World News

‘Unicorn’ dog discovered with ear growing in the middle of its head

An adorable Golden Retriever with one ear popping out of the middle of her head that looks like a fluffy horn has been labelled the "unicorn dog."

The little treasure went viral after her owner, Sam, posted a video of the pup on TikTok.

The rare pooch became so popular that Sam decided to set up her own Instagram account @goldenunicornrae, which now has an impressive 15,500 followers.

According to Sam, Rae suffered an accidental injury when she was born which resulted in her losing her left ear.

As she grew, her right ear slowly started to move to the top of her head, which now makes her look "like a unicorn".

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In her Instagram account, Rae can be seen playing, posing, and attending doggy daycare with her other puppy friends.

Last year, another dog went viral for the tail on his forehead which also resembled a unicorn's horn.

Narwhal the "unicorn" puppy was recently adopted by Rochelle Steffen, the founder of Mac's Mission – a non-profit dog's rescue.

"If somebody is going to make money off of him, I would love to see it go toward the rescue, and save thousands more dogs," Steffen said.

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Among pets that have become viral through TikTok, one cat surprised viewers through her parrot-sounding voice.

Owner Ellie May posted the bizarre video which garnered more than a million views.

Ellie shared the hilarious footage to popular social media platform TikTok last week, captioning it: “My cat is officially broken.”

Another heartwarming animal clip shows a chimpanzee feeding an apple to its "pet" tortoise.

In the video, the chimp can be seen eating the apple and taking it in turns to feed the turtle with back-and-fourth bites.

The video, shared by TikTok user @mokshabybee garnered 38.2 million views and 2.4 million likes.

TikTok is a Chinese video-sharing platform.

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Activist investor Icahn raises stake in Occidental to nearly 10%

(Reuters) – Billionaire investor Carl Icahn has raised his stake in Occidental Corp (OXY.N) to nearly 10% from 2.53% at the end of last year and once again pushed for an overhaul of the oil and gas producer’s board, an SEC filing on Thursday showed.

Icahn bought about 88.6 million shares for $2.21 billion as Occidental’s shares plummeted to two-decade lows due to a slump in oil prices.

This is in contrast to his move in February when he disclosed that he cut his stake to 22.6 million shares, or 2.53%, as of Dec. 31.

The activist investor has been waging a bitter battle with Occidental’s board over its $38 billion acquisition of Anadarko Petroleum, calling it a misplaced bet based on expectations of higher oil prices.

“It is one of the worst disasters in financial history and we believe the CEO and Board must be held accountable, and the Board must be replaced,” Icahn said in the filing.

Occidental’s market value had fallen to $12 billion on Monday, less than a third of what it paid for Anadarko and its debt ballooned to about $40 billion.

Icahn expects strong bids to emerge for Occidental once the U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude price recover in the near-to-medium term, according to the filing.

Following the slump in oil prices, the company had slashed its dividend and unveiled fresh spending cuts.

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World News

Former premier Williams criticizes Muskrat Falls report that blamed his government

Danny Williams says he still believes Muskrat Falls will be good for Newfoundland and Labrador in the long run, days after an inquiry faulted his government for pushing through the “misguided” project.

A final report from the inquiry into the $12.7-billion hydro dam released this week faulted Williams’ government for deciding the project would proceed no matter what, and for failing to adequately oversee the Crown corporation running the project.

In a lengthy statement, Williams criticized commissioner Richard LeBlanc’s report as biased against the project, calling some of the judge’s conclusions “blatantly incorrect.”

Williams took issue with LeBlanc saying government failed in its duty to protect residents’ best interests, calling the insinuation “deeply offensive.”

He defended his government and public servants’ decisions as based on good advice and years of planning, and defended the former Nalcor Energy CEO, whom LeBlanc faulted for misrepresenting the true cost of the project, which has nearly doubled since it was approved.

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World News

Peterborough youth, 16, charged following reported stabbing at group home

A 16-year-old Peterborough youth has been arrested and charged following a reported Wednesday night stabbing.

