What is next for immigrant ‘Dreamers’ after U.S. Supreme Court ruling?

(Reuters) – The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday ruled 5-4 against President Donald Trump’s move to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program that offers work permits and deportation relief to certain immigrants who came to the country illegally as children. Here is a look at what could happen next for the hundreds of thousands of immigrants, often called “Dreamers,” enrolled in the program created in 2012 by Trump’s Democratic predecessor Barack Obama. DACA GOES BACK TO DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY The ruling, authored by Chief Justice John Roberts, sent the issue back to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security for further consideration, concluding that the administration did not provide sufficient reasoning to end DACA. The decision deemed the administration’s actions in seeking to rescind DACA “arbitrary and capricious” in violation of a federal law that governs regulatory changes. It does not stop Trump from trying again to rescind DACA or reduce its protections through other means. A senior Department of Homeland Security official said the agency was reviewing the ruling. NO DECISION YET ON TRUMP ACTION Trump criticized the Supreme Court after the ruling and said on Twitter he was seeking “a legal solution on DACA, not a political one,” and would have to “start this process all over again.” Trump did not specify what his administration would do next. It appears unlikely he would have time to lawfully terminate DACA before the Nov. 3 U.S. election in which Trump is seeking another four-year term in office. NEW APPLICATIONS IN QUESTION The ruling means that the roughly 649,000 immigrants, mostly young Hispanic adults born in Mexico and other Latin American countries, now enrolled in DACA will remain protected from deportation and eligible to obtain renewable two-year work permits. Lower courts had blocked Trump’s 2017 action so the program remained in effect, though the administration refused to process new applications. California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, whose state was among the challengers that sued to try to preserve DACA, said the ruling could reopen the program “to anyone who qualifies,” but that legal processes in lower courts were still ongoing that could determine whether new applications must be processed by the government. LOOKING TO CONGRESS Congress for years has been unable to pass comprehensive immigration legislation, thwarted primarily by partisan divisions. Democratic lawmakers after the ruling called on Congress to pass legislation permanently protecting current DACA enrollees and others brought to the United States illegally as children. DACA does not offer a path to citizenship. The Democratic-led House of Representatives passed a bill last year that would provide such a pathway to “Dreamers” and other immigrants covered by humanitarian programs. The Republican-led Senate has not taken up a similar measure. ELECTION RISKS Trump promised as a candidate in 2016 to end DACA, which he called one of Obama’s “illegal executive amnesties,” and has pursued hardline immigration policies but could face election risks if he again tries to rescind it. The U.S. public has become increasingly supportive of DACA, according to opinion polls. In a February Reuters/Ipsos poll, 64% of U.S. adult respondents voiced support for DACA’s core tenets. A similar December 2014 poll found that 47% of U.S. adults supported DACA.

Blood type, genes tied to risk of severe COVID-19: European study

(Reuters) – A person’s blood type and other genetic factors may be linked with severity of coronavirus infection, according to European researchers looking for further clues about why COVID-19 hits some so much harder than others. The findings, published in The New England Journal of Medicine on Wednesday, suggest people with type A blood have a higher risk of being infected with the coronavirus and developing worse symptoms. At the peak of the epidemic in Europe, researchers analyzed the genes of more than 4,000 people to look for variations that were common in those who became infected with the coronavirus and developed severe COVID-19. A cluster of variants in genes that are involved with immune responses was more common in people with severe COVID-19, they found. These genes are also involved with a cell-surface protein called ACE2 that the coronavirus uses to gain entry to and infect cells in the body. The researchers, led by Dr. Andre Franke from Christian-Albrecht-University in Kiel, Germany, and Dr. Tom Karlsen, from Oslo University Hospital in Norway also found a relationship between COVID-19 severity and blood type. The risk for severe COVID-19 was 45% higher for people with type A blood than those with other blood types. It appeared to be 35% lower for people with type O. “The findings … provide specific clues as to what disease processes may be going on in severe COVID-19,” Karlsen told Reuters by email, noting that additional research is needed before the information becomes useful. “The hope is that these and other findings … will point the way to a more thorough understanding of the biology of COVID-19,” U.S. National Institutes of Health director and genetics expert Francis Collins wrote in his blog on Thursday. “They also suggest that a genetic test and a person’s blood type might provide useful tools for identifying those who may be at greater risk of serious illness.”

