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Chinese stocks underpin Asia; markets wary of virus spike, U.S. presidential debate – Reuters

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SYDNEY (Reuters) – Chinese stocks drove Asian markets higher on Monday, though sentiment was still cautious ahead of a U.S. Presidential debate and as a spike in new coronavirus cases undermined global economic recovery hopes.

FILE PHOTO: People wearing protective masks, following the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, are reflected on a screen showing stock prices outside a brokerage in Tokyo, Japan August 31, 2020. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon/File photo

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan advanced 0.5% to 550.47, but still within striking distance of a two-month low of 543.66 hit last week.

The index is set to end the month deep in the red after three straight monthly gains as the pandemic continues to wreak economic havoc around the world and raises investor anxiety about sky-high valuations.

Chinese shares opened higher and helped to underpin Asian markets after a tentative start, with the blue-chip CSI 300 index up 0.85%. Shanghai’s SSE climbed 0.5%.

Encouragingly, data over the weekend showed profits at China’s industrial firms grew for the fourth straight month in August buoyed in part by a rebound in commodities prices and equipment manufacturing.

Elsewhere, Japan’s Nikkei was 0.75% higher, partly on a lower yen, while South Korea’s KOSPI index gained 1.1%.

Australia’s main share index reversed early losses to edge up, led by positive news on the coronavirus front with new infections in the country’s second-most populous state of Victoria down sharply and allowing authorities to ease some of the mobility restrictions.

The broad gains in Asia follow a Wall Street rally on Friday though analysts expect the gains to be short-lived as expectations for economic growth start to falter.

Particularly worrying is a resurgence of COVID-19 cases in Europe, dousing earlier hopes that authorities might have started to exert some control on the outbreak and raising further strains on businesses already grappling with losses.

“Clouds have started to gather over the developed world as political uncertainty increases in the U.S. and Europe grapples with a resurgence in COVID-19 cases,” Kerry Craig, Global Market Strategist, J.P. Morgan Asset Management.

COVID-19 cases are edging closer to 33 million around the globe with 992,470 reportedly dead with Europe seeing a surge in new infections.

“While governments are loathe to re-introduce nationwide lockdowns, localised and sector based restrictions may last for some time, restraining economic activity,” Craig added.

Investor focus will next be on the first debate between U.S. President Donald Trump and rival Joe Biden on Tuesday ahead of the November election.

A strong performance in Tuesday’s debate by Biden, who currently has a modest lead in betting odds and polls, might boost stocks related to global trade and renewable energy, while a perceived victory by Trump could benefit fossil fuel and defense companies.

Market focus will also be on progress on a new fiscal support package in the United States while investors will be closely watching UK-Europe post-Brexit trade talks as they continue this week.

In currencies, the dollar eased from a near a two-week high against the Japanese yen to 105.44.

The euro was last at $1.1628, not far from a two-month trough of $.1611 touched on Friday.

The British pound rose 0.1% to $1.2760.

The risk sensitive Australian dollar was slightly firmer at $0.7052 after falling for six consecutive sessions as odds narrowed over the prospect of further monetary policy easing in the country.

In commodities, oil prices came under pressure as renewed mobility curbs in various countries to contain a resurgence of coronavirus cases cloud the outlook on fuel demand recovery.

U.S. Brent crude slipped 18 cents to $41.74 a barrel while U.S. light crude was down 19 cents at $40.06.

Gold was a shade higher at $1,861.8, still some way off an all-time peak of above $2,000 an ounce touched in August.

Editing by Shri Navaratnam

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Shoppers' privacy violated at major Canadian malls: Privacy commissioners – CBC News: The National

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  1. Shoppers’ privacy violated at major Canadian malls: Privacy commissioners  CBC News: The National
  2. Cadillac Fairview collected millions of images of shoppers at malls across Canada: Privacy watchdog  CP24 Toronto’s Breaking News
  3. Cadillac Fairview secretly collected personal information from 5M shoppers across Canada: privacy commissioners  KitchenerToday.com
  4. Mall real estate company collected 5 million images of shoppers, say privacy watchdogs  CBC.ca
  5. Cadillac Fairview collected 5 million shoppers’ images without consent  Yahoo Canada Finance
  6. View Full coverage on Google News



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Man rushed to hospital after possible assault in Rexdale – CityNews Toronto

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A man has been rushed to hospital after possibly being assaulted in Rexdale.

Officers were called Mount Olive and Silverstone Drives just before 7:30 p.m. to reports of an assault.

The victim was found unconscious on the scene and was taken to hospital in serious condition.

Police say it appears the man suffered a head injury.

No further details have been released at this point.

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Canadian mall giant collected 5 million images of shoppers through embedded cameras in info kiosks, say privacy watchdogs. These are the malls – Financial Post

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“Shoppers had no reason to expect their image was being collected by an inconspicuous camera, or that it would be used, with facial recognition technology, for analysis,” says Privacy Commissioner of Canada Daniel Therrien. “The lack of meaningful consent was particularly concerning given the sensitivity of biometric data, which is a unique and permanent characteristic of our body and a key to our identity.”

The mall giant defended the practice, saying it alerted shoppers by posting decals on mall entry doors that referred to their privacy policy. But the commissioners determined this insufficient. Shoppers were directed by the stickers to visit guest services to obtain a copy of the Cadillac Fairview’s privacy policy, but when investigators asked a guest services employee at one of the malls, “they were confused by the request.”

Cadillac Fairview spokesperson Jess Savage said in a statement to the CBC that the AVA technology did not store any images during the pilot program and was not capable of recognizing anyone.

“The five million representations referenced in the [Office of the Privacy Commissioner] report are not faces. These are sequences of numbers the software uses to anonymously categorize the age range and gender of shoppers in the camera’s view,” she said.

“The OPC report concludes there is no evidence that CF was using any technology for the purpose of identifying individuals.”

Cadillac Fairview removed the cameras from its digital directory kiosks in 2018 when the commissioners launched the probe. It has no current plans to reinstall the technology.

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