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99 days, 4 lives, 1 pandemic: South Africa in lockdown

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He met with a group of clinicians working on a reliable rapid test. The leaders of two of the most populous provinces would fall ill. No two individuals’ experiences are the same. It had been useful as a young father and as an AIDS researcher, and it was particularly helpful now, as he tried to figure out how South Africa would survive what the country’s president had called “the gravest crisis in the history of our democracy.”But on the morning of July 3, the chair of South Africa’s Ministerial Advisory Committee on COVID19 – the man dubbed “South Africa’s Dr.  
Their days are all distinct in a country that is staggeringly diverse, and unequal. And in the inky darkness outside Mr. In the coastal city of Durban, meanwhile, the head of the government’s coronavirus task force snuck a few extra minutes in bed, bracing himself against the day of Zoom meetings to come.And in Katlehong, Mr. So instead they made us fear the police instead.”Mr. Mabuza had so many customers he’d given food to on credit that he’d mostly given up hoping they’d pay him back.By the time dawn cracked over his little shop that morning, at least 2,952 South Africans had died. Karim’s day had turned, as it often did, into a parade of Zoom meetings. Lamola-Larufi says.It gave her purpose to do this work, but it was also heavy, and she’d long ago learned that if she didn’t find ways to escape sometimes, it might crush her.So her family had started a tradition. Families struggled to eat. “And we really dance,” she says.   “I’m trying to stop other people’s stories from ending like hers,” Ms. At their care centers, Ms. Mabuza, life continued. She missed her friends, she said. Mabuza had developed a theory about why almost no one in Katlehong wore a mask.   Anyway, in Katlehong, a settlement of small, tidy houses and tin shacks, few people knew anyone who’d actually fallen ill. She never had.In October 2018, she and her daughters moved into a concrete room at the backyard of a nicer house. And his studies solidified a basic truth of apartheid South Africa: to be Black and poor was, very often, a death sentence. When I asked to speak to her, they said she couldn’t talk because of the ventilator. Many were simply stuck at home with their abusers, unable to find a way out. That was just barely enough to buy groceries and pay rent – as long as no one needed medicine or new clothes that month.But when she woke up at 7:30 on July 3, her old life felt enviable. And when she died, there wasn’t a funeral,” he says of his friend and colleague, the AIDS researcher Gita Ramjee. Mabuza had charted the pandemic’s course by the purchases his customers made. “How else can you show you don’t have it except to be unmasked and unbothered?” he reasoned. “We were out at 3 a.m. I saw that we are going to struggle because of this thing,” she says.This wasn’t the first time Ms. Now what?But there weren’t many good days anymore. That is, if they had any money left at all. Police and soldiers meted out violence on people who violated the lockdown rules.Now, three months in, the lockdown had eased but there were new crises. This could be the one and only time when no one was going to ask what they were wearing, or if they had been drinking the night it happened.“You never stop a woman who wants to talk to you from talking,” she says. Now, there weren’t many people who needed to be up that early. Restaurants, hairdressers, and casinos reopened. “Or singers.” Or anything else, really, so long as they had a choice in the matter. “That’s how the cat and mouse game started,” he says. No early morning interview with a radio talk show host or morning news show.  These are their stories. Johannesburg
On the morning of Friday July 3rd
, the 99th   day of South Africa’s coronavirus lockdown, Bongani Mabuza rose before dawn to open the small corner store at the front of his property in the Johannesburg township of Katlehong.The winter air was singed from controlled burns of the prairie that surrounded the city. The pandemic’s worst damage had come instead from hunger, and from the police.In the early days of the lockdown, Mr. For Sindisiwe Nokulunga Maseko, the normal everyone was always asking Dr. Rajesh Jantilal/AFP/Getty Images

Salim Abdool Karim, the chair of South Africa’s Ministerial Advisory Committee on COVID-19 and the man often dubbed “South Africa’s Dr. A house where she could get some quiet. Lamola-Larufi arrived home spent. Indeed, since she’d first arrived in Johannesburg in 2014, as a 19-year-old with an infant daughter, she’d never been more than a few steps ahead of calamity. Mabuza had watched as cops and soldiers in sand-colored fatigues marched down the street, guns swinging. The head of the country’s coronavirus task force lingered in bed a few extra minutes, relieved there was no early-morning interview or Zoom call for a change. Women couldn’t escape their abusers. How do you make sense of that? Maseko preferred to be alone, watching Indian soap operas. By noon, so many customers had come in with large bills that Mr. At 9:15 a.m., as Ms. When the lockdown started, for Ms. He listened as soldiers and barked humiliating orders: 50 push-ups. Mabuza was out of change.Yet he felt deeply uneasy. And then the five of them pushed back a couch in their living room and danced. A rare good day, by Mr. A store owner leaned over his counter, wondering if today would be one of the increasingly rare good days – days when people chatted, bought novelties, and didn’t count their change. Mabuza stepped behind the counter of the African Accent Spaza Shop: the business he had named in defiance of the white teachers who told him he spoke English well, except for his “African accent.” He leaned forward, watching the world outside his doors come slowly to life.MorningDr. And nine in 10 women in Rustenburg who experienced sexual violence never reported it to police in the first place.“The system often fails them so it’s even more important that we do not,” Ms. Ryan Lenora Brown/The Christian Science Monitor

Sindisiwe Maseko cleans a community space in her neighborhood in eastern Johannesburg in early July. “Until our bodies are just lightness.”On day 99, as she arrived home, she had that to look forward to.In the coming weeks, South Africa’s case numbers would double, climbing towards a half million. Lamola-Larufi’s nurses gathered the forensic evidence of those crimes, collecting fluids and documenting the crime scene mapped onto the woman’s body – purple bruises, black eyes, broken bones. Tens of thousands were sick. So Mr. Truth be told, Ms. Salim Abdool Karim had always been an early riser, and also a night owl. Now, most of the time, people came in with their eyes cast low, clutching the exact change they needed for a loaf of bread. Maseko couldn’t afford to buy her daughter those books. On those days, customers cracked jokes, whispered gossip, and didn’t ask if he knew anyone who’d died of the coronavirus. That worried Ms. Had they been crying? “The experience of growing up under apartheid is inextricably linked to my choice to become a doctor, and all of the work I have done since,” he says.Health was justice. 99 days, 4 lives, 1 pandemic: South Africa in lockdown

Why We Wrote This

The pandemic has exacerbated divides and deepened inequalities. Maseko had lived on the edge. People in the suburbs began to call their housekeepers and gardeners again. It was two days before a full moon, and it hung low and heavy in the night sky.Since the pandemic started, 7-year-old Londiwe’s teachers had sent weekly assignments for her to complete in her workbooks. And it wasn’t lost on her that she could have grown up to be one of those walking through the doors of her centers every day. When would the peak arrive?They all seemed to boil down to one thing: When will life be normal again?It was a question Dr. Lamola-Larufi. One hundred miles to the north, a forensic nurse woke her three boys, her heart aching as she promised herself that she wouldn’t touch them again until this crisis was over. In Rustenburg, Ms. On her walk to work that morning, she had noticed a group of people loitering in a small park. Few of the customers wore masks. The day before, two of the clinics in the city where she helped oversee sexual and gender-based violence units had been forced to close temporarily after several members of their staffs tested positive for COVID-19. Every Saturday, she, her husband, and their three adolescent boys all picked a song. Or they used their last few Rand to buy vouchers for a popular cell phone gambling app. For the first time in her life, she felt like she’d made something of herself.  
In the arid northwest, a forensic nurse woke her three boys, her heart aching that she couldn’t touch them. Then, as now, the disease was a humiliation. So why now had they become so committed to doing their job?“At a point, coronavirus stopped being the enemy, and instead it became the police,” he says. His ability to get through the day on four hours of sleep had served him well as a med student and a young scientist. Lamola-Larufi told her teams. Fauci,” has long been both a scientist and an activist. He himself rarely did either. Karim clicked “leave meeting” on his final Zoom call of the day, and prepared at last to head home.Evening“Did you do your school work?” Ms. Karim says. Government knew we wouldn’t fear this unknown disease we’d never seen. Spaza shops are small convenience stores, often operating in private homes. As countries across Europe and Asia began a cautious return to normal life, South Africa’s case curve was bending in the other direction, vying with countries like the United States, Brazil, India, and Mexico on the table of the world’s worst outbreaks. No paywall. On the other side of town, a single mother rose to make breakfast for herself and her young daughter before heading out to a cleaning job. “I didn’t finish school, so I like practicing my English,” she says. The pandemic’s global centers were shifting south, toward deeply unequal countries where it pulled apart the cracks in already battered public health systems.And yet, all around Mr. In early June, with the economy cratering, South Africa’s government had slackened the rules of its lockdown. Then came a Zoom call with a task force looking into virus transmission on minibuses – the cramped, rickety vans that carried most commuters to work. In Rustenburg, a city flanked by platinum mines in South Africa’s arid northwest, an estimated one in four women had been raped. They paid in large bills and didn’t count the change. Mabuza’s gate, the street was quiet. he decided to linger in bed a few extra minutes, covers pulled tight against the chilly Durban morning.Like nearly everywhere in the world, the previous 98 days had been grueling. In late March, with case numbers still in the triple digits, the country had begun one of the world’s strictest lockdowns, which forbade even outdoor exercise and the sale of tobacco and alcohol. Karim about had never been easy. And it was underscored when he arrived, in 1978, at South Africa’s only medical school for “non-white” doctors.“As soon as you got there, you got roped into the struggle against apartheid,” Dr. Courtesy of Siyathuthuka Media

Cecilia Lamola-Larufi, who helps manage Doctors Without Borders’ centers for victims of sexual assault and gender-based violence in Rustenburg, South Africa, organizes kits for collecting evidence at a clinic. Karim about them on nearly a daily basis.When would the days-long backlog of coronavirus tests be cleared? Instead, he saw people slammed against the ground. Heather Mason

Bongani Mabuza and his wife, Sibongile Motlhasedi, stand behind the counter at their African Accents Spaza Shop in Katlehong Township. Others made it to the care center but struggled to explain what had happened. On April 14, 2018, he was one of the conveners of the ‘March for Science’ in the city of Durban. In the best of times, the 25-year-old single mother had pulled in around $300 USD a month from two cleaning jobs and a small government assistance check. His spaza – a local name for this type of store   – served bread and Coke and hot sandwiches to a steady stream of customers in blue workmen’s overalls and security guard uniforms heading to jobs in the city. And she was bored of being stuck at home. But Ms. Maseko did any job that came along – sweeping streets, installing electrical wiring, cleaning houses. Fauci” – had a rare reprieve. painting ‘FREE MANDELA’ on bridges before our lectures.”When he graduated, Dr. “That’s when I realized that this disease doesn’t only kill, it kills in a way that doesn’t allow people to say goodbye, or to grieve.”That was the world he wanted back. Lamola-Larufi knew, this might be the only moment in the aftermath of their assault that they simply felt heard. But in South Africa, as anywhere, our experiences are bound by common threads: fatigue, love, uncertainty, resolve. Now, a new generation of the city’s fortune-seekers had crowded in, tapping an illegal electricity connection from the nearby city wires and drawing water from an outdoor tap.Back then, Ms. But the society it entered did.He’d known that since he was a child, growing up in an Indian township wedged between a middle-class white suburb and a rundown African one on the edge of Durban. At the country’s largest airport, two people would die in a shootout between police and criminals trying to steal a shipment of face masks. That she and her girls were going to be ok. But by far their most important role was something less tangible.For many of the women who walked through their doors, Ms. Ms. South Africa’s lockdown had been only five days old when, on March 31, he had first lost someone to the disease.“When I went to see her in the hospital, they wouldn’t let me in. And as the sun slunk low, Dr. I like to see another part of the world.”Sometimes on nights like this, she imagined herself living in a house she used to clean, before the lockdown, which had so many rooms she couldn’t tidy them all in a single day. “You never tell them, ‘Ok, I’ve heard enough.’”Her team knew the statistics: Only around 8% of rape cases reported to police ended in a conviction. Justice required good health. were one of his busiest times. Like AIDS or measles or any of the other infectious diseases Dr. When she looped back in the afternoon, many were still there, slumping dejected on the lawns and benches.It wasn’t lost on her that she could have grown up to be one of those women. Six feet away, behind surgical masks, the nurses and social workers struggled to read the only part of the women’s faces they could see – their eyes. America has bungled the pandemic. Ryan Lenora Brown/The Christian Science Monitor

Sindisiwe Maseko, a single mother in Johannesburg, cannot afford to buy her daughter’s school workbooks, so she hand-copies the pages into a notebook she bought at the grocery store. But together, they paint a picture of what South Africa’s president has called “the gravest crisis in the history of our democracy.” And they speak to experiences most of us have felt in the past few months, from fear to fortitude. In Durban, Dr. Were they afraid?At a distance, sometimes, it was hard to tell.AfternoonAt African Accent, the morning had been busy. )

By Ryan Lenora Brown
Staff writer
@ryanlenorabrown

On the morning of July 3, 2020, South Africans woke up and began another day in lockdown – the 99th day, to be precise. And even now, most days, that seemed scarier than a virus. Now, her only steady work was a cleaning gig at a community center down the road, which paid $10 a week for three two-hour shifts.It was better than nothing. They were desperately important to keep the country running. Heather Mason

Bongani Mabuza and his wife, Sibongile Motlhasedi, owners of the African Accent Spaza Shop, stand outside their shop in Katlehong Township east of Johannesburg. On the good days, they bought candy bars and energy drinks. Karim had studied in his life, the coronavirus itself did not discriminate. It was small and dark, and they had to cross the yard to get to the bathroom or kitchen, but it was theirs. Frog-hop to the end of the block.“Normally in the township when you call the police, they take hours to come,” he says. Millions had lost their jobs. Before COVID-19 hit South Africa, 5 to 7 a.m. And when that conversation was done, he had another about one of the most fraught questions globally – what to do about schools.That problem, like every other he faced related to COVID-19, stood at the intersection of public health and social justice: The kids most at risk from COVID-19 were also the most at risk of falling behind in their education.That was how it almost always went with epidemics. It made you part of this thing that had already destroyed so many lives in your community. So she’d asked another parent to send her photos of the pages by WhatsApp, and then she copied the text and images carefully into a notebook she’d bought at the grocery store. Mr. He was five years old the first time he saw a dead body lying in the road on his way home from school, not far from where his shop now stood.He knew what the people brought to preserve order were capable of. Karim went into medical research. Maseko was too.Their concrete room felt like an igloo on winter nights, and in the main house, there was always so much noise – babies shrieking and oil frying and soap operas blaring from the small TV. Maseko asked her older daughter as the sun collapsed behind the horizon, leaving Johannesburg in a chilly winter darkness. That bought time, but it also created new catastrophes. Three months into the lockdown, so many South Africans had lost their jobs that there were more people unemployed than still formally working.For 99 days, Mr. And because her jobs had been informal – paid under the table, in cash – she wasn’t eligible for unemployment.“I was angry. Was public transportation safe? Maseko, like the other million women in South Africa who work as housekeepers, that spelled an immediate end to her work. “I want them to become doctors,” she said. And so now, a month later, many Katlehong residents had been paid for the first time in a long time. Editor’s note: As a public service,   all our coronavirus coverage   is free. Mabuza had seen violence like this before, in the dying years of apartheid, as political killings – and equally brutal police reaction – gripped Katlehong. July 24, 2020

Two ways to read the story

Quick Read
Deep Read ( 14 Min. And a single mother in Johannesburg rose to make breakfast for her daughter before heading to the only job she had left: a few hours of cleaning, for $10 a week. “I like the dance. Loading… EDUCATION & ATTITUDE CREATE OPPORTUNITY, its cover read in bold letters.Sometimes Ms. Journalists, ministers, even the president, grilled Dr. In those first years, she’d made her tiny budget work by squatting rent-free with her sister and her sister’s two young children in a room in an abandoned house on the eastern edge of the city. It was the kind of sprawling old building that a hundred years ago might have been owned by one of the well-to-do white families who’d made their fortune in Johannesburg’s gold mining camps. So at 6 a.m. Karim wanted an answer to as much as anyone. It didn’t really matter what she was doing, as long as her girls – now there were two – had something to eat and money for school uniforms. Maseko struggled to explain Londiwe’s assignments to her. The job, which pays about $10 a week for three two-hour shifts, is her only steady work since South Africa’s coronavirus lockdown began in late March. That was a hard thing to explain, he thought, unless you’d been in this part of the world as another deadly disease made its rounds: HIV. “People were being brutalized into staying home, and government was saying it was for their own safety. She’d left school in tenth grade, when her family couldn’t afford the $20 to buy a new uniform. Maseko was mopping the community center floor in Johannesburg, Cecilia Lamola-Larufi was trying to figure out how to manage her day’s first crisis.In the offices of the medical charity Doctors Without Borders in the city of Rustenburg, she scrolled through her emails while her phone lit up again and again. Since the country’s coronavirus lockdown began in late March, many victims have struggled to access their services. The evidence they collected, she reminded them, “gives [these women] a voice.”But during the lockdown, that had been harder than ever. Since the start of the coronavirus lockdown, many of their customers have not been able to afford their usual purchases. Mabuza’s count. It had been so long now since she’d done math problems or memorized English grammar rules.Anyway, Londiwe was struggling to focus.   A decade ago, her younger sister’s partner had stabbed her to death, leaving behind their daughters, ages 2 and 6 weeks. When his own store had been robbed a few years earlier, he’d found the perpetrators before the police had the chance. They were waiting for cars to stop and ask for help with a small job – ironing, painting. When they found someone on the road, there was rarely a conversation about what rule they’d broken.

No paywall. For now, Ms. Lamola-Larufi was thinking ahead, to the moment tomorrow morning when one of her three sons would hit shuffle on the family playlist, and for a moment, they would all lose track of where they were. But on July 3, that was all still to come.   Editor’s note: As a public service,   all our coronavirus coverage   is free.
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A Kenyan woman’s solar panel supports a community in lockdown

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This story was reported by the Thomson Reuters Foundation.Editor’s note: As a public service, the Monitor has removed the paywall   for all our coronavirus coverage. It’s free.

