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Vietnam to resume international flights

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A policeman manages the traffic in Hanoi, Vietnam on Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2020. Vietnam will resume international commercial flights connecting the country to several Asian destinations after a monthslong shutdown to curb the coronavirus outbreak. (AP Photo/Hau Dinh)

HANOI, Vietnam (AP) — Vietnam will resume international commercial flights to several Asian destinations starting Friday, after a monthslong shutdown to curb the coronavirus outbreak.

The flights, however, are reserved for Vietnamese nationals, diplomats, experts, managers, skilled workers, investors and their families. They are not yet available for tourists.

According to a report on the government website, flights connecting Vietnam’s two largest cities — Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City — to destinations in South Korea, Japan, China and Taiwan will operate on a weekly basis. Flights connecting the cities with Cambodia and Laos will resume next week.

To board a flight, passengers must hold a certificate showing they have tested negative for the coronavirus no more than five days before the departure date. Upon arrival, they will be tested and placed under quarantine, the report said.

Vietnam shut down international flights on April 1. National carrier Vietnam Airlines estimated last month that it would lose $650 million in 2020.

Vietnam has reported 1,059 cases of the coronavirus. It managed to avoid any deaths until July, when the virus crept into the city of Da Nang, killing 35 people.

But no new cases have been reported for two weeks. Last week, Da Nang lifted a travel restriction after two months.

Elsewhere in the Asia-Pacific region:

— India’s coronavirus confirmed cases crossed 5 million on Wednesday, still soaring and testing the country’s feeble health care system in tens of thousands of impoverished towns and villages. The Health Ministry reported 90,123 new cases in the past 24 hours, raising the nation’s confirmed total to 5,020,359, about 0.35% of its nearly 1.4 billion population. It said 1,290 more people died in the past 24 hours, for a total of 82,066. India’s total coronavirus caseload is closing in on the United States’ highest tally of more than 6.6 million cases and expected to surpass it within weeks. India reported a record daily high of 97,570 cases on Sept. 11 and has added more than 1 million cases this month alone.

— South Korea’s daily coronavirus tally has stayed below 200 for two weeks, but the government is urging people not to lower their guard. Authorities said Wednesday that the 113 cases added in the last 24 hours took the country’s total to 22,504, including 367 deaths. Eighty-one of them were in the Seoul metropolitan area, the heart of a recent viral resurgence in South Korea. Vice Health Minister Kim Gang-lip called on people to refrain from having unnecessary gatherings and visiting crowded places.

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Christine founded Sports Grind Entertainment with an aim to bring relevant and unaltered Sports news to the general public with a specific view point for each story catered by the team. She is a proficient journalist who holds a reputable portfolio with proficiency in content analysis and research.

Christine founded Sports Grind Entertainment with an aim to bring relevant and unaltered Sports news to the general public with a specific view point for each story catered by the team. She is a proficient journalist who holds a reputable portfolio with proficiency in content analysis and research.

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Gilead Settles US Kickback Allegations For $97M

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Yahoo Finance

Gilead Sciences, Inc (NASDAQ: GILD) has agreed to pay $97 million to settle allegations that it illegally paid for Medicare co-pays for its own pulmonary arterial hypertension drug Letairis through a charitable entity.What Happened: The Foster City, California-based drugmaker allegedly used a conduit foundation named Caring Voice Coalition (CVC) even though it was prohibited from doing so under the Anti-Kickback Statute, according to a statement issued by the U.S. Department of Justice."Gilead used CVC to cover the patients' co-pays in order to induce those patients' purchases of Letairis," the Justice Department claimed. "Gilead knew that the prices it set for Letairis otherwise could have posed a barrier to those purchases."The Justice Department also accused United Therapeutics Corporation (NASDAQ: UTHR) and privately-held Actelion of engaging in similar practices."Such conduct not only violates the anti-kickback statute, it also undermines the Medicare program's co-pay structure," said U.S. Attorney Andrew E. Lelling. Why It Matters: Prosecutors have collected over $1 billion from eleven pharmaceutical companies that include the likes of Pfizer Inc (NYSE: PFE), Sanofi (NASDAQ: SNY), and Novartis AG (NYSE: NVS). Gilead said it doesn't believe it violated the law, adding that there were no allegations made that patients who received the drug didn't need it, according to Reuters. Gilead's drug Remdesivir received emergency use authorization in early May for treatment of COVID-19 and the company's CEO claimed it has enough inventory to treat every hospitalized American.Last week, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said the state had filed civil charges against Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ) in connection with understating risks posed by opioid drugs to elderly patients.Price Action: Gilead shares closed nearly 0.5% lower at $63.09 on Wednesday and fell 0.54% in the after-hours session.See more from Benzinga * Gilead's Remdesivir-Like Compound To Be Studied By NIH For Efficacy Against COVID-19 * Gilead Seeks Full FDA Approval Of Its Remdesivir Drug For Coronavirus(C) 2020 Benzinga.com. Benzinga does not provide investment advice. All rights reserved.

