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Author Topic: ENVIRONMENT, GLOBAL WARMING, AND CULTURE  (Read 54673 times)
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Rad
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« on: Oct 20, 2019, 04:50 AM »

We will be posting in this thread a variety of interesting stories about our environment, cultures around the world, and the current news of the day.
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« Reply #1 on: Jul 04, 2020, 04:09 AM »

This is the only way to prevent a coronavirus second wave

By Zach Epstein
BGR
7/4/2020

    Many experts believe that a coronavirus second wave is inevitable, but a new study suggests that there’s one way to prevent another major wave of COVID-19 infections.
    Despite resistance from certain people who insist this is a matter of freedom rather than safety, simply wearing face masks anytime people leave their homes could completely prevent a second wave.
    The study says that wearing face masks like these and practicing social distancing could stop coronavirus second wave even as lockdown restrictions ease and nonessential businesses reopen.

At this point, it seems inevitable that there will be a massive second wave of coronavirus infections in many regions across the United States. Many experts have said so, but you don’t have to be an expert to come to that conclusion. A quick glance at the news and a few scrolls through your timeline in any social media app is all it takes to see that far too many people are experiencing coronavirus lockdown fatigue. It’s been a long few months and many people out there simply can’t cope with quarantining or being overly cautious anymore. And the timing is obviously problematic because many states are reopening their economies now.

There is nothing wrong with reopening businesses. In fact, some might argue that some regions are reopening too slowly. The problem, however, is that everyone needs to act responsibly in order to avoid spikes in COVID-19 cases as economies reopen. We all saw what happened when Trump and his administration downplayed the severity of the novel coronavirus. Infection rates skyrocketed and the healthcare systems in many regions became overwhelmed. Everyone needs to realize that nothing has changed and if we’re not careful, the coronavirus second wave could be as bad as the first. Just look at what’s happening right now in states like California, Texas, Arizona, and Florida.

Sadly, there’s really only one simple thing we need to do in order to prevent a bad second wave, and now a recent study has confirmed it.

Have you seen the viral video of a Las Vegas casino shortly after Vegas reopened? If you somehow missed it, here you go:

    Las Vegas is officially back. pic.twitter.com/EI3nXs2e5w

    — Arash Markazi (@ArashMarkazi) June 6, 2020

How can people possibly be this stupid, you ask? Well, the answer isn’t quite that simple. Some people are just plain stupid, sure. Others aren’t convinced that coronavirus is as serious as experts claim it is. And some people are just so sick and tired of lockdowns and restrictions that they’re throwing caution to the wind. The problem is that all three groups are equally dangerous, and we can see that by looking at the skyrocketing coronavirus infection rates in California, Florida, Texas, and elsewhere.

Businesses can and should reopen. Even casinos. But there absolutely must be strict safety guidelines in place and people must follow them. In fact, a new study says that all we need to do in order to avoid a severe second wave of COVID-19 infections is to wear face masks and keep some distance in between us.

Scientists at Cambridge and Greenwich Universities in Britain released the results of a study this week that suggests wearing face masks can dramatically reduce the risk of another wave of coronavirus infections. If enough people wear face masks, the rate of COVID-19 transmission would plummet drastically and would stay at controllable levels rather than overwhelming healthcare systems.

“Our analyses support the immediate and universal adoption of face masks by the public,” said Dr. Richard Stutt, one of the leaders of the study at Cambridge. From Reuters’ coverage of the research:

    In this study, researchers linked the dynamics of spread between people with population-level models to assess the effect on the disease’s reproduction rate, or R value, of different scenarios of mask adoption combined with periods of lockdown.

    The R value measures the average number of people that one infected person will pass the disease on to. An R value above 1 can lead to exponential growth.

    The study found that if people wear masks whenever they are in public it is twice as effective at reducing the R value than if masks are only worn after symptoms appear.

    In all scenarios the study looked at, routine face mask use by 50% or more of the population reduced COVID-19 spread to an R of less than 1.0, flattening future disease waves and allowing for less stringent lockdowns.

The study’s findings were published in the scientific journal Proceedings of the Royal Society A. It’s certainly not the first published study to reach these conclusions. Several other studies have said the same thing — wearing face masks in public and practicing social distancing can have a dramatic impact on the rate of COVID-19 transmission.

The problem, of course, is that this only works if the majority of people are on board. If not, all responsible people can do is be extra cautious and hope that other people’s carelessness doesn’t overwhelm the healthcare system. Again. People don’t have to go overboard, though one study says people should actually wear face masks while having sex. Just wear a face mask like these masks anytime you’re not in your home, and stay as far away from other people as you can while you’re out.


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« Reply #2 on: Jul 04, 2020, 04:11 AM »


A record 53.6 million tons of e-waste was produced last year, says UN

There's sign of decline in the near future

Fermin Koop
ZME
7/4/2020

From flat-screen TVs to cellphones, humans generated 53.6 million metric tons of electronic waste last year, almost two million metric tons more than the previous year. Only 17% of the waste was recycled, with the rest ending up in landfills, incinerated or just unaccounted for.

Electronic and electrical goods such as computers, refrigerators, and kettles have gradually become indispensable in modern societies, making lives easier in many ways. But they can also have toxic chemicals, and a growing production of waste is damaging the environment and human health.

The figures for last year, reported by the United Nation’s Global E-waste Monitor, are equivalent to 7.3 kilograms of electronic waste for every man, woman and child on Earth, though the use is concentrated in wealthier countries.

The amount of e-waste is growing three times faster than the world’s population

Citizens of northern European countries produced the most e-waste last year, 22.4 kilograms per person. The amount was half that seen in eastern Europe. Australians and New Zealanders also ranked high with 21.3 kilograms per person, while in the US and Canada the figure was 20.9 kilograms.

    “We are at the start of a kind of explosion due to increased electrification we see everywhere,” Ruediger Kuehr, one of the authors of the report, told The Verge. “It starts with toys, if you look at what is happening around Christmas, everything comes with a battery or plug. And it goes on with mobile phones and TV sets.”

The report also found that among the discarded plastic and silicon there were large amounts of precious metals such as copper and gold, used to conduct electricity on circuit boards. A sixth of it was recycled but the remainder wasn’t, accounting for $57 billion in metals.

The concerns are higher in low and middle-income countries, where some e-waste is recycled but using unsafe practices, such as burning circuit boards to recover copper. Doing so releases toxic metals such as mercury and lead that can cause severe health effects to workers and children living nearby.

About 50 tons of mercury from monitors, energy-saving light bulbs, and other e-waste is dumped each year, the report estimated. At the same time, gases released from discarded refrigerators and air-conditioning units were equivalent to 98 million tons of atmospheric carbon dioxide in 2019.

    “E-waste is a very big problem because the amount is growing at a very rapid pace each year, and the level of recycling is just not keeping up the pace,” Kees Baldé at the UN University, based in Bonn, and an author of the report, told The Guardian. “It’s important to put a price on the pollution – at the moment it is simply free to pollute.”

Growth in e-waste is expected to continue unabated, in particular in countries that have growing middle classes. The authors of the study, which is produced by the UN University, the International Solid Waste Association and others, predicted that global e-waste could grow to 74 million metric tons by 2030.

Back in 2018, the UN had set a target of increasing the recycling of e-waste to 30% by 2023. But, as things are now, the report authors see the goal as unrealistic. The number of countries with national e-waste policies or laws in place has only increased from 61 to 78 since 2014, out of a total of 193 UN member states.


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« Reply #3 on: Jul 04, 2020, 04:14 AM »


Fires in the Brazilian Amazon last month were the worst since 2007

Things could get much worse in the coming months

Fermin Koop
ZME
7/4/2020

Forest fires in the Brazilian Amazon rose 19.5% in June compared to the same month last year, making it the worst June in 13 years. With such an increase, environmental organizations are worried that this year could surpass the disastrous fires registered last year across the Amazon.

Last month was the start of the dry season in the Amazon and 2,248 forest fires were recorded, according to the National Institute for Space Research (INPE). But the worst is actually expected in August. Last year there were more than 30,000 fires that month, a figure that will likely be exceeded this year.

Most of the forest fires in the Brazilian Amazon are caused by arson and are directly linked to deforestation, often caused by crop farmers for cultivation. Deforestation was high this year even before the start of the dry season, with more than 2,000 square kilometers lost between January and May.

INPE estimates that 9,000 square kilometers of jungle already cut down since last year could go up in flames before August begins. This also has indirect consequences, as the smoke could aggravate the chaotic situation caused by the coronavirus outbreak in Brazil. The country already has the world’s second-highest number of cases.

Environmental organizations have accused Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro of promoting deforestation by calling for the legalization of farming and mining activities in protected zones. “We cannot allow the 2019 situation to repeat itself,” Mauricio Voivodic, executive director of the WWF NGO in Brazil, told local media.

Bolsonaro has repeatedly dismissed the criticism of his handling of the Amazon, claiming the rainforest belongs to Brazil and that its natural resources should be used for the economic development of the country. Foreign interest in the Amazon is only due to their intention of controlling its mineral resources, he has said.

Defiantly, the country’s Environment Minister Ricardo Salles had said the government should take advantage of the fact that people are distracted by the coronavirus epidemic to move forward in the deregulation of environmental policies. “We have to push through and change all the rules,” he said.

The Amazon spans multiple South American countries but most of it (60%) lies in Brazil. Usually described as the lungs of the Earth, the Amazon is a key carbon sink that slows down the pace of global warming. It is also highly relevant for biodiversity as it hosts about three million species of plants and animals.

Many researchers have argued that the Amazon could be close to “the tipping point,” when its nature completely changes. This will actually happen when total deforestation in the area reaches between 20% and 25%, something that could happen in the next 20 or 30 years.

