The United States on Monday eased its warning against travel to China, acknowledging that the nation had made progress against Covid-19 despite frequent US criticism of its pandemic role.
The State Department still urges Americans to reconsider travel to China, but it upgraded its advice from a blanket warning not to go to the country.
The People’s Republic of China “has resumed most business operations (including day cares and schools),” the State Department said.
“Other improved conditions have been reported within the PRC,” it said.
The State Department separately still cautioned US citizens about the risk of arbitrary arrest in China, including in Hong Kong as Beijing enforces a tough new security law.
The updated travel advice comes a week after China declared victory over the virus as President Xi Jinping decorated medical professionals in a triumphant ceremony.
China’s propaganda machine has sought to reframe Covid-19 as an example of the state’s agile leadership against the global pandemic that emerged in the country.
President Donald Trump’s administration has frequently lashed out at China and blamed it for Covid-19, news of which was initially suppressed when cases were first reported in the city of Wuhan.
Trump, who faces elections in less than two months, has faced heavy criticism for his handling of the health crisis in the United States, which has suffered the highest death toll of any country.
Michael Flynn’s lawyer says she asked Trump not to pardon him
WASHINGTON — A lawyer for President Donald Trump’s former national security adviser Michael Flynn told U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan on Tuesday that she recently updated Trump on the case and asked him not to pardon her client.
Attorney Sidney Powell appeared reluctant to discuss her conversations with the president or the White House, saying she believed they were protected by executive privilege. But after persistent questioning from Sullivan, she acknowledged having spoken to the president within the last few weeks.
Flynn is one of half a dozen former Trump aides and advisers who were indicted as a result of the special counsel investigation on Russian election interference.
Tuesday’s hearing comes weeks after a federal appeals court ruled that Sullivan did not have to immediately dismiss the prosecution just because the Justice Department wants him to, and returned the case to the judge for future consideration.
The 8-2 ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, reversed a previous decision by a three-judge panel, in a long and politically fraught legal case of the former Army general.
At issue before the appeals court was whether Sullivan abused his powers when he did not immediately grant dismissal of the case against Flynn after the Justice Department decided to drop the prosecution. Instead, Sullivan appointed a third party, known as an amicus, to challenge the Justice Department’s motion and to determine if Flynn had committed perjury for claiming to be innocent of a crime to which he had earlier pleaded guilty.
Flynn’s attorneys also asked the appeals court to remove Sullivan from the case, arguing the judge’s actions showed his inability to be impartial.
A three-judge panel from the appeals court sided with Flynn in June, ruling that Sullivan’s actions were “unprecedented intrusions of individual liberty” and on the Justice Department’s prosecutorial powers.
The full appeals court, which granted Sullivan’s request to rehear the case, disagreed, saying judges have the authority to appoint third parties as they decide on rulings. In Sullivan’s case, his attorney has argued what the judge was simply doing what judges do: seeking to hear both sides before ruling on the motion to dismiss.
The appeals court said that Sullivan may ultimately dismiss the case and that concerns over “intrusive judicial proceedings” were “speculative.” The judges also said there’s no basis in removing Sullivan from the case, saying opinions or statements judges make while presiding on a case don’t indicate bias.
Powell has argued that because the Justice Department no longer wanted to prosecute Flynn, Sullivan’s only role is to promptly grant dismissal of the case. Instead, Sullivan appointed an amicus to “usurp” the role of prosecutors and has “so invested himself” for the purpose of prosecuting Flynn, Powell said during oral arguments in August.
Acting Solicitor General Jeff Wall said Sullivan cannot probe the Justice Department’s motives for dropping the prosecution of Flynn and doing so entrenches on executive power. Sullivan’s actions also have created an appearance that he can’t be impartial, Wall said.
Flynn pleaded guilty in 2017 to making false statements to the FBI about his communications with a former Russian ambassador. He later reversed course, claiming investigators entrapped him into making false statements. The Justice Department also reversed course and sought to dismiss the case, arguing that the interview during which Flynn made false statements was “unjustified.”
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Michael Flynn’s lawyer says she asked Donald Trump not to pardon him
Why Jennifer Aniston Recently Considered Quitting Acting
After 30 years of experience in Hollywood, Jennifer Aniston contemplated walking away from the business.
