October 2020

first_imgCategories: Letters to the Editor, Opinion The #MeToo movement has amplified the campus culture, which redefined both sexual assault and the rights of the accused. Then-president Obama’s 2014 campaign against campus sexual violence was followed by a now-retracted 2014 Rolling Stone article about a falsely reported rape story and a flawed 2015 survey by The American Association of Universities stating that one in four undergraduates have been sexually assaulted. Attempted hand-holding and the unexpected kiss were included as assault, with little deference to the due process of the accused. Young men have faced expulsion, despite patent inconsistencies on the part of their accusers. This practice is now being used to defame prominent men.Thirty years after the alleged incidents, during his Alabama senate race, Roy Moore’s campaign collapsed amid allegations he denied. Similarly, subsequent to winning his third Olympic gold medal, Shaun White was antagonized over an already-settled sexual-harassment lawsuit. Now, adult-film star Stephanie Clifford is attempting to discredit President Trump over consensual behavior she now regrets, an idea that has become synonymous with rape. Andrea Constant’s paradoxical choice to take pills offered to her by Bill Cosby, only to become too weak to refuse intercourse, proved adequate to convict a comedian once known as America’s Dad.Prosecutor Steele’s refute of “the real Bill Cosby” is as bastardized as the notion that role models are no better than the culture around them. These men achieved success by taking responsibility for their own actions, which is more than their accusers can say.Stephen DansereauAlbanyMore from The Daily Gazette:Feds: Albany man sentenced for role in romance scamEDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationFoss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?EDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homesEDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censuslast_img read more

first_imgAmong its many provisions, the bill removes enhanced supervision of companies with between $50 billion and $250 billion in assets. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said this will increase the chance of a taxpayer-funded bank bailout.The bill makes it easier for mortgage companies to sell dangerous adjustable-rate mortgages without properly verifying a borrower’s ability to repay. It also makes appraisal fraud and discrimination against black and Latino borrowers more likely.The president has already signed the bill into law.However, constituents of Rep. Paul Tonko can be proud of him for doing the right thing by voting against this bill and for being part of a bulwark against additional attacks on Americans’ personal financial security.Ellie PepperSchenectadyMore from The Daily Gazette:EDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristsTroopers: Schenectady pair possessed heroin, crack cocaine in Orange County Thruway stopSchenectady, Saratoga casinos say reopening has gone well; revenue down 30%EDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censusMotorcyclist injured in Thursday afternoon Schenectady crash At the urging of Wall Street lobbyists, Congress passed a bill, S.2155, that loosens many financial reform rules established for banks after their recklessness tanked our economy a decade ago. Categories: Letters to the Editor, Opinionlast_img read more

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first_imgTo access this article REGISTER NOWWould you like print copies, app and digital replica access too? SUBSCRIBE for as little as £5 per week. Would you like to read more?Register for free to finish this article.Sign up now for the following benefits:Four FREE articles of your choice per monthBreaking news, comment and analysis from industry experts as it happensChoose from our portfolio of email newsletterslast_img

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first_imgLoudspeakers blaring hygiene messages, foreign ambassadors locked in their compounds and state media demanding “absolute obedience” to health authorities — North Korea is taking what diplomats call “unprecedented” measures as it seeks to prevent a crippling coronavirus outbreak.The authoritarian state, led by the ruling Kim family since its foundation in 1948, maintains extensive control over the lives of its citizens and is pulling out all the stops to try to protect itself from the virus that first emerged in neighboring China, long its key diplomatic ally and trade partner.After the virus emerged it quickly closed its borders, cutting itself off from the outside world in a move diplomats and analysts say is its best method of self-protection given the weakness of its health infrastructure. Staff could only leave the premises — which have a prime location in Pyongyang close to the Workers’ Party leadership compound — to take rubbish to a landfill, when “Korean specialists immediately disinfect our truck at the gates of the embassy”.The city’s Orthodox church, taekwondo gym, skating rink and swimming pool were all off-limits, as were Korean and painting classes. “They may seem trifles, but everyday life is made of them.”Diplomatic work had been virtually suspended, he added, with no meetings, conversations or negotiations with North Korean officials or other embassies, while contact with the authorities was limited to phone calls or official notes dropped into a special mailbox.Only a country as “unique” as the North could take such a decision to address “a problem of national importance” and implement it, he said, describing the situation as “extraordinary”.”In material terms, self-isolation is of course very expensive for the Korean state,” he added.But it would always be willing to pay that price, he went on: “It is very important to understand that the issues of state security, the ideology and dignity of the country — in its North Korean understanding, of course — always and definitely prevail over economic considerations.”Those who expect sanctions to force the North to make concessions over its nuclear arsenal — negotiations between Pyongyang and Washington are currently deadlocked — should recognize that reality, he added. ‘Irreversible catastrophic consequences’ The novel coronavirus now known as COVID-19 originated in the central Chinese city of Wuhan and has since spread around the world, killing more than 2,700 people.South Korea has seen a rapid surge of cases in recent days, to well over 1,100, giving it the largest national tally outside China.But Pyongyang insists that it remains the only one of China’s neighbors not to have had a single case. Observers doubt that, but the Rodong Sinmun, the official mouthpiece of the Workers’ Party, urged citizens to show “absolute obedience” to instructions from health authorities and the state.”We should bear in mind that any moment of complacency could result in irreversible catastrophic consequences and should maintain a high state of alert,” it said.Earlier this week it warned of “devastating consequences” if the country suffers even one case of coronavirus, recommending people avoid gathering in public places — even restaurants.”Sitting down and dining together and talking with each other can itself become the main spreading ground of the infectious disease,” it said.But state duties do not appear to be subject to such restrictions: on Wednesday it carried pictures of scores of Supreme People’s Assembly officials lining up to visit the supposed birthplace of Kim Jong Il, the father and predecessor of the current leader Kim Jong Un, at Mount Paektu. All of them wore masks. Topics : Arrivals are subject to 30 days’ isolation and it has stepped up its efforts internally, with the official KCNA describing an intensifying “anti-virus campaign”, including door-to-door health check-ups and loudspeaker vans instructing citizens on hygiene practices around the country.Foreigners are facing tough restrictions: all of those resident in the country have been subjected to quarantine at their premises since the beginning of February. Diplomats in Pyongyang have unable even to walk around the city in what the Russian ambassador described as a “morally crushing” situation.The embassy had been “left without diplomatic mail… we did not manage to get medicines and supplies for our first-aid post”, Alexander Matsegora told Russia’s TASS news agency.last_img read more

