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Investment Advisors Worry U.S. Response To Coronavirus Is Too Little Too Late – HuffPost

February 27th, 2020

NEW YORK, Feb 27 (Reuters) – Investment-advisors are increasingly worried that U.S. authorities are not doing enough to prevent a widespread outbreak of coronavirus in the country, potentially adding further downside to already-battered markets.

Their criticisms include the number of people so far tested by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which some say is too small, the possible difficulties of imposing lockdowns on U.S. cities and concerns that the White House could bungle containment efforts.

The worries have magnified the uncertainty that has accompanied the coronavirus outbreak over the last several weeks, as investors scramble to adjust their portfolios to price in the virus’ potential for damage to the global economy and assess its further impact on asset prices.

The CDC states on its website that “as of Feb. 24, CDC teams are working with the Department of Homeland Security at 11 airports where all flights from China are being directed to screen travelers returning to the United States, and to refer them to U.S. health departments for oversight of self-monitoring.”

U.S. Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar said as of Thursday morning the CDC had tested 3,625 specimens for the fast-moving virus.

For some investors and analysts, those assurances ring hollow.

“Much of what we’ve seen about this virus has shaken confidence in governments,” said James Bianco, head of Chicago-based advisory firm Bianco Research.

His list includes doubts over China’s accuracy in counting cases, criticism over Japan’s handling of a cruise ship quarantine at one of its ports, and the comparatively small number of people that U.S. authorities have so far tested.

Worries over the growing number of cases outside China sent the S&P 500 into intraday correction territory on Thursday morning. Stocks took an earlier hit on Wednesday after health officials in Nassau County, New York, said they were monitoring 83 people who visited China and may have come in contact with the coronavirus. Governor Andrew Cuomo said the state has had no confirmed cases so far.

On Wednesday evening, U.S. President Donald Trump told Americans that the risk from coronavirus remained “very low, “and appointed Vice President Mike Pence to run the U.S. response to the looming global health crisis.

Bianco said he fears many investors are still complacent about how quickly the number of cases could multiply in the United States, as it has in countries such as Iran, Italy and South Korea.

He is advising his clients to tread lightly until the fullextent of the outbreak is known.

“I would rather risk a lost opportunity by being out of the market or underweight and finding out that this is not a big deal, than being fully invested and worrying that this will get worse,” Bianco said.

‘TREMENDOUS AMOUNT OF RISK’

Others are concerned over the consequences if the United States were forced to implement a lockdown similar to the one imposed by Chinese authorities on Hubei Province, the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak.

Wuhan, Hubei’s capital, imposed strict controls on movement of residents, then eased them, then later announced that the relaxation had been revoked. Such measures could be more difficult to enforce in the United States.

“Those of us sitting here in Hong Kong looking at financialmarkets think there is a tremendous amount of risk in the system,” said Simon Powell, equity strategist at Jefferies in Hong Kong.

Powell is particularly worried that there could be spread of the virus from people from countries outside China which were not subject to travel restrictions coming into the United States. He is particularly concerned about the outbreak in Iran.

Iran said on Thursday that its coronavirus death toll had risen to 26, by far the highest number outside China. The death rate among confirmed cases of the virus has been running ataround 10% in Iran compared to around 3% elsewhere.

Powell also thinks that a Trump government is unlikely to choose reduced economic activity, writing in a recent research note that “our base case hypothesis is that a Trump government is unlikely to choose reduced economic activity, and supplychain disruption, so spread of the virus, if it were to emergein the US, would be more likely.”

Others have pointed to what they believe are shortcomings in the CDC’s approach.

“The initial response from the U.S. has been targeted to mount a response to confirmed high-risk or infected cases, not directed to a more generalized public health containment,” said Wouter Jongbloed, head of policy and risk analysis at New York-based Exante Data.

With coronavirus having spread well outside China, CDCtesting was “likely insufficiently effective in preventing apotential outbreak in the U.S.,” Jongbloed said.

