Sunday, August 30, 2020

Coronavirus News (221)

 'It's a Race to the Bottom.' The Coronavirus is Cutting Into Gig Worker Incomes as the Newly Jobless Flood Apps  Hustlers are launching bots that use algorithms to grab jobs before humans can and then charge potential workers to use these bots, says Matthew Telles, a longtime Instacart shopper who has been outspoken about the platform’s flaws. The so-called “grabber bots” take a bunch of jobs as soon as they come out, which means only people who have the bots installed can find work. Instacart shoppers pay a fee to use the bots, which are also a problem on services like Amazon Flex.  ...........  The World Bank estimates that COVID-19 will cause the first increase in global poverty since 1998. .......  “It is a lot of supply but not a lot of demand.” ........  Sites like Upwork and Fiverr say the demand is still there. Adam Ozimek, the chief economist at Upwork, says that a third of Fortune 500 companies now use the platform, and that client spending has been stable since the pandemic hit. .........  Arguably, companies could save money and balance their budgets by hiring overseas marketers or coders willing to work for less money and no benefits. Nearly half of the world is now connected to the Internet, up from just 15% in 2007. ..........  Fiverr hit all-time daily revenue records four times in April, CEO Micha Kaufman said. ...........  Just as manufacturing shifted overseas for cheaper labor and as gig economy apps drove down wages for taxi and delivery drivers, the pandemic has hastened the gig-ification of white-collar jobs. 

An employee takes a throat swab sample from a woman seeking a test for possible COVID-19 infection at a test station in Bonn, Germany on Aug. 24, 2020.

A New Study Suggests COVID-19 Reinfection Is Possible. Here's What to Know it’s possible to get COVID-19 twice—but experts say the news is not as concerning as that headline may seem. .........  the Hong Kong patient was infected by two different strains of SARS-CoV-2, which suggests he indeed got sick twice. ...........  the man’s first infection likely protected him enough that he did not develop symptoms during his second infection. There’s no guarantee all patients’ immune systems will react that way  

“SAY 12 MORE YEARS”: AT THE RNC, TRUMP’S AUTHORITARIAN “JOKE” SLIPS CLOSER TO REALITY The media shrugs, yet again, as Trump makes extremist comments. It’s just a “provocation”—until it isn’t.

They tried to get Trump to care about right-wing terrorism. He ignored them. Officials at the Department of Homeland Security waged a yearslong internal struggle to get the White House to pay attention to the threat of violent domestic extremists. Frustrated, they gave up on the Trump administration.

CDC Details COVID-19's Massive Mental Health ImpactYoung adults, people of color, essential workers, and adult caregivers particularly affected ...... Nearly 11% of American adults seriously considered suicide this June ........   Among 5,470 people surveyed in the last week of June, 30.9% reported symptoms of an anxiety or a depressive disorder, 25.3% reported a traumatic or stressor-related disorder (TSRD), and 13.3% said they were using substances to cope with the pandemic's stressors ..........  the risk for suicidal ideation was elevated among respondents between ages 18 and 25 (25.5%), Hispanic respondents (18.6%), Black respondents (15.1%), unpaid adult caregivers (30.7%), and essential workers (21.7%). ..........  interventions to reduce these numbers should target financial strain, racial discrimination, social connectedness, and community supports for patients considering suicide. ............  social isolation associated with social distancing, along with soaring unemployment rates, could further accelerate the national suicide crisis. ...........  40.9% reported having at least one mental or behavioral health condition. ..........  Compared with CDC data from the second quarter of 2019, adults in this survey reported three times the rate of anxiety symptoms (25.5% vs 8.1%) and four times the rate of depression symptoms (24.3% vs 6.5%)  

Wearing face masks at the Trevi Fountain in Rome this week.

With Coronavirus Cases Surging, Europe Braces for New Phase in Pandemic Despite rules on masks and distancing, fears are growing that the end of the summer travel season will bring a wave of infections. ........  in recent days France, Germany and Italy have experienced their highest daily case counts since the spring, and Spain finds itself in the midst of a major outbreak. ............  The increase in cases in Europe, as in many other parts of the world, is being driven by young people. The proportion of people age 15 to 24 who are infected in Europe has risen from around 4.5 percent to 15 percent in the last five months .........  “Low risk does not mean no risk,” he said. “No one is invincible, and if you do not die from Covid, it may stick to your body like a tornado with a long tail.” .......  A growing number of French cities have made mask wearing mandatory in crowded streets and markets, and on Thursday the southern cities of Nice and Toulouse became the first to extend the rule to all outdoor areas. ..........  Nearly 40 percent of recent new infections in Germany have been brought back by returning vacationers .......  This month, tens of thousands of people in Berlin took part in demonstrations against coronavirus restrictions.  

The central train station in The Hague last month.

Fearing a ‘Twindemic,’ Health Experts Push Urgently for Flu Shots There’s no vaccine for Covid-19, but there’s one for influenza. With the season’s first doses now shipping, officials are struggling over how to get people to take it. .......  As public health officials look to fall and winter, the specter of a new surge of Covid-19 gives them chills. But there is a scenario they dread even more: a severe flu season, resulting in a “twindemic.” .........  Flu can leave patients vulnerable to a harsher attack of Covid-19, doctors believe, and that coming down with both viruses at once could be disastrous. ...........  how to prompt people to get a shot that a majority of Americans have typically distrusted, dismissed and skipped. ..........  In the 2018-19 flu season in the United States, only 45.3 percent of adults over 18 got the vaccine, with rates for those ages 18 to 50 considerably lower. ............  should a vaccinated person contract the flu, the severity will almost certainly be reduced, hospitalization rarely necessary .......  “People who say ‘I’ll never get it because it gives me the flu’ have not had the flu and don’t know what it is”  .........  flu vaccine compliance rates among people ages 18 to 49 are low. Vermont’s, for example, is only about 27 percent. 

5/8/23 Update: Goshen (NY) puts Third World corruption to shame, thanks to greedy, corrupt, unethical lawyers like Andra Dumais. ..... I toppled a Third World dictator and German Radio called me Robin Hood On The Internet. I am not going to get intimidated by some small-town racist. Andrea Dumais is a small-town racist. ....... You are treating me worse than the people 2,000 years ago.

Coronavirus News (220)

 कोरोनाले अबकाे केही हप्ता तथा महिना नेपालमा खराब अवस्था निम्त्याउँछ : विश्व स्वास्थ्य सङ्गठन

CNN Exclusive: Details, title and cover revealed for Bob Woodward's upcoming book on Trump 

Google court docs raise concerns on geofence warrants, location tracking Google staffers have criticized how the company explains data privacy controls, calling Google's approach a mess.........  geofence warrants -- requests for location data in which law enforcement provides a time and a place, and Google responds with information on all devices that were in that area.......  Police have increasingly used geofence warrants, with a 1,500 percent rise from 2017 to 2018, and a subsequent 500 percent increase from 2018 to 2019. The surge in geofence warrant requests, coupled with confusion among Google staff about location data, rang privacy alarms within the search giant .......  "These emails describe a Google where employees know enough about geofence warrants to be scared, without knowing enough to actually fix the problem" .........  we shipped a [user interface] that confuses users and requires explanation

Leading in the New Reality  

US has ‘modest’ lead over China in artificial intelligence but gap has narrowed, American think tank says Beijing’s focus on AI and the advantage of having a vast population for big data sets is helping the country catch up, according to Rand report America has the edge in advanced semiconductors, but there is ‘no room for complacency’

A Chinese flag hangs near a Hikvision security camera outside a shop in Beijing. It is one of the firms the US has blacklisted over its surveillance technology that Washington says is being used to repress Muslim Uygurs in Xinjiang. Photo: AP

Biogen conference likely led to 20,000 COVID-19 cases in Boston area, researchers say A new study estimates the Biogen conference held at Boston’s Marriott Long Wharf hotel in February played a far greater role in spreading the coronavirus than previously thought.

