Coronavirus: Second COVID-19 wave faster than the first, warns top European scientist | World News


The coronavirus second wave is spreading more quickly than the first outbreak in spring, a top French scientist has warned, amid a growing resurgence of the virus across Europe.

“The virus is circulating more quickly… the resurgence of the pandemic started in August,” French government scientific adviser Arnaud Fontanet told BFM TV on Friday.

He said France had managed to bring the virus under control by the end of the June, and because the number of people being taken to hospital remained low until the end of August, authorities were given a false sense of security despite cases already going up at the time.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Europe sees new COVID restrictions

“And then there was one cold week in September and all the indicators went the wrong way again all over Europe. The virus spreads better in the cold because we live more inside,” said the epidemiologist.

“Hospitals and medical staff will find themselves in a situation they’ve already known,” he said.

“We have a lot of tools to protect ourselves against the virus but we’re facing a difficult period,” he added, echoing Prime Minister Jean Castex, who warned of a “tough November” as the French government extended a curfew imposed last week on Paris and eight other cities to dozens more areas.

The 9pm to 6am curfew comes into force at midnight tonight and 46 million people – almost two-thirds of the country’s 67 million population – will be affected.

“A second wave of the coronavirus epidemic is now under way in France and Europe. The situation is very serious,” Mr Castex said at a news conference.

On Thursday, the country reported a record 41,622 new confirmed cases of COVID-19.

Parisiens in masks near the Eiffel Tower
Image:
Parisiens in face masks near the Eiffel Tower in Paris, where a stricter curfew is in force

The national figure now stands at more than one million infections, and more than 34,200 people have died, according to Johns Hopkins University which has been tracking the outbreak.

Countries across Europe, like in the UK, are returning to restrictive measures following a surge in cases.

Belgium, one of the worst-hit countries in Europe, further tightened restrictions on social contacts on Friday, banning fans from sports matches, limiting the number of people in cultural spaces and closing theme parks.

Please use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

European hospitals under COVID pressure

Although infection rates in Germany have been much lower than other COVID hotspots in Europe, cases have been accelerating and hit a record 11,247 on Thursday.

Across Europe, 20 countries set new daily case records on Wednesday, including the UK, which saw a rise of 26,688.

The Czech Republic, which is seeing Europe’s biggest surge in COVID-19 cases, has ordered most shops and services to close to curb the spread of the virus.

:: Subscribe to the Daily podcast on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Spreaker

The Netherlands has also returned to partial lockdown, closing bars and restaurants, but kept schools open.

And Spain became the first country in western Europe this week to record one million coronavirus cases – doubling its tally in just six weeks.



Source link

FBI warns American voter registration data has been obtained by Iran, Russia



File – Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe is pictured. (AP Photo/ Andrew Harnik)

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 8:50 AM PT – Thursday, October 22, 2020

Federal officials sent a warning about national security after the FBI said Iran and Russia obtained voter registration data and are using the information to interfere with the upcoming presidential election.

In a press conference Wednesday night, Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe and FBI Director Christopher Wray announced that voters were being intimidated in order to cause political unrest with their personal information later stolen.

“First we have confirmed that some voter registration information has been obtained by Iran and separately by Russia,” announced Ratcliffe. “This data can be used by foreign actors to attempt to communicate false information to registered voters that they hope will cause confusion, sow chaos and undermine your confidence in American democracy.”

Ratcliffe went into further detail, stating Iran has been sending out fake emails to registered voters while posing as members of the Proud Boys group in an effort to fuel political tensions before November’s vote.

The national security officials went onto reassure the public by stating they will work swiftly to identify and disrupt these threats, while boosting up security for the sake of protecting the integrity of the presidential election.

RELATED: President Trump’s appeal to women ahead of the election





Source link

Cuomo warns head of FDA to ‘save your soul,’ urges against rushed coronadd


New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo encouraged Dr. Stephen Hahn, the head of the Food and Drug Administration, to “save your soul” and not kotow to President Trump‘s demands for an expedited coronavirus vaccine. 

