Coronavirus: England ‘on knife-edge’ as cases rise and lockdowns grow

New cases of coronavirus are doubling almost weekly across England, figures revealed, as Birmingham became the biggest local authority to announce a tightening of lockdown measures and health officials flagged “worrying signs” of infections in elderly people. The measures to be introduced in Birmingham next week mean more than 7.3 million people – 11% of the UK population – will be living in areas affected by some level of local lockdown, according to a Guardian analysis. After signs that the number of virus infections is accelerating sharply, the former UK government chief scientific adviser Sir David King urged ministers to improve the NHS test-and-trace system. He said England was on a “knife-edge”. King’s warning came as the latest figures showed another huge surge in UK positive cases on Friday – up to 3,539, compared with 1,940 a week ago. While the number of people dying from Covid-19 remains low, there …

Watch a Florida School Counselor Discuss Returning to School During the Pandemic

Florida school counselor Stacey King was “really, really scared” about returning to school during the coronavirus pandemic, she tells Katie Couric in a video series produced with TIME. King, a counselor at the Sanibel School, a small public school in Sanibel, Fla., is now working with about half her students in person, while the rest learn from home. For those at school, that means a combination of hand sanitizer, plexiglass desk dividers and masks. “It’s very different to be in front of a classroom of kids, and all you can see are their eyes,” King says. “It has been a challenge.” Teachers across the country have been adapting to an unprecedented school year, as districts bring students back to classrooms, continue with months of more remote learning or develop a mix of in-person and virtual instruction. Many teachers have raised concerns about whether it’s safe to return yet, leading to …

Summer camp that held off COVID-19 opens fall camp for remote learning

As the school year begins under the cloud of COVID-19 that has closed many schools across the country, students and parents have struggled to cope with remote learning. One summer camp in northern Wisconsin has an innovative solution: fall camp. North Star Camp for Boys was one of the very few sleepaway camps in the country to successfully open and operate a full two-month summer program, doing so without a single COVID-19 case. It did it by creating a “bubble” for all campers and staff with regular testing and tough, strictly enforced COVID-19 protocols. Summer is over, but owner and director Andy Shlensky is creating that same bubble for the first six weeks of the school year. “The idea is, rather than getting stuck in your basement, doing remote schooling and having the option to go from your Google classroom to your Netflix to your Fortnite, we will provide a …

Behind new jobs numbers are very bad signs for the economy, experts say

Waves of fresh furloughs are poised to hit American workers as companies wake up to the reality that the coronavirus is proving more intractable than they initially thought. “The ‘V-shaped’ recovery is a mirage,” said Nick Mazing, director of research at data provider Sentieo. “We are seeing a permanent reduction in the size of several sectors in the economy.” While the economy added an estimated 1.4 million jobs in August, according to Friday’s government jobs report, the number actually points to a slowdown in the recovery. The total positions added is below the 1.7 million job gains for July, and far below the 4.8 million added in June. The jobs report is based on a survey that is conducted during the week that includes the 12th of the month — but data that was collected after that period flashed warning signs for some economists. As of Aug. 17, job openings …

Saudi Arabia says flights to, from UAE can fly over kingdom

Saudi Arabia says that flights to and from the United Arab Emirates “from all countries” will now be able to use its airspace, a vaguely worded announcement that apparently allows flyovers by Israel following a deal to normalize UAE-Israel relations By ISABEL DEBRE Associated Press September 2, 2020, 1:37 PM • 4 min read DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — Saudi Arabia announced Wednesday that flights to and from the United Arab Emirates “from all countries” will now be able to use its airspace — a statement apparently allowing flyovers by Israel following a deal to normalize UAE-Israel relations. The vaguely worded statement avoided naming Israel directly. However, the announcement came just days after the kingdom allowed the first direct Israeli commercial passenger flight to use its airspace to reach the UAE. Any direct flight between the two nations would need to use Saudi airspace to be commercially viable. The statement …

