The rate of coronavirus infection in Spain shows no sign of slowing down, with the country’s Health Ministry reporting 8,115 new cases on Tuesday.

The number of infections in the last week in Spain is nearly 50,000. That means over the past seven days, more than one out of every 1,000 Spanish residents has tested positive for the virus. In the worst-affected regions of the capital Madrid and La Rioja, it is more than one out of every 500 residents.

The ministry also reported a total of 29,152 COVID-19 deaths – 58 more than on Monday, and nearly 900 more COVID-19 patients being admitted into hospitals.

On Tuesday, authorities announced that the cities of Salamanca and Valladolid will return to stage one. That means gatherings will be limited to a maximum of 10 people and bars and restaurants will only be allowed to serve clients who are seated.

Several smaller towns across mainland Spain now find themselves in situations of either voluntary or mandatory lockdowns.

The situation in Mallorca is also increasingly tense, with one nursing home now reporting at least 77 viral infections and two deaths. Spain’s Balearic Islands have seen the weekly rate of infection more than triple in the last month.

In Andalusia, the suspected COVID-19 death of a hospital caretaker who was discovered lifeless alone in her home is bringing more urgency to the situation.

The southern region is asking doctors to volunteer their time to help with contact tracing.

Meanwhile on Tuesday, leaders provided more practical details about what returning to school could look like for many families.

Treasury Minister Maria Jesus Montero explained that parents whose child has tested positive for a coronavirus infection will qualify for paid leave from work to stay home and isolate.

However, if the child is isolated due to close contact with an infectious person but tests negative, parents will not have the right to take paid leave./aa


New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Tuesday that public schools will delay opening to Sept. 21 to allow more preparation for educators because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The announcement came after the United Federation of Teachers threatened to strike because of concerns about a safe opening.

A deal was reached with the city’s teachers union and de Blasio said educators would have four days of preparation from Sept. 10 to Sept. 15. The original start of the school year was scheduled for Sept. 10.

"What we've agreed to is to make sure the health measures are in place, to make sure there is time for appropriate preparation for our educators, to make sure that we can have the smoothest beginning of the school year even under the extraordinary challenges with conditions and move forward in the spirit of unity," the mayor said.

On Sept. 16, there will be a three-day remote transitional period for students, he said. "And then on Sept. 21, Monday, the school buildings open, full strength, we go to blended learning as has been described previously.”

De Blasio said virus testing will be available every month in every school with many testing sites very near to public schools./aa


An estimated 67,000 children in Sub-Saharan Africa region “are at risk of dying from extreme hunger” before the end of the year amid the COVID-19 restrictions, warned a charity organization.

“Data taken from The Lancet indicates that an average of 426 children per day are at risk of death unless urgent action is taken” in the region, Save the Children said in a report Tuesday.

Food insecurity, according to the report, has been a result of “a series of shocks this year in parts of the continent – from floods, locusts as well as soaring food prices to displacements”.

“The impact of COVID-19 has added to these factors, crippling economies and destroying livelihoods, rendering food and health services unaffordable or unavailable,” said Save the Children.

“Earlier this year it was estimated COVID-19 would drive up poverty in Sub-Sahara Africa by 23 percent,” it added.

Save the Children also referred to warnings that an estimated 433 million people across Africa will be undernourished by 2030.

“We’re already seeing more children arriving at our clinics everyday suffering from malnutrition, and we know that we’re only at the beginning,” Ian Vale, Regional Director for Save the Children in East and Southern Africa, was quoted as saying in the report.

“If we wait until clinics are full, it will be too late. The food crisis could kill tens of thousands of children unless they are reached with humanitarian assistance immediately. We cannot afford to wait,” Vale added.

The coronavirus pandemic has claimed more than 845,000 lives in 188 countries and regions since originating in Wuhan, China in December. The US, Brazil, India and Russia are currently the worst-hit countries.

Over 25.1 million COVID-19 cases have been reported worldwide, with recoveries exceeding 16.5 million, according to figures compiled by US-based Johns Hopkins University./aa

YAOUNDE, Cameroon

A monkeypox outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s (DRC) has claimed 10 lives, while 141 people have been infected so far, local media reported on Tuesday.

