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Coronavirus: OneWeb blames pandemic for collapse


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ESA/CNES/ARIANESPACE

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OneWeb has contracts for multiple rocket launches to get all its satellites in the sky

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OneWeb, the high-profile London-based satellite start-up, has filed for bankruptcy protection in the US.

The firm, which has been building a network to deliver broadband across the globe, blamed the Covid-19 crisis for its inability to secure new investment.

OneWeb issued a statement saying it was laying off most of its staff while it seeks a buyer for the company.

The start-up recently launched the 74th satellite in a constellation planned to total at least 648 spacecraft.

The idea is that this network will provide high-bandwidth, low-latency internet connections to any point on Earth, bar Antarctica.

Rumours of a collapse had been swirling around OneWeb this past week. It had raised £2.6bn to implement its project but experts in the space industry speculated that double this sum would probably be needed to complete the system.

The statement released by OneWeb in the early hours of Saturday, London time, said the company had been close to obtaining financing but that, “the process did not progress because of the financial impact and market turbulence related to the spread of Covid-19”.

CEO Adrian Steckel added: “Today is a difficult day for us at OneWeb. So many people have dedicated so much energy, effort, and passion to this company and our mission. Our hope is that this process will allow us to carve a path forward that leads to the completion of our mission, building on the years of effort and the billions of invested capital.”

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Arianespace

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OneWeb has a factory in Florida designed to turn out two satellites a day

OneWeb’s plan was first presented in detail to the media at London’s Royal Institution in 2015.

Early supporters included Airbus, Intelsat, Bharti Enterprises, Coca Cola, Group Salinas, Hughes Network Systems, Virgin Group and Intelsat. Softbank became a major investor.

But building satellite constellations is a very expensive undertaking and the history of the sector is littered with companies that also ended up seeking Chapter 11 protection with the US Bankruptcy Court.

Some have managed to pull through – the classic example being Iridium, which launched the first satellite phone network. It recently put up a second-generation constellation in the sky.

OneWeb is seeking to do the same. As well successfully launching 74 satellites, it has valuable radio spectrum rights and has built getting on for half of the 44 ground stations needed to operate its constellation. It will hope this progress will prove attractive to a new owner.

OneWeb has been in competition with California entrepreneur Elon Musk’s SpaceX company to build a satellite internet mega-constellation. His rockets are regularly putting up 60 satellites at a time.

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, the world’s richest man, is also working on a concept he calls Kuiper.

If no buyer for OneWeb or its assets can be found, the UK government is ultimately responsible for the 74 spacecraft in orbit.

As the licensing state, it will carry the liability if these satellites are involved in a collision.

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ONEWEB

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OneWeb has control rooms in London and Virginia to monitor and command the satellites

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Coronavirus: UK lockdown rules, reasons for leaving home, fines, laws


The UK has gone into full coronavirus lockdown with the public banned from leaving the home for all but essential reasons.

The decision, which came into force from Monday evening, has dramatically changed the lives of millions of British people.

Under the new rules, British people are only be allowed to leave home for the following ‘essential’ reasons.

Shopping for food and medicine

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The public are allowed to leave home to buy essential items such as food and medicine. However, the government’s new guidelines suggest such trips should be “as infrequent as possible.”

Exercise

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The public is still allowed to leave home to exercise but only once per day. This can be by yourself or with members of your own household. Some police forces have interpreted these rules more strictly than others.

Medical trips or caring for others

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British people are also allowed to leave home for medical purposes such as a doctor’s appointment, or to care for a vulnerable person.

Essential work

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The public is allowed to leave home for work but only if that work cannot be carried out at home.

All nonessential shops and premises are closed

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The following “nonessential” premises have been closed immediately.

  • Nonessential retail stores such as clothing and electronics stores, hair, beauty and nail salons, outdoor and indoor markets.
  • Libraries, community centres, and youth centres.
  • Indoor and outdoor leisure facilities such as bowling alleys, arcades and soft play facilities.
  • Communal places within parks, such as playgrounds, sports courts and outdoor gyms.
  • Places of worship, except for funerals attended by immediate families.
  • Hotels, hostels, bed and breakfasts, campsites, caravan parks, and boarding houses for commercial/leisure use (excluding permanent residents and key workers).

