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Suspected North Korean hackers targeted COVID-19 vaccine maker AstraZeneca.

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NOVEMBER 27, 2020

Reuters News Now

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE CORONAVIRUS TODAY

Suspected North Korean hackers targeted AstraZeneca
Suspected North Korean hackers have tried to break into the systems of AstraZeneca in recent weeks, two people with knowledge of the matter told Reuters, as the company races to deploy its vaccine for the COVID-19 virus.

The hackers posed as recruiters on networking site LinkedIn and WhatsApp to approach AstraZeneca staff with fake job offers, the sources said. They then sent documents purporting to be job descriptions that were laced with malicious code designed to gain access to a victim’s computer.

The hacking attempts targeted a “broad set of people” including staff working on COVID-19 research, said one of the sources, but are not thought to have been successful.

Questions over AstraZeneca trial data
Britain gave AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine a vote of confidence on Friday when it asked its regulator to assess it for a rollout after experts raised questions about trial data and the company said it might run another study to gauge the shot’s efficacy. The UK government has secured 100 million doses of the vaccine, developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University, the most supplies it has ordered of any shot to fight the pandemic. Scientists have raised doubts about the robustness of results showing the shot was 90% effective in a sub-group of trial participants who, by error initially, received a half dose followed by a full dose.

South Korea battles surge in symptomless cases
Asymptomatic COVID-19 patients are driving a surge in new cases in South Korea, frustrating efforts to control transmission by the East Asian country which managed to keep infections under control in previous outbreaks. South Korea reported 569 new cases in the 24 hours ending Thursday midnight, a level unseen in nearly nine months, as it grapples with the third wave of the pandemic that appears to be worsening despite tough new social distancing measures.

Infections in Germany surpass 1 million
The number of COVID-19 infections in Germany exceeded the 1 million mark and the daily death toll hit a record of 426, data from the Robert Koch Institute for infectious diseases showed. The figures reflected the reality that Germany was at best keeping new infections stable, which Chancellor Angela Merkel has said would not suffice to ease restrictions and eliminate the risk of overwhelming hospitals.

Russia to vaccinate armed forces
Russia plans to vaccinate more than 400,000 military personnel against COVID-19, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said, as authorities reported a record 27,543 new cases. Russia, which is working on several vaccines against the virus, has seen a surge in infections since September but authorities have resisted imposing lockdowns, relying instead on targeted measures in certain regions.

Australian hotspot goes 28 days without an infection
Australia’s second-largest state, Victoria, once the country’s COVID-19 hotspot, said it has gone 28 days without detecting any new infections, a benchmark widely cited as eliminating the virus from the community. The state also has zero active cases after the last COVID-19 patient was discharged from hospital this week, a far cry from August when Victoria recorded more than 700 cases in one day and active infections totaled nearly 8,000.

COVID-19 infections are still rising in 65 countries.
There have been at least 60,887,000 reported infections and 1,430,000 reported deaths caused by the new coronavirus so far.

From Breakingviews - Corona Capital: Scotland, EU impasse, Amazon.
COVID-19 may fast-track a UK breakup that has been on the cards since Britons voted for Brexit in 2016, resolving a standoff on much-needed European Union money is going to take ingenuity and Amazon is looking to spend $500 million on Christmas bonuses for front-line workers. Catch up with the latest financial insights.

Reuters reporters and editors around the world are investigating the response to the coronavirus pandemic.

We need your help to tell these stories. Our news organization wants to capture the full scope of what’s happening and how we got here by drawing on a wide variety of sources.

Are you a government employee or contractor involved in coronavirus testing or the wider public health response? Are you a doctor, nurse or health worker caring for patients? Have you worked on similar outbreaks in the past? Has the disease known as COVID-19 personally affected you or your family? Are you aware of new problems that are about to emerge, such as critical supply shortages?

We need your tips, firsthand accounts, relevant documents or expert knowledge. Please contact us at coronavirus@reuters.com.

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U.S.

From Walmart to Best Buy, retailers have overhauled Black Friday shopping, with some assigning clerks in orange vests to serve as traffic cops, taking shoppers’ temperatures and offering “grab-and-go” merchandise, including toys, bikes and kitchen appliances to discourage lingering in store aisles. Most major retailers closed on Thanksgiving this year in a nod to the stress endured by their workers during a global health pandemic. Walmart reopened stores at 5 a.m. on Friday, directing shoppers to turn right upon entering and proceed along main aisles to shop deals before paying at registers surrounded by plastic barriers.

'Kind of lonely': Americans marked a muted Thanksgiving Day holiday, sometimes seeing family only by video after political leaders discouraged travel or large gatherings in the face of the surging coronavirus pandemic. Thanksgiving, typically celebrated with big family dinners, became the latest major event in American life to be altered or diminished by the coronavirus in 2020 as most U.S. states struggle with spiraling infections and deaths.

POLITICS

Inching toward exit, President Donald Trump said he will leave the White House if the Electoral College votes for President-elect Joe Biden, the closest he has come to conceding the election, even as he repeated unfounded claims of massive voter fraud. Speaking to reporters on the Thanksgiving holiday, Trump said if Biden - who is due to be sworn in on Jan. 20 - is formally declared the winner by the Electoral College, he will depart the White House.

Can Trump pardon his associates — or himself? Trump pardoned his former national security adviser Michael Flynn, kicking off what is expected to be a string of pardons during the final weeks of the Trump administration. Here is an overview of Trump’s pardon power, which is sweeping but not absolute.

BUSINESS

U.S. agency opens probe into 115,000 Tesla vehicles over suspension issue

The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said it had opened an investigation into about 115,0000 Tesla vehicles over front suspension safety issues.

3 MIN READ

Battle of the billionaires - Bezos, Ambani gun for India retail supremacy

Jeff Bezos and Mukesh Ambani, two of the world’s richest men, face a turning point in a battle for preeminence in India’s booming, nearly trillion-dollar retail market. The outcome of a legal dispute which has embroiled the billionaires’ Amazon.com and Reliance Industries empires - where a court ruling is imminent - may shape India’s retail landscape for years to come.

5 MIN READ

Japan's Suga vows stimulus package focusing on green, digital innovation

Japan’s Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga pledged to compile a stimulus package focused on pulling the economy out of a pandemic-induced slump through green investment and digital innovation.

2 MIN READ

Exclusive: Activist investor Ferrari targets environment, social laggards with new fund

Activist investor Gianluca Ferrari, who has led campaigns against a string of mid-cap firms, is setting up a fund targeting companies lagging on environmental, social and governance issues.

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