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Coronavirus World News and Live Updates

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Credit…Victor Moriyama for The New York Times

Brazil’s coronavirus outbreak passed a grim landmark on Saturday, surpassing Britain to record the second-highest death toll in the world after the United States’, according to a New York Times tally.

As of Saturday morning, Brazil had acknowledged 41,828 virus deaths. The figure for the United States was 114,752, and for Britain 41,481. Brazil’s daily death toll is now the highest in the world, bucking the downward trend that is allowing many other major economies to reopen.

Experts point to President Jair Bolsonaro’s rejection of the emerging scientific consensus on how to fight the pandemic — including his promotion of unproven remedies such as the drugs chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine — as one of the factors that helped tilt the country into its current health crisis.

Mr. Bolsonaro has sabotaged quarantine measures adopted by governors, encouraged mass rallies and repeatedly dismissed the danger of the virus. He has asserted that the virus was a “measly cold” and that people with “athletic backgrounds,” like himself, were impervious to serious complications.

Coronavirus Map: Tracking the Global Outbreak

The virus has infected more than 7 million people and has been detected in nearly every country.

Credit…David Dee Delgado/Getty Images

The graduating cadets at the United States Military Academy at West Point have lived in quarantine for the past two weeks, confined to their dorms, wearing masks and watching Zoom conferences on leadership as they wait for President Trump to speak at their commencement on Saturday.

The 1,107 West Point cadets have been divided into four groups, with strict orders not to mingle outside of their cohort. They eat in shifts in the dining hall, with food placed on long tables by kitchen staff who quickly leave.

Sent home in March because of the coronavirus, the cadets were ordered back to campus after President Trump abruptly announced that he wanted to go through with a planned commencement address. The address comes during a breakdown in relations between the president and top military leaders, who have vehemently objected to Mr. Trump’s threats to use active-duty troops to quell largely peaceful protests against police brutality.

The cadets were tested for the virus when they arrived on campus, with 15 initially testing positive but showing no symptoms, according to Lt. Col. Christopher Ophardt, a West Point spokesman. The 15 did not transmit the virus to others and are now virus-free, Colonel Ophardt said, and will graduate with the others in their class.

No friends or family will be permitted to attend and cadets will be required to wear masks as they march in and take their seats, about six feet apart. Once seated, they will be allowed to unmask. Mr. Trump, who has never worn a mask in public, is to speak at 11 a.m.

Protests against the president are expected in the nearby community.

U.S. roundup

Credit…Cliff Hawkins/Getty Images

Two of the United States’ most populous states, Texas and Florida, reported this week their highest daily totals of new coronavirus infections, a concerning sign as all 50 states move to ease social distancing restrictions and allow more businesses to reopen.

The nation’s most populous state, California, hit a new daily high last week, when it recorded 3,593 new cases, and it nearly matched that record this week.

The rise in cases helps explain why the nation continues to record more than 20,000 new cases a day even though some of the original hot spots, including New York, have reported sharp declines.

While some officials in states seeing increases attribute the rise to increased testing, and the number of cases per capita in Texas and Florida remains low, some health experts see worrying signs that the virus is continuing to make inroads.

“Whenever you loosen mitigation, you can expect you’ll see new infections, I think it would be unrealistic to think that you won’t,” Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, said in an interview on ABC News’s “Powerhouse Politics” podcast. “The critical issue is how do you prevent those new infections that you see from all of a sudden emerging into something that is a spike, and that’s the thing that we hope we will be able to contain.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released forecasts on Friday suggesting that the United States was likely to reach 124,000 to 140,000 Covid-19 deaths by July 4.

The agency said that its forecasts suggested that more virus-related deaths were likely over the next four weeks in Arizona, Arkansas, Hawaii, North Carolina, Utah and Vermont than those states reported over the past four weeks.

The agency also released new guidance about the risks of holding events, even those attended by only a small number of people.

Dr. Fauci, who has warned about the risks associated with the recent protests in recent days, was also asked during his podcast interview what he thought about Mr. Trump’s plan to begin holding large rallies again.