Australian citizen detained in China amid increasing tensions between Canberra and Beijing

An Australian citizen who works as a TV anchor for a Chinese state-controlled broadcaster has been detained as tensions between Canberra and Beijing escalate. The Australian government was notified on 14 August that Cheng Lei, an anchor for a business show on the China Global Television Network, had been detained in Beijing. In a statement released on Monday night, Australia’s foreign minister, Marise Payne, acknowledged the detention and said a consular visit had been conducted via video link. “Australian officials had an initial consular visit with Ms Cheng at a detention facility via video link on 27 August and will continue to provide assistance and support to her and her family,” Payne said. The foreign minister said “further comment will not be provided owing to the government’s privacy obligations”. It is highly unusual for foreign journalists to be detained in China. Cheng was born in China but later became an …

University of Alabama Reports More Than 1,000 COVID-19 Cases Since Classes Started Less Than 2 Weeks Ago

More than 1,000 students have tested positive at the University of Alabama’s Tuscaloosa campus in less than two weeks, stoking fears that colleges reopening for in-person classes could contribute to a surge in COVID-19 cases. Since in-person classes started on Aug. 19, a total of 1,043 students have tested positive for coronavirus at the campus, the university system reported Friday, although no students were hospitalized for the virus at that time. University President Stuart R. Bell called the rise in cases “unacceptable” in a statement on Aug. 23. On Aug. 21, before the recent numbers were reported, he said that he was “deeply disappointed” that many students disregarded guidelines set by the university to keep the school safe. On Aug. 26, Bell urged the campus to come together to limit the spread of the virus. “At this critical time, we must be united and fully committed in our fight against …

Trump blames media after DNC tops RNC in TV ratings

Biden’s speech also drew more viewers than Trump’s speech a week later. August 29, 2020, 8:27 PM • 3 min read In a series of tweets Saturday morning, President Donald Trump targeted news outlets for correctly reporting that the Republican National Convention and his speech accepting the nomination were beat in TV ratings by the Democratic National Convention and Joe Biden’s speech a week earlier. Trump’s speech at the RNC Thursday night drew 23.4 million viewers compared with Biden’s speech, which drew 24.6 million, according to Nielson ratings. Overall, the average viewership for all four nights of the conventions were also higher for Democrats than Republicans. The RNC had an average 19.4 million viewers while the DNC averaged 21.6 million, according to the data. In response to the ratings, Trump publicized his campaign’s self-reported numbers, which includes digital and television viewers. “Wow! Despite the Democrats views across TV and online …

Belarus deports Swedish journalist amid media crackdown

A Swedish photojournalist has been deported from Belarus, amid a crackdown on local and foreign media and ahead of further mass protests planned for this weekend against the president, Alexander Lukashenko. Paul Hansen was given 24 hours to leave the country and banned from Belarus for five years. He was one of 50 reporters rounded up by riot police on Thursday and taken into custody, ostensibly so their documents could be checked. One of those detained was the BBC’s Moscow correspondent, Steve Rosenberg. Most of the journalists were later released but four Minsk-based correspondents were detained overnight and appeared in court on Friday, charged with organising illegal protests. They included the photographer Alexander Vasukovich and Katsiaryna Andreyeva, a reporter with the independent Belsat TV channel. On Friday night, Dominic Raab condemned the attack on press freedom. The British foreign secretary tweeted: “I condemn the mass detention of over 50 journalists …

Gap earns $130 million in face mask sales last quarter

The company’s earnings report revealed changing consumer preferences. August 28, 2020, 2:36 PM • 3 min read Gap, which owns brands including Banana Republic, Old Navy and Athleta, reported earning $130 million in face mask sales alone last quarter. The company said it sold face masks to both consumers and businesses. While overall net sales were down for the quarter due to pandemic-induced closures and changing consumer demands, the company did report a 95% increase in online net sales compared to the same time period last year. “Our strong performance in the second quarter reflects the customer response to our brands, products and experiences, particularly as we’ve rapidly adapted to the changing environment,” CEO Sonia Syngal said in a statement announcing the quarterly earnings. “I’m confident that our purpose driven lifestyle brands, size and scale, and advantaged digital capabilities are helping us win now and position us for growth in …