Public gatherings stopped

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All gatherings of more than two people, except within your own home with fellow housemates, have been banned.

This applies with just two exceptions:

  • Where the gathering is of a group of people who live together – this means that a parent can, for
    example, take their children to the shops if there is no option to leave them at home.
  • Where the gathering is essential for work purposes – but workers should be trying to minimise all
    meetings and other gatherings in the workplace.topping social events, including weddings, baptisms and other religious ceremonies.

The Government will also stop social events such as weddings, baptisms and other religious ceremonies. Funerals will still be allowed but only to be attended by immediate family members.

How will the rules be enforced?

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The government has passed new emergency legislation through the Coronavirus bill, allowing the police to enforce these new rules.

They have been given the powers to disperse gatherings and impose fines of £6o on anyone who refuses to comply. This will be reduced to £30 if paid within two weeks. Larger fines of between £120 and £1,000 can be imposed for repeat offences.

How long will the lockdown last?

Boris Johnson

Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks during a news conference on the ongoing situation with the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in London, Britain March 22, 2020.

Ian Vogler/Pool via REUTERS


The rules will apply initially for a three week period from March 23 and will then be reviewed by the government before likely being extended. 

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Coronavirus Could Create Opportunities to Green the Economy


In the days following Barack Obama’s election as president, incoming chief of staff Rahm Emmanuel made a bold declaration about how the administration would respond to the urgent financial crisis. “You never want a serious crisis to go to waste,” he said, citing a range of challenges, from climate to health care, that might be addressed as part of a response to the Great Recession.

Politicians and policymakers are just beginning to understand how much pain the coronavirus pandemic will inflict, and it goes without saying that policy experts of all stripes universally agree that protecting human life should be the first priority. Even still, leaders are already jockeying about how to keep the crisis from “going to waste.” One area that many are targeting is climate change.

The key climate question raised by this response to coronavirus is whether the trillions of dollars countries will spend to stimulate their economies will help reduce emissions or drive them up. Policy experts say governments may prefer to invest in fossil-fuel-intensive industries because it feels like a safe option in the middle of a pandemic, but doubling down on fossil fuels risks worsening one crisis to deal with another.

“Everybody’s going to be putting safety first right now,” says Matthew McKinnon, an advisor to a group of countries especially vulnerable to climate change. “And whether or not safety first aligns with climate first is going to vary from place to place.”

“Historic opportunity”

The transition away from fossil fuels is happening, with or without coronavirus, but there are a lot of reasons why governments might want to use this moment to double down on measures to address climate change.

Analysis from the International Energy Agency (IEA) describes the moment as a “historic opportunity” for officials to advance clean energy. As governments flood the economy with cash, deep investment in renewable projects would put people to work in the short term and, in the longer term, create decarbonized energy systems better able to compete in the 21st century. “We should not allow today’s crisis to compromise our efforts to tackle the world’s inescapable challenge,” wrote IEA Executive Director Fatih Birol in a web post.

Still, getting government officials to prioritize climate may prove difficult in the face of several headwinds. For one, oil prices have declined precipitously in recent weeks as coronavirus has driven demand for crude lower and Saudi Arabia and Russia ramped up production as part of a fierce price war. Cheap fossil fuels leave governments less likely to look to renewables.

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On the other hand, low oil prices offer a great opportunity to eliminate the billions of dollars in government subsidies that support oil and gas, the IEA says, as consumers are less likely to feel the effects.

The big players

The economic response to the coronavirus will play out over months and perhaps years, but we nonetheless see the topic of a “green stimulus” already popping up in capitals across the globe.

Officials in China have promised a massive stimulus to restart the country’s economy, and observers expect that they will largely focus on infrastructure. Some of those projects may be carbon-intensive, but others could ultimately reduce emissions. Expanding electric vehicle infrastructure and transitioning from coal-powered heating to gas-powered heating are among the areas where the country could spend billions, says David Sandalow, an expert on China’s energy and climate policy who serves as a fellow at Columbia University’s Center on Global Energy Policy.