A study in February showed Amazon’s capacity to absorb carbon dioxide (CO2) is now being impaired because of illegal logging, especially in Brazil. During the last 10 years, up to 20% of the Amazon has become a net source of CO2 in the atmosphere, a piece of very bad news for the world’s climate.


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« Reply #4 on: Jul 04, 2020, 04:16 AM »


Scientists discover a deep-sea coral garden off Greenland’s coast

The area could be at risk in the future and should be protected

Fermin Koop
ZME
7/4/2020

Using an innovative camera, researchers have discovered a deep-sea soft coral garden in Greenland, the first of its kind to have been identified and assessed in Greenlandic waters. This could have implications for the management of deep-sea trawl fisheries that are close to the habitat.

The soft coral garden is located at 1,600 feet below sea level (almost 500 meters), where the pressure is 50 times greater than at the surface. The habitat, delicate and diverse, is full of life with abundant cauliflower corals, feather stars, sponges, anemones, brittle stars, hydrozoans, bryozoans, and other organisms.

The researchers found it using a low-tech rig called a “benthic sled,” which consists of a GoPro camera, lights, and laser pointers, which they set into special pressure-proof cases, mounted on a steel frame and hung from their research vessel. They recorded video at 18 locations and discovered the garden.

    “The deep sea is often over-looked in terms of exploration. In fact we have better maps of the surface of Mars, than we do of the deep sea,” said Stephen Long, first author of the study. “The development of a low-cost tool that can withstand deep-sea environments opens up new possibilities for our understanding and management of marine ecosystems.”

The seafloor is a very dark place and that’s why the team needed lights on the rig. The algae that is usually found in corals in shallow waters, giving them their bright colors, can’t survive in the deep sea. But corals can, as well as other organisms that depend on them for shelter. The researchers found over 44,000 individual organisms there.

Surveying the deep sea has so far proved difficult and expensive. This is partly explained by the ocean pressure, which increases by one atmosphere (which is the average atmospheric pressure at sea level) every 10 meters of descent. That’s why surveys in the deep-sea rely on expensive remote operating vehicles and manned submersibles that can tolerate the pressure.

    “Given that the ocean is the biggest habitat on earth and the one about which we know the least, we think it is critically important to develop cheap, accessible research tools. These tools can then be used to explore, describe and crucially inform management of these deep-sea resources,” Chris Yesson, co-author, said in a statement.

The discovery is particularly significant as the deep sea is the most poorly known habitat on Earth, despite it covering 65% of the planet. Until very recently, very little was known about Greenland’s deep-sea habitats, their nature, distribution, and how they are impacted by human activities.

Although it’s not that well understood, the deep-sea is crucial to the economy of Greenland. Up to 90% of the exports of the country are owed to fisheries, which is also a crucial source of jobs and food in the country. But the recently found garden and many others could be at risk in the future due to deep-sea mining and bottom trawling.

That’s why the authors call for the garden they discovered to be protected as a Vulnerable Marine Ecosystem under United Nations guidelines. They are also working with the Greenland government and the local fishing industry, who have been receptive to putting protections for the garden in place.

The study was published in the journal Frontiers in Marine Science.


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« Reply #5 on: Jul 04, 2020, 04:20 AM »


Interview: Vivica A Fox: 'Black Lives Matter is going to be Trump's demise'

Ryan Gilbey

The actor has pushed the envelope for portrayals of black women and been up close with the president and Harvey Weinstein. “You come at me crazy, it’s gonna be on like popcorn,” she warns

4 Jul 2020 06.00 BST
Guardian

It is 8am and Vivica A Fox, the star of two Independence Day films, two seasons of Curb Your Enthusiasm, both parts of Kill Bill and, latterly, two Sharknado movies, has been awake for hours. She sprang out of bed at 4am, pottered around and “did a little social media post” about her podcast, Hustling with Vivica A Fox. It’s a spin-off from Every Day I’m Hustling, her memoir-cum-self-help manual which contains health tips (“Hydrate, girl!”), social media advice (“Use hashtags to join big conversations”) and underwear secrets (“I’m a G-string type of gal”). Once the podcast was online this morning, she explains, “I said to myself: ‘Let’s get some coffee on. It’s showtime!’”

First on the agenda is the droll new thriller Arkansas, in which she plays the mysterious “Her”, who works as go-between in a drugs ring and is first seen in curlers, toe separators and a jazzy kaftan; Liam Hemsworth, Vince Vaughn and John Malkovich struggle in vain not to be outshone. Down the line from her villa in the San Fernando Valley, where she has a spectacular living room view of the Santa Susana mountains, Fox talks through the various traits of Her: the character’s serenity (“That came from my mother, who’s religious”); her cool control (“I brought in a presidential thing there”); her no-nonsense efficiency (“A lil’ bit of my gangsta style”). But we are done with Arkansas in under five minutes, which is roughly the combined length of her scenes in the film.

Besides, there is so much more to discuss. Fox is 55 and has played an influential part in shaping on-screen images of African American life. By the time she was seen in 1996 in Independence Day as Will Smith’s girlfriend, a pole-dancer with (you’ll never guess) a heart of gold, she had already put in a decade’s hard graft on soap operas and sitcoms. Worried that people would be flummoxed by her unusual first name, she sometimes introduced herself back then by her middle name, Angie. That was until a female casting director pointed out that her full name would double also as a factual statement: “Vivica’s a fox.”

Independence Day gave her a movie career but it was the heist thriller Set It Off a few months later that demonstrated her range and vitality. The film remains special to her; she tells me there is a framed poster of it in the room she’s calling from. “Set It Off got me my street cred,” she says. “I was the good-looking kid on the block at the time. Then everyone saw that and said: ‘Oh, she hood.’”

One fleeting moment in that movie demonstrates her knack for identifying small but revealing details in any scene. Her character Frankie has just been interrogated aggressively by white detectives who wrongly suspect her of colluding in a violent bank robbery. Getting up to leave, she pauses in front of the only black female officer in the room, who has been quietly sipping water, and says: “You didn’t even bother to ask me if I was thirsty, sister.”

There was no scripted interaction between the women: Fox improvised that line, which addresses racial and gender solidarity more adroitly than some of the film’s bombastic monologues. “That small bit of humanity was important,” she says. She is proud now that several of her early pictures made what she calls “culturally driven statements”. Set It Off “was about how we get screwed over in life, especially women”. Soul Food “showed the African American family expressing fellowship through food”. The romantic comedy Two Can Play That Game demonstrated “black love, how we love each other” and featured African American characters whose wealth was unconnected to drugs or crime. “I fought very hard for those images. I got on everybody’s damn nerves but it was worth it,” she says.

    For Kill Bill, I went from a size 10 to a two. Tarantino turned us all into assassins
    Vivica A Fox

Opposition came in many forms. “We were told people didn’t want to see our stories: ‘You be the sidekick’. We were told African American women can’t lead films. Or that the only stories we could tell were in the past,” says Fox. There is still work to be done. “I’d love to see more docuseries showing that the contribution of African Americans doesn’t always have to be through entertainment. We need to educate children so they don’t think they have to grow up and be athletes or rappers. They can be lawyers and scientists, too.”

Fox’s own career has scarcely been inhibited by external expectations. “Versatility equals longevity,” as she says. When she noticed in the late 2000s that she was losing parts because she was “too good-looking for older roles but too old to play the It girl,” she diversified: she got some theatre work under her belt and launched her lucrative hair collection. One of her brightest spots came when she was cast in Curb Your Enthusiasm as Loretta Black, who is taken in by Larry David along with her family after being left homeless by a hurricane.

The show is not scripted and she found the improvisations taxing, though perhaps not as tough as being banned from having her hair down or wearing makeup. “Larry was a stickler. I’d put on lipgloss and he’d say: ‘Are you wearing makeup?’ I was, like: ‘Dude. Really?’” But there was a point to it all. “He wanted Loretta to evolve so that when she’s finally all dressed up, you’ve seen her grow.” In the final episode of that season, she and David dance together at a bat mitzvah and their romance (cruelly snuffed out in the next season, but never mind) starts to blossom. “Larry was so nervous before that scene. He was walking around dabbing peppermint on his tongue. He said: ‘I’ve gotta make sure my breath is fresh for you.’ Aww!”

It is Kill Bill, though, that she singles out as her proudest achievement. Why that film? “Woooh, chile! That was six months of sacrifice. I went from a size 10 to a two. Tarantino turned us all into assassins.” At one point during the months of arduous martial arts training, she upbraided the director in front of the rest of the cast after he had accused them of not giving their all. It was Uma Thurman who took her aside later and advised her to “learn how to manipulate the situation to get what you want”. It chimed for her with a phrase her father always used: attack intelligently.

    Ivanka said to me: You speak very well.’ I was like: What? I don’t believe she meant it to be insulting. Bless her heart
    Vivica A Fox

“I have to remember that because I can be a little spitfire. I’ve calmed down with experience,” she says. What is most likely to make her lose her cool these days? “Disrespect. You come at me crazy, it’s gonna be on like popcorn.” She assures me she doesn’t like feuds and drama: “I’m not a hater, I’m a congratulator.” After years of turbulence. relations are even tranquil now between Fox and her most notorious ex, the rapper 50 Cent. “We’ve moved on to a peaceful chapter, thank you God!” she says. “I like happiness. I’m attracted to peace. That’s why I’m up here in my mountains.”

