Tropical Storm Laura churned just south of Cuba Monday after killing at least 11 people in the Dominican Republic and Haiti, where it knocked out power and caused flooding in the two nations that share the island of Hispaniola.
The deaths reportedly included a 10-year-old girl whose home was hit by a tree and a mother and young son who were crushed by a collapsing wall.
Laura was not expected to weaken over land before moving into warm, deep Gulf waters that forecasters said could bring rapid intensification.
"We're only going to dodge the bullet so many times. And the current forecast for Laura has it focused intently on Louisiana," Gov. John Bel Edwards told a news briefing.
At the same time, Tropical Storm Marco began falling apart, easing one threat to the Gulf Coast but setting the stage for the arrival of Laura as a potentially supercharged Category 3 hurricane with winds topping 175 km/h and a storm surge that could swamp entire towns.
The two-storm combination could bring a history-making onslaught of wind and coastal flooding from Texas to Alabama, all complicated by the coronavirus pandemic, forecasters said.
Shrimp trawlers and fishing boats were tied up in a Louisiana harbour ahead of the storms. Red flags warned swimmers away from pounding surf. Both in-person classes and virtual school sessions required because of the coronavirus pandemic were cancelled in some districts.
A food bank that has been twice as busy as normal since March providing meals to people affected by the pandemic prepared to shut down for a few days because of the weather, but not before distributing a last round of provisions.
"We're very tired," said Lawrence DeHart, director of Terrebonne Churches United Foodbank in Houma.
State emergencies were declared in Louisiana and Mississippi, and shelters were being opened with cots set farther apart, among other measures designed to curb coronavirus infections.
"The virus is not concerned that we have hurricanes coming, and so it's not going to take any time off and neither can we," Edwards said.
Louisiana was trying to avoid opening state-run shelters because of the COVID-19 threat. The governor encouraged evacuees to stay with relatives or in hotels. But officials said they'd made virus-related preparations at state shelters in case they are needed.
As Marco collapsed, the National Hurricane Center cancelled all tropical storm watches and warnings. Marco's winds died down to 65 km/h as it sloshed 65 kilometres southeast of the mouth of the Mississippi River.
Major hurricane possibleBy midday Monday, an airplane monitoring the system could only find a small area of wind strong enough to keep Marco a tropical storm, and those winds were not near the ragged centre. Because strong crosswinds were decapitating the storm, Marco was expected to lose tropical storm designation late Monday, the hurricane centre said.
While Marco weakened, Laura's potential got stronger, and forecasters raised the possibility of a major hurricane that would pummel western Louisiana and eastern Texas from late Wednesday into Thursday. Once Laura passes Cuba, the system could quickly strengthen over warm water, which acts as fuel to supercharge the storm. Forecasters predicted winds of 170 km/h before landfall, but some models showed an even stronger storm.
Together, the two storms could bring a total of 0.6 metres of rain to parts of Louisiana, perhaps raising the storm surge to more than three metres along the Louisiana coast and pushing water 50 kilometres up the rivers in a worst-case scenario, said meteorologist Benjamin Schott, who runs the National Weather Service office in Slidell, Louisiana.
Hurricane Katrina anniversary Mandatory evacuation orders were issued west of New Orleans for much of Cameron Parish, where officials said seawater pushed inland by the storm could submerge communities including Cameron, with its population of about 410."We want everybody to get out safely," said Ashley Buller, the assistant director for emergency preparedness. The double punch comes just days before the Aug. 29 anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, which breached the levees in New Orleans, flattened much of the Mississippi coast and killed as many as 1,800 people.
August Creppel, chief of the United Houma Nation, was worried about the group's 17,000 members, spread out over six parishes along the Louisiana coast. He took part in a ceremony Saturday at the Superdome in New Orleans that included Native American singing and prayers to commemorate the 15th anniversary of the hurricane.
"We know our people are going to get hit. We just don't know who yet," said Creppel, who has been in contact with the Red Cross to get supplies once the weather eases. For the residents of the Louisiana coast, "they're certainly lucky that Marco is not worse than it is," said University of Miami hurricane researcher Brian McNoldy. "This will come and go, and they can get ready for Laura. That'll be the main attraction."
Meanwhile, Laura drenched much of Cuba as it headed northwest at 30 km/h with top sustained winds of 95 km/h.
