Economy & business/Silicon Valley & Technology
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Apple, Broadcom Told to Pay California University $1.1B Over Patents

A federal jury Wednesday decided that Apple Inc. and Broadcom Inc. must pay $1.1 billion to the California Institute of Technology for infringing on patents.Apple was on the hook for nearly $838 million of the damages awarded in a lawsuit that said Broadcom used its patented Wi-Fi data transmission technology in computer chips that went into iPhones, iPads, Apple Watches and other Apple devices.Caltech, the superstar tech school based in Pasadena, said it was pleased by the verdict of the Los Angeles jury.“As a nonprofit institution of higher education, Caltech is committed to protecting its intellectual property in furtherance of its mission to expand human knowledge and benefit society through research integrated with education,” a school statement said.Emails seeking comment from Cupertino-based Apple and Broadcom weren’t immediately returned Wednesday night but they are expected to appeal.Last week, San Jose-based Broadcom announced it had reached agreements to supply components to Apple devices released for the next three years.It wasn’t immediately clear what impact the lawsuit award would have on those deals, which Broadcom said could generate $15 billion in revenues.
 

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Arts & Entertainment/Economy & business
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‘1917’ Revives WWI with One Shot, Non- Stop Filming

The war film drama “1917” by Oscar winning filmmaker Sam Mendes has received 10 Oscar nominations making it one of the top Oscar contenders. The film follows two young soldiers during World War ONE on a mission to alert 1600 British soldiers that they are led into a trap by German forces. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more on the film

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Economy & business/Science & Health
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Coronavirus Outbreak Raises Health, Economic Concerns in Asia

Southeast Asia’s proximity to China and dependence on that nation for a major share of its economy is raising concerns that the coronavirus outbreak  that started there will not only have health impacts but harm the region’s economies.The outbreak, which has so far caused 41 deaths in China, and caused the country to quarantine 16 cities, is causing comparisons to the 2003 spread of severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS, which decreased the value of the global economy by $40 billion.“Now that the Wuhan coronavirus has been found to be able to be transmitted from human to human, the economic consequences could be extremely concerning for the Asia-Pacific region,” Rajiv Biswas, IHS Markit Asia Pacific chief economist, said.“Sectors of the economy that are particularly vulnerable to a SARS-like virus epidemic that can be spread by human-to-human transmission are retail stores, restaurants, conferences, sporting events, tourism and commercial aviation,” he said.Observers agree that tourism could be one of the hardest-hit industries, in part because of the millions of Chinese who usually travel now, during the Lunar New Year, and in part because China has grown so much in the last two decades that many neighboring nations depend on it for tourism.That is only one of the economic differences between China today and the China of the SARS virus in 2003.China has since then become a member of the World Trade Organization and the second-biggest economy in the world. Its supply chain has become more integrated with the rest of the world than it has ever been, and it has become the biggest trading partner for many countries in the region.The 2003 virus decreased China’s economic growth rate, but its effect was the same for Malaysia, Singapore, and Vietnam, Biswas said.This time around Chinese tourism matters even more to Southeast Asia.After Hong Kong, nations for which Chinese visitors’ spending accounts for the biggest share of gross domestic product are, from most to least, Cambodia, Thailand, Singapore, Vietnam, and Malaysia, according to statistics released by Capital Economics, a London-based research company, Friday. In many of these nations, businesses catering to tourists display signs in Chinese, accept China’s yuan currency, and use that country’s WeChat for mobile payments.Major tourism events in the region add to the threat that the virus and its economic impact will spread, such as the Tokyo Summer Olympics, Biswas said. Vietnam will also host the Vietnam Grand Prix Formula One race this year, while Malaysia will host the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum.Singapore is an island nation that depends heavily on foreign trade, including to facilitate trade and investment in China. Selena Ling, head of treasury research and strategy at Singapore’s OCBC Bank, said Friday she was expecting Singapore’s economy to stage a modest recovery from 2019, but that may change.She said “the recent coronavirus outbreak originating from China to other countries including Singapore may impart some uncertainty to near-term business and consumer sentiments.”That could mean slower growth in the first quarter of 2020, she said.

