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Governor warns California officials to enforce health rules

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LOS ANGELES — California Gov. Gavin Newsom warned local elected officials on Friday they risk state sanctions if they don't enforce health orders as the coronavirus pandemic worsens, while about 200 state inspectors fanned out to look for violators over the long holiday weekend.

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“A local government that refuses to abide by, ensure compliance with, or take enforcement action against noncompliance with these statewide public health directives, or that takes action that is otherwise incongruent with these directives, could jeopardize their eligibility for state funding,” Newsom said in letters to local officials.

A surfer walks past a beach closed sign in Venice beach on Friday, July 3, 2020 in Los Angeles. The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health is ordering L.A. County beaches closed from July 3 through July 6. (AP Photo/Richard Vogel)


The state budget that took effect this week includes $2.5 billion intended to help local governments pay for services that are needed because of the pandemic. But it is contingent on them following emergency health orders designed to slow the spread of the virus.

Law enforcement and other officials in some areas have publicly said they will not enforce the state health orders. But Newsom noted that it is a misdemeanor to violate state or local emergency orders or most local ordinances and encouraged “all peace officers” to enforce the orders.

“We are in unprecedented times,” he wrote, saying it is important to fight the pandemic “as a unified California.”

With testing showing a rising COVID-19 testing positivity rate and increasing hospitalizations, Newsom has rolled back or limited businesses reopening in Los Angeles and 20 other counties. San Diego County, the state’s second-largest behind L.A. County with more than 3 million people, was added to the state’s watch list on Friday.

Recently reopened bars, indoor restaurant dining and other indoor entertainment venues were ordered closed back down in those counties for at least three weeks.

A movie theater is seen closed due to the coronavirus pandemic Thursday, July 2, 2020, in Brea, Calif. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)


About 200 state inspectors fanned out to enforce the health rules on Friday, and similar numbers will be out Saturday and Sunday, said Brian Ferguson, a spokesman for California’s Office of Emergency Services. About half are from Alcohol Beverage Control, and the rest from the Division of Occupational Safety and Health and other state licensing entities.

They are part of new “strike teams” from 10 state agencies that Newsom on Wednesday said would focus on counties with the most restrictions.

"We will be going directly to those who thumb their nose at public health and safety," Ferguson said in a statement. “State government will be out in force this weekend to make sure all California businesses and service providers are doing their part to slow the spread of COVID-19.”

The strike teams made 142 contacts with businesses on Thursday, their first day of operation, Ferguson said, and issued seven citations: two in Kern County, three in Los Angeles County and two in Santa Clara County.

Where possible and permitted, the battered restaurant industry moved tables outdoors onto sidewalks or into streets in hope of cashing in on the normally lucrative holiday.

The state also is fighting an outbreak in its prisons. The virus is suspected of killing two more death row inmates Friday at San Quentin State Prison, where about 40% of inmates are now infected, corrections officials said. Two other condemned inmates previously died at the prison near San Francisco.

The new health orders temporarily put many popular beaches off-limits and canceled fireworks shows in an effort to prevent runaway COVID-19 infections.

"This is going to be a different summer, and this is going to be a different July Fourth celebration for all of us,” Los Angeles County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer warned this week.

Surfers gather their belongings after being asked to leave by security patrolling the beach at Half Moon Bay State Park in Half Moon Bay, Calif., Friday, July 3, 2020. (Jose Carlos Fajardo/Bay Area News Group via AP)


Some, however, were intent on trying to keep it a normal summer: Dozens of surfers caught the morning swells at Malibu's Surfrider Beach despite the ban.

“There's only so many sheriffs so, realistically, they can't be everywhere all the time, and some people are just going to break the law and break the guidelines of public sense, common decency and the recommendations of our trusted public health officials," city spokesman Matt Myerhoff said.

The holiday beach closures began Friday from Los Angeles County northward through Ventura and Santa Barbara counties. To the south in Orange County, hugely popular beaches such as Huntington and Newport were to close Saturday and Sunday, while San Diego did not plan any shutdowns.

San Diego County beaches remained open and saw tens of thousands of visitors on Friday. Many clustered in socially distanced groups when they weren't splashing in the shallows. But lifeguards said not everyone was obeying public safety rules despite public address system reminders. In Encinitas, lifeguards provided free masks.

While beaches, fireworks shows and businesses could be regulated, authorities warned that ordinary gatherings were being identified as the source of COVID-19 transmission.

On the state's north coast, far from population centers with millions of people, Humboldt County said Friday that about a quarter of its 144 cases were reported in the past two weeks.

“This has been driven largely by residents gathering and visiting between households both locally and while traveling, as well as by illness occurring in the cannabis industry workforce,” said Dr. Teresa Frankovich, the county health officer.