The Morning Show actress has had major success recently as a result of her acclaimed performance in the Apple+ series, for which she garnered Emmy and Golden Globe nods. Still, though her star has been shining brightly, as she revealed during a new episode of the SmartLess podcast, a different project had her thinking about an exit from the industry.
During the interview, co-hosted by Jason Bateman, Sean Hayes and Will Arnett, Aniston was asked what was the closest she ever got to quitting the business.
“I would have to say the last two years that has crossed my mind,” she answered, “which it never did before.” The actress clarified that she thought about it before The Morning Show, but after a different “unprepared project” she had completed that, in her words, “sucked the life out of me.”
“I don’t know if this is what interests me,” she recalled thinking.
Jennifer Aniston’s Best Roles
As for what she would do instead, the answer is not unexpected. “Interior design, probably,” Aniston told the co-hosts of her alternate job, if she had to pick. “I love it. It’s my happy place. It’s really a happy place for me.”
If she ever does step away from show business, there are a few projects she will look back on with the most fondness. When asked what the most favorite job she’s ever had is, Aniston listed off a few highlights.
“I loved, well, obviously Friends,” she said. “That’s a no brainer…I would have to say that would be number one.”
Aniston also called out a beloved co-star. “I always love shooting with [Adam] Sandler. Just Go With It was super fun,” she noted. “We’ve known each other since we were 19.” The two also co-starred in Murder Mystery and have another project together coming up.
As for the movie she would consider her favorite experience, Aniston named the 2014 drama, Cake.
“That was an experience that was creatively fulfilling,” she said. “Everything I imagined as an actor I’d be completely afraid of and suck at, I didn’t so bad.”
Regeneron says its COVID-19 treatment reduces viral levels, improves symptoms
Oppenheimer: These 2 Stocks Are Poised to Surge by Over 100%
When it comes to the market’s wild swings, is the glass half empty or half full? Oppenheimer’s chief investment strategist John Stoltzfus is taking the latter view.Despite the volatility that has ruled the market over the last few weeks, Stoltzfus actually likes what he’s witnessing in both the market and the economy. In particular, he points to U.S. companies that have been outperforming most other markets around the world as exciting plays, with the innovation in the U.S. reflecting a key component of his bullish thesis.“The U.S. is outperforming most of the markets around the world — whether it’s developed markets or emerging markets… We’ve taken out the froth that had come into the market in certain [mega cap] names. It may be a good opportunity to pick up some really good, high quality growth stories that are on sale right now,” Stoltzfus noted.Additionally, the strategist believes the S&P 500 could climb back to its September 2 high point, based on improving economic data. The approval of a COVID-19 vaccine as well as an election outcome that is “friendly to the domestic economy, business, job growth and the taxpayer” could also push the index higher.Turning Stoltzfus’ outlook into tangible recommendations, Oppenheimer analysts are pounding the table on two stocks, with these pros seeing over 100% upside potential in store. Running the tickers through TipRanks’ database, we wanted to find out exactly what makes them so compelling.Brickell Biotech (BBI)Focused on the development of innovative and differentiated therapeutics for the treatment of skin diseases, Brickell Biotech wants to improve the lives of patients everywhere. Given the potential of the company’s lead candidate and its $0.82 share price, Oppenheimer thinks that now is the time to pull the trigger.Sofpironium bromide (SB), a prescription treatment for axillary hyperhidrosis (AH, or excessive underarm sweating), is entering U.S. Phase 3 trials. This program will consist of two identical six-week studies, and will evaluate its ability to improve the condition per the objective (gravimetric sweat production) and subjective (HDSM-Ax) co-primary endpoints. Each is expected to last 12 months, and the first will kick off next quarter.Roughly 10 million people in the U.S. suffer from AH, with this condition interfering with daily social and professional activities. Currently, only 2.3 million receive prescription treatment, and some resort to invasive or permanent interventions like Botox, MiraDry or surgery.Oppenheimer’s Leland Gershell argues that more conservative approaches could be used to meet these medical needs. He also believes the recent entry of Eli Lilly’s competing product, Qbrexza, represents a significant step forward. That said, there’s “room for improvement” with this anti-cholinergic approach.Looking at a U.S. Phase 2b trial, the highest dose of BBI’s SB gel (15%) demonstrated 46% greater sweat reduction per gravimetric analysis compared to the placebo, with significant reductions in a validated patient-reported outcome instrument seen at all doses. Based on the trial data, efficacy