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I’ll not outlaw Christmas, Johnson says

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Wednesday he would not outlaw Christmas gatherings, resisting pressure from some doctors to ban festive family get-togethers as the number of COVID-19 cases soared in London and other areas.

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LONDON (Reuters) – British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Wednesday he would not outlaw Christmas gatherings, resisting pressure from some doctors to ban festive family get-togethers as the number of COVID-19 cases soared in London and other areas.

FILE PHOTO: Women walk outside a restaurant following the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in London, Britain, December 15, 2020. REUTERS/Hannah McKay

After imposing the most onerous restrictions in Britain’s peacetime history, Johnson is now keen to avoid becoming the first leader since Oliver Cromwell in the 17th century to cancel Christmas, even though the United Kingdom has the sixth worst official COVID-19 death toll in the world.

Hours after pubs and restaurants were forced to close again in London to tackle a worsening outbreak, Johnson said plans to ease restrictions for five days from Dec. 23 would go ahead.

“We don’t want to criminalise people’s long laid plans,” he told parliament.

“By being sensible and cautious, not by imposing endless lockdowns or cancelling Christmas…that is the way we will continue to work together to keep this virus under control, to defeat it and take the country forward.”

Johnson’s plans to relax restrictions for five days so three households can mix have been criticised by two influential medical journals and a number of health experts.

COVID-19 has battered the United Kingdom: The government’s most conservative death toll measure is 64,908, second only to Italy in Europe, while government borrowing is set to hit a peacetime high of 394 billion pounds ($531 billion) in 2020/21.

Medical views are divided with concern growing among cancer specialists, for example, that many cancers are going undiagnosed due to the public health focus on COVID-19.

PARTY OR LOCKDOWN?

One cabinet minister suggested people should make up their own minds about what precautions to take, and said some may want to wait for Easter to gather with their family given the risk to the elderly and the vulnerable.

Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick said it was not for government to tell people exactly how to behave.

“Easter can be the new Christmas for some people,” he said.

The leaders of Scotland and Wales, which set their own often-stricter rules, urged people to show restraint. Wales also toughened general restrictions further.

The roll out of COVID-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech has raised hopes that some semblance of normal life could return in 2021, though some families have said they will meet up for Christmas no matter what the government decrees.

A total of 137,897 people have been vaccinated in the past week, Nadhim Zahawi, the minister in charge of vaccine deployment, said on Wednesday.

But as cases soared across the south of England, London went into the highest tier of lockdown from midnight. Large parts of northern England have spent months living with the toughest restrictions.

The highest tier means that pubs and restaurants are closed, but shops are not. Still, revellers partied into the night in London’s Soho ahead of the restrictions.

One woman waved purple burlesque feather fans while dozens cheered with beers and some sang Karaoke in the streets for one last blast of revelry.

Few people wore masks or observed social-distancing guidelines. Police were booed when they told people to disperse.

Some pubs and bars – one displaying a sign “Save Soho to help save livelihoods” – put on cut price drinks to shift stock before they closed. From Wednesday they are only allowed to serve takeaways.

Landlords and owners have complained that they risk going out of business without the Christmas trade.

($1 = 0.74 pounds)

Reporting by Guy Faulconbridge and Kate Holton, editing by Angus MacSwan

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Source: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-health-coronavirus-britain/ill-not-outlaw-christmas-britains-johnson-says-idUSKBN28Q0QN?il=0

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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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Reuters

Death toll rises to 77 from Turkey floods, 47 reported missing

The death toll from flash floods that swept through several towns in Turkish Black Sea provinces last week has risen to 77 people and emergency workers are continuing to search for 47 who are missing, authorities said on Monday.

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A damaged vehicle and a partially collapsed building are seen following the flash floods that swept through towns in the Turkish Black Sea region, in the town of Ilisi, in Kastamonu province, Turkey, August 15, 2021. REUTERS/Mehmet Emin Caliskan

ISTANBUL, Aug 16 (Reuters) – The death toll from flash floods that swept through several towns in Turkish Black Sea provinces last week has risen to 77 people and emergency workers are continuing to search for 47 who are missing, authorities said on Monday.

