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    Daily Digest 10/24 – New coronavirus type found in Norway, Record-Setting Fires in Colorado and California

    by Daily Digest

    Saturday, October 24, 2020, 2:11 PM

Economy

New coronavirus type found in Norway: It is transmitted at large distances (raymond)

In Norway, the new mutation of SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus is found; it has never been observed in the country before – it is easier to get infected with it than with the usual form as Verdens Gang reported citing Senior Medical Officer at City of Trondheim Tove Røsstad.

“Preliminary, it is a new variant of the virus that the Ministry of Health and Care Services has never seen before in Norway,” Røsstad said.

Pelosi, Mnuchin Trade Blame as Pre-Election Stimulus Hopes Dim (jw)

U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the White House traded blame for the latest stall in negotiations on a new coronavirus stimulus as pessimism built at the Capitol that anything could be accomplished before Election Day.

Pelosi said the burden is on President Donald Trump to push forward on stimulus talks and get reluctant Republicans to go along with any eventual deal reached with the White House on a nearly $2 trillion aid package.

Covid-19: Why is coronavirus so deadly? (Downunder Bound)

Coronavirus can be running rampant in our lungs and airways and yet our immune system thinks everything is a-ok.

“This virus is brilliant, it allows you to have a viral factory in your nose and feel completely well,” says Prof Paul Lehner from the University of Cambridge.

Our body’s cells start releasing chemicals – called interferons – once they are being hijacked by a virus and this is a warning signal to the rest of the body and the immune system.

Coca-Cola saying goodbye to half its drink brands (jw)

Coca-Cola is planning to kill off 200 drink brands, which account for about half of its portfolio, as it works to return to pre-coronavirus levels of growth.

In a bid to better weather the pandemic, the company plans to shift focus onto brands “that can be scaled to drive profits for the long term,” CEO James Quincey said during an earnings call Thursday.

ExxonMobil CEO warns of job cuts coming for employees in US, Canada

ExxonMobil Chairman and CEO Darren Woods warned that job cuts are coming for employees in the U.S. and Canada as part of an ongoing plan announced earlier this year to “redesign work processes and improve cost competitiveness.”

While ExxonMobil is exceeding targeted spending reductions, deferring more than $10 billion in capital and cutting 15% of cash operating expenses, Woods said the coronavirus pandemic has resulted in a “devastating” cut to oil demand by about 20%, roughly five times the decline of the 2008 financial crisis.

Uber and Lyft must reclassify drivers as employees, appeals court finds (jw)

In a blow to Uber and Lyft, a California appeals court said Thursday that the companies must reclassify their drivers as employees rather than independent contractors, affirming an earlier court decision.

The ruling marks a significant development in a months-long legal fight between the companies and the state of California, which in May sued Uber and Lyft and claimed they were in violation of state law. It also puts greater pressure on the companies to successfully pass their California ballot measure which seeks to exempt them from the law.

Officials Call for Quick Stimulus Deal to Forestall Lackluster U.S. Economic Recovery (jw)

WASHINGTON—Federal Reserve officials and some other policy makers are stepping up calls for a quick jolt of stimulus spending as recent economic data point to uneven growth.

Their concern: Even if the current recovery is self-sustaining, a delay could lead to a repeat of the lackluster rebound from the 2008 financial crisis, when a burst of spending was followed by an abrupt reversal.

Environment

A Venezuelan vessel carrying 1.3 million barrels of oil is tilting — and it could lead to a catastrophic oil spill (TH)

A Venezuelan oil tanker has been parked for nearly two years in the Gulf of Paria, carrying approximately 80 million gallons of oil. New photos of the vessel show it appearing to tilt heavily on its side — leading to growing concerns of a potential environmental disaster that threatens one of the richest areas of biodiversity in the world.

Record-Setting Fires in Colorado and California (jw)

For much of the United States around and west of the Rocky Mountains, the summer and autumn of 2020 have been rough. Nearly 80 percent of the region is facing some level of drought, affecting 40 million people. Heat waves have intermittently baked various regions of the Southwest. And wildfires have raged, fueled by unusual lightning storms, parched vegetation, and other hints of a changing climate. The natural drama has been punctuated by the fact that Colorado and California have set records for the largest fires (by area) in each state’s history.

 

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