension scheme for workers.But concerns were raised on how to make sure the money reached employees, with bosses to be reimbursed first.Law said any cases of deception on the part of employers could result in criminal punishment, but on other kind of breach, he did not say what form that might take.“We have not decided on the details of any penalty. Usually, the most important [principle] of punishment in Hong Kong is to deduct the money,” he said.As an example, Law said the penalty might cover the extra money firms should not have received, or officials could cut the amount a business received when the next round of funds was released.The minister admitted it would be hard to check on every employee and it would be easier for the government to check on the number of workers at a firm to make sure the measure was helping.“If the change [on manpower] is big, obviously there are some problems and we will proactively investigate it,” he said.Officials also would be transparent about which firms would be getting the money, so the public and workers could monitor the bosses, he added.Still, he said the government could not ask employers not to reduce workers’ salaries.“We cannot force employers to pay full wages,” he said. “The most important thing is workers get paid.”He added the government could still revise the relief package and the public could express their views on the measures.This article Coronavirus: Hong Kong businesses could be able to apply for cash from HK$137.5 billion relief fund in June, welfare minister says first appeared on South China Morning PostFor the latest news from the South China Morning Post download our mobile app. Copyright 2020.

  • New York hospital sends some 'borderline' COVID-19 patients home with oxygen monitors
    Health
    Reuters

    New York hospital sends some 'borderline' COVID-19 patients home with oxygen monitors

    Some coronavirus patients who would have been admitted into the emergency department at a New York hospital are being sent home with an oxygen-monitoring device as the city's medical system struggles to reserve resources for only the sickest people. The new program at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital is an example of how doctors are adapting and loosening normal protocols to ease the strain on emergency rooms and intensive care units in New York state, the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic in the United States. Since last week, more than 200 people with confirmed or suspected COVID-19, the respiratory illness caused by the virus, have been sent home with a pulse oximeter to track their oxygen levels.

  • Essential workers exposed to coronavirus should take precautions returning to jobs - CDC head
    Business
    Reuters

    Essential workers exposed to coronavirus should take precautions returning to jobs - CDC head

    The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention head on Wednesday said essential workers who are asymptomatic after exposure to a confirmed or suspected coronavirus case can return to work, but should wear face masks and take other precautions. CDC Director Robert Redfield, speaking at a White House briefing, described new CDC guidance intended to accelerate the return to work of employees in essential sectors like healthcare. The new guidance says that workers who are asymptomatic may return to their jobs if they take their temperatures before doing so and wear face masks as well as practice social distancing on the job, Redfield told a White House briefing.

  • Ex-U.S. Navy secretary's Guam trip to ridicule commander cost taxpayers $243,000 - officials
    US
    Reuters

    Ex-U.S. Navy secretary's Guam trip to ridicule commander cost taxpayers $243,000 - officials

    Former acting U.S. Navy Secretary Thomas Modly's controversial trip to Guam over the weekend where he ridiculed the commander of a coronavirus-stricken U.S. aircraft carrier cost taxpayers at least $243,000, officials said on Wednesday. Modly resigned on Tuesday after mounting criticism for firing and ridiculing Captain Brett Crozier of the Theodore Roosevelt who pleaded for help to contain a coronavirus outbreak onboard. Modly quit only after mounting pressure from Congress and a backlash from the crew, and followed U.S. President Donald Trump's own suggestion on Monday that he might get involved in the matter.

  • Virus claims record dead but Trump sees light at end of tunnel
    World
    AFP News

    Virus claims record dead but Trump sees light at end of tunnel

    The coronavirus pandemic notched up another round of record death tolls in the United States and Europe, dousing the optimism of US President Donald Trump who insisted there was light at the end of the tunnel. There was also a record death toll of 938 over 24 hours in Britain, where Prime Minister Boris Johnson spent a third night in intensive care, his condition said to be "improving." Spain and Italy are still seeing hundreds of deaths per day despite tentative signs the disease may have peaked.

  • Australian police take 'black box' off cruise ship in coronavirus homicide probe
    World
    Reuters

    Australian police take 'black box' off cruise ship in coronavirus homicide probe

    Australian police said on Thursday they have taken the "black box" of a cruise ship which disembarked hundreds of passengers infected with the coronavirus in Sydney, as part of a homicide investigation into the country's deadliest infection source. The investigation got underway as the Australian authorities said the rate of new coronavirus infections hit its lowest number in three weeks and began arranging more flights to bring home citizens stranded abroad. The Ruby Princess cruise ship, owned by Carnival Corp, has become a flashpoint of public anger in Australia after authorities granted the ship permission to disembark its passengers last month without health checks.

