China: Whistleblowing coronavirus doctor at Wuhan hospital mysteriously vanishes

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE NEW YORK POST)

 

Whistleblowing coronavirus doctor at Wuhan hospital mysteriously vanishes

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A Chinese doctor who claimed her bosses tried to silence her early warnings about coronavirus appears to have disappeared — stirring fears that she was detained, according to new reports.

Ai Fen had pointed out cases of the illness to colleagues at Wuhan Central Hospital, eight of whom were reprimanded themselves, Radio Free Asia (RFA) reported.

The whereabouts of Ai, who is head of the emergency department, are now unknown, 60 Minutes Australia reported Monday.

“Just two weeks ago the head of Emergency at Wuhan Central hospital went public, saying authorities had stopped her and her colleagues from warning the world,” the outlet tweeted. “She has now disappeared, her whereabouts unknown.”

Soon after the program aired, Ai posted a cryptic message to her page on the Chinese social media site Weibo.

“A river. A bridge. A road. A clock chime,” read the post, coupled with a Wuhan cityscape photo.

Nearly two weeks earlier, she had posted, “Thank you for your care and love. I’m fine at the moment and I’m still working.”

And on Wednesday, she shared a post captioned, “Happy April Fools Day,” showing her wearing a lab coat and mask, apparently at work at the hospital.

But RFA reported that detainees in custody in China have been known to either update their own social media accounts under authorities’ orders, or police may do so after gaining access to their devices.

In a now-deleted essay published in China’s People (Renwu) magazine titled “The one who supplied the whistle,” Ai detailed her boss’ efforts to silence her, RFA reported.

In the article, Ai said the reprimand came after she took a photo of a patient’s test results and circled the positive “SARS coronavirus” result in red.

China has been accused of attempting to cover up the coronavirus outbreak before the crisis escalated.

Back on Dec. 30, Dr. Li Wenliang — who worked with Ai and who died in early February — sent out a warning over the WeChat messaging app advising fellow med school grads to wear protective clothing to avoid infection after several patients from a local seafood market exhibited symptoms similar to SARS.

His attempts to sound an early alarm were denounced by authorities for “rumormongering.”

In a startling admission of error late last month, the ruling Communist Party said Wuhan’s police force revoked its admonishment of the doctor, which had included a threat of arrest.

China on Wednesday reported more than 1,300 asymptomatic coronavirus cases — the first time it has released such data following public concern over people who have tested positive without any symptoms of the illness, according to Agence France-Presse.

Health officials also reported the first imported case of COVID-19 in Wuhan — a Chinese national studying in the UK, who arrived in the city last week as it began to lift its travel restrictions.

A total of 81,554 infections and 3,312 deaths have been confirmed in China — most of them in Wuhan and surrounding Hubei province.

Seven more deaths were confirmed Wednesday, six in Hubei province.

The death toll in the US — now more than 4,000 — exceeded China’s count this week.

With Post wires

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Duterte to seek China help if Covid worsens

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE MANILA TIMES)

 

Home  News  Latest Stories  Duterte to seek China help if Covid worsens

Duterte to seek China help if Covid worsens

PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte said he would seek the help of China if the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) outbreak in the Philippines worsens.

Duterte made the statement as he bared that Chinese President Xi Jinping expressed willingness to assist the country in its fight against the deadly disease.

“President Xi Jinping for all of his goodness to us wrote me a letter and said that he is willing to help, all we have to do is to ask. Ako ang tingin ko (What I think), maybe there will be a time, if things deteriorate, that I have to call on China to help. He said they have managed the crisis very well in his country and he is very much willing to help,” Duterte said in his address to the nation on Thursday night.

Cash, subway tickets disinfected to curb spread of COVID-19 amid outbreak in China

“To the Chinese government, to the people, especially to President Xi Jinping, thank you for the consoling words and maybe, I hope that it would not reach to that point but maybe we will need your help,” he added.

