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Asian shares open higher following stellar month of gains – Reuters

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Paulina Duran
Jessica DiNapoli

(Corrects to China’s index, not futures, in paragraph 3)

SYDNEY/NEW YORK, Dec 1 (Reuters) – Asian share markets opened slightly higher on Tuesday buoyed by the prospect of a COVID-19 vaccine, reversing the previous day’s dips as investors took profits at the end of a record-breaking month.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan added 0.26% on Tuesday after closing the month 9% higher, the best November since 2001. Japan’s Nikkei and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 were each 0.9% higher, while South Korea was up 1.4%.

China’s blue-chip CSI300 index was 0.72% higher on Tuesday, after data on Monday that pointed to a continued recovery in the world’s second-largest economy against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We’ve seen clearly a huge wave of liquidity coming to equities in response to the vaccine news and in response to U.S. election news,” said Hamish Tadgell, a portfolio manager at SG Hiscock & Company.

“But there are still risks, and as a result we could see the market pull back, I think, particularly as we come into sort of the Christmas period.”

Wall Street was weaker on Monday, partly driven by a rebalancing of portfolios, as investors cashed in on gains after a strong month punctuated by updates of COVID-19 vaccines progressing and hopes of a swift economic rebound next year.

“There was profit taking around the world so we ended a record month with a whimper not a bang, and you know, taking a little bit of a breather,” said Interactive Brokers Chief Strategist Steve Sosnick.

“I think that markets are pricing in, if not fully pricing a recovery, they are pricing in the vast majority of it (and) it’s very hard to meet these elevated expectations.”

MSCI’s gauge of stocks across the globe was roughly flat. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index futures were down 0.36%, while China’s CSI 300 futures were 0.36% higher.

In the United States the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.91% on Monday while the S&P 500 lost 0.46%. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite ended down 0.06%.

Moderna Inc applied for U.S. emergency authorization for its COVID-19 vaccine after full results from a late-stage study showed it was 94.1% effective with no serious safety concerns.

“U.S. markets were a little bit lower, that’s what was holding us back a little bit,” said Chris Weston, head of research at Melbourne brokerage Pepperstone. “People are pretty optimistic for a good 2021.”

The dollar was under pressure on Tuesday, after closing out its worst month since July with a little bounce and as investors reckon on even more U.S. monetary easing.

Oil prices were slightly lower on uncertainty about whether the world’s major oil producers would agree to extend deep output cuts at talks this week.

U.S. crude eased back 11 cents to $45.23 a barrel on Tuesday, while Brent crude futures were largely unchanged at $47.86.


© 2020 Reuters. All Rights Reserved.

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Pakistan deeply appreciates US announcing it will send 3 million Moderna doses through COVAX: FO – Geo News

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Pakistan ‘deeply appreciates’ US announcing it will send 3 million Moderna doses through COVAX: FO

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A healthcare worker holds a vial of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine at a pop-up vaccination site operated by SOMOS Community Care during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic in Manhattan in New York City, New York, US, January 29, 2021. — Reuters/Mike Segar
A healthcare worker holds a vial of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine at a pop-up vaccination site operated by SOMOS Community Care during the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic in Manhattan in New York City, New York, US, January 29, 2021. — Reuters/Mike Segar

The government on Friday said it “deeply appreciates” the United States’ announcement that it is sending three million doses of the Moderna vaccine to Pakistan through the United Nations’ COVAX vaccine-sharing programme.

“The government and the people of Pakistan deeply appreciate the announcement by the White House to ship three million doses of Moderna vaccine to Pakistan through COVAX,” read a statement by the Foreign Office.

Zahid Hafeez Chaudhri, Spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, added: “These vaccines will give a boost to the ongoing vaccination drive in Pakistan.”

“This considerate gesture is part of the continued assistance that the US has provided to Pakistan to support our COVID relief and prevention efforts,” he said.

“We look forward to our continued cooperation with the US in our fight against the pandemic,” the statement added.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki had announced last month that the Biden administration is donating 80 million surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to the world by the end of June.

“Thanks to the President’s commitment to playing a leading role in ending the pandemic everywhere, 2 million doses of the Pfizer vaccine will begin to ship to Peru from the United States, and 2.5 million doses of the Moderna vaccine will ship to Pakistan,” Psaki said.