The floods last week brought chaos as torrents of water tossed dozens of cars and heaps of debris along streets, destroyed buildings and bridges, closed roads and damaged electricity infrastructure.

Sixty-two people died as a result of floods in Kastamonu province. Another 14 people died in Sinop and one in Bartin, the Disaster and Emergency Management Directorate (AFAD) said.

Forty-seven people were reported missing in Kastamonu and Sinop, it said, adding that seven others were receiving treatment in hospital.

Drone footage showed massive damage in the town of Bozkurt in Kastamonu province, where rescue teams searched demolished buildings at the weekend.

More than 2,000 people were evacuated from affected areas, some with the help of helicopters and boats, AFAD said, adding that more than 8,500 personnel were involved in the emergency response efforts.

Weather forecasters warned of further flooding due to expected heavy rainfall on Monday in Black Sea provinces to the east of the regions affected last week.

Reporting by Ezgi Erkoyun; Editing by Dominic Evans and Rosalba O’Brien

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Drone footage showed massive damage in the town of Bozkurt in Kastamonu province, where rescue teams searched demolished buildings at the weekend.

Source: https://www.reuters.com/world/middle-east/death-toll-rises-70-turkey-floods-47-reported-missing-2021-08-16/

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Chipmaker TSMC says too early to say on Germany expansion

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co Ltd (TSMC) (2330.TW) said on Monday that it was too early to say whether it will build factories in Germany and that talks were in early stages, as the EU seeks to reduce chip imports amid a supply shortage.

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The logo of Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC) is pictured at its headquarters, in Hsinchu, Taiwan, Jan. 19, 2021. REUTERS/Ann Wang

TAIPEI, July 26 (Reuters) – Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co Ltd (TSMC) (2330.TW) said on Monday that it was too early to say whether it will build factories in Germany and that talks were in early stages, as the EU seeks to reduce chip imports amid a supply shortage.

The European Commission had held discussions with global chip giants, including Intel (INTC.O) and TSMC, as the EU seeks to boost semiconductor production and shield itself from shocks in the global supply chain. read more

Taiwan and TSMC, the world’s largest contract chip manufacturer, have become central in efforts to resolve the pandemic-induced chip shortage that has forced automakers to cut production and hurt manufacturers of smartphones, laptops and even appliances.

“We are currently doing reviews on Germany seriously, but it’s still in very early stages,” TSMC chairman Mark Liu told an annual shareholder meeting when asked about building chip fabrication plants in the EU country.

“We continue to communicate with our major clients in Germany to see whether this is most important and effective for our clients,” he said. “It’s too early to say.”

TSMC signalled in July plans to build new factories in the United States and Japan amid concern over the concentration of chipmaking capability in Taiwan, which produces most of the world’s most advanced chips and is geographically close to political rival China. read more

On TSMC’s $12 billion factory in the U.S. state of Arizona, Liu said the expansion would support client demand, especially in infrastructure and national security.

“Clients are the backing of our global expansion. We will move very cautiously,” Liu said, adding that the company’s customers would help share costs of overseas operations.

TSMC announced this year plans to invest $100 billion over the next three years to increase capacity, riding on what it called a “multiple years of growth opportunities”, as the COVID-19 pandemic and new technologies drove global demand for advanced chips.

Reporting By Yimou Lee. Editing by Gerry Doyle

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

Taiwan and TSMC, the world’s largest contract chip manufacturer, have become central in efforts to resolve the pandemic-induced chip shortage that has forced automakers to cut production and hurt manufacturers of smartphones, laptops and even appliances.

Source: https://www.reuters.com/technology/chipmaker-tsmc-says-too-early-say-germany-expansion-2021-07-26/

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