5,525 new COVID-19 cases registered in Hungary | The Budapest Business Journal on the web


 Bence Gaál

 Saturday, December 5, 2020, 15:30

The number of active coronavirus cases in Hungary stands at 167,479, with 5,525 new cases and 193 new deaths registered since yesterday, according to data by government coronavirus information site koronavirus.gov.hu.

Image by Shutterstock.com

The death toll stands at 5,706.

Some 19% of active cases are located in Budapest.

The total number of confirmed cases stands at 243,581 up from 238,056 yesterday.

The number of recoveries has risen to 70,396.

Currently, 7,695 COVID-19 patients are hospitalized, 637 of whom are on ventilators.

So far, 1,918,043 tests have been conducted at accredited laboratories. Some 53,315 people are currently in compulsory home quarantine.

Looking at all diagnosed cases until now, Budapest remains the most affected area of the entire country, with the number of cases (both active and inactive) reaching 50,786. Pest County is the second most affected, with 31,617 cases, followed by Győr-Moson-Sopron County (15,479 cases).

The number of curfew violations registered by authorities throughout the country so far has reached 9,582.

 

 





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Schumpeter – Nestlé gives a flavour of the future | Business


SWITZERLAND IS KNOWN for its timepieces. But it is also home to another business that for most of its history has operated with metronomic regularity. That is Nestlé, the world’s biggest food company. Established in the 1860s in Vevey, a small town on the shores of Lake Geneva that remains its home to this day, it has long been seen as an opaque behemoth with an insular culture and the occasional brush with scandal. Yet a billion of its products are consumed every day. Its sales last year surpassed $93bn. When it talks coffee, it talks in 100bn cupfulls. Data may be the new oil in America and Asia, but in Europe hot beverages are hotter than either crude or computing. With a market value of $320bn, Nestlé is worth more than Royal Dutch Shell, the continent’s biggest energy firm, and SAP, its software giant.

Many global food firms have been models of reliability. Other venerable names, such as Campbell’s, Danone, Kraft Heinz and Unilever (which sells more non-food items than food), also have roots stretching back over a century. Yet five years ago, amid a sharp slowdown in growth, the industry suddenly found itself under siege. 3G, a Brazilian private-equity group with a zeal for ruthless cost-cutting, merged H.J. Heinz and Kraft Foods. Two years later American activists targeted Nestlé, demanding the same recipe. The same year Kraft Heinz tried and failed to take over Unilever, and later saw its profits tumble, leaving 3G’s reputation in tatters.

Europe’s consumer-goods business is still growing at about half the pace it did a decade ago. It badly needs a caffeine shot. No one has shown better how to administer one than Mark Schneider, Nestlé’s first chief executive from outside the firm in almost a century—and the barista-in-chief of its three-year turnaround.

Mr Schneider, a straight-talking German with an American passport and a fondness for quips, is the perfect foil for bossy hedge funds. He is not prone to panic. But nor is he complacent. He came from outside the food industry, so sees it with fresh eyes. He carried out what Martin Deboo of Jefferies, a bank, calls “the chief-executive version of Blairism”, steering a middle course between the aggressive profit-margin targets desired by the Americans and the meagre restructuring tolerable to the Swiss. Most significant, he revived confidence in organic sales growth, a metric that had fallen at Nestlé from an annual 7.5% in 2011 to 2.4% the year he took over. During the slash-and-burn era of 3G, sales growth was for wimps. No longer—partly thanks to Mr Schneider.

The importance of sales growth is hard to overstate in food. Bernstein, a broker, calls it the “lifeblood” of the industry. In recent years it has been pummelled by changing diets, digitalisation and deflation in parts of the rich world, as well as sluggishness in emerging markets. But Mr Schneider swiftly found remedies.

The first was innovation. Thanks to e-commerce, small upstart brands were able to elbow aside the behemoths and sell directly to consumers. He responded by forcing boffins to bring Nestlé’s ideas to market more quickly, often digitally. The three years it sometimes took them was fine for a car, but not for a chocolate bar, he says. New ideas he cherishes include allergy-busting cat foods and vegan burgers. Second, he was quick to strike transformative deals. Within six months of licensing Starbucks coffee in 2018, Nestlé had already launched 24 of the chain’s products. Third, he bought and sold companies, adding to fast-growing nutritional-health businesses and selling down pedestrian ones such as ice cream in America and packaged meat in Europe.

