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B.C. shop owner 'surprised' he's in guide that colour codes businesses to support Hong Kong protests – CBC.ca

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The entrance of a tea shop that has been turned into a ‘Lennon Wall’ of pro-protest notes in Hong Kong, in this Thursday photo. Stores that openly support Hong Kong’s pro-democracy protest movement are nicknamed ‘yellow shops.’ (Mark Schiefelbein/The Associated Press)

Alan Yu runs an auto repair shop in northern Richmond, B.C. Last month, Yu discovered his business was caught up in a political debate that is raging across the Pacific.

A Facebook group published a crowdsourced list that categorizes his eight-year-old business as “yellow,” meaning he supports the ongoing protests in Hong Kong.

Yu said he was “surprised” but happy that his business had been identified as one that supports the protesters, who since last spring have staged massive demonstrations calling for political change in Hong Kong. 

“If the people like it, I can put the Lennon Wall in my office,” he said, referring to a space for Post-it notes written with solidarity messages for the protesters thousands of kilometres away.

Yellow vs. blue shops 

In Hong Kong, people who sympathize with pro-democracy movements call themselves “yellow ribbons.” Those who support the Chinese government and the police’s use of force on protesters call themselves “blue ribbons.”

The idea to form a “yellow economic circle” originates from a protest slogan being circulated on a Hong Kong discussion forum: “Boycott the blue businesses, shop at the yellow businesses.” 

The Canada Hongkonger page, liked by nearly 13,000 users, has been inviting Metro Vancouver “netizens” (politically conscious people using the internet) to report which local shop is yellow, blue or green (meaning political neutrality).

Alan Yu owns a Richmond, B.C., auto repair shop that a crowdsourced shopping guide has identified as being a yellow business. (Salimah Shivji/CBC)

The 46-year-old immigrated to Canada several months before the former British colony was reversed to China in 1997. He said the yellow solidarity campaign may have the same impact of pro-democrats’ landslide victory in the district council elections: “Maybe the Chinese government will try to adjust something for the Hong Kong people.”

‘Yellow’ means corporate responsibility

Albert Chan was a pro-democratic district councillor and legislative councillor in Hong Kong for three decades before moving back to Vancouver two years ago. He praised Yu for participating in the developing “yellow economic circle” for the Lower Mainland.

The 64-year-old said being a yellow business is a matter of corporate responsibility and social conscience: “If you can support a government killing people without reasons, that reflects your values. With people holding those values, how can you trust them to run a business?”

Former Hong Kong lawmaker Albert Chan supports the ‘yellow economic circle’ in Vancouver. (CBC)

The retired politician said Hong Kong is being economically controlled by Beijing and yellow shopping is to terminate this situation. He said Canadians should also buy yellow because of what he called the “alarming” Chinese infiltration into their way of life, citing B.C. seniors’ homes failed care standards after takeover by a Chinese government-controlled company.

“If the Trudeau government refuses to do anything to control that, sooner or later Canada will become a colony of Communist China,” Chan said of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Canada Hongkonger administrator Rick Lau said his Facebook group has connected with Yellow Avengers, an initiative to compile a global yellow shopping guide for Hong Kong travellers.

‘Yellow economy’ may create division

Leo Shin, a history professor at the University of British Columbia, said the idea of using spending power to pressure on a government is not new, quoting the global Anti-Apartheid Movement where international companies disinvested from South Africa.

Shin looks at the shopping with caution, saying it could potentially cause “a great deal of division within the Chinese communities.”

UBC historian Leo Shin said the ‘yellow economy’ may divide Chinese communities. (CBC)

“We should always keep in mind that the ultimate goal is not to encourage division, but to promote coming together in one form or another,” the historian said.

But Yu suggested yellow and blue can coexist: “They believe what they believe, I believe what I believe. In Vancouver, you have freedom of speech… That’s the foundation of Canada’s democracy.”