“The White House has been unhappy with the FDA because they’ve been unwilling to accelerate the approval of the vaccine because they want it done for Election Day,” Cuomo said on Thursday. 

TRUMP SLAMS CUOMO OVER ‘APOLOGY TOUR’ AS NY GOVERNOR WARNS PUBLIC SHOULD BE ‘SKEPTICAL’ OF COVID VACCINE

His comments come after reports by Politico that Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar was planning to oust Hahn because the doctor pushed back on Trump’s agenda to release a vaccine before Nov. 3. Hahn instead has advocated for stricter safety standards for a COVID-19 vaccine

“The FDA has resisted timing the approval to Election Day,” Cuomo said. “You don’t make governmental decisions based on the election calendar. You especially don’t make public health decisions based on the election calendar. You especially don’t decide that a vaccine is safe to take based on an election calendar.”

The New York governor said he was  “shocked” that the HHS Inspector General isn’t investigating the matter further. 

“For Azar to say he’s going to fire Hahn because he hasn’t been compliant with the political gospel of the Trump administration, that is unethical,” Cuomo said.

WHITE HOUSE OFFICIAL SLAMS NY GOV. CUOMO OVER ‘HIGHLY IRRESPONSIBLE’ COMMENTS ON COVID VACCINE

Azar has denied that he was planning on firing Hahn in the coming weeks but sparring between the FDA and the Trump administration has been ongoing, slowing efforts to fight the deadly virus, which has resurged in several states throughout the country.

“You’re talking about life and safety on the approval of a vaccine,” Cuomo said. “Trying to rush the FDA to approve it for a campaign platform for the president is abhorrent to the Hippocratic oath that doctors take.”

Cuomo told Hanh to remember his oath and do the duty his medical profession requires.

“Save your soul, Dr. Hahn,” Cuomo said. “Save your soul. For these doctors to totally lose credibility and become politicized in the middle of a global, historic pandemic is just ludicrous — the entire concept.”

Cuomo told WAMC in an interview later Thursday that a letter sent to the White House on behalf of governors inquiring about the cost and logistics of distributing a vaccine has gone unanswered. 

Trump has come under fire for his handling of the coronavirus pandemic, which has killed almost 223,000 Americans and infected over 8.3 million others to date. 

CLICK HERE FOR THE FOX NEWS APP

Opponents of the president have insinuated that Trump is wielding a potential vaccine as part of a political ploy to gain favor with voters on a key issue less than two weeks before Election Day. 



Source link

‘Don’t do it’: Farr-Jones warns Wallabies


World Cup-winning captain Nick Farr-Jones has warned the Wallabies that fans will tune out if they take a knee in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.

Fullback Dane Haylett-Petty raised the prospect on Wednesday when he said the Wallabies would consider making the silent protest, possibly even before Saturday week’s third Bledisloe Cup clash with the All Blacks in Sydney.

The Wallabies will be wearing a specially-designed Indigenous jersey for that match, as well as against Argentina later in the Tri Nations series.

“Sport has a lot of opportunity to join conversations and have a say and a lot of sports have done that,” Haylett-Petty said.

“I can’t speak for everyone but it would be a great show of support. I think that would be a discussion to have as a group and we’d definitely consider it.”

But several sports teams taking a knee in the NBA, and elsewhere around the world, have sparked more violent scenes since the death of George Ford while being arrested in the US in May.

The Wallabies would be the first national sporting team from Australia to take a knee, but Farr-Jones on Thursday cautioned against it.

“To take the risk of basically splitting the support the Wallabies are starting to earn through their gutsy performances in Wellington and Auckland – just don’t do it guys, it’s too risky,” Farr-Jones said on radio 2GB.

“You run the risk that a few (viewers) would just turn off. They don’t want to see politics in national sport. That’s a real risk. I think it could be divisive.”

Farr-Jones revealed the Wallabies once observed a minute’s silence on a tour to South Africa during his 63-Test career that ended in 1993.

“I don’t think here in Australia that we have a major issue in relation to discrimination of coloured people,” he said.

