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Member since: Thu May 18, 2017, 12:36 PM
Number of posts: 11,176

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Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro tests positive for the coronavirus

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, who has downplayed the severity of the coronavirus pandemic, has tested positive for COVID-19, he announced Tuesday.

Bolsonaro has repeatedly dismissed the threat posed by the virus, calling it just a "little flu" and has refused to wear a mask or practice social distancing during his frequent public appearances.

He has been sharply criticized for his handling of the pandemic and has spoken out against local lockdown measures and other restrictions, arguing that economic fallout from a shutdown would be more harmful than the virus itself.

Brazil is the second hardest-hit country in the world, after the U.S. Some 66,000 people have died of the virus, and 1.6 million have been infected.

Tests are difficult to obtain in the country, and some experts estimate that the true number of infected people could be significantly higher.

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro (fourth from right) attends a Fouth of July luncheon hosted by American Ambassador Todd Chapman (fourth from left) - one of a number of photos showing Bolsonaro posing closely with others, without masks, at the event.

Brazil has quickly emerged as second only to the U.S. as a Covid-19 hotspot. Its recent average daily death toll of over 1,000 is nearly twice that of the U.S.

Change in Dominican Republic as opposition wins presidency

Early results in the presidential election in the Dominican Republic give the opposition candidate, Luis Abinader, an unassailable lead.

His two main rivals have conceded defeat and the outgoing president, Danilo Medina, has congratulated Abinader on his win.

With about 60% of the votes counted, Luis Abinader, 52, of the center-left Modern Revolutionary Party (PRM) had 53% of the votes, defeating ruling party candidate Gonzálo Castillo with 37% of the votes.

His victory puts an end to 16 years in power of the centre-left Dominican Liberation Party (PLD).

Voter turnout was high despite the election, postponed from May, being conducted during the coronavirus pandemic. Over 38,000 cases of Covid-19 have been registered in the nation of 11 million, with 804 deaths.

At: https://news.yahoo.com/dominican-republic-votes-election-postponed-004941501.html

Dominican President-elect Luis Abinader and the runner-up, Gonzálo Castillo.

Abinader's victory brings an end to the centre-left Dominican Liberation Party (PLD)'s 16-year tenure - though his Modern Revolutionary Party (PRM) is likewise left of center.

Ennio Morricone: Oscar-winning Italian film composer dies aged 91

Ennio Morricone, the Italian composer whose credits include the "spaghetti" Westerns that made Clint Eastwood a star, has died in Rome aged 91.

The prolific composer also wrote music for The Mission, Once Upon a Time in America, The Untouchables and Cinema Paradiso.

Having received an honorary Oscar in 2007, he went on to win one in 2016 for Quentin Tarantino's The Hateful Eight.

Morricone, who was simply known as "Maestro" in his home town of Rome, scored more than 500 films over seven decades.

At: https://www.bbc.com/news/entertainment-arts-53305397

Ennio Morricone, 1928-2020.

Uruguay, Paraguay, Argentina get best marks in Latin America for pandemic response: poll

Uruguay, Paraguay and Argentina are the Latin American countries that earned the best grades for their response to the coronavirus, according to a poll conducted in the region and released on Friday, while Brazil was tagged as the worst performer.

The survey by the consulting firm Trespuntozero, to which Reuters had exclusive access, shows that in eight of the 10 countries in which the study was conducted, the respondents - around 10,000 - considered Uruguay one of the best controllers of the pandemic.

According to the poll, the performance of Uruguayan President Luis Lacalle Pou against the pandemic had 77.8% approval in his own country; that of Paraguayan Mario Abdo, 76.7%; and that of Argentina's Alberto Fernández, 68%.

Uruguay registered 947 cases with 28 deaths; Paraguay, 2349 cases with 19 deaths; Argentina, 69,941 cases with 1,385 deaths,; and Brazil, 1,539,081 with 63,174 deaths.

"The countries surveyed were clear on which model not to follow: Brazil," Shila Vilker, director of the Buenos Aires-based consultancy Trespuntozero, told Reuters.

At: https://www.nytimes.com/reuters/2020/07/03/world/americas/03reuters-health-coronavirus-latam-poll.html

Pedestrians cross an avenue in Buenos Aires, where, as in much of Argentina, face masks have been mandatory in public for the last two months.

