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Prince Charles celebrates anniversary with Camilla after coronavirus scare
The royal couple tied the knot in April 2005.
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nypost.com
Chicago woman killed while social-distancing outside 7-Eleven
A 27-year-old Chicago woman was fatally shot while social-distancing outside a convenience store, according to a report.
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nypost.com
Twin sisters who ‘did everything together’ die of coronavirus days apart
Twin sisters who “did everything together” in Wales have died of the coronavirus just days apart — and their older brother is now battling for his life in a hospital. Eleanor Andrews got sick first and died on March 29 — with sister Eileen succumbing to the deadly bug four days later, her family told...
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nypost.com
World Bank: Coronavirus Is Pushing Sub-Saharan Africa To First Recession In 25 Years
Sub-Saharan Africa is home to some of the world's fastest-growing economies and has been for years. But the World Bank projects growth could go down 5.1% this year, driven by the coronavirus pandemic.
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npr.org
100 American Airlines flight attendants, 41 pilots test positive for coronavirus
About 100 American Airlines flight attendants and 41 pilots have tested positive for COVID-19, their unions say. Southwest employees are also sick.      
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usatoday.com
Why Democrats are blocking a bill that boosts funding for small businesses
Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD) speaks to a reporter in the Senate underground on April 9 after objecting to more funds being added to the coronavirus response fund, saying it wouldn’t “address the immediate need of small businesses. | Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call/Getty Images The Senate face-off over a new bill to help small businesses, briefly explained. Democrats are blocking an attempt to give small businesses a $250 billion boost. But why? At first glance, it’s a surprising move, since Democrats support providing more funding to small businesses and workers experiencing severe economic trouble caused by the fallout of the coronavirus outbreak. But the answer is simple: Democrats want to use the leverage they have in Congress so that Republicans don’t just approve more money for small businesses while leaving out other programs that also desperately need more funding. This approach was evident Thursday when Senate Democrats blocked Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s attempt to pass a standalone small-business funding bill via unanimous consent. Democratic leaders explained that the move was an opportunity to push for more expansive stimulus than Republicans have otherwise considered, a tactic they also used with the CARES Act. A few weeks ago, Democrats blocked the initial proposal offered by Senate Republicans, which included fewer restrictions on a $500 billion bailout fund aimed at corporations — and less generous unemployment insurance benefits. (Because every bill requires at least 60 votes to pass, all legislation requires at least some Democratic buy-in.) “You may recall that just before we came together and passed the CARES Act 96-0, the Majority Leader ... tried to ram through an unfinished product,” said Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) in a floor speech. “It didn’t work then and it’s not going to work today.” In the short term, the downside of this approach is that funds are not immediately approved to bolster the Paycheck Protection Program, a loan program for small businesses that has seen strong demand and limited availability amid a chaotic rollout. But it’s a sign that Democrats are willing to use their leverage to push for more comprehensive stimulus for workers and businesses. What Democrats want added to the “interim” spending bill The central disagreement between Republicans and Democrats on this “interim” spending bill, which they are considering before the next major stimulus package, is how much money it should include — and who it should help. For now, Republicans leaders want to keep this measure narrow, focused exclusively on giving a $250 billion boost to the Paycheck Protection Program, an effort aimed at providing small businesses and nonprofits with forgivable loans. Democrats, meanwhile, think the small business money should be spread across a couple different programs, and want more funds added to the legislation including $100 billion for health care providers, $150 billion for states and cities, and more support for SNAP. Republicans have argued that it would be easier and more efficient to approve the money for small businesses independently — and they note that funds for states and hospitals from the CARES Act are still being doled out. “That by definition is a clean bill,” McConnell said in a floor speech. “I want to add money to the only part of our bipartisan bill that is currently at risk of running out of money.” Democrats, however, disagree. They noted that the Paycheck Protection Program is not the only effort that needs more money. The Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program, which includes $10,000 in forgivable advances for the businesses that qualify, also requires replenishing. There are concerns, too, about how the existing $349 billion designated for PPP has been allocated: Democrats are pushing for some of the new funds to be set aside for community-based lenders, so more businesses can access these loans since larger banks like Bank of America have put limitations on who can apply. Plus, while the CARES Act had