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Christine founded Sports Grind Entertainment with an aim to bring relevant and unaltered Sports news to the general public with a specific view point for each story catered by the team. She is a proficient journalist who holds a reputable portfolio with proficiency in content analysis and research.

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Republicans sue Texas governor over expanded early voting

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Republicans sue Texas governor over expanded early voting

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Republican Gov. Greg Abbott, who has refused calls to expand mail-in voting in Texas during the coronavirus pandemic, was sued Wednesday by prominent members of his own party who now want to halt the biggest change he instead ordered for November’s election — extending early voting by a week.

The lawsuit escalates an extraordinary backlash Abbott is facing from the Texas GOP’s right wing that has criticized his handling of the pandemic as overbearing and unlawful. As Texas has now surpassed 15,000 deaths from COVID-19, anger among conservative activists has simmered for months over a statewide mask mandate and lockdown orders, including bars, which have been closed since June.

Previous challenges to Abbott’s orders were largely mounted by conservative activists, but the latest one filed straight to the Texas Supreme Court widens the list to seven GOP lawmakers as well as Allen West, a former Florida congressman who is the new chairman of the Texas Republican Party.

They argue Abbott did not have the power to put in place six additional days of early voting without input from the state Legislature, which is out of session this year and won’t meet again until January.

“Abbott’s Executive Orders are unprecedented and have had life and death implications, destroyed small businesses and family’s livelihoods, have had a crippling effect on every single community, and now have the ability to impact local, state and national elections,” the lawsuit stated.

An Abbott spokesman did not immediately return a request for comment.

Early in-person voting in Texas begins Oct. 13. Those extra days have not satisfied voting rights groups or Democrats in Texas, which is one of just five states not offering widespread mail-in balloting amid the coronavirus pandemic. President Donald Trump has railed against expanding mail-in voting, claiming without evidence that doing so would lead to widespread fraud, and his allies in America’s biggest red state have held the line.

Earlier this week, West released a statement suggesting without evidence that expanding voting access in any form in Texas would also invite fraud. “The more we expand the time, place, and manner that people can vote, the more opportunity there is for corruption,” West said. Voter fraud is exceedingly rare in the United States, with one analysis by the Brennan Center for Justice finding it only occurs in between .0003 and .0025 percent of all votes cast.

Asked last week why Texas hasn’t joined the list of states expanding mail-in voting — which now includes South Carolina, another red state — Abbott said lawmakers have previously decided the current rules are sufficient. “Those voting standards are thoughtfully arrived at, and have proven to be effective,” he said.

Democrats, whose prospects in Texas this year are the brightest in decades, criticized the lawsuit.

“We should be expanding early voting and vote by mail options, not cutting them,” Texas Democratic Party spokesman Abhi Rahman said. “We support voters having every opportunity to vote, and have been for those options the entirety of this pandemic — and the decades before that.”

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Christine founded Sports Grind Entertainment with an aim to bring relevant and unaltered Sports news to the general public with a specific view point for each story catered by the team. She is a proficient journalist who holds a reputable portfolio with proficiency in content analysis and research.

