Coronavirus lockdown 2.0 deepens divisions in Israel

JERUSALEM (AP) — When Israel went into lockdown last spring, Jerusalem pub owner Leon Shvartz moved quickly to save his business — shifting to a delivery and takeaway model that kept him afloat throughout the summer. Then came the second lockdown.

With restaurants and shops shuttered again, Shvartz’s business is struggling to survive. He has laid off 16 of his 17 employees.

By contrast, Israeli software maker Bizzabo, which operates in the hard-hit conference-management sector, quickly reinvented itself last spring by offering “virtual events.” It has more than doubled its sales and is expanding its workforce.


Such tales of boom and bust reflect Israel’s growing “digital divide.”

Even before the pandemic, Israel had one of the largest income gaps and poverty rates among developed economies, with a few high earners, mostly in the lucrative high-tech sector, while many Israelis barely get by as civil servants, in service industries or as small business owners.

Those gaps have widened as the second nationwide lockdown, imposed last month, dealt a new blow to an economy already hit hard by the first round of restrictions.

The fallout from the pandemic has also deepened long-simmering divisions among Israeli Jews, pitting a largely secular majority against a powerful ultra-Orthodox minority.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, a target of months of mass protests over his perceived mishandling of the pandemic, has been seen as favoring his ultra-Orthodox partners at the expense of the greater good. In trying to contain the latest outbreaks, Netanyahu opted for an economically devastating blanket lockdown instead of targeted restrictions in infection hot spots, including many ultra-Orthodox communities, presumably to avoid upsetting his allies.

The deep tear in Israel’s social fabric prompted a warning from Israel’s figurehead president, Reuven Rivlin.

“I feel the air is full of gunpowder. I feel the fury on the

An interesting look at South African website traffic during the lockdown

Narratiive released its September 2020 statistics, which showed that News24, IOL, and BusinessTech are the largest news publications in South Africa.

Narratiive is the official traffic measurement partner of the IAB South Africa and provides accurate traffic and demographics statistics for South Africa’s top online publishers.

Last month, News24 attracted a readership of 11.4 million unique browsers, followed by IOL with 6.2 million, and BusinessTech with 5.7 million.

The top 10 is completed by TimesLive, Gumtree, EWN, The South African, Citizen, Daily Maverick, and Vodacom.

It should be noted that only websites which are part of the IAB South Africa and run Narratiive code are included in this comparison.

This means that other large websites like the banks, Takealot, and Bidorbuy are not listed.

The table below lists the readership figures for South Africa’s largest online publications, based on the September 2020 Narratiive report.

Top Online Publications in South Africa
Website Unique Browsers Page Views
news24.com 11,427,703 82,954,772
iol.co.za 6,227,819 28,469,802
BusinessTech.co.za 5,687,989 19,986,654
timeslive.co.za 5,615,460 24,247,572
gumtree.co.za 4,398,972 84,963,218
ewn.co.za 3,651,642 16,162,663
thesouthafrican.com 3,527,961 10,223,660
citizen.co.za 3,318,612 11,668,842
dailymaverick.co.za 2,828,899 11,400,534
vodacom.co.za 2,708,161 14,457,904

How the lockdown affected traffic

South African online news publications were on the forefront of covering the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdown.

This clearly showed in the readership figures as South Africans flocked to online publications for the latest developments.

There was a big spike in traffic for most publications during the lockdown, which peaked in June and remains at very high levels.

The monthly readership figures for South Africa’s top business publications provide a good overview of this trend.

BusinessTech more than doubled its usual readership during the lockdown, while Business Insider, Business Live, and Moneyweb showed equally strong performances.

The chart below shows how the readership of the country’s top online business publications

Vedanta’s Profit Tumbles as India Lockdown Hurts Output, Demand

(Bloomberg) — Billionaire Anil Agarwal’s Indian commodities conglomerate Vedanta Ltd. posted a 23.5% drop in quarterly profit as one of the world’s strictest lockdowns hit production and demand.



a man walking down a street next to a river: Police officers walk along an empty road during a lockdown imposed due to the coronavirus in Mumbai, India, on Monday, June 1, 2020. Despite a strict two-month-long lockdown, the outbreak in India’s financial capital has snowballed, with the city now accounting for nearly a quarter of India’s more than 4,700 deaths and more a fifth of India’s over 165,000 infections.


© Bloomberg
Police officers walk along an empty road during a lockdown imposed due to the coronavirus in Mumbai, India, on Monday, June 1, 2020. Despite a strict two-month-long lockdown, the outbreak in India’s financial capital has snowballed, with the city now accounting for nearly a quarter of India’s more than 4,700 deaths and more a fifth of India’s over 165,000 infections.

Group net income slumped to 10.33 billion rupees ($141 million) in the three months to June from 13.51 billion rupees a year earlier, the company said in a statement late Saturday. Sales fell 25.9% to 156.87 billion rupees.

Loading...

Load Error

Key Insights

Vedanta’s main businesses include zinc, aluminum and oil and gas, all of which have been hit by a slump in demand due to the coronavirus pandemicAgarwal’s London-based Vedanta Resources Ltd. is in the process of taking Mumbai-listed Vedanta private by buying out minority shareholders to simplify his investments.Vedanta Resources is in talks with banks for a further $600 million to finance the delisting after already securing $3.15 billion in loans and bonds, according to people familiar with the information.Vedanta had net debt of 247.87 billion rupees at the end of June.Vedanta’s Hindustan Zinc, also Asia’s most valuable zinc producer, reported a 23% drop in June-quarter profit on lower prices and production.India’s economy posted its worst slump in the three months ended June as disruptions caused by the Covid-19 outbreak brought Asia’s third-largest economy to a halt. Economists expect growth to shrink in the year through March 2021, in the first such contraction in more than four decades.

Market Reaction

Shares of Vedanta rose 0.4% on Thursday to close