WHO fears coronavirus pandemic ‘not even close to being over’

The World Health Organization warned Monday that “the worst is yet to come” from the global coronavirus pandemic.

WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said during a briefing that the world should brace for the continued spread of the deadly virus, which has already infected more than 10 million people worldwide and killed more than 500,000 over the past six months, CBS News said.

“Six months ago, none of us could have imagined how our world — and our lives — would be thrown into turmoil by this new virus,” he said.

“We all want this to be over,” Ghebreyesus added. “We all want to get on with our lives. But the hard reality is that this is not even close to being over. Most people remain susceptible, the virus still has a lot of room to move.”

WHO sending team to China to investigate coronavirus origins

Ghebreyesus also said the global health agency would send a team to Wuhan, China, where the outbreak originated, in an attempt to identify the cause of the pandemic.

“We can fight the virus better when we know everything about the virus, including how it started,” he said. “We will be sending a team next week to China to prepare for that.”

According to Johns Hopkins University, the US accounts for about one-quarter of the global COVID-19 cases and deaths.

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Cuba reports increased sales to Mariel Special Development Zone

Havana, Jun 30 (Plenglish) Cuba on Monday reported increased sales by local joint ventures and companies to the Mariel Special Development Zone (ZEDM), thus allowing those firms to generate the hard currencies they need.

Deputy Prime Minister Alejandro Gil said at the meeting of the Council of Ministers in July that it is a favorable trend and a direct source to reduce imports.

Although the Cuban economy went through exceptional conditions in the first six months of the year, 12 businesses with foreign capital were approved and the semester is expected to close with a total 15 such projects, said Gil, who is also the minister for Economy and Planning.

During this period, the tightening of the US blockade and the Covid-19 pandemic have affected Cuba’s performance, Gil added, as it was necessary to stop activities such as tourism, and imports and exports dropped.

However, housing has not been interrupted, and 22,557 houses were built, as part of a prioritized program, as well as food production, the deputy prime minister pointed out.

Gil noted that there have been non-compliances with rice and beans crops, as well as pork production, while egg production is stabilizing, although it does not meet the demand from the domestic economy.

For his part, Prime Minister Manuel Marrero called to focus on the recovery of all productive activities, without pessimism, because it is not a matter of turning our backs on the pandemic-hit world, but to seek everything at hand to make progress.

Marrero noted that everything should be produced locally, in addition to saving, exporting and betting on the domestic industry, which is an option rather a need.

Participants at the meeting also approved the land management plan in Santiago de Cuba, which contributes to the balanced and sustainable development of that province, and the progress of experimental projects with protein-rich plants.

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Trade unions oppose to layoffs by Air France

Paris, June 30 (Plenglish) Trade union organizations of the French leading company Air France and its regional subsidiary Hop rejected the intention to cut thousands of jobs in response to the impact of Covid-19.

In a press release, trade unionists described as massive destruction of jobs the plans that the global aviation leading company, associated with the Dutch KLM, plans to announce in early July, which according to the media would affect between 8,000 and 10,000 workers, including some 300 pilots.

Trade unions representing pilots, flight attendants, and ground staff, including the powerful CFDT and CGT, held a meeting on Monday to address the issue, a few days before Air France reports details of its decision.

According to the press release, the signatories opposed the plan and denounced that the government rescue of the company ends with the removal of thousands of posts.

France’s State, the main shareholder of Air France, with 14 percent, approved an aid of seven billion euros, aimed at countering the cessation of most operations, as a result of the pandemic and measures to curb its spread, including the quarantine imposed from March 17 to May 11.

Trade unions demanded a meeting as soon as possible with Air France-KLM CEO Benjamin Smith.

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Starbucks latest to jump on social media ad pause wagon

Starbucks is the latest company to say it will pause social media ads after a campaign led by civil rights organizations called for an ad boycott of Facebook, saying it doesn’t do enough to stop racist and violent content.

Starbucks said Sunday that its actions were not part of the “#StopHateforProfit” campaign, but that it is pausing its social ads while talking with civil rights organizations and its media partners about how to stop hate speech online.

The coffee chain’s announcement follows statements from Unilever, the European consumer-goods giant behind Ben & Jerry’s ice cream and Dove soap; Coca-Cola; cellphone company Verizon and outdoors companies like Patagonia, Eddie Bauer and REI; film company Magnolia Pictures; jeans maker Levi’s and dozens of smaller companies. Some of the companies will pause ads just on Facebook, while others will refrain from advertising more broadly on social media.

In response to companies halting advertising, Facebook executive Carolyn Everson said earlier this week the social networking platform is committed to purging hateful content from its services.

“Our conversations with marketers and civil rights organizations are about how, together, we can be a force for good,” said Everson, vice president of Facebook’s global business group.

Facebook’s market value dropped Friday by more than 8%, or about $50 billion, as more companies said they would pause ads. Twitter stock also dropped more than 7% Friday.