Iran’s death toll from coronavirus outbreak approaches 10,000

(Reuters) – Iran is approaching 10,000 deaths from the coronavirus outbreak in the country, according to official figures from the Ministry of Health. There have been nearly 200,000 people infected with the new coronavirus in the Islamic Republic and the number deaths in a single day from the pandemic topped 100 for the first time in two months on Sunday. After gradually relaxing its lockdown since mid-April, Iran has seen a sharp rise of new infections in recent weeks, with five provinces currently considered to be red zones where infections have been on the rise. Iran recorded 87 deaths in the past 24 hours, taking the total to 9,272. The total number of cases in the country has reached 197,647, of whom 156,991 people have recovered. “The statistics show that in recent days every 12 to 15 minutes an Iranian lost their life because of #corona,” Mizan, the news agency of the Iranian judiciary, tweeted on Thursday. The Iranian parliament’s research centre issued a report in April that suggested that the actual number of coronavirus death might be almost twice as many as those announced by the health ministry. Despite the recent spike in infections and deaths, Friday prayers were scheduled to resume in Tehran starting next week, the official IRNA news agency said.  President Hassan Rouhani said on Saturday that Iran would reimpose restrictions to stem the surge in coronavirus cases if health regulations were not observed. But footage aired on state TV in recent days showed many Iranians in shopping malls and on public transport not practicing social distancing or wearing masks or gloves.

UPDATE 1-Tesla wants to start building a new U.S. vehicle plant this summer

DETROIT (Reuters) – Electric vehicle maker Tesla Inc (TSLA.O) wants to start building a large vehicle assembly plant in the southwestern United States as early as the third quarter of this year, the company told Texas officials in documents made public this week. But the company is still pitting Texas and Oklahoma against each other in an effort to secure tax breaks, the documents show. The plant would build Tesla’s electric pickup truck and Model Y SUV, according to reports. Tesla told officials in Travis County, Texas, the automaker wants to invest about $1 billion to build a 4 million to 5 million square foot vehicle assembly plant employing 5,000 people on the grounds of what is now a cement operation near Austin. But it needs tax breaks to make the site competitive with an alternative location in Oklahoma, according to documents filed with Texas officials. The Austin-American Statesman reported details of the company’s filings. Tesla officials could not immediately be reached for comment, but Tesla Chief Executive Elon Musk previously hinted about a Texas plant, and Texas Governor Greg Abbott has spoken with Musk about the possibility. Tesla’s sole U.S. vehicle assembly plant in Fremont, California, covers 5.3 million square feet – a large plant, but not large enough for the growing company. Tesla has had to build cars under a tent adjacent to the plant. Musk clashed with California officials after Alameda county officials ordered the Fremont factory to halt production and comply with coronavirus stay-at-home orders that took effect in March. He threatened to move future operations to Texas or Nevada. The California plant has since reopened.

Wall Street oscillates amid COVID-19 spikes, muted data

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Wall Street struggled for direction on Thursday as investors weighed a resurgence in coronavirus infections and the possibility of a new round of shutdowns against data that suggested the U.S. economy might not bounce back with quick, V-shaped recovery. A range-bound S&P 500 see-sawed through much of the session and was last in negative territory, joining the blue-chip Dow in the red. The tech-heavy Nasdaq was essentially flat. “It’s not unusual after huge moves to trade sidewise,” said Chuck Carlson, chief executive officer at Horizon Investment Services in Hammond, Indiana. “It’s a continuing evaluation of the sustainability of improvement at these rapid levels.” “(Investors) don’t want to sell and they don’t want to buy, so you have days like this,” Carlson added. Initial jobless claims declined slightly last week to a still-bruising 1.51 million, according to the Labor Department. The number was worse than consensus, and continuing claims remain stubbornly high at 20.54 million, suggesting the labor market has a long road to recovery. While several U.S. states have reported surges in new COVID-19 cases after re-opening their economies, President Donald Trump insisted the United States would not enact a new round of restrictions to curb the pandemic’s spread. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 136.7 points, or 0.52%, to 25,982.91, the S&P 500 lost 8.39 points, or 0.27%, to 3,105.1 and the Nasdaq Composite added 0.09 points, or 0%, to 9,910.63. Of 11 major sectors of the S&P 500, five were in positive territory, with energy and consumer staples seeing the largest percentage gains. Real estate was the clear laggard. Grocery chain Kroger Co beat quarterly earnings estimates and said it expects to exceed its 2020 same-store sales outlook. But the company did not reaffirm or provide new 2020 forecasts, and its shares fell 5.4%. Shares of Spotify Technology SA jumped 13.8% after the music streaming company inked a deal with AT&T Inc’s Warner Brothers and DC Entertainment to add popular DC Comics character podcasts to its library. Cruise operator Carnival Corp fell 2.8% after reporting a record $4.4 billion quarterly loss after pandemic-related write-downs. Biogen Inc dropped 7.6% after a U.S. district court ruled in favor of generic drugmaker Mylan NV in a patent dispute. Mylan NV rose 2.2%. Industrial services provider Team Inc plunged 17.1% after missing quarterly earnings estimates amid falling demand. Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by a 1.23-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.10-to-1 ratio favored advancers. The S&P 500 posted five new 52-week highs and no new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 72 new highs and four new lows.