At least she can watch Kill Bill and see that all the physical suffering was worth it. “Quentin told me: ‘You’ll appreciate it later.’ And then I saw how great my butt looked. I even had a booty light! When Uma and I are standing in front of the window and the school bus pulls up, there it was. My booty light. Go back and look!” I promise her I will. After all, I know how much that booty means to her from her recent retweet of a fan who remarked “Vivica’s ass in the 90s was the perfect combination of both fit and fat.”

Her memories of Kill Bill acquired a bittersweet tinge when Thurman revealed in 2018 that she was attacked by Harvey Weinstein prior to making the film (during his downfall, Thurman wrote on Instagram: “I’m glad it’s going slowly – you don’t deserve a bullet”) and that Tarantino endangered her life on set by forcing her to drive a stunt car which then crashed. “I had no idea at the time,” Fox says. “That woman is graceful. Uma I consider a quiet storm. I didn’t know she crashed the car. I was, like: ‘Oh my God!’ She never told any of us.” Nor did Fox encounter the predatory side of Weinstein, with whom she went on to make the fairytale comedy Ella Enchanted. “He was nice. Matter of fact, he made my part bigger. It was disappointing to find out later that he abused his power. The bigger they are, the harder they fall.”

More recently, she has been nose-to-nose with another modern American bogeyman: Donald Trump, who presided over the 2015 series of Celebrity Apprentice on which Fox was a contestant. She has called it “the most racially charged set I’d ever been on”. How did that tension manifest itself? “You could see the manipulation. They’d pit Brandi [Glanville, star of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills] against Kenya [Moore, from The Real Housewives of Atlanta] and I really felt there was a black v white thing going on.” She laughs when I remind her that she admitted feeling like “the help”. “That was because of the Trump children,” she says. “That’s the way they were raised. One time, Ivanka said to me and the other black women there: ‘You speak very well.’ We were like: ‘What?’ I don’t believe she meant it to be insulting. Bless her heart. But looking back, especially in the climate we’re in now, you’d be like: ‘C’mon girl. We went to school, too.’”

The high opinion she had of Trump at the start of making Celebrity Apprentice quickly plummeted. “He was obsessed with becoming president and I believe it was because a black man had done it. And Obama had done it so well that, throughout his presidency, Trump was always on him. To this day, he can’t keep his name off his tongue. It’s an awful obsession. I love the way Obama handles it, such grace under fire.”

Fox has watched the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement and the protests over the death of George Floyd with boundless admiration, and believes it spells the end for Trump. “It’s gonna be his demise,” she says. “That and the way he’s handled this pandemic. He had no business getting into politics. It was just a notch on his belt. He didn’t know what it meant to hold that position. So I’ve been out there supporting Joe Biden and I will continue to campaign for him. We need some leadership back in the White House because right now there is so much division.” The publicist interrupts the call to inform us that our time is up. “Ooh, that went fast!” Fox gasps. We say our goodbyes and I leave her to enjoy that view from the living room window. There are mountains to admire, as well as a fair few to climb.

• Arkansas is streaming from 13 July and on DVD from 20 July


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« Reply #6 on: Jul 04, 2020, 04:32 AM »


Global report: WHO changes timeline on virus alert as cases top 11m

UN health body says it found out about the outbreak itself, not via Chinese officials; US cases increase 53,000 on Friday; English pubs reopen

Martin Farrer and agencies
Guardian
Sat 4 Jul 2020 07.12 BST

The World Health Organization was alerted to the coronavirus crisis by its own office in China, and not by the local authorities, according to reports, as worldwide cases of Covid-19 passed 11 million and infections in the US rose by another 53,000.

The UN health body has been accused by US president Donald Trump of failing to provide the information needed to stem the pandemic and of being complacent towards Beijing, charges it denies.

Partly in response to that criticism, it published on 9 April an initial timeline of its communications in which it said that the Wuhan municipal health commission had reported cases of pneumonia on the final day of 2019. The UN health agency did not however specify who had notified it.

But in a new chronology published this week by the Geneva-based institution, it indicates that the WHO office in China notified its regional point of contact on 31 December of a case of “viral pneumonia” after having found a declaration for the media on a Wuhan health commission website on the issue.

According to Agence France-Presse, WHO’s epidemic information service picked up another news report on the same day transmitted by the international epidemiological surveillance network ProMed – based in the United States – about the same group of cases of pneumonia from unknown causes in Wuhan.

WHO then asked the Chinese authorities on two occasions, on 1 January and 2 January, for information about these cases. This information was provided on 3 January.

Trump has announced that his country, the main financial contributor to WHO, will sever ties with the WHO, which he accuses of being too close to China and of having poorly managed the pandemic. The WHO denies any complacency toward China.

According to Johns Hopkins University, there are now 11 million confirmed cases of coronavirus worldwide. It has claimed the lives of more than 524,000 people.

The United States marked the beginning of the Fourth of July holiday weekend with another huge rise in coronavirus cases.

Alabama, Alaska, Idaho, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee all set single-day records for new cases on Friday, according to Reuters. The daily US tally stood at 53,483 late Friday, below the previous day’s record of 55,405. The country has recorded almost 2.8 million cases.

Brazil reported 1,290 more deaths and registered 42,223 new cases on Friday. It remains the second-worst in terms of case numbers in the world with more than 1.5 million, behind the US.

Kimberly Guilfoyle, the girlfriend of Donald Trump Jr, has tested positive for the virus, US media have reported. The former Fox News presenter is a key fundraiser for the president’s re-election campaign and is the latest person in the Trump circle to become infected. She was reportedly asymptomatic.

Hairdressing salons and wedding venues opened for business in England the minute the government’s deadline passed at midnight on Friday.

Salaon have been shut for months but were allowed to open from Saturday. Pubs and restaurants in England will be allowed to open from 6am local time, with Boris Johnson, the UK prime minister, warning people to behave and “not to blow it”.

Sandra Jacobs had her hair cut at a salon in Camden in north London, telling reporters that it was “such a relief, I can’t tell you… My hair was everywhere. I’d been wearing hats to hide it”.

Portugal’s government has expressed anger that it has been left off the list of countries designated safe for English holidaymakers to travel to when the so-called “air bridges” open across Europe next week.

The outbreak in the state of Victoria has divided Australia. After days when the numbers of new cases did not rise very sharply, the state recorded its highest single daily total since 28 March with 108 new infections.


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« Reply #7 on: Jul 04, 2020, 04:34 AM »


‘It feels like a failed state’: Lebanon's crisis deepens as it awaits bailout

Regime’s critics call for overhaul of system of patronage many say has reinforced widespread corruption

Martin Chulov Beirut

Sat 4 Jul 2020 08.00 BST

Lebanon’s catastrophic economic collapse is gathering pace, with its currency shedding value daily, prices of essential foods out of the reach of many and talks that could unlock a desperately needed bailout crippled by what critics say is a determination by the ruling class to protect a broken system.

The country’s collapse has led to meat and chicken prices tripling over the past fortnight, and scarcities of fuel and flour - amplified by the sale of state-subsidised supplies to neighbouring Syria where they get a better price for it, and sharply increasing hunger.

Protein has been taken off the menu at army barracks while ordinary Lebanese have resorted to selling furniture in order to raise enough money to buy food. Retail chains closed en masse during the week, and almost all the country’s hotels remain shuttered – hopes of a spike from summer tourism were dashed by the Covid-19 pandemic and rising fears about security across the country.

Two men killed themselves on Friday, apparently driven to despair by the crisis.

Civic leaders and two members of a team that led talks with the International Monetary Fund in an attempt to introduce billions of dollars in global aid say patronage networks that have run the government and enriched its leaders are seen as being more valuable than safeguarding the country itself.

“When it’s all boiled down, this is indeed the reckoning,’ said one senior politician. “If you break what’s been built since the war years, we are in for another conflict. And it could make 1982 look like a dress rehearsal.”

The apparent hopelessness of the country’s predicament has come into sharp focus over the past fortnight, as the IMF has raised the alarm over stalled talks that could free up to $5bn in aid, and pave the way for contributions from France, the EU, and the Gulf states, all of whom have been benefactors of Lebanon but have become wary of pouring more money into the country.

Overhauling patronage systems that entrenched warlords at the end of a 15-year conflict and have turned all state institutions into fiefs, has been a central demand of the IMF and international community. “You would not think this would be difficult,” said a senior European diplomat. “We have been begging them to behave like a normal state, and they are acting like they are selling us a carpet.”

Another senior diplomat, who like others declined to be named, said: “Lebanon no longer has anything like a lustre. It just feels like a failed state.”

How to stymie the wounds seems obvious to those who took to the streets last October, calling for an overhaul of a sclerotic system that many said has enfeebled the country by reinforcing widespread corruption, denying them opportunities on merit and turning citizens into subjects.

“I couldn’t get a job on merit last September, said Mahmoud Suleiman, a carpenter from Cheika in the north of the county. And I sure can’t now. Even if I go to the sunni leader here, they can’t help because there is no work. And they wouldn’t want to help even if they could. Their concern is their own interests. That’s always been the case.”

The precipitous collapse in the local currency, the lira, continued unabated on Friday, reaching as low as 10,000 to one US dollar, compared with the pegged rate of 1,500 to the dollar, which had been fixed since 1991.

“I’ve changed the barcode prices three times this week alone,” said Chantelle AbuZeid, a shopkeeper in the Beirut suburb of Sinn al-Fiel. “That’s all I do, because no one’s buying.”

A growing concern is that the currency collapse has no floor, because nothing can generate confidence in the crumbling economy. “As long as the country is not really functioning, every dollar that is put into the system is swallowed,” said Albert Leteyf, a partner at Levantine Consultants. “Introducing dollars is seen as a saviour, but I can’t see that slowing the fall. We’ve gone too far.”