already allocated money to health care providers and states and cities, Democrats note that it’s far from enough to make up for the lost revenue that these institutions are experiencing because of the coronavirus outbreak. In addition to the $100 billion that the CARES Act has for hospitals, and the $150 billion it has for states, Democrats are interested in adding more to cover costs like medical supplies and tax losses. “We’ve heard from our health care providers that they’re ready to close the doors,” said Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD). “They can’t stay in business today, it’s urgent.” According to an NPR report, hospitals are struggling financially as their revenues go down and costs mount for new equipment and resources to combat coronavirus. States, too, are seeing major shortfalls from reduced tax income during this time. The SNAP expansion proposed by Democrats, which would increase the maximum benefit that individuals and families could receive by 15 percent, is also in response to demand for the program in several states. Since both Democrats’ and Republicans’ proposals were blocked on Thursday, there won’t be any action on additional funding this week, but the fight offers a glimpse of the conflict and negotiation yet to come. It’s possible that no new money gets passed until the fourth stimulus bill Given the ongoing standoff between the two parties, it’s looking like additional coronavirus relief funds might not get passed by Congress until lawmakers begin considering a fourth stimulus package. It’s clear that workers and businesses are going to need significantly more funding in order to weather the ongoing economic downturn. As of this week, more than 220,000 small business loans have already been processed, and over 16 million people have filed for unemployment insurance in recent weeks. Lawmakers are expected to be back at the Capitol on April 20, and negotiations on the next stimulus will likely continue between now and then. As Vox’s Ella Nilsen has reported, the fourth package is likely to include more money for several provisions included in the CARES Act, including direct payments and additional funds for small businesses. “Nobody believes this is the Senate’s last word on Covid-19,” McConnell said. Support Vox’s explanatory journalism Every day at Vox, we aim to answer your most important questions and provide you, and our audience around the world, with information that has the power to save lives. Our mission has never been more vital than it is in this moment: to empower you through understanding. Vox’s work is reaching more people than ever, but our distinctive brand of explanatory journalism takes resources — particularly during a pandemic and an economic downturn. Your financial contribution will not constitute a donation, but it will enable our staff to continue to offer free articles, videos, and podcasts at the quality and volume that this moment requires. Please consider making a contribution to Vox today.
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vox.com
Prince Charles and Camilla 15th Wedding Anniversary: Why Queen Elizabeth II Refused to Attend Her Son's Ceremony
Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, were blocked from having a religious ceremony by the Church of England and Queen Elizabeth II "doesn't go to civil ceremonies," a royal author says.
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newsweek.com
Conservationists No Longer Agree What ‘Wild’ Means
I was trying to keep pace with Mario Cipollone as he hustled up a steep trail in the central Apennines of Italy. We were heading through a cold June rain toward an abandoned shepherd’s cabin in the Monte Genzana Reserve. Fallen beech leaves made a tawny carpet as we crossed a wooded ridge at 4,000 feet. Occasional wolf scat on the trailside provided evidence that these rugged hills were home to more than just birds and squirrels.The 38-year-old conservationist, his hair cropped as short as a Special Forces soldier’s, scanned the dripping forest for something he thought important for me to see. “There!” he said, pointing toward a tree with a familiar look. “Apple! See how our volunteers have pruned it?”The gnarled trunk was a relic from the time when these hills were cultivated by Italian farmers, before they abandoned their fields at the end of the Second World War. Volunteers under Cipollone’s guidance had removed the dead wood and opened the tree to the light in order to stimulate a return of fruit—not for the markets in nearby villages, but for the bellies of one of the region’s most notorious residents: the rare Marsican brown bear.Cipollone and his co-worker Angela Tavone, who joined us on the hike, specialize in helping abandoned agricultural landscapes revert back to nature. As human inhabitants have left this part of L’Aquila, big animals, including the Marsican bear, have nosed their way back onto the abandoned farmlands and orchards. “Rewilders” such as Cipollone and Tavone are helping smooth their return.“We don’t talk about these apples a lot,” Cipollone confessed with a sheepish grin. “Rewilders aren’t supposed to be pruning trees.”Wildlife managers back in my home of Montana would be appalled by the idea of caring for fruit trees in order to feed bears. I once bumped into a U.S. Forest Service ranger as she left an abandoned apple orchard with a backpack stuffed full of fruit, determined to keep the crop away from the bears. Bears in “wild” places such as Montana, the standard environmental line goes, should be eating “wild” foods. None of the 7,000 varieties of apples grown across the world was cultivated to nourish them.