LONDON — Governments around the world on Thursday pledged $8.8 billion for global vaccines alliance Gavi to help immunization programs disrupted by coronavirus, prompting calls for global cooperation to ensure a potential COVID-19 vaccine is available to all. ADVERTISEMENTMore than 50 countries took part as well as individuals such as billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates, whose foundation pledged $1.6 billion. Gavi also launched a new initiative to purchase potential COVID-19 vaccines, scale-up production and support delivery to developing nations, which raised $567 million in seed money. There needs to be “global solidarity to ensure that every person, everywhere, has access”. If a vaccine is developed, Microsoft founder Gates said Gavi hoped to be able to buy it for the poorest countries.
June 05, 2020 09:08 UTC
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison says under new rules, the Foreign Investment Review Board would have to approve all investments in a 'sensitive national security business,'regardless of the value of the deal. Changes to Australia's foreign investment rules should not inflame tensions with China, Prime Minister Scott Morrison has said while unveiling a sweeping overhaul aimed at protecting Australia's national security. Asked whether the changes to foreign investment rules would add to tensions with China, Morrison said the new rules were formulated based on Australia's national interest. "Foreign investment regulatory framework has always sought to strike a balance between, on the one hand, welcoming and inviting foreign investment to this country but on the other ensuring that those foreign investment proposals that succeed are in our national interest." "The package appropriately addresses increasing risks to the national interest whilst ensuring Australia remains welcoming and open to foreign investment," he said.
June 05, 2020 09:00 UTC
MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines’ confirmed coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases surged to 20,626 as the Department of Health (DOH) reported Friday an additional 244 cases. ADVERTISEMENTOf the newly logged cases, 168 have been classified as “fresh cases,” or those validated within the past three days. The other 76 are “late cases,” or those detected at least four days ago, but were only validated by the DOH’s Epidemiology Bureau recently. The DOH also reported 3 new fatalities, bringing the nationwide death toll to 987. The new reporting system has resulted in a massive surge in new COVID-19 cases in recent days.
June 05, 2020 08:52 UTC
Young girls in New Zealand will be given free sanitary products in schools, in an attempt to battle poverty among the youth amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The young women in Waikato will be the first to gain access to these products, according to the government’s statement on Wednesday, June 3. “We know that nearly 95,000 [9- to 18-year-olds] may stay at home during their periods due to not being able to afford period products,” Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said. About one in 12 students also missed school due to lack of access to period products, according to the survey. Researchers from the University of Otago revealed that 94,788 girls from New Zealand’s poorest households, aged 9 to 18, might be unable to afford sanitary products and could, therefore, be staying home when they have their period.
June 05, 2020 08:48 UTC
MANILA, Philippines — Employers may monitor their staff under the work-from-home (WFH) setup through the installation of monitoring software in company-issued devices, according to the National Privacy Commission (NPC). “Employers in exercising their legitimate interest may monitor employees during WFH but should balance it with the rights and freedoms of their employees and adherence to the general data privacy principles,” NPC said in a bulletin on Friday. However, employers must be transparent to the employees and notify them that they are being monitored, according to NPC. Employers can secure personal data processing systems being used during work from home setting by providing proper ICT equipment and support facilities and mechanisms to employees. ADVERTISEMENTAside from employee monitoring, employers are also allowed to check the travel history of their employees in compliance with the requirements of the Department of Health, according to the commission.
June 05, 2020 08:48 UTC
Hong Kong shares rallies at the close today, The benchmark Hang Seng index shot up by 404.11 points, or 1.66 percent at 24,770.41. In mainland China, the Shanghai Stock Exchange Composite Index finished higher at 2,930.80, up by 0.40 percent. The Shenzhen Stock Exchange Composite Index also closed higher at 1,856.61, adding 0.22 percent.
June 05, 2020 08:37 UTC
Official foreign currency reserve assets of Hong Kong increased to US$442.3 billion at end May from US$441.3 billion at end April, the Hong Kong Monetary Authority reported. Including unsettled foreign exchange contracts, the foreign currency reserve assets of Hong Kong at the end of May amounted to US$440.8 billion, unchanged from April. The total foreign currency reserve assets of US$442.3 billion represent over six times the currency in circulation or about 46 percent of Hong Kong dollar M3.
June 05, 2020 08:37 UTC
Actress, painter, and fashion maven Heart Evangelista went on Twitter on Thursday to announce she will give away free tablets to school children whose families cannot afford to buy one before the academic year begins online. “For those who don’t have tablets for online school please [direct message] me on [Instagram handle @iamhearte]. I will be giving away as much tablets as I can,” she wrote. [I hope you choose me as one of your recipients].” Replying to the boy in her caption, she wrote, “Mark, you inspire me to do so much more. Evangelista will send out 50 tablets for the first batch of students and will give updates how many more she can give away soon.
