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approves China

China approves arrest of 12 Hong Kong speedboat fugitives – Al Jazeera English

The group was reportedly trying to reach Taiwan when mainland authorities picked them up on August 23.

Chinese authorities have formally approved the arrests of 12 Hong Kong activists caught last month while allegedly trying to flee the territory for Taiwan.

The group was picked up some 70 kilometres (43 miles) southeast of the city on August 23 while trying to escape by boat, authorities said at the time, adding that they were handed to police in Shenzhen, the southern mainland city bordering Hong Kong.

The 12 had since disappeared into China’s opaque judicial system, with lawyers struggling to access them and family members expressing fear over their fate.

On Wednesday the People’s Procuratorate of Yantian District in Shenzhen said it had approved the arrests.

Two of the detainees, referred to as Deng and Qiao respectively, were arrested on suspicion of helping the others escape Hong Kong.

These names were likely to refer to the Chinese surnames of detainees Tang Kai-yin and Quinn Moon.

The other 10 – including suspects with the names Li and Huang – were arrested for making illegal border crossings.

The case remains under investigation, the statement added.

People in Hong Kong have been calling for the release of the 12 and organising postcard campaigns for the 12 arrested in southern China  [Isaac Lawrence/AFP]

Families of the 12 said in a statement they were “shocked and concerned” by the approval.

Hong Kong’s Security Bureau confirmed that mainland authorities informed local police of Wednesday’s approval, but declined to comment on families’ complaints of lawyers being barred from visiting the detainees.

Some of those on board the boat were facing prosecution in Hong Kong for activities linked to last year’s enormous and often violent pro-democracy protests, according to authorities in the territory.

Prolonged detention

Lu Siwei, one of the mainland lawyers working on the case, told AFP news agency the period of detention for investigation could last as long as seven months.

“Review of (the) detention’s legality can be applied for any time,” Lu added, but said that “for now it remains most important to seek a meeting with the 12 in custody”.

At least 14 mainland lawyers hired by the detainees’ families have been pressured by authorities to drop their clients, according to activists.

None of the lawyers has managed to see their clients in custody, while senior officials in Hong Kong said the 12 were assigned lawyers by mainland Chinese authorities.

Hong Kong has its own internationally respected legal system where detainees are promptly produced after their arrest and tried in open court, but the system on the mainland is notoriously opaque and controlled by the Communist Party. Conviction is all but guaranteed.

In June, Beijing imposed a new security law on Hong Kong, announcing it would have jurisdiction for some crimes and that mainland security agents could openly operate in the city.

The prospect of people in Hong Kong getting entangled in China’s judicial system triggered months of protests last year after the government moved to allow extraditions to the mainland. The demonstrations soon evolved into broader calls for democracy and greater police accountability, and sometimes descended into violence.

As Beijing has cracked down on Hong Kong’s democracy movement, self-ruled Taiwan, one of the region’s most vibrant democracies, has emerged as a sanctuary, quietly turning a blind eye to residents turning up without proper visas or paperwork.

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approves China

China approves 1st human trials for COVID-19 nasal spray vaccine – Yahoo News

China on Wednesday approved Phase 1 human testing of a COVID-19 nasal spray vaccine being developed by researchers at Xiamen University, Hong Kong University, and vaccine maker Beijing Wantai Biological Pharmacy Enterprise Co. Children and some adults already get a nasal spray vaccine for the flu, and recent research from Washington University School of Medicine suggested a nasal vaccine was actually more effective than an injection at protecting mice against COVID-19 infections.

This is the first nasal spray vaccine candidate for COVID-19 to be tested in humans, and preliminary studies showed it can significantly reduce lung damage in infected mice and hamsters, according to Science and Technology Daily, a newspaper linked to China’s Ministry of Science and Technology, Bloomberg News reports. The intranasal vaccine aims to promote a natural immune response to the coronavirus by combining the new virus’ spike proteins with a weakened flu virus.

China now has 10 vaccines in human trials, including four in Phase 3 trials. The U.S. has three Phase 3 trials underway, although AstraZeneca and Oxford University paused their final-stage trial in the U.S. and elsewhere this week to investigate a spinal cord illness in one of its vaccine subjects. “Chinese drugmakers have taken their research abroad because the outbreak at home has been under control for months,” The New York Times reports, but Beijing is also effectively using the promise of priority access to a vaccine and loans “in a charm offensive aimed at repairing damaged ties and bringing friends closer in regions China deems vital to its interests.”

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approves China

China approves BlackRock, Temasek and CCB joint wealth venture – Reuters

FILE PHOTO: A sign for BlackRock Inc hangs above its building in New York U.S., July 16, 2018. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

BEIJING (Reuters) – China has approved a wealth management joint venture between U.S. asset manager BlackRock Inc (BLK.N), Singapore state investor Temasek Holdings (Pte) Ltd and China Construction Bank Corp (CCB) (0939.HK), as China gradually opens up its financial sector to international firms.

The announcement, which confirms what people with direct knowledge of the matter told Reuters in December, was announced on the website of the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission (CBIRC) on Saturday.

