Pandemic erodes democracy
Pandemic erodes democracyThe pandemic is causing tremendous physical suffering for many millions of people in the world. It has also had dire economic consequences for economies globally as governments have been forced to lock down and millions of people have lost their jobs.There is a third aspect that has also suffered without too much attention as of now. Freedom House, a think tank in Washington, says there are 80 countries where the quality of democracy and respect for human rights have deteriorated since the pandemic began. According to the Economist magazine, there are many dictatorship...
Poverty stalks US middle class amid pandemic
Bethesda (United States) (AFP) - As the Covid-19 pandemic swept the United States, Keith managed to keep his job in financial services, but his income dried up as commissions grew scarce. Suddenly struggling financially, Keith began relying on meals handed out by a charity in Bethesda, a suburb of Washington known for the wealth of which the 52-year-old now finds himself bereft."We try to save what we can," Keith, well-dressed in a red-striped polo shirt, told AFP on condition of anonymity. "I don't want to take more resources than I need. If I don't have to come every week I won't."Eight mill...
More turn to US food banks amid pandemic
COVID-19 impact adds to woes of needy residents reeling from financial hardshipMany US residents have been forced to turn to food banks after losing their jobs due to the coronavirus pandemic, leaving them struggling to feed themselves and their families.Lazaro, a 62-year-old who lives with his wife, son and daughter-in-law in Mountain View, California, is battling cancer and lost his job due to the pandemic. He turned to the Second Harvest food bank in his state to get food."We had been struggling a lot since I got very sick and I was not able to work," Lazaro said. "I only get half of my (so...
China Daily US edition
Polaris expects annual sales to hit targets set before pandemic
Polaris is one of few large companies set to finish 2020 ahead of projections made before the coronavirus pandemic hit the U.S.Led by its boat segment, demand for its outdoor vehicles from all-terrain vehicles to motorcycles increased in it third quarter.For the quarter ended Sept. 30, the Minnesota-based company earned $166.8 million, or $2.66 per share, an increase of nearly 90% over the same period a year ago. Adjusted earnings per share was $2.85, up 70% from the year ago quarter and better than analysts forecast of $2.19.Sales for the quarter increased 10% to $2 billion as Polaris dealers...
Star Tribune (Minneapolis)
Michigan border sees 1,700% increase in drug seizures amid pandemic
DETROIT — U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials say they’ve had an unprecedented year with a 1,700% increase in marijuana seizures and 200% increase in seized firearms during the pandemic.The seizures were conducted by the Detroit Field Office, which oversees the Ambassador Bridge, Detroit Windsor Tunnel, the Blue Water Bridge in Port Huron, the International Bridge in Sault Ste. Marie and the Detroit Metropolitan Airport.From Oct. 1, 2019, through Sept. 30, drug enforcement operations in Michigan’s five ports netted more than 9,000 pounds of marijuana, 211 pounds of cocaine, more than ...
The Detroit News
Amazon and UPS ramp up hiring for holiday shopping blitz
San Francisco (AFP) - Amazon and UPS on Tuesday said they are boosting hiring as pressure mounts for them to deliver with the pandemic fueling an online shopping surge this holiday season.E-commerce colossus Amazon announced it is creating more than 100,000 jobs in operations such as packing and delivering orders for its "peak season."The jobs provide opportunities for people to earn extra money in the months ahead and a chance to explore long-term opportunities with the company, according to Amazon.Positions include managing employees, operating robots, and monitoring safety at facilities, th...
They’ll plunder P532 B even during pandemic
They’ll plunder P532 B even during pandemicAt least P532.3 billion in the 2021 national budget is plunderable. Lawmakers and bureaucrats can connive to pocket it, in part or in full. Proceeds will be handy for the election period, which starts in October.The P532.3 billion is people’s money. It will be easy to steal it as we reel from the COVID-19 crisis. With no fear of God’s wrath, the plunderers are confident to survive the pandemic and enjoy the loot.The amount consists of lump sums and rehashed items from this year’s public works program. Both are illegal.Lump sums, being budget items tha...
Robots are helping Japanese people feel less lonely amid the pandemic
Beyond just its effects on health, the coronavirus pandemic has also taken a toll on people's social lives. In Japan, they're fighting back against the loneliness by buying up friendly robots.The demand for small robots has risen steeply as more and more people are purchasing them for their parents, who often live in a distant province far away and are hard to visit. Robot toys, such as Sony's robot dog Aibo, can be a replacement for an in-person visit, as many fear spreading the coronavirus, the Kyodo news agency reports.These soothing toys also help people ensure their parents are safe and w...
Rocker Maynard James Keenan caught COVID-19 in Australia
The rocker fell ill before the global pandemic kicked in back in March (20), and now reveals he fought a severe strain of the virus, which has left him with permanent lung damage.Recalling the moment he thinks he contracted the coronavirus, Maynard tells podcast host Joe Rogan, "I'm in Australia, we went out to dinner and immediately food didn't taste right, but this is now, this is all hindsight, right - I didn't know at the time."We didn't know that these are the things you're looking for, like, immediately... I had to get on an international flight the next morning, fly to New Zealand."So w...
Future Hospitality Summit: Tourism sector worst hit by pandemic
JEDDAH: Two sectors amassed billions in losses due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic this year — travel and aviation as well as hotels and hospitality.According to Saudi Minister of Tourism Ahmed Al-Khateeb, who spoke at the Future Hospitality Summit on Monday, airlines will lose up to $6 billion while hotel occupancy rates, to date, are at under 10 percent their usual levels.The summit was organized by the Ministry of Tourism and the Saudi Secretariat of the G20 as part of the International Conferences Program, honoring Saudi Arabia’s G20 presidency this year.The travel sector is...