[Read: The bloody business of wildlife conservation]But if you are a 400-pound Marsican brown bear and fewer than 60 of you are left on the planet, what you are eating is much less important than whether you are eating enough of it. According to Cipollone and Tavone, pruning these apple trees provides the fragile population of Marsican bears some valuable extra calories. If the bears could be steered clear of the chickens, beehives, and deadly car traffic in the valley bottoms, Cipollone and Tavone’s rewilding work would be a heck of a lot easier.The pruning near the shepherd’s hut is a sign of a dramatic shift in environmental thinking. New conservation practices are causing old conceptual lines to blur, and as human and nonhuman lives become more entangled, conservation purists are being forced to give ground. Preserving “the wild” no longer means just setting land aside and leaving animals alone. It means finding ways to nurture the fragments of wildness that remain, through interventions that previously would have been considered heretical.Cipollone grew up in the Italian countryside, where he spent hours walking in the woods looking for wildlife. Thinking that he was encouraging the boy’s interests, a farmer taught Cipollone how to build a snare. When he came home one day to find a neighbor’s cat looking back at him from his trap, he swore off harming animals for good.The more he explored the surrounding hills, the more he realized that the Apennines harbored something special. Though depleted by centuries of hunting, populations of big animals such as wolves, wild boar, and the goatlike chamois somehow clung on in the region’s more remote corners. As the farming economy faded and the forests began to grow back, Cipollone realized that wildlife might be a key to the region’s revitalization; in 2012, he co-founded a conservation association, Salviamo l’Orso, to address what he considered the “cultural emergency” created by threats to the region’s iconic bears.Ursus arctos marsicanus is one of the rarest types of brown bear around. Its population has never climbed much above 60 since people started paying attention to it nearly a century ago. These unusual bears live at the geographical center of Italy, a country of 60 million human inhabitants, and during several thousand years of isolation—their nearest current neighbors are more than 400 impassable miles north—they developed a distinctive lower jaw for breaking open the nuts that form a large part of their diet. As brown bears go, they are surprisingly mild-mannered.When sentiments about conservation began to awaken at the beginning of the 20th century, Italy was among the first European countries to provide protection for its charismatic fauna. In 1922, the government started setting aside land in Abruzzo, which eventually grew into the National Park of Abruzzo, Lazio, and Molise. The idea that you could see a brown bear just a couple of hours after eating breakfast in Rome’s Piazza Navona quickly became a source of national pride.[Read: Rome’s Colosseum was once a wild, tangled garden ]Tavone grew up in Bojano, a town of 8,000 just beyond the southern extent of the bear’s range. She remembers the despair she felt when, as a volunteer in the park in her early 20s, news would filter through of another bear poisoned or shot by local farmers for “threatening their livelihood” after exiting the park. Her work now is focused on developing “coexistence corridors” that pass through the farms and villages separating the different protected areas in the region.Much of this involves relatively low-tech fixes to landscapes occupied by both bears and people. Cement water tanks used by sheep have been given exit ramps or covered with thick metal grates, after several bears drowned in the smooth-sided containers. Optical devices installed along the road to Pettorano sul Gizio emit a high-pitched sound when illuminated by car headlights, to warn bears about traffic at night. To calm fragile human nerves, the clothing company Patagonia has funded electric fences around local beehives.Understandably, not everyone is excited about an Italian version of a grizzly bear showing up in their backyard, and a team of carefully selected “bear ambassadors” works hard to convince locals of the value of their polarizing neighbor. Tavone deploys a natural warmth to convince residents that a healthy population of bears is in their long-term interest. At dinner one night, she and Cipollone went out of their way to make small talk with a restaurant owner about the seasonal harvest of wild mushrooms. The stone-faced proprietario was a common sight in the woods, seeking delicate fungi for his menu. He was also known to be furious at the new restrictions on firewood-gathering being enforced in the reserve to protect the bears.Even a quick visit to the area around the Monte Genzana Reserve makes clear how all sides here are working out new ways of existing. Locals need assistance keeping the bears out of their apiaries and chicken houses. Bears need help crossing the roads and safely finding food. In this part of the Apennines, you can’t simply keep humans and wild nature separate. If bear numbers are to increase, humans and bears are going to have to learn how to politely interact.Midway through our hike, near the top of a trail, Tavone and Cipollone stooped down in front of a large pile of dark scat. A silence settled over us as we took in the fact that a bear had recently passed this way.Poking at the ordure with a stick, Cipollone pointed out the beech mast and berries on which the bear had fed. He used two twigs to bring a piece of scat up toward his nose. The digestive system of the bear never does a very thorough job on the berries, he explained, as he inhaled the faintly fruity aroma.