  • Exclusive: U.S. ambassador to South Korea is discussing plans to resign - sources
    World
    Reuters

    Exclusive: U.S. ambassador to South Korea is discussing plans to resign - sources

    U.S. Ambassador to South Korea Harry Harris has said privately that he does not plan to stay on beyond the November U.S. presidential election, regardless of whether President Donald Trump wins another term, five sources told Reuters. Harris, a 40-year veteran of the U.S. Navy who started in Seoul in 2018 after Trump appointed him, has expressed increasing frustration with the tensions and drama of his tenure, the sources said, all speaking on condition of anonymity because of the diplomatic sensitivity of the issue. "He's been wanting to stay only until November rather than serving in the second term even if Trump wins it," one source with direct knowledge of the issue said.

  • Coronavirus crisis could plunge half a billion people into poverty - Oxfam
    World
    Reuters

    Coronavirus crisis could plunge half a billion people into poverty - Oxfam

    The fallout from the coronavirus spread that has killed more than 83,000 people and wreaked havoc on economies around the world could push around half a billion people into poverty, Oxfam said on Thursday. The report released by the Nairobi-based charity ahead of next week's International Monetary Fund (IMF)/World Bank annual meeting calculated the impact of the crisis on global poverty due to shrinking household incomes or consumption. "The economic crisis that is rapidly unfolding is deeper than the 2008 global financial crisis," the report found.

  • Coronavirus: China’s textile exporters brace for pain amid wave of cancelled overseas orders
    World
    South China Morning Post

    Coronavirus: China’s textile exporters brace for pain amid wave of cancelled overseas orders