Taylor Swift donates over $30,000 to a student so she can afford to go to UK university

Singer-songwriter Taylor Swift during an interview on “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” on October 3, 2019. Andrew Lipovsky/NBCUniversal | Getty Images Singer Taylor Swift donated £23,373 ($30,759) to a student in London, who was trying to raise funds so that she could afford to study math at the U.K.’s University of Warwick.   Swift donated the money via Vitoria Mario’s GoFundMe page, which the student set up as she was not eligible for U.K. college loans or grants, having moved to London from Portugal four years ago.  In a message on the fundraising page, Swift said she had come across Mario’s story online and was “so inspired by your drive and dedication to turning your dreams into reality” that she wanted to gift the student the rest of her goal amount of £40,000.  “Good luck with everything you do!” Swift added.  In a TV interview Friday, Mario thanked Swift and …

A new phenomenon as QAnon conspiracy spreads: Nationwide #SavetheChildren rallies

On the second Saturday of August, about 100 protestors gathered at the “Big Red Wagon,” a well-known attraction in downtown Spokane, Washington. Men, women and children marched through the streets chanting, “Save the children.” It was ostensibly an effort “to raise awareness and start a conversation” about child trafficking, according to a local television reporter at the scene.   Many of the marchers held signs that would be expected at such a rally: “Save our kids,” “Your silence is deafening,” and “Wake up 4 our children,” to name a few. But other signs were less clear, and suggested that something darker was going on during an event that otherwise seemed organic and sympathetic. “Symbolism will be their downfall,” one read. Another featured the hashtag “#Pedowood.” Yet another was a strange acronym: “WWG1WGA,” short for “Where we go one, we go all.”   These signs, similar to those found at many …

Dems To Underscore Trump’s Leadership Failures In Day 2 Of Convention

NEW YORK (AP) — A day after Michelle Obama’s passion wowed Democrats, Joe Biden is drawing on a collection of his party’s most experienced leaders at the Democratic National Convention to underscore what he calls a global leadership deficit that threatens U.S. national security. Jill Biden will also introduce herself to the nation for the first time as the prospective first lady. A longtime teacher, she’ll speak from her former classroom at Brandywine High School near the family home in Wilmington, Delaware. Former President Bill Clinton and former Secretary of State John Kerry are among the headliners on a night that organizers emphasize a simple theme: Leadership matters. Former President Jimmy Carter, now 95 years old, will also make an appearance.   “Donald Trump is just not equipped, not capable of doing what we need to do in the world today,” Kerry said during a briefing ahead of the convention’s …

Controversial pastor tests positive for COVID-19 in South Korea

A cluster infection of COVID-19 surrounding a church is alarming authorities.   SEOUL, South Korea — A controversial South Korean pastor tested positive for COVID-19 after participating in an anti-government mass rally on Saturday that drew tens of thousands of people in calling for the ouster of South Korean President Moon Jae-in. Health authorities have warned against outdoor gatherings for fear of spreading the virus but many worshippers of the Sarang Jeil Church led by Rev. Jun Kwang-hun reportedly joined the protest.   Jun and his church members have been at the center of criticism in recent months as they were known to have been worshipping in tightly packed paces and against warnings by health officials. President Moon sharply criticized the church on Sunday calling their attendance at the rally “an unpardonable act.” Health authorities have been battling with sporadic outbreaks in Seoul and its neighboring cities while the number …

