The Rank Hypocrisy of a TikTok Ban | WIRED

ON FRIDAY, THE President of the United States declared that he intends to ban a vibrant source of American speech. And that he intends to eliminate competition in a giant industry that doesn’t have nearly enough. It’s a rare feat to upturn two such fundamental democratic values—free speech and free markets—at the same time.

There has been a certain amount of conspiratorial talk about Trump and Zuckerberg since the two had dinner last November: theorizing perhaps that they reached some sort of tacit agreement that Zuckerberg would allow Trump to use the platform as he saw fit, and Trump would help Zuckerberg in other ways? I’ve always doubted that there was anything explicit. But powerful diplomacy doesn’t work that way. It happens through subtle signals, winks, and nods. And I doubt that Zuckerberg’s kindness toward the White House didn’t weigh somewhat in Trump’s mind.

But this of course just lays bare the hypocrisy in Trump’s move. It’s a move against free speech and, to the extent that Facebook has been gentle on the president, it’s because of Zuckerberg’s defense of that fundamental right. And if one is an avid believer in free speech, how can one even threaten the death penalty for a social media platforrm?

Source: The Rank Hypocrisy of a TikTok Ban | WIRED

Media to be banned from Republican convention due to coronavirus restrictions | US news | The Guardian – new low in anti-democracy GOP trend

The media will be barred from the Republican national convention where Donald Trump is set to be renominated as presidential candidate later this month, a spokeswoman said on Saturday, citing coronavirus restrictions.

While Trump called off the public components of the convention in Florida last month, citing spiking cases of the virus across the country, 336 delegates are scheduled to gather in Charlotte, North Carolina, on 24 August to formally vote to make Trump the GOP standard-bearer once more.

 

Source: Media to be banned from Republican convention due to coronavirus restrictions | US news | The Guardian

Thousands demonstrate against Netanyahu as Israel protests gain strength | World news | The Guardian

Thousands of demonstrators have gathered outside the official residence of prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu and thronged the streets of central Jerusalem, as weeks of protests against the Israeli leader appeared to be gaining steam.

The demonstration in central Jerusalem on Saturday, along with smaller gatherings in Tel Aviv, near Netanyahu’s beach house in central Israel and at dozens of busy intersections nationwide, was one of the largest turnouts in weeks of protests.

 

Source: Thousands demonstrate against Netanyahu as Israel protests gain strength | World news | The Guardian

‘Everyone knows everyone’ in this small Texas town. Now, COVID-19 is out-of-control there.

a man sitting at a desk: Personnel at Val Verde Regional Medical Center work just outside a COVID-19 isolation unit Thursday, July 23, 2020 in a hospital that has been described as a 'war zone' in the fight against the virus.

Valadez said she feels traumatized and infuriated after losing her grandmother to the virus. She wasn’t able to hold her grandmother who lay dying in the hospital, and she’s upset by the number of people who still aren’t wearing masks. She too has a message for those who think COVID-19 is a hoax.

“It’s real. It’s here. And you don’t know who could be a carrier. Wearing a mask could save someone else,” Valadez said. “I don’t wish this upon anyone. My grandmother helped raise me … It’s hard watching someone you love fighting for their life and not being able to do anything about it.”

Valadez continues to urge people to be responsible and do what they can to stop the spread of the virus, a mission shared by city, county, and Del Rio healthcare officials who have likened COVID-19 to a viral hurricane.

 

Source: ‘Everyone knows everyone’ in this small Texas town. Now, COVID-19 is out-of-control there.

Street photography using flash: how Dougie Wallace photographs Indian taxis using flash – Amateur Photographer

Dougie-Wallace-family-in-taxi

With Road Wallah, Dougie hasn’t fallen into the trap of photographing the stereotypical clichés of somewhere exotic. Indeed, there is nothing trite about this series, which offers a fresh perspective on the beating heart of Mumbai and what, quite literally, drives the city. ‘A lot of the images you see of Mumbai are very much travel photography in style,’ says Dougie. ‘I wanted to shoot something different, something a bit more conceptual.’