(Reporting by Megan Davies; Additional reporting by Ira Iosebashvili; Editing by Daniel Wallis)

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This is our first look at the Galaxy Tab S6 Lite – SamMobile

February 27th, 2020

We Found Clearview AI’s Shady Face Recognition App – Gizmodo

February 27th, 2020

Citroën’s new EV is a tiny two-seater that only costs $22 a month – Engadget

February 27th, 2020

Talks between Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs and Ottawa a sign of progress to end standoff – The Globe and Mail

February 27th, 2020

Outside the meeting venue in Smithers, B.C., more than 20 Wet’suwet’en members held a 15-minute pro-pipeline rally, interrupted at the beginning by a shouting match with supporters of the hereditary chiefs, seen here on Feb. 27, 2020.

JONATHAN HAYWARD/The Canadian Press

Talks between senior government officials and Wet’suwet’en Nation hereditary chiefs got under way Thursday in a sign of progress toward resolving an impasse that has caused protests and blockades across the country over the past three weeks.

Outside the meeting venue in Smithers, B.C., more than 20 Wet’suwet’en members held a 15-minute pro-pipeline rally, interrupted at the beginning by a shouting match with supporters of the hereditary chiefs.

The talks were held after RCMP agreed to reduce their presence in the area and the company behind a contentious pipeline project said it would put its construction activities on hold. The talks are scheduled to resume Friday. Plans for the meeting had fallen apart on Wednesday, but were restored later that night.

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On Thursday evening, Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Carolyn Bennett declined to say what had been discussed in the talks, saying only she looked forward to getting back to them on Friday.

Ms. Bennett and her B.C. counterpart, Scott Fraser, attended the talks at the Office of the Wet’suwet’en’s building in Smithers.

Minister of Crown-Indigenous Relations Carolyn Bennett arrives at the Wet’suwet’en offices in Smithers, B.C., Thursday, February 27, 2020.

JONATHAN HAYWARD/The Canadian Press

They met with Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs opposed to Coastal GasLink’s proposed $6.6-billion natural gas pipeline, which would ship natural gas from northeastern B.C. to the West Coast for LNG Canada, a project endorsed by both B.C. Premier John Horgan and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

After landing at the airport in Smithers, Ms. Bennett told reporters she looked forward to a fruitful meeting.

“Success is that we have a plan to continue to talk,” she said, adding: “Obviously it’s very important that we reaffirm our interest in talking to the Wet’suwet’en Nation on their issues of title and rights.”

Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs said in a statement on Thursday the meeting constitutes a “first step” while they noted invitations to both Mr. Trudeau and Mr. Horgan were “declined at this time.”

The pipeline project has become a flashpoint for concerns related to Indigenous rights and climate change, while dividing opinions in Wet’suwet’en communities where some members say they want the jobs and income the project could provide. Rail blockades have clogged ports and disrupted supply chains, putting pressure on politicians to break the impasse. The number of arrests is climbed, with one tally – posted online Thursday by lawyer Irina Ceric – putting number of related arrests so far this month at 133.

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Gitxsan supporters setup a blockade on Highway 16 after numerous arrests by RCMP breaking up a rail blockade near New Hazelton, B.C., February 25, 2020. The blockades were in support of the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs who oppose the Coastal GasLink pipeline project.

Jimmy Jeong/The Globe and Mail

Bonnie George, a Wet’suwet’en member who formerly worked on contract for Coastal GasLink, said there are deep divisions within the Wet’suwet’en Nation.​

“You’ve seen how families are being divided and it shouldn’t be like that,” Ms. George said during a 15-minute, pro-pipeline rally near the entrance of the Office of the Wet’suwet’en. “We need to work together as one, and that’s not happening.”

The Wet’suwet’en have sought to clarify their rights for decades, most notably through a court case that resulted in a landmark 1997 decision by the Supreme Court of Canada, but the issues have yet to be fully resolved.