Nestlé has sped up growth in other areas, too. It is moving relentlessly upmarket. Last year the share of sales from premium products rose to more than a quarter, including items with naked snob appeal such as “flat white over ice” Nespresso pods. It has joined the craze for plant-based foods and other healthy fare (never mind that this makes its confectionery business look increasingly out of place). And it is desperate to improve its reputation for sustainability. On December 3rd it said it would invest SFr1.2bn ($1.3bn) over five years to help its farmers improve their soils as part of a SFr3.2bn effort to combat climate change. It has also pledged to make packaging recyclable or resuable by 2025. These are attempts to soften its image as a corporate goliath, which puts off not just young shoppers but snobby well-off ones, too.

For now, investors are impressed. As Mr Deboo notes, the share price has already awarded Nestlé ten out of ten for the turnaround, though that may be premature. Sales growth has still not recovered to the 4-6% a year that the firm once promised. Infant formula remains a laggard. So does water, with its cheapest bottled products, consumed in offices, battered by the pandemic. And Nestlé is not immune to industry-wide problems. Growth is slowing in emerging markets as people there spend less on ingestible treats and more on digital goods. Moreover, low incomes among the young will dampen their appetite for premium products.

Not so sweet

Relatively speaking, the virus has been kind to Nestlé. Most of its products are used at home, rather than on-the-go, so extra sales for the pantry easily eclipsed what was lost at the sweet shop. Danone, a European rival that was already struggling to keep up with Nestlé at the start of the year, has slipped much further behind.

Still, Mr Schneider is no blithe optimist. In a recent Zoom meeting held amid stockmarket euphoria about the prospects for a covid-19 vaccine, he was cautious. As a former health-care executive used to handling cold chains, he expressed doubts about the ability to distribute vaccines at the required temperatures, especially in the developing world. The longer it takes to spread the vaccine, the higher public debts will pile up, potentially casting a “long shadow” over the 2020s. On top of that, he notes, a demographic challenge is looming with rising numbers of elderly requiring medical care. “I’m quite muted in my outlook,” he admits. But Nestlé, in more than 150 years of history, has survived worse.

This article appeared in the Business section of the print edition under the headline “Feathering its own Nestlé”

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Wall Street heads back toward highs despite dour jobs report – Long Island Business News


U.S. stocks are ticking higher and heading back toward record highs on Friday, despite discouraging data detailing how much damage the deepening pandemic is doing to the job market.

The S&P 500 was 0.6% higher in afternoon trading, putting it on pace to erase its slight loss from the day before and return to a record. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 177 points, or 0.6%, at 30,144, as of 2:34 p.m. Eastern time, and the Nasdaq composite was 0.4% higher.

The gains were broad, with about 80% of the companies in the S&P 500 moving higher. Technology, energy and industrial companies drove a big share of the gains, outweighing losses in utilities stocks and companies that rely on consumer spending.

Hopes remain deeply rooted on Wall Street that one or more coronavirus vaccines are coming to rescue the global economy next year. But efforts to contain a surge in new virus cases has stoked worries about more economic pain for companies and consumers.

That’s why Friday’s much weaker-than-expected jobs report perversely helped lift stocks. Investors are betting the report may be bad enough to help kick Congress out of its paralysis and deliver more support for the economy.

“In a twist of irony, the bad jobs number is positive for markets today,” said Keith Buchanan, portfolio manager at Globalt Investments. “The market is telling us today that if the labor market continues to show slowing momentum, it’s much more likely the powers that be in D.C. agree to something that’s material.”

The initial reaction in financial markets to November’s disappointing jobs report was to fall. Treasury yields sank, and U.S. stock futures wobbled after the data showed employers added just 245,000 jobs last month, half of what economists were expecting. It marked a sharp step down from October’s gain of 610,000 and was the fifth straight month of slowing growth.

Economists called the numbers disappointing and evidence that the worsening pandemic will likely destroy more jobs and income for the economy in the coming months, which are shaping up to be a bleak winter.

But markets quickly firmed amid hopes that the dour data could spur some action from Congress, which has dithered for months after much of its last round of financial support for the economy expired during the summer.

“Overall, today’s report is beckoning lawmakers to act on additional fiscal stimulus measures in order to bridge the output gap in the economy until a vaccine is deployed, and the longer they hold out the wider the gap may become,” said Charlie Ripley, senior investment strategist for Allianz Investment Management.

Democrats and Republicans have been making on-and-off progress on talks for another round of support for the economy, including aid for laid-off workers and industries hit hard by the pandemic. Momentum has seemed to swing back to “on” this week after Democrats signaled willingness to accept a smaller package than they were earlier demanding.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell spoke on the phone about a possible deal on Thursday, and lawmakers from both parties have been voicing support for a bipartisan deal. The glimmers of progress follow months of cajoling and pleading by economists and investors, who say such aid is essential. Many obstacles remain, though.