China has made major strides in its battle against the virus, prompting Xi to visit Wuhan, the epicenter of the global epidemic, on Tuesday and declare that it has “basically curbed” the spread of the disease.

On Wednesday, Duterte met with China’s Ambassador to the Philippines Huang Xilian in Malacañang, where they discussed continued economic cooperation and coronavirus response by the two countries.

During the call, Duterte extended sympathies to the Chinese people affected by the coronavirus, which has infected over 80,000 people including some 3,000 deaths in China, where the virus originated.

The Philippines is now under a state of public health emergency after the health department reported the first known local transmission.

On Thursday, Duterte placed Metro Manila under “community quarantine,” closing it to land and domestic air and sea travel for one month due to the coronavirus.

The health department has raised the highest Code Red Sub-level 2 because of “sustained community transmission.”

The government’s inter-agency task force will issue protocols on Friday on who will be allowed to travel to and from Metro Manila during the month-long community quarantine.

The country has so far 52 confirmed cases, including five deaths, as of Thursday, according to the Department of Health. CATHERINE S. VALENTE

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7 Underwater Landmarks You Can Visit

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRIP TRIVIA)

 

7 Underwater Landmarks You Can Visit

There are landmarks all around the world that excite, delight, and pique your curiosity. It doesn’t matter if the landmarks are human-made, naturally occurring, or even on dry land—they are sure to be impressive, and when they’re underwater, you’ll be wrapped in a quiet enveloping silence that is sure to leave you in awe.

Chuuk Lagoon – Micronesia

Credit: Chris Holman / Shutterstock.com

A shipwreck that will excite even the most casual wreck enthusiast, Chuuk (also called Truk Lagoon) was a stronghold of Japan during WWII. It was bombed in 1944 and now boasts a ghost fleet of 60 ships and almost 300 airplanes. Inside the ships, a guided snorkeling tour can highlight some of the forgotten gas masks, ammunition, and guns, all settled on the sea floor. This underwater site is also home to reef sharks and a colorful array of ships.

Green Lake – Styria, Austria

Credit: Janik Rybicka / Shutterstock.com

Up until mid-June, you would not know that Greek Lake is actually one of the most sought-after underwater sites for snorkeling tours. In June, snow from the Hochschwab Mountains melts, and this Austrian park transforms into an underwater gem for a few weeks. The lake, which is generally just a meter deep, becomes 12 meters deep. Trees, benches, and picnic tables all become submerged for a short time every year. This meltwater lake doubles in size every year when the snow from the Karst Mountains also melts. A snorkeling tour will make you feel like you are in a forgotten world since the entire park is submerged.

Yonaguni Monument – Okinawa, Japan

Credot: Yong Hoon Choi / Shutterstock.com

No one can quite decide the origin of this underwater site, but one thing is for sure – it is exciting and captivating. When first discovered, Japanese divers thought it might be a temple. Standing almost 90 feet tall in the East China Sea, snorkeling explorers discovered solid rock slabs shaped like a pyramid. Years after its discovery, no one is quite sure what the underwater site actually is, but it is delightful all the same.

Jacob’s Well – Wimberly, Texas

Credit: RobertDowner / iStock

Even though it’s known as one of the most dangerous places in the world to dive, Jacob’s Well is a popular summer attraction. Inside the well, there are four chambers. The first is a straight-down, 30-foot dive; the second is deeper at 80 feet; and the final two chambers are generally reserved for only experienced divers.

Underwater Post Office – Vanuatu

Credit: Turbo989 / iStock

The world’s first underwater post office is nine feet underwater and almost two hundred feet from shore. When you are ready to mail an underwater letter, schools of shimmering fish and other exotic marine life are your post office companions. Though the post office sustained some damage in 2014, it is still operational. Just look for the yellow mailbox and you can mail a waterproof postcard to just about anywhere in the world.