Source: Street photography using flash: how Dougie Wallace photographs Indian taxis using flash – Amateur Photographer

Hong Kong third wave: free Covid-19 tests for residents as mainland Chinese clinical teams head to city | South China Morning Post

Free

Covid-19

testing will be made available to Hong Kong’s 7.5 million residents and about 60 clinical technicians from mainland China will be sent to help, with seven set to arrive on Sunday.

Four health advisers, however, suggested at a government meeting on Saturday that testing should focus on high-risk groups, rather than across the city, which was not cost-effective without a lockdown, sources told the Post.

Source: Hong Kong third wave: free Covid-19 tests for residents as mainland Chinese clinical teams head to city | South China Morning Post

Doctors and nurses want Manila back on lockdown

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Warning that the country’s healthcare system is on the brink of collapse, dozens of Philippine doctors’ and nurses’ groups urged the government yesterday to put Metropolitan Manila and the surrounding towns back on lockdown for at least two weeks.

“The health sector cannot hold the line for much longer,” they said in a letter to President Rodrigo Duterte that was signed by the heads of some 40 medical societies.

“Our healthcare system has been overwhelmed. We are waging a losing battle against Covid-19 and we need to draw up a consolidated, definitive plan of action,” they said.

The groups called for a half-month “timeout” from Aug 1, so that the government and the health sector could draw up a better plan to deal with the coronavirus crisis.

Current plans are not working, they insisted, citing a surge of over 50,000 infections in the past month alone.

The Health Ministry reported 4,963 new cases yesterday, in what was the country’s largest single-day increase of new coronavirus cases on record.

Yesterday’s tally brought the country’s caseload to 98,232. Over 50,000 cases were recorded in July alone, when many of the sweeping shelter-at-home restrictions in place since May were eased to restart a stalled economy.

Despite the surge, Mr Duterte has decided to stay the course until the middle of this month.

Last Wednesday, a task force coordinating efforts to roll back the outbreak allowed gyms, Internet cafes, tutorial and review centres, pet clinics and drive-in cinemas to reopen. Movement restrictions for children and the elderly remain but business operations – from restaurants to gyms – can proceed, albeit in a more limited way.

The Ospital ng Maynila, one of the biggest public hospitals in the capital, told ABS-CBN News it had been seeing “four to six DOAs (dead on arrival cases)” each day, as the number of patients desperate to be admitted surged in the last two weeks of July.

Dr Karl Laqui, the hospital’s officer in charge, said that nearly a dozen of the hospital’s own staff, many of whom had no contact with infected patients, were now down with Covid-19.

The medical groups said in their letter to Mr Duterte that many health professionals are resigning “because of fear, fatigue and poor working conditions”.

They called for a “comprehensive, extensive plan” to contain the outbreak and for the Health Department to take the lead.

A task force overseeing efforts to slow the spread of Covid-19 is being led by a former military general.

They noted the poor implementation of case finding and isolation strategies, failure of the Health Department to conduct proper contact tracing, lack of transport and work safety procedures, and poor public compliance with health safety measures.

“Contact tracing is failing miserably,” they said, pointing out that while guidelines exist, “compliance (by local government officials) is optional”.

“The progressive lifting of quarantine has inadvertently fuelled public misconception that the pandemic is getting better. It is not,” they added.

Mr Duterte’s spokesman Harry Roque said in response that “the strict lockdown in Metro Manila has served its purpose and we need to intensify other strategies”.

“Community quarantine alone, we repeat, is an insufficient response in controlling Covid-19,” he said, adding that the government is hiring more healthcare workers to scale up hospital capacity.

This call from health professionals came just a day after Mr Duterte promised a vaccine by December, saying he is confident the situation would be back to normal by then.

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Tens of thousands protest in Jerusalem, across country – The Jerusalem Post

Protesters rally in front of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's Jerusalem residency, calling for his resignation. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)

People were demanding the resignation of an indicted prime minister who is “destroying the dreams that the country was built on.”

Thousands of demonstrators joined protests calling on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to resign near his official residence in Jerusalem and marched through the capital, while thousands more demonstrated at close to 300 locations across the country on Saturday night.
Israel Police foreign press spokesman Micky Rosenfeld put the number of demonstrators near Netanyahu’s official residence on the capital’s Balfour Street at “more than 10,000” and other reports said 13,000.

Source: Tens of thousands protest in Jerusalem, across country – The Jerusalem Post