Tag: world

E-Commerce Firm Shopee in Thai Twitter Storm for Banning Anti-Government Store | World News

By Chayut Setboonsarng and Panarat Thepgumpanat

BANGKOK (Reuters) – E-commerce firm Shopee has reversed a ban on a store linked to a dissolved opposition party in Thailand, a spokeswoman said, after online criticism of its perceived pro-government stance.

#BanShopee became the third highest trending hashtag with over 57,000 uses on Saturday and many Twitter users saying they’ve deleted the app.

“Double standards @ShopeeTH,” wrote Twitter user @chanson_2013. “You need to explain why you banned the stores of those advancing democracy but allow businesses who are pro government to sell on your platform.”

Shopee, a unit of Tencent-backed Sea Ltd, is the latest business in Thailand to be targeted by pro-democracy campaigners for appearing to support the government of Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha.

The campaign also comes a week ahead of the crucial online shopping event, 10.10.

“Our platform is neutral, and everything is up to company policy,” a Shopee Thailand spokeswoman told Reuters, adding that its policies were applied equally to all sellers.

Companies in Thailand are finding it increasingly difficult to navigate political division. In August, after calls for a boycott, Burger King and others pulled advertisement off the Nation television, which activists branded as pro-government.

Shopee says Democstore had violated its terms several times before the ban for posting “politically sensitive” material.

Democstore is run by the Progressive Movement, a group founded by banned politicians from upstart opposition Future Forward party, which was dissolved in February.

“We were selling urban camping equipment for the protesters and we were banned,” Progressive Movement spokeswoman Pannika Wanich told Reuters.

In September, ten thousand protesters joined an overnight demonstration calling for amendments to the constitution and reform of the monarchy.

DemocStore said it would continue selling t-shirts and mugs with the group’s logo on the chat app, Line.

Anti-government memorabilia are fast becoming hot items online.

(Reporting by Chayut Setboonsarng and Panarat Thepgumpanat; Editing by Christina Fincher)

Copyright 2020 Thomson Reuters.

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Minister Quits Israeli Government Over COVID-19 Curbs on Protests | World News

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – An Israeli minister resigned on Friday in protest against a new law that curbed demonstrations against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, saying the measure left him without a “shred of trust” in the veteran leader.

In a Facebook post, Tourism Minister Asaf Zamir said: “My conscience does not allow me to stay in a government that prevents de facto protests.”

“Even at its most difficult time, Netanyahu runs the country according to his own political interest,” said Zamir, a member of the Blue and White party led by defence minister and prominent Netanyahu rival Benny Gantz.

For months, Netanyahu has faced domestic protests against his handling of the coronavirus crisis and over allegations of corruption, which he denies.

Parliament on Wednesday approved a government-backed edict banning Israelis from holding demonstrations more than 1 km (0.6 miles) from their homes, tightening a second-wave coronavirus lockdown that went into effect on Sept. 18.

The government said it was aimed at curbing COVID-19 infections, but critics said its intention was to block protests near Netanyahu’s official residence in Jerusalem.

Israelis have continued their protests, though in smaller numbers. Dozens protested in Tel Aviv on Thursday. Police said they had arrested 12 demonstrators who they said had caused “public disturbances”.

Opinion polls show only about a quarter of the public has confidence in the way Netanyahu has dealt with the pandemic, which had largely subsided during a March-May lockdown.

New COVID-19 cases in Israel have climbed to over 7,000 a day among its 9 million population, overtaxing some hospitals.

(Reporting by Rami Ayyub and Stephen Farrell, Editing by Timothy Heritage)

Copyright 2020 Thomson Reuters.

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Zogenix Presents New Data at the World Muscle Society Conference 2020

EMERYVILLE, Calif., Oct. 02, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Zogenix, Inc. (NASDAQ:ZGNX), a global biopharmaceutical company developing and commercializing rare disease therapies, and its subsidiary Modis Therapeutics, shared new data and information about MT1621, the company’s investigational therapy for Thymidine kinase 2 deficiency (TK2d), at this week’s International Congress of the World Muscle Society (WMS 2020). TK2d is an inherited mitochondrial DNA depletion syndrome that primarily affects infants and children and is often fatal.

“These new analyses highlight the unmet need in TK2 deficiency and underscore the important progress we are making in our MT1621 development program,” said Joanne Quan, M.D., Chief Medical Officer for Modis Therapeutics. “We are excited to be collaborating with researchers and clinicians internationally to understand and develop a treatment for this devastating disease.”

