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Azar urges Americans to keep masking up

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WASHINGTON — Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar is urging Americans to stick with safeguards against COVID-19 such as mask-wearing even as President Donald Trump continues to shun the practice and infections spike higher in several parts of the U.S.

Azar told NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday that many people may be feeling “mitigation fatigue” from a seven-month-old pandemic, but there is “much promise in the weeks and months ahead” with the expected arrival of safe and effective vaccines.

His comments came as Trump has been holding campaign rallies in which face masks were not required and many people at the events were not wearing them. Coronavirus infections are spiking in Europe and public health officials are raising alarm that the infection rate in the U.S. is climbing toward a new peak.

Azar asked people to “hang in there” because “we are so close.” He said the continued practice of safety guidelines of washing hands, social distancing and wearing masks will be a “bridge” to the day vaccines can become widely available.

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HERE’S WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE VIRUS OUTBREAK:

— New infections and deaths are hitting records in Russia, but Vladimir Putin’s government appears determined to avoid unpopular restrictions.

— Uganda’s ‘ taxi divas’ rise from COVID’s economic gloom.

— Some in North Dakota want tougher virus approach from governor.

— France’s 9 p.m. virus curfew leaves an eerie quiet on streets of Paris, eight other cities

— The U.S. can now screen millions daily for the new coronavirus, thanks to a growing supply of rapid tests. But the boom comes with a new challenge: keeping track of the results.

— Europe’s economy was just catching its breath from the sharpest recession in modern history but a resurgence in coronavirus cases will likely lead to a lean winter of job losses and bankruptcies.

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Follow AP’s pandemic coverage at http://apnews.com/VirusOutbreak and https://apnews.com/UnderstandingtheOutbreak

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HERE’S WHAT ELSE IS HAPPENING:

MILAN — The number of confirmed positive cases of coronavirus in Italy continued to rise to new records on Sunday, hitting 11,705 in the last 24 hours.

Many more tests are being carried out than during the March-April peak, when only the very ill were tested, but doctors have warned that the virus again is infecting more vulnerable patients and hospitals are increasingly under stress.

A total of 750 patients were being treated in intensive care Sunday, up 45 from a day earlier, while more than 7,000 people were hospitalized, according to Health Ministry statistics.

Pressure was especially acute in Lombardy, where 110 ICU beds were filled and more than 1,000 COVID-19 patients were hospitalized. Italy has recorded a total of 36.543 deaths in the pandemic, 69 in the last 24 hours.

The government was expected to announce additional restrictions, having already made masks mandatory outdoors, banned casual pick-up sports and mandating closure of bars and restaurants at midnight in a bid to stop the contagion.

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BISMARCK, N.D. — North Dakota’s daily positivity rate for COVID-19 topped 10% for the sixth time in the last seven days as health officials on Sunday reported 716 new cases, including three counties with more than 100 positive tests.

The state of about 760,000 residents has now surpassed 400 deaths.

The update lifted the total number of the coronavirus cases statewide to nearly 32,000 since the pandemic began. There were about 1,069 new cases per 100,000 people in North Dakota over the past two weeks, which ranks first in the country for new cases per capita, according to figures compiled Saturday by Johns Hopkins University researchers.

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COLUMBIA, S.C. — The South Carolina State Fair is coming to Columbia, but like so much during the COVID-19 pandemic, it will be drive-thru. There won’t be an admission fee.

Winning animals, art, flowers and photography will be displayed along one route for vehicles from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday.

People will be able to buy fair food Tuesday through Saturday in a different part of the fairgrounds. Visitors will also remain in their vehicles, ordering from a short list of foods like turkey legs, Fiske Fries, funnel cakes and a few other items.

Employees will come up the the vehicle window to take orders. They will take both cash and cards.

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PRAGUE — Czech police used tear gas and a water cannon to disperse hundreds of violent protesters who attacked them after a rally Sunday in Prague against government restrictions to slow the spread of coronavirus infections.