On the Louisiana coast at Holly Beach in an area nicknamed the "Cajun Riviera," Eric Monceaux was frantically packing what he could take with him. Hit first by Hurricane Rita in 2005 and again by Ike in 2008, he does not plan to come back if Laura does its worst. "That would be strike three," he said. "I'm 62, and I gave it two strikes. The third one is 'strike three, you're out' like a baseball game." Closer to New Orleans in Belle Chasse, Chris Leopold stocked up on propane at a hardware store after a weekend spent getting ready for rough weather. "You pick up everything off the ground, bring in what you can, tie down any boats you have, empty your refrigerator, cut the power, cut the water and say your prayers on the way out," he said.
Google recently made a huge announcement that could change the future of work and higher education: It's launching a selection of professional courses that teach candidates how to perform in-demand jobs.
These courses, which the company is calling Google Career Certificates, teach foundational skills that can help job-seekers immediately find employment. However, instead of taking years to finish like a traditional university degree, these courses are designed to be completed in about six months.
"College degrees are out of reach for many Americans, and you shouldn't need a college diploma to have economic security," writes Kent Walker, senior vice president of global affairs at Google. "We need new, accessible job-training solutions--from enhanced vocational programs to online education--to help America recover and rebuild."
Walker then revealed the following on Twitter:
"In our own hiring, we will now treat these new career certificates as the equivalent of a four-year degree for related roles."
Google didn't say exactly how much the new courses would cost. But a similar program Google offers on online learning platform Coursera, the Google IT Support Professional Certificate, costs $49 for each month a student is enrolled. (At that price, a six-month course would cost just under $300--less than many university students spend on textbooks in one semester alone.) Additionally, Google said it would fund 100,000 needs-based scholarships in support of the new programs.
Higher education has been ripe for disruption for a long time. And while Google's recent announcement may not be the final nail in the coffin, it's a move with major potential to change the future of education and work.
Get a certificate, find a jobOne of the main criticisms of higher education through the years has been that universities don't properly equip students with the real-world skills they need in the workplace, and leave them in debt for years as they struggle to pay back student loans.
In contrast, Google claims their courses, which would cost a fraction of a traditional university education, prepare students to immediately find work in high-paying, high-growth career fields.
The three new programs Google is offering, together with the median annual wage for each position (as quoted by Google), are:
"The new Google Career Certificates build on our existing programs to create pathways into IT support careers for people without college degrees," Walker explains. "Launched in 2018, the Google IT Certificate program has become the single most popular certificate on Coursera, and thousands of people have found new jobs and increased their earnings after completing the course."
After completion of a program, Google promises support in the job search as well. The company says participants can "opt in to share [their] information directly with top employers hiring for jobs in these fields," including such household names as Walmart, Best Buy, Intel, Bank of America, Hulu, and, of course, Google.
Additionally, Google says it will offer hundreds of apprenticeship opportunities to participants who have completed the course. And beginning this fall, the company will offer its IT support certificate in career and technical education high schools throughout the U.S.
Lessons for business ownersAlthough traditional degrees are still deemed necessary in fields like law or medicine, more and more employers have signaled that they no longer view them as a must-have--Apple, IBM, and Google, just to name a few.
So, if you're an employer or hiring manager, ask yourself:
Because if there's anything this pandemic has taught us, it's the importance of maximizing ROI on both time and money.
And that's an area where universities have been failing for a very long time.
BY JUSTIN BARISO, AUTHOR, EQ APPLIED
India’s Covid-19 death toll grew to the fourth largest globally as the disease’s spread continues to accelerate through the world’s second most populous country.
India added 942 deaths from the novel coronavirus in the past 24 hours, topping the U.K. with a total of 47,033 fatalities. Now India is only behind the U.S., Brazil and Mexico in the overall number of deaths. Its total number of confirmed cases, almost 2.4 million, is the third largest in the world.
The mounting number of lives lost in India comes as the country’s outbreak has become one of the fastest growing in the world. India has been reporting about 60,000 or more new infections a day, higher than both the U.S. and Brazil, the two biggest outbreaks in absolute terms.
The epicenter of the disease is shifting from India’s globally connected cities like Mumbai and New Delhi to the country’s vast hinterland, where most of the population lives and medical infrastructure is considerably weaker.
Despite the rising number of deaths, the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi has touted the country’s fatality rate, which at 2% of cases is one of the world’s lowest, as a sign of success. However, India’s history of compiling incomplete death statistics at the best of times, and the difficulty of testing more than a small fraction of its 1.3 billion people, have led to speculation that deaths are being undercounted.