Wanja had hoped to be one of them. But the important thing is up-scaling these so that renewable energy generation can become cheaper in Africa,” said Mbeo Ogeya, one of the report’s authors.Accessibility is increasingStephen Nzioka, deputy director of renewable energy at Kenya’s Ministry of Energy and Petroleum, said the costs of solar energy are falling.A report published in June by the International Renewable Energy Agency noted that the cost of utility-scale PV solar power dropped by more than 80% between 2010 and last year.”We are encouraging renewable energy technologies and [their] dissemination, but also combining mini-grids with solar PV systems,” said Mr. Baz Ratner/Reuters

A patient reacts after being tested for the novel coronavirus in Machakos, Kenya, July 23, 2020. I do not know what I could be using to buy kerosene if I had not installed this solar unit.”
America has bungled the pandemic. Kenya region.One in 4 Kenyans – mostly in rural areas – do not have access to electricity. She applied for an electricity connection in 2016, but local officials said her application was turned down because she lived too far from the main road.Worried the kerosene lamps she used for lighting could cause a fire or the toxic fumes would harm her children’s health, she decided to put some of her savings into buying a solar system.Now she has power through the blackouts, she saves the dollar a week she used to spend on kerosene, and her children can study safely, she said.”Sometimes I would even take the tin lamp to use in the kitchen, leaving my children in darkness. July 24, 2020

By Kagondu Njagi
Reuters

Gakunga, Kenya
When Lucyline Wanja Silas installed a 12-volt solar power unit at her home to help her children study at night, little did she know it would become essential to her and her neighbors in Gakunga village, central Kenya, during the coronavirus pandemic.Ms. Solar panels could provide a solution. But now I do not have to because there is solar lighting in my kitchen,” Ms. I cannot afford to pay the daily fee. Those who do face high costs and frequent blackouts due to an unreliable supply.As cases of the novel coronavirus continue to climb in Kenya, the lack of reliable power can be a matter of life and death, said Ms. Wanja, a farm worker, said she had not made any money since the country’s lockdown started in March, but the solar photovoltaic (PV) unit she purchased in January means she no longer needs to buy kerosene for lamplight.And she can also help others in her area who are without electricity, either because of faults on power lines around the country due to heavy rains since March or because they could not pay their bills after losing their jobs during the pandemic.”My neighbors who are experiencing blackouts now come to me so that I can charge their phones for them for a fee,” she said, adding that they pay 20 to 50 Kenyan shillings ($0.19-0.46).”There is no money out there. Loading… Njeru, whose work involves taking patients with urgent health problems to and from hospital.”Without a power source, families facing an emergency are not able to keep their mobile phones charged to call us. Now what?With extreme weather and the economic impact of COVID-19 plunging many Kenyans into darkness, alternative energy sources are increasingly important – even for families connected to the grid, said Pamela Mukami Njeru, a community health volunteer in the central Mt. Nzioka, adding that the government had removed import duty on solar products.Harriet Lamb, CEO of British climate charity Ashden, has called for investors, governments, and philanthropic groups to create a $35-million fund to support community-based clean-energy businesses during the COVID-19 outbreak, as customers struggle to pay.”Off-grid solar offers a lifeline for around 470 million people, keeping lights on and equipment working in health facilities, small businesses, and households,” she said in a statement earlier this month.”But some clean energy businesses are vulnerable to collapse without support to see them through the pandemic.”Ms. A Kenyan woman’s solar panel supports a community in lockdown

Lucyline Wanja Silas saved up to buy a solar panel and now it is keeping her lights on and her neighbors’ phones charged during Kenyas blackouts and an economic slump. Wanja said the weekly payments she makes on her solar unit work out at 55 Kenyan shillings a day.Yet, while the government is now easing the coronavirus lockdown, she still has no work – so even that small but essential cost is proving too much.”Much of my income comes from doing menial jobs, but now there are none because of COVID-19. Wanja said.If more Kenyans switched to solar, the move could also help curb climate change, according to a 2018 report by Stockholm Environment Institute Africa researchers.Replacing smoky fuels such as kerosene, wood, and charcoal with solar energy could help reduce emissions in Kenya by 1.8 megatonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent by 2030, it said.In 2015, less than 1% of Kenya’s electricity came from solar – with most generated from fossil fuels, hydropower, and geothermal energy – but the country has the potential to push that up to more than 7% by 2030, the report added.The researchers linked the slow uptake of solar energy to high investment costs in recent years, noting that upfront costs involved in generating one kilowatt of energy from solar were more than three times as much as those for hydropower.”We have the solutions and we have the technologies. This is how having a solar unit which can supply power all day and night can save lives,” she told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.In early May, Kenya suffered a nationwide blackout that lasted about six hours, and the following month, more than 20 counties lost electricity for about 10 hours.Bernard Ngugi, managing director of the Kenya Power and Lighting Company, told reporters in June that the blackouts were the result of work being done by the company to replace damaged power lines or to upgrade the network to connect new customers.Slow path to solarMs. We need help,” she said. Falling solar prices mean more people can switch to clean energy. As the number of cases rises in Kenya, many rural Kenyans are unable to rely on usual sources of income to pay for electricity.
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With Siberia in flames, climate change hits home for Russia

Slivyak of Ecodefense says the reason for the Russian government’s reluctance to face and adapt to the realities of long-term climate change is that it would mean calling into question Russia’s basic economic strategy.“We have had the same strategy for the past 50 years, which is to ramp up extraction of fossil fuels, mostly for export,” he says. “Russian officials may be learning to talk the talk about climate change at international forums, but whenever issues of economic development come up, the chief goals are always more oil, gas, and coal. They are just not ready to accept that without radical adaptations, this is going to get worse, much worse.” Mr.
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Cities that have seldom seen summer temperatures above 70 degrees Fahrenheit have been sweltering under a hot season that began a month early.The ongoing forest fires are estimated to have so far released 56 million tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere – more than the annual emissions of some midsized European countries. That has caused at least one disastrous industrial accident, and threatens the integrity of the entire region’s infrastructure, including pipelines, roads, and housing.“What we are witnessing is not just a rate of warming over Siberia and the Arctic that’s two or three times the global average, but changes in atmospheric patterns,” says Valentina Khan of the Hydrometeorological Research Center of the Russian Federation. So they never invested in prevention. Two decades ago, we might have concentrated on reducing greenhouse gases. “In the long run, something has to be done about the emissions of greenhouse gases.”
America has bungled the pandemic. There is the likelihood in future of more extreme weather events, which will be greater in their frequency and duration.”“We have been warning about this”A team of international researchers has concluded that this year’s Siberian heat wave would have been virtually impossible without man-made climate change. Chebakova. And the toxic haze from the fires has reportedly settled over several towns, aggravating health conditions – and moods – for many inhabitants who are still under obligatory coronavirus lockdown.Meanwhile, high temperatures are accelerating the melting of Russia’s 17 million square miles of permafrost above the Arctic Circle. )

By Fred Weir
Special correspondent

This year has brought unprecedented forest fires to Siberia, devastating an area the size of the state of Washington in Russia’s vast Asian landmass. Russian Emergencies Ministry/Reuters

Russian officials, like these members of the Russian Emergencies Ministry in the Khanty-Mansiysk Autonomous Region, are working to contain the fires. But now we have a warming process that’s well underway, and it’s going to be with us for some time,” he says. Now what?“Unprecedented” phenomenaThe ongoing forest fires are estimated to have so far released 56 million tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere – more than the annual emissions of some midsized European countries. “Now it’s happening, and they are still in denial. And the toxic haze from the fires has reportedly settled over several towns, aggravating health conditions for many inhabitants.Meanwhile, high temperatures are accelerating the melting of Russia’s 17 million square miles of permafrost above the Arctic Circle. That’s why we can say that the human factor is the key problem here.” “There is the likelihood in future of more extreme weather events, which will be greater in their frequency and duration.”

Moscow
Siberia is burning.Russia’s enormous but sparsely populated Asian landmass is experiencing record-breaking temperatures, the fifth year in a row it has done so.But this year has brought unprecedented forest fires that have devastated a territory the size of the state of Washington, and blanketed vast areas with thick air pollution. With Siberia in flames, climate change hits home for Russia

Why We Wrote This

Siberia may be best known for being cold. That has caused at least one disastrous industrial accident, and threatens the integrity of the entire region’s infrastructure, including pipelines, roads, and housing. July 23, 2020

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Deep Read ( 5 Min. But the melting earth also threatens to disgorge huge amounts of greenhouse gases, such as methane, that have been locked in the ice throughout human history, threatening incalculable future consequences.The near-complete disappearance of sea ice off Russia’s northern coast this year has proved an economic boon, with shipping companies predicting that year-round navigation through the once icebound Northeast Passage might soon become possible. “For instance, we need proper management of forests, with better fire prevention and firefighting capacities, yet the numbers of people doing these things have been steadily reduced. Aside from the overt damage they are doing to the forests, they are also releasing long-frozen greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. For over a decade Russia has been preparing to exploit the vast trove of resources opening up as the Arctic ice pack recedes and has been steadily building infrastructure, including military bases, to promote that effort. But scientists and activists say the government needs to take more preventive action as well. But what about next year?”“A lack of official responsibility”The government’s lack of preparedness became clear at the end of May after melting permafrost caused fuel tanks to rupture at a power station belonging to the huge NorNickel mining and smelting company, near the city of Norilsk in Siberia’s far north. But scientists fret that the declining albedo, or reflectivity, of the vanishing ice sheets will only create a negative feedback loop that accelerates the melt-off in coming years.“These phenomena are unprecedented,” says Valentina Khan, deputy director of the Hydrometeorological Research Center of the Russian Federation, part of the national weather service. Then they tried to cover up the accident, and failed to act swiftly to contain the damage. And, they warn, it is a climate catastrophe that might be just beginning.“If these temperatures repeat themselves next year, the situation on the southern fringe of Siberian forests is going to become critical,” says Nadezhda Chebakova, a researcher at the   Sukachev Institute of Forest in Krasnoyarsk. Of course there is much more reliable information about global warming and the growing environmental catastrophe in the Russian media than there was 10 years ago, and scientists are talking about it more. The receding permafrost has exposed copious remains of long-extinct woolly mammoths, frozen for thousands of years beneath the tundra, sparking worries of a new “gold rush” to harvest the prehistoric beasts’ valuable ivory tusks. But this summer, large parts of it are in flames – a state of affairs that Russian scientists say is a byproduct of climate change, and is likely to end up accelerating the process. “It’s pretty clear that we are looking at a general warming trend, and 90% of Russian scientists believe it is caused by human activity.”Environmentalists are beside themselves with dread and frustration.“We have been warning about this for at least two decades, and successive Russian governments have failed to take heed,” says Vladimir Slivyak, co-chair of Ecodefense, one of Russia’s oldest – and perennially embattled – environmental organizations. But big business cares only about maintaining the status quo, exploiting nature in profitable ways. The main approach in play right now appears to be to wait for autumn, for the rains to come. It’s a view the Russian government has been slow to accept, but most Russian scientists now admit that it must be deemed a permanent factor.“What we’ve seen here in central Siberia is an absolutely abnormal April, with temperatures above 30 degrees Celsius [86 F], and in general temperatures about 2 degrees above the 100-year average,” says Dr. “The dangers of melting permafrost have been obvious for years. The spill released 20,000 tons of diesel fuel into the soil and nearby rivers, creating what local activists described as an “environmental catastrophe.” A few days later, President Vladimir Putin declared a state of emergency in Norilsk, but the damage to the delicate northern ecosystem seems set to persist for decades.“The main problem is a lack of official responsibility,” says Vassily Yablokov,   climate project manager at Greenpeace Russia. Loading… Julia Petrenko/Greenpeace/Reuters

Fires like this one, in the Krasnoyarsk region in the middle of Siberia July 17, 2020, are devastating Russia’s Asian landmass. Cities that have seldom seen summer temperatures above 70 degrees Fahrenheit have been sweltering under a hot season that began a month early this year, and has been consistently delivering daily temperatures several degrees above average.Scientists say Siberia is warming at twice the global average – leading to extreme weather events, severe environmental deterioration, and serious complications for human habitation. But we still don’t hear much from government officials.“What we need to see, urgently, is the creation of an adaptation plan. “What we are witnessing is not just a rate of warming over Siberia and the Arctic that’s two or three times the global average, but changes in atmospheric patterns.
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China pushes Huawei, Washington pulls another way

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It is not yet clear which way Europe’s largest economy will go: Chancellor Angela Merkel has seemed leery of having to choose sides as diplomatic and trade relations between the U.S. (Germany’s biggest trade partner) and China (its third biggest) have become more adversarial.But as Washington and Beijing battle for global technological leadership, neither of them may leave much room for other countries to steer a noncommittal course. The key voice is likely to be Germany’s.

Just last month, it surpassed South Korea’s Samsung to claim the No. And so it proved this past week, with the spotlight falling on China’s drive to displace the United States as world leader in technology and telecommunications, and on U.S. The Chinese telecom giant is leading Beijing’s challenge to U.S. But a number of Eastern European countries, and Italy, have signed on to Belt and Road investment plans and may well be reluctant to exclude Huawei. Two years ago, it leapfrogged Apple to become the world’s second-largest smartphone maker. retains a clear lead in technology and innovation. Dado Ruvic/Photo illustration/Reuters

At Washington’s request, the British government has banned 5G equipment made by Huawei. Canada has been holding off, apparently afraid that a negative decision could provoke Beijing into worsening the situation for two Canadians it has detained since Canada held a Huawei executive wanted by the U.S. allies have decided to ban or phase out Huawei equipment, Australia and Japan among them, but many other countries – especially in Asia, Africa, and Latin America – are buying from Huawei, not least because it is cheaper than the competition.Now all eyes are on Europe, where governments would prefer not to antagonize China but do not want to risk U.S. Though nominally a private company, Huawei has benefited from billions of dollars in state credits. July 23, 2020

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By Ned Temko
Correspondent

When the British government decided last week to ban all equipment made by the Chinese firm Huawei from the United Kingdom’s 5G network, it did so in large part because Washington wanted it to.Huawei, the top telecom equipment-maker in the world, has become a poster child for China’s technological prowess, and for President Xi Jinping’s ambition to put China at the cutting edge of artificial intelligence, robots, and self-driving cars.The U.S. Britain just complied. And it is playing a starring role in President Xi Jinping’s explicit strategy to position China at the cutting edge of future technological applications – not just in telecommunications but in areas like artificial intelligence, electric and self-driving cars, robots, and space travel.In pressing Britain and other countries to exclude Huawei equipment from their 5G networks, Washington has raised genuine security concerns, warning that Chinese-built networks could hide “back doors” through which sensitive data could be passed on to Beijing. It was also a sign of why   this cold war, if it happens, will be different from the decadeslong rivalry with a decidedly more low-tech Soviet Union.China plays catch-upIn most fields, the U.S. These include states across Asia, the Arab world, Africa, and Latin America where China has won financial and political influence through its Belt and Road program of loans and investment in infrastructure projects.Yet most closely watched in the months ahead will be what happens in the EU, the world’s largest trading bloc, which has long had close ties with the U.S. Under Chinese law, Huawei must share information with the country’s security services if asked to do so.But with 21st-century economies so dependent on technology, it’s the potential geopolitical implications of Chinese advances that have been preoccupying Washington, especially since China already exerts enormous influence on international trade, investment, and development.Belt and Road relationshipsBritain has now joined a group of countries traditionally close to the U.S., including Australia, New Zealand, and Japan, that have decided to ban or phase out Huawei equipment. global technological dominance. China pushes Huawei, Washington pulls another way

Why We Wrote This

Today, technological primacy means geopolitical dominance. Will others follow? Washington is pressuring allies to ban Chinese 5G equipment. Loading… With its universities, research institutions, and technology incubators – as well as market-shaping companies, from Apple and Microsoft to Amazon and Tesla – this seems unlikely to change in the immediate future. But as Beijing and Washington battle for global technological leadership, neither of them is likely to leave much room for other countries to steer a noncommittal course. Several U.S. Other political and economic calculations were also in play, not least Britain’s need to forge a new international identity and role now that it has left the European Union.But what finally tipped the scales toward a tougher Huawei decision was pressure, private and public, from Washington. government is trying to stymie Huawei’s international spread as part of its broader campaign to constrain China: In today’s world, technological primacy means geopolitical dominance. By 2012, it had overtaken Sweden’s Ericsson as the top manufacturer of telecommunications equipment. And with its government patronage, it has also been able to undercut competitors on price.Huawei is one of dozens of increasingly successful Chinese technology companies. Now what?But Huawei, founded in the late 1980s, has become a leading world player. 1 spot. London
Sometimes a single decision by a single government can illuminate an important trend on the world stage. and China in what some pundits are calling the potential start of a new cold war. wrath either. will, or can, exert similar sway on other traditional allies as they make their Huawei decisions. Yet Britain’s Huawei decision was a dramatic reminder of the importance of the competition for technological primacy. In many countries, the decision is going in Huawei’s favor. authorities.What’s less clear, looking ahead, is whether the U.S. America has bungled the pandemic. There are multiple points of contention between the U.S. efforts to thwart Beijing’s ambition.That clash was not the only reason the British government decided to bar the giant Chinese company Huawei from its forthcoming 5G network – a major extension of its earlier, more limited move to restrict the company’s role. Its 5G kit is regarded as being at least as good as that made by Ericsson or other Western firms. but where China has been building an increasingly important network of economic ties in recent years.Washington will be hoping that, at the very least, EU countries strictly limit Huawei participation in 5G, especially since European firms like Ericsson and the Finnish company Nokia could provide alternative solutions.

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Meet the woman behind Israel’s ‘communities of kindness’

“At home and at school I always felt I needed to take the world on my shoulders.”   Ms. Altschuler says her drive to start movements began early.“I always felt the world was my responsibility,” she says.

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Peer-led youth movements, where teenagers are given the responsibility of leading younger children, are a central part of Israeli culture. They were still close four years later when she took part in a leadership initiative for teenagers. Loading… Altschuler is still leading grand initiatives. “You don’t need special training to connect with another person and be nice.”   For Ms. “Inclu” is a network of the country’s first inclusive public schools, in which typical and special needs pupils with a range of physical or intellectual impairments study together.“For me the biggest mission is to create communities of kindness,” says Ms. Sender-Mulla, small groups gather to share memories of the Holocaust in the intimate settings of people’s homes.It started when Ms. If there was a recurring theme in her creations, it was this: They looked different from anything in the world around her.“I looked at things differently. “The idea is that everyone belongs.”

