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June 17, 2021

Ironman and Breitling launch the Endurance Pro Ironman Watches.

Ironman, Breitling

Ironman, Breitling

Ironman, Breitling

Ironman, Breitling

Ironman, Breitling

As the new Official Luxury Watch of IRONMAN, Breitling celebrates the power and stamina fueling the phenomenal Triathlon sporting events with a new series of timepieces.

Breitling and IRONMAN have signed a long-term partnership and teamed up to co-design the Endurance Pro IRONMAN Watches, a unique series of Breitling’s ultimate athleisure watch. The result is a set of perfectly lightweight and lighthearted luxury sports watches combining high precision, innovative technology, and vibrant, colorful design. The launch features two exciting new watches: a red version available globally at all Breitling boutiques and retailers for sports and timekeeping enthusiasts and a black and gold piece exclusively available for IRONMAN race finishers.

“IRONMAN truly reflects our core values of performance and endurance. We’ve designed this to be an ideal watch for elite athletes as well as a casual, everyday sports chronograph for active people who want that winning combination of performance and luxury,” said Breitling CEO Georges Kern.

“We’re thrilled to continue our partnership with such an exceptional and well-respected watchmaker. After the success of our collaboration in 2019, we are pleased to partner with Breitling in creating this new watch which embodies the strength and tenacity of IRONMAN triathletes,” said Andrew Messick, President and CEO of The IRONMAN Group.

The new Endurance Pro IRONMAN collection serves athletes and luxury clients looking for the ultimate athleisure timepiece.

Source: Breitling


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Edited & Posted by the Editor | 1:07 AM | View the original post

June 14, 2021

Novavax says its COVID-19 Vaccine Demonstrates 90% Overall Efficacy and 100% Protection Against Moderate and Severe Disease in PREVENT-19 Phase 3 Trial.



Photo: Novavax laboratory scientist. Image Credit: Patrick Seibert/ Novavax.

GAITHERSBURG, Md., June 14, 2021, — Novavax, Inc. today announced that NVX-CoV2373, its recombinant nanoparticle protein-based COVID-19 vaccine, demonstrated 100% protection against moderate and severe disease, 90.4% efficacy overall, and met the primary endpoint in its PREVENT-19 pivotal Phase 3 trial. The study enrolled 29,960 participants across 119 sites in the U.S. and Mexico to evaluate the efficacy, safety, and immunogenicity, emphasizing recruiting a representative population of communities and demographic groups most impacted by the disease.

“Today, Novavax is one step closer to addressing the critical and persistent global public health need for additional COVID-19 vaccines. These clinical results reinforce that NVX-CoV2373 is extremely effective and offers complete protection against both moderate and severe COVID-19 infection,” said Stanley C. Erck, President, and Chief Executive Officer, Novavax. “Novavax continues to work with a sense of urgency to complete our regulatory submissions and deliver this vaccine, built on a well understood and proven platform, to a world that is still in great need of vaccines.”

“PREVENT-19 confirms that NVX-CoV2373 offers a reassuring tolerability and safety profile,” said Gregory M. Glenn, M.D., President of Research and Development, Novavax. “These data show consistent, high levels of efficacy and reaffirm the ability of the vaccine to prevent COVID-19 amid ongoing genetic evolution of the virus. Our vaccine will be a critical part of the solution to COVID-19, and we are grateful to the study participants and trial staff who made this study possible, as well as our supporters, including the U.S. Government.”

In the placebo-controlled, observer-blinded study randomized 2:1, NVX-CoV2373 demonstrated overall efficacy of 90.4% (95% CI: 82.9, 94.6), achieving its primary endpoint, the company said.

According to Novavax, preliminary safety data from PREVENT-19 showed the vaccine to be generally well-tolerated. Severe and adverse events were low in number and balanced between vaccine and placebo groups. In assessing reactogenicity seven days after Dose 1 and Dose 2, injection site pain and tenderness, generally mild to moderate in severity, were the most common local symptoms, lasting less than three days. Fatigue, headache, and muscle pain were the most common systemic symptoms, lasting less than two days.

Novavax expects to share further details of the PREVENT-19 trial results as additional data become available. Other analyses of the trial are ongoing. The company would submit them to peer-review journals for publication.

The company intends to file for regulatory authorizations in the third quarter to complete the final phases of process qualification and assay validation needed to meet chemistry, manufacturing, and controls (CMC) requirements. Upon regulatory approvals, Novavax remains on track to reach a manufacturing capacity of 100 million doses per month by the end of the third quarter and 150 million doses per month by the end of the fourth quarter of 2021.

Source: Novavax, Inc.

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Edited & Posted by the Editor | 11:09 AM | View the original post

June 8, 2021

Preparing for Booster Shots: Adapting to the New Normal

COVID-19 Vaccination Passports Must Have the Adaptability to Account for Booster Shots.

Vaccination Card

Photo: Real Vaccination ID COVID-19 Vaccine & Waiver Cards, used to help CastleBranch implement a legally compliant vaccine requirement. Image credit: CastleBranch.

Vaccination Card

Photo: Real Vaccination ID cards are embedded with industry-leading forgery-prevention technology to combat counterfeiting and help people prove their COVID-19 vaccination status. (CastleBranch)

WILMINGTON, N.C., June 7, 2021 — As global health professionals discuss the necessity of a booster shot to ward off COVID-19 variants unaffected by the current vaccines, businesses, schools, and individuals who need proof of vaccination status will want facile documents that can update quickly.

CastleBranch, a compliance management company located in Wilmington, N.C., has announced that its RealVaccinationID card empowers individuals to quickly prove their vaccination or waiver status. The card addresses this long-term need, making it easy for individuals to verify their vaccination, waiver, or booster status, the company said.

The company asks individuals to provide documentation to prove their vaccination status or legally permissible waiver request. Once validated, the company issues to the individual a driver’s license-sized card featuring highly sophisticated anti-fraud technology. The card includes the individual’s name, address, date of birth, physical identifiers, photo, and a QR code.

Using the QR code on the back of the card, along with a unique access code and the PIN, third parties presented with this information can access digital copies of primary-source documentation to confirm status. However, it is entirely up to the cardholder when and with whom he shares the data. Private data gathered for the cards will never be transmitted or collected in a database and distributed to third parties by CastleBranch, the company clarified.

Updating the cards to reflect booster shots is just as simple. When someone receives a booster, they can submit their documentation to CastleBranch, whose team of experts will verify the documentation. CastleBranch houses the new information in their protected digital space, visible via the QR code on the individual’s card.

“Our understanding of the COVID-19 virus changes with each passing day, requiring a response that also adapts and grows,” said Brett Martin, CastleBranch CEO. “With variants come boosters, which requires a form of vaccination proof that can get updated over time. Our cards respond to these emerging realities, helping people and organizations as they continue to navigate the new normal.”

Source: CastleBranch

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Edited & Posted by the Editor | 7:41 AM | View the original post

June 7, 2021

FORTUNE announces 2021 FORTUNE 500 List, Launches First-Ever "Most Progressive Companies On Racial Inclusion" List.

Walmart takes No. 1 spot for a ninth straight year, followed by and Apple.


Photo: The cover of the June/July 2021 issue of FORTUNE.