The rising numbers also reflect a broader shift as the pandemic -- which has sickened more than 20 million people and killed almost 750,000 -- moves from wealthier parts of the globe to developing nations whose health-care systems are quickly overwhelmed.
The greatest number of infections and fatalities from the pandemic are now found in developing countries such as Mexico and Brazil, as they surpass former hotspots like the U.K. and France. Among the 10 countries with the highest number of cases, the U.S. is the only one from the developed world, topping the list with more than 5 million infections.
Source : Bloomberg
Consumers in the Chinese city of Shenzhen have been urged to exercise caution when buying imported frozen food after a surface sample of chicken wings from Brazil tested positive for coronavirus, according to a statement from the local government.
The positive sample appears to have been taken from the surface of the meat, while previously reported positive cases from other Chinese cities have been from the surface of packaging on imported frozen seafood.
The chicken came from an Aurora Alimentos plant in the southern state of Santa Catarina, according to a registration number given in the statement.
Virus tests of people who have possibly come into contact with the product, and tests of related products, all came back negative, the statement said. Consumers should be cautious when buying imported frozen foods and aquatic products, the government added.
Three packaging samples of imported frozen seafood tested positive for Covid-19 in Yantai, a northern city of Shandong province, the city government said on its official Weibo account Tuesday. State television Wednesday reported that the outside of an Ecuador frozen shrimp package tested positive for the virus in a restaurant in Wuhu, a city in China’s Anhui province. Packaging on Ecuador shrimps has also tested positive in Xi’an, state television said Thursday.
Saint Lucia has recorded a total of 25 COVID-19 cases to date. The last three (3) patients in care have now recovered fully, tested negative for COVID-19. This now gives the country a 100 percent recovery rate and we have recorded zero COVID-19 related deaths. As of now there are no reported active COVID-19 cases.
Testing results received on August 11, 2020 indicated 99 negative test results. A total of 4,373 tests have been carried out to date.
We remind everyone that as we continue with the phased re-opening of the country, the risk for the introduction of COVID-19 has increased. The public is advised that all protocols are still in place including the reduced numbers for public transportation and hygiene protocols for private sector establishments. These also include the use of face masks in public, the sanitizing of hands and maintaining the recommended 6 foot physical distance from others.
The Ministry of Health once again reiterates the importance of maintaining the quarantine of returning nationals and visitors as it is a great measure in minimizing the risk of transmitting COVID-19. We again appeal to people who have been placed in quarantine to adhere to the 14 day quarantine period. Where home quarantine has been granted, the individuals must remain there for the full period of time. This action is expected to protect the health and safety of every individual within our country. We ask everyone to continue supporting our national effort to minimize the threat of COVID-19 on our island.
We continue to advise on the importance of maintaining the standard recommendations for infection prevention and control which include:
– regular hand washing with soap and water or alcohol based hand sanitizer where soap and water is not available.
– cover mouth and nose with disposable tissues or clothing when coughing and sneezing.
The Ministry of Health will continue providing further updates on the national COVID-19 response. For more information please contact the Office of the Chief Medical Officer or the Epidemiology Unit, at 468-5309/468-5317 respectively.
WASHINGTON — A federal judge has ordered the unsealing and release of correspondences from attorneys for celebrity lawyer Alan Dershowitz and retail magnate Leslie Wexner, who developed Victoria’s Secret into a worldwide brand, in a defamation case that is likely to reveal more about the secretive life of disgraced financier Jeffrey Epstein.
U.S. District Judge Loretta Preska ruled Monday that there was no cause to conceal the legal requests and responses and set an Aug. 17 date for a hearing on whether Wexner can be forced to testify in a defamation case involving one of Epstein’s victims, Virginia Roberts Giuffre.
Preska wrote that she saw “no reason for that correspondence to remain under seal,” and told the parties to file their respective letters on the public docket, which happened Monday afternoon. The documents show that Dershowitz alleges that Giuffre — who is suing him for defamation — is trying to extort money from him because of his relationship as a longtime friend to and lawyer for Epstein. And Dershowitz wants Wexner and his attorney John Zeiger to testify that they had privately settled a similar claim threatened by Giuffre.
Dershowitz, who is countersuing Giuffre, was not only friends with Epstein, but as his lawyer was instrumental in negotiating a non-prosecution agreement more than a decade ago that absolved Epstein, his close associates and unnamed others of potential federal charges of sex trafficking.