“It’s wrong to speak about specific parties here, because it gets you in trouble,” said Charbel Melad, from Jounieh, north of Beirut. “But it really is time for a reckoning. Why should people who hold the country to ransom be allowed to get away with it. This patronage system has to go, and so do the parties who put it above the welfare of the state.”


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« Reply #8 on: Jul 04, 2020, 04:40 AM »


'Our pastures have been taken': Indians rue China's Himalayan land grab

Exclusive: image obtained by Guardian shows substantial Chinese military structures erected despite agreements to disengage

Aakash Hassan in Ladakh and Hannah Ellis-Petersen
Guardian
4 Jul 2020 11.05 BST

Namgyal Durbuk knows the steep mountainous terrain of Ladakh like the back of his hand. But in the 45 years he has lived here, along the Indian state’s volatile and poorly defined border with neighbouring China, he has watched Indian land disappear before his eyes.

“The Indian government is lying that there is no land capture by China,” said Durbuk, a former councillor. “Our vast green pastures, where local herders used take their cattle, have been taken over. A number of locals have been forced by this situation to sell their cattle and move towards urban settlements for their livelihood.”

The fighting that broke out between Indian and Chinese troops on the Himalayan border last month was the worst assault between the two nuclear-armed nations since 1967. Hand-to hand combat between the two sides with rocks and spiked clubs, at an altitude of around 14,000ft (4,250m) in the inhospitable Galwan valley, saw 20 Indian soldiers and an unknown number of Chinese troops killed. It heightened tensions escalating since early May when China moved thousands of troops and artillery to disputed areas, including the strategic Galwan Valley.

On Friday, the Indian prime minister, Narendra Modi, made a surprise visit to a military post in Ladakh, in what many took as a clear message to China. Since the attack, Chinese and Indian military commanders have met multiple times for disengagement talks, but they appear to have reached a stalemate.

China and India have continued to accuse each other, and now both stake a claim to the valley. India condemned China for what it described as a “premeditated attack” on its troops, and Indian ministry of external affairs spokesperson Anurag Srivastava blamed it on China’s “unjustified and untenable claims”. China’s foreign ministry has said that Galwan Valley has “always” been under Chinese sovereignty.

To those living along the poorly demarcated Line of Actual Control (LAC) in Ladakh, a statement by Modi in the aftermath of the attack, that “China did not enter our territory” rang false. They allege Chinese incursions into Galwan and other disputed areas, such Pangong Tso, are just a continuation of the norm.

An exclusive image obtained by the Guardian of Pangong Tso, a freshwater lake on the border where a similar but non-deadly clash occurred between Indian and Chinese forces on 5 May, clearly shows substantial Chinese military structures, including a radar tower, that have been built close to a ridge known as Finger Four in just the last few weeks, despite agreements to disengage.

There are eight ridges around Pangong Tso, known as the eight fingers. Former military commanders and locals say India used to control the whole area, but Chinese troops have gradually moved in and as of two weeks ago it is understood they now control four of the eight fingers. China is said to be building a helipad and other infrastructure around Finger Four, as well as bringing more troops into the territory.

“The villagers are scared by the presence of the Chinese forces. They are so close they can even see their lights in the night for the first time,” said Durbuk, who recently visited the area and fears India will lose entire the Ladakh region in the coming 20 years if the Chinese annexation continues.

Taking out a notebook, Durbuk drew a map to demonstrate the Indian territory lost in Galwan. He pointed out a water handpump installed in 2010 by local authorities for herders, who used to bring their cattle and flocks of Cashmere wool-producing Changra goats to graze on high-altitude pastures near the border.

But these herders have been driven away and their water pump is now accompanied by Chinese military infrastructure. “The area is under Chinese army control and they have constructed roads and built structures there,” said Durbuk.

Sonam Wangchuk, a celebrated Ladakh-based engineer leading a boycott against China, made a similar observation. “As residents we have seen over years how China have been pushing the line, metre by metre. It’s been the cause of huge economic losses. Thousands of local goat herders have lost their pastures, and therefore their income because of it, and have been forced to become menial labourers in the city.”

In February, a group of local councillors gave a written memorandum to Modi, warning him about the capture of vast pasture lands by China.

“We have been raising the issue of Chinese advancement with the government and army for years. The Chinese have been taking over huge patches of land every year,” said Tashi Namgyal, 30, a councillor for the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) representing Shyok area, the closest habitation to Galwan valley.

Another BJP councillor, Urgain Chodon, 30, whose village Koyal is situated along the LAC, alleged China has not only been annexing Indian territory but actively building infrastructure. “The Chinese come with their machinery – dumpers, earth movers – and construct roads and then claim later that it is their territory. When the herders would go to the places they were visiting every year, they would find Chinese occupying these areas,” she said.

Indian and Chinese military and diplomatic channels have publicly agreed to continue a policy of disengagement but recent satellite images appear to show a continued build up of Chinese structures on a terrace overlooking the Galwan river, on the the side of the border claimed by India as their territory. India has now deployed missile firing tanks and anti-tank missile systems along the entire 992-mile (1,596km) long border after China brought in armoured vehicles.

Tashi Chhepal, 60, a retired Indian army captain, affirmed that when he was a young officer, Galwan Valley was considered Indian territory and there were no Chinese posts even close to it.

“There were no roads at that time and we would trek for three weeks on horses from Pratappur Nubra north-east to Chumgtas. On the way, we would rest in the Galwan Valley,” said Chhepal. But with Chinese troops at patrolling point 14 in Galwan Valley, he said such a journey would be unthinkable now.


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« Reply #9 on: Jul 04, 2020, 04:55 AM »


US under siege from 'far-left fascism', says Trump in Mount Rushmore speech

US president enflames national tensions with attack on ‘leftwing revolution’ and plan for national memorial of statues of ‘American heroes’

David Smith in Washington
Guardian
Sat 4 Jul 2020 05.56 BST

Standing beneath Mount Rushmore on the eve of American independence day, Donald Trump staged a defiant celebration of what critics say is white identity politics and warned the nation’s history is under siege from “far-left fascism”.

The US president defended the symbolism of statues and monuments before a packed crowd at an event that revelled in political incorrectness calculated to enflame the country’s current divisions and enrage liberal critics. There were few face masks and even fewer people of color on stage or in the stands.

“Our nation is witnessing a merciless campaign to wipe out our history, defame our heroes, erase our values and indoctrinate our children,” Trump said. “Angry mobs are trying to tear down statues of our founders, deface our most sacred memorials and unleash a wave of violent crime in our cities.”
Donald Trump, accompanied by first lady Melania Trump, at Mount Rushmore.

In an effort to fight back, he announced a surprise executive order establishing “The National Garden of American Heroes”, a vast outdoor park featuring statues of “the greatest Americans to ever live” – a selection sure to provoke debate and controversy.

Mount Rushmore in South Dakota depicts the images of US presidents George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln. Washington and Jefferson owned slaves and have found their legacies increasingly questioned since the police killing of African American George Floyd in Minneapolis by a white police officer on 25 May triggered a wave of Black Lives Matter protests and the toppling of dozens of Confederate statues.

The president has shown no sign of embracing the public mood, but has rather dug in with a “law and order” response, promising harsh penalties for anyone who vandalizes statues, resisting changes to military bases named after Confederate generals and retweeting (then deleting) a video in which a man shouted “White power!”.

On Friday Trump become the first president since George H W Bush in 1991 to attend Mount Rushmore’s independence day celebration. He saluted and his wife Melania stood with hand on heart as the national anthem played, the stars and stripes unfurled on big screens and Blue Angels jets flew overhead.
Fireworks light the sky at Mount Rushmore.

“This monument will never be desecrated,” Trump declared, eliciting cheers. “These heroes will never be defaced. Their legacy will never, ever be destroyed. Their achievements will never be forgotten. And Mount Rushmore will stand forever as an eternal tribute to our forefathers and to our freedom.”

In remarks that offered little by way of reconciliation, he went on to rail against “cancel culture, driving people from their jobs, shaming dissenters and demanding total submission from anyone who disagrees. This is the very definition of totalitarianism, and it is completely alien to our culture and to our values. It has absolutely no place in the United States of America.

“This attack on our liberty, our magnificent liberty, must be stopped, and it will be stopped very quickly.”

He added darkly: “In our schools, our newsrooms, even our corporate boardrooms, there is a new far-left fascism that demands absolute allegiance. If you do not speak its language, perform its rituals, recite its mantras and follow its commandments, then you will be censored, banished, blacklisted, persecuted and punished.”

Gesturing to the overwhelmingly white crowd, he said: “Not going to happen to us.”

Trump added: “Make no mistake, this leftwing cultural revolution is designed to overthrow the American revolution.”

When the president said he was deploying federal law enforcement to protect monuments and arrest and prosecute offenders, the crowd rose to their feet and applauded. When he proclaimed, “They want to silence us, but we will not be silenced,” there were chants of “USA! USA!”

In a swipe at sports professionals and others who take a knee to protest racial injustice, Trump said: “We stand tall, we stand proud and we only kneel before almighty God.”

He went on to announce the National Garden of American Heroes in an executive order that said it should include statues of figures like Frederick Douglass, Amelia Earhart, Benjamin Franklin, Billy Graham, Alexander Hamilton, Thomas Jefferson, Martin Luther King Jr, Abraham Lincoln, Ronald Reagan, Jackie Robinson, Antonin Scalia, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Harriet Tubman, Booker T Washington, George Washington and Orville and Wilbur Wright.

After the speech, Trump sat with Melania to watch a fireworks display above the monument, accompanied by patriotic music and historical readings, the first since 2009 due to environmental concerns and wildfire fears. South Dakota says the surrounding Black Hills National Forest has “gained strength” since then and that fireworks technology has advanced.

