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Jennifer Lawrence said she confronted Anderson Cooper after he accused her of fake Oscars fall


Actress Jennifer Lawrence last week revealed the time she let CNN’s Anderson Cooper have it over his accusation that she faked her fall climbing the stage steps to accept her 2013 Oscar.

Lawrence said she was nervous the night she was up for Best Actress for “Silver Linings Playbook” but ready in case she won.

“I had everything in my head,” she told Heather McMahan on the “Absolutely Not” podcast that aired Wednesday. “I was very, very nervous but I was ready. All of the adrenaline clears out and they call my name and I’m elated and I’m in shock. And then I fell, and it erased everything from my mind. My full brain went blank. I can look back at it now fondly but for a very long time the fall thing was very sensitive.”

Three days later, she said she saw Anderson Cooper on his show saying, “Well, she obviously faked the fall.”

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Jennifer Lawrence said she confronted CNN's Anderson Cooper after he said on his show she "obviously" faked her fall up to the Academy Awards stage. 

Jennifer Lawrence said she confronted CNN’s Anderson Cooper after he said on his show she “obviously” faked her fall up to the Academy Awards stage. 
(Getty/AP)

She said his words were “devastating because it was this horrific humiliation to me.”

JENNIFER LAWRENCE SELLS PENTHOUSE AT MULTIMILLION-DOLLAR LOSS AS CORONAVIRUS PROMPTS SOME NEW YORKERS TO LEAVE THE CITY 

“I’ll tell you what,” she added, “I saw him at a Christmas party and I let him know. My friend told me a vein was bulging out of my eyes. … What I led with was, ‘Have you ever tried to walk upstairs in a ball gown? So then how do you know?”

Lawrence said he gave a “wonderful” apology immediately, and she believes they’re good friends now.

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She laughed that he probably told everyone she was “psycho.” “On my death bed, the last thing I’ll say is ‘Anderson Cooper,’” she joked.



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Fomenko’s Case: Europe should reconsider its policy on fake news distributors


The European Union must fight harder against the spread of fake news, which has become widespread in the digital age. Still, there are essentially no effective mechanisms in place for such a battle, said Viola von Cramon-Taubadel, a member of the European Parliament from Germany and Vice-Chairman of the EU-Ukraine Parliamentary Association Committee, in a comment to journalists.

 

“The main instrument in the fight against misinformation is a highly educated society that can reveal and recognize fake news, what type of information it conveys, and how to fact-check it,” Cramon-Taubadel stated.

 

The MEP further revealed that it is still very difficult to defend legally against fakes and smear campaigns, especially when it comes to slander.

 

“The law is tied to the physical world, not the virtual one. Our prosecutors cannot keep track of all the cases which may be relevant and which could be brought before a criminal court – and that is a problem. Therefore, we need a better justice system, more prosecutors specializing in the digital environment, and an effective way to address such issues. We have to come up with a systematic approach to working with large digital companies and all social media,” said Cramon-Taubadel.

 

The European Union remains helpless in the face of smear campaigns using fake information. Meanwhile, the people behind such campaigns are becoming more creative and audacious – particularly those involved in spreading Russian propaganda.

 

“Concerning the systematic misinformation that often comes from Russia and its propaganda institutions, its main goal is destabilization. They cleverly designed these deceptive campaigns in various countries to make them appear not alike. In Ukraine, the used narratives entirely differ from those that appear in Germany, which, in turn, are completely unlike the ones in the Czech Republic, and so on. That is, in the EU, there are different forms of deceptive campaigns that are usually run by the Russian Federation,” explained Viola von Cramon-Taubadel.

 

Fake news distributors feel confident enough to target the main institutions of free Europe – the European Commission and the European Parliament. A striking example is a hoax created by Dmytro Fomenko, a businessman from Dnipro (Ukraine). He announced a roundtable to take place in the European Parliament on June 16, 2020. The event was supposed to be organized by the European People’s Party, and among the participants were well-known European parliamentarians – Viola von Cramon-Taubadel among them. Soon, it became clear that neither the European People’s Party nor the deputies knew anything about this roundtable. Ultimately, the event did not happen at all. As journalists later found out, it was a complete fake.