The deal, blessed by then-U.S. Attorney for Southern Florida Alexander Acosta, proved highly controversial, and last year the U.S. attorney for Southern New York ignored it as he filed sex trafficking charges against the multimillionaire. Epstein was found dead by hanging in his jail cell as he awaited trial, scuttling efforts by the feds to have him implicate other prominent men.
In a June 23 letter to the judge, attorneys for Dershowitz noted they had served subpoenas in June on Wexner and Zeiger, and asked Preska to compel them to provide for “the production of a small number of documents directly relevant to the central allegation in this case that Plaintiff [Giuffre] falsely accused Professor Dershowitz of sexual abuse as part of a scheme to extort Wexner.”
Giuffre is the most prominent of the numerous women alleging sexual abuse while underage at the hands of Epstein. She says she was lured to Epstein by British socialite Ghislaine Maxwell, who was arrested on July 2, and forced into sexual servitude over a four-year-period, coerced into sleeping with powerful men, including Britain’s Prince Andrew and Dershowitz. Both men deny the claim.
In her response, Giuffre argued through a lawyer that Dershowitz has made the false allegation against her and for that reason she too wants to ask questions of Wexner.
“Defendant has put Leslie Wexner at the heart of his false and defamatory claims that Plaintiff and her counsel were engaged in an extortion plot to extract money from wealthy associates of Jeffrey Epstein by allegedly falsely naming the Defendant,” Charles J. Cooper, attorney with the firm Cooper & Kirk, which represents Giuffre in the defamation case, wrote in a July 28 letter to Preska.
Giuffre’s attorney zeroed in on the Dershowitz claim that Wexner was framed for financial reasons.
“For this reason, Plaintiff was likewise planning on seeking relevant documents and testimony from Mr. Wexner and Mr. Zeiger. Plaintiff, therefore, respectfully requests that the Court allow these depositions to proceed,” he wrote.
Wexner, now 83 and largely out of public view, is fighting to stay out of this matter. Epstein for a long stretch managed Wexner’s personal finances and those of his family charities. At one point, Epstein had broad power-of-attorney over the finances of Wexner, who grew wealthy through groundbreaking retail brands, including The Limited and Victoria’s Secret. Dershowitz is asking Judge Preska to compel Wexner to provide information on any correspondence between Wexner or Zeiger with Giuffre and her lawyers, past and present.
Through his attorney Zeiger, Wexner said he has no relevant information that could be used in a trial. No correspondence from Zeiger was released by the judge, but Dershowitz’s lawyers included a lengthy back-and-forth email chain that showed Wexner would cooperate only if compelled.
Lawyers for Dershowitz told the judge he was not worried about trial right now, just a legal stage called discovery, the pre-trial process where each side can seek obtain evidence that the other claims to have.
“Professor Dershowitz will address the admissibility of testimony obtained from Wexner at the appropriate time, upon a complete discovery record including being able to offer the Court Wexner’s actual testimony, as opposed to his lawyer’s self-serving characterization of what it will be,” Howard M. Cooper, an attorney with Todd & Weld, which is representing Dershowitz, wrote in a July 31 letter to the judge unsealed Monday.
Preska ordered the parties to discuss what exactly they are seeking from each other and file briefs with her by Thursday, four days before she hears them in a telephonic hearing.
Brazil has reached a grim watershed in its handling of the coronavirus crisis as the country reached 100,000 confirmed coronavirus deaths Saturday, only the second country to hit a six-figure death toll and as the pandemic continues to spread throughout Brazil.
Brazil reached 100,477 deaths Saturday and just more than 3 million total cases since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, according to a Johns Hopkins University count, putting it behind only the United States in both tallies.
President Jair Bolsonaro—recently recovered from having a coronavirus infection himself—urged Brazilians to move past the damage wrought by the virus, telling the country on a broadcast this week that, “We regret all of the deaths. But let’s get on with our lives ... try to find a way of getting away with this problem,” according to a translation from The Guardian.
Former health minister Luiz Henrique Mandetta railed against Bolsonaro in the press this week, saying “there are 100,000 Brazilian families who have yet to receive a single word of comfort or solidarity from the government,” in an interview with O Globo newspaper.
Bolsonaro has faced sharp criticism for referring to the deadly virus as “a little flu,” for dismissing social distancing guidelines and for diminishing the severity of the pandemic to the public.
The president earmarked $356 million this week for the country to purchase and one day produce a potential coronavirus vaccine, the AstraZeneca candidate.