“From the first week of surveillance until the 33rd, we recorded 141 confirmed cases, with 10 deaths,” Dr. Aime Alengo, a health official in Sankuru province told local Actualite news website.

Alengo said the disease affects those who are mostly less than 5 years old. “We are one of a few countries in Africa that still have cases of this disease.”

In its Health Emergencies Bulletin on Tuesday, the World Health Organization (WHO) Africa Region said: “One major challenge to the current emergency includes acquiring the required funding to respond to all the multiple ongoing outbreaks in the country.”

Monkeypox virus is an orthopoxvirus that causes a disease with symptoms similar, but less severe, to smallpox. While smallpox was eradicated in 1980, monkeypox continues to occur in countries of Central and West Africa.

Monkeypox virus is mostly transmitted to people from wild animals such as rodents and primates, but human-to-human transmission also occurs, according to WHO.

The Central African country is also battling measles and the coronavirus pandemic.

In week 32 (week ending Aug. 9 2020), 418 measles cases -- including seven deaths were reported across the country.

The provinces that reported the majority of cases include Sankuru and South Ubangi.

The high fatality ratio was notified in Maniema and Sankuru. Since 2019 a total of 380,766 measles cases and 7,018 deaths have been reported in the country, according to WHO Africa office./aa

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A Black man was shot and killed by Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies after he was stopped for a traffic violation while riding a bike, then ran from police, punched one officer and dropped a bundle that included a gun, authorities said.

The Monday afternoon shooting death of Dijon Kizzee in South Los Angeles prompted a peaceful protest hours later and Black Lives Matter began marching Tuesday evening from the scene to a sheriff's precinct station.

The killing came on the heels of the police shooting in Kenosha, Wisconsin, that left Jacob Blake, who is also Black, paralyzed and spurred days of protests, reinvigorating the national debate on racial injustice and policing.

Also Tuesday, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted to ask the coroner to conduct an inquest into the fatal deputy shooting of 18-year-old Andres Guardado on June 18. Guardado was shot five times in the back after deputies said they saw him with a gun and he ran. Guardado's family filed a wrongful death lawsuit on Monday against the county, the Sheriff's Department and deputies involved in the shooting.

Kizzee's family and friends created a small memorial for him at the shooting scene in the Westmont neighborhood — leaving flowers, balloons and candles just feet away from first responders' discarded blue medical gloves and rolled bandages.

The Sheriff’s Department has not released Kizzee’s name, but two relatives confirmed his identity. In interviews with The Associated Press, they remembered the 29-year-old Kizzee as an energetic man with many friends and expressed anger at the shooting.

“You guys take care of dogs, you don’t take care of us,” said Kizzee’s aunt, Fletcher Fair, addressing the Sheriff's Department. “He was a sweet and loving young man. He had his whole life ahead of him and it was cut short by rogue sheriffs.”

Kizzee's uncle, Anthony Johnson, 33, said they grew up together and were as close as brothers. Johnson said he often warned his nephew that, as a Black man, he had to be especially careful.

“'You have a target on your back, just by being you,’” Johnson remembered telling Kizzee as recently as a few weeks ago. “He was like, ‘Yeah, all right, uncle,' like he always says.”

Sheriff’s Lt. Brandon Dean said Monday that investigators had not yet interviewed the two deputies involved, but he gave this account: When deputies tried to stop Kizzee for riding his bicycle in violation of vehicle codes, he dropped his bike and ran. When they caught up to him he punched one of them in the face and dropped a bundle of clothes he was carrying. The deputies spotted a handgun in the bundle and opened fire.

“He was in possession of a firearm and did assault a deputy,” Dean said.

Dean did not describe the alleged violation that prompted the stop and the Sheriff's Department did not provide any additional information about the investigation on Tuesday.

Neighborhood resident Arlander Givens, 68, questioned why deputies fired at a man who, according to the sheriff’s official, wasn’t holding a weapon.

“If he reached down to grab it, that’s different,” Givens told the Los Angeles Times. “But if it’s on the ground, why shoot? That means he was unarmed.”

Police said the handgun was recovered and no deputies were injured. TV news helicopters showed a gun near the body.

