Blood type not a COVID-19 risk factor in U.S.; inhaled asthma drug may keep mild illness from worsening

Health

Yahoo News 16 April, 2021 - 02:10pm 29 views

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  (Reuters) - The following is a roundup of some of the latest scientific studies on the novel coronavirus and efforts to find treatments and vaccines for COVID-19, the illness caused by the virus. 

  Blood type not a factor in COVID-19 risks in U.S. patients 

  Blood type does not affect susceptibility to COVID-19 in U.S. patients, a new study suggests. Researchers analyzed data on nearly 108,000 people from Utah, Idaho, and Nevada who were tested for COVID-19 and whose blood type was listed in their medical records. None of the blood types - A, B, AB or O - was linked with their risk of becoming infected, need for hospitalization or intensive care, according to a report published in JAMA Network Open. Smaller studies from China, Italy and Spain have linked type A blood to higher COVID-19 risks and type O blood to lower risks, and a large study from Denmark tied blood type to COVID-19 severity. Studies from New York and Boston - like this new study - found no such links. Study coauthor Dr. Jeffrey Anderson of the Intermountain Healthcare Heart Institute in Salt Lake City said in a statement that the effects of blood type can vary across populations. "We looked at a lot of risk factors as to who might need to be hospitalized and who might need more advanced care, and... for our population at least, blood type is not on that list," Anderson said. (https://bit.ly/32rVzVb) 

  Asthma drug may keep mild COVID-19 from worsening 

  An inhaled steroid commonly used to treat asthma can help keep patients with mild COVID-19 from getting sicker, according to results from a trial published in The Lancet Respiratory Medicine. Within a week of developing symptoms, 73 patients were randomly assigned to receive inhaled budesonide twice a day, and another 73 were assigned to receive only usual care. On average, patients used budesonide for 7 days. Ultimately, 15% of patients receiving usual care needed an urgent-care visit or hospitalization, compared to only 3% of those treated with budesonide. Patients who got budesonide also had fewer days with fever, fewer days of taking medicines to prevent fever, and recovered on average one day faster. "To our knowledge," the researchers said, this is the first trial of inhaled corticosteroids in early COVID-19 illness, and it "potentially provides the first easily accessible effective intervention" for patients with mild symptoms. They said larger trials to confirm their findings are urgently needed, "especially in the setting of a treatment given early that is widely available and relatively safe." (https://bit.ly/3e6p2K1) 

  Household members face higher contagion risk from UK variant 

  Compared to people infected with less contagious coronavirus variants, those infected with the variant identified in the UK, known as B.1.1.7, are more likely infect their household members, according to new data. During three weeks in February, researchers in Ontario, Canada, monitored people living with a COVID-19 patient in more than 2,500 roughly-comparable private households. During the two weeks after patients were diagnosed, the so-called secondary attack rate - the rate at which infections occurred among household members - was 31% higher when the patient was infected with the B.1.1.7 virus variant than when COVID-19 was caused by a less worrisome variant. When the original infected person never developed symptoms, the secondary attack rate was 91% higher with B.1.1.7, the researchers reported on medRxiv ahead of peer review. And when the original patient had no symptoms at first, and then became ill, the rate at which household members became infected was more than 200% higher when the patient carried the B.1.1.7 variant. Since emerging in the UK, B.1.1.7 has spread to more than 100 other countries. It has now become the dominant coronavirus variant in the United States, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (https://bit.ly/32lfTHT) 

  Experimental wearable monitors for COVID-19 cytokine storm 

  A wearable "sweat sensor" might someday help monitor patients with COVID-19 and other illnesses for the onset of a cytokine storm, a surge of inflammatory proteins heralding a potentially fatal over-reaction of the immune system, researchers said. Cytokines are typically measured in blood. They can also be measured sweat, but only in "passive" sweat - not the kind produced during exertion. "The big challenge is that we don't sweat much, especially in air-conditioned environments," Shalini Prasad of the University of Texas at Dallas said in a statement. In the wristwatch-like device her team is developing, minuscule amounts of passive sweat diffuse onto a sensor strip attached to an electronic reader. The reader detects any inflammatory proteins and wirelessly sends the data to a smartphone app. "Especially now in the context of COVID-19, if you could monitor pro-inflammatory cytokines and see them trending upwards, you could treat patients early, even before they develop symptoms," said Prasad, who was presenting the work on Friday at a virtual meeting of the American Chemical Society. The researchers plan to initially test the device in patients with non-COVID respiratory infections, such as influenza. (https://bit.ly/2RvJPij) 

  Open https://tmsnrt.rs/3c7R3Bl in an external browser for a Reuters graphic on vaccines in development. 

  (Reporting by Nancy Lapid; Editing by Bill Berkrot) 

Right now, you don't have to be vaccinated against COVID-19 to travel. But how you travel may be more limited in the future if you're not vaccinated.

New modelling of the COVID-19 situation in Ontario shows that extending the stay-at-home order to six weeks, with 100,000 vaccines doses being administered each day, is the "only way to flatten the curve." "What the models are suggesting now...is that the case growth is going to be much less substantial and if the public measures extend for six weeks instead of four weeks, we really blunt the second round of growth as part of this wave," Dr. Adalsteinn Brown, co-chair of the Ontario COVID-19 Science Advisory Table, explained on Friday.

Let's talk about the "toddler-to-trainwreck industrial complex." The post Why do we expect every child star to become a trainwreck? appeared first on In The Know.