 

“In general, such events – with the co-organization of deputies – can come about. Having said that, it is quite appalling to steal and illegally use the logo of a party or political group and create a fake event,” stated Viola von Cramon-Taubadel.

 

Even before the roundtable supposedly took place, the MEP denied her participation in it, calling the event “fake news.” Fomenko later accused Cramon-Taubadel of working for the Kremlin and receiving bribes for denying her participation in the event.

 

“This person is not even worth mentioning. As I have said, Ukraine suffers from many significant problems: it is on the verge of an economic crisis; the country cannot properly deal with the pandemic as well. We have to talk about serious topics concerning Ukraine, which are plenty; not about this case of Fomenko, which I’m not going to discuss any further,” said Cramon-Taubadel.

 

Meanwhile, Fomenko’s case has proved once again that the EU needs to review its policy on organizers and distributors of fake news. In the digital age, information is capable of instant dissemination. And in some cases, it can lead to serious political, social or economic destabilization.

 

“I know that many member states are working on a more structured legislation. We are working on a digital database to combat hate speech, fake news and so on. But as far as I know, it is not over yet, and we will discuss it after the summer recess,” the MEP summed up.

 

 



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Social Media Has Turned Bill Gates Into The Coronavirus Pandemic’s Fake Villain


The journalists at BuzzFeed News are proud to bring you trustworthy and relevant reporting about the coronavirus. To help keep this news free, become a member and sign up for our newsletter, Outbreak Today.


On May 14, Italian politician Sara Cunial uploaded a video to her Facebook profile calling former Microsoft CEO Bill Gates a criminal and demanding he be tried for crimes against humanity.

It was a speech she made in the Italian Parliament in early May, in which Cunial, who represents a district in northern Italy, claimed Gates was developing a vaccine for COVID-19 to enslave the world’s population.

“The real goal of all of this is total control,” Cunial said, “absolute domination of human beings, transformed into guinea pigs and slaves, violating sovereignty and free will. All this thanks to tricks disguised as political compromises.

Cunial’s speech has been viewed on her page over 500,000 times and shared 30,000 times, and it’s been uploaded to countless other pages on Facebook and YouTube channels. Despite Facebook’s third-party fact-checkers marking the video “partly false,” one version of it has been watched almost 1 million times.

Cunial is wrong about Gates using a vaccine for COVID-19 to commit genocide — but she is far from alone in believing it.

The online campaign against him encompasses a myriad of alternate realities created by anxious and isolated social media users, including debunked claims about 5G cellular technology, anti-vaccination rhetoric, QAnon content, and the conspiracy theory du jour, like the idea that sunlight can kill the coronavirus. And it’s not just limited to the fringe: According to a Yahoo News/YouGov poll released Friday, 44% of Republicans in the US believe that Gates plans to use a COVID-19 vaccination as a way to implant microchips in people and monitor their movements.

“We’re concerned about the conspiracy theories being spread online and the damage they could cause to public health,” Mark Suzman, CEO of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, told BuzzFeed News. “At a time like this, when the world is facing an unprecedented health and economic crisis, it’s distressing that there are people spreading misinformation when we should all be looking for ways to collaborate and save lives. Right now, one of the best things we can do to stop the spread of COVID-19 is spread the facts.”

There’s little chance Gates will be arrested by the Italian government — he lives in Washington state, for one — but the backlash against him reflects a very real and dangerous refusal to accept a COVID-19 vaccine if one were to become available. Even before the pandemic, between 10% and 22% of people in countries across Europe didn’t trust that vaccines were safe.

The paranoia around the former Microsoft CEO has been building for months, festering in Facebook Groups and YouTube comment sections. Here’s how the conspiracy theorists, panicked and ignorant people, and technology platforms that allowed the hoaxes to grow turned Bill Gates into the villain of the coronavirus pandemic.


The most popular version of the rumor stems from a tabloid in Ghana, as Kathryn Joyce, an investigative journalist with Type Investigations documented in a groundbreaking series of stories on the roots of the Gates population control conspiracies in HuffPost and Pacific Standard.

