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Oil Prices Jump As Lockdowns Ease

US Space Force plane rockets to orbit on secret mission

A US Space Force plane has successfully launched into orbit on a secret mission with a compartment full of science experiments.

The X-37B – the military’s space plane – was launched on board a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas 5 rocket on Sunday from Cape Canaveral in Florida.

It will be the sixth flight of the X-37B, a solar-powered plane that is flown by remote control without a crew and looks like a mini space shuttle.

Brazil's president pushes for end to lockdown

Coronavirus cases are still increasing across the country, as thousands have died of COVID-19 so far.

Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro is rallying his supporters to back his call to end the lockdown.

He has attacked governors who have introduced restrictions in an effort to stop the spread of the virus.

The president’s push to reopen comes despite more than 15,000 deaths in Brazil, with no signs of slowing.

Al Jazeera’s Alessandro Rampietti reports.

US coronavirus: Experts fear new wave of infections

As most states in US, encouraged by president, lift their lockdowns, health officials fear new wave of infections.

US health officials are warning about the possibility of a new wave of coronavirus infections as more than two-thirds of states begin to open.

The death toll in the United States is nearly 90,000, making it the worst-affected country in the world.

And although the overall number of new cases in the country is on the decline, in some states, the number of infections is actually on the rise.

Al Jazeera’s Heidi Zhou-Castro reports from Silver Spring, Maryland in the US.

Philippines records 7 novel coronavirus deaths, 205 more cases

MANILA (REUTERS) – The Philippines’ health ministry on Monday (May 18) reported seven new coronavirus deaths and 205 additional infections.

In a bulletin, the ministry said total deaths from the outbreak had increased to 831, while confirmed cases have risen to 12,718. But 94 more patients recovered, bringing total recoveries to 2,729.

Indonesia reports 496 new coronavirus infections, 43 deaths

JAKARTA (REUTERS) – Indonesia reported on Monday (May 18) 496 new coronavirus infections, taking the total in the Southeast Asian country to 18,010, said health ministry official Achmad Yurianto. Yurianto also announced 43 new Covid-19 related deaths, taking the total to 1,191, while 4,324 people have recovered.

More than 143,030 people have been tested, he said.

Too good to be true? | Michael Gove & Rachel Reeves

Michael Gove reveals that the government has hired over 17,000 contact tracers to track coronavirus infections.

He also defends the government’s treatment of care homes during the pandemic. Labour’s Rachel Reeves calls for more transparency on plans to reopen schools.

Stock Alert: Chegg Gains As More Turn To Online Education

Education technology company Chegg, Inc. (CHGG) is one of the biggest gainers in the recent months with more than 140% surge in stock within three months.

Chegg offers online tutoring, rental, and sale of digital as well as physical textbooks, and other student services including helping them obtain grants and loans among other things.

Online education platforms have picked up popularity more than ever these days as educational institutions are closed due to coronavirus pandemic.

While talking to analysts during the first-quarter earnings call, Dan Rosensweig, Co-Chairperson and Chief Executive Officer of the company commented, ” As we think about the lasting impact on the future of higher education globally, we see these trends continuing.”

Early this month, when the company reported first-quarter results, revenue had grown 35% year-over-year to $131.6 million, driven by subscriber growth of 35%. Earnings of $0.22 per share beat the average estimate of analysts polled by Thomson Reuters at $0.15.

For the second quarter, the company’s revenue outlook of $135 million – $137 million remains above the consensus estimate of $123.81 million. Chegg sees subscriber growth to be more than 45% for the period.

Friday, Chegg stock was up $1.36 or 2.08% before closing at $66.66.

SoftBank Group Posts Loss In FY; Sales Up 1.5% – Quick Facts

SoftBank Group Corp. (SFTBY.PK,SFTBF.PK) said, mainly as a result of B through L, the company recorded a loss to owners of the parent of 961.6 billion yen for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2020 compared to profit of 1.4 trillion yen, previous year. Loss per share was 485.33 yen compared to profit of 628.27 yen, last year.

Operating loss was 1.4 trillion yen, for the fiscal year period. The company said the SoftBank segment recorded robust growth, with operating income increasing 7.4 percent year-on-year. Operating loss from SoftBank Vision Fund and other SBIA-managed funds was 1.9 trillion yen, for the fiscal year. Excluding results of SoftBank Vision Fund and other SBIA-managed funds, operating income declined to 566.7 billion yen from 817.0 billion yen.

Fiscal year net sales improved 1.5 percent to 6.2 trillion yen. Net sales increased in the SoftBank and Arm segments, but decreased in the Brightstar segment.

SoftBank Group said its investment businesses, particularly SoftBank Vision Fund, have already been adversely affected from the COVID-19 outbreak, with SoftBank Vision Fund recording an investment loss of 1.1 trillion yen in the fourth quarter due to a decline in the fair values of its investments. If the pandemic continues, the company expects the uncertainty in its investment businesses will remain over the next fiscal year.

Oil Prices Jump As Lockdowns Ease

Oil prices jumped on Monday, with U.S. oil futures climbing above $30 for the first time in two months, supported by output cuts and signs of gradual demand recovery.

Global benchmark Brent crude soared 5.4 percent to $34.25 per barrel, while U.S. crude futures were up 6.7 percent at $31.50.

Collective action by the Opec+ alliance, which agreed to cut 9.7 million barrels per day or around 10 percent of global supplies, has offered some relief to a saturated market.

Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Kuwait have pledged to cut even more oil production in June while Riyadh pledged to cut a further 1m bpd, bringing its output to the lowest in 18 years.

The demand for oil has improved with the resumption of economic activity. As more countries ease lockdown measures to re-open their economies, investors expect a recovery in global oil demand.

Italy yesterday recorded its fewest daily deaths since March 9 and its fewest new infections since March 4 in the latest sign that the coronavirus crisis is easing.

Shops, bars and restaurants are re-opening today along with churches such as St Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican.

The country will re-open its borders on June 3 and travel restrictions will be lifted in a ‘calculated risk’ to rescue its tourism industry after the coronavirus crisis. New York and Spain are also gradually removing restrictive measures.