Dean said investigators had not yet interviewed witnesses or reviewed any surveillance or cellphone video.

“Give us time to conduct our investigation," he said. “We will get all of the facts of this case and eventually present them."

The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, the largest in the nation, does not have body cameras for deputies, though that soon will change. The county Board of Supervisors on Tuesday approved funding and the first round of deputies will be equipped with cameras next month.

Ed Obayashi, a use-of-force consultant to law enforcement agencies and a deputy sheriff in Plumas County, said the Los Angeles County deputies will need to explain how they felt Kizzee presented an immediate threat even though his weapon was on the ground.

“For the officers to justify their shooting of Mr. Kizzee, they are going to have to articulate that they reasonably feared for their safety,” Obayashi said.

It will be important for the deputies to be specific, he said.

“What made you believe that he was an ongoing, immediate threat to the public?” Obayashi said. “Did you believe he was still armed? Why? And if he was armed and running away, what was your reason for feeling that he constituted a threat to yourselves or the public?”

Fair described her nephew as “a mother's child," saying Kizzee took care of his mother after a car crash until her death in 2011 from a heart attack. After that, he took care of his younger brother, Sean Jones, who is 18 and a recent high school graduate.

Fair lives near where Kizzee was killed and couldn't believe the circumstances surrounding her nephew's death.

“How do you get a violation on a bicycle?” she asked. “I stayed here until they picked his body up. I didn’t want to leave.”

New research suggests that power companies are dragging their feet when it comes to embracing green energy sources such as wind and solar.

Only one in 10 energy suppliers globally has prioritised renewables over fossil fuels, the study finds.

Even those that are spending on greener energy are continuing to invest in carbon heavy coal and natural gas.

The lead researcher says the slow uptake undermines global efforts to tackle climate change.

In countries like the UK and across Europe, renewable energy has taken a significant share of the market, with 40% of Britain's electricity coming from wind and solar last year.

But while green energy has boomed around the world in recent years, many of the new wind and solar power installations have been built by independent producers.

Large scale utility companies, including many state and city owned enterprises, have been much slower to go green, according to this new study.

The research looked at more than 3,000 electricity companies worldwide and used machine learning techniques to analyse their activities over the past two decades.

The study found that only 10% of the companies had expanded their renewable-based power generation more quickly than their gas or coal fired capacity.

Of this small proportion that spent more on renewables, many continued to invest in fossil fuels, although at a lower rate.

The vast majority of companies, according to the author, have just sat on the fence.

"If you look at all utilities, and what's the dominant behaviour, it is that they're not doing much in fossil fuels and renewables," said Galina Alova, from the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment at the University of Oxford.

"So they might be doing something with other fuels like hydro power or nuclear, but they're not transitioning to renewables nor growing the fossil fuel capacity."

The author says that many of these types of utilities are government-owned and may have invested in their power portfolios many years ago.

The overall conclusion from the analysis, though, is that utility companies are "hindering" the global transition to renewables.

"Companies are still growing their fossil-fuel based capacity," Galina Alova told BBC News.

"So utilities are still dominating the global fossil fuel business. And I'm also finding that quite a significant share of the fossil-fuel based capacity owned by utilities has been added in the last decade, meaning that these are quite new assets.

"But in order for us to achieve the Paris climate agreement goals, they either need to be retired early, or will need carbon capture and storage because otherwise they're still here to stay for decades."

She says that inertia within the electricity industry is one key cause of the slow transition.

But the news reporting about energy companies doesn't always capture the complexity of their investments.

"Renewables and natural gas often go hand in hand," said Galina Alova.

"Companies often choose both in parallel. So it might be just in media reports we are getting this image of investing in renewables, but less coverage on continued investment in gas.

"So it's not greenwashing. It is just that this parallel investment in gas dilutes the shift to renewables. That's the key issue."

SOURCE: Nature Energy.

NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — The oil industry has asked the United States to pressure Kenya to change its world-leading stance against the plastic waste that litters Africa, according to environmentalists who fear the continent will be used as a dumping ground.

The request from the American Chemistry Council, whose members include major oil companies, to the Office of the United States Trade Representative came as the U.S and Kenya negotiate what would be the first U.S. bilateral trade deal with a country in sub-Saharan Africa.

