HONG KONG (Reuters) - Chinese internet services giant Tencent Holdings Ltd and a group of seven investors have moved closer to launching a 1.5 billion yuan ($218 million) online life insurer in China, putting up funds and signing an agreement to form the venture. One of the investors, Munsun Capital Group Ltd, said in a Hong Kong stock exchange filing on Wednesday it paid 210 million yuan for a 14 percent stake in HeTai Life Insurance Co, after signing HeTai's article of association with Tencent and other investors. Tencent invested through its Beijing BIZCOM Technology Co Ltd unit, with other shareholders in HeTai including CITIC Guoan Co Ltd and Beijing Easyhome Investment Holding Group Co, according to the filing. China's online finance industry has boomed in recent years, with players ranging from Tencent to e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd and start-ups offering peer-to-peer lending, wealth management and online payments in a bid to prise business away from traditional banks and insurers. Tencent is also among backers of Chinese internet insurer Zhong An Online Property and Casualty Insurance, looking to go public in Hong Kong in a $2 billion deal. HeTai got the green light from Chinese regulators to start its business in July, and has up to one year to complete its "preparation of establishment", Munsun added in the filing. (Reporting by Elzio Barreto; Editing by Kenneth Maxwell)
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Over the past week, a growing number of Republicans began sounding the alarm about the number and content of executive orders being issued by President Joe Biden.
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From Budget Committee Chairman Bernie Sanders to Judiciary Committee head Dick Durbin, these are some of the new leaders of the Senate’s most powerful panels.
Treating China as a "strategic rival" of the United States is a misjudgement that could lead to mistakes, China's ambassador to the United States said in a speech to an online forum. Since the Trump administration defined China as a strategic rival in 2018, Washington and Beijing have frequently clashed over issues ranging from trade to Beijing's handling of the coronavirus, and the new administration of President Joe Biden is expected to maintain pressure on China. In the first major speech by a Chinese official on relations between the world's two biggest economies since Biden took office, Ambassador Cui Tiankai reasserted China's long-standing position of seeking peaceful coexistence with the United States, while warning it not to cross China's red lines.
- Associated Press
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Wednesday criticized Iran's hard-liner dominated judiciary over last week's prosecution of the countrys telecommunications minister. Mohammad Javad Azari Jahromi was released on bail after he was summoned for prosecution. Judiciary officials cited his refusal to block Instagram and impose limitations on the bandwidth of other foreign social media and messaging systems.
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'Climate day' is also 'jobs day,' Biden says as he issues sweeping new orders on fuel, power and more
President Biden on Wednesday signed additional executive orders addressing the climate crisis, adding to those he signed on his first full day in office, saying “we can’t wait any longer” for action on what his predecessor famously dismissed as a hoax.
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QAnon-aligned Rep. Marjorie Greene's support for 'a bullet to the head' for Pelosi draws rebuke from House GOP leader
In old social media posts unearthed by CNN, the freshman congresswoman from Georgia said the Democratic leader would “suffer death” or be put in prison for her “treason.”
- Architectural Digest
Let’s get loudOriginally Appeared on Architectural Digest
- The Telegraph
Europe’s press has again given wide-ranging coverage to the row between Britain and the EU over the supply of vaccines, with one paper saying that Boris Johnson’s “gamble” in getting a head-start on production had paid off. The EU has urged AstraZeneca to divert millions of doses from UK plants, but the British government has resisted those demands. Michael Gove, the Cabinet Office minister, told the BBC on Thursday: "The supplies that have been planned, paid for and scheduled should continue." Asked whether he would allow vaccines manufactured in the UK to be diverted to the EU, he said "no", adding that there must be no interruption to the British vaccination programme. AstraZeneca says it can only deliver the EU a fraction of the doses between now and March due to production problems at plants in Europe. De Standaard, a Belgian newspaper, said the success of the Prime Minister’s move was a source of great frustration to the French, in particular, who are lagging far behind in their vaccine programme. It suggested that Brexiteers would take heart from that because Paris had regularly taken a hardline stance in the Brexit negotiations. The Flemish newspaper said that Mr Johnson liked to take risks and in this case, as opposed to in Brexit, the gambit had worked. Another Belgian paper, Het Nieuwsblad, said the unprecedented public attacks by the European Commission were designed to bring AstraZeneca "to its knees". "These doses are crucial to give a long-awaited boost to slow European vaccination campaigns," the paper said. It quoted Hendrik Vos, a professor of European politics, who said the Commission wanted to prove the shortfall was not its fault.