“I stick by what I say,” he said. “The best way that you can avoid either acquiring or transmitting infection is to avoid crowded places, to wear a mask whenever you’re outside, and if you can do both — avoid the congregation of people and do the mask, that’s great.”

Here is a look at other key developments around the country:

  • Asbury Park, N.J., halted a move to allow some indoor restaurant dining that was scheduled to start on Monday after the state of New Jersey took the unusual step on Friday of suing to block the proposals.

Global roundup

Credit…Greg Baker/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

The Beijing authorities shut down a major seafood and produce market and locked down several residential complexes on Saturday after 53 people tested positive for the coronavirus in the city, renewing fears that China’s grip on the pandemic is not yet secure.

Nearly everyone who tested positive had worked or shopped at the Xinfadi market, a wholesale market on the city’s south side that sells seafood, fruit and vegetables, according to the Beijing health commission.

More than 10,000 people work at the market, which supplies 90 percent of Beijing’s fruits and vegetables, according to the state news media. The virus was reportedly detected on cutting boards for imported salmon there.

The developments also prompted the authorities to partly or completely close five other Beijing markets, to lock down 11 nearby residential communities and nine schools, and to tighten controls on movement in and out of the city. State media outlets described the effort as a “wartime mechanism.”

China was the site of the first major coronavirus outbreak — with many of the first reported cases tied to a seafood market in the central city of Wuhan. But as the pandemic has ravaged the rest of the world, China’s government has loudly promoted its apparent success in controlling the virus’s spread. Before the new cluster of cases, Beijing had not reported any new locally transmitted cases for eight weeks.

Here are some other developments around the world:

  • In Britain, the police urged people to stay away from demonstrations in London on Saturday, and imposed restrictions on both a Black Lives Matter protest and a planned right-wing counterdemonstration.

  • President Hassan Rouhani of Iran said on Saturday that he was prepared to reinstate a strict coronavirus lockdown if looser measures were not observed. Press TV, a state-run broadcaster, quoted him as saying that a recent drop in compliance “could be worrying.”

  • At least 58 people on the staff of President Alejandro Giammattei of Guatemala have tested positive for the virus, including members of his security detail and domestic workers at the presidential compound. The president said he had tested negative.

  • Immigration officials in Canada said the government may allow caregivers who are seeking asylum to remain in the country permanently because of their outsized contributions to fighting the pandemic.

  • Prosecutors questioned Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte of Italy on Friday over his delay in locking down two towns in the Lombardy region, where the virus devastated the health care system. No one has been charged with a crime and the lead prosecutor, Maria Cristina Rota, said Mr. Conte and other officials were interviewed as witnesses, not suspects.

Credit…Benjamin Norman for The New York Times

After this spring’s on-the-fly experiment in online classes, teachers and school districts across the country are preparing for what will be anything but a normal fall semester. Some districts stumbled in the transition, with classes zoom-bombed and interrupted; many strained to address serious inequities in access to computers. Recent research finds that most students fell months behind during the last term of the year, with the heaviest impact on low-income students.

Other schools transitioned with less disruption, in part by mobilizing facilitators, coaches and other staff members to support both teachers and students who were in danger of logging off and checking out, according to a report by researchers.

Now, most districts are facing a future in which online courses will likely be part of the curriculum, whether that entails students returning in shifts or classrooms remaining closed because of local outbreaks. And underlying that adjustment is a more fundamental question: How efficiently do students learn using virtual lessons?

“What we’re finding in the research thus far is it’s generally harder to keep students engaged with virtual lessons,” no matter the content, said Jered Borup, an associate professor in learning technologies at George Mason University. “Over all, though, that is not the distinguishing feature here. Rather, it’s what supports the student has when learning virtually. That makes all the difference.”

The two most authoritative reviews of the research to date, examining the results of nearly 300 studies, come to a similar conclusion. Students tend to learn less efficiently than usual in online courses, as a rule, and depending on the course. But if they have a facilitator or mentor on hand, someone to help with the technology and focus their attention — an approach sometimes called blended learning — they perform about as well in many virtual classes, and sometimes better.