NEW YORK, June 7, 2021 — FORTUNE has announced the 67th FORTUNE 500, its annual list of the largest corporations in the United States, ranked by revenue for the 2020 fiscal year. The revenue threshold for the 2021 FORTUNE 500 list was $5.4 billion, down 5% from last year. In total,  FORTUNE 500 companies represent two-thirds of the U.S. GDP with $13.8 trillion in revenues (down 3%), $859 billion in profits (down 30%), $32.7 trillion in market value (up 60%), and employ 29.1 million people worldwide. Women CEOs lead forty-one companies on the 2021 FORTUNE 500 — an all-time high.

Walmart took the top spot on the 2021 list for the ninth year in a row,  generating $4.5 trillion cumulative revenue over that time. also held onto their No.2 spot with a 38% jump in revenue. At No. 3 position, Apple is the most profitable company on the 2021 FORTUNE 500 and the only company on the list valued at over $2 trillion. At No. 4, CVS Health and CEO Karen Lynch make in FORTUNE 500 history the highest-ranked company ever led by a female CEO.


As part of FORTUNE’s Measure Up partnership with Refinitiv, a global provider of financial markets data and infrastructure, the FORTUNE 500 list now includes Diversity & Inclusion information online. Users will sort the companies by a ranking based on their self-reported D&I data, provided by Refinitiv. FORTUNE has used this data to identify the top 20 Most Progressive Companies on Racial Inclusion. Microsoft (No. 15) takes top honors, followed by Centene (No. 24), Target (No. 30), Gap (No. 221), and Biogen (No. 228).

“A year ago, companies made a promise to end racial injustice in the workplace and broader society. To keep that promise, companies will need courage in sharing with the world a picture of what they look like today. From this starting point, we can make real progress, as they say ‘what gets measured gets managed,’” comments David Craig, Group Head of Data & Analytics Division at LSEG and CEO, Refinitiv. “U.S. companies lead the world when it comes to collecting data on their employees’ race and ethnicity. Through this partnership and Refinitiv’s own ESG data and analytics, we have developed a standard taxonomy to help simplify disclosure and give investors, customers, and employees the information they now seek to measure progress.”

FORTUNE and Qlik, the official analytics partner of the FORTUNE 500, also published the “The Pandemic Effect on the Fortune 500” interactive site. This visual experience, developed by Qlik, details the revenue and performance of the sectors and industries that shape the 2021 FORTUNE 500. It takes users on a journey through the crises that have shaped the Fortune 500 over the years.

FORTUNE is an American international business magazine headquartered in New York City. It says it drives the conversation about business. “With a global perspective, the guiding wisdom of history, and an unflinching eye to the future, we report and reveal the stories that matter today — and that will matter even more tomorrow,” the magazine stated.

Source: FORTUNE Media

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Edited & Posted by the Editor | 11:17 AM | View the original post

June 6, 2021

NYC Performing Arts Organization, New 42, celebrates Arts Education Outdoors.

New York City, Culture

New York City, Culture

Photo: Times Square, 42nd Street 7th Avenue, New York, NY. Image Credit: Joe Nicholl.

NEW YORK, June 5, 2021 — On Saturday, June 5, New 42, a nonprofit organization focused on making performing arts a vital part of everyone’s life from the earliest years onward, celebrated arts educators in an outdoor celebration on 42nd Street in Times Square.

The event featured Sara Bareilles, Freestyle Love Supreme Academy, Bill Irwin, Dance Theatre of Harlem, Chop & Quench, Sahr Ngaujah, DJ Duane Harriott, Brooklyn United Marching Band, and Saxophone Ensemble of Celia Cruz Bronx High School of Music.

The event honored the New York City Department of Education, Office of Arts, and Special Projects. NYC Schools Chancellor Meisha Porter accepted the awards on their behalf. The event also honored Jody Gottfried Arnhold, a New York City public school teacher, a great supporter of dance and arts education. Presenters included Brian Stokes Mitchell, DeAngelo Blanchard, and Misty Copeland.

“Now more than ever, it’s important for us to celebrate the arts with a focus on arts educators, truly essential workers, who have continued to encourage and inspire children throughout the pandemic and beyond,” said Russell Granet, New 42 President & CEO.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio also made an appearance during the event and shared remarks about the importance of arts education for the very young. He congratulated the New York City Department of Education, Office of Arts, and Special Projects on being honored and noted that this honor extends to all teachers across the city.

“Building a recovery for all of us means reconnecting with the arts and cultural events that make New York City unique, and I’m proud to stand with and celebrate that recovery in the heart of Times Square,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “Today and every day, we’re grateful to all the educators who have engaged their students with uplifting, empowering, and healing artistic expression.”

“The arts have been a critical lifeline during this challenging year, providing students with outlets to express themselves and helping our school communities build resiliency,” said NYC Schools Chancellor Meisha Porter. “I’m grateful to our educators who have led with creativity and passion throughout this crisis, creating invaluable spaces for our children to chase their dreams.”

Several celebrities - including Renée Elise Goldsberry, Kal Penn, Neil deGrasse Tyson, John Leguizamo, Alison Pill, Michael James Scott, and New York Giants players Lorenzo Carter and Andrew Thomas - also participated virtually by sharing stories of their favorite teachers and the importance of arts education to them.

The June 5 event closed down traffic on West 42nd Street, filling the block between 7th and 8th Avenues with programming. Performances took place on the main stage in front of The New Victory Theater with event production provided by Empire Entertainment. At New 42 Studios, xRStage Times Square powered by WorldStage presented their innovative LED Stage & Studio designed for all types of live events and entertainment projects.

New 42 also announced New Victory Summer Programming, including the New Victory Dance summer series, a programming partnership with Little Island.

The New 42nd Street is a not-for-profit organization based in Manhattan, New York City. In 1990, New York City and State established it to oversee the redevelopment of seven historic theatres on 42nd Street between Seventh and Eighth Avenues and restore the block to a desirable tourist destination in Manhattan.

Its mission is to make extraordinary performing arts a vital part of everyone’s life in New York City. It connects people to world-class performances, essential education, employment programs, and creative communities that push culture forward. New 42 says it strives to serve artists, educators, and New Yorkers of all ages with invaluable arts engagement and resources in and beyond the performing arts.

Source: New 42

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Edited & Posted by the Editor | 1:19 PM | View the original post

May 24, 2021

Bloomberg New Economy Forum 2021 to Convene Global Leaders In-Person in Singapore November 16-19.

Michael R. Bloomberg to host a fourth annual forum focused on advancing the world’s most significant economic opportunities amidst Covid-19 recovery, from East to West and across the developing world.

The first-ever “Bloomberg New Economy Catalyst” virtual event welcomes a new wave of world-shifting visionaries on June 30.

Bloomberg, Singapore

Bloomberg, Singapore

Photo: New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Mayor Bloomberg, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Steve Howard, CEO of The Climate Group, and Paul Dickinson, CEO of the Carbon Disclosure Project, announced Climate Week NYC, a series of events throughout New York City to address the urgent need for action on climate change. June 23, 2009. Image Credit: The Climate Group. [File Photo]

NEW YORK, May 2021 — Bloomberg Media has announced that the Bloomberg New Economy Forum will convene on November 16-19, 2021, in Singapore. As the global economy emerges from lockdown, the fourth annual Forum will bring together the world’s most influential business executives, heads of state, innovators, and academics. Leaders from East to West, public and private sectors, developed and developing nations will mobilize behind the effort to build a sustainable global economy that creates jobs, reduces inequality, and improves general health.