As the Smithers talks got under way, the Prime Minster announced a first ministers’ meeting next month and invited Indigenous leaders to attend.

You’ve seen how families are being divided and it shouldn’t be like that

— Bonnie George

Leaders of the Assembly of First Nations, Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami and Métis National Council are being invited to meet with first ministers in Ottawa on March 12. Mr. Trudeau and the provincial and territorial premiers will hold a first ministers’ meeting the next day.

The Prime Minister’s Office said the agenda will include ways to mitigate climate change while developing natural resources.

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The tone for those meetings may depend on what happens this week in Smithers.

While pipeline proponent Coastal GasLink has reached agreements with all 20 elected band councils along the pipeline route, a group of Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs – who claim jurisdiction over traditional territory through which the pipeline would pass – are adamantly opposed to the project.

The hereditary chiefs said they accepted the meeting after an agreement by the Mounties to stop patrols on a forest service road as well as to close a community outpost. On Thursday, the RCMP confirmed they would not patrol the road during the discussions.

Protesters in support of the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs stand near the entrance to the blockade of the commuter rail line in Kahnawake Mohawk Territory, near Montreal, Thursday, Feb. 27, 2020.

Ryan Remiorz/The Canadian Press

Coastal GasLink said it has agreed to a two-day pause of construction activities in the Morice River area to “facilitate dialogue” between the hereditary chiefs and government officials.

In Victoria, Mr. Horgan said his government has been in touch with the company and with LNG Canada, providing assurances that the project will proceed.

“Permits have been issued, the construction is under way – both at Kitimat and along the corridor – and the project is proceeding,” Mr. Horgan said.

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“The message we’ve been sending is fairly clear. This is a project that has enormous benefits not just for the North, but all British Columbians – $23-billion in tax revenue, resources that we can put towards health care childcare, housing, any number of issues and we need to have private sector investment if we’re going to meet the public sector demand for services.” Mr. Horgan said.

Transport Minister Marc Garneau told reporters Thursday he hopes the meeting would be a turning point that leads Mohawks in Quebec and Ontario to end their protests in solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en, which have included rail blockades.

“I think what’s important is to start this this dialogue – the one that we’ve been talking about for weeks – and we’ll see what happens,” Mr. Garneau said.

On Thursday morning, Tyendinaga Mohawk members protesting in solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs made no attempts to stop trains from passing through the area near Belleville, Ont.

Ontario Provincial Police continue to monitor the protest. Camp B, which includes three military-style tents, has been the Mohawk base since their first blockade was dismantled by police Monday. The first blockade had choked off a key rail route to Eastern Canada.

With reports from Justine Hunter in Victoria, Bill Curry in Ottawa and Kate McCullough in Belleville, Ont.

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New York Times Editor Discovers Lady Gaga’s New ‘Mystery Man’ Is Actually Her Ex – HuffPost

February 27th, 2020

Imagine getting a string of texts from your friends about your ex ― and how he’s been tagged by the paparazzi as Lady Gaga’s new “mystery man.”

It happened to a senior staff editor for the New York Times’ Opinion section, Lindsay Crouse, and she unpacked how it made her reevaluate life, celebrity and social media in an article for the Times.

In the piece, Crouse relates the wild story from the moment she discovered that the man she’d dated for seven years was now seeing the world-famous, Grammy winner, highlighting how the strange turn of events had prompted positive change in her own life.  

“I was eating bodega grapes at my desk on a recent Monday morning, gearing up to wrangle my inbox, when my phone started buzzing: ‘Check Facebook.’ ‘Check Twitter.’ ‘Are you OK?’ Crouse begins in the hilarious piece.

“It was an emergency: My ex-boyfriend, I learned, had a new girlfriend.”

Lady Gaga and Michael Polanksy, left, leave the Super Bowl in Miami Gardens, Florida.