The hope in markets is that financial support from Washington could help carry the economy through a dark winter. Surging coronavirus counts, hospitalizations and deaths are pushing governments around the world to bring back varying degrees of restrictions on businesses. They’re also scaring consumers away from stores, restaurants and other normal economic activity.

Hopefully, the economy will be able to stand more on its next year after one or more COVID-19 vaccines help start a slow return to more normal conditions.

Such hopes have helped stocks muscle higher since early November, though the momentum has slowed a bit recently as the pandemic accelerates at a troubling rate. The S&P 500 is on pace to close this week with a 1.5% gain, following up on November’s 10.8% surge.

Stocks that would benefit most from a reopening, healing economy have been clawing back some of their steep plummets from earlier in the year, such as airlines and other travel-related companies. Stocks of smaller companies have also recently helped lead the market after earlier lagging. The Russell 2000 index of small-cap stocks was up 1.7% in Friday trading, more than double the gain for the big stocks in the S&P 500.

Stocks of energy companies were some of Friday’s best performers, as oil prices climb further out of the hole they plunged into during the spring following a collapse in demand. Diamondback Energy jumped 12.1%, and Occidental Petroleum gained 11.3% for two of the biggest gains in the S&P 500. Both stocks remain down by about 50% for the year, though.

In European stock markets, the German DAX was up 0.3%, while the French CAC 40 rose 0.6%. The FTSE 100 in London was up 0.9%.

In Asia, Japan’s Nikkei 225 slipped 0.2%, but other markets were stronger. South Korea’s Kospi gained 1.3%, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng gained 0.4% and stocks in Shanghai added 0.1%.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury shook off an initial stumble following the release of the jobs report to rise to 0.97%, up from 0.91% late Thursday.





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The government wants the recession to be over to justify winding back stimulus measures | Greg Jericho | Business


Recessions should be a catalyst for change. But what we are seeing is the government wanting to quickly return to the path it was on prior to the pandemic – one which already had low wages, insecure work, low industrial action and an ever decreasing share of the national income going to workers.

This week the government was very eager to say Australia was no longer in a recession.

The reality is there is no “official” or even “technical” recession – those are just words used to hide the fact that two consecutive quarters of negative growth is just an arbitrary construct clung to by many as a definition mostly because it is very simple (and simplistic).

But one thing is clear: just because you have stopped digging does not mean you are no longer in a hole.

It’s a drum I have been banging a bit of late; not because I am a gloomy, depressive type who takes the “dismal science” to heart, but because these things matter – they shape the narrative.

The government wants the recession to be over so they can justify winding back their stimulus measures.

While they embarked on the biggest stimulus in history, do not be fooled into thinking they liked it.

The Treasurer may boast of research that suggests the jobkeeper program saved 700,000 jobs, but that only serves to highlight that denying the program to the university sector and many workers in the arts and culture industry was little more than a pointed slap at sectors they have little care for.

Even in the midst of a recession the government kept its eye on its ideological prize.

The sooner people believe the recession is over the sooner we can return to the old talk of debt and deficit and the need for tax cuts, more gas and greater IR “flexibility”.

The treasurer told reporters while commenting on the GDP figures that “we’ll look for targeted support where it’s appropriate, but as for our macro supports like jobkeeper, they are tapering down.”

Tapering down at a time when 462,000 more people are underemployed or unemployed than were in March.

Crucially he noted that “all along we have been talking about a private sector-led recovery” because “government is not the solution.”

And yet were it not for government spending, the economy would not have shrunk 3.8% in the past year but 5.3%.

Coincidentally 12 months ago when the last lot of September quarter GDP figures came out we were in much the same state – only government spending was keeping the economy from going backwards.

And back then I was also noting the shrinking level of income going to employees.


Graph not appearing? View here

One of the quirks of the jobkeeper program is that it has led to a massive boost in company profits. Because while the money is intended to go to employees it was provided to businesses and thus is counted as corporate income.

That is one reason why in September a record share of national income went to companies and a record low went to employees. But it is not a weird blip – it merely reflects the story of the past 45 years.

Sixty-one years ago when employees last received less than half of the national income, companies received only 19%; now they receive 31% (the rest is government income, and things like rents and interest earned).

Another record set this week was that the past year had the fewest days lost to industrial action. Now clearly that is also due in part to the pandemic, but again it is also a long-term trend – even before the pandemic the number of strikes was essentially the same as occurred under WorkChoices.

The two aspects are not unconnected; neither is the long run of low wages growth nor the tendency towards casual work and push towards treating workers as self-contractors in the “gig economy”.

The drive to keep this in place is evident in new IR laws to be introduced by the government this week that will give employers “powers to change employees’ hours, duties and location of work and to offer part-time workers extra hours without overtime rates”.

