Genius azelyrics.net.ru Lyrics

Genius azelyrics.net.ru .Lyrics

Kodaline – Saving Grace Lyrics

When you’re out in the open
And you’re tired of hoping
I’ll be there in a moment
I’ll be by your side
When you’re scared and you’re lonely
When there’s no one to hold you
I just want you to know that
I’ll be by your side

You keep me strong when I can’t carry on

When you lose your feet, fall down to your knees and your heart’s about to break
I will be your saving grace
When your eyes can’t see, take my eyes from me
When you’re lost and losing faith
I will be your saving grace

Be my, be my, be my saving grace
Won’t you be my, be my, be my saving grace

When my heart’s getting older
And my body is breaking down
In my head yeah I know that I’ll be by your side
I don’t know about the future

No one knows what the future holds
All I know is I know that I’m giving you my life

You keep me strong when I can’t carry on

When you lose your feet, fall down to your knees and your heart’s about to break
I will be your saving grace
When your eyes can’t see, take my eyes from me
When you’re lost and losing faith
I will be your saving grace

You keep me strong when I can’t carry on

When you lose your feet, fall down to your knees and your heart’s about to break
I will be your saving grace
When your eyes can’t see, take my eyes from me
When you’re lost and losing faith
I will be your saving grace

Be my, be my, be my saving grace
Won’t you be my, be my, be my saving grace

Machine Gun Kelly – Bloody Valentine Lyrics

The simulation just went bad
But you’re the best I ever had
Like handprints in wet cement
She touched me, it’s permanent

In my head, in my head
I couldn’t hear anything you said but
In my head, in my head
I’m calling you girlfriend, what the f*ck

I don’t do fake love but I’ll take some from you tonight
I know I’ve got to go but I might just miss the flight
I can’t stay forever, let’s play pretend
And treat this night like it’ll happen again
You’ll be my bloody valentine tonight

I’m overstimulated and I’m sad
I don’t expect you to understand
It’s nothing less than true romance
Or am I just making a mess

In my head, in my head
I’m lying naked with you yeah
In my head, in my head
I’m ready to die holding your hand

I don’t do fake love but I’ll take some from you tonight (Take some from you tonight)
I know I’ve got to go but I might just miss the flight
I can’t stay forever, let’s play pretend
And treat this night like it’ll happen again
You’ll be my bloody valentine tonight

I can’t hide how I feel about you
Inside, I’d give everything up
Tonight, if I could just have you
Be mine, be mine, baby

I can’t hide how I feel about you (I cannot hide these feelings, no)
Inside, I’d give everything up (I cannot hide these feelings)
Tonight, if I could just have you (I’d give up everything for you)
Be mine, be mine (I give up everything)
Ay

I don’t do fake love but I’ll take some from you tonight (Take some from you tonight)
I know I’ve got to go but I might just miss the flight
I can’t stay forever, let’s play pretend
And treat this night like it’ll happen again
You’ll be my bloody valentine tonight

Na-na-na-na, na-na-na-na
Na-na-na-na, na-na na-na (Just tonight)
Na-na-na-na, na-na-na-na
Na-na-na-na, na-na na-na (Just tonight)
Na-na-na-na, na-na-na-na
Na-na-na-na, na-na na-na (Just tonight)
Na-na-na-na, na-na-na-na (In my head, in my head)
Na-na-na-na, na-na na-na (Just tonight)

(Were we on two track?)

Birmingham 6 – Birmingham 6 Lyrics

Birmingham 6, the Birmingham 6
Everybody talks about the Birmingham 6

Birmingham 6, the Birmingham 6
Nobody knows if they really exist

IRA, MI5
Who can tell when the government lies?

Kick us out, put us down
In your own blood, you will drown
Birmingham 6, the Birmingham 6
Nobody knows if they really exist
Kick us out, put us down
In your own blood, you will drown
Cut our tongue, make us blind
We will fight against your crime

Birmingham 6, the Birmingham 6

Birmingham 6, the Birmingham 6
Nobody knows if they really exist

IRA, Judgement Day
All God’s children come out to play

Kick us out, put us down
In your own blood, you will drown
Birmingham 6, the Birmingham 6
Nobody knows if they really exist
Kick us out, put us down
In your own blood, you will drown

Cut our tongue, make us blind
We will fight against your crime

Birmingham 6, the Birmingham 6
Everybody talks about the Birmingham 6

One! Two! Three! Four!
Justice is a dying whore
Five! Six! Seven! Eight!
Imprisoned ’til you fade away
Nine! Ten! Eleven! Twelve!
Never leave your prison cell

Birmingham 6, the Birmingham 6
Nobody knows of the Birmingham 6

Birmingham 6, the Birmingham 6
Nobody knows if they really exist

IRA, MI5
Who can tell when the government lies?

Kick us out, put us down
In your own blood, you will drown
Birmingham 6, the Birmingham 6
Everybody talks about the Birmingham 6
Cut our tongue, make us blind
We will fight against your crime
Birmingham 6, the Birmingham 6
Everybody talks about the Birmingham 6

Seventh Day Slumber – Sober Lyrics

Another memory bringing me to another step
Another step bringing me closer to the edge
I can feel it in my chest
Thoughts of my past burning inside my head

And I can’t take another day
So let the shadows hide my face
I wanna be free from this
No matter what it takes

Wake me up when it’s over
This hurts too much sober
I never wanna feel again
Take me back to the old days
When I couldn’t feel pain
I never wanna feel again

I wanna medicate but I gotta sit through the pain
To tell the truth, I almost put the bottle up again
I made a promise to my kids

Daddy’s never going back no matter how hard it gets

And I can’t take another day
So let the shadows hide my face
I wanna be free from this
No matter what it takes

Wake me up when it’s over
This hurts too much sober
I never wanna feel again
Take me back to the old days
When I couldn’t feel pain
I never wanna feel again

(I never wanna feel again)

Wake me up when it’s over
This hurts too much sober
I never wanna feel again
Take me back to the old days
When I couldn’t feel pain
I never wanna feel again

(I never wanna feel again)

Hugh Coltman – She Signs Her Name Lyrics

She was working both day and night
Wanted to write more than the headlines
You know we’ve all got a rent to pay
She’d smile and say
Shrugging her shoulders high

Stepping into the rain
As the light drains away
Sitting down on her train
She slips into the dream again
Where she signs her name…

I just do what I have to do to make it through
That’s what she’ll tell you
But when she’s waking at 3am
Cold sweats again
Her head working over time

Stepping into the night
To the city she confides
Some are born with the right
But the ones like us must try
To sign our names
To sign our name

She wakes up
An hour after she went to sleep
She makes up
Dries the tears from her cheek
There’s nothing left to see
Just who could she be

Stepping into the rain
As the light drains away
I watch her crossing the street
And then I go back to bed
To sign her name
To sign her name

John Waite – Better Off Gone Lyrics

I can see there’s no easy way out
A paper cup half-full of gin
Behind the wheel of a Lincoln Continental
Driving down your street again

I take your ghost out on the freeway
Out from the memory of your leaving
A thousand miles till the day break over Tulsa
Where no one’s heard about you

‘Cause one of these days you’re gonna be with somebody
And I, I don’t wanna hurt no one
Gonna let these horses run straight in to the morning sun
I’m better off gone, yeah, yeah, I’m better off gone, yeah, yeah

Out in the rhythm of the white lies
Just the inner state of me
I place my bet on a hand that I was winning

And it made a loser out of me

‘Cause one of these days you’re gonna be with somebody
And I, I don’t wanna hurt no one
Gonna let these horses run straight in to the morning sun
‘Cause I’m better off gone, yeah, yeah, yeah

‘Cause one of these days you’re gonna be with somebody
And I, I don’t wanna hurt no one
Gonna let these horses run straight in to the morning sun
Yeah

And like a bullet from a gun
You see, yeah
I’m better off gone, yeah, yeah
I’m better off gone, yeah, yeah

Better off gone
Better off gone

Tachenko – Entrada De Artistas Lyrics

Sí que empezamos bien
Y viajeros al tren
Lo que me quitáis, luego me lo dais
¿o es que acaso no lo veis?

Y me vuelve a pasar
Cuando vuelvo a mirar
No he perdido el don, mi mejor canción
Pronto la regalaré

Y ahora lo único importante es pasarlo bien
(que el partido está perdido ya lo sabéis)
Vuelves, quieres que te diga que eres un diez

Que no encuentras la salida. Y vamos a ver

Quién te puede enseñar
A vivir otra vez
Yo en mis cálculos rompo el círculo
Nunca me acostumbraré

¡Vamos, quiero conocer la parte de atrás!
No te enfades, no te agobies: das para más
Yo he perdido la cabeza, y ya me da igual
Porque igual sueño contigo hasta despertar

Lukas Graham – Love Songs Lyrics

I can hear you’re wasted
And you’re wasting time on me again
I can hear you knocking
On my front door and it’s 3AM
So I call you a taxi
From my pillow, I wish you’d take a hint
And hop on in the backseat
‘Cause I got patience but it’s wearing thin

No, I’m not answering
No, I won’t let you in

Now I know you hear these love songs
And you think they’re all about you
So you turn your radio up
And you sing along
And you tell all of your friends
That I’m not getting over you
Guess I’m too good of a man
To tell you the truth

This is stupid
How could you think that you inspired me?
I guess when you got nasty
That’s what inspired me to leave
Now everybody asks me
Why I never let you back again

I never tell ’em you’re a monster
I know things now, I didn’t know back then

No, I’m not answering
No, I won’t let you in

Now I know you hear these love songs
And you think they’re all about you
So you turn your radio up
And you sing along
And you tell all of your friends
That I’m not getting over you
Guess I’m too good of a man
To tell you the truth

No, I’m not answering
No, I won’t let you in

Now I know you hear these love songs
And you think they’re all about you
So you turn your radio up
And you sing along
And you tell all of your friends
That I’m not getting over you
Guess I’m too good of a man
To tell you the truth