The Economic Model of Higher Education Was Already Broken. Here's Why the Pandemic May Destroy It for Good While there is considerable variety in the actual plans, ranging from mostly in-person to all virtual, they all share one imperative: to maintain an economic model that is as imperiled by the pandemic as the hardest hit service industries. ............  Over the past decade, colleges and universities have taken on staggering amounts of debt to expand their physical plant and justify spiraling fees. The selling point for the most competitive residential colleges has been not just the education and the credential but the experience, and with COVID-19 and health strictures making a “normal” college experience all but impossible for now, these schools are left with the unenviable challenge of trying to ensure enough student revenue to keep the music going for the next year. ............   The way most schools are structuring the next year compromises education, health and student life to the point where the next year is more likely to unravel the model rather than actually preserve it. ........  Without at least some students in residence, the delicate and extraordinarily expensive armature of higher education could collapse. ........  Schools seem to be trying to solve the square peg and round hole problem by smashing the peg into the hole in order to shore up a revenue model that was already out of control pre-pandemic. ...........  Given these pretzel-like contortions, it is hard to see what motivates the schools other than trying to preserve an imperiled economic model with a pseudo-opening. ...........  on-line education as the primary model is a fraction of the cost. A student can earn a degree via distance learning for a few thousand dollars a year.   

Logan Armstrong, a Cincinnati junior, works while sitting inside a painted circle on the lawn of the Oval during the first day of fall classes on at Ohio State University on Aug. 25, 2020.

Megacities Are Not the Future. They Are Inhumane and Unsustainable  Megacities are not the future because they thrive on cheap labor and government policies fuel this abuse. Stagnant rural economies encourage people to move to the cities, hollowing out rural communities and leaving a hole often replaced by an increasingly concentrated and industrialized agricultural system......  One recent study in Mumbai’s slums found that over half of slum dwellers had antibodies for SARS-COV-2. ......... the pandemic makes population density look like a danger rather than an opportunity for productivity gains ........  In growing economies, mass urbanization will remain the focus, as it is still seen as the best, if not the only, vehicle for economic development, moving people from the “unproductive” countryside to the more productive cities. By emptying rural hinterlands with its demand for low-paid workers, this urbanization ultimately leads to more unstable, more damaging, and more unequal economies. ........  World economic growth in recent history has been centered on a few superstar cities: New York, London, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Paris and more recently Shanghai, for example. London makes up 30% of the UK’s economy, has 13% of its population and is more than eight times as populous as the country’s second largest city, Birmingham........  the pandemic has highlighted the inequality and unsustainability of these cities. A population of urban professionals, with safe and secure lifestyles, is supported by a large and poorly-paid service sector. These people work in the grocery stores, hair salons, restaurants, bars, and gyms, and live in poor neighborhoods or even slums. They deliver food, fix homes, cut hair, dispose waste, keep transport systems running, clean suburbs, look after children, and walk dogs. .....................  the privileged work-from-home crowd ....... The expansion of cities beyond the ability of infrastructure to cope means these communities have lower-quality housing, worse access to education, poor provision of electricity and clean water, bad sanitation, traffic congestion, dead spots for internet and mobile access, and “food deserts.” ......  Worse, urban lifestyles are increasingly oriented around the so-called innovation of the gig economy: service workers now lack even the basic protections afforded to proper employees. ........  While the impacts of remote work and other digital technologies are probably not as great as their promoters claim, it is true that they reduce the unique value that density provides and may finally dent the allure of large cities for white-collar workers. ............  Rural economies live off small business, but a hollowed-out economy and greater competition from national and global firms run them out of business. ..........  Cities will always be useful to national economies, but they have grown into unmanageable Frankensteins. Yes, there really are some things that can only be done in a dense, urban environment but that does not mean turning a blind eye to growing megacities with over five million people. Countries probably don’t need the extreme urbanization we’ve seen over the past few decades, nor should we be strangely resigned to the notion that urbanization is inevitable and a net good. The time has come to rethink whether we should continue to place cities at the heart of our nations, turning them into large parasitic centers which practice economic apartheid.  

Residents wait to get themselves checked during a COVID-19 coronavirus screening in the Dharavi slum in Mumbai on August 11, 2020.

Saturday, August 29, 2020

Coronavirus News (219)

Global coronavirus death toll nears 75,000; over 13 lakh confirmed COVID-19  cases worldwide

Work from here, there ... anywhere?  In Punta Mita, Mexico, one resort is preparing to offer WFP (Work From Paradise) and LFP (Learn From Paradise). Around 30% of the global workforce is expected to toil remotely in the coming months.  

Economic cost of 5 months of Nepal lockdown The country faces an even bigger challenge than Covid-19: economic collapse ........  all indications are of that SARS-CoV-2 is here to stay, and that it will resurface with added virulence in winter. ..........  The Rastra Bank estimates that it will take at least nine months after the lockdown is fully lifted for the economy to come back to previous levels. This means Nepal is not going to see a recovery this fiscal year. The central bank says 22.5% of those employed in the country have lost their jobs in the past five months of lockdown. ..............  “Everything is at a complete standstill, there are no transactions taking place except people buying food from day to day” ......  “The question is how long before businesses run out of cash to pay salaries, and families run out of savings.” ............ Even worse hit is the tourism and aviation sector where revenue is zero for the past five months. Banks had given loans worth Rs1.1 trillion for hotels and restaurants, and had lent Rs40 billion to the transport sector. They are not in a position to replay even the interest, let alone the capital..........  Even the sale of alcohol products are down by up to 80%. ..........  the real barometer of just how bad the crisis is can be felt in the banking sector where on the one hand liquidity is overflowing because of reduction in loan disbursement, but collection has also shrunk because of defaults. The print editions of the Nepali language press in the past month are full of bank notices for auctions of collateral property. However, even if the property is up for auction, they may be no buyers. ............ The government had told borrowers they had a grace period till December to repay bank loans without being put on the defaulters’ black list, but it is looking like even that is being optimistic.........  most businessmen have given up on a Dasain-Tihar revival this year. ..........  “This year we are just trying to get by, there is no hope for sales.”  

Ways Nepal can rebound from COVID-19 There are plenty of examples from the past of Nepalis turning crises into opportunities ............  One major impact in Nepal is the sudden return of large numbers of migrant workers who have lost overseas employment due to the shrinkage of the global economy. Even if economies in host countries stabilise in the next couple of years, it could be another five before they invite workers back from Nepal. ..........  In 1959, large numbers of Tibetan refugees fleeing the Chinese takeover arrived in Nepal. Timely response to the crisis by development organisations and Nepal government led to the launch of Nepal’s Tibetan carpet industry. At its peak in 1993, the sector employed 1.2 million people and brought in one third of Nepal’s foreign currency earnings. ...................  One proposed sector is high-value agriculture on under-utilised land in the Tarai and mid-mountain valleys. A high percentage of the returnees come from farming families and are already familiar with the basics. They can acquire the skills required for high-value agriculture once they see the potential returns from growing vegetables and fruits or raising livestock. ............  The amount of food Nepal imports from India annually provides a ready substitution market and the ecological niches provided by Nepal’s many micro-climates provide the opportunity for producing off-season fruits and vegetables which can be exported to India. ...........  In most parts of the Tarai, groundwater is accessible through shallow tube wells. The national grid has reached all municipalities in the Tarai and increasing numbers of farmers are able to use electricity for irrigation pumping. .........  a total investment of $170 million by the Government of Nepal and donors would enable 250,000 farmers with an average of a third of an acre to generate over $2 billion in vegetable sales over five years, with $750 million in annual sales going forward. While the government’s investment of $500 per farmer would be used to reduce the cost of purchasing simple greenhouses and solar pumps, each returnee would spend around $1,540 on seeds, fertiliser, land leases and farm equipment.