EVA MARIE UZCATEGUI via Getty Images

Lady Gaga and Michael Polanksy, left, leave the Super Bowl in Miami Gardens, Florida.

Earlier this month, Page Six named Lady Gaga’s new boyfriend as San Francisco tech CEO Michael Polanksy after paparazzi shot images of the “mystery man” leaving Super Bowl LIV with the singer in Miami.

The celeb made it official with a pic shared to her 39.4 million Instagram followers days later and a Valentine’s Day snap not long after that ― although Polansky was not identified by name in her posts, or in Crouse’s article.

Other sources reported on the new relationship, including Refinery29, which declared the singer had followed in the footsteps of Jennifer Lawrence, Emma Stone and Ellie Goulding in selecting a “normal boyfriend.”

“As you can guess from the fact that you’ve probably never heard of me, I’m not famous,” Crouse quipped.

She said that she and her ex had moved on, and they no longer followed one another on social media.

“I hadn’t googled him in forever (I promise). But this month I knew everything about his new relationship status, within hours of when it was disclosed.”

It’s natural for people to compare themselves to their exes’ new partners, she wrote, but “how do you compare yourself to Lady Gaga?”

Although first feeling confounded by the concept, Crouse soon shifted her perception to see this comparison in a flattering light, she said.

“Lady Gaga is amazing. Comparing yourself with her is incredibly motivational, and I recommend you try it, regardless of how you relate to who’s dating her.”

Crouse highlighted the singer’s achievements and advocacy campaigns as the “ambitious life that we keep saying women should embrace,” realizing that, in comparing herself to her, it motivated her to step outside her own comfort zone.

For example: Instead of wearing an old dress, she purchased an expensive new one for an event. 

Because “why should I accept less than Lady Gaga?”

And the changes didn’t stop there. She got her makeup and lashes done, upgraded her coffee order, forwarded praise she received to her boss and accepted a daunting work presentation ― why should she allow herself to grow complacent, she wondered, when “Lady Gaga continues to challenge herself, to try new things, to thrive”?

Finally, the editor reflected on how we all behave online, dropping a little spice with her final line: 

Recently someone sent me a photo of my fiancé and me dancing at a wedding, and I posted it on Instagram. I saw Lady Gaga’s boyfriend in the views, and I realized we’re actually all the same: strangers, smiling on a screen.

The piece was met with praise online for being an incredibly healthy take on fame, moving on, self-improvement and living in an age when it’s nearly impossible to unplug from social media.

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South Korean boy band BTS cancels some concerts in Seoul, citing coronavirus outbreak – CNBC

February 27th, 2020

US rapper Lil Nas X (center) and South Korean boy band BTS perform onstage during the 62nd Annual Grammy Awards on January 26, 2020, in Los Angeles.

Robyn Beck | AFP | Getty Images

South Korean boy band BTS cancelled four shows in Seoul, citing the global coronavirus outbreak.

The popular boy band had been scheduled to perform at the Olympic Stadium on April 11, 12, 18 and 19.

The cancellations come as South Korea reports rapidly rising cases of the virus, which is believed to have originated in China before spreading globally.

Earlier Friday, the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that the country has more than 2,000 confirmed cases from the new coronavirus, which has so far killed 13 people in South Korea.

In a Friday statement, the band’s label Big Hit Entertainment said the coronavirus “has made it impossible at this time to predict the scale of the outbreak during the dates of the concert in April.” It said ticket-holders will receive full refunds.

Big Hit Entertainment said it had expected 200,000 people to attend the cancelled shows.

The group has broken a slew of records with their chart-topping albums and their music videos have rapidly garnered millions of views on YouTube.

Earlier this month, Spotify announced that BTS had crossed 8 billion streams on its platform.

BTS recently became the first Korean musical act to perform at the Grammy’s, appearing alongside Lil Nas X, Billy Ray Cyrus and Diplo.