As Joyce reports in HuffPost, “In 2010, a former staffer with a government health initiative in Ghana made a shocking claim: a project partially funded by the Gates Foundation had tested the contraceptive Depo-Provera on unsuspecting villagers in the remote region of Navrongo, as part of an illicit ‘population experiment.'”

The staffer, Mame-Yaa Bosumtwi, “was the Ghanian-born, U.S.-educated communications officer for another Gates-funded initiative by the Ghanaian government and Columbia University to use mobile phones to improve health care access for rural women and children,” according to Joyce. Bosumtwi had clashed with another team member, James Phillips, a demographer at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health; when her contract was not renewed, she took her professional gripes with Phillips to the Ghanaian press and filed a lawsuit against Columbia for millions of dollars in damages.

After the lawsuit was dismissed, Bosumtwi went back to the press with a much more shocking claim: Without evidence, she said that Phillips’s project in rural Ghana had experimented with Depo-Provera on women as a test run for a broader population control campaign. Patients had been abused. Some had died.

Wanted posters with Phillips’s face sprouted across the country. Protesters mobilized outside Columbia’s research center in Navrongo. Ghanaian health officials called her claims libel, and community leaders and women from the rural area condemned them as false. But death threats escalated so badly that two members of Phillips’s team had to be evacuated across the border to Burkina Faso.

As Type Investigations’ Joyce revealed, while Bosumtwi’s allegations of Gates-funded genocide were spreading throughout Ghana, “in 2011, a U.S. women’s rights group called the Rebecca Project for Human Rights published a report, ‘Non-Consensual Research in Africa: The Outsourcing of Tuskegee,’ outlining what it claimed were a series of unethical medical experiments undertaken by U.S. researchers in Africa.” The report claimed, without evidence, that unethical medical experiments had been undertaken by US researchers in Africa — focusing on Phillips. “Researchers allegedly injected thousands of impoverished and illiterate Ghanaian women with a Pfizer contraceptive, Depo-Provera, and administered other unidentified oral contraceptives during human research experiments to reduce population and modify health care,” the report read.

The report was written by Kwame Fosu, the Rebecca Project’s chief financial officer and policy director. But Fosu left out a key detail — that he was the father of Bosumtwi’s child. Although that connection might have undermined his credibility if it were made public, in 2013 Fosu released a second report, titled “Depo-Provera: Deadly Reproductive Violence Against Women.” The report, as Joyce documented in Pacific Standard, claimed there was “a massive conspiracy involving international organizations, including the Gates Foundation, USAID, the United Nations Population Fund, and Pfizer, to push a dangerous contraceptive on poor black women.”

“Melinda Gates announces her four-billion dollar contraceptive strategy featuring Depo-Provera as the optimum choice for women of color,” Fosu wrote. “These beautiful females, oblivious that they are being insidiously exploited as diversionary cynical props to mask Gates’ egregious intent, are in an unprecedented Depo-Provera campaign with serious racist implications to prevent their very births.”

In the US, Fosu’s white papers circulated among right-wing groups that claimed “abortion was a form of black genocide.” And they had an impact within Africa as well. In 2014, Joyce wrote, Zimbabwe’s registrar general, Tobaiwa Mudede, “warned women to avoid modern contraceptives because they caused cancer and were a Western ploy to limit African population growth.” That same year in Kenya, Joyce also reported, “all 27 members of the nation’s Conference of Catholic Bishops declared that a WHO/UNICEF campaign to administer neonatal tetanus vaccines to women of childbearing age was really ‘a disguised population control programme.'”

In the years that followed, the allegations of a Gates Foundation–led black genocide in Africa may have subsided, but the conspiracy theory that Gates could be using vaccines to depopulate the planet has stuck around.


Sopa Images / Getty Images

A protester wearing a dinosaur costume holds a placard that says “Bill Gates Wants You Extinct Like Me” during a demonstration in Huntington Beach, California.

At their core, these conspiracy theories revolve around the idea that Gates is using his wealth to control the planet. As old as baseless claims that the Illuminati or the Freemasons control the world and as new as the digital revolution, they blend imaginary concerns about the hidden masters of the world and basic misunderstandings of science.