    The most frequent query that Jeremy Maclaurin has received from Chinese textile and apparel makers in recent days is: when are our next orders coming in?MacLaurin runs China Textile Traders, which helps brands source from the southern Chinese manufacturing hub Guangdong province, as well as from other Asian countries like Vietnam.Normally at this time of the year, brands are looking for new product samples to use for the winter season, he said.But the coronavirus pandemic has disrupted the entire cycle of fashion sourcing and is threatening to slash orders in coming months, making the manufacturers’ questions very tough to answer.“At the moment, we are still catching up with post-Lunar New Year orders. We just anticipate that once these orders are fulfilled, we are going to have a very quiet three to four months – probably until August or September,” MacLaurin said on the phone from his office in Vietnam.The situation for Chinese exporters has changed dramatically over the past two months. In February, they were unable to work on overseas orders due to draconian lockdowns imposed by the Chinese government.By March, most were able to resume operations, but they were then forced to stop or cut back on production after the pandemic turned into a full-blown crisis in the United States and Europe, closing retail outlets and leading brands to cancel orders.This put significant stress on one of China’s largest industries – textile and apparel manufacturing – which in recent years has slowly been losing market share to Vietnam and Bangladesh where labour is cheaper.Last year the value of the country’s textile and apparel exports fell 1.85 per cent from a year earlier to US$271 billion, according to China Customs Administration data.Shipments dropped an additional 20 per cent to US$29 billion in the first two months of this year, as China’s economy was battered by the coronavirus.Some 86 per cent of large and small manufacturers in 28 textile industrial estates across China had resumed work by the end of March, according to the China National Textile and Apparel Council, an industry group supervised by the State Council, China’s government cabinet.But in a survey conducted among 190 firms in the last week of March, more than 60 per cent said their current export orders were less than half of normal levels, with just over 50 per cent of respondents saying their production had reached 80 per cent of capacity.“The entire export-oriented supply chain is facing pressure, so production capacity has started falling,” the council said.The entire export-oriented supply chain is facing pressure, so production capacity has started fallingChina National Textile and Apparel CouncilIn Keqiao, a textile manufacturing and distribution hub in eastern China’s Zhejiang province, a lack of new orders from abroad and the delay in normal spring trade fairs due to the coronavirus outbreak have put manufacturers and traders in limbo.James Wang, a sales manager for Puhong Textile, which mainly supplies fabrics to manufacturers in Vietnam and Bangladesh, said he had been furloughed for nearly two weeks after just coming back to the office in early March.It was a similar story for export department staff at some large textile firms in the area, he said, adding there was not much he could do about it at the moment.“If we develop new products for clients now, the cost could be high considering expensive delivery costs because of the virus. And if buyers don’t place orders, then our efforts would be in vain,” Wang said.Export-oriented textile firms are also finding it difficult to shift to produce for the domestic market because it would require major changes in the way they do business. Many do not have large warehouses to store finished goods and would have to adjust to longer invoice payment periods common in the domestic trade.Some manufacturers had turned to live streaming to sell their products to domestic consumers, although not everyone agreed it was a winning strategy.“It’s hard to sell a piece of fabric via live streaming, because it’s not a finished product like a garment,” said Cherry Song, general manager of Keqaio-based Shuangsuo Textile, whose primary market for textile products was Bangladesh.“Clients still want to see the actual product to decide whether they want to place orders. So the benefit from live streaming is minimal.”Bach Zhang, a small textile manufacturer from Keqiao, said he had been thinking about trading personal protective equipment such as masks because textile orders from the US and Europe had dried up. But slim profits, unstable market prices, and tightened export regulations on medical supplies in recent weeks have made the idea look much less attractive.Keqiao’s export-oriented economy has been hit hard by the pandemic. Last year, the district’s exports rose 15.6 per cent year-on-year, well above China’s total export growth of 5 per cent. But in the first two months of the year Keqiao’s exports fell nearly 20 per cent from a year earlier, according to the local government.Daily traffic at Shaoxing Textile City, a large marketplace in Keqiao for trading fabrics, is only half of its normal volume almost two months after reopening in mid-February, said local exporters and traders.The wave of cancelled overseas orders has also rippled through to upstream industries – like cotton yarn and chemical fibre production – in the textile and apparel supply chain. The price of polyester staple fibre, a material commonly used to make sportswear, has plummeted from 7,005 yuan (US$992) per tonne at the beginning of the year to 5,200 yuan per tonne this week, partly due to the sharp decline in the price of oil, from which it is made.During good times in previous years, lower costs for raw materials could offset rising wages in China’s labour-intensive textile and apparel manufacturing sector. But lower material costs caused by the unprecedented global economic impact of the coronavirus have proved to be little help as there are so few orders to fill.Song, from Shuangsuo Textile, said her company normally bought materials when orders came in, but some manufacturers had stocked up before the Lunar New Year, anticipating prices would go up after the holiday. Now they cannot sell the materials without taking a large loss.Gaurav Sharma, head of sales and sourcing for Chinese textile and apparel trading firm Yukun Group, said his operation in the mainland had been paralysed.The company’s factory in Hubei, about 50km from the initial coronavirus epicentre Wuhan, used to employ 450 to 500 workers, but would likely remain a “ghost building” for some time, even after the government lifted citywide lockdowns this week.Despite signs that China is bringing the outbreak under control, Sharma, who is based in Hong Kong, is worried that clients may not be mentally prepared to do business in the country any time soon over concerns that something could go wrong again in the future.“I am doing three things at the moment: I am in a lifeboat, which means I will do whatever I can when orders come. I am also seeking new opportunities [to sell clothing products]. And I have also been looking for options aside from sourcing [for the fashion industry],” Sharma said.Sign up now and get a 10% discount (original price US$400) off the China AI Report 2020 by SCMP Research. Learn about the AI ambitions of Alibaba, Baidu & JD.com through our in-depth case studies, and explore new applications of AI across industries. The report also includes exclusive access to webinars to interact with C-level executives from leading China AI companies (via live Q&A; sessions). Offer valid until 31 May 2020.More from South China Morning Post: * Coronavirus: China to hold its largest trade fair online amid growing signs export slump may worsen * Coronavirus: China yet to meet key phase one trade deal target due to Covid-19 lockdown * Coronavirus: nearly half a million Chinese companies close in first quarter as pandemic batters economy * Coronavirus: China manufacturing hub Dongguan faces grim test as global export orders vanish * Coronavirus: China’s car part makers face collapsing orders, as factories around the world kill their enginesThis article Coronavirus: China’s textile exporters brace for pain amid wave of cancelled overseas orders first appeared on South China Morning PostFor the latest news from the South China Morning Post download our mobile app. Copyright 2020.