When Adi Altschuler was a girl of 12, she volunteered to work with an organization for disabled youth. She has two more grand initiatives to her credit. When really, she says, all people function with disabilities; it’s just that some are more visible than others. In Israel 76 chapters serve 7,000 youth. “The idea is that everyone belongs – I think this revolution of inclusion can really change people’s outlook.”Israel has been touted for innovation in high-tech, but it has also become a greenhouse for social startups. But they also need friends, a chance to connect with other youth,” she says. Meet the woman behind Israel’s ‘communities of kindness’

Why We Wrote This

How do you help people feel like they belong? Sender-Mulla. “I’m an expert at finding experts,” she says with a laugh.New approach on the HolocaustThe second social movement Ms. “When I grew up, I think the space for thinking of ideas only grew, and I would try to produce whatever that idea was. Altschuler. And participating in them is something of a rite of passage, but was previously unattainable for children with disabilities.Krembo is the first and only youth movement of its kind in the world. They became friends and eventually collaborators.“I think Adi has a great way of pitching amazing ideas and being able to harness people’s attention and their desire to move things forward,” says Ms. Heidi Levine/Special to The Christian Science Monitor

Adi Altschuler poses at Tel Aviv’s Bikurim school, an inclusive school where typical and disabled children study together, July 13, 2020. In 2018 the United Nations recognized it for its leadership in inclusion and designated it as a “special adviser” for other countries looking to integrate special-needs youth into the broader social fold. The school is part of a network inspired by her Krembo Wings youth movement. Courtesy of Krembo Wings

Youth goof around at a meeting of the Krembo Wings youth movement, which brings together special needs and more typically developing children in Israel. are so often dealing with doctors and therapists.   “For the past several years the youth who are involved have been leading a quiet social revolution to make a better, more open and more accepting society – one that says, ‘There is a place for everyone,’” says Sigal Dekel, the movement’s communication manager. Altschuler initiated, Zikaron B’Salon, or Memories in the Living Room, is revolutionizing how Israelis memorialize the Holocaust. Altschuler.She says she’s not a good manager but does excel at finding people to collaborate with who can help push through a vision. America has bungled the pandemic. Those friends told others, and suddenly there were 40 people in the living room – most of them strangers.The program has grown. Altschuler says she is driven less by a passion for a certain group or subject, than by a need to, as she puts it, “fix things.”“Everyone has their gift, and that’s something I’m good at – starting things. Today her organization, Krembo Wings, matches typically developing children with children with disabilities.Peer-led youth movements, where teenagers are given the responsibility of leading younger children, are a central part of Israeli culture. Altschuler has tapped into something in Israel’s younger generation.“We don’t want to passively accept things as they are, but engage and create,” she says. “These kids … Participants were asked to think of something that bothered them about society that they thought needed to be fixed.Thinking of Kfir and his social isolation, unable to just walk out the door to see friends, she decided to scale the kind of relationship they had by forming a local group bringing children with disabilities together with more typically developing children and teenagers.“Children with disabilities” is a phrase Ms. This year, some 2 million people participated via Zoom in Israel and abroad.Her third and current undertaking expands on the formative experience of creating Krembo Wings.“Inclu” is a network of the country’s first inclusive public schools, in which typical and special-needs pupils with a range of physical or intellectual impairments study together.“I always thought: What would Krembo Wings look like in a school– a school infused with its values?” she says.“For me the biggest mission is to create communities of kindness – where people understand that diversity is a blessing and it’s an opportunity to see a range of human experiences out there,” says Ms. Her Memories in the Living Room project is revolutionizing how Israelis memorialize the Holocaust. Altschuler, Krembo was just her first foray into social entrepreneurship. Now what?The local group she formed soon grew into a youth movement across Israel with the help of Kfir’s mother, Claudia Kobi. And participating in them is something of a rite of passage, but was previously unattainable for kids with disabilities.Today, two decades later, Krembo boasts 76 chapters in Israel that serve 7,000 children and youth, and Ms. What started as an informal gathering with friends to hear one survivor’s story has evolved into a program spread across 55 different countries.Her most recent undertaking expands on the formative experience of creating Krembo Wings. It was named Krembo Wings, after a marshmallow-and-chocolate cookie popular with Israeli children. She describes their introduction as “love at first sight.”Their meetings went from once weekly to several times a week. Altschuler, disappointed by the formulaic nature of Israeli ceremonies on Holocaust Remembrance Day, with what to her felt like a rote collection of songs, poems, and dry speeches, decided in 2010 to try something more personal.She invited a survivor to her parents’ home and emailed friends to come hear the survivor’s story. Altschuler 11 years ago through a gathering at the World Economic Forum for leaders under 30. Sender-Mulla says Ms. Her long list of awards and recognitions, in Israel and abroad, includes being named in 2016 by Time magazine as one of six leaders of the future.Danna Sender-Mulla met Ms. I am not capable of closing my eyes when I see something that needs addressing,” she says.She also insists that all of her endeavors are based on teamwork.“I always meet people along the way that inspire me; these are not just my creations, but ultimately, the product of many people,” says Ms. In 2019, 1.5 million people attended events across 55 countries. Sometimes it’s as simple as creating opportunities to bring them together. Adi Altschuler has been doing just that since she was a teen. I could not let things remain at the idea stage,” she says. )

By Dina Kraft
Correspondent

Adi Altschuler was just 16 years old when she first dabbled in social entrepreneurship. Altschuler says she remembers herself always creating – drawing, writing, making things. Altschuler prefers today not to use, because, she says, it connotes that they have disabilities while “typical children” do not. “Adi has the ability to get anyone excited about what she is excited about.”A need to fix thingsRecalling her childhood outside Tel Aviv, Ms. Altschuler. Ms. “I could not rest till they were done.”Ms. In the project she has worked on with Ms. “It’s the most respectful place I’ve ever been,” says Tamar Sommer, 15, who says she is looking forward to becoming a counselor in the fall. July 23, 2020

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Deep Read ( 5 Min. She was assigned to work with a 3-year-old with a bright smile and face sprinkled with freckles.Kfir Kobi could neither walk nor speak, she says, but he understood everything going on around him. And then I tried to reduce the gap between what I saw and what I imagined,” she says.

They’ve faced brutal cops abroad. Now they’re advising US protesters.

Nazzal also felt a powerful sense of urgency. – along with police action to halt them – the movement came with them.“Life-changing” informationLaw enforcement around the world is increasingly responding to popular protests with crowd-control weapons (CCWs), according to the U.S. Now what?It is a sort of switch for the U.S., which is usually in the position of observer – and sometimes supplier – of violent police action globally. Protesters in the   U.S. Ms. were able to look at the weapons being fired at them and using Ms. “In Palestine, we usually keep [protester identities and knowledge of weaponry] under wraps,” she says. “The proliferation of CCWs without adequate regulation, training, monitoring and/or accountability, has led to the widespread and routine use or misuse of these weapons, resulting in injury, disability, and death,” PHR noted in a 2016 report. … Why We Wrote This

The violent tactics used by U.S. “Right now we’re systematically documenting specific cases of injuries but certainly in terms of projectile injuries, we’ve already documented about a hundred or more quite serious cases. “In terms of projectile injuries, we’ve already documented about a hundred or more quite serious cases.”

Brighton, England
As cities across the United States erupted with protesters demonstrating against the killings of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd and demanding an end to police brutality, on the internet, Twitter was erupting, too: with advice.“Tips, if not wearing a gas mask … rubbing a pinch of salt around eyes, helps combat the impact of the smoke. Take care, stay safe & keep reporting. But now I can identify by looking or hearing the sound. were always criticized, but domestic problems never found a way into the mainstream media outside the country,” he says. – along with police action to halt them – a transnational movement of information sharing came with them.This information sharing was both needed and necessary for people on the ground, given the extent of injuries in the U.S., says Dr. The civilian movements in the   U.S. in their full tactical gear using crowd-control measures the way he saw during protests in Kashmir.“Foreign policies of the U.S. Nazzal was able to identify this weaponry used against   U.S. Loading… And when those protests came to the U.S. Now they’re advising US protesters. In 2019, analysts at Allied Market Research found that the world’s nonlethal weapons market – that is, weapons frequently used in law enforcement – could be worth more than $9.6 billion by 2022.For Rana Nazzal, whose Twitter thread on identifying police weapons went viral, it started with a phone call from a friend in New York who was being fired at with tear gas and had no time to research what to do. Nazzal. was comparable to other demonstrations around the world, according to Dr. But when human rights protests came to the U.S. The scale and the severity is comparable.”Some of the cases PHR has documented include a reporter in Louisville, Kentucky, who was hit by a pepper ball while on live television, delivered by an officer who appeared to be aiming directly at her, and a police officer in New York City who pulled down the face mask of a protester who already had his hands up, and shot pepper spray directly into his face.A new view of the U.S.Sagar Kaul, co-founder of fact-checking platform Metafact and an expert in tracking misinformation online, was born in the Kashmir Valley and is married to a U.S. It was one of the things that took me the longest to learn and when I did, it was life-changing.”Ms. seem to be evolving rapidly, and incorporating strategies from resistance movements elsewhere, such as in Hong Kong, where protesters wore generic black clothing to conceal their identities. Nazzal, who spent many years participating in weekly direct action and joining organized protests in the Palestinian territories and is currently doing her master’s in Toronto, gave him quick tips on keeping safe, but then decided to take it one step further. Nazzal’s posts, among others, recognize them and make educated guesses about next steps during the demonstrations.This information sharing was needed for people on the ground, given that the extent of injuries in the U.S. But as the number of protests around the world have risen in recent years, as people have taken to the streets to demand rights and freedoms, so too has a transnational movement of information sharing, largely on Twitter and focused on safety. Love from Kashmir.”“In Palestine, first thing we do under fire is identify the type of weapons israeli cops/soldiers are holding. They know that people with experience won’t run from stun grenades. Keep that in mind because israel trains US police & they may be using same strategies.”From the identification of weapons to protecting one’s self when shot at, users from the Palestinian territories, Kashmir, Chile, and Hong Kong, gave advice on each and every aspect of demonstrating against brutal police states and keeping safe when in the midst of chaos. This defines your strategy for resisting + trying to be safe.”“israeli soldiers sometimes use stun grenades to thin out a crowd & then go in & arrest people. They’ve faced brutal cops abroad. citizen. “It’s only now that we know how badly racism and inequality has affected a large population of the country.”For protesters and the people who have been advising them, there has been a marked shift not just in the way the protests are seen around the world, but the boldness of the protesters themselves.“We’re seeing a lot more civil unrest that’s going beyond what you’d usually see at a protest, especially a big one,” says Ms. Nazzal, who spent many years joining organized protests in the Palestinian territories, gave him quick tips on keeping safe, but then decided to make it public.It is a sort of switch for the U.S., which is usually in the position of observer of violent police action globally. Ms. America has bungled the pandemic. And that familiarity is turning global resisters of police brutality into online advisers of American protesters who are now in harm’s way. Dar Yasin/AP

Clashes between Indian police and Kashmiri protesters, like these here during a protest in outskirts of Srinagar on June 22, 2018, are the sorts of conflicts that created the knowledge base now being offered to U.S. protesters because many of the weapons, especially the tear gas, bought by Israel and seen in protests in the Palestinian territories, are U.S.-made. He was 11 years old when the insurgency started in India-controlled Kashmir, and he says he never thought he would ever witness police agencies   in the U.S. )

By Natasha Khullar Relph
Correspondent

As cities across the United States erupted with protesters demonstrating against the killings of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd and demanding an end to police brutality, the internet was erupting, too: with advice.For Rana Nazzal, whose Twitter thread on identifying police weapons went viral, it started with a phone call from a friend in New York who was being fired at with tear gas and had no time to research what to do. law enforcement in recent weeks are familiar abroad. Michele Heisler, PHR medical director and University of Michigan professor of internal medicine and public health. nongovernmental organization Physicians for Human Rights (PHR). Michele Heisler of Physicians for Human Rights. Caitlin Ochs/Reuters

Protesters in the United States, like this one who has milk poured on his eyes after being tear gassed during a protest in Portland, Oregon, July 19, 2020, are being offered tactical advice online by activists who have had similar clashes with brutal law enforcement in their countries. July 22, 2020

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Deep Read ( 4 Min. protesters today. While worried for her safety in sharing all that she knew, Ms. “I’ve still never touched a weapon; I don’t know that much about them.
as a superpower has definitely changed over the years.” is a developed country, the rights of its citizens to protest wouldn’t be dealt with by bringing in national guards firing tear gas and rubber bullets, and injuring a large number of protesters,” Mr. Kaul says. “The perception of the U.S. soil by their own police.“I think we assume that since the U.S. It has been surprising, for many from Kashmir to Brazil, to see such violence being committed against American citizens on   U.S.

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For young Afghan women, jujitsu is more than just a sport

Esazada said she wants to show a more positive side of Afghanistan – and “become famous and win the world jujitsu championship medal.”
America has bungled the pandemic. Between head-holds and high-kicks, the women are finding empowerment in the martial art as they face the country’s shifting political winds. Rasuli said she is happiest when she can come out of her home and exercise with the other young women at the club. Tamana Sarwary/AP

Members of a female jujitsu club in Kabul, Afghanistan practice jumps on a snowy hilltop on Jan. She is now one of two dozen Afghan women who find inspiration and empowerment in Japanese jujitsu, a martial arts form that dates back centuries.They love the sport and dare to dream big, hoping someday to compete on the international level.In war-torn Afghanistan, where gender discrimination has deep cultural and historical roots and where many women suffer from domestic violence, jujitsu seems an ideal sport for women. In winter, they practice their wrestle holds on snow-covered hilltops above Kabul.Today, about two-thirds of Afghanistan’s population is 25 or younger and Ms. and the Taliban earlier this year signed a deal on ending America’s longest war – an accord that also envisages peace talks between the Taliban and the Kabul government – women in Afghanistan have become increasingly worried about losing some of the rights and freedoms they have gained over the past two decades.Under the Taliban, women were not allowed to go to school, work outside the home, or leave their house without a male escort. They braid each other’s hair before training sessions, spar against one another, take turns on the even bars. In 2010, the Afghan female soccer team defeated Pakistan 4-0 at the South Asian Football Championship. Hussiani’s group find strength in their team spirit. Now what?Sayed Jawad Hussiani, a jujitsu instructor at the Nero club where Ms. Women faced especially strict restrictions under the Taliban, but these young women don’t remember the regime, which ruled before the 2001 U.S. Esazada trains, said this martial arts form with roots in feudal Japan was first brought to Afghanistan in 2005 but has since become popular among boys and girls alike.The women in Mr. Esazada said she is not afraid of the Taliban, and if they come back, she would simply “continue my training to reach my dreams.”She looks to Afghan women athletes who have made their mark on the world stage. 27, 2020. And though they still face many challenges, Afghan women are increasingly stepping into their own power in this male-dominated society, finding a voice even in sports.Ms. July 22, 2020

By Tamana Sarwary
Associated Press

Kabul, Afghanistan
A year and a half ago, Liqa Esazada for the first time stepped into a martial arts club for women in Kabul, something of a rarity in this still deeply conservative Muslim society.At the time, she had just accompanied her older sister but was immediately intrigued. Esazada’s fellow jujitsu student at the Nero club, Rana Rasuli, said she worries about her future if the Taliban manage to retake all of Afghanistan.For now, Ms. It teaches self-defense against a stronger and heavier opponent by using certain holds and principles of leverage.Ms. Loading… Female athletes from Afghanistan have won more than 100 medals at regional and international tournaments.Tahmina Kohistani, Afghanistan’s first female Olympic athlete, competed in the 100-meter run at the 2012 London Olympics. invasion. In 2011, Afghan female power lifters won three gold and two bronze medals at pan-Asian games held in Kazakhstan.Ms. For young Afghan women, jujitsu is more than just a sport

Young women in Afghanistan are learning jujitsu, inspired by female Afghan Olympic athletes. Esazada said she has no memory of the Taliban regime, which hosted Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and ruled Afghanistan before the 2001 United States invasion.But since the U.S.

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It’s free. This story was reported by The Associated Press.Editor’s note: As a public service, the Monitor has removed the paywall   for all our coronavirus coverage.

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With Little Free Pantries, neighbors feed neighbors in need

I need them. She is in the process of launching an online marketplace that she expects to be live later this summer,   www.pantrygift.org, that supports the mini-pantry movement by allowing people to make tax-deductible donations to individual pantries or pantry networks, or to create fundraising campaigns.“If it were just me, that box out there would be nothing more than a kind gesture to somebody,” she says. Ms. We all need each other.”   McClard maintains a website that offers guidance on topics like building and locating a mini pantry, as well as a map showing the location of many of the pantries. “It takes all of us to make this work. It’s only together that we do it.

“Circumstances are different for everyone and they are a nonjudgmental way to get food,” Ms. “They’re open 24/7. She became fascinated with them, and wanted to translate her interest in food insecurity into a similar project. Thus the idea for the Little Free Pantry was born, a free-standing cabinet with shelves and a door, mounted on a post. McClard’s pantry is entirely open source. McClard has a long-standing interest in poverty justice and a keen awareness of the prevalence of food insecurity in Northwest Arkansas. as well as in countries such as Canada, Australia, the Netherlands, and Thailand. Last year, the food bank served more than 200,000 people and distributed over 32 million pounds of food. Brenda Shaw is the chief development officer of the Lowcountry Food Bank in Charleston, South Carolina, which services 300 partner agencies in a 9,000 square mile territory. McClard says, adding that many food pantries require recipients to go through means testing, to determine if they are needy enough to receive benefits. “COVID has people looking to do something and this is something that people can do,” she says. With a microloan of $250, Ms. While her pantry has always been active, she has seen a spike over the past few months, both in how often it is emptied and in the number of new pantries opening up worldwide. The homemade book exchange boxes had been proliferating all over the country. In 2 1/2 years, the Columbus Blessing Boxes Project has expanded to 60 mini pantries covering much of central Ohio. “Minis are a gap-filler,” Ms. Ms.   “I think [mini pantries] certainly address a need, especially for emergency food assistance,” Ms. )

By David Conrads
Correspondent

It was during one of her regular runs that Jessica McClard noticed the first Little Free Library in her hometown of Fayetteville, Arkansas. Harmon says. The homemade book exchange boxes had been proliferating all over the country. And it’s an anonymous access point, so anyone can come and get food.”   The mini-pantry movement has earned the respect of much larger hunger relief organizations. Shaw says. “I hoped that people would take the concept and run with it, and that’s exactly what happened.”A way to give back   Today there are hundreds of pantries in the U.S. … McClard says. as well as an estimated 3,000 pantries worldwide in countries like Canada, Australia, the Netherlands, and Thailand. “It takes all of us to make this work,” she says. Anyone can put up a pantry, anyone can take from the pantry, and anyone can donate to the pantry. Other pantries and networks of pantries are more organized. That project has since ballooned to 74 pantries located within a 30 miles radius of the city. “I knew what I was going to do.”  
America has bungled the pandemic. There’s no ID required. Loading… Mini pantries are not intended to take the place of food banks, which are far larger and have the capacity to serve much greater numbers of people. “There are a lot of people experiencing food insecurity who do not pass a means test,” Ms. “It’s only together that we do it. “Jessica’s idea to put out a food pantry to help those in need –   no questions asked, no signing up, a place anyone can go whenever it’s convenient –   was a fantastic idea,” Ms. Inspired by Little Free Libraries, an Arkansas woman leveraged that same community-led, grassroots spirit to address food insecurity. The Little Free Libraries, which started in 2009, primed many people to the concept of a public space where neighbors connect with neighbors, anonymously and with little organization. She became fascinated with the Little Free Libraries and thought a lot about why she was drawn to them.“These little free spaces create a place to be neighborly again,” she says. It’s filled with nonperishable food and personal hygiene products. Anyone can put up a pantry, take from the pantry, and donate to the pantry. With a microloan of $250, Ms. It’s filled with nonperishable food and personal hygiene products. “I really had no idea how fast it would happen,” Ms. “People are sometimes reluctant to ask for help,” she adds, noting that the mini pantries break the traditional provider-client relationship model. McClard installed the first Little Free Pantry on the grounds of her church in May 2016. I feel like it’s the mini-pantry moment.”   “We all need each other”   Gretchen Davis started a mini pantry in Columbus, Ohio, in 2018, impelled by a desire to create a volunteer opportunity for her four children. “Social distance is built in, so you really don’t need to be close to someone to help through these spaces. Within months, more than 100 pantries had sprung up across the country and the concept had gone international, with a Little Free Pantry reported in New Zealand. “If someone can’t get to a   larger pantry or to the food bank itself, mini pantries provide our neighbors in need with food immediately, which is a very good and honorable thing to do.”   July 21, 2020

Two ways to read the story

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Deep Read ( 5 Min. Today, thousands of Little Free Pantries help feed those in need. 