The Ohio county sheriff and his tiny police dog were inseparable, their lives unwaveringly intertwined. It thus seems fitting that retired Geauga County Sheriff Dan McClelland, 67, and his crime-fighting partner Midge, 16, would both die on Wednesday — McClelland, at a hospital after a lengthy battle with cancer and Midge, a few hours later at home, perhaps of a broken heart. McClelland retired at the end of 2016 after 13 years as sheriff in this semi-rural county east of Cleveland.

The “large organic mass” found inside the burrito wasn’t part of a nutritious breakfast.

GENEVA (Reuters) -The number of new COVID-19 cases per week has nearly doubled globally over the past two months, approaching the highest rate seen so far during the pandemic, the head of the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Friday. "Cases and deaths are continuing to increase at worrying rates," Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a briefing focused on Papua New Guinea (PNG) and the western Pacific region. He said he was very worried about the potential for a much larger epidemic in PNG, and it was vital the country received more COVID-19 vaccines as soon as possible.

A Spanish court has provoked outrage by acquitting a man of sexually abusing his 14-year-old stepdaughter despite the fact she gave birth to his child. The Pamplona court accepted the defendant’s claim that the teenager had sat astride him while he was asleep on the sofa and engaged in penetrative sex. The man said he had no recollection of the supposed encounter as he had been very drunk that night. Close to nine months later, in December 2018, the girl was admitted to hospital and gave birth to a child, something the accused claimed had been a complete surprise to him and the girl’s mother. Social services ordered a paternity test, which confirmed that the stepfather was the father of the baby. The girl’s mother reported the father for alleged sexual abuse of her daughter, who initially said she had been raped in the street before changing her story to corroborate her stepfather’s claim that he had not been conscious when they had sex. The judges, sitting in the same Pamplona court that in 2018 sparked massive feminist protests when acquitting the “wolf pack” gang rapists who were later found guilty on appeal, said that there was insufficient evidence to convict the stepfather. However, the sentence also noted that the girl had “kept her head and eyes facing down” during the trial, “answering questions very briefly in a barely audible voice”. Altamira Gonzalo, vice-president of the Themis women jurists’ association, said the verdict “takes us back to the kind of sentences we used to see in Spain in the 1950s or 60s, when there was complete impunity for men in the family environment”. “The sentence beggars belief. The only thing the court valued is the accused’s right to the presumption of innocence. It has ignored its duty to protect a minor and the fact that the age of consent in Spain is 16,” Ms Gonzalo told The Telegraph. Spain’s parliament this week passed a new child protection law backed by NGOs such as Save the Children, which estimates that only 15 per cent of family abuse cases in Spain are reported. Cira García, a judge from one of Spain’s gender violence courts, said the sentence does not even consider the possibility that the girl may have changed her version of events in order to protect her stepfather. “We are sick of criticising that children’s testimony is often not given credibility and they are accused of lying in court, but here the girl’s word is accepted without question to absolve the accused, even though her account of events is absolutely implausible,” Ms García told the online newspaper Público.

Matt Woodruff, the executive director of the Georgia Commission, told Yahoo Sports by telephone that the commission's doctor had examined Paul and cleared him to fight.

Experts say post-COVID-19 symptoms - including severe tinnitus - may linger for months, causing depression and increasing suicide risks.

An Asian woman was harassed on a New York City subway train before being helped by a homeless man on Thursday. What happened: The 34-year-old victim, who wishes to remain anonymous, was on a southbound Q train at the 96th Street Subway Station at 11:30 p.m., when the male suspect directed anti-Asian statements at her, according to authorities. The woman verbally defended herself and told him to leave, reported NBC New York.

Even though Kanye West’s divorce from Kim Kardashian hasn’t been officially signed off by a judge yet, the rapper is already looking ahead to his dating life. This time around, he has some specifications that need to be met when it comes to romance — and it’s the total opposite of his ex-wife. West is […]

The 300-million-year-old shark’s teeth were the first sign that it might be a distinct species. “Great for grasping and crushing prey rather than piercing prey,” said discoverer John-Paul Hodnett, who was a graduate student when he unearthed the first fossils of the shark at a dig east of Albuquerque in 2013. This week, Hodnett and a slew of other researchers published their findings in a bulletin of the New Mexico Museum of Natural History & Science identifying the shark as a separate species.