The shipment of 2.5 million doses landed in Pakistan on July 2, making it the first time the Moderna vaccine had arrived in the country.

Subsequently, the government had announced the availability of the Moderna vaccine at select vaccination centres across the country, starting July 5.

Criteria to qualify for the Moderna vaccine

The National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) has outlined the criteria that must be met by the recipient of the Moderna vaccine.

The vaccine will be administered to the following categories, provided they are 18 years of age or older and have NOT received any other currently available COVID-19 vaccines.

A. Those with comorbid conditions, e.g diabetes, hypertension, congestive cardiac failure, renal failure, chronic liver disease, malignancy, etc.

– Those who are chronically immunosuppressed

1. Post organ transplantation, the patient may receive the vaccine 3 months after

transplantation procedure.

2. Post chemotherapy, the patient may receive the vaccine 28 days after chemotherapy.

B. Individuals with a mandatory requirement of vaccination for travel

– Overseas workers who have a mandatory need for travel for employment overseas with valid work visas/iqama in a country where Chinese vaccines are not accepted at present

– Students

– Those travelling for official or business purposes

Women who are pregnant and lactating, falling under the above-listed categories CAN receive the Moderna vaccine.

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Ontario reports slight increase in new COVID-19 cases, per cent positivity rate rises – CTV Toronto

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TORONTO —
Ontario is reporting a slight increase in new COVID-19 cases on Sunday as the province’s per cent positivity rate rises.

Officials are reporting 172 new cases of COVID-19 today with two additional deaths.

The province reported 170 new cases on Saturday and 192 on Friday.

The seven-day rolling average remains at 159, compared to 153 a week ago.

Provincial labs processed more than 13,902 test specimens, generating a positivity rate of at least 1.1 per cent, according to the Ministry of Health.

The province’s virus-related death toll stands at 9,313.

Another 144 people recovered from the disease yesterday, resulting in 1,450 active cases across the province.

Right now, there are 88 people in hospital current infected with COVID-19 and 127 patients being treated in intensive care, according to the Ministry of Health.

The hospitalization data presented by the province has been skewed over the past several weeks, which may be explained by a delay in patient reporting.  

Where are the new cases?

Officials are reporting 48 new cases in Toronto, 23 in Peel Region, 11 in Durham Region and 11 in Hamilton.

Update on COVID-19 variants of concern

The Ministry of Health is reporting 131 new cases of the Alpha variant Sunday, bringing the total number of cases in the province to ​​145,386.

Officials reported 16 new cases of Delta variant, B.1.617.2, Sunday and the case total is now 3,913.

Three cases of the Beta variant, B.1.351, were also recorded. So far, there have been a total of 1,492 cases of the Beta variant reported in Ontario.

As for the Gamma variant, P.1, two new cases were recorded today. The total number of Gamma variants recorded in Ontario is now 5,142.

Vaccination update

The province said it administered 103,812 doses of COVID-19 vaccines Saturday.

Throughout Ontario’s seven-month vaccination campaign, over 18.9 million needles have gone into arms.

As of Sunday, 8,569,752 people have received both doses and are considered to be fully vaccinated.

Backstory:

 

The numbers used in this story are found in the Ontario Ministry of Health’s COVID-19 Daily Epidemiologic Summary. The number of cases for any city or region may differ slightly from what is reported by the province, because local units report figures at different times.

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Rio Tinto smelter workers go on strike in Kitimat, B.C. – Business News – Castanet.net

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Approximately 900 Rio Tinto workers at the company’s aluminum smelting facilities in Kitimat, B.C. have gone on strike.

The walkout began today at one minute after midnight. Unifor Local 2301, which represents the workers, had issued a 72-hour strike notice after nearly seven weeks of negotiations.

Jerry Dias, Unifor’s National President, says the strike comes down to what he calls “Rio Tinto’s greed and lack of respect” for the union members working at the Kitimat smelting facilities.

The union says it has proposed the first changes to workers’ retirement income and benefit levels in more than a decade, including moving younger workers to defined benefit from defined contribution pension plans.

It also says negotiations have focused on a backlog of more than 300 grievances resulting from the company’s use of contractors and its refusal to hire full-time workers.

Bargaining had continued up until the strike deadline, and the company had earlier said that it was “committed to working with the union to reach a mutually beneficial outcome.”

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