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The Latest: Biden's Myanmar Sanctions, China-India Breakthrough, Cinemas For Gamers

University students in Athens clash with police forces during a protest against a government bill that would allow the creation of a special campus police force and disciplinary councils in national universities.
University students in Athens clash with police forces during a protest against a government bill that would allow the creation of a special campus police force and disciplinary councils in national universities.

Welcome to Thursday, where the WHO has given the green light to the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine for all ages, U.S. imposes sanctions on Myanmar and we go to France for a big parenting fail. We also explore the troubled relationship between oil and politics in Venezuela.

COVID-19 latest: The World Health Organization has backed the use of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine for adults of all ages, even in people aged over 65, which some countries have advised against. The UK variant is likely to "sweep the world," says the head of genetic surveillance programme, as the strain, first identified in September 2020, has already been detected in 86 countries.

• Biden's Myanmar sanctions: U.S. President Joe Biden has signed an executive order to impose sanctions on the leaders of Myanmar's coup as well as to block access to $1 billion of government funds.

• Trump's trial: Prosecutors to wrap up their opening arguments on the third day of Donald Trump's impeachment trial. Day 2 was marked by the presentation of new, violent footage of the Jan. 6 Capitol riots which the former U.S. president stands accused of inciting.

• China-India breakthrough:India and China have begun pulling back troops from part of their disputed Himalayan border in what is seen as a breakthrough nine months after the deadly clash in Ladakh.

Belarus' "People's Assembly": Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko has launched an "All-Belarusian People's Assembly" of 2,700 delegates to ostensibly discuss constitutional reforms. Opponents say its a smokescreen for Lukashenko to consolidate power.

• Tokyo Olympics chief to step down: Tokyo Olympics chief Yoshiro Mori is set to resign following "inappropriate" sexist comments about women, which sparked public debate in Japan about gender equality.

• Geeky piggys: Scientists in the U.S. have found that pigs can play video games with their snouts.

Today's edition of The Hindu, the Indian daily based in the southern city of Chennai, leads with coverage of the China-India border dispute, as well as the latest in the ongoing standoff between the Indian government and Twitter over content removal and freedom of expression.

Venezuela's PDVSA, mixing big oil and leftist politics

Venezuela's Petróleos de Venezuela (PDVSA), once among the world's most powerful oil firms, was transformed and largely gutted under Hugo Chavez and Nicolas Maduro. But the story is more complicated than it may seem, writes Gustavo Bazzan in Argentinian daily Clarin.

Amid anxiety in Argentina over the state of the country's main oil firm, YPF — with problems of debt, management and an uncertain future under a socialist government — people are inevitably making comparisons with Venezuela's PDVSA another South American energy giant that was a victim of politicized mismanagement. Still, the Argentinian firm's fate so far is not comparable with the havoc wreaked on PDVSA under the governments of presidents Hugo Chávez and Nicolás Maduro.

With Venezuela sitting, in nominal terms at least, on the world's biggest oil reserves, PDVSA would inevitably become a cash cow, as it generated some 90% of the country's foreign currency earnings, before and after Chávez. It would have been naïve to think it could be free of political influence. Yet experts in the sector widely agree that since its creation on Jan. 1, 1976, PDVSA has largely worked as a "state within a state."

PDVSA went bankrupt after Chávez was elected president in Feb. 1999. Seven years before he had tried and failed to take power through a coup against President Pérez. The firm went bankrupt a second time after an oil strike in 2002. After the strike, Chávez decided on a management overhaul, dismissing top directors and firing 18,000 technicians who constituted 40% of the firm's staff. In other words: He removed the brains behind the firm.

➡️ Read more on Worldcrunch.com

Weak parenting, cops called in

Parenting can be a tricky thing.

Who can safely say they've never, in the heat of the moment, brandished over-the-top threats to try to get unruly offspring to comply? And who ever follows through?