CBC News contacted B.C. businesses labelled as blue on the list. They all disputed the label and declined interview requests.

With files from Salimah Shivji

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Tesla slashes the price of the Powerpack by 27% on Battery Day – Electrek

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Tesla has greatly reduced the price of its Powerpack battery system today ahead of its Battery Day event.

Powerpack hasn’t been talked about much lately.

It has been relegated to the background since Tesla introduced the bigger Megapack for utility-scale projects.

However, Tesla is still making the product and it is still being used for many commercial-scale projects, like Electrify America’s charging stations.

Now we’ve learned that Tesla is slashing the price of the Powerpack.

Earlier this year, Electrek reported that Tesla revealed the price of the battery system through its new commercial solar configurator.

At the time, the Powerpack was being sold for $172,000 before incentives and including a commercial inverter.

Now a tipster pointed out to Electrek that Tesla has updated the pricing today, reducing the Powerpack to $125,000:

It brings the cost of the system down to $539 per kWh, but that’s including the expensive commercial inverter.

The price per kWh goes down significantly when adding more Powerpacks to the same inverter system.

That’s also without incentives.

Tesla’s price guide for commercial solar is only available in California, where they have strong incentives for energy storage for self-generation.

According to Tesla’s configurator, a Powerpack can be added to a 40 kW solar system for just $26,000 after incentives.

The price change happens as Tesla is about to announce new batteries at its Battery Day event later today.

Electrek’s Take

While the timing is interesting, it could be completely coincidental, but I guess we will know in just a few hours.

It is a significant price drop before incentives, but the system was already expensive to start with.

The price difference might also be on the inverter side and not the battery side.

Either way, it is worth noting, especially considering the crazy incentives in California. If I was a business owner in California, I would certainly consider this solution.

FTC: We use income earning auto affiliate links. More.


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Canada signs deal with VBI Vaccines to develop coronavirus candidate by 2022 – Global News

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VBI Vaccines Inc said on Monday it had entered into an agreement with Canada to develop a potential vaccine for COVID-19 by 2022 through mid-stage trials conducted exclusively in the country.

Canada will contribute around 75% of the U.S.-based company’s development costs and C$55.9 million ($42.2 million) for the project.

VBI Vaccines said last month that together with the National Research Council Canada it was investigating the vaccine candidate, VBI-2900, in preclinical trials.

[ Sign up for our Health IQ newsletter for the latest coronavirus updates ]

As per the agreement, signed last week, the company’s Ottawa-based unit is obligated to complete the vaccine development in or before the first quarter of 2022.






3:06
Ottawa signs 2 new COVID-19 vaccine deals for Canada


Ottawa signs 2 new COVID-19 vaccine deals for Canada

There are currently no approved vaccines for COVID-19, but around 38 vaccines are being tested in humans around the world.

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© 2020 Reuters

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Wall Street falls, S&P 500 down 1.2% as global markets swoon – CP24 Toronto's Breaking News

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Stan Choe, Damian J. Troise And Alex Veiga, The Associated Press


Published Monday, September 21, 2020 3:03PM EDT


Last Updated Monday, September 21, 2020 11:23PM EDT

NEW YORK – Wall Street slumped Monday as markets tumbled worldwide on worries about the pandemic’s economic pain, though the S&P 500 had pared its losses by the end of the day.

The drops began in Asia as soon as trading opened for the week, and they accelerated in Europe on worries about the possibility of tougher restrictions there to stem rising coronavirus counts. In the U.S., stocks and Treasury yields weakened, while prices sank for oil and other commodities that a healthy economy would demand.

The S&P 500 fell 38.41 points, or 1.2%, to 3,281.06. It extends the index’s losing streak to four days, its longest since stocks were selling off in February on recession worries. But a last-hour recovery helped the index more than halve its loss of 2.7% from earlier in the day.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 509.72, or 1.8%, to 27,147.70 after coming back from an earlier 942 point slide. The Nasdaq composite slipped 14.48, or 0.1%, to 10,778.80 after recovering from a 2.5% drop.

