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Estonia becomes first country to offer e-residency digital citizenship

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By NewsGram Staff Writer

The Republic of Estonia, a small country in northeastern Europe, has become the world’s first country to offer e-residency. A new scheme has allowed people from all over the world to get a digital identity provided by the Estonian government and set up a company with zero per cent corporate tax in Estonia.

The credit card sized e-residency permit provides the holder with an array of services, like submitting taxes online, accessing bank accounts, digitally signing documents, etc.

In a short span of six months after the scheme’s launch, Estonia already has 2,000 e-residents. According to a news report, Estonia is planning to increase this number to 10,000 by the end of this year.

This scheme gives access to the digital services of Estonia; however, the card should not be mistaken for unrestricted access to Estonia or the European Union (EU). The managing director of the e-Estonia showroom, Siret Schutting told IANS, “The services of the e-residency card are restricted to the virtual world, so residency or citizen services are not included and this cannot be used as an identification card or replace the mandatory visa or passport for entry into the EU.”

Since this scheme of e-citizenship is a fairly new product, several modifications are being done to it in order to improve the services it offers. Earlier, it was essential for a new e-resident to be present in Estonia at least once to identify him/her with biometric data. However, now all these formalities can be completed in any of the Estonian embassies located globally.

India has responded to this new scheme in a positive manner. Estonian Ambassador to India, Viljar Lubi, said, “Interest in India has been very keen, even without us actively promoting it. In India, it has been proved time and again that good ideas spread the fastest by word of mouth.”

This scheme is very useful for the entrepreneurs who intend to expand their business to the European Union. An Indian businessman, Bashyam Krishnan, told the news agency, “This is a simple and accessible gateway to the European Union. One can set up a company within 10 minutes. And from there on, the EU becomes your market.”

Krishnan added, “The services offered as a part of this are varied and nearly everything can be done with the touch of a button. The system is that easy and user friendly. Additionally, multiple security measures are there from secure passwords to a log system to check illegal access. I believe that it is extremely secure.”

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Equal Distribution of Tools is the Ultimate Measure of Success in COVID Battle: WHO Director-General

Fight against COVID-19 depends on equal distribution among everyone

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World Health Organisation believes in equal distribution of resources in the fight against Novel Coronavirus. Wikimedia Commons

World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that the ultimate measure of success in fighting COVID-19 will not be how fast the tools are developed but how equally they can be distributed.

Speaking at the opening of the European Union (EU) COVID-19 online pledging conference Monday afternoon, the WHO chief said it will be unacceptable that some people in the world are protected while others remain exposed to the virus, Xinhua news agency reported.

WHO Director-General
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, World Health Organization Director-General believes that the tools shall be evenly distributed among people to fight the battle against the ongoing pandemic. Wikimedia Commons

“This is an opportunity not only to defeat a common enemy, but to forge a common future, a future in which all people enjoy the right to the highest attainable standard of health,” he noted.

Ten days ago, the WHO and the European Commission co-hosted the launch of a global collaboration to accelerate the development, production and equitable access to new COVID-19 diagnostics, therapeutics and vaccines, and Monday’s pledging event is a follow-up to this effort.

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Noting that the world is facing an unprecedented public health crisis, Tedros told the conference that “we are better positioned than any humans in history to confront it”.

The EU and its partners hosted an international pledging conference Monday afternoon, aiming to raise 7.5 billion euros in initial funding to kick-start global cooperation on coronavirus. (IANS)

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OnePlus Lays Off Several Workers in Europe With Due Course To its “Restructuring Plans”

According to OnePlus, the changes has nothing to do with the pandemic, but as the company raced towards premium 5G smartphones, carriers like O2 and EE discontinued their partnerships with the brand in the UK

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The Chinese smartphone maker said that it has decided to make some changes to the current organisational structure within Europe to better streamline its operations while continuing to meet the needs of its growing community. Wikimedia Commons

Chinese company OnePlus that launched flagships OnePlus 8 and 8 Pro this week has laid off several workers in Europe as part of its ‘restructuring plans.

The smartphone manufacturer said it is making organisational changes in some existing markets, specifically Germany, France and the UK, adding that “it is doing everything it can to support the approximately 20 total employees in these three markets who will be affected by this restructuring, including offering redundancy packages per local regulations.

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The Chinese smartphone maker said that it has decided to make some changes to the current organisational structure within Europe to better streamline its operations while continuing to meet the needs of its growing community. “These changes only apply to Europe, which remains a key region for OnePlus where we are committed to bringing the best products and services to users as we have done since day one,” the company said in a statement on Saturday.

OnePlus
Chinese company OnePlus that launched flagships OnePlus 8 and 8 Pro this week has laid off several workers in Europe as part of its ‘restructuring plans. Wikimedia Commons

“As part of our strategy, we are looking to capitalise on opportunities in the Nordic region and Benelux by hiring for new positions, relocating some existing European staff and further enhancing our capabilities in these strategic markets,” the company added. However, the teams in Denmark, Finland, Netherlands and Belgium appear to be unaffected, as these are the markets where OnePlus apparently sees most potential.

According to OnePlus, the changes has nothing to do with the pandemic, but as the company raced towards premium 5G smartphones, carriers like O2 and EE discontinued their partnerships with the brand in the UK. Ben Wood, Chief Analyst at CCS Insight, said that “OnePlus has fallen into the trap of over-promising and under-delivering”.

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The company is struggling hard to maintain relationships with carriers in Europe. (IANS)

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Police in Spain Distributes Masks to Commuters

Police in Spain Hand Out Millions of Masks to Commuters

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A member of Civil Protection gives out free protective face masks outside a food store during a lockdown amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Ronda, southern Spain. VOA

Police in Spain handed out millions of masks to commuters Monday as the country started to ease its tough coronavirus lockdown, allowing some businesses to reopen.

Construction and manufacturing businesses were allowed to reopen, while retail businesses remained closed and office workers were encouraged to keep doing their jobs from home.

Spain COVID-19
Commuters wearing face masks to protect against coronavirus at Atocha train station in Madrid, Spain. VOA

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Transportation officials said that they were limiting the number of riders on trains and buses and passengers were spaced one meter apart.

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Spain’s Health Ministry reports, as of Monday, the cumulative death toll from the coronavirus rose to 17,489, up 517 from 16,972 on Sunday. Total confirmed cases reached 169,496, up from 166,019 the previous day. (VOA)