LONDON — There will be new mergers in the Italian banking sector over the coming months, the CEO of Italy’s largest bank by market capitalization has predicted.Speaking to CNBC’s Squawk Box on Friday, Intesa Sanpaolo CEO Carlo Messina said: “I think that in the next year, so within 12 months, there will be some M&A deal in the country. I don’t know what kind of bank can be merged or put together, but the future for the country is to enter into another season of merger(s).”His comment comes after S&P Global Market Intelligence said in a note in March that Italy is on the cusp of being “the busiest market for bank mergers in Europe in 2021.”The ratings and analysis firm said that the large number of Italian banks, the relative size of the market taken by the top banks, and the need for digitalization increase the pressure on smaller lenders to consolidate with others.Italy’s Banco BPM and BPER Banca said in December they were considering a merger, with the possibility of a deal taking place in the first half of 2021. Media reports have also suggested that Banco BPM had discussed merger possibilities with other lenders, but they hadn’t come to anything.In addition, the Italian government has to dispose of its stake in Monte dei Paschi di Siena — dating back to 2017 when Italian taxpayers rescued the struggling bank — in the coming months too.”It is clear that in Italy we are — and will remain — the leader by definition,” Messina said of Intesa Sanpaolo, but stressed that the market needed more large lenders.”Italy … needs to have minimum another two players that can have a good market share, because it is the future to have concentration,” Messina added.
This is the best tl;dr I could make, original reduced by 89%. (I’m a bot)On Monday, Adar Poonawalla, the CEO of the Serum Institute of India, which has been manufacturing the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine in India under the name Covishield, warned that the vaccine shortage would continue for months.”We are in for a really grim situation for the next two to three months,” epidemiologist and economist Dr. Ramanan Laxminarayan told CBS News, noting the vaccine shortage.”Right now, they should start getting as many people vaccinated as they possibly can, with both the vaccines that they develop themselves in India as well as supplies of vaccines that they may be able to procure from other suppliers, be that the United States, be that Russia… whatever country is willing, whenever companies are willing to supply vaccine,” Fauci told the Press Trust of India on Monday.Extended Summary | FAQ | Feedback | Top keywords: vaccine#1 India#2 month#3 government#4 country#5
This is the best tl;dr I could make, original reduced by 77%. (I’m a bot)A Yemeni model arrested two months ago for “Challenging social norms” is at risk of undergoing a forced “Virginity test”, Amnesty International said on Friday.”On April 21, she was brought before public prosecution for questioning in the presence of her lawyer on charges including ‘drug use, drug promotion, and prostitution’ – all of which she strongly denies,” Amnesty said.The public prosecutor prevented Hammadi’s lawyer from accessing her file, and a gunman then threatened him on April 27 telling him to drop the case, said Amnesty.Extended Summary | FAQ | Feedback | Top keywords: Amnesty#1 Huthi#2 lawyer#3 drug#4 test#5
A nurse takes care of one of the nonuplets in an incubator at the Ain Borja clinic in CasablancaNine babies born to a Malian woman will need to spend “two to three months” in incubators, a director of the clinic where they were born has said.Professor Youssef Alaoui of the Ain Borja clinic in Casablanca, Morocco, told the AFP news agency that the case was “extremely rare” and “exceptional”.The mother, Halima Cissé, 25, and her nonuplets – five girls and four boys – are said to be doing well.The babies weighed between 500g and 1kg (1.1lb and 2.2lb) when they were born.Medical director Prof Alaoui said that Ms Cissé was 25 weeks pregnant when she was admitted and his team managed to extend her term to 30 weeks. Ten doctors and 25 paramedics assisted at the delivery.As far as he was aware Ms Cissé had not used any fertility treatments, Prof Alaoui told the Associated Press.He told BBC Arabic that she had been in a serious condition to begin with because of heavy bleeding, which was brought under control.”The mother is now in a good condition she’s not in danger any more. We wish her and the babies a speedy recovery,” he said.Doctors in Mali conducted ultrasounds and initially believed that she was expecting seven babies. They sent her to Morocco where there are better medical facilities.After five weeks at the Moroccan clinic, she gave birth by Caesarean section on Tuesday, Fanta Siby, Mali’s health minister said.The minister congratulated the medical teams in Mali and Morocco for the “happy outcome”.Ms Cissé’s husband, Adjudant Kader Arby, is still in Mali with the couple’s older daughter. He says he has been in touch with his wife in Morocco and is not worried about the family’s future.”God gave us these children. He is the one to decide what will happen to them. I’m not worried about that. When the almighty does something, he knows why,” he told BBC Afrique.Story continuesThe tiny babies were born at 30 weeksTwo sets of nonuplets have previously been recorded – one born to a woman in Australia in 1971 and another to a woman in Malaysia in 1999 – but none of the babies survived more than a few days.A woman who had eight babies in the US in 2009 holds the Guinness World Record for the most children delivered at a single birth to survive. Nadya Suleman’s octuplets have grown up and are now 12 years old. She conceived them through in vitro fertilisation.
