Coronavirus fears lead to people writing code on arms ‘preventing infection’

Hong Kong residents have taken to writing a code on their arms amid coronavirus fears.

Artist Julian Cheung Chi-lam posted a picture of the code on his arm, believed to have been a joke, and called it the "epidemic prevention code".

The artist's fans then followed suit.

The coronavirus has infected more than 20 countries and regions after starting in Wuhan, China.

In Hong Kong, which is separated from the mainland, the infection broke out in early February.

There is a shortage of face masks and doctors have been "staying up all night" searching the internet for them.

It's reported by NTD News, that the Hong Kong government claimed that "the purchase of masks was unsuccessful" and medicine to fight off the disease was scarce.

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Among the growing fears artist, Julian Cheung Chi-lam, posted a picture of his arm on social media site Weibo with a series of numbers on.

He joked: "Friends the epidemic prevention code, just write it."

The codes are reportedly from Russian mathematician Grigory Grabovoi. 4986489 and 548748978 are designed to combat pneumonia. 4814212 and 5189912 are for a cold.

Reportedly, some Hong Kong residents praised him and the practice of writing the anti-epidemic codes on their arms.

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It has been liked and reposted by many followers on Weibo.

Meanwhile, in China the outbreak has led to panic-buying across the region, with surgical masks also in high demand.

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But another product thats increasingly hard to come by is toilet roll.

Three masked raiders held up a supermarket delivery and made off with hundreds of toilet rolls worth more than 1,000 Hong Kong Dollars (about £98).

  • Coronavirus

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Diver films grim moment ‘poo’ leaks out of pipes off the coast of Majorca

This is the grim moment poo seemed to leak out of a broken pipe at a popular tourist hotspot in Majorca.

A scuba diver filmed the disturbing clip when he went underwater off the coast of Soller Bay on the Balearic Island in Spain.

The clip allegedly shows faecal matter being discharged through an exposed pipe lying at the bottom of the sea.

Dozens of fish are seen swimming by the murky waters through bubbles of air.

The diver shared the video to a Facebook community group called Mallorca Blue on February 15.

They have tagged the Banyalbufar City Hall and the Town Hall of Soller in the video in a bid to raise the problem.

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According to the group, the pipes belong to a nearby water treatment plant and are directly leaking faecal matter into the ocean.

The group also complained about similar situations on other parts of the island, such as the water purification plant in Estellences and another in Banyalbufar.

Meanwhile, they said that pipes are also leaking waste in Port des Canonge where there is not even a nearby treatment plant.

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The video sparked outrage online, with one viewer commenting: "Oh my God! What year are we in? And those responsible, where are their eyes? In their bum?

"They look after the tourists with money and constantly build and build as they only want to have fun at home or in their pool."

Another said: "Everything is the fault of the politicians failing us.

"There could be so much money from taxing foreign people and businesses, but there is no interest. I have never seen the water so dirty in Palma as it is now."

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China destroys $600 million in cash to stop coronavirus spread on bank notes

China has reportedly begun destroying hundreds of millions of dollars worth of cash in a desperate bid to halt the march of the coronavirus.

Beijing’s central bank has reportedly implemented new strategy to destroy cash from areas completely infected by the coronavirus.

It is also taking measures to deep clean and disinfect cash from other areas in bid to kill off the virus.

Coronavirus is feared to travel on cash and then transfer to humans as China remains the epicentre of the global outbreak.

The People’s Bank have China have announced the new measures as the fight goes on.

World Health Organisation officials had previously warned the virus can last several hours on surfaces.

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Chinese government officials have ordered their banks to launder the cash.

Bank notes will be disinfected with ultraviolet light and high temperatures before being stored for two weeks.

Cash from higher risk areas will then be “specially treated” and sent back to the central bank.

And then even high-risk banknotes face being burned, reports state-run newspaper the Global Times.

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Government officials have said they will release four billion yuan in additional uninfected cash to help meet the demand.

That would mean around $600 million has either been destroyed or taken out of circulation due to fears it is too infected with coronavirus.

Bank chiefs have also suspended the use of physical cash in high risk provinces.

China has been the frontline against the virus, with around 60 million people in lockdown.

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The death toll in mainland China rose by 98 to 1,868, in figures announced early on Tuesday.

While the number of people infected globally stands at 72,436, according to the country's National Health Commission.

