Women likely to be harder hit than men by trade disruptions: WTO report

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Women are likely to be harder hit than men by trade disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and the dangers are particularly acute in developing countries, according to a paper by the Geneva-based (WTO).


It said that women make up a larger share of the workforce in the manufacturing sectors, such as textiles, apparel, footwear and telecommunication products, that have seen the largest falls in export growth during the first months of the pandemic.



In the services sector also, it said, women also outnumber men in industries that have been directly affected by travel restrictions, such as tourism and business travel services.


“Women are at risk of suffering more than men from the trade disruption generated by the COVID-19 pandemic. One of the reasons for this is that a larger share of women works in sectors and types of firms that have been particularly hard-hit by the pandemic,” it said.


The paper stated that maintaining open markets during the recovery period is key to building faster and more inclusive growth, the information note states.


It added that this should be complemented by

Probe into Google-Fitbit $2.1 bn deal shows EU wising up to data value

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Silicon Valley giants used to snap up smaller tech firms at will, safe in the knowledge that antitrust regulators rarely prevented them from expanding into new industries.


The European Commission showed on Tuesday that those days are gone, opening an in-depth probe into Google’s $2.1 billion takeover of — an investigation that focuses on the potentially huge value of its trove of customer data.



The EU authority will investigate how could bolster its “data advantage” in online advertising with information it collects from fitness. The probe, which has an initial December 9 deadline, raises the risk of a potential veto.


The commission “seems to be finally seizing a unique opportunity to stand up to digital dominance that seeks to exploit our most intimate data for profit”, said Ioannis Kouvakas of Privacy International, which lobbied for a longer EU probe. The deal would strengthen Google’s access to health data “at what might be a critical point for the development of this increasingly important market”.


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Regulators are increasingly suspicious of tech giants’

Thousands Rescued From Destructive Forest Fires In Southern France

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Almost 3,000 people were evacuated Tuesday night, some by boat, from homes and camping sites near Marseille in southern France as forest fires tore through 1,000 hectares (2,500 acres) of vegetation.

About 1,800 firefighters battled blazes fanned by strong winds overnight and 14 sustained light injuries, officials said. No civilians were hurt.

The occupants of an old people’s home and other locals, as well as tourists from France and abroad, had to be rescued as flames devoured the Blue Coast — a pine tree-lined area between Marseille and Martigues on the Mediterranean shore.

Homes and eight campsites near Martigues, where the fire started, and Sausset-les-Pins were evacuated “as a preventative measure”, the fire service said.





Some 1,800 firefighters are battling the blaze
 AFP / Xavier LEOTY

Some people had to be saved by sea from camping sites and beaches.

“It was an exceptional fire, unheard of: it was advancing at the speed of a tornado,” said firefighter Jean-Eric Lepine, his eyes reddened by fatigue.



Many of those evacuated spent the night in a gymnasium, while others were taken in by locals


Many of those evacuated spent the night in a gymnasium, while others were taken in by locals
 AFP / Christophe SIMON

“Every three minutes, there were gas explosions because of the bottles installed in the bungalows,”

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