COVID-19 lockdown

Amazon, Facebook and Apple thriving in lockdown

Amazon sales soared 40% in the three months ending June, while Apple saw a surge in purchases of its iPhones and other hardware.

At Facebook, the number of people on its platforms, which include WhatsApp and Instagram, jumped by 15%.

The gains come as the firms face scrutiny over their size and power.

At a hearing in Washington on Wednesday, lawmakers grilled the companies about whether they were abusing their dominance to quash rivals, noting the sharp contrast between their fortunes and many other firms.

Online child abuse rising during lockdown warn police

Data gathered by the BBC reveals demand for abuse imagery has shot up.

Reports of obscene online material more than doubled globally to more than four million between March and April.

The US-based Center for Missing and Exploited Children said some of that rise related to one especially horrific and widely-circulated video.

In the UK, where 300,000 people are considered a threat to children, there were nearly nine million attempts in the last month to access child sexual abuse websites which had been previously blocked by the Internet Watch Foundation.

Lebanon begins 'total' shutdown as cases increase

The government had been easing restrictions imposed two months ago to try to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

Shops, restaurants and hair salons had been allowed to re-open. But they now have to close again.

The efforts to fight the coronavirus have had a crushing impact on the economy, which was already in a dire state before the pandemic.

Lebanon started negotiations with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Wednesday to secure financial assistance it urgently needs.

Lebanon has reported 870 confirmed cases of Covid-19 and 26 associated deaths.

Putin eases Russian lockdown as cases rise

He said the country's "non-working period" imposed to curb the virus had lasted six weeks.

The easing of restrictions will affect all sectors of the economy, Mr Putin said, but some regions may keep tighter controls if necessary.

Russia now has the third-highest number of confirmed infections worldwide.

In the last 24 hours it reported a record daily rise of 11,656 cases, bringing the official total to 221,344.

New Zealand goes into lockdown

Earlier today, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern confirmed the country would go into alert level four - and a full national lockdown - in the next 48 hours.

All of Government Controller John Ombler addressed a media conference, along with other key personnel involved in the response.

Ombler said it was clear there would be significant disruption to everyone, "but the alternative would be far worse".

"I'm confident that this all of government leadership is the best way to support the community.

"These are restrictions to save lives."