Prior to the recession our economy was experiencing weak growth, with poor wages growth and strong profit growth.

The pandemic forced the government to intervene but it was only temporary and it is quickly using the pandemic and claims that the recession is over to return to where things were heading in February – lower wages growth, less employee power, and greater company profits.



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Stock Market Rally Outlook Pros And Cons; Apple Stock, Google, PayPal Are Buys Now| Investor’s Business Daily


Dow Jones futures will begin trading Sunday evening, along with S&P 500 futures and Nasdaq futures. The stock market rally continued last week, with broad-based gains and many leaders delivering powerful gains, including Qualcomm stock,  CrowdStrike (CRWD), Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) and, to a lesser extent, Apple (AAPL).




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Apple stock is buyable from early entries. PayPal (PYPL), Etsy (ETSY), FedEx (FDX) and Google parent Alphabet (GOOGL) are hovering just above buy points at record highs.

CrowdStrike stock, Qualcomm (QCOM) are greatly extended. AMD stock is slightly extended, but could drift back into buy range or form a high handle.

Apple, CrowdStrike and AMD stock are on IBD Leaderboard. Qualcomm stock, Google, AMD and FedEx are on SwingTrader. PayPal stock is an IBD Long-Term Leader. Etsy stock, AMD and PayPal are on the IBD 50.

While there are a number of reasons to be positive about the market rally, there are also some troubling signs. Investors should weigh the pros and cons for the stock market rally outlook.


Why This IBD Tool Simplifies The Search For Top Stocks


Dow Jones Futures Today

Dow Jones futures were open for trading at 6 p.m. ET Sunday. S&P 500 futures and Nasdaq 100 futures.

Remember that overnight action in Dow futures and elsewhere doesn’t necessarily translate into actual trading in the next regular stock market session.


Join IBD experts as they analyze actionable stocks in the stock market rally on IBD Live.


Coronavirus News

Coronavirus cases worldwide reached 66.59 million. Covid-19 deaths topped 1.53 million.

Coronavirus cases in the U.S. have hit 14.85 million, with deaths above 286,000. Newly reported Covid cases topped 235,000 on Friday, yet another record high.

The U.K. will giving doses of the Pfizer (PFE) and BioNTech (BNTX) coronavirus vaccine in a few days. An FDA panel will review the Pfizer vaccine, with emergency approval seen soon after that.

Stock Market Rally Last Week

U.S. Stock Market Today Overview

IndexSymbolPriceGain/Loss% Change
Dow Jones(0DJIA)30217.77+248.25+0.83
S&P 500(0S&P5)3699.13+32.41+0.88
Nasdaq(0NDQC )12464.23+87.05+0.70
Russell 2000 (IWM)188.23+4.31+2.34
IBD 50 (FFTY)39.67+0.17+0.43
Last Update: 4:06 PM ET 12/4/2020

The stock market rally had another strong performance, buoyed by stimulus deal talk, coronavirus vaccine progress and

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 1% in last week’s stock market trading. The S&P 500 index climbed 1.7%. The Nasdaq composite advanced 2.1%.

Among the best ETFs, the Innovator IBD 50 ETF (FFTY) advanced 0.9%. The iShares Expanded Tech-Software Sector ETF (IGV) was up just 0.6%. While there were soaring software stocks last week, IGV is dominated by big-cap software names that were generally lackluster, while Salesforce.com (CRM) was a notable drag. The VanEck Vectors Semiconductor ETF (SMH) vaulted 6.3%.

Apple Stock In Buy Range

Apple rose 4.65% last week to 122.25. AAPL stock cleared a downward-sloping trend line as it rebounded from its 50-day line, offering an aggressive entry. Apple stock also topped a 122.09 early entry. Another early entry is 125.49. The official buy point for AAPL stock is 138.08. The relative strength line for Apple stock is showing a little improvement, but has been trending lower since early September. But that follows a strong rise since January 2019, reflecting an impressive run of outperformance vs. the S&P 500 index for AAPL stock.

Google stock is slightly extended from a cup-base buy point of 1,726.20, but it’s just above a short consolidation right above that base. This entry is 1,816.99. Google stock climbed 2.1% last week to 1,823.76.

FedEx stock rose 2.6% last week to 294.48, moving above a 293.40 buy point. Investors could have used a rebound from the 10-week line to get an early entry into FDX stock in the prior couple of weeks.

PayPal stock rallied 3% to 217.77, above a 215.93 buy point from a short consolidation next to a prior base. That followed a 9.7% spike in the prior week, offering some early entries for PYPL stock.

