Trump receives Morocco’s highest award for Middle East work: official

FILE PHOTO: Israeli National Security Adviser Meir Ben-Shabbat (front R), who led the Israeli delegation, and U.S. White House Senior Adviser Jared Kushner are seen during a visit to Rabat, Morocco, December 22, 2020. REUTERS/Shereen Talaat/File Photo

January 15, 2021

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump on Friday received Morocco’s highest award for his work in advancing a normalization deal between Israel and Morocco, a senior administration official told Reuters.

In a private Oval Office ceremony, Princess Lalla Joumala Alaoui, who is Morocco’s ambassador to the United States, gave Trump the Order of Muhammad, an award given only to heads of state. It was a gift from Morocco’s King Mohammed VI.

White House senior adviser Jared Kushner and Middle East envoy Avi Berkowitz received other awards for their work on the Israel-Morocco deal, which was reached in December.

The United States in the last five months helped broker deals between Israel, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Sudan and Morocco. The agreements are aimed at normalizing relations and opening economic ties.

Trump, who leaves office on Wednesday, has drawn some criticism over the Morocco agreement because to seal the deal, he agreed that the United States would recognize Morocco’s sovereignty over Western Sahara.

Western Sahara has been the site of a decades-old territorial dispute between Morocco and the Algeria-backed Polisario Front, a breakaway movement that seeks to establish an independent state in the territory.

The Kushner team had been working on reaching more agreements between Israel and the Arab world. But time has run out and no more are expected before Trump’s departure.

Media were not allowed to witness the award ceremony. Trump has been limiting his public appearances since losing the election on Nov. 3.

(Reporting By Steve Holland; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)

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How to work with your accountant to get the best results

Your accountant might have a talent for getting thousands of cyphers neatly lined up in a row. Your accountant also has a knack for identifying where to tighten up your processes to improve revenue-generation in your business.

However, your accountant’s role is far more involved than that. You need to be able to pick up the phone and schedule a meeting as often as you feel you need guidance. It’s about building a long-term relationship that will foster growth in your business and develop trust between you and your confidant.

In short, your accountant is your best friend in the business. How can you work together to get the best possible results?

Embrace the raw truths: Come with
honesty in hand

Do you feel comfortable with your accountant? Can you bring your brutal truth into the meeting room when you meet, or do you find yourself wanting to gloss over certain elements in your accounting books? You can’t address an issue if you’re not ready to face it in its truth. Visiting your accountant requires you to prepare yourself for the truth and to be honest about your books. If your profits are looking poor, there’s no need to feel ashamed, your accountant is here to work with whatever you bring into the meeting room. The more honest you are, the better the chances of addressing the issue at its root and improving the performance of your business.

Utilise all the tools and innovations available

It can be difficult to move with the times, especially if you’ve been in business for decades and have an established invoicing system on paper that you have grown familiar with. Utilising the tools your accountant has for you will give you better control over your accounting systems and enable you to get more value out of your accounting service. Getting organised makes it easier and faster for you and for your accountant to provide you with a better service. Learning these systems will also provide you with better insights, some of these tools actually give you real-time insights that enable you to predict your turnover ahead of time. Plus, automation is key in reducing your running costs. The challenge lies in changing your mindset and embracing new innovations. But your accountant will advise on the programs they work with in order to give your business the best results.

Build a long term relationship with
one accountant

You have to view your accountant as your
confidant. Someone you trust implicitly. For some, that means choosing an
accountant that comes with a combination of superb qualifications and
experience but also a friendly and personable disposition. There must room for
a long term relationship to grow so that the growth of your business remains in
the hands of the same trusted professional. Much like developing a relationship
of trust with your physician, it pays off as your accountant gets to know your
business, understand its potential weak points and strengths, and gets to know
how you operate.

Understanding the value you can expect to get from working with an accountant

Your accountant is skilled at analysing and optimising various parts of the business. In order to fix elements in the finance department, your accountant needs a holistic view of the entire business. From there, systems can be implemented that work with your unique workplace dynamics. There’s no one-size-fits-all system. The financial flow of your business, along with your goals, your business setup, and your challenges, define how your accountant will simplify the way in which you manage your finances.

Sonia Gibson, Founding Director, Accounting Heart Chartered Accountants

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New Parliament construction work likely to start on Jan. 14

Heritage Conservation Committee approved the proposal on January 11.

