Mint Lite | Malaysia emergency, Cuba, hospitality industry to contract & more4 min read . Updated: 12 Jan 2021, 09:13 PM IST
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Republicans in the US Congress faced growing blowback on Monday from businesses that said they would cut off campaign contributions to those who voted last week to challenge President-elect Joe Biden's victory, reported Bloomberg. The announcements by Amazon.com Inc, General Electric Co, Dow Inc, AT&T Inc, Comcast Corp, Verizon Communications Inc, American Express Co, Airbnb Inc, Cisco Systems Inc, Best Buy Co Inc and Mastercard Inc, among others, threaten to throttle fundraising resources for Republicans who will soon be out of power in the White House and both chambers of Congress.
Malaysia declares nationwide emergency
Malaysia’s king declared an emergency for the first time in more than half a century, suspending parliament in a move that allows embattled Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin to avoid facing an election until the pandemic is over. The emergency decree gives Muhyiddin’s administration more power to tackle a surge in covid-19 cases, including over the operations of private hospitals, and may allow the police and military to assist in public health measures. The ringgit and the country’s main stocks index declined after the announcement, which came a day after Muhyiddin imposed a two-week targeted lockdown in most of the country starting Wednesday. The country’s Pharmaniaga has signed an agreement with China's Sinovac to purchase ready-to-fill covid-19 vaccines and later to manufacture the vaccine domestically. The company will carry out a fill-and-finish process of the vaccine in Malaysia, and will subsequently enter into local manufacturing.
Cuba back in terrorism list
The Trump administration has re-designated Cuba as a "state sponsor of terrorism", reversing an Obama-era decision days ahead of the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden, reports PTI. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Monday that the US government had been focused from the start on denying the Castro regime the resources it uses to "oppress its people at home, and countering its malign interference in Venezuela and the rest of the Western Hemisphere". The previous Obama Administration had previously removed from this designation, which subjects Cuba to sanctions that penalise persons and countries engaging in certain trade with it, restricts US foreign assistance, bans defence exports and sales, and imposes certain controls on exports of dual-use items. Cuba returns to the list following its "broken commitment" to stop supporting terrorism as a condition of its removal by the previous administration in 2015.
Hospitality industry to contract in FY21
The domestic hospitality industry, which has been severely affected by the covid-19 related disruptions, is likely to witness a decline of over 65% in 2020-21, according to a report. However, reports PTI, there might be a recovery in demand in the later part of financial year 2021-22 as vaccine rollouts gains traction. In the report, rating agency Icra said it expects the industry to contract 65% in the financial year 2021, with massive operating and net losses, wiping out the cumulative profits of the four past years. However, a sharp demand recovery is possible in the later part of the financial year 2021-22, as vaccine rollouts gain traction. Much though will be contingent upon the spread of the pandemic and success of vaccination efforts, the report said.
US envoy visit angers China
A top US diplomat's upcoming trip to Taiwan as Washington ends decades-old curbs on contacts with Taipei has again escalated Sino-American tensions, reports BBC. Kelly Craft, the US ambassador to the UN, is due to arrive in Taipei on Wednesday for a three-day visit. Her last-minute trip - days before Donald Trump's presidency ends - has incensed China. Self-governing Taiwan, which Beijing claims as its own territory, has hailed the shift in diplomatic relations. Ambassador Craft's visit comes after a year of mounting hostility between Washington and Beijing. The democratic island of Taiwan has been a major thorn in the deteriorating relationship. Under President Trump the US has established closer ties with Taipei - ramping up arms sales and sending senior officials to the territory despite fierce warnings from China. On Sunday, US announced it would end the "self-imposed restrictions" on contacts between US and Taiwan officials that were introduced decades ago.
UK’s waste journeys to poorer countries
The UK has been accused of failing to honour its promise to curb shipments of plastic waste to developing countries, after it emerged Britain’s new post-Brexit regulations are less stringent than those imposed by the EU. From 1 January, shipments of unsorted plastic waste from the EU to non-OECD countries were banned. But Britain will continue to allow plastic waste to be exported to developing countries, despite a Tory party manifesto commitment to banning the practice, and promises of no regression of environmental standards post-Brexit. UK exports will now be made under a new system of “prior informed consent", under which the importer has to agree to accept the waste, and has the opportunity to refuse it. Britain is one of the biggest producers of plastic waste in the world, second only to the US. It exports about two-thirds of its plastic waste.
Curated by Sohini Sen. Have something to share with us? Write to us at feedback@livemint or tweet to @shohinisen