Wider economic impacts of the coronavirus are now being fears.

Some forecasters suggest $62 billion of growth could be wiped off the Chinese economy – leading to businesses going under and a crash.

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It comes as UK accounting watchdog Financial Reporting Council (FRC) said companies have a duty to make "up-to-date and meaningful" disclosures to investors on the potential impact of the disease.

It also confirmed it is in talks with accountancy firms over the potential effect that coronavirus – also known as Covid-19 – could have on their ability to sign off accounts, given travel restrictions in China.

UK firms with Chinese subsidiaries can only review audit files within the country, as Chinese data protection laws prevent this being done remotely.

The FRC's reminder about firms' obligations to disclose risks comes after technology giant Apple warned over second-quarter results because the coronavirus outbreak in China has hit production of iPhones.

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Banking giant HSBC also cautioned on announcing 2019 figures that coronavirus had caused "significant disruption" for its business, especially in mainland China and Hong Kong, and may knock lending and transactions in the region.

FRC chiefs said companies need to "carefully" consider what disclosures they may need to make in year-end accounts, for those trading in China as well as those that may be indirectly affected.

The regulator said firms may be directly hit if, for example, they have extensive operations or manufacturing bases in China, which could suffer staff shortages and production delays.

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But it added that firms without a presence in China may also suffer, such as those with significant trading links or global supply chains dependent on Chinese-manufactured goods.

UK retailers, pharmaceutical firms, hotel groups and banks are among those set to suffer an impact from the outbreak.

  • Coronavirus
  • China

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Mums are raving about £50 vacuum cleaner that’s ‘better than a Dyson’

Mums are raving about their new, £50, vacuum cleaners – that they say work better than Dysons.

The Bellini bagless vacuum costs just $99 AUD – or a fraction over £30 – but people say works better than cleaners costing six times that.

"After reading a woman's review about this vac on this page recently (she said she was a cleaner and that this is better than her $600 Dyson) My husband went and picked one up for me today…and WOW for $99, what a fantastic machine," one happy shopper wrote on the Facebook group Mums Who Clean.

"The amount of crap its sucked out of my carpets is mind blowing. Thank you to the woman who originally posted on here about them."


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And we didn't just have to take her word for it – after she posted the evidence of how well it worked.

"For those that wanted to see. This is from 1 bedroom that was only vacuumed 3 days ago," she said, posting a picture to the group.

Others in the group were also big fans.

"Yes!!! The best vac hands down!!! I posted about it but i am not the only one.. they are truly incredible, " one wrote.

Another added: "The amount you pay for a Dyson is absolutely ridiculous. You could buy one of these every year for ten years and still be on top."


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It's not the first time the brand has been praised either.

Last week another woman wrote: "This is the best vacuum we have ever had –  great for sucking up dog hair, great for noise and we are shocked [by] how much dirt and sand was in it. Buy it!!!!"

Another posted an entire black bin bag filled with dog hair sucked up using the cheap machine.

She wrote: "OMG!!!!! As you can see in the photos, it beats them all!! I had only run it over a small section in my bedroom & it was at full capacity already! What a difference! I am in love!"

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Labour’s Barry Gardiner torn apart for lefty ‘pointless whining’ to rejoin EU – ‘We left!’

Labour’s Barry Gardiner insisted Boris Johnson’s Canada-style deal will lead to reduced trade as it moves towards misalignment. The Shadow Trade Secretary faced a brutal backlash for his opinion as Twitter users believe he was campaigning to rejoin the EU. Speaking to BBC Newsnight, Mr Gardiner said: “I want the UK to come out of this better off.

“Given where we are I want negotiations that are going to be a win for the UK.

“The first thing you’ve got to do is understand that most trade negotiations are about increased alignment, the reduction of barriers and the consequence the flows from that is increased trade which is economically beneficial.

“When the Government says let’s just have a Canada trade deal- that’s false.

“We’re starting from alignment and moving to disalignment, increased barriers, the logical consequence is reduced trade.”

Critics of his appearance have said he is “pointlessly whingeing”.

One wrote on Twitter: “Barry really is pushing the Remainer/Rejoin bandwagon uphill – A steep incline.

“He really ought to desist from this perverse approach.”

Another added: “Pointless whingeing. We left. Coming up with the ideal deal would be better.”

A third person wrote: “No Barry you are pushing alignment with a rejoin agenda sort yourself out man!”

