Ireland, the home of Apple and Google in Europe, is seeking a compromise on Biden’s plan for a 15% global minimum corporate tax rate, reports say

A woman wearing sunglasses exits Google's Dublin headquarters
A Google office in Dublin.

  • Ireland – home to Google, Apple, Microsoft – said it’s willing to “compromise” on corporate taxes.
  • G7 leaders agreed to a 15% global minimum corporate tax rate, which is higher than Ireland’s 12.5%.
  • Ireland’s finance minister on Friday told CNBC there’s a role for “legitimate tax competition.”
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Ireland – European home to tech giants like Apple, Google, and Microsoft – said it was willing to “compromise” on global minimum tax rates.

Paschal Donohoe, Ireland’s finance minister, on Friday told CNBC that the country would “engage” in tax-rate negotiations “very intensely.”

“…and I do hope an agreement can be reached that does recognize the role of legitimate tax competition for smaller and medium-sized economies,” Donohoe said.

The Group of Seven wealthy nations this month agreed to a 15% global minimum corporate tax rate, higher than Ireland’s 12.5%. President Joe Biden’s administration pushed the agreement, saying it would be “a critical step towards ending the decades-long race to the bottom” on corporate tax rates.

Ireland has long attracted multinational corporations seeking a European outpost with favorable rates, sometimes at the frustration of its European neighbors. Apple in 2016 was targeted by the European Commission, which said the company needed to pay back taxes of about $15 billion. Apple appealed.

Big Tech this month mostly said it welcomed a uniform global rate.

“Facebook has long called for reform of the global tax rules and we welcome the important progress made at the G7,” Nick Clegg, vice president for global affairs at Facebook, told Insider.

As the G7 tax agreement was announced, Donohoe said on Twitter that there were 139 countries that would eventually be involved in such a tax agreement. As such, it would have to work for small and large nations, he said. Developing and wealthy nations would all have to agree, he said.

“It is in everyone’s interest to achieve a sustainable, ambitious and equitable agreement on the international tax architecture,” he said at the time.

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Biden pushes G7 to get tough on China, calling out forced labor, human rights abuses, and ‘non-market’ practices

President Joe Biden and German Chancellor Angela Merkel talk with in England.
President Joe Biden and German Chancellor Angela Merkel during a bilateral meeting on Saturday.

  • President Biden urged G7 leaders to collectively rebuke China over forced labor.
  • “And more than just speaking out, taking action,” a senior US administration official said.
  • Some G7 leaders with trade ties to Beijing expressed concern about calling out human-rights abuses.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

President Joe Biden this weekend worked to rally the Group of Seven to offer a collective rebuke to China over forced labor, human-rights abuses, and other “non-market” practices.

The leaders on Saturday found they had a “very strong and shared foundation” for a joint approach to China, a senior US administration official said in a press briefing.

“And more than just speaking out, taking action, responding to forced-labor in supply chains, again, including from Xinjiang,” the official said, referencing a region where human rights groups say China has committed crimes against humanity.

Biden has made slowing China’s growing economic power and international reach the centerpiece of his foreign policy agenda for his first overseas summit. The G7 nations – US, UK, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and the EU – yesterday announced a multi-billion-dollar infrastructure plan to rival the international spending of China’s Belt and Road Initiative.

President Joe Biden leaves Sunday mass in St. Ives, England.
President Joe Biden on Sunday morning in St. Ives, England.

Senior US officials, who spoke to the press on the condition of anonymity, detailed areas where the US and its allies were seeing “convergence” during Saturday’s talks in Carbis Bay, England.

The administration said Biden had urged other G7 members to speak out about China’s “practices that are harmful and distorted to the global economy.”

Biden spoke about China in his breakout one-on-one sessions with Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi and French President Emmanuel Macron, according to official readouts.

But it was unclear whether Biden would be able to steer the group to include the type of strong, disapproving language the US favors in the official G7 communiqué, which is expected after the summit wraps on Sunday.

Some senior UK officials, for example, have sought to keep human-rights abuses in China off the table, partly because the UK has worked to build up trade with China, Politico reported.

Officials from Italy, Germany, and the EU also each expressed concern on Saturday about putting stress on their economic ties to China, The New York Times reported.