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AR Takes on More Functional Role in Consumer Experience

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AR Takes on More Functional Role in Consumer Experience

TipRanks

3 “Strong Buy” Stocks That Are Flirting With a Bottom

In the investing game, it’s not only about what you buy; it’s about when you buy it. One of the most common pieces of advice thrown around the Street, “buy low” is touted as a tried-and-true tactic.Sure, the strategy seems simple. Stock prices naturally fluctuate on the basis of several factors like earnings results and the macro environment, amongst others, with investors trying to time the market and determine when stocks have hit a bottom. In practice, however, executing on this strategy is no easy task.On top of this, given the volatility that has ruled the markets over the last few weeks, how are investors supposed to gauge when a name is flirting with a bottom? That’s where the Wall Street pros come in.These expert stock pickers have identified three compelling tickers whose current share prices land close to their 52-week lows. Noting that each is set to take back off on an upward trajectory, the analysts see an attractive entry point. Using TipRanks’ database, we found out that the analyst consensus has rated all three a Strong Buy, with major upside potential also on tap.Progenity (PROG)Offering clear and actionable genetic results, Progenity specializes in providing testing services. The company started trading on Nasdaq in June and saw its shares tumbling 44% since then. With shares changing hands for $8.11, several members of the Street recommend pulling the trigger before it heats up.Piper Sandler analyst Steven Mah points out that even against the backdrop of COVID-19, PROG managed to deliver with its Q2 2020 performance. “We are encouraged by the recovery in late Q2 2020 with 75,000 accessioned tests (~79,000 in Q1 2020), driven by noninvasive prenatal testing (NIPT) and carrier screening,” the analyst noted. Expounding on this, Mah stated, “Progenity did not provide guidance, but June test volumes of ~28,000 were strong (Q1 2020 monthly average was ~26,000) which we believe showcases the durability of its reproductive tests and the success that Progenity has in co-marketing and attaching carrier screening to the more essential NIPT. Of note, despite the pandemic disruptions, Progenity was able to maintain its leading pre-COVID test turnaround times.”Additionally, health insurer Aetna is temporarily extending coverage of average-risk NIPT until year-end as a result of the pandemic, with the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) also expected to endorse average-risk in the future given its clinical utility, in Mah’s opinion.Reflecting another positive, the fourth generation NIPT (single-molecule counting assay) test was able to measure fetal fraction, a key milestone according to Mah, and will continue to be developed into 2021. As the technology could potentially be applied to DNA, RNA, epigenetic markers and proteins for additional clinical applications such as oncology, the analyst is looking forward to the completion of the preeclampsia verification in Q4 2020 and a possible 2H21 launch. “We believe preeclampsia (~2.3 billion serviceable market) is a major differentiator for Progenity, allowing them to cross-sell across the full-continuum of reproductive testing,” the analyst added.If that wasn’t enough, PROG signed its first GI Precision Medicine partnership agreement with a top-20 Pharma company in August. The Oral Biotherapeutic Delivery System (OBDS), an ingestible drug and device combination designed to precisely deliver biologics systemically through a needle-free liquid jet injection into the submucosal tissues of the small intestine, is set to be utilized as part of the collaboration. Mah commented, “We believe Progenity can sign additional Pharma deals and look forward to the newsflow coming out on this front.”To sum it all up, Mah said, “We believe Progenity shares are undervalued given the robust recovery in the core testing business and multiple upcoming growth catalysts.”To this end, Mah rates PROG an Overweight (i.e. Buy) along with a $17 price target. Should his thesis play out, a twelve-month gain of 105% could potentially be in the cards. (To watch Mah’s track record, click here)Are other analysts in agreement? They are. Only Buy ratings, 4, in fact, have been issued in the last three months. Therefore, the message is clear: PROG is a Strong Buy. Given the $13.33 average price target, shares could climb 60% higher in the next year. (See PROG stock analysis on TipRanks)Tactile Systems Technology (TCMD)Developing at-home therapy devices, Tactile Systems Technology wants to provide new treatments for lymphedema, which occurs when the lymphatic system is impaired, disrupting normal transport of fluid within the body, and chronic venous insufficiency. Down 52% year-to-date, its $32.67 share price lands close to its $29.47 52-week low. Thus, with business trends improving, the Street is pounding the table.Writing for Canaccord, analyst Cecilia Furlong acknowledges that the pandemic has hampered the company, with COVID-19 weighing on both volumes and sales. In the second half of March, volumes were down 50% compared to the first half of the month, and TCMD’s patient volumes in April and May remained challenged. That being said, trends started to improve at the end of May.