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Vatican's new financial regulator vows transparency

Yahoo News - Fri, 07/03/2020 - 04:27

Vatican's new financial regulator vows transparencyThe Vatican's new financial regulator says he is confident that the days when the Holy See would "wash dirty laundry" in private are over and that Pope Francis' recent spending rules are a sea change in transparency. In an interview with Reuters, Carmelo Barbagallo, the head of the Vatican's Financial Information Authority (AIF), cited two recent scandals that were revealed by the Vatican and not by the media. The first was a shady deal to buy a London property as an investment - a still-evolving case that exploded last year - followed by a Vatican police raid this week on a department suspected of irregular contract bidding.

Copenhagen's Little Mermaid labelled 'racist fish'

Yahoo News - Fri, 07/03/2020 - 04:24

Copenhagen's Little Mermaid labelled 'racist fish'Denmark woke up on Friday to the words "racist fish" scrawled across the base of the "Little Mermaid", the bronze statue honouring Hans Christian Andersen's famous fairy tale that perches on a rock in the sea off a pier in Copenhagen. "We consider it vandalism and have started an investigation," a spokesman for the Copenhagen police said. Protesters of the Black Lives Matter movement around the world have in recent months rallied against statues of historical figures who played a role in racist oppression, such as slave traders and colonialists.

'King of the road' rules again as Philippines eases lockdown

Yahoo News - Fri, 07/03/2020 - 04:02

'King of the road' rules again as Philippines eases lockdownThousands of jeepneys, flamboyantly decorated jeeps that serve as cheap public transport across the Philippines, were back on the streets of Manila on Friday, bringing relief to companies and commuters who have struggled with coronavirus curbs. Dubbed "the king of the road", an estimated 55,000 of these large, multi-coloured trucks, used to crawl through Manila's gridlocked roads on a typical day before being forced to a halt 15 weeks ago when the government imposed a coronavirus lockdown. In pre-pandemic times, jeepneys routinely carried up to 15 passengers who sat knee-to-knee on twin benches in the windowless vehicles, choked by exhaust fumes.

Op-Ed: Could the racist past of Mt. Rushmore's creator bring down the monument?

Yahoo News - Fri, 07/03/2020 - 04:00

 Could the racist past of Mt. Rushmore's creator bring down the monument?What should be done with an accomplishment that features problematic men carved in a problematic location by a problematic sculptor?

Letters to the Editor: The Russian bounty scandal raises a terrible question: Is Trump a traitor?

Yahoo News - Fri, 07/03/2020 - 04:00

 Is Trump a traitor?With the Russian bounty scheme, the United States faces a crisis worse than anything in Watergate.

Scientists are studying poop to understand how COVID-19 spreads

Yahoo News - Fri, 07/03/2020 - 03:53

Scientists are studying poop to understand how COVID-19 spreads"One of the very few positive things that could come out of COVID-19 is that we recognize that there is data within our wastewater," said one researcher.

It Would Cost Trillions: The Day North Korea Collapses

Yahoo News - Fri, 07/03/2020 - 03:30

 The Day North Korea CollapsesThe prospect of a peaceful Korean Unification, however remote it seems, would be a historical event worth planning for. While preparing for the worst, we should hope for the best. Hoping for the best means there is a scenario where North Korea’s collapse and regime change occur miraculously, opening doors to South Korea and the West to take over North Korea in what one hopes would be a peaceful absorption. As unlikely as this sounds, it is important to remember that it is not without historical precedent.

More bodies found at Myanmar jade mine disaster

Yahoo News - Fri, 07/03/2020 - 03:21

More bodies found at Myanmar jade mine disasterRescuers Friday pulled several bodies from the scene of a landslide which killed over 160 jade miners in northern Myanmar, many of them migrant workers seeking their fortune in treacherous open-cast mines near the China border. The disaster -- the worst in memory to strike Myanmar's notoriously dangerous jade mines -- ocurred on Thursday when a hillside collapsed in heavy monsoon rains. "The search and rescue missions continued today and we now have 166 bodies," the Myanmar Fire Services Department said in a Facebook post, raising the overnight toll by four.