June 05, 2020 08:37 UTC
The print version of award-winning Inquirer Libre and masa-favorite Inquirer Bandera takes a final bow on July 5, 2020 as it transitions to online through one of the affiliate companies of the Inquirer Group of Companies (IGC). Inquirer Bandera on the other hand, changed the image of tabloids in the Philippines by presenting smut-free pages full of entertainment stories and local news. ADVERTISEMENT“We would like to thank all our readers, advertisers, partners and our passionate employees who have supported us through the years,” Reinoso said. “As we move to online, we will continue to pursue the delivery of award-winning journalism, entertaining news and inspiring stories”, he added. Read NextEDITORS' PICKMOST READ
June 05, 2020 08:14 UTC
Luk Chuen House in Lek Yuen Estate, an old public housing estate in Sha Tin, has a virus cluster. Parents with children at schools near a housing estate at the centre of Hong Kong's latest cluster of coronavirus infections want all classes to remain suspended to prevent further community transmissions, a local councillor said today, RTHK reports. Jimmy Sham, who represents the area, said there are at least six primary and secondary schools near the Lek Yuen Estate, where seven people have been confirmed to have the virus since the weekend. On an RTHK radio programme, Sham also said that residents are worried about staying in their homes on the estate as they don't think sufficient measures have been put in place to ensure their safety. But Sham says the evacuation instructions have not been clear, and no information was left for residents who weren't home when the authorities came round on Thursday.
June 05, 2020 08:09 UTC
However, when terrorists “inserted” themselves in the community, residents of the city were swept in a five-month siege back in 2017. READ: House adjourns sans ‘Bayanihan 2’ bill approvalCritics have raised several concerns against the bill, warning that its approval may trample certain human rights. The same penalty shall be imposed on any person found liable as an accessory in the commission of terrorism. Meanwhile, those who will be proven guilty of engaging in a conspiracy to commit terrorism shall be penalized by life imprisonment without the benefit of parole. The lower chamber adopted the Senate version of the bill, Senate Bill No.
June 05, 2020 08:06 UTC
In a joint statement Friday, the leaders of Ateneo and La Salle schools across the country said the passage of the proposed legislation is “ill-timed” at a time when people are already burdened by the coronavirus pandemic. The proposed Anti-Terrorism Act of 2020 is now up for the chief executive’s signature after the House of Representatives—dominated by Duterte’s allies—approved it on third and final reading Wednesday. The lower chamber adopted the Senate version of the anti-terror bill. Duterte certified the proposed measure as urgent, which allowed the House to fasttrack its passage. The anti-terrorism bill seeks to repeal the Human Security Act of 2007—a law that is “already problematic,” according to United Nations human rights office.
June 05, 2020 08:03 UTC
MANILA, Philippines — The bus augmentation program for commuters of the Metro Rail Transit-3 (MRT-3) will follow a strict five-minute interval for deploying buses to allow faster travel time for passengers, the train management said Friday. “Full or not full, with or without passengers, passengers availing of MRT-3’s Bus Augmentation Program can expect buses to be deployed on a fixed interval of every 5 minutes to ferry them from designated loading and unloading stations along the MRT-3 line. Buses will be using dedicated median lanes along EDSA to deliver faster travel times to passengers,” read the statement from MRT-3 management. ADVERTISEMENTThe Metro railway’s bus program has so far served 4,383 commuters who require transportation services to report for work during the less stringent coronavirus lockdown. Currently, the bus pick-up points are at North Avenue Station, Quezon Avenue Station, Ayala Station and Taft Station.
June 05, 2020 08:02 UTC
Sir Iain Duncan Smith, the Conservative former UK cabinet minister. Previous NextSenior legislators from eight countries have launched an alliance to drive for a tougher international stance on China, the UK's Times reports. The alliance is founded on the belief that in recent years China has not been held to the same standards as other countries. Beijing has repeatedly stressed that the situation in Hong Kong is an internal matter, while saying China’s broader economic and diplomatic expansion poses no threat to the world. “The time has come for democratic countries to unite in a common defense of our shared values,” Smith, the U.K. lawmaker, said on Twitter.-The Times/Bloomberg
June 05, 2020 07:52 UTC
The Independent Commission Against Corruption said today an Amenities Assistant I of the Leisure and Cultural Services Department has been charged with soliciting and accepting unauthorized loans and a bribe totaling over HK$9,000 from two co-workers under his supervision between August 2018 and May last year. Luk Kin-fan, 57, faces two counts of prescribed officer soliciting and accepting an advantage, and five counts of prescribed officer soliciting an advantage. He further faces one count of public servant soliciting an advantage. The defendant has been released on ICAC bail, and will appear at the Eastern Magistrates’ Courts on Tuesday for plea.
June 05, 2020 07:43 UTC