Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Coronavirus News (172)

Videos show massive flooding in S. China, Three Gorges Dam next Three Gorges Dam faces serious test as Chongqing hit by worst flooding in 80 years 
COVID-19: Nepal in Crisis The coronavirus crisis has brought to the fore — and exacerbated — a number of the Nepali state’s long-standing weaknesses. ..........  The country went into relatively strict lockdown on March 24 and cases remained under 1,000 up until May 28. .........  The coronavirus crisis has brought to the fore — and exacerbated — a number of the Nepali state’s long-standing weaknesses like corruption, poor service delivery, and a failure to provide employment opportunities for millions of citizens who instead migrate to the Middle East, Malaysia, and elsewhere for labor jobs — and who now, unemployed, are beginning to return home in droves. ........ The health minister and several senior advisers in Prime Minister Khadga Prasad Sharma Oli’s coterie were accused of taking kickbacks while purchasing Chinese personal protective equipment (PPE) and other equipment, resulting in delays and the delivery of testing machines that did not even work. Two separate investigations are underway. ........  Even during normal times, the public healthcare system is understaffed and under-resourced. .......   Healthcare structural weaknesses have manifested in the government’s chaotic rollout of COVID quarantine centers and isolation centers throughout the country. Due to a lack of primary care facilities, thousands of infected migrant returnees were put in ad hoc isolation centers, often set up in schools that lacked cooking and bathing facilities and where detainees slept on the floor or on students’ benches. Many lack trained medical personnel or ambulances to take patients to a hospital if needed. Due to public outcry over the facilities, in which several people died, the government has recently begun allowing migrant returnees to undergo home-based quarantine and isolation. ..............    Amid COVID, the federal government has designed most of the policies and guidelines but it has charged provincial and local governments with most of the implementation. Local officials have complained to the provinces and the federal government about a lack of material and financial support, and they have traded barbs over who is responsible for shortcomings. ...........   The pandemic has also highlighted Nepal’s failure to provide opportunity and protection for migrant workers, up to a million of whom are now seeking to return to Nepal after losing jobs in foreign countries. Labor migration exploded during Nepal’s civil war from 1996-2006. ...........   Nepal is the fifth-most remittance-dependent economy in the world, with millions of Nepalis working in India, the Middle East, Malaysia, and elsewhere. ........   As of June 25, less than 7,000 have returned from the Gulf and Malaysia, while the government estimates that between 400,000 and 1 million need to return. .........  The Supreme Court recently ordered the government to pay for tickets by mobilizing a special welfare fund into which all migrants deposit money before departing, but the government has been reluctant to spend this money. .........  chartered flights have prioritized passengers with political connections over those most in need, further fueling frustration with the government’s handling of the migrant crisis. ........   Meanwhile, the NCP government has shown a reluctance to bear criticism. During recent weeks the police have dispersed protests with tear gas and water cannons, and the government has sought to silence prominent critics within the bureaucracy. This comes along with an ongoing effort, which began before the pandemic, to pass new laws that could undermine freedom of expression and the free press. ............     Nepal’s coronavirus crisis is poised to worsen in the coming weeks. As the country reopens and allows in more migrant returnees, the infection rate is likely to skyrocket. The Health Ministry recently projected 40,000 cases by mid-July, with 2,000 patients requiring intensive care — numbers the current healthcare system is poorly equipped to handle. As of June 29, under 216,000 PCR tests have been performed, which experts say is far less than necessary as Nepal continues the reopening process. Meanwhile, Oli has begun downplaying the severity of the virus in public remarks. As the health crisis worsens, long-standing governance problems will continue to become more pronounced — and frustration will likely continue to grow.

E.U. May Bar American Travelers as It Reopens Borders, Citing Failures on Virus European Union officials are racing to agree on who can visit the bloc as of July 1 based on how countries of origin are faring with new coronavirus cases. Americans, so far, are excluded 

A Multibillion-Dollar Opportunity: Virus-Proofing the New Office Tech, catering and design companies are rushing to sell employers on fever scanners, box lunches and office floor-planning apps for social distancing. But it’s too soon to tell if they will work.   

With fever-screening cameras and touch-free ID checks, the office lobby may feel more like airport security. The technology is part of a new security service for buildings and businesses from Kastle Systems.


Monday, June 29, 2020

Coronavirus News (171)

Why Bitcoin Will Be Crucial in Our Cashless Future  People pay with cash just 20 percent of the time in Sweden and only 14 percent of the time in South Korea. ........   the end of cash might carry unanticipated costs too. Today, cash is the easiest way to buy things anonymously, whereas most digital transactions are tracked by some middle man. With no digital cash equivalent, then, a cashless society is a society in which we’ve traded financial privacy for convenience. 

