South African rand takes hit on new Covid fears, variant

South African rand.

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The South African rand fell sharply against the dollar on Friday after a new variant with many mutations was discovered in the country.

The currency fell as low as 16.2391 against the greenback during Friday’s Asian session and was last trading 1.6% weaker at 16.2215 per dollar.

The losses came as investors turned to safe-haven currencies like that Japanese YEN, which is up about 0.6% against the greenback to 114.69 per dollar. The USA Dollar indextracking the greenback versus its peers was at 96.712 – compared to levels below 96.5 seen earlier this week.

World Health Organization officials said Thursday They are monitoring a new variant with numerous mutations in the spike protein – the part of the virus that binds to body cells. The health authority is planning a special meeting for Friday to discuss what this can mean for vaccines and treatments.

According to the WHO, the variant with the designation B.1.1.529 was found in small numbers in South Africa.

“We don’t know much about it yet. What we do know is that this variant has a large number of mutations. “Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove, WHO technical director on Covid-19, said in a question-and-answer session that was broadcast live on the organization’s social media channels.

Hours after the announcement, the UK announced that it would Temporarily suspend flights from six African countries.

– CNBC’s Hannah Miao contributed to this report.

Fauci says Rand Paul ‘egregiously incorrect’ about acquire of operate analysis

White House Chief Medical Adviser Anthony Fauci makes an open statement prior to the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions hearing on “Next Steps: The Path for the COVID-19 Response” on Capitol Hill in Washington, USA, November 4, 2021.

Elizabeth Frantz | Reuters

The Chief Medical Advisor to the White House, Dr. Anthony Fauci and Senator Rand Paul exchanged views on Paul’s claims that the National Institutes of Health are supporting the acquisition of functional research in Wuhan, China, at a Senate hearing Thursday.

Paul urged Fauci to resign, accusing the NIH of funding research in Wuhan that experimented with existing pathogens to make them more contagious in hopes of understanding future infectious diseases. Fauci called Paul’s question a “egregious misrepresentation” and rejected the theory that Covid-19 came from a laboratory.

“I feel very uncomfortable having to say something, but he’s tremendously wrong in what he says,” said Fauci of Paul.

Fauci and Paul, the Junior Republican Senator from Kentucky, have clashed repeatedly during past Senate hearings. Paul previously accused Fauci of lying to Congress during a hearing about the gain of functional research on the 20th of July.

Paul claimed Thursday that the EcoHealth Alliance, a nonprofit organization funded by the NIH, developed a disease that doesn’t exist in nature by combining viruses in a laboratory. Fauci responded that Paul’s allegations did not match the NIH’s definition of gaining functional research, adding that he disagreed with Paul’s claim that the coronavirus leaked from a lab for the first time in 2019.

Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) questions the Director of the National Institute for Allergies and Infectious Diseases, Anthony Fauci, during a Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions hearing about the ongoing response to the COVID-19 pandemic at the Dirksen Senate office Buildings on Capitol Hill on November 04, 2021 in Washington, DC.

Chip Somodevilla | Getty Images

“Nobody claims that the viruses released by the Chinese are Covid,” said Paul. “What we are saying is that this was a risky kind of research. Gaining functional research, it was risky to share with the Chinese, and that Covid may have originated from an as-yet-to-be-revealed virus.”

Paul claimed the definition of function gains research changed on the NIH website, but Fauci said the definition used by the agency was developed over the course of more than two years before being formalized by the White House on science and technology policy in January became 2017.

“You’re not going to admit it’s dangerous, and because of that lack of judgment, I think it’s time you stepped back,” Paul said.

The National Intelligence Council published an assessment Last month on Covid-19 reported that the intelligence community “remains divided” on “the most likely origin” of the virus. US intelligence agencies are weighing two options, the report said: “natural exposure to an infected animal and a laboratory-related incident.”

The report also ruled out China making Covid as a biological weapon, adding that the Chinese government “likely had no prior knowledge” of the virus before the Wuhan Institute of Virology began isolating cases. However, in order to come to a formal conclusion about the origins of Covid, the researchers wrote that they would need “more transparency and cooperation from Beijing.”

“While we’re leaving all options open, it’s much more likely that this was a natural occurrence,” said Fauci.

