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U.S. oil giant Exxon Mobil cutting up to 300 jobs in Canada

U.S. oil giant Exxon Mobil cutting up to 300 jobs in Canada

U.S. oil major Exxon Mobil Corp said on Wednesday it plans to reduce up to 300 positions in Canada as part of an ongoing cost-cutting plan due to a coronavirus-driven slump in oil prices.

Reductions will include positions at Imperial Oil Ltd, ExxonMobil Canada Ltd and ExxonMobil Business Centre Canada ULC, the company said.

Oil producers, including Exxon, have been slashing costs due to a collapse in oil demand and ill-timed bets on new projects. The top U.S. oil company had earlier outlined more than $10 billion US in budget cuts this year.

Earlier Wednesday, Calgary-based Imperial Oil confirmed it will be laying off about 200 of its 6,000 employees as part of a cost-cutting initiative.

Another Calgary-based firm, Suncor Energy, Canada’s second biggest oil company, said last month that it would cut its workforce by up to 15 per cent over the next year and a half.

Canadian energy companies have suffered from scarce capital due to chronic pipeline congestion and high emissions.

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Biggest threat to COVID-19 vaccination could be fake news and misinformation

Biggest threat to COVID-19 vaccination could be fake news and misinformation

PARIS: As early as February, with the global pandemic spreading fast, the World Health Organization issued a warning about an “infodemic”, a wave of fake news and misinformation about the deadly new disease on social media.

Now with hopes hanging on Covid-19 vaccines, the WHO and experts are warning those same phenomena may jeopardise roll-out of immunisation programmes meant to bring an end to the suffering.

“The coronavirus disease is the first pandemic in history in which technology and social media are being used on a massive scale to keep people safe, informed, productive and connected,” the WHO said.

“At the same time, the technology we rely on to keep connected and informed is enabling and amplifying an infodemic that continues to undermine the global response and jeopardises measures to control the pandemic.”

More than 1.4 million people have died since the pandemic emerged in China late last year, but three developers are already applying for approval for their vaccines to be used as early as December.

Beyond logistics, though, governments must also contend with scepticism over vaccines developed with record speed at a time when social media has been both a tool for information and falsehood about the virus.

The WHO defined an infodemic as an overabundance of information, both online and offline, including “deliberate attempts to disseminate wrong information”.

Last month, a study from Cornell University in the United States found that US President Donald Trump has been the world’s biggest driver of Covid-19 misinformation during the pandemic.

In April, Trump mused on the possibility of using disinfectants inside the body to cure the virus and also promoted unproven treatments.

Since January, AFP has published more than 2,000 fact-checking articles dismantling false claims about the novel coronavirus.

“Without the appropriate trust and correct information, diagnostic tests go unused, immunisation campaigns (or campaigns to promote effective vaccines) will not meet their targets, and the virus will continue to thrive,” the WHO said.

Three vaccine developers — Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna and AstraZeneca/Oxford University are leading the pack — and some governments are already planning to start vaccinating their most vulnerable this year.

But with Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or WhatsApp acting as vectors for dubious facts and fake news, “disinformation has now reached an unapparelled scale,” said Sylvain Delouvee, a researcher in Social Psychology at Rennes-2 University.

Rory Smith of the anti-disinformation website, First Draft, agreed.

“From an information perspective, (the coronavirus crisis) has not only underlined the sheer scale of misinformation worldwide, but also the negative impact misinformation can have on trust in vaccines, institutions and scientific findings more broadly,” he said.

Rachel O’Brien, head of the WHO’s immunisation department, said the agency was worried false information propagated by the so-called “anti-vaxxer” movement could dissuade people from immunising themselves against coronavirus.

“We are very concerned about that and concerned that people get their info from credible sources, that they are aware that there is a lot information out there that is wrong, either intentionally wrong or unintentionally wrong,” she told AFP.

Steven Wilson, a professor at Brandeis University and co-author of a study entitled “Social Media and Vaccine Hesitancy” published in the British Medical Journal last month, saw a link between online disinformation campaigns and a decline in vaccination.

“My fear regarding the impact of disinformation on social media in the context of Covid-19 is that it will increase the number of individuals who are hesitant about getting a vaccine, even if their fears have no scientific basis,” he said.

“Any vaccine is only as effective as our capacity to deploy it to a population.”