Named for the Microsoft cofounder and his wife, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation was launched in 2000 and is the largest private foundation in the world. In 2008, Gates transitioned out of his role with Microsoft to give himself more time to its programs and grants, which primarily focus on enhancing healthcare, reducing extreme poverty, and expanding educational opportunities and access to information technology.

While it’s completely false to say the Gates Foundation is trying to depopulate the planet, the work the foundation does is in fact influenced by overpopulation concerns popularized in the ’60s and ’70s. Gates himself has publicly acknowledged several times over the last decade his debt to the work of biologist Paul R. Ehrlich, whose 1968 book The Population Bomb brought the concept of global overpopulation into the public consciousness and was mentioned in the Gates Foundation’s annual letter in 2012.

Gates wrote about Ehrlich again in 2013, calling him “the country’s, and perhaps the world’s, most prominent environmental Cassandra” and lauding his work, even if the foundation’s cofounder concluded it was too fatalistic:

“We know now that Ehrlich was extremely wrong and that following his scientific certainties would have been terrible for the poor.”

So while Gates is not spending his retirement trying to commit eugenics on a global scale and is in fact actively opposed to the wing of the environmentalist movement that advocates for such a thing, it’s a connection that has been hard to shake. Spend enough time in online fever swamps and you’ll start seeing the same words over and over again — “Bill Gates,” “population control” — skipping right over the fact that Gates is against the idea.

Gates has remained a popular target for those with attenuated ties to reality. In 2016, Infowars connected him to a conspiracy theory that Zika fever could be a bioweapon. In 2018, Infowars wrote that Gates was “indirectly responsible for both Ebola and Zika outbreaks” and was planning a global pandemic known as “Disease X.” The same year, conspiracy theory site NewsPunch published an article with the headline “Bill Gates Admits ‘Vaccines Are Best Way to Depopulate,’” which went viral enough for fact-checking site Snopes to debunk it. Conspiracies about Gates have proliferated on Facebook and YouTube as well. In January 2019, a now-debunked and -deleted article from Transcend International, a nonprofit media outlet, went viral, claiming Gates believed vaccines were too dangerous to give to his own children.

These claims have often taken a political valence: In 2018, footage leaked of Gates mocking President Donald Trump for not knowing the difference between HPV and HIV. But beyond partisanship, Gates — with his tech-made money and philanthropic efforts to improve public health — has become an avatar of populist rage at those who possess technical fluency, an elite education, and well-stamped passports.

The first rumor connecting Gates to COVID-19 was spread at the very beginning of the outbreak by QAnon YouTuber Jordan Sather. In January, when the virus was still localized in Wuhan, China, Sather claimed that the novel coronavirus was a “new fad disease” that had been “planned” by Gates.

The QAnon community believes Trump is waging a secret war against a deep state, secret messages about which are leaked out on anonymous online message boards like 8chan by an insider with “Q-level” security clearance. Gates and other wealthy liberals like George Soros are believed to be part of a global cabal of Satanists who secretly control the world.

The crux of Sather’s conspiracy hinged on a 2015 patent filed by the Pirbright Institute in Surrey, England, which covered the development of a weakened form of a coronavirus that could be used as a vaccine to prevent respiratory diseases in birds and other animals. This is a standard way that vaccines are made, for everything from the flu to polio.

As the virus spread out of China, hoaxes about Gates did as well, with social media companies only attempting to limit their reach weeks after they began. Melanie Smith, a cyberintelligence analyst at Graphika, a network analysis company, told BuzzFeed News: “I think social media platforms only really stepped up to the plate to deal with coronavirus disinfo in March.”

In the early months of the outbreak, Smith said, many mainstream users were exposed to seriously fringe ideas, including one that falsely claimed that Gates was depopulating the planet. “Gates has created a vaccine and it will be tested in African countries before it’s tested anywhere else,” she said, explaining the conspiracy theory.

Regardless of how Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube have battled conspiratorial content about COVID-19, it wasn’t enough. By April, Gates had become the main target.