Feelings of anxiety and helplessness often rise during natural disasters but rarely become chronic, health experts note, and the prevalence of severe mental disorders is unlikely to change.

The Pandemic’s Mental Toll: More Ripple Than Tsunami Some health officials have forecast a steep rise in new mental health disorders. But the impact isn’t likely to last. ..........  “a massive increase in mental health conditions in the coming months,” wrought by anxiety and isolation. .........  Psychiatrists and therapists who work with people in the wake of earthquakes, hurricanes and other disasters noted that surges in anxiety and helplessness were natural reactions that seldom become traumatic or chronic. ..........  “Very few people understand how resilient they really are until faced with extraordinary circumstances. In fact, one of our first jobs in these situations is to call attention to just that.” .........   “The acute shock and fear of the events of September 11 were not accompanied by a commensurate increase in the use of psychotropic medications” .........  Post-traumatic stress requires, first, experiencing a life-threatening event, either personally; through a loved one; or up close, like witnessing deaths in an intensive care unit. Nightmares and other reverberations of the trauma are common, but these typically must persist for at least three months to qualify for the full diagnosis of a chronic condition. ..............  Living through a pandemic is nothing like surviving a natural catastrophe such as those: it’s less visible, less predictable, a creeping threat rather than flying debris — a marathon, psychologically, rather than a sprint to safety. A wave of new mental health disorders may indeed be on the way, especially if Covid-19 cases explode again late in the year, or the economic downturn deepens.

WITH NO PATIENTS AT HOME, CHINA OUTSOURCES COVID VACCINE TRIALS CHINESE RESEARCHERS ARE HOLDING A PHASE THREE CLINICAL TRIAL IN THE UAE INSTEAD...........   A couple other experimental vaccines, like those developed by Moderna Inc, AstraZeneca, and Johnson & Johnson, have also reached phase three. But so far, none of the clinical trials have actually begun.   

FOR THE FIRST TIME, UN WARNS OF “CLIMATE-RELATED” REFUGEES  “interplay between climate, conflict, hunger, poverty, and persecution creates increasingly complex emergencies.” .......  Doing so clarifies that they are unable to return home later, not unlike refugees escaping long-term political or religious persecution. 

Coronavirus News (170)


Coronavirus and floods destroy China’s Dragon Boat Festival holiday plans Tourism revenues down nearly 70 per cent with only half of last year’s number of trips taken during three-day break New wave of infections in Beijing, severe flooding in southern provinces and sluggish income growth combine to keep people at home ............   “When I thought about the procedure – from making a test appointment to get tested and waiting for the test result for days and possible mistreatment at the destination – I felt anxious,” he said. “In the end, I decided to just stay at home, going nowhere, and sleep 10 hours a day.” ........  Weeks of torrential rain and heavy flooding have affected 14 million people across the country, including in Guangxi, Guizhou, Guangdong, Hunan and Jiangxi. 

Severe flooding in southern China contributed to the drastic fall in tourism during this year’s three-day Dragon Boat Festival holiday. Photo: VCG

THE US MIGHT NOT HAVE ENOUGH GLASS VIALS TO DISTRIBUTE THE CORONAVIRUS VACCINES THE COVID-19 VACCINATION PLAN MAY HIT A SERIOUS SUPPLY CHAIN ISSUE. .........   making up the deficit on such a short time frame would vastly exceed what manufacturers are currently capable of doing. .........  Medical glass needs to be made from a particular kind of sand — its jagged edges make vials that are resilient against both physical damage and temperature changes, all while not interacting with the sensitive chemicals stored inside. Wired reports that this particular sand is in high demand, as it’s also used in things like concrete and solar panels, so the pharmaceutical industry may not be able to scrape together enough to send out a vaccine.   

CHINA IS PROVIDING A CONTROVERSIAL COVID-19 VACCINE TO ITS MILITARY "THEIR BET IS THAT EVEN A PARTIALLY PROTECTIVE COVID VACCINE IS GOING TO BE SUFFICIENT TO RESTORE CONFIDENCE AND RESTART ECONOMIC ACTIVITY."  ...... Chinese officials are officially planning to give an early COVID-19 candidate called CanSino to China’s military ......  The drug, called Ad5-nCoV, is one of eight Chinese vaccines approved for human trials. ........ starting to hand out such a vaccine is “a huge risk given the unknowns about not just efficacy, but safety.”

PROFESSOR: LOOMING COVID SURGE ON “VERGE OF BEING APOCALYPTIC” THIS IS DARK.  .........  Unfortunate news for those hoping the coronavirus pandemic was fading away: models suggest that an “apocalyptic” resurgence could be coming in the near future. ..........  Houston is on track to be the most coronavirus-ravaged city in the U.S. — but that other Texas cities aren’t far behind. .......   The three states hitting record numbers right now are also the most populous in the country. Combined, their new surges put more than 27 percent of the U.S. population at risk ........ “You get to the point where you overwhelm ICUs and that’s when the mortality goes up.” 