Neptune Memorial Reef – Key Biscayne, Florida

Credit: Linda Bucklin / Shutterstock.com

With plans to become the world’s largest human-made reef, this underwater site takes being buried at sea to a completely new level. It has been modeled after the famed underwater city Atlantis and has stone lions guarding the entrance. Since its inception, there have been almost 1,000 placements of cremated remains mixed with concrete and placed into the reef. At full capacity, this reef will be able to hold 125,000 sets of remains. This snorkeling tour is not for the faint of heart, but it is sure to be memorable.

Vaersenbaai Car Piles – Curacao

Credit: Sascha Caballero / Shutterstock.com

No snorkeling vacation would be complete without a visit to the candy-colored island of Curacao. Along the island’s southern coast, there are plenty of easy dives and snorkeling options. What sets this island apart from all others are the innumerable classic cars sunk off the coast. Classics from the 40s and 50s were junked and sunk with large heavy-duty cranes in an attempt to create a barrier reef. Though the reef did not flourish, the cars remained, making this an excellent photo opp for an underwater site tour.

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Coronavirus: Dozens trapped as China quarantine hotel collapses

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE BBC)

 

Coronavirus: Dozens trapped as China quarantine hotel collapses

Rescuers search for survivors in the rubble of a collapsed hotel in Quanzhou, in China's eastern Fujian province on 7 March 2020.Image copyright AFP
Image caption The hotel’s facade appeared to have crumbled into the ground, exposing the building’s steel frame

About 70 people have been trapped after a hotel being used as a coronavirus quarantine facility in the Chinese city of Quanzhou collapsed.

About 35 people have been pulled from the rubble of the five-storey Xinjia Hotel, officials say.

Videos posted online show emergency workers combing through the building’s wreckage in the southern province of Fujian.

It is not clear what caused the collapse or if anyone has died.

Rescuers work at the site of a collapsed five-story hotel building in Quanzhou city in southeast China's Fujian province, 07 March 2020.Image copyrightEPA
Image captionRescue workers in orange overalls clamber over the rubble as they look for survivors
A rescuer follows an injured man walking out of the rubbles of a collapsed five-story hotel building in Quanzhou city in southeast China's Fujian province, 7 March 2020Image copyrightEPA
Image captionThe hotel reportedly had 80 guest rooms

It happened at about 19:30 local time (11:30 GMT).

Chinese state media says the hotel was being used as a quarantine facility monitoring people who had had close contact with coronavirus patients.

The hotel reportedly opened in 2018 and had 80 guest rooms.

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One woman told the Beijing News website that relatives including her sister had been under quarantine there.

“I can’t contact them, they’re not answering their phones,” she said.

“I’m under quarantine too [at another hotel] and I’m very worried, I don’t know what to do. They were healthy, they took their temperatures every day, and the tests showed that everything was normal.”

As of Friday, Fujian province had 296 cases of coronavirus. Meanwhile 10,819 people have been placed under observation because they have been in close contact with someone infected.

The World Health Organization says more than 101,000 people worldwide have now contracted the virus.

More than 3,000 people have died – the majority in the Chinese province of Hubei where the outbreak originated.

Chart showing how the virus has spread in China 6 March
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China: Amid COVID-19 outbreak, Iran urges int’l help

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SHANGHAI CHINA NEWS AGENCY ‘SHINE’)

 

Amid COVID-19 outbreak, Iran urges int’l help, Palestine enters state of emergency

Xinhua

Coronavirus Disease Outbreak
Amid COVID-19 outbreak, Iran urges int'l help, Palestine enters state of emergency

AFP

An Iranian medic treats a patient infected with the COVID-19 virus at a hospital in Tehran on March 1, 2020.

Iran on Friday called for international help for its fight against the raging epidemic caused by COVID-19. Meanwhile, a state of emergency took effect in Palestine where nine new cases of infection were reported.

The international community “has a duty” to help Iran fight the novel coronavirus outbreak, said Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, noting that Iran’s efforts would only succeed if the countries in the region and around the world “shoulder their share of responsibilities and cooperate with Tehran.”

“We either win together or lose together,” Zarif was quoted by Press TV as saying.

