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Pope Francis ‘constantly monitored’ for Covid-19 after meeting cardinal who later tested positive – Vatican

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The pope is being “constantly monitored” for signs of the coronavirus, according to a top Vatican official, after the pontiff met with Philippine cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle who has since tested positive.

Tagle, who had a private audience with 83-year-old Pope Francis on August 29, tested positive for Covid-19 on his return to Manila on September 10.

“We are being prudent,” Vatican Secretary of State Pietro Parolin said, ANSA news agency reported on Monday. The health of the head of the Catholic Church is being constantly monitored, he said, adding, however, that currently “there is no particular alarm” over it in the Vatican.

The pope usually talks to those who visit him at the Apostolic Palace without wearing a face mask. Last week, he was seen wearing one for the first time since the start of the pandemic, but took it off to chat to the faithful. However, he had to suspend his usual practice of shaking hands and kissing babies.

In March, the pope was tested for the coronavirus when a prelate living in the same residence was found to be positive.




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At his second weekly general audience with public participation, after six months of virtual audiences, Pope Francis said on September 9 that no one should seek p

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Ren Zhiqiang: Outspoken ex-real estate tycoon gets 18 years jail

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A picture made available on 29 February 2016 shows Ren ZhiqiangImage copyright
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Ren Zhiqiang went missing in March this year after an essay about China’s handling of the virus

A former real estate tycoon and an outspoken critic of China’s President Xi Jinping has been sentenced to 18 years in jail on charges of corruption.

A court in Beijing found Ren Zhiqiang “guilty of corruption, bribery and embezzlement of public funds”, said state media outlet the Global Times.

He will also have to pay a fine of 4.2m yuan (£482,950;$620,000).

Ren went missing in March this year shortly after writing an essay said to be critical of President Xi.

Although it did not directly name President Xi, it was widely believed to be about him.

The Beijing No 2 Intermediate People’s Court said Ren had accepted bribes worth 1.25m and embezzled almost 50m yuan.

He is said to have “voluntarily” confessed to all charges and will not appeal against the decision.

The former chairman of the Hua Yuan Property Company was not merely a business tycoon. The son of a ministry official, he was also known to have close ties with senior party leaders and was in a position from which his criticisms of the party would be particularly potent.

Rights groups have consistently accused China of using corruption charges as a way to clamp down on dissent.

‘Anti-Communist Party’ thoughts

Ren’s sharply critical essay had been about Beijing’s handling of th

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Nascar: Michael Jordan and Denny Hamlin form Cup Series team with Bubba Wallace as driver

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Bubba Wallace picks up his race helmet
Bubba Wallace is Nascar’s sole full-time black driver

Basketball legend Michael Jordan and three-time Daytona 500 winner Denny Hamlin have formed a single-car Nascar Cup Series team, with Bubba Wallace as their driver.

Wallace is Nascar’s sole black full-time driver while Jordan is the second black team owner at its elite level.

Earlier this year, Wallace successfully campaigned to get the Confederate flag banned from Nascar races.

Six-time NBA champion Jordan said the team would “educate a new audience”.

The 57-year-old added it would also “open more opportunities for black people in racing”.

“Historically, Nascar has struggled with diversity and there have been few black owners,” Jordan said. “The timing seemed perfect as Nascar is evolving and embracing social change more and more.”

In June, it was feared Wallace, 26, had been subject to a racial attack when a noose was found in his garage stall at Talladega Superspeedway in Alabama.

An FBI investigation concluded it was actually a handle on a garage door and had been there since the previous year.

On joining Jordan and Hamlin’s team, Wallace said: “This is a unique, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that I believe is a great fit for me at this point in my career.”

Hamlin, 39, will be a minority partner in the team while he continues to drive for Joe Gibbs Racing.

The team will start racing in 2021 with their name, car number, manufacturer and sponsors to be announced in due course.

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Asian stock markets continue the global fallout

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The biggest faller in the region was the Australian shares which hit a three-month low.Image copyright
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Stock markets in Asia suffered on Tuesday from the fallout from UK and US investors worried about a rise in coronavirus cases.

The biggest falls in the region were recorded in Australia, where shares hit a three-month low.

Investors have also been rattled by dimming hopes for more financial support for the US economy.

Stock markets fell across South Korea, Hong Kong and China, while Japan was closed for a public holiday.

On Monday, UK and US stock markets suffered heavy losses over fears that a renewed rise in coronavirus cases will blight economic prospects.

More than £50bn was wiped off UK shares, and caused similar falls across European and US stock markets.

The negative sentiment spread into Asia, which has previously been the focus of optimism from China’s continued economic recovery.

Australian shares were dragged to their lowest level since mid-June, under pressure by its mining and energy stocks.

Major mining firms BHP Group and Rio Tinto both fell around 2%.

Multiple tensions

“The biggest issue for local markets is how the battle for tech sector super dominance plays out between the US and China, which is getting viewed through the lens of the ByteDance /Oracle -Walmart d

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