“The time since the last New Economy Forum has dramatically underlined why the event, and the themes that drive it, are so important. The pandemic has shown how interconnected we are and why cooperation is critical,” said Michael R. Bloomberg, Founder of Bloomberg L.P. and Bloomberg Philanthropies, and Three-Term Mayor of New York City. “New vaccines show the power of technology and public-private partnerships to address humanity’s challenges. And the disproportionate impacts of the virus, and uneven global access to vaccines, have shown how far we have to go to build an equitable future. The New Economy Forum is a chance for leaders to talk with one another and think big on these and other key issues - including the challenges and opportunities around climate change. We’re looking forward to returning to Singapore, one of the world’s most innovative cities and home of the inaugural Forum.”

The Bloomberg New Economy Forum returns with the resounding support of host country Singapore, at a time when the shifting balance of power between East and West presents challenges as well as a tremendous opportunity. The intimate gathering will be limited to approximately 400 global leaders in a commitment to helping ensure the delegates’ safety by maintaining the protocol outlined in Singapore and innovating new ways of safely convening in person.

“I am pleased that Singapore would host the 2021 Bloomberg New Economy Forum, where business leaders will convene to discuss pertinent global issues. The second time Singapore will be hosting the Forum, following our inaugural Forum’s successful hosting in 2018. Health and safety remain Singapore’s top priority, and we will work closely with the Bloomberg team to create a safe and conducive environment to welcome all delegates here in November,” said Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

Forum delegates will join the action and participation-oriented programs to develop a global recovery strategy for the worst economic crisis since World War II. As governments worldwide spend aggressively to recover from the impact of Covid-19, the race to net zero and other critical themes will permeate discussions within the Forum’s five editorial pillars — Climate, Cities, Finance, Trade, and Public Health. Face-to-face exchanges in Singapore will help define priorities, workshop ideas and explore scenarios to move the world forward in the year ahead.

For the first time, Bloomberg New Economic will also welcome a new community of visionary leaders for the Bloomberg New Economic Catalyst virtual event on June 30. These entrepreneurs, technologists, and policy innovators — many of them from emerging economies — are already creating a world-shifting change set to transform the future. The event will spotlight their work at the leading edge of areas, including space, climate, finance, and health. This collective will also play a pivotal role in helping shape the dialogue at the annual Bloomberg New Economy Forum in November, applying fresh ideas and big thinking to address humanity’s biggest challenges.

Led by Editorial Director Andrew Browne, Bloomberg New Economy-driven conversations are also being elevated on Bloomberg Media’s global news platforms year-round. The newly launched Bloomberg New Economic Daily newsletter, weekly segments on Bloomberg Television and Bloomberg Radio, and the virtual New Economic Conversation event series keep this highly influential community of leaders connected and audiences informed.

With Dr. Henry A. Kissinger as Honorary Chair and Henry M. Paulson, Jr. as Chair, the Bloomberg New Economy Forum Advisory Board provides support across these efforts. It is composed of more than 40 distinguished government and business leaders from around the world.

• Members of the Advisory Board include:

• Bloomberg would present the 2021 forum in partnership with:

McKinsey and Company is the exclusive knowledge partner, and IDA Ireland joins as a Spotlight Economy Partner.

Bloomberg Media is a leading, global, multi-platform brand that provides decision-makers with timely news, analysis, and intelligence on business, finance, technology, climate change, politics, and more. Powered by a newsroom of over 2,700 journalists and analysts, it reaches influential audiences worldwide across every platform, including digital, social, T.V., radio, print, and live events. Bloomberg Media is a division of Bloomberg L.P.

Source: Bloomberg Media

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Edited & Posted by the Editor | 5:48 AM | View the original post

May 21, 2021

MotoGP Grand Prix Motorcycle Racing: Jack Miller takes victory at the Grand Prix of France in Le Mans.


Ducati, MotoGP

Photo: Jack Miller. Grand Prix of France in Le Mans. May 16, 2021. Image provided by & copyright © DUCATI.

Ducati, MotoGP

Photo: Francesco Bagnaia. Grand Prix of France in Le Mans. May 16, 2021. Image provided by & copyright © DUCATI.

Le Mans, France, May 16, 2021 — Just two weeks after the extraordinary success taken at Jerez de la Frontera, Jack Miller scored another sensational victory at the Bugatti Circuit of Le Mans, where the French Grand Prix took place this afternoon.

The Australian dominated a tough race that saw riders dealing with a bike swap following the “flag-to-flag” rule. As they started with dry conditions, the sky soon became clouded, and after only a few laps, it started pouring rain. On lap five, Miller, who was in fourth place after going straight into the gravel, returned to the pits to make the bike change but managing to rejoin in third place. However, the Ducati Lenovo Team rider had to serve a double long lap penalty for exceeding 60km/h in the pit lane. Jack remained third and, at lap 12, after Márquez crashed out, he overtook Quartararo, taking the lead where he stayed until the chequered flag, securing his second consecutive win this season. Behind him, home hero Johann Zarco finished second with the Ducati Desmosedici GP of the Pramac Racing Team.

Excellent performance also for Francesco Bagnaia, fourth today at the finish line in a comeback. The Italian rider, who started with the sixteenth fastest time, had dropped back into nineteenth place on the first lap, but he could rejoin in the eleventh position after the bike swap. Forced to take a double long lap penalty as well, Pecco didn’t lose concentration. Thanks to a steady pace, he could catch up with his rivals, passing them to fourth.

At the end of the fifth round of the 2021 MotoGP season, Ducati and the Ducati Lenovo Team are first in the constructors’ and teams’ standings. In the riders’ Championship, Bagnaia is now second, just one point behind Quartararo, while Miller occupies the fourth position.

• Jack Miller (#43 Ducati Lenovo Team) - 1st

• Francesco Bagnaia (#63 Ducati Lenovo Team) - 4th

• Luigi Dall’Igna (Ducati Corse General Manager)

The Ducati Lenovo Team will be back on track from 28th to May 30 for the Italian GP at the Autodromo Internazionale del Mugello, the first home race for the Bologna-based team in the 2021 MotoGP World Championship.

Grand Prix motorcycle racing is the premier class of motorcycle road racing events held on road circuits sanctioned by the Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme (FIM).

Source: DUCATI

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Edited & Posted by the Editor | 2:43 PM | View the original post

May 18, 2021

Tissot presents Seastar 1000 Quartz Chrono Aquatic Elegance.

Tissot Seastar

Tissot Seastar

Photos: Tissot Seastar 1000 Quartz Chrono Aquatic Elegance.

• Stylish above and below the water

Tissot Seastar 1000 Quartz Chrono is now available as a timepiece. It is already indispensable in the water with a host of valuable features, thanks to its ability to handle pressure up to 30 bar (1000 ft) and its accessible quartz movement, which promises unfailing reliability.

• Features

Source: TISSOT

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Edited & Posted by the Editor | 4:38 AM | View the original post

May 17, 2021

Oxford University and Oracle Partner to Speed Identification of COVID-19 Variants

The partnership will enable global genomic sequencing and examination through a specialist platform developed on Oracle Cloud Infrastructure to help mitigate the impact of potentially dangerous COVID-19 variants.

Oxford University and Oracle

Oxford University and Oracle

Photo: Oracle Cloud Manages COVID-19 Vaccination Program in the United States. Image provided by & copyright © ORACLE.