Sarah Personette, vice president of global client solutions at Twitter, said Friday the company’s “mission is to serve the public conversation and ensure Twitter is a place where people can make human connections, seek and receive authentic and credible information, and express themselves freely and safely.”

She added that Twitter is “respectful of our partners’ decisions and will continue to work and communicate closely with them during this time.”

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European Union to speed up space ambitions to keep pace with US, China

PARIS – The European Union will plow more money into rocket launches, satellite communication and space exploration to preserve its often unsung successes in space and keep up with US and Chinese ambitions, its space chief said on Sunday.

Over the past decades, Europe has sought to build independent access to space from U.S. and Russian pioneers to help its industry, with successes such as Ariane rockets or GPS-rival satnav Galileo.

But the recent emergence of U.S. competitor SpaceX and its reusable rockets as well as China’s rapid advances, including the first-ever landing on the far side of the Moon last year, is giving new urgency to Europe’s ambitions.

“Space is one of Europe’s strong points, and we’re giving ourselves the means to speed up,” European Commissioner Thierry Breton, whose brief includes the space sector, told Reuters in an interview.

Breton, the former French head of IT company Atos, said that for the first time, the EU budget will be used to support new technology to launch rockets, including reusable ones.

The EU will for the first time sign a 1 billion euro agreement with Arianespace with guaranteed orders to give it more visibility, in exchange for more innovation.

“SpaceX has redefined the standards for launchers, so Ariane 6 is a necessary step, but not the ultimate aim: we must start thinking now about Ariane 7,” Breton said.

Breton, who hopes the European Commission will provide 16 billion euros for space in its next budget, said he would propose a 1 billion euro European Space Fund to boost startups. He also wants to launch a competition to give free access to satellites and launchers to startups, to spur innovation.

For the Galileo satnav system, Breton said he would bring forward to the end of 2024 instead of 2027 the rollout of a new generation of satellites, “the most modern in the world”, that can interact with each other and provide a more precise signal.

He wants to launch a new satellite system that can give high-speed Internet access to all Europeans, and begin work on a Space Traffic Management system to avoid collisions, made more likely with the rapid increase in the number of satellites.

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Athens Rock Online Festival closes in Cuba

Matanzas, Cuba, (Plenglish) Rock fans will enjoy on Sunday the closing of the 21st Athens Rock Online Festival, catalogued by specialists as one of the most important events of the genre in Cuba, after a week of online presentations.

On this occasion, a total of 15 Cuban bands showed their work in this rhythm, according to Yadiel Duran, president of the Hermanos Saíz Association (AHS) of the western province of Matanzas, which sponsors the event.

The AHS is an organization with cultural and artistic purposes that selectively brings together, on a voluntary basis, the most important writers, artists, intellectuals and promoters from all over this Caribbean nation, young people up to 35 years old.

During the event, which began on June 22, photos of the history of the festival were published, as well as special programs with videos sent from their respective provinces by these exponents of rock on the island.

Duran thanked the authorities of the host territory, ‘because they have known how to protect this event organized by Matanzas 21 years ago.

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Elizabeth Warren in awkward spot as afro american women dominate Joe Biden’s veep search

Sen Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) has found herself in an increasingly awkward position as the Biden campaign vets more African Americans as possible presidential running mates.

In recent weeks, white candidates have dropped out of consideration or fallen out of favor, including Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, and former top contender Sen. Amy Klobuchar dramatically withdrew from the process last week and urged Joe Biden to choose a woman of color.

While the white women have faded, a growing number of black female candidates have emerged as serious veepstakes players.

“All the African American candidates are first-tier and Warren,” a Senate insider familiar with the process told The Post.

“They are going to keep her name going until the last possible moment because they don’t want Twitter to have a meltdown for no reason,” said the source, nothing he believed there was a “95% chance” Joe Biden would pick a black woman.

“At this point they are too on the record about the women of color they are vetting,” said the source. “If you hold them all up for the 70-year-old white lady from Massachusetts, you better have a really good reason, and you don’t.”

Among those considered top options: Florida Rep. Val Demings, Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, California Rep. Karen Bass, and former Obama National Security Adviser Susan Rice. Rice’s stock appears to have risen sharply within Biden’s team in recent weeks, the source continued.

Biden veepstakes hopefuls enter 2nd round of vetting as 2 frontrunners emerge

Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) remains in strong contention, but her chances appear hampered by what’s been described as a frosty relationship with Biden. Many say the former vice president is still smarting from her attacks on him during the Democratic debates, which he took personally because of Harris’ past friendship with his son Beau, who died of brain cancer in 2015.

Harris served as the attorney general in California when Beau Biden held the same position in Delaware. They overlapped in the roles between 2010 and 2015.

Stacey Abrams is all but out of consideration. Two other women of color, Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), and New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, are considered second-tier options, the source added.

Though she once famously claimed to have Native American ancestry, Warren remains the only white women among the top contenders.

Protests against police killings have accelerated the emergence of black candidates.