Argentina and its smaller neighbors, Uruguay and Paraguay, have received plaudits from both locals and international observers - with just 2.6% of Latin America's cases between them and 1.2% of its deaths despite having 8.7% of its population.

World's largest Pizza Hut and Wendy's franchisee files for bankruptcy, impacting over 7,500 jobs

NPC International Inc. has filed for bankruptcy, affecting the thousands of food establishments under its umbrella. NPC is the largest franchisee of Pizza Hut in the U.S., and the recent development will affect its 1,227 Pizza Hut stores in America.

NPC also franchises Wendy’s with 393 stores across the U.S, and has over 7,500 full-time employees in its Pizza Hut and Wendy’s restaurants.

The franchise holder is currently $903 million in debt, and will try to sell its Pizza Hut and Wendy’s stores in an attempt to reduce the company’s debt.

As a franchisee, NPC’s bankruptcy won’t impact other Pizza Hut and Wendy’s locations around the world.

At: https://www.msn.com/en-ph/lifestyle/other/worlds-largest-pizza-hut-and-wendys-franchisee-files-for-bankruptcy-impacting-over-7500-employees/ar-BB16fzEX

Coronavirus expected to have cost 400 million jobs in the second quarter worldwide, ILO estimates

The coronavirus pandemic is expected to have resulted in a 14% drop in global working hours in the second quarter of 2020, the International Labour Organization (ILO) has said.

This follows a 5.4% drop in the first quarter.

The United Nations’ labor agency said this updated fall in working hours was the equivalent of 400 million full-time job losses globally in the second quarter, based on a standard 48-hour working week.

In this fifth edition of its “Covid-19 and the world of work” monitor, the ILO said that the Americas were the most affected region, with an estimated 18.3% drop in working hours - or 70 million full-time jobs.

The ILO report also highlighted the disproportionate effect of the pandemic on female workers.

It pointed out that 510 million, or 40%, of all employed women globally work in the four most hard-hit sectors by the coronavirus crisis - compared to 36.6% of men.

At: https://www.cnbc.com/2020/06/30/coronavirus-expected-to-cost-400-million-jobs-in-the-second-quarter.html

Peruvians line up for unemployment benefits recently.

The South American country saw the world's sharpest drop in employment according to the ILO report, with an estimated 80% collapse in hours worked during the second quarter.

House approves $1.5T plan to fix crumbling infrastructure

Source: NBC News

The Democratic-controlled House approved a $1.5 trillion plan Wednesday to rebuild the nation’s crumbling infrastructure, pouring hundreds of billions of dollars into projects to fix roads and bridges, upgrade transit systems, expand interstate railways and dredge harbors, ports and channels.

The bill also authorizes more than $100 billion to expand internet access for rural and low-income communities and $25 billion to modernize the U.S. Postal Service’s infrastructure and operations, including a fleet of electric vehicles.

Lawmakers approved the Moving Forward Act by a 233-188 vote, mostly along party lines. It now goes to the Republican-controlled Senate, where a much narrower bill approved by a key committee has languished for nearly a year.

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has not attempted to schedule a floor debate and none appears forthcoming.

Read more: https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/congress/house-approves-1-5t-plan-fix-crumbling-infrastructure-n1232730

The Roosevelt Bridge in Stuart, FL.

Though just 24 years old, it's been found to be at risk of collapse.

Argentina's Spygate: Macri aide Susana Martinengo, 21 others arrested

Argentine Federal Judge Federico Villena ordered the arrest of 22 intelligence agents and former public officials a part of an ongoing investigation into a massive surveillance scheme carried out under former Argentine President Mauricio Macri.

The scheme, carried out between 2016 and 2019, involved over 500 targets of warrantless surveillance and over $80 million in undeclared expenses by a Federal Intelligence Agency (AFI) team known as the "Super Mario Bros."

Judge Villena described them as "a criminal organization with insertion in national, provincial and local governments."

The targets known thus far include at least 403 journalists, 58 businesspeople, 28 academics, 20 federal lawmakers, and numerous prominent lawyers and other influencers.

Among those also under surveillance were two former presidents - Cristina Kirchner (now vice president), and Eduardo Duhalde - as well as Macri's younger sister Florencia and her boyfriend, Salvatore Pica.

The most prominent officials arrested today include former AFI counterintelligence head Diego Dalmau Pereyra; and longtime Macri aide Susana Martinengo, who collected surveillance reports for the president.