Trump abuses our national parks, and he's doing it again at Mount Rushmore

Yahoo News - Fri, 07/03/2020 - 03:05

Trump abuses our national parks, and he's doing it again at Mount RushmorePast presidents used the parks to inspire and unite. Trump sees them as backdrops for self-serving, divisive campaign rallies In the United States, parks have always been used as spaces for public protest, places for commemorating acts of resistance and the struggle for a more perfect union, and stages for presidents to call for national unity or celebrate civic purpose.As his Mount Rushmore event scheduled for Friday makes clear, Donald Trump misunderstands and misuses all these precedents.Consider the national park areas in Washington, especially those around the White House, which have been the sites of peaceful protests for generations. A women’s suffrage march in 1913 disrupted Woodrow Wilson’s inauguration in the public park named Lafayette Square. The Reflecting Pool and Lincoln Memorial were the center of the peaceful 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, when more than 250,000 demonstrators listened to Martin Luther King give his “I Have a Dream” speech. In contrast, when Trump decided to use Lafayette Square as a photo opportunity last month, he had police and military personnel disperse peaceful protesters with flash grenades and pepper-ball munitions.Throughout history, other US presidents have employed national parks to unify and inspire the American people. Theodore Roosevelt spoke at the 1903 commemoration of the Gateway Arch at Yellowstone national park, reminding the American people: “We have fallen heirs to the most glorious heritage a people ever received and each one must do his part if we wish to show that the nation is worthy of its good fortune.”In the summer of 1969, Richard Nixon spoke at the dedication of the Lady Bird Johnson Grove in Redwoods national park. Nixon, hardly a president with a flawless reputation, nevertheless talked of unity and pride in the country as he dedicated the grove to the wife of his former political opponent.Trump neither comprehends nor takes seriously his responsibilities to his fellow citizens, and he can only envision our public spaces and historical parks as taxpayer-funded stage pageant backdrops for his political rallies and photo ops, which divide rather than unite.During his 2016 campaign for president, Trump traveled to the hallowed ground of Gettysburg national military park. At the site of Lincoln’s Gettysburg address, he gave a speech that “curdled into bitter resentment”, as he railed against his perceived enemies, particularly the media, the government, the opposition party and the intellectual elite.Last month, he held a Fox News town hall television interview inside the Lincoln Memorial, where events are supposed to be prohibited. He was only able to stage this television show at Lincoln’s feet because David Bernhardt, the secretary of the interior, specially relaxed the regulations governing use of our most sacred public monuments.> We must rescind the authority of the interior secretary to create exceptions for the partisan uses of national memorials“I assume the show is a big show, right?” Trump asked.It has become clear that we need clearer rules and restrictions on the use of force against peaceful protesters in public parks. We also need to hold national and local leaders to account when they exploit rather than protect parks. And we must rescind the authority of the interior secretary to create exceptions for overtly partisan uses of national memorials.The locations of current tragedies of police brutality, including the 38th Street and Chicago Avenue intersection in Minneapolis, where George Floyd was killed, should be commemorated as national historic landmarks – just as the 54 miles that peaceful civil rights demonstrators walked in 1965 are commemorated as the Selma to Montgomery Trail. Black lives matter.This Friday, Trump travels to Mount Rushmore to watch fireworks over the park, reversing a moratorium on fireworks that has been in place for a decade because of concern about wildfires in the park’s 1,200 acres of forest and the surrounding Black Hills national forest. The National Park Service is managing a lottery for the 7,500 tickets to the event – with no social distancing, even as South Dakota faces over 6,000 active Covid-19 cases and the audience will include visitors from around the country.Mount Rushmore, carved over the objections of the Sioux on the stones of their sacred Black Hills, has become a symbol of America. Love it or hate it, it should not be used for partisan politics. The nightly lighting ceremony is powerful theater, as the large halogen lights warm and then illuminate the carved images of Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln and Roosevelt. Trump knows this, and will probably use Mount Rushmore as a stage for a partisan political rally full of rancor, insults, and racial divisiveness.It will probably take Trump’s handlers’ best efforts to prevent him, as the halogen lights warm, from having the spotlights move from Washington and Jefferson on to himself, and to prevent long, vertical, bright-red Maga banners from being unfolded as he begins his performance. His supporters will cheer, his opponents will shout, and the US national parks – often called America’s “best idea” – will be more tarnished from misuse. * Jonathan B Jarvis served 40 years with the National Park Service and was its 18th director * Dr Gary Machlis served as science adviser to the director of the National Park Service and is a professor of environmental sustainability at Clemson University * The opinions expressed here are those of the authors. For more information about how this project is supported, click here