Etsy stock fell 3.4% last week, but pared losses to finish at 155.63, just above the 154.98 buy point, according to MarketSmith analysis. That followed a 14.6% surge in the prior week, offering multiple early entries as well. Etsy stock could be forming a short consolidation right about the buy point, much like Google stock did.


Five Stocks Near Buy Points After Finding Bullish Support


Stock Market Rally Pros

Last week was the second straight week of solid or strong gains for the stock market rally. The Dow Jones, S&P 500 index and Nasdaq composite, finished at the top of their weekly ranges.

The stock market rally is showing breadth. Software, chips, IPOs are all doing well, as well as some medical products companies. But real economy names such as Caterpillar (CAT) and Boeing (BA) are booming.

Finally, where the market rally is showing breadth, leading stocks continue to outperform, with several new breakouts in the past week.

All of those reasons suggest that the stock market rally is in good health, with the prospect for further gains.

Stock Market Rally Cons

There’s a point on a ladder where it’s still relatively safe, but if you take one more step up, you’re suddenly in a precarious spot. The stock market rally doesn’t look extended on the major indexes right now, but it’s getting close. Right now the Nasdaq is 6.5% above its 10-week line. That’s not too worrisome, but if the Nasdaq becomes more extended, the risks of a pullback will rise, with a greater danger than the pullback will be short.

Apple stock’s weekly gain aside and Google’s generally solid performance, big-cap techs have been generally lackluster. If those giants get on a roll, the stock market rally will look overheated in a hurry.

Meanwhile, bullish sentiment in the market rally is already worrisome. The bulls vs. bears measure of investment newsletters’ sentiment is at the highest since early 2018. It’s at levels associated with at least short-term tops. Other psychological indicators, such as the put/call ratio and the CBOE Volatility Index also point to growing complacency. Greed and complacency don’t spike the way fear does, so high levels of bullishness can continue for some time before a stock market rally falters.

Finally, many segments of the market are showing some froth. Many IPOs, many in the software space have skyrocketed over the last several weeks. There also many other leading stocks that have seen sizeable gains in the last couple of weeks and are now well above their 10-week lines, including Qualcomm stock and some other Apple chipmakers such as Qorvo (QRVO) and Taiwan Semiconductor (TSM).  While not necessarily extended, the broader trend raises questions about how much further growth stocks can rise.

One positive note is that some frothy niches have been correcting relatively normally, and without a broad market sell-off. Chinese EV makers Nio (NIO), Li Auto (LI) and Xpeng Motors (XPEV) all tumbled 20% or more last week. Recent IPOs Palantir (PLTR) and Corsair Gaming (CRSR), which recently were more than 50% above their 10-day moving averages, have come back without breaking apart or triggering a wider sell-off. So far, there hasn’t been a day when growth stocks suffer 5% losses broadly.

What You Should Do Now

Review your stocks, especially your winners. Make sure they’re not too extended. Are you overexposed overall or in a particular sector? If you bought hot software or IPO names, those capital gains might be boosting your exposure to a specific sector, leaving you vulnerable to a targeted market sell-off.

More broadly, for the past several weeks it’s been easy for investors to make money. That can be a signal to be cautious.

While this article discussed near-term reasons to be bullish or bearish about the stock market rally, the market is going to do what it’s going to do. Don’t try to guess what stocks are going to do. What you can do is pay attention to what the market is doing right now, and prepare accordingly.

At some point, whether it’s next week or next year, the stock market rally is going to have a retreat. That doesn’t necessarily mean the end of the rally. But investors should be ready to deal with a short-term pullback or a longer-lasting correction.

Read The Big Picture every day to stay in sync with the market direction and leading stocks and sectors.

Please follow Ed Carson on Twitter at @IBD_ECarson for stock market updates and more.

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13 new COVID-19 cases in Singapore, including 1 in the community and 1 business travel pass holder


SINGAPORE: Singapore reported 13 new COVID-19 cases as of noon on Saturday (Dec 5), including one in the community who was already under quarantine. 

Twelve cases were imported infections, of which 11 were placed on stay-home notice or isolated upon arrival in Singapore, said the Ministry of Health (MOH).

The remaining case is a 53-year-old Singaporean who travelled to Indonesia under the Business Travel Pass. He took a COVID-19 Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test upon return to Singapore on Nov 28 and self-isolated while waiting for his test result.  

The test came back negative on Nov 29 but he developed symptoms on Dec 2 and sought treatment at a general practitioner clinic. 

He was confirmed to have COVID-19 infection on Dec 4.

Before he was hospitalised, he went to work at ASL Shipyard at 19 Pandan Road but did not have any interactions with his colleagues, said MOH.