Japan in April expressed similar concern during a White House visit, The Washington Post reported.

A spokesperson for the Chinese embassy in London told Reuters that the “days when global decisions were dictated by a small group of countries are long gone.”

The spokesperson said: “We always believe that countries, big or small, strong or weak, poor or rich, are equals, and that world affairs should be handled through consultation by all countries.”

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The US reportedly spied on Angela Merkel and other top European politicians with Denmark’s help

Angela Merkel
German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

  • Denmark reportedly helped the US access the calls and texts of senior European officials, including Angela Merkel.
  • Denmark held an internal investigation into its partnership with the NSA between 2012 and 2014.
  • The country’s public broadcaster reported the findings of the investigation, citing nine unnamed sources.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Denmark’s foreign intelligence unit helped the US spy on European officials, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel, according to a report by Danish public broadcaster Danmarks Radio (DR) on Sunday.

In 2015, the Danish Defence Intelligence Service (FE) conducted an internal investigation – code-named “Operation Dunhammer” – into its partnership with the US National Security Agency (NSA), according to the report.

The investigation found that the NSA used Danish information cables to spy on senior officials in Sweden, Norway, France, and Germany between 2012 to 2014, according to DR’s report. The report cited nine unnamed sources with classified information from FE.

The NSA accessed calls, texts, and chat messages to and from officials’ telephones, the sources told DR.

In addition to Merkel, the NSA spied on former German foreign minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier and former German opposition leader Peer Steinbrück, according to the DR report.

The FE and the NSA didn’t provide comment on the DR report.

A spokesperson for the German chancellery told Reuters it only became aware of the NSA spying allegations when journalists asked them about the report, and declined to comment further.

Leaks by former NSA employee Edward Snowden alleged that the NSA tapped Merkel’s phone and spied on other countries. Snowden tweeted on Sunday that President Joe Biden was “deeply involved in this scandal the first time around” as he was vice-President when the reported spying took place.

Insider contacted the White House and the NSA for comment, but did not immediately receive a response.

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American sunscreens may not be as effective as European sunscreens. Here’s why.

Following is a transcript of the video.

Narrator: In 2017, researchers tested 20 best-selling US sunscreens. The good news is that 19 of them met FDA standards. The bad news? Nine of them didn’t meet European standards. Turns out, different countries have different rules for what makes a safe sunscreen and US sunscreens may not be protecting Americans as well as it could. When we lay in the sun, our skin absorbs two types of UV light. UVA and UVB rays. UVB light is higher energy and can cause sunburns while UVA penetrates deeper under the skin and can damage skin cells along the bottom layer of your epidermis.

Desai: We know that UVB rays are the rays that cause sunburns. But UVA rays are the rays that can actually cause skin cancer so you actually wanna cover the spectrum on both of those. I think a lot of people get into a misconception that I didn’t get sunburned so I’m not at prone to getting skin cancer which really isn’t true.

Narrator: The biggest concern with US sunscreen is how much protection you’re getting from cancer-causing UVA rays. For decades, FDA regulations required that sunscreens protect against UVB, but not necessarily against UVA. Meanwhile, rates for melanoma, a dangerous form of skin cancer, kept climbing in the US. Then, in 2012, the FDA updated its regulations on labeling and testing so that manufacturers must now let customers know if its sunscreen protects against both UVB and UVA. That’s what the broad spectrum label on your sunscreen means, for example. And while this is a good first step, there’s still no regulation on how much protection you’re getting from UVA. So, there’s no way to tell.

Desai: Here in the United States, I think we need to be cognizant of the fact that when a sunscreen says it’s broad spectrum, UVA- and UVB-protecting, that does mean you’re going to get protection against those rays. However, what it does not mean is that it’s going to block out all of the rays.

Narrator: And that’s where US sunscreens fall short.

Desai: And I will say that I do think we are behind other countries globally, particularly some of our European counterparts, in getting new sunscreen ingredients approved. Overall, there has not been much change in US sunscreen composition and what our sunscreens are made up of in the past several years.

Narrator: The FDA has approved 16 active ingredients that protect against UV radiation. But only some protect against both UVB and UVA rays. For comparison, Europe requires that all of its more than 20 active ingredients protect against both.