Construction work on new Parliament building is likely to begin on January 14, after the Supreme Court gave the go-ahead on January 5 and the Heritage Conservation Committee (HCC) approved the proposal on January 11, according to Housing and Urban Affairs (HUA) Ministry officials on January 13.

The project was scheduled to start in December last, but construction and demolition at the site was put on hold while legal challenges to the project were pending with the apex court. On December 7, the Supreme Court allowed the ground-breaking ceremony to take place after the government submitted an affidavit that it would not start construction, demolition and tree transplantation until the court gave its judgment.

With the judgment clearing the project on January 5, the Central Public Works Department moved the HCC for approval, which was granted on Monday, according to HUA Secretary Durga Shanker Mishra.

A top official said the work would start on Thursday, which happens to be the auspicious day of Makar Sakranti.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid the foundation stone for the project on December 10, 2020. The project, the contract for which was given by the Central Public Works Department (CPWD) to Tata Projects Limited for ₹971 crore, is expected to take 22 months to complete.

The site of the construction is adjacent to the existing Parliament, which was completed in 1927. Designed by Ahmedabad-based HCP Design, Planning and Management Private Limited, the new Parliament would accommodate a larger number of MPs than the current heritage building to make room for potential increase in seats after future delimitation exercises. A total of 1,224 MPs could be accommodated in the new Lok Sabha chamber during joint sessions.

Meanwhile, work on the redevelopment of Rajpath, another part of the larger Central Vista revamp, was expected to start after the Republic Day celebrations. Mr. Mishra had said at a press conference on Monday that the work would start by February 1. According to a CPWD official, the contract was awarded to Shapoorji Pallonji and Company Limited on January 8 after its bid of ₹477.08 crore emerged as the lowest. The work would start after the requisite approvals are obtained, the official said.

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Cricketers at the SCG are at work and shouldn’t have to put up with abuse


Australians fans should be celebrating that we are the lucky few compared with so many other fans around the world. We can take in the atmosphere and excitement that live sports provide.

Many players across the Big Bash, even Cameron Green, have commented that playing in front of live crowds once again has been extremely special. It has reminded them of why they love their job, entertaining the fans and seeing the smiles and cheers from admirers. It’s baffling that anyone would want to spoil this atmosphere for any player.

A lesson I learnt while playing for Australia, where you tour for long periods of time with the same group of people, is how your behaviour can impact your teammates in unanticipated ways. And how what you find funny or clever can be interpreted completely differently by the person who might be at the end of that joke. It doesn’t matter if your intention was to just have fun or muck around, it is more important how the person it was directed at has taken it. Some of those in the crowd on the weekend might keep that in mind.

It is well documented that Siraj has recently been through a lot. He lost his father at the end of November 2020, while out here in Australia. The Board of Control for Cricket in India offered the young fast bowler a chance to fly back home to be with his family during this difficult 1time. But he declined. In an interview that featured on the BCCI Twitter feed, Siraj opened up about his father. “It’s a great loss for me. He wished that I continue playing for India and make my country proud. I just want to fulfil my father’s dream.” And he did exactly that a month later when he donned the India cap with pride when he made his debut at the MCG for the Boxing Day Test.

At the start of this Test match, a tear rolled down his cheek as he sang the Indian anthem with pride.

I am saddened that a young man who should be on an absolute high, may walk away from this tour with negative memories of the SCG, a place so dear to me, as it is my home ground.

The bright spot in this sorry episode is how well the umpires, Paul Reiffel and Paul Wilson, handled the situation. I have never seen a game of cricket stopped for that period of time for something like this and it shows that officials are now taking abuse seriously.

However, it is up to all of us to think before we yell something out at a sporting venue or anywhere
for that matter. We can be so much better.

Lisa Sthalekar is a former member of the Australian women’s cricket team and is now a coach and commentator on the Sports Entertainment Network.

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10 At-Home Exercises For Women That Actually Work

Since the idea of work-from-home is getting extremely popular during the pandemic, make sure you do not leave your health regimen high and dry. Everyone is suffering from Schrödinger’s disease.


The self-isolation focuses on the idea of assuming that either you are containing the virus from the outspread or preventing yourself from being infected by avoiding any contact with the external environment.