Boston Manor – Monolith Lyrics

[Refrain]
Lock the door and hit the gas
Lock the door and hit the gas
Lock the door and hit the gas
Lock the door and hit the gas

[Verse 1]
I can’t scratch the itch
Can’t crawl out of the crater
I can’t quench the thirst
Cut myself on the paper
And I’m barely getting by
This hole keeps getting deeper
And deeper and deeper

[Chorus]
Hey you, f*ck you too
I’ll do what I want when I want to
You’ve already got it all
How could you ever need some more
Hey you, f*ck you too
I’ll do what I want when I want to

[Refrain]
Lock the door and hit the gas
Lock the door and hit the gas
Lock the door and hit the gas
Lock the door and hit the gas

[Verse 2]
I’m frozen in the headlights
And I don’t know what to say
My thoughts are turning empty
My palette’s turning grey
And I just need to whisper
But maybe I’m too late

I don’t know what to say

[Chorus]
Hey you, f*ck you too
I’ll do what I want when I want to
You’ve already got it all
How could you ever need some more
Hey you, f*ck you too
I’ll do what I want when I want to
You’ve already got it all
How could you ever need some more

[Refrain]
Lock the door and hit the gas
Lock the door and hit the gas
Lock the door and hit the gas
Lock the door and hit the gas

[Bridge]
Well they all crawl out of the woodwork
They crawl out to feast on your fun
They’re oh so righteous and oh so smart
The chaos has barely begun

[Chorus]
Hey you, f*ck you too
I’ll do what I want when I want to
You’ve already got it all
How could you ever need some more
Hey you, f*ck you too
I’ll do what I want when I want to
You’ve already got it all
How could you ever need some more

Boston Manor – Stuck In The Mud Lyrics

[Verse 1]
I saw you crying on the train today
I didn’t know what to do, I didn’t know what to say
Just keep it in, just keep it safe
Don’t tell them how you’re feeling, they’ll look the other way

[Chorus]
Now I’m stuck in the mud and I don’t know what to do
I’ve got that sinking feeling, I’m calling out to you
And I’m getting older, and I know that you are too
But we could live forever just show me what to do

[Verse 2]
I missed my mother on the train today
I wish that I could call her, make it go away
Now I’m 20-something, it’s not ok
Be a brave soldier and find your own way

[Chorus]
Now I’m stuck in the mud and I don’t know what to do
I’ve got that sinking feeling, I’m calling out to you
And I’m getting older, and I know that you are too
But we could live forever just show me what to do

[Verse 3]
You saw me crying on the train today
You didn’t know what to do, you didn’t know what to say
Don’t kill my fire, don’t kill my graze

Just tell me everything, is gonna be ok

[Bridge]
I’m lost in the dark
I can’t find the way
I’m lost in the dark
I can’t find

[Chorus]
Now I’m stuck in the mud and I don’t know what to do
I’ve got that sinking feeling, I’m calling out to you
And I’m getting older, and I know that you are too
But we could live forever just show me what to do

Now I’m stuck in the mud and I don’t know what to do
(I missed my mother on the train today)
I’ve got that sinking feeling, I’m calling out to you
(I wish that I could call her, make it go away)
And I’m getting older, and I know that you are too
(Don’t kill my fire, don’t kill my graze)
But we could live forever just show me what to do
(Just tell me everything, is gonna be ok)

Now I’m stuck in the mud and I don’t know what to do
I’ve got that sinking feeling, I’m calling out to you
And I’m getting older, and I know that you are too
But we could live forever

Young Ellens – Dior Lyrics

[Songtekst van “Dior”]

[Intro]
‘K hoef mezelf niet te warren man Jordan, schande man!
Ben met Wayne vandaag man (Hé)
Nek
Ha-ha-ha-ha (Ooooooh)
Aah!

[Chorus]
Ik ben never lacking, beter zoek je dekking!
Heb een young nigger met die automatic
En me Louboutin’s doen de Blood Walk
Off-White’s of die Triple S, en we swipen Dior, Dior
Ha-ha-ha-ha (Ooooooh)
En we swipen Dior, Dior
Ha-ha-ha-ha (Ooooooh)
Ik ben never lacking, beter zoek je dekking!
Heb een young nigger met die automatic
En me Louboutin’s doen de Blood Walk
Off-White’s of die Triple S, en we swipen Dior, Dior
Ha-ha-ha-ha (Ooooooh)
En we swipen Dior, Dior
Ha-ha-ha-ha (Uh, let’s get it)

[Verse 1]
Ik pluk ‘m [?] op me tellie
Ik had niet eens ribba maar zat in een Merrie
Ellens ze fles ik weet zij kijkt af, ik kan niet leven in een bijstand
Ik draag die Christian Dio-o-or (Dior)
Ik draag Triple, G, Cartier, Moncler, Amiri jeans zijn destroyed!

Gannoe’s bossen en we laten lossen, heb die Rose Gold en die stalen klokken
En ik haal 40k van die plastic
Ga niet in billen voor nigga’s, we openen zelfs die financieel mannen zijn lacking!
In het veld meer zon, bussdown on my wrist schijnt net zon
Louis Vuitton, veel tassen met bon
4PF, al me zakken zijn bom! (Ha-ha-ha)

[Chorus]
Ik ben never lacking, beter zoek je dekking!
Heb een young nigger met die automatic
En me Louboutin’s doen de Blood Walk
Off-White’s of die Triple S, en we swipen Dior, Dior
Ha-ha-ha-ha (Ooooooh)
En we swipen Dior, Dior
Ha-ha-ha-ha (Ooooooh)
Ik ben never lacking, beter zoek je dekking!
Heb een young nigger met die automatic
En me Louboutin’s doen de Blood Walk
Off-White’s of die Triple S, en we swipen Dior, Dior
Ha-ha-ha-ha (Ooooooh)
En we swipen Dior, Dior
Ha-ha-ha-ha (Uh, let’s get it)

Fascinating Aida – Companies Using Nifty Taxation Systems Lyrics

(Intro)

(Spoken)
Welcome, Ladies, Gentlemen, Taxpayers. Tonight you have spent your money wisely buying a ticket to see FA. Financial Advisors. And now it time to get a return on that investment with some good advice, listen up

(Sung)
Paying taxes is a grind
It can hit you with a bump
It can be an awful bind
It gives everyone the hump
But if you don’t want to pay
Then your quite within the law
You can stash your cash away off shore. (off shore x2)

Welcome to the world of shadow banking
No one really knows what goes on here
Want to pay no tax on your earnings
We can make those earnings disappear
Hide em in the Cayman’s, Turks and Caicos, Switzerland, Lichtenstein, Jersey too
Only Little people pay taxes, people like you (and you x4)

We’re companies using nifty taxation systems to hide our bumps
Massaging money from haven to haven using shell banks and false funds
Or we offset our cost against taxed in Great Britain were tax is appallingly high
Then declare ours profits in Monaco and we get to keep all the pie
That’s why companies using nifty taxation systems spells cunts

(Spoken)
Ladies and Gentlemen she’s the newly appointed head of emerging markets. So could you please welcome the fragrant, the freshly minted, the fiscal fem fatal, who is Ms Sarah Louise Young

(Sung)
Tax evasion is illegal
But avoiding tax is not
So to best protect your assets
And to hang on to what you’ve got
Build a clause into a trust
Which you set up in Delaware
And if an auditor comes calling
The trust is designed to fly elsewhere
Look its gone to Bermuda

Welcome to the world of market finance
Manage all your moola, with a plomb
As a high net worth individual
Declare yourself officially non dom
The city of London will take care of business
It has more power than the Inland Revenue

Only saps ad suckers pay taxes, teacher’s and nurse’s and fools like you and you

We’re companies using nifty taxation systems to hide our bumps
We can make the incumbent chancellor of the exchequer, look like a dunce
Our teams of accountants and lawyers always find they always have something to do
Handy for loopholes and dodges to further increase the Touchnecrew
We’re companies using nifty taxation systems that’s cunts

(Spoken)
Lets hear from those trumpets
(Trumpet Imitations)

Libraries will have to close (sad but necessary)
Fewer bobbies on the streets (stay indoors)
Disabled people losing benefits (scroungers)
And less BBC repeats (don’t knock dad’s army)
Ever larger student fees (so sweet from the chaps)
Obs and Gynie wards to shut (use a condom)
Legal aid is been reduced and our fighting forces cut

(Sung)
Welcome to a world that has no frontage
Capital is free free free to flow
Though we may twice as rich as Creasers
We come better than let a penny go
The country is broke and the pundits tell us we could really help if we paid up too
But we don’t use the NHS or crap state schooling that’s for little people like you (and you x5) (you too x2) You two
Oh they went offshore years ago

We’re companies using nifty taxation systems to hide our bumps
Along with oligarchs, drug barons and rock stars who had high moral principles, well maybe once
It’s all very well to say people like us should hang ours heads in shame, but if you owed the Euro millions you’d do the bloody same
Then declare ours profits in Monaco and we get to keep all the pie
That’s why companies using nifty taxation systems you be rolling in lolly and chugging by the bolly, you be thrilled to join the international band of solid gold plated… CUNTS

Seventh Day Slumber – Your Eyes Lyrics

I wish I could forget the way I looked back then
I can’t believe what I’ve become
Every picture speaks a thousand words
It’s the story of "I’m not enough"

Don’t wanna relive the past
I just wanna get back
To feeling comfortable in my own skin
Every step I take
Leads me further away
And the story plays on again

You say there’s beauty in me
But it’s so hard to believe
Why can’t I see me through your eyes?
You say you love me but why?
Feels like I fail every time
I just wanna see me through your eyes

(Oh-whoa, oh-whoa-oh)
I just wanna see me through your eyes

I wish I could forgive myself, relieve the guilt
So much I wish I hadn’t done
Every morning brings new life to breathe
But I don’t feel like waking up

All their whispers feed
Insecurities
Starving everything I could have been
Can I separate,
From the masquerade,
Before the story comes to an end?

