Friday, July 31, 2020

US welcomes EU's announcement regarding cyber sanctions framework

US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo

Washington D.C. [US], July 31 (ANI): The US on Thursday (local time) welcomed the announcement from the European Union's High Representative Josep Borrell regarding the body's first designations under its cyber sanctions framework.

"The United States and the EU share a vision for open, interoperable, reliable and secure cyberspace, and for responsible behavior on the international stage. Destructive, disruptive, or otherwise destablilizing activities in cuberspace threaten this vision," US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo said in a statement.

He stated that the United States supports efforts to promote accountability for bad actors' malicious cyber activities, and the EU's actions today are an important milestone.

"We continue to work with the EU, its member states, and many like-minded countries to promote a framework of responsible state behavior in cyberspace, underpinned by the applicability of international law, adherence to non-binding peacetime norms, and the development and implementation of practical confidence-building measures," said Pompeo.

According to a Sputnik report, earlier in the day, the European Council introduced first ever restrictive measures against six individuals and three entities of Russia, China and North Korea, which according to the EU, are responsible for or involved in various cyberattacks. These measures include a travel ban and an asset freeze. (ANI)

US economy contracted at fastest quarterly rate due to coronavirus

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Washington [US], July 31 (ANI): The US economy contracted at a record annual rate of 32.9 per cent in the quarter from April to June due to the coronavirus and consequent loackdown.

According to the Washington Post, the drop in the gross domestic product (GDP) was the fastest fall in quarterly rate since modern record-keeping began.

The pandemic resulted in an obvious uncontrolled public health crisis and tens of millions lost their jobs and business were lost.

There is a mounting fear that the economy could be held back even more as the virus forces more states to shut down bars and restuarants again.

On Thursday, the government also reported that jobless claims increased once again last week to 1.4 million, another sign that any recovery is stalling, according to The Washington Post.

GDP shrank at an annual rate of 32.9 per cent, according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, the agency the publishes the statistics on quarterly economic activity.

On Wednesday, Federal Reserve Chair Jerome H. Powell warned that the most recent surge in infections has begun to weigh on the economy while reemphasising that recovery cannot be sustained unless the virus is under control.

"We're still digging out of a hole, a really deep hole," said Ben Herzon, executive director of IHS Markit. "The second-quarter figure will just tell us the size of the hole we're digging out of, and it's big one."

Bureau of Economic Analysis, in a report explains the reasons for the impact on the economy.

The pandemic has triggered a collapse in oil prices. It was exacerbated by lower gasoline sales and reduced transportation services, as Americans stayed home and avoided commutes or basic errands.

Health care fell off as the pandemic pushed people to cancel non-emergency visits and procedures, triggering layoffs within the health-care industry, Resaurant closures fuelled a drop in food services.

With retail stores shuttered and people swapping out their work wardrobes for leisurewear, clothing and footwear sales dropped.

On Webnesday, Powell said some measures of consumer spending, based on debit card and credit card use, have moved down in the past month. Hotel occupancy rates have flattened out, he said, and Americans are not going to restaurants, gas stations and beauty salons as much as they had been earlier in the summer.

"On balance, it looks like the data are pointing to a slowing in the pace of the recovery," Powell said during a news conference Wednesday. "I want to stress it's too early to say bnoth how large that is and how sustained it will be." (ANI).

Two dead, 16 injured as terrorists open mortar fire at Nigeria's Maiduguri

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Maiduguri [Nigeria], July 31(Sputnik/ANI): Terrorists from the Boko Haram group, which has pledged allegiance to the Islamic State, have opened mortar fire at the northeastern Nigerian city of Maiduguri, leaving two person dead and 16 others injured.

The attack took place on late Thursday when people were preparing for the celebrations of the Eid al-Adha, one of the most important Muslim holidays, the PRNigeria news outlet reported.

The mines fell in three districts of the city, causing panic among its residents.

Officers of the police Explosive Ordinance Detection (EOD) have been sent to the city to investigate the incident.

Boko Haram is infamous for numerous attacks and abductions in the western African region. Nigeria, along with Niger, Cameroon, and Chad, are engaged in military operations combating the militants. (Sputnik/ANI)

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