Friday, August 28, 2020

Coronavirus News (218)

Is your Zoom etiquette lacking?  barking dogs and background spouses aren’t cute anymore ..........  Don’t be late — if you’re clicking to join the meeting at the exact time your meeting starts, you’re already late. No chewing — a cup of coffee or some water is OK, but don't eat on a video call. Especially crunchy foods. Be present — when you’re multitasking, it’s more obvious than you think. ............  Rule of Thumb: If you're not scheduled to talk, then mute yourself. The mic's on your laptop or smart phone are more sensitive than you think. If you must get up (bathroom, refill coffee, correct a barking dog, etc.), then turn the camera off...............  one of our co-workers did his dishes during the meeting, camera on, etc. Took no notes, nothing on mute. It was very frustrating ..........  please do not take me with you during your morning walk ...........  take a tip from the broadcast world:  if you are NEAR a camera or a microphone, always assume it may be on.  That means no swearing, no scratching in awkward places, no nose picking, etc. .............  “I forgot I’m sharing my screen” accidents! ..........  Try to have your camera at an angle that limits or emoves the possibility of interruptions by other household members.  ALWAYS wear pants even if you think that your Zoom-mates can't tell. ........  Some colleagues of mine were on a live video conference when one person on the call — not realizing their camera was on — picked up their laptop and took it, and the whole team, into … the bathroom … where he proceeded to do what one does in there. .............  When in doubt, mirror your audience: for example, when working from home, PJs generally won’t cut it. ................  Rule of Thumb: If you're not scheduled to talk, then mute yourself. The mic's on your laptop or smart phone are more sensitive than you think. If you must get up (bathroom, refill coffee, correct a barking dog, etc.), then turn the camera off. ............  Master the tech: when appearing on video, lighting, camera angle, and audio all matter — in equal measure. .............  The thing I notice is how many people don't make thier beds. ;) As important as dressing as if you are meeting in person your background is also important. Avoid have bright lights behind you. If in a dark area open a blank Word document and turn up the brightness to help illuminate your face. ...........  Failure to mute but SPECIFICALLY the failure to mute NOTIFICATIONS, so when you’re discussing things other people’s machines keep pinging and dinging. Very distracting .................  when people are badly backlit, so you can’t actually see them. .........  If you are sitting by a window,FACE the window so it lights your face. ............  We are lucky enough to have a “no apologies” rule.  Work has come into your home not the other way around so we ask our people to try not to apologise for your home being your home. ..........  Unmute before talking, have the webcam at eye level facing you directly and look at it whilst talking. Don't interrupt, put your virtual hand up.

Wheatland Elementary School - Zoom Meeting Etiquette

विदेशबाट फर्किँदा पीसीआर नेगेटिभ भए घर जान पाइन्छ : मन्त्री भट्टराई

नेपालमा चिनियाँ भ्याक्सिनको क्लिनिकल ट्रायललाई स्वीकृति बेलायत र रुसको छलफलमा


Donald Trump’s Orwellian jamboree This year’s Republican convention proves the party is post-ideas — the plan is simply the man

As India peaks, Covid-19 spreads rapidly in Nepal Because of the open border, Nepal may not be able to completely control the virus until India does

COVID-19 Is Transmitted Through Aerosols. We Have Enough Evidence, Now It Is Time to Act a substantial share of COVID-19 cases are the result of transmission through aerosols. The evidence in favor of aerosols is stronger than that for any other pathway .........  research eventually proved that tuberculosis can only be transmitted through aerosols. I believe that we have been making a similar mistake for COVID-19. ........  “Aerosol” (sometimes referred to as “airborne”) transmission is similar to droplet transmission, except that the bits of fluid are so small that they can linger in the air for minutes to hours. To understand the scale of aerosols, the diameter of a human hair is about 80 microns, and aerosols smaller than about 50 microns can float in the air long enough to be inhaled. SARS-CoV-2 is only 0.1 microns in diameter, so there is room for plenty of viruses in aerosols. ............. When it comes to COVID-19, the evidence overwhelmingly supports aerosol transmission, and there are no strong arguments against it. For example, contact tracing has found that much COVID-19 transmission occurs in close proximity, but that many people who share the same home with an infected person do not get the disease. To understand why, it is useful to use cigarette or vaping smoke (which is also an aerosol) as an analog. Imagine sharing a home with a smoker: if you stood close to the smoker while talking, you would inhale a great deal of smoke. Replace the smoke with virus-containing aerosols, which behave very similarly, and the impact is similar: the closer you are to someone releasing virus-carrying aerosols, the more likely you are to breathe in larger amounts of virus. We know from detailed, rigorous studies that when individuals talk in close proximity, aerosols dominate transmission and droplets are nearly negligible. ............  Talking, and especially singing and shouting increase aerosol exhalation by factors of 10 and 50, respectively. .............  outbreaks often occur when people gather in crowded, insufficiently ventilated indoor spaces ..........  Superspreading events, where one person infects many, occur almost exclusively in indoor locations and are driving the pandemic. These observations are easily explained by aerosols, and are very difficult or impossible to explain by droplets or fomites. ...........  Aerosols on the other hand, act like smoke: after being expelled, they don’t fall to the ground, but rather disperse throughout the air, getting diluted by air currents, and being inhaled by others present in the same space. Contact tracing shows that, when it comes to COVID-19, being outdoors is 20 times safer than being indoors, which argues that aerosol transmission is much more important than droplets; outdoors, there’s plenty of air in which aerosols can become diluted; not so indoors.............  the CDC says that 15 minutes of close proximity to a COVID-19 infected person often leads to contagion .........  We should continue doing what has already been recommended: wash hands, keep six feet apart, and so on. But that is not enough. A new, consistent and logical set of recommendations must emerge to reduce aerosol transmission. I propose the following: Avoid Crowding, Indoors, low Ventilation, Close proximity, long Duration, Unmasked, Talking/singing/Yelling (“A CIViC DUTY”)........  masks are essential, even when we are able to maintain social distance. We should also pay attention to fitting masks snugly, as they are not just a parapet against ballistic droplets, but also a means to prevent “smoke” from leaking in through gaps. We should not remove masks to talk, nor allow someone who is not wearing a mask to talk to us, because we exhale aerosols 10 times as much when talking compared to breathing. ...........  It is important to think about ventilation and air cleaning. ...........  Spending as much time as possible outdoors, wearing masks, and reducing density will remain critical no matter how well we ventilate and clean the air.   

An employee takes a throat swab sample from a woman seeking a test for possible COVID-19 infection at a test station in Bonn, Germany on Aug. 24, 2020.

Sunday, August 23, 2020

Coronavirus News (217)

 Trump v American democracy: the real battle on the ballot this November According to one former senior FBI official, ‘The insider threat [to the election] is sitting in the Oval Office.’ ..........  Trump poses a more severe danger to the 244-year-old American experiment than any foreign adversary. ...............  Whereas in 2016 Vladimir Putin’s Russia meddled in an election, now it is the current occupant of the White House who seems hellbent on subverting an American election. ..........  Kamala Harris, the first woman of colour on a major party ticket, whom he has already dubbed “mean”, “nasty” and “a mad woman”. .......  Five states – Colorado, Hawaii, Oregon, Washington and Utah – already carry out elections almost entirely by mail. ...........  the postmaster general, Louis DeJoy, a Trump donor ...........  Republicans belong to “the party of voter suppression” .........  we’re still in the middle of a pandemic where showing up to vote in person could mean life or death for some people .......  US intelligence has warned that Russia is already interfering in the 2020 election with the aim of getting Trump re-elected. ............  a president gone rogue – a man who this week welcomed the support of believers in a baseless righting conspiracy theory that holds the world is run by a shadowy cabal of Satan-worshipping paedophiles. .................  “Who needs Vladimir Putin when we have Donald Trump? If you were Vladimir Putin and you wanted to disrupt this election, what would you do? You’d spread disinformation. You’d make people doubt the legitimacy of the vote. You’d peddle conspiracy theories and you might want to mess with mail-in voting. That’s all happening without him. Our president is doing that.”  ...............  if he loses, we will have a bitterly divided country with about 30% of the population angry, alienated, perhaps in the streets, something we’ve never seen here before   

Donald Trump in Old Forge, Pennsylvania, on Thursday. According to Frank Figliuzzi, a former FBI assistant director for counterintelligence, ‘The insider threat [to the election] is sitting in the Oval Office.’ 

The Democratic ticket of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are not the only adversary Trump is targeting in this election.

Mail boxes sit in the parking lot of a post office in the Bronx, New York, earlier this month, amid reports that many had been removed from service.