Couple married 62 years die from coronavirus hours apart, 2 days after son

A New Jersey couple married over 62 years died hours apart from COVID-19, just two days after their son also died from the coronavirus. Victoria Freda, 83, and her husband, Lawrence Freda Jr., 85, died April 24, according to both of their online obituaries. Their son, John Freda, died April 22 at the age of 51.   Gov. Phil Murphy noted their deaths at a coronavirus news briefing Wednesday, calling it “an extraordinary tragic story.” We remember Larry and Vicki Freda, and their son, John. One family. John was a proud Jersey product all the way. He had a creative soul, loving to write, draw, and work on art projects. He was an avid reader & movie buff. John was funny, thoughtful, intelligent, & introspective. pic.twitter.com/OsWUv7Cjsb — Governor Phil Murphy (@GovMurphy) August 12, 2020 “Three tremendous and loving souls all taken from the same family within a span of 48 …

The $150 billion video game industry grapples with a murky track record on diversity

  The video game industry may be booming in the coronavirus era but it continues to face intensifying pressure over its handling of diversity and inclusion. For years, gaming has been criticized for fostering a culture that excludes and is even hostile toward women. Stereotypes surrounding so-called “gamer girls” for instance have led to harassment of female gamers online and resulted in a perception of the $150 billion industry as one dominated by men. The industry has been trying to change this by highlighting the variety of people that play video games and throwing the spotlight on initiatives to engage women, ethnic minorities and other underrepresented groups. The Entertainment Software Association (ESA) for instance notes that American gamers are almost evenly split between men (54%) and women (46%).   But industry employment demographics show a different picture. “The industry is overwhelmingly white and male,” Tanya DePass, director and founder of …

Coronavirus live news: WHO concerned over Covid-19 in Lebanon after explosion; new cases in Germany at three-month high

US house speaker Nancy Pelosi has said Democrats and the Trump administration remain far apart regarding any agreement over further economic aid amid the coronavirus pandemic, adding that Republicans also seemed divided amongst themselves over relief efforts. “We’re miles apart,” the US House of Representatives’ top Democrat told MSNBC, citing education funding in particular, among other needs. “It’s a chasm … but as a practical matter, they’re going to have to come to the table.” Russia has said the first batch of the world’s first Covid-19 vaccine would be rolled out within two weeks and rejected as “groundless” safety concerns aired by some experts over Moscow’s rapid approval of the drug. The vaccine, called Sputnik V in homage to the world’s first satellite launched by the Soviet Union in 1957, has yet to complete its final trials and some scientists said they feared Moscow may be putting national prestige before …

Outcry in Somalia as new bill would allow child marriage

An outcry is rising in Somalia as parliament considers a bill that would allow child marriage once a girl’s sexual organs mature and would allow forced marriage as long as the family gives their consent 3 min read JOHANNESBURG — An outcry is rising in Somalia as parliament considers a bill that would allow child marriage once a girl’s sexual organs mature and would allow forced marriage as long as the family gives their consent. The bill is a dramatic reworking of years of efforts by civil society to bring forward a proposed law to give more protections to women and girls in one of the world’s most conservative countries. The new Sexual Intercourse Related Crimes Bill “would represent a major setback in the fight against sexual violence in Somalia and across the globe” and should be withdrawn immediately, the United Nations special representative on sexual violence in conflict, Pramila …

World tops 20 million COVID-19 cases

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases has topped 20 million worldwide and a quarter of them are in the U.S., the latest tally revealed Tuesday. Roughly a quarter of the nearly 740,000 deaths from COVID-19 were also in America, NBC News figures showed. In just six weeks, the number of cases around the globe doubled as countries that had been in lockdown began opening up in April. The same thing happened in the U.S., where the bulk of the new cases have been reported in the South and in the Sun Belt in states like Florida, which started reopening in May at the urging of President Donald Trump and have since seen an ongoing surge in new cases, including 276 more deaths reported Tuesday. California, the state with the most cases thus far, now has 574,228 after an overnight increase of 12,750 cases. It also reported 117 more deaths, bringing …

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