  • Mexico could have up to 26,500 cases of coronavirus, official says
    World
    Reuters

    Mexico could have up to 26,500 cases of coronavirus, official says

    Mexico might have 26,500 people infected with the coronavirus, a senior health official said on Wednesday, citing government models. Mexico has reported 3,181 confirmed cases of the virus, but many who are infected likely did not have symptoms or were not diagnosed, said Deputy Health Minister Hugo Lopez-Gatell. The estimate of 26,500 cases is based on a model called "Sentinel Surveillance," which uses the number of cases in 375 health districts to extrapolate for the rest of the country, Lopez-Gatell said.

  • Singapore migrant workers live in fear as virus hits dorms
    World
    AFP News

    Singapore migrant workers live in fear as virus hits dorms

    Migrant workers in Singapore are living in fear following a surge of coronavirus infections in their dormitories where they say cramped and filthy conditions make social distancing impossible. The city-state, which is battling a worsening outbreak, this week quarantined four large dormitory complexes housing tens of thousands of mostly South Asian workers, where more than 200 cases have so far been detected. One worker from Bangladesh, who lives in a dorm where there are several known infections but has not yet been locked down, told AFP social distancing to halt the spread of the virus was not possible.

  • Strays feel the bite as pandemic spreads
    Lifestyle
    AFP News

    Strays feel the bite as pandemic spreads

    As coronavirus forces billions of people around the world into lockdown, another sizeable population has also been hard hit -- stray animals. For many, the restrictions are tantamount to a death sentence. "We are seeing an increase in the numbers of cats in areas where we feed, some appear to have been abandoned, while others have roamed far from their usual spots in search of food," says Cordelia Madden-Kanellopoulou, a co-founder of Nine Lives Greece, a network of volunteers dedicated to reducing the overpopulation of stray cats in Athens and other cities.

  • Asia-Pacific stocks mostly gain as coronavirus curve is called the new risk barometer for investors
    Business
    South China Morning Post

    Asia-Pacific stocks mostly gain as coronavirus curve is called the new risk barometer for investors

