The latest on the global pandemic
Boca Juniors won Argentina's inaugural Diego Armando Maradona Cup 5-3 in a shootout on Sunday after Banfield had scored deep in stoppage time to level the match at 1-1. A rock band comprising former professional footballers played live on the pitch before kick off and the stadium was lit up with fireworks and a light show featuring images and quotes from the charismatic former Boca Juniors striker. "This cup is a tribute to Diego, and he'll surely be accompanying our celebrations," Boca's Ramon Abila said after the game.
As top tennis stars descended on Melbourne for the upcoming tennis grand slam, many Australians questioned the decision to host the tournament when thousands of citizens are stranded overseas due to the coronavirus pandemic. Australia has halved the number of people who can return to the country each week as positive coronavirus cases in hotel quarantine rise, prompting airline Emirates to indefinitely suspend flights to Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane. Australians criticised the government on social media, questioning how it could make room for 1,200 tennis players and their entourages for next month's Australian Open, but not its own citizens.
- Associated Press
Shares fell Monday across most of Asia following a retreat on Wall Street, but benchmarks in Hong Kong and Shanghai rose after data showed the Chinese economy grew a solid 2.3% in 2020. The economy contracted at a 6.8% pace in the first quarter of 2020 as the country fought the pandemic with shutdowns and other restrictions.
U.S. President-elect Joe Biden is expected to nominate Federal Trade Commission (FTC) member Rohit Chopra to head the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), according to two people familiar with the new administration's plans. Chopra, whose consumer advocacy views align with Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren, had been considered a top candidate for the job running the agency created after the 2008-2009 financial crisis. A spokeswoman for Biden's transition office did not respond to a request for comment.
China's economy picked up speed in the fourth quarter, with growth beating expectations as it ended a rough coronavirus-striken 2020 in remarkably good shape and remained poised to expand further this year even as the global pandemic raged unabated. Gross domestic product (GDP) expanded 6.5% year-on-year in the fourth quarter, data from the National Bureau of Statistics showed on Monday, quicker than the 6.1% forecast by economists in a Reuters poll, and followed an upwardly revised 4.9% growth in the third quarter. GDP grew 2.3% in 2020, the data showed, making China the only major economy in the world to avoid a contraction last year as many nations struggled to contain the COVID-19 pandemic.
Australia may not fully reopen its international borders this year even if most of the population is vaccinated against coronavirus, the head of its health department said on Monday as the country recorded zero local COVID-19 cases. Australia, which has managed the coronavirus better than many other nations through targeted lockdowns and high rates of testing and contact tracing, reported zero local COVID-19 cases on Monday. Victoria, which is hosting the Australian Open, reported four positive cases in overseas travellers, all associated with the tennis, taking the total to nine.
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said on Sunday that a convoy of trucks carrying emergency oxygen supplies for Brazil's northern Amazonas state, where a second wave of the coronavirus pandemic has hit hard, has departed and is set to arrive at the border by Monday morning. Reading from a message sent by Justo Noguera, governor of Venezuela's southern Bolivar state, Maduro said during a state television appearance that the six trucks would arrive at the Santa Elena de Uairen border crossing by morning, where they would be handed over to Brazilian health authorities. From there, the trucks - carrying some 136,000 liters of oxygen, enough to fill 14,000 individual canisters - would take 14 hours to arrive in Manaus, the capital of Amazonas, whose hospital system is collapsing due to the pandemic.