School districts pushed to reopen say there isn't enough money to do it safely

Yahoo News - Fri, 07/03/2020 - 03:00

School districts pushed to reopen say there isn't enough money to do it safely"They're caught between a rock and a hard place, and the biggest fear is they're going to be forced to open schools without the safety guidelines."

Myanmar leader blames joblessness for deadly mining tragedy

Yahoo News - Fri, 07/03/2020 - 02:58

Myanmar leader blames joblessness for deadly mining tragedyMyanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi expressed sadness Friday over a landslide at a jade mining site in the country’s north that took at least 172 lives, blaming the tragedy on joblessness. Suu Kyi, speaking on a scheduled Facebook Live broadcast with representatives of the construction industry, bemoaned what she described as the need for people to illegally sift for jade because they lacked other ways of making a living. The Myanmar Fire Services Department, which coordinates rescue and emergency services, announced Friday that there were 172 deaths from the accident, an increase of 10 over Thursday’s total.

CNN reporter mugged at knifepoint live on air in Brazil

Yahoo News - Fri, 07/03/2020 - 02:31

CNN reporter mugged at knifepoint live on air in BrazilA CNN journalist was mugged at knifepoint during a live broadcast in Brazil.Bruna Macedo and her team had set up near the Bandeiras Bridge in Sao Paulo on Saturday to report on rising water levels in the Tete River due to heavy rain.

India Kanpur: Eight policemen killed in clash with gang members

Yahoo News - Fri, 07/03/2020 - 02:11

 Eight policemen killed in clash with gang membersGang members fired at the officers during a raid in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh.

Black family sues Hilton after white clerk calls police over hotel's own billing mistake

Yahoo News - Fri, 07/03/2020 - 02:02

Black family sues Hilton after white clerk calls police over hotel's own billing mistakeA billing mistake by the hotel results in a dispute that led to police being called to the Hampton Inn. Now the guests are suing.