“We went to South Africa in ’92 when it was opening up, when apartheid was just about behind it. Of course (Nelson) Mandela was elected the first black president in ’94.

“We had a minute silence for victims of township violence before we played our Test match in Cape Town.

“But here in Australia, I think if you surveyed your listeners, I think 99 per cent would agree that all lives matter.

“We don’t have that issue. Let’s not make it a political issue in a sporting event.”





Source link

Nick Farr-Jones warns Wallabies against taking a knee for Black Lives Matter


“I obviously can’t speak for everyone but I think it would be a great show of support,” Haylett-Petty said. “As a group, I think that’s probably a discussion to have as a group and we’d definitely consider it.”

While there have been no formal talks among the playing group Farr-Jones, speaking on Ben Fordham’s 2GB program on Thursday morning, questioned whether it was the right thing to do.

Filipo Daugunu, Dane Haylett-Petty and Harry Wilson at the unveiling of the Wallabies' Indigenous jersey on Wednesday.

Filipo Daugunu, Dane Haylett-Petty and Harry Wilson at the unveiling of the Wallabies’ Indigenous jersey on Wednesday.Credit:Getty

“To take the risk of basically splitting the support the Wallabies are starting to earn through their gutsy performances in Wellington and Auckland – just don’t do it guys, it’s too risky,” Farr-Jones said.

“You run the risk that a few [viewers] would just turn off. They don’t want to see politics in national sport. That’s a real risk.

Nick Farr-Jones celebrates with the Webb Ellis Cup at Twickenham in 1991.

Nick Farr-Jones celebrates with the Webb Ellis Cup at Twickenham in 1991.Credit:Getty

“I think it could be divisive.”

Farr-Jones doesn’t believe there is a big problem in relation to the treatment of Indigenous Australians and revealed the Wallabies observed a minute’s silence on a tour to South Africa when he was playing.

“I don’t think here in Australia that we have a major issue in relation to discrimination of coloured people,” Farr-Jones said. “We went to South Africa in ’92 when it was opening up, when apartheid was just about behind it. Of course [Nelson] Mandela was elected the first black president in ’94.

“We had a minute silence for victims of township violence before we played our Test match in Cape Town but here in Australia I think if you surveyed your listeners, I think 99 per cent would agree that all lives matter. We don’t have that issue. Let’s not make it a political issue in a sporting event.”

The 63-Test Wallaby, who led Australia to World Cup glory in 1991, said all stakeholders would have to be consulted if the Wallabies team decided to take a knee during the national anthem.

Loading

“At the end of the day it’s up to the captain, the coach [and] the team but I would also implore the guys to make sure that if they want to do it, they get the approval of the board,” Farr-Jones said. “They can’t just go and do this and risk the loss of all the support.

“Over the decades we cherish the fact we’ve had some amazing Indigenous people in our teams, some amazing Polynesians and Fijian players. I think of the Ellas and how blessed I was to play alongside Mark in my early Tests… we’ve never had an issue. We all come together under that one jersey brilliantly.”

Indigenous leader Warren Mundine also felt it would be an unwise move.

“I think it’s a stupid idea quite frankly,” Mundine said on 2GB. “People are getting a bit sick and tired of sportspeople, people on huge salaries, telling us how we should be acting.

“I think it’s great they’re going to wear the Indigenous colours … but this is a blatant political movement.”

Sport newsletter

Sports news, results and expert commentary delivered straight to your inbox each weekday. Sign up here.

Most Viewed in Sport

Loading



Source link

Ethiopian Farmers Fight Locusts as UN Agency Warns of Worsening Situation



The UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization has warned of worsening locust problems in East Africa, as “more swarms are forming from current breeding in Ethiopia and a new generation of laying has started in central Somalia.” Farmers in Ethiopia have been battle successive waves of locusts since late 2019, in the worst extended infestation in 25 years, according to the FAO. Ethiopian state media quoted Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed as saying 420,000 hectares of land have been devastated in 240 districts. In its situation report, the FAO said breeding was “underway on the Red Sea coastal plains,” meaning “additional swarm migrations and further increases in locust numbers can be expected.” It added, however, that the region was better prepared than at the same time last year. On October 19, China donated 72 tons of pesticides, 2,000 hand-held sprayers, and 20,000 personal protective gears to help Ethiopia in its locust-control operations. Credit: Getachew Aregawi via Storyful