Desai: Right now, the American Academy of Dermatology and other organizations are really advocating with the FDA that they need to really speed up the approval process for new sunscreen ingredients. Because it’s with these ingredients that we can probably get even better coverage and better protection and maybe even get something that’s easier to apply, that’s easier on the skin, that doesn’t have any harmful side effects for patients.

Narrator: You can purchase sunscreens from other countries online. But if you plan on sticking with American sunscreens, look for the broad spectrum label and don’t buy anything below SPF 30.

Desai: The higher the SPF, definitely the better. But we definitely don’t want anyone going below a 30. And think about if you’re someone who has a history of a melanoma, if you use an SPF 30, you’re blocking out let’s say 98% of the harmful rays. However, what about the remaining 2%? That 2% may be something that could be potential of putting you at a risk down the road.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This video was originally published in November 2018.

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European countries will soon accept vaccinated US travelers. Here are the documents you’ll need and how to know when it’s safe.

airport mask
A federal police officer checks the document of a passenger at Frankfurt Airport in Germany.

  • EU representatives voted Wednesday to allow fully vaccinated US travelers to visit soon.
  • Americans will need to prove they’ve had their shots, but the specific rules may vary by country.
  • Greece and Iceland, among the few countries already open to US tourists, are accepting CDC cards.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Hold on to your vaccination cards: European Union representatives agreed on Wednesday that Americans who have been fully immunized should be allowed to visit the EU’s 27 member nations. They won’t have to show a negative COVID-19 test result or quarantine upon arrival, NBC News reported. Children may also be able to accompany their vaccinated parents abroad, regardless of their own vaccination status – provided that they have a negative coronavirus test.

The new travel guidelines are expected to be formally approved by the European Council later this week, meaning travel from the US to Europe could be possible this summer.

It’s likely that Americans will need to show government-issued vaccine certificates to visit most European countries. For now, neither EU nor US officials have specified whether people will need to show the white vaccination card issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or other documentation.

Lisa Lee, a public-health expert at Virginia Tech, said European countries will probably have patchwork of different rules for US travelers.

“Some have said they’re only going to accept electronic [vaccine records] so it can be verified,” Lee told Insider. “Other people are afraid that the CDC cards are too prone to fraud and they won’t accept the paper cards.”

In an interview with Ouest France, French President Emmanuel Macron said foreign tourists could visit France with a “health pass” starting June 9. Macron didn’t expand on what that pass would look like, though.

Spain’s tourism secretary, meanwhile, has said the country is prepared to let travelers return in June – as long as visitors show proof they’ve been vaccinated, recently tested negative for the coronavirus, or recently recovered from COVID-19.

“One thing is clear: All 27 member states will accept, unconditionally, all those who are vaccinated with vaccines that are approved by EMA,” Ursula von der Leyen, the European Commission president, told The New York Times in April, referring to the European Medicines Agency. The EMA has authorized all three vaccines used in the US: Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson.

Already, a few European countries – including Greece and Iceland – are allowing visitors from the US. Their policies could offer a hint at what to expect from other nations moving forward.

The US still doesn’t recommend travel to Europe

A TSA officer wears a mask at Logan International Airport in Boston in March 2020.
A TSA officer wears a mask at Logan Airport in Boston in March 2020.

The CDC currently recommends avoiding all international travel to European countries, with the exception of Iceland and the UK. (The agency says Americans can travel there for essential visits only.) Similarly, the US is denying entry to visitors from the EU or UK unless they’re US citizens.

The Biden administration hasn’t said whether it will remove these restrictions in the near future, but travel and aviation groups are pushing the US government to open its borders to more countries, with testing requirements in place.

For now, the US also requires fully vaccinated Americans to test negative before reentering the country.

Lee said this policy helps protect the population from highly transmissible variants that are more prevalent in other countries and might evade protection from vaccines.

“These vaccines are incredibly effective, but they’re not 100% – and they’re certainly not 100% or as effective against strains that we don’t know about yet that might be developing through transmission, so it’s still a good time to be somewhat cautious,” she said.

Greece and Iceland are accepting CDC cards as proof of vaccination

tourist greece
Tourists wear face masks at the the Akropolis in Athens, Greece on November 2, 2020.