- Associated Press
Authorities in Singapore have detained without trial a 16-year-old student who made detailed plans and preparations to carry out “terrorist attacks” on two mosques with a machete. The Singaporean teen was inspired by an Australian white supremacist who killed 51 worshippers at two mosques in New Zealand in 2019, the Internal Security Department said Wednesday. The teen detained in December was the youngest terror suspect to be held under the country's Internal Security Act, it added.
- The Week
John Kerry: American workers 'fed a false narrative' that shift to clean energy is 'coming at their expense'
President Biden on Wednesday turned his attention to climate issues, signing executive orders that seek to halt new oil and gas leases on public lands and waters, conserve 30 percent of federal lands and waters by 2030, and find ways to double wind production by the same year. John Kerry, the first-ever United States Climate Envoy, championed the actions, reiterating his belief that the climate crisis is "existential" and "failure, literally, is not an option." While briefing reporters, Kerry was asked about potential job losses in the fossil fuel industry, and whether he had a message for workers who believe they are witnessing the end of their livelihoods. Kerry explained that those workers "have been fed a false narrative" by the Trump administration about the shift to clean energy, which he said will not come "at their expense." He added that, before the COVID-19 pandemic, the solar and wind energy industries were growing swiftly, while coal plants have been closing over the last few decades. "The same people can do those jobs. But the choice of doing the solar power one now is a better choice," he said, also pointing out the health risks associated with coal mining. John Kerry says oil and gas workers have been fed a "false narrative" that action on climate change will hurt their livelihoods, and that President Biden wants to "make sure that those folks have better choices" for jobs in the energy sector https://t.co/Nj065CIsxp pic.twitter.com/czkjomesi8 — CBS News (@CBSNews) January 27, 2021 Republicans like Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) weren't buying the reassurance, suggesting that Kerry's statement lacked empathy, although he didn't explicitly refute the notion that an industry transition may be feasible for fossil fuel workers. John Kerry's message to the tens of thousands of Americans who lost their jobs thanks to the Biden administration: go make solar panels. Where is the empathy that Joe Biden promised in his inauguration? https://t.co/CvQovUlEoD — Tom Cotton (@TomCottonAR) January 27, 2021 More stories from theweek.comBiden is not going to get his $1.9 trillion stimulus plan. And that's okay.5 brutally funny cartoons about the GOP's Trump problemWith Senate Republicans balking at convicting Trump, Democrats explore alternative censures
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Former President Donald Trump’s “big lie” about a stolen election may have been discredited over and over in the courts, and disgraced by the attack on the U.S. Capitol, but the corrosive effect of his dishonesty will linger on, complicating efforts to strengthen American elections.
- FOX News Videos
Former New Mexico Republican Gov. Susana Martinez says the Biden administration's border agenda is 'very wrong.'
- The Independent
Jill Biden spent her first week as First Lady reshaping the role. Melania Trump spent hers isolated in a tower
New first lady signals she will be an active and constant presence in the White House - drawing stark contrasts to her predecessor
- Associated Press
An Alaska department plans to investigate the issuance of “3REICH” personalized license plates, while a spokesperson for Gov. Mike Dunleavy said Dunleavy removed a member of Alaska's Human Rights Commission for comments she made about the controversy. The issue drew attention after a former newspaper editor, Matt Tunseth, posted a picture of the plate on social media. Debate over the issue gained traction on social media and blogs over the weekend, and Department of Administration Commissioner Kelly Tshibaka announced Monday that she was ordering a review of Division of Motor Vehicles' processes to determine how the plates were issued.
