Google is temporarily closing its China offices and restricting travel amid the outbreak of the coronavirus, a spokesperson confirmed to CNBC. The shutdowns, first reported by The Verge, will affect Google’s offices in Hong Kong and Taiwan. The company has also placed temporary travel restrictions on workers flying to China and Hong Kong. Google has at least four offices in China’s mainland and five in Taiwan, according to Google’s website. The offices in mainland China focus on sales and engineering for its advertising business.
January 30, 2020 09:00 UTC
The death toll of the coronavirus has risen to 170 and with a confirmed case in Tibet, the virus has now spread to every region in mainland China. The World Health Organization (WHO) will meet on Thursday to discuss whether the virus constitutes a global health emergency. "In the last few days the progress of the virus, especially in some countries, especially human-to-human transmission, worries us," WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on Wednesday, pointing to Germany, Vietnam and Japan. So far, most reported infections and deaths are in China's Hubei province and its capital Wuhan, the epicentre of the outbreak. People who have been in Hubei Province are also being told by their employers to work from home until it is considered safe for them to return.
January 30, 2020 05:26 UTC
Presidential Commission of Inquiry to investigate incidents of political revenge conducted through the Police Financial Crimes Investigation Division and the Bribery Commission between the 8th of January 2015 and the 16th of November 2019, is now accepting complaints. Accordingly, those who have been politically victimized during that period will be able to lodge complaints to the Commission. Retired Supreme Court Justice Upali Abeyaratne has been appointed as the Chairman of the commission. The other members of the commission include retired Court of Appeal Justice Daya Chandrasiri Jayathilake and retired Inspector of Police Chandra Fernando. The commission is tasked with looking into improper use of power, and influences by third parties on the Bribery Commission, the police financial crimes investigation division or the Police special investigations units.
January 30, 2020 05:15 UTC
The Monetary Board of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka decided to reduce the Standing Deposit Facility Rate (SDFR) and the Standing Lending Facility Rate (SLFR) of the Central Bank by 50 basis points to 6.50 per cent and 7.50 per cent, respectively, on Wednesday. The Board arrived at this decision, following a careful analysis of current and expected developments in the domestic economy and the financial market as well as the global economy, stated in the CBSL press release. The CBSL stated that, “This decision supports a continued reduction in market lending rates, thereby facilitating the envisaged recovery in economic activity given the favourable medium term outlook for inflation, which is well anchored within the 4-6 per cent range”
January 30, 2020 04:41 UTC
UNP has decided to remove Field Marshall Sarath Fonseka and MP Ajith P Perera from the Working Committee of the United National Party. UNP sources said that this decision has been taken for violating the collective discipline of the UNP. The new Working Committee of the United National Party was appointed yesterday and the names of MP Ajith P Perera and Sarath Fonseka have not been included. The meeting will commence at 3:00 pm at the party headquarters under the patronage of the leader of the UNP, Ranil Wickremesinghe.
January 30, 2020 04:07 UTC
In terms of air quality, As at 8am today, Colombo’s air pollution status stood at unhealthy level of 169, as measured by PM 2.5 (fine particulate matter). The ‘Unhealthy’ level, which ranges from 151-200, means the air quality “is increased likelihood of adverse effects and aggravation to the heart and lungs among general public - particularly for sensitive groups.” according to the Air Quality Index (AQI) categorizations. Colombo’s air pollution status will stand at ‘unhealthy’ level today, the National Building Research Organization (NBRO) said citing the AQI predictions of the US Embassy in Colombo.
January 30, 2020 04:07 UTC
The Defence Ministry will regularize private security services by introducing minimum wage for security guards, registration of new security firms and renewal of licenses. Defence Secretary Maj. Gen. (Retd) Kamal Gunaratne said plans were drawn to regularize private security services that operate island-wide to provide a quality security service. He said measures would be taken to streamline registration and license renewal process of security service providers by formulating an expedited procedure. Maj. Gen. Gunaratne said the contribution by the private security services to the Employees' Provident Fund and the Employees' Trust Fund would be strictly supervised under the new renewal process. Addressing members of the Sri Lanka Security Service Providers Association (SLSSPA), he stressed the necessity of issuing internationally recognized licenses for their employees.