Zarif issued the call for help as the novel coronavirus has claimed 17 more lives in Iran on Friday, bringing the death toll in the country to 124. A total of 4,747 people were confirmed with the viral infection by Friday, 1,234 more than a day ago.

The World Health Organization said on Friday that it does not endorse international flight restrictions on Iran amid the outbreak of COVID-19.

Richard Brennan, regional emergency director for WHO, was quoted by Iran’s official IRNA news agency as saying that although WHO recommends all countries to adopt restrictions in emergency situations, “it currently does not agree with such (flight) restrictions to be imposed on Iran.”

He made the remarks on Thursday on the sidelines of a meeting on the epidemic in Iran, which was attended by foreign diplomats and Iranian officials.

Brennan stressed that the WHO makes no recommendations about imposing restrictions on flights to and from Iran, adding that the decision by the airliners in this regard should be evaluated and endorsed by the WHO.

In Lebanon, the Rafic Hariri Hospital announced that six more people were tested positive for COVID-19 infection, bringing to 22 the total number of confirmed cases in the country.

Meanwhile, the ministerial committee appointed by the Lebanese Council of Ministers for the fight against coronavirus issued emergency measures to stop the virus’ spread.

The committee urged public and private schools to be kept closed, in addition to the closure of night clubs, sports clubs, exhibitions and theaters. It urged people to avoid crowded places and gatherings, and religious authorities to reduce the number of people visiting mosques and churches.

In Israel, the Ministry of Health announced on Friday that four more Israelis were diagnosed with the novel coronavirus, as the total number of confirmed cases rose to 21.

The ministry said that all the four patients recently returned home from overseas, two from Madrid of Spain, one from Switzerland, and one from Austria.

Also on Friday, Egypt’s Health Ministry and WHO announced in a joint statement that 12 Egyptians were tested positive for COVID-19.

The 12 Egyptians were infected on a Nile cruise from Aswan to Luxor, said the statement on the ministry’s Facebook page.

The cases have been taken to hospital and are currently receiving necessary medical care, the statement added.

In Palestine, a 30-day state of emergency against the COVID-19 spread took effect on Friday, as nine new cases of infection were reported, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 16, only one day after the first seven cases were detected.

Palestinian Health Minister Mai al-Keileh said that all the new cases were also detected in the West Bank city of Bethlehem, where the first seven cases were announced on Thursday.

The first seven cases were the workers in a hotel in Bethlehem, who were believed to be infected during contacts with one of the Greek tourists who stayed in the hotel later last month.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on Thursday declared a state of emergency imposed in the West Bank for 30 days as part of the precautionary measures to contain the virus’ spread.

The Palestinian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities banned the entry of tourists into the West Bank where all hotels were required to stop receiving tourists for two weeks.

For Palestine, tourism is the main artery of its economy. The holy cities of Bethlehem and Jerusalem are estimated to attract about 3.5 million tourists and pilgrims from across the world each year.

Many are worried that the anti-coronavirus measures, including a ban on tourists, will cost the Palestinian tourism sector dearly and deal a huge blow to the struggling economy.

“If the crisis goes on for too long, the economic consequences in the city and entire Palestine will be disastrous,” said Elias el-Arja, director of the Hotels Association in the Palestinian Territories and owner of one of the hotels in Bethlehem.

Stock Market: 5 Reasons There Will Be 0% Earnings In 2020, Only 1 Is The Coronavirus

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF ‘MARKET WATCH’)

 

The U.S. stock-market rally has unraveled, with a period of historic gains coming to a screeching halt, as fear that the coronavirus epidemic may reach America rattles Wall Street.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, -4.42% fell into correction on Thursday, widely defined as a drop of at least 10%, but no more than 20%, from a recent peak. The S&P 500 index and the Nasdaq Composite indexes all joined the blue chips in correction territory.

However, it is the speed at which the indexes fell into these conditions that has surprised investors and some experts on Wall Street. It was the fastest decline into correction for the Dow, 10 sessions, since the nine-session slump into correction on Feb. 8, 2018.