As necessary as it is to stay indoors and work from home, it is also a good idea to focus on a Workout Program to Burn Fat.


Utilize this time to achieve your fitness goals.


If you are self-conscious about excess body fat and weight issues, the following is a list of exercises curated workout program to burn fat for women that work.


1. The Bridge

This exercise serves as an activator for your glutes, hamstrings, and core muscles.


  • Lie down on a mat with your knees bent and your back and feet touching the floor.
  • Raise your bottom off the ground and slowly bring it back to the resting position.
  • Make sure you are using your core strength.
  • Do two sets of 10 reps if you are a beginner.


2. Knee Push

It is an exercise that will serve as a prerequisite for pushups.


  • Lie face-front on the floor with your knees touching the floor.
  • Go down slowly and raise your body just before reaching the floor.
  • Make sure that your elbows are at a 45-degree angle.


3. Lunges

Lunges focus primarily on your core and abdominal muscles.


They help shred extra body fat and are included in the Tone Program For Females. If you are looking to build stability, this exercise is excellent for you.



4. Squats

The squat is a prominent lower body workout regimen.


The most important aspect of a squat workout is ensuring that your form is correct. Otherwise, there will be no visible results.


5. Crunches

Crunches are the go-to workout plan when it comes to scorching your excess belly fat. It requires immense core strength to perform crunches.


If you feel that crunches are on the more accessible side of the spectrum and you want to intensify them, you can add resistance bands or weights.


6. The Plank

It is one of the most conventional exercises in tone programs for females.


The reason being that the plank helps in shredding fat evenly from your body without causing any stretch marks.


With time, you will be able to do a plank for a longer duration of time.


7. Bird Dog

  • Lie with your face forward and knees touching the ground.
  • Lift alternate leg and hand simultaneously.
  • You will feel a tingling in your arms and legs.
  • This exercise requires balance and stability.


8. Hip Abduction

This exercise is meant for you if you are not a beginner.


  • Lie on either side
  • Say left hand, lift your right leg slowly while resting the other on the ground.
  • Reverse


The exercise helps in toning your hips.


9. Side Planks

  • If you want to maintain a proper posture and reduce stress on the spine, it’s time to take up side planks.
  • It strengthens the abdominal and back muscles, and the best thing is you can practice at any time.
  • But, to achieve the best results, you have to remain constant.
  • To perform side planks, extend your legs and lie on your right side and keep your feet and hips at rest on the floor.


10. Go for the Russian Twist

Yes, you heard it right; like its name, it’s an effective exercise you can perform at home to reduce weight.


  • You have to sit on a floor mat and lean back in a Russian twist until you feel that the abdomen area muscles are well stretched.
  • Create a V shape, and slowly twist from one side to the other.
  • Make sure you have the right posture to get the best results.


Even though you are confined to the four walls of your home, do not let this confinement stop you from following and achieving your fitness goals.


Make sure that you are eating right and following a workout routine to stay fit and healthy.

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5 Easy Ways You Can Slash The Number Of Hours You Work

Move one step closer to working four hours a week with these ways.

6 min read

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

As entrepreneurs, we are always told to work smart, not hard, to delegate and that if we’re working more than four hours a week, we’re working too much. However, when the workplace is changing rapidly, time zones are blurring into one and goal posts are moving daily, is it a myth to be able to be productive and still work less? 

These are give things that can help cut the number of hours we work as we chase the elusive four-hour work week. Hammock, palm trees and cocktails not included.

1. Multitask in meetings 

If working from home has done anything, it’s made people want to take their time in meetings and do something else with their camera and microphones off. After all, these things can be a huge waste of time if all you’re doing is barely paying attention. And while yes, it might be nice to get a workout in or make a meal during a meeting, if you end up getting called on that might be problematic. So instead, try thinking about what your light tasks are for the day. Going through your email, editing your to-do list, checking in on your schedule and replying to some quick messages are all easy things you can do that won’t take your mind completely off of the meeting. You can keep your camera and microphone on while still being able to give the occasional nod and smile. Additionally, you’ll be able to cut all of these things out of your schedule later so you can free up time for other things.