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Chinese Coronavirus Spreads Around The World

A coronavirus has stopped cold Lunar New Year celebrations for tens of millions of Chinese.China’s National Health Commission says the death toll from the new virus has jumped to 41, with more than 1200 infections in 29 provinces across the country.Fifteen medical workers are among those who have been infected.  One doctor has died.Hundreds of medical personnel have been deployed to Wuhan, the epicenter of the outbreak, where the virus emerged late last year.Wuhan, like 16 other Chinese cities, has been shuttered, in an effort to contain the coronavirus.   The local government of the virus-hit city said Saturday, “Motor vehicles shall be prohibited from driving in the central urban areas.”Beijing’s Forbidden City and Shanghai Disneyland have been closed indefinitely. Popular tourist destination Sanya city in Hainan province has closed all tourist sites to prevent the spread of the virus.Hong Kong has declared a state of emergency, canceling the official Lunar New Year celebration and closing schools.The virus is making is slowly making its way around the world.Five cases have been reported in Thailand.Australia has reported four cases.France, Japan, Malaysia and Taiwan have each reported three cases.Both the United States and Vietnam confirmed two cases.Nepal reported one case.

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China Reports 15 More Deaths From Coronavirus, Bringing Toll to 41

China is reporting another 15 deaths from the coronavirus, bringing the toll from the disease to 41, and an additional 180 people sickened in central Hubei province.The new figures, announced by officials in Hubei province, brought the number of confirmed cases of coronavirus to more than 1,000.The development came as France announced three cases of the virus, marking the first confirmed diagnoses in Europe.French health officials said Friday that two of the cases involved patients who had recently traveled from China, while the third person was a relative of one of the initial patients.Dr. Allison Arwady, commissioner, Chicago Department of Public Health, speaks at a news conference, Jan. 24, 2020, in Chicago. A Chicago woman has become the second U.S. patient diagnosed with the dangerous new virus from China.Second US caseAlso Friday, U.S. health officials reported a second patient infected with the virus, a woman from Chicago, Illinois, who returned January 13 from Wuhan, where the epidemic is believed to have started.The woman, who is in her 60s, reportedly is doing well but is hospitalized “primarily for infection control,” said Dr. Allison Arwady, Chicago’s public health commissioner.People who had close contact with the woman were being monitored.The U.S. announced its first case Tuesday in the northwestern state of Washington. Health officials there said a man who returned to Seattle from Wuhan last week was hospitalized in good condition, but had pneumonia.Medical authorities say it’s likely additional cases will be identified in the near term because the virus apparently has a two-week incubation period.Dr. Anthony Fauci, head of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, talks to reporters before the start of a closed all-senators briefing on the coronavirus on Capitol Hill in Washington, Jan. 24, 2020.The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said more than 2,000 travelers returning to U.S. soil had been screened at U.S. airports, and 63 patients in 22 states were being tested. Of those being tested, 11 thus far have been found to be free of the virus.The Pentagon said Friday that it had no indication “of outbreaks that would affect our personnel.” However, Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman said U.S. base commanders were monitoring the situation “particularly in the Indo-Pacific region” and “have the authority to take additional action if they need to.”A police officer checks the temperature of a driver at a highway in Wuhan, in China’s central Hubei province, Jan. 24, 2020.Cities locked down, Disney closesThe Chinese government isolated more cities Friday, an unprecedented move to contain the coronavirus, which has spread to other countries.At least 10 cities, and a total of at least 33 million people, have been put on lockdown — Wuhan, Huanggang, Ezhou, Chibi, Qianjiang, Zhijiang, Jingmen, Xiantao, Xiaogan and Huangshi, all in Hubei province — on the eve of the Lunar New Year, when millions of Chinese traditionally travel.Shanghai Disney Resort announced on its website that it is temporarily closing Shanghai Disneyland, a major tourist attraction during Lunar New Year, “in response to the prevention and control of the disease outbreak and in order to ensure the health and safety” of guests and cast.The municipal authorities of Wuhan said Friday that the city was building a new 1,000-bed hospital, expected to be completed by February 3.On Thursday, authorities banned planes and trains from leaving Wuhan. Toll roads were closed, and ferry, subway and bus services were also suspended.Wuhan authorities have demanded that all residents wear masks in public and urged government and private sector employees to wear them in the workplace, according to the Xinhua news agency, which cited a government official.Similar measures were taken hours later in the nearby cities of Huanggang and Ezhou.The government also canceled holiday events in Beijing that usually attract large crowds.Fifteen medical workers are among those who have been infected by the virus, which has spread from Wuhan to Beijing, Shanghai and Guangdong province. Most of the cases have been in China, but cases have also been reported in Japan, South Korea, Thailand, Taiwan, Vietnam, Singapore, Nepal, France and the United States.US working on vaccineScientists at the U.S. Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, Maryland, are working on developing a vaccine for the coronavirus.“It will take at least three months to complete the first phase of development,” said Dr. Lily Dai, a researcher at the institute. She spoke with VOA’s Mandarin service as an individual scientist, not as an NIH representative.Dai said that after the first phase of development, researchers will test the vaccine on people for another three months to determine if it is safe.Forest Cong of VOA’s Mandarin service contributed to this report.