Corrections from a Record Close
Record Close Enters Correction Date Trading days
Nov. 3, 1919 Nov. 12, 1919 7
Nov. 28, 1928 Dec. 8, 1928 8
Jan. 26, 2018 Feb. 8, 2018 9
Feb. 12, 2020 Feb. 27, 2020 10
Sept. 23, 1955 Oct. 11, 1955 12

For both the S&P 500 SPX, -4.42% and the Nasdaq COMP, -4.61%, it was the fastest retreat on record from a record high, six sessions ago, to correction.

Thursday’s declines also put all three equity indexes on pace for their worst weeks since the 2008 financial crisis.

Here’s are 5 reasons that the market is falling:

COVID-19 infects confidence

Fear of the COVID-19 disease infecting the U.S. is intensifying. The illness derived from the novel coronavirus, SARS-COV-2, which originated in Wuhan, China, late last year, is starting to affect global trade and travel and taking a bite out of confidence about earnings and economic growth.

Seven days ago, Goldman Sachs chief global equity strategist Peter Oppenheimer told clients that “in the nearer term…we believe the greater risk is that the impact of the coronavirus on earnings may well be underestimated in current stock prices, suggesting that the risks of a correction are high.”

Goldman made a similar call on Thursday, this time from strategist David Kostin, saying there would be no earnings growth in 2020.

Risks have intensified since Dr. Nancy Messonnier, director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said on Tuesday that “the disruption of daily life might be severe.”

President Donald Trump’s coronavirus news conference on Wednesday failed to provide investors with much comfort, mostly because it is difficult to predict how the virus will play out here and elsewhere.

The World Health Organization hasn’t declared the viral infection a pandemic, but the disease, from the family of viruses known as SARS, or severe acute respiratory syndrome, has sickened people in China, South Korea, Japan, Malaysia, Italy and Iran. And according to Reuters, Austria, Spain, Croatia and Switzerland have also confirmed their first cases.

The virus has virtually crippled swaths of manufacturing in China, the world’s second-largest economy, and the country is a big buyer of products and services from other countries. U.S. technology companies such as Apple Inc. AAPL, -3.79% depend on Chinese supplies.

At last check, COVID-19 has sickened 82,550 people, and claimed 2,810 lives.

Read: Why a ‘supply shock’ is biggest stock-market worry as viral outbreak continues

Investors don’t know how long the outbreak will last, and it is too early to determine to what degree it will hurt corporate earnings, but a number of companies, including Hasbro Inc. HAS, -3.62%HP Inc. HPQ, -5.71% and Mastercard Inc. MA, -4.14%, have already said that they think it will.

Check out: What Apple, Microsoft, Nike and other U.S. companies are saying about the coronavirus outbreak

Also readConsumer-facing companies will be the first hit if the coronavirus spreads across the U.S.

Related: Here’s how the 30 Dow industrials companies are prepping for the impact of the coronavirus

The 2020 election

Uncertainty about the U.S. presidential election’s outcome is also starting to drive markets, strategists and analysts argue. A number of them think that if Sen. Bernie Sanders, an independent from Vermont who characterizes himself as a democratic socialist, wins the Democratic presidential nomination, and possibly even the presidency, stocks would take a hit as he is perceived by some as an antibusiness candidate. “The risk to U.S. stocks is pretty significant if Bernie gets the nomination,” said Ed Moya, a senior market analyst with Oanda.

Lofty valuations

Even before the market slump this week, the value of stocks has been viewed as rich.

One measure of stock-market values showed that the S&P 500 index was trading at 18.9 times the weighted aggregate consensus forward earnings estimate among analysts polled by MarketWatch. That is up from 16.2 a year ago, and, aside from a brief point early in 2018, it is the highest forward price-to-earnings ratio for the benchmark index since May 2002.

The bond market

Government bonds yields have been sliding steadily as investors seek havens, and thus drive up bond prices, amid doubts about global economic growth in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.