Related: 5 Digital Hacks to Make Working from Home Easier and More Productive

2. Ask for an agenda

There’s a common misconception that because people are working at home they have more time to work. The truth is that the average worker has potentially more work to do and less time to do it, and with meetings taking up such significant chunks of time it might not be beneficial to attend every meeting. If you have a project that needs your attention or just need to catch up on some busy work and have a meeting that takes up that valuable time, ask the organizer for the agenda first to see if attending this meeting would really be to your benefit. People will be completely understanding if you can’t make it, and you could even ask someone to record notes on the meeting for you if you want to make sure you didn’t miss anything important.

Related: The 4 Types of Meetings You Should Not Attend

3. Find someone better than you

One of the biggest lessons you can learn running a business is that not every fire should be put out by you. Research has shown that leaders who delegate often have teams that have higher job satisfaction, innovative behavior and task performance. It might feel like every decision is equally important, but that shouldn’t be the case. When you’re working in a company with a team of people, there are going to have to be different strengths divided amongst the members, so oftentimes there will be someone who is better equipped to deal with a certain issue. Take the time to figure out which of your team members are best at what and use that knowledge to improve and balance out your workflow. Doing this will not only ensure that you’re using your time wisely, but it will also make sure your team is using their time wisely.

4. Work while on the go

One of the most important things we can do in the current work environment is find opportunities to work outside while we’re at home. After all, spending time outside has been scientifically proven to have several key health benefits, and it significantly lowers stress and anxiety. Routines that we all once had for when we left the house have now changed and sometimes even disappeared from our schedules. But now more than ever it’s important to find time to get out of your home even while you’re on the clock. That could mean taking a call while you’re walking the dog or working on something outside at a local park if the weather is nice enough. Doing little things like this will allow you to take advantage of the online nature of work, take it on the go and still get it done while also getting some fresh air.

5. Set up software 

The true path to automation is through software. Although not all of us are equipped to completely automate our presence in Zoom meetings, there are little things that we can do with software that we already have to make the work we do more productive. Just look at Gmail and its ability to schedule an email to send. At first, this tool didn’t seem like it could be super useful, but all you have to do is consider how other people’s schedules work. For example, say you are working with an international business and you need to send them an email but they’re currently asleep. Why not schedule to send that email when their workday starts your time to ensure that it’s at the top of their inbox? Or consider transitioning your company onto a smarter project management software that will help keep everyone organized and on task.

Related: Market Smarter, Not Harder, with Automated Messaging

Working from home especially can be incredibly difficult at the best of times. Being stuck in your house for hours a day while working can really damper what you’re doing and make you feel like you’re not being nearly as productive as you could. But with these five tips you will be able to cut down on busy work and give you to the time to do what you truly want — like master the art of cocktail-making.

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Dow Jones Futures: Congress Back To Work After Pro-Trump Mob Storms Capitol Hill; Apple Sells Off, Target, GM, Qorvo Are Buys

Dow Jones futures rose Wednesday night, along with S&P 500 futures and Nasdaq futures, as Congress returned to Capitol Hill to finish the Electoral College certification of Joe Biden’s presidential victory. Earlier, Georgia runoff election results fueled a stock market rally and a shift into cyclical sectors, but the major indexes closed Wednesday mixed as a pro-Trump mob stormed Capitol Hill.


Target stock, Apple chipmaker Qorvo (QRVO), General Motors (GM), trucking firm XPO Logistics (XPO) and wellness specialist Medifast (MED) all broke out or flashed bullish signals Wednesday, closing in buy range.

The Dow Jones, S&P 500 index and small-cap Russell 2000 rallied to record highs Wednesday, fueled by infrastructure plays, financials, hospitals, casinos, marijuana-related companies as well as old and new energy stocks.

The Nasdaq composite rebounded for modest gains, but faded late on the Trump mob’s Capitol Hill breach. Tech giants such as Apple (AAPL), Microsoft (MSFT), (AMZN) and Nvidia (NVDA) retreated, along with many software names.

Georgia Results Shake Up Stock Market Outlook; Key Winners, Losers

CAN SLIM expert David Ryan highlighted the shift into cyclical stocks in a special IBD Live on Wednesday.  IBD has highlighted a possible change in leadership in recent days and weeks, including in our latest IBD Weekly cover story.