“It’s like a fine wine,” he said with pride. A healthy pile of scat meant that at least one bear was thriving.Rewilding is not just about saving charismatic animals, as Wouter Helmer, a co-founder of the Netherlands-based Rewilding Europe, is eager to point out. To him, this practice, which developed in response to theories about the harms of fragmented habitats, is as much about restoring natural processes as it is about saving wolves and bears.Helmer views wild nature through a characteristically Dutch lens of free-flowing rivers, sedimentation, and floods. “Landscape should surprise you,” he says. “Give nature the tools to express itself.” The underlying systems deserve free rein as much as the creatures that pad across their surface.But Helmer admits that restoring natural processes sometimes requires a heavy human hand. Permanently removing selected dikes in the Netherlands so that rivers can flood, for example, can mean weeks of earth-moving using heavy machinery. Even then, nature is not always left entirely to its own devices. In one case, a municipality wanting to rewild a river struck an agreement that allows a brick-making company to come back in 10 years to dig clay out of the new floodplain.If these human-manipulated landscapes really count as rewilded, then wild no longer means what it did when conservationists such as Aldo Leopold first championed the idea in the 1930s. It is no longer a synonym for untouched. An uninterrupted lineage connecting rivers and the animals walking their banks to the evolutionary dynamics of the Pleistocene no longer exists. But thanks in part to Helmer’s organization, there is a resurgence of interest in restoring wildness across Europe. This new view values ecological systems acting as much as possible outside of human control, even if they’re not historically pure.A few hundred miles away from Rewilding Europe’s Dutch headquarters, Charlie Burrell and Isabella Tree are two decades into a conservation experiment at Knepp Castle Estate in West Sussex. This highly tamed agricultural belt south of London might seem too heavily managed to support anything wild, and the experiment is riven with questions about whether Knepp’s land can ever really reach that mark: Conservation purists point out that humans have reshaped the land substantially through farming since medieval kings hunted Knepp’s woods. But Burrell and Tree don’t care about the purists.As Tree describes in her book Wilding, the heavy clay soil of Knepp, Burrell’s family land, was never very well suited for an arable farm. There was a reason the local Sussex dialect possessed 30 different words for mud. Inspired by a site they visited in the Netherlands, Burrell and Tree wondered if allowing the estate to rewild would offer them a viable economic future.With the estate’s dairy herd and tractors sold, the sound of diesel engines and milking machines quickly gave way to the calls of turtle doves, nightingales, and woodlarks. Uncommon species such as peregrine falcons, Bechstein’s bats, and purple emperor butterflies showed up at Knepp in numbers that confounded even the most optimistic rewilder. A black stork, whose summer sightings in the United Kingdom can be counted on one hand, startled everyone by making an extended stopover. On warm summer evenings, the fields and hedgerows hum with new insect life.Like the rewilders in the Apennines, Burrell and Tree provided constant nudges to help nature along. A river was recontoured, red deer and Exmoor ponies were reintroduced to pare back vegetation, and a flock of white storks was temporarily penned on the land to encourage their migrating brethren to stop and breed. (That experiment bore fruit in 2019, when a pair of storks laid eggs on English soil for the first time since the Middle Ages.) Around a suite of wildlife successes, Burrell and Tree have carefully built an income stream from ecotourism and wild-range meats.Burrell, the chair of Rewilding Britain, takes pains to point out that they are not restoring some vision of pristine nature. The land, surrounded by roads and within earshot of the Gatwick Airport flightpath, will never match the traditional conception of unmanaged wilderness. Many of the herbivores grazing the mixed scrub are tough domesticates standing in as surrogates for extinct species. Exmoor ponies approximate the tarpan. Old English longhorn cattle provide ecological services once offered by long-dead aurochs. And although wild boar have been making a comeback across southern England, hardy domestic Tamworth pigs take responsibility for tilling the forest floor here. The European bison that have been reintroduced to some parts of the continent would be too unpredictable for the dogs that locals walk on Knepp’s public footpaths.[Read: Is wildlife conservation too cruel?]Knepp will never be Yellowstone. The human role in shaping the system remains evident throughout. The landscape offers an imperfect match for the preagricultural ecosystem. It is populated by an odd mix of proxies, holdouts, and returning pioneers.But in important ways, it’s good enough. To a nature lover’s eye, it is impressively wild. The animals are finding their own way and shaping the landscape as they know best. Nature is returning, albeit in a careful compromise with landholders, who are slowly learning when to push and when to hold back. Year by year, the pendulum of influence is swinging back in nature’s favor.Back home in Montana, I wondered what those living on some of North America’s biggest landscapes have to learn from bears in the Apennines and pigs in rural Sussex. In Big Sky Country, the people tend to be scarcer and the animals bigger and more numerous than in Western Europe. In some parts of the state, you can walk for days without crossing a road. Do the management puzzles so clearly evident in Europe have any place here? And if compromises are