The 10-year Treasury note yield TMUBMUSD10Y, -6.80% fell to a record low below 1.24% on Thursday at one point.

Recession fears

Bond investors fear that the coronavirus might result in a global economic slowdown that might wash up on U.S. shores as a full-fledged recession. MarketWatch economics writer Rex Nutting explained the potential for an uncontained outbreak of COVID-19 this way: “Much of the immediate economic impact of a pandemic can be traced to the efforts to contain it, rather than from the effects of the disease itself. As we attempt to quarantine those who might spread the disease, we shut down a lot of economic activity.”

Congressional Budget Office study found that a pandemic “could produce a short-run impact on the worldwide economy similar in depth and duration to that of an average postwar recession in the United States.”

Mark DeCambre is MarketWatch’s markets editor. He is based in New York. Follow him on Twitter @mdecambre.

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 Trump’s war on truth takes a dangerous turn as he attacks the media’s coronavirus coverage

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNN)

 

 Trump’s war on truth takes a dangerous turn as he attacks the media’s coronavirus coverage

New York (CNN Business)Since the dawn of the Trump presidency, countless experts have warned that the president’s lack of credibility would imperil the country in the event of an emergency.

With the worsening coronavirus outbreak, those fears may be coming true.
President Trump’s political allies have made overly optimistic statements only to be contradicted by the government’s top scientists and doctors. For example, Trump claimed on Monday that the coronavirus was “very much under control in the USA.” A day later, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the virus’ spread to the US was inevitable. He said the stock market is “starting to look very good” even as the Dow was nosediving amid coronavirus anxiety.
And the president has been blaming the media for this predicament, reverting to the same tactics that he has employed ever since taking office.
On Wednesday, in a widely-criticized tweet, he claimed that CNN and MSNBC “are doing everything possible to make the Caronavirus look as bad as possible, including panicking markets, if possible.”
He misspelled coronavirus and the typo is still visible on his Twitter profile more than eight hours later.
But misspelling the name of the virus is the least of the government’s problems. President Trump has systematically undermined trust in the media and other institutions that play important roles in public health emergencies. He has explicitly said not to trust sources that he doesn’t personally approve.
He has engaged in what several columnists have called a “war on expertise.” Scientists have been among those adversely affected. Last December an investigation by The New York Times concluded that science is “under attack” by Trump appointees.
“Trump’s disdain for science and his cuts to science and public health programs have subverted preparedness for emergencies like the coronavirus,” said Michiko Kakutani, the famous literary critic and author of “The Death of Truth.”
Trump has also contradicted accurate information from government agencies, like the National Weather Service, as when he insisted that Alabama was threatened by a hurricane last year. The so-called Sharpiegate caused anger and consternation inside the federal agencies responsible for weather forecasting.
Now health agencies like the CDC are in the spotlight. High-minded warnings about breakdowns in trust and the death of truth have more impact when deaths from the coronavirus are being reported every day.
“When you learn you have a dangerous disease, you need to be able to trust your doctor. When entire populations face a dangerous public health crisis, they need to be able to trust their governments,” Dr. Leana S. Wen, a visiting professor at George Washington University’s Milken Institute School of Public Health, wrote in a Washington Post op-ed last month.
That’s a problem in this environment, where trust is in short supply. Multiple polls have shown that only one in three Americans believe he is honest and trustworthy.
The President’s lies have given the public ample reason to distrust what he says — and this has negatively affected perceptions of his administration as a whole.
“This president has lied about everything from trade deficits to Russian interference in US elections. He has disparaged experts at almost every opportunity,” said Daniel W. Drezner, professor of international politics at Tuft University’s Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy and author of the forthcoming book “The Toddler in Chief.”
“At a time when people are looking to the federal government for reassurance,” Drezner said, “he will be hard-pressed to provide any.”
Ultimately, Kakutani said, Trump’s free-flowing falsehoods undermine the credibility of the government leaving the public unsure of who or what to trust.
“Truth and an informed public are essential to the functioning of a democracy — and essential, too, for a practical and reasoned response to an emergency,” she said.