The Peterborough Police Service and paramedics were called to a group home for reports of a male with stab wounds.

Police say the accused and a teenage male victim were outside the home when they reportedly became involved in a physical altercation. The accused allegedly stabbed the victim in the leg with a knife.

Police say the victim was taken to hospital with a non-life-threatening injury.

The 16-year-old boy was arrested and charged with assault with a weapon and failure to comply with a sentence.

The accused was held in custody and is scheduled to appear in court in Peterborough later Thursday.

Under the Youth Criminal Justice Act, the name of the accused cannot be released.

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World News

Ireland to shut schools and universities over coronavirus

DUBLIN (Reuters) – Ireland will shut schools, universities and childcare facilities until March 29 and restrict mass gathering to slow the spread of the coronavirus, acting Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said on Thursday, as the country registered a 60% surge in cases.

Ireland’s chief medical officer said the government had turned to measures to try to delay the spread, rather than simply contain it, following a jump in case numbers in nine clusters across the country.

Ireland confirmed its first death of a patient diagnosed with the virus on Wednesday and on Thursday the number of confirmed cases rose to 70 from 43. Two more cases in Northern Ireland, the British region which shares an open border with the Irish republic, brought the total there to 20.

“This is going to involve big changes in the way we live our lives and I know I’m asking people to make enormous sacrifices,” Varadkar said in a statement that was broadcast on national television from Washington, where he met President Donald Trump.

“Acting together as a nation, we can save many lives,” Varadkar said.

All indoor mass gatherings of more than 100 people and outdoor mass gatherings of more than 500 people should be canceled and where possible people should work from home, he said.

Within an hour, long queues formed at supermarkets in central Dublin despite repeated calls by ministers not to resort to panic buying.

Outside one supermarket near the city center, some shoppers wondered why the government had not taken the steps sooner. Ireland reported its first coronavirus case on Feb. 29.

“They should have done this before now,” said Danielle Kinsella, a 36-year-old carer, who was carrying five shopping bags and a bag of potatoes with a friend.

“They are leaving everything to the last minute and people now are panicking,” said Kinsella, who has been unable to find hand sanitizer on the shelves for her brother, who has leukemia and is in self-isolation.


Varadkar encouraged people to limit social interactions and for offices to stagger break times and hold meetings remotely to limit contact.

While restaurants can stay open, they should look at how to impose social distancing designed to keep people far enough apart, he added.

Public transport will continue to operate and shops will remain open with plans in place to ensure supply chains will not be interrupted. Airports will not be closed but those entering Ireland will be told to self-isolate if they develop symptoms.

Games, training and team gatherings for Ireland’s Gaelic sports and rugby union were suspended until March 29 across all age groups.

The Catholic Church said all confirmations had been canceled and that believers would not be obliged to physically attend mass on Sundays and could watch online instead.

On Monday, Ireland canceled all St. Patrick’s Day parades which draw hundreds of thousands of revelers, including tourists from around the world, each March.

Parliament will still sit next Thursday to vote through emergency laws to boost sick pay, part of a 3 billion euro package announced this week that the finance minister said could push the state’s finances back into deficit.

Initial talks to form a new government between Varadkar’s Fine Gael party and rivals Fianna Fail following an inconclusive Feb. 8 election will be postponed for now, Deputy Prime Minister Simon Coveney said.

Earlier on Thursday Dublin’s Mater Hospital, one of the capital’s main hospitals, postponed all outpatient appointments and elective surgeries until further notice.

It said in a statement that staff in every part of the hospital “are working around the clock” to deal with the virus.

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UPDATE 2-Brazil ups FX intervention, pledges to ease bond market strains

(Updates with Treasury action, adds details)

By Jamie McGeever

BRASILIA, March 12 (Reuters) – Brazilian authorities stepped up efforts on Thursday to ensure the country’s financial markets operate smoothly, stung by a surge in volatility this week that drove the currency to a historic low and led to bond sales being canceled.

