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Asahi daily, an official Tokyo Olympics partner, urges Games cancellation

Japanese newspaper publisher Asahi Shimbun, an official partner of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, called for the Summer Games to be cancelled in an editorial on Wednesday, citing risks to public safety and strains on the medical system from the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Japanese newspaper publisher Asahi Shimbun, an official partner of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, called for the Summer Games to be cancelled in an editorial on Wednesday, citing risks to public safety and strains on the medical system from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Several polls have shown the majority of the public is opposed to holding the Games this summer, concerned about tens of thousands of athletes and officials descending on a country that has mostly remained closed to foreigners since last year and where vaccinations have proceeded slowly.

Doctors’ associations have protested holding the Games, investors have talked up the benefits of shelving them, and maverick businessmen such as Masayoshi Son have called for cancelling the games.

“We ask Prime Minister (Yoshihide) Suga to calmly and objectively assess the situation and decide on the cancellation of the event this summer,” said the paper, a left-leaning daily often critical of Suga’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party.

“We are far from a situation in which everybody can be confident they will be ‘safe and secure,'” the paper added, invoking the government mantra about the Games. “Sadly, that is not the reality.”

In a statement later on Wednesday, the Asahi Shimbun said it remained committed to being an official partner of the Tokyo 2020 Games and that its editorial division had its independent mission.

The company would “continue its activities as an official partner while monitoring the COVID-19 situation,” the statement said.

The Asahi’s editorial was widely shared on social media, garnering more than 30,000 tweets by late morning.

But Olympic organisers have dug in their heels, pointing to other successful sports events as evidence that the Games can go ahead.

Speaking ahead of a Tokyo 2020 executive board meeting on Wednesday, Tokyo 2020 President Seiko Hashimoto said only one coach tested positive for coronavirus over the course of four test events with almost 7,000 visitors from some 50 countries.

The events “are evidence that our current coronavirus precautions are effective”, she said.

The logo of the Tokyo Olympic Games, at the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Office building in Tokyo, Japan, January 22, 2021. REUTERS/Issei Kato/File Photo

“Even baseball matches are being held currently with spectators. Why not go ahead with the Games?,” Kozo Yamamoto, a heavyweight politician of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, said in an interview with Reuters. read more

“The Olympics will happen, even without spectators. … Once it begins, everybody will be glad,” he said.

Although Japan has been spared the coronavirus ravages of overseas nations, it has struggled to control a fourth wave of infections across the country.

Tokyo governor Yuriko Koike said on Wednesday she will ask that the current state of emergency, originally set to be lifted at the end of May, to be extended for “about another month,” mere weeks before the Games is scheduled to start on July 23.

Just over 5% of the nation has received vaccinations, and it has recorded about 719,000 infections and 12,394 deaths.

Although the majority of the population remains unvaccinated, the Japan Olympic Committee is expecting to start inoculating the Japanese Olympic delegation from June 1, the organisation told Reuters on Wednesday.

About 1,600 people, including athletes and coaches, will receive Pfizer shots which were donated by Pfizer (PFE.N) separately from the national supply of vaccines.

“We will have the team doctors of the respective sports federations administer the shots, so as not to impact the current vaccination rollout programme,” the JOC said.

A professor of public health and adviser to the New Zealand government said on Tuesday that going ahead with the Games was “absurd”.

The United States on Monday issued an advisory against travel to Japan, but Japanese officials said it would not affect the Games, and the White House said on Tuesday it stood by the decision to hold the Games as planned. read more

The Australian softball team is set to arrive in Japan on June 1 for a pre-Olympic training camp in Gunma, a prefecture about 150 km northwest of Tokyo.

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

In a statement later on Wednesday, the Asahi Shimbun said it remained committed to being an official partner of the Tokyo 2020 Games and that its editorial division had its independent mission.

Source: https://www.reuters.com/lifestyle/sports/asahi-daily-an-official-tokyo-olympics-partner-calls-cancellation-games-2021-05-26/

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Reuters

Eco-friendly sneaker maker Allbirds aims for $2 bln valuation in U.S. IPO

Eco-friendly sneaker maker Allbirds Inc said on Monday it aims to be valued at over $2 billion in its New York IPO, joining a growing number of firms tapping into surging consumer demand and investor interest for such products.

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A sign on the entrance to the Allbirds flagship store is seen in Manhattan, New York City, U.S., September 7, 2021. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

Oct 25 (Reuters) – Eco-friendly sneaker maker Allbirds Inc said on Monday it aims to be valued at over $2 billion in its New York IPO, joining a growing number of firms tapping into surging consumer demand and investor interest for such products.

The company, backed by asset manager Franklin Templeton, said it is offering 19.2 million shares priced between $12 and $14 each, along with the selling stockholders. At the top end of that range, the IPO would fetch about $269 million.

As global calls grow to limit global warming and switch to more environmentally friendly ways of living, several companies have come under investor and activist pressure to contribute to the change.

Among a handful of startups that recently tapped into investor interest in such sustainable offerings were Oprah Winfrey-backed vegan milk maker Oatly Group AB (OTLY.O) and Jessica Alba’s consumer goods company Honest Co (HNST.O). read more

Founded in 2015, Allbirds is also backed by Oscar-winning actor Leonardo DiCaprio and uses wool, fiber derived from eucalyptus and other plant-based alternatives in its products. It has partnered with Adidas to create a range of sustainable sneakers, some of which have become immensely popular across Silicon Valley where the company is headquartered.