Well the scene earlier this week inside a family home in Limoges, France, was looking familiar, as reported by local radio station France Bleu Limousin:Facing their 15-year-old son's refusal to clear the table after dinner, Papa and Maman launched the not-so-credible We'll-call-the-cops ultimatum. But this time, they followed through and dialed #17, the emergency police number in France, to report a "big family dispute."

When officers arrived, after making sure that everyone was fine, they had a lecture for the parents, that the situation "was more a matter of lack of authority than a police concern."

All clear then — that is, except for the table.

➡️ Keep up with all the planet's police reports and plot twists on Worldcrunch.com


That's the hourly price that cinemas in South Korea are charging individual gamers to rent out their screens. Renting out the "giant-screen" video game experience is a new attempt for movie houses to compensate for the loss of revenue during lockdown rules.

We're not still where we want to be.

— European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has acknowledged the shortcomings of the COVID-19 vaccine rollout in Europe, admitting to the European Parliament that "we were late to authorize. We were too optimistic when it came to massive production." The rates of vaccination in EU countries are a fraction of those in the U.S., UK and Israel.

Reuters is an international news agency headquartered in London, UK. It was founded in 1851 and is now a division of Thomson Reuters. It transmits news in English, French, Arabic, Spanish, German, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, Japanese, Korean, Urdu, and Chinese.
The Hindu, started in 1878 as a weekly, became a daily in 1889 and from then on has been steadily growing to the circulation of 15,58,379 copies (ABC: July-December 2012) and a readership of about 22.58 lakhs. The Hindu's independent editorial stand and its reliable and balanced presentation of the news have over the years, won for it the serious attention and regard of the people who matter in India and abroad. The Hindu uses modern facilities for news gathering, page composition and printing
The New York Times (sometimes abbreviated to NYT) is an American daily newspaper, founded and continuously published in New York City since 1851. It has won 117 Pulitzer Prizes, more than any other news organization. Its daily circulation is estimated to 1,380,000.
Clarin is the largest newspaper in Argentina. It was founded in August 1945 and is based in Buenos Aires.
The BBC is the British public service broadcaster, and the world's oldest national broadcasting organization. It broadcasts in up to 28 different languages.
Founded as a local Manchester newspaper in 1821, The Guardian has gone on to become one of the most influential dailies in Britain. The left-leaning newspaper is most recently known for its coverage of the Edward Snowden leaks.
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Livestream Shopping Is Huge In China — Will It Fly Elsewhere?

Streaming video channels of people shopping has been booming in China, and is beginning to win over customers abroad as a cheap and cheerful way of selling products to millions of consumers glued to the screen.

A A female volunteer promotes spring tea products via on-line live streaming on a pretty mountain surrounded by tea plants.

In Beijing, selling spring tea products via on-line live streaming.

Xinhua / ZUMA
Gwendolyn Ledger

SANTIAGOTikTok, owned by Chinese tech firm ByteDance, has spent more than $500 million to break into online retailing. The app, best known for its short, comical videos, launched TikTok Shop in August, aiming to sell Chinese products in the U.S. and compete with other Chinese firms like Shein and Temu.

Tik Tok Shop will have three sections, including a live or livestream shopping channel, allowing users to buy while watching influencers promote a product.

This choice was strategic: in the past year, live shopping has become a significant trend in online retailing both in the U.S. and Latin America. While still an evolving technology, in principle, it promises good returns and lower costs.

Chilean Carlos O'Rian Herrera, co-founder of Fira Onlive, an online sales consultancy, told América Economía that live shopping has a much higher catchment rate than standard website retailing. If traditional e-commerce has a rate of one or two purchases per 100 visits to your site, live shopping can hike the ratio to 19%.

Live shopping has thrived in China and the recent purchases of shopping platforms in some Latin American countries suggests firms are taking an interest. In the United States, live shopping generated some $20 billion in sales revenues in 2022, according to consultants McKinsey. This constituted 2% of all online sales, but the firm believes the ratio may become 20% by 2026.

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