Social distancing is hard — especially for the very young. Here are some ways to get children to care about wearing masks and avoiding germs.

Credit…Sergey Ponomarev for The New York Times

Through a thin wall separating her from her neighbors, Dr. Anzhela Kirilova began to hear the rasping cough associated with Covid-19 sometime in May. That was hardly a surprise. A few weeks earlier, her neighbors had heard the same cough coming from her room.

Dr. Kirilova, who works in a Covid-19 ward at a hospital in St. Petersburg, Russia, said she had tried to warn the single man and the young family she shares a four-room apartment with. She suggested that they wear masks in the kitchen.

“They said, ‘We don’t care, and we’ll do what we want,’” she said with a shrug.

For residents of Russia’s communal apartments, self-isolation to fend off the coronavirus has hardly been an option.

In such arrangements, a half-dozen to more than 20 people live in separate rooms within a single apartment — typically one room per family — while sharing a kitchen and a bathroom in one large, usually unhappy, household.

The apartments, a relic of the Soviet Union, are home to hundreds of thousands of people. Most are in St. Petersburg, where about 10 percent of the city’s population lives in communal apartments.

The health authorities have not released statistics on infections in the communal apartments. But the slow burn of infection has strained relations among residents and shed light on their lingering poverty.

“You feel the tension,” Sonya Minayeva said in an interview in her room. “There’s a silent paranoia.”

Credit…Jim Wilson/The New York Times

Cold beer flowed, soul music played and regulars lined the redwood bar to order tequila shots and tater tots. No one wore masks, many hugged, and the staff passed a joint out front of The Hatch, a cozy locals’ bar in downtown Oakland. On the night before lockdown, the bar opened its doors to bring people together for one last night of drinks — and pay.

“We’re six years running, so hopefully something like this doesn’t wipe us out,” Robin Easterbrook, The Hatch’s tattooed manager, said from behind the bar that night. “It’s frustrating, because I don’t have all the answers to give to our team, other than my word that we’re going to do our best to make sure that you get taken care of.”

Behind a curtain, Santos, a 56-year-old Guatemalan immigrant, pressed burgers to the grill. He and his six children in the Bay Area had all received word that day, March 16, that they no longer had jobs. He planned to return to the three-bedroom house on the outskirts of Oakland that he shared with 11 family members to shelter in place. “I want to respect the law,” he said in Spanish. “But my worry is my rent, food.”

Credit…Chen Xiangping

As China’s coronavirus infection rate has slowed to a crawl, universities across the country have been gradually welcoming students back to campus. But they aren’t offering the customary ceremonies or photo opportunities for graduating seniors.

Instead, dozens of them are providing digitally altered pictures of what the pageantry might have looked like in a pre- or post-Covid-19 era. In some of the photos, the effect is jarringly artificial, with students’ smiling faces added to identical cap-and-gown templates, stacked precisely in long rows.

At Beifang University of Nationalities in Yinchuan, for example, administrators distributed a photograph made by student volunteers that shows more than 150 dance and music majors in digitally added caps and gowns outside one of the campus’s landmark buildings. “Graduation memory of the class of 2020,” the caption says.

Chen Xiangping, 22, a dance major who is in the photo, said that she and her roommates had dreamed for years of their graduation photo-op — down to the details of which poses they would strike.

“But because of the pandemic, this will never come true,” she said. “And there may never be a chance for it to come true in my lifetime.”

At Yangtze University in Jingzhou, a Chinese city near Wuhan, where the coronavirus first emerged, the graduation photo shows smiling graduates standing against a background of the university’s main building.

Chen Chen, a student at the university, said the photo was a letdown, describing it in one word: “ugly.”

“I once peeped at my seniors’ graduation ceremony and even tried on the bachelor cap secretly, so I was very much looking forward to the graduation picture,” she said. “My biggest regret is not being able to have a graceful farewell with my teachers and classmates.”

Reporting and research was contributed by Benedict Carey, Michael Cooper, Bella Huang, Mike Isaac, Andrew E. Kramer, Qiqing Lin, Ernesto Londoño, Jack Nicas, Sergey Ponomarev, Peter Robins, Eric Schmitt, Michael D. Shear, Mariana Simões, Vivian Wang and Elaine Yu.