But the threat of damage was one more example of how, if president’s advisers had designed a stunt to goad his critics in the media and Congress, they could hardly have chosen a more incendiary time and place.

Protesters blocked a road leading to the monument. Authorities worked to move the demonstrators, mostly Native Americans protesting that South Dakota’s Black Hills were taken from the Lakota people against treaty agreements and objecting to Trump celebrating American independence on their sacred ground. About 15 protesters were arrested after missing a police-imposed deadline to leave.

The Democratic National Committee tweeted at one point that Trump had disrespected Native Americans and that his South Dakota trip was “glorifying white supremacy”. It subsequently deleted the tweet.

As in Oklahoma and Arizona last month, Trump held an event with a big crowd despite health experts’ recommendations to avoid large gatherings amid a surge of coronavirus cases to a record of more than 50,000 per day. Covid-19 cases in Pennington County surrounding Mount Rushmore have more than doubled over the past month.

It was reported on Friday that Kimberly Guilfoyle, the girlfriend of the president’s son Donald Trump Jr, has tested positive for the coronavirus. She had travelled to South Dakota but did not attend the event.


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« Reply #10 on: Jul 04, 2020, 05:17 AM »


Donald Trump is the 21st-century Jefferson Davis– and history will judge him

on July 4, 2020
By Chauncey Devega, Salon
- Commentary

On Friday, Donald Trump and his wife Melania attended an early Independence Day celebration held at Mount Rushmore.

This article first appeared on Salon.

There were fireworks, a military flyover, and “patriotic” songs such as “The Star-Spangled Banner”.

The entire spectacle embodied the worst kind of superficial juvenile patriotism.

More than 130,000 Americans are dead from the coronavirus pandemic. The country teeters on the edge of a second Great Depression. A neofascist regime rules in Washington. Donald Trump is in thrall to Vladimir Putin and Russia and in doing so actively betrays the United States and the American people.

Music and fireworks and loud planes are distractions for a country facing an existential crisis.
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Donald Trump’s early July 4th celebration had little to do with uniting America in a time of trouble and pain. Instead the gathering at Mount Rushmore was just a Trump campaign rally in disguise where the Great Leader spat out his usual themes of racism, neofascism, authoritarianism, ignorance, violence, Orwellian doublespeak and lies, Christian fascism, white identity politics, and other right-wing dreck to his red hat MAGA political cult members.

Throughout his time in office, Donald Trump has made it clear through his words and deeds that be views his personal interests to be the same as the nation’s.

Such thinking is like that of King George III and the other despots who the founders rejected with the Declaration of Independence, the Revolutionary War and the United States Constitution.

In the end, because he is a malignant narcissist, Donald Trump thought that all the pageantry was to honor him and not the country’s birthday.

Donald Trump’s re-election campaign advisers have suggested, apparently not facetiously, that they want his face added to Mount Rushmore. They are enabling his delusions of grandeur.

History sometimes has a dark sense of irony and coincidence all its own.

Because he does not read and is proudly ignorant, Donald Trump most certainly does not know that “The Star-Spangled Banner” channels his white supremacist and racist values. If Trump knew such a thing, he would likely love the song even more.

Francis Scott Key’s anthem has a third verse which is rarely sung, after the ones we have all heard before sporting events and on other occasions.

The lyrics are:

    And where is that band who so vauntingly swore,
    That the havoc of war and the battle’s confusion
    A home and a Country should leave us no more?
    Their blood has wash’d out their foul footstep’s pollution.
    No refuge could save the hireling and slave
    From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave,
    And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
    O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

As many historians have documented, “hireling and slave” refers to self-manumitted Black people (that is, slaves who freed themselves) who served with the British military, fighting to liberate other enslaved Black people in America.

In the third verse of “The Star-Spangled Banner,” Key is celebrating the Colonial Marines who were burned alive or drowned in Baltimore Harbor.

Trump would find much to admire about Key, who owned Black human property during the time he wrote “The Star-Spangled Banner” and was an enthusiastic defender of white-on-Black chattel slavery.

Like Donald Trump, Key was wealthy. He was also a friend and adviser to Donald Trump’s favorite president, Andrew Jackson, who was not merely a white supremacist but literally a slave driver. Jackson also ordered that Native Americans be expelled from their home regions to endure a death march later known as the Trail of Tears. While serving as a general prior to being president, Andrew Jackson led a military campaign against the Seminole nation and the free communities established by self-manumitted Black people in Florida.

The racism and white supremacy embedded in “The Star-Spangled Banner” provide a soundtrack for Donald Trump and today’s Republican Party in other ways as well.

Donald Trump leads a movement that is waging a counterrevolution against the civil and human rights of Black and brown people in the United States and around the world.

To maintain and keep power, Trump and the Republicans have embraced the white supremacist ideology, politics and symbols of the Confederacy. This began in the 1960s with a backlash against the civil rights movement, first with 1964 Republican nominee Barry Goldwater and then with Richard Nixon’s “Southern strategy,” meant to appeal to white racists uncomfortable with the civil rights movement. More than five decades later, right-wing appeals to racism and white supremacy are in some ways less restrained with the rise of Trumpism.

As part of that strategy Donald Trump and his party are defending the legacy of the Confederacy and its statues and other monuments to white supremacist terrorism.

Trump recently issued an executive order proclaiming any person who dares to “vandalize” American statues, monuments or memorials can be charged with a federal crime and imprisoned for up to 10 years.

Trump is also refusing to change the names of military bases that bear the names of treasonous Confederate military leaders. He has even threatened to veto the military’s 2021 budget if such changes are made.

Here are the president’s own words from his failed “comeback” rally in Tulsa:

    The unhinged left-wing mob is trying to vandalize our history, desecrate our monuments, our beautiful monuments, tear down our statues, and punish, cancel and persecute anyone who does not conform their demands for absolute and total control. We’re not conforming…. This cruel campaign of censorship and exclusion violates everything we hold dear as Americans. They want to demolish our heritage so they can impose a new oppressive regime in its place.

The repeated use of “our” is a signal to the fact that Trump views white America as his tribe. Nonwhites are explicitly and implicitly not welcome. In essence, Trump behaves as though he is only beholden to those white people — his MAGA cultists and “real Americans” — who vote for him.

Trump has retweeted and shared videos of his supporters yelling “white power!” and of white people brandishing weapons at Black Lives Matter and other human rights protesters. In the last few weeks Trump has also shared videos on Twitter of Black people attacking white people. Of course, he provides no context for the latter.

The goal here is twofold. First, to mobilize his voters by exciting decades-old or centuries-old white nightmares of a “race war” and possible Black “domination” over white people. Second, to encourage acts of political violence by his right-wing followers against his and their “enemies.”

Writing in the Washington Post, Greg Sargent explains this:

    With nearly 125,000 Americans dead and cases spiking again from a pandemic that Trump horribly mismanaged, and amid the most pronounced civil upheaval in a half century, Trump’s propagandists want to convert disorder to his advantage.

    That’s obvious enough. But the true nature of it is often shrouded in euphemisms — Trump is “stoking division,” or “throwing a match on gasoline,” or some such phrase, which implies Trump is a passive bystander to societal conflicts that he’s merely cheering on for cynical purposes.

    It’s much worse than that. Trump and his propagandists are actively trying to engineer violent civil conflict, by signaling to white Americans that they are under siege in a race war that they’re losing.

    The rub is that this signaling requires actually saying this in one form or another. And that forces Trump and his propagandists into a position where they must be cagey about his actual intended meanings when he does things like tweet out supporters yelling “white power.”

    Trump and his propagandists want a lot of white Americans to think they need to take sides in a race war.

In total, Trump and the Republican Party’s dedication to causing pain and harm to nonwhite people is not collateral damage or coincidence: Such outcomes are integral to permanently maintaining society-wide white privilege and white power. This embrace of racism is so extreme that social scientists have shown that Trump supporters and other white conservatives would rather America be an authoritarian society than live in a democracy where they would have to share power with nonwhites.

The Confederacy shared such goals as well. In his infamous Cornerstone Speech in March 1861, shortly before the first battles of the Civil War, Confederate Vice President Alexander Stephens said:

    Our new government is founded upon exactly the opposite idea; its foundations are laid, its corner-stone rests, upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery subordination to the superior race is his natural and normal condition. This, our new government, is the first, in the history of the world, based upon this great physical, philosophical, and moral truth.

From the founding to the present there is a terrible reservoir of racism and white supremacy that now provides the raw energy and fuel for Trumpism and the Republican Party in post-civil rights America.

America will need another revolution and founding to fulfill its hopeful potential as a true “we the people” multiracial democracy. Donald Trump and his movement of racist reactionaries stand against such progress and are actively working to send America back to a time when white men’s rule was (at least in their minds) uncontested, universal and eternal as the natural order of things in America and around the world.

On this Fourth of July weekend Donald Trump is grandly reminding the world that patriotism is the last refuge of traitors and scoundrels. Trump may wrap himself in the American flag and other vestments of “patriotism,” but his heart and mind are truly of the antebellum South and Jim and Jane Crow America. Trump claims to be a greater president than Abraham Lincoln. Trump in his delusions believes he is as great as George Washington. But Donald Trump is really a 21st-century Jefferson Davis, president of the treasonous Confederacy. May he be remembered in the same ignominious fashion.


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« Reply #11 on: Jul 04, 2020, 05:27 AM »

Trump's stupid white supporters shouted ‘go home’ at Native Americans protesting Mount Rushmore rally on their land: report

on July 3, 2020
Raw Story
By Bob Brigham

Oglala Sioux protesters were arrested protesting against President Donald Trump’s Independence Day event at Mount Rushmore on Friday.