Source link

Trudeau warns of ‘consequences’ as Conservatives work to force debate on anti-corruption committee


Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the Opposition Conservatives will have to “face the consequences” of pressing ahead Tuesday with a motion that calls for the creation of a special “anti-corruption” committee of MPs that would scrutinize specific COVID-19 relief programs the Tories have flagged as being carried out unethically.

Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole is holding a news conference at 9 a.m. ET and CBCNews.ca is carrying it live.

In an interview with Toronto radio station RED FM Tuesday, Trudeau accused the Conservatives of playing political games as the government tries to focus on supporting Canadians through the coronavirus pandemic.

“We’ve said if they think we’re so corrupt then maybe they don’t have confidence in the government, and I think that’s something very important. If they want to make criticisms, they have to be willing to back it up in the House,” he said.

Trudeau said he does not want an election, and that an election at this time is not in the best interests of Canadians.

“But if the Conservatives are saying that this government is completely corrupt, then I think they have to face the consequences of that,” he said.

Liberal House leader Pablo Rodriguez has called the Conservative move irresponsible and suggested the Liberals may in turn deem the eventual vote on the motion a confidence matter.

“The Conservative motion that is there on the table, if it was to be debated tomorrow, would send a clear message that there is no confidence in the government,” Rodriguez told reporters Monday.

To style the committee as being focused on corruption, and to compel everyone from the prime minister to rank-and-file civil servants to testify, would snarl the work of government at a time when everyone ought to be focused on the COVID-19 pandemic, Rodriguez said.

So the Conservatives’ gambit can’t be taken lightly, he said.

“They cross the line when they say that the ministers and the public servants will spend all their time working on this instead of working for Canadians,” he said.

“So, you know, when you do things there are consequences.”

Deltell calls Liberals’ plan ‘ridiculous’

Conservative House leader Gerard Deltell called the effort to paint the Tory motion as a matter of confidence “ridiculous.”

“That you are even entertaining such speculation demonstrates to me — as it would to all Canadians — the desperate ends to which the Liberal government will go to further its coverup of a very troubling scandal which reeks of corruption,” Deltell wrote in a letter to Rodriguez Monday, a copy of which was obtained by The Canadian Press.

As political parties negotiated in public and behind the scenes Monday, the Tories had been coy about which of three potential motions they’d move forward with on their previously scheduled “opposition day” Tuesday, when they get to put a matter of their choice on the House of Commons agenda.

The first was the anti-corruption committee. Among other things, it would probe a decision to hand a contract to run a student grant program to WE Charity, an organization with long ties to the Liberals, as well as a ventilator purchase agreement given to a firm run by a former Liberal MP.

The second motion was about China’s national security law for Hong Kong, and the third related to Chinese high-tech company Huawei.

Quebec Conservative MP Pierre-Paul Hus then let slip midday Monday that the anti-corruption motion would be the one moving ahead; Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole is expected to lay out his rationale for that decision on Tuesday morning before debate begins.

NDP to Liberals: ‘Calm down’

The NDP had weeks ago proposed the idea of a special committee that would focus exclusively on pandemic-related spending, an idea the Tories’ anti-corruption probe would amp up.

The Liberals countered with their own proposal for a COVID-19 committee, detailing their pitch Monday in a letter to the House leaders of the other parties.

They’re proposing one that focuses on pandemic-related spending, with six Liberal MPs and six members of the opposition parties. The Tories’ version would have 15 MPs, with the opposition holding the majority.

The Liberals’ approach is too broad, Deltell said.

“All Mr. O’Toole’s motion would do is to establish a committee with a focused mandate to review the most troubling reports related to your government’s pandemic response measures,” he wrote in his reply to Rodriguez.