Top officials at the European Commission, the European Union’s executive body, have remained steadfast about the European Green Deal, the program intended to eliminate the bloc’s carbon footprint by 2050, even as some member states have complained about its cost in the face of coronavirus. But that program, which has a price tag that tops $1 trillion, actually creates a “green stimulus” of its own, providing billions to places in Europe that are struggling economically. Many key climate advocates have argued that a Green Deal will serve as the framework for an economic recovery.

Across the Atlantic, Washington D.C. may seem like the least likely place to look for stimulus measures focused on addressing climate change, but the conversation is simmering beneath the headlines. Renewable energy groups with support on both sides of the aisle are asking for relief, given the hit they’ve taken from falling power demand. A group of Senators is pushing to pair any bailout of the airline industry with policies to reduce the industry’s carbon footprint. And progressive lawmakers are pointing to the economic downturn, which has far-reaching implications across society, as an ideal opportunity to implement a Green New Deal.

Of course, any legislation called a Green New Deal will be difficult to pass in this Congress, or realistically any future Congress. But many of the components could easily fit as part of a bigger stimulus package. “If you agree on the size and Democrats and Republicans give each other something,” says Reed Hundt, president of the Coalition for Green Capital, who served on the Obama transition team, “you’ll get it done.”

Spotlight Story

Will COVID-19 Ever Really Go Away?

Here’s what one of the WHO’s top experts thinks

That’s a lesson from the 2009 stimulus bill that passed under Obama. That measure contained some $90 billion to fund clean energy, supporting some 100,000 projects, while catalyzing the private sector, to spend over $100 billion in addition, according to the Obama White House.

Those figures fall short of what the U.S. will likely need to spend to transition its economy away from fossil fuels, and indeed both Democratic presidential candidates Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders have called called for trillions in their climate plans. Still, the framework of using economic stimulus to address climate change may be even more relevant now that it was ten years ago.


A version of this article was originally published in TIME’s climate newsletter, One.Five. Click here to sign up to receive these stories early.

Write to Justin Worland at justin.worland@time.com.



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Greta Thunberg Says It’s ‘Extremely Likely’ She Had Coronavirus



As she recovers from an illness that she believes was likely COVID-19, Greta Thunberg is imploring others with mild flu-like symptoms to stay home.

The teen climate activist shared Tuesday on Instagram that she had been staying indoors for the past two weeks. After returning to Sweden from a trip around Central Europe, she said, she and her father isolated in a borrowed apartment away from her mom and sister.

“Around ten days ago I started feeling some symptoms, exactly the same time as my father ― who traveled with me from Brussels,” Thunberg wrote.

“I was feeling tired, had shivers, a sore throat and coughed. My dad experienced the same symptoms, but much more intense and with a fever.”

In Sweden, authorities have shifted from testing all possible coronavirus cases to only those in vulnerable groups. According to Sweden’s public health agency, they had adjusted their strategy to prioritize resources for those at high risk of severe illness. Anyone else experiencing cold or flu-like symptoms is told to simply stay home.

“I have therefore not been tested for COVID-19, but it’s extremely likely that I’ve had it, given the combined symptoms and circumstances,” Thunberg said.

By the time of her Instagram post Tuesday, Thunberg said she had basically recovered, but she highlighted the biggest takeaway from her experience.

“I almost didn’t feel ill. My last cold was much worse than this! Had it not been for someone else having the virus simultaneously I might not even have suspected anything. Then I would just have thought I was feeling unusually tired with a bit of a cough.”

The fact that many young, healthy people may be asymptomatic or experience only very mild symptoms and may go on to pass it unknowingly to others is what makes the situation so much more dangerous, Thunberg wrote.

She urged her Instagram followers to consider the effects of their actions.

“We who don’t belong to a risk group have an enormous responsibility, our actions can be the difference between life and death for many others.”

Her advice: Follow the advice of experts and local authorities, stay home, and always take care of those around you and those in need.

A HuffPost Guide To Coronavirus





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Mammal study explains ‘why females live longer’


sheepImage copyright
Getty Images

Image caption

Male bighorn sheep are susceptible to local environmental factors in ways that females are not

A new study that looks at lifespan in wild mammals shows that females live substantially longer than males.