OXFORD, England and AUSTIN, Texas, May 16, 2021 — The emergence of more infectious variants of the COVID-19 virus is threatening to slow the global recovery and potentially thwart current vaccine immunity. To help governments and medical communities identify and act on these variants faster, Oxford University and Oracle have created a Global Pathogen Analysis System (GPAS) combining Oxford’s Scalable Pathogen Pipeline Platform (SP3) with the power of Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI). This initiative builds on a Wellcome Trust-funded consortium including Public Health Wales, the University of Cardiff, and Public Health England.

“This powerful new tool will assist public health scientists in research establishments, public health agencies, healthcare services, and diagnostic companies around the world. It would help them in further understanding of infectious diseases, starting with the coronavirus,” said Derrick Crook, Professor of Microbiology in the Nuffield Department of Medicine at the University of Oxford.

“The Global Pathogen Analysis System will help to establish a global common standard for assembling and analyzing this new virus, as well as other microbial threats to public health. It adds a new dimension to our ability to process pathogen data. We are excited to partner with Oracle to further our research using this cutting-edge technology platform,” added Crook.

First used for tuberculosis, SP3 has been repurposed to unify, standardize, analyze, and compare sequence data of SARS-CoV-2, yielding annotated genomic sequences and identifying new variants and those of concern. SP3’s processing capability has been enhanced with extensive new development work from Oracle, enabling high performance and security plus 7/24 worldwide availability of the SP3 system in the Oracle Cloud. The SP3 system will now deliver comprehensive and standardized COVID-19 analyses within minutes of submission on an international scale. GPAS would share the results with countries around the globe in a secure environment.

“The opportunity of applying systematic examination for genetic variants in a range of pathogens will have major benefits for global public health. This program, with Oracle as a partner, takes us a step closer to this goal,” said Sir John Bell, Regius Professor of Medicine at the University of Oxford.

Coupled with the extensive machine learning capabilities in the Oracle Cloud, collaborating scientists, researchers, and governments worldwide can process, analyze, visualize, and act on a vast collection of COVID-19 pathogen data for the first time. It includes identifying variants of interest and their potential impact on vaccine and treatment effectiveness. For example, analytics dashboards in the system will show which specific strains spread more quickly than others and whether genetic features contribute to increased transmissibility and vaccine escape. Already, Oxford has processed half the world’s SARS-CoV-2 sequences, more than 500,000 in total.

“There is a critical need for global cooperation on genomic sequencing and examination of COVID-19 and other pathogens,” said Oracle Chairman and CTO Larry Ellison. “The enhanced SP3 system will establish a global standard for pathogen data gathering and analysis, thus enabling medical researchers to understand better the COVID-19 virus and other microbial threats to public health.”

The next step will be to extend this service to all pathogens while simultaneously collaborating with scientists from research establishments, public health agencies, and private companies to ensure this work can support decision-making on pandemic response strategies worldwide.

The platform will be free for researchers and non-profits to use worldwide.

Oxford is world-famous for research excellence and home to some of the most talented people from across the globe. Its work helps the lives of millions, solving real-world problems through a vast network of partnerships and collaborations. Its research’s breadth and interdisciplinary nature sparks creative and inventive insights and solutions.

Sources: Oracle & Oxford University

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Edited & Posted by the Editor | 11:59 AM | View the original post

Miss Universe MEXICO, Andrea Meza, crowned 69th Miss Universe.

Miss Universe

Photo: Andrea Meza, Miss Universe Mexico 2020, is crowned Miss Universe after the 69th Miss Universe Competition on May 16, 2021, at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida. The new winner will move to New York City, where she will live during her reign and become a spokesperson for various causes alongside The Miss Universe Organization. Photographer: BENJAMIN ASKINAS. Image provided by & copyright © The Miss Universe Organization, New York.

HOLLYWOOD, FL (May 17, 2021) - Miss Universe Mexico Andrea Meza was crowned Miss Universe live on FYI and Telemundo last night from the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida. Andrea will use her year as Miss Universe to advocate for women’s rights and against gender-based violence.

After a National Costume Competition, rounds of interviews, a preliminary competition, and the live Finals, Andrea was crowned with the Mouawad Power of Unity Crown, presented to her by outgoing Miss Universe 2019 Zozibini Tunzi.

“I am so honored to have been selected among the 73 other amazing women I stood with tonight,” said Miss Universe Andrea Meza. “It is a dream come true to wear the Miss Universe crown, and I hope to serve the world through my advocacy for equality in the year to come and beyond.” Andrea Meza, 26, is from Chihuahua City and represented her home country, Mexico, as Miss Universe Mexico, in the 69th annual Miss Universe competition. Andrea has a degree in software engineering and is an activist, and currently works closely with the Municipal Institute for Women, which aims to end gender-based violence. She is also a certified make-up artist and model who is passionate about being active and living a healthy lifestyle. She enjoys extreme sports in her free time, including rappelling and sandboarding. Andrea is also the official Tourism Brand Ambassador for her hometown, Chihuahua, promoting the best tourist attractions and rich culture her home offers.

“It is certainly emotional to see the crown begin a new journey tonight with Andrea,” said Paula M. Shugart, president of the Miss Universe Organization. “After a year unlike any other, I am so grateful for the extra months we got to spend with Zozi, and I know Andrea will reign with strength, ambition, and grace.”

The inspiring show was hosted by Access Hollywood’s Mario Lopez and actress and model Olivia Culpo, with an electrifying performance by Grammy-nominated artist Luis Fonsi. Miss Universe 2017 Demi- Leigh Tebow, Miss USA 2019 Cheslie Kryst, and Miss Universe 2014 Paulina Vega gave viewers a behind-the-scenes look at the show throughout the night.

At this year’s Miss Universe competition, women representing 74 countries competed in multiple categories. The show aired in over 190 countries and territories across the globe. Andrea will move to New York City to represent the brand and various philanthropic organizations during her reign.

The Mouawad MISS UNIVERSE Power of Unity Crown, crafted from 18-karat gold, is set with more than 1,725 white diamonds and three golden canary diamonds. These hundreds of diamonds are in intricate interplays of motifs of petals, leaves, and vines, representing communities across the seven continents whose bonds unite them in the exact purpose of empowering one another. The crown’s centerpiece is a shield cut golden canary diamond weighing a magnificent 62.83ct. In harmony with the diamonds surrounding it, it inspires the crown’s name, the Power of Unity.

Following countries entered the top 10:

Miss Universe

Photo: Adline Castelino, Miss Universe India 2020, top 5, taking her final walk on stage before the conclusion of the 69th Miss Universe Competition on May 16, 2021, at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida. Photographer: BENJAMIN ASKINAS. Image provided by & copyright © The Miss Universe Organization, New York.

Source: The Miss Universe Organization, New York.

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Edited & Posted by the Editor | 8:33 AM | View the original post

May 14, 2021

Direct Relief Sends Thousands of Oxygen Concentrators to India via FedEx-Donated Charter Flights

Upcoming humanitarian airlift also includes 1.8 million KN95 masks.

Direct Relief

Direct Relief

Photo: A Direct Relief shipment weighing 8.8 tons arrives in Quito, Ecuador. The shipment contained ICU kits filled with essential medicines to treat Covid-19 and oxygen concentrators, protective gear, and other medical items for health facilities in the country. (Photo by Isadora Romero for Direct Relief) [File Photo]

SANTA BARBARA, Calif., May 14, 2021 — A FedEx-donated Boeing 777 fully loaded with oxygen concentrators and other supplies from Direct Relief is flying this weekend to India — for the second time in as many weeks — to help patients with Covid-19 survive the pandemic’s deadliest surge yet.