It comes as the Prime Minister plans to challenge Brussels to follow UK laws as part of any future trade deal as the Prime Minister turns the EU’s demands on their head.

Mr Johnson’s chief negotiator challenged his European counterparts to respond to similar demands they have set out that would see the EU policing UK state aid rules, regulating UK taxes and permanently aligning Britain with its standards.

In a speech at the Universite Libre de Bruxelles, David Frost said: “We bring to the negotiations not some clever tactical positioning but the fundamentals of what it means to be an independent country.

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“It is central to our vision that we must have the ability to set laws that suit us – to claim the right that every other non-EU country in the world has.

“So to think that we might accept EU supervision on so-called level playing field issues simply fails to see the point of what we are doing.

“It isn’t a simple negotiating position which might move under pressure – it is the point of the whole project. That’s also why we will not extend the transition beyond the end of this year. At that point we recover our political and economic independence in full – why would we want to postpone it?

“In short, we only want what other independent countries have.”

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EMERGING MARKETS-EM stocks reel under pressure from virus impact on businesses

* Apple warns of coronavirus impact on sales

* S.African rand falls as Moody’s cuts growth forecast

* EM stocks index heads for worst day this month

By Shreyashi Sanyal

Feb 18 (Reuters) – Emerging market equities lost ground on Tuesday, as Apple Inc’s sales warning fanned fears of the impact from the coronavirus outbreak on companies and global supply chains, while South Africa’s rand weakened due to a dreary growth outlook.

The warning from the world’s most valuable technology company came as a shock to markets that bounced on the back of China’s stimulus measures on Monday.

Apple said it was unlikely to meet its March quarter sales forecast as China’s coronavirus epidemic disrupted supply chains and delayed reopening of factories after the extended Lunar New Year break.

“Apple’s woes, announced overnight, have brought a welcome dose of reality to financial markets,” said Jeffrey Halley, senior market analyst at OANDA.

“Even if the coronavirus was to magically disappear tomorrow, the downstream effects to the disruption to global commerce and supply lines will be felt for some months to come.”

MSCI’s index for emerging market equities fell more than 1%, heading for its worst day so far this month. Throughout the month of February, markets around the globe have swayed with headlines around the coronavirus epidemic.

Officials said the total death toll from the outbreak in China has climbed to 1,868.

UK-based HSBC Holdings PLC also said the coronavirus epidemic had significantly impacted staff and customers.

Among currencies, South Africa’s rand weakened against the dollar after ratings agency Moody’s chopped its 2020 growth forecast for Africa’s most industrialized economy to 0.7% from 1.5%.

The ratings agency is the last of the three big ones to have an investment grade rating on South Africa, even as its economy remained stuck in low gear due to lacklustre private sector demand at home.

Russia’s rouble and the Turkish lira also slipped against the dollar, while the Czech crown and Poland’s zloty eased against the euro.

For GRAPHIC on emerging market FX performance in 2020, see tmsnrt.rs/2egbfVh For GRAPHIC on MSCI emerging index performance in 2020, see tmsnrt.rs/2OusNdX

For TOP NEWS across emerging markets

For CENTRAL EUROPE market report, see

For TURKISH market report, see

For RUSSIAN market report, see (Reporting by Shreyashi Sanyal in Bengaluru; Editing by Aditya Soni)

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Vancouver faces conference foe Minnesota

Minnesota Wild (27-24-7, sixth in the Central Division) vs. Vancouver Canucks (32-22-5, third in the Pacific Division)

Vancouver, British Columbia; Wednesday, 10 p.m. EST

BOTTOM LINE: Vancouver hosts Minnesota in Western Conference play.

The Canucks are 19-13-3 in conference matchups. Vancouver ranks eighth in the NHL shooting 10.3% and averaging 3.2 goals on 31.0 shots per game.

The Wild are 17-15-3 in Western Conference play. Minnesota has converted on 22% of power-play opportunities, recording 40 power-play goals.

In their last meeting on Feb. 6, Minnesota won 4-2.

TOP PERFORMERS: Elias Pettersson has recorded 58 total points while scoring 24 goals and adding 34 assists for the Canucks. Quinn Hughes has collected 11 points over the last 10 games for Vancouver.

Eric Staal leads the Wild with 41 points, scoring 17 goals and registering 24 assists. Kevin Fiala has scored five goals over the last 10 games for Minnesota.