Many of Wednesday’s big winners are extended, such as Caterpillar (CAT), HCA Healthcare (HCA), US Steel (X), Canopy Growth (CGC), JPMorgan Chase (JPM) and Tesla (TSLA). They aren’t actionable now, though investors should keep an eye on them.

Apple stock, Tesla and Target are on IBD Leaderboard. Target (TGT), XPO Logistics and GM stock are on SwingTrader. Microsoft stock is an IBD Long-Term Leader. Nvidia and Amazon stock are on the IBD 50.

Congress Returns To Work

Congress returned to Capitol Hill Wednesday night to complete the Electoral College certification vote, to show that lawmakers won’t be cowed by political violence.

At least a few GOP lawmakers that had previously planned to object to some states’ electoral votes changed their minds after pro-Trump riots. That includes Sen. Kelly Loeffler, who just lost her Georgia runoff Tuesday night.

Law enforcement earlier secured the Capitol building, with a very heavy presence inside and out, but it was different story in the afternoon.

Trump Mob Stormed Capitol Hill

President Donald Trump held a D.C. protest Wednesday, where he repeated his claims that widespread fraud cost him the presidential election. He urged the thousands of supporters to take action. Several hundred then marched to the Capitol Hill, entering the building and then the Senate chamber.

Law enforcement shot at least one rioter inside the Capitol Building. The woman later died. At least one improvised explosive device was found in the Capitol, according to reports. It’s unclear if police arrested any of the rioters.

Vice President Mike Pence and Congress were evacuated, temporarily halting the Electoral College certification vote process.

President Trump, who forcefully denounced Black Lives Matter protests over the summer, initially issued a mild tweet urging Capitol rioters to “remain peaceful.” In a late afternoon video posted on social media, he urged people to “go home now,” even as he continued to repeat his claim that the presidential election was “fraudulent.”

Trump later returned to Twitter in a more defiant tone: “These are the things and events that happen when a sacred landslide election victory is so unceremoniously & viciously stripped away from great patriots who have been badly & unfairly treated for so long.”

Twitter soon removed the post. For the first time, it suspended President Trump’s Twitter account, demanding that he remove tweets excusing violence. Facebook suspended Trump for 24 hours.

Washington, D.C., imposed a 6 p.m. ET curfew as a result of the Capitol Hill riot. Virginia’s governor imposed curfews on the nearby cities of Arlington and Alexandria.

Georgia Runoff Election Swings Senate

Democrats won one Senate seat in Tuesday’s Georgia runoff elections and seem poised to pick up another.

The Senate appears on track for a 50-50 split, with Kamala Harris holding the tiebreaker when she becomes vice president on Jan. 20. With unified control of Washington, Democrats would likely push for a larger stimulus deal. Infrastructure spending could be a bipartisan measure, perhaps with a somewhat green energy tilt. Cannabis reforms are more likely, but probably not full legalization. Democrats could push tax hikes, but perhaps not until later this year.

Caterpillar stock leapt 5.6%, with Vulcan Materials (VMC) up 8.9% and U.S. Steel 17%. Canopy Growth shot up 12%. All four are extended from various buying opportunities. HCA stock and JPMorgan, already extended, added 3.4% and 4.7% on Wednesday.

Tesla stock jumped 2.8% to 755.98 helped by a new Street-high price target and green energy hopes. The electric vehicle leader is greatly extended from any plausible buy point.

Dow Jones Futures Today

Dow Jones futures rose 0.5% vs. fair value. S&P 500 futures climbed 0.6%. Nasdaq 100 futures advanced 0.75%.

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

That’s been true in the past few days, with Dow Jones futures signaling gains or losses only for blue chips to go the other direction by the close.

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

Coronavirus News

Coronavirus cases worldwide reached 87.63 million. Covid-19 deaths topped 1.89 million.

Coronavirus cases in the U.S. have hit 21.85 million, with deaths above 369,000. Amid all the other news, U.S. coronavirus cases hit a new daily record of more than 260,000. Covid deaths topped 4,000 for the first time.