Prominent pro-democracy leader is already in prison and has also been charged under the national security law.Hong Kong pro-democracy activist Joshua Wong will face an additional 10 months in jail for participating in an unauthorised assembly on June 4 last year to commemorate the brutal 1989 crackdown in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square.
Wong, 24, already in prison due to other illegal assembly convictions and among 47 activists charged under the city’s sweeping national security law, was sentenced in the District Court on Thursday.
A 15-month sentence was reduced to 10 due to his guilty plea for attending the vigil. He will have to serve the sentence consecutively, instead of concurrently.
Last year was the first time the June 4 vigil was banned in the territory, with police citing coronavirus restrictions on group gatherings, as it did for all demonstrations last year.
Still, tens of thousands of people defied the restrictions and lit candles across the city in what was largely a peaceful event, except for a brief skirmish with riot police in one district.
#BREAKING #HongKong activist Joshua Wong has been jailed for 10 months for participating in the banned June 4 candle light vigil to commemorate the 1989 #TiananmenSquareMassacre last year, consecutive to 4 months he is currently serving for another protest-related case pic.twitter.com/m0XYtn39tt
— Damon Pang (@damon_pang) May 6, 2021
Commemorations of the Tiananmen crackdown are banned in mainland China, but Hong Kong traditionally held the largest vigils globally every year, having been promised certain freedoms when it returned to Chinese rule in 1997, including rights of expression and assembly.
Judge Stanley Chan also sentenced Lester Shum, Jannelle Leung and Tiffany Yuen to between four and six months. Twenty others facing similar June 4 Tiananmen Square anniversary charges are due to appear in court on June 11.
“Freedom of assembly is not unlimited,” Chan said.
“The sentence should deter people from offending and reoffending in the future.”
‘Respect to the Party’
The anniversary struck an especially sensitive nerve in the former British colony last year, falling just as Beijing prepared to introduce new security legislation which punishes anything China sees as subversion, secession, terrorism or collusion with foreign forces with up to life in prison.
This year’s June 4 Tiananmen Square anniversary event is particularly awkward for Beijing, which celebrates the 100th anniversary of the Communist Party, and is expected to be banned as well.
When asked whether commemorating the victims of Tiananmen would violate the new security law, Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam last month said it was important to show respect to the party.
China has never provided a full account of what happened in 1989. The death toll given by officials was about 300, most of them soldiers, but rights groups and witnesses say thousands of people may have died.
Defying a government ban, thousands of Hong Kong protesters took part in a candlelight vigil last year to mark the 31st anniversary of the crackdown of pro-democracy protests at Beijing’s Tiananmen Square in 1989 [File: Tyrone Siu/Reuters]Wong was given a 13-1/2 month sentence in December in relation to an unlawful anti-government rally on June 21, 2019 and an additional four-month sentence for participating in an unauthorised protest in October 2019 while also breaking a government law against wearing face masks.
While in prison Wong was also arrested in January on suspicion of breaking the new security law, which was introduced in July 2020, by taking part in an unofficial vote to pick opposition candidates for a since-postponed election, which authorities describe as a “vicious plot” to “overthrow” the government.
The charge related to the new security law carries the harshest sentence of life imprisonment.
