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Wall Street tumbles after US tops world in COVID-19 cases

A shocking number of Americans applied for jobless benefits last week due to the coronavirus outbreak.

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New York, March 28 : US stocks ended significantly lower amid the fast-growing spread of coronavirus in the country.

On Friday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average slumped 915.39 points, or 4.06 per cent, to 21,636.78. The S&P 500 decreased 88.60 points, or 3.37 per cent, to 2,541.47. The Nasdaq Composite Index shed 295.16 points, or 3.79 per cent, to 7,502.38, Xinhua news agency reported.

10 of the 11 primary S&P 500 sectors traded lower, with energy down 6.93 per cent, becoming the worst-performing group. Utilities climbed 0.53 per cent, the only gainer among the sectors.

The United States became the country with the most COVID-19 cases worldwide on Thursday afternoon US Eastern Time, according to Johns Hopkins University.

As of 2 p.m. Eastern Time on Friday (1800 GMT), there were 94,238 confirmed cases in the United States, with 1,438 deaths, data from the university’s Center for Systems Science and Engineering showed.

A shocking number of Americans applied for jobless benefits last week due to the coronavirus outbreak.

US initial jobless claims, a rough way to measure layoffs, were registered at 3,283,000 in the week ending March 21, an increase of 3,001,000 from the previous week’s revised level, the Department of Labor reported Thursday. The reading easily crushed the previous record rise of 695,000 in October 1982.

Following a Senate approval earlier this week, the US House of Representatives on Friday passed a US $2 trillion COVID-19 stimulus package by voice vote, sending it to President Donald Trump for signature.

The bill, aimed at cushioning the economy from COVID-19 ravages, will provide small businesses emergency loans, business tax breaks, expanded unemployment benefits, more than US $1,000 direct payments for working Americans, government aid for industries such as airlines and hotels, as well as more support for hospitals and state and local governments.

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FDI inflows rise 18% to $73 bn in FY20: Minister

The total FDI inflows in India have progressively increased in the last couple of years.

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Global FDI flows

New Delhi, May 28 : Union Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal on Thursday said that total FDI into India grew at 18 per cent in 2019-20 to reach $73 billion.

Last year, India had received FDI worth around $62 billion.

“In another strong vote of confidence in Make in India, total FDI into India grew at 18% in 2019-20 to reach $73 Bn. Total FDI has doubled from 13-14 when it was only $36 Bn. This long term investment will spur job creation,” Goyal said in a tweet.

The total FDI inflows in India have progressively increased in the last couple of years.

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Business

Centre lifts restriction on export of paracetamol APIs

On April 17, the government lifted the restrictions on shipments of formulations made from paracetamol.

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Coronavirus treatment medicine

New Delhi, May 28 : The Union government on Thursday lifted the restriction on the export of paracetamol APIs.

In March, the Centre had imposed curbs on the export of several active pharmaceutical ingredients (API) and formulations made from these APIs including paracetamol, and tinidazole, on concerns of shortage of drugs in the country.

On April 17, the government lifted the restrictions on shipments of formulations made from paracetamol.

“The notification dated 03.03.2020 is further amended to remove restriction on export of Paracetamol APIs, making its export ‘free’ with immediate effect,” said a statement from the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) on Thursday.

India is a major exporter of paracetamol and hydroxychloroquine, which have witnessed a surge in demand amid the coronavirus crisis.

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Google selects 5,300 local news organisations for funding

“As we await a final funding tally, we expect to spend tens of millions of dollars through the Journalism Emergency Relief Fund,” Blecher said.

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New Delhi, May 28 : India’s East Mojo and Minnambalam are among 5,300 small and medium local newsrooms around the world that will receive emergency funding from Google ranging from $5,000-$30,000 (approximately Rs 3.7 lakh-Rs 22.7 lakh), the search engine giant said on Thursday.

East Mojo, a digital-only news organisation, said it plans to use the fund to allow journalists to go to remote parts of Northern India to shed light on the impact of Covid-19 once the country’s lockdown is lifted.

Minnambalam (India), a Tamil language publication from Chennai, said the funding gave them the confidence and financial support needed to carry on with their work.

Covid-19 has upended the news industry, hitting local news particularly hard with job losses, furloughs, cutbacks and even closure.

To provide some help, the Google News Initiative last month launched the Journalism Emergency Relief Fund.

“Applications covering a number of publications under one organization will be capped at $85,000,” Ludovic Blecher, Head of Google News Initiative Innovation, wrote in a blog post.

“As we await a final funding tally, we expect to spend tens of millions of dollars through the Journalism Emergency Relief Fund,” Blecher said.

Google said in just two weeks it received more than 12,000 applications from 140 eligible countries, with 90 per cent of those applications from newsrooms of less than 26 journalists.

“We reviewed each application against a set of criteria: publications operating locally, serving a specific geographic community and using the money to continue doing so,” Blecher said.

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