Stock Market Rally

U.S. Stock Market Today Overview

IndexSymbolPriceGain/Loss% Change
Dow Jones(0DJIA)30829.40+437.80+1.44
S&P 500(0S&P5)3748.14+21.28+0.57
Nasdaq(0NDQC )12740.79-78.17-0.61
Russell 2000 (IWM)204.59+8.10+4.12
IBD 50 (FFTY)41.17-0.34-0.82
Last Update: 4:14 PM ET 1/6/2021

The stock market rally had a wild session, reflecting big changes on Capitol Hill … and big changes on Capitol Hill. The major indexes initially fell following the Georgia Senate runoffs, but the Dow Jones quickly rebounded, with the S&P 500 index and later the Nasdaq following suit. But as protestors stormed the Capitol Building, taking over the Senate chamber, stocks turned mixed again.

Also weighing on the market, or at least Chinese stocks, was a report that the U.S. government is mulling new stock trading bans on Chinese internet giants Alibaba (BABA) and Tencent (TCEHY). Alibaba, Tencent and (JD) sold off, while Chinese EV maker Nio (NIO) reversed lower.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 1.4% in Wednesday’s stock market trading. The S&P 500 index rose 0.6%. The Nasdaq composite fell 0.6%.

Apple Stock, Big Techs Slump

Apple stock formed a high-ish handle this week on its cup base, but on Wednesday undercut its 21-day exponential moving average, falling 3.4%. Microsoft lost 2.6%, Amazon stock 2.5% and Nvidia 5.9%, all sinking or tumbling below their 50-day lines.

Among the best ETFs, the Innovator IBD 50 ETF (FFTY) sank 0.7%, while the Innovator IBD Breakout Opportunities ETF (BOUT) off 0.4%.  The iShares Expanded Tech-Software Sector ETF (IGV) tumbled 2.4%, with Microsoft stock a major component. The VanEck Vectors Semiconductor ETF (SMH) dipped 0.3%, as Taiwan Semiconductor (TSM) and several other chip names offset laggards such as AMD (AMD) and Nvidia stock.

Why This IBD Tool Simplifies The Search For Top Stocks

Target Stock

Target stock rose 4.7% to 188.92, clearing a flat base with a 181.27 buy point, according to MarketSmith analysis. The flat base is arguably part of a base-on-base formation, or a base-on-base-on-base pattern. In recent weeks, TGT stock found support at its 21-day line on a daily chart and the 10-week line on a weekly chart. The relative strength line for Target stock is at a record high. The RS line, the blue line in the charts provided, tracks a stock vs. the S&P 500 index.

GM Stock

GM stock climbed 3.2% to 42.98, extending a rebound from its 50-day and 10-week lines. Wednesday’s move pushed General Motors above its 21-day line, offering an opportunity to start a position. GM stock has a flat base with a 46.81 buy point.

Medifast Stock

Medifast stock leapt 9.5% to 218.13, clearing a 208.67 buy point from a flat base as part of a base-on-base formation. Volume was heavy in the breakout. The RS line for Medifast stock is at a new high.

Medifast stock was Wednesday’s IBD Stock Of The Day.

XPO Logistics Stock

XPO Logistics stock rose 4.5% to 123.33, setting a closing high and clearing a five-weeks-tight, a long version of the three-weeks-tight. XPO stock closed just below the official 123.69 entry, but investors could start buying it here, above the bulk of the tight pattern.

Qorvo Stock

Qorvo stock climbed 1.6% to 172, peeking out above a 171 buy point from an ascending base. The RS line for QRVO stock is also at a record high. As a 5G and Apple iPhone chipmaker, Qorvo is well-placed to benefit from the 5G wireless boom and the first-ever 5G iPhone.

Stock Market Rally Parting Thoughts

The stock market rally appears to be in a transition. Cyclical stocks have been coming on for several months, but they may be ready to take clear market leadership. Tech giants, perhaps even Apple stock, may need to take a breather, along with many big software winners.

Of course, the stock market rally has had several short-lived rotations, only to swing back to growth. That could still be possible. It’s likely that some tech leaders will continue to do well, as the Qorvo stock breakout suggests.

Still, investors should at least keep many cyclical stocks on their radar, and perhaps include at least some in their portfolios. Many cyclical stocks have lousy results in recent quarters due to the coronavirus pandemic and shutdowns. When running screens, focus more on relative strength and earnings estimates.

While Wednesday’s market action was generally encouraging, there’s also no guarantee that the current stock market rally will move steadily higher.

Stay engaged, keep an open mind and follow your buy and sell rules.

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.