Among the more outlandish claims by conspiracy theorists, for example, is the idea that the novel coronavirus pandemic is a hoax or part of an elite plan, masterminded by the likes of Bill Gates, to control the population.

And vaccination programmes, those groups say, are a shield for implanting microscopic chips in people to monitor them.

Such notions can find fertile ground at a time when polls show that people in some countries, such as Sweden and France, are already sceptical about taking vaccines, especially when the treatments have been developed in record time with no long-term studies yet available on their efficacy and possible side-effects.

Last month, a poll by Iposos suggested that only 54 percent of French people would immunise themselves against coronavirus, 10 percentage points lower than in the US, 22 points lower than in Canada and 33 points lower than in India.

In 15 countries, 73 percent of people said they were willing to be vaccinated against Covid-19, four percentage points lower than in an earlier poll in August.

But it is not just vaccines — more and more people express a growing mistrust of institutions, experts say.

“The common theme” among conspiracy theorists “is that our ‘elites’ are lying to us,” said Rennes-2 University’s Delouvee.

Disinformation is based on growing mistrust of all institutional authority, whether it be government or scientific.

“When people can’t easily access reliable information around vaccines and when mistrust in actors and institutions related to vaccines is high, misinformation narratives rush in to fill the vacuum,” the First Draft report said.

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26/11 attack: How terrorists attacked major Mumbai hubs | India News

26/11 attack: How terrorists attacked major Mumbai hubs | India News

NEW DELHI: On November 26, 12 years back, ten Lashkar-e-Taiba terrorists from Pakistan reached Mumbai by sea route and lay siege to the city for over 60 hours. They unleashed mayhem in the city killing 166 people, including 18 security personnel, and injuring several others.
Nine terrorists were killed by the security forces, while one Ajmal Amir Kasab was captured alive. Kasab was hanged four years later on November 21, 2012.
The then ATS chief Hemant Karkare, Army Major Sandeep Unnikrishnan, Mumbai’s additional police commissioner Ashok Kamte and senior police inspector Vijay Salaskar were among those killed in the attack.
The terrorists attacked major Mumbai hubs such as Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus railway station, Taj Mahal Palace hotel, Cafe Leopold, Cama and Albless Hospital, Nariman House, and Oberoi-Trident Hotel.

They divided themselves into smaller groups and attacked different targets in the city.
The first attack was at Chhatrapati Shivaji terminus leaving 58 people dead and over 100 injured. Kasab who was a part of this attack, along with another terrorist Ismail, also targeted the Cama hospital.
Nariman House was targeted next.
The terrorists then attacked Leopold Cafe, Taj Mahal Palace hotel, Oberoi-Trident hotel.
Here’s a look at the main accused of the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks:
Hafiz Saeed
Mumbai terror attack mastermind and Jamat-ud-Dawa (JuD) chief Hafiz Saeed is a UN-designated terrorist. Hafiz Saeed’s JuD is believed to be the front for Lashkar, which is responsible for the 26/11 attacks in Mumbai. Saeed, on whom the US has placed a $10 million bounty on, was arrested on July 17 last year in the terror financing cases. He was sentenced to 11 years in jail by an anti-terrorism court in Pakistan in February this year in two terror financing cases. The 70-year-old JuD chief is lodged at Lahore’s high-security Kot Lakhpat jail.
Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi
Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) operations commander Zakiur Rehman Lakhvi, is listed on NIA’s most wanted list. Lakhvi was one of the seven suspects arrested in Pakistan for their involvement in planning, financing and directing the 26/11 terror attacks. He was released on bail from Rawalpindi’s Adiala Jail in April 2015.
Ajmal Amir Kasab
Ajmal Amir Kasab was the only terrorist to be captured alive. He was caught on camera walking into the CST station holding an AK-47 in hand. He also gave a confession, detailing his criminal act. He was hanged to death at the Pune’s Yerawada central jail on November 21, 2012 in a top-secret operation and was buried inside the premises of the prison.
Abu Jundal
Zabiuddin Ansari alias Abu Jundal was arrested in 2012 for being an alleged handler of 10 Pakistani gunmen. Being from Beed in Maharashtra, he taught the basics of Hindi usage to the Pakistani Laskhar squad. On the fateful day, he was in the Lashkar control room firing instructions to the terrorists. He also made the stunning claim that LeT chief Hafiz Saeed was present in the control room when the 26/11 masterminds choreographed the Mumbai attacks. On August 2 2016, he was sentenced to life imprisonment in connection with arms haul case by the special MCOCA court.
David Coleman Headley
David Coleman Headley, an American terrorist of Pakistani origin is one of the chief architects of the 26/11 terrorist attacks. Headley is serving a 35-year prison sentence at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Chicago as he had pleaded guilty before a US court in a plea bargain entailing cooperation for a less severe sentence. He was granted a conditional pardon by a Mumbai court in December 2015 after he told the court he had pled guilty to the same charges in the US and his US plea bargain bound him to even become a witness in the 26/11 case.
(With inputs from agencies)