That deal is expected to be a model for others in Africa, and its importance helped lead to Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta’s White House visit with President Donald Trump this year — a rarity for an African leader during this administration.

Kenya three years ago imposed what was praised as the world's strictest ban on the use, manufacturing and import of plastic bags, part of growing efforts around the world to limit a major source of plastic waste. Environmentalists fear Kenya is now under pressure not only to weaken its resolve but to become a key transit point for plastic waste to other African countries.

The April 28 letter from the American Chemistry Council’s director for international trade, Ed Brzytwa, seen by The Associated Press, urges the U.S. and Kenya to prohibit the imposition of domestic limits on “production or consumption of chemicals and plastic” and on their cross-border trade.

“We anticipate that Kenya could serve in the future as a hub for supplying U.S.-made chemicals and plastics to other markets in Africa,” the letter says. It was first obtained by Unearthed, an affiliate of the Greenpeace environmental organization. The council repeated its request in a public commenting session in June.

China's ban on imports of most plastic waste in 2018 has forced companies to seek new places to send it, but other countries including African ones increasingly are saying they don't want it, either. Plastic waste meant for recycling has piled up in dumps in Kenyan cities.

Meanwhile, oil companies are under pressure as more countries, notably Kenya, aim to shift away from fossil fuels for their energy needs.

The American Chemistry Council in a statement to the AP said “it is well understood that a bilateral trade agreement between the United States and Kenya will not override Kenya’s domestic approach to managing plastic waste or undermine its international commitments under the Basel Convention," a global agreement which as of January will make it much more difficult to ship plastic waste to poorer countries. Nearly 190 countries have agreed to it, but not the U.S.

The council added: "In fact, ACC never mentioned Kenya’s approach to single use plastic bags even once in our comments.”

The Office of the United States Trade Representative did not respond to a request for comment. A U.S. summary of negotiating objectives issued in May included this: “Establish rules that will ensure that Kenya does not waive or derogate from the protections afforded in environmental laws for the purpose of encouraging trade or investment.”

Kenya’s government via multiple ministries did not comment. But Kenyan trade minister Betty Maina in comments published Tuesday by the local Star newspaper said Kenya will negotiate with the U.S. “guided by Kenyan laws” and talks continue.

Kenya banned plastic bags in 2017, inspiring similar bans in other African countries whose streets, waterways and even trees have long been choked with the tattered bags.

The idea that Kenya’s government might weaken or do away with its ban under pressure from the U.S. or oil industry has upset the country’s vibrant environmental community, which rallied support that also led to this year’s ban on other single-use plastics such as bottles in national parks, beaches and other protected areas.

“They want Kenya to reverse its strict limits on plastics, including 2017 plastic bag ban! It’s a NO!” tweeted James Wakibia, who pushed hard for Kenya's plastic bag ban. He is now campaigning for all East African countries to ban “all unnecessary single-use plastic.”

Griffins Ochieng, who leads the Center for Environmental Justice and Development in Kenya, said any attempt to change the laws on plastics would be hazardous. “Africa is looking like a new dumping ground, we are not going to allow that,” he said.

“If true, it would be outrageous and unconscionable,” Inger Andersen, the executive director of the United Nations Environment Program, based in Kenya, tweeted. “We ‪@UNEP are so proud of our host nation #Kenya’s strong lead on reducing plastic waste and forcing a shift away from single use plastic.”

Bans on single-use plastics are growing worldwide. A global review by UNEP in mid-2018 said 127 countries had adopted some form of regulation regulating plastic bags.

More of those countries were in Africa — 37 — than in any other region, the U.N. said, adding that Kenya’s penalties for violations included up to four years in jail and a fine of up to $38,000.

Kenya put the U.S. trade talks on hold earlier this year because of the coronavirus pandemic, and they were finally launched in July. The American Chemistry Council said it did not know whether the Office of the United States Trade Representative had taken its recommendations into consideration.

•             US scientists tested an atomic bomb in the New Mexico desert exactly 75 years ago.

•             The launch, part of the Manhattan Project, marked the development of the deadliest and most powerful weapon in history.