Adria Pettigrew/Courtesy of Jessica McClard

Jessica McClard tends to the first Little Free Pantry, which is on the grounds of the Good Shepherd Lutheran Church, in Fayetteville, Arkansas, in November 2019. It’s an easy way for a lot of people to give back to their communities. McClard installed the first Little Free Pantry on the grounds of her church in Fayetteville in May 2016. With Little Free Pantries, neighbors feed neighbors in need

Why We Wrote This

Sometimes, charitable acts are contagious. If that’s the case, and it’s as much about the space as the books, then anything might go inside it.”   It didn’t take her long to figure out exactly what she wanted to put inside such a space. She was part of a giving circle at the elementary school her two daughters attended, helping provide food to students in need. Now what?Thus the idea for the Little Free Pantry was born. “All of those things clicked,” she says. Jessica McClard is an avid runner and reader.It was during her runs that she noticed the first Little Free Library in her hometown of Fayetteville, Arkansas. She created a Facebook page for the project and within a few days her story was picked up by the local media. “Minis are a place people can go when they can’t go somewhere else.”   “I see Little Free Pantries sitting alongside traditional sources of food,” says Molly Harmon, a chef in Seattle who used a microgrant to build and install six mini pantries last March. Soon there were four such libraries within walking distance of her home, situated in her middle-class neighborhood in a college town. She attributes the popularity and rapid expansion of the mini pantries to a number of factors. “It’s not a difficult project to execute,” she says, “but it also invites participation without having to execute. “And that is something that some of us really, really want. McClard says. Since mini pantries are small, they cannot stock the quantity and variety of foods that would be available at a food bank, nor are the contents of a mini pantry predictable. For a lot of people, it’s difficult to write a $25 check, but when they get paid, they might pick up an extra can of green beans and put it in the mini pantry. Friends and community members stock the pantry when they are moved to do so. Ms. Soon a third pantry popped up 300 miles away in Ardmore, Oklahoma. There are no schedules or sign-up sheets. Two weeks later, someone unknown to Ms. Things moved quickly from there. It’s food by neighbors for neighbors, so the likelihood of finding culturally relevant foods is higher. A Little Free Pantry can take many forms, but typically it’s a free-standing cabinet with shelves and a door, mounted on a post. Within months, more than 100 pantries had sprung up across the country. Today there are hundreds in the U.S. That happens all the time.”Ms. Davis says. The concept couldn’t be simpler. McClard put up a second pantry in another part of town. Today there are thousands of such pantries across the world. McClard estimates there are more than 3,000 pantries worldwide, though the exact number is impossible to know. We all need each other.” 

Fayetteville, Ark.

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Europe’s tourism test: How do you bring in tourists and not an outbreak, too?

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“Everyone is pinning their hopes on a return to a normality (of sorts) in 2021. “Everyone is pinning their hopes on a return to a normality (of sorts) in 2021. Front desk staff wear a face shield to welcome guests; waiters and cleaners sport masks and gloves. Coll Suárez. Coll Suárez’s cafe-bar in this tourist town has been nearly full since reopening July 13. Mr. “If people do not stop having this fear, whatever we do they will not travel.”

Karen Norris/Staff
“Salvage operation”Ultimately, 2020 will be at best a “salvage operation,” argues Tom Jenkins, CEO of the European Tourism Association. Many grocery stores take temperature readings at the door. “The bad thing is that people who are traveling right now are not afraid of COVID,” says Mr. Masks remain mandatory in all indoor spaces. Mr. July 21, 2020

Two ways to read the story

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Deep Read ( 6 Min. While she is excited to be back at work, the pace of business has been disappointing.“It’s been hard,” says Ms. 
 “The setup of the hotel was in a magical way like a COVID-19 proof design,” says Mr. He was expecting 2020 to be an “extremely good year” with a projected net profit of €1.2 million ($1.37 million). Many in Puerto de la Cruz, on the isle of Tenerife, choose to wear them at all times, including outdoors, like here on San Telmo beach. One couple from Madrid finds it to be safer in Tenerife – where there are very few COVID-19 cases – than back home. “Everybody needed to let off steam, relax, … and eat well.”Dimitris Mamadas has two hotels open year-round in mainland Greece. While the hotel restaurant is open, clients are not allowed to touch anything and table service has replaced the traditional buffet dining.Guests say these protocols make them feel safe. “I could potentially be contagious to my loved ones. “Afterwards, it was a lesson in life, so that we appreciate what we have.”“We see a good vibe from our guests, that [is] the most rewarding part of this season,” he adds. Since reopening post-lockdown, business has been better than expected. The Mediterranean nation boasts one key advantage: It defied expectations in its pandemic response. Northern European beach destinations that can be reached overland will fare better, he says, while Mediterranean beach resorts, especially those dependent on airlines for access, will struggle.“As this business in 2020 is highly last minute, it is difficult to make a prediction, but it is highly unlikely that they will have more than 50% of their normal volume,” he says. Eugenia Petrova, a German tourist who was among the first tourists to arrive in town July 1, finds restrictions here similar to those in Berlin.“We were not so sure what to expect,” says Ms. There were no people around, and not many hotel services. Now what?“I love being around people and I want to work but it’s dangerous for me, my son, friends and family,” says Mr. Masks are required to enter, jewelry is disinfected and put on a tray for clients to try on, and the shop is constantly ventilated. Now it’s starting to become more normal.”Further south, Adeje boasts the highest concentration of five-star hotels in Europe. Europe’s tourism test: How do you bring in tourists and not an outbreak, too? Mamadas. Northern European beach destinations that can be reached overland will fare better, he says, while Mediterranean beach resorts, especially those dependent on airlines for access, will struggle.“As this business in 2020 is highly last minute, it is difficult to make a prediction, but it is highly unlikely that they will have more than 50% of their normal volume,” he says. “The movement of so many people means we don’t know what will happen.”With much of Europe tentatively returning to a semblance of normal life after several months of pandemic-induced lockdown, the opportunity for travel during the summer season has returned. The coronavirus crisis means he is facing losses to the tune of €500 million instead.The Aegli hotel in the port town of Volos is faring best, with a 55% occupancy rate, thanks to Balkan tourists who are coming overland. The reception, bar, and restaurant are all open plan. Except for help on Sundays, he works up to 14 hours, six days a week solo.Most of the clients at Meraki have crossed the street from the Hotel Turquesa Playa, one of the most successful hotels in Puerto de la Cruz, a town in the north of the island.The doorman here takes the temperature of everyone who enters; a mask is required in the common areas, and bottles of hand sanitizer sit just beyond the door. Maria Acevedo opened her artisanal jewelry shop Tuqueque in 2018. No paywall.Though a vital source of livelihood for Puerto de la Cruz and its kind, tourists also are a potential conduit for a COVID-19 outbreak to be introduced into the community. With most of his money tied up in the bank loans that helped launch the cafe, he desperately needs the business to succeed. “When we arrived, there were only three or four families in the hotel. The shops were closed. America has bungled the pandemic. Or reintroduced in the case of the island of Tenerife, where Puerto de la Cruz lies, as the nearby town of Adeje was the site of one of the earliest major outbreaks in Europe. Why We Wrote This

For Europe’s resort towns, getting back to business requires a careful balance: embracing tourists enough to make a living, but keeping them at enough of a distance to prevent a new outbreak of COVID-19. Colette Davidson

Masks are required in Spain’s Canary Islands in all indoor spaces as well as outdoors when social distancing can’t be respected. They cater to a mix of tourists and business travelers. Visitors are gifted complementary masks. Colette Davidson

Alberto Coll Suárez had just opened his cafe-bar, Meraki, in Puerto la Cruz six months before the coronavirus pandemic hit. And each room is assigned a specific sun lounger and umbrella.Guests who cancel – and there have been many – are offered vouchers for 2021.“It was a great shock in the beginning,” he says, looking back to February and March. “People are scared [to travel] and I’m a little scared too because I don’t know which way things are going to go.”Tenerife is taking no chances. And locals are increasingly wearing their masks to navigate the increasingly crowded town center. Business is better than expected, but concerns about the coronavirus linger on.“I’m anxious,” he says. Though a vital source of livelihood for travel destinations, tourists also are a potential conduit for a COVID-19 outbreak to be introduced into the community.Ultimately, 2020 will be at best a “salvage operation,” argues Tom Jenkins, CEO of the European Tourism Association. … I need to open my business but the fear is always there.”Caution in the Canary IslandsSpain’s Canary Islands region   depends on airlines to bring tourists. Coll Suárez had little time to prepare financially, but got by thanks to some savings and government aid. Many of the bookings for 2020 have been moved into that year.”

Puerto de la Cruz, Spain
Alberto Coll Suárez races around the patio of Meraki, a disposable face mask hanging precariously in the balance as he clears coffee cups and saucers from a handful of tables. The virus claimed fewer than 200 lives in Greece compared to nearly 35,000 in Italy.When Nikos Karaflos converted a disused wine factory and launched the beachfront   Dexamenes Seaside Hotel in 2019, near the town of Amaliada and the Olympia archaeological site, he was proud of its look. To that end, the H10 Costa Adeje Palace hosted the head of the World Tourism Organization and dozens of travel journalists to showcase the health protocols adopted across the archipelago.Frustrations in GreeceGreece is another destination trying to reassure tourists. He is grateful to be open even if finances are tough. However, a spike in COVID-19 cases associated with these travelers has led Greece to tighten restrictions – barring Serbians and requiring new arrivals from Bulgaria to present a negative COVID-19 test issued in the last 72 hours.At the Porto Palace in Thessaloniki, experiences with guests have been frustrating, as some expect normal services and are disappointed to learn saunas, hot tubs, and indoor pools are off-limits. “They think that everything has passed but it is not the case.”Giorgos Mylonadis, who runs studio apartments in the Greek island of Chios, is following government health protocols while waiting for ferry activity to resume with Turkey so longtime customers can visit before winter. Courtesy of the Dexamenes Hotel

The Dexamenes Seaside Hotel in Amaliada, Greece, which opened last year, turned out to be designed in a way that is particularly friendly to COVID-19 regulations. Among those erring on the side of caution is Naomi Benavides. Many of the bookings for 2020 have been moved into that year.”Back in Tenerife, the reopening of the European borders has sparked conflicting feelings among locals. But while resort towns like Puerto de la Cruz, reliant on tourism, are keen to try to make ends meet by courting travelers who dare hop on a plane, they must balance that against the serious public health concerns that remain.Editor’s note: As a public service,   all our coronavirus coverage   is free. Loading… )

By Colette Davidson
Correspondent

Dominique Soguel
Special correspondent

With much of Europe tentatively returning to a semblance of normal life after several months of pandemic-induced lockdown, the opportunity for travel during the summer season has returned.But while resort towns like Spain’s Puerto de la Cruz, reliant on tourism, are keen to try to make ends meet by courting travelers who dare hop on a plane, they must balance that against the serious public health concerns that remain. Tables are spaced out beyond the recommended distance. With one of the shop doors leading directly into the Hotel Turquesa Playa, she relies almost entirely on tourism to make ends meet.Since reopening at the end of June, she keeps a strict health protocol. The tourism sector is expected to operate at 30% of capacity compared to last summer, when the loss of 28,000 lives due to COVID-19 had yet to cast a shadow across Spain. Acevedo, who scraped by on government aid during the lockdown period. “People are afraid to travel,” he worries. Meraki had only been open for six months when the lockdown started on March 14. Petrova, who traveled with her husband and two children and whose need for a vacation proved greater than coronavirus fears. The tourism season officially opened on June 15 and international flights began reaching regional airports July 1. It is fighting hard to restore its image after making headlines in February when the H10 Costa Adeje Palace   had to confine over 1,000 people to their rooms after an Italian doctor and his wife tested positive for the virus.“We are working to show this summer that Adeje and the Canary Islands are a safe destination,” says Adolfo Alonso Ferrera, the Adeje councillor for tourism and sport. Only 341 routes are planned for the month of July, as opposed to the 770 before the pandemic. Karaflos. Guest suites are located in concrete former wine tanks – so no corridors, no elevators.

“There are so many people everywhere and you just don’t know where they’ve come from or if they’ve brought the virus with them.”Editor’s note: As a public service,   all our coronavirus coverage   is free. No paywall. “My friends were teasing me, like why are you wearing the mask outside now? But I started to get nervous,” says the Puerto de la Cruz native.

EU leaders prove ‘progress’ possible, set $2.1 trillion budget

Mike Corder in The Hague, Netherlands; Colleen Barry in Soave, Italy; and Pablo Gorondi in Budapest, Hungary, contributed.Editor’s note: As a public service, the Monitor has removed the paywall   for all our coronavirus coverage. This story was reported by The Associated Press. It’s free.
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That is in addition to the agreement on the seven-year, 1 trillion-euro EU budget that leaders had been haggling over for months even before the pandemic. Merkel, Mr. the rule of law criticize us, the freedom fighters that did a lot against the communist regime in favor of rule of law,” he said. Macron said.Still, considering every EU leader had the right of veto on the whole package, the joint commitment to invest and spend such funds was hailed as a success.Adriaan Schout, an EU expert and Senior Research Fellow at the Clingendael think tank in the Netherlands, said that the unusually acrimonious and drawn-out talks ultimately produced a typical Brussels deal.“The EU hasn’t changed. There are checks and balances in it. Macron, and his Italian counterpart, Giuseppe Conte, Mr. Conte also didn’t have time to dwell on grudges. “We have created a possibility of taking up loans together, of setting up a recovery fund in the spirit of solidarity,” a sense of sharing debt that would have been unthinkable not so long ago.Ms. Rutte and others also wanted a link to be made between the handout of EU funds and the rule of law – a connection aimed at Poland and Hungary, countries with right-wing populist governments that many in the EU think are sliding away from democratic rule.In its conclusion, the European Council underlined the “importance of the respect of the rule of law” and said it will create a system of conditionality aimed at preventing member states from getting subsidies from the budget and recovery fund if they don’t abide by its principles.But Tuesday was a moment to revel in the achievement itself. We don’t know how they will work.”The days and nights of brutal summiteering will surely have left many wounds between member states, but as history has proven, the EU has an uncanny gift to quickly produce scar tissue and move on.“We all can take a hit,” said Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte. “And the compromise has been hard fought. Conte said.Even if Tuesday’s agreement was a giant leap forward, the European Parliament, which has called the moves of the member states too timid considering the challenge, still has to approve the deal.Mr. EU leaders agreed to an aid package for those hit by the virus which has killed 135,000 in the bloc. But if they don’t stand together, nothing is possible,” said Mr. With 35,000 Italians dead from COVID-19 and facing EU estimates his economy will plunge 11.2% this year, he had to think ahead, of things big and small – from getting cash to businesses still trying to get a foothold after the lockdown to getting school desks.In order to open in September, his country needs up to 3 million new desks, to replace old-fashioned double and triple desks so students can keep a proper distance.“We will have a great responsibility. With 209 billion euros, we have the possibility to relaunch Italy with strength, to change the face of the country. “After all, there are presidents among us.”Despite bruising confrontations with Ms. Now what?“The consequences will be historic,” French President Emmanuel Macron said. Macron and Ms. Loading… EU leaders prove ‘progress’ possible, set $2.1 trillion budget

European Union leaders agreed on a $2.1 trillion budget, including a $857 billion coronavirus relief fund, after one of their longest summits on record. Merkel added: “We have laid the financial foundations for the EU for the next seven years and came up with a response to this arguably biggest crisis of the European Union.”Despite Mr. Rutte maintained that “we have very good, warm relations.”Mr. What other political area in the world is capable of that? Merkel negotiating as the closest of partners, the traditionally powerful Franco-German alliance struggled for days to get the quarreling nations in line. None other,” Mr. Merkel and Mr. Stephanie Lecocq/AP

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen (left) and European Council President Charles Michel bump elbows after a media conference in Brussels, July 21, 2020. Now we must hurry. What was planned as a two-day summit scheduled to end Saturday was forced into two extra days by deep ideological differences among the 27 leaders.The compromise deal they finally hammered out was one that Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban claimed as a victory.“We not just managed to get a good package of money, but we defended the pride of our nations and made clear that it is not acceptable that anybody, especially those who inherited … Macron said.At first, Ms. Macron, challenging anyone in the world who criticized the days of infighting to think of a comparable joint endeavor.“There are 27 of us around the table and we managed to come up with a joint budget. America has bungled the pandemic. But, even walking out of a negotiating session in protest together over the weekend, the two leaders bided their time and played their cards right in the end.“When Germany and France stand together, they can’t do everything. Macron wanted the grants to total 500 billion euros, but the so-called “frugals” – five wealthy northern nations led by the Netherlands – wanted a cut in such spending and strict economic reform conditions imposed. Macron said.The summit, at the urn-shaped Europa center, laid bare how nations’ narrow self-interests trumped the obvious common good for all to stand together and face a common adversary.Rarely had a summit been as ill-tempered as this one, and it was the longest since a five-day summit in Nice, France, in 2000, when safeguarding national interests in institutional reforms was a stumbling block.“There were extremely tense moments,” Mr. The figure was brought down to 390 billion euros, while the five nations also got guarantees on reforms.“There is no such thing as perfection, but we have managed to make progress,” Mr. July 21, 2020

By Raf Casert and Samuel Petrequin
Associated Press

Brussels
After four days and nights of wrangling, exhausted European Union leaders finally clinched a deal on an unprecedented $2.1 trillion budget and coronavirus recovery fund early Tuesday, after one of their longest summits ever.The 27 leaders grudgingly committed to a costly, massive aid package for those hit hardest by COVID-19, which has already killed 135,000 people within the bloc alone.With masks and hygienic gel everywhere at the summit, the leaders were constantly reminded of the potent medical and economic threat the virus poses.“Extraordinary events, and this is the pandemic that has reached us all, also require extraordinary new methods,” German Chancellor Angela Merkel said.To confront the biggest recession in its history, the EU will establish a 750 billion-euro coronavirus fund, partly based on common borrowing, to be sent as loans and grants to the hardest-hit countries. This is always what it’s about – finding compromises – and the EU always finds compromises,” he said. We must use this money for investments, for structural reforms,’’ Mr. Despite "extremely tense moments," the 27 leaders "managed to make progress," French President Emmanuel Macron said.