The research finds that, on average, females live 18.6% longer than males from the same species.

This is much larger than the well-studied difference between men and women, which is around 8%.

The scientists say the differences in these other mammals are due to a combination of sex-specific traits and local environmental factors.

In every human population, women live longer than men, so much so that nine out of 10 people who live to be 110 years old are female.

This pattern, researchers say, has been consistent since the first accurate birth records became available in the 18th Century.

While the same assumption has been held about animal species, large-scale data on mammals in the wild has been lacking,

Now, an international team of researchers has examined age-specific mortality estimates for a widely diverse group of 101 species.

In 60% of the analysed populations, the scientists found that females outlived the males – on average, they had a lifespan that’s 18.6% longer than males.

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Getty Images

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A male elephant seal, one of the species here females live longest

“The magnitude of lifespan and ageing across species is probably an interaction between environmental conditions and sex-specific genetic variations,” said lead author Dr Jean-Francois Lemaître, from the University of Lyon, France.

He gives the example of bighorn sheep for which the researchers had access to good data on different populations.

Where natural resources were consistently available there was little difference in lifespan. However, in one location where winters were particularly severe, the males lived much shorter lives.

“Male bighorn sheep use lots of resources towards sexual competition, towards the growth of a large body mass, and they might be more sensitive to environmental conditions,” said Dr Lemaître.

“So clearly the magnitude of the difference in lifespan is due to the interaction of these sex-specific genetics, the fact that males devote more resources towards specific functions compared with females, and to the local environmental conditions.”

Even if females lived longer than males, the team found that it did not mean that the risks of dying are increasing more in males than females as they get older. The expected male mortality is always higher, but the rate of mortality is about the same in both genders as they age.

One recent study in this field suggested that the genetic differences between males and females were key.

In humans, our cells contain different chromosomes, depending on gender. Females have two X chromosomes while males have an X and a Y. The theory is that the extra X in women has a protective effect against harmful mutations and that this holds true in other species.

The author of the new study on mammals says that both pieces of research are complementary.

“They show that in XX or XY systems, the XX, or the female, lives longer, so clearly there is an effect of sex chromosomes,” said Dr Lemaître.

“What we show in our paper is that the difference is very variable across species, meaning there are other factors that need to be considered to explain this variability.”

The study has been published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.



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Coronavirus: UK live updates, 281 deaths and 5,683 cases reported in Britain


  • March 23: The UK has reported 5,683 coronavirus cases and 281 deaths linked to the virus.
  • NHS England national medical director Stephen Powis criticised British people for stockpiling food and cleaning out supermarkets.
  • The UK’s pubs, restaurants, gyms and cinemas were all closed on Saturday.
  • All UK schools will be closed from this week as the government steps up its efforts to fight the virus.
  • Boris Johnson is set to announce more stringent social distancing measures on Monday.
  • Chancellor Rishi Sunak said the government would pay up to 80% of people’s wages to stop businesses from going bankrupt.
  • The UK government is set to introduce a range of new emergency laws like giving police the power to detain people with coronavirus who are not self-isolating.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

A total of 5,683 people have been diagnosed with coronavirus in the UK and 281 people have died, the Department of Health said on Saturday, March 21.

On the same day, NHS England national medical director Stephen Powis criticised shoppers for stockpiling unnecessary amounts of food. “It is critical that by not stockpiling, by not selfishly shopping, by leaving these supplies for others too, that our health workers are able to get access to what they need,” he said.

Boris Johnson on Thursday said Britain “can turn the tide within the next 12 weeks,” but only if people “take the steps outlined” like working from home and not going to public places like pubs and restaurants. Those places ended service on Friday night.

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson on Wednesday said that all schools across England would be closed from next week. The governments of Scotland and Wales said schools in their nations would be closed too.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has announced huge financial support for businesses and workers impacted by the coronavirus, including £330 billion worth of loans for businesses struggling to stay afloat.

Sunak has also announced emergency support for thousands of workers facing redundancy. He said the UK government would provide struggling businesses with grants to pay for 80% of the salaries of employees.

