Wednesday, October 14, 2020

UK unveils 3-level lockdown plan; Liverpool at highest risk

The British government carved England into three tiers of coronavirus risk in a bid to slow a resurgent outbreak, putting the northern city of Liverpool into the highest risk category and shutting its pubs, gyms and betting shops. Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the three-tier national system was designed to “simplify and standardize” a confusing patchwork of local rules, as the country faces a “crucial phase” in which hospitals are now filling up with more COVID-19 patients than in March, when he ordered a national lockdown. Shops, schools and universities would remain open in all areas, but pubs, restaurants and other hospitality businesses pushed back, with some industry leaders threatening a legal challenge against the rules and arguing that they are not to blame for rising infections. Prime Minister Johnson told lawmakers that the goal of the new system was to save lives and prevent hospitals becoming overwhelmed without “shuttering our lives and our society” through a new national lockdown. (Associated Press)


More COVID-19 News…

Research by Australian scientists shows that the virus that causes COVID-19 can survive on smooth surfaces for up to 28 days. The scientists found that SARS-CoV-2 can survive that long on mobile phone screens and banknotes. However, it is important to note that the experiments were carried out in laboratory conditions, in the dark and at a temperature of 68°F. The virus may not have such a long lifespan in ordinary conditions. The researchers found that the virus survived longer at lower temperatures and on smooth, non-porous surfaces. The consensus among scientists is that surface-to-person transmission is rare. SARS-CoV-2 is mostly transmitted by droplets that are passed on from person to person. COVID-19 can sometimes be spread by airborne transmission – basically, by tiny particles that float in the air. (BBC)


Popular rapper Kanye West rolled out his first 2020 presidential campaign commercial

In the ad, which he posted on Twitter, West stands in front of a black-and-white American flag and speaks about faith. “America. What is America’s destiny? What is best for our nation? Our people? What is just, true justice? We have to think about all these things together as a people,” he declared. “To contemplate our future, to live up to our dream, we must have vision.” West, who previously supported President Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential election, announced his decision to run for president as a third party candidate in July. He will be on the ballot in some battleground states, but missed the filing deadline in others like Florida and Michigan. (Kanye 2020)


A Black man in Texas who was led by rope by two white police officers on horseback is suing the city and its police department for $1 million

The man says he suffered humiliation and fear during an arrest in Galveston, Texas last year. Video show officers leading him on a rope tied to handcuffs. He says the officers’ behavior was “extreme and outrageous.” The lawsuit stated “he felt as though he was put on display as slaves once were,” and accused the city and department of negligence. He was arrested for trespassing but the charge was dismissed. (USA Today)


Two Americans have one the Nobel Prize in Economics

Americans Paul R. Milgrom and Robert B. Wilson have won the Nobel Prize in economics for “improvements to auction theory and inventions of new auction formats.” The Nobel Committee said their discoveries have benefitted sellers, buyers and taxpayers. Monday’s award comes as much of the world experiences the worst recession since World War II because of the impact of the coronavirus pandemic. The award caps a week of Nobel Prizes and is technically known as the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel. Since its establishment in 1969, it has been awarded 51 times and is now widely considered one of the Nobel prizes. (The New York Times)


A Utah man faces charges after police found 20 Burmese pythons roaming around his house

Holladay, Utah police say the snakes seized over the weekend belonged to a 64-year-old man, who was charged with illegal possession an exotic animal. Some were longer than 10 feet. “They had free rein of the house,” a Detective said. “They were up on shelves. They were on the floor. They were on the couch.” Police also found 585 rats and about 46 rabbits. “We had animal control there and we had a veterinarian there,” the Detective said. “So every animal that was taken from there had an examination including the snakes, rats, and the rabbits.” Police also found opiates, guns and $2,000 in cash. The owner said He said his permits to possess the snakes were up-to-date, but police said he hasn’t had any permits since 2017. (KTVX)


Solar meets 100% of South Australia demand for first time

The combination of rooftop and utility scale solar met 100 percent of demand in South Australia for the first time on Sunday (10/11), reaching a milestone that will surely be repeated many times over, and for longer periods, in the future. The milestone was reached at 12:05pm (Australian Eastern Standard Time), with rooftop solar providing 992MW, or 76.3% of state demand, and utility scale solar providing a further 315MW – meaning all three of the state’s big solar farms: Bungala 1, Bungala 2, and Tailem Bend were operating at full capacity. The new record came just weeks after solar set a previous milestone of 94% of state demand and rooftop solar output reached 900MW for the first time. (Renew Economy)


Kentucky governor, family to quarantine after COVID-19 exposure

Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear said he and his family will quarantine after coming into close contact with someone who tested positive for the coronavirus. In a recorded statement, the Governor said that he and his family feel great and that none of them have tested positive for the virus but they will quarantine to set a good example for all Kentuckians. He said a member of his security detail who drove him and his family home recently received a positive coronavirus test and that they were contacted by contact tracers and informed they needed to be quarantined. (Kentucky Government)