For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some — especially older adults and people with existing health problems — it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and death.

A young skateboarder takes a run at a sparsely crowded Venice beach skateboard park ahead of the 4th of July holiday on Friday, July 3, 2020 in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Richard Vogel)


Some communities made creative efforts to keep the spirit of the holiday.

Napa asked residents to submit photos of their decorated homes and patriotically costumed pets for a city contest.

The city of Fremont was hosting a virtual “porch parade,” with judges awarding prizes for the best decorations.

Many cities were organizing livestreams of “virtual fireworks,” while the city of Gilroy planned to launch actual fireworks but “higher in the sky” than usual to accommodate social distancing.

Requirements to wear masks in certain situations continued to generate controversy.

A McDonald’s restaurant employee in Oakland said she was grabbed, hit and slapped by a customer last weekend after telling him he had to wear a mask to pick up his order at a drive-thru window, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.


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On this July 4th here's what I want to teach my 3 sons about America

Fireworks, pyrotechnic industry struggling before July Fourth

Five Alarm Fireworks Owner Cesar Benitez discusses business being down due to coronavirus, even during the busy Fourth of July season. FOX Business’ Jeff Flock with more.

My phone buzzed with a local news alert this past Tuesday evening, just as I was putting our youngest boys to bed. It was nearly 9 p.m.

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Protesters had managed to close the northbound lanes of I-25, a major thoroughfare that runs through Colorado Springs. The ruckus was centered near downtown and consisted of about a dozen cars filled with young people blocking the busy corridor.


“We will shut it down until we get justice, no matter what that means,” one of the individuals told a local television reporter.

Looking at Will and Alex settling in for a quiet and restful night’s sleep, it occurred to me that every single one of the people who were blocking the interstate that night was somebody’s child – and not that long ago had been the age of our boys.

How do you go so quickly from being a carefree kid to a rabble-rouser who willfully breaks the law, whether by tearing down a statue, throwing paint on a monument or blocking a major public roadway?


What can a parent do to raise kids who grow up to be responsible adults who build things up rather than become people who tear them down?

What can a parent do to raise kids who grow up to be responsible adults who build things up rather than become people who tear them down?

I think a good place to start is by doing what my wife and I (along with countless other parents) are trying to do – we’re attempting to teach our boys a whole host of things about our great, but imperfect country:

1. American exceptionalism is real. This doesn’t mean we’re somehow better than everyone else. Instead, it means that our nation stands apart from others because our country was founded upon a unique set of ideals.

Our founders flipped the typical formula – the government is supposed to work for the people, not the other way around. The individual is superior while the bureaucracy is inferior.


2. Our nation was founded upon Judeo-Christian ideals. On this Independence Day weekend, it’s important to remember America has been blessed because at the country’s inception, our founding fathers were welcoming to God.

This doesn’t mean that everyone who helped launch the United States were devout, orthodox people of faith. Many of them were, but some were not. Yet, none of them were hostile to religion. In fact, they warmly welcomed it because they knew properly channeled religious belief serves an enormous cultural good.

3. The Constitution is a treasured jewel – not a toy to be leveraged to suit modern whim. Its author, James Madison, was diminutive in size with a weak speaking voice – and yet he presided over the creation of one of the most remarkable documents ever written. In his genius, he and his colleagues figured out how to write a document that centralized power yet provided enough room for 50 separate states to independently govern themselves.

But the Constitution is constantly under assault, chipped away by lawyers and judges who feel it should be malleable to meet modern mores.

Good people can disagree on how it should be interpreted, but as for me, I agree with a man named Henry Esterbrook who once declared, “I would fight for every line in the Constitution as I would fight for every star in the flag.”

4. America is a tremendous land of opportunity – but it will only last if we raise children to become strong and responsible adults to take our place.

Research suggests today’s young adults are “better educated than those of the greatest generation. But to what end? My grandfather on my mother’s side never went to college – but he fought and helped win the peace in World War I. He came back home and became a bookkeeper, got married and raised three beautiful daughters. Success.

My dad’s father was an artist at heart, but had to make a living to support a wife and 5 children. He became a commercial painter, working in Manhattan’s tallest buildings. “I’d start at the bottom and work my way to the top floor,” he said. “By the time I reached the roof, it was time to start all over again.” He sacrificed his dreams in order to help his children reach theirs.

5. Yes, our country has its flaws, but America is a miracle. Wise people don’t burn things down – they tend to them by shoring up the foundations, stabilizing and then strengthening the structure.

My friends and colleagues, Tim Goeglein and Craig Osten, recently published a wonderful book, “American Restoration: How Faith, Family and Personal Sacrifice Can Heal Our Nation.” Their solutions to our current turmoil are profound yet stunningly simple.