Rain and thunderstorms will soak Florida, putting a damper on plans and even leading to some dangers like frequent lightning and flash flooding next week. And even though AccuWeather meteorologists say a large amount of rain may fall over a very short period of time, leading to localized problems, the pattern change will also bring some benefits. It has been an exceptionally soggy spring across many areas of the southeastern United States so far in 2021. In addition to many severe weather incidents from the Mississippi River to the Carolina coastline, drenching rain has hit much of the area. Cities such as Birmingham and Mobile, Alabama, have had more than double the normal amount of rainfall since March 15, and New Orleans has had four times the normal amount of rain in the same time period. Excessive rainfall amounts poured down, wth some areas enduring 6-10 inches of rain in the three days ending on Friday morning, April 16, 2021. (AccuWeather) Unrelenting rain that hammered the central Gulf Coast this week will finally begin to shift farther to the south and east on Saturday. Wet weather will return to portions of the Florida Panhandle, one part of the Sunshine State that has picked up a fair share of rainfall, on Saturday. Both Pensacola and Panama City, Florida, have picked up a total of around 6.5 inches of rain since April 8. This much rain is already one and a half times the normal rainfall for the entire month of April. Drenching thunderstorms will spread across northern Florida on Saturday and Saturday evening, allowing downpours to reach the east coast city of Jacksonville. Any thunderstorm could bring a quick half inch or an inch of rain in just a few hours. All the while, most of the Florida Peninsula is set to have a sunny and humid start to the weekend, but the dry weather is not expected to last. The wet weather will shift southward across Florida for the second half of the weekend, targeting locations from Jacksonville and Gainesville southward to Orlando and Tampa. Popular beaches like Daytona, Vero and Clearwater will also likely be wet on Sunday. CLICK HERE FOR THE FREE ACCUWEATHER APP The repeated rounds of rain through Wednesday are likely to deliver several inches of rainfall across the area. An AccuWeather Local StormMax™ of 10 inches is possible by Wednesday afternoon. Anyone stepping outdoors in these areas will likely want to have the raincoats and umbrellas handy through the first half of the week. Downpours may be enough to lead to ponding on the roadways and bring reduced visibility for motorists. Flash flooding is also possible, especially in low-lying areas. "Too much rain may fall at once and lead to flooding problems," AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski said. "The excessive rainfall may set into motion the risk of sinkholes in a region that has had a history of trouble with the geological phenomenon." It is possible that a few thunderstorms accompanying the rain could also bring a couple of locally stronger wind gusts. Overall, however, the rainfall is likely to be beneficial across central and southern parts of Florida. These parts of the Sunshine State have mostly been missed by the wet weather that has pummeled much of the southeastern U.S. so hard this past month. As such, central and southern Florida has been left quite parched. Almost 50 percent of the state of Florida is facing "abnormally dry" conditions, which is a step below moderate drought, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. A small corridor in the southern part of the state is in the grips of a moderate drought. This may come to a surprise to some after heavy thunderstorms drenched parts of the Florida Peninsula last weekend, producing dozens of damaging storm reports and even breaking some long-standing daily rainfall records, according to the National Weather Service office in Tampa. "The southern two-thirds of Florida is running unusually dry now, right at the time when we have the annual peak of the wildfire season in the state," AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Brett Anderson said. "Next week's rainfall should greatly reduce the fire risk for the remainder of the month across central Florida," he said, and that will be before the arrival of the state's wet season, which usually begins in May. Not every location that could use the rain will be so lucky. The bulk of much-needed rainfall will likely bypass extreme south Florida. "Unfortunately, much of southern Florida, including the Everglades, is also quite dry, with only 25 to 50 percent of normal rainfall since the start of the year," added Anderson. Naples, Florida, is one such location, which, as of the middle of April, has fallen well short of normal rainfall amounts. The city has reported only 2.89 inches of rain, a mere 38 percent of normal. Without the aid of several rounds of rain, the abnormally dry to moderate drought conditions are likely to continue, keeping the fire risk elevated in the far southern parts of Florida into early May. However, that could all change after hurricane season arrives on June 1. The AccuWeather teams of long-range and tropical meteorologists are concerned about another above-average year in terms of hurricanes for the Atlantic basin. The 2020 season was the most active on record, and 12 named storms made landfall in the U.S. "Signals for the 2021 hurricane season point toward most of the impacts in Florida, along the U.S. East Coast, and South Texas," AccuWeather Lead Long-Range Forecaster Paul Pastelok said. "We will have to watch for the risk of excessive rain to shift farther to the east along the Gulf Coast during the balance of the spring to early summer, which goes along with concerns for tropicals systems in that region," Pastelok said. Keep checking back on AccuWeather.com and stay tuned to the AccuWeather Network on DirecTV, Frontier, Spectrum, FuboTV, Philo, and Verizon Fios.

Although the U.S. is seeing a record number of COVID-19 vaccinations, the nation is still seeing an uptick in cases. And of particular concern among health experts is the recent increase in cases among teens and children.

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Now the scandal-plagued politician hopes to surf their discontent to a Republican primary victory over Gov. Brian Kemp. Jones announced Friday that he would challenge the incumbent governor, a frequent Trump target, in 2022.

The Queen has shared one of her favourite photographs of herself relaxing with the Duke of Edinburgh, her beloved husband of 73 years. The image depicts the couple in a rare private moment, off duty, relaxed and enjoying each other's company in one of their favourite beauty spots atop the Coyles of Muick on the Balmoral estate. The candid snap was taken by the Countess of Wessex in 2003. The couple, smiling broadly at the camera, are clearly enjoying a break amid the stunning scenery of the Scottish Highlands. The Duke, lying back on a rug, is propping himself up on his left elbow, his hat jauntily placed on his right knee. The Queen, dressed in a tartan skirt, blouse and cardigan accessorised with a string of pearls, is also sitting on a rug. It is thought the picture was taken during the couple's traditional summer break at the Queen's nearby private estate of Balmoral.

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Sweeney and Cook set to testify at Apple vs. Epic Games trial

GamesIndustry.biz 16 April, 2021 - 06:48pm

Both Epic Games and Apple have submitted provisional witness lists ahead of their antitrust court trial next month, which could see Apple CEO Tim Cook and Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney take the stand.

The two companies provided separate preliminary lists of witnesses to call during the trial, which is slated to play out over three weeks in May.

The list includes executives from Microsoft, Facebook, NVidia Corp and Match Group, according to a case filing obtained by Law360.

Cook's examination is set to take two hours while the court investigates Apple's corporate values and app store competitors.

Meanwhile, Sweeney could spend up to eight hours on the stand, and is expected to testify on Epic Games' history, business model, relationship with Samsung, as well as previous discussions with Google and Apple.

Other Apple executives set to testify include: Eddy Cue, Apple senior vice president of internet software and services; Eric Gray, director of Apple's commerce and pricing for Apple services; and Craig Federighi, who oversees development of Apple iOS and macOS operating systems.

Epic Games' chief operating officer Daniel Vogel will also take the stand, as well as Epic Games Store general manager Steve Allison, and engineering fellow Andrew Grant, who handles the enforcement of platform rules and anti-cheat measures.