“His serological test has come back negative, which indicates a likely current infection,” the ministry said, adding that all his identified close contacts have been isolated and placed on quarantine. 

2 CHILDREN AMONG IMPORTED CASES

The other imported cases include two children – a one-year-old Singaporean girl who returned from the United States and another girl of the same age who travelled from Nepal under a dependant’s pass. Both are contacts of previous cases. 

Four Singapore permanent residents returned from the United States, India and Indonesia. 

There were four work permit holders who travelled from Indonesia and the Philippines

The remaining imported case is a short-term visit pass holder who arrived from Indonesia to visit her relatives who are Singaporeans. The 41-year-old woman is a contact of a previous case.

COMMUNITY CASE

The sole community case reported on Saturday is a Filipino sea crew who arrived from the Philippines on a vessel that docked at Tuas Port on Nov 18.

The 57-year-old man was already under quarantine as he was identified as a close contact of Case 58357 who is also a crew member of the same ship.

Before boarding the ship for Singapore, the latest case took a COVID-19 test which came back negative. 

He and the other 17 crew members were tested again on Nov 19 after arriving in Singapore, said MOH, adding that all tested negative except Case 58357.

The latest case involving the 57-year-old man was swabbed during quarantine at a government facility. “His serological test has come back positive,” said MOH.

As of Saturday, Singapore has reported a total of 58,255 COVID-19 cases. 

Six more cases have been discharged from hospitals or community isolation facilities, bringing Singapore’s total recoveries to 58,158.

There are 26 cases still in hospital. Most of them are stable or improving, and no one is in the intensive care unit. Another 42 are being isolated and cared for at community facilities.

Sushi Jiro restaurant at Keppel Bay was the only location added on Saturday to MOH’s list of public places visited by COVID-19 community cases during their infectious period. 

The full list is as follows:


SHOE SHOP, RESTAURANT SUSPENDED FOR BREACHING SAFETY RULES

On Saturday afternoon, Singapore authorities said they have ordered the Foot Locker store at Orchard Gateway @ Emerald to suspend operations for 10 days for failing to comply with COVID-19 safe management measures. 

This comes after large crowds were seen outside the store and the mall on Friday night. 

“Large crowds had gathered at the outlet for a product launch on Dec 4, despite repeated advisories by public enforcement agencies on crowd management,” said the Singapore Tourism Board (STB) and Enterprise Singapore (ESG) in a joint statement. 

The suspension will last until Dec 14. 

During this period, the Foot Locker outlet is not allowed to conduct physical retail activities but may continue to continue selling products online. 

READ: Foot Locker at Orchard Gateway ordered to suspend operations for breaching COVID-19 rules

The Seoul Garden restaurant at Tampines Mall was also ordered to suspend its operations for 10 days for failing to ensure that COVID-19 safe management measures are adhered to.

The ministry started investigations after a man who had dinner with 12 family members at the restaurant tested positive for the coronavirus.

READ: Seoul Garden at Tampines Mall closed for 10 days for failing to enforce COVID-19 measures

“Although the family members were seated at separate tables of up to five persons per table, investigations revealed that there had been mingling among them,” said MOH. “The restaurant did not take reasonable steps to prevent the intermingling between tables on its premises.”

Restaurant operations, including dining in and take-away, will be suspended until Dec 14.

BOOKMARK THIS: Our comprehensive coverage of the coronavirus outbreak and its developments

Download our app or subscribe to our Telegram channel for the latest updates on the coronavirus outbreak: https://cna.asia/telegram



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Pennsylvania Vetoes Help for Business


Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf says he feels the pain of businesses struggling to survive the pandemic, but does he really? On Monday he vetoed a bill providing liability protections for schools, businesses and other employers against Covid-related lawsuits.

Mr. Wolf in May issued an executive order protecting health-care workers and owners of real estate that was donated for Covid emergency services. His order doesn’t protect businesses from lawsuits by customers who catch Covid. The bill passed by the GOP Legislature did.

Nearly 80 associations representing schools, child-care providers, small businesses and others backed the bill. “For the foreseeable future,” they wrote in a letter to Mr. Wolf, “employers will be subject to strict workplace health and safety requirements and those who adopt these precautions should proceed with confidence knowing they will not be targeted with frivolous, and potentially devastating, litigation.”

The legislation wouldn’t absolve businesses that disregard public-health requirements. But its higher standards for lawsuits, requiring clear and convincing evidence of gross negligence, could head off many frivolous suits. More than a dozen states including Michigan and Idaho have enacted similar legislation. Mr. Wolf said the legislation was too broad and unnecessary, but businesses with their livelihoods on the line disagree.