“This would allow the 24 standing committees of the House to focus on their usual mandates, and how they intersect with the COVID-19 pandemic, while ensuring Parliament discharges its primary purpose: to hold the government to account.”

Conservative Leader Erin O’Toole’s party is moving ahead with a motion that calls for the creation of a special ‘anti-corruption’ committee of MPs that would scrutinize specific COVID-19 relief programs. (Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press)

NDP ethics critic Charlie Angus said earlier Monday he was concerned the Liberals would just stymie the work of a new committee much as they have done with existing ones, filibustering proceedings to avert votes.

He suggested, however, that to toss the country into an election over it would be folly.

Should the Liberals declare the eventual vote on the motion a confidence matter, how the NDP and Bloc Quebecois vote would be crucial in determining whether the minority Liberal government fell.

“Our message to the Liberals is, calm down, we have work to do,” Angus said.

“Work with us.”

Documents dropped Monday

More light was shed Monday on the interaction between WE Charity and the government with the release of dozens of pages of documents previously demanded by the finance committee, including details of fees paid to, and expenses covered for, members of the Trudeau family who participated in WE events.

The charity had previously said Sophie Gregoire Trudeau, the prime minister’s wife, had been paid a $1,500 speaking fee for one appearance, and the documents released Monday also disclosed that the charity covered $23,940.76 in expenses for eight appearances between 2012 and 2020.

The Commons’ ethics committee has also demanded to know how much money Trudeau, and his family, had received in speakers’ fees over the last several years. Trudeau released details of his own Monday — about $1.3 million — a figure and details previously disclosed when he ran for leadership of the party in 2013.

But the Liberals said his family’s records were off limits.



Source link

Infectious disease expert warns the next 6 to 12 weeks will be the ‘darkest of the entire pandemic’


Michael Osterholm, a renowned infectious disease expert, warned that the next several months will be the ‘darkest of the entire pandemic.’

While speaking with Chuck Todd of NBC’s Meet the Press, Osterholm gave a grim prognosis for Americans that have already experienced 8.13million coronavirus infections and 219,000 deaths.

When asked about the White House’s controversial push towards herd immunity, Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, admitted he didn’t share the administration’s optimism.

Michael Osterholm (pictured), director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, revealed the next several months will be the ‘darkest of the entire pandemic’

‘We’re not telling the full story. We do have vaccines and therapeutics coming down the pike, but when you look at the time period for that, the next six to 12 weeks are going to be the darkest of the pandemic, he said.

‘Vaccines will not become available in any meaningful way until early to [the] third quarter of next year. And even then, about half of the U.S. population at this point is skeptical of even taking the vaccine.’

Osterholm blamed the skepticism on a ‘major problem in messaging.’

He explained that Americans don’t have a ‘lead’ or ‘consolidated’ voice to guide them through the pandemic at the moment.

Osterholm said he believed American citizens did not have a 'lead' or 'consolidated' voice regarding the pandemic. Pictured: President Donald Trump

Osterholm said he believed American citizens did not have a ‘lead’ or ‘consolidated’ voice regarding the pandemic. Pictured: President Donald Trump

‘People don’t know what to believe, and that’s one of our huge challenges going forward [is] that we’ve got to get a message to the public that reflects the science and reflects reality,’ said Osterholm.

Twitter removed ‘misleading’ tweet from Dr. Scott Atlas

 By Valerie Edwards for DailyMail.com

Twitter has removed a ‘misleading’ tweet from White House adviser Dr Scott Atlas who claimed that masks don’t work.

In the tweet shared on Saturday, Atlas wrote: ‘Masks work? No.’

Atlas, who has been on the coronavirus task force since the pandemic began in the US, then used examples of areas where he said ‘cases exploded even with mandates’.

Atlas included the following locations in the tweet: Los Angeles, Miami, Hawaii, Alabama, France, Philippines, United Kingdom, Spain and Israel.

Masks and facial coverings are used to prevent people who have the virus from infecting others.

He added that the goal of herd immunity was best reached when placing citizens through a vaccination program – not simply allowing them to get the virus – but that would require public support. 