Earlier this week, Apple attempted to block Epic from calling several witnesses to the stand. The company argued that the companies for which the witnesses work -- Microsoft, Facebook and Yoga Buddhi Co. -- are all "publicly aligned" in Epic's favour.

Last week, a US Magistrate Judge also denied Apple's request to access documents allegedly proving Facebook's bias, following Epic's decision to call a Facebook executive as a witness.

The trial between Apple and Epic is scheduled to begin on May 3.

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The company's crusade against Apple may look increasingly quixotic, but its spending on creating a serious competitor to Steam is rational and justified

Update: District Judge denied Apple's demands, saying Epic didn't breach disclosure requirements

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How to turn online gaming into a lucrative career: YouTube Fortnite sensation Lachlan Power

Yahoo Finance 16 April, 2021 - 02:50pm

Lachlan Power, an industrious and charming 25-year-old from Australia, has built an empire creating videos of himself screaming, laughing and narrating as he plays online games. He started with Minecraft, but it’s Fortnite, the Epic Games phenomenon, that catapulted him to global fame. Today, his YouTube channel (GOOG, GOOGL) has nearly 15 million subscribers, with 4.7 billion views and counting. He has an additional 1.8 million followers on Instagram (FB) and 1.5 million on Twitter (TWTR).

Power has been at it for eight years now, and his business is growing. Like Beyoncé or Zendaya, he goes by a single name online. But he’s turned his fortuitous surname into something even broader: PWR, a gaming, entertainment and apparel brand. The guy who once played eight hours of Fortnite a day now plays just two or three, and uses the rest of his time to grow his business.

“It's full time, full time, full time, full time squared. You wake up, you think about work. You go to bed. And in between that ... you think about work,” he told Yahoo Finance's Jen Rogers as part of the ongoing series The NEXT: 21 to watch in 2021. “Especially in the influencer side of things, you're always thinking about the next business opportunity. You're always thinking about your next video. You're always thinking about how you can better optimize a certain process within your organization.”

Power says it didn’t take long for his childhood hobby to turn into a bonafide career. The turning point came after he developed a Minecraft server as a side hustle. “It was actually pretty quick for me. In the first month, I think I was getting a couple 1,000 views on my Minecraft videos, which was insane,” Power said. “I always have this memory of like, there was one day where the revenue on that server made, I think was like $1,000 in a day. And that was just like unbelievable money at that time. I was 17 at university. And I was just like, I am going to drop out and pursue this ... and haven't regretted that ever since.”

He says it took a little bit of time to get his parents on board (his mom is a bank manager and his dad is a local politician): “They were sad at me leaving [university] at first and then tried to convince me to go back for the next year, even though I was making really good money,” he said, laughing. “But the argument would always be there, ‘This can't last forever.’ So I made it last forever.”

Part of Power’s success has certainly been timing. Esports have exploded in recent years, and certainly during the pandemic, with no end in sight. Just this week, Epic Games, creator of Fortnite, announced a staggering $1 billion round of new funding, with $200 million from Sony Entertainment (SONY). The company’s equity valuation is now $28.7 billion, up more than 60 percent from last year.

Fortnite has been shrewd and aggressive in releasing new twists on its format and creating culturally relevant moments, like its 2019 in-game Marshmello concert. It even teamed up last year with the Australian Open for a five-week Fortnite Champion Series, presented by the legendary tennis tournament.

“I think Epic and the Fortnight team have done an amazing job with breaking down those barriers between traditional and the gaming realm, because it is so new. The Australian Open is one great example,” Power said. “Fortnite has also done a lot of things in-game as well through the Icon series … awesome, amazing collaborations with Travis Scott, more of these mainstream things that kind of make gaming cool.”

Perhaps it’s no surprise that Power is also bullish on high-tech trends like non-fungible tokens (NFTs). He bought his first — a cute animated pink dinosaur-like creature — earlier this month. “I think for creators and creative [people], it's a great way to monetize your audience in a new way. And I think we're gonna see a lot more of it,” he predicted.

He’s also intrigued by cryptocurrencies: “I personally am very into crypto, a little bit of investing myself into a few coins,” he said. “And it's just very interesting, the blockchain technology, and I would really love to see a video game get involved, because I think that is going to be when it gets real.”

In the meantime, he will keep stoking the fires of his beloved YouTube and social following. And he has this advice for anyone dreaming of following building a career like his: “I would always start on YouTube, it's just a great discoverable platform for people to find content,” he said. In the increasingly crowded "influencer" space, he says it’s crucial to focus on alluring titles and thumbnails, and to find a niche.

“You need to have your best foot in the door, and then just deliver on the content. Make them not want to click off the video," he said. “Finding ways to create content that people aren't doing is the best way to grow.”

Check out more of Yahoo Finance's THE NEXT 21: 21 to watch in 2021

A top Chinese diplomat said Friday that U.S. policy toward China is “too negative" and that cooperation could be critically important as the Biden administration focuses on combatting COVID-19 and promoting economic recovery. The U.S. appears to be highlighting confrontation and playing down cooperation, Vice Foreign Minister Le Yucheng said in a wide-ranging interview with The Associated Press. China could be a partner as Biden tackles the coronavirus and the economy, he said.

Michael Brush says investors shouldn’t be worried about a housing bubble. Jeffry Bartash shares an alarming statistic — you might find it hard to believe how much Americans are now paying for used cars. Coinbase priced its initial public offering at $250.

Mpow's wildly popular earbuds are at the lowest price we've seen — save a whopping 72 percent off.