“The local solutions [are] in our families, communities, marriages, parenting, churches, synagogues, neighborhoods, civil society,” they write. “It’s from the bottom up, not from the top down.”

Our Founding Fathers would wholeheartedly agree.

Paul J. Batura is a writer and the author of seven books, including, “GOOD DAY! The Paul Harvey Story.” He can be reached on Twitter @PaulBatura or by email at [email protected].


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Isa Guha: The trailblazing new face of Test cricket who hit the sexists for six

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In a glittering cricket career that spanned a decade from 2002, she was a two-times World Cup cricket winner with 113 international caps to her name. By 2008, she was ranked number one bowler in the ICC Women’s One Day International rankings and in the same year she took nine wickets against Australia to be crowned player of the match as England retained the Ashes.

If that isn’t impressive enough, Isa also squeezed in enough studying in between university cricket games, to gain a master’s degree in neuroscience.

Now, as she takes the helm at the BBC, the 35-year-old is understandably thrilled about the next chapter, but she is also pragmatic about how she will be viewed. “It’s not lost on me that when people look at me, they will see gender, they will see colour,” says Isa. “But it is so great to be part of a broadcaster that has really championed women. It is a real privilege to be asked.

“As someone who has played the game, I love the sport and I want to tell people it is amazing. I am really excited!” Does she think prospects in sport broadcasting have improved for women, I ask, apologising for asking a question no one would ever ask of a man.

“You have to be realistic,” she replies. “It’s a male-dominated sport. I can be open and say I have experienced sexism in the past. When I was playing, I wasn’t happy to confront it early on and just did the talking on the pitch.

“It is similar in broadcasting. By showing everyone what you can do, hopefully you win the respect of your colleagues. I guess it’s like any role. People will always be judging you. It’s something you come across all the time. For instance, when I went to Australia to play in their women’s domestic league, they were looking at me as the overseas cricketer, so you want to prove what you can do.

“The good thing now is most of my male colleagues are good friends. I am pretty tolerant of most things so when I think someone has gone too far, I feel confident to speak up about it and they understand it’s really important.”

She won’t give examples, but Isa admits she was the target of sexist remarks in her early years as a broadcaster.

“But things have improved with an increased number of women,” she stresses. “Sometimes, the intentions were good but they didn’t realise they were being sexist. I soon recognised the need to have those conversations.”

The past few weeks since George Floyd’s horrific death has, she confides, made her look back and examine whether she suffered racism too. Her parents were first generation immigrants from Kolkata, India. Reveals Isa: “You look back at how you were as a teenager and how society dictates the need to fit in. Looking back on whether I had been affected by racism, I say no because I was conditioned to ignore comments but I have now recognised that what I may have dismissed in the past was not acceptable. “It’s a difficult thing to manage in my head but that’s why it is important to address these issues. I sit on the board for the players’ association for cricket and I am asking whether we are doing enough.

“It is not enough to say we are staunchly against racism if we don’t actively try to stamp it out at every level.”

Eloquent, smart and very likeable, Isa’s enthusiasm and determination are a breath of fresh air. Her positivity is testament to her parents, who always encouraged her sporting ambitions.

Sadly, Isa lost her mum, Roma, last year to cancer. She was 67. “Mum wasn’t a pushy person but she was a huge support and she was so philosophical about everything, including her illness.

“Her strength through that time will continue to be my biggest inspiration and I try to take all her values and follow how she lived.”

Isa was eight when she first picked up a cricket bat in the garden at her family’s home in Berkshire.

“I looked up to my brother, Kaush, who was seven years older and I copied everything he did!” she smiles. “He would train in the back garden and I would chase after the ball.

“That’s when my parents saw my interest in cricket and took me down to the local club. There weren’t any girls’ teams around so I joined a boys’ side. Mum persuaded Dad that it was OK. I was fortunate to have their full backing.”

Her father Barun was soon so on board that he would ferry Isa around to matches and practices. “They came on tour too,” she says. “Dad is such a big cricket fan.”

By the age of 12, she had been picked to play for England’s development team.

“I always thought I would play for England at badminton,” she says. “But it was cricket that got me fast-tracked!” Five years later at 17, Isa, a right arm fast-medium bowler, was playing in her first Test cricket Tri-series against India and New Zealand.

“The journey as a whole was one I will never forget,” she says. “In 2002, we were an average side. There were lots of highs and lows but we became the best team in the world in 2009. It doesn’t get any better than that!” But however much she enjoyed her sporting successes, Isa never neglected her studies. She took a degree in biochemistry and molecular biology then went on to get an MPHIL in neuroscience at University College London.