You say there’s beauty in me

But it’s so hard to believe
Why can’t I see me through your eyes?
You say you love me but why?
Feels like I fail every time
I just wanna see me through your eyes

(Oh-whoa, oh-whoa-oh)
I just wanna see me through your eyes
(Oh-whoa, oh-whoa-oh)
I just wanna see me through your eyes

Show me what you see (see in me)
Trying to believe (to believe)

You say there’s beauty in me
But it’s so hard to believe
Why can’t I see me through your eyes?
You say you love me but why?
Feels like I fail every time
I just wanna see me through your eyes

You say there’s beauty in me
But it’s so hard to believe
Why can’t I see me through your eyes?
You say you love me but why?
Feels like I fail every time
I just wanna see me through your eyes

(Oh-whoa, oh-whoa-oh)
I just wanna see me through your eyes
(Oh-whoa, oh-whoa-oh)
I just wanna see me through your eyes

John Waite – Further The Sky Lyrics

When you don’t know where you’re going and you don’t know why
It feels like another day’s beaten into the night
Lay your head on my chest
Well, my beating heart pounds out the reason for this life

The higher you reach, the further the sky
The more miles you walk, the longer the road
The steeper you climb, the harder you stand to fall
The stronger you get, the heavier the load, yeah, heavier the load

I wish I could give you the answers on paper and ink
I wish I could stop all the tears before they start falling
But we’re feeling our way and we’re always beginners
We’re all cuts and no scars here

The higher you reach, the further the sky
The more miles you walk, the longer the road
The steeper you climb, the harder you stand to fall

The stronger you get, the heavier the load, yeah, heavier the load

The higher, the higher, the higher you reach
The further, the further, the further the sky
The higher, the higher, the higher you reach
The further, the further, the further the sky, yeah
The further the sky, yeah

The bigger the dream, the rougher the ride
The truer the love, the deeper the ache
The blinder the faith, the tougher the go

The higher you reach, the further the sky
And the more miles you walk, the longer the road
The steeper the climb, the harder you stand to fall
The stronger you get, the heavier the load, yeah, heavier the load

Alright, the steeper the climb
The higher you reach, the further the sky

Parents refuse to send children to school in Denmark as coronavirus restrictions lift

Parents refuse to send children to school in Denmark as coronavirus restrictions lift

Denmark’s opening of schools faster than most others in this time of COVID-19 has not been welcomed by all. Many parents refuse to send their children to school.

By
Tom Carstensen

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Pupils are seen during lunch break at the Korshoejskolen school, after it reopened following the lockdown due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) spread, in Randers, Denmark, April 15, 2020.

Credit:

Ritzau Scanpix/Bo Amstrup via Reuters 

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Denmark was one of the first countries to reopen schools and child care centers after early success in curbing the coronavirus.

Kids up to the age of 12 have been in child care and school since the middle of April. But while many parents are relieved about classes resuming for young children, others are less enthused.

Related: Swedish town uses chicken manure to disperse crowds — and stop spread of coronavirus

Esme Emma Suctu runs Momster, an online community with thousands of members. She says there’s been plenty of anger and outrage since the announcement about young kids going back to school.

“We had a lot of reactions, and it was clear for us to see that people were against this. These moms primarily were focusing on their kids; the government was gambling with their kids’ lives. They were feeling this was a very unsafe solution. Some of them even said something like, ‘They feel that our kids are being pushed into the front lines; like it’s in a war zone.’”

Esme Emma Suctu, Momster

“We had a lot of reactions, and it was clear for us to see that people were against this. These moms primarily were focusing on their kids; the government was gambling with their kids’ lives. They were feeling this was a very unsafe solution. Some of them even said something like, ‘They feel that our kids are being pushed into the front lines; like it’s in a war zone.’”

There is also a large Facebook group where parents opposing the reopening meet. It’s called My Child Should Not Be a Corona Guinea Pig and has more than 40,000 members.

One of them is Elisabeth Sommer. Both of her parents have serious health issues.

“My 10-year-old son [could] be infected with COVID-19 at school, and then [be] bringing it home to them.”

She also thinks the massive changes the children have to face in the new way of going to school cannot be good for them.

Related: Fires, orchestras, parachutes. Some other ways to describe coronavirus — besides war.

“My boy’s school sent home 14 pages of information about all the precautions they’re taking to keep kids safe,” she said. “But that is also a lot of things the children have to do. It’s just too much for children.” 

And school life is indeed very different now for children and parents. Drop-off times are divided into five-minute intervals to minimize personal contact. Everyone is supposed to stand at least 2 meters apart. At first, the kids had to wear color-coded logos around their necks. That’s because they’re organized into smaller class sizes and more structured playtime.

A lot of the children are grouped together with just a couple of other classmates. Again, to limit contact. And many of them now have different teachers.

Some parents don’t feel comfortable with all of the changes. And rightly so says psychologist Grethe Kragh-Müller. She teaches at the University of Aarhus. She says these kinds of distancing rules are difficult to apply to children.

Related: Kids in Spain venture outside for the first time in weeks as lockdown gradually eases up

“I’m concerned because I don’t think it’s a good idea to start putting the little ones to child care and school,” she said. “Maybe they can learn the rules by heart. But they won’t be able to understand the rules, and they won’t be able to follow them because their brain is not mature enough.”

That’s stressful in and of itself, but she is also thinking about the impact on their emotional well-being. 

“I’m concerned we might see a lot of anxiety in children because what is this disease — where is it? It can be everywhere. It can be on me. I’m afraid this will raise a lot of questions in the heads of these little children and create anxiety in them.”

Grethe Kragh-Müller, psychologist

“I’m concerned we might see a lot of anxiety in children because what is this disease — where is it? It can be everywhere. It can be on me. I’m afraid this will raise a lot of questions in the heads of these little children and create anxiety in them,” she said.

Medical experts here say the risks are manageable — because young children, overall, are not becoming very sick from COVID-19. But that’s just not reassuring enough for many parents.

Related: Corona Diaries: Open-source project chronicles pandemic life via voice notes

The Danish government is now talking about the possible return to schools for children older than 12. No final decision has been made just yet. But what does seem likely is that any move to reopen more schools will be received with mixed reactions. 

Russia’s prime minister tested positive for COVID-19. What does it mean for Russian politics?

Russia's prime minister tested positive for COVID-19. What does it mean for Russian politics?

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Daniel Ofman

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Russian President Vladimir Putin listens to Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin during their meeting via a video link at the Novo-Ogaryovo state residence outside Moscow, Russia April 30, 2020.

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Sputnik/Alexei Druzhinin/Kremlin via Reuters

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Economist Thomas Piketty: Pandemic exposes the ‘violence of social inequality’

Economist Thomas Piketty: Pandemic exposes the 'violence of social inequality'

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April Peavey

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A protester displays a banner during a left-wing May Day demonstration as the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues in Vienna, May 1, 2020.

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Leonhard Foeger/Reuters

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As the world was recovering from the Great Recession a few years ago, French economist Thomas Piketty’s book on income inequality, “Capital in the Twenty-First Century,” reached No. 1 on The New York Times bestseller list. It catapulted him to near-rock star status. 

His observations are prescient as the global economy sinks into its worst recession and unemployment soars amid the coronavirus pandemic. 

Piketty’s new book, “Capital and Ideology,” which came out in March, examines the history of policies and political systems that have sustained economic inequality and how the world might move toward a fairer economic system. He spoke to The World’s host Marco Werman about the inequalities the pandemic has exposed. 

Related: COVID-19: The latest from The World

Marco Werman: May Day is Friday — it’s about workers and laborers. What does this particular May Day mean to you, as unemployment skyrockets around the world and the ability to work is so fragile during this pandemic? 

Thomas Piketty: Oh, you’re right. This is a very, very strange time. And you know what is crazy to me is, it illustrates really the very large prevalence and, in many ways, the violence of social inequality. 

We see that it doesn’t mean at all the same thing, depending on whether you are locked down in a big house or a nice apartment or whether you are with your family, a very small home — or the homeless people which, nobody really takes care of them properly. And also the existence of saving and wealth and income support allows you to remain in confinement. Whereas, people who have a very flexible labor market status, they have to go and work. This crisis is really illustrating both the violence of inequality and also the need for another economic system. 

Give me an example of one country that is looking soberly at the pandemic and thinking about ways of adjusting that economic inequality. 

I think at this stage, you know, everybody is trying to do something. So, some countries have initiatives like — in Portugal, they decided two weeks ago to have a temporary regularization of illegal migrants so at least they can provide income support for people in the street and access to health facilities and some kind of legal status. Actually, during this time of the pandemic, most of the countries in Europe did not do that. And I think, you know, it would be useful. I can see in the streets of Paris you have lots of homeless people. Far too little has been done with respect to this population. Now, the next step is going to be how do the different countries design the recovery after the crisis? 

Related: As the coronavirus drags on, Mexico’s food prices soar

So, maybe it’s too early to come up with a blanket solution in the pandemic timeline. But let’s take a small piece of the puzzle. In an ideal world, what would you do with those homeless people in Paris that you’ve seen in the new socioeconomic reality? 

Well, I think there are lots of empty apartments and certainly, lots of empty hotels right now because of falling tourism. But, I think in many cases, there is a kind of disillusion that, it’s very complicated, we cannot change the economic system. And my general message is that, yes, it is possible. And I think it would be better to use European monetary policy to invest in real economic sectors like, for instance, the environment; increase bottom wages and middle wages; and [treatment of] health care workers. And then, of course, we’ll also have to renovate our tax system. We need to go in the direction of a progressive tax on largely millionaires and billionaires. And for this, we’ll have to change. And, you know, we are not at this stage yet, but I think we, ideally, we should use this opportunity to think about this kind of perspective. 

So, the pandemic has created many opportunities, and some governments are taking them. The US under Donald Trump has gone its own way. The president seems to believe that he can literally and figuratively wall the US off from the rest of the world. If that position continues, what do you see economically happening to the US following this pandemic whenever it starts to subside? 

