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Global Shares Slide Amid Covid Economic Recovery Fears

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Global Shares Slide Amid Covid Economic Recovery Fears

Stock markets across the UK, Europe and the US dropped sharply on Monday on fears that rising numbers of Covid-19 cases will obstruct economic recovery.

London’s FTSE 100 fell 2.6% to below the 7,000 level, led by broadcaster ITV and British Airways-owner IAG.

In New York, the Dow Jones Industrial Average tumbled by more than 2% while major share indexes in France and Germany also fell.

In England, most remaining Covid-19 restrictions were lifted on Monday.

However, new cases are continuing to rise in some countries fuelled by the Delta variant of the virus. Meanwhile, businesses in the UK have described how they are cutting opening hours, closing shops or may have to reduce production as employees are forced to self-isolate after being alerted by the NHS Covid-19 app.

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ITV’s share price fell 6% on concerns that slower economic growth could lead to less spending on advertising. WPP, the advertising giant also saw its share price drop.

IAG’s share price was the biggest faller among travel, aviation and holiday-related stocks, with airline EasyJet and cruise line operator Carnival also losing ground.

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Foreign

Israel Minister to Discuss Pegasus Scandal in France Visit

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Israel Minister to Discuss Pegasus Scandal in France Visit

Israeli Defence Minister Benny Gantz will meet his French counterpart in Paris this week for talks that will include an “update” on the Pegasus spyware scandal, his office said Tuesday.

A ministry statement said Gantz will leave Wednesday for talks with French Defence Minister Florence Parly on topics including the crisis in Lebanon, nuclear negotiations with Iran and the Pegasus malware made by Israeli firm NSO, which was allegedly used to target President Emmanuel Macron.

Pegasus, which is able to switch on a phone’s camera or microphone and harvest its data, is at the centre of a storm after a list of about 50,000 potential surveillance targets were leaked to human rights groups.

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Israel’s defence establishment has set up a committee to review the firm’s business, including the process through which export licenses are granted.

Pegasus’s list of alleged targets includes at least 180 journalists, 600 politicians, 85 human rights activists and 65 business leaders.

However, NSO insists its software is only intended for use in fighting terrorism and other crimes, and says it exports to 45 countries.

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Iranian MPs Postpone Internet Restriction Bill

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Iranian MPs Postpone Internet Restriction Bill

Iran’s parliament has suspended its review of a highly controversial bill that a minister, citizens and businesses say will only lead to more internet restrictions in the country.

The bill, first proposed three years ago, is titled “Protecting Users in Cyberspace and Organizing Social Media” but critics say it is aimed at introducing more controls in a country where most prominent global services are already banned.

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Iran’s Minister of Information and Communications Technology, Mohammad Javad Azari Jahromi denounced the bill in letters to parliament speaker Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf and President-elect Ebrahim Raisi that surfaced recently.

The outgoing minister said the bill will limit users’ free access to information, weaken the government’s role in cyberspace decision-making, and make the ministry practically obsolete.

However, for it to become law, it will still need to be approved by the Guardian Council, a hard-line constitutional vetting body.

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Germany to Return 7,000 Artefacts to Nigeria in October 2021

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Germany to Return 7,000 Artefacts to Nigeria in October 2021

Nigeria’s government has said that at least 7,000 artefacts that were stolen from the Benin Kingdom are expected to be repatriated by Germany to Nigeria not later than October 2021.

This follows the advanced stage of discussions between Nigeria and Germany on the return of thousands of different pieces of Benin bronzes back to the country.

This disclosure was made by the Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Gabriel Aduda, while speaking at the Inaugural Nigerian Cultural Show, exhibiting Nigeria’s diverse cultural heritage, sites and traditional festivals held at the Cultural Centre, Nigeria House, New York.

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Aduda said the reparation of the artefacts would go with building an ultramodern museum in Edo and the training of some curators who would manage the artefacts.

The permanent secretary further commended the Consulate-General in New York for inaugurating in April, a Culture Centre and Library, equipped with books, cultural artefacts, research materials and historic documents on Nigeria for public use.

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