How Donald Trump canceled the Republican party  After the election, political scientists and historians will study his obliteration of the Republican party as his greatest and most enduring political achievement...........  In 1980, Ronald Reagan opened his general election campaign at the Neshoba County Fair, the place where three civil rights workers had been murdered in 1964. Surrounded by Confederate flags, he hailed “states’ rights”. As brazen an appeal as it was, Reagan felt he had to resort to the old code words. ............  Central to Trump’s unique selling proposition is that he dispenses with the dog whistles. His vulgarity gives a vicarious thrill to those who revel in his taunting of perceived enemies or scapegoats. He made them feel dominant at no social price, until his catastrophic mismanagement of the coronavirus pandemic and economic crisis. Flouting a mask is the magical act of defiance to signal that nothing has really changed and that in any case, Trump bears no responsibility. ...................  Trump is the only president since the advent of modern polling never to reach 50% approval. Despite decisively losing the popular vote in 2016, he said he “won the popular vote if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally”. This time, fearing an even more overwhelming popular rejection, he says the outcome will be “rigged” and he has pre-emptively tried to cancel the US Postal Service, to undermine voting by mail. ..............  Reagan represented free trade and western firmness against Russia. George HW Bush was a paragon of public service. George W Bush was an advocate for immigrants. John McCain was the embodiment of patriotic sacrifice. ......... After Trump, all that has been cancelled. .............  Since he first rode down the escalator at Trump Tower in 2015, to declare his candidacy against Mexican “rapists”, there has always been a new escalator downward. .......  the conservative Trump apologists, the adults in the room, as latter-day versions of Franz von Papen, the German chancellor who enabled the rise of Hitler in the complacent belief that he could be controlled ..........  He had earlier told the South Dakota governor, Kristi Noem, “‘Did you know it’s my dream to have my face on Mount Rushmore?’” “And I started laughing,” she recounted. “And he wasn’t laughing, so he was totally serious.” ...........  Trump’s cancel culture deals in aggressions, not micro-aggressions. The only safe space is where Trump is worshipped. Before, during and after the death of McCain, Trump unleashed tirades of insult. ................  For years, Trump has disparaged the Bush family. At the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, when George W Bush called for setting aside partisanship and embracing national unity, Trump tweeted, “but where was he during Impeachment calling for putting partisanship aside”. ............   Trump has constantly retailed a false story about Reagan supposedly remarking after meeting him, “For the life of me, and I’ll never know how to explain it, when I met that young man, I felt like I was the one shaking hands with the president.” The chief administrative officer of the Reagan Foundation felt compelled to note that Reagan “did not ever say that about Donald Trump”. ...............  Trump’s petty, vindictive and exploitative abuse of the Bush presidents, McCain and Reagan pales in comparison to his raging obsessions about Lincoln. He has boasted his poll numbers are better than Lincoln’s ever were (true), claimed he is more a victim than the assassinated martyr (untrue), and declared he has done more for Black Americans than Lincoln (untrue). ..............   Trump, the would-be Great Emancipator and upholder of Confederate monuments, has lately ruminated about giving an address at Gettysburg. ..........  What Lincoln consecrated, Trump would desecrate. ............  Bannon’s dark apocalyptic mutterings against the forces conspiring against him and Trump: the “Deep State”, rootless cosmopolitans, globalists and liberal elites. ..................  “This has been the experience of most,” she observed with the sagacious tone of a student of history. “Abraham Lincoln was famously, even within his own cabinet, surrounded by people who were former political adversaries.” Ivanka’s smug confusion was complete. She had mistaken the whistleblower whose memo triggered the impeachment process with Lincoln’s “team of rivals”. ...........  we’ll make America great again, again ..........  “Russia if you’re listening …” .........  To quote Marx – Groucho – “Who are you going to believe, me or your lying eyes?” .........  quote from President Lincoln. He said … quote, ‘I have been driven many times upon my knees by the overwhelming conviction that I had nowhere else to go.’” ................  The identity of the enemy may change – Muslims, Mexicans or Moms – but Miller is prepared to draw the sword for whatever clash of civilization may come. He’s just not prepared for a virus.   

Donald Trump smiles as he addresses delegates during the Republican National Convention in Cleveland in 2016.

A man dressed as Abraham Lincoln holds up a sign as Donald Trump’s motorcade passes in Washington in June.

An Abraham Lincoln statue with a face mask in Sioux City, Iowa.

Coronavirus News (216)

Image may contain: text that says '7 deaths (1.0%) 33 severe cases (4.8%) 269 mild cases (39.2%) 378 asymptomatic 378asymptomaticcases(55.0%) cases (55.0%)'


 सामूहिक दर खाएको भोलिपल्ट कोरोना पुष्टि, ३० जना क्लोज कन्ट्याक्टमा

वीरगञ्जको कोरोना अस्पतालबाट दुई संक्रमित भागे

New Survey Identifies 98 Long-Lasting Covid Symptoms Early research helps quantify coronavirus long-haulers’ experiences .........  new effects like hair loss that don’t show up until weeks after they’ve been declared Covid-free. ............  Witvliet, who had Covid-19 four months ago and is now suffering from tinnitus, chest pain, and heart-racing. ............  stretching from sadness and blurry vision to diarrhea and joint pain ...........  survey respondents noted 98 different effects, far more than the 11 common symptoms that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lists as possible signs that a person has the disease. ....... A quarter of the effects involved pain. ............  A new study suggests Covid-19 can infect the thyroid gland, causing excess hormone release. ............  scarring, decreased lung function, decreased exercise capacity ...... “It’s too soon to say we’re disabled,” she writes. “It’s also too soon to know how long the damage will last.”

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Coronavirus News (215)


Myth 1: The novel coronavirus was engineered in a lab in China.
Myth 2: Wealthy elites intentionally spread the virus to win power and profit.
Myth 3: COVID-19 is no worse than the flu.
Myth 4: You don’t need to wear a mask.
Myth 5: Hydroxychloroquine is an effective treatment.
Myth 6: The Black Lives Matter protests led to increased transmission.
Myth 7: Spikes in cases are because of increased testing.
Myth 8: We can achieve herd immunity by letting the virus spread through the population.
Myth 9: Any vaccine will be unsafe and a bigger risk than getting COVID-19.

Nine COVID-19 Myths That Just Won’t Go Away

Nine COVID-19 Myths That Just Won’t Go Away From a human-made virus to vaccine conspiracy theories, we rounded up the most persistent false claims about the pandemic .........  This “infodemic” is just as harmful as COVID-19 itself, leading people to downplay the severity of the disease and ignore public health advice in favor of unproved treatments or “cures.” ...........  four in five Americans say the online spread of misinformation is the biggest problem facing the media. Even with widely available evidence to the contrary, beliefs are hard to change. ..........  the intelligence community “concurs with the wide scientific consensus that the COVID-19 virus was not manmade or genetically modified.” .............  the evidence suggests SARS-CoV-2 was not created in a lab. ............  misinformation spreads perniciously ..........  no, coronavirus is not “just the flu.” ..............   wearing a face covering can limit the transmission of the coronavirus through small exhaled droplets .............  In a tweet, Trump called the hydroxychloroquine treatment “one of the biggest game changers in the history of medicine,” and he has mentioned it repeatedly in his public coronavirus briefings. ..............  Several studies have shown that hydroxychloroquine does not protect against COVID-19 in those who are exposed. And in June the National Institutes of Health halted its clinical trial of the medication, stating that while it was not harmful to patients, it did not provide any benefit. Yet Trump continues to hype the drug. .................  The fact that the demonstrations happened outdoors, where the risk of transmission is much lower, and that many protesters wore masks likely prevented superspreading events. Meanwhile, as states have reopened, there has been a notable increase in cases tied to bars and restaurants, as well as other indoor environments—likely because of the risk of airborne spread. ......................  He has tweeted that “without testing ... we would be showing almost no cases” and has said in interviews that the reason they appear to have gone up is because of increased testing. ...............  the national increase in positive tests reflects a true increase in cases. .........  roughly 60 to 70 percent of people would need to get COVID-19 to achieve herd immunity. And given the relatively high mortality rate of the disease, letting it infect that many individuals could lead to millions of deaths. That tragedy is what happened during the 1918 influenza pandemic, in which roughly 50 million people are thought to have perished. The U.K.’s COVID-19 death rate is among the world’s highest. Sweden, for its part, has had significantly more deaths than neighboring countries, and its economy has suffered, despite not shutting down. It is likely that many lives could have been saved if these countries had acted sooner. .............  one in three Americans would not get a COVID-19 vaccine if it were available today, with Republicans being less likely to be vaccinated than Democrats   

Coronavirus pandemic could be over within two years - WHO head .........  In the US, Democratic nominee Joe Biden pledged to introduce a national mandate to wear masks if elected, and attacked President Donald Trump's handling of the pandemic.  