needed even in Montana, what is left of the wild at all?For those used to the scale of European landscapes, the prairie around the Charles M. Russell National Wildlife Refuge looks endless. Crenelated badlands yield to eroded gullies that run in crooked lines toward the Missouri River. Sagebrush steppes are cracked by muddy coulees hiding pines where the spring snow lingers. In the valley bottoms, cottonwoods descended from the trees that fueled the settlers’ paddle steamers provide cover for elk, deer, and pronghorn antelope. This expansive region surrounding the Charlie Russell is the focus of one of the most ambitious restoration projects in modern America.Although the entire county of West Sussex could fit nearly 100 times in just the eastern half of Montana, Beth Saboe and her co-workers at the American Prairie Reserve want more space. The reserve already owns land or grazing rights to more than 400,000 acres. But the bison being brought back to America’s Great Plains by the organization need plenty of room.At the same time as the human population in the region is decreasing, private, state, and federal lands host small but steadily growing herds of bison. The American Prairie Reserve, along with the Fort Peck, Blackfeet, and Fort Belknap tribal reservations, is home to genetically pure wild bison—the gold standard in bison conservation. These animals, which make up only a tiny fraction of the nearly half million bison now in the United States, have been carefully sourced from Canada and, in a new arrangement between the federal government and the tribes, Yellowstone National Park.Peter van Agtmael / MagnumThe American Prairie Reserve’s animals are as authentic as bison can get from a genetic standpoint. But officially, they are still not wild animals. “In the state of Montana,” Saboe points out, “bison are livestock.” As livestock, privately owned bison in Montana are governed by a detailed set of rules about their grazing and movement. It is a compromise that those working at the American Prairie Reserve accept.[Photos: Winners of wildlife photographer of the year 2019]Wild bison are not supposed to be contained by fences, though. When they are, they become a different animal. “The species Bison bison is secure,” Jim Bailey, a retired wildlife-biology professor and the founder of the Montana Wild Bison Restoration Coalition, told me. “The threat is domestication.” What Bailey worries about most is the decay of the bison genome. When bison’s movement is restricted, their instincts dull and, over time, the genes belonging to good migrators are weeded out. Bailey holds the original ideal of wildness high. A true rewilding of the prairie would require much more freedom for bison and much less management by people.The problem is, even in a state as large as Montana, the reality on the ground does not permit that. The American Prairie Reserve knows this and is focusing on keeping bison as wild as possible while being a good neighbor to the surrounding ranchers. Through the Wild Sky program, the reserve pays local ranchers who meet certain habitat and wildlife criteria a bonus on their beef sales. To make it all work, the reserve’s managers keep the bison fences strong and rotate their animals through grazing pastures, just as their neighbors do with their cattle.The American Prairie Reserve’s partial retreat from conservation’s traditional separation of humans and nature—a bedrock principle of conservation for most of the past century—is not just an accommodation. It is also consistent with an older view of how to treat wildlife, a view once prevalent in this part of the world. The Blackfeet, Crow, and Assiniboine people who populated these plains thought of humans and wildlife as two forces on a continuous plane; each played a vital role in helping the other survive and flourish. There was no need for enforced separation. In return for the meats and skins they received, people helped wildlife thrive through their prayers, the fires they set, and their careful harvesting practices.This older insight finds a surprising resonance with modern rewilding philosophy. From the Italian Apennines to Montana’s high prairie, the lines between the lives of people and the lives of wildlife are becoming less well defined than they were during the conservation era of the 20th century. Rewilders such as Cipollone and Tavone prune trees. Burrell and Tree take excess deer off their land. The American Prairie Reserve shepherds its bison seasonally across the pasture. As rewilders, they all look for ways to progressively disentangle human and wildlife, while conceding that the disentangling may never again be complete.Not long after my conversation with Saboe, I found myself staring at a huge bull bison standing by the side of a gravel road inside the fences of the National Bison Range. The bison looked hard at me while its jaws worked furiously on a mouthful of grasses. The thick mat of curly brown hair on its forehead was powdered by a summer dust. I didn’t know for certain how this particular bison stacked up genetically. I did know that it doesn’t roam completely free. I also knew that I risked a potentially dangerous encounter if I stepped out of the car to try to get a closer look. I had heard enough stories about errant tourists in Yellowstone to know not to push my luck.Even from my safe distance, I couldn’t help but value this lingering encounter. The wild and the managed appeared to coexist easily in this huge mountain of fur and flesh. There was something to learn from that. As conservation philosophies battle over the question of how much human influence is too much, the animals at the center of this debate simply go about their business. The bull bison appeared quite happy to simply stand there and eat.