Police rescue services said at least 20 injured in the clashes, which erupted after a couple thousand people, including soccer and ice hockey fans, rallied at Old Town Square to condemn the restrictions that include the ban of sports competitions and closure of bars and restaurants.

Public gatherings of more than six are also banned but up to 500 people are allowed to demonstrate if they are divided into separated groups of 20 and wear face masks.

Many of the demonstrators had no face coverings. After police said their number surpassed 500, the organizers ended the rally.

But some protesters remained and the square, throwing flares, beer bottles, stones and various other objects at riot police.

The Czech Republic has been facing a record surge in coronavirus infections in recent weeks, making it one of the hardest hit countries in Europe.

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BERLIN — Switzerland is introducing new restrictions across the country to try to slow the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, which has been growing at a record pace in recent days.

At a special meeting Sunday, the government decided to broaden a mask mandate, saying “the rapid rise in coronavirus cases in the last few days is a cause for great concern.”

As of Monday, face and nose coverings will be required in all publicly accessible indoor areas, including all railway stations and airports, and at bus and tram stops. The rule also extends to schools, child-care facilities, shopping malls, libraries, places of worship and hotels, among other places.

Gatherings of more than 15 people are not permitted in public, and new regulations were put on private events of more than 15 people.

The number of new cases in the Alpine nation of 8.5 million people has been increasing rapidly recently, hitting a new daily record of 3,105 on Friday. Overall Switzerland has reported 74,422 infections and 1,823 deaths.

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MILAN — As the Italian government considers yet more restrictions to try to curb the resurgence of coronavirus, the 179 Italian doctors who have died in the COVID-19 crisis were remembered Sunday in a ceremony in the northern Italian town of Duno, north of Milan.

Their names were inscribed in marble at a sanctuary in the Lombardy region, which has been the hardest-hit area in the country. The names include Dr. Roberto Stella, the first-known Italian physician to die of COVID-19. His death at 67 on March 11 death shocked the Italian medical establishment and underlined the risk that the coronavirus pandemic to family doctors.

Italy, the first country outside of Asia to detect local transmission of the virus, has seen new confirmed positive cases surge above 10,000 a day in recent days. That is higher than the virus’ most lethal peak in March and April, when only the most seriously ill were being tested in Italy.

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JERUSALEM — Israeli authorities have granted senior Palestinian official Saeb Erekat permission to enter Israel for medical treatment following his infection with the coronavirus.

Erekat’s condition has deteriorated in recent days, and he requested and received authorization to be hospitalized at Jerusalem’s Hadassah Hospital, people familiar with the Palestinian official’s condition said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Erekat made the request despite the fact the Palestinian Authority severed ties with Israel earlier this year over the Trump administration’s Mideast plan, which would allow Israel to annex large parts of the West Bank.

Erekat is a longtime senior adviser to Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and served as the Palestinians’ chief negotiator in past peace talks. Erekat has a history of health problems and received a lung transplant in the U.S. in 2017.

There have been over 58,000 cases and 474 deaths reported in the Palestinian-administered areas of the Israeli occupied West Bank.

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PARIS — The streets of Paris and eight other French cities were deserted on Saturday night on the first day of the government-imposed 9 p.m. curfew that is to last at least four weeks.

The measure was announced this week by French President Emmanuel Macron to curb the resurgent coronavirus as new daily infections peaked last week to over 30,000. Macron said the curfews were needed to stop hospitals from becoming overrun.

Many restaurant owners are up in arms about the move that is forcing them to close early, something that they say will devastate the industry.

In France, nearly 20 million people are covered by the curfew and eerily deserted scenes were observed in Marseille, Lyon, Lille and Toulouse as well. The curfew runs until 6 a.m. daily.

France has seen over 33,300 confirmed deaths in the pandemic, the fourth-highest death toll in Europe.

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BEIRUT — Lebanon’s public works and transport minister says he’s has been infected with the coronavirus as his country grapples with a surge in cases.

Minister Michel Najjar said Sunday he is continuing to carry out his duties from isolation, according to the National News Agency.