A protester wears a mask which reads: "Arrest Covid millionaires"

Coronavirus vaccine: Short cuts and allegations of dirty tricks in race to be first In this race, there have been accusations of short-cuts, espionage, unethical risk-taking and jealousy, amid talk of "vaccine nationalism". ...........  The greater concern is about cutting corners in the normally slow, thorough world of medical testing........... "It is not hard to develop a vaccine. It is hard to prove that a vaccine is safe and effective. And if countries are only interested in the former they can take short cuts." ........  Dr Anthony Fauci, one of the most prominent members of the White House's coronavirus taskforce, said he "seriously doubt[s]" the Russians had proven their vaccine to be safe and effective. In Moscow, such concerns were dismissed as "jealousy". Those behind the vaccine say they will soon publish data in a major international scientific magazine. ............. reports that both countries plan to test the vaccine on their armed forces have led to ethical concerns, since those individuals may not be able to give proper consent. ..........  Failing to put a vaccine through full trials, and rushing it out, could lead to over-confidence from the public and so to the further spread of Covid-19. Alternatively, a drug which turns out to have serious side effects could fuel anti-vaccination movements. ...........  "There is vaccine nationalism for sure among western countries," says Thomas Bollyky. "The form… you are seeing in the US and UK is about locking up large initial doses of supplies of vaccines." .............. Being first to market does not necessarily mean a vaccine will be the most effective and experts caution that this is not a race where there will be a single winner or finish line. That means the rivalries over developing and supplying vaccines may only just be beginning.

The New Geopolitics Of India, China And Nepal  The “Minimum Interest Doctrine” (MID) could be an operational concept for small nations like Nepal that are in the middle of great power rivalry or “ potential conflict zones”. It is based on the assumption India and China have a certain set of minimum interests that they would like to see recognized in Nepal so that the chances of great power rivalry inside Nepal is minimized. It is based on the logic that it is not necessary to identify the long-term national interests of both India and China over Nepal as long as Nepal’s leadership has an idea of the composition of minimum interests that they would want to see protected at all cost inside. Being able to satisfy this condition while protecting its national sovereignty and promoting economic prosperity is the challenge facing the Nepali leadership. 

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Your ‘Surge Capacity’ Is Depleted — It’s Why You Feel Awful Here’s how to pull yourself out of despair and live your life ......... it was exhausting having a kindergartener and fourth grader doing impromptu distance learning while I was barely keeping up with work ..........  But even knowing I would eventually crash, I didn’t appreciate how hard the crash would be, or how long it would last, or how hard it would be to try to get back up over and over again, or what getting up even looked like. ............  Surge capacity is a collection of adaptive systems — mental and physical — that humans draw on for short-term survival in acutely stressful situations, such as natural disasters. But natural disasters occur over a short period, even if recovery is long. Pandemics are different — the disaster itself stretches out indefinitely. ............  I couldn’t get any work done. I’d grown sick of Zoom meetups. It was exhausting and impossible to think with the kids around all day. I felt trapped in a home that felt as much a prison as a haven. I tried to conjure the motivation to check email, outline a story, or review interview notes, but I couldn’t focus. I couldn’t make myself do anything — work, housework, exercise, play with the kids — for that whole week. Or the next. Or the next. Or the next..............  it’s different from a hurricane or tornado where you can look outside and see the damage. The destruction is, for most people, invisible and ongoing. So many systems aren’t working as they normally do right now, which means radical shifts in work, school, and home life that almost none of us have experience with .......... “It’s harder for high achievers,” she says. “The more accustomed you are to solving problems, to getting things done, to having a routine, the harder it will be on you because none of that is possible right now. You get feelings of hopelessness and helplessness, and those aren’t good.” ...........  “I realized that my personal operating system, though it had led to tremendous success, had failed me on a more personal level,” he says. “I had to figure out a different way of contending with life.” ...............   “Our culture is very solution-oriented, which is a good way of thinking for many things,” she says. “It’s partly responsible for getting a man on the moon and a rover on Mars and all the things we’ve done in this country that are wonderful. But it’s a very destructive way of thinking when you’re faced with a problem that has no solution, at least for a while.” ...........  One of the toughest losses for me to adapt to is no longer doing my research and writing in coffee shops as I’ve done for most of my life, dating back to junior high. .............  Just as painful are losses that may result from the intersection of the pandemic and the already tense political division in the country. For many people, issues related to Covid-19 have become the last straw in ending relationships, whether it’s a family member refusing to wear a mask, a friend promoting the latest conspiracy theory, or a co-worker insisting Covid-19 deaths are exaggerated. ..........  Ambiguous loss elicits the same experiences of grief as a more tangible loss — denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance — but managing it often requires a bit of creativity. ..................   “We have to expect less of ourselves, and we have to replenish more” ............  people are having to live their lives without the support of so many systems that have partly or fully broken down, whether it’s schools, hospitals, churches, family support, or other systems that we relied on ........  Plenty of people are in denial: denying the virus is real, or that the numbers of cases or deaths are as high as reported, or that masks really help reduce disease transmission. ............. Anger is evident everywhere: anger at those in denial, anger in the race demonstrations, anger at those not physically distancing or wearing masks, and even anger at those who wear masks or require them. The bargaining, Boss says, is mostly with scientists we hope will develop a vaccine quickly. The depression is obvious, but acceptance… “I haven’t accepted any of this,” Boss says. “I don’t know about you.” ...........  “This is terrible and many people are dying, and this is also a time for our families to come closer together,” Boss says. On a more personal level, “I’m highly competent, and right now I’m flowing with the tide day-to-day.” ..........   The areas he specifically advocates focusing on are sleep, nutrition, exercise, meditation, self-compassion, gratitude, connection, and saying no   

How government defied science and disregarded experts as Covid-19 spread

How government defied science and disregarded experts as Covid-19 spread Even after 146 deaths and over 31,000 cases, the Oli administration has not formed a national committee led by a specialist and it continues to take decisions on an ad-hoc basis. ............... “Corona is like the flu,” said Oli. If contracted, one should sneeze, drink hot water and drive the virus away.” ...........  The prime minister, however, had made it a habit of using his bully pulpit to make unsubstantiated claims like Nepalis have strong immunity and that drinking turmeric water could cure the disease. ...........  the Covid-19 surge is also due to the government’s disregard for experts’ warnings and Oli’s defiance of science, facts and truth ................. The Covid-19 Crisis Management Committee, which is tasked with fighting the virus, does not have a single individual with expertise on health-related issues. .................  “The government can bring an ordinance to split political parties, but it does not want to do anything to hire experts,” 

Saturday, August 22, 2020

Coronavirus News (214)

 I had COVID-19, and these are the things nobody tells you  I was so fatigued I could barely walk from my office chair to my bed .........  In an instant, my fears for others became prayers for myself. ..........  I had the incredibly good fortune to avoid hospitalization. .........  behind every coronavirus statistic there is unquantifiable human suffering. .........  My temperature hovered in the upper reaches of 102. It felt like my head was on fire. One night I sweated through five shirts. I shook so much from the chills I thought I chipped a tooth. My chest felt like LeBron James was sitting on it. My fatigue made it feel as if I was dressed in the chains of Jacob Marley’s ghost. I coughed so hard it felt like I broke a rib. ...........  I would fall asleep in a chair and wake up terrified from a hallucinatory dream where I was chased through a playground by old women with giant heads. During phone calls I would get confused and just stop talking. I would begin crying for no reason. I lost my sense of taste, smell, and five pounds in the first four days. .........   Everyone knows what happens, even if they never believe it will happen to them. ..............  things that stick with you long after the fever has spiked and the headaches have stopped. ............  Once you realize you have a virus that could kill you and there’s nothing anybody can do about it, you live in constant fear. .........   Then there are the late nights, when your quarantine feels most acute — when you are the most alone. You start coughing into a wet pillow and you can’t stop and your breath becomes ragged and your bed is soaking and you wonder, is now the time? Do you try to drive yourself to the hospital? Do you call an ambulance? Are you just being a baby? You can’t call any friends or family for help because they can’t be exposed. You can’t call your doctor because he’s already told you there’s nothing he can do. You don’t know what to do, so you simmer alone in the darkness doing nothing, paralyzed by fear and chasing your breath and praying that 102.1 does not become 103.1. .................   the anger. You followed all the rules, you wore countless masks, you never strayed far from home, you spent four months battling this thing, and still it hits you with a sucker punch. ..........  The weekend before my symptoms appeared, for the first time in four months, I met friends for two dinners at two socially distanced patio tables. Nobody is required to wear masks at the tables, so I removed my mask when I sat, as did my dining partners, and we left them off during the entire time we were at the table. ...................   and now my mistake could fester in my system forever. ...........  It didn’t take much for COVID-19 to make my unexciting life hell. ..........  COVID-19 is real enough to rise up and beat me senseless. We need to stop giving it license to do the same to others.