(Bloomberg) -- Alcoa Corp. gained the most in more than two years after reporting first-quarter earnings that beat analysts’ expectations, with aluminum prices surging and the company projecting further strength as economies reopen.Shares in the biggest U.S. maker of the metal climbed as much as 9.7% to the highest since November 2018. The stock gained 8.4% to $35.59 at 3:44 p.m. in New York.Alcoa was already on a roll before reporting earnings late Thursday, with shares jumping six-fold from a pandemic low last year. Aluminum demand is rising just as China, the largest producer of the metal, pushes to cut carbon emissions, spurring expectations the Asian nation will curb supply expansions. Alcoa told analysts Thursday it will continue to focus on paying down net debt with cash on hand, and that it expects to get within its target range this year.“With pricing tailwinds continuing, we expect Alcoa’s results to improve further,” David Gagliano, an analyst at BMO Capital Markets, said in a note to clients. “Alcoa is rapidly approaching the high end of its net debt target range, in turn opening the door for possible shareholder returns later in 2021 in our view.”The Pittsburgh-based company said in its earnings statement that it expects a strong 2021 based on continued economic recovery and increased demand for aluminum in all end markets. Alcoa Chief Executive Officer Roy Harvey said last month that China is taking meaningful steps to rein in production, calling it a “game-changer” for the industry after years of gluts.Benchmark aluminum prices surged 25% from the end of September through March, marking the biggest gain over that period since 2006.Alcoa reported earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization of $521 million, topping the $450.8 million average of six analysts’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg and the highest since 2018. Sales rose to $2.87 billion, compared with the $2.62 billion analysts had forecast.(Updates with share price movement and analyst comment)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

In this article, we are going to list the 15 richest media owners in the world. You can skip our detailed analysis of the media industry and outlook, and jump to the 5 Richest Media Owners in the World. The richest media owners are behind some of the major media conglomerates that deliver media and […]

Police say they found the toddler’s two siblings, ages 3 and 8, alone in a hotel room with the door ajar.

The Biden administration on Friday said it will invest $1.7 billion to help states and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention fight COVID-19 variants that are rapidly spreading across the United States. The investment, which will be part of President Joe Biden's $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan, will improve detection, monitoring, and mitigation of these variants by scaling up genomic sequencing efforts - a key step in containing the spread, the White House said. In early February, U.S. laboratories were only sequencing about 8,000 COVID-19 strains per week.

Hours after Democrats introduced a bill that would expand the Supreme Court from 9 to 13 justices, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said that she does not support the bill and will not bring it to the floor. Driving the news: Speaking at her weekly press briefing on Thursday, Pelosi didn't rule out the possibility of expanding the Supreme Court, but she said she supports President Biden's commission to study the issue. Get market news worthy of your time with Axios Markets. Subscribe for free.Flashback: Earlier this month, Biden signed an executive order to create a six-month bipartisan commission to study a number of Supreme Court reforms, including expansion.What they're saying: "I don't know if that's a good idea or a bad idea. I think it's an idea that should be considered, and I think the president's taking the right approach to have a commission to study such a thing," Pelosi said."It's a big step. It's not out of the question. It has been done before, in the history of our country a long time ago.""[T]he growth of our country, of our challenges in terms of the economy ... might necessitate such a thing. But in answer to your question, I have no plans to bring it to the floor." Of note: House Judiciary Committee Chair Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), an ally of Pelosi's, is one of the bill's co-sponsors.More from Axios: Sign up to get the latest market trends with Axios Markets. Subscribe for free

One analyst has an idea about what’s behind this week’s downturn. Shares of (NIO) (ticker: NIO), (XPEV) (XPEV), and (LI) (LI), fell about 5%, 10%, and 15%, respectively, this week. The S&P 500 and Dow Jones Industrial Average both rose more than 1% this past week.

As the Biden administration floats the likelihood of higher corporate taxes, big companies like Nike (NKE) have come under fire from a number of politicians — including Sen. Bernie Sanders — for not paying their fair share. In a statement given to Yahoo Finance, the Swoosh brand is fighting back, saying it pays federal, state, and local taxes.

Stocks traded higher Friday in another record-setting day on Wall Street, with a batch of stronger-than-expected economic data and corporate earnings results helping fuel a risk rally.