New-Onset Brain Complications in Hospitalized COVID-19 PatientsAltered mental states more common in young patients than expected ............  Brain complications of hospitalized COVID-19 patients included both neurologic and psychiatric conditions ..........  Among 125 hospitalized coronavirus patients selected by specialist physicians in the U.K., complications ranged from stroke (77 people) to altered mental states including brain inflammation, psychosis, and dementia-like symptoms (39 people) ............  "About 26% of patients with new-onset neuropsychiatric causes of altered mental status were in their 20s, 30s, and 40s" ...............  Researchers classified broad clinical syndromes as cerebrovascular events (acute ischemic, hemorrhagic, or thrombotic vascular event involving the brain parenchyma or subarachnoid space), altered mental status (an acute alteration in personality, behavior, cognition, or consciousness), peripheral neurology (involving nerve roots, peripheral nerves, neuromuscular junction, or muscle), or other.  

Your Personal Data Is Worth Money. Andrew Yang Wants to Get You Paid  what many of us seemed to forget during conversations about contact tracing is that we’re already living under a digital microscope, with multiple companies following and recording our every move.   ..........  just going about our daily routines can generate hundreds of data points, from where we went to how much time we spent there to what we bought, ate, or drank. Essentially, we’re freely giving away all kinds of data to companies that analyze, package, sell, and profit from it—not just every day, but every hour.  ......... Yang’s ultimate goal is for Americans to be able to claim their data as a property right and get paid for it if they choose to share it. ......  data brokering is a $200 billion industry. “We are completely outgunned by tech companies” ....... A philosophy called dataism, first described in 2013, takes the opposite stance: dataists advocate for handing over as much information and power as possible to data-driven algorithms, thus allowing the free flow of data to unlock unprecedented innovation and progress. .......... “psychometric profiles” exist for you, me, and all of our friends. The data collected from our use of digital services can be packaged in a way that gives companies insight into our habits, preferences, and even our personalities. With this information, they can do anything from show us an ad for a pair of shoes we’ll probably like to try to change our minds about which candidate to vote for in an election. ......... we have a long, increasingly automated and digitized future ahead of us, and data is only going to become more important, valuable, and powerful with time. There’s a line (which some would say we’ve already crossed) beyond which the amount of data companies have access to and the way they can manipulate it for their benefit will become eerie and even dystopian.

Andrew Yang Data Dividend Project American flag

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Coronavirus News (169)

US out, China in as EU looks to reopen external borders Brussels wants to restart limited global travel from July 1 Diplomats agree one of the main criteria should be an incidence rate close to or below that across the EU
In the US, China-bashing is rooted in myths of Western superiority Across the centuries, Europe propagated anti-Chinese stereotypes as a response to the perceived threats to European might In the US today, dehumanising myths about Chinese continue to drive the cultural belief that China is the enemy  ....... In the United States, if the right and left agree upon anything, it is that China is the enemy, at a deep, cultural level. ..........  dehumanising myths used to justify racist bullying: Chinese people have a collectivist mentality; are blindly obedient, and so on. ...............  European explorers saw themselves as superior to everyone they encountered, but in China they found a populous nation with prosperous cities and a society so tolerant that religious wars were unknown. ............ “We could not believe that beyond so many half-barbarous nations, and at the extremity of Asia, a powerful nation was to be found scarce inferior to any of the best governed states of Europe.” .......... global demand for Chinese commodities such as tea, porcelain and silk had created trade deficits all over Europe. ..........  Louis le Comte openly admired China’s meritocratic society; his book was burned. In a Europe torn by religious wars, Christian Wolff admired China’s secular morality. He was ordered to leave town in 24 hours or be hanged. .........  Another threat was China’s post-aristocratic society. Anonymous civil service exams reduced social class, religion or ethnicity as factors in official selection. This made participation in government more egalitarian than in Europe. ......... Dutch, French and English reformers seized on this to attack aristocratic privilege, arguing that China’s economic success was a product of its meritocratic system. .......... Our textbooks tell us the Baron was a champion of “liberty”, but fail to mention that “liberties” back then meant aristocratic privileges. We also learn he was opposed to “despotism”, but are not informed that “despotism” referred to stripping the nobility of their “liberties”. ..............  Genuine reformers like Abbe Raynal continued to promote China-style equality right up to the American and French Revolutions .........   What was deliberately and usefully forgotten in England over the course of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries was the contemporaneity of global history, specifically that of the dauntingly advanced civilisation at the far end of the Eurasian landmass”. ..........   In China, anonymised civil service exams privileged individual talent, yet Hegel claimed the Chinese lacked individuality. China enjoyed a long tradition of political dissent, yet Hegel claimed the Chinese were mindlessly obedient, and sneaky as well. He could not read Chinese, and the record contradicts his claims, but his stereotypes persist.a ........... Just recently, mainstream media (Time) informed readers that people in Asia do not wear masks from a sense of public responsibility; it is merely that personal identity is not as important for them as for us, a classic Hegelian smear. ...........  For centuries, China’s threat to the myth of Western superiority has made it an easy target for race-baiting. Now, its embrace of green energy once again threatens American face, not to mention petro-profits. ............ the greater risk may lie in overreacting to China’s success, yet the administration’s response has been to intensify the attacks. ..........  Blaming alien races is a core strategy in the White Nationalist playbook, and if Trump had blamed African-Americans or Muslims, liberals would have seen through the ruse. .........    With China, Hegel’s stereotypes continue to pass for insider knowledge. ............. China’s tech industry may be crucial for controlling climate change. ........ China once provided Western liberals with a model of a less stratified society fostering rational policies for the public benefit.

