Chainstores ill-prepared for internet revolution


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Planning: Project Vauxhall is the driving force in Kennington


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City & West End wins Crown Estate prize


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Outbreak to hit iPhone output if China extends Foxconn factory halt


first_imgFoxconn could see a “big” production impact and shipments to customers including Apple face disruption if a Chinese factory halt due to the coronavirus outbreak extends into a second week, a person with direct knowledge of the matter said.Taiwan’s Foxconn, which makes smartphones for Apple and other brands, has halted “almost all” of its production in China after companies were told to shut until at least Feb. 10, the source said, adding that an extension of the stoppage could disrupt shipments to clients including Apple.Taipei-based Foxconn, which is the world’s largest contract electronics maker, did not immediately respond to a request for comment, while Apple declined to comment. The source told Reuters on Monday that Foxconn has so far seen a “fairly small impact” from the outbreak as it was utilizing factories in countries including Vietnam, India and Mexico to fill the gap, adding that the company will be able to make up for the delay if factories work overtime after the ban.In Eastern China’s Suzhou, one of its largest manufacturing hubs, companies have been told to stay shut until at least Feb. 8 and in Shanghai until Feb. 9. Factories in the southern manufacturing hub of Dongguan in export-oriented Guangdong province have also been told not to open before Feb. 10.The outbreak of coronavirus, which the World Health Organization declared a global health emergency, threatens to disrupt swathes of Chinese manufacturing.The source said a halt beyond Feb. 10 could disrupt Foxconn’s shipments, highlighting concerns about production hubs in the southern province of Guangdong and the city of Zhengzhou in Henan province where key iPhone plants are located. “What we are worried about is delays for another week or even another month. The impact would be big,” the source said. “It definitely will have an impact on the Apple production line.”“The tricky question is whether we will be able to resume production (on Feb. 10)…It’s up to the instructions given by central and provincial governments.”Foxconn has asked employees and clients in China’s Hubei, the epicenter of the outbreak, not to return to factories and told workers to report their health condition to managers on a daily basis, an internal memo reviewed by Reuters shows.The company also said employees who follow the rules will be paid as usual and those we fail to do so will be “severely” punished, although it did not elaborate.A hotline was set up to encourage employees to report those who had broken the rules, with a monetary award of 200 yuan (US$29), the note dated Feb. 1 said.Morningstar analyst Don Yew sees “limited” impact on Foxconn’s supply chain, saying its four subsidiaries in Hubei only accounted for 1.8 percent of the firm’s overall revenue in 2018 and vendors such as Apple maintain a diversified supply chain.However, a spread of the coronavirus to major smartphone manufacturing hubs such as Guangdong may lead them to revise financial estimates for companies including Foxconn, Yew said.Topics :last_img read more

South Korean sect leader apologises over coronavirus spread


first_img“Although it was not intentional, many people have been infected,” he said.”We put our utmost efforts but were unable to prevent it all. I seek the forgiveness of the people.”I am very thankful to the government for its efforts. I also seek the forgiveness of the government.”Lee is revered by his followers as the “Promised Pastor” who will take 144,000 people with him to heaven on the Day of Judgement, and his group is often condemned as a cult. The leader of a South Korean sect linked to more than half the country’s 4,000-plus coronavirus cases apologised Monday for the spread of the disease.”I would like to offer my sincere apology to the people on behalf of the members,” said Shincheonji head Lee Man-hee, his voice breaking.The 88-year-old twice got down on his knees to bow before reporters in Gapyeong, his head to the floor. A 61-year-old female member developed a fever on February 10 but attended at least four church services in Daegu — the country’s fourth-largest city with a population of 2.5 million and the centre of the outbreak — before being diagnosed.South Korea’s case numbers are expected to rise further as authorities carry out checks on more than 260,000 people associated Shincheonji.Seoul’s city government has asked prosecutors to press charges, including murder, against him and 11 other sect leaders for failing to cooperate in containing the spread of the deadly coronavirus.Lee insisted that the group was “actively cooperating with the government”. “We will do our best and not spare human and material support,” he added, pausing occasionally to wipe tears from his eyes as protesters shouted abuse. Topics :last_img read more