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India China News: India risks losing to a China-backed trade bloc, defeating the very reason it exited last year

India China News: India risks losing to a China-backed trade bloc, defeating the very reason it exited last year

India’s key manufacturing exports may lose market share to a China-backed Asian trade bloc, from which Prime Minister Narendra Modi walked away last year to protect the interests of local farmers and industry.

Some of India’s top 10 exports such as engineering goods, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, and electronics face erosion in market share on account of lower tariffs that members of the 15-nation Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership enjoy for trading among themselves, according to economists. To put things in perspective, engineering products alone account for a quarter of the nation’s merchandise exports.


“In sectors where India is somewhat contributing to the global supply chain, RCEP would prove to be disadvantageous,” Amitendu Palit, a senior research fellow at the National University of Singapore, said by phone. “Under RCEP, cost of trade will come down which is a big advantage.”

As the trade pact kicks in, tariff will be eliminated on at least 92% of traded goods among participating countries. This is much more broad-based than what India has committed under its existing FTAs with Japan, South Korea or Asean.

Modi pulled out of what’s now the world’s largest free-trade agreement to appease farmers and touted the exit as a victory for India’s poor, but things have gone downhill for the economy since the coronavirus outbreak with gross domestic product declining the most among major economies. The RCEP is now seen paving the way for lowering trade barriers for member nations at a time when the pandemic poses a challenge to global commerce.

A spokesman for the trade ministry could not be reached immediately for comments.

The common rules of origin make the bloc an attractive destination for supply chains by making it easier for RCEP members to source inputs from within the bloc, said Priyanka Kishore, head of economics for South Asia and South-East Asia at Oxford Economics, said in an emailed response.

On the other hand, for India, the withdrawal will result in a loss of 1.2% of the nation’s projected GDP in 2030, according to a paper by Peterson Institute For International Economics.

This has exporters worried about expansion plans which may take a hit due to lack of competitive access to a huge market.

“Many sectors would want to shift to nations in the bloc to get access to the market and common rules of origin is a big advantage,” said Sharad Kumar Saraf, president of the Federation of Indian Export Organisation, India’s largest exporters’ group.

As China takes an even greater role in Asian trade, Saraf says the only consolation for Indian exporters in a post-RCEP world are the proposed free trade deals with the EU, the U.K. and the U.S. — three economies that are India’s top export destinations.

This also may force India to re-think eventually on joining multilateral pacts, which it is currently shunning in favor of bilateral agreements, Oxford Economics’s Kishore said.

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Jennifer Lopez goes nude for the cover of her upcoming single, ‘In The Morning’ | English Movie News

Jennifer Lopez goes nude for the cover of her upcoming single, ‘In The Morning’ | English Movie News

Ahead of her song release on November 27, Jennifer Lopez unveiled the cover picture of her singleIn The Morning’ where she is seen posing naked. She appears nude in one of her new Twitter posts, covering enough of her body to get the post past censors.

Check out the cover picture here:

The 51-year-old singer shared a photo of her new album cover on Instagram on Friday, writing, “Surprise! Here’s the official cover art for #InTheMorning ✨.”

The singer also posted a short video showing close-ups from her nude photoshoot to promote the upcoming single.

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Hockey Canada shuts down camp, mandates 14-day quarantine after positive tests

Hockey Canada shuts down camp, mandates 14-day quarantine after positive tests

Hockey Canada has temporarily shutdown national junior team selection camp following the confirmation of two positive COVID-19 tests among players.

Hockey Canada announced on Wednesday that players, coaches and staff at the camp have entered a 14-day quarantine retroactive to Monday. All camp activities will be paused until Dec. 6.