US President Donald Trump shakes hands with Chinese President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Osaka on June 29, 2019. File photo: AP

US anxiety over China’s Huawei a sequel of the Yellow Peril In the years leading up to the end of the cold war, opinion polls revealed more Americans feared the ascendant economy of Japan – their ally – than the Soviet Union The same is happening now to Huawei as its products become superior. But the biggest difference between Japan then and China now: the US was able to put Japan back in its box. That is not happening this time ...........   When it comes to the “yellow peril”, Democrats and Republicans are united. ........  Walter Mondale, Jimmy Carter’s vice-president who ran against Ronald Reagan in the 1984 election, took some swings at Japan that were just as good as Reagan’s. Interestingly, Mondale used very Trumpian lines about Japan stealing the jobs of good middle-class Americans. Bill Clinton later made Mondale the US ambassador to Japan. ........  It was heresy to bring up the fact that Japan’s automotive and electronics manufacturers had out-engineered and out-designed Americans and reached levels of quality control that the US industry could only dream of. No, it was the cheap yen causing all the problems. ............  The same is happening now to Huawei as its products become superior. The irony is that the Japanese are now on the side of the Americans. ........ Remember Toshiba when Huawei is accused of being a security risk, even though in the more genteel 1980s, the two sides did not take hostages. ...........  the leader of the free world is freaking out because it is being challenged technologically by a nation that was dirt poor a generation ago. After all, in 1987, China’s gross domestic product was smaller than Spain’s. .........  For the first time in centuries, the West, led by the US, is being challenged by others who, a mere generation ago, were viewed as backward and inferior. .................    Anyone in tech will tell you that visiting China is sobering. The leaps being made in areas like machine learning, artificial intelligence, big data, cloud computing, agricultural technology and 5G are stunning. ..........  Industrial espionage is as old as the hills. Is it the primary reason for China’s success? Nonsense. .......... The bully has met its match, and the bully is very uncomfortable. 

The US has met its match with Huawei’s rise, writes Chandran Nair. Photo: Reuters

‘Sleepy Joe’ Biden is one of the few US politicians who’s wide awake about China When the Obama-era vice-president said China was ‘not competition’ for the US, the backlash was enough to make him walk back his comments But the challenges facing President Xi Jinping, from the economy to wrangling the country’s bureaucrats, are vast  ........  China’s economy has grown to be the world’s second largest, and Beijing has launched the ambitious Belt and Road Initiative, which promised trillions of US dollars in infrastructure investments to boost connectivity from Asia to Europe and Africa. At first glance, China may shape up to be a serious competitor to the US – but in reality, this competition is much less potent than what it is perceived to be, both in the short and long term. .........  After 40 years of rapid economic growth fuelled by low costs and cheap labour, China is going through a painful transition to a market economy driven by consumption and innovation as the old model is no longer sustainable. As the Chinese economy slows down, the government is struggling to create 13 million new jobs each year to accommodate fresh graduates, as well as migrant workers made redundant from factory closures. .........  the overall level of the country’s high-end manufacturing industries is at least 30 years behind that of the US. .........  Politically, Xi may consolidate his power through his anti-corruption campaign and become the most powerful leader since Mao Zedong. But he faces a tough job to get the bureaucracy to do his bidding, as the bureaucrats sing his praises on one hand but often obfuscate his commands. That explains why the authorities have now listed bureaucratic lethargy as a new form of corruption to crack down on in the ongoing anti-corruption drive.  

Then-US vice-president Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2015. Photo: AFP

My Favorite Congresswoman Just Won A Slam Dunk


I had no idea even Trump was a fan. He is like, run for the Senate, you will win.