LAST 10 GAMES: Wild: 5-4-1, averaging 2.8 goals, 5.1 assists, 3.9 penalties and 8.9 penalty minutes while giving up 2.6 goals per game with a .908 save percentage.

Canucks: 5-4-1, averaging 2.9 goals, 5.1 assists, 4.7 penalties and 14.4 penalty minutes while giving up 2.9 goals per game with a .922 save percentage.

INJURIES: Canucks: None listed.

Wild: None listed.

The Associated Press created this story using technology provided by Data Skrive and data from Sportradar.


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Power outage leaves more than 2,000 south Londoners in the dark Tuesday morning

Londoners living in the city’s south end may be waking up in the dark Tuesday morning.

London Hydro is reporting more than 2,000 customers are without power this morning, including more than 1,700 in the Lambeth area alone.

According to the Thames Valley District School Board, Lambeth Public school is closed Tuesday as a result of the power outage.

There’s no word on what led to the power cutting out, but restoration is expected for 9 a.m. Tuesday.

To see the latest outage map from London Hydro, click here.

Drivers and pedestrians are reminded to use caution when traveling through intersections. If traffic lights are out, the public is asked to treat them as four-way stops and follow directions from members of the London Police Service if they’re on scene.


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Senior conservative Roettgen wants to take over Merkel's conservatives

BERLIN (Reuters) – Senior German conservative lawmaker Norbert Roettgen has put himself forward as a surprise candidate to take over as leader of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU), further complicating the party’s chaotic succession planning.

Last week, Annegret-Kramp Karrenbauer, Merkel’s protegee, threw the party into turmoil by saying she would not stand as chancellor in the next federal election, due by Oct. 2021, and announcing that she would give up the CDU party chair.

Roettgen’s unexpected move makes him the fourth contender for the post of party leader.

Roettgen has something of a national profile due to his role as head of the parliamentary foreign affairs committee but is not seen as a big hitter in the party. He also served as an environment minister under Merkel from 2009 to 2012.

Roettgen has in the past been seen as someone who could work with the Greens, currently the second-biggest party in polls after the conservative bloc.

In a letter quoted by the regional newspaper Rheinische Post to outgoing CDU leader Kramp-Karrenbauer, Roettgen said the situation was “so serious that it was about the future of the CDU and what that meant for the stability of Germany”.

The other CDU leadership contenders are Friedrich Merz, a former archrival to Merkel who is an economic liberal, right-wing health minister Jens Spahn and Armin Laschet, premier of North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany’s most populous state. A centrist, Laschet is seen as a continuity candidate.

The CDU leader is likely to be chancellor candidate for the conservative bloc but the Christian Social Union (CSU) – the Bavarian sister party to the CDU – could also put forward a candidate.

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Britain's new finance minister keeps March 11 budget date

LONDON (Reuters) – Britain’s new finance minister Rishi Sunak said he will stick with the March 11 date for the government’s first post-Brexit budget, dispelling speculation that the plans, likely to entail a big increase in spending, would be delayed.

Sunak’s predecessor Sajid Javid, who was already working on plans to increase public investment after a decade of tight controls on spending, resigned unexpectedly last week.

His departure raised questions about whether the budget would be delivered on schedule.

In a tweet on Tuesday, Sunak said: “Cracking on with preparations for my first Budget on March 11. It will deliver on the promises we made to the British people – leveling up and unleashing the country’s potential.”

British government bonds have underperformed U.S. and euro zone debt this month as investors believe that Sunak will obey to Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s wishes to increase government spending by more than Javid was prepared to do.

Johnson has promised to reduce the wealth and opportunity gap between parts of Britain by channeling investment into northern and central England, where he won votes from many traditional supporters of the main opposition Labour Party.

It remains to be seen if Sunak will rewrite the new fiscal rules for the government that were announced last year by Javid.

Under those rules, day-to-day spending will not be funded by borrowing within three years’ time, public sector net investment would not average more than 3% of GDP, and spending plans would be reviewed if debt interest payments reach 6% of revenue.

The rules would allow the government to use low borrowing costs to boost investment and help the Conservatives to meet election promises of up to 20 billion pounds ($26 billion) a year in extra investment in road, rail and other infrastructure.

Asked directly on Friday whether the government was still committed to this framework, a source in Johnson’s office declined to comment.

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