is over 50% better than Qbrexza per label, despite higher baseline severity. In addition, their safety profiles were relatively similar.It should be noted that BBI will market the drug to U.S. dermatologists through a specialty salesforce of 120 representatives. According to Gershell’s estimates, uptake by 110,000 patients per year (just 5% of the currently treated AH population) translates to $200 million in gross sales. The analyst adds that patent issuance could extend market exclusivity to 2040.Adding to the good news, on September 25, BBI announced that Kaken Pharmaceutical, its development partner, got the green light to manufacture SB in Japan for the treatment of AH. Japan is the first country to approve the candidate, with the launch expected later this year.To sum it all up, Gershell stated, “By virtue of its efficacy, tolerability, and antiperspirant-like application, we believe SB offers an attractive profile in a market that offers much room for improved solutions. We encourage risk-tolerant investors to build a position ahead of upcoming newsflow.”To this end, Gershell rates BBI an Outperform (i.e. Buy) along with a $5 price target. This target conveys the analyst’s confidence in BBI’s ability to surge 502% from current levels. (To watch Gershell’s track record, click here)Looking at the consensus breakdown, 2 Buys and no Holds or Sells have been published in the last three months. As a result, BBI gets a Moderate Buy consensus rating. The $5 average price target is identical to Gershell’s. (See BBI stock analysis on TipRanks)Aldeyra Therapeutics (ALDX)As for Oppenheimer’s other pick, Aldeyra Therapeutics works to bring new treatment options for immune-related diseases to market. Based on the solid progress of its pipeline, the firm has high hopes for this healthcare name.Representing Oppenheimer, analyst Justin Kim points out that he came away from a recent conversation with the CEO even more confident in ALDX’s long-term growth prospects. Pivotal studies on reactive aldehyde species (RASP) are slated for Q4 2020, evaluating the action of reproxalap, Aldeyra’s lead therapy designed to clamp down on overactive inflammation, on tear levels of RASP over a period ranging from 1-2 days to 28 days. “Based on Phase 2a results, we are confident in the ability to replicate results in Q4 2020,” Kim stated.Given the potential of dry eye disease (DED) in the near-term, the analyst expects significant investor focus to land on clinical trial execution (Phase 3 RASP studies and safety study), which would support a potential NDA filing by the end of 2021, in Kim’s opinion. “Despite some volatility in the shares, we see a solid setup emerging as the company initiates its Phase 3 RASP studies in dry eye disease (DED),” he said.Speaking to the potential of RASP as an accepted dry eye endpoint, ALDX has experienced “a watershed moment,” with it facilitating an expedited path to registration (from traditional sign endpoints) and greater likelihood of clinical trial success, based on reproxalap’s mechanism of action (MoA) as a RASP-trap, according to Kim.He added, “Moreover, agreement on RASP could have broader implications for a commercial launch in dry eye, a market that we believe will see segmentation as more therapies with targeted MoAs become incorporated into the armamentarium.”“We continue to be impressed by the progress in achieving a potential concurrent filing for dry eye and allergic conjunctivitis (AC), appreciating the importance of a differentiated dry eye agent with action also in AC. As the dry eye therapeutic landscape increases its options, we expect greater segmentation of the heterogeneous patient population potentially beginning with reproxalap’s positioning in ‘allergic dry eye’,” the analyst concluded. For the rest of 2020, focus is likely to stay on Phase 3 study designs (assay work/development), execution and the potential readout in DED, which could set the stage for a commercial launch in DED and AC in 2022.If that wasn’t enough, based on the broader pipeline of candidates targeting PVR, inflammatory conditions and COVID-19, Kim sees “a rich environment of catalysts for the shares over the coming 12-18 months.”It should come as no surprise, then, that Kim stayed with the bulls. To this end, he kept an Outperform rating and $15 price target on the stock. Investors could be pocketing a gain of 110%, should this target be met in the twelve months ahead. (To watch Kim’s track record, click here)What does the rest of the Street have to say? Only Buy ratings, 2 to be exact, have been issued in the last three months. So, the consensus rating is a Moderate Buy. In addition, the $23.50 average price target suggests 227% upside potential from current levels. (See ALDX stock analysis on TipRanks)To find good ideas for stocks trading at attractive valuations, visit TipRanks’ Best Stocks to Buy, a newly launched tool that unites all of TipRanks’ equity insights.Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the featured analysts. The content is intended to be used for informational purposes only. It is very important to do your own analysis before making any investment.
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