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Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey steps down, replaced by Parag Agarwal

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Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey is stepping down as chief executive of the company.

He will be replaced by the current chief technical officer, Parag Agrawal, Twitter said.

Agrawal, who has been with the company for 10 years – most recently as chief technology officer – has emerged from behind the scenes to take over one of Silicon Valley’s highest-profile and politically volatile jobs. But who is he, and what can we expect for Twitter under his leadership?

A 37-year-old immigrant from India, Agrawal comes from outside the ranks of celebrity CEOs, which include the man he’s replacing as well as Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and Tesla’s Elon Musk. But his lack of name recognition, coupled with a solid technical background, appears to be what some of Twitter’s biggest backers were looking for in the company’s next chapter.

Agrawal is a “‘safe’ pick who should be looked upon as favorably by investors”, wrote the CFRA Research analyst Angelo Zino, who noted that the Twitter shareholder Elliott Management had pressured Dorsey to step down.

 

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Telenor searches for merger opportunities in Pakistan: CEO

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The Norwegian telecom operator company Telenor is in search for “merger opportunities” in Pakistan as confirmed by the CEO Sigve Berke.

“Telenor will continue to look for merger opportunities in Asia, including in Pakistan and on a regional basis,” said Sigve Brekke, CEO of Telenor Group, which runs telecom business in nine markets across Europe and Asia.

The comment was made after Telenor merged with a local company in Thailand over a $8.6 billion deal.

There are four cellular networks in the country with a total of 187 million subscribers. Jazz is the largest network with a 38.4 per cent market share, followed by Telenor (26.4pc), Zong (22.2pc) and Ufone (12.1pc).

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Bitcoin reaches record high of over $68000

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The bitcoin price has reached a new record high, breaking through $68,000 (£50,000), and analysts predict that the world’s best-known cryptocurrency will rise further in the coming weeks.

This beats the previous record high set in late October, when bitcoin reached nearly $67,700 before falling back again when investors discovered a new cryptocurrency, shiba inu. Other cryptocurrencies have also risen to record highs, such as ethereum, which soared to $4,837.

Bitcoin has always been volatile but remains the world’s largest digital currency, with a market value of more than $1.1tn. Five years ago, a single bitcoin was worth about $700. Investors are buying it because they are worried about rising inflation – as an alternative to gold, a traditional inflation hedge – and as bond yields are falling.

Wilfred Daye, the head of the trading platform Securitize Capital, said: “Inflation is a major consideration for investors today, and the younger generation of investors often favours cryptocurrency as a hedge over gold. In fact, while gold has slid throughout the year, bitcoin and ethereum have more than doubled. Retail investors have played a major role in fuelling this shift and institutional investors are increasingly following suit.”

 

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WHO looking forward to second generation nasal, oral COVID vaccines

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The World Health Organization’s chief scientist said Tuesday she was looking forward to the “second generation” of COVID-19 vaccines, which could include nasal sprays and oral versions.

Soumya Swaminathan said such vaccines could have advantages over the current crop as they would be easier to deliver than injections and could even be self-administered.

Swaminathan said there were 129 different candidate vaccines that have got as far as clinical trials — being tested on humans — while a further 194 are not yet that advanced in their development and are still being worked on in laboratories.

“This covers the entire range of technologies,” she told a live interaction on WHO social media channels.

“They’re still in development. I’m sure some of them will prove to be very safe and efficacious and others may not.

“There could be advantages to some of the second generation vaccines… clearly if you have an oral vaccine or an intra-nasal vaccine this is easier to deliver than an injectable.

“Ultimately we’ll be able to choose the ones that are most appropriate.

“If not for COVID-19, we’re going to use these platforms for other infections in the future.”

Swaminathan explained the advantages of a vaccine being sprayed into the nose, as happens in some countries with influenza vaccines.

“If there’s a local immune response then it will take care of the virus before it even goes and establishes itself in the lungs and starts causing a problem,” she said.

The WHO has only given emergency use authorisation to seven COVID-19 vaccines: those created by Pfizer/BioNTech, Moderna, AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson, Sinopharm, Sinovac and last week Bharat Biotech.

“None of the vaccines are 100%. Nobody has ever claimed that the vaccines are going to be 100% protective. But 90% is a wonderful amount of protection to have, compared to zero,” Swaminathan said.

“Till now, with the vaccines that we have approved, there has not been any signal which has been so worrying that we need to say, well, we need to re-think this vaccine.”

More than 7.25 billion vaccine doses have been administered around the world, according to an AFP count.

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