Texas Gov. Moves to Stop COVID-19 but It’s Already Out of Control

Yahoo News - Fri, 07/03/2020 - 01:54

Texas Gov. Moves to Stop COVID-19 but It’s Already Out of ControlDemocratic officials angry at Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s handling of surging coronavirus numbers in the state this week had one lackluster place to voice their frustrations about the rapidly escalating public health crisis killing their constituents: a Zoom press conference.“While some states followed the advice of public health experts, Texas did not,” Dallas-area State Rep. Toni Rose said from a webcam on Wednesday, a photograph of the Texas Capitol superimposed behind her. It was certainly not the first time Democrats in the state had inveighed against a pandemic approach criticized by some as too reckless, and followed months of power struggles between local and state leaders in Texas over lockdowns, masks, and more.But the politics of the COVID-19 situation in the state—Democrats yelling into the void, at least until Gov. Greg Abbott ordered mask use in hot zones across the state Thursday—had already given way to hard numbers, not just of cases, but also of hospitalizations, with the state’s medical system suddenly under pressure that seemed unthinkable even a few weeks ago.“If rates [of infection] continue to increase 50 percent week over week, you can only do that for so long,” said Dr. David Lakey, vice chancellor for health affairs and chief medical officer at the University of Texas system and a member of the Texas Medical Association COVID-19 Task Force.He added that chief medical officers across the state, at least this week, are “really busy, but they’re managing it.” The fear, he explained, is what next week, or the week after, will look like. And while beds, ventilators, and ICU rooms are holding up overall so far, “they’re starting to see some challenges in staff,” like respiratory therapists and nurses. As those challenges rise with the climbing hospitalizations, staffers have gotten sick or been forced to quarantine after exposures. And the numbers are getting more ominous. Texas broke another record for daily new cases on Tuesday, at 8,076 infections, according to state data. The previous record, on Monday, was 6,975. Days earlier, the record was 5,996. On June 16, the state broke the 4,000-mark for the first time.As Democratic State Rep. Trey Martinez Fischer, who represents San Antonio, said during the press conference, Gov. Greg Abbott “gambled” with Texas lives with an aggressive reopening, and “we have lost.”After a slew of mayors and judges tried to drag their feet on the governor’s swift reopening plan earlier this spring, the state’s attorney general sent letters to leaders in Dallas, Austin, and San Antonio warning that rules stricter than the state’s might be met with legal action. As the surges worsened across the state, though, Abbott gave his tacit consent for local officials to impose masking requirements on businesses, and urged individual Texans to mask up. ‘If People Die, People Die’: Texas COVID Hot Spots Keep Getting WorseThis week, Abbott went much further, shutting down bars statewide and suspending elective medical procedures in eight counties. Bar owners who previously said they supported Abbott’s reopening turned against the governor, with some protesting in front of the state Capitol holding signs that read “Bar Lives Matter.” And on Thursday, Abbott made a remarkable turnaround, ordering residents to wear face masks in all counties with at least 20 COVID-19 cases, and empowering local authorities to break up gatherings of more than 10 people.But conversations with health experts and medical professionals in the state suggested the emerging crisis at medical facilities in Texas was already deeply advanced.Texas Medical Center, the world’s largest medical complex, indicated last Thursday that its base intensive care capacity hit 100 percent and that it was “on pace to exceed an ‘unsustainable surge capacity’ of intensive care beds by July 6,” The Houston Chronicle reported this week. Last week, the Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston began admitting adult patients because of the surge, according to the paper. Internal communications at Houston hospitals revealed a lack of space and therapeutic drugs as the region’s medical facilities worked to treat more than 3,000 COVID-19 patients, including about 800 in intensive care, NBC News and Propublica reported Wednesday.Meanwhile, as of Tuesday, about 75 percent of Tarrant County’s intensive care unit beds were occupied, The Fort Worth Star-Telegram first reported.At recent hospitalization growth rates, facilities in Tarrant and Dallas counties could reach their surge capacities in as few as four weeks, according to Rajesh Nandy, an associate professor of biostatistics and epidemiology in the University of North Texas’s School of Public Health.“The simplest way to look at is this: Let’s say the trend doesn’t change, and hospital capacity stays the same as it is currently. Under those assumptions, it would be two to three weeks before they’re operating at max capacity,” Nandy, whose team has studied local and national COVID-19 data since the pandemic began, told The Daily Beast on Wednesday. “It probably would be three to four weeks when we’d be overloaded even with surge capacities. At that point, we’d have to consider creating new facilities at convention centers.”Despite those warnings, Dallas-area hospitals have repeatedly said they don’t need to prepare a pop-up facility at a nearby convention center, with the chair of the Texas Medical Associations’ board of trustees telling the newspaper that there are “a number of safety valves that could be pushed.”Still, said Nandy: “Our health-care system will be overwhelmed if it continues like this.”And ragged, frustrated medical providers all over the state have said they’re anxious about the days to come.“We are in an entirely different place now than what we were just four weeks ago,” said Dr. Pritesh Gandhi, an Austin-based primary care doctor and the associate chief medical officer at People’s Community Clinic, which serves uninsured and underinsured Central Texans. “In the last few days, our clinic has seen three or four times as many patients for drive-through testing than we had weeks ago, and it’s reflective of massive community spread.” Gandhi, a Democratic candidate for Texas’ 10th Congressional District, called the medical community’s efforts to provide care for Texans during the past month of surges “extraordinarily challenging” and said it has been “complicated by failures at both the federal and state level.”“We’re testing more, having more positives, having more symptomatic patients, doing more drive-through testing,” Gandhi told The Daily Beast on Wednesday. “Staff are getting sick, just like anywhere else.”Gandhi, and the group of Democratic state representatives who held the press conference, decried an undercurrent of “science denialism” and “hostility towards public health” perhaps best embodied by an interview Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick gave to Fox News hours earlier. He said Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top infectious disease expert in the country—and the face of the federal response to the pandemic—was “wrong every time on every issue.”“He doesn’t know what he’s talking about!” Patrick told Fox News on Tuesday evening. “I don’t need his advice anymore.”Dr. Lakey—a former commissioner of the Texas Department of State Health Services who was appointed by former Texas Gov. Rick Perry—was more forgiving of Abbott than others in the state. He said he doesn’t envy those, like the governor, who’ve had to navigate the middle ground between complete statewide shutdowns and complete light-switch openings.“It’s a very fraught time in public health,” said Lakey. “No one has a crystal ball. There’s no perfect plan.”“You make your plan, and then you have to be ready to adjust your plan,” said Lakey. “That’s not a sign of failure, it’s a sign that you’re looking at the data and trying to make the best decision.”But both Rose and Rep. Donna Howard, who represents Austin, said their constituents would likely benefit from a second statewide shutdown, and that Abbott’s decisions had been deeply damaging. Martinez-Fischer emphasized that stay-at-home orders were a tool that should never have been taken out of local hands.“We know that it worked before,” said Howard. “That contained the spread before. We have to do what we have to do here, and unfortunately shutting down may be our only option.”Whether or not that’s true, it remains unclear if Abbott would do it, as he’s said “closing down Texas again will always be the last option.” Then again, many public health experts question whether it would be necessary.As Lakey noted: It’s no longer March. Those trying to battle the crisis in Texas have the benefit of months of nationwide observation, studies about intubation, clinical trials, and promising therapeutic treatments like Remdesivir. And the mask order could help turn the tide.“We have learned from that experience and are bringing those lessons to the response,” said Lakey. Still, he and others point to the myriad unknowns in the coming days, from July 4 weekend celebrations to college students possibly returning to campuses in just a few weeks.As Gandhi said on Wednesday, “We’re angry and we’re exhausted because of the incompetence.” “It didn’t have to be like this.”Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.