In April, the “black genocide” narrative was reignited, reports Joyce. Diamond and Silk, pro-Trump influencers and former Fox News personalities, declared they would never take a COVID-19 vaccine created by Gates because he had used African people as “guinea pigs.” Conservative commentator Candace Owens tweeted the same month that “vaccine-criminal Bill Gates” had used “African & Indian tribal children to experiment w/ non-FDA approved drug vaccines.”

A petition calling for Gates’ arrest was posted on the White House’s page for citizen queries on April 10. As of Friday, it had 572,723 signatures, thanks in part to being shared on Facebook Groups like “Refuse Corona [email protected] and Screw Bill Gates” and a Bulgarian conspiracy theory group called “Hidden Knowledge 2.” The petition received even more attention after it was covered by NewsPunch.

That same month, a now-deleted YouTube video full of misinformation about Gates, titled “Dr. SHIVA Ayyadurai, MIT PhD Crushes Dr. Fauci Exposes Birx, Clintons, Bill Gates, And The W.H.O” was watched more than 6 million times, with close to half a million shares on Facebook. At the same time, many explicitly anti–Bill Gates groups formed on Facebook, the biggest of which was “Collective Action Against Bill Gates. We Wont Be Vaccinated!!” According to social metrics site CrowdTangle, its 100,000-plus members regularly post some of the most-shared content on the platform about the former Microsoft CEO. “This is the shit eating grin Bill has on whenever talking about the coronavirus,” one recent post read.

A petition calling for Gates’ arrest was posted on the White House’s page for citizen queries on April 10. As of Friday, it had 572,723 signatures.

But “Collective Action Against Bill Gates” is hardly the only group. The pushback against him is a focal point for several previously unlinked misinformation communities, such as anti-vaxxers, 5G truthers, New Agers, and QAnon supporters. These groups, which range in size, have names like “#SayNoToBillGates,” “STOP BILL GATES: He’s A Treasonous Murderous Psychopath & Must Be Stopped,” “TAG DONALD J TRUMP: STOP BILL GATES,” and “Fauci & Gates to prison worldwide Resistance.”

A Facebook spokesperson told BuzzFeed News that many groups featuring anti-vax content have a pop-up warning when a user joins them, warning them of harmful misinformation.

“Anyone who searches for and joins a group related to COVID-19 or vaccines is then directed to accurate information from health organizations,” the spokesperson said. “Additionally, we are working to remove these types of groups from the recommendations we show people.”


Sean Gallup / Getty Images

Two protesters, one holding a sign referencing Bill Gates, the other a German flag, stand on a water fountain during a protest rally in Berlin against coronavirus lockdown restrictions, May 9.

In early May, as Cameron Wilson reported, “a little over 100 people met on the steps of the state Parliament building in Melbourne, Australia, and began chanting ‘arrest Bill Gates’. … One speaker, Fanos Panayides, is the founder of an extremely active Facebook group called 99% unite Main Group ‘it’s us or them’ that has rapidly become one of the biggest hubs of resistance against Australia’s coronavirus response. … Since it was started on April 8, the group has grown to more than 37,000 members who have made more than 900,000 posts, comments and reactions, according to social media analytics site Crowdtangle.”

Anti-Gates signs have appeared over the last month in Long Island; London; Nottingham, England; and Annapolis, Maryland. Gates was also the focus of a violent anti-COVID-19 lockdown protest in Germany over the weekend.

Conspiracy theories have also appeared on Indian social media. Drawing on a false claim that dates back to at least 2014, Health Impact News, a pseudoscience website that promotes conspiracy theories about 5G and vaccines, claimed on May 19 that the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation had been sued and “put on trial” before the Supreme Court of India regarding the deaths and injuries caused by trials of Gardasil, the HPV vaccine. One version of the claim featured a photo of Gates and Dr. Anthony Fauci together with text that read, “Well, well, well, Globalist population control Bill Gates shortly after his trip to India with Dr. Fauci.”

Although there was in reality no lawsuit, there really was a study in India funded by the Gates Foundation. In 2010, the trials, conducted by the Program for Appropriate Technology in Health, was canceled after local media reported that seven girls had died after taking part in it. Investigations carried out by the Indian government determined that the deaths were unrelated to the vaccine.