Clinicians have correlated drastic drops in the blood oxygen levels of Covid patients with a greater likelihood of death. India has experienced crippling shortages of medical-grade oxygen, in part due to the need to transport oxygen cylinders hundreds of miles via cryogenic tankers, from production plants to hospitals, then back for refilling. According to BMJ, 41% of patients admitted to the hospital with Covid-19 require supplemental oxygen, while only 2% need mechanical ventilation.

Oxygen concentrators don’t require tanks, just electric power to remove nitrogen from the air and produce purified oxygen. Direct Relief is delivering two oxygen concentrator types — high-flow and low-flow. High-flow oxygen concentrators are used in hospitals to treat patients needing intensive care, providing 10 liters per minute of oxygen. Low-flow concentrators generate 5 liters per minute and help hospitals safely discharge patients who are stable but require at-home breathing support.

The May 15 flight from Newark to Delhi will deliver 286 high-flow oxygen concentrators and 500 low-flow concentrators. It would add to the 3,500 concentrators from Direct Relief transported via another FedEx-donated charter that arrived May 9. Tata Memorial Center in Mumbai cleared the items and distributed them within two days to more than 40 hospitals in the region. This weekend’s flight also includes 1.8 million KN95 masks, 125,000 gloves, and other medical items.

Direct Relief staff and partner organizations in India will distribute the supplies throughout the country to medical facilities caring for Covid-19 patients. Direct Relief has provided medical assistance to India since 1960, working with various partners, from medical outreach camps to rural clinics and hospitals, community-based health centers, and tertiary level facilities in large urban areas.

“It’s our mission to use our global logistics network to help deliver critical aid to India, where it’s needed most right now,” said Raj Subramaniam, president, and COO, FedEx Corp. “We’ve been fighting this pandemic from the frontlines since the beginning and will continue the fight until it’s over.”

“Direct Relief is grateful beyond words for FedEx, once again, delivering urgently-needed assistance to people in India at a scale the FedEx team is uniquely able to handle,” said Thomas Tighe, Direct Relief President, and CEO. “The decisive action to donate the company’s enormous capacity and exceptional skills is a huge humanitarian force multiplier — and a powerful example of the type of public-spirited leadership needed to get everyone, everywhere, safely to the other side of the pandemic.”

Direct Relief is a humanitarian organization committed to improving the health and lives of people affected by poverty or emergencies. Direct Relief delivers lifesaving medical resources throughout the world to communities in need — without regard to politics, religion, or ability to pay.

Source: Direct Relief

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May 11, 2021

Miss Universe Contestants arrive at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida, for the 69th Miss Universe Competition.

Miss Universe

Photo: (L-R) Andrea Meza, Miss Universe Mexico 2020; Amanda Petri, Miss Universe Denmark 2020; Sunniva Frigstad, Miss Universe Norway 2020; and Viivi Altonen, Miss Universe Finland 2020. They have arrived at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida, for the 69th Miss Universe Competition, wearing Invisi Smart masks. The Miss Universe delegates would be touring, filming, rehearsing, and preparing to compete for the Miss Universe crown before the show airs live on Sunday, May 16 at 8:00 PM ET. Photographer: BENJAMIN ASKINAS. Image provided by & copyright © The Miss Universe Organization, New York.

The 69th MISS UNIVERSE Competition would air from the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Hollywood on Sunday, May 16, 2021. The competition will broadcast LIVE around the world from 8:00 to 11:00 PM ET.

The three-hour event will feature women representing dozens of countries competing in multiple categories, including the personal statement, swimsuit, evening gown, and interview. The event would end with Zozibini Tunzi crowning her successor.

Seminole Hard Rock’s Safe & Sound protocols follow similar guidelines as enacted successfully during the 2020 MISS USA Competition, produced in Memphis, Tennessee, in November. These policies include mask usage, social distancing, quarantining upon arrival, and rigorous testing in coordination with health officials.

The show will air in over 160 countries and territories across the globe.

Here is the list of the participants:



Miss Universe

Photo: Maria Thattil, Miss Universe Australia 2020. Image provided by & copyright © The Miss Universe Organization, New York.

Maria Thattil is a multi-hyphenate. She is a founder, speaker, corporate professional, digital creator, and fierce activist for inclusivity, equality, and empowerment. Before she started training to be an accredited life coach, she graduated with a Psychology degree with Honours and then with a Masters degree in Management. Maria’s biggest hobby is volunteering. She is a member of the United Nations Association of Australia. Maria is an Australian woman of Indian descent, a daughter of immigrants. She believes her upbringing has gifted her with unique experiences that fuel her passion for inclusivity.

Source: The Miss Universe Organization, New York

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May 9, 2021

Global Citizen's "VAX LIVE: The Concert To Reunite The World" mobilizes 26 Million COVID-19 Vaccine Doses.

Global Citizen, Vax Live

Global Citizen, Vax Live

NEW YORK, May 9, 2021 — International advocacy organization Global Citizen tonight announced that the “VAX LIVE: The Concert to Reunite the World” campaign helped mobilize over 26 million COVID-19 vaccine doses and $302 million to the ACT-Accelerator to provide equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines, tests, treatments, and other medical tools to the world’s most marginalized communities and healthcare workers on the frontlines.

VAX LIVE was taped at SoFi Stadium for a COVID 19-compliant audience composed of fully vaccinated frontline healthcare and essential workers and is the first large-scale music event held at the stadium. The goal of the VAX LIVE campaign was to ensure everyone, everywhere, has access to COVID-19 vaccines and inspire vaccine confidence worldwide.

Selena Gomez served as host, and Prince Harry and Meghan, The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, served as Campaign Chairs. Performers included Jennifer Lopez, Eddie Vedder, Foo Fighters, and J Balvin. Special appearances by President Biden, First Lady Dr. Biden, and Vice President Harris along with Ben Affleck, Chrissy Teigen, David Letterman, Gayle King, Jimmy Kimmel, Nomzamo Mbatha, Olivia Munn, and Sean Penn.

The VAX LIVE campaign called on governments to begin sharing vaccine doses immediately. It asked pharmaceutical companies, such as Moderna, to urgently provide millions of doses to the most impoverished nations at-cost pricing. To help ensure equitable access to the vaccine, Global Citizen and its partners led a coordinated drive across the private sector to raise critical funds - “dollars for doses” - for the vaccine-sharing program COVAX AMC.

• VAX LIVE: The Concert to Reunite the World received messages of support and commitments from:

Commitments announced through the course of the VAX LIVE campaign and special included:



Philanthropic and corporate commitments raised $39.6 million for COVAX, which was matched by GAVI for an additional $23.6 million, resulting in a total of $63.3 million, enough to acquire 12.66 million vaccines. Combined with government pledges, this amounts to over 26 million vaccine doses to those most in need.



Overall, $65.8M has been mobilized through VAX LIVE by philanthropists, the private sector, and the Gavi matching mechanism in commitments to vaccine procurement, medical tools, and supplies.