first_imgKuwait and Bahrain raised their totals to 43 and 33 cases respectively, all in people who had visited Iran. Oman has diagnosed four cases and the United Arab Emirates, an air transit hub, raised its number of cases to 19 on Thursday.Pilgrimage is big business for Saudi Arabia, which has Islam’s two holiest sites in Mecca and Medina, and is the backbone of plans to expand visitor numbers under Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s ambitious economic reform agenda.Visits by pilgrims accelerate during the holy fasting month of Ramadan, beginning this year in late April. And in late July, some 2 million pilgrims are expected for the week-long haj, the world’s largest annual gathering of Muslims, which has a separate visa regime.In Indonesia, home to the world’s largest Muslim population, organisers said the suspension could affect 150,000-200,000 Indonesian pilgrims over the next month. Neighbouring Malaysia advised citizens to postpone visits to Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia on Thursday closed its borders to foreign “umrah” pilgrims and to tourists from at least 25 countries where the new coronavirus has been found.Muslims are currently applying for visas for the minor umrah pilgrimage, which can take place at any time of the year and brought 7.5 million people to the birthplace of Islam in the course of 2019, according to official figures.Saudi Arabia and Qatar have not reported any cases of the new coronavirus, which has infected about 80,000 people worldwide and killed more than 2,800, mostly in China – but the other four Gulf Arab states have. “Protecting the pilgrims… and the sacred sites from the arrival of this disease is very important,” Health Ministry spokesman Mohammed Abdelali told reporters. “Saudi Arabia feels a sense of responsibility, therefore we took these temporary decisions, which will constantly be reviewed.”A muslim pilgrim wears a protective face mask to prevent contracting coronavirus, as he prays at the Grand mosque in the holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia February 27, 2020. REUTERS/Ganoo Essa (REUTERS/Ganoo Essa)RESTRICTIONS ACROSS THE GULFSaudi Arabia, Kuwait, and the United Arab Emirates also halted the use of Gulf Cooperation Council cards for transit between the six member states, instead mandating passports, which can reveal more about previous travel.But it was unclear which countries’ travellers would be affected by the Saudi ban, and whether they would be blocked on the basis of nationality or point of departure.Saudi government spokesmen did not respond to requests for comment, and confusion grew throughout the day.The UAE-based airlines Emirates and flydubai cited Saudi directives in saying they would no longer carry passengers with tourist visas from China, Japan, Italy, Iran, India, Pakistan and a number of other countries.At Dubai airport, a Canadian citizen transiting from Iraq was barred from an Emirates flight despite none of those countries being listed on the airline’s website.In Beirut, passengers without Saudi residency were prevented from flying to the kingdom.Bahrain said it had halted flights to Iraq and Lebanon, and online images showed cleaners in protective overalls spraying disinfectant in empty halls in Manama airport.Saudi Arabia’s benchmark stock index fell 1.1%, weighed down by tourism-related firms Jabal Omar Development , Seera Group, and Al Hokair Group.Across the Gulf, Iran has the highest number of deaths from the virus outside China, reporting 26 deaths and 245 infections.Several of Iran’s neighbours have closed their borders to travel from Iran.The UAE suspended passenger ferry services with Iran until further notice, the state news agency WAM said. It also obliged all arriving commercial ships to provide a statement on the health of their crews 72 hours before arrival.Saudi Health Minister Tawfiq Al-Rabiah, Director of Public Security Saeed Al-Qahtani and Deputy Health Minister Fahad Jalajel are seen during the Saudi Food and Drug Authority meeting in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia February 27, 2020. (REUTERS/Ahmed Yosri)The government also told parents to inform schools if children or close relatives had travelled in the past four weeks to one of several Asian countries, Italy or Iran.The UAE said it had identified six new coronavirus cases – four Iranians, one Chinese and one Bahraini, state news agency WAM said. Topics :last_img read more