Shanghai stocks notch fifth straight week of wins

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SHANGHAI CHINA NEWS AGENCY ‘SHINE’)

 

Shanghai stocks notch fifth straight week of wins

Huang Yixuan

Shanghai stocks retreated slightly on Friday, but still managed to close out a fifth consecutive week in positive territory.

The benchmark Shanghai Composite Index edged down 0.05 percent to 3,083.79 points, and the blue chip CSI300 Index closed 0.18 percent lower at 4,144.96 points. The smaller Shenzhen Component Index, however, rose 0.17 percent to 10,656.41 points, while the ChiNext Composite Index advanced by 0.18 percent to 1,832.74 points.

Turnover on the two major bourses totaled 695.4 billion yuan (US$99.8 billion), 56.1 billion yuan less than the previous session. Overseas capital continued to flow into the Chinese mainland market via the Stock Connect schemes, posting a net influx of 3.36 billion yuan by the close of trading.

Liquor shares were among the big decliners. Leading firm Kweichow Moutai extended its recent slump, falling by 4.55 percent to its lowest level since mid-September, as revenue and net profit growth in 2019 fell short of expectations.

Anhui Gujing Distillery Co fell 3.01 percent, while Anhui Kouzi Distillery Co shed 2.46 percent.

Home appliance firms were also among the losers, with Haier Smart Home Co closing 3.92 percent lower and Midea Group Co down 2.49 percent.

Real estate companies, transportation shares, and the catering and tourism sector also posted declines, while media firms, computer companies and the communication industry performed well.

On the STAR Market, 45 of the total 70 listed companies gained on the day.

For the week, the Shanghai Composite Index was up 2.63 percent, extending its rally to a fifth week in a row. Total turnover also expanded to 1.11 trillion yuan compared with last week’s 1.03 trillion yuan.

Former Google executive Ross LaJeunesse blasts company’s work in China

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF FOX NEWS)

 

Former Google executive Ross LaJeunesse blasts company’s work in China

‘Just when Google needed to double down on a commitment to human rights, it decided to instead chase bigger profits and an even higher stock price’

Former Google executive Ross LaJeunesse slammed the tech giant for valuing profits more than human rights in an essay published Thursday.

LaJeunesse, Google’s former head of international relations, and a current Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate in Maine, wrote on Medium that Google’s phrase, “Don’t be evil” had become “nothing more than just another corporate marketing tool.”

He said that executives at Google were choosing to work with countries like China and Saudi Arabia, despite human rights violations committed by those countries.

13 CEOS WHO DIDN’T MAKE IT TO 2020

He also accused Google of pushing him out of the company in April, after 11 years at the company, according to a report from The Washington Post.

“I didn’t change,” LaJeunesse told The Post. “Google changed,”

Democratic Senate candidate and former Google executive Ross LaJeunesse is pictured. (Staff Photo by Gregory Rec/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images)

LaJeunesse’s Medium post, “I Was Google’s Head of International Relations. Here’s Why I Left,” explained how Google entered the Chinese market in 2006 but it decided to stop cooperating with the Chinese government and leave the market in 2010.

However, LaJeunesse said that in 2017 he found out about several troubling projects, including the “Dragonfly” project, a secretly developed, censored Search product for China and potential deals between Cloud executives and the government of Saudi Arabia.

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And at the end of the year, he said he was “completely surprised” to hear that Google had established its Google Center for Artificial Intelligence in Beijing.

After hearing about all the troubling projects, LaJeunesse, who had been in the international relations head role since 2012, attempted to create a formal “Human Rights Program” for the entire company, but he said that executives brushed him off

“As someone who had consistently advocated for a human rights-based approach, I was being sidelined from the on-going conversations on whether to launch Dragonfly,” LaJeunesse wrote. “I then realized that the company had never intended to incorporate human rights principles into its business and product decisions.”

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“Just when Google needed to double down on a commitment to human rights, it decided to instead chase bigger profits and an even higher stock price,” he added.