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Global National: Feb. 27, 2020 | Coronavirus has “pandemic potential” as cases rise globally – Global News

February 27th, 2020

On this episode of Global National, Crystal Goomansingh reports on the growing fears of a novel coronavirus pandemic. COVID-19 has now spread to at least 50 countries, making tens of thousands of people ill. Global News looks at the drastic steps governments around the globe are taking to mitigate the risks. Also, a woman in California has become America’s first confirmed COVID-19 case of “unknown” origin. Jackson Proskow explains the mystery surrounding this case, how thousands of people in California are now being monitored and how the case exposes a gap in the country’s response to the virus.

Meanwhile, in Canada, after weeks of protests and rail blockades, Crown-Indigenous Relations Minister Carolyn Bennett is in northern B.C. to meet with the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs opposed to the Coastal GasLink pipeline. As Sarah MacDonald reports, Bennett’s visit comes just hours after the meeting was abruptly cancelled over what’s been labelled a miscommunication. Plus, a rail blockade on Kahnawake Mohawk territory near Montreal is entering its third week, in a show of solidarity with Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs against Coastal GasLink’s pipeline project in northern B.C. Mike Armstrong explains why a court injunction to remove protesters hasn’t been acted upon.

Alberta’s UCP government has tabled its second budget in just four months, as the province continues to suffer through a prolonged downturn in the oil and gas sector. But as Heather Yourex-West reports, the government says hope is on the horizon.

And Canadian feds have launched new protections for a certain aquatic creature. Ottawa is ramping up measures meant to protect endangered North Atlantic right whales, following the death of dozens in Canadian waters over the past three years. Ross Lord reports on the new rules, and why researchers say the new rules are similar to previous ones.

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Alberta budget 2020: Seniors drug plan cut by $72 million – Edmonton Journal

February 27th, 2020

Drug benefits for seniors are being cut by $72 million this year, the 2020 budget revealed Thursday.

The provincial government is introducing income-tested deductibles this year for beneficiaries with higher incomes, but the document doesn’t outline specifics on the changes. Estimates in the UCP government’s general revenue fund show a reduction from $589.6 million in 2019-2020 to $517.4 million in 2020-2021 in spending for the program.

Coverage for dependants younger than 65 will end on March 1.

Health Minister Tyler Shandro was not available for an interview Thursday.

Opposition Leader Rachel Notley said seniors got a “raw deal” in this budget and the cuts amount to losing universal drug coverage for seniors.

“What we’re going to see is massive costs downloaded onto seniors or, in some cases, many seniors who simply can’t afford to take the drugs that their doctors prescribe that allow them to maintain a good quality of life … that allows them to stay out of hospitals,” she said at the legislature Thursday. “It is penny wise, pound foolish and cruel.”

The Special Needs Assistance for Seniors program, which helps low-income seniors buy items like foot orthotics and lift chairs, is also being reduced, to “focus on the most essential supports,” according to the budget. The government expects to save $8.2 million between 2020-2021 and $8.7 million in the next year through these cuts.

Seniors currently receiving the Alberta Seniors Benefit will see no changes, but the eligibility criteria for new applicants will change in 2021. Budget estimates show the government expects to spend $18 million more than last year on the program, though there are no details on the changes.

Lori Sigurdson, NDP critic for seniors and housing, said the funding cuts will create hardships for seniors.

“It’s so clear that this UCP government doesn’t care about seniors but they’re making elite corporations the priority,” she said. “They live on fixed incomes sometimes, so they’re going to have to reach in their pockets more for the things they need.”

Thursday’s budget also said an additional planned 1,197 housing units for Alberta seniors will also built over the next three years, and that the government will use online tools such as MyAlberta Digital ID to save money in the Seniors and Housing department.

lboothby@postmedia.com

@laurby

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PUBG Developer Addresses Ongoing Issues And What They’re Doing About Them – GameSpot

February 27th, 2020