•             In an excerpt published by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, physicist Robert Wilson suggested that scientists didn't grapple with the moral consequences of their work until after the explosion.

Scientists describe setting off the world's first nuclear bomb 75 years ago: No one 'even raised the possibility that what we were doing might be morally wrong'

Seventy-five years ago, a group of scientists and soldiers camped out at a previously abandoned ranch in New Mexico, waiting for history to be made. Their mission — to produce the world's first nuclear bomb — was so top-secret, many of their wives and children weren't privy to what they were working on. Even their mail and phone calls were monitored.

The world would later know their work as the Manhattan Project. The code name for their first nuclear test, conducted on July 16, 1945, was "Trinity." It marked the development of the deadliest and most powerful weapon in history — and the beginning of the end of World War II.

But its success was never guaranteed.

Before the test was approved, scientists debated whether the explosion could ignite the atmosphere and destroy life on Earth. The project went ahead after Nobel Laureate Arthur Compton determined the odds of that doomsday scenario were "slightly less" than one-in-3 million.

In 1943, the team assembled a secret laboratory in Los Alamos, New Mexico. The testing site, about 200 miles south, had to be remote to limit exposure to dangerous radioactive fallout. Scientists and soldiers slept on cots in humble barracks in the middle of a sweltering desert surrounded by scorpions and venomous lizards, Emilio Segrè, the physicist in charge of radioactivity research, recalled in an excerpt published by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. (Segrè died in 1989.)

About a year into the Los Alamos project, researchers gathered at small location known as "Building X" to discuss again how the bomb — nicknamed "The Gadget" — might impact civilization.

"At that time, we were perhaps overly obsessed by what we regarded as the evil of military security," Robert Wilson, the youngest research leader at Los Alamos, said, according to the Bulletin. (Wilson died in 2000.) "We feared that the military would keep nuclear energy a secret were the bomb not revealed by an actual explosion."

The scientists had become even more zealous in their mission by then, Wilson added.

"It is significant that no one at that meeting in Building X even raised the possibility that what we were doing might be morally wrong," he said. "No one suggested that we should pack our bags and leave."

A rush to complete the test

In the days leading up to the launch, scientists recalled burying their heads in their work.

"Perhaps events were moving just too incredibly fast," Wilson said. "We were at the climax of the project — just on the verge of exploding the test bomb in the desert. Every faculty, every thought, every effort was directed toward making that a success."

He added that "there was an absolutely Faustian fascination about whether the bomb would really work."

George Kistiakowsky, a Harvard physical chemist who led the explosives division at Los Alamos, recalled scientists placing bets on how big the explosion would be.

Kistiakowsky, who died in 1982, predicted that it might produce 100 tons of TNT (a measure of the weapon's force), according to the Bulletin. But the real-life explosion was 200 times more powerful than his estimate.

"We did not know just how big the explosion would be or what its effects would be," Lieutenant General Leslie Richard Groves said, according to the Bulletin. (Groves died in 1970.) "Like too many things in the Manhattan Project — we were dealing with unknowns outside the realm of man's experience, and we simply had to try to imagine everything that might happen."

'The full awful magnitude of what we had done came over me'

Scientists were forced to make even more tough guesses when a storm broke out the morning of the launch. By then, the bomb had already been loaded on top of a 100-foot steel tower.

The test was originally scheduled for as early as 2 a.m. on July 16. But the inclement weather pushed the launch back to 5:30 in the morning. Before his death in 1996, Kenneth Bainbridge, a Harvard physicist who oversaw the test, reported that the weather still wasn't ideal then, but scientists weren't willing to wait another half day. TE

"To my distress, I found an air of excitement in the base camp instead of the calmness essential to sound decision-making," Groves said of the moments before the test.

At around 5:20 a.m., people stationed at the barracks crouched on the ground, wearing dark glasses to shield their eyes. Ten minutes later, the explosion produced a burst of light, followed by a giant orange fireball and mushroom cloud.

Residents in the nearby region noticed a brilliant flash in the sky, Segrè said. A few glass windows cracked in Silver City, New Mexico, about 180 miles away. But for the most part, the details of the test remained secret until shortly after the Hiroshima bombing in August 1945.

