2020.05.18

News Headlines - 18 May 2020

Japan's Q1 GDP shrinks annualized 3.4% | NHK WORLD

The coronavirus pandemic continues to have a significant economic impact, with Japan's GDP plunging during the January-to-March quarter.
The Cabinet Office says GDP for the period shrank an annualized 3.4 percent from the previous quarter in real terms. It's the second straight contraction.
Personal consumption, which makes up more than half of Japan's GDP, fell by 0.7 percent... Exports plunged 6 percent as economic activity stagnated globally. Housing investment fell 4.5 percent, while corporate investment was down 0.5 percent.

Tokyo Mortality Tally Shows No Surge in Deaths During Pandemic - Bloomberg

Tokyo has not seen an increase in overall deaths during the coronavirus outbreak, boosting Japanese officials’ assertions that they have largely kept infections under control despite criticism over the limited scope of its testing.
The capital saw 33,106 deaths in the three months through March, 0.4% fewer than the average of the previous four years for the same period, according to data from the Tokyo Metropolitan Government. Data for April, when new daily virus cases peaked in the city, is not yet available.
The data does not provide details on the causes of death, but underlines that there hasn’t been a surge in deaths during the pandemic despite Japan having some of the earliest confirmed cases in the world outside the original epicenter in China. There were 1,200 fewer deaths in February this year than in the same month in 2019, while they rose by 428 in March.

SoftBank fund posts $18bln loss; Jack Ma quits board

More eye-popping numbers from SoftBank Group on Monday (May 18).
Though its mobile network may be profitable, the Japanese investor’s giant Vision Fund posted an annual loss of 1.9 trillion yen.
That’s 18 billion dollars... It booked losses of almost ten billion dollars just on Uber and office sharing firm WeWork.
Another $7.5 billion is down to assorted investments, though SoftBank provided scant details... Monday also saw SoftBank part ways with Alibaba co-founder Jack Ma.
He’s to resign from the company’s board.

China Slaps Duties on Australian Barley as Tensions Escalate - Bloomberg

China slapped anti-dumping duties on Australian barley for five years as diplomatic tensions escalate between the two trading partners.
Australia’s biggest customer for the grain will impose an anti-dumping duty of 73.6% and an anti-subsidy duty of 6.9%, effective from May 19, according to a statement from China’s Ministry of Commerce late Monday. Industry groups are warning the measures will gut an export market worth A$1.4 billion ($898 million) in 2017.
Australia’s government, which has fueled tensions with China in recent weeks by calling for an independent investigation into the origins of the coronavirus pandemic, has indicated it may appeal to the World Trade Organization.

McDonald’s accused over 'systemic sexual harassment' of employees worldwide | The Guardian

An international coalition of labor unions has filed a complaint against McDonald’s, alleging systemic sexual harassment of its employees around the world.
The complaint, filed at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s offices in the Netherlands, lists numerous incidents of harassment, including attempted rape and indecent exposure in the United States, a promotion in exchange for sexual acts in Brazil, and a hidden cellphone camera installed in the women’s changing room in France.

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