In African nations, it’s doubly hard for kids to distance-learn

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But many have been hindered by a lack of reliable electricity and poor internet connectivity. Ronald Kabuubi/AP

Stella Maris Basemera, a teacher and head of Uganda-based tutor group Creative Learning Africa, drafts worksheets that she’ll send to students via WhatsApp, in Kampala, Uganda, July 7, 2020. But electricity is often lacking in villages.”The potential of digital technology is enormous,” said Djibril Tall, a teacher in Senegal’s Louga region. Children “are completely helpless at the moment.”Although the pandemic has disrupted education across the globe, the schooling crisis is more acute in Africa, where up to 80% of students don’t have access to the internet and even electricity can be unreliable, making distance learning difficult, if not impossible. In African nations, it’s doubly hard for kids to distance-learn

Remote learning is especially difficult for young students in many African nations, where access to internet or electricity can be spotty. In Uganda, for instance, annual per capita income was less than $800 in 2019, according to World Bank data.Uganda’s government has pledged to distribute 10 million radios and over 130,000 solar-powered TV sets, but authorities have failed to honor past promises, including giving a free mask to everyone.In neighboring Kenya, primary and secondary schools will remain closed through 2020, although colleges and other institutions of higher learning can reopen in September. Teachers unions had warned that such a plan is dangerous in schools lacking face masks, hand sanitizer, and even running water.Even in South Africa, the continent’s most prosperous economy, the government has faced criticism from teachers unions for its decision to reopen schools despite a growing number of cases.Since schools there reopened in June, at least 650 students and teachers have tested positive in the province of Gauteng, the country’s economic hub, forcing 71 schools to close again.Many private schools across Africa are offering online tutoring. Michelsen Institute.The development research institute noted that school closures may deny students access to meals and health programs, and sometimes clean water and sanitation.Schools also provide havens for children from work and exploitation. Now what?But getting students back to school also comes with special challenges in Africa, where children in some countries may cram into tiny classrooms by the dozens.The charity Save the Children called the pandemic the “biggest global education emergency of our time” in a report published this week. They feel left out,” said Stella Maris Basemera, a mathematics teacher who heads a Uganda-based group of tutors called Creative Learning Africa. America has bungled the pandemic. Where will I get the money for these private lessons?” said Maud Chirwa, a mother in the Kuwadzana suburb of Zimbabwe’s capital, Harare. Many others cannot afford any support.”I can’t even afford to buy bread. culture and education agency. “They are better off at school where there are some controls.” “So some of them are going to run away from the profession.”In the West African nation of Senegal, education officials tried to keep children learning by broadcasting some classes on television after schools closed in March, a move aimed at reaching students without home internet access. Even newspapers into which learning materials are inserted are not affordable for many in the region. Loading… Girls may especially suffer, according to the literacy expert Nakabugo, who cited anecdotal reports of a growing number of teenage pregnancies – as the Norway-based institute’s report noted happened during West Africa’s Ebola epidemic.The prolonged shutdown could also mean many schools close for good and many teachers quit, exacerbating what is already the world’s worst teacher shortage.Media reports in Uganda cite school owners who are looking to sell their properties or have turned dorms into rental units to keep up with loan payments. Math problems in newspapers. Classes on Zoom or WhatsApp.The options for African students to keep studying while schools remain closed because of the coronavirus pandemic seem varied, but the reality for many is that they will fall behind and possibly drop out of school forever – worsening inequality on an already unequal continent.”I think education now is more of an emergency than the health issue,” said Dr. On top of missed education, closed schools means the loss of shelter, meals, and safety for many students. That means Kenyan pupils will repeat an academic year, a phenomenon commonly described as a “dead year.”But the effects will not be limited to academic disruption.”The critical consequences may be related to health, water, and nutrition” because schools are often oases of stability, according to a report by the Norway-based Chr. Mary Goretti Nakabugo, a literacy expert who runs a Uganda-based education nonprofit called Uwezo, noting that there have been no reported virus deaths and just over 1,000 cases in this East African country, though, as elsewhere, limited testing means those figures are likely undercounts. Schools also often provide a refuge to vulnerable children, offering services that their families cannot afford.Sub-Saharan Africa already has the highest rates of children out of school anywhere in the world, with nearly one-fifth of children between the ages of 6 and 11 and over one-third of youth between 12 and 14 not attending, according to the U.N. But in poor and rural areas, children are more likely to spend their days playing games or housekeeping.”It is the poorest schools that will continue to suffer and remain closed, while affluent schools reopen, only deepening inequality in both access to and quality of education,” said Dipolelo Moime, spokesman for One SA Movement, a group of South African activists.While some parents are paying hundreds of dollars a month for their children to attend online classes, others pay much less to teachers who conduct lessons in backyards. The local association of Ugandan teachers is urging authorities to employ furloughed teachers as village tutors.”The teachers are so discouraged at the moment. July 20, 2020

By Rodney Muhumuza
Associated Press

Kampala, Uganda
Lessons via radio or TV. Children in poor and rural areas often lack access to online resources. But “in many places people are forced to travel long distances just to have enough to charge their phones.”Some students in Senegal returned to classrooms in June, but, for many in Africa, returning to school may be tricky.In Zimbabwe, where in many schools up to 70 students may be crammed into a small room, the government is postponing a phased reopening that had been scheduled to begin this month. It identified 12 countries in which children “are at extremely high risk of dropping out forever.” Nine of them are in sub-Saharan Africa.With the help of outside groups, some African governments have announced measures to support learning from home.
It’s free. AP writers Babacar Dione in Dakar, Senegal; Farai Mutsaka in Harare, Zimbabwe; and Mogomotsi Magome in Johannesburg contributed to this report.Editor’s note: As a public service, the Monitor has removed the paywall   for all our coronavirus coverage. This story was reported by The Associated Press.
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Out of global upheaval, a new Olympic spirit

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“Athletes will no longer be silenced,” it wrote in a letter also signed by Mr. She has since done Zoom workouts with athletes in Chile, Italy, Portugal, Singapore, Spain, and the U.S., which she hopes to visit one day.Paula Ramírez of Spain, who was also part of the WhatsApp group, says it was amazing to get to know the Russian champions. McPherson, who has family serving in the Army and National Guard. “This is why athletes do not protest,” says Ms. As role models and often celebrities, they’re searching for the right balance between athletics and activism, with many addressing racism in more direct ways – including in their own sports.From having frank conversations with teammates to challenging the long-standing restrictions of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) on political expression, an increasing cadre of athletes is pushing back on the idea that the Olympic movement can or should be immune to issues convulsing society. Berry. Olympians find themselves navigating the world of politics as well as a pandemic. Olympic and Paralympic Committee, tweeted, “The USOPC stands with those who demand equality and equal treatment,” and linked to a letter she’d written to U.S. “It’s putting things in perspective – my problems are so small compared to other people’s.”With the Olympic Training Center closed in her home base of Colorado Springs, Colorado, she found ways to train in her apartment complex. Hirshland’s comments, Ms. team that Tokyo will be the most special Olympic Games ever if they don’t get canceled. “I also will continue to fight for equality and systemic change but through the use of my own means,” says Ms. As they peel themselves off in-home workout mats, many are doing so with heightened purpose, perseverance, and a global sense of camaraderie that they hope will inspire individuals and nations both during the current pandemic and when the Tokyo Games – postponed to 2021 – finally occur. For some U.S. Mr. Loading… Hirshland announced the creation of an athlete-led group “to challenge the rules and systems in our organization that create barriers to progress, including your right to protest.”Numerous athletes have called for the USOPC to lift Ms. Hirshland explained her decision but also apologized and heard out Ms. I think that can be the biggest mode of change that I can present at this point.”New voices for racial justiceMany athletes and sports administrators have been using their sizable social media platforms to support the protest movement in the wake of Mr. [But] in the end we want to compete with someone who is OK.”Ms. Her husband constructed a cable running from the top of their house down to the back fence. Tom Jacobs/Reuters

Following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease and the closure of training facilities, English athlete Desiree Henry trains at a golf course near London on April 26, 2020. Ramírez. No paywall. July 20, 2020

Two ways to read the story

Quick Read
Deep Read ( 13 Min. “I feel like in that way I’ve isolated someone like Gwen because I haven’t done the work with people I’m around to try and inform them and to allow them to see me fully,” says Ms. Ms. )

By Christa Case Bryant
Staff writer
@christacbryant

Under normal circumstances, the world’s best athletes would be meeting in Tokyo in late July in hopes of experiencing the pinnacle of what they’ve spent decades sweating and sacrificing for: standing on the Olympic podium, medals draped around their necks.Instead, they are coming off what may be the most bizarre few months of training in Olympic history, including international Zoom workouts. “When it was clear it was going to last a lot longer, I was like, ‘We have to get a little more serious about the home gym.’”

David Zalubowski/AP

Kara Winger uses a cable system to simulate throwing a javelin as she trains at home in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Ms. “It feels really good to be talking with them, ‘Are you OK, are you training?’” says Ms. Berry says she started receiving death threats. artistic swimming team, runs a global Zoom workout for athletes from her California living room. Rossi, who shared his workouts on Facebook and Instagram as a way of showing the possibility of getting something good out of quarantine. Jeff Swinger/USA Today

U.S. “We all had to sacrifice.”The trials of trainingOlympic slalom canoeist Sebastián Rossi had been training for months at the Pau-Pyrénées Whitewater Stadium in western France, hoping to qualify for the 2020 Olympics, when the pandemic forced him to return home to Buenos Aires, Argentina.All he had for water there was a swimming pool. Berry shot back with a tweet of her own: “I want an apology letter .. Winger, who initially used kettle bells and other small weights – as well as her yellow Lab, Maddie, who is trained to sit on her back while she’s doing planks. “I thought that was the pinnacle opportunity for me to let the world know where I stood and who I stood for,” says Ms. Rather, they hope it can become a channel for advancing social change and global unity.“It’s just tough because we’re dealing with racial injustice and a pandemic at the same time,” says Will Claye, a two-time Olympic silver medalist in triple jump based in San Diego. America has bungled the pandemic. And when he first found out the 2020 Tokyo Olympics would be postponed a year, he wrote a song with the chorus – “Dreams don’t die, they just multiply” – dedicated to all the athletes.“I think this Olympics will be one of the most prolific Olympics of all time,” he says, because it will be the coming together of nations after dealing with COVID-19, whether that meant not being able to train, losing a job, or knowing someone who died. Hall wrote.Mr. team coach is running the first-ever worldwide workout for artistic swimming (formerly known as synchronized swimming) on Zoom.More than 300 swimmers are following Ms. “The first thing that happens is your financial stability is taken away.”(Race Imboden, a fencer who is white and who knelt on the podium in Lima after his team won gold, was also put on yearlong probation.)After Ms. Courtesy of Samantha Schultz/@SAMANTHAAUSA (Instagram/Twitter)

U.S. Imboden’s probations, and to challenge the IOC’s Rule 50, which bans demonstrations and “political, religious or racial propaganda.”The IOC Athletes’ Commission introduced updated Rule 50 guidelines in January, which, while allowing athletes to express their views on social media and at press conferences, ruled out specific forms of protest such as kneeling, hand gestures, and the wearing of armbands. Under normal circumstances, the world’s best athletes would be meeting in Tokyo in late July in hopes of experiencing the pinnacle of what they’ve spent decades sweating and sacrificing for: standing on the Olympic podium, medals draped around their necks, as they listen to their national anthems and the rest of the world looks on rapturously.Instead, they are coming off what may be the most bizarre few months of training in Olympic history. Schultz, whom more people now recognize as their next-door Olympian. Carlos, the 1968 Olympian.“I’m extremely encouraged and extremely proud of a lot of athletes who may be risking a lot to change our country and change our communities for the greater good,” says Ms. So in addition to home-schooling his two young daughters and remodeling a home bathroom, he has pulled together a grant proposal for a shooting park in Fort Worth, Texas, to welcome more young athletes into the sport.Mr. “I definitely did not know what I was getting myself into.”The video went viral, and Ms. Hall, who wrote an essay for Runners World describing the profound impact the killing of Ahmaud Arbery, a young Black man who was shot while jogging through a Georgia town, has had on her. Ducking under her extended calf, she asks, “Can you see me?”“Yeah, we see you perfect!” exclaims four-time Olympic medalist Andrea Fuentes from her California living room, where the Spanish champion-turned-U.S. As a Black man who has experienced racial profiling and discrimination and tense encounters with police, he wants to give others insight into such issues. A set of transportable parallel bars helps her work on shoulder stability, and she has a new weightlifting bench, which he welded and upholstered.In addition to the training challenges, the quarantine has prompted some athletes to reflect on their role in society.Two-time Olympic gold medalist Vincent Hancock, who qualified for his fourth Summer Games in skeet shooting just before the shutdown, has long been wanting to have a greater impact. “Even though it was good to keep fit, for the head it was really important to be able to do 45 minutes in the swimming pool. Berry says there’s no way that athletes’ individual struggles, shaped by their different backgrounds and demographics, can be washed away with “fairy tales and roses” at the Olympics.“I’m hopeful that the Olympic Games reflect where we are as a country,” says Ms. I think that’s my purpose.”

Kirby Lee/USA Today

Will Claye, a two-time Olympic silver medalist in the triple jump, says he has faced racism since he was a child. For three months, instead of working out in a whitewater stadium, with its rapids and cascading pools, he’d head out to the pool for 45-minute sessions, paddling vigorously to maintain his strength and balance as fall turned into winter in the Southern Hemisphere. “We really want to compete with them and beat them. Army Marksmanship Unit, believes sports can help turn lives around.“What I’m doing by creating this shooting park is showing people that they can do and accomplish anything they can set their mind to,” he says. While training for the Tokyo Games, he has spoken at an NAACP rally and participated in a town hall meeting where athletes pushed for greater political expression. Hall, who would like to see the Tokyo media coverage showcase more nuanced tales of triumph. Hall, who attended high school outside her district in a largely white area of New Jersey in order to be able to run track, details in her essay how a mother asked her coach whether one of her parents was white – searching for an explanation for her discipline and focus, which the woman didn’t associate with Black families, Ms. Platanioti of Greece, who spent a month organizing the May 3 worldwide workout via a WhatsApp chat group, which gave them an opportunity to get to know each other as friends rather than just competitors. Her husband wasn’t into fencing with her – “he doesn’t really like being a pincushion,” she says – so she parried with a tennis ball, hung on a string in her garage, to refine her footwork. modern pentathlete Samantha Schultz does Pilates in the Colorado outdoors as part of her training. Claye, the triple jumper, says he’s been followed in stores ever since he was a child in Arizona, sees women clutch their purses when they pass him, is frequently asked if he’s in the wrong seat when flying business class, and has had police draw guns on him “for no reason.”And Paige McPherson, a Black athlete adopted by a white couple in South Dakota, relates having a neighbor threaten to shoot her and her Black sister if they ventured onto his property.“I choose to be the bigger person than those that deem me as different because of my black skin,” says Ms. “My parents instilled in me to be strong in my own being, kind to others, and forgiving, as the Bible says.” She has spoken out on social media against Breonna Taylor’s killing, marched in a Miami prayer walk, and says she understands her fellow athletes’ decisions to protest because of their desire to stop the injustices in America.But, she adds, the national anthem and raising of the flag is a very delicate subject and has many different meanings to people across the nation. “They have given their lives to protect and serve our country, which is something I respect and support.”With the nation’s upheaval playing out in sports as well as on the streets, the usual made-for-TV vignettes about athletes’ path to victory – accompanied by dramatic music and soft, dreamy cinematography – may come across as incongruous. “Seeing whole, full people and acknowledging them doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy people doing incredible things and breaking barriers.”

Boston
Evangelia Platanioti presses her palms and toes into the blue exercise mat in a pushup position, then nonchalantly brings her right leg past her head. On plush carpets and sun-drenched terraces, they spend 1 1/2 hours copying the movements of more than two dozen of the best athletes in the sport, beamed via a laptop or phone into their homes. Floyd’s killing as well.On June 2, Sarah Hirshland, chief executive officer of the U.S. Berry’s and Mr. Meanwhile, some 6,000 viewers watch live, leaving a running commentary filled with emoji and frequent invocations of their favorite champion’s name followed by “YAAASSSSSS.”Welcome to being an Olympian in quarantine. “The pandemic [brought] us together like one team – like a world team,” says artistic swimmer Svetlana Kolesnichenko of Russia, a two-time world champion who trains more than 10 hours a day and rarely interacts with other athletes at competitions. “So they can see someone who truly loves and is passionate about what they do. She recalls people telling her to “go back to Africa, go back where you came from.” She also lost 80% of her sponsorship income, which included a major reduction in a USA Track & Field Foundation grant that she had received for years. It explained that “the example we set by competing with the world’s best while living in harmony in the Olympic Village is a uniquely positive message to send to an increasingly divided world.”In late June, the USOPC’s Athletes’ Advisory Council demanded that the rule be abolished. YouTube

Olympic medalist Andrea Fuentes of Spain, who now coaches the U.S. McPherson, an Olympic bronze medalist in taekwondo. The Spanish team also bonded with the Italians, their closest rivals, as both countries were struggling with COVID-19. stop playing with me.”In a phone call between the two women facilitated by USA Track & Field CEO Max Siegel, Ms. In a spring survey of athletes, coaches, and other Olympic figures from 135 countries, the IOC found that 56% of athletes were having difficulty training effectively, while fully half were struggling with motivation. Berry, later tweeting: “Gwen has a powerful voice in this national conversation.” Several days later, Ms. … They’re pushing back on the idea that the Olympic movement, which has long banned political expression, can or should be immune to issues convulsing society.“I’m hopeful that the Olympic Games reflect where we are as a country,” says Marielle Hall, a Black long-distance runner who would like to see the Tokyo media coverage showcase more nuanced tales of triumph. “I won’t go in a swimming pool ever again, even in the summer,” he jokes of his endless time in camp chlorine.Now that he’s back in the gym and outside in the water in Argentina, he realizes the pool sessions made him stronger – and not just physically.“I saw it like mental training mostly,” says Mr. “Hopefully I am the cool neighbor with a sword and the laser pistol.”Across town, javelin thrower Kara Winger and her husband, former discus thrower Russell Winger, have designed an elaborate backyard setup to help her prepare for her fourth Olympic Games.“The first month of quarantine was much more low-key as far as working out at home,” says Ms. Platanioti’s lead from Austria to New Zealand, where it is 3 a.m. From employees juggling jobs and child care to children whose plans for summer camp were dashed, people in all walks of life were having to find creative ways to stay motivated and maintain their equilibrium.“There’s so many people who are struggling right now, and I’m worried because I don’t have a pool to swim in?” pentathlete Samantha Schultz remembers thinking, as she tried to figure out how to continue training for her sport’s five disciplines – swimming, shooting, fencing, running, and equestrian show jumping. “Seeing whole, full people and acknowledging them doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy people doing incredible things and breaking barriers.”Tight bonds among athletesIn many sports, there’s long been a camaraderie among athletes that stretches across borders. Fuentes, the U.S. “I’m definitely not alone anymore.”For Olympic 10,000-meter runner Marielle Hall, the sole Black runner on her women’s distance team at a track club in Oregon, Ms. Now, such esprit de corps is being heightened thanks to COVID-19, from a fun video that international pentathletes collaborated on to the worldwide artistic swimming workout. Berry, who adds that she likely will have to start working soon to make ends meet – maybe at a mall near her home in Houston, or as a personal assistant to an executive. Hancock once hosted a Chinese skeet shooter who came to train with him and his father in Georgia, and the whole Chinese team later came to Texas, where he took them to a steakhouse. David J. During the pandemic, her workouts have included fencing with a dangling tennis ball in her garage and shooting targets with a laser gun in the driveway. “What I can do is put together my network, resources – all the blessings I’ve been given – and use it to inspire people, use it to give people knowledge, and use it to make change. Olympic & Paralympic town hall, where athletes pushed for greater political expression. mailed   .. Out of global upheaval, a new Olympic spirit

Why We Wrote This

Many athletes believe the Tokyo Games will be one of the most meaningful Olympics in history, as a pandemic and tumult surrounding social justice spur athletes to rethink their roles in society. In a move that would defy the czarinas of Twister, she proceeds to lift her back foot off the ground and balances a midair split on – get this – one bent elbow.“Hold on this pose,” says the Greek Olympian into the camera, as her country’s flag flutters in the background. hammer thrower Gwen Berry was put on probation for raising a fist to highlight racial justice issues at last year’s Pan American Games. artistic swimming coach, told her young U.S. It makes you tough.”  