She would win!' Trump says AOC could take Chuck Schumer's Senate seat

Jamaal Bowman, AOC Wins Show Progressives Are Ascendant in NYC

Did AOC Tweet That Businesses Should Be Shut Down Until the Election?
Ocasio-Cortez overcomes Wall Street foes to win primary  Blackstone’s Stephen Schwarzman and David Solomon of Goldman Sachs were among the finance industry leaders who backed Ms Ocasio-Cortez’s challenger, former CNBC journalist Michelle Caruso-Cabrera.  ....... Hanging in the balance were the political futures of two of the most powerful New York Democrats on Capitol Hill — Eliot Engel, 73, chair of the House foreign affairs committee, and Carolyn Maloney, 74, chair of the House oversight committee.......   In the 12th congressional district, which includes Manhattan’s Upper East Side and parts of Queens and Brooklyn, Ms Maloney was leading narrowly with 41.5 per cent of the vote, compared with Suraj Patel’s 40 per cent, with all of the precincts reporting  ......  Mr Biden ahead by 14 points. 

Coronavirus News (168)


EU leaders talk tough to Beijing over long list of unmet promises European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen says EU-China relationship ‘not an easy one’ after first meeting Points finger at Chinese for cyberattacks, disinformation campaigns and warns of negative consequences over Hong Kong security law
Coronavirus: worldwide cases top 9 million as WHO warns pandemic is accelerating Outbreak peaking in number of big countries at same time, reflecting change in global activity of virus UN health body calls for ramped up production of life-saving drug dexamethasone

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Is It To Be Kamala?

The top quality of a VP candidate is they should be able to assume the presidency at the drop of a hat. Most presidents have been Governors or Senators. She is a Senator. She has run for president. She has a national perspective.

In this Floyd season, a black Indian woman (yes, her first and middle names are Indian: Kamala Devi) would be apt. 

Her background in criminal justice is a big plus. She knows the stuff that is hot. 

India is fast emerging to be the top US ally, almost ready to replace Britain. 

Biden was toast until he was resurrected by black voters in South Carolina. A more energetic black base would have given Hillary a victory in 2016. 

I am excited she might be Biden's pick. 

It is time for a woman. It is time for a black woman. It is time for an Asian, an Indian. 

Kamala Harris - Wikipedia

Coronavirus News (167)

Kamala Harris For The People 

Coronavirus News (166)

The Second Great Depression At least four major factors are terrifying economists and weighing on the recovery. ........  In Texas, the bars are packed. And in Vermont, the stay-at-home order has been lifted. People are still frightened. Americans are still dying. ........  no one knows enough about consumer sentiment and government ordinances and business failures and stimulus packages and the spread of the disease to make solid predictions about the future ........  The Trump administration and some bullish financial forecasters are arguing that we will end up with a strong, V-shaped rebound, with economic activity surging right back to where it was in no time. Others are betting on a longer, slower, U-shaped turnaround, with the pain extending for a year or three. .........  absent dramatic policy action, a pandemic depression is possible ..........  the American economy will generate $8 trillion less in economic activity over the next decade than it projected just a few months ago, and that a full recovery might not take hold until the 2030s. ......... At least four major factors are terrifying economists and weighing on the recovery: the household fiscal cliff, the great business die-off, the state and local budget shortfall, and the lingering health crisis. ..........   Nearly 40 percent of low-wage workers lost their jobs in March. More than 40 million people lost their jobs in March, April, or May. .........  The bad: It left out roughly 15 million people in immigrant families, many of whom were working essential jobs stocking grocery shelves, delivering takeout, and drawing blood in hospitals. And the ugly: The big helicopter drop was a onetime thing, and the unemployment-insurance expansion was time-limited. ..........   The Paycheck Protection Program and other federal initiatives shoved an oxygen mask on many companies. But the PPP was scaled to help businesses through a short, intense disruption, though the economy is expected to remain sluggish for months and months. ..........   Students are not willing to pay as much for online learning as in-person instruction. .................    The federal government does not have to balance its ledger year to year, and perpetually spends more than it takes in. Yet every state but Vermont and most cities and towns are required to remain in the black. Right now, sales taxes, real-estate-transfer taxes, income taxes, fines and fees—they are all collapsing, leaving local governments with a budget gap expected to total $1 trillion next year. Without help from Washington, this will necessarily mean massive service cuts and job losses: namely, an estimated 5.3 million job losses. ..............    The shrinking of the government at the state and local level has already started ...........  A fiscal cliff for families. Rolling business failures. A budget crisis for state and local governments. Each is bad enough. Each might be a big-enough headwind to tip the economy into recession alone. But the last element is the true alpha and omega of our worst-case scenario: the catastrophe of the American government’s management of the novel-coronavirus pandemic. ............    it wasted the time these extreme measures bought, because the government failed to set up a strong test-and-trace regime. ........  Countries including South Korea and New Zealand crushed the coronavirus. The United States merely patted it down. The country is reopening with the disease still spreading and maiming and killing, as several states experience a dramatic surge in caseloads. ............   Never getting the pandemic under control means never unleashing the economy. Just look at the casinos in Las Vegas: open, yet half-empty. ........    localities might end up having to return to extreme social-distancing measures over the summer and fall. And it means fear and mistrust: depressed consumer confidence, ruined faith in government, and concerns about the economy’s ability to recover. ........... Ending the pandemic would have been the single best thing the federal government could have done to preserve the country’s wealth, health, and economic functioning. The Trump administration, in its hubris, obstinacy, and incompetence, failed to do it. .............  Congress could extend unemployment insurance, offer new help to flailing businesses, send monthly cash grants to poor families, offer fiscal relief to the states, and implement a nationwide test-and-trace program.