Anyone with symptoms, or anyone who lives with someone experiencing symptoms, has been told to self-isolate at home for 14 days.

“We need people to start working from home where they can and you should avoid pubs, clubs and other venues,” Prime Minister Johnson said earlier this week.

The coronavirus causes a respiratory disease known as COVID-19. More than 12,987 people have died and more than 305,145 others have been infected worldwide, mostly in China. Cases have been recorded in at least 105 countries.

For the latest global case total, death toll, and travel information, see Business Insider’s live updates here.

Carry on reading below for the latest updates on how the virus is spreading across Britain.

Kieran Corcoran, Alison Millington, and Rachel Hosie contributed reporting to this post.



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Apollo 15 Astronaut Al Worden, Who Circled Moon, Dies at 88


(CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla.) — Apollo 15 astronaut Al Worden, who circled the moon alone in 1971 while his two crewmates test-drove the first lunar rover, has died at age 88, his family said Wednesday.

His family said he died in his sleep in Houston. No cause of death was given.

“Al was an American hero whose achievements in space and on Earth will never be forgotten., said NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine in a statement. He also praised Worden for his appearances on “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood,” to explain space flight to children.

Worden flew to the moon in 1971 along with David Scott and Jim Irwin. As command module pilot, Worden remained in lunar orbit aboard the Endeavour while Scott and Irwin descended to the surface and tried out NASA’s first moon buggy.

Scott is one of four moonwalkers still alive. Irwin died in 1991.

“‘Line of Grey, Be Thou at Peace!’ Godspeed Al,” tweeted Apollo 11 moonwalker Buzz Aldrin, borrowing from their West Point alma mater.

Once his crewmates were back on board and headed home, Worden performed the first deep-space spacewalk — nearly 200,000 miles (322,000 kilometers) from Earth. He inspected the service module’s science instrument bay and retrieved film. His foray outside lasted just 38 minutes.

Worden said of the mission: “Now I know why I’m here. Not for a closer look at the Moon, but to look back at our home, the Earth.”

Apollo 15 was Worden’s only spaceflight. He was in NASA’s fifth astronaut class, chosen in 1966. He retired from NASA in 1975 and went to work for a few aerospace companies.

Of the 24 men who flew to the moon from 1968 through 1972, only 11 are still alive.

Born and raised on a farm in Jackson, Michigan, Worden graduated from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, New York, in 1955 and was commissioned in the Air Force. He attended test pilot school.

“As I was growing up, aviation was not really something that was foremost in my mind,” Worden said in a 2000 oral history for NASA. “From the age of 12 on, I basically ran the farm, did all the field work, milked the cows, did all that until I left for college.”

While in the Air Force, “I began to realize that flying was kind of my game. It was a thing that I was very attuned to.”

Going to the moon was “like flying an airplane,” Worden said in the NASA oral history. “It’s a skill that you learn. It takes some knowledge. It takes some analytical ability if something goes wrong, but outside of that it’s like driving a car.”

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Working as a senior aerospace scientist at NASA’s Ames Research Center in Mountain View, California, after the flight was more intellectually stimulating, he noted.

In his 2011 book “Falling to Earth: An Apollo 15 Astronaut’s Journey to the Moon,” Worden wrote that NASA was leery about young children watching a rocket launch and so he called Fred Rogers in Pittsburgh. Worden, the father of three, ended up doing a special show.

”It was so outside of what most astronauts did, many thought I was crazy. Astronauts liked to think they were super jocks who hunted, fished, drank, and chased girls. We didn’t do kiddies’ shows.”

A list of children’s questions eventually led to Worden’s 1974 book for children “I Want to Know about a Flight to the Moon.”

After returning from the moon, all three Apollo 15 astronauts became embroiled in a controversy over a few hundred stamped postal covers that flew with them to the moon. The astronauts planned to sell them to help pay for their children’s education, Worden said in the NASA oral history.

Worden said he assumed the stamped covers were on the official flight manifest, but wasn’t sure now that they ever were. All this resulted in “quite a flap.”

None of the three ever flew in space again. He blamed NASA management.