You know, as usual, the nationalist response and anti-immigrant response of people like Trump, in the long run, is not going to work. That’s why I’m optimistic in the long run that we will return to a more redistributive, internationalist perspective and policy. The problem is that the long run can be very, very far away. In the immediate future, this kind of very strong nationalist discourse can seem attractive to a number of voters, especially if they don’t see a clear alternative. I think that’s one additional reason to try to develop an alternative discourse about changing the economic system.

This interview has been lightly edited and condensed for clarity.

Ugandan archbishop breaks with tradition to promote birth control during pandemic

Ugandan archbishop breaks with tradition to promote birth control during pandemic

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The World staff

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Carol Hills

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Primah Kwagala is a health rights lawyer in Uganda and CEO of Women’s Probono Initiative.

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Courtesy of Primah Kwagala

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The archbishop of the Church of Uganda has broken with tradition to publicly urge women to use birth control to avoid getting pregnant during the pandemic.

Stephen Kazimba Mugalu, who was enthroned as archbishop on March 1, put the onus on women to prevent unwanted pregnancies. 

“I am really concerned [that] after [this] coronavirus situation, we will have many, many women who will be pregnant. Actually, we need to be careful. I want to call upon you women — don’t forget to use your contraceptives because we don’t want [you] to have unwanted pregnancies,” Kazimba said. “These guys are there; they are eating and doing things [having sex]. Be careful because these men, they don’t care. You women [must] be careful.”

Related: South Korea reels from latest high-tech, online sex trafficking case

Uganda has one of the highest teen pregnancy rates in East Africa and sex education and access to contraceptives is limited.

The World’s Marco Werman spoke with Primah Kwagala, a human rights lawyer in Uganda who focuses on the health rights of women

Marco Werman: What was your reaction, Primah, when you heard the archbishop’s comments?

Primah Kwagala: My reaction was a bit of shock. I could not believe that an archbishop could come out in support of the use and provision of contraceptives to women and girls in Uganda. For the longest time, religious entities have been the roadblock to access to contraceptives.

So, you’re encouraged. What about the Ugandan public? How did they react?

It is not easy to tell what the public is thinking right now because of a lockdown. We have a mandatory curfew beginning at 7 p.m. to 6:30 a.m., so most of us are home.

Related: COVID-19 interrupts fertility plans for hopeful couples in the United Kingdom 

So, are you surprised that the archbishop chose the pandemic lockdown as a time to promote birth control in Uganda?

I am not particularly surprised because he’s very new in the system. So, his message, that came when the Easter weekend was, I must say, received with mixed reactions. Because then there are people thinking: Are we sure he meant what he said? We are studying him. Because then, you know, they have meetings and protocol. So, it’s not clear if he just said it in the heat of the moment or if it’s something that he actually prepared to speak about because everyone was at home. And Ugandans are very religious people. Almost 80% of Ugandans subscribe to some Christian religion. So, the archbishop is actually held in very high regard. So, for him to say that was received with mixed reactions. Of course, for the rest of us health rights activists who are very excited about the message, we’re promoting it. But then we don’t know what will happen after.

Related: How groups are helping domestic violence survivors during coronavirus lockdowns 

Yeah, what do you think will happen? Do you think this message from the archbishop will kind of take hold and be impactful?

I think so. Because as activists, we tend to use it as an advocacy tool to encourage the government to avail and provide access to contraceptives for all women and girls of reproductive age, including those between the ages of 12 to 17 so that we can be able to prevent teenage pregnancies.

Related: Rohingya women are traditionally kept out of leadership roles. Will the coronavirus change that?  

Yeah. So, it sounds like faith makes a teen pregnancy and birth control generally a particularly thorny issue in Uganda. How does Uganda compare to other countries in East Africa on these issues?

Compared to Kenya and Tanzania, Uganda’s teenage pregnancy rates are quite high. Having a mind shift, I think, is really something we are struggling with. Amid this, the religious communities are in charge of the health and education sector in the region.

Related: Women in Mexico take to the streets to protest femicide 

Primah, I hear children in the background. Are kids in classes? How are you able to practice as a lawyer?

Currently, even legal services have been rendered nonessential, so we are not working, except for very emergency cases, say if someone needs bail. Because there are lots of people being arrested for breaking the curfew.

This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity. 

Warm waters in the Gulf of Mexico raise alarm as US storm season approaches

Warm waters in the Gulf of Mexico raise alarm as US storm season approaches

On Easter Sunday, dozens of tornadoes tore across Southeastern US, killing more than 30 people. The deadly cluster of storms coincided with waters in the Gulf of Mexico that were three degrees Fahrenheit warmer than the long-term average.

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Adam Wernick

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Hurricane Michael in 2018. Warm waters in the Gulf of Mexico helped turn the hurricane from a Category 1 to a Category 4 storm in just 24 hours.

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NASA/Joshua Stevens

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As storm season begins in the southeastern US, scientists are casting a wary eye on the warm waters in the Gulf of Mexico.

Science links above-average sea surface temperatures in the Gulf of Mexico to larger tornado clusters and supercharged hurricanes in the southern and southeastern United States. The tornadoes that hit the southeastern US on Easter Sunday, resulting in over 30 deaths, came as water in the Gulf of Mexico was running three degrees Fahrenheit hotter than the long-term average.

Tornado season in the US generally runs from March through June and hurricane season follows right on its heels. Warm waters in the Gulf provide “a basic fuel” to these massive storms, explains atmospheric scientist Kevin Trenberth, a distinguished scholar at the US National Center for Atmospheric Research and a faculty affiliate with the University of Auckland in New Zealand.

RelatedWarming ocean waters turned Hurricane Michael into a superstorm

“Warm, moist air wants to rise, and as it rises, the moisture condenses [and] creates extra heating — we call it latent heating — in the atmosphere,” Trenberth says. “All of this convection in the atmosphere moves heat from lower levels into the upper part of the atmosphere and then it gets transported by the jet stream and the circulation to other parts of the world. Some of it can actually radiate to space. [Storms are] one way the atmosphere responds.”

Different types of atmospheric disturbances tap into this heat, but essentially “they’re all trying to move the heat away, in some sense,” Trenberth explains. “It depends quite a bit on the nature of the disturbances — whether there are a lot of, say, individual thunderstorms, or whether there are these larger supercell complexes that can indeed trigger major tornado outbreaks.”

In 2017, similarly warm waters in the Gulf of Mexico led to disastrous consequences, as Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria all caused massive destruction. In 2018, one of the hotspots in the global ocean was off the east coast of the Carolinas, Trenberth notes. Hurricane Florence developed in this area, producing 30-40 inches of rain and catastrophic flooding.

RelatedScientists pinpoint link between climate change and Hurricane Harvey’s record rainfall

A lot can happen between now and the start of hurricane season to change the current conditions in the Gulf, but if storms moving toward the US encounter the right environment, they could again become exceedingly dangerous.

Trenberth says the lack of preparedness for the novel coronavirus that he is seeing in the US and around the world is “really dismaying,” and has a parallel in the realm of storm preparedness.

“The big warning sign was in 2005, with Katrina, Wilma and Rita. … The concern was certainly there. What has been disappointing, from my standpoint, is how little preparedness seems to have developed.”

Kevin Trenberth

“The big warning sign was in 2005, with Katrina, Wilma and Rita — all these Category 5 storms that occurred then,” he says. “I went to some meetings, which had heads of states of some of the islands in the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico…and, correctly, they were very concerned about two things: the rise in sea level, and stronger hurricanes. So, the concern was certainly there. What has been disappointing, from my standpoint, is how little preparedness seems to have developed.”

Hurricane Harvey in 2017 highlighted this problem, Trenberth points out: “The total lack of adequate drainage systems, building in wrong places and building structures that weren’t prepared in Southern Texas,” he says. “The lack of preparedness in Puerto Rico was astounding, appalling. … The warnings have been there. Why isn’t there more effort to prepare for the sort of thing scientists have more or less guaranteed, but can’t say exactly when?”

“Once global warming is here with us, no vaccine is going to be developed that will make it go away.”

This is the paradigm for global warming, Trenberth warns. Global warming is coming, but there is one crucial difference between global warming and a deadly virus like COVID-19. Unlike a virus, for which we can ultimately develop a vaccine, “once global warming is here with us, no vaccine is going to be developed that will make it go away.”

“So, I think this is a warning sign,” Trenberth says, “and I certainly hope the governments around the world and the peoples around the world can take account of that.”

This article is based on an interview by Steve Curwood that aired on Living on Earth from PRX.

During social distancing, artists collaborate on ‘Long Distance Art’

During social distancing, artists collaborate on 'Long Distance Art'

Long Distance Art, which launched this week, is an international, multidisciplinary collaborative art series with The Social Distancing Festival. Artists can inquire about collaborating with another artist they’ve seen on the site, or have the creator pair them up with another artist of his choosing. 

By
Bianca Hillier

Artist Liza Merkalova painted this piece for the Long Distance Art Series, as part of a collaboration with musician Charlie Rauh. “In conversations with both Liza and Charlie, we decided on a process that involved Liza sending Charlie an existing painting of hers, which he used as inspiration to compose new guitar music,” Long Distance Art series creator Nick Green said.

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Courtesty of Liza Merkalova

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Speaking a dream or a goal into existence has little evidence proving its effectiveness. But for Nick Green, creator of the Social Distancing Festival, the practice has worked.

“My dream is to hear the story of two artists that have met through my site and collaborate on some really profound piece of art,” Green told The World in March. His site aggregates content from artists whose performances have been canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic. “And they live across the world and never would have met, otherwise.” 

Weeks later, Green’s dream came to fruition.

“It’s quite poetic that we’re speaking again, given the last words in our last interview of what my big dream was — to have this become more of a collaborative project,” Green told The World more recently. “And now, there have been some new projects happening that are really, really exciting. It’s called Long Distance Art.” 

Related: Artists flock to the only ‘festival’ still on during COVID-19

Long Distance Art, which launched this week, is an international, multidisciplinary collaborative art series that emerged from The Social Distancing Festival. Artists can contact Green and inquire about collaborating with another artist they’ve seen on the site, or have Green pair them with another artist of his choosing. There is no cost to the artists.