“We have been overwhelmed by the support for VAX LIVE, from governments, philanthropists, the private sector, our campaign chairs, and Global Citizens from across the world. They have joined forces to mobilize critical COVID-19 vaccines where they are needed urgently,” said Hugh Evans, C.E.O. of Global Citizen. “But more needs to be done, especially from G7 nations that have yet to commit to sharing any doses. The U.K. alone will have 113 million surplus doses. We need to continue our efforts to urge the chair of the G7, Boris Johnson, the rest of the G7 and G20 nations, and vaccine manufacturers to share additional doses urgently to help ensure equitable vaccine access globally.”

VAX LIVE: The Concert to Reunite the World aired on A.B.C., A.B.C. News Live, C.B.S., FOX, and streamed on YouTube, iHeartMedia broadcast radio stations and the iHeartRadio App. VAX LIVE also aired on AXS TV, Albavision across Latin America, Multishow from Globo Group in Brazil, Caracol T.V. in Colombia, T.V. Azteca in Mexico, S3 in South Africa, Canal+ and MultiChoice across Africa, Sky in the U.K., Network 10 in Australia, CSTAR (Canal + Group) in France, the Viacom 18 network across India and South Asia, and Insight T.V. globally. As the exclusive global streaming partner, YouTube also streamed an extended version of VAX LIVE on the Global Citizen channel for a total run-time of 90 minutes.

Global Citizen also announced commitments from the longtime partners of Global Citizen — Live Nation, N.B.A., WNBA, N.F.L., M.L.S., N.H.L., WWE, Formula 1, NASCAR, and MLB. They would commit tickets to some of the most amazing live events of the coming year! These leagues have been working together to follow enhanced COVID-19 guidelines to ensure that audience members can once again enjoy live events safely.

“VAX LIVE: The Concert to Reunite the World” was part of Global Citizen’s overall 2021 Recovery Plan for the World, a year-long campaign and series of events that aims to help end COVID-19 for all, end the hunger crisis, resume learning everywhere, protect the planet and advance equity for all. Global Citizen is the world’s most significant movement of action takers and impact makers dedicated to ending extreme poverty by 2030.

Source: Global Citizen


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May 5, 2021

HeiQ launches a high-tech mask featuring ground-breaking copper technology shown to deactivate the COVID-19 virus.

HeiQ MetalliQ Type IIR surgical mask

HeiQ MetalliQ Type IIR surgical mask

HeiQ MetalliQ Type IIR surgical mask

Photos: HeiQ MetalliQ Type IIR surgical mask with an antiviral copper coated surface that deactivates 97.79% SARS-CoV-2. (Images provided by HeiQ).

ZURICH, May 5, 2021 — HeiQ, a global leader in textile and materials innovation, has launched HeiQ MetalliQ, a futuristic-looking, high-tech surgical mask that destroys all viruses and bacteria tested, up to 100% efficacy, the company announced.

HeiQ MetalliQ doesn’t only look metallic. The mask with a patented design contains an ultra-thin pure copper coating applied via a high-tech vapor deposition process, called HeiQ MetalliX, which converts a minute amount of copper into a vapor that deposits evenly to surround each fiber. HeiQ MetalliX is a patent-pending technology created by HeiQ’s innovation partner, Australian materials technology company, Xefco.

According to HeiQ, studies conducted by the Peter Doherty Institute for Infection and Immunity in Melbourne, Australia (Doherty Institute) showed that fabrics treated by the HeiQ MetalliX technology significantly deactivated the infectious SARS-CoV-2 virus (the virus that causes COVID-19) in as little as 5 minutes.

The testing protocol simulated the real-life interaction of aerosol droplets contaminating textile products such as face masks. Each sample was exposed to a high loading of SARS-CoV-2 followed by 5, 15, and 30 minutes incubation at room temperature before the amount of remaining infectious SARS-CoV-2 viruses was measured. The fabric samples treated with HeiQ MetalliX indicated a virus reduction of over 97.79% in five minutes, 99.95% in 15 minutes, and around 99.99% in 30 minutes, relative to the inoculum control.

“Our team of experts continues its vital work to minimize the impact of the novel coronavirus,” Dr. Julie McAuley, Senior Research Officer at the Doherty Institute, stated. “Testing the ability of different surface treatments to reduce the infectivity of the SARS-CoV-2 virus is one way that our research can help provide insights towards helping to stop the spread of COVID-19,” Dr. McAuley added.

Copper is a naturally occurring element present in the earth’s crust, soil, oceans, lakes, and rivers. It is also a trace element that occurs naturally in all humans, plants, and animals. Copper has antiviral, antibacterial, and antifungal properties demonstrated by laboratory studies. According to HeiQ, HeiQ MetalliX treated materials release copper ions which deactivate viruses and bacteria.

HeiQ Medica in Spain manufactures HeiQ MetalliQ. Here, HeiQ also conducts R&D activities for medical devices.

“You can pretty much ‘heiq’ everything to add additional functions to an everyday product. This time we up our game once again in antiviral protection, with an upgraded and premium appearance. Spring is calling. As we emerge from lock-down, we want to be extra protected and protect the others. HeiQ MetalliQ provides that extra level of confidence. Further, it gives an edgy look, making it an improved alternative to surgical masks in many ways,” said Carlo Centonze, co-founder and CEO of HeiQ Group.

Founded in 2005 as a spin-off from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich (ETH) and listed on the London Stock Exchange, HeiQ is a leader in textile innovation, creating effective, durable, and high-performance textile technologies. HeiQ says its mission is to improve the lives of billions of people through pioneering textiles and materials innovation. With a total capacity of 35,000 tons per year, HeiQ manufactures its products in the USA, Switzerland, and Australia, supplying its specialty chemical products in over 60 countries worldwide.

Source: HeiQ

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April 24, 2021

Johnson & Johnson Single-Shot COVID-19 Vaccinations to Resume in the U.S. for All Adults Aged 18 and Older Following CDC and FDA Decision.

Johnson & Johnson

NEW BRUNSWICK, N.J., April 23, 2021 — Johnson & Johnson has announced that vaccinations with the Company’s COVID-19 single-shot vaccine would resume for all adults aged 18 years and older in the U.S. under Emergency Use Authorization (EUA). It follows a decision from the United States Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

The decision was based on a recommendation from the U.S. CDC Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP). ACIP had followed a rigorous evaluation of data relating to an infrequent adverse event involving blood clots combined with low platelet counts (thrombosis with thrombocytopenia) observed within approximately one to two weeks following vaccination.

“As the global pandemic continues to devastate communities around the world, we believe a single-shot, easily transportable COVID-19 vaccine with demonstrated protection against multiple variants can help protect the health and safety of people everywhere. We will collaborate with health authorities around the world to educate healthcare professionals and the public to ensure this infrequent event can be identified early and treated effectively,” said Paul Stoffels, Chief Scientific Officer of Johnson & Johnson.

Johnson & Johnson has updated the EUA Fact Sheets for Healthcare Providers Administering Vaccine (Vaccination Providers) and Recipients and Caregivers for the Company’s COVID-19 vaccine.

The Company said it continues to work with other healthcare authorities and regulators worldwide to ensure that the product labels for the Company’s COVID-19 vaccine include this information. On April 20, the European Medicines Agency’s (EMA) Pharmacovigilance Risk Assessment Committee (PRAC) also issued a recommendation, confirming the overall benefit-risk profile of the Company’s COVID-19 vaccine remains positive.

The Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 Vaccine, developed by the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson, received EUA from the FDA on February 27, 2021, to prevent COVID-19 in individuals 18 years of age and older.