(Bloomberg) -- Website-hosting service Squarespace Inc. moved ahead with plans for a direct listing, joining a cadre of technology-oriented companies that didn’t need to raise money in a traditional initial public offering.Squarespace spelled out its plans Friday in a filing in which it also disclosed details of its finances, including 28% growth in revenue last year. The filing confirms an earlier Bloomberg News report that Squarespace would follow a handful of other technology-based companies -- most recently cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase Global Inc. -- in picking a direct listing over an IPO.Squarespace is planning to list its shares on the New York Stock Exchange, the choice for every major direct listing except Coinbase. While investment banks don’t underwrite offerings as they do in IPOs, they advise the company on the listing. Squarespace is working with with banks including Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and JPMorgan Chase & Co., according to its filing.In a direct listing, a company doesn’t raise fresh capital and existing investors can typically begin selling their shares on the first day of trading without the usual lockup period restrictions in an IPO. It can save on banking fees and the time spent on an investor roadshow.Roblox Corp., Palantir Technologies Inc. and Asana Inc. also have gone public through direct listings in the past year. Earlier listings by Spotify Technology SA and Slack Technologies Inc. helped trail-blaze the alternate route to public equity markets.Squarespace BackersLed by founder and Chief Executive Officer Anthony Casalena, Squarespace competes against publicly traded rivals Wix.com Ltd. and GoDaddy Inc., among others. The New York-based company is is backed by investors including General Atlantic, Index Ventures and Accel.“Squarespace has flourished by providing anyone a way to participate in the immense opportunity that comes from publishing and transacting on the internet,” Casalena said in a letter to investors included in the filing.The company, which is expanding beyond web hosting to e-commerce, was valued at $10 billion in March in a funding round. It said in January that it had confidentially submitted a draft filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.Revenue GainsStarted in 2004, Squarespace had 3.7 million unique subscriptions as of Dec. 31, according to its filing.Squarespace had a net income of about $31 million on revenue of $621 million last year, compared with $58 million on revenue of $485 million in 2019, according to its filing.Its e-commerce business had 2020 revenue of $143 million, a 78% increase over the previous year, according to the filing. Its growth plans include expanding it customer base -- especially internationally -- and deepening its commerce offerings.The company acquired restaurant-services provider Tock for more than $400 million in March. Squarespace paid a mix of cash and stock for the Chicago-based company, which provides technology for online reservations, takeout and other services. That followed 2019 deals for Unfold Creative LLC and Acuity Scheduling Inc.Acquisition StrategySquarespace will pursue strategic acquisitions to accelerate key platform, product and marketing initiatives, it said its filing.Casalena will continue to control the company through his 76% ownership of the company’s Class B shares, which carry 10 votes each compared with one each for the Class A shares that will be listed.A date for the Squarespace’s trading debut hasn’t been disclosed. The company plans for its shares to trade under the symbol SQSP.(Updates with CEO’s letter in seventh paragraph)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

Wendy's CEO Todd Penegor shares his thoughts with Yahoo Finance Presents on the chicken sandwich wars.

(Bloomberg) -- GameStop Corp. Chief Executive Officer George Sherman, who is expected to leave the struggling video-game retailer, sold almost $12 million in shares, benefiting from a run-up in the stock fueled by day traders.Sherman sold 76,097 shares of the company on April 15 for $156.44, a regulatory filing Friday showed, delivering proceeds of $11.9 million.Representatives of GameStop didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.Activist investor Ryan Cohen, the company’s incoming chairman, is spearheading a turnaround effort at GameStop, which is seeking a new CEO to replace Sherman, people with knowledge of the matter have said. Sherman earlier this week forfeited about $98 million in compensation after failing to meet performance targets.Shares of GameStop have become a favorite of Reddit-reading day traders this year, sending the stock soaring, despite shrinking sales and losses in the latest fiscal year.For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

(Bloomberg) -- China’s economy strengthened in the first quarter of the year as consumer spending rose more than expected, putting it on course to join the U.S. as twin engines for a global recovery in 2021.Gross domestic product climbed 18.3% in the first quarter from a year earlier, largely in line with the 18.5% predicted in a Bloomberg survey of economists, though that record-breaking figure was mainly due to comparisons with a year ago when much of the economy was shut due to coronavirus. Retail sales beat expectations while industrial output growth moderated.The latest data puts China on course to grow well above its annual target of more than 6%, supporting the view that China and the U.S., where economists predict 6.2% growth, will both outperform other major nations this year. China’s recovery hasn’t yet plateaued after it became the first major economy to contain the spread of coronavirus and return to growth, with GDP rising 0.6% in the first three months of 2021 from the previous quarter.How Much of China’s GDP Was Made in America?: Daniel MossThe recovery last year was led by strong investment in real estate and infrastructure spurring demand for industrial goods, while overseas orders for medical goods and electronic devices fueled exports. Consumer spending had lagged, but the latest figures showed a turnaround. Retail sales growth was 6.3% in March when calculated on a two-year average growth basis -- which removes distortions created by last year’s lockdowns -- up sharply from the rates seen last year.“We are seeing a bit more balanced recovery in the Chinese economy,” Wang Tao, chief China economist at UBS AG, said in an interview with Bloomberg TV. “That early pickup in construction industry is going to give way to more household consumption,” she added. Consumer spending at restaurants and sales of discretionary goods such as jewelry, alcohol and tobacco led the growth of retail sales in March.The economy was also boosted by a jump in investment from overseas. Inbound investment into China rose almost 40% to $45 billion in the first three months of 2021, according to data from the Ministry of Commerce released Thursday. That was the highest for that period in comparable data back to 2002.Markets were choppy following the data release but ended the day little changed, with the benchmark CSI 300 Index paring an earlier loss of as much as 0.6% to finish up 0.35% for the day. The yield on benchmark 10-year sovereign debt fell slightly to 3.16%. The onshore yuan was unchanged on the day at 6.5226 per dollar.Broadening out the recovery remains a work in progress with growth in the first quarter still reliant on the property sector. Fixed-asset investment in real estate rose 7.6% on a two-year average growth basis and infrastructure spending increased roughly in-line with pre-pandemic rates. Quarterly steel production of 271 million tons suggests that annual output is on course to top 1 billion tons for the second year running.What Bloomberg Economics Says...The undershoot in GDP growth relative to expectations and lopsided nature of the recovery do not warrant any economy-wide shift in monetary policy, in our view.Looking forward, production is poised to start peaking, while demand should pick up further. This should add more balance in what looks to be a steady recovery ahead.Chang Shu, chief Asia economistFor full report, click hereAlthough Beijing has promised “no sharp turns” in monetary and fiscal support this year, some prominent economists have warned that premature tightening could still put the recovery at risk. The central bank has asked banks to curtail loan growth in coming months as it seeks to control credit to curb asset bubbles. Alongside the investment data, data showing home prices grew at the fastest pace in seven months in March will likely prompt more action by Chinese policy makers to rein in the sector.“Considering the robust recovery, we certainly do not expect Beijing to step up easing measures, but it is also unlikely to make a sharp shift in its policy stance,” Nomura economists led by Lu Ting wrote in a note. Authorities have learned lessons from a “forceful deleveraging campaign” in 2017-18, which led to bond defaults, a stock market selloff and weaker growth, they said.The statistics bureau said Friday inflation is expected to remain in a moderate range this year, and while rising commodity costs could boost domestic prices, there’s no basis for prices in upstream sectors to rise significantly.“The economy is far from overheating,” said Bruce Pang, head of macro and strategy research at China Renaissance Securities Hong Kong Ltd. “The consumer sector doesn’t have a solid basis for overheating, and I don’t think the central bank will take a faster turn for monetary policy.”Bloomberg Economics forecasts global GDP growth of 6.9% in 2021, rapid enough to bring output substantially back onto its pre-Covid path. Data released Thursday showed the U.S. economy’s comeback is firing on all cylinders, with retail sales exceeding pre-pandemic levels in all categories except restaurants. Production at U.S. factories increased in March by the most in eight months.China has rapidly accelerated its vaccination campaign over the past month in a move that should help bolster spending on services. A recovery in major economies fueled by vaccine roll-outs and the Biden administration’s massive fiscal stimulus is expected to sustain rapid growth in Chinese exports this year.Economists have upgraded their forecasts for China’s growth in recent days: Bloomberg Economics expects 9.3% expansion, ING Groep NV economist Iris Pang predicts 8.6% and Nomura sees 8.9%.“We expect the economy to continue to gain momentum in the second quarter, with a rotation in terms of the drivers of growth compared to last year,” said Louis Kuijs, head of Asia Economics at Oxford Economics Ltd. in Hong Kong. “Less generous fiscal and monetary policy will weigh on infrastructure and real estate investment, while improved profitability and confidence should buoy corporate investment and consumption.”(Updates with foreign investment data.)For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