Lebanon is struggling to contain an escalating infection rate since August. The country of just over 5 million has recorded over 61,000 infections that killed over 500 people.

The surge is testing Lebanon’s already flailing health care system. A massive explosion in Beirut’s port that killed over 190 people further undermined the health sector and deepened an economic meltdown. The government resigned in the wake of the Aug.4 explosion but continues in a caretaker capacity.

Authorities have put more than a hundred villages and towns under lockdown and ordered nightclubs and pubs to close to curb the surge of infections. But the caretaker health minister told a local paper Sunday the localized lockdowns have failed, urging similar measures in major cities.

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JERUSALEM — Dozens of ultra-Orthodox elementary schools and religious schools known as yeshivas opened in Israel on Sunday in violation of a government lockdown amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The Israeli government only permitted nurseries and kindergartens to reopen in person on Sunday as part of country’s first phase of easing restrictions following a month-long lockdown, but schools, learning centres and universities are to conduct classes remotely.

On Saturday, a leading ultra-Orthodox rabbi — who tested positive for COVID-19 earlier this month — called for religious grade schools and yeshivas to reopen, despite government regulations. Police said officers were dispatched to a number of reopened schools in ultra-Orthodox towns, ordered them to send students home and issued fines.

Israel has recorded over 300,000 cases, including nearly 2,200 deaths. The country’s ultra-Orthodox community, many of whom live in densely populated neighbourhoods with large families, has been disproportionately affected. Some members of the community have flouted the rules, holding weddings and mass prayers inside synagogues in conditions that help spread the disease.

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MILAN — The Italian government has approved 40 billion euros ($47 billion) in new spending to counter the pandemic’s economic blow.

The stimulus package announced Sunday includes an additional 1 billion euros to the national health care system, plus funds to hire doctors and nurses to fill in during the emergency and money to pay for vaccines and other necessities to treat and combat the spread of COVID-19.

There is also money to extend short-term layoff schemes, to support families, to help the underdeveloped south and to make it cheaper to hire workers under 35 years of age.

Premier Giuseppe Conte is expected to approve new restrictions on people’s movements later Sunday, after new infections are hitting 10,000 a day. That is well beyond the numbers confirmed during the peak of Italy’s outbreak in the spring, when only the most seriously ill people were being tested.

Experts warn that the virus is already reaching vulnerable populations again and filling hospital wards in Milan, the epicenter of the new surge. Italy has over 36,400 confirmed deaths in the pandemic, the second-worst in Europe after Britain.

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NEW DELHI — India has added 61,871 new confirmed cases in the past 24 hours, raising its total to about 7.5 million.

The Health Ministry on Sunday also registered 1,033 new fatalities, taking the death toll to 114,031.

The country is continuing a downward trend in new cases, but virus-related fatalities jumped after recording the lowest daily figure of 680 in nearly three months on Friday.

Some experts say India’s numbers may not be reliable because of poor reporting and inadequate health infrastructure. India is also relying heavily on antigen tests, which are faster but less accurate than traditional RT-PCR tests.

Health officials have warned about the potential for the virus to spread during the religious festival season beginning later this month. New Delhi is also bracing for high air pollution levels, making the coronavirus fight more complicated in upcoming months.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has asked officials to prepare cold storage chains and distribution network for vaccine delivery involving all levels of government and citizen groups. According to Indian officials, three vaccines are in advanced stages of development.

The Associated Press

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Taking on debt shouldn’t be seen as shameful: financial specialists

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Marra said she wasn’t surprised by the poll results because she has seen comments online about people sharing their stories about having to go into debt and then being shamed. She said there are many forms of debt that people take on that aren’t stigmatized, such as mortgages or student loans.

Marra said she hopes the pandemic can be seen as a teachable moment to highlight that it’s all right to reach out to professionals for debt advice.

She said people should be careful with credit cards or payday loans that have high-interest rates or compound interest.

“It’s really important that they understand the terms of the repayment,” Marra said. “If we are struggling, you ask what should we do? I think the very first thing you should do is to reach out to your creditors. If you know you’re going to be late on a payment, the best thing to do is reach out early. There is a vested interest in the relationship with your creditor for them to help you and work through paying it back.”

