‘It’s getting worse by the day’: India’s Covid battle rages on

The first official cases of coronavirus arrived at Niramaya hospital in Mumbai in early May, but they did not come as much of a surprise to Dr Amit Thadhani. Thadhani, the hospital director, had suspected for weeks that the virus was being virulently transmitted in India’s financial capital, home to 20 million people, after seeing a steady stream of patients with unseasonable viral symptoms. But strict testing restrictions – and a vehement government denial of community transmission – meant he had no way to prove or prevent it. “Our limitations in availability in testing back then is partially responsible for the infections we have now, as we could have picked up a lot more early cases,” he said. Five months on, Mumbai has 1.8 million coronavirus cases and on Thursday, India crossed the dubious threshold of reporting more than5 million cases nationwide. With the fastest rate of infection in the …

‘No one cares’: Pandemic exacerbates strain on Gaza Strip’s densely packed communities

Effectively, they have lived under lockdown for years. The 2 million Palestinian residents of the Gaza Strip have their movement restricted by Israel to the north and Egypt to the south. Both have cited security concerns over the leadership controlled by Hamas. Still, the coronavirus broke through, and as of Friday, the Ministry of Health has reported 1,631 COVID-19 infections and 11 deaths. Of those, only 115 infections and one death were in quarantine facilities. The rest were in the densely packed communities in the blockaded territory. An outbreak could be devastating in the crowded, impoverished area, which only has 97 intensive care unit beds and ventilators, according to the charity Oxfam. “We work under very stressful conditions,” Dr. Mohamad Asfour told NBC News earlier this month at the European Hospital, where he is working to treat people with the virus. Temperatures hit 90 F before he puts on his …

Netflix’s Reed Hastings on Rejecting Brilliant Jerks, the Power of Big Vacations, and Spending $15 Billion on Content

  The pandemic has exacerbated the winner-take-all economy, and Netflix has been a prime beneficiary of the global lockdown. Before the recent tech-stock rout, the company’s stock price had increased by roughly 40% since March, to the mid-$550s, and its market cap of $242 billion briefly exceeded that of the Walt Disney Co., which is no Mickey Mouse operation and has far more in the way of concrete assets and IP. Membership has also increased dramatically for the global streaming service. The company now has 193 million subscribers in 190 countries. So, how do you get to be like Netflix? In a new book, No Rules Rules, company co-founder Reed Hastings (with co-author Erin Meyer) lays out his management philosophy, which includes paying talent top dollar—while steering clear of brilliant jerks—pumping up candor and taking lots of vacations. Hastings, 59, a former Peace Corps volunteer, acknowledges that his approach is …

Trump tries to deflect blame but stands by comments made in Woodward interview

President Donald Trump, at a White House news conference Thursday, continued to defend comments he made to journalist Bob Woodward in which he admitted he deliberately downplayed the seriousness of the coronavirus to the public despite knowing its deadly danger, and argued that if the comments were so bad, Woodward should have made them public sooner. “If Bob Woodward thought it was bad, he should have immediately gone out publicly, not wait for months,” Trump said, appearing to try to deflect any blame. Woodward told The Associated Press Wednesday that he needed time to confirm that Trump’s private comments were accurate. “If I had done the story at that time about what he knew in February, that’s not telling us anything we didn’t know,” Woodward said, saying he made it a priority to get his story out before the election. “Had I decided that my book was coming out on …

Biden to visit Michigan as fallout from Cohen’s book on Trump continues – live

  Michigan Republicans are offering some counter-programming to Joe Biden’s visit today, holding a media call before the Democrat’s speech in Warren. David Eggert (@DavidEggert00) Michigan GOP chair Cox, Rep. Moolenaar, Walberg holding media call before Biden’s visit. Emphasizing Trump’s USMCA trade deal, funding for Soo Locks project, pre-pandemic economic record, virus relief aid. ‘President Trump has delivered on what he said he would do.’ – Walberg September 9, 2020 Congressman Tim Walberg, who represents part of southern Michigan, said during the call that Trump “has delivered on what he said he would do.” In reality, the president has broken about half of the promises he has made to the American people, according to Politifact. Despite that fact, Trump will likely deliver a similar message tomorrow, when he gives a campaign speech in Freeland, Michigan. 9.38am EDT 09:38 Biden’s Michigan visit marks new stage of presidential campaign This is Joan …