China held a $1.5 million lottery to test a new digital currency

China is taking its digital currency tests to a new level by giving away more than 10 million yuan (approximately $1.5 million) in a new lottery. The state-run People’s Bank of China gave 50,000 randomly selected citizens a “red packet” worth 200 yuan ($30), to spend at several thousand designated retailers in Shenzhen’s Luohu district. The idea is to not only test the technology involved, but boost consumer spending in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. The winners will be be required to download a digital Renminbi app in order to receive the digital money. After that, they’ll reportedly be able to buy goods from local pharmacies, supermarkets and even Walmart. (CNBC)


Facebook finally bans Holocaust denial content

Facebook is clamping down on content that “denies or distorts the Holocaust.” It banned such material under its updated hate speech policy. “Our decision is supported by the well-documented rise in anti-Semitism globally and the alarming level of ignorance about the Holocaust, especially among young people,” Facebook’s Vice President of content policy wrote in a blog post. “According to a recent survey of adults in the US aged 18-39, almost a quarter said they believed the Holocaust was a myth, that it had been exaggerated or they weren’t sure.” It’s Facebook’s latest effort to stamp out anti-Semitism. The company recently banned “stereotypes about the collective power of Jews that often depicts them running the world or its major institutions,” as she pointed out. (Facebook)


COVID-19 Biggest Cause of Police Deaths This Year

As essential workers, law enforcement officers have been on duty since the pandemic started, while most civilian staff have worked remotely or, more recently, seen a combination of remote and in-person work. A recent poll by the National Police Foundation shows health and safety is the biggest concern of law enforcement officers who have been on the frontlines of the coronavirus pandemic since it began 7 months ago. More than 100 law enforcement officers, mainly police, sheriffs, and corrections, have died from COVID-19 on the job this year, which is more than from gun violence, car accidents, heart attacks, or other causes, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page. The nonprofit agency reported 39 officers died in both April and July, the highest numbers so far, while the numbers have declined somewhat in August and September. More than 6,000 officers, 4% of law enforcement personnel nationwide, reported being exposed to COVID-19, and one-third have been unable to return to work. The three states with the largest coronavirus exposure rates for law enforcement are California, New York, and Texas. In New York City alone, more than 4,000 officers tested positive and 27 members of the department died by the end of April. (WebMD)


Tesla’s ‘Full Self-Driving’ beta releases to some drivers on October 20th

CEO Elon Musk said the limited beta will start rolling out on Tuesday, October 20th. “This will, at first, be limited to a small number of people who are expert and careful drivers.” Musk didn’t elaborate on how the company will go about deciding who to invite to the beta. Tesla drivers have been waiting to get their hands on FSD for a while. At the company’s Battery Day event, Musk said Tesla had to complete a “fundamental rewrite” of its Autopilot software to make FSD a reality. “The sophistication of the neural net of the car and the overall logic of the car is improved dramatically,” he said. Despite what the name might suggest, the Full Self-Driving update won’t make Tesla cars into autonomous vehicles. As with Autopilot, you’ll still need to keep your hands on the wheel when using the feature. What the software does, for those who paid extra to add it to their car, is grant access to features like Auto Lane Change and Autopark. In the latter case, Tesla’s Autopilot software can help you when you need to parallel or perpendicular park your car. (CNET)


Authorities arrested a man on suspicion of putting razor blades into pizza dough sold at a Maine supermarket

Police in Dover, New Hampshire, arrested 38-year-old man on suspicion of tampering with Portland Pie pizza dough sold at a Hannaford supermarket in Saco, Maine. Saco police said supermarket officials contacted officers last week after a customer reported finding razor blades in Portland Pie pizza dough bought from the store. Surveillance camera footage showed a person tampering with the packaging of several Portland Pie doughs, authorities said. The dough’s and other Portland Pie branded products were supplied by “It’ll be Pizza” in Scarborough, officials said. The man previously worked for the company, according to police. Authorities did not immediately share a suspected motive for the incident. Officials with the Hannaford supermarket chain announced a precautionary recall Saturday of all Portland Pie products sold between August 1st and October 11th. The products were also pulled from shelves at the chain’s more than 180 supermarkets. No injuries or illnesses were connected to the recall. (NECN)


Wednesday Breaks In With:

  • Be Bald and Be Free Day
  • Bring Your Teddy Bear To Work & School Day (2nd Wednesday)
  • Bullying Prevention Day (2nd Wednesday)
  • Curves Day (2nd Wednesday)
  • Dessert Day
  • Emergency Nurses Day (2nd Wednesday)
  • Fossil Day (On Wednesday of Earth Science Week)
  • International Top Spinning Day (2nd Wednesday)
  • Pet Obesity Awareness Day
  • S.A.V.E. (Stop America’s Violence Everywhere) (2nd Wednesday)
  • Spider-Man Day
  • Stop Bullying Day (2nd Wednesday)
  • Take Your Parents To Lunch Day (2nd Wednesday)
  • World Standards Day

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