stay away from any vehicle collisions involving Olympic participants, to avoid infection.

Last year, terminal shutdowns in and around Ningbo and Shenzhen, respectively the world’s third- and fourth-largest container ports by volume, led to congestion and delays, and caused some ships to reroute to other ports.

But if the coronavirus does manage to enter a big port again, the effects could quickly be felt in the United States. “If one of the big container terminals goes into lockdown,” Mr. Huxley said, “it doesn’t take long for a big backlog to develop.”

Airfreight could also become more expensive and harder to obtain in the coming weeks as China has canceled dozens of flights to clamp down on another potential vector of infection. That could especially affect consumer electronics companies, which tend to ship high-value goods by air.

For American companies, the prospect of further supply chain troubles means there may be another scramble to secure Chinese-made products ahead of potential closures.

Lisa Williams, the chief executive of the World of EPI, a company that makes multicultural dolls, said the supply chain issues were putting pressure on companies like hers to get products on the shelves faster than ever, with retailers asking for goods for the fall to be shipped as early as May.

Dr. Williams, who was an academic specializing in logistics before she started her company, said an increase in the price of petroleum and other raw materials had pushed up the cost of the materials her company uses to make dolls, including plastic accessories, fibers for hair, fabrics for clothing and plastic for the dolls themselves. Her company has turned to far more expensive airfreight to get some shipments to the United States faster, further cutting into the firm’s margins.

“Everything is being moved up because everyone is anticipating the delay with supply chains,” she said. “So that compresses everything. It compresses the creativity, it compresses the amount of time we have to think through innovations we want to do.”

Ana Swanson reported from Washington, and Keith Bradsher from Beijing.

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South Africa Parliament Fire Still Burning After Hours

CAPE TOWN — A large fire at South Africa’s Houses of Parliament on Sunday sent flames and smoke billowing from rooftops and fire crews racing to save the historic structures.

Officials said the fire spread from an office space on the third floor of a building adjacent to the old National Assembly building toward a gym and to rooftops. The scale of the destruction was not immediately clear, they said, but there were fires burning in “two very distinct areas,” and they warned that it was likely to be extensive.

“The entire parliamentary complex is severely damaged — waterlogged and smoke damaged,” JP Smith, Cape Town’s mayoral committee member for safety and security, said, adding that “the roof above the old assembly hall is completely gone.”

“The second point of fire is the National Assembly building, which is gutted,” Mr. Smith said, referring to the building where the Parliament meets. “The structural ceiling has collapsed. The fire staff had to be momentarily withdrawn.”

In March, the older building caught fire, but that blaze was quickly extinguished.

“It’s tragic that we’re starting the New Year on this basis, with a fire in the old assembly that seems to be spreading to the new assembly,” Steven Swart, the chief whip of the African Christian Democratic Party, said on Sunday.

The fire was still burning hours after it was first reported. At least six fire trucks and about 70 firefighters and police officers were sent to the scene, Mr. Smith said, and the streets around the complex were closed off.

The blaze broke out a day after the funeral of Archbishop Desmond M. Tutu, the Nobel Peace Prize laureate who helped lead the fight against apartheid in South Africa. It was held at St. George’s Cathedral, which is a few minutes’ walk from the Houses of Parliament. The archbishop’s ashes were interred in the cathedral on Sunday morning, in a private ceremony for his family at the same time the fire was first spotted.

Cape Town is no stranger to fires, and wildfires on the slopes of its famed Table Mountain have had a devastating impact in recent years. Last year, a wildfire spread to the University of Cape Town, where it devoured the special collections library — home to one of the most expansive collections of first-edition books, films, photographs and other primary sources documenting the history of Southern Africa.

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Support for Japan PM up as voters welcome his COVID measures

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida speaks before the media at his official residence as an extraordinary Diet session was closed, in Tokyo, Japan December 21, 2021. Yoshikazu Tsuno/Pool via REUTERS

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TOKYO, Dec 27 (Reuters) – Nearly two-thirds of Japanese voters support Prime Minister Fumio Kishida’s government, with the public welcoming his anti-coronavirus measures, including temporary border closure to new foreign entrants, the Nikkei business daily said on Monday.

Support for Kishida’s cabinet rose to 65%, up by 4 percentage points from the previous survey a month ago, the newspaper said.

In the latest poll taken from Friday to Sunday, 61% of those surveyed evaluated positively Kishida’s anti-coronavirus steps, the highest figure since the Nikkei started asking the public’s views on the government’s coronavirus response in February 2020.

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Amid the global emergence of highly transmissible Omicron variant of coronavirus, Kishida late November announced that Japan was barring entry to foreigners for about a month. Last week, he extended the measure through New Year holidays.

Kishida took office in October, replacing Yoshihide Suga, whose one-year term as prime minister saw his support crumble as COVID-19 surged.

Japan has detected several hundreds new coronavirus cases a day in recent weeks, down sharply from more than 20,000 daily infections in the latest peak in August.

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Reporting by Kiyoshi Takenaka; Editing by Michael Perry

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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