LONDON/BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Fears of a second wave of COVID-19 infections shut six major food markets in Beijing on Friday, while India, which opened up this week, recorded a record daily increase and half a dozen U.S. states said their hospital beds were filling up fast.
FILE PHOTO: People wearing face masks queue to enter a reopened Primark store as Madrid eases lockdown restrictions following the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Madrid, Spain, June 11, 2020. REUTERS/Susana Vera/
Health officials worldwide have expressed concerns in recent days that some countries grappling with the devastating economic impact of lockdowns may lift restrictions too swiftly, and that the coronavirus could spread during mass anti-racism protests.
“We must be ready to roll back relaxation of measures if needed,” the European Union’s health commissioner Stella Kyriakides said after urging its 27 members to plough ahead with testing the population as they reopen schools and businesses.
In China, where the new coronavirus originated, two new cases of COVID-19, the disease it causes, were recorded in the capital. Authorities closed part or all of six big wholesale food markets which the two men had recently visited but it was not known how they had become infected.
India opened most public transport, offices and malls this week after nearly 70 days even though health officials said it was weeks away from flattening the rising infection curve.
The official death toll, at 8,498, is relatively small, but the health ministry said registered cases rose by 10,956 on Friday, a record, with many in Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai.
Syed Ahmed Bukhari, the head of Delhi’s Jama Masjid, one of India’s biggest mosques, ordered a halt to congregations until the end of the month.
“What is the point of visiting mosques at a time when the virus is spreading so fast?” he said.
FIRST WAVE NOT OVERCOME
In Turkey, the top medical association said the easing of restrictions on June 1 had come too soon, although the daily death toll as fallen in recent weeks to about 20.
“There is talk of when the second wave will hit, but we have not yet been able to overcome the first wave,” Cavit Isik Yavuz, part of the coronavirus research team at the Turkish Medics Association said.
While new infections are slowing in most of Europe, health experts see a moderate to high risk that post-lockdown rises may warrant new restrictions.
The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) predicted a moderate acceleration across Europe in coming weeks, which could place healthcare systems under stress if not checked rapidly. Government control measures could check and reverse upward trends within two to three weeks, it said.
Andrea Ammon, director of the ECDC, stressed the importance of maintaining physical distancing, hand hygiene and what she called “respiratory etiquette”.
Officials have expressed concern the virus could spread among the tens of thousands who have crowded together in Europe’s big cities to demonstrate against racism after the death in U.S. police custody of George Floyd.
“Mass events could be a major route of transmission,” said Martin Seychell, a health official at the EU Commission.
World Health Organization (WHO) Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said late on Thursday that the threat of a resurgence remained very real.
“We must also remember that, although the situation is improving here in Europe, globally it’s getting worse … We will continue to need global solidarity to defeat this pandemic fully,” he said.
Of 5,347 new deaths recorded worldwide, 3,681 were in the Americas, the WHO said on Thursday.
In about half a dozen U.S. states including Texas and Arizona, the number of coronavirus patients filling hospital beds is rising, fanning concerns that the reopening of the U.S. economy may unleash a second wave of infections. Alabama, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Oregon and Nebraska all had a record number of new cases on Thursday.
“I want the reopening to be successful,” Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo, the top executive for the county that encompasses Houston, Texas, told reporters. “But I’m growing increasingly concerned that we may be approaching the precipice of a disaster.”
More hospitalisations inevitably mean more deaths ahead, said Spencer Fox, research associate at the University of Texas at Austin.
“We are starting to see very worrying signs about the course the pandemic is taking in cities and states in the U.S. and around the world,” he said. “When you start seeing those signs, you need to act fairly quickly.”
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Wall Street’s main indexes opened sharply higher on Friday, a day after the biggest one-day dive in about three months on fears of a resurgence in infections. Global stocks .MIWD00000PUS were up 1.3% after four days of consecutive losses.
The United States has now recorded more than 113,000 coronavirus deaths, by far the most in the world. That figure could be over 200,000 by September, Ashish Jha, the head of Harvard’s Global Health Institute, told CNN.
additional reporting by Reuters bureax around the world, writing by Philippa Fletcher; Editing by Kevin Liffey and Toby Chopra
KKR passes $11bn for fourth flagship Asia fundraise, could raise $12.5bn – report
KKR has hauled in more than $11bn through the first close of its latest mammoth Asia private equity fund, putting it wel
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NY Charges First American Financial for Massive Data Leak
In May 2019, KrebsOnSecurity broke the news that the website of mortgage title insurance giant First American Financial Corp. had exposed approximately 885 million records related to mortgage deals going back to 2003. On Wednesday, regulators in New York announced that First American was the target of their first ever cybersecurity enforcement action in connection with the incident, charges that could bring steep financial penalties.
Santa Ana, Calif.-based First American [NYSE:FAF] is a leading provider of title insurance and settlement services to the real estate and mortgage industries. It employs some 18,000 people and brought in $6.2 billion in 2019.
As first reported here last year, First American’s website exposed 16 years worth of digitized mortgage title insurance records — including bank account numbers and statements, mortgage and tax records, Social Security numbers, wire transaction receipts, and drivers license images.
The documents were available without authentication to anyone with a Web browser.
According to a filing (PDF) by the New York State Department of Financial Services (DFS), the weakness that exposed the documents was first introduced during an application software update in May 2014 and went undetected for years.
Worse still, the DFS found, the vulnerability was discovered in a penetration test First American conducted on its own in December 2018.
“Remarkably, Respondent instead allowed unfettered access to the personal and financial data of millions of its customers for six more months until the breach and its serious ramifications were widely publicized by a nationally recognized cybersecurity industry journalist,” the DFS explained in a statement on the charges.