Coronavirus will be with us forever, Sage scientist warns  people would need to be vaccinated at regular intervals. .........  in order to control the pandemic, "global vaccination" would be required, but coronavirus would not be a disease like smallpox "which could be eradicated by vaccination". .........  Coronavirus has so far killed 800,000 people. Nearly 23 million infections have been recorded but the number of people who have actually had the virus is thought to be much higher due to inadequate testing and asymptomatic cases.  

Chart showing cases per 100,000 people in Spain, Germany, Italy, France and the UK up to 21 August

Coronavirus: Why Spain is seeing second wave Spain saw one of the most draconian Covid-19 lockdowns in Europe, but two months after it was lifted, the virus is spreading faster than in any neighbouring nation. ...........  Most of the transmission is now between young people, and around three-quarters of positives are in patients who show no symptoms. ..........  Only around 3% of current cases require hospital treatment, less than 0.5% need intensive care and the current death rate is as low as 0.3%. ..........  Spanish politics has lacked any consensus or spirit of collaboration in managing the coronavirus crisis.   

Friday, August 21, 2020

Coronavirus News (213)

 6G Will Be 100 Times Faster Than 5G—and Now There’s a Chip for It  One wireless communications expert even estimates 6G networks could handle rates up to 8,000 gigabits per second; they’ll also have much lower latency and higher bandwidth than 5G. ..............  “Terahertz technology […] can potentially boost intra-chip and inter-chip communication to support artificial intelligence and cloud-based technologies, such as interconnected self-driving cars, which will need to transmit data quickly to other nearby cars and infrastructure to navigate better and also to avoid accidents.”   ............  Besides being used for AI and self-driving cars (and, of course, downloading hundreds of hours of video in seconds), 6G would also make a big difference for data centers, IoT devices, and long-range communications, among other applications.  

Don’t Let the Pandemic Sink Your Company Culture you and your leadership team invested years cultivating an effective culture — one that is both strategically relevant, because it prioritizes the behaviors essential to the success of your business, and strong, in the sense that employees trust that it is real and value it. Such cultures help companies attract and retain great people and contribute to fantastic bottom-line performance. .............  Will your culture take a hit because people can’t meet in person, making it harder to solidify their shared beliefs? .........  How can you continue to build and leverage your culture while your organization is operating mostly remotely? ........  organizations that were strategically aligned, strong, and had built in the capacity to adapt quickly to dynamic environments earned 15% more in annual revenue compared to those in the same industry that were less adaptable. ..............  1. Hire and promote people who are resilient, adaptable, and exhibit grace under fire. ..........  2. Curate and communicate examples of how the organization is adhering to its cultural values through new practices. ...........  3. Model transcendent values.  

US isolated as allies and opponents reject its bid to snapback UN sanctions on Iran

WHO warns coronavirus vaccine alone won’t end pandemic: ‘We cannot go back to the way things were’  a vaccine will be a “vital tool” in the global fight against the coronavirus, but it won’t end the Covid-19 pandemic on its own and there’s no guarantee scientists will find one. .........  world leaders can stop new outbreaks by practicing the “basics” of public health and disease control. “Testing, isolating and treating patients and tracing and quarantining their contacts. Do it all. Inform, empower and listen to communities 

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Coronavirus News (212)

 “Woke-Washing” Your Company Won’t Cut It

Airships Are No Longer a Relic of the Past; You Could Ride in One by 2023

Construction of the World’s Biggest Nuclear Fusion Plant Just Started in France

The Global Work Crisis: Automation, the Case Against Jobs, and What to Do About It



Does the US-led Five Eyes have wider sights on China? A group of Renmin University international relations specialists says the alliance has become another part of Washington’s efforts to contain Beijing Japan is interested in becoming a ‘sixth eye’ but China should not respond by ramping up tensions, observer says

China, Pakistan push ahead with US$6.8 billion rail project in region disputed with India Beijing also announces the opening of a 118km stretch of the ‘Friendship Highway’ that will run from Islamabad to Kashgar Strengthening of ties comes a year after New Delhi revoked constitutional rights giving Kashmir greater independence

Japan could be on the brink of a second wave. Will Shinzo Abe act?

Forty percent of people with coronavirus infections have no symptoms. Might they be the key to ending the pandemic? New research suggests that some of us may be partially protected due to past encounters with common cold coronaviruses


‘No world peace without changing China’: Hong Kong’s Apple Daily founder Jimmy Lai calls for American support The media mogul, who was arrested over alleged collusion with foreign forces before being released on bail, sought US support in Hong Kong’s fight for freedoms He also warned Hong Kong people against radicalism and urged them to steel themselves for a long fight to resist the encroachment on the city’s autonomy

Taiwan unveils record defence budget as Beijing stands firm on claim to island Tsai Ing-wen says Taipei will seek a ‘constructive security relationship’ with the US and strengthen its military Mainland military stages drills in Taiwan Strait in ‘warning to independence supporters’

US ‘follows China’s path’ in Africa by funding Mozambique liquefied natural gas project Exim Bank approves US$4.7 billion loan, the US’ largest ever to an African country, but American lending to the continent trails that of China The loan mirrors Chinese investments in Africa in the 2000s, aimed at gaining access to energy resources

Advice from a woman who survived covid-19, the 1918 flu — and cancer

Fauci amplifies Birx’s warning about ‘new phase’ of coronavirus spread in U.S.

Donald Trump says TikTok will be ‘out of business’ in US unless sold by September 15 In addition to Microsoft, at least two other interested buyers in the tech industry are in talks with ByteDance to acquire the video-sharing app, source says Trump also says the US should get money from the sale, though he did not say how that would be accomplished

Coronavirus: China positions itself for ‘vaccine diplomacy’ push to fight Covid-19 Beijing is offering loans and priority access to developing countries for vaccinations as they move to large-scale trials As richer nations scramble for early doses manufacturing constraints likely to cause shortages for years

China is home to four of the world’s five largest unicorns, led by Alibaba’s Ant Group Ant Group, the digital financial services arm of Alibaba, had a US$150 billion valuation to top the rankings of this year’s Hurun Global Unicorn Index The total value of all known unicorns in the world is US$1.9 trillion, equivalent to the GDP of Italy

Shenzhen should be elevated to same administrative status as Beijing, academics say Hong Kong’s neighbour and other cities should become centrally administered municipalities, updating regional structure drawn up in 1960s, article argues Change would bring greater resources and clout – but the proposal, floated before, is not official policy

China’s migrant workers facing end of an era as the world’s factory winds down amid coronavirus, US-China trade war China’s 290 million migrant workers have been the hardest hit by the coronavirus having already been under pressure from the US-China trade war One worker, Rao Dequn, has worked for 25 years in Chinese factories making goods for overseas markets, but will lose her job in less than a month

Dongguan Dingyi Shoes Company is set to close at the start of September. Photo: Huifeng He

Coronavirus News (211)

China's Xi Jinping facing widespread opposition in his own party, insider claims Exclusive: Cai Xia, who has been expelled from the elite Central Party School, says president’s ‘unchecked power’ has made China ‘the enemy of the world’  .............  “When no one can oppose him, that means that his power is unlimited,” she said. “He has made the world an enemy. At home, all these big issues are left to him to decide. In other words, whether it is a domestic or international issue, it is very difficult for others to restrict him. It is inevitable that his judgment and decisions will be mistaken. “It is a vicious cycle. After a wrong decision is made, the result is not good. But those below are too afraid to tell him and wrong decisions continue to be made until the situation is out of control. In this vicious cycle, there is no way to stop the country from sliding towards disaster.” ...............  Cai said she believed that discontent within the party was widespread, especially among her generation as well as among middle and higher-level officials who came up through the party during China’s reform era under Deng Xiaoping, and later as China fully integrated into the global economy following its entry into the World Trade Organization in 2001.