This decision was based in part on the totality of scientific evidence, including data from the Phase 3 ENSEMBLE study. The study had demonstrated that the vaccine was 66.1 percent effective in preventing moderate to severe/acute disease and 85 percent effective in preventing severe/critical illness across all regions studied, 28 days post-vaccination.

The terms of the EUA allow the use of the vaccine while more data are gathered. The Company plans to file for a Biologics License Application (BLA) with the FDA later in 2021.

On April 21, 2021, Johnson & Johnson announced primary data from the Phase 3 ENSEMBLE clinical trial in the New England Journal of Medicine. The preliminary analysis of the Company’s single-dose COVID-19 vaccine follows the topline efficacy and safety data announced in January, showing the trial met all primary and critical secondary endpoints and prevented COVID-19 related hospitalization across all study participants 28 days after vaccination. The data also show the vaccine to be consistently effective against symptomatic infection, including in South Africa and Brazil, where there was a high prevalence of rapidly emerging SARS-CoV-2 variants.



Tell the vaccination provider about all of your medical conditions, including if you:

Source: Johnson & Johnson

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April 17, 2021

OMEGA Counts Down to the Olympic Games with The Seamaster Diver 300M Tokyo 2020.

It may be a little later than planned, but the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 is finally on its way. Today marks 100 days until the iconic sporting event begins in Japan. While the athletes make their final preparations, the Official Timekeeper unveils an exceptional timepiece in tribute to the occasion — OMEGA Seamaster Diver 300M Tokyo 2020.

OMEGA, Tokyo



Photos: OMEGA Seamaster Diver 300M Tokyo 2020. Images provided by OMEGA.

The OMEGA Seamaster Diver 300M Tokyo 2020 delivers a unique color scheme inspired by the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games emblem, along with the very best in watchmaking technology.

The watch has a 42 mm stainless steel case and a blue ceramic bezel ring filled with a white enamel diving scale. The polished-brushed bracelet seamlessly integrates with the OMEGA Seamaster.

Features include a date window at 6 o’clock and the Seamaster name highlighted in red. Blued hands and indexes, filled with white Super-LumiNova, complete the dial design.

The sapphire crystal case-back is marked with the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games emblem. On the inside is the OMEGA Co-Axial Master Chronometer Calibre 8800, officially certified by the Swiss Federal Institute of Metrology (METAS).

Those who choose this unique timepiece will receive it inside a special Olympic Games presentation box, along with a Master Chronometer card and a full 5-year warranty, the company said.

Tokyo 2020 will mark the 29th time in history that OMEGA has fulfilled its role as Official Timekeeper of the Olympic Games since 1932. Bringing almost 90 years of experience to the occasion, the brand will once again capture every second of the action with innovation, precision, and passion.

Source: OMEGA

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April 14, 2021

Sputnik V vaccine authorized in India.

India has become the 60th country to approve Sputnik V.

Sputnik V is one of only three vaccines registered in India.

The Russian vaccine has been approved for use in countries with a total population of 3 billion.

Sputnik V vaccine

Sputnik V vaccine


MOSCOW, April 13, 2021 — The Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF, Russia’s sovereign wealth fund) announces that India’s Drug Controller General (DCGI) has approved the use of the Russian Sputnik V vaccine against coronavirus in the country. India has become the 60th country to support Sputnik V.

Sputnik V is one of only three coronavirus vaccines registered by India’s regulatory authorities.

India is the most populated country to register the Russian vaccine. The total population of 60 countries where Sputnik V is approved for use is 3 billion people, or about 40% of the global population.

India has registered the vaccine under the emergency use authorization procedure based on clinical trial results in Russia and positive data of additional Phase III local clinical trials in India conducted in partnership with Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories.

India is the leading production hub for Sputnik V. RDIF has reached agreements with the top pharmaceutical companies in the country (Gland Pharma, Hetero Biopharma, Panacea Biotec, Stelis Biopharma, Virchow Biotech) aimed at the production of more than 850 million doses per year.

Sputnik V ranks second among coronavirus vaccines globally regarding the number of approvals issued by government regulators.

Sputnik V has also been approved in Russia, Belarus, Argentina, Bolivia, Serbia, Algeria, Palestine, Venezuela, Paraguay, Turkmenistan, Hungary, UAE, Iran, Republic of Guinea, Tunisia, Armenia, Mexico, Nicaragua, Republika Srpska (an entity of Bosnia and Herzegovina), Lebanon, Myanmar, Pakistan, Mongolia, Bahrain, Montenegro, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Gabon, San-Marino, Ghana, Syria, Kyrgyzstan, Guyana, Egypt, Honduras, Guatemala, Moldova, Slovakia, Angola, Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Sri Lanka, Laos, Iraq, North Macedonia, Kenya, Morocco, Jordan, Namibia, Azerbaijan, Philippines, Cameroon, Seychelles, Mauritius, Vietnam, Antigua and Barbuda, Mali, and Panama.

Kirill Dmitriev, CEO of the Russian Direct Investment Fund, said:

“We appreciate the decision of India’s regulatory bodies to grant authorization for Sputnik V. Approval of the vaccine is a significant milestone as Russia and India have been developing extensive cooperation on clinical trials of Sputnik V in India and its local production.

“The Russian vaccine has efficacy of 91.6% and provides complete protection against severe cases of COVID-19 as demonstrated by the data published in one of the leading medical journals, The Lancet.

“India is a vaccine-manufacturing hub and our strategic partner for the production of Sputnik V. We have created partnerships with several Indian leading pharmaceutical companies for Sputnik V production, which will provide for both vaccinations of the population in India and global distribution. Over 850 million doses of Sputnik V are going to be produced in India annually sufficient to vaccinate more than 425 million people around the world.”

• According to RDIF, Sputnik V has many key advantages:

Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) is Russia’s sovereign wealth fund established in 2011 to make equity co-investments, primarily in Russia, alongside reputable international financial and strategic investors.

Source: Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF)

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April 13, 2021

Canada is the No. 1 Country in the World, According to the 2021 Best Countries Report

U.S. News & World Report

Canada, U.S. News & World Report

Photo: The National Flag of Canada. Image Credit: Statschew.

WASHINGTON, April 13, 2021 — For the first time, Canada takes the top spot overall in the 2021 Best Countries Report, a ranking and analysis project by U.S. News & World Report; BAV Group, a unit of global marketing communications company VMLY&R; and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

Cultural, economic, political, and technological influences remain essential. The report has added two new categories: social purpose and agility. Together, this broad range of types determines how the 78 countries studied are ranked on the world stage.

“Nations are impacted on many critical fronts by how they are perceived globally - from foreign relations to international business to tourism. These perceptions are ever-evolving in a rapidly changing world,” said Kim Castro, editor, and chief content officer at U.S. News. “The 2021 Best Countries analysis combines data and storytelling to explore how countries compare on a host of global issues.”

• Key themes from the 2021 Best Countries Report:

“This year, the model behind the Best Countries report has been updated and evolved in response to 2020, a year like no other,” said John Keaveney, WPP advisor and head of Analytics & Insight, BAV Group. “By combining more traditional measures of a nation’s power and influence with our new dimensions of Social Purpose and Agility, we are now able to more accurately measure the strength and perceptual equity of any country in 2021.”

The 2021 Best Countries rankings methodology gathered from a proprietary survey of more than 17,000 business leaders; college-educated individuals who are middle-class or higher; and general citizens who are nationally representative of their country. “Countries should care about their image - it is not just a beauty contest. The impressions others have of a country affects its economy through tourism, foreign trade, and foreign direct investment,” said David Reibstein, professor of marketing at the Wharton School.

