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Daily Archives: September 1, 2021

Humour: News in Cartoons

Xi Approves Action on Everything From Monopolies to Pollution

Chinese President Xi Jinping chaired a high-level meeting that “reviewed and approved” measures to fight monopolies, battle pollution and shore up strategic reserves, all areas that are crucial to his government’s push to improve the quality of life for the nation’s 1.4 billion people.

Few details were released about the guidelines discussed on Monday at the meeting of the central committee for deepening overall reform, which includes some of China’s most powerful leaders and has wide powers to shape government policy. Xi in particular stressed the importance of strengthening anti-monopoly regulations, a push that has already cost tech giants hundreds of billions of dollars in market value over the past year.

Putting those regulations into practice was “an intrinsic requirement for improving the socialist market economic system,” the official Xinhua News Agency reported, citing Xi. The changes would create a level playing field for businesses, benefit consumers and promote “high-quality development and common prosperity,” Xinhua added, citing a broader drive by the Xi administration to narrow China’s wealth gap.

The meeting emphasized the need for policy measures to serve the interests of the Communist Party, while paying heed to domestic and international markets. Leaders also said policies should be “more transparent and predictable,” Xinhua said.

Chinese authorities have taken aim at some of the nation’s largest tech companies, including Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., signaling unease with their rapid growth and influence. Meituan, China’s largest food delivery platform, said Monday it could face significant fines amid an anti-trust probe into its operations.

Here are some of the other key points from the meeting that was also attended by Premier Li Keqiang and fellow members of the ruling party’s Politburo Standing Committee, Wang Huning and Han Zheng:

  • Optimize management of strategic and emergency response supplies to guard against major risks
  • Prevent and rein in abuses of administrative power in restricting competition
  • Bolster the anti-monopoly supervision force
  • Strengthen law enforcement in areas including the platform economy, technological innovation and information security
  • Strictly control projects that consume large amounts of energy and that are big polluters
  • Take steps to enforce a total ban on imported garbage
  • Ensuring data accuracy to assess China’s major development strategies

Source : BNN Bloomberg

Infographic: What Does it Cost to Run U.S. Big Business?

See large image . . . . . .

Source : Visual Capitalist

Chart: U.S. Airline Traffic

Source : Goldman Sachs

Australia Aims to ‘Live with Virus’ Instead of Eliminating It

Renju Jose and Jonathan Barrett wrote . . . . . . . . .

Australian authorities on Wednesday extended the COVID-19 lockdown in Melbourne for another three weeks, as they shift their focus to rapid vaccination drives and move away from a suppression strategy to bring cases down to zero.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews flagged a staggered easing of the tough restrictions once 70% of the state’s adult residents receive at least one dose, a milestone he hopes to reach at least by Sept. 23, based on current vaccination rates.

“We have thrown everything at this, but it is now clear to us that we are not going to drive these numbers down, they are instead going to increase,” Andrews told reporters in Melbourne, the state capital, after a lockdown for nearly a month failed to quell the outbreak. The lockdown was due to end on Thursday.

“We got to buy time to allow vaccinations to be undertaken all the while doing this very hard work, this very painful and difficult work, to keep a lid as much as we can on cases.”

New local cases jumped to 120 in Victoria from 76 a day earlier. Of the new cases, 100 have spent time in the community while infectious.

Neighbouring New South Wales state, home to Sydney, on Wednesday brought forward its target date to fully vaccinate 70% of people above 16 to the middle of next month from the initial target of the end of October, as outbreaks spurred a surge in inoculation.

“No matter where you live, life will be much, much better, much freer, as long as you’re vaccinated at 70%,” Berejiklian told reporters. So far 37% are fully vaccinated in the state, while 67% have had at least one dose, slightly higher than the national numbers but well below most comparable nations.

A total of 1,116 new cases were detected in New South Wales, down from 1,164 a day earlier. NSW reported four new deaths, taking the total number of deaths in the latest outbreak to 100.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison told parliament on Wednesday Australians ultimately needed to be released from lockdowns.

“Australia can live with this virus,” he said in Canberra.


Australia is trying to get a handle on the third wave of infections that has locked down more than half of its 25 million population. Sydney and Melbourne, its largest cities, and capital Canberra are in weeks-long strict stay-at-home orders.

Despite the recent flare-ups, it has managed to keep its coronavirus numbers relatively low, with just over 55,000 cases and 1,012 deaths.

Among the Group of 20 big economies, Australia was the last to record 1,000 COVID-19 deaths, a grim but modest marker by global standards reached this week. read more

Several major Asia-Pacific economies have fewer COVID-19 deaths, with New Zealand recording just 26.

While Australian authorities had been able to douse past outbreaks through lockdowns, the highly infectious Delta variant has forced the country’s two biggest states to plan for a reopening even as infections rise.

Australian Medical Association vice president Chris Moy told Reuters that Delta’s high infectivity, short incubation and asymptomatic spread had meant the “old playbook did not work”.

“Your window of opportunity at the start to eliminate it is so much smaller and basically once you’re passed that, Delta decides its destiny,” Moy said.

The federal government is pressing the states and territories to stick to a national reopening plan once vaccination rates reach 70%-80% although some virus-free states said they may delay given the rapidly rising Sydney cases. read more

Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg urged the state leaders to follow the national reopening plans.

“Stick to the plan … a plan that allows businesses to reopen and plan for their own future … a plan that takes Australia forward to living safely with the virus,” Frydenberg said.

Source: Reuters