Rand Paul’s Spouse Reportedly Misplaced Cash on Gilead Inventory Buy Disclosed 16 Months Late

Kentucky Senator Rand PaulThe wife’s wife has reportedly lost money on a stock purchase for a company conducting COVID-19 treatment, an investment that was reported 16 months late.

Paul filed a mandatory disclosure on Wednesday that revealed on February 26, 2020 that Kelley Paul had purchased between $ 1,001 and $ 15,000 worth of shares in Gilead, the company that makes the antiviral drug Remdesivir. The investment was made after congress was informed of the threat posed by COVID-19, but before the public was largely aware of it.

Senator spokeswoman Kelsey Cooper said in a statement that Kelley Paul used her own money on the investment and ended up losing money on it. Cooper called the senator’s failure to disclose the deal an oversight.

“Last year, Dr. Paul filled out the registration form for an investment his wife made with her own income, an investment where she lost money,” said Cooper. “In preparing to file his annual financial reports for last year, he learned that the form had not been submitted and immediately notified the filing office asking for their guidance. In accordance with these instructions, he filed both reports yesterday.”

According to the Stock Corporation Act, a law from 2012 designed to prevent the legislature from insider trading, the purchase of the stock should have been reported within 45 days.

More coverage from the Associated Press can be found below.

Senator Rand Paul’s wife invested in Gilead stock, which he reported 16 months later. Above, Paul discusses with Senator Todd Young during a business meeting of the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee on August 4, 2021.
Drew Angerer / Getty Images

News of the impending threat from the coronavirus spread through Congress in late January 2020 after members received the first of several briefings on the associated economic and health threat.

The release 16 months late adds Paul to a growing list of lawmakers from both parties who scrutinized their stock trading during the outbreak, which was declared a pandemic in March 2020.

Gilead stock traded for about $ 75 per share on the day Kelley Paul made her purchase. In April 2020, it rose to about $ 84 per share before falling again. Stocks now trade around $ 70 apiece.

The Kentucky Senator isn’t the first member of Congress to disclose deals that have been suggested by critics to benefit from the pandemic. Nor is he the first to fail to disclose trades in the required time.

However, the $ 1,001-15,000 invested by his wife is also tiny compared to some other lawmakers who bought or sold hundreds of thousands – if not millions – of stocks worth hundreds of thousands – if not millions – during the pandemic. (Congressional financial statements indicate dollar spreads for the value of assets, not specific dollar numbers.)

The Associated Press previously reported that New Jersey Democratic MP Tom Malinowski had repeatedly disclosed deals worth up to $ 1 million in medical and technology companies that were involved in the virus response.

Republican Senators David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler of Georgia both lost their runoffs for the senate in January after own stock trading became a major election issue. Both were investigated by the Justice Department and eventually released.

Perdue had dumped $ 1 million to $ 5 million worth of stock in a company he was previously a board member of. After the markets collapsed, he bought it back and earned a godsend after the price soared.

Loeffler and her husband, the CEO and chairman of the New York Stock Exchange’s parent company, dumped millions of dollars in stocks after a briefing about the virus.

North Carolina Republican Senator Richard Burr perhaps drew the most attention to his professions. He resigned as chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee after the FBI received a search warrant to confiscate a cell phone.

Burr and his wife sold between $ 600,000 and $ 1.7 million in more than 30 transactions in late January and mid-February, just before the market began to decline and state health officials began to raise the alarm about the virus. Burr was caught on a tape in early 2020 that privately warned a group of influential voters to prepare for economic devastation.

The Justice Department investigated Burr’s actions but did not bring charges and closed the case.

However, Paul is unique in some ways. As the first senator to infect COVID-19, he has repeatedly railed against mask mandates and other public health tools to stop the virus from spreading.

YouTube banned Paul for seven days on Tuesday and removed a video he posted claiming that cloth masks won’t prevent infection because it violates COVID-19 misinformation guidelines.

It’s the second time this month that one of Paul’s videos has been removed from YouTube for violating its misleading content rules. Paul called YouTube’s decision a “badge of honor” in a tweet.

Paul’s filing of mandatory disclosure was first reported by the Washington Post.


Senator Rand Paul waited more than a year to announce that his wife had bought shares in a company that is carrying out COVID-19 treatment. Above, Kelley Paul speaks during an interview with The Associated Press on the Citadel campus in Charleston, South Carolina on April 16, 2015.
Mic Smith, File / AP Photo