Facebook oversight board said company was right to ban Trump after the Jan 6 storming of the US CapitolFacebook oversight board on Wednesday upheld the company’s suspension of former US President Donald Trump but said the company was wrong to make the suspension indefinite and gave it six months to determine a “proportionate response.”Trump called the decision and his banning across tech platforms “a total disgrace” and said the companies would “pay a political price.”The much-awaited board verdict has been watched for signals on how the world’s largest social media company will treat rule-breaking political leaders in the future, a key area of controversy for online platforms.The board, created by Facebook to rule on a small slice of its content decisions, said the company was right to ban Trump following the Jan. 6 storming of the U.S. Capitol by pro-Trump supporters.Facebook indefinitely blocked Trump’s access to his Facebook and Instagram accounts over concerns of further violent unrest following the Jan. 6 riot. It enacted the suspension after removing two of Trump’s posts during the Capitol riot, including a video in which he said supporters should go home but reiterated his false claim of widespread voter fraud, saying “I know your pain. I know you’re hurt. We had an election that was stolen from us.”But the board said Facebook inappropriately imposed a suspension without clear standards and that the company should determine a response consistent with rules applied to other users. It said the company could determine that Trump’s account could be restored, suspended temporarily or permanently banned.”Indefinite penalties of this sort do not pass the international or American smell test for clarity, consistency, and transparency,” said former federal judge Michael McConnell, co-chair of the Oversight Board, during a press conference after publishing its decision on Wednesday.In an interview with Reuters, board co-chair and former Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt said public figures should not be allowed to incite violence or create harm though their posts, but that Facebook “can’t just invent new sanctions as they go along.”In its decision, the board said Facebook refused to answer some of the 46 questions it posed, including those on how its news feed affected the visibility of Trump’s posts, and whether the company planned to look into how its technology amplified content as it had done in the events leading to the Capitol siege.The board said Facebook’s existing policies, such as deciding when material is too newsworthy to remove, need to be more clearly communicated to users. It also called on Facebook to develop a policy that governs how it handles novel situations where its existing rules would be insufficient to prevent imminent harm.Facebook’s business has thrived during the controversy and its main source of revenue, advertising, has boomed as COVID-19 pandemic restrictions begin to ease in the United States, but lawmakers across the political spectrum have raised concerns about the power of Facebook and other social media, many calling for new regulations and some calling for breakups of big tech.Trump called the move “an embarrassment to our Country,” and added that “Free Speech has been taken away from the President of the United States because the Radical Left Lunatics are afraid of the truth, but the truth will come out anyway, bigger and stronger than ever before.”At a Financial Times conference after the verdict, Nick Clegg, Facebook’s vice president of global affairs and communication, said the company would hope to resolve the matter “considerably faster” than six months.Tech platforms have grappled in recent years with how to police world leaders and politicians that violate their guidelines. Facebook has come under fire both from those who think it should abandon its hands-off approach to political speech and those, including Republican lawmakers and some free-expression advocates who saw the Trump ban as a disturbing act of censorship.Facebook was one of a slew of social media sites that barred the former president, including Twitter Inc, which banned him permanently. Political leaders from German Chancellor Angela Merkel to U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders expressed concern that private companies could silence elected officials on their sites.At the time of the suspension, Facebook Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg said “the risks of allowing the President to continue to use our service during this period are simply too great.” The company later referred the case to its recently-established board, which includes academics, lawyers and rights activists.The binding verdict means Trump will not for now be able to return to Facebook’s platforms, where he had a combined 59 million followers across Facebook and Instagram, His campaign spent about $160 million on Facebook ads in 2020, according to Democratic digital firm Bully Pulpit Interactive’s campaign tracker.On Tuesday, Trump launched a new web page to share messages that readers can then re-post to their Facebook or Twitter accounts. A senior adviser has said Trump also plans to launch his own social media platform.Wednesday’s decision marks a milestone for the oversight board, which Facebook financed with $130 million. The body has been hailed as a novel experiment by some researchers but criticized by those who have been skeptical about its independence or view it as a PR stunt to deflect attention from the company’s more systemic problems.”This verdict is a desperate attempt to have it both ways, upholding the ‘ban’ of Donald Trump without actually banning him, while punting any real decisions back to Facebook,” said a group of academics, experts and Facebook critics known as the “Real Facebook Oversight Board.”(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)
Former U.S. President Donald Trump speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Orlando, Florida, U.S. February 28, 2021.Joe Skipper | ReutersFacebook’s independent Oversight Board ruled Wednesday to uphold the company’s January decision to suspend the Facebook and Instagram accounts of former President Donald Trump.But, the board said, the indefinite timeframe of the suspension “was not appropriate.” The board effectively punted the decision on the length of the suspension back to Facebook, saying it “insists” the company “review this matter to determine and justify a proportionate response that is consistent with the rules that are applied to other users of its platform.”The board asked that Facebook complete the review within six months and made suggestions for how to create clear policies that balance public safety and freedom of expression.”We will now consider the board’s decision and determine an action that is clear and proportionate,” Facebook said in a blog post following the announcement. “In the meantime, Mr. Trump’s accounts remain suspended.”The caseFacebook first suspended Trump’s accounts following the Jan. 6 insurrection on the U.S. Capitol. The suspension was Facebook’s most aggressive action against Trump during his four-year term.”We believe the