One of Brazil’s most influential indigenous figures, Chief Aritana Yawalapiti, died this week of the virus, underscoring the damage the pandemic has inflicted on the country’s indigenous people in particular.
“If this was only a flu, we would not be reaching the mark of 100,000 deaths,” Leodete Martins, whose husband died of coronavirus, told The Wall Street Journal.
Brazil has the second highest number of both total confirmed coronavirus infections and deaths attributed to the virus, more than any other national except for the United States. However, experts say the actual number of cases and deaths are likely much higher. Brazil is said by experts to be especially vulnerable to the pandemic because of sweeping economic inequality as well as inequitable access to quality healthcare. It has spread rapidly in recent weeks. According to Reuters, the virus only took three months to kill 50,000 people and doubled the total in the following 50 days. Brazil accounts for nearly one-third of the world’s total confirmed coronavirus deaths.
Wrestler-turned-movie star Dwayne Johnson clung to the top slot on the list of the world’s highest-paid male actors for a second straight year, according to an annual tally released by Forbes magazine on Tuesday.
Johnson, also known by his ring name ‘The Rock’, earned $87.5 million from June 1, 2019 to June 1, 2020, Forbes said, including $23.5 million from Netflix Inc to star in movie thriller “Red Notice.” He also benefited from his ‘Project Rock’ fitness wear line for Under Armour Inc.
Ryan Reynolds, who co-stars with Johnson in “Red Notice,” came in second in the Forbes ranking of male stars. He earned $20 million for that film, plus another $20 million for Netflix movie “Six Underground,” the magazine said, part of his $71.5 million total for the one-year period.
Actor and producer Mark Wahlberg, star of Netflix action comedy “Spenser Confidential,” finished third with $58 million. Next on the list were actors Ben Affleck with $55 million and Vin Diesel with $54 million.
Akshay Kumar, the only Bollywood star in the top 10, landed in sixth place with earnings of $48.5 million. Most of his income came from product endorsements, Forbes said.
Rounding out the list were “Hamilton” creator Lin-Manuel Miranda, actors Will Smith and Adam Sandler, and martial-arts star Jackie Chan.
The figures are pre-tax and do not include deductions for fees given to agents, managers and lawyers, Forbes said.
The magazine releases a separate list of highest-paid actresses.
Amber Guyger, the former Dallas police officer who fatally shot an unarmed Black man in his own apartment -- saying she thought it was her own residence -- has appealed her sentence.
Guyger was convicted of murder last October and is serving a 10-year prison sentence.
Her defense team says there was insufficient evidence to convict her of murder. The court should either acquit Guyger of that charge, or acquit her of murder, convict her of criminally negligent homicide, and hold a new hearing on the punishment, according to the court filing.
Guyger testified that on September 6, 2018, she returned home from work and went to what she thought was her apartment. She was off duty but still in her police uniform. The apartment door was ajar, she said, and when she entered she found a man inside. She fired her service weapon, killing him.
She was actually in the apartment directly above hers, which belonged to Botham Jean, a 26-year-old accountant from St. Lucia. Jean was on the couch, watching TV and eating ice cream when Guyger walked in and shot him, prosecutors said.
In the appeal, her lawyers said that "her mistaken belief negated the culpability for murder because although she intentionally and knowingly caused Jean's death, she had the right to act in deadly force in self-defense since her belief that deadly force was immediately necessary was reasonable under the circumstances."
Guyger's attorneys have also asked to have their appeal heard by oral argument.
Botham Jean's family issued a statement expressing their disappointment on hearing of Guyger's appeal.
"After admitting her crime and asking Botham Jean's family for mercy-- Guyger's actions in filing this appeal reflect someone who is not repentant but instead was hoping to play on the families sympathies at the time that they were most vulnerable," said the statement from S. Lee Merritt, attorney for the Jean Family.
On the final day of the murder trial Jean's younger brother, Brandt, told Guyger during his victim impact statement that he forgave her, and gave her a long hug before she was taken to prison.
Merritt went on to say the appeal alleges Guyger "should have been allowed to murder Botham in 'self defense'" because she thought she was inside her own apartment. But, "the jury was instructed on self defense prior to deliberations and they properly rejected the defense and found Guyger guilty of murder one," Merritt said.In twist in the Guyger case, a key witness in her murder trial was shot to death in Dallas in 2019.
Joshua Brown, who had lived across the hall from Jean at Dallas' South Side Flats apartments, was killed at a different apartment complex he had moved to. Authorities said they indicted three men who tried to rob him.