“It was hard but I needed something to fall back on,” she says. “I knew I couldn’t do cricket for the rest of my life. My original plan was to become a scientist but the broadcasting came a couple of years before I retired from cricket and then more and more roles started to open up.”

“After retiring in 2012, which was, admits Isa, one of the most difficult decisions she has ever made, she went on holiday around Europe with her then boyfriend and now husband, Richard Thomas, a 34-year-old songwriter for the band, Brother and Bones. They married in 2018.

weren’t girls’ around so a boys’ persuaded “When you are playing for your country, you are so consumed by it that you forget about everything,” she explains. “You sacrifice a lot to do it and to be able to release myself from that and to have a bit of fun was nice.”

Since 2012, Isa has worked as a commentator for Sky, ITV and several foreign broadcasting companies.

“Rich has been an incredible support,” she says fondly. “We have such an understanding of each other, it’s brilliant.”

Isa has been using lockdown at their London home to prepare for her new role while keeping her mother’s memory alive by trying to perfect the dishes she used to cook.

“You just have to adapt and make the best of what is a strange situation,” she says. “There are times when I do really miss playing cricket but I do high-intensity interval training classes, pilates and yoga. I still get the guilt if I don’t do something like I did in my playing days!”

Looking to the future, Isa thinks many positive steps have already been taken when it comes to colour, gender and diversity in the sport.

“What I am really proud of in cricket is what this England men’s team represents at the moment,” she enthuses.

“We may have stumbled across a diverse group of players much like our women’s team in 2009 but there is a real intention with all the players to want to understand each other’s cultures.

“For young boys and girls to look at them and feel they will naturally believe that this is something they can achieve.”

Given the important role her family plays in her life, would she like to have children in time too? “It’s something we have talked about,’ she says. “It’s great to see so many women in broadcasting who have kids and who work on screen.

“At the BBC, there are a number of women who are able to do that, so that tells me it is possible to have a family and carry on with your career.”

I joined side. Mum Dad ” But for now, it’s all about the new job. “I am looking forward to starting now,” she says.

“Cricket will be getting out there to the masses and it is our responsibility to make it enjoyable and as fun as possible.”

Highlights from the England vWest Indies Test series will begin on July 8 on BBC Two from 7pm

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US coronavirus cases hit new single-day high ahead of July Fourth weekend

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Coronavirus cases in the U.S. rose to another single-day high as the nation entered a Fourth of July weekend marked by restrictions on many activities and warnings to maintain social-distancing practices.

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The U.S. reported a record 52,291 new cases on Thursday, about 1,000 more than the previous day, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. The U.S. is the worst-hit nation globally and accounts for about a quarter of the more than 11 million coronavirus cases world-wide, according to Johns Hopkins.

The rise in cases has led state and local leaders to pause reopening plans and shift policies.

In Washington state, Gov. Jay Inslee said he would pause a phased reopening for all counties for two weeks. He also announced a statewide directive for businesses to require face coverings of all employees and customers.

“The better we can protect ourselves from the virus, the better we can avoid repeating some of the painful measures we had to take in the spring to shut down the economy,” Mr. Inslee said.

In Texas, where cases have been rising for weeks, Gov. Greg Abbott changed course on Thursday, issuing an executive order mandating that residents wear masks when out in public. Other states, including Pennsylvania, Oregon and California, have also implemented statewide mask requirements in recent weeks. The Cincinnati city council passed an ordinance Friday making wearing a mask mandatory in public places starting July 9.

People gathered at the beach Friday in Ocean City, Md. (DANIEL SLIM/AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE/GETTY IMAGES)


Government leaders across the country have urged people to use caution in their Fourth of July celebrations.

“As we begin the holiday weekend, please remember to celebrate responsibly,” North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper wrote on Twitter Friday, as the state reported 2,099 new cases.

In New York, the annual Macy’s Inc. fireworks show was taking place as five-minute displays throughout the week in unannounced locations to prevent viewers from congregating. Los Angeles County and San Francisco have canceled fireworks shows, citing health concerns, while other places have moved festivities online.

President Trump addressed a crowd, with Mt. Rushmore in the background, on Friday night in South Dakota. (ALEX BRANDON/ASSOCIATED PRESS)


At Mt. Rushmore, a visit by President Trump was to be accompanied by a fireworks display. The event, expected to draw 7,500 people, has raised concerns about social distancing and wildfire risks.

Ahead of the Mt. Rushmore event, Kimberly Guilfoyle, a top campaign aide and the girlfriend of Donald Trump Jr., tested positive for the virus in South Dakota, said a person familiar with the events. Mr. Trump Jr., who tested negative, and Ms. Guilfoyle didn’t travel with the president to the state and weren’t with him before the festivities. The couple, who had been headlining fundraisers in the region, were expected to drive back to the East Coast to avoid contact with others.