“Going forward, given the vast majority of TCMD’s clinician customers practice in outpatient or office-based settings, we remain positive on TCMD’s ability to demonstrate better insulation against COVID impacts and likely experience a greater bounce-back relative to overall med-tech volume trends, with TCMD further benefitting from its expanding using of technology to remotely engage with clinicians and support patients,” Furlong explained.The analyst added, “Furthermore, recent trends among some providers to prescribe Flexitouch (an advanced intermittent pneumatic compression device to self-manage lymphedema and nonhealing venous leg ulcers) earlier along the therapy process, as a means to reduce in-person contact, could provide upside near term, as well as potentially transition to a longer-term tailwind.”On top of this, Furlong is also optimistic about new CEO Dan Reuvers and the reprioritization of the company’s investment and market development efforts. TCMD will shift focus away from its acquired Airwear product line, with it redirecting investments toward its Flexitouch and Entre (a pneumatic compression device used to assist in the home management of chronic swelling and venous ulcers associated with lymphedema and chronic venous insufficiency) products.“Given significant under-penetration in the lymphedema/phlebolymphedema market targeted by Flexitouch alongside the large patient population with limited treatment options today targeted by the firm’s Head & Neck platform, we view the combination of education and clinical data as key to further developing and penetrating these markets… Going forward, we expect management to continue to compile a broad base of clinical data to support reimbursement and drive broad adoption,” Furlong commented.All of this prompted Furlong to keep a Buy rating and $62 price target on the stock. This target conveys her confidence in TCMD’s ability to soar 90% in the next year. (To watch Furlong’s track record, click here)In general, other analysts are on the same page. With 3 Buy ratings and 1 Hold, the word on the Street is that TCMD is a Strong Buy. The $62.33 average price target brings the upside potential to 91%. (See TCMD stock analysis on TipRanks)uniQure N.V. (QURE)Last but not least we have uniQure, which delivers curative gene therapies that could potentially transform the lives of patients. Even though shares have fallen 44% year-to-date to $40, not much higher than its 52-week low of $36.20, multiple analysts still have high hopes.Representing SVB Leerink, 5-star analyst Joseph Schwartz acknowledges that shares struggled after news broke of its collaboration and licensing agreement with CSL Behring for AMT-061, QURE’s gene therapy for Hemophilia B, he argues the “shareholder base turnover is likely now complete as investors and QURE shift focus to next-in-line AMT-130, its AAV5 gene therapy for Huntington’s Disease (HD).”Schwartz further added, “With the M&A premium now out of the stock, we see the QURE’s current level as an attractive buying opportunity for those investors interested in the company’s up and coming CNS gene therapies, internal manufacturing, and robust intellectual property and knowhow.”Looking more closely at the agreement with CSL Behring, QURE will be tasked with the completion of the pivotal Phase 3 HOPE-B trial as well as the manufacturing process validation and manufacturing supply of AMT-061.According to management, 26-week Factor IX (FIX) data from all 54 patients enrolled in the trial remains on track, and topline data from the pivotal trial is still slated to read out by YE20. It should be mentioned that in a Phase 2b dose-confirmation study, QURE reported 41% FIX activity out to one year. Additionally, Schwartz points out that with HOPE-B progressing as planned, QURE has continued its manufacturing process validation work ahead of the anticipated BLA/MAA submissions in the U.S. and EU in 2021.On top of this, as part of the deal, QURE is eligible to receive more than $2 billion including a $450 million upfront cash payment, $1.6 billion in regulatory and commercial milestones and double-digit royalties ranging up to the low-twenties percentage of net product sales.“With a strengthened cash position, QURE is well funded to rapidly advance CNS assets including AMT-130 (AAV5 gene therapy for Huntington’s Disease (HD)) and AMT-150 (AAV gene therapy for Spinocerebellar Ataxia Type 3/SCA3)…We continue to believe that as QURE’s CNS pipeline assets mature, the company could once again be an attractive partner to larger biopharma companies that have recently acquired many publicly traded gene therapy platforms with substantial manufacturing capabilities,” Schwartz noted.Everything that QURE has going for it convinced Schwartz to reiterate an Outperform (i.e. Buy) rating. Along with the call, he attached a $67 price target, suggesting 68% upside potential from current levels. (To watch Schwartz’s track record, click here)What does the rest of the Street have to say? 9 Buys and 3 Holds have been issued in the last three months, so the consensus rating is a Strong Buy. In addition, the $69.89 average price target indicates 75% upside potential. (See QURE stock analysis on TipRanks)To find good ideas for beaten-down 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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Christine founded Sports Grind Entertainment with an aim to bring relevant and unaltered Sports news to the general public with a specific view point for each story catered by the team. She is a proficient journalist who holds a reputable portfolio with proficiency in content analysis and research.

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