When will tourists return to Africa? Continent must guess

Africa’s tourism sector is struggling to cope with the drop in international travel caused by the COVID-19 pandemic By GERALD IMRAY Associated Press September 8, 2020, 9:35 AM • 5 min read CAPE TOWN, South Africa — Raino Bolz quickly diversified when his tourism business in South Africa’s winelands crashed to a halt in March because of the coronavirus pandemic. He sold a minibus — useless without tourists to ferry around — and bought a herd of pregnant cows. He’ll have to wait for the cows to have calves and for the calves to be old enough to sell before he can make money from them. That probably won’t be until early next year, but it’s his insurance policy. Bolz hopes to see a return of some tourists in November, the start of South Africa’s tourism season. If foreign visitors — 80% of his income — don’t arrive for end-of-year …

India becomes country with second highest number of Covid cases

India has surpassed Brazil to become the country with the second highest number of coronavirus cases, as the virus continues to spread through the country of 1.3 billion at the fastest rate of anywhere in the world. India recorded more than 90,000 cases overnight, bringing the number of infections in the country past 4.2 million and overtaking Brazil, which with 4.1 million cases had been the second worst-affected country for several months. India now only lags behind the United States, which has had 6.2 million cases so far. However, while cases in the US have begun to level off, the rate of infection in India is worsening by the day, with no signs of when it will hit the peak, and experts are predicting the south Asian country will soon tally the most cases in the world. The death toll stands at 71,000, equating to 50 deaths per million, which …

Hall of Fame outfielder, speedster Brock dies at age 81

NEW YORK — Hall of Famer Lou Brock, one of baseball’s signature leadoff hitters and base stealers who helped the St. Louis Cardinals win three pennants and two World Series in the 1960s, has died. He was 81. Dick Zitzmann, Brock’s longtime agent and friend, confirmed Brock’s death Sunday, but he said he couldn’t provide any details. The Cardinals and Cubs also observed a moment of silence in the outfielder’s memory before their game at Wrigley Field. Brock lost a leg from diabetes in recent years and was diagnosed with cancer in 2017. “Lou Brock was one of the most revered members of the St. Louis Cardinals organization and one of the very best to ever wear the Birds on the Bat,” Cardinals chairman Bill DeWitt Jr. said in a release. “He will be deeply missed and forever remembered.” The man later nicknamed the Running Redbird and the Base Burglar …

U.S. considers blacklisting China’s largest chipmaker as tech tensions escalate

Integrated circuits on a circuit board. The semiconductor industry has been in focus during the U.S.-China trade war. filonmar | E+ | Getty Images The Trump administration is considering imposing export restrictions on Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation, China’s largest manufacturer of semiconductors, according to a Defense Department spokesperson.  The Department of Defense is in discussions over whether SMIC should be added to the Commerce Department’s entity list, which essentially restricts those companies from receiving specific goods made in the U.S.  “DoD is currently working with the interagency in assessing available information to determine if SMIC’s actions warrant adding them to the Department of Commerce’s Entity List,” a Defense Department spokesperson said. “Such an action would ensure that all exports to SMIC would undergo a more comprehensive review.”  The administration’s move is part of a continued effort to put pressure on China’s technology firms and would mark a major escalation in the …

‘World’s loneliest elephant’ allowed to leave zoo for better life

An elephant who has become a cause célèbre for animal rights activists around the world will be allowed to leave his Pakistani zoo and be transferred to better conditions, the animal welfare group helping with the case has said. Dubbed the “world’s loneliest elephant” by his supporters, Kaavan has languished at a zoo in the Pakistani capital of Islamabad for more than 35 years. Martin Bauer, a spokesman for Four Paws, said on Saturday that the elephant has finally been given medical approval to travel, most likely to Cambodia, where he will find companionship and better conditions. Kaavan, who is overweight, underwent a full medical examination at the zoo on Friday, said Bauer. Local wildlife officials and Four Paws vets feed Kaavan. Photograph: Aamir Qureshi/AFP/Getty Images In May, Pakistan’s high court ordered the Marghazar zoo closed because of its abysmal conditions, which were blamed on systemic negligence. The cause of …

Charlie Kaufman’s ‘I’m Thinking of Ending Things’ isn’t a horror film. It’s better.