“For online art, I’ve become a matchmaker.”

Nick Green, creator, Social Distancing Festival

“For online art, I’ve become a matchmaker,” he joked. “I don’t want to be too instructive. So for the most part, I tell [the collaborators], ‘You two are brilliant artists. Go. Do whatever. I’m happy with anything you come up with.’”

Green’s matchmaking magic has recently connected a team of Canadian musicians with a dancer in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Barbara Johnston, a member of the Toronto-based composing team alongside Anika Johnson and Suzy Wilde, was contacted by Green and immediately thought the idea was “the most exciting thing possible in the world.” Once paired with Tanzanian dancer Tadhi Alawi, Johnston’s team got to work.

Related: In a new MoMA audio guide, security guards are the art experts

“Everybody was so excited to create this song and collaborate with the dancer in this way,” Johnston said. “We just wrote an email about what we felt the song was about, how we thought the themes could be expanded upon, how certain aspects of what’s going on in the world can relate to what this song is about. And he wrote us back this beautiful email the next day. And we just began sharing emails back and forth, talking about our process, talking about the song and the movement to the song.”

The final product of the collaboration is a video showing Alawi dancing to Wild Heart, a song composed by Johnston and her team. It’s a partnership unlike any Johnston’s been a part of, she said, but one she wants to explore more.

Johnston said she was amazed the nearly 8,000-mile distance between Tanzania and Toronto felt so small.

“It’s just amazing how quickly we connected as collaborators without ever having met, and with being, you know, literally a world apart,” ” Johnston said. “All I want to do now is try to find ways to connect with people. And I feel that this is an opportunity to see beyond the barriers that exist and have existed, because we’re in unknown land now. We’re just trusting in the process. And it’s kind of, you know, it’s intimidating. But I’m excited for the adventure of it, and I’m really excited to see what comes out of it.”

Other collaborations in the Long Distance Art series’ unveiling include work between Calgary, Canada-based visual artist Simone Elizabeth Saunders and Tekikki Walker, a Cleveland, Ohio based multimedia designer. Painter Liza Merkalova, based in Adelaide, Australia, also teamed up with New York musician Charlie Rauh

Simone Saunders, a visual artist based in Calgary, Canada, created this piece for the Long Distance Art series.

Credit:

Courtesy of Simone Saunders

The Long Distance Art series lives online for now, with many artists working in their apartments and childhood homes instead of their studios and theaters. Though the past week has revealed glimpses of a post-lockdown world as some countries begin reopening businesses, public parks, and schools, experts suggest it will take years for the economy to return to what it once was. Theaters, museums and venues — reliant on crowds of people — are also among those expected to stay closed long after restaurants, schools, and small businesses open again.

But as venue doors remain closed, laptop computers remain open. Green said his aspirations for The Social Distancing Festival and The Long Distance Art series aren’t canceled — but they need funds to sustain themselves.

Related: 5 museums offering virtual art while you’re quarantined

“A dream of mine is that there might be someone or an organization out there who sees that this is the artistic embodiment of connecting people across the world and global conversations about humanity and lived experiences,” Green said. “And they might say, ‘Hey, you know, that aligns really well with what we, as an organization, are doing. Why don’t we put some money into this? Why don’t we fund some of these artists or somehow buy one of the works?’”

This is “new territory,” Green said, and he isn’t sure how The Social Distancing Festival and the Long Distance Art series will evolve. But speaking his dreams into existence has worked so far. Green added: “Why stop now?”

Workers’ movements advocate for rights on May Day; Saudi activists allege man killed over megacity plans; Doctors wait hours as Venezuela faces fuel shortages

Workers' movements advocate for rights on May Day; Saudi activists allege man killed over megacity plans; Doctors wait hours as Venezuela faces fuel shortages

By
The World staff

Trade union leaders carry a wreath of flowers as they attempt to defy a ban and march on Taksim Square to celebrate May Day, during a three-day curfew amid the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Istanbul, Turkey, May 1, 2020.

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Umit Bektas/Reuters

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Saudi activists allege a tribesman was killed over glitzy megacity plans

Saudi activists allege a tribesman was killed over glitzy megacity plans

The death of a tribesman in northwest Saudi Arabia has raised alarms about the government's plans to forcibly remove locals from their land in order to build a $500 billion futuristic city called NEOM.

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Shirin Jaafari

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Saudi activists have shared an image of Abdul Rahim al-Hwaiti’s bullet-ridden home.

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Courtesy of Alya Abutayah al-Hwaiti 

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Abdul Rahim al-Hwaiti loved his home — so much so that he refused to move. It may have cost him his life.

He lived on a remote stretch of land near the Red Sea in northwest Saudi Arabia. That’s where Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman wants to build his much-celebrated megacity called NEOM.

“NEOM is a bold and audacious dream. It’s a vision of what a New Future might look like (in fact, NEOM means, “new future”),” its website boasts.

Related: Saudi Arabia imposes travel ban to Mecca over coronavirus

Saudi Arabia announced plans for the megacity back in 2017. It described the city as a dreamy, cosmopolitan place that visionaries may want to invest in — and live. Media reports describe it as a futuristic city where there are more robots than humans. Residents would move about in drone taxis. There would be a seaside luxury resort with a state-of-the-art entertainment complex.

But this region is home to the Huwaitat tribe. According to Nabeel Nowairah, an independent Gulf states analyst, the Huwaitat has about 40,000 members. Its membership expands beyond those borders, he said. Some members live in Jordan and in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula. They have occupied these areas for hundreds of years and claim to be descendants of Prophet Muhammad, Nowairah said.

Now, they are being forced to evacuate.

‘Attached to this land’

Saudi activists say Abdullrahem al-Hwaiti was an educated, peaceful man.

In the past few months, Abdul Rahim al-Hwaiti had posted a series of videos online. In them, he complained about what he called the “forced displacement” of his tribe from the Red Sea region. He said government officials showed up at his doorstep and offered him money in exchange for his land. He refused. But he said he wasn’t going anywhere.

Related: Saudi ‘Davos’ turnout underscores costs of Khashoggi murder

“In one video, he said ‘it’s not unlikely that the Saudi government will come to my house and kill me, and then they [will] put weapons in my house and they [will] say I am a terrorist.’”

Nabeel Nowairah, independent Gulf states analyst

“He crossed the red lines,” Nowairah explained, adding that Abdullrahem al-Hwaiti expected strong backlash. “In one video, he said ‘it’s not unlikely that the Saudi government will come to my house and kill me, and then they [will] put weapons in my house and they [will] say I am a terrorist.’”

In a video believed to be his last, Abdul Rahim al-Hwaiti recorded from the roof of his house. In it, he looks upset.

“The method adopted by the state can be called state terrorism,” he said. “They arrest anyone who is against deportation. I don’t want to leave. I want my home. I don’t want money.”

There are two accounts of what happened next. Saudi activists and Abdul Rahim al-Hwaiti’s relatives allege that security forces raided his home, then opened fire — and killed him.

Related: What do attacks on Saudi oil facilities mean for US-Saudi relations?

The Saudi government claims Abdul Rahim al-Hwaiti was killed in a shootout and that security forces had found “a huge cache of arms from his hideout.”

Saudi activists have shared an image of Abdul Rahim al-Hwaiti’s bullet-ridden home. 

Credit:

Courtesy of Alya Abutayah al-Hwaiti 

Either way, this young man is dead.

‘Not about the money’

A few days later, officials returned Abdul Rahim al-Hwaiti’s body to his family. But they warned them not to hold a funeral.

Yet defying these orders, dozens of men showed up in their traditional white robes. They carried Abdul Rahim al-Hwaiti’s body on their shoulders and cried, “Allahu Akbar.” God is great.

“They were shouting ‘Allahu Akbar’ because they were upset. We say that when we protest on the streets. So, they said that when they got his body. That just shows you how much they were angry.”

Alya Abutayah al-Hwaiti

“They were shouting ‘Allahu Akbar’ because they were upset,” said Alya Abutayah al-Hwaiti, who belongs to the same tribe. “We say that when we protest on the streets. So, they said that when they got his body. That just shows you how much they were angry.”

Alya Abutayah al-Hwaiti left Saudi Arabia in 2015. She now lives in London and said that members of the tribe sent her photos of Abdul Rahim al-Hwaiti’s bullet-ridden home. She posted them on Twitter and called for the Saudi security services to be held accountable.

Related: Are the Saudis using big sporting events to ‘sportswash’ their image?

But then she became a target.

“I got a call saying that they’re going to pull me from here,” she said.“‘Don’t think you are safe because you are in London. We’re going to throw acid on you. We’re going to put a bullet in your head, we’re going to kidnap you, we’re going to hit you by a car.’ It’s terrifying, actually.”

Alya Abutayah al-Hwaiti contacted the police, who are now helping her. She has moved several times since the harassment began. Still, she is scared to go outside.

She reiterated what Abdul Rahim al-Hwaiti had said in his videos — that for her tribe, it’s not about the money.

“It’s an emotional thing more than anything else. They establish their lives there. They [have] their animals there, and everything.”

Alya Abutayah al-Hwaiti

“It’s an emotional thing more than anything else,” she said. “They establish their lives there. They [have] their animals there, and everything.”

Nabeel Nowairah, the Gulf states analyst, thinks there is one more reason why this tribe doesn’t want NEOM on its land.

NEOM, he said, is going to open the door to Westerners.

“Having alcohol or women wearing maybe revealing clothes is not within the Saudi culture, the Saudi tradition,” he said.

Nowairah added that the crown prince envisions NEOM becoming something like Dubai. But he has excluded and alienated the people who live on these lands.

The death of Abdul Rahim al-Hwaiti, Nowairah said, sent a strong message to the tribe: “You have no option but to leave, accepting whatever we give you.”