In the years that followed, Manhattan Project scientists grappled with consequences of their work.

"That which had been an intellectual reality to me for some three years had suddenly become a factual, an existential reality," Wilson said. "My technical work was done, the race was run, and the full awful magnitude of what we had done came over me."/ Insider

•             Russia just declassified footage of the moments leading up to the Tsar Bomba blast — the world's largest nuclear-bomb explosion.

•             The blast was equivalent to 50 megatons of TNT, making it nearly 1,500 times more powerful than the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombs combined.

For decades, footage of history's most powerful nuclear weapon was kept top-secret.

Now, Russia is offering a behind-the-scenes look at the moments leading up to the detonation of that hydrogen bomb, known officially as RDS-220 and informally as Tsar Bomba.

Russia tested Tsar Bomba over a remote archipelago in the Arctic Ocean on October 30, 1961 — during the height of a nuclear arms race with the US. The country declassified documentary footage of that explosion on August 20, in honor of the 75th anniversary of the Russian nuclear industry.

The 40-minute video, uploaded to YouTube, shows the explosion — a blast equivalent to 50 megatons of TNT. That makes it nearly 1,500 times more powerful than the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombs combined. Russia reported that the flash could be seen from more than 600 miles away.

The video starts as the bomb is transported by rail to the detonation site. From there, viewers get a peek inside the giant weapon — though the documentary doesn't divulge technical secrets about how the bomb was created, Alex Wellerstein, a nuclear historian at the Stevens Institute of Technology, told the New York Times.

Just before the detonation, the video shows two aircrafts fly to the testing range: One carries the bomb, while the other prepares to film the explosion. At best, there was a 50% chance the planes would survive, the BBC reported. The plane carrying the bomb is painted bright white to reflect the heat from thermal radiation.

When the weapon is released from the plane, a parachute helps it drift to the desired elevation: 13,000 feet above ground. That gives the plane enough time to fly a safe distance away.

At 22:44 in the video, the bomb explodes. The footage shows a burst of light, followed by a giant orange fireball and mushroom cloud.

Though not shown in the footage, the shock of the blast forced the plane to drop 3,000 feet (the aircraft recovered before it landed). The explosion flattened the surrounding terrain, leaving nothing but scorched earth in its wake.

Cold War competition between the US and Russia

Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev personally commissioned the weapon, so Tsar Bomba was nicknamed for him — translated, it means the Tsar's bomb. Krushchev originally planned to produce a 100-megaton weapon that would far and away exceed anything the US had built. But Russian scientists feared the radioactive fallout would be too destructive, so the Tsar Bomba wound up being less powerful than initially intended.

Prior to the Tsar Bomba explosion, the US had pulled ahead in the Cold War arms race: In 1954, the US tested the Castle Bravo hydrogen bomb, its most powerful to date. That blast was equivalent to 15 megatons of TNT. By comparison, the nuclear bomb dropped on Hiroshima, Japan, during World War II, was 15 kilotons, and the bomb dropped on Nagasaki was 21 kilotons.

A 1994 issue of the Cold War International History Project Bulletin quotes a Russian cameraman who witnessed the Tsar Bomba blast.

"It seemed to suck the whole Earth into it," the cameraman said. "The spectacle was fantastic, unreal, supernatural."

The blast destroyed homes in the nearby military town of Severny, about 35 miles from Ground Zero. The shockwave resembled a 5.0-magnitude earthquake, shattering windows and collapsing roofs hundreds of miles away.

Still, the video suggests that the altitude and meteorological conditions at the time Tsar Bomba exploded reduced the shockwave's impact. Russia's nuclear agency, Rosatom, says none of the nearby settlements "recorded any significant explosion consequences."

According to the Norwegian newspaper The Barents Observer, radioactive fallout from the blast was measured across Scandinavia. But because the fireball never made contact with Earth, that radiation was relatively minimal — especially considering the size of the bomb.

To this day, the explosion remains the largest nuclear bomb blast the world has ever seen.

Business Insider

The Kuwaiti Ministry of Health announced today the recovery of 433 those infected with (Covid-19) disease during the past 24 hours in the State of Kuwait, Total 77657./Agencies