The company’s WMS 2020 posters, now available on the Zogenix Newsroom, include:

  1. MOA: MT1621 for Thymidine kinase 2 deficiency (TK2d) Mechanism of Action is via Mitochondrial DNA Incorporation
    (Seves, Kenny, Blazquez Bermejo et al)
  2. Modis Untreated Dataset: Analysis of Morbidity and Mortality in Untreated Patients with Thymidine Kinase 2 Deficiency
    (Domínguez-González, Garone, D’Souza et al)
  3. Collaborative Model for Diagnosis and Treatment of Very Rare Diseases: Experience in Spain with Thymidine Kinase 2 Deficiency
    (Paradas, Domínguez-González, Madruga-Garrido et al)
  4. Study 104 Protocol: Design of a Prospective Clinical Study for the Treatment of Thymidine Kinase 2 Deficiency (TK2d)
    (Hirano; Ali, Dominguez-Gonzalez, et al)

About TK2 Deficiency

Thymidine kinase 2 deficiency (TK2d) is a genetic disorder that primarily affects infants and young children and results in mitochondrial dysfunction, leading to inadequate energy production in cells. The disease presents as progressive and severe muscle weakness that profoundly impairs movement, breathing, eating, and other normal functions, and is often fatal. There are currently no approved therapies for this disease. To learn more, please visit www.tk2d.com.

About Zogenix

Zogenix is a global biopharmaceutical company committed to developing and commercializing therapies with the potential to transform the lives of patients and their families living with rare diseases. The company’s first rare disease therapy, FINTEPLA® (fenfluramine) oral solution, C-IV has been approved by the U.S. FDA, is under review in Europe, and is in development in Japan for the treatment of seizures associated with Dravet syndrome, a rare, severe childhood onset epilepsy. FINTEPLA is also in development for the treatment of seizures associated with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome, another rare childhood-onset epilepsy.

Through its subsidiary Modis Therapeutics, Zogenix is also developing MT1621, an investigational novel deoxynucleoside substrate enhancement therapy for the treatment of TK2 deficiency, a rare genetic disorder. Deoxynucleoside combination therapy has been shown to improve cell function and prolong life in preclinical models of TK2d. Data from initial clinical studies suggest that this therapy may meaningfully alter the course of disease in patients with TK2d. The company plans to conduct a Phase 1 pharmacokinetic study in renal impairment and is compiling additional data required to submit a new drug application (NDA) for MT1621, which is expected to be submitted in the first

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Macron outlines new law to prevent Islamic ‘separatism’ in France | World news

Emmanuel Macron has announced a law against religious “separatism” aimed at freeing Islam in France from “foreign influences”.

In a long-awaited declaration, the French president outlined new measures to “defend the republic and its values and ensure it respects its promises of equality and emancipation”.

The measures to combat “radical Islamism” and terrorism suggested a carrot-and-stick approach: local officials will be given extra legal powers to combat extremism while money will be invested in education – particularly of Islamic culture and civilisation – and to deal with other social problems including housing and poverty.

“Our challenge is to fight against those who go off the rails in the name of religion … while protecting those who believe in Islam and are full citizens of the republic,” Macron said.

His speech on Friday was a broad outline of the measures to come, which he said would be drawn up in the next two weeks for a law to be presented in December.

The measures include placing mosques under greater control and ensure that imams arriving from abroad receive training in France before they gain certification. The aim would be to “liberate French Islam from foreign influences”, he said, particularly funding. Islamic organisations that receive funding from the French state will have to sign a “secular charter”.

Associations found to be pushing ideas contrary to republican ideals could be ordered to disband, and €10m (just over £9m) of public funds would be used to finance higher education studies and research into Islamic culture and civilisation.

“The country has been hit by Islamic terrorism since 2012 and we have progressively rearmed against this threat,” he said.

Radical Islamism had shown a “willingness to contravene the laws of the republic, to promote other values … to organise another society”.

However, he recognised that France’s colonial past had helped to create the problems the country faced.

“We have created our own separatism in some of our areas. We have concentrated populations of the same origins, the same religion.” This had created “economic and educational difficulties”.

Macron announced extra funding for the country’s education and justice ministries to “assure a republican presence in every road, every building”.

He said education was key to the measures and that from September next year children would be required to attend school from the age of three. Home schooling is to be limited.