Wall Street has been shaky this month, and the S&P 500 has dropped 8.4% since hitting a record Sept. 2 amid a long list of worries for investors. Chief among them is fear that stocks got too expensive when coronavirus counts are still worsening, Congress is unable to deliver more aid for the economy, U.S.-China tensions are rising and a contentious U.S. election is approaching.

Investors should expect the stock market to stay volatile, perhaps through the November elections, as they wait for these questions to shake out, said Jason Draho, head of asset allocation for the Americas at UBS Global Wealth Management.

Monday’s selling was exacerbated by worries about the possibility of more business restrictions in Europe, particularly as the United States heads into flu season, Draho said, and “some investors may be stepping aside.”

David Joy, chief market strategist at Ameriprise Financial, noted how Monday’s sharpest drops were concentrated in areas of the market most closely tied to the economy’s strength, such as energy companies and raw-material producers.

“It seems to be a broader expression of worry about the economy,” he said.

Bank stocks took sharp losses after a report alleged that several continue to profit from illicit dealings with criminal networks despite U.S. crackdowns on money laundering.

Shares of electric and hydrogen-powered truck startup Nikola plunged 19.3% after its founder resigned as executive chairman and left its board amid allegations of fraud. The company has called the allegations false and misleading.

General Motors, which recently signed a partnership deal where it would take an ownership stake in Nikola, fell 4.8%.

Investors are also worried about the diminishing prospects that Congress may soon deliver more aid to the economy. Many investors call such support crucial after extra weekly unemployment benefits and other stimulus expired. But partisan disagreements have held up any renewal of what’s known as the CARES Act.

“The stimulus money from the CARES Act, the impact of that, is running off and there doesn’t seem to be any urgency in Washington to get another package together,” said Joy of Ameriprise Financial..

Partisan rancour is only continuing to rise, deflating hopes further. The sudden vacancy on the Supreme Court following the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is the latest flashpoint dividing the country.

Tensions between the world’s two largest economies are also weighing on markets. President Donald Trump has targeted Chinese tech companies in particular, and the Department of Commerce on Friday announced a list of prohibitions that could eventually cripple U.S. operations of Chinese-owned apps TikTok and WeChat. The government cited national security and data privacy concerns.

That raises the threat of Chinese retaliation against U.S. companies.

A U.S. judge over the weekend ordered a delay to the restrictions on WeChat, a communications app popular with Chinese-speaking Americans, on First Amendment grounds.

Trump also said on Saturday he gave his blessing to a proposed deal between TikTok, Oracle and Walmart to create a new company that would likely be based in Texas.

Layered on top of all those concerns for the market is the continuing coronavirus pandemic and its effect on the global economy.

On Sunday, the British government reported 4,422 new coronavirus infections, its biggest daily rise since early May. An official estimate shows new cases and hospital admissions are doubling every week.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson later this week is expected to announce a slate of short-term restrictions that will act as a “circuit breaker” to slow the spread of the disease. The number of cases has been rising quickly in many European countries and while authorities don’t seem ready to return to the tough restrictions on public life that they imposed in the spring, the new wave of the pandemic threatens the economic outlook.

The FTSE 100 in London dropped 3.4%. Other European markets were similarly weak. The German DAX lost 4.4%, and the French CAC 40 fell 3.7%.

In Asia, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng dropped 2.1%, South Korea’s Kospi fell 1% and stocks in Shanghai lost 0.6%.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury fell to 0.66% from 0.69% late Friday.

September’s losses for markets are reversing months of remarkable gains. Beginning in late March, when the Federal Reserve and Congress pledged massive amounts of support for the economy, the S&P 500 erased its nearly 34% in losses caused by the pandemic. Signs of budding economic improvements accelerated the gains, but growth has slowed recently.

AP Business Writer Joe McDonald contributed.

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