As of April 19, Greece is welcoming US travelers with a few stipulations: Visitors are asked to fill out a locator form at least one day before entering or leaving the country. Americans must also provide proof that they’ve been fully vaccinated – a CDC card is sufficient – or present a negative PCR test.

US travelers don’t need to quarantine under this policy, a change that came with the new rule. Previously, Americans entering Greece had to isolate for a week. If a person tests positive upon arrival, however, they’ll be transported to a hotel, where Greek authorities will confirm the test results and ask them to stay inside for 10 days.

US travelers to Iceland can also avoid the nation’s mandatory quarantine by presenting a CDC card that shows they are fully vaccinated. Alternatively, a person can provide proof that they’ve had COVID-19 already – either through a positive PCR or antibody test result.

iceland tourists
Tourists walk in Reykjavik, Iceland on April 3, 2020.

But those going to Iceland still need to take another COVID-19 test upon arrival, then wait at their accommodation until the results are back (which can take up to 24 hours). Hotels in Iceland may ask to see your CDC vaccination card as well.

Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Georgia, Montenegro aren’t requiring US travelers to quarantine, either, if they show proof of vaccination. Italy is similarly allowing American visitors to bypass quarantine requirements with a negative COVID-19 test.

UK residents have been able to travel internationally since May 17 – but Americans who want to visit the UK must still present a negative COVID-19 test, quarantine for 10 days upon arrival, and get tested twice during their visit.

Travel requirements aside, an international trip brings risks

airport travel
A traveler wears a face mask at Los Angeles International Airport on January 25, 2021.

Just because a country is accepting US travelers doesn’t mean a visit is low-risk. For Americans trying to decide whether to travel or where to go, Lee recommended that fully vaccinated people look at two key metrics: low levels of transmission and case numbers that are declining day over day.

“If you look at Portugal, for example, the incidence is a lot lower than Spain and they’re right next to each other,” Lee said.

On average, Spain is recording nearly 102 daily cases per 1 million people, while Portugal is recording around 39 daily cases per 1 million people. The CDC defines low transmission as fewer than 5 cumulative new cases per 100,000 people over the prior 28 days, and moderate transmission as fewer than 50 cumulative new cases per 100,000 people over 28 days.

If you’re looking to lower your risk of infection, choose less crowded locales where you’re unlikely to bump into people who haven’t been vaccinated. Opt out of large events like concerts or soccer matches, too.

london UK reopening
Outdoor dining in London on April 18, 2021.

“If you’re planning a trip to the countryside, that’s a very different calculus than if you’re planning a trip to the middle of a bustling city,” Lee said.

Of course, outbreaks can also change course quickly, so a country that looks safe now may have high levels of transmission in three months.

“Check the requirements frequently, right up until the departure date, as every country’s policies are going to be changing in response to the way the epidemic evolves,” Lee said.

The website Skyscanner offers real-time updates on countries’ travel restrictions and quarantine requirements. Make sure to prepare the necessary documentation for each country you plan to visit.

“You don’t want to get from one place to another and discover, ‘Oh, whoops, they need this piece of paper or that piece of software and I don’t have that,'” Lee said.

This story has been updated. It was originally published on May 2, 2021.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Europe may allow vaccinated US travelers this summer. Here are the documents you’ll need and how to know when it’s safe.

airport mask
A federal police officer checks the document of a passenger who landed from Prague at Frankfurt Airport in Germany.

  • European countries could accept fully vaccinated US travelers this summer.
  • Americans would need to prove they’ve had their shots, but the specific rules may vary by country.
  • Greece and Iceland, among the few countries already open to US tourists, are accepting CDC cards.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Hold on to your vaccination cards: Americans who have been fully immunized could be allowed to travel to Europe this summer, the president of the European Commission recently told The New York Times.

While the European Union hasn’t yet announced the formal requirements to enter its 27 member nations, it’s likely that Americans will need government-issued vaccine certificates. For now, neither EU nor US officials have specified whether people will need to show the white vaccination card issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or other documentation.

Lisa Lee, a public-health expert at Virginia Tech, said European countries will probably have patchwork of different rules for US travelers.

“Some have said they’re only going to accept electronic [vaccine records] so it can be verified,” Lee told Insider. “Other people are afraid that the CDC cards are too prone to fraud and they won’t accept the paper cards.”