She said the flexibility of creditors can sometimes vary but she has noticed most are open to the idea because of the pandemic.

The poll also found low-income earners, seniors, people on disability support and women lost the most economic ground during the past six months. Marra said economists hoped the economic recovery would look like a “U” or a “V” but instead the shape resembles more like a “K”.

“You got a portion of the population that does rebound in that V and then you’ve got another portion of the population that doesn’t rebound as quickly and, in fact, has more difficulties getting back to that rebound,” she said. “When you look at let’s say women, for example, there has been so much socio-economic progress for women prior to COVID. We’re at historic levels of women in the workforce and now as COVID continues we’re actually at an all-time low … for women leaving the workforce. That’s primarily driven by the need to have childcare, and women typically make a little bit less.”

jlabine@postmedia.com

Twitter.com/jefflabine



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Finance minister addresses COVID-19 economic recovery plan at virtual event

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Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland will provide an update on the Liberal government’s plan to recover from the pandemic-induced economic slowdown today.

Freeland is scheduled to speak at the Toronto Global Forum at 12:40 p.m. 

The finance minister is the keynote speaker for the final day of the three-day event, which brought together politicians, business leaders and academics from around the world to exchange views on global economic issues.

Her speech is happening on the same day the Bank of Canada released a new report predicting the country’s economy won’t fully recover what was lost to COVID-19 until 2022.

The bank’s monetary policy report estimates the economy will shrink by 5.7 per cent this year, but grow by 4.2 per cent next year and 3.7 per cent in 2022.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said this week that government officials are working on a “robust” budget update outlining the state of federal finances after months of spending on pandemic-related support programs.

The last detailed update came in the form of a fiscal snapshot tabled by then-Finance Minister Bill Morneau in July. It estimated the federal government’s budget deficit would hit $343.2 billion this year — but it was delivered before the Liberals made a series of costly changes to benefit programs that are sure to drive that number up.

In last month’s speech from the throne, the government promised to extend emergency supports for Canadians and struggling businesses hit by the COVID-19 crisis into next summer.

Trudeau said Monday the promised update won’t cite a specific fiscal anchor to keep spending from spiralling out of control.

In a recent report, the office of Parliamentary Budget Officer Yves Giroux estimated that the size of the debt compared to the size of the domestic economy — which had been the Liberals’ preferred fiscal anchor — could be around 48 per cent this year and next.

The debt this year is expected to push past $1.2 trillion.

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Marble Launches Maestro – Its Financial Literacy Educational Platform | 2020-10-28 | Press Releases

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(TheNewswire)

Launch of Maestro further expands the Marble platform with this educational component, as November marks the 10 th anniversary of Financial Literacy Month in Canada

Vancouver, B.C. – TheNewswire – October 28, 2020 – Marble Financial Inc. (CSE:MRBL ) (CNSX:MRBL.CN) ( OTC:MRBLF) (“Marble” or the “Company”) a financial technology company that empowers Canadians’ toward a positive financial future, is pleased to announce the launch of Maestro, Marble’s latest financial literacy educational platform, available to all MyMarble customers.

Maestro combines expert-curated educational content and skill testing quizzes to give Canadians the power to have both a foundation in crucial financial knowledge and the empowerment to effectively utilize Marble’s personal finance and credit rebuilding platform, MyMarble and its current products, Score-Up, and Fast-Track. Maestro users will benefit from over 30 different courses across three core financial foundations, credit, budget, and debt management.

Key findings from Statistics Canada’s 2019 Canadian Financial Capability Survey showed that 51% of 18 to 35 year-old Canadians surveyed seek financial literacy from online sources, displaying a preference for easy-to-use and digestible online content. In addition to this, 44% of Canadians surveyed said they engaged in financial education to strengthen their financial knowledge, proving a high demand and additional user acquisition stream with a product such as Maestro.