The protesters argued that it is their land after the Ft. Laramie Treaty of 1868, which was ratified by the U.S. Senate.

The Black Hills of South Dakota, where Mount Rushmore is located, was among the lands the tribes received to bring about an end to Red Cloud’s War, which is also known as the Bozeman Trail War.

MSNBC’s Cal Perry was interviewed by Ali Velshi about what he saw.

“It is their land according to the U.S. government, according to the United States Supreme Court, which ruled in 1980 that the original Laramie Treaty of 1868 was not held up by the U.S. government, the U.S. government did not hold up their end of the bargain,” Perry reported. “That treaty ended a lot of the conflict in the northwestern part of this country, it wasn’t even fully formed at that point, but these Black Hills were given to the Lakota people, and it was less than ten years later when people searching for gold came across these hills and the Lakota people were starved and killed and run out of these hills, and ever since then they’ve been on reservations and they’ve been fighting for their land back.”

“So you had this very ugly and frankly, very sad scene where, as folks were being taken away and they were under arrest, you had Trump supporters yelling at them, ‘Go home, go home!’ and you had these Native American protesters, activists yelling back, ‘This is my home, this is my land!’ and I think there’s just not a common understanding between the two groups of each other,” Perry explained.


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« Reply #12 on: Jul 04, 2020, 05:35 AM »

Ivanka 'i am not a parasite' Trump buried for her COVID-19 advice during the packed Mt Rushmore rally: ‘What a clown’

on July 4, 2020
Raw Story
By Tom Boggioni
- Commentary

First daughter Ivanka Trump was thoroughly raked over the coals late Friday night after she posted advice on Twitter about wearing masks at the same time that her father, Donald Trump, was holding a rally at Mt. Rushmore before a crowd of shoulder-to-shoulder fans, few of whom were wearing masks.

Making things worse, within minutes of Ivanka’s tweet it was announced that Kimberly Guilfoyle, a Trump campaign official and girlfriend of Don Trump Jr., tested positive for the coronavirus.

According to Ivanka, “Please be safe & responsible this holiday weekend. As we celebrate this 4th of July, follow state & local guidelines to keep you & your loved ones safe. Practice proper hygiene, social distancing & wear a mask when in close proximity to others.”
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Witter users were quick to point to the rally where she was in attendance to point out the maskless crowd and that her father refuses to observe COVID-19 health protocols.

You can see some responses below:

    Please be safe & responsible this holiday weekend. As we celebrate this 4th of July, follow state & local guidelines to keep you & your loved ones safe. Practice proper hygiene, social distancing & wear a mask when in close proximity to others. 🇺🇸

    — Ivanka Trump (@IvankaTrump) July 4, 2020

    Your brother's girlfriend just tested positive. They don't wear masks. Neither does your idiot father.

    — Cheri Jacobus (@CheriJacobus) July 4, 2020

    pic.twitter.com/JhoGqmmXoA

    — shauna (@goldengateblond) July 4, 2020

    Hypocrisy at its finest

    — chabelita (@chabeladedios) July 4, 2020

    You keep topping yourself in tone deafness Sweatshop Barbie. As you tweeted that, your dad was killing people: Covidiots at his bare-face-fest packed-in fake patriotism shit show and innocent people / health care workers they'll infect. Knock off a designer shoe and STFU.

    — Randi Mayem Singer (@rmayemsinger) July 4, 2020

    gas lighting alert https://t.co/Umv6x1XOvw pic.twitter.com/V63AP79FbB

    — Walter Shaub (@waltshaub) July 4, 2020

    "Do as I say, not as I do" — on the evening @POTUS and @FLOTUS star at a paced event with no social distancing and no mandatory masks👇 https://t.co/fhJ9JOInsg

    — Carla Marinucci (@cmarinucci) July 4, 2020

    Hypocrisy at its finest

    — chabelita (@chabeladedios) July 4, 2020

    Number one way to be safe is avoid Donald Trump's super-spreader ego rallies.

    — Paul 👻 (@pablo_honey1) July 4, 2020

    The absolute and total lack of shame is breathtaking. Just an utter inability to hear herself. Repulsive and repugnant villains, the whole wretched bunch. https://t.co/AX35V116a6

    — Hussein Ibish (@Ibishblog) July 4, 2020

    She says that after her father packed people in close together…what a clown

    — bryan (@bryan_thomas3) July 4, 2020

    The absolute and total lack of shame is breathtaking. Just an utter inability to hear herself. Repulsive and repugnant villains, the whole wretched bunch. https://t.co/AX35V116a6

    — Hussein Ibish (@Ibishblog) July 4, 2020

    lol okay pic.twitter.com/E58mzM7Cab

    — Brian Tyler Cohen (@briantylercohen) July 4, 2020

    but pic.twitter.com/sswZEKLHl5

    — Trumpy Trumpy (parody) (@outofcontroljb) July 4, 2020

    Ivanka should tell Kimberly….oh wait, too late. 😱

    Kimberly Guilfoyle has tested positive for Covid-19​.#WearADamnMask

    https://t.co/4f1l1PdZLi

    — KP 🇺🇸🙌🏿💙🙌🏻🇺🇸 (@Fam4Fun) July 4, 2020


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« Reply #13 on: Jul 05, 2020, 05:18 AM »

Trump blasted for ‘bringing us to the brink of a civil war’ with 4th of July speech: ‘Going full dictator’

on July 5, 2020
Raw Story
By Bob Brigham

The leader of the free world likened his political opponents to enemies of America during what was basically a campaign speech delivered at the White House on Saturday.

“American heros defeated the nazis, dethroned the fascists, toppled the communists, saved American values, upheld American principles and chased down the terrorists to the very ends of the earth,” Trump said. “We are now in the process of defeating the radical left, the Marxists, the anarchists, the agitators, the looters and people who in many instances have absolutely no clue what they are doing.”

Here’s some of what people were saying about his speech:

https://twitter.com/Kokomothegreat/status/1279552798896594944

    A president at the white house declaring war on people who don't like him. And it won't even be a blip on the news. https://t.co/VxoesZc4Sy

    — Todd Poirier (@todd_poirier) July 4, 2020

    @realDonaldTrump going full dictator, ladies and gentlemen.

    His war is against Americans.

    Let me repeat that: Donald Trump wants war among Americans. https://t.co/IkiT8IKExv

    — Ed Kamen (@EdKamen) July 4, 2020

    Is he fucking drunk? https://t.co/TGH6bQbMq8

    — Hold My PomPoms Bitches (@Scattered211) July 4, 2020

    This man wants to kill his own citizens. That's the loudest dog whistle I've ever heard. https://t.co/l8xFYUyL2Z

    — Ellie Fratelli (@squiddlecakes) July 4, 2020

    Wow he's comparing us to Nazis and terrorists on the 4th of July 😱
    I just cant anymore….he needs to be forcibly removed before his cult goes out and tries to kill us for him https://t.co/JvUFzSz4n7

    — Smarie 🦋 (@ShawnRobb3) July 4, 2020

    We are still working on dethroning fascists. Look in the mirror, buddy. https://t.co/WM6utqswZL

    — Linda Patch #FBR (@LindaPatch) July 4, 2020

**********

Donald Trump is the 21st-century Jefferson Davis– and history will judge him

on July54, 2020
By Chauncey Devega, Salon
- Commentary

On Friday, Donald Trump and his wife Melania attended an early Independence Day celebration held at Mount Rushmore.

This article first appeared on Salon.

There were fireworks, a military flyover, and “patriotic” songs such as “The Star-Spangled Banner”.

The entire spectacle embodied the worst kind of superficial juvenile patriotism.

More than 130,000 Americans are dead from the coronavirus pandemic. The country teeters on the edge of a second Great Depression. A neofascist regime rules in Washington. Donald Trump is in thrall to Vladimir Putin and Russia and in doing so actively betrays the United States and the American people.

Music and fireworks and loud planes are distractions for a country facing an existential crisis.

Donald Trump’s early July 4th celebration had little to do with uniting America in a time of trouble and pain. Instead the gathering at Mount Rushmore was just a Trump campaign rally in disguise where the Great Leader spat out his usual themes of racism, neofascism, authoritarianism, ignorance, violence, Orwellian doublespeak and lies, Christian fascism, white identity politics, and other right-wing dreck to his red hat MAGA political cult members.

Throughout his time in office, Donald Trump has made it clear through his words and deeds that be views his personal interests to be the same as the nation’s.

Such thinking is like that of King George III and the other despots who the founders rejected with the Declaration of Independence, the Revolutionary War and the United States Constitution.

In the end, because he is a malignant narcissist, Donald Trump thought that all the pageantry was to honor him and not the country’s birthday.

Donald Trump’s re-election campaign advisers have suggested, apparently not facetiously, that they want his face added to Mount Rushmore. They are enabling his delusions of grandeur.

History sometimes has a dark sense of irony and coincidence all its own.

Because he does not read and is proudly ignorant, Donald Trump most certainly does not know that “The Star-Spangled Banner” channels his white supremacist and racist values. If Trump knew such a thing, he would likely love the song even more.

Francis Scott Key’s anthem has a third verse which is rarely sung, after the ones we have all heard before sporting events and on other occasions.

The lyrics are:

    And where is that band who so vauntingly swore,
    That the havoc of war and the battle’s confusion
    A home and a Country should leave us no more?
    Their blood has wash’d out their foul footstep’s pollution.
    No refuge could save the hireling and slave
    From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave,
    And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
    O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

As many historians have documented, “hireling and slave” refers to self-manumitted Black people (that is, slaves who freed themselves) who served with the British military, fighting to liberate other enslaved Black people in America.