January 29, 2020 12:11 UTC
European Union election observers submitted their final report on the ‘Presidential Election 2019’ to the Election Commission in Sri Lanka. The report contains a set of recommendations to Sri Lanka based on its findings at the 16 November Presidential elections. The meeting was held yesterday between the representatives of the European Union and President of the Commission Mahinda Deshapriya. They later discussed the report’s 23 recommendations for improvements at future elections with technical experts in the Commission.
January 29, 2020 09:11 UTC
British Airways has suspended all direct flights to and from mainland China, following travel advice from the Foreign Office that warned against all but essential travel to the country due to the coronavirus outbreak. BA.com, the airline’s website, shows no direct flights to China are available in January and February, Reuters reports. “We apologise to customers for the inconvenience, but the safety of our customers and crew is always our priority,” BA said in an emailed statement on Wednesday. “Customers due to travel to or from China in the coming days can find more information on BA.com.”(Source: The Guardian)
January 29, 2020 09:00 UTC
A powerful 7.7-magnitude earthquake has struck in the Caribbean, prompting brief tsunami warnings and office evacuations as far away as Florida. The quake hit between Jamaica, the Cayman Islands and Cuba at a depth of 10 km (6.2 miles), the US Geological Survey (USGS) said on Tuesday. Some offices were temporarily evacuated in Miami and parts of Jamaica. The epicentre of the quake, initially reported as magnitude-7.3 before being upgraded, was 125 km north-west of Lucea, Jamaica. Shaking was reported in the Cuban capital, Havana, in Kingston, Jamaica and Miami - some some 708 km from the epicentre.
January 29, 2020 08:48 UTC
The government has decided to impose price control on masks. Due to the demand for face masks have increased as the first case of coronavirus was reported in the country and the Consumers complain that certain sells medical face masks at excessive rates. Many pharmacists state that they are running out of stock already. The Minister Health Pavithra Wanniarachchi said that the decision was taken on the advice of President Gotabhaya Rajapaksa and Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa.
January 29, 2020 08:48 UTC
The UAE’s Ministry of Health and Prevention, MoHAP, has announced the first case of new coronavirus in the UAE in members of a family arriving from the Chinese city of Wuhan. In its statement issued on Wednesday, the ministry added that "the health condition of those infected are stable and they are currently under medical observation." MoHAP confirmed that, in coordination with health authorities and the concerned authorities in the country, it has taken "all the necessary precautions in accordance with the scientific recommendations, conditions and standards approved by the World Health Organisation." "The general health condition is not a cause for concern," it emphasised. (Source; KkhaleejTimes)
January 29, 2020 05:37 UTC
China’s latest figures cover the previous 24 hours and add 26 to the number of deaths, 25 of which were in the central province of Hubei and its capital, Wuhan, the epicenter of the outbreak. The 5,974 cases on the mainland marked a rise of 1,459 from the previous day, although that rise is a smaller increase than the 1,771 new cases reported on Monday. Dozens of infections of the new type of coronavirus have been confirmed outside mainland China as well. A Japanese chartered flight carrying 206 evacuees from Wuhan included some who had coughs and fever on the plane, Kyodo News reported, citing health ministry officials. They were expected to be taken by ambulances to a Tokyo hospital specializing in infectious diseases.
January 29, 2020 05:20 UTC
Sri Lankan students studying in China are now returning from China. The Sri Lankan Embassy in China said that a group of 176 students have left for Sri Lanka last night. 484 more students are expected to return to the island said the Sri Lanka’s Acting Ambassador in China. Discussions are currently underway with the Chinese government to bring back Sri Lankan students in Wuhan which is currently locked down.
January 29, 2020 05:15 UTC
China's first coronavirus hospital has opened today in a city near Wuhan after workers and volunteers spent just two days converting an empty building to a 1,000-bed emergency facility. The first batch of coronavirus patients were transferred to the Dabie Mountain Regional Medical Centre at around 10:30pm local time today, reported local media. The project was complete within 48 hours thanks to the joint effort of staff from construction firms, utility companies and paramilitary police officers, the city's authority said. (Source: Dailymail)
January 28, 2020 16:52 UTC