November marks the 10 th anniversary of Financial Literacy Month in Canada, and today, millions of Canadians are still seeking some form of online financial education. The launch of Maestro adds an additional dimension to Marble’s product line, allowing Marble to become its users’ primary personal finance solution through a more holistic, end-to-end financial experience.

Maestro is now available on the MyMarble Platform and offers the following:

  • – Available to all Marble customers at no cost, monthly fees or subscription

    – Over thirty expert-curated online courses in the credit, budget and debt management sectors

    – Desktop and mobile friendly

    – Video enabled and audio course content for all audiences

“Canadian’s are used to the traditional ways when it comes to improving their financial literacy – friends or family, financial advisors, or banks,” said Karim Nanji, CEO of Marble. “The description of a ‘Maestro’ is someone who conducts and is a master of their respective trade. The ability to master finances is something we believe all Canadians can achieve through financial literacy offered in an effective and easy online-learning environment. With Marble’s Maestro, we are very excited to fill the demand to further empower and educate Canadians. With the power of our online technology and our industry-leading MyMarble, Score-Up, and Fast-Track solutions, our customers have all the tools needed to take control of their personal finances.”

ON BEHALF OF THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS,

Karim Nanji, CEO

About Marble Financial Inc. (CSE: MRBL; OTC: MRBLF) Marble leverages its proven data driven strategies utilizing the power of machine learning, data science, and artificial intelligence, through its industry-leading proprietary technology solutions Fast-Track, Score-Up, and Credit-Meds to engage in and navigate a clear path for Canadians towards financial wellbeing and a meaningful credit score. Since 2016, Marble is proud to have empowered thousands of marginalized Canadians to a positive financial future, and we continue to establish ourselves as leaders in financial wellness through the licensing of our proprietary products on the Marble Platform.

For further information, please visit the company’s website at http://mymarble.ca

Mike Marrandino,

Executive Chairman

T:(855) 661-2390 ext. 104

Email: ir@marblefinancial.ca

NEITHER THE CANADIAN SECURITIES EXCHANGE NOR ITS REGULATIONS SERVICES PROVIDER HAVE REVIEWED OR ACCEPT RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE ADEQUACY OR ACCURACY OF THIS RELEASE.

Caution Regarding Forward-Looking Information

This release contains “forward-looking information” as such term is used in applicable Canadian securities laws, including statements regarding the Private Placement and the use of proceeds therefrom. The use of any of the words “target”, “plans”, “anticipate”, “continue”, “estimate”, “expect”, “may”, “will”, “project”, “should”, “believe” and similar expressions are intended to identify forward-looking statements. Such forward-looking information is based on management’s expectations and assumptions, including statements relating to the future plans and objectives of the Company, the Company’s expectations surrounding the market potential of Maestro, Score-Up, Fast Track and the benefits including potential credit score improvement, building and management results. In making the forward-looking statements included in this news release, the Company has applied several material assumptions, including but not limited to, that the Company’s financial condition and development plans do not change as a result of unforeseen events, and that the Company will and has received all required regulatory approvals in the jurisdictions across Canada that it will be offering this product. Forward-looking information is subject to a variety of risks and uncertainties and other factors that could cause plans, estimates and actual results to vary materially from those projected in such forward-looking information. Factors that could cause the forward-looking information in this news release to change or to be inaccurate include, but are not limited to: general economic, market or business conditions; changes in the Company’s financial condition and development plans; and other risks and uncertainties as set forth in the Company’s most recent continuous disclosure filings filed under the Company’s profile at www.sedar.com .

Although the Company has attempted to consider important factors that could cause actual costs or results to differ materially, there may be other factors that cause actual results not to be as anticipated, estimated or intended. There can be no assurance that such statements will prove to be accurate as actual results and future events could differ materially from those anticipated in such statements. The forward-looking information included in this release is expressly qualified in its entirety by this cautionary statement. Accordingly, readers should not place undue reliance on forward-looking information. The Company undertakes no obligation to update these forward-looking statements, other than as required by applicable law.

Copyright (c) 2020 TheNewswire – All rights reserved.



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