‘We need somebody to start to articulate, ‘What is our long-term plan? How are we going to get there? Why are we asking people to sacrifice distancing? Why are we telling people if you really love your family, you won’t go home for Thanksgiving or Christmas and end up infecting mom or dad or grandpa and grandma.”

‘We don’t have that storytelling going on right now, and that’s every bit as important as the science itself.’

On Friday, there were 70,000 new coronavirus cases in the country – the highest level since July. 

Although the White House emerged as a solid front when it enacted the coronavirus task force in January, the facade slowly waned as Trump ignored health experts’ guidelines and dissenting voices entered civil discourse.  

Trump and Dr. Anthony Fauci, a top infectious disease expert on the task force, publicly bumped heads over various issues.   

Trump’s more laissez faire approach to eradicating the pandemic clashed with Fauci, who repeatedly called for Americans to adhere to social distancing and emphasized the importance of face masks. 

 The pair’s most recent clash came over herd immunity, which was reportedly proposed to Trump by medical adviser Scott Atlas.

Pictured: Scott Atlas

Pictured: Dr. Anthony Fauci

Scott Atlas, a medical adviser, and Anthony Fauci (right), a top infectious disease expert, have disagreed on the effectiveness of herd immunity 

Osterholm (pictured): 'People don't know what to believe, and that's one of our huge challenges going forward [is] that we've got to get a message to the public that reflects the science and reflects reality'

Osterholm (pictured): ‘People don’t know what to believe, and that’s one of our huge challenges going forward [is] that we’ve got to get a message to the public that reflects the science and reflects reality’

Several health experts have dismissed herd immunity as a viable solution, including Fauci, who called it ‘total nonsense,’ as well as ‘scientifically and ethically problematic.’

Atlas falsely claimed that herd immunity could be achieved once 20 to 40 per cent of Americans were infected.

According to Osterholm, those numbers are nothing more than ‘pixie dust.’

‘First of all, that 20% number is the most amazing combination of pixie dust and pseudoscience I’ve ever seen,’ he said. ‘It’s 50% to 70% at minimum.’

Osterholm reiterated his push for a coronavirus vaccination, saying ‘this virus is going to keep looking for wood to burn for as long as it can.

‘So our goal is to get as many people protected with vaccines.’     



Source link

Traffickers profiting as pandemic makes crime harder to crack, UN warns


LONDON — Human traffickers are capitalizing on the coronavirus pandemic to target people ranging from jobless migrants to out-of-school children, two United Nations (UN) specialists said, warning that the fallout from COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 2019) had driven the crime further underground.

The global economic slowdown has left countless people jobless, desperate and at risk of exploitation, while victims of trafficking are less likely to be found or receive help with attention and resources diverted elsewhere, the experts said.

An estimated 25 million people worldwide are victims of labour and sex trafficking, according to the United Nations, with concerns growing that more will fall prey as support services are halted and efforts to secure justice are hindered.

“The difficulty is that trafficking is now even more underground and less visible,” said Siobhan Mullally, the recently-appointed U.N. special rapporteur on human trafficking.

“More people are at risk … especially in the informal economy … there are opportunities for traffickers to recruit, to exploit, to prey on people’s desperation,” Ms. Mullally told the Thomson Reuters Foundation ahead of Anti-Slavery Day on Oct. 18.

About 2.5 billion people — more than 60% of the world’s workforce — are informal workers, leaving them particularly at risk of being underpaid and abused, labour advocates have said.

From India to Cambodia, workers in sectors such as textiles and tourism have lost their livelihoods due to COVID-19 and resorted to taking out loans that can lead to debt bondage or accepting work on worse terms and in exploitative conditions.

Many of the world’s estimated 164 million migrant workers are stranded abroad and unable to go home or unwilling to seek help due to closed borders and restrictive immigration policies, leaving them vulnerable to traffickers, according to Ms. Mullally.

‘WORSENING HORRORS’
Two decades after the adoption of a landmark U.N. anti-trafficking protocol, Ms. Mullally said the issue was still seen mainly as a criminal justice matter, and called for a much broader focus encompassing labour rights and social protection.