The original announcement of the positive player tests came on Tuesday — three days after Hockey Canada said a “non-core member” of the team’s staff also tested positive. Hockey Canada said it was suspending all camp activities for the day, including a scheduled intrasquad game, at the time.

Both players and the staff have been in quarantine at the team’s hotel in Red Deer, Alta.

Players, coaches and staff all took mandatory COVID-19 tests upon arrival at the camp and have been tested regularly while there.

Hockey Canada is in the midst of their selection camp ahead of the 2021 IIHF World Junior Hockey Championships in Edmonton that opens on Christmas Day.

“Hockey Canada has confirmed that all players, coaches and staff are considered close contacts and are therefore subject to the mandatory 14-day quarantine period under Alberta Health Services,” said senior vice-president of national teams, Scott Salmond.

“Upon learning of the positive tests on Monday, the decision was made to suspend all camp activities and quarantine players and staff immediately. As per Hockey Canada’s safety protocols, all players, coaches and staff members will go through additional testing before resuming any camp activities.”

Canada seeks its second consecutive gold medal at the tournament, which would be its 19th title all-time.

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1986: The year of Diego Maradona – football

1986: The year of Diego Maradona – football

The 1986 World Cup in Mexico must be the only World Cup in the history of the tournament to be won by a single player. Not a team – in this game that defines teamwork – but one man. The 1986 World Cup begins and ends with Maradona.

Also Read | Diego Maradona, soccer icon who led Argentina to glory, dies at 60

It comes alive with Argentina’s first match, where the diminutive man feeds all three goals that his country scores past South Korea; for his third assist, he bursts into the box and brushes off two defenders – a sign of things to come – before squaring the ball across the goal. In their second match, he outmuscles his dogged Italian marker and reaches a lobbed pass inside the box and unleashes a powerful left footed drive from a tough angle. The match is drawn 1-1.

Against Bulgaria, which Argentina win 2-0, he provides the assist for the first goal. He scores both goals against Belgium in the semis for a 2-0 win – the first, a flick with the outside of the foot while two defenders and the goalkeeper clatter into him; the second, a marvel of speed and control, scything through four defenders and twisting into a shot that flies into the goal at an acute angle even as he loses balance at that speed. But wait. By then, that was not magic. It was just Maradona doing his thing.

Also Watch | Diego Maradona dies at 60; Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo pay tribute

Also Read | Diego Maradona (1960-2020): When death felt like a tackle from behind

It was just an unstoppable force doing the inevitable. The ball gets glued to his left feet. No defender can keep up. He is everywhere. A bundle of muscle, a burst of pure energy, the Cosmic Kite, the ball goes where he wants it to go, he dictates matches, he owns the pitch.

It has all already happened before the hapless Belgians face him – him, not Argentina – in the semis.

It has happened in the match that will forever define Maradona, the two sides of the man, the devil and the angel, genius and rogue. It happens in the quarterfinal against England, where, in the space of a few minutes, Maradona provides the most divine and the most divisive memories of the World Cup. The first is a brazen, reckless, desperate move, him rising above the towering England goalkeeper Peter Shilton to meet a high ball with his fist. The world calls him a cheat; he says it’s the “Hand of God”.

His second simply becomes known as the “goal of the century” – never to be outshone in the collective memory of football for its sheer audacity and its improbable skill. The visual impact is indelible – Maradona, collecting the ball in his own half, spinning away from two defenders, and zooming off in a blinding, mazy run, chest out, tongue out, thighs pumping like the pistons from some steampunk monster engine and one by one, leaving seven English players flailing in his wake.

He had tried it before, six years earlier, at the Wembley – England vs Argentina again, May 1980 – but that time he had unleashed an angled shot that had whizzed just wide of the far post. Somehow, in the middle of this mesmeric run, Maradona remembers that moment. This time, he rounds the goalkeeper so nothing is left to chance. He travels 60 yards in 11 otherworldly seconds for that goal.

By the time he sends in a laser-guided through pass for Jorge Burruchaga to score Argentina’s World Cup winning goal in the final against West Germany, there is a whiff of the imminent in the air. Of course, the winning goal is set up by him.

There is statistical proof that this was a one-man World Cup, the only one-man World Cup. 71 percent of Argentina’s goals were either scored or assisted by Maradona in Mexico. In comparison, Pele scored or assisted 53 percent of Brazil’s goals in 1970.