Macron would be drawing up new measures in the coming weeks to address other social problems including housing, because a “profound change” was needed, he said. “We cannot keep adding poverty to poverty.”

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Finally, a Government After 652 Days: New Belgian PM Debuts at EU Summit | World News

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Belgium’s new premier arrived for a European Union summit on Thursday fresh from his swearing-in ceremony, exultantly bumping elbows with fellow leaders as he told them his country finally had a proper government after 652 days.

Summits of the 27-nation EU had become used to a “caretaker” Belgian prime minister since December 2018 when the ruling coalition collapsed, leading to Belgium’s longest ever stretch without a government.

But Alexander De Croo, a Flemish liberal who had served as acting finance minister in the caretaker government since an inconclusive election 16 months ago, was sworn in on Monday just five hours before sitting down with EU leaders.

“I’m very happy to be here and to meet my colleagues for the first time, I’m happy to announce in Belgium we finally have a new government,” he told them.

Belgium’s deep decentralisation and linguistic divide between Flanders and the French-speaking Wallonia have often delayed forming a government. After a 2010 election, the country took a world record 541 days to assemble one.

During the latest hiatus, interim premier Sophie Wilmes was criticised for her handling of the coronavirus pandemic in the country that is home to EU institutions and NATO.

Beyond containing the pandemic, which has killed more than 10,000 people in the country of 11 million, De Croo’s seven-party coalition will face the challenge of reviving an economy that contracted by 14.5 percent in the second quarter of 2020.

“Our country, our economy, our companies cannot afford new generalised lockdowns,” de Croo told Belgian lawmakers on Thursday, promising environmental reforms, a rise in minimum pension payments, and an extension of paternity leave.

As he seeks a vote of confidence in the Belgium parliament on Saturday, his government has attracted attention for being the country’s first gender-balanced one. Wilmes became Belgium’s first female foreign minister while women were appointed as interior and defence ministers for the first time too.

Green EU lawmaker Petra de Sutter became the first transgender federal minister, landing a deputy premier job in charge of state-owned companies and public administration.

(Reporting by Marine Strauss; Writing by Gabriela Baczynska; Editing by Mark Heinrich)

Copyright 2020 Thomson Reuters.

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EU launches legal action against UK for breaching Brexit deal and international law | World

Since the UK government has not pulled this legislation, the Commission has written a letter of formal notice to the UK government, the first step in an infringement procedure — something the EU commonly uses when parties breach agreements with the union.

“The letter invites the UK government to send its observations within a month and besides this the Commission will continue to work hard towards full and timely implementation of the Withdrawal Agreement. We stand by our commitments,” von der Leyen concluded.

The move, though dramatic, was expected in London. The government had previously admitted that its Internal Market Bill would breach the treaty and break international law in a “very specific and limited way.” The government claims that the bill is a safety net to ensure seamless trade between the four nations of the United Kingdom in the event of a no deal Brexit at the end of this year and hopes it won’t have to use the legislation.

The backdrop to all of this is that trade talks between London and Brussels are entering their final phase. The last formal round of talks are talking place right now and an EU summit will take place on October 15, where negotiators hope a deal will be on the table for EU leaders to approve.

Both sides say a deal is in sight, but are struggling to reach an agreement on some key issues, most notably around the UK’s ability to use state aid in order to prop up British businesses. The EU says this could give British companies an unfair advantage over EU companies. There are also disputes over fishing rights and governance.

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Fulcrum Therapeutics Announces Multiple Presentations During the Virtual 25th International Congress of the World Muscle Society

CAMBRIDGE, Mass., Oct. 01, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Fulcrum Therapeutics, Inc. (Nasdaq: FULC), a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on improving the lives of patients with genetically defined rare diseases, today announced it will present multiple posters on the company’s ongoing studies in patients with facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy (FSHD) during the 25th International Congress of the World Muscle Society.

“FSHD is a serious and debilitating disease for which there are currently no approved therapies,” said Diego Cadavid, MD, Fulcrum’s senior vice president, clinical development. “We are pleased to share these data at this important scientific meeting as we continue to pursue losmapimod as a potential treatment for FSHD by addressing the root cause of the disease. We greatly appreciate the patients who have participated in our trials and the support we have received from key opinion leaders and investigators.”