Trump’s response to Bolton: No, you’re the threat The coordinated attack is ultimately an attempt to counteract Bolton’s central thesis as he promotes his book: Trump poses a threat to the country. 

People hold signs on Brooklyn Bridge during a protest against police brutality and racism in the aftermath of the death of George Floyd in New York, US, on June 13, 2020 [Caitlin Ochs/Reuters]

OPINION/RACISM If Black Americans were to seek asylum, they could qualify I have evaluated countless refugee cases. The oppression Black Americans face in the US would qualify as persecution. ........  people become refugees because they are oppressed. Their rights are violated because of discrimination. ........  A searing report from The Sentencing Project to the UN found the US in violation of Article 2 and 26 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights for pursuing policies that allow racial disparities in its criminal justice system. ...........  Black people are nearly twice as likely to be imprisoned as Hispanic people and five times more likely than white people. One in 10 Black children spends part of their childhood with one parent behind bars. ...........  What accounts for mistaken links between race and crime is more an outcome of urban poverty and racialised policing, which forces individuals into a vicious cycle of crime and incarceration. At the same time, racial bias - implicit and explicit - causes white Americans to overestimate crime committed by Black people, contributing to racial profiling. The fact that African Americans are victims of crime disproportionately more than other groups is usually overlooked. ............   Redlining - policies which limit access to means of upward mobility such as banking, insurance, better schools and housing, through the practice of districting neighbourhoods - although banned, still affects Black communities. ..........   Systemic income inequality has made white Americans 20 times richer than Black Americans. Black communities face stark inequalities in both healthcare and education. Implicit bias and racial disparities cause Black Americans to receive lower-quality healthcare than white Americans. In schools in minority and Black communities that are chronically underfunded, Black students are suspended and expelled from school at a rate three times higher than white students and school policing makes Black students more vulnerable to the criminal justice system and higher dropout rates. ............. "the historical, cultural and human depth of racism still permeates all dimensions of life of American society". .........  The US may pride itself on being a bastion of human rights, but it is clear Black Americans are not receiving their fair treatment, access or share. The country needs to undertake major policy reforms immediately if it is to wipe this shameful stain from its democratic reputation.  

NY Democrats brace for primary night stunners  “The sum total is that if turnout is high you could see incumbents losing their seats.”  .......   The progressive star has spent more than $6 million defending her seat this cycle and has one of the largest campaign operations of any House member.   

Coronavirus cases surging in Florida and Texas as states barrel ahead with reopening plans "When young people get infected, they go home and they infect their parents," said Dr. Charles Lockwood. "They will kill people by giving vulnerable people the virus."   

Monday, June 22, 2020

Coronavirus News (165)

Motorola, LG Commit to Making Some of the First Cheap 5G Phones  The 5G is provided by the Snapdragon X51 5G modem where you have sub-6Hz support and max download speeds of 1.2Gbps ........... We could see a Moto G 5G at some point too.  

Qualcomm Snapdragon 690

Trump is losing it The incumbent US president launched psychological warfare in Tulsa. .........  If the US elections were held today, he would lose "bigly", and that is just driving him crazy. .........  anointing himself a "war president" to fight the pandemic. .........   referred to himself as the "law and order" president during the civil unrest ...... He even played God's special messenger during the early days of the civil unrest, brandishing a copy of the Bible he had not read in front of a church he had not attended to defend a faith which was not under threat. ...........  The pandemic has taken the lives of 120,000 Americans and rising. The economy is in the deepest recession since World War I, and society is in turmoil. Even religious leaders are not buying into his insecure machismo. ..........  what began as a bleeding of support a few months ago has now turned into serious hemorrhaging. ........   Trump slammed the "shameless hypocrite", "sleepy Joe" Biden, warning if he is elected president, "our country would be destroyed". And he dissed the "radical left" Democrats, especially "hate-filled, America-bashing" Ilhan Omar and "socialist" Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. He also demonised the "negative", "radical", "fake news" media, and the subversive radical left that holds Biden hostage. .............  the relatively poor attendance of his much-publicised rally turned the hype into humiliation. .........  Clearly, many of his supporters are not dying to hear his grievances and falsehoods during the pandemic. ....... An increasing number of Republicans, including former generals and aides, are deserting his sinking ship; some out of fear for the party, not to mention the country's future in case of a Trump second term. Some reckon he poses a "danger to the Republic". This leaves the incumbent president no choice but to double down on incitement against his opponents, before defections snowball.  ....... A desperate and humiliated Trump may do just about anything.