Semiconductor manufacturers reach deal to supply U.S. defense chips

(Reuters) – Globalfoundries and SkyWater Technology have reached a deal to supply semiconductor chips to the U.S. defense industry and work on new technology, the companies said on Thursday, as the industry moves toward more U.S. manufacturing. Globalfoundries, a California-based semiconductor manufacturing firm owned by the United Arab Emirates’ sovereign wealth fund, already supplies defense chips through a number of factories in the United States it acquired in 2015. It purchased the chip-manufacturing unit of International Business Machines Corp. Minnesota-based Skywater was divested from U.S.-based Cypress Semiconductor in 2017 and is fully U.S.-owned. Last year, SkyWater received up to $170 millihere from the U.S. Defense Department to develop chips designed to withstand radiation from nuclear attacks and space travel. Each chip factory is unique, which can make it hard to have the same chip made by two different factories. Under a memorandum of agreement announced on Thursday, the two companies said they would align their technologies to give defense customers reliable access to high-volume manufacturing. “This (agreement) shows proactive industry cooperation that can complement developing government policy focused on restoring American leadership for semiconductor manufacturing,” Brad Ferguson, SkyWater’s chief technology officer and head of government relations, said in a statement. The move comes at a time of renewed interest in making chips in the United States. Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co, the world’s biggest chip contract manufacturer, said last month it wants to build a factory in Arizona. Intel Corp proposed creating a consortium of American chipmakers to bolster U.S. manufacturing. Last week, both houses of the U.S. Congress introduced bills that would give the industry at least $22.8 billion in subsidies, most of which would be aimed at encouraging the construction of chip factories.

Canada hits 100,000 coronavirus cases, major challenges remain

OTTAWA (Reuters) – Canada officially racked up 100,000 cases of the novel coronavirus on Thursday and although the outbreak is slowing, health experts said major challenges remain. Authorities admit they were not prepared for how fast the pandemic ripped through nursing homes, where more than 80% of the deaths occurred. While the 10 provinces are slowly reopening their economies, major restrictions remain in place in Montreal and Toronto, Canada’s two biggest cities. “We haven’t done brilliantly, we’ve done acceptably,” said University of Toronto epidemiologist Camille Lemieux, saying the outbreak was “a very big wake-up call” about shortfalls in a fragmented health care system. The province of Ontario on Thursday announced another 190 cases a day after public health agency data showed 99,853 people had been diagnosed positive. That pushed Canada over the 100,000 mark and into 17th place on the global list. Canada has recorded at least 8,266 deaths, in 12th place worldwide according to data compiled by Reuters. As the outbreak fades, chief medical officer Theresa Tam expressed concern that people, especially the young, will grow complacent about precautions such as wearing masks. “It’s the sustainability of our response going forward (that) is going to be really tough. We will just have to keep reminding people,” she told a briefing this week. “The virus hasn’t disappeared … what we’re asking all Canadians to remind themselves is it’s not normal times. We’re not going back to before January 2020.” Tam worried that cases might surge later this year, which would be especially troubling if it spiked at the same time as an influenza outbreak. She said the country must build up enough capacity to detect and clamp down on any cases and contacts. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau – identifying complacency as a major threat – said Canadian firms had helped produce a tracing app which would be voluntary due to privacy concerns. [nO8N2D200H] “As we start loosening some restrictions we also have to strengthen other measures so that we don’t lose the progress we’ve made,” he told reporters on Thursday. Yet experts said Canada’s complex multi-layered healthcare system will complicate efforts to beat the pandemic. The 10 provinces each control their own systems and have taken different approaches. Ottawa’s role is largely providing money. Lemieux said there had been no consistent national messaging or strategy on measures such as contract tracing and wearing masks. “We could certainly have a significant setback. I think that’s a very real risk,” she said in a phone interview. “It takes very little to lose the trust of a population, to lose that little bit of credibility.” Tam herself came under fire from commentators in April for first saying wearing masks was not beneficial for those showing no symptoms and then changing her mind a week later. Tam said her advice had been evolving based on science. Authorities in Ontario and Quebec, the two most populous provinces, struggled to such an extent with outbreaks in nursing homes that they were forced to call in troops. “That’s got to be the biggest lesson learned … more needs to be done to ensure that doesn’t occur (again),” Tam said. “We flattened the curve to the extent that we did not overwhelm our acute care system but we certainly did not do well in the long term care senior setting.” Quebec’s coroner on Wednesday ordered a public inquiry to probe whether any of the deaths in residences had been linked to violence or negligence. Soldiers who helped in some Ontario nursing homes said they saw staff leaving people in soiled diapers and ignoring calls for help. [nL1N2D81KR]