This is not the first time that the Saudi government has forced people out of their homes for new construction projects, said Adam Coogle, deputy director for the Middle East and North Africa division of Human Rights Watch. He pointed to the demolition of houses in the Shia town of Awamiya in 2017, where “the old quarter was destroyed to make room for new development. And in 2008-2009, following one of the Houthi wars, the Saudis evicted a bunch of residents in the border area.”

Now, Coogle is worried that similar clashes might take place in the region near the Red Sea.

“I think there’s every reason to be concerned about this because they just don’t have a good track record, and there’s also concern about it bubbling over into more violence.” 

Adam Coogle, Human Rights Watch

“I think there’s every reason to be concerned about this because they just don’t have a good track record, and there’s also concern about it bubbling over into more violence,” Coogle said.

Meanwhile, Alya Abutayah al-Hwaiti, the woman from the tribe, said she is not going to give up fighting. She has started a campaign to shame those who are investing in NEOM.

The way she sees it, this glitzy megacity is “being built on the blood and bones of the people who live there.”

‘We’re dead here’: Migrants stranded in Panama rainforest amid coronavirus

'We're dead here': Migrants stranded in Panama rainforest amid coronavirus

With borders closed and entire countries on lockdown because of the coronavirus pandemic, some 2,000 migrants — many of them children under age 5 — have been detained for months in Panama, near the rainforest separating South and Central America.

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Jorge Valencia

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Migrants are seen at temporary shelter in the village of La Penita, Panama, on August 23, 2019.

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Erick Marciscano/Reuters

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Immigrant ‘digital first responders’ provide vital services. They’re in a financial crisis. 

Immigrant ‘digital first responders’ provide vital services. They're in a financial crisis. 

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Rupa Shenoy

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Harjot Singh Khalsa (left) and Rajkaranbir Singh are hosts of Punjabi Radio USA, which provides valuable information to immigrant workers.

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Courtesy of Punjabi Radio USA

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Doctors wait hours to fill tanks as Venezuela faces fuel shortages

Doctors wait hours to fill tanks as Venezuela faces fuel shortages

Lines to buy fuel have been common in parts of Venezuela for years. But in recent weeks, the problem has arrived in the capital, where drivers are now waiting hours to fill their tanks. 

By
Mariana Zúñiga

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Customers wait while a fuel dispenser machine is fixed at a gas station in Caracas, Venezuela, April 23, 2020.

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Manaure Quintero/Reuters 

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When Dr. Arturo Martínez woke up in his Honda Civic, his car was a mess. It looked like a small apartment — full of pillows, blankets, cutlery and Tupperware with the leftovers of yesterday’s dinner.

“We prepared ourselves to spend the night here to be able to refuel. We brought some food and pillows to be a little bit more comfortable while waiting,” Martínez said.

Martínez was one of the hundreds of motorists waiting for gasoline in a miles-long line at a station in eastern Caracas. He arrived at 2 a.m., but five hours later, he wasn’t even close to reaching the pumps.

Related: As the coronavirus drags on, Mexico’s food prices soar

This is an unusual scene for Caracas’ residents. Lines to buy fuel have been common in parts of Venezuela for years. But, in recent weeks, the problem has arrived in the capital where drivers are now waiting hours to fill their tanks.

Every day before dawn in Caracas, essential workers, like doctors, line up for hours at the few gas stations that still have fuel. The OPEC nation with the world’s largest oil reserves is short on gas because its refineries have collapsed, and the country can’t import fuel due to US sanctions.

Martínez feels frustrated, he says — the shortages are limiting his ability to function as a doctor. His car is the only way he can get to work due to a lack of public transportation.

“There will come a time when there will be such great discomfort that doctors will say, ‘I am not going to work. I am not going because I have to suffer to get gasoline, and I am exposing myself to the virus while being in line.’”

Dr. Arturo Martínez

“There will come a time when there will be such great discomfort that doctors will say, ‘I am not going to work. I am not going because I have to suffer to get gasoline, and I am exposing myself to the virus while being in line,’” he said.

Related: Bolsonaro’s ‘so what’ response to coronavirus deaths is the latest in his spiraling political crisis

Further back in line, Dr. Alejandro Rodriguez is also waiting for gas.

“I arrived at 5 a.m. It’s 9 a.m.,” Rodriguez said. “I should be in the hospital right now. Fortunately, what we do as colleagues is that we cover somebody’s shift when that person is queuing for gas. This is what we do, but it shouldn’t be like that.”

The government has promised that doctors and hospital workers will have preferential access to fuel stations. But Rodriguez has found the solution to be less than useful.

“I’ve had to line up within a special queue for doctors, but it’s still a line. They are daylong lines, practically. I don’t know if ambulances get preference, but my car doesn’t.” 

Dr. Alejandro Rodriguez 

“I’ve had to line up within a special queue for doctors, but it’s still a line. They are daylong lines, practically. I don’t know if ambulances get preference, but my car doesn’t,” he said.

Some fuel stations in Caracas were shut down in recent days, as authorities try to ensure the effective fulfillment of a nationwide quarantine and contain the spread of the coronavirus. The measure also aims to ration the country’s dwindling gasoline inventories.

Related: Chile’s ‘COVID-19 card’ sparks controversy over ‘uncertainty of evidence’ about immunity

According to fuel stations workers in Caracas, authorities are rationing gasoline by limiting drivers to five gallons for small cars and 10 gallons for trucks, vans and ambulances.

Increasing petrol shortages is making Venezuelans’ lives tougher. When the pandemic struck, Venezuela was already suffering from hyperinflation and a battered health system. Critics of President Nicolás Maduro blame the collapse on government corruption and mismanagement. The government blames US sanctions.

In Venezuela, filling a tank is basically free. Thanks to government subsidies, a full tank could cost less than a penny. But, out of desperation, some people, like Jesus Peña, who sells chicken at an open-air market, are now turning to the expensive black market for fuel.

Peña pays between $1 and $2 per liter. But, few people can afford those prices in a country where the minimum wage is less than $5 per month.

Venezuela has less than 500 reported cases of the coronavirus. The country imposed a nationwide lockdown in March when just a few cases were detected. Since then, Peña hasn’t been able to fill his tank at a station due to long lines. 

“Yesterday, my neighbor sold me 20 liters that he took out of his car. I paid $20 for it. This problem is going to get worse. I have more than one colleague who is not delivering anymore because they ran out of gasoline.”

Jesus Peña, vendor at open-air market

“Yesterday, my neighbor sold me 20 liters that he took out of his car. I paid $20 for it. This problem is going to get worse. I have more than one colleague who is not delivering anymore because they ran out of gasoline,” Peña said.

Related: Advocates raise alarm as countries fail to collect racial data of coronavirus patients

The fuel shortages are already harming food production and delivery. Producers are not being able to get their goods to markets, and farmers are being forced to let crops rot in fields.

Even though Peña desperately needs the gas to keep his business going, he doesn’t know how much longer he can keep paying the high prices.

“I have gasoline for this week, I don’t know what will happen the next one. It’s worrying. I’m really worried,” he said.

Back at the gas station, as the line advances, some drivers, like Martínez, push their cars rather than turning on the ignition. Anything to save just a little extra gas.

What Germany’s energy revolution can teach the US

What Germany’s energy revolution can teach the US

Hundreds of wind and solar co-ops have taken on big utilities and shown they can reliably power the grid — and hugely reduce emissions.

By
Dan Gearino

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Pauline Daemgen (right foreground) and Quang Anh Paasch (left) lead the crowd at a Fridays for Future demonstration Aug. 27, 2019 in Berlin. 

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A longer version of this story was originally published by InsideClimate News.

Twenty years ago, before climate change was as widely seen as the existential threat it is today, Germany embarked on an ambitious program to transform the way it produced electric power.

Over the next two decades, it became a model for countries around the world, showing how renewable energy could replace fossil fuels in a way that drew wide public buy-in by passing on the benefits — and much of the control — to local communities. 

The steps Germany took on this journey, and the missteps it made along the way, provide critical lessons for other countries seeking to fight climate change.

Last summer, I went to Germany to figure out where the energy transition, or “Energiewende,” stands today, with climate change blaring like a siren across a nation already alarmed. Record-breaking heat in successive summers had left the fabled German forests dotted with clumps of dead brown trees. My hotel room in Berlin was broiling.

Related: Decades of science denial related to climate change has led to denial of the coronavirus pandemic

As a longtime energy reporter, my working hypothesis was that Germany’s experience held many lessons for the United States.

While Germany has made immense progress on climate and clean energy, the United States has lagged far behind. Germany now generates 43% of its electricity from renewable sources, compared with 17.5% in the United States. 

“What Germany did has made a huge difference for everybody, for the whole world.”

Greg Nemet, University of Wisconsin

“What Germany did has made a huge difference for everybody, for the whole world,” and the United States should pay attention to that, said Greg Nemet, a University of Wisconsin public affairs professor who has spent years studying German energy policy.

Yet Germany’s energy transition was hardly a straight-line journey of success. 

Hope, disillusionment, then hope renewed

It was a time of far-reaching optimism and ambition in 1998, when German voters thrust a center-left coalition into power. The new government aimed to dramatically increase renewable energy while phasing out nuclear power.

Two years later, lawmakers passed landmark legislation that provided the financial incentives for the coming boom in wind, solar and other renewable energy. The 2000 law was in many ways the starting point for the intense period of progress that followed.

“We thought we could change everything,” said Eveline Lemke, a member of Alliance 90/The Greens, the coalition partner that made clean energy a centerpiece of national policy.

The new policies transformed the energy economy, making it cleaner and less centralized. Solar panels popped up on roofs and giant wind turbines sprouted across the countryside.

Eveline Lemke was a consultant and campaigner for Alliance 90/The Greens and went on to be the party’s leader in the state of Rhineland-Palatinate. She now leads a sustainability think tank, Thinking Circular.

Credit:

Dan Gearino/InsideClimate News

But the growth wasn’t sustained. By 2014, the steep cost of renewable energy subsidies produced high electric bills and a conservative backlash. Chancellor Angela Merkel, whose center-right government was first elected in 2005, responded by making changes to clean energy laws that slowed development.