“Some senator or some congressman asked the question, and they caved under right away and tried to get rid of us,” he said in the oral history. “Nobody stood up for us. Nobody.”

Worden sued the U.S. government in 1983 and got his covers back.

“We probably didn’t do the smartest thing in the world, but we didn’t do anything that was illegal,” he said. “We didn’t do anything that anybody else hadn’t done, but the consequences were rather severe to us.”

___

The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

Contact us at editors@time.com.



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Here’s What Trump’s Environmental Agencies Were Doing During The Pandemic This Week


The novel coronavirus pandemic tanked the stock market and sent jobless claims soaring to unprecedented levels this week, but did little to slow the White House’s efforts to boost fossil fuel production and roll back environmental safeguards. 

On Wednesday, as the U.S. death toll surpassed 100 and the virus spread to all 50 states, the Trump administration widened what critics call one of its most aggressive assaults on science, auctioned drilling rights in the Gulf of Mexico and greenlit the expansion of a mine. 

It started when the Environmental Protection Agency formalized its plans to expand on a controversial proposal to restrict the scientific research used to make regulations, broadening the scope to include non-regulatory divisions of the agency as well.

By the afternoon, the Interior Department wrapped up an auction to sell oil and gas leases in the Gulf of Mexico, offering up some 78 million offshore acres ― an area roughly the size of New Mexico. It proved to be a bust, bringing in approximately $93 million for just shy of 400,000 acres, the smallest total for an offshore auction since 2016.

By the day’s end, the Interior’s Bureau of Land Management approved a nearly 500-acre expansion of a gold and silver mine on public lands near Bullhead City, Arizona. 

President Donald Trump addresses his administration's daily coronavirus task force briefing at the White House on Friday.&nbs



President Donald Trump addresses his administration’s daily coronavirus task force briefing at the White House on Friday. 

Thursday brought the promise of another oil and gas auction, a step forward for a rule likely to increase the deaths of protected bird species, and approval for a new gas pipeline as the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 doubled and mass layoffs spiked. 

The Bureau of Land Management announced plans to auction off 45,000 acres in southeast New Mexico and West Texas for oil and gas development. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, meanwhile, closed the public comment period on a proposed rule to permanently weaken protections for migratory birds, despite calls from environmentalists to extend that and other comment deadlines because of the pandemic. The rule would codify a 2017 policy change that legalized all unintentional killing of migratory bird species, opening the door for gross negligence by fossil fuel, chemical and agricultural interests.

Over at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, a panel voted 2-1 to rubber-stamp construction of both the Jordan Cove liquefied natural gas export terminal in Oregon’s already-polluted Coos Bay, and the 230-mile Pacific Connector Pipeline. The decision, The Oregonian reported, stunned Oregon Gov. Kate Brown (D), who warned that the state had not yet approved permitting in the midst of a national emergency. 

This week, Trump and his team also quietly appointed Anna Seidman, a longtime lawyer at the trophy hunting advocacy group Safari Club International, to lead the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s international affairs program, as HuffPost reported Friday. Seidman repeatedly sued FWS and other federal agencies during her 20 years at SCI, an organization with more than 50,000 members that has close ties to the Trump administration. 

The U.S. death toll from the coronavirus topped 241, with 18,170 confirmed cases as of Friday, according to a CNN tally. The nation reeled from shortages of protective gear, ventilators and testing kits, and doctors pleaded for help, comparing the experience to being “at war with no ammo.”

A HuffPost Guide to Coronavirus





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Natural history TV ‘boosts species awareness’


Sir David Attenborough (Image: BBC)

Image caption

Programmes, such as Sir David Attenborough’s, triggered a greater interest in species among audiences

Programmes, such as Sir David Attenborough’s Planet Earth II series, boost people’s awareness and interest in species, a study has suggested.

Despite lacking an overt conservation message, the programmes stimulated people to find out more about the species featured in the broadcasts.

The team from University College Cork based their findings on analysing data from Twitter and Wikipedia.

The findings have been published in Conservation Letters journal.

The researchers said their results appeared to show that “natural history films can provide vicarious connection to nature and can generate durable shifts in audience awareness”.