Reuters reports that the penalties could be significant for First American: The DFS considers each instance of exposed personal information a separate violation, and the company faces penalties of up to $1,000 per violation.
In a written statement, First American said it strongly disagrees with the DFS’s findings, and that its own investigation determined only a “very limited number” of consumers — and none from New York — had personal data accessed without permission.
In August 2019, the company said a third-party investigation into the exposure identified just 32 consumers whose non-public personal information likely was accessed without authorization.
When KrebsOnSecurity asked last year how long it maintained access logs or how far back in time that review went, First American declined to be more specific, saying only that its logs covered a period that was typical for a company of its size and nature.
But in Wednesday’s filing, the DFS said First American was unable to determine whether records were accessed prior to Jun 2018.
“Respondent’s forensic investigation relied on a review of web logs retained from June 2018 onward,” the DFS found. “Respondent’s own analysis demonstrated that during this 11-month period, more than 350,000 documents were accessed without authorization by automated ‘bots’ or ‘scraper’ programs designed to collect information on the Internet.
The records exposed by First American would have been a virtual gold mine for phishers and scammers involved in so-called Business Email Compromise (BEC) scams, which often impersonate real estate agents, closing agencies, title and escrow firms in a bid to trick property buyers into wiring funds to fraudsters. According to the FBI, BEC scams are the most costly form of cybercrime today.
First American’s stock price fell more than 6 percent the day after news of their data leak was published here. In the days that followed, the DFS and U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission each announced they were investigating the company.
First American released its first quarter 2020 earnings today. A hearing on the charges alleged by the DFS is slated for Oct. 26.
Coinbase Reportedly Eyeing Stock Exchange Listing in Latest Power Move
U.S. crypto exchange Coinbase might be going public if reports from inside sources are to be believed.
The San Francisco-based company has undergone a significant evolution since its inception eight years ago but remains one of the major players in the cryptocurrency exchange scene.
Coinbase Going Public?
According to Reuters, inside sources at Coinbase say the exchange is exploring the possibility of a stock exchange listing. The platform could pursue the move later in the year. Or at the start of 2021.
There’s no official confirmation yet as Coinbase has not notified the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). However, anonymous sources told Reuters that Coinbase is working on modalities behind the scene, including arrangements with law firms and investment bankers.
A U.S. stock exchange listing could further catapult Coinbase’s valuation in what would be the latest in a string of power moves by the giant exchange. Back in October 2018, the platform raised $300M in a Series E funding round, which took the company’s valuation to $8 billion.
— Reuters (@Reuters) July 9, 2020
Unconfirmed reports suggest Coinbase might opt for a direct listing instead of an initial public offering (IPO). If confirmed, the move will eliminate the need for potentially expensive underwriters and lockup agreements that come with the dilution of shares in an IPO.
Coinbase’s reported IPO plans reveal an emerging theme for major crypto businesses. From mining firms to cryptocurrency hedge funds, public listings appear to be the next logical step in the evolution of big virtual currency companies, especially against the backdrop of increased institutional investment.
Mining giants like Bitmain and Canaan pursued IPO plans in the past, with the latter scrapping its underwhelming share sale back in late 2019. The Canaan IPO, too, only raised $90M out of a $400M projection. Meanwhile, Bitmain has had to endure a couple of its own false starts.
At the start of 2020, the Grayscale
BUY NOW Trust (GBTC) also obtained SEC approval to act as a reporting company.
From Crypto Exchange to Digital Asset Business
Apart from its exchange services, Coinbase now hosts other business elements like custody and commerce. The latter tool allows businesses to easily accept crypto payments. It already has over 8,000 merchant customers. In May, Coinbase announced plans to acquire Tagomi, a crypto brokerage firm.
The move signaled further intentions to pivot towards institutional players. The exchange reportedly holds over 1 million BTC. Coinbase has radically shifted its strategy over the last few years. Initially sticking to a limited token listing regime, the exchange now has a more liberal policy towards altcoins.
The platform lists 27 different assets and in mid-June, it announced plans to consider 18 more tokens.
Some of these listings resulted in parabolic price spikes which just as quickly disappeared. Critics have consequently handed down some heavy comments regarding its new listing policy, particularly for tokens associated with the Digital Currency Group (DCG).
Despite their relatively small market cap, these ‘coins’ found their way to the Coinbase trading catalog prompting critics to label the listing as rather questionable. On separate occasions, #DeleteCoinbase and #BoycottCoinbase were trending on Twitter.
The company’s acquisition of controversial analytics firm Neutrino also sparked outrage in the crypto community owing to Neutrino’s association with government-sanctioned spyware programs.
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As a leading organization in blockchain and fintech news, BeInCrypto always makes every effort to adhere to a strict set of editorial policies and practice the highest level of journalistic standards. That being said, we always encourage and urge readers to conduct their own research in relation to any claims made in this article.
This article is intended as news or presented for informational purposes only. The topic of the article and information provided could potentially impact the value of a digital asset or cryptocurrency but is never intended to do so. Likewise, the content of the article and information provided within is not intended to, and does not, present sufficient information for the purposes of making a financial decision or investment. This article is explicitly not intended to be financial advice, is not financial advice, and should not be construed as financial advice. The content and information provided in this article were not prepared by a certified financial professional. All readers should always conduct their own due diligence with a certified financial professional before making any investment decisions. The author of this article may, at the time of its writing, hold any amount of Bitcoin, cryptocurrency, other digital currency, or financial instruments — including but not limited to any that appear in the contents of this article.
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