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Economy & business/Science & Health
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WHO Expects Coronavirus Cases, Deaths to Escalate

The World Health Organization says the number of reported cases and deaths from the new coronavirus is probably an underestimation. The latest reports put the number of confirmed cases at 830, including 26 deaths.Most of the infections and all of the deaths have occurred in China. A small number of coronavirus cases have been reported in seven other countries, including the United States. All have been mild, and all of those patients have recovered.World Health Organization spokesman Tarik Jasarevic says it is too early to draw conclusions about the severity of the coronavirus.”Because at the beginning of any outbreak, you would focus more on the severe cases and you will have more of those and then maybe we are missing some mild cases because people will just be a little bit sick and will not be ever tested and they will recover,” Jasarevic said. “We may see more mild cases as surveillance intensifies. So, the issue is not really so much on numbers that we know that will go up.”Michael Ryan, the executive director of the WHO’s health emergencies program, says there is no particular treatment for this new pneumonia-like coronavirus.”There have been a number of compounds that have been used in the fight against coronavirus, but it is very important to recognize that there is no recognized effective therapeutic against coronaviruses,” he said. “However, there are potential clinical trials that can be done with agents and that is what we are focused on right now — identifying other therapeutic agents and opportunities to test new drugs.”On Thursday, a WHO expert committee decided not to declare the coronavirus a public health emergency of international concern. WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus noted the virus was an emergency in China, but had not yet become a global health emergency.He did, however, add the WHO was ready to reconvene another emergency meeting to review the decision if the evolution of the epidemic warranted a re-examination.  
 

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More Airports Screening Passengers Amid China Virus Outbreak

More airports are beginning to screen passengers arriving from China amid growing concerns Friday over the outbreak of a new virus there that has already killed more than two dozen people and sickened hundreds.
    
The energy-rich Gulf Arab nation of Qatar, home to long-haul carrier Qatar Airways, said it had installed thermal scanners at its main hub, Hamad International Airport.
    
Kuwait announced similar measures late the night before at Kuwait International Airport, joining the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, which on Thursday announced screenings for all passengers arriving on direct flights from China, including at Dubai International Airport, the world’s busiest.
    
Kuwait’s state-run news agency said isolation rooms had also been opened at Kuwait International Airport for passengers suspected to have the virus.
    
Elsewhere in the region, Bahrain said it was taking unspecified steps over the virus.
    
China has shut down Wuhan and other cities in the Hubei province, which is the center of the outbreak of the newly identified coronavirus.
    
A scattered number of cases have been confirmed in other countries, but their are fears that during the travel and festivities accompanying Lunar New Year starting this weekend the virus could spread more widely.
    
The U.S. State Department on Thursday pulled all non-emergency American personnel and their family out of the province, and issued a travel warning urging people not to visit Hubei.
    
In Pakistan the Civil Aviation Authority said Friday all passengers coming from neighboring China will be screened for the virus, and any suspected of being infected will be kept in isolation at designated hospitals.
    
Officials say the number of Chinese nationals travelling between Pakistan and China have seen a considerable increase in recent years because of Beijing’s billions of dollars investment in infrastructure development projects.
    
As many as 41 flights from China land at Pakistani airports every week.
    
In Afghanistan, which shares a border with both Pakistan and China, Health Ministry spokesman Nezamuddin Jalil said authorities are concerned about the virus but so far had no reports of any suspected cases and had not instituted any additional airport screening measures.
    
Africa’s busiest hub, Bole International Airport in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, has also started screening passengers from China, according to health officials.
    
In addition, two hospitals in the capital are being prepared for any emergency cases. Ethiopia is home to Africa’s largest airline, Ethiopian Airlines, which transports hundreds of passengers every day between China and the East African nation.
    
In Cairo, airport authorities launched a program to train airport staff and airline crews on handling passengers arriving from China who might be affected by the new virus. Lectures have been held and pamphlets with details about the symptoms are being handed out, added airport officials, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss the measures. 

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