Property purchases in China funded through bank loans fraudulently obtained by speculators are fuelling already red-hot real estate markets in its biggest cities and beginning to alarm regulators. Four tier-1 Chinese cities, including Shenzhen and Shanghai, have reported since March that a probe by financial regulators found that 877.8 million yuan ($134.21 million) of bank loans were improperly used for property purchases.

NINGBO, China/BEIJING (Reuters) -Chinese automaker Geely, owner of Volvo Cars, on Thursday launched a high-end electric vehicle (EV) brand named Zeekr, targeting China's growing appetite for premium EVs that has boosted sales for Tesla and Chinese peer Nio. Parent Zhejiang Geely Holding Group and Geely Automobile said last month they would jointly invest 2 billion yuan ($306 million) in the new venture, seeking to position Zeekr as a startup under Geely group, also known overseas for its 9.7% stake in Germany's Daimler AG. The price tags for Zeekr cars will be around 300,000 yuan, and Flynn Chen, Zeekr's vice president, said the brand will explore new sales and marketing methods, including allowing customers to subscribe to car-using rights and offering a stake in the company to car buyers.

Citibank has hinted there won't be any possible layoff and closure of physical branches in the countries it is exiting.

Fortnite Trial: Apple & Epic Games CEOs Will Both Testify

Screen Rant 15 April, 2021 - 06:13pm

In a sudden move last year, Epic announced it would be letting players buy Fortnite's V-Bucks currency at a discounted rate directly through its own website, rather than in-game, as a way to bypass Apple's 30% revenue cut. Apple quickly delisted Fortnite as a result, noting a breach of contractual agreements. The battle royale developer responded with a lawsuit, alleging anti-competitive conduct and claiming that Apple has created an illegal monopoly of the iOS App Distribution Market. The time has now come to actually go to in-person court for the matter.

Law360 (via VGC) reports that Sweeney will be examined for almost 8 hours and will likely talk about the relationship between Epic and Apple, Epic's business model, and more. Cook will be on the stand for roughly 2 hours, talking about the app store and its competitors likely as a result of insulation that the tech giant runs a monopoly. The witness list includes execs from a number of gaming companies that have worked with Epic on Fortnite including Xbox business development VP Lori Wright.

Should Epic win this case, it could likely have major ramifications on not only Apple's App Store, but the gaming industry at large. Theoretically, it could result in far less strict rules from platform holders and/or reduced revenue cuts, which could in turn give developers more profit and even make some products cheaper in some cases. The Epic v Apple Fortnite in-person trial will be begin on May 3 and run for about 3 weeks. Whether or not this will result in Fortnite returning to the App Store remains to be seen, but the actual consequences of the case for either party will likely be rather substantial.

Source: Law360, VGC

Apple's Tim Cook, Epic's Tim Sweeney To Testify During Fortnite Trial In May

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VGC reports that the two CEOs are expected to testify about very different but broad topics. Sweeney is likely to focus on Epic's business model and discussions with Apple and Google, as well as its relationship with competitor Samsung. Cook is said to focus on the App Store and its competitors, as well as more broadly about Apple's corporate values.

The tentative witness list also includes executives from other tech companies including Microsoft, Facebook, and Nvidia. Apple previously attempted to block Epic from publicly calling some witnesses, but that request was denied. The trial is set to begin on May 3, with plans to last about three weeks.

The legal battle began when Epic issued an update to Fortnite that circumvented the App Store's payment mechanism, effectively cutting out Apple's 30% cut. Apple responded by pulling Fortnite from the App Store, triggering Epic to respond with a ready-made PR campaign including a movie parodying Apple's famous 1984 commercial and a "Free Fortnite" social media campaign. In a legal filing issued shortly after, Epic claimed Apple's store represents a monopoly, and requested permission to sell directly to customers a la Netflix--or even to set up its own competing App Store altogether.