Road trips “remind you that the world is bigger than the inside of your own head,” observes a young woman played by Jessie Buckley in Charlie Kaufman’s elegiac thriller “I’m Thinking of Ending Things” on Netflix. Her statement is more or less in opposition to Kaufman’s entire body of work, which is dedicated to spelunking through the darkest recesses of the inside of his characters’ heads, so it should immediately be a little suspicious. This untrustworthy quality is worsened by her character’s boyfriend, Jake (Jesse Plemons), who seems to know what she’s thinking from moment to moment on their drive to meet his parents for dinner — a first for her. Then there are the incongruities and apparently intentional continuity errors: Sometimes she’s wearing a sweater; in the next shot, the sweater is gone. There’s an old man driving a truck in a series of interstitial scenes who doesn’t seem …

The Ocean Farmers Trying to Save the World With Seaweed

In a cove in Bamfield, a coastal community in British Columbia, Canada, Louis Druehl steers his boat, The Kelp Express, a mile along the mountainous coastline. For 51 years, this boat has taken Druehl to the fortuitously named Kelp Bay where beneath the water’s surface ropes of seaweed that Druehl has been carefully harvesting for decades dangle in the cold Pacific water. Referred to by some as the “seaweed guru”—by others, as the “kelp grandfather”—Druehl, 84, was the first commercial seaweed operator in North America when he began growing kelp, a brown seaweed, in 1982. Seaweed is his life: he has studied it, farmed it, cooked it, and written an award winning, bestselling book about it. Over the years, Druehl has watched interest in seaweed come and go. But now, as climate change wreaks havoc on ecosystems across the planet, the world is turning to seaweed as a potential climate …

The Next Pandemic Stimulus Bill Must Be Race-Conscious

As Congress struggles to agree on a new stimulus bill to support people during the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s vital that we recognize what didn’t work in the first stimulus through the CARES Act. One thing has become shamefully clear: Congressional leaders’ lack of attention to the deep structural racial inequities that undergird economic fragility and joblessness in the first place has resulted in far too many Black and Latinx Americans being left out and left behind. There is still an operating belief in a “rising tide lifts all boats,” a term attributed to President John F. Kennedy that proclaims government economic policy should focus on broad economic efforts. However, racial disparities are primarily produced and maintained by colorblind policies and practices. A stark historical example is the race-neutral GI Bill passed after World War II, which provided young men who might otherwise not have had the opportunity for post-high school …

Australia’s ANZ says 15,000 mortgage holders fear they can’t pay home loans

An ANZ sign adorns a branch of the bank in Sydney on May 3, 2016. William West | AFP | Getty Images About 15,000 people with Australia and New Zealand Banking Group mortgages fear they can no longer pay their home loans due to the economic impact of the coronavirus, the head of Australia’s fourth-largest lender said on Friday. ANZ CEO Shayne Elliott told a parliamentary hearing the bank still did not know the true impact of the virus on the bank’s roughly A$246 billion ($179 billion) mortgage book since customers could pause repayments if they could not make them. However, of the bank’s 84,000 customers who had deferred loan repayments, “about 15,000 of those people have said ‘right now I’m really uncertain, I’ve lost my job … and I probably am going to need more help’ and they’re the people we’re talking to”, Elliott told parliament. “It’s going to …

Coronavirus live news: Robert Pattinson ‘tests positive for Covid-19, halting Batman production’