In an interview with Ouest France, French President Emmanuel Macron said foreign tourists could visit France with a “health pass” starting June 9. Macron didn’t expand on what that pass would look like, though. Spain’s tourism secretary, meanwhile, said this week that the country is prepared to let travelers back in in June – as long as visitors show proof they’ve been vaccinated, recently tested negative for the coronavirus, or recently recovered from COVID-19. And UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson suggested earlier this month that British people could start traveling internationally on May 17.

“One thing is clear: All 27 member states will accept, unconditionally, all those who are vaccinated with vaccines that are approved by EMA,” Ursula von der Leyen, the European Commission president, told The Times, referring to the European Medicines Agency. The EMA has authorized all three vaccines used in the US: Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson.

Already, a few European countries – including Greece and Iceland – are allowing visitors from the US. Their policies could offer a hint at what to expect from other nations moving forward.

The US still doesn’t recommend travel to Europe

A TSA officer wears a mask at Logan International Airport in Boston in March 2020.
A TSA officer wears a mask at Logan International Airport in Boston in March 2020.

The CDC currently recommends avoiding all international travel to European countries, with the exception of Iceland. (The agency says Americans can travel there for essential visits only.) Similarly, the US is denying entry to visitors from the EU or UK unless they’re US citizens.

The Biden administration hasn’t said whether it will remove these restrictions in the near future, but travel and aviation groups are pushing the US government to open its borders to more countries, with testing requirements in place.

For now, the US also requires fully vaccinated Americans to test negative before reentering the country.

Lee said this policy helps protect the population from highly transmissible coronavirus variants that are more prevalent in other countries and might evade protection from vaccines.

“These vaccines are incredibly effective, but they’re not 100% – and they’re certainly not 100% or as effective against strains that we don’t know about yet that might be developing through transmission, so it’s still a good time to be somewhat cautious,” she said.

Greece and Iceland are accepting CDC cards as proof of vaccination

tourist greece
Tourists wear face masks at the the Akropolis in Athens, Greece on November 2, 2020.

As of April 19, Greece is welcoming US travelers with a few stipulations: Visitors are asked to fill out a locator form at least one day before entering or leaving the country. Americans must also provide proof that they’ve been fully vaccinated – a CDC card is sufficient – or present a negative PCR test within 72 hours of their arrival.

US travelers don’t need to quarantine under this policy, a change that came with the new rule. Previously, Americans entering Greece had to isolate for a week. If a person tests positive upon arrival, however, they’ll be transported to a hotel, where Greek authorities will confirm the test results and ask them to stay inside for 10 days. After that, they can be released following a negative PCR test.

US travelers to Iceland can also avoid the nation’s mandatory quarantine by presenting a CDC card that shows they are fully vaccinated. Alternatively, a person can provide proof that they’ve had COVID-19 already – either through a positive PCR or antibody test result.

iceland tourists
Tourists walk in Reykjavik, Iceland on April 3, 2020.

But those going to Iceland still need to take another COVID-19 test upon arrival, then wait at their accommodation until the results are back (which can take up to 24 hours). Hotels in Iceland may ask to see your CDC vaccination card as well.

Croatia, Georgia, Montenegro aren’t requiring US travelers to quarantine, either, if they show proof of vaccination.

Travel requirements aside, an international trip brings risks

airport travel
A traveler wears a face mask at Los Angeles International Airport on January 25, 2021.

Just because a country is accepting US travelers doesn’t mean a visit is low-risk. For Americans trying to decide whether to travel or where to go, Lee recommended that fully vaccinated people look at two key metrics: low levels of transmission and case numbers that are declining day over day.

“If you look at Portugal, for example, the incidence is a lot lower than Spain and they’re right next to each other,” Lee said.

On average, Spain is recording nearly 180 daily cases per 1 million people, while Portugal is recording around 45 daily cases per 1 million people. The CDC defines low transmission as fewer than 5 cumulative new cases per 100,000 people over the prior 28 days, and moderate transmission as fewer than 50 cumulative new cases per 100,000 people over 28 days.

If you’re looking to lower your risk of infection, choose less crowded locales where you’re unlikely to bump into people who haven’t been vaccinated. Opt out of large events like concerts or soccer matches, too.

london UK reopening
Outdoor dining in London on April 18, 2021.