1986 will always be the year of Maradona.

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Sudan’s former PM Sadiq al-Mahdi dies from Covid-19 in UAE – world news

Sudan’s former PM Sadiq al-Mahdi dies from Covid-19 in UAE – world news

Leading Sudanese politician and former prime minister Sadiq al-Mahdi died from a coronavirus infection three weeks after being hospitalised in the United Arab Emirates, according to family sources and a party statement early on Thursday.

Mahdi, 84, was Sudan’s last democratically elected prime minister and was overthrown in 1989 in the military coup that brought former president Omar al-Bashir to power.

The moderate Umma Party was one of the largest opposition parties under Bashir, and Mahdi remained an influential figure even after Bashir was toppled in 1989.

Last month, al-Mahdi’s family said he had tested positive for Covid-19, and was transferred to the UAE for treatment a few days later following a brief hospitalisation in Sudan.

In a statement, the Umma Party said Mahdi would be buried on Friday morning in the city of Omdurman in Sudan.

Mahdi had returned to Sudan in December 2018, following a year-long self-exile, just as protests over worsening economic conditions and Bashir’s rule gathered steam. His daughter Mariam Sadiq al-Mahdi, deputy leader of the Umma Party, was among those detained during the demonstrations.

While a successor to the party head has not yet been announced, she has been the most visible party leader in political negotiations and the media in recent years.

Opposition parties were weakened greatly under Bashir’s three-decade regime, and are jostling for power with the military during Sudan’s transition, making the Umma Party’s continued unity crucial to maintaining the balance of power.

After the military forced Bashir out from power, Mahdi pushed for a transfer to civilian rule, warning in interviews with Reuters of the risks of a counter-coup and calling for the powerful, paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF) to be integrated.

(Reporting by Khalid Abdelaziz and Hesham Abdul Khalek, writing by Aidan Lewis, Mahmoud Mourad, and Nafisa Eltahir,; Editing by Kim Coghill and Grant McCool)

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Bigg Boss 14 promo: Abhinav Shukla tells Rubina Dilaik she ‘doesn’t have a brain of her own’ after she fights with Jasmin – tv

Bigg Boss 14 promo: Abhinav Shukla tells Rubina Dilaik she ‘doesn’t have a brain of her own’ after she fights with Jasmin – tv

Rubina Dilaik and Jasmin Bhasin’s friendship seems to be crumbling in the Bigg Boss 14 house. In a new promo video, the two could be seen getting into a nasty argument after Rubina and her husband Abhinav Shukla locked Nikki Tamboli in the bedroom.

On being asked by Jasmin to let Nikki go, Rubina retorted, “Tumko humko shaitan banana hi hai, demonise karna hi hai (If you want to make us look bad and demonise us), continue doing that.” Rubina then told Jasmin that her sugar-coated way of talking is considered as being ill-mannered.

The two women got into a heated argument, with Rubina calling Jasmin ‘immature’. Rubina also warned Jasmin not to talk about her behind her back. Jasmin hit back by saying, “Chalaki wale khel kisi aur ke saath khelna, jo tumhari aadat hai (Play these clever games, like you always do, with someone else).” As the fight showed no signs of abating, Jasmin shouted, “It’s over,” presumably referring to their friendship.


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Rubina also had a fallout with Abhinav, who lashed out at her saying, “Tere ko kya zaroorat thi bolne ki? Bas kar. Ispe na safaai toh dena hi mat (What was the need to say anything? Stop it. Don’t even try to explain yourself about this).” He also told her that she did not have a brain of her own.

Jasmin and Rubina’s friendship has been challenged during earlier tasks including the new captaincy task– Batwara. Abhinav and Rubina’s relationship has also been tested in the Bigg Boss 14 house. Recently, he got angry with his wife when she tried to intervene in Kavita Kaushik and Aly Goni’s fight. Rubina, however, insisted that she was only doing the humane thing by asking if Kavita needed any first aid.

Follow @htshowbiz for more

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'A maestro of football': PM Modi condoles death of legendary Argentine footballer…

'A maestro of football': PM Modi condoles death of legendary Argentine footballer…

‘A maestro of football’: PM Modi condoles death of legendary Argentine footballer Maradona

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