Tag: protect

Sunak Urged to Protect Indebted Poor Nations With New Law

(Bloomberg) — U.K. Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak could free the poorest nations to fight the coronavirus pandemic by protecting them from “unscrupulous” private creditors, the opposition Labour Party said.

With English law governing a significant share of the sovereign debt issued by developing nations, Shadow Chancellor Anneliese Dodds called for legislation to protect those countries from being sued for debt recovery by private lenders. It’s time, she said, for the government to show leadership on debt forgiveness in the way successive U.K. governments did a decade ago following the financial crisis.



a man wearing a suit and tie: U.K. Chancellor of the Exchequer Sunak Presents 'Winter Economy Plan'


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U.K. Chancellor of the Exchequer Sunak Presents ‘Winter Economy Plan’

Rishi Sunak

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Photographer: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg

“A global debt crisis would not just undermine the fight against the virus, but drive up poverty, increase political instability and hamper efforts to address climate change,” Dodds wrote in a letter to Sunak ahead of a meeting of Group of 20 finance ministers on Wednesday.

The Treasury said Britain is pushing international partners to reach an agreed approach on debt reduction with “comparable” reductions from private creditors.

Some 73 of the world’s poorest nations could potentially benefit from $11.5 billion of savings under a program called the Debt Service Suspension Initiative, agreed by G-20 nations in April, according to World Bank estimates. The program runs through the end of the year, and the U.K. is among nations that support extending it beyond then.

“To protect the poorest countries’ ongoing access to international markets, the G-20 agreed that the private sector should take part in the Debt Service Suspension Initiative voluntarily,” the Treasury said in a statement. “We continue to strongly encourage private creditors to participate whenever requested by borrowers.”

Showing Leadership

Under the DSSI, eligible countries can ask private creditors for the same freeze as they have with sovereign ones, but only a handful have done so out of fear they could fall into default and be locked out of debt markets for years.

Labour, citing International Monetary Fund data, said English law governs 46% of the total outstanding stock of international sovereign bonds. That proportion rises to 90% of debt issued by the nations benefiting from the forgiveness program, according to the Jubilee Debt Campaign.

“A powerful show of leadership would be for the U.K. to bring forward legislation that amends English law, temporarily limiting the ability of private creditors to sue for debt recovery for the 73 countries covered by the DSSI,” Dodds said.

She pointed to existing laws introduced by Labour and passed by the Conservative-led government that succeeded it in 2010, covering the debt of 45 nations issued before 2004.

“Similar legislation for the current crisis, brought forward after consultation, would provide a lifeline for some of the world’s poorest countries and prevent so-called ‘vulture funds’ profiteering from the economic distress caused by the pandemic,” Dodds said.

(Updates with Treasury comment starting in fourth paragraph.)

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Sunak Urged to Use English Law to Protect Indebted Poor Nations

(Bloomberg) — U.K. Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak could free the poorest nations to fight the coronavirus pandemic by protecting them from “unscrupulous” private creditors, the opposition Labour Party said.

With English law governing a significant share of the sovereign debt issued by developing nations, Shadow Chancellor Anneliese Dodds called for legislation to protect those countries from being sued for debt recovery by private lenders. It’s time, she said, for the government to show leadership on debt forgiveness in the way successive U.K. governments did a decade ago following the financial crisis.



a man wearing a suit and tie: U.K. Chancellor of the Exchequer Sunak Presents 'Winter Economy Plan'


© Bloomberg
U.K. Chancellor of the Exchequer Sunak Presents ‘Winter Economy Plan’

Rishi Sunak

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Photographer: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg

“A global debt crisis would not just undermine the fight against the virus, but drive up poverty, increase political instability and hamper efforts to address climate change,” Dodds wrote in a letter to Sunak ahead of a meeting of Group of 20 finance ministers on Wednesday.

The Treasury didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Some 73 of the world’s poorest nations could potentially benefit from $11.5 billion of savings under a program called the Debt Service Suspension Initiative agreed by G-20 nations in April, according to World Bank estimates. The program runs through the end of the year, and the U.K. is among nations that support extending it beyond then.

Showing Leadership

But the plan is only voluntary for private creditors. Eligible countries can ask them for the same freeze, but only a handful have done so out of fear they could fall into default and be locked out of debt markets for years.

Labour, citing International Monetary Fund data, said English law governs 46% of the total outstanding stock of international sovereign bonds. That proportion rises to 90% of debt issued by the nations benefiting from the forgiveness program, according to the Jubilee Debt Campaign.

“A powerful show of leadership would be for the U.K. to bring forward legislation that amends English law, temporarily limiting the ability of private creditors to sue for debt recovery for the 73 countries covered by the DSSI,” Dodds said.

She pointed to existing laws introduced by Labour and passed by the Conservative-led government that succeeded it in 2010, covering the debt of 45 nations issued before 2004.

“Similar legislation for the current crisis, brought forward after consultation, would provide a lifeline for some of the world’s poorest countries and prevent so-called ‘vulture funds’ profiteering from the economic distress caused by the pandemic,” Dodds said.

For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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COVID-19 Is Decimating Ultra-Orthodox Jewish Communities. It’s Up to Religious Leaders to Protect Their Followers.

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EDITOR’S NOTE: We’re making some of our coronavirus pandemic coverage free for nonsubscribers. You can read those articles here and subscribe to our newsletters here.