“If you’re planning a trip to the countryside, that’s a very different calculus than if you’re planning a trip to the middle of a bustling city,” Lee said.

Of course, outbreaks can also change course quickly, so a country that looks safe now may have high levels of transmission in three months.

“Check the requirements frequently, right up until the departure date, as every country’s policies are going to be changing in response to the way the epidemic evolves,” Lee said.

The website Skyscanner offers real-time updates on countries’ travel restrictions and quarantine requirements. Make sure to prepare the necessary documentation for each country you plan to visit.

“You don’t want to get from one place to another and discover, ‘Oh, whoops, they need this piece of paper or that piece of software and I don’t have that,'” Lee said.

Read the original article on Business Insider

Uber’s Dara Khosrowshahi got into a Twitter spat with a rival food delivery CEO over plans to launch Uber Eats in Germany

Dara Khosrowshahi
  • Uber Eats is expanding into Germany, starting with Berlin, over the next few weeks.
  • The news prompted a Twitter spat between the CEOs of Uber and Just Eat Takeaway.
  • Uber’s head of delivery called Germany “strategically important” in the company’s push for profitability.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

The CEO of Uber got into a feisty Twitter exchange on Wednesday with a food delivery service rival.

After announcing that Uber Eats will expand into Germany – and a 5.4% drop in the stock of market-leader Just Eat Takeaway – the Dutch company’s CEO, Jitse Groen, insinuated Uber’s strategy was to “depress our share price.”

“Advice: pay a little less attention to your short term stock price and more attention to your Tech and Ops,” Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi replied.

Groen shot back: “Start paying taxes, minimum wage and social security premiums before giving a founder advice on how he should run his business.”

Neither company immediately responded to a request for comment on the exchange.

Just Eat Takeaway enjoys a dominant position in Germany after it acquired a local business in 2018, according to Bloomberg. The company also beat out Uber in a recent deal with GrubHub that will give the European company a major slice of the US food delivery market.

Across Europe, 24 million people used Uber Eats to order meals last year, but Just Eat Takeaway’s dominance in Germany suggests there’s room for Uber to expand there. Uber says it will start offering deliveries in Berlin in the coming weeks.

Uber’s head of delivery told the Financial Times that Germany is a “strategically important country” in the company’s push to profitability, and that Just Eat Takeaway’s fees are “extraordinarily high.”

“That translates into consumers and merchants actually being quite desperate for additional options,” he said.

Part of the challenge for Uber will be adapting its delivery model to a fleet management system in order to comply with German labor laws. Under that system, Uber pays a partner company that hires and pays drivers, as opposed to the independent gig-worker model that is common in the US.

Uber, which has expanded from ride-hailing to food delivery, package delivery, and courier service, is scheduled to release its earnings on May 5.

Read the original article on Business Insider

United and Delta will offer daily flights to Iceland and Greece this summer, the first European destinations to open to vaccinated Americans

reykjavik Iceland volcano eruption
Weekend hikers visit the area where a volcano erupted in Iceland.

  • United and Delta will offer seasonal daily service to Iceland and Greece this summer.
  • Both countries are heavily dependent on tourism, and the EU is under pressure to reopen to travelers.
  • International travel was still down more than 75% in March compared with 2019, industry data show.

US tourists eager to go abroad will be able to visit three European destinations this summer, so long as they can prove they are vaccinated against COVID-19.

On Monday, United Airlines announced it would begin seasonal daily service to Iceland and Greece beginning in July.

United’s move follows Delta’s announcement last month that it would offer daily service to Iceland from three US cities (Boston Logan, Minneapolis-St. Paul, and New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airports) beginning in May, and Delta’s route map indicates flights from JFK to Athens will resume in June.

In addition, United will offer thrice-weekly routes to Croatia, reflecting an increase in search activity on its website over the past month, the company told Bloomberg. Each of the European routes are new for United and are as follows: Chicago to Reykjavik, Iceland starting June 3; Washington-Athens, Greece starting July 1; and Newark to Dubrovnik, Croatia starting July 8.