Cai Xia said Chinese president Xi Jinping’s ‘unchecked power’ had led to the coronavirus crisis.

'He killed a party and a country': a Chinese insider hits out at Xi Jinping An edited transcript of an interview with Cai Xia, who was expelled from the Communist party on Monday .............  For years, Cai Xia, a former professor at China’s elite Central Party School, has watched the ruling Communist party decay from the inside. Now she is out. ............  her describing the country’s leader, Xi Jinping, as a “mafia boss” was leaked online. ............   the Communist party of China has become a political zombie. The party has no ability to correct errors. So he singlehandedly killed a party and a country, showing that even when confronted with such a major question of altering the constitution, the party has no power to stop him. ...........  When no one can oppose him, that means that his power is unchecked. Under the Chinese system, starting with Mao, no one can restrict or limit the power of the highest leader. That is why you had disasters like the Cultural Revolution. .............    You can see the confrontation between China and the United States. He has made the world an enemy. At home, all these big issues are left to him to decide. ...........  he wants to consolidate his own position and authority. ............  up to now China has not even said a real death number. Actually, the disaster for Chinese people has already begun. There is large-scale unemployment, soaring commodity prices, and the people at the bottom cannot survive. .........  As long as you express a different opinion, you are in violation of party discipline, and he can use that to deal with you. Before, you could still speak out and you would be subjected to enormous pressure, but they couldn’t prevent you from speaking. ............  China is bound to go through political transformation, toward democracy, political freedom, rule of law and constitutionalism. This is the inevitable trend of modern human political civilisation. China will enter this stage sooner or later. ..............  Between 1959 to 1961, nearly 40 million people starved to death. The anti-rightist movement of 1957 and the Cultural Revolution hurt almost all Chinese elites and intellectuals. Also the Tiananmen protests in 1989 when the CCP used its army to shoot the peoplpandee. No matter what, this is unacceptable to Chinese people. .............  Democracy, freedom and the rule of law, are the most basic values and expectations of human. People yearn for freedom and freedom is only possible when people’s rights are protected, right? To protect these rights you need a system based on democracy and rule of law. Only when human rights are protected, can people be free, and freedom is human nature. .................  Now it is completely impossible for people to organise. WeChat groups are shut down every day. The CCP is using epidemic prevention as an excuse to increase high-tech surveillance of people. They can imprison you for any little thing. ............  the international community can do more to fight China’s authoritarian system in terms of human rights by pushing for the first and most basic human right – freedom of speech.  

CNN Poll: Most Americans embarrassed by US response to coronavirus

Italy at a crossroads as fears grow of Covid-19 second wave New infections are rising, raising questions over lockdown easing and planned reopening of schools 

Monday, August 17, 2020

Coronavirus News (210)

Donald Trump’s anti-China policy is doomed to fail, as his coronavirus strategy did Rather than a cohesive strategy, America is taking aim at China’s economy based on a mix of short-term thinking, parochial calculations, and fear of Chinese competition Most of its attacks are missing the mark, and some are likely to boomerang on US interests instead ...................  Like it or not, the Trump administration has launched a cold war against China. .........   although China hawks in Washington often liken China to the former Soviet Union, the comparison is very misleading. The Soviet Union was in a full-blown confrontation with the Western world, both militarily and ideologically, and the fierce arms race with the US severely strained the Soviet economy. ..........  it was the Soviet economy, moribund and rotten to the core, that collapsed and caused the entire system to implode. ...........  China is an authoritarian regime, but it is not interested in spreading Marxism around the world. Rather, China is far more interested in exporting capital, expanding its market share and securing resource supplies. ..............   For the last four decades, the Chinese economy has been vibrant and thriving, with the private sector leading the way in generating jobs and economic growth. The standard of living for the Chinese has been improving at an unprecedented speed, with GDP per capita rising from around US$200 in 1980 to US$10,000 today. ...........  The majority of the Chinese are genuinely happy. ...........  the Chinese government has never been this popular with its people – all thanks to the Trump administration’s hardline China policy. This policy has been read by ordinary Chinese as proof of the US’ denial of China’s right to be economically successful. Naturally, Trump’s policy has spurred public resentment against the US in China. ..............   The Chinese economy has already become large enough to withstand America’s economic sanctions. ..........  China’s retail sales have exceeded those of the US since 2015, and China is virtually the largest market for various consumer goods: from cars and TVs to cellphones and luxury goods. This is not to mention that China is the largest importer of industrial and agricultural commodities of all kinds. .............   Qualcomm, a major US chip maker, is reportedly lobbying the Trump administration to lift trade restrictions on Huawei for fear that the American company will lose potentially US$8 billion in Huawei orders to foreign competitors. The share price of Intel, a key supplier to Huawei, has fallen by about 20 per cent since late July. ..........  Beijing’s counterpunch to Trump’s isolationist economic policy is to make the Chinese economy even more open. ............    It is worth noting that all the Chinese companies on the White House’s hit list are privately-owned businesses, which are the backbone of a free market system and were encouraged and welcomed by all previous administrations in Washington. ................  the fear of Chinese competition is the true reason behind Trump’s economic war. ..............  Trump’s protectionist policies have not led to any revival in US manufacturing.     

Illustration: Craig Stephens

US-China relations: bankrupt, broken America has no room to talk If China is held captive by a bankrupt ideology, as Mike Pompeo claims, how do you explain its spectacular economic achievements and growing power? The US cannot win any new Cold War by demonising an ascendant China instead of addressing its own chronic problems and getting its house in order ............  If China is held captive by a bankrupt ideology, how do you explain its spectacular economic achievements? If the US represents the pinnacle of virtue, how do you explain its many social problems, laid bare by Covid-19? ..................    China has propelled its per capita GDP from US$156 in 1978 to more than US$10,000 last year. On a purchasing power parity basis, residents of Beijing and Shanghai enjoy per capita GDP similar to some European Union member states. ............  If China is so totalitarian, why do so many Chinese students studying abroad happily return from the “free world” to China every year after obtaining their foreign degrees? ..............     The Communist Party of today is quite different from the party of 1977. China learned from its earlier failed experiments that it could not leapfrog into communism. By its own admission, China is at an early stage of socialism, and its economic model is still evolving. ...............  China’s economic system is eclectic, not limited by ideology. The Communist Party retains its vitality through dynamic evolution. ..............   After decades, China is still struggling with its Revitalising Northeast and Go West campaigns. ...........  China owes its success to experimentation. Local cadres are allowed, even encouraged, to experiment and are rewarded for their achievements .............   China prunes its failures and propagates its successes nationwide. ...............    Where have market fundamentalism and financialisation left most Americans? For the average American, real wages have stagnated for decades. Uniquely expensive and inefficient among developed nations, US health care is a problem for many of its citizens. With the lapse of US$600 federal jobless aid payments, many Americans face destitution. ........................  Bogged down by partisan politics, it has not been able to address many of its chronic socioeconomic problems. ..........  The US has more than 5 million Covid-19 cases and over 160,000 deaths and has seen mass protests across the country as part of the Black Lives Matter movement. The rule of law in the US is compromised. Even the orderly transition of power after the November election is not assured. It is the US’ empty rhetoric that is truly bankrupt. 