Beaches in parts of Southern California will be closed, including those in Los Angeles and Ventura counties and parts of Orange County. Beach closures have also hit Miami and other South Florida counties, several weeks after reopening.

The mayor of Miami-Dade County, Carlos Gimenez, also ordered a countywide curfew from 10 p.m. until 6 a.m. and rolled back the reopening of several types of entertainment venues, including movie theaters, strip clubs and bowling alleys.

In the New York City area, residents appeared to have abided by suggestions from health officials to stay away from beaches, with crowds at many places along the Jersey Shore, in Coney Island and in the Hamptons far sparser than normal for the beginning of July 4 weekend.

Meanwhile, more local governments are asking people who have traveled to states with surges in coronavirus cases to quarantine for 14 days upon return.

Chicago issued an emergency travel order requiring all visitors from 15 states to quarantine starting on Monday. Pennsylvania state officials issued a similar travel advisory.

The governor of the Mexican state of Sonora announced that the border with Arizona would be closed for the holiday weekend to nonessential travelers due to the sharp rise in cases there.

In some states, hospitalizations have been rising sharply. In Arizona, 91% of all intensive-care unit beds and 85% of all hospital beds in the state were in use on Friday, according to the state health department. In Florida, 81% of the state’s available intensive-care beds and 71% of all its hospital beds were occupied, state government statistics show. By contrast, in Massachusetts, where cases have been on the decline, only 66% of all hospital beds were being used on Friday.

Health officials look at a variety of metrics, including new cases, percent of positive test results, hospitalizations and deaths to gauge an area’s level of spread.

Infectious disease epidemiologists caution that deaths typically lag behind other indicators, as the disease often progresses over the course of weeks in the most severe cases. And many public-health experts have warned that reported totals in countries including the U.S. and China have been broadly undercounted.

The U.S. has the highest number of fatalities in the world, with more than 129,000, according to data from Johns Hopkins. The U.S. currently has 39 deaths per 100,000 residents, which places it among the top 10 countries in the world in that metric.

However, the U.S. it doesn’t have the highest percentage of fatal cases —currently at about 4.7%, according to data from the COVID Tracking Project. And the case-fatality count in the U.S. has dropped a bit, from about 5.1%, over the past two weeks.

Coronavirus cases also are surging in Latin America.

Coffins stacked Friday at the Rio Pax funeral company storage in Rio de Janeiro. (PILAR OLIVARES/REUTERS)


Brazil continues to record by far the highest daily death tolls, with another 1,290 deaths registered Friday. That brings the country’s total tally to 63,124 deaths. Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, who has played down the risks of the virus, signed into law a decree mandating that face masks be worn in public. But he vetoed a part of the bill that would have required masks in churches, schools and businesses.

The dramatic jump in U.S. cases has caught the attention of Mexican officials. Claudia Pavlovich, the governor of the Mexican state of Sonora, which sits across the border from Arizona, said her state would set up “sanitary filters” to block all nonessential travel into Mexico this holiday weekend. The state’s beaches, popular with Arizona tourists, would stay closed to dissuade travel, she said.

Mexico itself likely has more than 50,000 deaths from the pandemic, according to data collected by a government population agency that reviewed death certificates across the country.

The virus continues to spread rapidly in Chile, one of the hardest hit countries in Latin America. The country has reported 288,089 cases and 6,051 deaths from Covid-19.

Peru reported 181 deaths from Covid-19 over the past 24 hours, bringing the total confirmed deaths to 10,226. Peru continues to struggle to control the pandemic as it approaches 300,000 cases, second in Latin America after Brazil. Health experts expect little chance the situation will improve as the government this week lifted a lockdown for most of the country, hoping to restart an economy in crisis.

In Colombia, where total confirmed cases have risen to nearly 110,000, a tax-free shopping day designed to help jump-start the economy was limited to online-only purchases. During a similar event last month, shoppers looking to avoid the country’s steep 19% sales tax swamped stores. Health officials criticized the government because the packed stores were seen as super-spreader events.

In India, new cases rose by 20,903, a single-day record, raising the total tally of infections to 625,544, according to data from the Health Ministry. India has so far reported a total of 18,213 deaths. As cases continue to rise, the government has extended lockdowns in areas with high caseloads through July.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced new restrictions late Thursday, including a limit of 20 people inside houses and in most closed spaces, and up to 50 people at synagogues, event halls, bars and clubs. He said there had been a 50% rise in serious coronavirus cases since the start of the week.

On Friday, South Korea reported 63 new cases as infections linked to clusters outside the Seoul metropolitan area increased. About 50 cases have been linked to a Buddhist temple in Gwangju, a city about 200 miles from Seoul.