The article gave no further details about the venture or what services it would be offering.

The deal comes as China’s government looks to open up its financial market to foreign firms, offering potentially rich rewards for international fund managers and others in the broader financial sector.

Top global financial players have long sought to increase their presence in the relatively fast-growing Chinese economy, and in October last year China scrapped some restrictions on foreign banks’ operations in the country.

Two months later France-based Amundi, Europe’s largest asset manager, and Bank of China Wealth Management won approval from Chinese regulators to set up a joint venture, while banks including UBS (UBSG.S) and JPMorgan Chase (JPM.N) have won approval to set up majority-owned China ventures.

But the Chinese industry remains dominated by domestic state firms and China has yet to open up some more sensitive areas of its financial industry.

A spokesperson for the CBIRC also said in an interview published on the watchdog’s website on Saturday that American insurer Chubb had been allowed to increase its stake in Huatai Insurance Group Co Ltd to 46.2%, becoming the biggest shareholder of the Chinese firm.

Reporting by Leng Cheng and Yew Lun Tian; Editing by David Holmes

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approves Lysol

EPA approves Lysol products for use against coronavirus – USA TODAY

, USA TODAY
Published 8:12 a.m. ET July 8, 2020 | Updated 9:42 a.m. ET July 8, 2020

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Not sure when Clorox wipes will be back in stock? Here’s how to make your own with bleach or alcohol.

USA TODAY

Lysol is the first surface disinfectant approved by the Environmental Protection Agency to wipe out the coronavirus. 

Two versions of the common household disinfectant spray were lab tested by the agency, which found they could kill the virus on surfaces, the EPA announced. Lysol Disinfectant Spray, priced at $4.18 at Walmart, and Lysol Disinfectant Max Cover Mist, priced at $5.48, can kill the virus in under 2 minutes, the agency found. 

“The EPA’s approval recognizes that using Lysol Disinfectant Spray can help to prevent the spread of COVID-19 on hard, non-porous surfaces,” said Rahul Kadyan, executive vice president of hygiene for Lysol’s parent company Reckitt Benckiser in a statement.

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“In the face of the pandemic, Lysol continues to work with a wide range of scientific and health experts to educate the public on the importance of hygiene.”

In March, the EPA released a lengthy list of household cleaners that were expected to be effective against coronavirus because they have been tested and proven to work against similar viruses. The news sent the products flying off shelves, leading to shortages at many local grocery stores. 

Many supermarkets still limit the number of cleaning supplies people can buy to cut down on hoarding. Supply chain experts previously told USA TODAY that manufacturers like Lysol and Clorox weren’t ready for a flood of Americans suddenly shopping for disinfectant.

USA TODAY reached out to Lysol to find out if they’re having issues with the availability of cleaning products. 

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Follow Dalvin Brown on Twitter: @Dalvin_Brown

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approves Coronavirus

FDA approves new coronavirus antigen test with fast results – NBCNews.com

U.S. regulators have approved a new type of coronavirus test that administration officials have promoted as a key to opening up the country.

The Food and Drug Administration on Saturday announced emergency authorization for antigen tests developed by Quidel Corp. of San Diego. The test can rapidly detect fragments of virus proteins in samples collected from swabs swiped inside the nasal cavity, the FDA said in a statement.

The antigen test is the third type of test to be authorized by the FDA.

Currently, the only way to diagnose active COVID-19 is to test a patient’s nasal swab for the genetic material of the virus. While considered highly accurate, the tests can take hours and require expensive, specialized equipment mainly found at commercial labs, hospitals or universities.

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A second type looks in the blood for antibodies, the proteins produced by the body days or weeks after fighting an infection. Such tests are helpful for researchers to understand how far a disease has spread within a community, but they aren’t useful for diagnosing active infections.

Antigen tests can diagnose active infections by detecting the earliest toxic traces of the virus rather than genetic code of the virus itself.

The FDA said that it expects to authorize more antigen tests in the future.

Quidel said Saturday that the test can provide an accurate, automated result in 15 minutes. The FDA’s emergency authorization “allows us to arm our health care workers and first responders with a frontline solution for COVID-19 diagnosis, accelerating the time to diagnosis and potential treatment,” Douglas Bryant, CEO of Quidel, said in a statement.

The company said it specializes in testing for diseases and conditions including the flu and Lyme disease.

The U.S. has tried to ramp up testing using the genetic method, but the country’s daily testing tally has been stuck in the 200,000 to 250,000-per-day range for several weeks, falling far short of the millions of daily tests that most experts say are needed to reopen schools, businesses, churches and other institutions of daily life.

That’s led White House adviser Dr. Deborah Birx and other federal officials to call for a “breakthrough” in the antigen tests.

“There will never be the ability on a nucleic acid test to do 300 million tests a day or to test everybody before they go to work or to school, but there might be with the antigen test,” Birx told reporters last month.

Recently, the National Institutes of Health announced $1.5 billion in research grants aimed at fast-tracking the development of rapid, easy-to-use testing approaches — including antigen tests — by the fall.

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