The Treasury said it would hold a series of bond auctions and buybacks over the next week in conjunction with the central bank, while the bank intervened in the spot foreign exchange market for the third day in a row.

Treasury Secretary Mansueto Almeida met with central bank President Roberto Campos Neto on Thursday to discuss the markets, which lurched lower on another bout of risk aversion sparked by the deepening international coronavirus crisis.

Almeida told reporters after the hastily arranged meeting that the two institutions would stay in close contact, adding that Brazilian markets were a little “dysfunctional” on Thursday.

Treasury canceled a sale scheduled for Thursday of “LFT” securities linked to the benchmark Selic rate, a move that followed Monday’s decision with the central bank to cancel the sale of fixed rate “LTN” and “NTN-F” bonds, also slated for Thursday.

Treasury also said in a statement that it would hold bond auctions and buybacks on Thursday and Friday and next Monday to Wednesday, the terms of which will be announced on auction day.

“The purpose of this action is to provide support to the public debt market, ensuring the smooth functioning of this and other related markets,” Treasury said in a statement on its website.

“There was no liquidity in DIs (rate futures). They had to come in,” said one trader, referring to the surge of up to 100 basis points in longer-dated contracts out to 2027 and beyond.

Almeida told reporters the auctions might not even take place should conditions improve sufficiently but were a precautionary measure.

In foreign exchange, the central bank intervened in the spot market again on Thursday, offering at least $3.5 billion in four lots at auction. It sold a total $1.78 billion, it said on its website.

The auctions were held as the real fell below 5.00 per dollar for the first time ever, taking its losses against the greenback so far this year to a staggering 20% in another highly volatile day on local and international markets.

The central bank’s action helped lift the real to around 4.80 per dollar on Thursday from a record-low 5.0278 per dollar. Its sales of dollar reserves this week now stand at $7.25 billion. (Reporting by Jamie McGeever, Marcela Ayres and Luana Maria Benedito; Editing by Bernadette Baum and Peter Cooney)

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IATA urges governments to support airlines in wake of U.S. travel ban

GENEVA (Reuters) – The airlines industry body called on governments on Thursday to support transatlantic carriers hit by cash-flow problems due to the coronavirus crisis by offering measures such as credit lines and tax breaks.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA), in a statement issued a day after U.S. President Donald Trump announced U.S. travel curbs on much of continental Europe, said that the U.S.-Germany, U.S.-France and U.S.-Italy markets were facing the heaviest hits.

IATA urged the U.S. and other governments that have imposed travel restrictions to follow the guidance of the World Health Organization (WHO), saying this meant that measures that significantly interfere with international traffic may only be justified at the start of an outbreak to gain time.

“Without a lifeline from governments we will have a sectoral financial crisis piled on top of the public health emergency,” said IATA director-general and CEO Alexandre de Juniac.

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World News

Brazil's Bolsonaro tested for coronavirus, but has no symptoms: son

BRASILIA (Reuters) – Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro has been tested for coronavirus and is awaiting the result, though he is not showing any symptoms of the virus, his son Eduardo wrote on Twitter.

Bolsonaro visited U.S. President Donald Trump at the weekend in Florida with his communications secretary Fabio Wajngarten who has tested positive for the virus.

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Israel's Netanyahu orders schools closed, calls for unity government

JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday ordered most schools in the country closed as a precaution against coronavirus, and called for the formation of an emergency national unity government.

Primary and secondary schools, with some exceptions such as special education programs, would be closed, he said.

“We are altering our internal routine in order to handle an outside threat, the threat of the virus,” Netanyahu, 70, said in remarks broadcast live.

The right-wing leader, whose tenure is still in doubt after three inconclusive elections in less than a year, also called for an emergency national unity government.

“It will be an emergency government for a limited time, and together we will fight to save the lives of tens of thousands of citizens,” he said.

Neither Netanyahu nor his centrist rival Benny Gantz command a clear majority in parliament after the latest election, on March 2.