Epic also started a lobbying group with some other developers called the Coalition for App Fairness. It has been pushing for bills in various states that would effectively force Apple and Google to allow developers to set up their own payment systems. One such bill recently stalled in the Arizona state senate. Apple, meanwhile, appears to have internal documentation from Epic regarding its PR campaign--which it says was called "Project Liberty"--and that the effort was intended to boost interest in Fortnite.

Tim Cook and Tim Sweeney will testify at the Epic Games v. Apple trial | VGC

Video Games Chronicle 15 April, 2021 - 07:13am

It is projected that Epic CEO Tim Sweeney will be examined for almost eight hours and that Apple CEO Tim Cook will be on the stand for just over two hours.

Sweeney is likely to discuss Epic’s history, business model, relationship with Samsung, and discussions with Apple and Google, while Cook’s examination is expected to focus on his company’s corporate values, its app store and its competitors, Law360 reports.

The in-person bench trial will begin on May 3 and last for approximately three weeks.

The tentative witness lists for the trial also feature executives from Microsoft, Facebook and Nvidia, including Xbox business development vice president Lori Wright and Facebook gaming vice president Vivek Sharma.

Epic’s antitrust lawsuit against the iPhone maker began in August 2020 after the Fortnite maker moved to circumvent Apple’s platform fees with a new direct payment option, leading to the game’s removal from the App Store.

Epic has called the 30 percent payment fees charged by Apple exorbitant and excessive compared to its operating costs. Because the iPhone firm does not allow any competing stores on its iOS platform and thus controls the release of apps on its devices, Epic alleges it’s running a “tech monopoly”.

Last year a judge denied a request from Epic to force Apple to reinstate Fortnite to the App Store before the result of its lawsuit. However, they agreed to make a restraining order blocking Apple from removing Unreal Engine support permanent.

In an interview with the Toronto Star published this week, Apple boss Cook rejected the claim that Apple is running a monopoly.

“The view I have is Apple’s not dominant in any market it’s in,” he said. “There’s fierce competition everywhere.”

Cook said there is a “street fight” for smartphone market share, claiming: “Worldwide, our (market) share is in the teens. Hardly what anybody would say is dominant.”

He added: “At the heart of the Epic complaint is they’d like developers to each put in their own payment information. But that would make the App Store a flea market and you know the confidence level you have at the flea market.

“The volume of people going into such a market would be dramatically lower, which would be bad for the user, because they would miss out on the innovation… And the developers would be left out because they wouldn’t have a huge audience to sell to. So nobody wins in that environment.”

Apple said in a statement released on Wednesday: “We feel confident the case will prove that Epic purposefully breached its agreement solely to increase its revenues, which is what resulted in their removal from the App Store.”

And Cook told the Toronto Star: “I believe if we tell the story, the facts, if we can communicate those clearly, then I’m confident that we should prevail.”

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Epic Games CEO slams expert witness claim ahead of Apple trial

iMore 15 April, 2021 - 03:49am

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Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney has called the claims of an Apple expert witness "baloney" following the Cupertino company's filing of its evidence ahead of its antitrust battle.

Apple expert witness filings submitted to the court Wednesday includes testimony from Professor Daniel L. Rubinfeld, PH.D. One section of a summary of the professor's evidence regarding alternative app stores from one court document states:

"The duty upon Apple is more than the usual duty to deal; it would include a duty to redesign its hardware and software—both of which are covered by Apple's intellectual property—to make the iPhone interoperable with alternative app stores and with apps that would not qualify under Apple's app-review guidelines for distribution through the App Store."

Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney blasted this claim as baloney, citing Apple's own Enterprise Program as an existing mechanism for distributing apps outside of the iOS App Store:

That's baloney! iOS already has a mechanism for users to install apps from the web - the Apple Enterprise Program. Only contractual limitations prevent it from being used for consumer software distribution.https://t.co/TfUN3rqHTm

Rubinfeld's testimony summary highlights a few of the arguments we can expect Apple to make in defense of the iPhone and its App Store policies at the trial next month, here are a few snippets:

Apple's design choice to not facilitate sideloading, i.e., to create a "walled garden," was made before the first iPhone was sold and before Apple created the App Store, supporting my view that this design choice is procompetitive. The vertical restraints that Epic challenges are crucially responsible for enabling the growth of the iOS ecosystem and the benefits that flow from it. They are procompetitive, prevent opportunistic behavior and free riding, and foster interbrand competition.

Consumers have the choice to select a mobile smartphone platform that takes a different approach than Apple. Many consumers exercise that option; many others choose Apple's platform. Apple's policies and rules for its App Store do nothing to dampen the viability of the alternative Android platform or deprive consumers of their option to choose that alternative platform. The but-for worlds of Dr. Evans and Professor Athey, on the other hand, would deprive all consumers of the option of choosing the platform where Apple takes responsibility for the safety, security, and privacy preservation of users.

The trial will begin on May 3.

Apple One is a range of services bundles that include Apple Music, Apple Fitness+, Apple Arcade, Apple TV+, and Apple News+ at discounted prices.

A new report into Apple Music says the company pays twice as much as Spotify for streamed songs, at the rate of one penny per stream.

Paul Rudd and Tom Hiddleston have reprised their roles as narrators for Apple's documentary series 'Tiny World' and 'The Earth at Night in Color', with new seasons of both arriving Friday 16 on Apple TV+.

You don't have to cover up your iPhone 12 with a boring opaque case! Choose one of these clear cases to keep your iPhone in its natural state of minimal perfection.

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