Danielle Moodie, a political consultant and former vice president at SKDKnickerbocker, said the rise of qualified black women was inevitable, given the changes in the Democratic party’s demographics.

“When we look at who the backbone of the Democratic party is, it’s black women who consistently show up. They are the most steadfast voting bloc,” Moodie told The Post.

She said picking a Midwestern white moderate like Klobuchar to appeal to suburban soccer moms was a doomed effort.

“They are gone: 53 percent of white women voted for Trump and it is not an anomaly,” she said. “They vote with their white husbands, which is Republicans.”

TJ Ducklo, a spokesperson for Biden’s campaign, called The Post’s reporting “flat-out wrong” — though he declined to specify what exactly was incorrect.

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Minneapolis council members who voted to abolish cops get private security

Minneapolis council members who voted to abolish cops get private security
By Mary Kay LingeJune 27, 2020 | 5:23pm
Minneapolis City Council Vice President Andrea Jenkins speaks to a group gathered outside the Cup Foods, where George Floyd was killed in police custody.

Three members of the Minneapolis City Council who voted to eliminate the local police force are being protected by a private security detail that costs taxpayers $4,500 a day.

News of the arrangement broke Friday, the same day that the council voted 12-0 to abolish the Minneapolis Police Department in the wake of the killing of George Floyd.

“My concern is the large number of white nationalist(s) in our city and other threatening communications I’ve been receiving,” Councilmember Andrea Jenkins told Fox 9 News — adding that she had been asking for private security ever since she took office in 2018.

The city has spent $63,000 on rent-a-cops for Jenkins and fellow councilmembers Phillipe Cunningham and Alondra Cano during the last three weeks after the three said they had received threats.

But an MPD spokesperson said that no complaints of threats against them had been filed.

All three have pushed the movement to scrap city police force in favor of “peace officers” and a “holistic, public health-oriented approach” to law enforcement.

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Cuba discusses Covid-19 experiences online with Pacific Islands

Havana,(Plenglish) Health authorities and specialists from Cuba and the Pacific Islands exchanged their experiences online in the confrontation with Covid-19 as part of agreed cooperation actions, reported the Foreign Ministry of the Caribbean country.

The Cuban representatives detailed, in the virtual meeting, the practices and protocols implemented in the fight against the pandemic, led by director of the Central Unit for Medical Cooperation, Jorge Delgado.

Experts from the Pedro Kourí Tropical Medicine Institute (IPK) explained the epidemiological aspects of the disease, the results in the care and treatment of the seriously ill patient, as well as the organization of hospital flow, disinfection measures and prevention plans of the Public Health System of the largest of the Antilles.

In addition, the Cuban panel offered detailed information on Cuban biotechnological products used to treat the virus with a high impact, by specialists from the Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology.

Among others, they recognized the efficacy of recombinant human Interferon Alpha 2B, monoclonal antibodies, Heberferon and Jusvinza immunomodulatory peptide.

The representation of the Pacific Island States had the participation of the Minister of Health of the Republic of Nauru, Isabella Dageago, and the Director of Public Health of Tuvalu, Christine Lifuka Alopua, graduated in Cuba.

In addition there were officials from the Ministries of Health and Foreign Affairs of the Solomon Islands, Micronesia, Kiribati, the Marshall Islands and Palau.

The foreign participants thanked Cuba for the permanent and valuable contribution to the improvement of health systems in the region and highlighted the scientific development and the usefulness of the shared experiences.

For his part, the Cuban ambassador to Fiji, Carlos Manuel Rojas, reiterated his country’s commitment and willingness to contribute to strengthening medical care in the Pacific Islands, amid the intensification of the imposed economic, commercial and financial blockade for the United States.

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Cuba ratifies zero tolerance policy on drugs trafficking

Vienna, June 26 (Plenglish) Cuba ratified its zero tolerance policy towards the production, consumption and trafficking of drugs during the presentation of the world report on that issue, at the headquarters of the United Nations Organization here, media outlets spread on Friday.

At the virtual meeting, the ambassador of Cuba in this capital, Loipa Sanchez, noted that her country’s government has the appropriate means for strict control of the production and marketing of internationally regulated psychoactive substances for medical and scientific purposes.

She added that the presence of illicit drugs in the national territory remains very limited and does not constitute a social problem of high incidence, thanks to the preventive work carried out by the Cuban State.

During her speech, Sanchez called to strengthen cooperation, with strict adherence to International Law and the principles of the United Nations Charter, to find effective solutions to the global problem of narcotics, which affects some 268 million people, according to figures, compiled by the UN until 2018.

Cuba seized over a ton and a half of drugs in the territorial waters in 2019 and so far this year the country has detected 300 kilograms, mainly marijuana, according to the chief of the General Staff of the Border Guard Troops from the Ministry of the Interior, Ybey Daniel Carballo.

In the operational meetings with the authorities of the regional nations, Cuba’s work in the fight against drugs trafficking is recognized, an action that continues in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, according to the source.

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