Agustin Marcarian/Reuters

Argentine canoeist Sebastián Rossi devised a novel way to train in a swimming pool while in isolation to prepare for the postponed Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. Hancock, who once served in the U.S. for workouts. Now, as they peel themselves off in-home workout mats and head back to the gym or pool, many are doing so with heightened purpose, perseverance, and a global sense of camaraderie that they hope will inspire individuals and nations emerging from COVID-19 lockdowns. Claye spent the spring mixing creative workouts on a mini-trampoline with efforts such as encouraging young people at an NAACP rally to vote and speaking up at a U.S. She says she thinks about it every day, on every run.Black Olympians, who brought home more than a third of Team USA’s 2016 gold medal haul, tell of numerous racial incidents they’ve experienced. Add in the upheaval surrounding a white policeman’s killing of George Floyd and COVID-19’s disproportionate impact on minority communities, and U.S. He repurposed a small metal pipe from a cupcake stand he built for their wedding to serve as a “javelin” she could throw up the cable to simulate the action required in competition. She would also do target practice in her driveway, startling neighbors, she surmises, who didn’t realize that what looked like an oversized pistol was actually a laser gun.“I’m sure some people do double takes when they drive by,” says Ms. athletes.That didn’t sit well with Gwen Berry, one of the best hammer throwers in the world. They came face-to-face with 30-ounce tomahawk steaks. Ms. Schultz says with four- to five-day competitions, the worldwide pentathlon community is quite close. The U.S. Olympic taekwondo medalist Paige McPherson), who once had a white neighbor threaten to kill her, says she strives to forgive when confronted by racism and will continue to fight for equality and systemic change, but in her own way. Phillip/AP

U.S. athletes, that includes tackling racial injustice more directly in the wake of George Floyd’s killing. just like you and the IOC MAILED ME WHEN YOU PUT ME ON PROBATION .. Berry’s ordeal was something of a wake-up call – a recognition of the need to speak openly about her own experience, which she had been hesitant to do before. team has trained in Germany and Poland, and Egypt and Japan came to the U.S. Berry, who grew up in Ferguson, Missouri, and marched with those protesting the 2014 killing of Michael Brown, a Black 18-year-old, by a white police officer who was never indicted. She was one of more than two dozen athletes, including Ms. But among the dozen-plus athletes interviewed by the Monitor, many recognized that the challenges they faced were not unique to them. After winning gold at the Pan American Games last August, she had been put on yearlong probation by the USOPC for raising her fist toward the end of “The Star-Spangled Banner” in a salute reminiscent of Tommie Smith and John Carlos at the 1968 Olympics. While looking at the palm trees on the edge of the property one day, he had a crazy idea: tether the back of his boat to the tree trunks using a long rubber strap made from the tubes of bicycle tires, and then paddle in the pool against the resistance. Mr. Now what?Editor’s note: As a public service,   all our coronavirus coverage   is free.
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It will be a historical moment.”Staff writer Sara Miller Llana contributed to this report from Toronto. “It will be very symbolic and it will mean that humanity got over the virus,” she says. “It will be the first time the world will be united after the whole episode.

EU leaders face choice: Build unity or present ‘a weak Europe’

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Macron, Italy, and Hungary, whose Prime Minister Viktor Orban asked why the Dutchman had such “hate” toward him.Mr. Michel said.The pandemic has sent the EU into a tailspin, killing around 135,000 of its citizens and plunging its economy into an estimated contraction of 8.3% this year.The bloc’s executive has proposed a 750 billion-euro coronavirus fund, partly based on common borrowing, to be sent as loans and grants to the countries hit hardest by the pandemic. Orban’s anger. July 20, 2020

By Raf Casert and Sam Petrequin
Associated Press

Brussels
Weary and bleary, European Union leaders on Monday geared up for a fourth day of fighting over an unprecedented $2.1 trillion EU budget and coronavirus recovery fund, barely recovered from a weekend of walkouts, fists slamming into tables, and insults.With a brilliant sun warming the negotiating sundeck at the Europa summit center early Monday, there finally was a glimmer of hope that the talks to help the continent emerge from the pandemic through an unprecedented economic aid package aren’t doomed after all.It took a heart-tugging dinner speech by European Council President Charles Michel about leaders not failing their union, French President Emmanuel Macron slamming his fist in anger into the table, and a new set of budgetary numbers to send this already epic summit onward.“There were extremely tense moments. But on content, things have moved forward,” said Mr. Merkel negotiating as the closest of partners, the traditionally powerful Franco-German alliance could not get the quarreling nations in line.At their dinner table Sunday night, the leaders mulled a proposal from the five wealthy northern nations that suggested a coronavirus recovery fund with 350 billion euros of grants and the same amount again in loans. We are here because we do business for our own country. And there will be more that no doubt will still be difficult. EU leaders face choice: Build unity or present ‘a weak Europe’

Calling on EU leaders to build "unity and trust," a heart-tugging speech by the European council president sparked a glimmer of hope as EU leaders entered the fourth day of negotiations over a $2.1 trillion budget and coronavirus relief fund. The five have been pushing for labor market and pension reforms to be linked to EU handouts and a “brake” enabling EU nations to monitor and, if necessary, halt projects that are being paid for by the recovery fund.“He can’t ask us to do specific reforms,” Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said. The EU has never taken momentous steps without Franco-German agreement. Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron. Macron and Ms. Without Franco-German agreement, the EU has never taken momentous steps.“An extraordinary situation demands extraordinary efforts,” Ms. Budget negotiations depend partly on the partnership between Ms. Loading… That comes on top of the seven-year 1 trillion-euro EU budget that leaders had been haggling over for months even before the pandemic hit.Even with Mr. We are all pros,” he said.On Sunday night, after three days of fruitless talks and with hope dimming, Mr. Macron, stressing his continued partnership with German Chancellor Angela Merkel. America has bungled the pandemic. Francois Lenoir/AP

German Chancellor Angela Merkel arrives for an EU summit in Brussels, July 20, 2020. Rutte, defending the cause of a group of five wealthy northern nations – the Netherlands, Austria, Finland, Sweden, and Denmark – sought to limit costs and impose strict reform guarantees on any rescue plan for needy nations. Mr. He came under criticism from Mr. Rutte and others also wants a link to be made between the handout of EU funds and the rule of law – a connection aimed at Poland and Hungary, countries with right-wing populist governments that many in the EU think are sliding away from democratic rule.That drew Mr. Now what?Overall, spirits had picked up since the talks reached rock bottom Sunday night.“It looks more hopeful than when I thought during the night: ‘It’s over,’” said Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, the target of much of criticism for keeping a compromise impossible.Mr. Michel implored leaders to overcome their fundamental divisions and agree on the budget and recovery fund.“Are the 27 EU leaders capable of building European unity and trust or, because of a deep rift, will we present ourselves as a weak Europe, undermined by distrust,” he asked the leaders.“I wish that we succeed in getting a deal and that the European media can headline tomorrow that the EU succeeded in a Mission Impossible,” Mr. The five EU nations – nicknamed “the frugals” – had long opposed any grants at all, while the EU executive had proposed 500 billion euros.The latest compromise proposal stands at 390 billion euros in grants.All nations in principle agree they need to band together but the five richer countries in the north, led by the Netherlands, want strict controls on spending, while struggling southern nations like Spain and Italy say those conditions should be kept to a minimum. It was planned as a two-day summit scheduled to have ended Saturday, but deep ideological differences between the 27 leaders forced the talks into two extra days. Rutte took it in stride.“We are not here because we are going to be visitors at each other’s birthday party later. Merkel said as the leaders were heading into one of the bloc’s longest summits ever.

This story was reported by The Associated Press.Editor’s note: As a public service, the Monitor has removed the paywall   for all our coronavirus coverage. It’s free.

To help his country fight COVID-19, a doctor fights misinformation

With a presidential election in November, he is concerned health measures will be sidelined.“It is like in the United States – if the leadership doesn’t show the right behavior, people will not take the right measures,” he says. As West African nations prepare to open their borders, Dr. We need people who trust what we tell them.” Niaoné is nervous that people have become too relaxed. We need stronger civil society actors doing what I’m doing. Government measures have decreased, but for him the fight against COVID-19 has only just begun. “We need to give communities finances and support so that they can work to prevent the disease themselves.

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Niaoné in a palaver hut outside his walled house, adorned with a large faded painting of himself surrounded by key advisers. “We must beware of a second wave that could worsen the epidemic.”Two translators conveying his words into Fulfude and Gourmantché, two of the nation’s many languages, struggle to find a word for “kiss,” for which there is no literal translation. Student volunteers   – studying everything from economics and sociology to law and medicine   – visited four hours a day, three times a week, working out who leaders were and educating them about the virus.After a long Saturday morning out on the field, Dr. A man sitting outside a health clinic said he wouldn’t wear a mask because the pandemic was brought about by the “will of God,” and high infection rates in the U.S. Niaoné’s team, says their work “has helped people understand,” though “there are people who will never believe because they haven’t seen cases with their own eyes.” But there is still a long way to go. “I will come to the community and look at the problem from their eyes. When we saw people fighting to open the mosques, it’s because the religious leaders weren’t involved in the response,” he says.For Dr. Niaoné knew that citizens would have to go door to door to outpace the misinformation circulating on social media. Niaoné’s many conversations with people who said they found the elastic bands that hooked onto their ears uncomfortable.The doctor carefully wove through the alleyways of the Grand Marché, and in a soft-spoken voice advised marketeers to put their masks on and stay behind social distancing lines. Niaoné remembers seeing the high cost of patients’ poverty and lack of basic medical knowledge, as he witnessed deaths from preventable or easily treatable diseases. and Europe.Rashida Ouédraogo, a pharmacy student working with Dr. Clair MacDougall

Dr. “They said, ‘I’m not going to wear [masks] because I don’t go to Ouaga 2000,’” he says, referring to a suburb where embassy staff and the Burkinabé elite live. But often, he feels like a translator.During the COVID-19 pandemic, more than ever, his work involves searching for a way of speaking about health with people who may have limited literacy, scientific knowledge, and financial means. Then comes identifying and mobilizing leaders, like the naaba. Now what?For Dr. They settle on “saying hello with your mouth.”
America has bungled the pandemic. July 20, 2020

Two ways to read the story

Quick Read
Deep Read ( 5 Min. Moumini Niaoné fields listener questions about the coronavirus on Savane FM radio in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. Niaoné knew that citizens would have to go door to door to outpace the misinformation circulating on social media. He gathered hundreds of volunteers, who set out to crowded places like the Grand Marché, the capital city’s largest market: a two-storied African futurist brick structure, made up of alleyways choked with electronic goods, glittering with imitation gold rings and chains, and crammed with fabrics, buckets, and chairs.Their approach is simple, Dr. And with high levels of distrust toward the political establishment, many thought the pandemic was a government ploy to make money.The team mapped the community and identified potential hot spots: water depots, bars, marketplaces, churches, mosques, and places men gathered to play cards and drink tea. To help his country fight COVID-19, a doctor fights misinformation

Why We Wrote This

When it comes to public communications, especially in a crisis like COVID-19, sharing information is only half the battle. Niaoné explains.He and his volunteers set out to places where the virus could easily spread, like the Grand Marché, the city’s largest market: a two-storied African futurist brick structure, made up of alleyways choked with electronic goods, glittering with imitation gold rings and chains, and crammed with stacks of batik and indigo fabrics, plastic buckets, and chairs.His teams stood at entrances in fluorescent orange vests, making sure customers and sellers washed their hands and put on masks, before taking their temperature. Niaoné’s team members come back to the tree where they’ve parked their scooters. Translators sit behind him. Niaoné says: listening to people’s concerns, analyzing their understandings, and working out how they can protect themselves, in a way that makes sense for their everyday lives. Niaoné speaks to a woman selling a fried doughnut-like snack called bourmassa and asks her why she isn’t wearing a mask. When I know where they stand, it’s easier to design the intervention,” he says.While training in Ouagadougou, the capital of Burkina Faso, Dr. Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso
Moumini Niaoné, a doctor and public health specialist, bounds into a radio studio in Ouagadougou and takes position behind a microphone, 6 feet from the show’s host. He’s ready to field coronavirus questions from the public.The host fires off a true-or-false, aimed at the false information circulating the city.“After the lifting of the curfew and restrictions people can cuddle and kiss,” she says.Dr. Niaoné knelt, as is custom, and presented the naaba with a plastic jerrycan full of handmade soap.Here and everywhere, Dr. Niaoné, it soon became clear that residents in Nioko II felt only wealthy people were affected. Watching a patient come back “two weeks or two months or one year later with the same disease or with another sickness, related to the same risk factor,” he recalls, “it’s like no, you are doing nothing.”He saw the role that careful listening and public messaging could play in saving people’s lives   – and the novel coronavirus is no exception.“Allô Docteur”Since March 9, when the first cases were detected in Burkina Faso – a West African nation battling a jihadist insurgency, where literacy rates are low – Dr. The local chief   – or naaba, in the culture of the Mossi, the largest ethnic group in Burkina Faso   – met Dr. Those include “legal” leaders and, as he calls them, “legitimate” ones: people who have earned trust and recognition, regardless of official status, and could be trained to form their own groups and continue the work.“We need to get communities involved from the beginning. For weeks Dr. Niaoné spoke on another channel’s show, called “Allô Docteur,” where he fielded similar calls. As community members wheeled in heavy metal barrels and clustered around a local water depot a short distance away, Dr. In many Burkinabés’ understanding, “someone is only sick when they are in a bed,” Dr. But there is a long way to go. Dr. Next, he took to the airwaves in a popular show called “Allô Docteur,” where ordinary Burkinabés would call in and ask questions about the virus: from whether it was invented by the government or a laboratory, to how someone could be asymptomatic. Niaoné, a former Fulbright scholar who completed his master’s at the University of Indiana, his own work is not dissimilar to translation: It involves searching for a way of speaking about health and illness with people who may have limited literacy, scientific knowledge, and financial means. He put out a call for volunteers on his Facebook page and WhatsApp, made an announcement on the radio, and soon gathered hundreds of volunteers across the country, among them his own medical students at the University of Ouagadougou. Niaoné smiles. He draws down his white mask accented with gray stripes, matching his African tunic, to make himself more audible. “I will come to the community and look at the problem from their eyes. Moumini Niaoné debriefs students and volunteers after they finished their final day of outreach and awareness-raising in the community of Nioko II on the outskirts of Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso. First comes figuring out what information people really need – and that means careful listening. The government and other groups needed to give soap and masks to people without means to purchase them themselves, she adds. “False,” he says. Loading… Niaoné says, his strategy is simple: listening to people’s concerns, documenting and analyzing their understandings, and working out how they can protect themselves, in a way that makes sense for their everyday lives. They obliged, but he complained of the lax enforcement around him, and offered a cynical explanation: “It is an election year.” Although the doctor serves on the government’s departments of medical emergencies and logistics, he is of a younger generation of professionals unafraid to criticize leaders, though public dissent remains limited.Partners in preventionA few weeks later they moved on to a rapidly growing, low-income community on the outskirts of Ouagadougou known as Nioko II, where their work is especially key. They wore handmade masks of bright-patterned, hand-woven fabrics that tied at the back – based on Dr. When I know where they stand, it’s easier to design the intervention,” he says.Since the first cases were detected in Burkina Faso – a West African nation battling a jihadist insurgency, where literacy rates are low – Dr. “It’s too hot; I can’t breathe,” she says. Clair MacDougall

Dr. )

By Clair MacDougall
Correspondent

Moumini Niaoné is a doctor and public health specialist in Burkina Faso.
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Monday Sunrise Briefing: Who do Americans trust to lead?