By every measure, Israel’s war against the coronavirus pandemic has been a miserable failure; it’s a stark turn after what appeared to be an initial success during a strict lockdown earlier this year. Last month, it was the first country in the world to go into a second general lockdown, just four months after the first one ended. In recent weeks, it has had one of the highest rates of COVID-19 deaths per capita in the world. Crisis management has been beset by confusion and petty politics, for which Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu deserves most of the blame.

But there’s another factor behind Israel’s stunning failure: While Israelis have generally abided by the lockdown rules, the ultra-Orthodox Jews known as Haredim who make up about 10-12 percent of the population have generally not, due their unique and jealously guarded lifestyle. The result is that they have accounted for as much as 40 percent of new daily confirmed cases.

The phenomenon is not unique to Israel: In the New York City metropolitan area, another region with a large population of ultra-Orthodox Jews, communities have also been hit hard by the coronavirus. In one, Kiryas Joel, about an hour north of the city, the average rate of positive test results recently was 28 percent, compared with 1 percent statewide.

In both Israel and New York, the question of how to address the problem has gotten enmeshed in politics. Never well-liked by Israel’s secular majority because of their refusal to serve in the army and their control over personal issues, such as marriage, Haredim have become a whipping boy in the mainstream media, which regales viewers with videos of mass gatherings in defiance of the rules and confrontations with the police.

In turn, Haredi leaders and apologists say they are being unfairly singled out. In New York, many claim they are being targeted due to anti-Semitism. More reasonably, they say that keeping the coronavirus under control is more difficult for them than for other populations.

To a degree, they have a point. Haredi Jews in Israel and to a lesser degree in the United States live in crowded conditions and have less access to information, not to mention fewer intellectual tools for fully understanding the pandemic by virtue of an education devoted almost exclusively to the study of religious texts. However, unlike any other impoverished, undereducated minority, the Haredim have consciously chosen this way of life by adhering to an ideology that looks upon the modern world as a threat. It undercuts the argument that they are blameless victims of a virus.

The crowding is one manifestation of a much bigger problem. In Israel—and increasingly in the United States—the ultra-Orthodox community is

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New law aims to protect finances, privacy of child social media stars

Some young children earn millions of dollars through social media influencing and promotion, but there’s little legislation or protection for most. A new law in France aims to try to safeguard children under the age of 16, protecting their finances and providing some privacy.

The legislation, which was passed unanimously by the French parliament on Oct. 6, creates a “legal framework” that gives social media stars the same protections as French child models and actors.

A press release about the law says videos of child influencers online raise “important questions about the interests of the children they portray” and raises questions about the “impact celebrity can have on the psychological development of children, the risks of cyber-harassment, even child pornography, and the fact that these activities are not regulated by labor law.”

Bruno Studer, the politician behind the bill, told the French newspaper Le Monde that the law would make France a pioneer in the rights of child social media stars.

“Children’s rights must be preserved and protected, including on the internet, which must not be a lawless area,” Studer told La Tribune, another publication.

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The multi-part legislation “guarantees that the conditions of employment” for social media influencers under the age of 16 are “compatible with his schooling and the safeguard of his health.” The majority of a child’s income garnered from social media influencing must be paid to a specific French public sector financial institution, which will hold and manage that money until the child comes of age. The law also places limits on how many hours a child can work as an influencer.

Another part of the law also gives children some protection from the platforms on which they post. One piece of the legislation “makes platforms participate more actively in the detection of problematic audiovisual content” and “creates an obligation of cooperation with public authorities.” Platforms face a fine of 75,000 euros, or around $88,700, for not complying with these obligations.

The legislation also includes a “right to erasure,” which means that minors can ask platforms to take down images of themselves and requires platforms to comply.

Children can earn millions of dollars online. According to Forbes, an American child named Ryan Kaji made more than $20 million in 2018 by reviewing toys on YouTube.

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Nature society calls for speed bumps to protect wildlife

JOHOR BARU: The Johor Malaysian Nature Society (MNS) has urged the government to have speed bumps with reflective paint on roads near forests and areas where wildlife roam.

Its vice-president Vincent Chow said speed bumps would make motorists slow down and prevent mishaps.

“Animals like tapir have been seen on some roads near their habitat and it is best to drive with care along such stretches,” he said.

“There are signage placed at such places like at Mersing, Kota Tinggi and Kluang roads, warning motorists to be careful and watch out for wild animals crossing.

“However, some do not take this seriously and drive fast, endangering not only the stray animals but themselves as well,” he said here.

Chow urged government agencies such as the Public Works Department and Wildlife and National Parks Department (Perhilitan) to work closely to help protect wildlife.

Chow said tapirs moved from one location to another in search of wetlands and swampy areas, to cool off.

“Tapirs are very clumsy animals while elephants move slowly. Fast vehicles may not be able to stop suddenly to avoid them on the road,

“Conduct a study to identify roads in Johor with a high number of animals crossing to put speed bumps with reflective paint,” he added.

Johor Perhilitan director Salman Saaban said a female tapir was found dead on Jalan Kahang Barat in Kluang.

He said the 350kg tapir was believed to have wandered off to the road from its habitat in the Kluang Forest Reserve.

“We believe it must have been hit by a vehicle. The road where the carcass was found is very dark at night and in the wee hours of the morning.

“This could have led to the accident,” he said.

Salman said this was the seventh tapir found dead in Johor this year.

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