Locals remain anxious amid India-China border stand-off

Yahoo News - Fri, 07/03/2020 - 01:46

Locals remain anxious amid India-China border stand-offEven as tensions are rising, locals along the border are worried their land is at stake.

A massive economic crisis and the coronavirus pandemic are pushing Lebanon towards a famine

Yahoo News - Fri, 07/03/2020 - 01:39

A massive economic crisis and the coronavirus pandemic are pushing Lebanon towards a famineThere are estimates from the World Bank that 75% of the country's population could end up living in poverty, France24 reported.

There is no epidemic of fatal police shootings against unarmed Black Americans

Yahoo News - Fri, 07/03/2020 - 01:15

There is no epidemic of fatal police shootings against unarmed Black AmericansIdeally officers would never need to take anyone's life. But the data on police killings doesn't support reducing or abolishing law enforcement.

Crusading ex-cop's arrest sparks police pushback in Russia

Yahoo News - Fri, 07/03/2020 - 00:31

Crusading ex-cop's arrest sparks police pushback in RussiaWhen police moved in to arrest Vladimir Vorontsov in May, they didn't bother to knock. Instead, two commando teams stormed the former policeman's top-floor apartment in southeast Moscow at around 7:00 am, one abseiling down the high-rise while the other broke down the door. "Our daughter thinks that bandits came and took daddy away," Aleksandra Vorontsova told AFP, describing the swoop on her husband, an activist for police labour rights.

Israel's Missile Force Could Easily Kill Millions of People in Minutes

Yahoo News - Fri, 07/03/2020 - 00:30

Israel's Missile Force Could Easily Kill Millions of People in MinutesNuclear missiles and more.


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