Iceland is part of the Schengen zone of visa-free travel, but is not a member of the European Union, and is therefore exempt from the general restriction on visitors from outside the EU. Iceland Air recently warned international travelers that the country could not be used as a kind of backdoor to the continent, saying, “further travel from Iceland to the rest of Europe is currently not permitted for non-Schengen residents.”

Greece meanwhile just lifted its restrictions for travelers from the US who can provide a vaccination certificate or a negative COVID test result. As an EU member, Greece’s move puts additional pressure on the bloc to reopen travel more broadly.

Both Greece and Iceland are heavily dependent on tourism dollars. Tourism constitutes roughly a tenth of Greece’s economy, and those revenues plummeted 80% as a result of the pandemic. In 2019, tourism represented 42% of Iceland’s economy. In an attempt to incentivize visitors, Iceland Air is promoting round-trip prices as low as $349 and waiving change fees to give flyers greater flexibility when traveling.

Data from an industry trade group shows international travel was still down more than 75% in March compared with 2019.

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Europe’s wealthy are falling behind – London just dropped out of the top 10 cities for very high net worth individuals

london street
London.

  • A new report looks at where the very high net worth – between $5 million to $30 million – live.
  • London fell out of Wealth-X’s top 10 ranking for the first time dating back to 2004.
  • The US dominated the ranking, with seven cities in the top 10 including the top spot – New York.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

London is no longer a top-10 hub for very high net worth (VHNW) individuals.

In fact, the city’s share of VHNW individuals dropped by 16% in 2020, according to a Wealth-X’s second edition of the Very High Net Worth Handbook, which classifies VHNWs as having net worth between $5 million and $30 million.

London was knocked out of eighth place to 12th – the first time that London has been out of the top 10 since Wealth-X records dating back to 2004.

The report cites a few different factors for London’s fall down the ranks, including damages from Brexit, general pandemic economic conditions, and “poorly performing” equity markets. All was compounded by much stronger showings for the VHNW in the US and Asia.

As Insider’s Harry Robertson reported, the UK’s economy shrank by 9.9% in 2020 – the worst contraction on record as the UK fared the worst of the G7. The UK has also been particularly hard hit by the virus.

“The third major wealth region of Europe significantly underperformed its global peers, with the VHNW population declining by 7% to 623,880 individuals,” the report said.

Meanwhile, New York remained in first place, showing that a different story was unraveling across the pond. In fact, US cities represent the vast majority of the top 10 for the VHNW, with seven cities making the list. New York is holding fast to number one, and all of the US cities represented saw their VHNW populations grow.

The wealthiest Americans also saw substantial growth in 2020, with America’s billionaires adding $1.62 trillion to their wealth over the last 13 months.

On the whole, the VHNW population grew by 1.3%, amounting to a total of around 2.7 million. That’s a much smaller gain than prior years, but Wealth-X predicts a robust recovery and 1 million more VHNW individuals by 2025. Even still, the VHNW population’s total wealth rose by 1.2% to a total of $26.8 trillion.

On the other hand, a recent report from the Pew Research Center found 54 million people fell out of the global middle class, classified as those who earn about $14,600 to $29,200 a year, meaning they live on around $10 to $20 a day. A January report from Oxfam estimated that not only did 200 million to 500 million potentially fall into poverty in 2020 – it could also take a decade for the bottom to recover.

London’s drop on the VHNW list is another potential signal of its uncertain future as a financial hub, and as a home for the wealthy. In March, London saw drops in the Global Financial Centres Index, which ranks how competitive different finance hubs are. While it’s still the second top financial center, it fell over 10 points and barely ranks above Shanghai.

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1 million people have died from COVID-19 in Europe, a top World Health Organization doctor said

COVID-19 swab

At least 1 million people have died from COVID-19 in Europe, a top official from the World Health Organization said.

While speaking about the deaths in Europe, WHO Regional Director for Europe Hans Kluge told reporters in Greece that the COVID-19 remains a “serious” issue even as more people get vaccinated against the virus, according to the Associated Press.

Data from Johns Hopkins University shows that more than 2.9 million people have died from COVID-19 worldwide since the virus first started to spread.

The Americas have been hardest hit by the virus – with Brazil, Mexico, and the United States collectively recording more than 1.1 million deaths – but the 53-country European region that stretches into parts of Asia, is close behind.

Read the original article on Business Insider