During the Virtual Poster Session today, October 1, 2020 from 12:30pm – 2:30pm ET, Fulcrum will present four posters on its integrated approach to the evaluation of FSHD patients, highlighting the progress made in the development of imaging and molecular biomarkers in FSHD and the design of clinical trials to evaluate potential benefits of losmapimod in FSHD patients:

  • Development and Evaluation of a Whole-body MRI Protocol and Analysis Algorithms to Measure Changes in Skeletal Muscle in FSHD

  • A Biomarker of Aberrant DUX4 Activity to Evaluate Losmapimod Treatment Effect in FSHD Phase 2 Trials

  • Open-Label Pilot Study of Losmapimod in FSHD1 (NCT04004000)

  • A Phase 2, Randomized, Placebo-Controlled, 48-Week Study of the Efficacy and Safety of Losmapimod in Treating Subjects with FSHD: ReDUX4 (NCT04003974) Interim Analysis

The poster sessions will be available to registered conference attendees. The posters will also be made available in the “Publications” section of fulcrumtx.com.

About FSHD
FSHD is characterized by progressive skeletal muscle loss that initially causes weakness in muscles in the face, shoulders, arms and trunk, and progresses to weakness throughout the lower body. Skeletal muscle weakness results in significant physical limitations, including an inability to smile and difficulty using arms for activities, with many patients ultimately becoming dependent upon the use of a wheelchair for daily mobility.

FSHD is caused by mis-expression of DUX4 in skeletal muscle, resulting in the presence of DUX4 proteins that are toxic to muscle tissue. Normally, DUX4-driven gene expression is limited to early embryonic development, after which time the DUX4 gene is silenced. In people with FSHD, the DUX4 gene is turned “on” as a result of a genetic mutation. The result is death of muscle and its replacement by fat, leading to skeletal muscle weakness and progressive disability. There are no approved therapies for FSHD, one of the most common forms of muscular dystrophy, with an estimated patient population of 16,000 to 38,000 in the United States alone.

About Losmapimod
Losmapimod is a selective p38α/β mitogen activated protein kinase (MAPK) inhibitor that was exclusively in-licensed from GSK by Fulcrum Therapeutics following Fulcrum’s discovery of the role of p38α/β inhibitors in the reduction of DUX4 expression and an extensive

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‘You Cannot Lock Down Everybody’ Madrid Tells Spanish Government in COVID Spat | World News

MADRID (Reuters) – “You cannot lock down everybody,” the chief of the Madrid region said on Thursday, pushing back against the Spanish government’s plan to confine the capital city to tackle a surge in COVID-19 cases.

The health ministry said late on Wednesday that the central government was overriding regional authorities and would impose a lockdown of the city of over 3 million people and some surrounding towns in the coming days.

The ministry published the decision in an official journal and said regional and local authorities would have 48 hours to comply once a separate official order was published, though it did not say when that would happen.

But Madrid region chief Isabel Diaz Ayuso rejected the move, saying the committee that took the decision had no legal authority to do so without a consensus.

“You cannot lock down everybody,” Diaz Ayuso said on esRadio. “I’m sure the Madrid (region) plan is the best: quick tests, quarantines and life goes on.”

Diaz Ayuso said on Thursday she would challenge the health ministry order in courts amid a widening rift between the Socialist-led central government and conservative-led regional administration on the response to the pandemic.

“Legally, we are evaluating with lawyers of the region, how we can do things,” she said.

Other regions such as northeastern Catalonia, Andalusia and Galicia have also opposed the new restrictions.

The new curbs would apply to the capital city, with more than 3 million people, and nine surrounding municipalities with populations of at least 100,000 each.

The ten municipalities would see borders closed to outsiders for non-essential visits, with only those travelling for work, school, doctors’ visits or shopping allowed to cross. A curfew for bars and restaurants moved to 11 p.m. from 1 a.m.

Madrid has 735 cases per 100,000 people, one of the highest of any region in Europe and double the national rate in the country, which has has recorded 769,188 cases – the highest in Western Europe – and 31,791 deaths.

The region has imposed a partial lockdown in 45 mainly poorer areas.

(Writing by Inti Landauro and Ingrid Melander; Editing by Tomasz Janowski)

Copyright 2020 Thomson Reuters.

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Police Impose Emergency Law in Indian Village as Gang-Rape Victim’s Cremation Sparks Clashes | World News

By Saurabh Sharma and Alasdair Pal

LUCKNOW, India (Reuters) – Indian police imposed emergency laws on Thursday in a village where a woman from the lowest rung of the country’s caste system was allegedly raped and killed, barring gatherings of more than five people after clashes erupted following her cremation.