Conservation criticism

Co-author Dario Fernandez-Bellon said that he and co-author Dr Adam Kane decided to carry out the study after the Planet Earth II series attracted some criticism for not carrying a more overt conservation message.

Image caption

Screen-time, rather than how charismatic an animal was, influenced how an audience behaved

The scientists decided to investigate the initial criticism more closely, using “big data” collated from Twitter and Wikipedia, to see if there was an issue that needed to be highlighted.

“We found that there was, in fact, very little of the script dedicated to conservation,” observed Dr Fernandez-Bellon, “and that barely had any impact on Twitter, let alone Wikipedia.”

But the researchers found that there was a clear link when it came to the species featured in the programmes.

“What we found was that people’s reactions and interest in species was mainly led by how long they were on screen, and independent of whether they were mammals, birds or reptiles,” he told BBC News.

In other words, the creatures did not have to be so-called “charismatic species” in order to attract attention.

Dr Fernandez-Bellon added: “It was really quite interesting because it showcases that dilemma producers sometimes have in finding the balance between producing a show that’s entertaining, while generating awareness in people without taking a preachy approach.”

He observed: “If a producer wants to highlight a specific species that is endangered, they do not really have to rattle on about how endangered it is, but just by giving it more time on screen, people are more likely to go on to Wikipedia and find out the information themselves.”

Media professionals recognise that an increasing proportion of the audience now “dual-screen”, which describes how they watch television while also using a mobile device, such as a smartphone or a tablet.

Drs Fernandez-Bellon and Kane also decided to see if the data suggested the programmes led to people taking a more proactive approach when it came to conservation, such as donating to a wildlife charity.

“We did look at a couple of charities to see whether they registered peaks in donations around the time Planet Earth II was broadcast,” Dr Fernandez-Bellon said.

“The truth is that there was not, not in the same way we had found a peak in Twitter activity, and a peak in Wikipedia activity but there was not in proactive action.”

Dr Fernandez-Bellon said that there was a lot of scope to use the big data from social media platforms, such as Twitter, to help shape policies on how to communicate conservation to a wider audience.

“If this data is being used for marketing or business purposes, why couldn’t we use it for conservation purposes or to assess potential changes in human behaviour,” he said.



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Coronavirus: List of stores with special hours for elderly, vulnerable


  • Retailers around the world are changing their opening hours to allow elderly people and others most at risk of contracting severe cases of COVID-19 to shop more comfortably. 
  • Several major US chains, including Walmart, Target, Whole Foods, and Stop & Shop have dedicated special opening hours to those shoppers.
  • Scroll down to see a list of stores who are extending their hours to accommodate them.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Major retailers around the world are changing their opening hours in order to allow elderly people who are most at risk of contracting deadly cases of COVID-19 — the disease caused by the new coronavirus — to shop more comfortably. 

The disease has already spread to more than 218,000 people, and across 145 countries. As of Thursday morning, the US has reported more than 9,400 cases and more than 150 deaths.

The virus has affected older people with preexisting health problems most seriously, according to a recent study from the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention. The data also suggests that the risk of dying from the disease increases with age.

Death Rate by Age Range Coronavirus

The COVID-19 death rate by age. Click on the graphic to enlarge.

Shayanne Gal/Business Insider


Meanwhile, stores have reported empty shelves and long lines as people move to stockpile essentials, including toilet paper. Several retailers have placed purchasing limits on essential goods like hand sanitizer, diapers, rice, pasta, and eggs. 

All this has left some seniors afraid to buy groceries. Several volunteer groups, including Meals on Wheels, have started stepping up efforts to deliver groceries to the elderly

Several major chains have also stepped up their policies to ensure seniors can continue to buy groceries, with less fear of disease transmission, by thoroughly disinfecting their stores and devoting new opening hours to them. 

Several New York officials have called on the state to implement these hours as policy. 

“I hope the scattered shopping hours would lead to seniors being in a store with less people,” Bettina Fries, chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases at Stony Brook Medicine, told The Washington Post.

Here are the stores that have dedicated special opening hours to elderly shoppers:



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