“An economic crisis … and recession or even depression … may be used as an excuse to curtail workers’ rights, with the knock-on effect of a greater threat of trafficking,” she added.

Extreme poverty will rise for the first time this century, the World Bank said last week, predicting that the COVID-19 fallout could spawn 115 million “new poor” this year alone.

Ilias Chatzis, head of the trafficking unit at the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), said his department was still gathering information about the impact of coronavirus on the crime but warned that early evidence showed “worsening horrors”.

He cited the example of children spending more time online and being vulnerable to sexual exploitation —remotely — by global predators. Europol said in May that online child sex abuse in the European Union spiked at the start of the pandemic.

While acknowledging the “complexity” of tackling trafficking during COVID-19, Chatzis sounded a note of hope for the future.

“It’s not all darkness ahead, there is light at the end of the tunnel,” he said. “We abolished (chattel) slavery, we can abolish trafficking.” — Thomson Reuters Foundation









Source link

Amid tensions with China, India warns Amazon, Flipkart over country of origin rule


TipRanks

3 ‘Strong Buy’ Stocks With at Least 6% Dividend Yield

There’s so much going on in the markets, that it’s hard to know where to start and what to look for. On the red side of the ledger, it’s clear that the headwinds are gathering. House Democrats are still rejecting the $1.8 trillion coronavirus aid and stimulus package put forth by the White House, saying that President Trump’s proposal does not go far enough. The House Dems are pushing their own $2.2 trillion stimulus. At the same time, both Eli Lilly and Johnson & Johnson have paused their coronavirus vaccine programs, after the latter company reported an “adverse event” in early trials. This has more than just investors worried, as most hopes for a ‘return to normal’ hang on development of a working vaccine for the novel virus.And earnings season is kicking off. Over the next several weeks, we’ll see Q3 results from every publicly traded company, and investors will watch those results eagerly. The consensus is, that earnings will be down year-over-year somewhere between 20% and 30%. With this in mind, we’ve used the TipRanks database to pull up three dividend stocks yielding 6% or more. That’s not all they offer, however. Each of these stocks has a Strong Buy rating, and considerable upside potential.Philip Morris (PM)First on the list is tobacco company Philip Morris. The ‘sin stocks,’ makers of tobacco and alcohol products, have long been known for their good dividends. PM has taken a different tack in recent year, with a turn toward smokeless tobacco products, marketed as cleaner and less dangerous for users’ health.One sign of this is the company’s partnership with Altria to launch and market iQOS, a heated smokeless tobacco product that will allow users to get nicotine without the pollutants from tobacco smoke. PM has plowed over $6 billion into the product. Given the regulatory challenges and PR surrounding vaping products, PM believes that smokeless heated tobacco will prove to be the stronger alternative, with greater potential for growth.No matter what, for the moment PM’s core product remains Marlboro cigarettes. The iconic brand remains a best seller, despite the long-term trend of public opinion turning against cigarettes.As for the dividend, PM has been, and remains, a true champ. The company has raised its dividend payment every year since 2008, and has reliably paid out ever quarter. Even corona couldn’t derail that; PM kept up its $1.17 quarterly payment through 2020, and its most recent dividend, paid out earlier this month, saw an increase to $1.20 per common share. This annualizes to $4.80, and gives a yield of 6%.Covering PM for Piper Sandler, analyst Michael Lavery likes the move to smokeless products, writing, “We remain bullish on PM’s strong long-term outlook, and we believe recent iQOS momentum throughout the COVID-19 pandemic has been impressive. iQOS has had strong user growth and improving profitability, and store re-openings could further help drive adoption by new users.”Lavery rates PM shares an Overweight (i.e. Buy), and his $98 price target implies a one-year upside of 24%. (To watch Lavery’s track record, click here)Overall, the Strong Buy consensus rating on PM is based on 9 reviews, breaking 8 to 1 in Buy versus Hold. The shares are priced at $79.10 and their $93.56 average price target suggests an 18% upside potential. (See PM stock analysis on TipRanks)Bank of N.T. Butterfield & Son (NTB)Butterfield is a small-cap