US STOCKS-Wall Street oscillates amid COVID-19 spikes, muted data

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Wall Street struggled for direction on Thursday as investors weighed a resurgence in coronavirus infections and the possibility of a new round of shutdowns against data that suggested the U.S. economy might not bounce back with quick, V-shaped recovery. A range-bound S&P 500 see-sawed through much of the session and was last in negative territory, joining the blue-chip Dow in the red. The tech-heavy Nasdaq was essentially flat. “It’s not unusual after huge moves to trade sidewise,” said Chuck Carlson, chief executive officer at Horizon Investment Services in Hammond, Indiana. “It’s a continuing evaluation of the sustainability of improvement at these rapid levels.” “(Investors) don’t want to sell and they don’t want to buy, so you have days like this,” Carlson added. Initial jobless claims declined slightly last week to a still-bruising 1.51 million, according to the Labor Department. The number was worse than consensus, and continuing claims remain stubbornly high at 20.54 million, suggesting the labor market has a long road to recovery. While several U.S. states have reported surges in new COVID-19 cases after re-opening their economies, President Donald Trump insisted the United States would not enact a new round of restrictions to curb the pandemic’s spread. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 136.7 points, or 0.52%, to 25,982.91, the S&P 500 lost 8.39 points, or 0.27%, to 3,105.1 and the Nasdaq Composite added 0.09 points, or 0%, to 9,910.63. Of 11 major sectors of the S&P 500, five were in positive territory, with energy and consumer staples seeing the largest percentage gains. Real estate was the clear laggard. Grocery chain Kroger Co beat quarterly earnings estimates and said it expects to exceed its 2020 same-store sales outlook. But the company did not reaffirm or provide new 2020 forecasts, and its shares fell 5.4%. Shares of Spotify Technology SA jumped 13.8% after the music streaming company inked a deal with AT&T Inc’s Warner Brothers and DC Entertainment to add popular DC Comics character podcasts to its library. Cruise operator Carnival Corp fell 2.8% after reporting a record $4.4 billion quarterly loss after pandemic-related write-downs. Biogen Inc dropped 7.6% after a U.S. district court ruled in favor of generic drugmaker Mylan NV in a patent dispute. Mylan NV rose 2.2%. Industrial services provider Team Inc plunged 17.1% after missing quarterly earnings estimates amid falling demand. Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by a 1.23-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.10-to-1 ratio favored advancers. The S&P 500 posted five new 52-week highs and no new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 72 new highs and four new lows.

UPDATE 3-U.S. House panel hears from Facebook, Google, Twitter on election security

(Reuters) – Top officials from Facebook, Google and Twitter were grilled by U.S. lawmakers on Thursday at a virtual hearing on foreign influence and election security ahead of the Nov. 3 presidential contest. Leaders from Facebook Inc (FB.O) and Twitter Inc (TWTR.N) told the House of Representatives Intelligence Committee that they had not seen evidence of coordinated foreign interference in conversations about absentee voting or about recent protests on anti-racism and policing. However, Twitter’s director of global public policy strategy and development Nick Pickles said the company had seen a shift from platform manipulation to public tweets from state media and government accounts. Democratic Representative Jim Himes pressed Facebook’s head of security policy Nathaniel Gleicher on what the company was doing to deal with the concern that its algorithm promotes polarization. “If every single American household is full of toxic, explosive gas, as I think it is today, all it takes is a match from Russia or from Iran or from North Korea or from China to set off a conflagration,” said Himes. Gleicher said Facebook’s users did not want to see divisive content and the platform had refocused to emphasize content from friends and family. The debate over content moderation has intensified in recent weeks. Twitter and Facebook have diverged on how to handle inflammatory posts by President Donald Trump, which Facebook’s Gleicher was pressed on at the hearing. Trump, in turn, has accused social media companies of censorship and called for the government to roll back liability protections for tech platforms. Asked about changes to this law, known as Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, Gleicher said the company would comply with the law if Congress made changes, but that the shield it creates is essential for Facebook to do its work. Richard Salgado, director for law enforcement and information security at Alphabet Inc’s (GOOGL.O) Google, faced accusations that the company’s lack of transparency had allowed it to avoid the heat other tech firms had drawn. Salgado said Google does provide transparency reports around advertising on the platform.