Johnson said a vaccine could be available “in just a few weeks,” adding: “This could -- and I stress could -- really be the salvation for humanity.”(Reuters Photo)
Johnson said a vaccine could be available “in just a few weeks,” adding: “This could -- and I stress could -- really be the salvation for humanity.”(Reuters Photo)

Boris Johnson defends ‘tough’ England tiers to buy time for Covid vaccines

“I know that lots of people think that they are in the wrong tier and I understand people’s frustration,” the Prime Minister said in a pooled television interview Monday. “The tiering system is tough, but it’s designed to be tough and to keep it under control.”
By Bloomberg| Posted by: Harshit Sabarwal
PUBLISHED ON DEC 01, 2020 05:47 AM IST

Boris Johnson battled to win support for his coronavirus strategy from lawmakers in his Conservative Party after they threatened to undermine his authority in a vote in the House of Commons scheduled for Tuesday.

The Prime Minister defended the “tough” rules facing most of England when a national lockdown ends this week, but leading Tory rebels said they will still oppose the plan and lambasted a government analysis of the impact of returning to a tiered regional system of rules Wednesday.

“I know that lots of people think that they are in the wrong tier and I understand people’s frustration,” the Prime Minister said in a pooled television interview Monday. “The tiering system is tough, but it’s designed to be tough and to keep it under control.”

The opposition Labour Party said it will abstain in the vote on the new measures on Tuesday, meaning they are expected to be approved, but a big rebellion by Tory MPs would embarrass the premier and highlight his conflict with a growing number of Conservatives over his response to the pandemic. As many as 100 may rebel because they say the new rules are too harsh.

It will be the first time Labour has refused to back virus measures and party leader Keir Starmer accused Johnson of failing to plan for the economic impact of the curbs. He said the party won’t vote against the restrictions because there is a “national interest” in controlling the virus, but it will register its opposition to the broader strategy.

“Boris Johnson’s Government has failed to use this latest lockdown to put a credible health and economic plan in place,” Starmer said in an email. “We still don’t have a functioning testing system, public health messaging is confused, and businesses across the country are crying out for more effective economic support.”

Health Secretary Matt Hancock urged MPs to back the rules to build on the success of the four week lockdown, which he said had got the virus “back under control” and resulted in a 30% fall in the number of cases in the past week.

“It is the best way to avoid a third lockdown, and it is the most proportionate way to take the action that we need to keep people safe,” Hancock told a televised press briefing later on Monday. “While we can let up a little, we can’t afford to let up a lot.”

‘Not Possible’

In a bid to calm the potential rebels, ministers published a 48-page document on Monday analyzing the health, economic and social effects of the tiering system. But there was little of the detail demanded by Tory MPs on how the new rules will change the economic picture in comparison to alternative approaches.

“It is not possible to forecast with confidence the precise impact of a specific change to a specific restriction,” the authors said. The document emphasized the consequences of not bearing down on the virus, saying without “tough” measures, transmission would spiral “significantly,” leading to increased death rates that no government “would willingly tolerate.”

Mel Stride, the chairman of the House of Commons Treasury Committee who wrote to Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak on Nov. 3 to ask for the analysis, was not impressed. He accused ministers of recycling the forecasts produced by the Office for Budget Responsibility for last week’s Spending Review.

‘Glare of Scrutiny’

“With little over 24 hours until MPs vote on the new tiered system, this rehashed document offers very little further in economic terms other than that which the OBR published last week,” The Tory lawmaker said in a statement. “Those looking for additional economic analysis of the new tiered system will struggle to find it in this document.”

Mark Harper, one of the leaders of Tory opposition to Johnson’s strategy, was more direct. “The wheels are coming off the Government’s arguments,” he wrote on Twitter. The impact assessment “seems to be collapsing under the glare of scrutiny.”

While MPs argued about the latest restrictions in England, Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford announced that from Friday pubs and restaurants in Wales will have to close at 6p.m. and will be banned from serving alcohol. Indoor entertainment venues will also have to close to stem the spread of the virus, Drakeford told a news conference.

Ministers hope the prompt roll-out of a vaccine could help a revival of the UK economy, particularly the hospitality and entertainment industries which have been battered by restrictions imposed to stop the spread of the virus. No vaccine has yet been approved but the UK regulator is reviewing data from Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE, as well as AstraZeneca and Oxford University.

Johnson said a vaccine could be available “in just a few weeks,” adding: “This could -- and I stress could -- really be the salvation for humanity.”