    Asia-Pacific stocks mostly gained in Thursday trading, building on a Wall Street rally on positive sentiment that global efforts to contain the coronavirus pandemic are paying off and the world’s major oil producers will reach a deal to cut output.The respiratory ailment has infected more than 1.5 million people worldwide, killed more than 87,000 and put half of humankind in lockdown. It has driven the world into recession as it disrupted supply chains, upended air travel and threw workers out of their jobs. It has also been a challenging time for investors, who have had to navigate massive volatility often driven by rapidly changing sentiment.But, as medical experts see signs infection and death curves may be flattening, the US and other countries are beginning to look at how to slowly restart their economies.“Forget the Vix. The Covid19 curve is the new risk barometer,” said Stephen Innes, chief global strategist at AxiCorp.“Relaxing social distancing is the new ‘risk-on’ barometer’,” he wrote in his daily markets note. “Sentiment in markets continues to shift like a yo-yo, but signs that the coronavirus curve continues to flatten in the worst affected countries are very positive. Pretty much everywhere you look in financial markets, there is renewed optimism.”Five questions every investor should be asking about the coronavirus and what it will next do to stock marketsThe White House is weighing options to reopen the world’s largest economy that depend on testing more Americans for the coronavirus, Bloomberg reported, citing people familiar with the matter.Widespread testing will likely begin in smaller cities in states that have not been hard hit by Covid-19 yet, while “hotspots” such as New York, Detroit, New Orleans would remain shuttered, it reported.Meanwhile, Wuhan, the centre of the viral outbreak, lifted its 11-week lockdown on Wednesday, and tens of thousands of residents left the city for work in other areas to get their normal lives back on track. In a controversial move, Wuhan’s Huanan seafood market, which sold exotic animals and was tagged as the source of the rapidly spreading illness, reopened as well. Some European countries such as Austria are experimenting with restarting businesses.> Once we OPEN UP OUR GREAT COUNTRY, and it will be sooner rather than later, the horror of the Invisible Enemy, except for those that sadly lost a family member or friend, must be quickly forgotten. Our Economy will BOOM, perhaps like never before!!!> > — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 8, 2020Another driver of market sentiment is the meeting among OPEC and other major oil producers, scheduled for later today. Oil prices have plunged amid virus-dampened demand worsened by a Saudi-Russian price war.The Hang Seng Index rose 0.4 per cent to 24,075.57 as of 11:05am local time. HSBC, Tencent and Macau casino stocks including Galaxy Entertainment and Sands China advanced.“People are feeling optimistic,” Alan Li, portfolio manager at Atta Capital, said about Hong Kong stocks. “The Hang Seng Index has already formed a bottom around 21,100, and won’t go back again in the short term.”‘After-the-coronavirus’ stocks at bargain basement prices are screaming ‘buy’ at gutsy investors, some analysts sayIn the mainland, the Shanghai Composite Index rose 0.3 per cent. (For in-depth coverage of the Hong Kong and mainland markets, see the Stocks Blog.)Elsewhere in Asia, most equity benchmarks saw gains.In South Korea, the central bank left its key interest rate unchanged, as expected, holding the seven-day repurchase rate at 0.75 per cent.South Korea’s Kospi rose 0.8 per cent, after it slid 0.9 per cent on Wednesday.The country’s tech-heavy Kosdaq rose 1 per cent, after it inched up 0.1 per cent on Wednesday.In Japan, the Nikkei 225 slipped 0.4 per cent. But sentiment remains positive overall, with the index advancing the past four sessions as the government launched new measures to deal with the new coronavirus.Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has declared a state of emergency in Tokyo, Osaka and five other prefectures – accounting for about 44 per cent of Japan’s population – to contain the outbreak. The government also approved a record near-US$1 trillion stimulus package for families and business. That is equivalent to 20 per cent of Japan’s GDP.The coronavirus pandemic is having a “serious impact” on the Japanese economy and uncertainty over the country’s outlook is “extremely high”, Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda said on Thursday.In Australia, which is reeling from its worst economy since the Great Depression, the ASX 200 rose 1.8 per cent. It fell 0.9 per cent on Wednesday.New Zealand’s S&P;/NZX50 slipped 0.2 per cent, after gaining 2.3 per cent gain on Wednesday.Meanwhile, Singapore’s Straits Times Index rose 1.5 per cent.Singapore banned public and private gatherings of any size, with the exception of family members or friends who live together, and shut all non-essential businesses in a bid to contain the coronavirus pandemic.More to followAdditional reporting by Kathleen MangroveSign up now and get a 10% discount (original price US$400) off the China AI Report 2020 by SCMP Research. Learn about the AI ambitions of Alibaba, Baidu & JD.com through our in-depth case studies, and explore new applications of AI across industries. The report also includes exclusive access to webinars to interact with C-level executives from leading China AI companies (via live Q&A; sessions). Offer valid until 31 May 2020.More from South China Morning Post: * ‘After-the-coronavirus’ stocks at bargain basement prices are screaming ‘buy’ at gutsy investors, some analysts say * Five questions every investor should be asking about the coronavirus and what it will next do to stock marketsThis article Asia-Pacific stocks mostly gain as coronavirus curve is called the new risk barometer for investors first appeared on South China Morning PostFor the latest news from the South China Morning Post download our mobile app. Copyright 2020.

  • Biden-Trump showdown looms after Sanders ends presidential bid
    Politics
    AFP News

    Biden-Trump showdown looms after Sanders ends presidential bid

    Leftist US Senator Bernie Sanders suspended his presidential campaign Wednesday, clearing the way for rival Joe Biden to secure the Democratic nomination and challenge Donald Trump in November. The feisty 78-year-old democratic socialist shook up the 2020 race with his relentless pursuit of "economic justice" for all Americans and a demand for universal health care. "I have concluded that this battle for the Democratic nomination will not be successful," Sanders told supporters in a livestream from his home, where he has remained for the bulk of the coronavirus pandemic that put all in-person campaigning on hold.

  • U.S. to seize exports of masks and gloves amid coronavirus crisis
    US
    Reuters

    U.S. to seize exports of masks and gloves amid coronavirus crisis

    The United States will seize exports of key protective medical gear until it determines whether the equipment should be kept in the country to combat the spread of the new coronavirus, two federal agencies announced on Wednesday. U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) will hold exports of respirators, surgical masks and surgical gloves, according to a joint announcement made with the Federal Emergency Management Agency. FEMA will then determine if the equipment should be returned for use in the United States, purchased by the U.S. government or exported.