“We have not seen a mass spread of infections, but we are approaching a dangerous degree of risk,” South Korea’s vice health minister, Kim Gang-lip, said.

In Japan, the capital city of Tokyo has seen a resurgence of cases in recent days. On Friday, city officials confirmed 124 new cases, hitting triple digits for the second straight day in about two months. Many of the cases involve people in their 20s or 30s and are linked to nighttime entertainment areas where aggressive testing has been conducted recently, contributing to the rise in positive tests, according to the Tokyo government.

While daily new cases in European nations are still generally higher than in many Asian countries, numbering in the mid- to high hundreds, they have mostly fallen or plateaued in recent weeks, barring isolated or temporary upticks in Germany and Portugal.


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Milind Soman finds pull-ups difficult after ‘many days in lockdown’; stresses on being active

Milind Soman recently stepped outside of his house and attempted pull-ups on a pole in what looked like a park.

Milind Soman’s passion for fitness is not unknown. The 54-year-old has time and again inspired us to remain healthy and fit.

The Four More Shots Please! actor had been using household items including fruits like melons to exercise amid the coronavirus-led lockdown in the absence of gym equipment. The actor and model recently stepped outside of his house and attempted pull-ups on a pole in what looked like a park.

Was able to do 12 pullups with great difficulty after so many days in lockdown 😃 shows how quickly our strengths, both physical and mental, deteriorate with lack of exercise. We dont realise this till we are challenged. Either by something of our own choosing or the myriad situations life throws at us every day. The mind needs as much exercise as the body does, if not more, to perform to the best of its ability. . . We must do our best to train the mind to be calm and the body to be active every moment! . . . #Live2Inspire #fitnessaddict #keepmoving #neverstop #nevergiveup #love #run #pullups 📷 @ankita_earthy

A post shared by Milind Usha Soman (@milindrunning) on

The fitness enthusiast wrote, “Was able to do 12 pull-ups with great difficulty after so many days in lockdown…shows how quickly our strengths, both physical and mental, deteriorate with lack of exercise. We don’t realise this till we are challenged.”

He added, “Either by something of our own choosing or the myriad situations life throws at us every day. The mind needs as much exercise as the body does, if not more, to perform to the best of its ability. We must do our best to train the mind to be calm and the body to be active every moment!”

Pull-ups help strengthen the back, arm and shoulder muscles. Besides improving grip strength, it also benefits overall body strength and fitness level, according to Healthline.

How to do pull-ups

Several other celebrities, from Sonu Sood to Dino Morea, have shown how to do pull-ups. Follow these steps:

* Grab the pull-up bar with your palms down, shoulder-width apart.

* Hang on to the pull-up bar with straight arms and your legs off the floor.

* Apply force and pull your body up by pulling your elbows down to the floor, all the way until your chin passes the bar.

* Lower yourself until the arms are straight. Repeat.

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Keir Starmer warned: The challenge of ‘Everest proportions’ facing Labour leader

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Jeremy Corbyn led Labour to a crushing defeat in December’s election and its worst result since the 1930s, handing Mr Johnson and the Tories a huge 80-seat majority in the House of Commons, providing the ruling party with massive power on any parliamentary votes and motions. But crucially, Labour saw thousands of voters turn against the party in the general election, losing traditional heartlands and constituencies in the north of England that it had held and relied on for decades. Immediately after becoming leader on April 4, former Shadow Brexit Secretary Sir Keir vowed to reunite a party dogged by vicious infighting, a baffling Brexit position and antisemitism allegations that had swept through the party under Mr Corbyn’s leadership.

No major party has ever increased their number of MPs by over 60 percent, which Starmer would need to accomplish to win in 2024

John Macdonald

He also reshuffled his top team but last week sacked education spokeswoman Rebecca Long-Bailey – a strong ally of Mr Corbyn – after she shared an article online which included a reference to what he called an “antisemitic conspiracy theory”.

Political experts have warned just three months into his new job, the magnitude of the task ahead of Sir Keir is already evident. He would have to create British political history to topple the Prime Minister and the Tories.

John Macdonald, Head of Government Affairs at the Adam Smith Institute think tank, told “Sir Keir has benefited not only in not being Corbyn, but in demonstrating a degree of competency at the opposition dispatch box not seen in a Labour leader for a long time.

“However, no major party has ever increased their number of MPs by over 60 percent, which Starmer would need to accomplish to win in 2024.

“He must neutralise the toxicity at the heart of Labour, create a popular narrative, and build a cohesive electoral coalition.

“To do what no opposition party has done before is no ordinary mountain to climb.

“Sir Keir is facing a challenge of Everest proportions. Time will tell if he, or another Labour leader, is the one to make it to the top.”