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A nurse prepares a dose of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine against the new coronavirus to be injected at the Andras Josa Teaching Hospital in Nyiregyhaza, Hungary, Sunday, Jan. 24, 2021. (Attila Balazs/MTI via AP)(AP)
A nurse prepares a dose of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine against the new coronavirus to be injected at the Andras Josa Teaching Hospital in Nyiregyhaza, Hungary, Sunday, Jan. 24, 2021. (Attila Balazs/MTI via AP)(AP)

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Bloomberg
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The World Bank already this month trimmed its prediction to 4% in 2021 and the International Monetary Fund will this week update its own outlook.
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The drive was launched in November last year.(Representative Photo/PTI)
The drive was launched in November last year.(Representative Photo/PTI)

258 arrested in govt drive against fake GST invoices, 8 CAs among them

By hindustantimes.com | Edited by Amit Chaturvedi
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Data analytics, data-sharing, and Artificial Intelligence (AI) enabled the intelligence authorities to identify layer-by-layer activities of these fake entities and pinpoint the fraudsters.
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Canadian companies have long struggled to secure top price for their crude as pipeline congestion forced them to sell at a discount.(Reuters)
Canadian companies have long struggled to secure top price for their crude as pipeline congestion forced them to sell at a discount.(Reuters)

Canada's Trans Mountain pipeline sees fortunes shine after Keystone XL's demise

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PUBLISHED ON JAN 24, 2021 06:22 PM IST
Trans Mountain Corp, a government corporation, is spending CAD 12.6 billion (USD 9.9 billion) to nearly triple capacity to 890,000 barrels per day (bpd), a 14% increase from current total Canadian capacity.
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The US, Britain, and European Union are delivering vaccines, setting up a scenario where some parts of the world reach herd immunity while others lag, hurting poorer economies.(AP)
The US, Britain, and European Union are delivering vaccines, setting up a scenario where some parts of the world reach herd immunity while others lag, hurting poorer economies.(AP)

World’s economic recovery gets delayed by slow vaccine rollouts

Bloomberg
PUBLISHED ON JAN 24, 2021 06:12 PM IST
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The Antony Waste Handling Cell IPO consists of a fresh issue of <span class='webrupee'>₹</span>85 crore worth of shares and an offer for sale of 68,24,933 equity shares by existing shareholders.(iStock)
The Antony Waste Handling Cell IPO consists of a fresh issue of 85 crore worth of shares and an offer for sale of 68,24,933 equity shares by existing shareholders.(iStock)

India sees 19 IPOs worth USD 1.84 billion in 2020 December quarter

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Leading consultancy EY's India IPO Trends Report: Q4 2020 showed that there were a total of 10 Initial Public Offers (IPOs) in the main market and 9 in the SME (Small and Medium Enterprises) segment.
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The 'Special Assistance to States for capital expenditure' scheme was announced by the Centre in October last year as part of Aatmanirbhar Bharat package.(HT Photo)
The 'Special Assistance to States for capital expenditure' scheme was announced by the Centre in October last year as part of Aatmanirbhar Bharat package.(HT Photo)

FM allocates 660 crore additional funds to MP for citizen-centric reforms

PTI, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON JAN 24, 2021 03:44 PM IST
"Fifty per cent of the approved amount has also been released to the state as first installment for the approved projects," the finance ministry said in a statement.
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The <span class='webrupee'>₹</span>40,000-crore NIIF was set up in December 2015 as an institution for enhancing infrastructure financing by investing in greenfield (new), brownfield (existing) and stalled projects.(AFP)
The 40,000-crore NIIF was set up in December 2015 as an institution for enhancing infrastructure financing by investing in greenfield (new), brownfield (existing) and stalled projects.(AFP)

NIIF makes equity investment of less than 5,000 cr in 5 yrs

PTI, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON JAN 24, 2021 02:30 PM IST
  • According to sources, NIIF has made an equity investment of 4,689 crore, while the co-investment by its partners stood at about 7,053 crore at the end of September 2020. The quasi-sovereign wealth fund's total equity investment along with partners stood at 11,742 crore as of September 2020.
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Stove Kraft is the fourth company to open an IPO this month after Indian Railway Finance Corporation (IRFC), Indigo Paints and Home First Finance Company.(AP/ Representational)
Stove Kraft is the fourth company to open an IPO this month after Indian Railway Finance Corporation (IRFC), Indigo Paints and Home First Finance Company.(AP/ Representational)