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The players have been given warm-up shirts with the words “Black Lives Matter” on the front and “Say Her Name” on the back, alongside Breonna Taylor’s name. China is expected to launch its Tianwen-1 Mars orbiter and rover today, although no official launch date has been announced. They invited volunteers to pick up free loaves of bread and jam on Friday, and deliver their homemade sandwiches at 13 drop off locations on Saturday. The annual day of giving reflects the qualities that Mandela himself lived, Dr Imtiaz Sooliman, founder of the Gift of the Givers, told the Daily Maverick: “service,” “sacrifice,” and “forgiveness.”Hidden gemStart your week with a recent story that inspired Monitor readers:When the world stood still, they found freedom on roller skatesSneak previewIn tonight’s Daily Edition, watch for a commentary appreciation of the life and legacy of John Lewis. Some 300 chefs joined with SA Harvest and Chefs with Compassion to prep 268,000 cups of soup in major cities throughout South Africa. (Sixty-seven represents the number of years of public service by the 1993 Nobel Prize winner.) This year, many acts of generosity revolved around helping the hungry. Now what?U.S. Hope in a jar. It asked shoppers, boy and girl scout troops, and the community at large to donate a glass jar with ½ cup of rice, ½ cup of soup, ½ cup of lentils, one unwrapped stocked cube, and one packet of soup powder. Among the key demands: Higher wages and permission to form unions to advocate for improved health care, sick leave, and other benefits. South Africans honored the late Nelson Mandela on Saturday with 67 minutes of giving – as they have each year since 2009. They said one jar can feed up to four people. A verdict is expected in the German trial of a former Nazi concentration camp guard for complicity in the murder of more than 5,000 people during World War II.Saturday, July 26Basketball returns. Here are a few examples:  
In Cape Town, Ladles of Love is a nonprofit organization that feeds the homeless. The Mars   orbiter carries seven science payloads and is designed to operate for one Mars year, or 687 Earth days.Thursday, July 24Justice delayed. The Minneapolis Charter Commission hears public testimony on a proposal to eliminate the Minneapolis Police Department and replace it with a new agency. Expect the Republican relief bill to be introduced in the Senate this week.Tuesday, July 22   Reimagining policing, part II. Generosity Watch

REUTERS/Shafiek Tassiem

Volunteers from SA Harvest and Chefs with Compassion hand out food packages in Eikenhof, South Africa, and nine other cities in celebration of Mandela Day, in South Africa, July 18, 2020. America has bungled the pandemic. On Mandela Day, the group set a new world record by making 125,000 sandwiches in one hour. An initial hearing was held last weekWednesday, July 23Baseball returns. Congress goes back to work: After a two-week recess, the House and Senate return to work with major legislation pending, including coming to agreement about another pandemic economic relief package. Every team will play a 60-game schedule entirely against teams in their own geographic region to limit travel.China’s Mars mission. Black social justice organizers and labor union activists are planning a short (8 minutes) but sweeping Strike for Black Lives in more than 25 U.S. This is opening day for Major League Baseball. Look AheadMonday, July 20A timely alliance. It’s winter in South Africa, so a cup of soup would go well with those sandwiches. cities at noon. The WNBA season opens with a racial justice message. On Saturday, the Robin Hood Foundation teamed up with the Gateway Shopping Mall in Durban to collect jars of soup mixes.
Mr. Lewis earned bipartisan respect in Washington, where some called him the “conscience of Congress.” He was a passionate champion of liberal, and often losing, causes. Loading… A new Washington Post-ABC News   poll of registered voters shows Mr. … We must protect Federal property, AND OUR PEOPLE….”   Democratic lawmakers on Sunday issued a letter seeking a federal investigation “into the use of federal law enforcement agencies … to suppress First Amendment protected activities in Washington, D.C., Portland, and other communities across the United States.”3. He was famously beaten by police in Selma, Alabama, during a 1965 march, and was arrested 45 times in his lifetime while demonstrating for social justice. But Mr. The mayor said Sunday federal agents are exacerbating tensions in Portland, which has seen nearly two months of nightly protests since the killing of George Floyd. Also, what to look for in the news this week. Welcome to your Monday, July 20, 2020, sunrise briefing. Here are three news events from this past weekend (while you may have been tubing, volunteering, and enjoying an offline life). Mr. Federal vs. The ‘conscience of Congress.’ This weekend was marked by remembrances of Rep. People watched the launch on a screen at the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre in Dubai, July 20, 2020. Biden has a 20-point lead on the issue. Trump led by double digits in these states in May, but this survey shows Mr. The first attempt by the United Arab Emirates to go interplanetary lifted off from Japan Sunday, on a seven-month journey to Mars. Biden with a slight advantage now. Twenty one states reached new records for COVID-19 cases this week. Martin Luther King Jr., gave his “I Have a Dream” speech. Trump trails Biden on trust in handling the coronavirus outbreak, race relations, and crime. Trump’s trust deficit is concentrated in states where coronavirus cases are rising sharply, including Florida, Texas, Arizona, and Georgia. local law enforcement. John Lewis, who died Friday and was the last survivor of the Big Six civil rights activists who organized the 1963 March on Washington, when Rev. Federal, state, and local politicians clashed this weekend after federal and local law enforcement officers moved against violent protesters in Portland, Oregon. Why We Wrote This

Good morning! faces virus “embers” and “flames” but insisted “it’s going to disappear, and I’ll be right,” in a contentious interview on “Fox News Sunday.” Globally, some countries are moving back toward more restrictions.2. With 105 days until the November election, the poll finds Mr. Police cars were vandalized and a police union building was lit on fire Saturday night. Monday Sunrise Briefing: Who do Americans trust to lead? REUTERS/Al Drago

The American flag flies at half-staff Saturday after the death of Congressman John Lewis (D-GA) at the White House in Washington, U.S., July 18, 2020. coronavirus cases rise, trust in President Trump is slipping. Lewis advocated nonviolent protest but he was often confrontational. July 20, 2020

By David Clark Scott
Audience Engagement Editor
@davidclarkscott

As U.S. He urged them to “get in good trouble” and “get in the way.”   

REUTERS/Ahmed Jadallah

A mission called Hope. Trump still ahead of Joe Biden when asked who do you trust to handle the economy. “Their leadership has, for months, lost control of the anarchists and agitators. Portland, Oregon is emerging as a test for how to curb violent, urban protests. The Georgia congressman was generous with his time, meeting and supporting activists from around the country. Mr. Mr. “We are trying to help Portland, not hurt it,” Trump tweeted Sunday. Trump said the U.S. Nationally, Mr.
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What one killing tells us. No paywall.This is a beta test – an experiment with an early Monday news update. When Black athletes choose Black schools: Commentary on activism in sports

Editor’s note: As a public service,   all our   coronavirus coverage   is free. ‘Justice needs to be served’: Minnapolis businesses put principles first

Can Iraq rein in Shiite militias? Now what? Finally, check out the Monitor’s selected stories from Friday’s subscription-only Daily Edition:
America has bungled the pandemic. Please give us your feedback via the link below and let us know what you think. Thank you!

Globally, where officials are eyeing tougher steps to curb virus

July 19, 2020

By Geir Moulson and Bobby Caina Calvan
Associated Press

Berlin, Tallahassee, Fla. Authorities in northwestern Germany’s Vechta county said 66 workers at a chicken slaughterhouse tested positive, though most appeared to have been infected in their free time. India, which has now confirmed more than 1 million infections, on Sunday reported a 24-hour record of 38,902 new cases.Pope Francis said “the pandemic is showing no sign of stopping” and urged compassion for those whose suffering during the outbreak has been worsened by conflicts.In Europe, where infections are far below their peak but local outbreaks are causing concern, leaders of the 27-nation European Union haggled for a third day in Brussels over a proposed 1.85 trillion-euro ($2.1 trillion) EU budget and coronavirus recovery fund.German Chancellor Angela Merkel said there is “a lot of good will, but there are also a lot of positions” in the talks, which have have laid bare divisions about how the countries hit hardest by the pandemic, such as Italy and Spain, should be helped. Even where the situation has been largely brought under control, new outbreaks are prompting the return of restrictions.Following a recent surge in cases, Hong Kong made the wearing of masks mandatory in all public places and told non-essential civil servants to work from home. He has already issued such orders in 19 counties accounting for nearly 60% of the state’s population.“We’re going the wrong way. Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam said the situation in the Asian financial hub is “really critical” and that she sees “no sign” that it’s under control.Police in Barcelona have limited access to some of the city’s beloved beaches because sunbathers were ignoring social distancing regulations amid a resurgence of coronavirus infections.Slaughterhouses also have featured in outbreaks in the U.S., Germany, and elsewhere. “It’s also about what we do individually.”

AP/Leo Correa

Anderson de Souza, the clown Batatinha, performs at the Estoril Circus in a drive-in format, in Itaguai, greater Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, July 18, 2020. Europe as a continent has seen about 200,000 deaths.The number of confirmed infections worldwide has passed 14.3 million, with 3.7 million in the United States and more than 2 million in Brazil. The United States tops the list with over 140,000, followed by more than 78,000 in Brazil. Garcetti said, adding that the decisions were made at the state and county levels, not by city officials. She said the talks, which were initially scheduled to end on Saturday, could still end without a deal.Confirmed global virus deaths have risen to more than 603,000, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. Congress was returning to session this week as the coronavirus crisis many had hoped would have improved by now only worsened – and just as earlier federal emergency relief was expiring.Mr. Signs of governments reassessing their coronavirus response were scattered around the world Sunday, with the mayor of Los Angeles saying the city was reopened too quickly, Ohio’s governor warning his state is “going the wrong way,” Hong Kong issuing tougher new rules on wearing face masks, and Spain closing overcrowded beaches.Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said Los Angeles was “on the brink” of new widespread stay-at-home orders as Los Angeles County continued to see the state’s largest increase in confirmed coronavirus cases. But he also said people in general had become less vigilant about taking precautions to avoid transmission.“It’s not just what’s open and closed,” he said. states including California, Florida, Texas, and Arizona, with many blaming a haphazard, partisan approach to lifting lockdowns as well as the resistance of some Americans to wearing masks.In Florida, where health officials reported nearly 12,500 new infections and nearly 90 additional deaths on Sunday, U.S. Sen. Spain is closing overcrowded beaches. “It’s not just what’s open and closed,” Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said. “It’s also about what we do individually.”
America has bungled the pandemic. Hong Kong issued tougher rules on masks. Andrews said. An earlier outbreak at a slaughterhouse in western Germany infected over 1,400 and prompted a partial lockdown.Cases in the Australian state of Victoria rose again Sunday, prompting a move to make masks mandatory in metropolitan Melbourne and the nearby district of Mitchell for people who leave their homes for exercise or to purchase essential goods.Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews said those who fail to wear a mask will be fined 200 Australian dollars ($140).“There’s no vaccine to this wildly infectious virus and it’s a simple thing, but it’s about changing habits, it’s about becoming a simple part of your routine,” Mr. Experts believe the pandemic’s true toll around the world is much higher because of testing shortages and data collection issues.New York City has been cleared to enter the next phase of reopening on Monday, but indoor restaurants, bars, museums, and shopping malls will remain closed, Gov. Now what?Infections have been soaring in U.S. Globally, where officials are eyeing tougher steps to curb virus

Ohio’s governor warns he may mandate mask-wearing. California reported on Saturday its fourth-highest daily total of newly confirmed coronavirus cases, with more than 9,000.Appearing on CNN Sunday, Mayor Garcetti was asked about a Los Angeles Times editorial that criticized the rapid reopening of California, which was followed by a spike in new COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations.“I do agree those things happened too quickly,” Mr. But divisions between the Senate GOP majority and the White House posed fresh challenges. Andrew Cuomo said Friday. Mike DeWine, like Senator Rubio a Republican, said he would not rule out a statewide mandate on wearing masks, as infections in his state grew. Signs of governments reassessing their coronavirus response are scattered around the world. We’re at a crucial time,” Governor DeWine said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”Top Republicans in Congress were expecting to meet Monday with President Donald Trump on the next   COVID-19   aid package as the administration objected to giving more money to virus testing and interjected other priorities that could complicate quick passage.Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was prepared to roll out the $1 trillion package in a matter of days. Loading… Trump and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin “to fine-tune” the legislation, acting chief of staff Mark Meadows said on Fox News.Globally, the World Health Organization said that 259,848 new infections were reported Saturday, its highest one-day tally yet. McConnell and House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy were set to meet with Mr. Marco Rubio called for consistent, nonpartisan messaging.“We’ve seen a lot of these things turned into sort of a partisan fight or a political statement,” he told South Florida television station, CBS4, on Sunday.Ohio Gov. Phase four reopening will allow for more outdoor activities such as attendance at zoos, outdoor films, and gardens.

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It’s free. AP writers around the world contributed to this report.Editor’s note: As a public service, the Monitor has removed the paywall   for all our coronavirus coverage. This story was reported by The Associated Press.

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Points of Progress: Elk return to strip mining sites, and more

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6. L’Oréal is removing references to “white,” “fair,” and “light” from its skincare products, and Hindustan Unilever has vowed to stop playing up “the benefits of fairness, whitening, and skin lightening” in its marketing materials. Critics say these products and their advertisements perpetuate colorism, a form of discrimination that favors people with lighter skin over those with dark skin. The Fine Fairness product promises to “double your skin’s whitening power for even-toned lasting translucent fairness.”

Amit Dave/Reuters

A customer examines one of Hindustan Unilever’s “Fair & Lovely” products in Ahmedabad, India, June 25, 2020. India  
U.S. (CNN) The company said it is dropping the Neutrogena Fine Fairness line, which is sold throughout Asia and the Middle East, and the Clean & Clear Fairness line, sold in India. Critics say such products promote colorism, discrimination based on lightness of skin tone. Although these lines together represented less than 1% of the company’s global beauty sales in 2019, the popularity of whitening products has long been a controversial issue in Asia, and particularly in India, where Bollywood stars have endorsed lightening creams. skincare giant Johnson & Johnson will discontinue product lines that promote skin-lightening amid global demonstrations against racism. Other beauty companies are rethinking their branding.
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As of July 3, 2021, people will not be able to buy plastic cutlery, straws, cotton swabs, and other single-use products that take decades to degrade. Now, it is Real Madrid Femenino. Women’s soccer has long been popular in Spain, and fans criticized the 118-year-old organization for being one of the last elite clubs to not offer a women’s team. Ms. Shawn Poynter/AP/File

Elk roam the Starfire mine site near Hazard, Kentucky, on Jan. A roundup of positive stories to inspire you. In eastern Kentucky, mining’s mountaintop removal process decimated local landscapes and ecosystems, but as the   industry has receded, it has left behind a new landscape of uninhabited, grassy plateaus   where elk can thrive. There were about 30,000 Travellers, a formally recognized Indigenous ethnic minority, living in Ireland during the 2016 census. Worth $4.24 billion last year, Real Madrid is the most valuable soccer club in the world. Elk were once common in the western part of the state, but development pushed away many native game species by the 20th century. Loading… “It’s quite clear we are not going to go back to how things were,” said the city’s education commissioner, Folasade Adefisayo. … 15, 2004. (Deutsche Welle)4. “It’s a huge positive that you have the biggest men’s club in the world now investing in the women’s side,” said Ada Hegerberg, a Norwegian soccer player. SpainReal Madrid has officially launched its first women’s soccer team after merging with Madrid-based women’s club CD Tacon. Throughout eastern Kentucky, the species appears to be thriving. Travellers face many forms of discrimination, including barriers to education, derogatory language, and being denied service at shops and hotels. Nigeria has seen a rise in smartphone and internet use in recent years, but the high cost of data and devices means many families with children in public school don’t have as much access to the technology as those whose children attend private school. But now, there’s hope that Real Madrid Femenino will inspire long-term investment in the sport. NigeriaThe city of Lagos is giving 300,000 children cellphones preloaded with data and an educational app called Roducate in an effort to level the playing field for remote students. The city has already distributed 20,000 phones. “It sends out a message to other clubs. Staff

Places where the world saw progress, for the July 27, 2020 Monitor Weekly. Single-use food containers account for much of the waste in public spaces. The coronavirus pandemic has prompted the education department to find ways to help teachers and families become less reliant on classrooms, and officials expect the cellphones to help students stay engaged for at least the next year while schools are still reopening. Flynn, a community development worker with the National Traveller Women’s Forum, aims to introduce anti-hate crime legislation and to help “break down the barriers for Traveller people and also for those at the end of Irish society.” (BBC)3. Flynn made headlines in 2008 when she and her sister became the first Travellers from their neighborhood to pursue higher education. IrelandFeminist organizer Eileen Flynn has become the Republic of Ireland’s first Traveller senator. Approximately 250 elk live on the reclaimed strip mine. (The New York Times)2. Environment Minister Svenja Schulze hopes the move will combat Germany’s “throw-away culture,” saying many of the banned products “are superfluous and non-sustainable use of resources.” Germany’s Federal Environmental Agency reports the country collected a record 18.7 million tons of packaging waste in 2017, and up to 20% of trash found in public spaces is single-use plastic. I hope they go all in.” (CNN, Yahoo News)5. She narrowly missed out on an elected Seanad seat earlier this year, but landed one of 11 appointed seats in the new coalition government. The children love the app, and so far we see it as being a part of how they can learn going forward.” (The Guardian) GermanyGermany has committed to banning the sale of single-use plastic products, bringing the country in line with a European Union directive to reduce plastic waste. The acquisition was approved last year, but Tacon operated under its original name for the last season. July 17, 2020

By Lindsey McGinnis
Staff Writer
@BylineLindsey

1. Michael Sohn/AP/File

Plastic trash clutters a Berlin park on Aug. The state fish and wildlife department reports the emerging elk market – including sightseeing tours and hunting guides – contributes $5 million to local economies, which have some of the highest poverty rates in the country. 12, 2019. United StatesElk have returned to Kentucky, providing an economic boost to 16 counties of coal country. Ms. Points of Progress: Elk return to strip mining sites, and more

Why We Wrote This

This is more than feel-good news – it’s where the world is making concrete progress. Through an aggressive reintroduction effort, the reclaimed mines are now home to roughly 13,000 elk, the largest population east of the Mississippi. “We’ve found e-learning to be efficient and interesting.

Can Iraq rein in Shiite militias? What one killing tells us.