Lack of leadership 'greatest threat' in coronavirus fight  WHO warns pandemic accelerating as it reports record daily global case rise while outbreak surges in Brazil, India.

Coronavirus News (164)

This X-Ray Map of the Entire Sky Is a Psychedelic Dreamworld If you thought space was black, think again. ........  Most of the bright X-ray objects, around 77 percent, are active galactic nuclei, or supermassive black holes that are actively absorbing material at the center of galaxies. In between, there are clusters of galaxies that give off shining halos due to trapped gas caused by huge concentrations of dark matter. ....... “With a million sources in just six months, eROSITA has already revolutionized X-ray astronomy, but this is just a taste of what’s to come”   

RESEARCHER: SECOND COVID WAVE MAY BE PSYCHOLOGICALLY DEVASTATING A RESURGENCE MAY "PROVOKE A WHOLE NEW AND PERHAPS DEEPER SENSE OF FEAR AND UNCERTAINTY."   ...........   “I think a second wave would be devastating for a lot of people........ There is a sense that we have been through a really terrible, traumatic time, and we are now in a phase of reopening and recovery.”  ...........  the U.S. never really beat its first outbreak, compared to other countries which stamped it out decisively. It’s all part of one, long, unconquered pandemic. ........  living in lockdown has led to an increase of reported anxiety and depression   
YOUR CORONAVIRUS ANTIBODIES MIGHT FADE AFTER JUST A FEW MONTHS NEW RESEARCH SHOWS THAT THE CORONAVIRUS MIGHT BE EVEN MORE PERNICIOUS THAN WE THOUGHT. ............  the antibodies our bodies develop against COVID-19 can fade away in just two to three months — especially for those who had mild cases. .............   That poses a problem for governments that banked on developing herd immunity — resistance to future infections at a societal scale ........ doling out “immunity passports” will only complicate the situation ..........  

Chinese President Xi Jinping meets with European Council President Charles Michel and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen via video link in Beijing on Monday. Photo: Xinhua

European Union leaders urge Xi Jinping to drop Hong Kong national security law, or risk ‘negative consequences’ ‘China risks very negative consequences’ if it imposes national security law, says European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen But she sidesteps questions as to the exact measures the EU would take .........   Xi, on his part, fended off the EU’s categorisation of China as a rival, pledging to work together with the bloc on cooperation and upholding multilateralism. ........  “The European Union is in touch with our G7 [Group of Seven] partners on this, and we have made our position very clear to the Chinese leadership today and urge them to reconsider,” she said. “Of course they have a different standpoint than us, but this is our very clear standpoint we conveyed to the Chinese leadership.” ...........   “We continue to have an unbalanced trade and investment relationship … ....  the Chinese leader focused on partnership with the EU at a time when Beijing is facing ongoing confrontation with Washington. ........  “China is a partner, not a rival,” Xi told the EU leaders, according to Chinese state media. “China and the EU do not have fundamental conflicts, and cooperation is far bigger than competition.” ............  China and the EU, Xi said, “should respect each other, create common grounds and accept the differences”. ..........  Hong Kong’s national security law is like ‘anti-virus software’, top Beijing official says

CDC: SECOND WAVE OF COVID-19 COULD BE EVEN WORSE A WAVE OF CORONAVIRUS COINCIDING WITH FLU SEASON COULD PUT AN "UNIMAGINABLE STRAIN" ON THE US HEALTH CARE SYSTEM.  .........  a second wave of coronavirus during the next flu season could be catastrophic — even potentially eclipsing the severity of the first wave. ..........  “There’s a possibility that the assault of the virus on our nation next winter will actually be even more difficult than the one we just went through....... And when I’ve said this to others, they kind of put their head back, they don’t understand what I mean.”  ..............    “We’re going to have the flu epidemic and the coronavirus epidemic at the same time” ...........  Luckily, this first wave came after the last influenza season had mostly faded. ..........  urged the importance of social distancing, and said that COVID-19 testing needs to be scaled up massively. .........   The words of warning seem to have fallen deaf ears. A number of US states have decided to gradually reopen, just as the total number of cases and deaths in the country is approaching its peak. ...........  the importance of getting flu shots so that hospitals won’t be hit as hard

