S. African Health Minister Urges Review of Virus Restrictions
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South Africa’s health minister urged a review of current restrictions and called for further measures to curb the spread of Covid-19 after a record surge in the number of infections.
The virus continues to spread “exponentially,” Health Minister Zweli Mkhize said in a statement late Wednesday. “The rate of spread is much faster than the first wave and we will surpass the peak of the first wave in the coming days.”
The country recorded 14,046 new cases in one day, bringing the cumulative number of cases 954,258. That’s the highest one-day jump on record, according to data compiled by John Hopkins University.
A further 411 coronavirus-related deaths were reported, taking the total to 25,657 since the start of the pandemic in the country, according to the statement.
The government will evaluate the situation in the provinces, identify hotspots in these areas and make recommendations based on the findings of what has to be implemented, Mkhize said.
China to suspend direct flights to and from the United Kingdom
BEIJING (Reuters) – China will suspend direct flights to and from the United Kingdom, Wang Wenbin, a foreign ministry spokesman said on Thursday, citing the emergence of a new coronavirus strain.
“After much consideration, China has decided to take reference from others countries and suspend flights to and from UK,” Wang told reporters at a daily briefing.
European stocks seen higher amid hopes for Brexit trade deal
- Britain and the European Union are said to be on the cusp of striking a post-Brexit trade deal on Thursday.
European stocks are set to open higher in a light trading session as traders grew optimistic a Brexit trade deal would be reached.
Britain's FTSE 100 is seen climbing 38 points to 6,530 and France's CAC up 15 points at 5,552, according to index data from IG. The German and Italian markets are closed for Christmas Eve.
Britain and the European Union are said to be on the cusp of striking a post-Brexit trade deal on Thursday. It comes after months of political wrangling over key sticking points such as fisheries.
U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson is due to speak with European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen at around 7 a.m. London time. Johnson is then expected to hold a news conference an hour later.
In Asia, stocks were mostly higher as investors watched the latest Brexit developments. MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan rose 0.5%.
On Wall Street, stock futures rose ahead of the final trading day of the holiday-shortened week.
President Donald Trump vetoed a sweeping defense bill Wednesday, breaking the Republican-led Senate. The move came after he called Congress' long-delayed $900 billion coronavirus relief package an unsuitable "disgrace."
Randall & Quilter To Buy Vibe Lloyd’s Companies In £25 Mln Cash Deal
Randall & Quilter Investment Holdings Ltd. (RQIH.L) announced Thursday that its unit Randall & Quilter II Holdings Limited, has signed an agreement to acquire Vibe Lloyd’s Companies. The consideration payable by R&Q is 25 million pounds, payable in cash.
Subject to regulatory approval, the company will acquire Vibe Services Management Limited, Vibe Corporate Member Limited or VCML and Vibe Syndicate Management Limited or VSML.
The Vibe Group is ultimately owned by Syndicate Holding Corp in Puerto Rico. The Vibe Syndicate 5678 was placed into run-off in December 2019.
R&Q noted that VCML is the sole member of the Vibe Syndicate 5678. With the acquisition, R&Q will assume responsibility for the run-off of Syndicate 5678, which carried net insurance liabilities of 251.1 million pounds as of June 30, 2020.
The per share price represents a discount to the Vibe Group’s net assets which were estimated to be 29.4 million pounds as of June 30, 2020. In the year to December 31, 2019, the Vibe Group recorded a loss of 29.9 million pounds.
Urban Outfitters Recalls Taper Candle Holders
Urban Outfitters Inc. is recalling taper candle holders citing fire risks, according to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.
The recall involves about 5,300 units of Swirled Taper and Sofia Taper candle holders sold in the U.S. In addition, about 300 units were sold in Canada.
The affected products were made out of resin and were sold in various colors. The SKU numbers are located on the price label on the bottom of the candle holders.
The candle holders were manufactured in China and sold exclusively at Urban Outfitters stores across the nation and online from February 2020 through October 2020 for between $12 and $14.
According to the agency, the candle holders can catch on fire if they come in contact with the candle’s flame, posing a fire hazard.
The recall was initiated after the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania-based company received 11 reports of the candle holders catching fire including 1 report of property damage. However, no injuries have been reported to date.
Consumers are urged to return the recalled candle holders for a full refund.
In similar recalls involving fire risks, Missouri City, Texas-based Adco Trading Inc. in early December called back about 142,740 units of candles, and retailer Kohl’s, Inc. in mid November called back about 512,000 units of SONOMA Goods For Life branded three-wick candles.
In August, Fort Worth, Texas-based Pier 1 Imports recalled about 30,810 units of three-Wick Halloween Candles.
Vodafone Egypt to Launch Nano Lending With Bank of Alexandria
Vodafone Egypt is working with Bank of Alexandria to launch a pilot nano lending service to consumers, Ayman Essam, the telecom’s external relations director, said in a message to Bloomberg.
- Essam said the move is “a normal evolution” given that Vodafone Egypt has 65% of mobile wallet share and more than 80% of the transactions on that platform
- Move is “part of our efforts toward financial inclusion”