The 19-year-old victim died from her injuries on Tuesday, having been attacked and gang-raped on Sept. 14 in a field near her home in Hathras district, 100 km (62 miles) from Delhi, authorities said.

Police have arrested four men in connection with the crime.

Clashes between protesters and police erupted in the district in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh on Wednesday after police cremated the woman’s body.

The victim’s brother told Reuters the cremation was carried out against the wishes of her family, who had wanted to perform their own funeral rites. Local officials deny this.

Twenty-five people were arrested in connection with the unrest, according to a police information report. An eye-witness told Reuters police had wielded batons during the clashes.

India is the one of the world’s most dangerous countries for women, with a rape occurring every 15 minutes, according to federal data – figures that rights groups say vastly underestimate the scale of the problem.

This latest case has caused widespread outrage and protests across India due to the backgrounds of those involved.

While the victim came the Dalit community – who face frequent discrimination and violence – the four men arrested were all from a higher caste, her brother told Reuters.

The victim and her brother are not being identified due to laws against naming victims of sexual violence.

Orders preventing the gathering of more than 5 people have been imposed in Hathras, Vikrant Vir, the top police official in the district, told Reuters on Thursday.

Priyanka and Rahul Gandhi, leaders of the opposition Congress Party, along with Chandra Shekhar Aazad, a popular Dalit politician who founded the Bhim Army to campaign for the rights of the community, all planned to visit the district on Thursday, according to media reports.

Uttar Pradesh, which is ruled by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party, ranks as one of the most unsafe states for women in the country.

Under the emergency laws, police will stop members of political organisations from entering Hathras, Vir said.

(Reporting by Saurabh Sharma in Lucknow and Alasdair Pal in New Delhi; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)

Copyright 2020 Thomson Reuters.

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7 Parties Agree on Belgian Government Led by Liberal De Croo | World News

By RAF CASERT, Associated Press

BRUSSELS (AP) — Almost 500 days after Belgian parliamentary elections, seven parties from both sides of the linguistic aisle agreed early Wednesday on forming a fully functioning majority government under new Prime Minister Alexander De Croo that will center on dealing with the pandemic and its devastating economic impact.

A final negotiating session that lasted almost 24 hours found agreement on a common budget that could unite the seven parties, consisting of Liberals, Socialists and Greens, divided into separate linguistic entities, and the Dutch-speaking Christian Democrats.

“It is the starting point for a new way of doing politics, with more pragmaticism, cooperation and, especially, more respect,” De Croo said.

Led by De Croo and francophone Socialist Paul Magnette during the last days of negotiations, the parties found money to fund new initiatives like a higher minimum pension and improved public services, while hoping to contain the budgetary hemorrhaging caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

The last thing was the question who would become prime minister, and since the government falls just shy of a parliamentary majority in Dutch-speaking Flanders, it was an obvious choice to pick De Croo.

“We did head or tails, and it fell for Alexander and it is an excellent choice,” Magnette said tongue-in-cheek.

Despite his age, the 44-year-old De Croo is already a veteran in Belgian politics and was vice premier in the outgoing government. He held the offices of pensions, development aid and finance over the past decade. He would be the first Dutch-speaking prime minister in nine years.

European Council President Charles Michel, a former Belgian prime minister himself, congratulated De Croo and said that “COVID-19 hit us badly, but I count on you and your government to guide us past this challenge.”

Since the May 26, 2019, elections, Belgium has been led by a caretaker government, and, for the past half year, by a minority coalition with widespread support from the opposition to deal with the pandemic, the last one led by francophone Liberal Wilmes.

The government formation has been so difficult. Beyond the linguistic strife between 6.6 million Flemings and 5 million Francophones that is a given in Belgian politics, the 2019 elections saw major advances by the far right in northern Dutch-speaking Flanders, and by the far left in southern francophone Wallonia.

It made compromise politics, an essential element of Belgian politics, even harder. De Croo acknowledged that “a lot of people are extremely skeptical.”

But he insisted the coronavirus crisis made the traditional fissures outdated. “Together we can do a lot more than alone.” The overwhelming challenge will be to deal with the pandemic, which has hit Belgium especially hard. On Wednesday, the tally for Belgium exceeded 10,000 deaths for the first time.

“A great many people face a tough time — insecurity, school closures, temporary job losses. And so many families have lost loved ones,” he said.

Because the plenary room in the Belgian parliament is too small to ensure social distancing between the 150

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