The momentum faded into disappointment for many Germans. One of the big problems was that emissions from vehicles were essentially flat. This meant that Germany was on track to miss its emissions-cutting target for 2020, which was to reduce emissions 40% from 1990 levels.

But last year, spurred by mounting protests and calls for more aggressive climate action, Merkel’s government took a series of steps to assert the country’s commitment to move away from fossil fuels. 

The German Parliament passed a $60 billion proposal that would, for the first time, impose a tax on nearly all carbon dioxide emissions. It also provided additional subsidies for wind and solar energy, and accelerated the push to cut emissions from automobiles, trucks and airplanes. The parliament also adopted a plan to shut down all coal-fired power plants by 2038 and provide $45 billion to help coal miners and their communities through the changes. 

A bubbling up of grassroots enthusiasm has given renewed hope to many people at the heart of the early-2000s push for renewable energy.

Yet environmental activists are quick to note that the new momentum did not originate in the halls of parliament. It came from the cities and villages, and from the massive Fridays for Future demonstrations inspired by Greta Thunberg, the Swedish teenage climate activist — a bubbling up of grassroots enthusiasm that has given renewed hope to many people who were at the heart of the early-2000s push for renewable energy.

That new hope was what I had come to Germany to see.

A scorching summer

One of the first things I noticed in Berlin was the heat. My hotel and most of the offices I visited did not have air conditioning, having been built at a time when cooling was rarely needed in this northern city.

Scientists say it’s not possible to attribute a single heatwave or unusually hot summer to climate change. But the long-term trend is clear: Berlin and indeed, all of Germany are getting hotter, as is the world.

Related: Earth’s hottest decade on record marked by extreme storms, deadly wildfires

And that feels particularly dire for people whose work is tied to the energy transition.

One of those people is Karsten Neuhoff, head of climate policy for the German Institute for Economic Research. On my second day in Berlin, I went to his austere office building, located near Checkpoint Charlie, a former border checkpoint from when Berlin was a divided city during the Cold War.

Karsten Neuhoff is the head of the climate policy department at the German Institute for Economic Research.

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Dan Gearino/InsideClimate News

For me, this was much more than an ordinary interview with a policy expert.

I grew up in Norwalk, Iowa, a small city near Des Moines. When I was a freshman in high school in the 1990s, an exchange student from Germany lived with a host family across the street from my parents’ house. He and I were in band and speech classes together. He was funny and friendly, with an exceptionally wavy head of hair. His name was Karsten Neuhoff.

As I was preparing to travel last summer, I asked researchers in the United States to recommend German experts I should interview. One of the names they gave me was Karsten Neuhoff.

I assumed there was no way that this energy economist could be the same person who was in marching band with me. Then I saw his photo. It was.

When we met in Berlin, I saw that his warmth and smile were just as I remembered, but his head of hair was sadly lost to time.

He told me about his vivid memories of how his host family in our town felt pride that Iowa farmers provide corn for the world, and how this would later inform the way he viewed Germany’s transition to clean energy.

The key, he said, is for people to have some control over renewable energy development and to directly benefit from it, as opposed to having the development imposed on them.

He added, “Citizens must have confidence in the ultimate goals of the system: Why are we doing this?”

A village finds a new income source: Renewable energy

To see what a decentralized energy system looked like up close, I made the daylong journey by train to Wildpoldsried, a village of about 2,600 residents that produces about eight times more energy than it consumes, and sells the surplus back to the grid.

“I always try to tell people that we are a totally normal village, but nobody believes me.”

Günter Mögele, Wildpoldsried deputy mayor

“I always try to tell people that we are a totally normal village, but nobody believes me,” said Günter Mögele, a high school teacher who has served as deputy mayor since the late-1990s.

Renewable energy can be seen from almost every vantage point in the village, with solar panels fastened to clay-tile roofs and wind turbines in the distance. 

What I found most remarkable about Wildpoldsried wasn’t how extensively renewable energy was relied on, but what leaders chose to do with the financial proceeds. By selling electricity to the grid, the village gave itself a new income source and improved the lives of residents, offsetting most of the costs for preschool, child care, sports and community theater. 

Many other communities have their own version of Wildpoldsried’s energy accomplishments and have used money from wind turbines and solar arrays to improve services and lower taxes.

In a battle over cost, Merkel’s conservatism wins out

But the momentum of the early years of the Energiewende didn’t last. Merkel and her government began to change the formula that had led to the rapid growth of renewable energy. 

Merkel agreed with the country’s broad consensus that carbon emissions must be drastically reduced. But she wanted to do it in a way that was mindful of costs.

It wasn’t hard to make the case that the costs were too high, considering that the renewable energy surcharge had more than tripled from 2010 to 2014. For a small household, the cost had risen to about 20 euros — or $22 per month.

By 2014, the government had agreed to overhaul renewable energy policy, a change that took several years to implement. Instead of being open to almost everyone, groups that wanted to create renewable energy projects and sell the power to the grid needed to compete in auctions to see who could offer the lowest price. 

Related: On Baffin Island in the fragile Canadian Arctic, an iron ore mine spews black carbon

Solar and wind power continued to grow, but the new rules meant that small players had a much more difficult time. The energy transition was becoming the realm of big developers.

Now Mögele and many other local leaders are calling for the government to overhaul the rules once again, making it easier for small local energy producers. Wildpoldsried had already done enough to secure its financial stability, he said, but he could see how those opportunities were vanishing for others. 

“It will change. It has to change,” he said.

A teenage protester helps revitalize a movement

There is no clear point at which the Energiewende began its revitalization, but one of the central factors was the arrival on the scene of Greta Thunberg, a 15-year-old in Sweden, who skipped school to stage a one-person demonstration outside her country’s parliament building in 2018 to call attention to the failure of leaders to address climate change.

Thunberg’s message and ongoing activism gripped much of the world, and had a particularly strong effect in Germany. 

Climate change environmental teen activist Greta Thunberg participates in a climate strike rally in Iowa City, Iowa, US, on Oct. 4, 2019. 

Credit:

Daniel Acker/Reuters

Merkel’s government has seen the rise in public interest in climate change and has taken steps to address some of the most vexing challenges in the energy transition. But Merkel is also on her way out, planning to step down ahead of the next election.

And yet, there are vital ingredients still missing. Critics of the government’s recent actions  say more needs to be done to reinvigorate the small, local projects that were so important to creating the sense of shared benefits in the early days of the energy transition.

But many here say it’s the first step in a process, a signal that the country has a renewed focus. 

An unexpected crisis and a warning for the future

Earlier this month, I called Karsten Neuhoff on Skype. Our countries were several weeks into coronavirus lockdowns.

I wanted to know how the global crisis had affected the trajectory of German climate policy, and to see how he was coping with the pandemic. 

“Sometimes doomsday scenarios can happen.”

Karsten Neuhoff, German Institute for Economic Research 

“It demonstrates that sometimes doomsday scenarios can happen,” he said, speaking from his kitchen table, late in the evening. “The idea of viruses that spread globally were the stuff of TV movies, and suddenly it became reality.”

He added that he thought this had implications for climate policy, because the public might now have a deeper understanding of the economic disruption that is possible if climate change is unchecked.

Related: Exxon and oil sands go on trial in New York climate fraud case

We agreed, though, that the crisis could also have detrimental effects on climate policy, with the sudden drop in emissions caused by the economic fallout potentially giving cover to backslide on climate. Indeed, a recent forecast shows Germany is now likely to reach its emissions-cutting target for 2020, a goal that previously seemed out of reach.

What about the big takeaway from my time in Germany, the idea that the success of the energy transition is closely tied to whether the public is engaged and feels like it has a stake?

That hasn’t changed a bit, Neuhoff said. The virus, and people’s response to it, has demonstrated that we’re all in this together, a sentiment repeated often in recent weeks, both in Germany and in the United States.

Neuhoff said he is hopeful that the US government and the public will embrace this idea as it applies to climate change. If and when that happens, Germany has two decades worth of trial and error to show how this can be done.

Swedish town uses chicken manure to disperse crowds — and stop spread of coronavirus

Swedish town uses chicken manure to disperse crowds — and stop spread of coronavirus

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Garden worker Robert Nilsson shows chicken manure with which he fertilizes lawns in Stadsparken in an attempt to prevent residents from gathering for the traditional celebrations to mark the Walpurgis Night amid the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Lund, Sweden April 30, 2020.

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A town in southern Sweden has turned to a traditional source to try to prevent the coronavirus spreading during an annual festive event on Thursday — chicken manure.

The university town of Lund began spreading chicken droppings in its central park to put off would-be revellers who would usually come on April 30 to celebrate Walpurgis Night.

The occasion, marking the shift away from dark, chilly winter days towards brighter spring and summer days, is typically celebrated with picnics, parties and bonfires across the country, and regularly attracts thousands of students. 

“This is a park where usually 30,000 people gather, but with COVID-19 this is now unthinkable,” the town’s mayor, Philip Sandberg, told Reuters. “We don’t want Lund to become an epicentre for the spread of the disease.” 

Sweden has taken a softer approach than many other countries to preventing the spread of the respiratory disease that the coronavirus can cause, asking rather than ordering people to maintain social distancing. 

In line with this policy, authorities have requested people avoid gathering for this year’s Walpurgis Night, but have not banned festivities.

The authorities fear young people, especially students, will still want to enjoy a picnic and drink in the park. 

“Most students in Lund and other parts of Sweden respect the recommendations … although even a small number of people still going to the park can become a big risk,” Sandberg said.

Some Americans feel safer in Lebanon when it comes to COVID-19 response

Some Americans feel safer in Lebanon when it comes to COVID-19 response

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Rebecca Collard

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Lebanese demonstrators wear face masks during a protest against the collapsing Lebanese pound currency outside Lebanon’s Central Bank in Beirut, Lebanon, April 23, 2020. 

