Nightclubs, cafes and casinos reopen in Auckland as marathon lockdown ends

Aucklanders returned to nightclubs, cinemas and cafes on Friday as New Zealand’s biggest city exited pandemic lockdown after more than 100 days. Retailers threw open their doors to vaccinated customers as the country ended lockdowns and moved into a new ‘traffic light system’ that rates regions as red, orange or green depending on their level of exposure to Covid-19 and vaccination rates. Auckland, the epicentre of the country’s Delta outbreak, will start at red, making face masks mandatory and putting limits on gatherings at public places. Bars, nightclubs and restaurants can open to guests with vaccine certificates but with a … Continue reading Nightclubs, cafes and casinos reopen in Auckland as marathon lockdown ends

LOL: US creditors can now DM debtors on social media

Debt collectors are now allowed to contact Americans on social media and by text message, according to new rules enacted by a US agency this week. The rule from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) opens the door for creditors to slide into the DMs of millions of Americans who have loans. Critics say the messages could be lost online or lead to invasions of privacy and a proliferation of new scams. Advocates say the change is a simple update to rules created in the 1970s. The change, which was approved by the CFPB last year under the Trump administration, … Continue reading LOL: US creditors can now DM debtors on social media

Laverne & Shirley star Eddie Mekka dies aged 69

US actor Eddie Mekka – best known for starring in the Laverne & Shirley TV sitcom in the 1970s-80s – has died aged 69, local media report. He was found dead at his California home last Saturday, Mekka’s brother Warren Mekjian is quoted as saying. Reports say concerned neighbours decided to alert police after not hearing from the actor for a few days. Mr Mekjian said there was no indication that his brother’s death was suspicious, according to NBC News. Mekka played Carmine Ragusa, Shirley’s love interest, in the popular sitcom that run on ABC from 1976 to 1983. Paying … Continue reading Laverne & Shirley star Eddie Mekka dies aged 69

Ride hailing app Grab falls in $40bn market debut

Grab – the Uber of South East Asia – has made its stock market debut on New York’s Nasdaq trading platform. Shares initially rose in the Singapore-based operator of the ride-hailing and payments app, before falling sharply. The share sale valued Grab at more than $40bn (£30bn), making it the largest ever US listing by a South East Asian firm. Instead of a conventional share sale, Grab went public using a shell company designed to make the process cheaper. Using a special purpose acquisition company (Spac) has become an increasingly popular strategy with start-ups, as it offers more flexibility around … Continue reading Ride hailing app Grab falls in $40bn market debut

Germany puts major restrictions on unvaccinated

Germany’s national and regional leaders have agreed to bar unvaccinated people from much of public life in a bid to fend off a fourth wave of Covid-19. Outgoing Chancellor Angela Merkel described the far-reaching measures as an act of “national solidarity”. Only those who have been vaccinated or recently recovered from Covid-19 will be allowed in restaurants, cinemas, leisure facilities and many shops. Vaccinations could be made mandatory by February, the chancellor added. Germany’s fourth wave of Covid-19 is its most severe so far, with another 388 deaths recorded in the past 24 hours. There is also growing concern about … Continue reading Germany puts major restrictions on unvaccinated

Barbaric: Shock over release of Margaux Pinot’s partner in assault case

French athletes have expressed disbelief over the acquittal of a coach accused of domestic violence against Olympic judo champion Margaux Pinot. Ms Pinot accused her partner and judo trainer Alain Schmitt of punching and attempting to strangle her during an altercation over the weekend. The Olympic gold medallist, 27, filed a complaint against Mr Schmitt. He was arrested but denied the allegations and was acquitted in court. A judge said there was not “enough proof of guilt” for the prosecution to proceed when delivering his verdict in a preliminary hearing on Wednesday. “A court is never there to tell who … Continue reading Barbaric: Shock over release of Margaux Pinot’s partner in assault case

Argentina’s ex-president charged in spying case

Mauricio Macri Argentina’s former President Mauricio Macri has been charged with ordering the secret services to spy on relatives of 44 sailors who died when the Ara San Juan submarine sank in 2017. Judge Marin Bava says Mr Macri has violated the country’s intelligence laws by demanding a dossier on the victims’ families. They accuse the Navy of negligence. Mr Macri, who was president in 2015-19 and is now an opposition leader, says the charges are politically motivated. “I did not spy on anyone, I never ordered [anyone] in my government to spy on anyone,” he said earlier this month. … Continue reading Argentina’s ex-president charged in spying case

Alec Baldwin says he didn’t fire gun on film set

Alec Baldwin says he “didn’t pull the trigger” of the gun that fatally wounded cinematographer Halyna Hutchins on the set of his film, Rust. The star made the claim in his first sit-down interview since the incident in October. “I would never point a gun at anyone and pull a trigger at them. Never,” he told George Stephanopoulos of ABC News. The interview was recorded on Tuesday, and is due to be broadcast in the US on Thursday evening. Mr Stephanopoulos described their 80-minute discussion as “raw” and “intense. The journalist described Mr Baldwin, 63, as “devastated” yet “very candid” … Continue reading Alec Baldwin says he didn’t fire gun on film set

Munich WW2 bomb blows up near station, wounding four

Four people were hurt, one seriously, when a World War Two bomb blew up on a railway construction site in the German city of Munich. The fire brigade says it happened during drilling work near Donnersberger Bridge, close to the main station. As a result rail traffic in much of Munich was brought to a standstill. Unexploded wartime bombs are frequently found in Germany and prompt big evacuations, but most are defused by experts without exploding. Police say the bomb went off during tunnel work near the bridge. Local reports described a loud bang followed by a column of smoke. … Continue reading Munich WW2 bomb blows up near station, wounding four

Doctor in Austria fined for amputating wrong leg of patient

A surgeon in Austria has been fined after amputating the wrong leg of a patient earlier this year. The elderly patient’s right leg was removed instead of his left, with the mistake only discovered two days later. On Wednesday, the court in Linz found the 43-year-old guilty of gross negligence and fined her €2,700 (£2,296). The widow of the patient, who died before the case came to court, was also awarded €5,000 in damages. The patient attended the clinic in Freistadt last May to have his leg amputated but the surgeon marked the wrong limb for amputation, AFP news agency … Continue reading Doctor in Austria fined for amputating wrong leg of patient

What A Breakthrough: Disney elects woman as chairman for first time in 98-year history

Walt Disney has elected a woman to become its chairman for the first time in the entertainment giant’s 98-year history. Susan Arnold, who has been a Disney board member for 14 years, will succeed Bob Iger at the end of this year. She was formerly an executive at global investment firm Carlyle. Mr Iger, who stepped down as Disney’s chief executive in 2020 after 15 years in the role, will leave the company by the end of this month. “As I step into this new role as chairman of the board, I look forward to continuing to serve the long-term … Continue reading What A Breakthrough: Disney elects woman as chairman for first time in 98-year history

Tel Aviv named as world’s most expensive city to live in

Tel Aviv has been named as the most expensive city in the world to live in, as soaring inflation and supply-chain problems push up prices globally. The Israeli city came top for the first time in a survey by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), climbing from fifth place last year and pushing Paris down to joint second with Singapore. Damascus, in war-torn Syria, retained its place as the cheapest in the world. The survey compares costs in US dollars for goods and services in 173 cities. The EIU said the data it collected in August and September showed that on … Continue reading Tel Aviv named as world’s most expensive city to live in