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theatlantic.com
Coronavirus cases set off rowdy demonstration at Washington prison
More than 100 inmates at a Washington state prison staged a rowdy demonstration this week after six men there tested positive for the coronavirus, officials said. The minimum-custody prisoners, at the Monroe Correctional Complex in Snohomish County, gathered in the rear yard of the facility around 6 p.m. Wednesday, the state Department of Corrections said...
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nypost.com
Pennsylvania Officially Closes School for the Rest of the Year Due to Coronavirus
Governor Tom Wolf extended Pennsylvania's school closure through the end of the 2019-20 academic year on Thursday, in response to the state's growing number of coronavirus cases.
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newsweek.com
New York sees highest single-day death toll for third straight day
"9/11 was so devastating, so tragic, and then in many ways we lose so many more New Yorkers to this silent killer," he said.
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cbsnews.com
Mort Drucker, legendary Mad magazine artist, dies At 91
Th renowned caricature artist was having trouble breathing on Friday, but it's unclear if he had coronavirus.
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nypost.com
Quarantine dog video shows man hilariously adopting his dogs’ routine
As quarantine dog memes litter the internet, this Michigan man has decided if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em. See how Joshua Butler spends lockdown with his two pooches, Roxy and Remi, who are boxer-pitbull sisters. All three watch out the window of their East Lansing apartment, looking for squirrels — and generally wasting the...
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nypost.com
8 Capitol police test positive for coronavirus
Eight US Capitol Police personnel have informed the department that they have tested positive for coronavirus in the past three weeks.
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edition.cnn.com
Italy's leader warns coronavirus crisis may lead to economic collapse of EU
Italy's prime minister warns the coronavirus crisis could lead to the collapse of the European Union. This comes as the number cases and deaths in Italy are finally beginning to fall. There is also new evidence suggesting the outbreak in New York may have been fueled by travelers from Europe. CBS News foreign correspondent Chris Livesay joins CBSN from Rome with the latest developments.
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cbsnews.com
Jimmie Johnson wants to get back to racing, but is doing alright at home
Making the best of a bad situation.
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foxnews.com
Sports world takes an economic hit from Olympics postponement
Olympic organizers aren't the only ones hurting as sports federations cite "crisis" of lost Games revenue.
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latimes.com
The Cost of Surviving the ICU
ICU delirium is real, and the effects are long-lasting.
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slate.com
Yelp laying off or furloughing 2,000 employees
Yelp is in for some new criticism — from axed employees and investors. The popular review website is laying off or furloughing more than 2,000 workers due to economic strain from the coronavirus pandemic, CNBC reported on Thursday. The company has already cut executive pay by 20 to 30 percent, reduced server pay and deprioritized...
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nypost.com
Did Fox News downplay Covid-19?
Journalist Kara Swisher and former Fox News correspondent Carl Cameron discuss how the president's favorite network has reported on the pandemic.
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edition.cnn.com
China Discovers 100 Million Tons of Oil on Uyghur Land
Chinese state media on Thursday announced the discovery of a massive oilfield in Tarim Basin, located in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, where millions of the local Muslims have been confined to concentration camps and “re-educated” to become better Communist subjects.
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breitbart.com
Howard Kurtz: Trump has 'huge megaphone' each day, Biden's campaign being drowned out
Former Vice President Joe Biden's candidacy is currently "drowned out" by the sound of President Trump's daily press briefing megaphone, "MediaBuzz" host Howard Kurtz said Thursday.