Numerous celebrities, top business executives and high-profile personalities such as Barack Obama, Ashton Kutcher and Google co-founder Larry Page have been spotted wearing Allbirds sneakers in recent years.

Allbirds, however, toned down some of its environmental references in an amended filing earlier this month. The company, which said in August it would pioneer a framework to conduct the first-ever “sustainable public equity offering”, later removed references to the claim.

In its latest filing, Allbirds said it expects net revenue to grow up to 32% to $62.5 million for the three months ended Sept. 30, due to higher sales at its physical stores.

However, higher expenses are expected to drive up net losses to about $15 million to $18 million in the quarter, from nearly $7 million a year earlier.

Morgan Stanley, J.P. Morgan and BofA Securities are the lead underwriters for the offering.

Reporting by Niket Nishant in Bengaluru; Editing by Ramakrishnan M.

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Founded in 2015, Allbirds is also backed by Oscar-winning actor Leonardo DiCaprio and uses wool, fiber derived from eucalyptus and other plant-based alternatives in its products. It has partnered with Adidas to create a range of sustainable sneakers, some of which have become immensely popular across Silicon Valley where the company is headquartered.

Source: https://www.reuters.com/business/retail-consumer/footwear-maker-allbirds-targets-over-2-bln-valuation-us-ipo-2021-10-25/

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Reuters

Facebook apologizes for second outage in a week, services back up

Facebook Inc apologized to users for a two hour disruption to its services on Friday and blamed another faulty configuration change for its second global outage this week.

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Silhouettes of mobile users are seen next to a screen projection of Instagram logo in this picture illustration taken March 28, 2018. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo

Oct 8 (Reuters) – Facebook Inc (FB.O) apologized to users for a two hour disruption to its services on Friday and blamed another faulty configuration change for its second global outage this week.

The company confirmed its social media platform, Instagram, Messenger and Workplace were impacted by the latest outage.

“Sincere apologies to anyone who wasn’t able to access our products in the last couple of hours,” the company said. “We fixed the issue, and everything should be back to normal now.”

During the latest outage, some users were unable to load their Instagram feeds, while others were not able to send messages on Facebook Messenger.

People swiftly took to Twitter to share memes and jokes about the second service disruption this week. “Looks like Facebook went to a 3-day work week. Monday and Friday shutdowns?” a Twitter user said.

Instagram thanked users for their patience and “for all the memes this week”.

On Monday, the social media giant blamed a “faulty configuration change” for a nearly six-hour outage that prevented the company’s 3.5 billion users from accessing its social media and messaging services such as WhatsApp, Instagram and Messenger.

The outage on Monday was the largest that web monitoring group Downdetector had ever seen and blocked access to the apps for billions of users, leading to a surge in usage of rival social media and messaging apps. read more

Moscow officials said Monday’s outage showed Russia was right to develop its own social media networks, while EU antitrust chief Margrethe Vestager highlighted the repercussions of relying on just a few big players, underscoring the need for more rivals. read more

Both the outages piled pressure on Facebook this week after a former employee turned whistleblower accused the company on Sunday of repeatedly prioritizing profit over clamping down on hate speech and misinformation. read more

Reporting by Subrat Patnaik in Bengaluru and Sheila Dang in Dallas; Additional reporting by Bhargav Acharya; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

“Sincere apologies to anyone who wasn’t able to access our products in the last couple of hours,” the company said. “We fixed the issue, and everything should be back to normal now.”

Source: https://www.reuters.com/technology/instagram-feeds-not-loading-some-users-2021-10-08/

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Reuters

Chinese social media platforms to “rectify” financial self-media accounts

China’s top social media platforms, Wechat, Douyin, Sina Weibo and Kuaishou, said on Saturday they would begin to rectify irregular practices of “self-media” accounts that publish financial information, reported state media Global Times.

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WeChat app is seen on a smartphone in this illustration taken, July 13, 2021. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo

SHANGHAI, Aug 28 (Reuters) – China’s top social media platforms, Wechat, Douyin, Sina Weibo and Kuaishou, said on Saturday they would begin to rectify irregular practices of “self-media” accounts that publish financial information, reported state media Global Times.

This follows an announcement by China’s cyberspace regulator, the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC), that it would look into accounts that have repeatedly released financial news illegally, distorted economic policy interpretation, badmouthed financial markets, spread rumours and disrupted network communications.

The term “self-media” is mostly used on Chinese social media to describe independently operated accounts that produce original content but are not officially registered with the authorities.

Wechat said in a statement on Saturday that from now until Oct. 26, it would investigate and shut down financial self-media accounts that “badmouth the financial market” and “blackmail and spread rumors.”

Sina Weibo, Douyin and Kuaishou also released similar statements on Saturday, reported the Global Times, with Sina Weibo and Kuaishou adding that they would severely crack down on accounts that violate the rules.

The announcements come amid a recent crackdown by Beijing on the tech sector, with the latest regulations targeting “chaotic” celebrity fan culture and algorithms that technology companies use to drive their business. read more

China is also framing rules to ban internet companies whose data poses potential security risks from listing outside the country, including in the United States. read more

Reporting by Emily Chow. Editing by Gerry Doyle

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

The term “self-media” is mostly used on Chinese social media to describe independently operated accounts that produce original content but are not officially registered with the authorities.

Source: https://www.reuters.com/world/china/chinese-social-media-platforms-rectify-financial-self-media-accounts-2021-08-28/

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