Source: https://www.nytimes.com/2020/06/13/world/coronavirus-updates.html

Publications

Security and Sustainability Forum-With Hazel Henderson and Claudine Schneider. 10/22/2020

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Steering Societies Beyond GDP to the SDGs

With Hazel Henderson and Claudine Schneider

October 22, 2020

1:15 pm to 2:15 pm EDT

The next webinar in the SSF series, with ecological economist and futurist Hazel Henderson, will address how the UN SDGs can and should replace GDP as the basis for valuing society leading to an economy based on planet protection and human wellbeing. Claudine Schneider is Hazel’s guest.

GDP accounts for all the public expenditures as “debt” while ignoring the value of the assets they created. If GDP were to be corrected by including the missing asset account, these debt-to-GDP ratios would be cut by up to 50% — with a few keystrokes! Learn why money isn’t what you think it is and why that matters to life on Earth in the next two webinars with Hazel and guests.

Register

Claudine Schneider is a former Republican U.S. representative from Rhode Island. She was the first, and to date only, woman elected to Congress from Rhode Island. She is founder of Republicans for Integrity, which describes itself as a network of “Republican former Members of Congress who feel compelled to remind Republican voters about the fundamentals of our party and to provide the facts about incumbents’ voting records.”

October 22nd webinar with Claudine Schneider and Hazel

Sincerely,

Ed.

Edward Saltzberg, PhD

Executive Director

Security and Sustainability Forum

www.ssfonline.org

[email protected]

Sincerely,

Ed.

Edward Saltzberg, PhD

Executive Director

Security and Sustainability Forum

www.ssfonline.org

Source: https://www.ethicalmarkets.com/63564-2/

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The Briefing: RVShare raises over $100M, Google disputes charges, and more

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Here’s what you need to know today in startup and venture news, updated by the Crunchbase News staff throughout the day to keep you in the know.

Subscribe to the Crunchbase Daily

RVShare raises over $100M for RV rentals

RVShare, an online marketplace for RV rentals, reportedly raised over $100 million in a financing led by private equity firms KKR and Tritium Partners.

Akron, Ohio-based RVShare has seen sharp growth in demand amid the pandemic, as more would-be travelers seek socially distanced options for hitting the road. Founded in 2013, the company matches RV owners with prospective renters, filtering by location, price and vehicle types.

Previously, RVShare had raised $50 million in known funding, per Crunchbase data, from Tritium Partners. The company is one of several players in the RV rental space, and competes alongside Outdoorsy, a peer-to-peer RV marketplace that has raised $75 million in venture funding.

Funding news

  • BrightFarms closes on $100M: Indoor farming company BrightFarms said it secured more than $100 million in debt and new equity capital to support expansion plans. The Series E round of funding was led by Cox Enterprises, which now owns a majority stake in the company, and includes a follow-on investment from growth equity firm Catalyst Investors.
  • Anyscale inks $40MAnyscale, the Berkeley-based company behind the Ray open source project for building applications, announced $40 million in an oversubscribed Series B funding round. Existing investor NEA led the round and was joined by Andreessen Horowitz, Intel Capital and Foundation Capital. The new funding brings Anyscale’s total funding to more than $60 million.
  • Klar deposits $15M: Mexican fintech Klar closed on $15 million in Series A funding, led by Prosus Ventures, with participation from new investor International Finance Corporation and existing investors Quona Capital, Mouro Capital and Acrew. The round brings total funding raised to approximately $72 million since the company was founded in 2019. The funds are intended to grow Klar’s engineering capabilities in both its Berlin and Mexico hubs.
  • O(1) Labs rakes in $10.9M: O(1) Labs, the team behind the cryptocurrency Mina, announced $10.9 million in a strategic investment round. Co-leading the round are Bixin Ventures and Three Arrows Capital with participation from SNZ, HashKey Capital, Signum Capital, NGC Ventures, Fenbushi Capital and IOSG Ventures.
  • Blustream bags $3M: After-sale customer engagement company Blustream said it raised $3 million in seed funding for product usage data and digital transformation efforts for physical goods companies via the Blustream Product Experience Platform. York IE led the round of funding for the Worcester, Massachusetts-based company with additional support from existing investors.Pillar secures another $1.5M: Pillar, a startup that helps families protect and care for their loved ones, raised $1.5 million in a seed extension to close at $7 million, The round was led by Kleiner Perkins.