In an emailed statement, a Google spokesperson told FOX Business the company has an unwavering commitment to support human rights organizations and efforts.

“That commitment is unrelated to and unaffected by the reorganization of our policy team, which was widely reported and which impacted many members of the team,” the spokesperson said. “As part of this reorganization, Ross was offered a new position at the exact same level and compensation, which he declined to accept.”

In his essay, LaJeunesse blamed the change of senior executive leadership at Google and the company’s products that it developed with the governments of China and Saudi Arabia

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Ultimately, LaJeunesse wrote that government oversight is the best solution.

“No longer can massive tech companies like Google be permitted to operate relatively free from government oversight,” he said. “As soon as Google executives were asked by Congress about Project Dragonfly and Google’s commitment to free expression and human rights, they assured Congress that the project was exploratory and it was subsequently shut down.”

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LaJeunesse said the executives and shareholders cannot be entrusted with the responsibility they have taken on because of how ubiquitous their technology has become.

“The role of these companies in our daily lives, from how we run our elections to how we entertain and educate our children, is just too great to leave in the hands of executives who are accountable only to their controlling shareholders who — in the case of Google, Amazon, Facebook and Snap — happen to be fellow company insiders and founders,” he added.

This story was updated to include a comment from Google. 

 

 

China: Xi says phase-one China-US trade deal benefits both sides, world

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF SHANGHAI CHINA’S ‘SHINE’ NEWS NETWORK)

 

Xi says phase-one China-US trade deal benefits both sides, world

Xinhua

The phase-one economic and trade deal between China and the United States benefits both sides and the whole world, Chinese President Xi Jinping said on Friday.

In a phone conversation with his US counterpart, Donald Trump, Xi noted that the two countries have reached the phase-one agreement on the basis of the principle of equality and mutual respect.

Against the backdrop of an extremely complicated international environment, the agreement benefits China, the United States, as well as peace and prosperity of the whole world, Xi said.

For his part, Trump said that the phase-one economic and trade agreement reached between China and the United States is good for the two countries and the whole world.

Noting that both countries’ markets and the world have responded very positively to the agreement, Trump said that the United States is willing to maintain close communication with China and strive for the signing and implementation of the agreement at an early date.

Xi stressed that the economic and trade cooperation between China and the United States has made significant contributions to the stability and development of China-US relations and the advancement of the world economy.

Modern economy and modern technologies have integrated the world as a whole, thus making the interests of China and the United States more intertwined with each other, Xi said, adding that the two sides will experience some differences in cooperation.

As long as both sides keep holding the mainstream of China-US economic and trade cooperation featuring mutual benefits and win-win outcomes, and always respect each other’s national dignity, sovereignty and core interests, they will overcome difficulties on the way of progress, and push forward their economic and trade relations under the new historical conditions, so as to benefit the two countries and peoples, Xi said.

China expresses serious concerns over the US side’s recent negative words and actions on issues related to China’s Taiwan, Hong Kong, Xinjiang and Tibet, Xi said.

He noted that the US behaviors have interfered in China’s internal affairs and harmed China’s interests, which is detrimental to the mutual trust and bilateral cooperation.

China hopes that the United States will seriously implement the important consensuses reached by the two leaders over various meetings and phone conversations, pay high attention and attach great importance to China’s concerns, and prevent bilateral relations and important agendas from being disturbed, Xi said.

Trump said he is looking forward to maintaining regular communication with Xi by various means, adding he is confident that both countries can properly handle differences, and US-China relations can maintain smooth development.

Xi said he is willing to maintain contacts with Trump by various means, exchange views over bilateral relations and international affairs, and jointly promote China-US relations on the basis of coordination, cooperation and stability.

The two heads of state also exchanged views on the situation of the Korean Peninsula. Xi stressed that it is imperative to stick to the general direction of a political settlement, saying all parties should meet each other halfway, and maintain dialogue and momentum for the mitigation of the situation, which is in the common interests of all.

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