first_imgSingapore’s tally of cases is still inching up but it’s no longer the worst-hit nation outside of China after South Korea saw an over 30-fold increase in a week. Italy, with at least 400 confirmed cases, has now become the epicenter in Europe while Iran has reported an alarming jump in numbers of those infected and dead.“There seems to be more of a willingness to place the community and society needs over individual liberty and that helps in a public health crisis,” said Kent Sepkowitz, an infectious disease control specialist at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York.A man wearing a protective mask looks at his mobile phone as he walks through the Marina Bay business district in Singapore, on Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2020. (Bloomberg/Ore Huiying)‘Not hesitate’ Singapore was aggressive out of the gate and has continued to be. It was one of the first countries to impose restrictions on anyone with recent travel history to China and parts of South Korea. It has a strict hospital and home quarantine regimen for potentially infected patients and is extensively tracing anyone they may have been in contact with.It’s charging a couple who gave false information on their travel history and taking away residency status from a person who breached his quarantine, among other punitive actions.Singapore “will not hesitate to take strong action” against rule breakers, Law Minister K. Shanmugam said in a statement Thursday. “The deliberate breaking of the rules, in the current situation, calls for swift and decisive response.”The consistently forceful posture is in contrast to other Asian nations, who despite being closer geographically to China, have been slower to act. Japan and South Korea are both facing criticism for lax and delayed containment measures that has led to mounting virus cases.As the epidemic that emerged from China threatens to become a global pandemic that could wipe off $1 trillion from world’s gross domestic product, Singapore used its early infections to establish an advanced contact tracing system.It’s now using a new serological test developed by Duke-NUS Medical School that can establish links between infected cases, which will allow authorities to map out the chain of transmission and therefore try to break it. Local researchers had earlier successfully cultured the novel virus within a week of Singapore confirming its first case.A historically “very strong epidemiological surveillance and contact-tracing capacity” in Singapore led to a high detection rate initially, according to a yet to be peer-reviewed study published by researchers at the Harvard University.Past experienceThe country’s experience with the 2003 SARS outbreak in which 33 people died in Singapore, and the 2010 swine flu known as H1N1 where an estimated more than 400,000 people were infected, meant that precautions were already in place. These included ready-made government quarantine facilities and a 330-bed, state-of-the-art national center for managing infectious diseases that opened last year.To be sure, few other countries can recreate Singapore’s circumstances. It’s a small, rich nation without a hinterland or health-care shortages. It’s been ruled by one political party for its nearly 55 years of independence, and local media outlets carry the government’s messaging without questioning, from washing hands to staying at home if someone is not feeling well.In a recorded address earlier this month, Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong reassured Singaporeans that the city had enough supplies and that the virus didn’t appear as deadly as SARS, meaning that most people would likely experience a minor illness even if they contracted it. The population has been noticeably calmer since.A pedestrian walking a dog passes a group of people work out in a field at the Marina Bay financial district in Singapore, on Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2020. (Bloomberg/ Ore Huiying/)Business hubFresh infections in Singapore may still break out given the virus’s long incubation period and lack of symptoms in some carriers. Authorities have tested more than 1,300 people while the Ministry of Health has imposed two-week quarantines on 2,887 close contacts of infected patients. Singapore is also a regional business hub with a large flow of overseas visitors.After a local business meeting was tied to a cluster that spread to countries in Asia and Europe, officials said earlier this month they were investigating residents who attended the meeting to prepare for the possibility of fresh confirmed cases. Three infected people have recovered and no fresh cases related to this meeting have emerged.But what Singapore is showing the world is that when all the stars are aligned, the virus may not be as uncontrollable as feared.The situation “tells you a lot about Singapore’s health care system and their confidence,” said Sepkowitz. As the novel coronavirus starts to gather speed in Europe, the Middle East and the US, there’s one place it is seemingly being contained: Singapore.With no reported virus-related deaths despite 96 cases, and a slowing rate of infection that’s been outpaced by recoveries, the Asian city-state is emerging as a litmus test of whether the deadly pathogen can be, if not contained, then neutralized.The answer is maybe, and perhaps only with the unique combination of factors that Singapore brings: a top-notch health system, draconian tracing and containment measures, and a small population that’s largely accepting of government’s expansive orders. Few other countries battling an outbreak that’s now infected 82,000 globally and killed over 2,800 can replicate these circumstances.center_img Topics :last_img read more