risks of allowing the President to continue to use our service during this period are simply too great,” Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg wrote in a post on his Facebook page at the time. Facebook referred the decision to its Oversight Board a few weeks later, saying that given the significance of the decision, “we think it is important for the board to review it and reach an independent judgment on whether it should be upheld.”The decision to uphold Trump’s suspension is the most significant action taken thus far by Facebook’s Oversight Board, which was launched in October 2020 as a de facto “Supreme Court” for the company’s content moderation decisions. The board is an independent body made up of civic, technological, free speech, journalism and human rights experts from around the world. A randomly selected but diverse group of five board members were chosen to deliberate on the case, and the recommendation had to be voted favorably by a majority of the full board.Facebook previously agreed to abide by the Oversight Board’s rulings, even though Zuckerberg still has undisputed control of the company, with majority voting control over the company’s shares.The board’s findingsThe Oversight Board found that Trump had “severely violated” Facebook’s community standards with his posts on Jan. 6. But it also said the platform “seeks to avoid its responsibilities” by applying a vague penalty and then referring it to the board to review.Trump’s declarations on Facebook, “We love you. You’re very special,” referring to the people who rioted around the U.S. Capitol, calling the rioters “great patriots” and telling them to “remember this day forever,” violated Facebook’s rules that prohibit praise of people engaged in violence, the board wrote.”The Board found that, in maintaining an unfounded narrative of electoral fraud and persistent calls to action, Mr. Trump created an environment where a serious risk of violence was possible,” the board wrote, adding that when Trump posted his statements, “there was a clear, immediate risk of harm and his words of support for those involved in the riots legitimized their violent actions.”But Facebook’s decision to make the ban indefinite was not justified, the board found, since it “did not follow a clear, published procedure” in doing so.”In applying a vague, standardless penalty and then referring this case to the Board to resolve, Facebook seeks to avoid its responsibilities,” the board wrote. “The Board declines Facebook’s request and insists that Facebook apply and justify a defined penalty.”On a call with reporters following the decision, Oversight Board co-chair Helle Thorning-Schmidt said that the group was basically “telling Facebook that they can’t just invent new unwritten rules” when they find it convenient. Co-chair Michael McConnell said it’s far from the first time Facebook has made up ad hoc rules.The co-chairs acknowledged that Facebook’s decision may again reach their desks, but McConnell said that if Facebook follows its recommendations for creating clear guidelines, the decision may be more straightforward.The board said that though Facebook should apply the same rules to all members, the company should take context into account in assessing harm, including when posts are made by “influential users.” It added that newsworthiness considerations “should not take priority when urgent action is needed to prevent significant harm.”Facebook should publicly explain the rules it uses to suspend users for definite periods of time and assess whether the risk of harm has changed before lifting the suspension, the board wrote. Still, the board said account or page deletion could be appropriate in some circumstances.
The CEO of BioNTech has said the company and its US partner Pfizer will seek approval for a new version of their Covid-19 vaccine that can be stored at normal refrigerator temperatures for up to six months.
At a webcast event organized by the Financial Times on Tuesday, BioNTech’s CEO and co-founder Ugur Sahin said the new version of their much sought-after Covid-19 vaccine could be stored in temperature between two and eight degrees Celsius for a period of up to six months. “Our first formulation had to be stored and shipped at -80 degrees. We now have a formulation, which is not yet approved … that can be stored at two to eight degrees,” Sahin told those watching.
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Pfizer and BioNTech up Covid vaccine production capacity to 3 billion doses in 2021
“We will most likely reach six months’ stability at two to eight degrees,” he stated, adding that data packages were being readied to be sent out to regulators.While the current BioNTech/Pfizer jab has been widely used and is in high demand, the requirement to store the shot at super-cold temperatures means it has little utility in countries or regions without a network of such storage capabilities.At the same video conference, Sahin said BioNTech and Pfizer have been able to further increase production capacity of their Covid-19 vaccine, upping supply to around three billion doses in 2021.If you like this story, share it with a friend!
Proud Boys Canada, a far-right group that Ottawa named as a terrorist entity earlier this year, has dissolved itself, saying it has done nothing wrong, according to a statement by the organisation.In February, Canada said the group posed an active security threat and played a “pivotal role” in the deadly attack on the US Capitol in January by pro-Trump rioters. US authorities have charged several members of the Proud Boys in connection with the 6 January assault.“The truth is, we were never terrorists or a white supremacy group,” the statement posted by the administrator of the official Proud Boys channel on Telegram said.“We are electricians, carpenters, financial advisers, mechanics, etc. More than that, we are fathers, brothers, uncles and sons,” it added.Founded in 2016, the Proud Boys began as an organisation protesting political against correctness and perceived constraints on masculinity in the United States and Canada, and grew into a group that embraced street fighting.The group’s founder, media personality and entrepreneur Gavin McInnes, is a Canadian who lives in the United States.The group first made headlines in Canada three years ago, after five military reservists, dressed in the group’s black and yellow shirts, disrupted a protest by the Indigenous community over a controversial statue. The group was banned by Facebook and Instagram in October 2018 after violating the platforms’ hate policies and is classified as an extremist organisation by the FBI.In late January, Canada’s parliament unanimously passed a motion calling on the federal government to designate the rightwing Proud Boys as a terrorist group. The motion had no practical legal impact, but spoke to a growing worry over rightwing extremism in Canada.Canada’s public safety minister, Bill Blair, said in February that the domestic intelligence forces had become increasingly worried about the group.“Canada will not tolerate ideological, religious or politically motivated acts of violence,” Blair said at the time.