COVID COULD BE MAKING PEOPLE SO LONELY THAT THEY’RE GETTING SICK IT'S NOT JUST YOU.  .......  the toll extended isolation takes on our minds and bodies. ........  Extended loneliness can have serious psychological impacts, like exacerbated depression, anxiety, and increased irritability ....... “We have to deal with our environment entirely on our own, without the help of others, which puts our brain in a state of alert, but that also signals the rest of our body to be in a state of alert.” ...........   Loneliness has been linked to all sorts of medical problems, like cognitive decline in old age, cancer, and heart disease  

How Britain stole $45 trillion from India And lied about it.  .......  Drawing on nearly two centuries of detailed data on tax and trade, Patnaik calculated that Britain drained a total of nearly $45 trillion from India during the period 1765 to 1938. ...............   $45 trillion is 17 times more than the total annual gross domestic product of the United Kingdom today. ..........   Prior to the colonial period, Britain bought goods like textiles and rice from Indian producers and paid for them in the normal way - mostly with silver - as they did with any other country. But something changed in 1765, shortly after the East India Company took control of the subcontinent and established a monopoly over Indian trade. .........   The East India Company began collecting taxes in India, and then cleverly used a portion of those revenues (about a third) to fund the purchase of Indian goods for British use. In other words, instead of paying for Indian goods out of their own pocket, British traders acquired them for free, "buying" from peasants and weavers using money that had just been taken from them. ...............  It was a scam - theft on a grand scale. Yet most Indians were unaware of what was going on because the agent who collected the taxes was not the same as the one who showed up to buy their goods. ..........  Some of the stolen goods were consumed in Britain, and the rest were re-exported elsewhere. The re-export system allowed Britain to finance a flow of imports from Europe, including strategic materials like iron, tar and timber, which were essential to Britain's industrialisation. Indeed, the Industrial Revolution depended in large part on this systematic theft from India. .........  anyone who wanted to buy goods from India would do so using special Council Bills - a unique paper currency issued only by the British Crown. And the only way to get those bills was to buy them from London with gold or silver. So traders would pay London in gold to get the bills, and then use the bills to pay Indian producers. When Indians cashed the bills in at the local colonial office, they were "paid" in rupees out of tax revenues - money that had just been collected from them. So, once again, they were not in fact paid at all; they were defrauded. .............  London ended up with all of the gold and silver that should have gone directly to the Indians in exchange for their exports. ...........  even while India was running an impressive trade surplus with the rest of the world - a surplus that lasted for three decades in the early 20th century - it showed up as a deficit in the national accounts because the real income from India's exports was appropriated in its entirety by Britain. ..............  Some point to this fictional "deficit" as evidence that India was a liability to Britain. But exactly the opposite is true. ............  India was the goose that laid the golden egg. .........  Meanwhile, the "deficit" meant that India had no option but to borrow from Britain to finance its imports. So the entire Indian population was forced into completely unnecessary debt to their colonial overlords, further cementing British control. ..........  Britain used the windfall from this fraudulent system to fuel the engines of imperial violence - funding the invasion of China in the 1840s and the suppression of the Indian Rebellion in 1857. And this was on top of what the Crown took directly from Indian taxpayers to pay for its wars. As Patnaik points out, "the cost of all Britain's wars of conquest outside Indian borders were charged always wholly or mainly to Indian revenues." ..........  not only the industrialisation of Britain but also the industrialisation of much of the Western world was facilitated by extraction from the colonies. ........ If India had been able to invest its own tax revenues and foreign exchange earnings in development - as Japan did - there's no telling how history might have turned out differently. India could very well have become an economic powerhouse. Centuries of poverty and suffering could have been prevented. ..........  The conservative historian Niall Ferguson has claimed that British rule helped "develop" India. While he was prime minister, David Cameron asserted that British rule was a net help to India. ..........  according to a 2014 YouGov poll, 50 percent of people in Britain believe that colonialism was beneficial to the colonies. .........  during the entire 200-year history of British rule in India, there was almost no increase in per capita income. In fact, during the last half of the 19th century - the heyday of British intervention - income in India collapsed by half. The average life expectancy of Indians dropped by a fifth from 1870 to 1920. Tens of millions died needlessly of policy-induced famine. .......... Britain didn't develop India. Quite the contrary - as Patnaik's work makes clear - India developed Britain. ...... We need to recognise that Britain retained control of India not out of benevolence but for the sake of plunder and that Britain's industrial rise didn't emerge sui generis from the steam engine and strong institutions, as our schoolbooks would have it, but depended on violent theft from other lands and other peoples.

Lord Louis Mountbatten, the last Viceroy of India, and his wife, Lady Edwina Mountbatten, ride in the state carriage towards the Viceregal lodge in New Delhi, on March 22, 1947 [File: AP]