Martinengo, 68, headed the Presidential Documents Office under Macri - who claimed he "didn't know" Martinengo, despite her being his office manager during his 2007-15 tenure as mayor.

She later worked at the Casa Rosada presidential offices, and in a 2019 interview Martinengo emphasized not only the importance of her job - but that "like a statesman, he controls you. I have to file monthly reports to him."

Macri, 61, who was defeated for re-election last October amid the worst recession in two decades, has been the focus of numerous scandals involving alleged warrantless wiretapping of both public figures and relatives since 2009 - including his sister, the late Sandra Macri.

Former Federal Judge Carlos Rozanski called on the judiciary to bar Macri's exit from the country; the former president is reportedly seeking a post at the International Football Federation (FIFA)'s Zürich headquarters.

At: https://translate.google.com/translate?hl=en&tab=wT&sl=auto&tl=en&u=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.pagina12.com.ar%2F275587-espionaje-ilegal-por-que-el-juez-federico-villena-ordeno-det

Former Argentine President Mauricio Macri and his longtime secretary, Susana Martinengo, during Macri's 2015 campaign.

Martinengo, a onetime city council candidate on the far-right MODIN ticket, collected warrantless surveillance reports for the president from 2016 to 2019.

She was among 22 former public officials and intelligence agents arrested today as part of an investigation into a wide-reaching surveillance scheme against 500 - perhaps 1,500 - journalists, politicians, and other influencers.

Argentine GDP plunges record 26.4% in April amid pandemic and lockdown

Argentina’s economic activity plunged 26.4% in April, the country’s official statistics agency said on Monday - the worst monthly fall on record as the country reeled from the impact of the novel coronavirus pandemic and a nationwide lockdown.

The April drop, after the South American grains producer imposed the lockdown on March 19, was worse than the 21% decline predicted by analysts polled by Reuters, underscoring how badly the pandemic has battered local industry.

Already mired in recession for two years and in default on foreign debts, Argentina is headed for an annual economic contraction in 2020 that the IMF has estimated at about 10%.

The worst-hit sectors included construction and tourism, which fell over 85%. Manufacturing fell 34.4%, and finance fared best with a 3.2% decline thanks in part to credit subsidies.

Subsidies and relaxed restrictions resulted in a 9.2% rebound in May, according to economist Orlando Ferreres - but GDP remains 14.9% below May 2019 levels. An economic relief package of nearly $20 billion (5% of GDP) has been earmarked since March.

Argentina’s government faces a tough balancing act between combating a recent spike in COVID-19 cases and reopening the economy.

President Alberto Fernández reimposed a quarantine in and around Buenos Aires on June 26 - but relaxed rules in other parts of the country. Some 90% of the nation's Covid cases reported thus far, have been in the Buenos Aires metro area (home to one third of Argentines).

The country has reported 62,268 cases, and 1,280 deaths. Its death rate of 28 per million people compares favorably with 275 in Brazil, 288 in Peru, 292 in Chile, and 389 in the U.S.

At: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-argentina-activity/argentina-economic-activity-plunges-record-26-4-in-april-amid-pandemic-idUSKBN2402PX

A quiet weekday recently in Buenos Aires' normally bustling Corrientes Avenue.

A federal stay-home order issued on March 19 has helped curve the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic in Argentina - which has seen Covid deaths rates of one tenth that of most of its neighbors.

The restrictions, however, have led a sharp deepening of the country's two-year "Macrisis" - its worst debt and economic crisis in two decades.

Founder of ReOpen Movement Who Refused Masks Tests Positive for Coronavirus

The co-founder of a movement to reopen Maryland at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic has tested positive for the virus after refusing to wear a face mask.

Tim Walters helped organize rallies with the group ReOpen Maryland, demanding that Maryland Governor Larry Hogan rescind his stay-at-home order in April.

Earlier this week, Walters said he had tested positive for COVID-19 in a series of Facebook videos, some of which have since been deleted.

"I was diagnosed yesterday at the ER with COVID-19 and here I am months after not wearing a mask at rallies, churches and so on and so it's funny how capricious this thing is," Walters said in a video on Tuesday, according to The Capital Gazette, who first reported on the test result.

At: https://www.newsweek.com/founder-reopen-movement-who-didnt-wear-mask-tests-positive-coronavirus-1513831

ReOpen Maryland founder Tim Walters: Absolutely positive.
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