So when Cunial stood up in the Italian Parliament last week and demanded Gates be arrested for “crimes against humanity,” it wasn’t random. It was a crossover win for the COVID-19 conspiracy theorists. Amid heckles and jeers, Cunial called upon other Parliament members to defy any plans for a compulsory vaccination against COVID-19.

Cunial is a former member of the Five Star Movement (M5S), an antiestablishment party that won the most seats in Italy’s 2018 general election. Her Facebook page is full of anti-vax, anti-5G, and COVID-19 misinformation. She’s also a supporter of the ID2020 microchip theory: the belief that the ID2020 Alliance, a nongovernmental organization that advocates for digital IDs for undocumented people and refugees, is working with Gates to build a surveillance state with tracking devices in the COVID-19 vaccine.

She’s far from the only anti-vaxxer among the M5S or its former members. The party campaigned on objections to vaccinations. Observers of Italian politics have argued that vaccine skepticism is one of the central tenets of what M5S stands for.

A member of the Italian Chamber of Deputies condemned Cunial’s “absurd and unfounded theories” on Twitter, but, her speech was nevertheless seized on by Russian state media, amplified by the American far right, and shared in various ways on Facebook and YouTube.

Two versions of Cunial’s speech were removed on Thursday by YouTube after they were flagged by BuzzFeed News. YouTube spokesperson Farshad Shadloo said the videos violated the site’s policies around medical misinformation.

“We’re committed to providing timely and helpful information at this critical time, including raising authoritative content, reducing the spread of harmful misinformation, and showing information panels, using CDC data, to help combat misinformation,” Shadloo said. “We have clear policies against COVID misinformation, and we quickly remove videos violating these policies when flagged to us.”

A scan of the YouTube comments about Cunial will make you wonder how to untangle the confusion. A report from RT about Cunial’s speech was shared on Tuesday to “X22 Report [Geopolitical],” one of the larger QAnon Facebook Groups.

“Ironically fact checker blocked this earlier on me. … It’s literally what they say. It’s ridiculous,” one user wrote, referring to the fact that Facebook’s third-party fact-checkers have flagged several versions of Cunial’s video as “partly misleading.”

“The fact checker and Politifact is owned by Gates and Soros, so you won’t know the truth,” another commenter erroneously replied, going on to call down a curse on them in ornate language: “But hell be their homes and what they fear the most on earth be their torment 1000 times over for eternity.” ●

UPDATE

This story has been updated to more clearly attribute source material from work previously published elsewhere.

UPDATE

This story has been updated to add credit to Kathryn Joyce’s series of stories on the conspiracy theories linking Bill Gates to population control efforts in Africa.





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Trump accuses states of asking for unneeded supplies and media of spreading fake news | World news


Donald Trump attempted to discredit media reports of his administration’s failures in the Covid-19 pandemic as he called some outlets in the White House press corps “fake news” at his daily coronavirus briefing on Saturday.

In a rambling introduction to a lengthy and combative briefing the president cited media reports on shortages of ventilators and personal protective equipment and said some state governors had asked for more supplies than they need.

The White House’s own projections show 100,000 Americans could be killed by the virus. On Saturday, Trump said: “There will be a lot of death”.

“It’s therefore critical certain media outlets stop spreading false information,” he said. “I could name them, but it’s the same ones, always the same ones.”

“It’s so bad for our country, so bad for the world.”

Trump then accused state governors of asking for materials which he argued they did not need.

“Many of their cupboards were bare,” he said.

Trump’s administration has sought to redefine the national strategic stockpile as a “back up” for states, and avoid co-ordinating a response to the pandemic.

Earlier, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced his state, which has been especially hard-hit, had looked to China for ventilator supplies.

“We’re not yet at the apex,” said Cuomo, who described the crescendo of cases to come as “the number one point of engagement of the enemy”.

Cuomo said he had obtained 1,000 ventilators from the Chinese government with the help of billionaires Joseph and Clara Tsai and Alibaba founder Jack Ma. Oregon had loaned New York another 140, he said.

At the White House, Trump said: “We have given the governor of New York more than anybody has been given in a long time. I think he’s happy… I wouldn’t say gracious.”

He also tried to claim credit for the 1,000 ventilators sent to New York by China and said, “two very good friends of mine brought him those ventilators”.