Quarter of Italian population put under virus lockdown


first_imgMuseums, nightclubs, gyms and casinos will be closed in these places, with people advised to stay at home as much as possible, the newspaper said, adding that the restrictions would be in place until April 3.People will be allowed to return home from outside these regions, while bars and restaurants are allowed to remain open provided it is possible for customers to stay a metre (three feet) away from one another.The measures echo those taken in China’s central Hubei province, whose nearly 60 million residents have been under lockdown since late January when the government rushed to put a lid on the virus that first emerged in the regional capital, Wuhan.Worldwide, the total number of people with COVID-19 has passed 100,000 while 3,500 have died across 95 nations and territories.The disease has convulsed markets and paralysed global supply chains, and Italy has found itself at the forefront of the global fight against the virus, with more than 5,800 infections recorded in the past seven weeks in all 22 Italian regions.The virus has now spread to all 22 Italian regions and the first deaths are being recorded in Italy’s less well medically equipped south.Topics : With more than 230 fatalities, Italy has recorded the most deaths from the COVID-19 disease of any country outside China, where the outbreak began in December.Italy has the world’s second oldest population after Japan, according to the World Bank, and older people appear to be more vulnerable to becoming severely ill with the new coronavirus.Without a “serious” reason that cannot be postponed, such as urgent work or family issues, people will not be allowed to enter or leave the quarantine zones, Corriere Della Sera reported.These include the entire Lombardy region as well as Venice and its surrounding areas, and the cities of Parma and Rimini — affecting a quarter of Italy’s population of 60 million. More than 15 million people were placed under forced quarantine in northern Italy early Sunday as the government approved drastic measures in an attempt to halt the spread of the deadly coronavirus that is sweeping the globe.Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said on Twitter he had signed off on plans to strictly limit movement in and out of large areas including Venice and the financial capital Milan for nearly a month.”#Coronavirus, the new decree is finally approved,” Conte wrote, confirming earlier reports of the lockdown in the newspaper Corriere Della Sera and other media.last_img read more

Thailand faces biggest economic contraction since Asian crisis


first_imgThe Bank of Thailand left its benchmark interest rate unchanged after an emergency cut last week, while projecting the worst contraction in the economy since the Asian financial crisis more than two decades ago.The bank slashed its growth forecast for this year, now expecting the economy to shrink 5.3 percent compared with an earlier estimate of 2.8 percent expansion. Exports and tourism, the key drivers of Thailand’s economy, have both been hard hit as the coronavirus outbreak spreads around the world.The policy rate was maintained at a record low 0.75 percent Wednesday following a 25 basis-point reduction at an unscheduled meeting March 20. Four of the seven monetary policy committee members voted to hold, two called for a cut and one wasn’t able to attend. “We believe they can cut by another 25 basis points. They could have used all the space they have now,” said Burin Adulwattana, chief economist at Bangkok Bank Pcl. “The economy is on the brink of a recession with huge downside risk, so it’s time to do all they can.”Bank of Thailand Assistant Governor Titanun Mallikamas said Wednesday that policy makers stand ready to lower rates further if needed and will keep a close watch on markets, including the baht exchange rate. In a statement delivered through the Bank of Thailand’s Facebook page due to social-distancing precautions, he said the economy would recover only next year.The benchmark SET Index extended gains after the decision, surging 6.3 percent to 1,099.32 as of 3:32 p.m. in Bangkok. The baht fell 0.3 percent against the dollar, paring an earlier loss of as much as 0.5 percent.Topics :last_img read more

US unemployment offices sitting on mountain of pending claims


first_imgThe Labor Department’s easing of filing restrictions is also believed to be contributing to the surge in claims. It has given states flexibility to amend their laws, allowing them to provide benefits to workers temporarily unemployed because of the coronavirus or who need to care for a sick family member.“These changes will allow millions more to file, and the CARES Act removes still more restrictions,” said Chris Low, chief economist at FHN Financial in New York. “Anecdotally, we have reason to believe many companies waited for the CARES Act to pass before letting workers go.”Some economists say the new bill would encourage unemployment filings. “Inevitably the stimulus has created some perverse incentives, potentially inflating the unemployment numbers,” said Michael Pearce, a senior economist at Capital Economics in New York. “The $600 a week additional federal unemployment insurance, equivalent to $15/hour for a 40-hour week, means there could be cases where workers will prefer to accept a temporary layoff.”Processing woes Last week’s record-setting US jobless claims number will be quickly surpassed, economists and state officials predict, as local labor offices digest a pile of pending applications, and the new stimulus bill extends benefits to the self-employed. According to a Reuters survey of economists, initial claims for state unemployment benefits probably climbed to a seasonally adjusted 3.5 million for the week ended March 28. Estimates in the survey were as high as 5.25 million.That would be an increase of between 220,000 and 1.97 million from the prior week’s 3.28 million, reflecting both the newly unemployed as well as states catching up on previously filed applications that had not yet been captured in the system due to overwhelming demand. More states enforced “stay at home” policies last week.A historic US$2.2 trillion package, or Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, signed by President Donald Trump last Friday is making it easier for workers to seek unemployment benefits. It raised payments for the unemployed by up to $600 per week per worker, and laid-off workers would get those payments for up to four months. Some state officials say they’re struggling to process a flood of applications, and to adapt computer systems to accept new types of claims allowed under the CARES Act. That’s creating a backlog of claims that aren’t yet showing in the official figures.“We will finish the week out through tonight, midnight, with 75,000 applications submitted,” Cher Haavind, spokeswoman for the Colorado Labor Department, said in a phone interview on Friday.By comparison, Colorado reported less than 20,000 jobless claims to the Department of Labor last week. “Both the unofficial applications submitted and the official US DOL claims will go up,” in coming weeks, Haavind predicted.In Minnesota, officials are asking people to stagger their unemployment insurance filings to limit the strain on their processing systems, with those whose Social Security numbers end in 0, 1 or 2 to file on Monday, 3, 4 or 5 on Tuesday, and those whose numbers end in 6, 7, 8 or 9 to file on Wednesday. Thursday and Friday are reserved for people who missed their designated day.“Many states reported severe backlogs. Their systems were simply not designed to process the sheer volume of claims they faced,” said Tim Quinlan, a senior economist at Wells Fargo Securities in Charlotte, North Carolina.US unemployment benefits processing is built around a decades-old mainframe computer system, which each state has modified in different ways, making the changes described in the bill difficult to quickly adopt nationwide.The unemployment office is one place that is hiring. Colorado has about 200 of its 500 labor department employees working on processing claims now, Haavind said, and is hiring another 90 temporary workers.Topics :last_img read more