His veto is especially worrisome given the state’s plaintiff-friendly legal climate. Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court and Philadelphia’s Court of Common Pleas top the American Tort Reform Association’s list of “Judicial Hellholes” this year. The report notes that Pennsylvania has one of the nation’s highest payout rates in medical liability suits, and Philadelphia is a top jurisdiction for asbestos litigation.



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A Christmas payroll check list for small business


Christmas will be here before we know it, and with many businesses
closing down for the festive break from Friday 18 December – it’s only a few
weeks away! In the mad rush to get everything done before putting the
out-of-office on your email, don’t forget to record your staff’s annual leave
and public holidays to save you any headaches over the Christmas break. Payroll
is a crucial area, not only for you as a small business but for your employees,
so it is crucial to get it right.

Here’s a short checklist of the things you should be doing. Set aside
some time in the next few days to get them done.

Public holidays

Check you have the holiday groups set correctly in your payroll software
platform. This will ensure Christmas Day, Boxing Day, and New Year’s Day are
setup as public holidays and normal salaries will calculate for those days.
Keep in mind, if an employee is on leave and there is a public holiday during
their leave period, they are to be paid the public holiday, so don’t use leave
on this date.

If your staff are working on the public holidays, check your award or
agreement to see how they should be treated. This should involve being paid
public holiday rates or given a day off without loss of pay.

Annual leave loading

Have you checked the relevant awards and employment contracts to
determine if your employees are entitled to annual leave loading? If this does
apply to your staff, ensure your payroll software is set up correctly to

calculate the loading on any leave taken.

Awards can be tricky and depend on your industry, and in some states
what business structure you operate under, so ensure you are using the correct
one for your staff.

Annual leave

If your business has a shut-down period, employees will still need to apply
for leave to cover this period. Send an email out to all team members now, so
that you can approve leave requests before the festive break begins. Once they
have applied, you need to approve their request.

What happens to staff that don’t have enough leave? You have the option
to allow them to go into negative leave or ask them to take leave without pay.

Schedule the pay run

The next step is to schedule the pay runs. If yourself of your payroll
person is going to be on leave on your normal pay day, you can schedule this in
advance.

Use technology to your advantage but take the time to check it is set up
correctly. That way you can also relax and enjoy the festive season. Also
remember bank processing times may be delayed due to public holidays, so you
may want to schedule pay runs a day or two earlier if your normal pay day falls
on a public holiday.

Michelle Maynard, Chartered Accountant and Partner, Carbon Group





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4 Steps to Hiring the Perfect Addition to Your Team – Jewish Business News


4 Steps to Hiring the Perfect Addition to Your Team

By Contributing Author

Studies show that 95% of employers admit to making hiring mistakes at least once per year.

Unfortunately, recruiting new employees is tricky. Finding the right candidate can take time, and multiple steps are required before you can extend a job offer. Many people grow tired of sifting through resumes and scheduling interviews, so they tend to hurry this process along—thus leaving room for mistakes.

If you’re willing to put in the effort, there are some ways to ensure you’re choosing the appropriate applicant for the job. Read on for four steps to hiring the perfect addition to your team!

#1 Recruit Wisely

When you’re looking for a candidate with specific qualifications, a public job listing may not be the best recruitment strategy.

Many employers opt for targeted recruitment when searching for new hires. This may mean advertising the position to a smaller audience, such as:

Bonus hiring resource: If you’re struggling to keep your hiring process organized, use a digital recruitment software to expedite each step.

#2 Request References

A list of references should be required along with a resume and cover letter. Many employers underestimate how much information can be extracted from contacting a candidate’s references.

Whether these references are previous employers, colleagues, or college professors, there are a few key questions you’ll want to ask anyone you’re able to get in touch with:

  • Verify the candidate’s previous employment
  • Ask about the candidate’s work style and professional demeanor
  • Question whether or not they would work with the candidate again
  • Delve into the candidate’s skills and qualifications

Bonus hiring resource: Make cross-checking references easier with an automated system. This will speed up the process of verifying references, especially when your applicant pool is on the larger side.

#3 Get a Background Check

Resumes and references can tell you a lot about a candidate, but not everything.

A thorough background check will reveal important information that employers should be wary of. This information includes:

  • Previous criminal charges
  • Credit score inquiries and debt collections
  • Problems with previous employers
  • Driving record
  • Identity verification

It’s in your company’s best interest not to hire anyone without knowing their full history. To keep your employees and assets safe, make sure to fully vet any potential hires prior to offering them the position.

Bonus hiring resource: For those who aren’t sure where to get a background check, these can be done quickly and easily online. No need to hire the private investigator.