The Best Countries project includes in-depth news articles, an interactive data explorer, photos, and commentary from global experts in government, business, and academia. It is part of the U.S. News’ Government Rankings initiative, which measures government performance at the international, state, and local levels and includes the Best States and Healthiest Communities projects.

• Best Countries Overall Rankings 2021

  1. Canada
  2. Japan
  3. Germany
  4. Switzerland
  5. Australia
  6. United States
  7. New Zealand
  8. United Kingdom
  9. Sweden
  10. Netherlands
  11. France
  12. Denmark
  13. Norway
  14. Singapore
  15. South Korea
  16. Italy
  17. China
  18. Finland
  19. Spain
  20. Belgium
  21. Austria
  22. United Arab Emirates
  23. Ireland
  24. Russia
  25. India
  26. Brazil
  27. Greece
  28. Thailand
  29. Portugal
  30. Israel
  31. Mexico
  32. Qatar
  33. Egypt
  34. Turkey
  35. Saudi Arabia
  36. Malaysia
  37. Indonesia
  38. Morocco
  39. Costa Rica
  40. Vietnam
  41. South Africa
  42. Argentina
  43. Poland
  44. Philippines
  45. Czechia
  46. Croatia
  47. Sri Lanka
  48. Hungary
  49. Chile
  50. Peru
  51. Panama
  52. Dominican Republic
  53. Kenya
  54. Colombia
  55. Cambodia
  56. Jordan
  57. Estonia
  58. Myanmar
  59. Uruguay
  60. Slovenia
  61. Bulgaria
  62. Slovakia
  63. Romania
  64. Latvia
  65. Tunisia
  66. Azerbaijan
  67. Lithuania
  68. Ecuador
  69. Guatemala
  70. Oman
  71. Ukraine
  72. Kazakhstan
  73. Uzbekistan
  74. Lebanon
  75. Belarus
  76. Serbia
  77. El Salvador
  78. Iraq

• 10 Most Powerful Countries 2021

  1. United States
  2. China
  3. Russia
  4. Germany
  5. United Kingdom
  6. Japan
  7. France
  8. South Korea
  9. Saudi Arabia
  10. United Arab Emirates

•10 Most Agile Countries 2021

  1. United States
  2. Australia
  3. Canada
  4. Germany
  5. Singapore
  6. South Korea
  7. Japan
  8. Netherlands
  9. New Zealand
  10. Sweden

U.S. News & World Report is a global leader in quality rankings that empower people to make better, more informed decisions about important issues affecting their lives. Founded in 1933, U.S. News has its headquarters in Washington, D.C.

BAV Group is a global consultancy with expertise in consumer insights and brand marketing strategy.

The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, founded in 1881, was the first collegiate business school. It is recognized globally for intellectual leadership and ongoing innovation across every major discipline of business education. With a broad global community and one of the most published business school faculties, Wharton creates its economic and social value worldwide.

Source: U.S. News & World Report

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April 7, 2021

E-commerce, a Covid Lifeline for Retailers with Additional $900 Billion Spent Online Globally, says Mastercard Recovery Insights.


Infographic: Consumers are increasing their e-commerce footprints, buying from up to 30% more online retailers.


Photo: Retail. Garments Shop. Image Credit: Roman K.

As Covid-19 kept consumers worldwide at home, they purchased nearly everything from groceries to gardening supplies online. According to Mastercard’s latest Recovery Insights report, this amounted to an additional $900 billion spending in retail online around the world in 2020.

For retailers, restaurants, and other businesses large and small, selling online provided a much-needed lifeline as in-person consumer purchasing got disrupted.

Roughly 20-30% of the Covid-related shift to digital globally is expected to be permanent, according to “Mastercard’s Recovery Insights: Commerce E-volution.” The report draws on anonymized and aggregated sales activity in the Mastercard network and proprietary analysis by the Mastercard Economics Institute. The research dives into what this means by country, sector, goods & services, within countries, and across borders.

“While consumers got stuck at home, their dollars traveled far and wide thanks to e-commerce,” says Bricklin Dwyer, Mastercard chief economist and head of the Mastercard Economics Institute. “This has significant implications, with the countries and companies that have prioritized digital continuing to reap the benefits. Our analysis shows that even the smallest businesses see gains when they shift to digital.”

While the digital transformation has been neither universal nor consistent due to geographical, economic, and household differences, the report uncovers several critical overarching trends:

Mastercard launched Recovery Insights last year to help businesses and governments better manage the health, safety, and economic risks presented by Covid-19. The initiative utilizes Mastercard’s analytics and experimentation platforms, its longstanding consulting practice, and unique data-driven insights to deliver relevant and timely tools, innovation, and research.

The report draws on anonymized and aggregated sales activity in the Mastercard network and proprietary analysis by the Mastercard Economics Institute.

Source: Mastercard

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April 3, 2021

Mastercard Helps Small Businesses Digitally Enhance their Operations with New Microsoft, QuickBooks, and Zoho Benefits.


Purchase, NY, April 1, 2021 — As small businesses accelerate digital transformation, new offerings improve small business productivity and digital enablement.

Small businesses continue to move their operations online and access digital tools to future-proof their business in response to the pandemic. According to a Mastercard survey, 76% of small businesses in North America suggest the pandemic prompted them to make their business more digital, yet 64% say they are challenged to transform digitally.

To help small businesses maximize their digital presence, Mastercard is announcing new offerings with Microsoft, QuickBooks, and Zoho to its suite of U.S. small business benefits. Now available across Mastercard BusinessCard® and World Elite Mastercard for Business® in the U.S., small businesses can drive awareness of their business online with Microsoft Advertising, digitally manage payroll, and engage with their customers through Zoho’s marketing capabilities.

“Now more than ever, having a digitally-led approach is critical for small business owners. Mastercard remains committed to helping provide small businesses the solutions required to meet the needs of the evolving consumer and operate in our digital world,” said Chiro Aikat, EVP of Products & Innovation in North America for Mastercard. “Together with our partners, we are delivering a solid foundation of digital offerings and tools for our small business cardholders that help them sustain their business today and accelerate their growth tomorrow.”

Beginning April 1, Mastercard small business cardholders will start to automatically enjoy new benefits and access to the tools and solutions to help grow their business and digitally transform. It includes:

“Many businesses have experienced an accelerated digital transition this past year. They now have an array of tools that can help them grow and promote their businesses across digital marketing channels — web, social, email, events, and more,” said Raju Vegesna, Chief Evangelist at Zoho. “We are thrilled to partner with Mastercard to offer our social media management tool and end-to-end digital marketing platform — Zoho Social and Zoho Marketing Plus — so that small businesses can fast-track their growth.”

Mastercard’s small business value proposition provides seamless digital resources and partner discounts in addition to these new offerings. These include Salesforce’s customer relationship management solution Salesforce Essentials, an all-in-one app that provides for sales and customer support tools built specifically for companies of their size.

As small businesses continue to accelerate digital transformation, Mastercard’s Digital Diagnostic can help them assess their digital footprint and identify efficiencies, Mastercard said.

According to Mastercard, its Digital Doors program provides small business owners access to insights, tools, solutions, and guidance to help them set up shop online. The program helps them grow and manage their business, accept payments, and keep their business protected.

Source: Mastercard

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