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When the American University of Beirut in Lebanon, canceled classes in early March, Max Tamer-Mahoney jumped on a plane home to Boston, Massachusetts, to spend the unexpected break with his family. Two weeks later, he was back in Beirut, in theory just to pick up his belongings when it became clear that the semester would move online. But after a few days in Beirut, he reassessed. 

Related: Lebanon’s ‘two crises’: coronavirus and financial collapse 

“It seemed like things were going rapidly downhill in the US that it was better for me to ride it out here.”

Max Tamer-Mahoney, American livnging in Lebanon

Max Tamer-Mahoney feels safer in Lebanon than the US when it comes to COVID-19. 

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Courtesy of Max Tamer-Mahoney 

“It seemed like things were going rapidly downhill in the US that it was better for me to ride it out here,” says Mahoney, who is studying computer science and Arabic language and literature. 

“Better” is probably an understatement. Massachusetts has roughly the same population as Lebanon. But while Massachusetts has over confirmed 53,000 cases of COVID-19 and more than 3,000 deaths, Lebanon has just over 700 confirmed cases and around two dozen deaths, as of April 28, 2020. 

At first, friends and family tried to convince Mahoney to return to the United States, but now almost all of them say it was the right decision to stay in Beirut. 

“My mother just told me she was unable to find chicken and toilet paper in our local supermarket,” Mahoney said. 

Mahoney is not alone. Many Americans are looking at the US and say they feel safer abroad, even in a country like Lebanon, which has suffered six months of protests and is teetering on the edge of an economic collapse.

Those protests have been mostly quiet during the lockdown, but now they are back for the third night in a row as prices are rising quickly and many Lebanese fall below the poverty line. 

Cecilia Blewer, who is from New York, has also decided to ride out the pandemic in Lebanon, rather than return to the United States.

“I wasn’t going back, because I was afraid of what was waiting at the other end, so I decided to stay here,” said Blewer, who is 64, and arrived in Lebanon in January to spend a few months studying Arabic and volunteering. 

What was waiting in New York was overcrowded hospitals, makeshift morgues and shortages of protective equipment.

“I would say to Trump, there is a Hezbollah-leaning government that has just outperformed you by a thousand times. Take that on board.”

Cecilia Blewer, American living in Lebanon

Blewer said that in Lebanon, despite months of protests, a fractured government and a looming financial collapse, the government’s handling of the crisis is much better than the US. “[The Lebanese] understand that God throws curveballs,” Blewer said. “I would say to Trump, there is a Hezbollah-leaning government that has just outperformed you by a thousand times. Take that on board.”

Related: Hezbollah’s latest front line? The fight against coronavirus.

Other Americans point to the high cost of repatriation flights and the fact that some Americans won’t have health insurance if they go back to the US — which has one of the world’s most expensive health care systems. Many Americans living abroad have health insurance that covers every country except their own because of international policies that cover the US are more expensive. While Lebanon’s health system is highly privatized and suffering from the economic crisis, many expats are in a privileged position, with resources or health insurance here that will get access to good health care. 

Lebanon has been under a state of medical emergency since March 15. Technically, people are not supposed to leave the house unless absolutely necessary. The curfew begins at sunset and security forces come out to enforce it. Everyone in supermarkets wears masks and gloves — shoppers and employees alike. Customers have their temperature checked before they can enter. One chain even set up what they call “sani-tunnels” at the entrances, insisting customers pass through a corridor of spay disinfectant to enter. 

Related: How Lebanon’s ‘WhatsApp tax’ unleashed a flood of anger

“Lebanon was on this much sooner than the US,” said Dr. Madelynn Azar-Cavanagh, an American physician who has worked with hospitals in the US to help them prepare for infectious disease outbreaks. She happened to be in Lebanon visiting her brother when the pandemic broke out. Azar-Cavanagh was supposed to fly back to Boston in March, but she said that by then, it was already clear she was better off staying in Lebanon. 

“Starting about March 8, you started to see the restaurants close down, bars closing down, and eventually, they did a hard lockdown where only groceries and pharmacies were open,” Azar-Cavanagh said. Lebanon’s curve flattened much more quickly than the US, and the country has already started easing restrictions. 

Dr. Sasha Fahme decided to return to New York City from Beirut in March. 

Credit:

Courtesy of Dr. Sasha Fahme 

Dr. Sasha Fahme went the opposite direction, deciding to return to New York City from Beirut in March. 

“I returned to the US out of a sense of moral obligation,” said Fahme, a physician and a researcher who has been taking care of patients hospitalized with severe COVID-19 illness since she returned. 

Fahme said it’s hard to say what’s “safer,” but that in both New York City and Beirut, certain populations are going to suffer more than others.

“For people that are in a position of privilege in Lebanon, then certainly it might be safer,” she said. “But I think that’s true for people that are in a position of privilege everywhere.”

Lebanon hosts more than 1.5 million refugees, mostly Syrian and Palestinian. Some live in informal camps, others in equally overcrowded urban neighborhoods. And almost 50% of Lebanese live below the poverty line — sometimes in conditions not much better than the camps.

“The ability to social distance, in and of itself, is a privilege,” said Fahme. “It is impossible to enforce social distancing in a refugee camp.”

If the virus spreads in those settings, it will be a catastrophe. So far, that seems to have been averted. But Fahme also pointed out that testing is at a much lower rate in Lebanon than the US, meaning the numbers may be deceiving.

But even anecdotally, Lebanon is faring much better — for now, at least. There is no shortage of protective equipment, no makeshift morgues or health care workers facing tough decisions about triage.

Mahoney blamed what he calls the “anti-science” tone of the Trump administration for how poorly things are going in the US, and says Lebanon has just handled the crisis much better. 

“[When] a so-called global superpower such as the US is struggling — in comparison — to protect its people, it’s really, really a shame,” Mahoney said.

Where is the world in the race to combat coronavirus? ‘Only renewables’ holding up in global energy slump; As the coronavirus drags on, Mexico’s food prices soar

Where is the world in the race to combat coronavirus? 'Only renewables' holding up in global energy slump; As the coronavirus drags on, Mexico's food prices soar

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The World staff

A laboratory technician is seen at the Inselspital Universitaetsspital Bern university hospital during research for a vaccine against the coronavirus in Switzerland, April 22, 2020.

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Fauci says leak concerns fueled his White House revelation of Gilead drug results

Fauci says leak concerns fueled his White House revelation of Gilead drug results

National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Dr. Anthony Fauci attends a coronavirus response meeting at the White House, April 29, 2020.

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Concerns over leaks compelled the top US infectious disease official, Dr. Anthony Fauci in the Oval Office on Wednesday, to reveal positive data on Gilead Sciences experimental drug remdesivir, the first in a scientifically rigorous clinical trial to show benefit in treating COVID-19.

The dramatic announcement by Fauci prompted concerns among scientists that the Trump administration was raising hopes about a coronavirus treatment before sharing the full data with researchers.

As a cautionary example of inflating the potential value of a therapy, some pointed to President Donald Trump’s repeated endorsements of malaria drug hydroxychloroquine as a treatment, with no evidence that it works.

Newer data suggests the malaria treatments may carry significant risks for some sufferers of the respiratory disease caused by the virus.

Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), which is running the trial, said he took the first opportunity to get the word out that patients taking a dummy treatment or placebo should be switched to remdesivir in hopes of benefiting from it.

He expressed concern that leaks of partial information would lead to confusion. Since the White House was not planning a daily virus briefing, Fauci said he was invited to release the news at a news conference with Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards.       

“It was purely driven by ethical concerns,” Fauci told Reuters in a telephone interview. “I would love to wait to present it at a scientific meeting, but it’s just not in the cards when you have a situation where the ethical concern about getting the drug to people on placebo dominates the conversation.”         

An independent data safety and monitoring board, which had looked at the preliminary results of the NIAID trial, determined it had met its primary goal of reducing hospital stays.

On Tuesday evening, that information was conveyed in a conference call to scientists studying the drug globally.    

“There are literally dozens and dozens of investigators around the world,” Fauci said. “People were starting to leak it.” But he did not give details of where the unreported data was being shared.       

Several scientists interviewed by Reuters felt the White House setting seemed inappropriate for the release of highly anticipated government-funded trial data on the Gilead therapy.

They had expected it to be presented simultaneously in a detailed news release, a briefing at a medical meeting or in a scientific journal, allowing researchers to review the data.    

Information from various trials of remdesivir has been leaked to media in recent weeks. In a statement on Wednesday, Gilead said the NIAID’s much anticipated trial had met its primary goal, but gave no details.

Data in a separate NIAID statement after Fauci spoke detailed preliminary results showing that patients who got the drug had a 31 percent faster time to recovery than those who got a placebo, cutting hospital stays by four days.

The trial also came close to showing the drug helped people survive the disease, but the data fell just short of statistical significance.

“I want to see the full data. I want to understand the statistics. I want to understand the benefit and risk. I want to understand the structure of the study, and all of it,” said Dr. Steven Nissen, the chief academic officer at the Cleveland Clinic.

“Am I encouraged from what I’ve heard? Yes, I’m encouraged. But I want to get a full understanding of what happened here, and not get it via a photo opportunity from the Oval Office.”     

Data Gilead released on its own trial of remdesivir drew less attention, as it did not compare outcomes between those receiving therapy and those who did not.

Results from a third study in China suggesting remdesivir failed to help COVID-19 patients were released in the British medical journal the Lancet after review by a peer group of scientists.        

“That’s the only thing I’ll hang my hat on, and that was negative,” said Dr. Eric Topol, director and founder of the Scripps Research Translational Institute in La Jolla, California.    

He was unimpressed by remdesivir’s modest benefit.

“It was expected to be a whopping effect,” Topol added. “It clearly does not have that.”    

At the Oval Office news conference, Fauci compared the study findings to AZT, the first drug to show any benefit against HIV, decades ago.    

“We know that was an imperfect drug. It was the first step,” Fauci said in the interview.

“Similar to AZT, it’s (remdesivir) the first baby step towards what hopefully will be a number of better drugs that will come in and be able to treat people with COVID-19.”

By Julie Steenhuysen/Reuters