“Woke-Washing” Your Company Won’t Cut It

Saturday, August 15, 2020

Coronavirus News (209)

Special Report: Last doctor standing - Pandemic pushes Indian hospital to brink  The relatives keep barging into the wards, even the ICU, to stroke and feed their loved ones, often without wearing even the flimsiest of masks as barriers against the novel coronavirus. ...........  The healthcare system in Bhagalpur, like many other parts of Bihar, is on the verge of collapse ..........  Although India’s major cities, such as New Delhi and Mumbai – the first to be hit by the virus – have registered a decline in cases, numbers in second-tier cities and rural areas continue to rise. .............   Bihar is India’s third-most-populous state; if it were a country, it would be the 14th-most-populous in the world. ............  Based on indicators including infant nutrition, Bihar’s level of development has more in common with sub-Saharan Africa than India’s prosperous southern states. Almost half of children under 5 in the state are stunted from malnutrition, with more than four in 10 underweight for their age ................  more than half the doctors’ posts in the state are unfilled. That’s because many doctors don’t want to serve in rural areas ............  On the approach road to the hospital, there is a huge pothole, and vehicles carrying patients often get stuck there. Outside the main doors, relatives sit with the bodies of their loved ones waiting for private ambulances to take them for burial or cremation. ...........  Sameer, a 22-year-old medical attendant sent to help with the transfer, hurriedly changes into his plastic overalls. Instead of protective goggles, he uses a pair of cheap sunglasses.   

In China, fears of financial Iron Curtain as U.S. tensions rise  A sharp escalation in tensions with the United States has stoked fears in China of a deepening financial war that could result in it being shut out of the global dollar system - a devastating prospect once considered far-fetched but now not impossible. ..........  Most of China’s cross-border transactions are settled in dollars via the SWIFT system, which some say leaves it vulnerable. ..........  a proposed digital yuan in cross-border transactions on the back of currency swaps between central banks, bypassing systems such as SWIFT .........  Beijing has no choice but to prepare for Washington’s “nuclear option” of kicking China out of the dollar system.

P.V. Gopalan in an undated photo

The progressive Indian grandfather who inspired Kamala Harris  Until his death in 1998, Gopalan remained from thousands of miles away a pen pal and guiding influence — accomplished, civic-minded, doting, playful — who helped kindle Harris’ interest in public service. .................  “It was a big deal,” said Harris’ uncle G. Balachandran, a 79-year-old academic in New Delhi. “At that time, the number of unmarried Indian women who had gone to the States for graduate studies — it was probably in the low double digits. But my father was quite open. He said, ‘If you get admission, you go.’” .............  “When you’re raised in a family, I guess later in life you realize how your family might be different,” she said. “But it all seemed very normal to me. … I obviously did realize as an adult, and as I got older, that they were extremely progressive.” ...........  “What is home science?” Balachandran remembered him needling her. “Are you learning how to invite guests?” Rajam, who was active in raising funds for social causes, was determined that the children pursue careers in medicine, engineering or the law. ...............   “I do think now of just how permissive they were in allowing their daughters to leave them, but also of how bold the daughters were to want to leave to begin with,” she said. “And given that Shyamala was the oldest, she really set the stage for the rest of the siblings to follow in her path.” .............   When Shyamala left to study nutrition and endocrinology at Berkeley, eventually earning a PhD, most Indian households didn’t have phone lines. The family stayed in touch through letters, handwritten on lightweight, pale-blue stationery known as aerograms that took about two weeks to travel between India and California. .............. She joined the black civil rights movement, where she met a brilliant Jamaican economics student named Donald Harris. When she and Harris married in 1963 — in what in India is still described as a “love marriage” — it marked an even greater challenge to convention, especially because she didn’t introduce him to her parents beforehand. ................   What she remembers is the soil of Lusaka, rich with copper, which glowed a fiery red. ............  As the eldest grandchild, Kamala sometimes tagged along on Gopalan’s walks with his retiree buddies, soaking up their debates about building democracy and fighting corruption in India. ..............  When Rajam left the house, Gopalan, a strict vegetarian who avoided even eggs, sometimes cast Harris and her sister a conspiratorial look and said: “OK, let’s have French toast.” ..............  If she misbehaved, Gopalan would take her into another room and pretend to slap her on the hand — urging her to shriek in mock pain — before reemerging to tell Shyamala, “I handled it.” ............   Shyamala bore the hidden scars of discrimination — Harris has said she was passed over for promotions and dismissed as unintelligent because of her accent — and dispensed lessons to her family and graduate students of color with the same sharp, sassy wit. ..........  Shyamala warned her that American men would call her exotic, a term she said was meant to diminish her .............  “The minute they call you exotic, you walk away from them and tell them to f--- off,” Balachandran Orihuela remembered her saying. If anyone asked where she was from, Shyamala admonished her to answer: “None of your business.” ..........  In her cousin Harris, 18 years her senior, Balachandran Orihuela sees glimmers of her aunt’s intensity and focus, as well as her warmth. When Harris arches an eyebrow during a presidential debate, the feisty skepticism reminds her of Shyamala. ..............  “There’s very little ambiguity, very little moral relativism to debate with Kamala,” she said, “and Shyamala was very similar.” ............  One of Harris’ fondest memories of Gopalan’s final years was in 1991, when the whole family gathered in Chennai to celebrate his 80th birthday. It had been at least 20 years since everyone was together, and Rajam — by then great-grandmother to Maya’s daughter, Meena — insisted that they all stay in their three-bedroom apartment, on a quiet, tree-lined street a few blocks from the beach. .............   Harris, who was about 27 at the time, remembered a house bristling with strong personalities, her aunts and uncle suddenly reverting to the role of children. Rajam quibbled with Shyamala, two forces of nature colliding in the ground-floor flat. “It was just a whole scene,” Harris said with a laugh, “and by the end of it we went to a hotel.”

Kamala Harris with her sister, Maya, and mother, Shyamala, in 1970.

राष्ट्रपति नेकपाको कि नेपालीको ? राष्ट्रपतिले दलको झगडा मिलाउने, साक्षी बस्ने, मध्यस्थ गर्ने काम गर्नु हुन्न । संसदीय व्यवस्थामा आफ्नो भूमिका र संविधानका ती व्यवस्थाहरू राष्ट्रपतिले बुझ्नुपर्छ ।  

How to (Actually) Change Someone’s Mind  How do you go about convincing someone who, for one reason or another, doesn’t see eye-to-eye with you? Someone who gives you a flat out “no”? .........  The leaders who were most successful in overcoming others’ skepticism were those who diagnosed the root of the fundamental disagreement before trying to persuade. They first asked themselves, “What’s driving my detractor’s resistance?” These leaders often pinpointed which aspects of their arguments elicited the most pushback and the most emotional reactions. ...............    The Cognitive Conversation ........  If they’ve clearly articulated a logical set of objections, and they don’t appear to be hiding ulterior motives, approach them with a cognitive conversation. ..........  A successful cognitive conversation requires two things: sound arguments and good presentation. .........  The Champion Conversion ...........  When the detractor isn’t easily persuaded through cognitive arguments, or when they harbor a grievance in your relationship with them, engaging in debates may be futile. ..............  Don’t jump in and try to convince the other person. Instead, invest time in personally learning about and building rapport with them. .............  allow the other person to see who you are so that they can more fully understand your point of view. ............  The Credible Colleague Approach .......  times when the detractor’s deeply-held personal beliefs make them fundamentally opposed to your proposal. .......  some combination of the person’s upbringing, personal history, and unspoken biases will, at times, make it seemingly impossible for them to accept a decision, no matter what logical or emotional argument you throw their way. ..............  Rather than trying to argue with someone who seems resistant, bring in a credible colleague.   

“Woke-Washing” Your Company Won’t Cut It  statement fatigue — a growing level of disinterest, ambivalence, and outright outrage towards companies calling out racial injustice without showing any signs of taking action ...........   the costs of “woke washing” — appropriating the language of social activism into marketing materials, for instance — can be high ............  Organizations such as Whole Foods, Pinterest, and Adidas have all seen public complaints from current and former employees that corporate statements of solidarity glossed over internal inequities. ............  the importance of moving beyond solidarity statements and toward power dynamics that effectively eradicate the underlying anti-Blackness that has been central to America’s origin story and thus, the American corporate story.