Ben Harris-Quinney, chairman, Bow Group think tank, warned Sir Keir is already at risk of falling into a traditional Labour “trap” in failing to define the requirements of the working classes and metropolitan liberals.

He told this website: “Keir Starmer is in danger of falling into the trap most recent Labour leaders have, which is to ignore the wishes of the working classes in favour of woke metropolitan liberals, whose views are often diametrically opposed.

“Labour needs to understand that the concerns of the British working classes are not the concerns of metropolitan liberals.

“By majority the British working class is patriotic and socially conservative.

“They voted for Brexit, want to see immigration fall significantly and are not signed up to the “woke” agenda.”

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Alex De Ruyter, professor at Birmingham City University who also serves as Director of its Centre for Brexit Studies, warned Labour is faced with a “series of structural challenges that make winning the next election unlikely”.

He explained: “The challenge for Starmer is threefold: firstly, he needs to convince “enough” of its traditional (often older) working-class supporters to vote in order to win back a sufficient number of traditional seats (think Sedgefield in the North East).

“Secondly, he needs to get much better at convincing younger voters and ethnic minorities (both of whom support the Labour Party in large numbers) to register and vote.

“Thirdly, his shadow cabinet needs sufficient credibility to convince people who were “put-off” by Corbyn (whether due to image, behaviour or policy) to vote Labour.”

The latest warnings come two weeks after Labour was told it has a “mountain to climb to get back into power in the next five years” in a damning report that laid bare the crumbling leadership of Mr Corbyn and huge challenge facing Sir Keir.

A major report looking at the disastrous general election defeat, put together by Labour Together and prepared by a a 15-strong panel of commissioners, warned the party will “not win” unless urgent and immediate changes to its culture and foundations are made.

Labour Together said: “Labour has a mountain to climb to get back into power in the next five years.

“This report lays out in stark detail the scale of that task. Unless as a party and a movement we face up to that we will not win.

“Labour faces a substantial challenge to win the next election, with a historic swing of over 10 percent needed to gain a majority of one seat.

“No major party has ever increased their number of MPs by over 60 per-cent, which is what Labour would need to do to win in 2024.”

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World News

North Korea shock: Chilling discovery made in Kim’s secret underground tunnel revealed

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Last month, North Korea appeared to come within inches of engaging in a full-blown war with South Korea. The soaring tensions came after hundreds of thousands of balloons ventured into the North from the South. Each carried propaganda against the North’s supreme leader, Kim Jong-un, and were thought to have been launched by non-governmental activists.

Kim’s sister, Kim Yo-jong, reacted furiously to the news, branding those responsible as “human scum”, calling the South “the enemy”.

A telecommunications line which had been in daily use between Pyongyang and Seoul was soon destroyed.

And, shortly after, the North blew up a joint liaison office with the South in the border city of Kaesong.

Tensions were made all the more intense after reports suggested some of the leaflets sent on balloons contained indecent photoshopped images of Kim’s wife, Ri Sol Ju.

Alexander Matsegora, the Russian Ambassador to North Korea told Russian media outlet TASS: “The leaflets bore a special kind of dirty, insulting propaganda, aimed at the leader’s spouse.”

He said they were Photoshopped “in such a low-grade way” that they became the “last straw” for the Hermit Kingdom.

Yet, no more than two days later, Kim announced he would be scaling back military action against the South after having taken the “prevailing situation” into consideration.

North Korea has remained an enigma to the outside world for decades.

Only a handful of Westerners have been granted access to the secretive dictatorship – one unlikely figure to have made a friendship with Kim is Dennis Rodman, the former Chicago Bulls basketball star.

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Others, such as Bruce Bennett, a senior researcher at the RAND Corporation, has spent decades studying North Korea, and has made “more than 100 trips to the Korean Peninsula and interviewed an array of North Korean defectors”.

In a 2018 report for Vox, Yochi Dreazen spoke to Mr Bennett about his experiences with the North.

Mr Bennett recounted the chilling time he discovered a secret, underground tunnel that went into North Korea itself.

On his behalf, Mr Dreazen explained: “He also jokes that he’s ‘kinda, sorta’ made it into North Korea itself, including once walking through a newly discovered tunnel that North Korean troops had dug beneath the Demilitarized Zone that separates North and South Korea.


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“He remembers that the walls were covered with graffiti praising Kim.”

Many experts claim the majority of the North’s population has been brainwashed into regarding the Kim family as deities.

This places the country in a unique position should it ever enter war.

Despite the North’s lacking in firepower when compared to the likes of the US, Mr Dreazen explained that Kim has a “different kind of weapon: 25million people”.

The North’s man power includes 1.2million active-duty troops and several million reservists.