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foxnews.com
The shift to online learning could worsen educational inequality
A mother and daughter study English on March 30, 2020 in Mineola, New York. | John Moore/Getty Images As school goes digital, low-income students are being left behind. Since New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo issued a stay-at-home order on March 22, Tierra has been at home with her four children, ages six months, two years, five, and six. They live with her grandmother in a crowded apartment in Brownsville, a largely low-income neighborhood in Brooklyn. The two older kids are in kindergarten and first grade, and like the 1.1 million other public-school students in New York City — and millions more around the country — their education has moved entirely online as schools close their doors to help slow the spread of the novel coronavirus. For Tierra’s family, that transition has been challenging. The family doesn’t have a computer, so the kids have been doing their schoolwork on iPhones, which makes it hard for Tierra, who asked that her last name not be used, to check their work. “It’s so small, I’ll probably miss something,” she told Vox. It’s also hard for them to concentrate when they’re at home with the entire family. To help keep the baby quiet, Tierra sometimes puts on cartoons — but then the older kids watch those instead of paying attention to their schoolwork. At home “there’s so many distractions around,” Tierra says. Her family’s experience is a reminder that while the transition to online education is an adjustment for everyone, it’s a lot more difficult for some families than for others. Like Tierra’s children, about 17 percent of students nationwide lack a computer at home, according to a 2019 analysis by the Associated Press. Eighteen percent lack broadband internet access. Low-income families and families of color are especially likely to be without these resources, according to the AP. Toni L. Sandys/The Washington Post via Getty Images Na’Asia Hawkins, 18, a senior at Washington Metropolitan High School, in Washington DC, had no laptop and no internet access when her school closed. She has since been able to get both with the help of her school and hopes to graduate this year. Bruce Bennett/Getty Images Parents of students in the Plainview, New York pick up Chromebooks at the district administrative office to allow students to continue their studies at home on March 16. And the so-called “digital divide” is only the beginning. Many low-income students are now in the position of trying to do their schoolwork in small spaces shared with other family members — sometimes in just a single room. While cities have set up food distribution centers to help students in need, many are still missing out on the resources and sense of stability that school can provide. Meanwhile, students in poverty are having to deal with the trauma of living in a pandemic without many of the protections that more affluent families have, like the ability for parents to work from home or take sick leave. “Children are watching family members die,” Natasha Capers, coordinator of New York City’s Coalition for Educational Justice, told Vox. “They’re watching their parents leave their home daily to go outside to work in what is described on television as a dangerous situation.” Experts around the country fear that the coronavirus crisis will end up worsening America’s existing educational inequality, making it harder than ever for low-income students to learn, and putting them at an even greater disadvantage compared to their wealthier peers. “My concern is that they will fall even further behind than they are already,” Raysa Rodriguez, associate executive director for policy and advocacy at the Citizens’ Committee for Children, said of students in temporary housing in New York. “Given what we know about the connection and relationship between education and future economic outcomes, I think that we’re really setting them up to fail in the long run if we don’t do even more to ensure that their educational needs are met.” From lacking computers to physical space, low-income students are at a disadvantage in online learning Schools have closed in all 50 states in response to the coronavirus crisis, with many states extending those closures through the end of the school year. In general, school districts are replacing in-person instruction with some form of distance learning, usually online. What that looks like varies widely from state to state and district to district. In some cases, schools have switched at least part of the day to some form of video conference, Jennifer Darling-Aduana, a soon-to-be assistant professor at Georgia State University who studies equity in digital learning, told Vox. That has the advantage of providing face-to-face time with a teacher and limiting how much parents need to direct lessons, she said, but parents also have to be tech-savvy enough — and have the right equipment — to set up the conference. It’s also less workable with younger students who may have a harder time sitting still during a video call. At the other extreme, Darling-Aduana said, are schools that are “just sending home a bunch of worksheets.” But that’s not particularly interactive, she said, and neither approach represents the “gold standard of digital learning, which is ideally providing students access to resources outside of their community.” Erin Clark for The Boston Globe via Getty Images Malaki Solo, a sixth-grader, works on his homework in Boston on March 31. Malaki, who is a generally confident student, has been feeling unmoored during this online learning experiment. He can’t reach out to teachers if he has a question about his work and is getting little feedback. Reaching that gold standard requires significant advance preparation, Darling-Aduana added, a luxury districts around the country didn’t have in responding to the pandemic. The result is something of a hodgepodge, in which families are sometimes left with basic logistical challenges. Tierra, for example, recalls her kindergartner being told to cut out letters and paste them in boxes for one assignment. But, Tierra wondered, “How am I supposed to cut out some letters and paste them in the box if we’re doing it online?” Meanwhile, online learning requires the ability for students to get online in the first place, which isn’t possible for many families. For starters, there’s the problem of internet access. “If you live in a more affluent community, you take it for granted,” Pedro Noguera, a professor of education