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SA records 8 021 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday
11 June 2021, 9:09 PM

South Africa has recorded 8 021 new cases of COVID-19 in the past 24 hours, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to 1 730 106, the Health ministry says on Friday.

A total of 182 new deaths were reported, taking the total deaths to 57 592.

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The Ministry says “the majority of new cases are from the Gauteng province (60%), followed by the Western Cape (9%) province. Both the Free State and North West provinces accounted for 6%.”

President Ramaphosa arrives in UK for G7 summit
11 June 2021, 7:44 PM

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa arrives at Newquay airport in Cornwall on Friday evening as a guest nation to the G7 summit.

He was invited to attend the gathering of the G7 group of rich nations by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Among other things, the leaders will be discussing efforts to end the COVID-19 pandemic, global trade as well as climate change.

The President is accompanied by International Relations and Cooperation Minister Naledi Pandor.

President Ramaphosa in the UK for the G7 Summit:

The G7 is made up of the United States, Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy and Japan.

Representatives from the European Union also attend.

This year South Korea, South Africa and Australia will attend parts of the summit. India, also an invited guest, will participate in some of the summit virtually.

The Director General of the Royal United Services Institute Karin Von Hippel says the G7’s invitation to South Africa to attend the summit is a strategic move.

” South Korea, Japan, they’re also joining… I think Prime Minister Johnson sees these countries as like-minded and really wants to get them on board with the agenda being promoted. The G7 countries need to expand further and South Africa represents an anchor in Africa in many ways and so I think getting these countries on board will really help push forward the agenda that they’re trying to set.”

-Additional reporting by Reuters

Pukki set to start against Denmark as Finns feel football fever
11 June 2021, 7:12 PM

Striker Teemo Pukki raised the fever of Finnish fans a notch by declaring has himself fit to lead the line against Denmark in their opening Euro 2020 Group B clash at the Parken Stadium on Saturday.

Pukki, who scored 10 of Finland’s 16 goals as they came runner-up to Italy in their group to qualify for the finals of a major tournament for the first time, told reporters he has fully recovered from an ankle injury he sustained in May.

“I’ve been training normally for the past week and a half, as all the other player have, and I played 30 minutes in the last preparation game, I haven’t had any issues with the ankle and I’m ready to play as much as the coach will allow me to,” the Norwich City player said.

Finland’s blue-and-white clad fans had already begun arriving in Copenhagen on Friday, enjoying the sunshine around the stadium as their team made their final preparations.

“There is a clear football fever in Finland at the moment, it’s great to see that there’s been a lot of videos, support messages, songs sent to us,” Pukki added.

Both Pukki and team captain Tim Sparv know the Danes well, having spent four and six years respectively playing in the Danish top flight, and they have plenty of respect for their opponents.

“In my mind, the Danish team don’t have any big weaknesses, we’ve been talking about their offensive game, they have some big names that can be very dangerous if we give them the time and space to do what they want,” Sparv said.

Coach Markku Kanerva said he had no worries about Pukki or Sparv, who had been troubled by a knee injury in the lead-up to the tournament.

“There are no new injuries, and we will go through our final training to see if all our players are 100 percent in shape. It all looks good, the players that had some small issues are doing well,” he said.

Tsitsipas overcomes Zverev fightback to reach first major final
11 June 2021, 7:02 PM

Greek fifth seed Stefanos Tsitsipas staved off a fightback from German Alexander Zverev to win 6-3 6-3 4-6 4-6 6-3 in a scintillating French Open clash on Friday and book a maiden Grand Slam final spot.

Tsitsipas got an early break in the opening set, aided by two double faults from Zverev, and remained solid against the German’s heavy groundstrokes to hold onto his narrow advantage on a sun-bathed Philippe Chatrier court.

US Open finalist Zverev built a 3-0 lead at the start of the second set but Tsitsipas showed exemplary athleticism and staunch defence to win the next six games, leaving Zverev staring at his coaching team bewildered.

The sixth-seeded German, however, regrouped and added more power to his shots with early breaks in the third and fourth sets enough for him to level the match at two sets apiece.

Tsitsipas needed to change his game in the decider and the 22-year-old managed to find an extra gear to seal the contest on his fifth match point and booked a final outing against either top seed Novak Djokovic or 13-time winner Rafa Nadal.

European stocks hit record as miners boost, log best week since early May
11 June 2021, 6:32 PM

European stocks scaled a record high on Friday, buoyed by hopes that major central banks will remain accommodative despite signs of rising inflation, while a rally in miners boosted UK shares.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index rose 0.7% in its sixth straight session of gains and ended the week 1.1% higher, its best weekly performance since early May.

Miners jumped 1.9%, lifting UK’s commodity-heavy FTSE 100 by 0.7% after data showed Britain’s economic output in April was a record 27.6% larger than a year before.

Travel and leisure stocks bounced from the previous session’s drop. Spanish hotel chain Melia rose 2.0% after its chief executive forecast a return to profitability in June after 15 months in the red.

Reopening optimism has pushed Europe’s stock markets to record highs, with investors rotating into cyclical sectors such as commodities, industrials and banks that tend to benefit from an economic recovery.

The European Central Bank raised its growth and inflation projections for the euro zone on Thursday but pledged a steady flow of stimulus over the summer, easing investor concerns about an early dialling back of the bank’s support.

“Price pressures remain subdued in Europe. Even after its upwards revisions to the inflation forecasts, the ECB does not expect inflation to reach 2% within its projection horizon,” analysts at BCA Research wrote in a note.

“While the central bank will want to prepare the market for tapering by the December meeting, it will delay a decision to reduce asset purchases as much as possible.”

Euro zone government bond yields fell after the decision, weighing on banking stocks. An index of the bloc’s lenders dropped 0.2%.

“Some sectors have lagged, notably financials which are seeing a little bit of underperformance on the back of softer bond yields… Other underperformers have been in the travel and leisure sector, as delays to reopening prompted British Airways to put some of their staff back on furlough,” said Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC Markets in London.

Bank of America’s data showed equity funds saw tiny inflows in the week to Wednesday as investors cut positions in high-growth US stocks while adding some in Europe.

French reinsurer Scor jumped 8.4% after top shareholder Covea agreed to an orderly exit from the company following a settlement over a frustrated takeover attempt and ensuing legal disputes.

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