In the third verse of “The Star-Spangled Banner,” Key is celebrating the Colonial Marines who were burned alive or drowned in Baltimore Harbor.

Trump would find much to admire about Key, who owned Black human property during the time he wrote “The Star-Spangled Banner” and was an enthusiastic defender of white-on-Black chattel slavery.

Like Donald Trump, Key was wealthy. He was also a friend and adviser to Donald Trump’s favorite president, Andrew Jackson, who was not merely a white supremacist but literally a slave driver. Jackson also ordered that Native Americans be expelled from their home regions to endure a death march later known as the Trail of Tears. While serving as a general prior to being president, Andrew Jackson led a military campaign against the Seminole nation and the free communities established by self-manumitted Black people in Florida.

The racism and white supremacy embedded in “The Star-Spangled Banner” provide a soundtrack for Donald Trump and today’s Republican Party in other ways as well.

Donald Trump leads a movement that is waging a counterrevolution against the civil and human rights of Black and brown people in the United States and around the world.

To maintain and keep power, Trump and the Republicans have embraced the white supremacist ideology, politics and symbols of the Confederacy. This began in the 1960s with a backlash against the civil rights movement, first with 1964 Republican nominee Barry Goldwater and then with Richard Nixon’s “Southern strategy,” meant to appeal to white racists uncomfortable with the civil rights movement. More than five decades later, right-wing appeals to racism and white supremacy are in some ways less restrained with the rise of Trumpism.

As part of that strategy Donald Trump and his party are defending the legacy of the Confederacy and its statues and other monuments to white supremacist terrorism.

Trump recently issued an executive order proclaiming any person who dares to “vandalize” American statues, monuments or memorials can be charged with a federal crime and imprisoned for up to 10 years.

Trump is also refusing to change the names of military bases that bear the names of treasonous Confederate military leaders. He has even threatened to veto the military’s 2021 budget if such changes are made.

Here are the president’s own words from his failed “comeback” rally in Tulsa:

    The unhinged left-wing mob is trying to vandalize our history, desecrate our monuments, our beautiful monuments, tear down our statues, and punish, cancel and persecute anyone who does not conform their demands for absolute and total control. We’re not conforming…. This cruel campaign of censorship and exclusion violates everything we hold dear as Americans. They want to demolish our heritage so they can impose a new oppressive regime in its place.

The repeated use of “our” is a signal to the fact that Trump views white America as his tribe. Nonwhites are explicitly and implicitly not welcome. In essence, Trump behaves as though he is only beholden to those white people — his MAGA cultists and “real Americans” — who vote for him.

Trump has retweeted and shared videos of his supporters yelling “white power!” and of white people brandishing weapons at Black Lives Matter and other human rights protesters. In the last few weeks Trump has also shared videos on Twitter of Black people attacking white people. Of course, he provides no context for the latter.

The goal here is twofold. First, to mobilize his voters by exciting decades-old or centuries-old white nightmares of a “race war” and possible Black “domination” over white people. Second, to encourage acts of political violence by his right-wing followers against his and their “enemies.”

Writing in the Washington Post, Greg Sargent explains this:

    With nearly 125,000 Americans dead and cases spiking again from a pandemic that Trump horribly mismanaged, and amid the most pronounced civil upheaval in a half century, Trump’s propagandists want to convert disorder to his advantage.

    That’s obvious enough. But the true nature of it is often shrouded in euphemisms — Trump is “stoking division,” or “throwing a match on gasoline,” or some such phrase, which implies Trump is a passive bystander to societal conflicts that he’s merely cheering on for cynical purposes.

    It’s much worse than that. Trump and his propagandists are actively trying to engineer violent civil conflict, by signaling to white Americans that they are under siege in a race war that they’re losing.

    The rub is that this signaling requires actually saying this in one form or another. And that forces Trump and his propagandists into a position where they must be cagey about his actual intended meanings when he does things like tweet out supporters yelling “white power.”

    Trump and his propagandists want a lot of white Americans to think they need to take sides in a race war.

In total, Trump and the Republican Party’s dedication to causing pain and harm to nonwhite people is not collateral damage or coincidence: Such outcomes are integral to permanently maintaining society-wide white privilege and white power. This embrace of racism is so extreme that social scientists have shown that Trump supporters and other white conservatives would rather America be an authoritarian society than live in a democracy where they would have to share power with nonwhites.

The Confederacy shared such goals as well. In his infamous Cornerstone Speech in March 1861, shortly before the first battles of the Civil War, Confederate Vice President Alexander Stephens said:

    Our new government is founded upon exactly the opposite idea; its foundations are laid, its corner-stone rests, upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery subordination to the superior race is his natural and normal condition. This, our new government, is the first, in the history of the world, based upon this great physical, philosophical, and moral truth.

From the founding to the present there is a terrible reservoir of racism and white supremacy that now provides the raw energy and fuel for Trumpism and the Republican Party in post-civil rights America.

America will need another revolution and founding to fulfill its hopeful potential as a true “we the people” multiracial democracy. Donald Trump and his movement of racist reactionaries stand against such progress and are actively working to send America back to a time when white men’s rule was (at least in their minds) uncontested, universal and eternal as the natural order of things in America and around the world.

On this Fourth of July weekend Donald Trump is grandly reminding the world that patriotism is the last refuge of traitors and scoundrels. Trump may wrap himself in the American flag and other vestments of “patriotism,” but his heart and mind are truly of the antebellum South and Jim and Jane Crow America. Trump claims to be a greater president than Abraham Lincoln. Trump in his delusions believes he is as great as George Washington. But Donald Trump is really a 21st-century Jefferson Davis, president of the treasonous Confederacy. May he be remembered in the same ignominious fashion.

*************

Trump’s a traitor — and the Russian bounty scandal is the final straw

on July 5, 2020
By Lucian K. Truscott IV, Salon
- Commentary

The first story of the rest of Donald Trump’s life was published last Friday in the New York Times, revealing that the Russian intelligence agency known as the GRU has been paying bonuses to Taliban fighters to kill Americans, and that this intelligence had been reported to Trump and had been known at least since March. The story was subsequently confirmed by the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal and the AP.

But at least as interesting as the facts in the story was this gem a few paragraphs down: “Spokespeople at the National Security Council, the Pentagon, the State Department and the C.I.A. declined to comment,” the Times reported, pretty much giving us a list of who in government wants Donald Trump out of office. Remember that old saying, “When they tell you it’s not about sex, it’s about sex.” Well, when newspapers tell you who refuses to comment on a story, they’re telling you who leaked the story to them in the first place and hinting strongly at their motive.

The White House took more than 24 hours to respond on Saturday evening. Saying she wasn’t commenting on the “merit of the alleged intelligence,” White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany assured us that “Neither the President nor the Vice President were briefed on the alleged Russian bounty intelligence.” Thus began what would become an odd, drawn-out series of denials, non-denials, denials of denials, and explanations and revisions of previously denied denials. Trump’s defense of his ignorance about the bounties was immediately clocked as the “Sergeant Schultz” defense: “I know nothing. I know nothing!”

On Sunday, the New York Times reported that “United States intelligence officers and Special Operations forces in Afghanistan alerted their superiors as early as January to a suspected Russian plot to pay bounties to the Taliban to kill American troops in Afghanistan.”

Trump knew in early January. Boom!

By Monday, the New York Times was reporting that Trump had been given a “written briefing” in February that concluded the Russians had paid bounties on dead Americans. Then suddenly, the dates that the Trump administration had known about the bounties began to be pushed back. There was a report Trump had been briefed in December of 2019. Then the AP reported that intelligence about the bounties had been given to the White House in “early 2019” and that “national security adviser John Bolton also told colleagues he briefed Trump on the intelligence assessment in March 2019.”

Trump knew in March 2019. Zang!

Trump had continued to do business as usual with Vladimir Putin throughout the time he was being briefed about the Russian plot to pay for American dead bodies. In fact, he went beyond business as usual and advocated that Russia be readmitted to an expanded G8.

By Monday evening, there were reports by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty that Trump had spoken to Putin on the phone three times within three weeks recently and that these calls had been kept secret. It was already known that Trump had spoken with Putin on Dec. 29, March 30, May 17 and June 1. The secret calls were made in a burst of dictator chat on April 9, 10 and 12.

Trump’s secret calls to Putin. Zing!

The source of the news about the secret calls is especially surprising given that Trump lackey Michael Pack had just been put in charge of the Agency for Global Media and had moved quickly to clean house within his new command, including firing the head of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.

Motive for leaks. Twang!

The Trump administration sent a murderer’s row of top White House officials to Capitol Hill on Monday to brief a select gaggle of House Republicans, trying to push the story that the intelligence had not been “verified” and thus had not “risen to the level of the President.” Select House Democrats were similarly briefed the next day. It didn’t go well. Democrats wanted to know if Trump wasn’t briefed, why, and if he was briefed, why he didn’t do something.

On Wednesday, The New York Times backed up its previous reports with this: “American officials intercepted electronic data showing large financial transfers from a bank account controlled by Russia’s military intelligence agency to a Taliban-linked account, evidence that supported their conclusion that Russia covertly offered bounties for killing U.S. and coalition troops in Afghanistan, according to three officials familiar with the intelligence.”

Secret Russian bank accounts. Zoom!

On Thursday, the Times was out with a story naming an Afghan citizen (who had been paid as an American contractor) as the man who helped move money between Russian and Taliban bank accounts through the shadowy Hawala system, a method of behind-the-scenes financial transfers described as “layered and complex” according to the Times. “Prizes of as much as $100,000 per killed soldier were offered for American and coalition targets.”