#4 Assign a Small Follow-Up Project

With any job, it’s important to get a glimpse at your candidate’s quality of work. The best way to gauge an applicant’s skills and motivation is by requesting a small assignment following your first interview.

Depending on your field, this could be:

  • A piece of writing
  • Proficiency tests for software programs
  • Drafting a proposal
  • Creating a spreadsheet, slideshow, or other document

Bonus hiring resource: Use an online quiz creator for either a pre-screening or post-interview assignment. This takes some of the pressure off you during the hiring process and allows the candidate to prove relevant knowledge and skills.

Do Your Team a Favor

It’s important to choose candidates that mesh well with your team. In a dream world, employers would be able to give every applicant a trial run—unfortunately, there isn’t enough time and resources to do that.

Using these hiring tips can help you narrow down your selection with greater ease. Following the steps listed here—while also using your best judgment and professional intuition—will result in a more thorough and successful recruitment process!





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Alibaba Business School Kicks Off 4th Netpreneur Training Initiative for Malaysia


  • Applications open for digital & traditional businesses seeking transformation
  • Cost is fully covered by Alibaba Business School, weekly assignments given

Alibaba Business School, the education arm of Alibaba Group, today announced the 4th Alibaba Netpreneur Training Program for Malaysia.

Jointly organized with Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) and Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation (MATRADE), this is an initiative to facilitate digital transformation and enable businesses, both traditional and digital, to embrace digital disruption. Applications by businesses from Malaysia are open now until 31 Jan 2021.

Since 2019, Alibaba Business School has conducted seven Netpreneur Programmes in Southeast Asia, training over 300 business owners. The programmes, previously offline, have now been developed as a combination of online and offline training modules for digital entrepreneurs as well as business owners of traditional companies with digital aspirations. Alibaba Business School aims to expand the reach of the programme through the online version.

The online programme provides first-hand exposure to ecommerce and digital innovations, access to business leaders across Alibaba and China, as well as an opportunity to connect with like-minded, leading entrepreneurs in your region, through exercises, interactive lectures, and dynamic discussions.

During the training, participants will learn about China’s digital economic transformation, Alibaba’s own successes and mistakes and the work that went into creating a company culture and management practices as they grew from a fledgling startup into a full e-commerce ecosystem.

“Alibaba has played a key role in building China’s digital economy over the past 20 years which has helped us garner tremendous learning and creation of best practices. The global pandemic has further highlighted the need for digital transformation so we have evolved our programme to a mix of online and offline to be able to reach more entrepreneurs and business owners quickly. With this, we hope to share our experience with participants from across markets and enable them to transform their businesses and in turn their larger economy in these times,” said Zhang Yu, Alibaba Group Partner and Vice President.

“The digital economy will play a pivotal role in helping Malaysian companies to bounce back after the global pandemic, especially in terms of market access to global consumers. MATRADE is pleased to continue collaborating with the Alibaba Business School to promote the Netpreneur Programme for our exporters. We hope that participating companies can take full advantage of what is offered in the curriculum to better prepare their companies strategically in embracing digital transformation for global consumers through e-commerce,” said Wan Latiff Wan Musa, CEO of MATRADE.

Alibaba Business School Kicks Off 4th Netpreneur Training Initiative for Malaysia“Our collaboration with Alibaba Group, through this programme is expected to empower more local small-and-medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to acquire the latest digital skills and greater access to the “know-how” based on Alibaba’s best practices. It will accelerate MDEC’s goal in creating industry-relevant digitally-skilled Malaysians and digitally-powered businesses, while ensuring it is inclusive for all, said Surina Shukri (pic), MDEC’s Chief Executive Officer.  

Participants who join the online part of Alibaba Netpreneur Training Program online course will learn:

● An understanding of the development of Digital Economy in China

● Fundamentals of the role new technology and digital economy in enabling national development.

● Key insights into the evolution of Alibaba’s ecosystem including learnings and best practices through sharing sessions from Alibaba’s business leaders.

● Insights into the most cutting-edge trends and practices in use within the growing digital economy in China.

● Gain a deeper understanding of business frameworks and strategic patterns, learn how to create an environment to strengthen your organization’s capacity to drive innovation and achieve greater results.

This edition of the Alibaba Netpreneur Training Program will be conducted from March 2, 2021 for a duration of 6 weeks. The online training course cost is fully covered by Alibaba Business School. During the course, participants will receive assignments on weekly basis and a capstone project at the end. Based on the outcome of the online participation and the assignments/project completions, the top performers will be invited to attend the offline immersion in Alibaba Group headquarter in Hangzhou, China once the travel restrictions due to the pandemic are lifted.

Further information on the enrollment criteria and the full programme details can be obtained here.



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