Best Growth Stocks To Buy And Watch

IBD Digital: Unlock IBD’s Premium Stock Lists, Tools And Analysis Today

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South Africa tests whether vaccines will work on new COVID-19 variant

South Africa is carrying out urgent testing to see if vaccines for coronavirus will be effective against the country”s variant virus.

The South African mutation is more infectious than the original COVID-19 and concerns are growing that it might not be blocked by existing jabs.

Virologist Professor Lawrence Young, from Warwick Medical School, said the results would not be known immediately.

“It takes a bit of time. You need to understand the genetics of the virus,” the Professor of Molecular Oncology said. “What we know is it has a number of changes in the key spike protein that are cause for concern as to whether or not the virus will be able to respond to the current vaccines.”

Professor Young said the situation is a cause for concern.

“I’m very concerned because we know that the UK variant is difficult enough and is responsible for fuelling the current crisis we have in the United Kingdom”, he said. “The South African variant we know is present in the United Kingdom and if our understanding of the UK variant is anything to go by, I think if once you start to detect these variants by sequencing, they’re probably everywhere anyway.”

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The SCG Test between Australia and India is going ahead in a ‘COVID-safe’ fashion. Here’s how it will work

After much debate and rancour, the SCG is about to play host to the third Test between Australia and India.

Starting on Thursday, the SCG’s hold on the match was threatened by a COVID-19 outbreak which started in Sydney’s northern beaches and has since made its way to other parts of the city and NSW.

Even once confirmation came that the Test would remain in Sydney, questions remained as to how it would operate, how many people would be allowed to attend, and what extra precautions would be put in place to ensure the event was COVID-safe.

We now have answers to many of these questions, though some details remain vague.

How many people can attend each day?

On Monday, Cricket Australia and Venues NSW confirmed that crowds would be capped at 25 per cent of the SCG’s capacity.

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The third Test will run at 25 per cent crowd capacity

The exact crowd number permittable remains unclear though, with reports varying from around 9,500 to as many as 12,000.

Tickets for the match were refunded and then resold to reflect the change in capacity.

Are people from certain suburbs banned from attending?

Yes. On Tuesday, NSW Health Minister Brad Hazzard said he was putting an order in place banning people from the Western Sydney suburbs of Auburn, Berala, Lidcombe North, Regents Park and Rookwood.

“There will be orders, health orders made, in the next 24 hours, that will enable NSW Police to fine you $1,000 if you set foot inside the SCG,” Mr Hazzard said.

“You must not, you must not come to the SCG.”

Venues NSW chief executive Kerrie Mather said attendees should “be prepared to provide identification” to prove they are not from one of the banned suburbs.

Is there a plan in place to avoid congregation during wet weather?

Sort of. Ms Mather said the decrease in crowd numbers means there will be “plenty of undercover space for people”, and suggested those who prefer to stay in their seats should “bring a poncho”.

Fans take their seat at the SCG amid overcast conditions
Rain is a familiar sight at Test matches in Sydney.(ABC News: Dan Colasimone)

The forecast for Sydney for the rest of the week has improved, with slight rain now only expected on Thursday.

Ms Mather also said a “significant seat configuration plan that has been COVID-approved” will be in place for the match.

Will masks be mandatory at the ground?

It doesn’t seem like it.

When asked, Ms Mather said that people have been “strongly encouraged” to wear masks as they move around the stadium, and that masks will be available when patrons arrive at the ground and at various points inside it.

“We encourage people to wear masks, not only for your safety but for the safety of people around you,” she said.

Will there be public transport available to and from the ground?

Yes, in fact, there will be “double the amount of public transport relative to the number of patrons that will be coming”, according to Ms Mather.

“You’ve got Central Station which is not very far down the road, in terms of heavy rail,” she said.

“We’ve got the new light rail that started in March last year which serves significant points from Central right through to Randwick. And we have event public buses that run right through the day as well.”

Ms Mather also reiterated that masks are mandatory on public transport in Sydney.

What did the Prime Minister say about all this?

Scott Morrison said while he wouldn’t be attending the Test this year, he is pleased it is going ahead and believes the event has been managed in a safe way.

“They’ve reduced how many people can go, it’s an outdoor venue … health officials [there] have made their recommendations and the Government is acting on that,” he said.