banking firm based in Bermuda and providing a full range of services to customers on the island – and on the Caymans, the Bahamas, and the Channel Islands, as well as Singapore, Switzerland, and the UK. Butterfield’s services include personal and business loans, savings accounts and credit cards, mortgages, insurance, and wealth management.Butterfield saw revenues and earnings slide in the first half of this year, in line with the general pattern of banking services globally – the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic put a damper on business, and bankers felt the hit. Earnings in the last quarter of 2019 were 87 cents per share, and by 2Q20 were down to 67 cents. While a significant drop, that was still 21% better than the expectations. At the top line, revenues are down to $121 million. NTB reports Q3 earnings later this month, and the forecast is for 63 cents EPS. Along with beating earnings forecasts, Butterfield has been paying out a strong dividend this year. By the second quarter, the dividend payment was up to 44 cents per common share, making the yield a robust 7%. When the current low interest rate regime is considered – the US Fed has set rates near zero, and Treasury bonds are yielding below 1% – NTB’s payment looks even better.Raymond James Donald Worthington, 4-star analyst with Raymond James, writes of Butterfield, “…robust capital levels [provide] more than sufficient loss absorption capacity in our view for whatever credit issues may arise. Its fee income stability has proven valuable given the impacts of declining rates on NII, where the bank has actively managed expenses to help support earnings. We continue to believe its dividend is safe for now given its low-risk loan portfolio, robust capital levels, and our forecast for a sub-100% dividend payout even under our stressed outlook.”These comments support the analyst’s Outperform (i.e. Buy) rating, and his $29 price target suggests a 15% upside for the coming year. (To watch Worthington’s track record, click here)Overall, NTB has 4 recent reviews, which include 3 Buys and a single Hold, making the analyst consensus rating a Strong Buy. This stock has a $29 average price target, matching Worthington’s. (See NTB stock analysis on TipRanks)Enviva (EVA)Last on our list is an energy company, Enviva. This company holds an interesting niche in an essential sector, producing “green” energy. Specifically, Enviva is a manufacturer of processed biomass fuel, a wood pellet derivative sold to power generation plants. The fuel is cleaner burning than coal – an important point in today’s political climate – and is made from recycled waste (woodchips and sawdust) from the lumber industry. The company’s production facilities are located in the American Southeast, while its main customers are in the UK and mainland Europe.The economic shutdowns imposed during the corona pandemic reduced demand for power, and Enviva’s revenues fell in 1H20, mainly due to that reduced demand. Earnings remained positive, however, and the EPS outlook for Q3 predicts a surge back to 45 cents – in line with the strong earnings seen in the second half of 2019.Enviva has shown a consistent commitment to paying out its dividend, and in last quarter – the August payment – the company raised the payment from 68 cents per common share to 77 cents. This brought the annualized value of the dividend to $3.08 per share, and makes the yield 7.3%. Even better, Enviva has been paying out regular dividends for the past 5 years.Covering this stock for Raymond James is analyst Pavel Molchanov, who rates EVA as Outperform (i.e. Buy) and sets a $44 price target. Recent share appreciation has brought the stock close to that target.Backing his stance, Molchanov writes, “Enviva benefits from an increasingly broad customer base, and there is high-visibility growth via dropdowns. In the context of the power sector’s massive coal retirements — including (as of September 2020) 34 countries and 33 subnational jurisdictions with mandatory coal phase-outs…” (To watch Molchanov’s track record, click here.)Enviva’s Strong Buy consensus rating is based on 4 Buys and 1 Hold. It’s share price, which has gained in recent sessions, is $42.60, and as mentioned, it has closed in on the $44.80 average price target. (See EVA stock analysis at TipRanks)To find good ideas for dividend stocks trading at attractive valuations, visit TipRanks’ Best Stocks to Buy, a newly launched tool that unites all of TipRanks’ equity insights.Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the featured analysts. The content is intended to be used for informational purposes only. It is very important to do your own analysis before making any investment.



Source link