Netanyahu has faced calls for him to step aside ahead of the start of a corruption trial that begins on March 17. He refuses to resign, and is under no legal obligation to go. He denies any wrongdoing.

The latest measures follow a series of ever-stricter restrictions imposed by Israeli and the Palestinians.

Earlier this week Netanyahu ordered all visitors to Israel to self-isolate for two weeks, and the Allenby Bridge crossing between Jordan and the Israeli-occupied West Bank was closed in what Israeli officials said was a joint Palestinian, Israeli and Jordanian effort to stop the virus from spreading.

Israel’s flag carrier El Al said on Thursday it would start suspending most of its flights on Sunday but would maintain regular flight routes to the United States, Canada, England, France and South Africa.

The Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, which controls Gaza, said it would restrict travel with Egypt and Israel for all but the most urgent cases from Friday, and anyone entering Gaza would be put under “mandatory quarantine.” It ordered schools and universities closed until the end of March.

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Wall Street plunges, bringing record bull run to an end

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Crashing U.S. stocks on Thursday confirmed Wall Street is in a bear market after new travel restrictions to curb the coronavirus spread spooked investors and rattled world markets.

President Donald Trump’s Europe travel ban announced late Wednesday sent all three major U.S. stock indexes into a tailspin, slamming the book on the longest-running U.S. bull market on record.

The benchmark S&P 500 and the Nasdaq have lost about 24% of their value since reaching record closing highs just 16 sessions ago, as nations around the world grapple with how to contain the fast-moving coronavirus and its economic effects.

A bear market is confirmed when an index sinks 20% or more below its most recent closing high.

“It’s the fastest 20% decline ever,” said Paul Nolte, portfolio manager at Kingsview Asset Management in Chicago. “Every day there’s more selling and just when you think you’re at capitulation, you’re not there yet. People don’t know how long this is going to go on so they’re going to sell and walk away.”

Trump’s sweeping travel restrictions, limiting flights from continental Europe to the United States, sent European shares to a near four-year low and slammed airline stocks, already battered by the spread of COVID-19.

Airlines .SPCOMAIR were down 15.7%.

Boeing Co (BA.N) fell another 12.5% as J.P.Morgan abandoned its long-term backing for the company’s shares, setting the planemaker on course for its worst week ever.

The U.S. Federal Reserve is expected to cut interest rates for the second time this month at the conclusion of its two-day monetary policy scheduled for next week.

U.S. Treasury yields tumbled as anticipation grew for aggressive easing on the part of the Fed.

The U.S. stock market briefly pared its losses – before resuming its decline – after the New York Federal Reserve announced it would introduce $1.5 trillion in new repo operations this week.

“Any government action that has dollars tied to it that’s actionable for the banking system would be viewed as a positive,” said Joseph Sroka, chief investment officer at NovaPoint in Atlanta. “But what the market is looking for is tangible evidence that the government is trying to stave off a recession.”

Interest rate-sensitive bank shares .SPXBK were down 10.0%.

Corporate credit worries hit bond fund prices as companies began to draw on credit lines.

The CBOE Volatility index , a gauge of investor anxiety, shot up to levels not seen since November 2008, the height of the financial crisis.

The Trump travel ban also hit oil prices, sending front-month Brent crude down 7.4%. Oil prices were already under pressure after Saudi Arabia and Russia vowed to boost production, flooding the market with supply despite plummeting demand.

The S&P 500 Energy index .SPNY was down 10.3%

The Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI fell 2,005.08 points, or 8.51%, to 21,548.14, the S&P 500 .SPX lost 216.55 points, or 7.90%, to 2,524.83 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC dropped 613.95 points, or 7.72%, to 7,338.10.

All 11 major sectors of the S&P 500 were trading sharply lower.

Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by a 22.16-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 15.18-to-1 ratio favored decliners.

The S&P 500 posted no new 52-week highs and 327 new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 3 new highs and 1,485 new lows.

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