This story just keeps growing bigger and bigger. Every day there are more leaks. Every day there is a new, more specific, revelation. Every day the story gets worse for Trump.

By Wednesday morning, Trump couldn’t take it anymore. At 7:09 a.m., he reverted to type and called the whole thing … wait for it … a “hoax.” “The Russia Bounty story is just another made up by Fake News tale that is told only to damage me and the Republican Party,” he tweeted. “The secret source probably does not even exist, just like the story itself. If the discredited @nytimes has a source, reveal it. Just another HOAX!”

There it is, folks. Trump has enemies at the Pentagon, enemies in the intelligence community, enemies at the State Department, enemies inside his own White House, and he wants their names!

Trump’s support among senior military leaders is gone. It finally reached the point where the Pentagon in effect told Trump “no” when it comes to using active duty troops against American protesters. The intelligence community has taken the gloves off. They knew as far back as the middle of 2016 that the Russians were helping Trump’s presidential campaign, and they haven’t been shy about their opposition to his cozying up to Putin.

The leaks surrounding this story have been nonstop, including revelations from within Trump’s own White House about the secret calls with Putin. The whole thing is turning into a kind of soft coup against Trump. Retired generals, retired secretaries of defense, retired national security advisers and retired State Department officials like Fiona Hill and Bill Taylor may not have conspired together, but they have all decided to tell the truth about what Trump is doing to undercut our national security with his connections to Vladimir Putin.

It’s getting serious out there, folks. The word “treason,” as in giving aid and comfort to the enemy, is being thrown around not only on op-ed pages but in Congress. This may turn into yet another Ukraine aid scandal, in which Trump commits impeachable offenses and simply gets away with it because Republicans refuse to confront his treachery, let alone  do anything about it.

But he’s surrounded by people in important, powerful positions who are privy to big, important secrets, and they want him out of office. With their leaks about the Russian bounties, they have in effect put a bounty on Trump’s head. He has been wounded by the coronavirus, he’s wounded by the economy, he’s wounded by Black Lives Matter demonstrations in the streets and he’s getting grievously wounded by this.

You know he’s desperate when he starts calling a real threat to the lives of our soldiers fighting on foreign soil a “hoax.” Trump is a threat to our national security. He’s not a president. He’s a co-conspirator with dictators who are enemies of this country. He’s a traitor, and he needs to go


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The Pandemic’s Big Mystery: How Deadly Is the Coronavirus?

Even with more than 500,000 dead worldwide, scientists are struggling to learn how often the virus kills. Here’s why.

By Donald G. McNeil Jr.
NY Times
uly 6, 2020

More than six months into the pandemic, the coronavirus has infected more than 11 million people worldwide, killing more than 525,000. But despite the increasing toll, scientists still do not have a definitive answer to one of the most fundamental questions about the virus: How deadly is it?

A firm estimate could help governments predict how many deaths would ensue if the virus spread out of control. The figure, usually called the infection fatality rate, could tell health officials what to expect as the pandemic spreads to densely populated nations like Brazil, Nigeria and India.

In even poorer countries, where lethal threats like measles and malaria are constant and where hard budget choices are routine, the number could help officials decide whether to spend more on oxygen concentrators or ventilators, or on measles shots and mosquito nets.

The question became even more complex last month, when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released data suggesting that for every documented infection in the United States, there were 10 other cases on average that had gone unrecorded, probably because they were very mild or asymptomatic.

If there are many more asymptomatic infections than once thought, then the virus may be less deadly than it has appeared. But even that calculation is a difficult one.

On Thursday, after the World Health Organization held a two-day online meeting of 1,300 scientists from around the world, the agency’s chief scientist, Dr. Soumya Swaminathan, said the consensus for now was that the I.F.R. is about 0.6 percent — which means that the risk of death is less than 1 percent.

Although she did not note this, 0.6 percent of the world’s population is 47 million people, and 0.6 percent of the American population is 2 million people. The virus remains a major threat.

At present, countries have very different case fatality rates, or C.F.R.’s, which measure deaths among patients known to have had Covid-19. In most cases, that number is highest in countries that have had the virus the longest.

According to data gathered by The New York Times, China had reported 90,294 cases as of Friday and 4,634 deaths, which is a C.F.R. of 5 percent. The United States was very close to that mark. It has had 2,811,447 cases and 129,403 deaths, about 4.6 percent.

Those percentages are far higher rates than the 2.5 percent death rate often ascribed to the 1918 flu pandemic. Still, it is difficult to measure fatality rates during pandemics, especially at the beginning.

In the chaos that ensues when a new virus hits a city hard, thousands of people may die and be buried without ever being tested, and certainly without them all being autopsied.

It is never entirely clear how many died of the virus and how many died of heart attacks, strokes or other ills. That has happened in both New York City and in Wuhan, China, where the outbreak began.

Normally, once the chaos has subsided, more testing is done and more mild cases are found — and because the denominator of the fraction rises, fatality rates fall. But the results are not always consistent or predictable.

Ten sizable countries, most of them in Western Europe, have tested bigger percentages of their populations than has the United States, according to Worldometer, which gathers statistics. They are Iceland, Denmark, Spain, Portugal, Belgium, Ireland, Italy, Britain, Israel and New Zealand.

But their case fatality rates vary wildly: Iceland’s is less than 1 percent, New Zealand’s and Israel’s are below 2 percent. Belgium, by comparison, is at 16 percent, and Italy and Britain at 14 percent.

Both figures — the infection fatality rate and the case fatality rate — can differ quite a bit by country.

So far, in most countries, about 20 percent of all confirmed Covid-19 patients become ill enough to need supplemental oxygen or even more advanced hospital care, said Dr. Janet Diaz, head of clinical care for the W.H.O.’s emergencies program.

Whether those patients survive depends on a host of factors, including age, underlying illnesses and the level of medical care available.

Death rates are expected to be lower in countries with younger populations and less obesity, which are often the poorest countries. Conversely, the figures should be higher in countries that lack oxygen tanks, ventilators and dialysis machines, and where many people live far from hospitals. Those are also often the poorest countries.

The W.H.O. and various charities are scrambling to purchase oxygen equipment for poor and middle-income nations in which the coronavirus is spreading.

And now, new factors are being introduced into the equation. For example, new evidence that people with Type A blood are more likely to fall deathly ill could change risk calculations. Type A blood is relatively rare in West Africa and South Asia, and very rare among the Indigenous peoples of South America.

Before this week’s meeting, the W.H.O. had no official I.F.R. estimate, Oliver Morgan, the agency’s director of health emergency information and risk assessment, said in an interview in early June.

Instead, it had relied on a mix of data sent in by member countries and by academic groups, and on a meta-analysis done in May by scientists at the University of Wollongong and James Cook University in Australia.

Those researchers looked at 267 studies in more than a dozen countries, and then chose the 25 they considered the most accurate, weighting them for accuracy and averaged the data. They concluded that the global I.F.R. was 0.64 percent.

The C.D.C. relies on a “symptomatic case fatality ratio” that “is not necessarily equivalent to the number of reported deaths per reported cases.” The best estimate for the United States is 0.4 percent, according to a set of planning scenarios released in late May.

The agency did not respond to requests to explain how it arrived at that figure, or why it was so much lower than the W.H.O.’s estimate. By comparison, 0.4 percent of the United States population is 1.3 million people.

The 25 studies that the Australian researchers considered the most accurate relied on very different methodologies. One report, for example, was based on diagnostic PCR tests of all passengers and crew aboard the Diamond Princess, the cruise ship that docked in Japan after it was overcome by the coronavirus. Another study drew data from an antibody survey of 38,000 Spaniards, while another included only 1,104 Swedes.

The current W.H.O. estimate is based on later, larger studies of how many people have antibodies in their blood; future studies may further refine the figure, Dr. Swaminathan said.

But there is “a lot of uncertainty” about how many silent and untested carriers there are, Dr. Morgan of the W.H.O. said.

To arrive at the C.D.C.’s new estimate, researchers tested samples from 11,933 people for antibodies to the coronavirus in six regions in the United States. New York City reported 53,803 cases by April 1, but the actual number of infections was 12 times higher — nearly 642,000, the agency estimated.

New York City’s prevalence of 7 percent in the C.D.C. study was well below the 21 percent estimated in a state survey in April. But that number was based on people recruited at supermarkets, and so the results may have been biased toward people out shopping during a pandemic — often the young, who have been less affected.

The global fatality rates could still change. With one or two exceptions, like Iran and Ecuador, the pandemic first struck wealthier countries in Asia, Western Europe and North America where advanced medical care was available.

Now it is spreading widely in India, Brazil, Mexico, Nigeria and other countries where millions are crowded into slums, lockdowns have been relatively brief and hospitals have few resources.

But the death rates may also shift in wealthier northern countries as winter approaches. Most of the spread of the virus in Europe and North America has taken place during mild or warm weather in the spring and summer.

Many experts fear that infections and deaths will shoot up in the fall as colder weather forces people indoors, where they are more likely to infect one another. Discipline about wearing masks and avoiding breathing on one another will be even more important then.

In each of the eight influenza pandemics to hit the United States since 1763, a relatively mild first wave — no matter what time of year it arrived — was followed by a larger, much more lethal wave a few months later, noted Michael T. Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota.

More than a third of all the people killed by the Spanish flu, which lasted from March 1918 to late 1920, died in the short stretch between September and December 1918 — about six months after a first, relatively mild version of what may have been the same virus broke out in western Kansas.

“We will go much higher in the next 12 to 18 months,” Dr. Osterholm said. Because this is a coronavirus, not influenza, it may not follow the same pattern, but it is “a much more efficient transmitter than influenza.”


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