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World News: US Jobless claims fall

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PHUKET MEDIA WATCH
– World news selected by Gazette editors for Phuket’s international community

U.S. businesses step up hiring as jobless claims fall
Phuket Gazette / News Wires
PHUKET: Initial claims for unemployment insurance in the United States fell to 365,000 in the week ending September 1, a decrease of 12,000 compared to the previous week, according to figures released by the U.S. Labor Department (DOL) yesterday.

Despite the positive numbers, which is represent a one-month low, the DOL report reveals only little progress in the U.S. economy as it continues to struggle to create new employment opportunities. But a private survey by payroll provider ADP suggests businesses did step up hiring in August.

The 4-week moving average for unemployment benefits, a less volatile measure, was 371,250, an increase of 250 from the previous week’s revised average of 371,000, the report said. It also showed that the number of unemployed with unemployment insurance for the week ending August 25 remained the same, at 2.6 percent, when compared to the previous week.

However, there was also a decrease of 6,000 in the number of workers who claimed benefits under regular state unemployment programs, totaling 3,322,000 during the week ending August 25, according to the latest DOL report. The 4-week moving average was 3,320,750, a decrease of 3,500 from the preceding week’s revised average of 3,324,250.

And the ADP survey, which is derived from actual payroll data and measures the change in total non-farm private employment each month, showed private-sector employment increased by 201,000 from July to August on a seasonally adjusted basis. The estimated gain from June to July was revised up from the initial estimate of 163,000 to 173,000.

“According to this month’s ADP National Employment Report, the U.S. economy added 201,000 jobs in August, the largest increase in five months,” said Carlos A. Rodriguez, president and chief executive officer of ADP. “The improvement in job creation this month is encouraging and we hope it continues across all sectors of the U.S. economy.”

Joel Prakken, chairman of Macroeconomic Advisers, LLC, added: “The August increase of 201,000, following a solid gain in July, supports the notion that the underlying trend in hiring has picked back up after slowing sharply during the spring. The August increase was well above the consensus forecast for today’s release and for the official jobs number due out Friday from The Bureau of Labor Statistics.”

Prakken said the gain in private employment in August is strong enough to suggest that the national unemployment rate may have declined. “Today’s estimate, if matched by a similar reading on employment from the BLS on Friday, will alleviate concerns that the economy has slipped into a downturn,” he said.

— Phuket Gazette Editors

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Coronavirus (Covid-19)

Survey shows growing acceptance of Covid-19 vaccines in some countries

Maya Taylor

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Survey shows growing acceptance of Covid-19 vaccines in some countries | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Pixabay

A survey of 6 countries shows that the number of people willing to be vaccinated against Covid-19 is on the rise. The poll, conducted by the international consultancy KekstCNC, indicates that the number of people willing to be vaccinated has risen since last year. The countries that took part were the US, the UK, France, Germany, Japan, and Sweden, with all reporting a similar trend.

The highest percentage in favour of vaccination was in the UK, where mass vaccination is well underway. 89% of those surveyed say they’re in favour of being vaccinated, an increase on December’s figure of 70%.

Sweden’s percentage of those in favour of vaccination rose to 76%, from 53% in December. In the US, it was 64%, up from December’s 58%, in Germany, 73% favour vaccination, up from 63%, and in Japan, the percentage is 64%, up from 50% in December.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the numbers were lowest in vaccine-sceptical France, with 59% in favour of the vaccine. However, this is a significant rise from December’s 40%.

In some countries, people were critical of the vaccine rollout, but 76% of people in the UK feel the government has done well. In the US, only 32% are happy with the vaccine rollout, in Germany and Japan it’s 28%, 22% in France and just 20% in Sweden. Both the UK and Israel are seen as having the most success with the rollout of their vaccine programmes.

Covid-19 has now killed 2,543,285 people and infected 114,686,933 around the world since the start of the pandemic in December 2019. The US has recorded the highest number of deaths, at 525,776.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Politics

Japan may stop assistance projects to Myanmar in response to coup

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Japan may stop assistance projects to Myanmar in response to coup | The Thaiger

Japan may stop assistance projects to Myanmar in response to the military coup, which has received major international backlash. As a major donor to Myanmar, Japan joins other advanced nations in condemning the coup which has seen security forces using violence against peaceful protesters.

Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi was quoted as saying in a phone call that “Japan will strongly urge the Myanmar military to release Suu Kyi and other detained individuals, and to swiftly restore democratic government.”

But it may not impose sanctions like the rest of the other developed countries as its longtime ties with the armed forces, ousted civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s party, the National League for Democracy and investment promoting policy in the country may serve as a barrier in doing so. Britan and the United States have imposed sanctions in recent days which include the US freezing military funds.

A Japanese Foreign Ministry official says stopping its support of building projects would give China a chance to move in, increasing its clout in Myanmar. Around 450 Japanese companies operate in Myanmar with Japan being the 5th largest investor in the Southeast nation. Singapore has the most companies, followed by China, Hong Kong and Vietnam.

The Foreign Ministry says Japan spent about US $1.8 billion in official development assistance in the fiscal year of 2019, making it the largest among the Development Assistance Committee of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. But it is unknown what China has poured into it as it has refused to disclose its expenditures.

The Japanese government plans to continue coronavirus emergency assistance to Myanmar through international organisations and non-governmental organisations. The World Bank, however, has stopped payments to projects in the nation indefinitely, after the coup on February 1, which disrupted the democratic elections last November and saw the arrest of top leaders including Aung San Suu Kyi, whose party, the National League for Democracy, won the elections in a landslide victory.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Law

Australia sets worldwide precedent by passing pay‐to‐play legislation for social media giants

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Australia sets worldwide precedent by passing pay‐to‐play legislation for social media giants | The Thaiger

In a landmark decision, Australia is now requiring global digital giants, such as Facebook and Google, to pay for using local news content on their websites. The move sets a precedent that many global companies have been anticipating.

The law passed yesterday after Facebook and Google reached an agreement to pay local Australian news organisations for using their stories on their websites. 1 week ago, Australians woke up to a blackout after Facebook temporarily banned local news, which included emergency notifications. The blackout was in response to the legislation being put forth for approval, with Facebook spokespeople saying it seemed to be their only choice at the time.

The new law sets the stage for other countries worldwide to gain more revenue for local media companies by making such social media giants pay to use content. Google’s “Showcase” product will now feature paid local news with Facebook showing such paid news under its “News” category.

Companies like Google and Facebook pushed back against the legislation, saying such a law could threaten their companies’ business models, with Google saying it could make their search engine website “unworkable.”

But local news organisations have rebuked the reasoning, citing that social media giants claim a large percentage of online advertisin, leaving local news companies out of the revenue game. Citing that news is gathered by reporting and fieldwork, the companies say it is unfair for social media companies to profit largely off of the work of local, smaller companies.

The law, called the News Media and Digital Platforms Mandatory Bargaining Code, aims to protect such local companies and to sustain public interest journalism. Thousands of journalists have lost their jobs over the past decade as local media outlets have seen the bulk of their advertising revenues flow to digital companies’ sites after using their content.

Australia’s competition watchdog says that for every $100 invested by Australian advertisers, $49 is sent to Google and $24 to Facebook. Now, both online businesses say they will each invest around US $1 billion in local news content globally in the next 3 years. Facebook and Google now have 2 more months to reach solid agreements before being subjected to binding arbritations.

SOURCE: The Phuket News

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