News Headlines - 16 April 2021

China GDP grows record 18.3% in Q1 as exports drive industry - Nikkei Asia

Soaring exports helped China's gross domestic product grow a record 18.3% in the first quarter of 2021, rebounding from the 6.8% contraction in the same period last year at the start of the coronavirus pandemic, government data show.
The figure released Friday by the National Bureau of Statistics topped the median 17.9% estimate by 32 economists in a Nikkei poll. China's GDP growth for January-March followed a 6.5% gain in the final quarter of 2020.
The 18.3% growth is the highest since China began to publish quarterly data in 1992.

Hong Kong tycoon Jimmy Lai gets 14 months in prison for unauthorised assembly | Reuters

Hong Kong media tycoon Jimmy Lai was sentenced to 14 months in prison while nine other activists received jail time or suspended sentences on Friday for taking part in unauthorised assemblies during mass pro-democracy protests in 2019... It was the first time that Lai, one of Hong Kong's most prominent democratic activists, who has been in jail since December after being denied bail in a separate national security trial, received a prison sentence.
Lai was found guilty in two separate trials for unauthorised assemblies on Aug. 18 and Aug. 31 2019, respectively.
He received a 15-month sentence for the first, reduced by three months in mitigation, and an eight-month sentence for the second, of which he will serve two.

Italian TV host apologises after racist segment mocking Asians | The Independent

An Italian TV host has apologised after she faced criticism and accusations of racism for mocking and imitating Asians while on-air.
On Monday, during an episode of the Italian satirical show Striscia la Notizia, Swiss-Italian host Michelle Hunziker and her co-host Gerry Scotti were discussing the Italian national broadcasting company RAI, which is headquartered in Beijing.
During the segment, the show’s host began mocking Asian accents and making offensive gestures mimicking Asians, with both Hunziker and Scotti, a former member of the Italian Parliament, also referring to RAI as “LAI,” as noted by Instagram account Diet Prada, which called out the behaviour on Instagram.

Bernie Madoff, Architect of Largest Ponzi Scheme in History, Dead at 82 - The New York Times

Bernard L. Madoff, the onetime senior statesman of Wall Street who in 2008 became the human face of an era of financial misdeeds and missteps for running the largest and possibly most devastating Ponzi scheme in financial history, died on Wednesday in a federal prison hospital in Butner, N.C. He was 82... Mr. Madoff, who was serving a 150-year prison sentence, had asked for early release in February 2020, saying in a court filing that he had less than 18 months to live after entering the final stages of kidney disease and that he had been admitted to palliative care.

Pfizer CEO says third Covid vaccine dose likely needed within 12 months

Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said people will “likely” need a booster dose of a Covid-19 vaccine within 12 months of getting fully vaccinated. His comments were made public Thursday but were taped April 1.
Bourla said it’s possible people will need to get vaccinated against the coronavirus annually... The comment comes after Johnson & Johnson CEO Alex Gorsky told CNBC in February that people may need to get vaccinated against Covid-19 annually, just like seasonal flu shots.