at UCLA who studies inequality in schools, told Vox. However, “we have lots of urban and rural areas where internet access is not available.” That availability varies widely from state to state. In Wyoming, for example, just under 3 percent of students lack internet, and about 14 percent lack broadband, according to Education Department statistics gathered in 2017 and analyzed by the AP. But in Washington, DC, 19 percent of students have no internet and 34 percent have no broadband. Meanwhile, internet access isn’t much good if you don’t have a device a child can use for schoolwork. Around the country, many students lack access to a computer at home, from around 8 percent in Utah to 28 percent in DC. And, especially for low-income families, “if you have more than one child, you may have a laptop at home, you may have a tablet, but you probably don’t have one for each child, especially if they’re young,” Capers said. That can leave students of different ages trying to share a device, which is not an ideal solution when some districts are recommending multiple hours of online learning per day. Sarah Reingewirtz/Pasadena Star-News via Getty Images Pedro Munguia, 16, a Reseda Charter High School student, picks up a Chromebook with his mother Graciela on March 25. Then there’s the issue of physical space. While children of more affluent families may each have their own room in which to do homework or watch lectures, that’s not the case for many lower-income students. In New York City, for example, the current epicenter of the pandemic in the US, 1 in 10 public school students lives in a shelter or other temporary housing, Rodriguez said. Shelter housing in New York might mean a single room for a family with multiple school-aged kids, she said. “What does distance learning really look like in that scenario? How effective can that actually be in the long run?” Meanwhile, distance learning requires a lot from parents, who have to make sure that kids have the tools they need, are using them correctly, and then help them stay on task and complete assignments in the absence of face-to-face contact with teachers and other school staff. “Online instruction often, especially initially, requires more, not less support,” than in-person learning, Darling-Aduana said. Not every parent is able to provide that support. Some — often white-collar workers — are able to work remotely during this time and provide at least some supervision for their kids, Darling-Aduana noted. But others have to work outside the home, and although some cities, including New York, have set up centers to provide child care and instruction to children of essential workers, not all parents feel comfortable sending their children there. There are also language barriers to consider. “There are lots of people in our system whose first language is not English,” Capers noted, meaning that parents and kids alike may have difficulty using online resources that are English-only. And there are socioeconomic differences in who feels comfortable reaching out to teachers for additional help, Darling-Aduana said. Add to all that the fact that students in America right now are in an unprecedented crisis — one that is impacting low-income families and families of color the most severely, from high death rates in black communities to high levels of layoffs among low-wage workers. Those impacts touch all aspects of students’ lives, including school. As much as it’s important to focus on academics, “I want to think about our children as people and what they’re going through, their families as people and what they’re going through,” Capers said. Schools are trying to fill the resource gaps, but there are problems other than lacking technology Experts say it’s critical to address the disparities in online learning, because they could magnify disparities that already exist. Students in temporary housing in New York City, for example, “have much poorer outcomes than students who are permanently housed,” Rodriguez said, from attendance to performance on standardized tests. Even before the crisis, “we were significantly concerned about the educational outcomes of these students,” and now, “we are deeply troubled about their educational trajectory and the possibility of a significant amount of learning loss in the next coming weeks,” she noted. Districts around the country are sending devices to students who don’t have them, in an effort to close at least that gap. New York City is sending iPads to students who don’t have computers, but as of Monday, Tierra’s family had yet to receive theirs. The city’s Department of Education says it is distributing the iPads on a rolling basis, starting the week of March 23 with students living in shelters, and continuing this week with high school students in public housing, students with disabilities, and multilingual learners. Michael Loccisano/Getty Images A phone conference is held in a classroom for a student whose parents need English translation at Yung Wing School P.S. 124 in Manhattan, New York. Michael Loccisano/Getty Images A parent of a student receives one of many laptops being lent to students in need for remote learning at Yung Wing School P.S. 124 in Manhattan, New York. Lack of internet access may be a more difficult problem, though districts are working to fix it. In Charleston, South Carolina, for example, 4,000 of the district’s 50,000 students have no internet, according to US News & World Report. The district has responded by strengthening wifi signals at schools so that families can access them from nearby, as well as deploying wifi-enabled buses to neighborhoods with a large percentage of low-income students. In Los Angeles, meanwhile, the district is partnering with Verizon to get students’ internet access, while Atlanta is distributing mobile hotspots in partnership with T-Mobile. Meanwhile, the Citizens’ Committee for Children, a co-convener of New York’s Family Homelessness Coalition, is advocating that homeless students in New York City be allowed to go to regional enrichment centers for education, along with children of essential workers. “Housing instability comes with a significant amount of trauma and schools play an important role in building resilience for children,” Rodriguez said. And given that there is a system set up to serve some students in the city, “students in temporary housing need to be prioritized.” Schools and society as a whole also need to help to make sure students’ basic needs are being met as much as possible, Darling-Aduana said. 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