Kadhimi had a winning strategy, noting that new appointments, from the ministers of defense and interior, to counterterror and police force chiefs, are based on his experience leading Iraqi intelligence for four years.“We are seeing some positive changes, but it will take time for those changes to be felt. drone strike in Baghdad along with Iranian Lt. Khazali.“Playing the long game”But striking at Shiite militias is popular politics for a prime minister tied to no political party, whose leadership is a result of widespread protests that called for change – including imposing state control over rogue militias and ending Iranian influence in Iraq.“One thing we’ve seen consistently is popular sentiment toward the [PMF] has declined,” while the raid on Kata’ib Hezbollah was “extremely popular,” says an Iraqi government adviser in Baghdad who asked not to be named.“The average Iraqi is able to differentiate between the brigades that are looking to enrich themselves, versus those that are looking to protect the community, and those that do answer to the prime minister, and those that threaten him and state it openly,” says the adviser.Despite the setbacks, the adviser voiced confidence that Mr. He’s playing the long game,” says the adviser.Militias strengtheningSince the last major battles against the Islamic State in Mosul in 2018, the dozens of PMF brigades were meant to have been integrated into the Iraqi military and receive salaries from government coffers.But some, often those with the closest ties to Iran, have eschewed Baghdad’s control. His views made him a high-value target, analysts say, and his assassination July 6 has become a key episode in the escalating battle between Iraq’s new prime minister and the Iran-backed militias that reject government control.“This is a calculated attack to send a message to the prime minister,” says Renad Mansour, an Iraq expert at Chatham House in London. Khalid Mohammed/AP

Iraqi riot police cordon off the heavily fortified Green Zone, which houses government buildings and foreign embassies, as demonstrators gather to protest against armed Iranian-backed militias, in Baghdad, Iraq, July 12, 2020. Loading… forces in Iraq, as well as storming the U.S. Hashemi, a jocular and generous expert on militant groups such as the Sunni Islamic State and Shiite militias, and a father of four, advised and informed Iraqi leaders in equal measure, repeatedly warning of the home-grown danger.“They became like the gods of the temple, and see themselves as sacred people” who were enabled by Iran, became corrupt, and who “mistreated” ordinary Iraqis, Mr. He vowed to tackle rogue militias and restore the “prestige of the state.”Mr. The attack on Mr. “This is not following a protester back home and gunning them down because they made you angry.”“The fact that [militias] are resorting to this type of violence … They instead exert influence on the ground and have learned to finance themselves   by skimming money at checkpoints, border posts and ports, and even oil fields.“What I think we are watching – and have been watching for the last couple years –   is this level of autonomy and empowerment of these groups … Hashemi, “paints the picture that the prime minister tried to draw a line in the sand,” but was met with defiance, she says.Indeed, even inside the Green Zone – the heart of the Iraqi government – Kata’ib Hezbollah and other militias occupy 22 buildings and field from 2,000 to 5,000 armed men, making both the prime minister’s headquarters and Republican Palace “unsafe” for officials, according to an analysis this week by Michael Knights and Alex Almeida for the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. Kadhimi could “lose everything” if he tried, said the militia chief, noting that no previous Iraqi government had attempted such action. Gen. sentiment in Iraq, and rocket attacks on U.S. The assassination of a key security analyst paints a revealing portrait of Baghdad’s struggles with Iran-backed militias. When freed, the militants burned U.S. and NATO forces and embassies have continued. Hashemi tweeted his support, saying it had “given the necessary message to the security forces and the judiciary to allow them to overcome the barrier of fear made by these armed groups.”Yet, tellingly, all but one of the Kata’ib Hezbollah men were freed within days after a militia show of force: a heavily armed 30-vehicle column that rolled around the fortified Green Zone demanding their release. Mr. Mansour. Embassy last December.Its leader, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis – regarded as the PMF commander most capable of bringing all Shiite groups under one roof – was killed in a U.S. Wille at Human Rights Watch.She points to PMF influence especially in Iraq’s eastern Diyala province, areas around Kirkuk, and in the south of the country.“From every account that I have, the PMF, in their view, are becoming stronger and stronger, to the point that they are becoming in many areas the sole security apparatus that is functional,” says Ms. July 17, 2020

Two ways to read the story

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Deep Read ( 6 Min. Can Iraq rein in Shiite militias? Kadhimi –   whose candidacy was opposed by Kata’ib Hezbollah –   has shaken up his top security ministers and officials, and on June 26 took the unprecedented step of ordering the Iraqi counterterrorism unit to arrest 14 militia members, citing an attack plot.Shortly after the raid, Mr. As politically popular as its campaign against the Shiite militias is, it has so far been unable to dent their power.The attack on Mr. Hashemi’s friend and colleague Sarmad al-Bayati told Al Jazeera during the funeral march. Khalid Mohammed/AP

A protester prays by a poster showing Hisham al-Hashemi, an Iraqi analyst who was a leading expert on the Islamic State and other armed groups who was shot dead in Baghdad, as demonstrators gather to protest against armed Iran-backed militias, in Baghdad, Iraq, July 12, 2020. Hashemi told The Christian Science Monitor last December, for example.His views made him a high-value target, analysts now say.“This is a calculated attack to send a message to the prime minister,” says Renad Mansour, an Iraq expert at the Chatham House think tank in London, who often worked with Mr. What one killing tells us. Analysts say the escalating fight against the militias has become an inflection point likely to shape the future of Iraqi governance and sovereignty.The picture that is emerging, analysts suggest, is sobering. Hashemi.“This is not killing an activist, this is killing a political actor … But so has the internal Iraqi strife. Hashemi’s killing –   has become an inflection point for the Iraqi state, likely to shape the future quality of governance and sovereignty. )

By Scott Peterson
Staff writer
@peterson__scott

Once seen as heroes in Iraq for their role in helping defeat the Islamic State, Shiite militias were one target of months of nationwide protests that began last October and led to the formation of a new government.Security analyst Hisham al-Hashemi long warned of the danger such armed groups posed to the rebuilding of the Iraqi state. Hashemi, says Belkis Wille, senior crisis and conflict researcher and Iraq specialist at Human Rights Watch, “shows that these groups are absolutely convinced that there won’t ever be a price to be paid or accountability.”High-value targetKnown collectively as the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), the Iran-backed elements among them were widely blamed for spearheading violent crackdowns on the protests that left more than 500 dead.Under pressure from the street, former Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi stepped down in November   and his successor, Mustafa al-Kadhimi, a former head of intelligence, was sworn in on May 7. Hashemi –   gunned down on July 6 in front of his Baghdad house –   could hardly have predicted his own assassination would become a key episode in the escalating battle between a new Iraqi prime minister and the defiant Iran-backed militias like Kata’ib Hezbollah that reject government control.“That’s what they want for Iraq, they want an Iraq without a state,” Mr. Mansour.Contributing to that perception he says, are the government efforts to rein in the militias and a sharp reduction in cash for Iran-backed groups flowing from Tehran, as U.S. “Instead, they were all ignoring this issue because they knew they couldn’t touch it,” boasted Mr. Hashemi, says Belkis Wille, an Iraq specialist at Human Rights Watch, “shows that these groups are absolutely convinced that there won’t ever be a price to be paid.”

LONDON
Receiving death threats from Shiite militias was no surprise to Iraqi security analyst Hisham al-Hashemi, who had long warned of the danger such armed groups posed to rebuilding the Iraqi state after years of war.But Mr. “We are a country without a state, and this is the victim.”Once seen as heroes in Iraq for their role in helping defeat Islamic State militants from 2014 to 2018, the Shiite militias were one target of months of nationwide protests that began last October against corruption, lawlessness, and ties to Iran, and led to the formation of a new government.Analysts say the escalating fight against the militias’ influence – the stakes made all the higher by Mr. Qassem Soleimani.The early January attack ignited a blaze of anti-U.S. closely connected to the president, the prime minister, to senior elements of the state,” says Mr. forces in Iraq by “resistance factions” like his.Mr. sanctions and low oil prices throttle Iran’s economy.Brewing conflictIndeed, top of the prime minister’s target list has been Kata’ib Hezbollah, which Washington has targeted with strikes, accusing it of mounting multiple attacks against U.S. flags and trampled on portraits of the prime minister.Qais al-Khazali, head of another Iran-backed militia, warned the prime minister that he “could never” curb attacks against U.S. Wille.Even in Baghdad, the release of the Kata’ib Hezbollah detainees, coupled with the murder of Mr. shows they feel threatened,” says Mr. ‘Law School 101’: How Supreme Court ended its termAnd the picture that is emerging so far, analysts suggest, is a sobering one for the new government in Baghdad. As popular as its campaign against the militias is, the new government has been unable to dent their power. Why We Wrote This

Good governance and balancing sectarian interests have challenged successive Iraqi leaders. at the very local level,” says Ms.
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Mansour from Chatham House. Kadhimi “is not a revolutionary, he is going to try incremental reform, to slowly build toward something,” says Mr. “But along the way there is going to be a lot of pushback, there is going to be a lot of conflict, violence, and deaths.” That reality will make the task of exerting control even more difficult.Mr.

‘Break the silence’: In Tunisia, rappers keep revolution alive

“Many Tunisians have doubts over the direction of the country, but I want to tell Tunisians to remain positive about our revolution,” says Mr. Guitoni, who raps under the name Guito’n.“We have overcome a lot the last nine years and learned a lot about ourselves. It may be cloudy now, but we have brighter days ahead.”

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To escape the watchful eye of the police, some would leave a batch of cassettes in a bag at a drop-off point at a deserted lot like contraband or a ransom pickup.The secret to the enduring success of Tunisian rap, they say, is its use of local dialects to reach a large sub-section of Tunisian society – particularly the working class and rural citizens who do not understand the classical Arabic used in newspapers and by newscasters. DJ Costa rummages for used automobile parts and odd jobs; other unemployed rappers sit for hours in cafes.So strong is the political commentary in their songs, Tunisians can listen to a track and immediately remember the year and month of the song from the topical lyrics.DJ Costa, Balti, and others rappers have rap about harraqa, or migrating to Europe by boat, highlighting the dangers, the factors pushing young men to risk their lives, those who never live to reach land, and the families they leave behind.Another frequent topic has been the dangers of extremism and the Islamic State group, which recruited thousands of young vulnerable Tunisians facing economic despair and social marginalization.It is a topic close to many rappers who lived in marginalized neighborhoods where ISIS recruiters once prowled; Mr. Ben Achour and a white Tunisian rapper; the white rapper insists there is no racism in the country, while Mr. “We are staying on message to keep progress alive.”Mohamed Kekli, who goes by the name Trappa, spent several years learning the hip-hop industry in the United States. California seemed to do everything right. July 16, 2020

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Deep Read ( 5 Min. Rappers in Tunisia have moved on from the toppling of a dictator to exploring how music can empower the marginalized in society. Loading… “We were singing to people who didn’t understand the news on TV or read a newspaper. Ben Achour lists issues faced by Black Tunisians one by one, concluding with, “I have not gotten my rights.”At the end, they shake hands and hug.“Tunisian rappers are part of the society and face the same daily economic and social issues as the rest of the country. “Break the silence, stop the violence,” he leans into the microphone and utters: “Police.”But this is not an American studio.A decade after serving as the soundtrack to Tunisia’s revolution, rappers today are expressing Tunisians’ hopes and anxieties as they continue to rebuild their society.Freed from a dictator, Tunisia’s rappers have moved on from toppling oppressors to exploring how music can be used to empower the marginalized in the young democracy. Akkari’s brother Yusuf was recruited by ISIS to travel to Syria and was later killed in an airstrike on Kobani, scene of a pivotal battle between Kurdish fighters and ISIS.“I tried to reach him and young Tunisians through my music,” Mr. Even as the music has become professional, they have not abandoned these social causes,” says Mohamed Jouili, a Tunisian sociologist.“The spirit of the music remains underground,” he says, “and that has given a popular legitimacy to the music that resonates today.”Revolutionary historyTunisian rap and hip-hop’s focus on social justice dates back to its introduction to the country.Rap became popular in Tunisia in the late 1990s with the smuggling of cassettes and CDs of French rappers such as I AM and American artists like Tupac Shakur, Biggie Smalls, and Snoop Dogg.What made Tunisians latch on to rap were lyrics against police brutality, poverty, persecution, and substance abuse – real-life issues facing Tunisians under the dictatorship of Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali, but never discussed or reported in the news.“Hip-hop came talking about different messages – social issues we faced but never expressed in music,” says Trappa. “Now I sing so it never happens again.”Ya Lili, Tunisia’s biggest rap hit yet, overtook Arab airwaves in 2018. Their new focus has an all-too familiar refrain: poverty, inequality, police brutality, and racism. It’s not that you rid yourself of a dictator and everything is fine.”

TUNIS, Tunisia
“Break the silence, stop the violence,” DJ Costa says as he bops his head left and right to the beat, sweat beading on his brow. “The main causes of poverty, disenfranchisement, and discrimination have not changed in any tangible way since the revolution,” he says. Ben Ali, becoming the revolution’s soundtrack.Rapping forwardToday dozens of young women and men rappers and hip-hop artists are exploring the boundaries of music free of censorship, intertwining Tunisian musical heritage with 21st century beats, complete with slick YouTube music videos garnering millions of views.Yet they insist on focusing on local causes rather than “going commercial” or “selling out.”Mohamed Guitoni, 28, part of the younger generation of rappers that came of age during the revolution, says as Tunisia continues to find its footing, rappers have another message under their calls for political action: Don’t give up hope. A decade after serving as the soundtrack to Tunisia’s revolution, rappers are expressing Tunisians’ hopes and anxieties as they rebuild their society. It’s a song by rapper Balti about domestic violence and a young boy’s feelings of helplessness and being trapped.Since the revolution, Hamza Ben Achour, a Black Tunisian, has used rap to address Tunisia’s underlying racism against dark-skinned citizens and those of sub-Saharan African heritage, challenging Tunisian society’s “denial.”His song, Manash racist, or “I’m not racist,” depicts a debate-turned-rap-off between Mr. Akkari says. )

By Taylor Luck
Special Correspondent
@Taylor_Luck

From hip-hop studios to outdoor festivals and the streets, in Tunisia you’re never far from rap. Taylor Luck/The Christian Science Monitor/File

Mehdi Akkari, known as DJ Costa, records new lyrics from behind the glass of a soundproof booth at his home recording studio in Manouba, Tunisia, October 20, 2019. “We still do not have decent schools or proper hospitals; some regions do not even have access to drinkable water,” says Mehdi Akkari, known as DJ Costa, whose two-decade rap career has spanned Tunisia’s transformation. is that hip-hop can change minds,” Trappa says as a group of clarinet players walks in to record at the Debo studio. “We are staying on message to keep progress alive.”Lessons from AmericaFrom hip-hop studios to outdoor festivals and the streets, in Tunisia you’re never far from rap, which has become not only the dominant music in the North African country, but the political language of the people.The Debo Collective serves as rap’s public library.Here in its graffiti- and paint-splattered studio on the third floor above a central Tunis cafe, artists, DJs, rappers, dancers, and musicians come to collaborate, explore, and use recording equipment for free.Mohamed Kekli, who goes by the name Trappa, was inspired to form the collective in 2013 after spending several years learning the hip-hop industry in Chicago and Connecticut. “What I learned in the U.S. Rap has become the political language of the people. ‘Break the silence’: In Tunisia, rappers keep revolution alive

Why We Wrote This

Sometimes art is life. Their new focus has a familiar refrain: poverty, inequality, police brutality, and racism.“We still do not have decent schools or proper hospitals; some regions do not even have access to drinkable water,” says DJ Costa, whose two-decade rap career has spanned Tunisia’s transformation. Ben Ali, ministers, mayors, and the police, using slang familiar to average Tunisians but alien to the political elite that ruled them, occasionally running afoul of the regime.It was only natural, then, when Tunisians rose up in 2010, that rappers released songs on a near-daily basis calling for the overthrow of Mr. It’s not that you rid yourself of a dictator and everything is fine.”With different musical flourishes, styles, and a diverse array of topics, the dozens of Tunisian rappers and hip-hop artists share the same mission: to keep pressure on post-revolution politicians.Despite different political parties peacefully transferring power since 2011, Tunisian rappers are quick to remind them little has been done to address poverty and soaring inequality, or even to reform the feared security services.Songs chide squabbling MPs and criticize government ministers for their response to a deadly building collapse in a rural town and the government’s indifference to the plight of the homeless.Connected to realityWith many rappers themselves unemployed or skirting the poverty line, their connection to the people’s plight is real; authenticity and anguish pumps through their lyrics. “In Tunisia we are trying to keep our unfinished revolution alive to address social issues. So why are COVID-19 cases surging?“The main causes of poverty, disenfranchisement, and discrimination have not changed in any tangible way since the revolution,” he says. We were telling them the country’s story in under three minutes,” Mr. “We are expressing our feeling as a people.”Rappers also used different names to fill in for Mr. Akkari says from his makeshift home studio. “In Tunisia we are trying to keep our unfinished revolution alive to address social issues. He was particularly impressed by the use of hip-hop to get out the vote in the 2004 presidential election and tackle community violence, he says in an interview late last year.“What I learned in the U.S. It’s not only the dominant music, but the political language of the people. “People in Tunisia connected with it, and the music got bigger and bigger.”Aspiring young rappers would use multiple cassette recorders, recording their lyrics on one tape, then adding the beat on the other to make a crude mix.With the internet censored, rappers would then distribute their cassettes to friends and neighbors. is that hip-hop can change minds,” he says.
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With $2.1T to split, EU leaders ditch webcams for live summit

It’s free. This story was reported by The Associated Press.Editor’s note: As a public service, the Monitor has removed the paywall for all our coronavirus coverage.

A nation can’t put in a replacement, and it can only ask a friendly colleague to vote or speak in its place.So, even if it will be a true face-to-face meeting, it will be one laden with provisos.“It doesn’t automatically mean that excellent results will be achieved and that agreement will be reached quickly,” Mr. And instead of a warren of microphones and cameras seeking early comment, they will have the option to make a comment to a neutral outlet, no questions asked.The already byzantine map of the building has been redrawn to avoid unexpected crowds and certain elevators for the leaders will be limited to a maximum capacity of two.At the start of a session, leaders will be urged to mask themselves and respect at least 5 feet of distance for the informal greetings, often a moment when body language gives away how tough a summit will be. “I wouldn’t claim to be a psychologist, but I would say it really does help.”It had better since five remote video summits so far this year failed at bridging the financial gap between rival nations needing to agree on a more than 1-trillion-euro budget for the next seven years and a 750-billion-fund to allow nations to recover from the coronavirus crisis. Most of their delegations will be split off immediately and parked in an adjacent building. Other leaders can gather in mini-sessions to defend common regional or financial interests.It’s bound to happen again, but this time, every room which will be used at the summit center will be deep cleaned. Yet if Monday’s trial run of foreign ministers was anything to go by, discipline was often lacking.Should the worst happen and a leader suddenly shows symptoms, doctors will be on site once he or she is taken out of the room. Roth said. Whatever happens, it will make for an EU summit unlike any other at the urn-shaped Europa headquarters.For starters, the cozy meeting room on the top floor, where the leaders have clashed at close quarters over everything from Brexit to migration issues, will be exchanged for the prosaically-named meeting room EBS-5, where normally 330 people fit in a space of 9,150 square feet.“They will be well spaced” when they go into a restricted session with barely a few delegates, deadpanned an EU official preparing the summit.There will be no group photo of the leaders like at last December’s summit because of social distancing requirements.Often, the toughest of summits have so-called confessionals where the president of the proceedings takes one or more leaders to the side to see where they might budge. “But after all, I am an optimist.”Others are already looking at an extended summit running even into Sunday, with another one possible within two weeks. While French President Emmanuel Macron is arriving early for the EU’s first face-to-face summit since February, Ms. German Chancellor Angela Merkel holds out until the official kickoff time early Friday. So why are COVID-19 cases surging?“It was already clear at Easter when I was calling, the first time, all the different capitals that such a decision can only be taken if the leaders, prime ministers, heads of state, meet in person in Brussels,” EU Budget Commissioner Johannes Hahn said.French President Emmanuel Macron is already sweeping into town late Thursday, eager to get as many encounters in as possible. With $2.1T to split, EU leaders ditch webcams for live summit

After five remote video summits failed to resolve budget issues, European Union nations are planning the bloc’s first in-person meeting since the pandemic began. Merkel will wait until the official kickoff on July 17. But with doctors on-site, social distancing, and press restrictions, this summit will look very different. 

Francisco Seco/AP

German Chancellor Angela Merkel leaves the European Parliament in Brussels on July 8, 2020. Loading… July 16, 2020

By Raf Casert
Associated Press

Brussels
There are limits to videoconferencing. When there is a lot of money at stake, people like to look each other in the eye.So on Friday, leaders from 27 European Union nations will be meeting face-to-face for the first since February despite the dangers of the coronavirus pandemic – simply to try to carve up a potential package of $2.1 trillion among themselves, and, just as importantly, see who will pay in the most.In perhaps the first such major meeting of leaders since the COVID-19 outbreak hit the world, the stakes were just too high to maintain extreme social distancing.“You can feel the mood, as it were,” Germany’s Europe minister, Michael Roth, said of such flesh-and-blood summits. California seemed to do everything right. The main summit room will only use filtered, non-recycled air.As soon as their vehicles pull up into driveway outside the Europa building, the leaders will immediately experience the difference, officials said.
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