Stove Kraft IPO to open tomorrow: What you need to know

By hindustantimes.com | Written by Meenakshi Ray, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON JAN 24, 2021 02:27 PM IST
Stove Kraft has fixed a price band of 384-385 a share for its initial public offer and it is expected to fetch 412.62 crore at the upper end of the price band.
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A healthcare worker draws a dose of the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine from a vial at a free drive-through coronavirus disease (Covid-19) vaccine clinic.(Reuters Photo )
A healthcare worker draws a dose of the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine from a vial at a free drive-through coronavirus disease (Covid-19) vaccine clinic.(Reuters Photo )

Leaders of Covid-19 vaccine rollout deliver world-beating market gains

Bloomberg
PUBLISHED ON JAN 24, 2021 01:10 PM IST
Traders are rushing to price the global vaccine rollout and betting nations at the forefront will be the fastest to recover from the crisis, lifting their stocks, currencies and bond yields.
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The image shows a diamond which will be sold at Sotheby’s in Hong Kong.(Reuters)
The image shows a diamond which will be sold at Sotheby’s in Hong Kong.(Reuters)

Diamond trade is roaring back thanks to stuck-at-home shoppers

Bloomberg
PUBLISHED ON JAN 24, 2021 01:02 PM IST
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Few of the emerging markets that have started receiving positive FPIs flows this month to date are: Indonesia ($800 million), South Korea ($320 million), Taiwan ($2.3 billion) and Thailand ($113 million). (File Photo (Representative Image))
Few of the emerging markets that have started receiving positive FPIs flows this month to date are: Indonesia ($800 million), South Korea ($320 million), Taiwan ($2.3 billion) and Thailand ($113 million). (File Photo (Representative Image))

FPIs remain net buyers at 18,456 crore in January so far

PTI
PUBLISHED ON JAN 24, 2021 12:25 PM IST
According to depositories data, overseas investors pumped in 24,469 crore into equities but pulled out 6,013 crore from the bonds market between January 1-22.
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The BSE benchmark scaled the 50,000-mark for the first time on Thursday.(HT Photos)
The BSE benchmark scaled the 50,000-mark for the first time on Thursday.(HT Photos)

Mcap of 4 of top-10 valued firms jumps over 1.15 lakh crore; RIL biggest

PTI
PUBLISHED ON JAN 24, 2021 11:08 AM IST
The valuation of Reliance Industries Limited jumped 71,033.44 crore to reach 12,99,363.47 crore, becoming the biggest gainer.
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The BSE Sensex scaled the 50,000-mark for the first time on Thursday.(PTI)
The BSE Sensex scaled the 50,000-mark for the first time on Thursday.(PTI)

Markets may remain volatile in holiday-shortened week: Analysts

PTI
PUBLISHED ON JAN 24, 2021 11:03 AM IST
Among major earnings to focus on this week are from UCO Bank, Axis Bank, Bank of Baroda, Canara Bank, Hindustan Unilever Limited, Lupin, Maruti Suzuki India and Tata Motors.
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Mukesh Ambani, chairman and managing director, Reliance Industries Ltdmint(Mint File Photo )
Mukesh Ambani, chairman and managing director, Reliance Industries Ltdmint(Mint File Photo )

Mukesh Ambani is world’s 11th richest billionaire. Check who else is on the list

By hindustantimes.com | Edited by Kanishka Sarkar, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON JAN 24, 2021 07:27 AM IST
Mukesh Ambani's bet on consumer services -- telecom and retail -- seems to be paying off despite the pandemic
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Gadkari said last year that the policy would also help recycle key raw material made available by scrapping vehicles, such as steel, aluminium and plastic, thereby lowering automobile prices.(PTI)
Gadkari said last year that the policy would also help recycle key raw material made available by scrapping vehicles, such as steel, aluminium and plastic, thereby lowering automobile prices.(PTI)

Fee waiver, road tax discount key features of Centre’s draft scrappage policy

By HT Correspondent, New Delhi
PUBLISHED ON JAN 24, 2021 05:17 AM IST
Features of the draft policy, one of whose caveats is that the vehicles that are sent to the scrapyard must be dismantled in an environment friendly way, were discussed by the ministry at the 40th meeting of the transport development council chaired by Union transport minister Nitin Gadkari on Tuesday.
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