- The Week
President Biden announced Tuesday that his administration intends to order an additional 100 million doses of both the Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines. The extra 200 million doses, which Biden said should arrive by the summer, would boost the country's supply by about 50 percent to 600 million shots total, meaning that there would be enough shots available to inoculate 300 million people in the coming months without the Food and Drug Administration granting approval for any other vaccine candidates. Pres. Biden says his admin has ordered 200 million more COVID-19 vaccine doses that will be available by summer, increasing the total number ordered from 400 million to 600 million pic.twitter.com/VFZ3qTmUK9 — NowThis (@nowthisnews) January 26, 2021 It's another sign that the government is raising expectations for the vaccine rollout. On Monday, Biden upped the daily vaccination goal from 1 million to 1.5 million throughout his first 100 days in office and suggested that any American who wants a shot could be able to get one by the spring. FiveThirtyEight's Nate Silver applauded the administration for getting more ambitious, though he noted it could be difficult — impossible, even, unless the shots are approved for children — to find 300 million willing Americans to get vaccinated by the end of summer. In practice it's going to be hard to find 300m Americans willing to get vaccinated by Sept. 22. (It's literally impossible until vaccines are approved for children.) And we'll probably eventually mix in some one-dose vaccines. Still, ramping up to 2-2.5m/day is a laudable goal. — Nate Silver (@NateSilver538) January 26, 2021 More stories from theweek.comBiden is not going to get his $1.9 trillion stimulus plan. And that's okay.5 brutally funny cartoons about the GOP's Trump problemWith Senate Republicans balking at convicting Trump, Democrats explore alternative censures
Elephant tusks and rhino horns "hidden inside African masks" were exported, US prosecutors say.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the experience of the COVID-19 pandemic underlined the benefits of being part of the United Kingdom as he prepares to visit Scotland on Thursday to confront growing support for another independence referendum. The bonds holding together the United Kingdom have been severely strained over the last five years by Brexit, the government’s handling of the pandemic, and repeated calls by the Scottish National Party for a new referendum on independence. Ahead of his visit, Johnson said that Scotland as a part of the United Kingdom gained access to a coronavirus vaccine developed by the University of Oxford and they are being administered by their shared armed forces, who are creating 80 new vaccine centres in Scotland.
- Associated Press
Brazil’s ongoing military-led operation to curb illegal deforestation and fires in the Amazon rainforest will end April 30, Vice President Hamilton Mourão said at the World Economic Forum on Wednesday. Mourão defended the success of Operation Green Brazil 2, which was launched last May and saw deployment of thousands of soldiers across the Amazon. The vice president leads the government’s Amazon Council to fight deforestation in the region.
- The Telegraph
Joe Biden challenged Vladimir Putin over the poisoning of Alexei Navalny, and reports of Russian bounties on the heads of US soldiers in Afghanistan, in their first presidential phone call. Mr Biden also raised concerns about Russian "aggression" against Ukraine, and reaffirmed Washington's "strong support for Ukraine's sovereignty." The US president said he was willing to extend the New START nuclear arms control treaty for five years. Kremlin officials said documents had been exchanged to extend the pact. Mr Biden also raised concerns over Russian cyber hacking, interference in US elections, and treatment of peaceful protesters. Mr Biden made clear he would "act firmly in defence of our national interest in response to malign actions by Russia," the White House said. The Kremlin said Mr Putin told Mr Biden that he supports "normalisation" of relations between their two countries. Mr Putin "noted that the normalisation of relations between Russia and the United States" would benefit "the entire international community," the Kremlin said.
Russia's supply of its Sputnik V COVID-19 vaccine to Latin America, a key overseas sales area, may be delayed by up to three weeks as production capacity is ramped up to meet high demand, a blow for countries relying on it for their inoculation programs. The Russian Direct Investment Fund and the Gamaleya institute said they were expanding capacity to produce more of the vaccine to meet demand in Latin America, where Argentina, Bolivia, Mexico and others are looking to use it. Global vaccine makers including British-Swedish firm AstraZeneca and U.S.-based Pfizer Inc are battling to boost COVID-19 vaccine production as countries around the world look to protect their populations amid surging infections.