Cuomo put the New York case load at 113,704 and the death toll at 3,565, most in New York City but with nearly 1,000 deaths in other parts of the state. At lunchtime on Saturday, researchers at Johns Hopkins University in Maryland put the national toll at nearly 279,000 cases and 7,170 deaths.

Current projections put the peak of the pandemic in New York between four and 14 days away. Officials hope physical distancing across the state will slow the spread of the disease and forestall the possibility of running out of ventilators and hospital beds.

Cuomo admitted he hoped to see the apex soon, so the experience would soon end. The pandemic, “stresses this country, this state, in a way nothing else has frankly in my lifetime”, he said.

Cuomo’s briefing from the New York state capital, Albany, offered another contrast in leadership between governor and president. While Cuomo’s briefings convey alarming statistics, his frank descriptions of shortages and personal struggles have been praised.

Cuomo said the state had a signed contract for 17,000 ventilators, which he was later told could not be filled because many had already been purchased by China.

Trump retweeted articles about hydroxychloroquine, a treatment for malaria, and then promoted the unproven drug again at the press briefing. Some researchers believe the drug shows promise as a possible treatment for Covid-19 but so far studies lack control groups and are therefore treated as anecdotal. There is no known therapeutic for Covid-19, and no vaccine.

The US federal government’s response to the outbreak has been defined by bungled testing, poor coordination, low stockpiles and planning failures. Federal failure to intervene in supply chains has led to bidding wars for masks and other personal protective equipment, governors have said.

The White House has repeatedly claimed it has 10,000 ventilators in a strategic national stockpile. However, states have reported some of those ventilators are unusable, after the Trump administration failed to ensure the stockpile was properly maintained.

Trump has repeatedly caused confusion, often following hours-long, rambling press conferences featuring attacks on the media. At one such briefing on Friday, the president said he would not follow the advice of his own health department, and wear a mask in public.

“The [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] is advising the use of non-medical cloth face covering as an additional voluntary public health measure,” Trump told reporters.

“This is voluntary. I don’t think I’m going to be doing it.”



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Sharon Stone Kicked Off Bumble After Guys Report Profile As Fake



Sharon Stone’s basic instinct drove her to Bumble for romance, but the dating app temporarily rejected her.

The actor tweeted Sunday night that Bumble had closed her account after “some users reported that it couldn’t possibly be me!” She also posted the official notice she received.

“Hey @bumble, is being me exclusionary?” she wrote. “Don’t shut me out of the hive.”

Hours later, a Bumble rep informed Stone that her account had been unblocked and promised her it wouldn’t happen again. “Thanks for bearing with us and hope you find your honey,” Bumble editorial director Clare O’Connor quipped.

But in the hours that Stone was excluded from the dating platform, Twitter users had some humorous takes on her Bumble struggle.

Stone, a 61-year-old mother of three, was linked to real estate mogul Angelo Boffa in 2018 but told People in October of that year that she didn’t mind not having a partner. 

“I think somewhere in the back of your mind you think maybe one day you won’t be a single parent,” she said at the time. “Then, eventually you realize, I think it’s better. I’m no longer hoping for someone.”





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People smuggler ‘built fake Russia-Finland border posts’


Finnish border zone near the Russian borderImage copyright
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Image caption

Finland and Russia share a border which is 1,340km (840 miles) long

A man has been arrested in Russia for erecting fake border posts to trick four migrant workers into thinking they had entered Finland.

After reaching the posts, the man left the group to wander alone in what they believed was the EU country – but was actually a swampy forest in Vyborg.

After a while the four South Asian men were stopped by real border guards, who told them they were still in Russia.

The “smuggler” had reportedly made them pay over €10,000 ($11,000) each.

All five men were reportedly detained on 28 November.

On Wednesday, a court in St Petersburg fined the would-be migrants for immigration offences and ordered their deportation.

The fake smuggler is facing the more serious charge of fraud. He has been detained, pending trial.

Officials did not specify which country the men were originally from.

Footage posted on Russian social media appears to show the men being arrested. They are seen standing in the darkness among fir trees, holding their hands up as FSB border agents shine torches on them.



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