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Snakes alive: Slippery serpent keen to work gives worker a fright | Goulburn Post


One slippery serpent was keen to start the new year with a new job. Read also: Goulburn Rugby Union Club welcomes new president A juvenile Highlands Copperhead was waiting to start his working day at Pirtek in Moss Vale when a worker found the young snake on a toolbox, 1.5 metres off the floor. Cory Kerewaro from Reptile Relocation Sydney was called to remove the wannabe apprentice from the work site on January 4. “It was pretty bizarre,” he said. “We got a call saying there was a copperhead at Pirtek and they said it was on top of a toolbox. When we got down there, the toolbox was a metre and half off the ground. We don’t know how the snake got up there. “One of the workers said he was getting stuff out of the draw from the toolbox when he saw it and thought someone was playing a joke on him. “As he went to have a closer look he realised that it definitely wasn’t fake.” Cory said the toolbox was not a place where you would expect to find a small snake up that high. Read also: Motorists speeding into 2021 but road toll down “It is definitely uncommon,” he said. “It was only 15 to 20 cm long. It was only tiny. But how it got up there is a bit of a mystery. There’s no reason for the snake to be up there; there’s no food source, there’s no water.” While the snake on a toolbox is first, Cory said he has found snakes in some weird locations. “We’ve pulled them out of two-story roofs before where there are no trees or any way to climb up, we’ve pulled them out of toilets and weird spots all the time,” he said. “This one was interesting because they thought it was a practical joke, they’re just lucky that they didn’t pick it up thinking it was fake.” The workers at Pirkek can breath a sigh of relief as the solitary serpent won’t have a mother snake looking for it. “Snakes are solitary reptiles, there’s no maternal instinct. Highlands Copperheads are born live as well, so there’s no eggs or anything like that. Once the mum gives birth, it’s pretty much a case of dropping them and leaving them,” he said. “The babies spread out and go their own way as well, so there’s not going to be a big influx of snakes hanging around together. “These guys are definitely not communal.” Read also: Goulburn greyhound owners take the pack on ‘sniffari’ Cory’s advice for anyone that spots a snake, whether inside or out, is to always know where the snake is and keep a safe distance. “If the snake is inside the house or office and in a room, the best thing to do is shut the door, put a towel under the door so it can’t come out and call a licensed catcher to remove the snake,” he said. “If it was out in the yard and someone spotted a snake, they could take a photo and send it to use for identification and we could give them the advice they need. “Snakes won’t stick around in the one spot for too long, unless someone wants the snake removed, they can wait it out as it will move on in its own time. “The best thing for someone to do though is to keep an eye on it from a safe distance, take a photo and work out if they want it removed. If they want the snake removed, they should keep an eye on it from a safe distance until someone gets there.” Cory also advises people to not catch snakes or approach them. “The only time people get bitten is when they are trying to catch or kill a snake,” he said. “As long as they don’t approach a snake, there’s no issue. People can safely observe a snake from 10 metres away. If a snake is right at there feet, the best thing would be to stand still. “Snakes react quickly to movement; The more you move, the more they freak out and view you as a threat. If you don’t make fast move movements and don’t move around – they won’t see you a threat and will mosey along by themselves.” If someone does get bitten by a snake, Cory’s advice is to compress and mobilise the area straight away and call 000. “If they have been bitten or are concerned that they’ve been bitten, they should apply pressure and mobile the area,” he said. “The most common parts of the body that get bitten are the hands and lower legs. “If it’s on the ankle, take the shoe off and start wrapping an elasticised bandage from the lowest part of the limb up to the bite site, wrap around twice and do the whole limb. “From there, the person should stay still and not move and then call an ambulance. You don’t need to catch the snake to show the paramedics which snake bit you because they have identification kits. “They swab the bite site and it tells them which anti-venom needs to be used. So don’t try to suck the venom out, don’t wash the bite site. “The best thing to do is stay calm, don’t touch the bite site, apply pressure and mobilise with a bandage, ring an ambulance and do not move around. “The quickest way for the venom to move around your body is through the lymphatic system, so the more you move around the quicker it goes through.” Read also: Goulburn mayor could ask ACT government for border permits for NSW residents Did you know the Southern Highland News is now offering breaking news alerts and a weekly email newsletter? Keep up-to-date with all the local news: sign up below.


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