4.22pm EDT 16:22 Domestic violence in the UK has risen sharply since March, and many victims feel alone. Spreading the word about resources is vital, writes Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall.   Six months ago, our country went into lockdown. Almost immediately, we saw both the best and the worst of human behaviour. For many, charity truly began at home, with family members caring for shielding relatives, and neighbours pulling together in new and different ways. But for some, it was abuse, rather than charity, that began at home. Deeply troubling statistics have shown the sharp rise in domestic violence since March. It is thought that, globally, cases have escalated by 20%. In the UK, more than a third of specialist services have reported an increase in requests for their support. Yet nearly two-thirds of victims have felt unable to seek help, for fear of repercussions from their partner, or because …

US sanctions on ICC prosecutor unacceptable, says EU

The European Union’s top diplomat has called for Washington to reverse its sanctions on the international criminal court prosecutor Fatou Bensouda and another member of the ICC, calling the measures “unacceptable and unprecedented”. The US blacklisted Bensouda on Wednesday over her investigation into whether American forces committed war crimes in Afghanistan, under sanctions authorised by Donald Trump in June that allow for asset freezes and travel bans. Sanctions were also imposed on Phakiso Mochochoko, the head of The Hague-based ICC jurisdiction, complementarity and cooperation division. “The sanctions … are unacceptable and unprecedented measures that attempt to obstruct the court’s investigations and judicial proceedings,” Josep Borrell said. Washington should “reconsider its position and reverse the measures it has taken”, he added. France’s foreign minister also condemned the sanctions and pledged his country’s unwavering support for the court and its staff. “The measures announced are a grave attack against the court … …

COVID exacerbates an already fractured opioid addiction treatment framework: ANALYSIS

In the post-pandemic world, how can addiction treatments work? September 3, 2020, 9:00 AM • 10 min read Opioid overdoses in the United States have spiked by about 18% during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the Overdose Detection Mapping Application Program at the University of Baltimore. This, after the CDC reported 2019 opioid overdose deaths topped over 71,000, a record high at the time. My sister Denise was one of those lost in 2019. She was found dead in July from an apparent opioid overdose. Denise’s death occurred after years of interventions and being in and out of various treatment facilities, many of which my parents, wife Valerie and I participated in. In a pre-COVID world, addiction treatments were varied and begged efficacy questions. In the world of COVID, effective treatment options for opioids or any addiction is a major concern. Why is this spike occurring? The White House Office …

Trump Stopped Going to Dover AFB To Receive Bodies After He Was Berated On First Visit

WASHINGTON ― In the world of President Donald Trump, he has paid his respects to “many, many” returning soldiers killed in the line of duty, with daughter and top presidential aide Ivanka Trump adding that “each time” she has stood by his side at one of these ceremonies, it has hardened his resolve to bring troops home. In the real world, Trump has traveled to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware exactly four times ― fewer than half as many times as his vice president ― and avoided going at all for nearly two years after getting berated for his incompetence by the father of a slain Navy SEAL, according to a former White House aide who spoke on condition of anonymity. Bill Owens, the father of William “Ryan” Owens, refused to shake Trump’s hand at that Feb. 1, 2017, encounter, the aide said, and then told Trump that he was …

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 …

Taiwan to change passport, fed up with confusion with China

A young woman standing on a float during the celebration of the 107 birthday of the Republic of China in Taipei, Taiwan, known also as double Ten celebrations.   Fed up with being confused for China amid the coronavirus pandemic and Beijing’s stepped-up efforts to assert sovereignty, Taiwan said on Wednesday it would redesign its passport to give greater prominence to the island’s name. Taiwan has complained during the outbreak that its nationals have encountered problems entering other countries, as Taiwanese passports have the words “Republic of China”, its formal name, written in large English font at the top, with “Taiwan” printed at the bottom. The new passport, expected to come into circulation in January, removes the large English words “Republic of China”, though the name in Chinese characters will remain, and enlarges the word “Taiwan” in English. Taiwan Foreign Minister Joseph Wu said new passports were needed to prevent …