Trump leaves White House grounds for first time since March 28


first_imgHe is to return to Washington on Sunday in time for a Fox News Channel “virtual town hall” event at the Lincoln Memorial.Trump plans a trip to Phoenix, Arizona, on Tuesday. Vice President Mike Pence has made a handful of trips out of Washington to check on coronavirus relief efforts.Topics : US President Donald Trump, cooped up in the White House for weeks due to the coronavirus lockdown, flew to Camp David, Maryland, on Friday for a weekend away at the presidential retreat.When his Marine One helicopter left the South Lawn, it was the first time Trump had left the White House grounds since March 28, when he visited Norfolk, Virginia, to see the U.S. Navy hospital ship Comfort set sail for New York harbor.Trump told reporters as he left the White House that he would be practicing social distancing while at Camp David, and that he plans a working weekend that will include phone calls with foreign leaders.last_img read more

Japanese ‘judo missionary’ spreads the gospel in Bali


first_imgAfter four decades travelling in some 20 countries to spread the gospel of judo, Tsuneo Sengoku is not about to let a minor inconvenience like a global pandemic slow him down.The 75-year-old “judo missionary” has coached some 100,000 people in the martial art since embarking on a tour through Asia, Africa, Europe and North America in the late 1970s.”I’m just an ordinary old man without judo,” said a smiling Sengoku, who was decorated by Japan in 2016 for his commitment to promoting the sport overseas, which he says is his reason for living. The former policeman moved to Bali in 2007 to train local people, mainly school students, free of charge on “the final leg” of his global mission to teach judo.Sporting the white-and-red belt that marks him out as a high-ranking expert, Sengoku was coaching four days a week at his dojo, where Japanese body-armor adorned with the national flags of Japan and Indonesia is on display.Like the rest of the sporting world, Sengoku has been sidelined by the coronavirus pandemic and was forced to close his dojo where more than 50 locals used to train.All events and competitions in both Indonesia and Japan involving Sengoku and his trainees have been cancelled due to the outbreak. Topics : ‘Kindness, discipline’ The coronavirus-wracked world could learn a lot from judo, Sengoku believes, especially its emphasis on patience and compassion for others.”Now I want to tell my students about the importance of patience, which is actually part of the philosophy of judo,” he added.Sengoku also said judo requires compassion for other people, known as “Jita-Kyoei”, or mutual prosperity for oneself and others, which is one of the main teachings of judo founder Jigoro Kano.”It’s time to exercise grand master Kano’s spirit of Jita-Kyoei,” he said. “I want to call on people to hang on and work together.”Wayan Tulus Wiarta, a senior high-school student who has been trained by Sengoku for more than 10 years, says he dreams to be a top judoka in his country and compete in Japan where judo was established.Wiarta, however, said competition does not mean everything to him as he has learned much more than just judo from Sengoku.”Mr. Sengoku taught me about a lot of things — kindness, discipline, being on time,” he said.”Judo is about more than just competition,” he said.Sengoku says he still vividly remembers the excitement of the 1964 Games in Tokyo, to which he contributed as a police guard.Although his own Olympic ambitions fell short, he said he was looking forward to watching young judoka compete for glory in Tokyo again — whenever the postponed Games eventually takes place.Sengoku, who runs his dojo with donations while he lives off his pension, has been working out by himself every day since the shutdown so he can be ready to reopen at any time.”I’m very much looking forward to seeing their smiles again when my dojo reopens,” said Sengoku, who lives alone as his family members are all in Japan.”This dojo is my destination. I will spend the rest of my life here,” he added. But the thought of giving up his mission has never crossed his mind — indeed it has hardened his resolve.”I won’t quit teaching. On the contrary, because of the coronavirus, my motivation to train children has grown,” he said.”I will never let the coronavirus break my dream that I spent my life on. I want to share the wonderful world of judo with more and more people.”last_img read more