Other news

  • Google rejects DOJ antitrust arguments: In the wake of a widely anticipated U.S. Justice Department antitrust suit against Google, the search giant disputed the charges in a statement, maintaining that: “People use Google because they choose to, not because they’re forced to, or because they can’t find alternatives.”
  • Facebook said to test Nextdoor rival: Facebook is reportedly testing a service similar to popular neighborhood-focused social Nextdoor. Called Neighborhoods, the feature reportedly suggests local neighborhood groups to join on Facebook.

Illustration: Dom Guzman

Venture investors and leaders in the fintech space can visualize a future where such startups will move toward again rebundling services.

Root Inc., the parent company of Root Insurance, launched its initial public offering and is looking at a valuation of as much as $6.34 billion.

Clover Health posted rising revenues and a narrower loss in its most recent financial results, published in advance of a planned public market debut.

Crunchbase News’ top picks of the news to stay current in the VC and startup world.

Source: https://news.crunchbase.com/news/briefing-10-21-20/

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Syte Sees $30M Series C For Product Discovery

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Online shopping has become the norm for most people in 2020, even coaxing traditional retail brands to up their presence to stay competitive. However, now that shoppers can’t see and touch products like they used to, e-commerce discovery has become a crucial element for customer acquisition and retention.

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Enter Syte, an Israel-based company that touts creating the world’s first product discovery platform that utilizes the senses, such as visual, text and voice, and then leverages visual artificial intelligence and next-generation personalization to create individualized and memorable customer experiences, Syte co-founder and CEO Ofer Fryman told Crunchbase News.

To execute on this, the company raised $30 million in Series C funding and an additional $10 million in debt. Viola Ventures led the round and was joined by LG Technology Ventures, La Maison, MizMaa Ventures and Kreos Capital, as well as existing investors Magma, Naver Corporation, Commerce Ventures, Storm Ventures, Axess Ventures, Remagine Media Ventures and KDS Media Fund.

This brings the company’s total fundraising to $71 million since its inception in 2015. That includes a $21.5 million Series B, also led by Viola, in 2019, according to Crunchbase data.

Fryman intends for the new funding to be put to work on product enhancements and geographic expansion. Syte already has an established customer base in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, and will now focus expansion in the U.S. and Asia-Pacific.

Meanwhile, Syte has grown 22 percent quarter over quarter, as well as experienced a 38 percent expansion of its customer base since the beginning of 2020.

“Since we crossed $1 million annual recurring revenue, we have been tripling revenue while also becoming more efficient,” Fryman said. “We can accelerate growth as well as build an amazing technology and solution for a business that needs it right now. We plan to grow further, and even though our SaaS metrics are excellent right now, our goal is to improve them.”

Anshul Agarwal, managing director at LG Technology Ventures, said Syte was an attractive investment due in part to its unique technology.

“They have a deep-learning system and have created a new category, product discovery that will enable online shopping in a way we never had the ability to do before,” Agarwal said. “The product market fit was also unique. We believe in the strong execution by the team and the rapid growth in SaaS. We looked at many different companies, and the SaaS metrics that Syte showed are the strongest we’ve seen in a while.”

Illustration: Li-Anne Dias

Venture investors and leaders in the fintech space can visualize a future where such startups will move toward again rebundling services.

Root Inc., the parent company of Root Insurance, launched its initial public offering and is looking at a valuation of as much as $6.34 billion.

Clover Health posted rising revenues and a narrower loss in its most recent financial results, published in advance of a planned public market debut.

Crunchbase News’ top picks of the news to stay current in the VC and startup world.

Source: https://news.crunchbase.com/news/syte-sees-30m-series-c-for-product-discovery/

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