Retired South Korean, General In-Bum Chun, explained to Mr Dreazen how dangerous the North’s troops were given their living in a dictatorship.

He said the troops have been “indoctrinated since childhood with the belief that Kim and his family are literal gods whose government must be protected at all costs.”

He continued: “You’re talking about people who have basically been brainwashed their entire lives.

“It would be like what you saw on Okinawa during World War II, where Japanese civilians and soldiers were all willing to fight to the death.

“This would be a hard and bloody war.”

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World News

Democracy books disappear from Hong Kong libraries

HONG KONG (AFP) – Books written by prominent Hong Kong democracy activists have started to disappear from the city’s libraries, online records show, days after Beijing imposed a draconian national security law on the finance hub.

Among the authors whose titles are no longer available are Joshua Wong, one of the city’s most prominent young activists, and Tanya Chan, a well-known pro-democracy lawmaker.

Beijing’s new national security law was imposed on Tuesday (June 30) and is the most radical shift in how the semi-autonomous city is run since it was handed back to China by Britain in 1997.

China’s authoritarian leaders say the powers will restore stability after a year of pro-democracy protests, will not stifle freedoms and will only target a “very small minority”.

But it has already sent fear coursing through a city used to speaking openly, with police arresting people for possessing slogans pushing independence or greater autonomy and businesses scrambling to remove protest displays.

Wong said he believed the removal of the books was sparked by the security law.

“White terror continues to spread, the national security law is fundamentally a tool to incriminate speech,” he wrote on Facebook, using a phrase that refers to political persecution.

Searches on the public library website showed at least three titles by Wong, Chan and local scholar Chin Wan were no longer available for lending at any of dozens of outlets across the city.

An AFP reporter was unable to find the titles at a public library in the district of Wong Tai Sin on Saturday afternoon.

The city’s leisure and cultural services department said it would provide a statement later on Saturday (July 4).

The national security law targets acts of subversion, secession, terrorism and colluding with foreign forces.

China says it will have jurisdiction in some cases and empowered its security apparatus to set up shop openly in Hong Kong for the first time, ending the legal firewall between the two.

Rights groups and legal analysts say the broad wording of the law – which was kept secret until it was enacted – outlaws certain political views, even if expressed peacefully.

Any promotion of independence or greater autonomy appears to be banned by the legislation. Another vaguely worded provision bans inciting hatred towards the Chinese or Hong Kong government.

On the authoritarian mainland, similar national security laws are routinely used to crush dissent.

The new security law and the removal of books raises questions of whether academic freedom still exists.

Hong Kong has some of Asia’s best universities and a campus culture where topics that would be taboo on the mainland are still discussed and written about.

But Beijing has made clear it wants education in the city to become more “patriotic”, especially after a year of huge, often violent and largely youth-led pro-democracy protests.

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World News

Marshall Wace targets $1 billion for new ESG focused fund

(Reuters) – Marshall Wace is planning to raise $1 billion for a new fund which will invest based on environmental and other ethical criteria, a source familiar with the matter told Reuters.

The hedge fund, co-founded by British financier Paul Marshall, will rely on external analysts who focus on environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues, the source said on Saturday.

The fund will bet against stocks with poor ratings and will buy stocks with strong ESG characteristics, the source added, confirming an earlier Financial Times report.

Marshall Wace, which has a total of around $45 billion in assets, will include the new fund in its $19 billion computer-driven TOPS trading system, the source told Reuters.

This system analyses ‘buy’ or ‘sell’ recommendations from about a thousand analysts at banks and research houses to come up with trading signals.

Founded in 1997, Marshall Wace employs more than 240 people in London, New York and Hong Kong.

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World News

Harassment findings against top judge in Australia prompt calls to improve workplace safety for women

SYDNEY – The revelation that a former Australian High Court judge, Dyson Heydon, allegedly sexually harassed multiple younger women has stunned the legal profession and prompted moves to overhaul workplace practices.

An independent inquiry by the High Court found that Mr Heydon, 77, a world-renowned legal expert, sexually harassed six female judges’ associates – five of whom worked for him – during his time on the court from 2003 to 2013. The role of associate to one of Australia’s seven High Court judges is one of the country’s most prestigious, keenly-contested positions for young lawyers.

In a statement last week, the High Court Chief Justice Susan Kiefel confirmed the inquiry’s findings. She said the court had apologised to the women and was “ashamed that this could have happened”.

“Their accounts of their experiences at the time have been believed,” she said. “I have appreciated the opportunity to talk with a number of the women about their experiences and to apologise to them in person.”

Mr Heydon’s lawyers “emphatically” denied the allegations of sexual harassment or any offence.

“Our client says that if any conduct of his has caused offence, that result was inadvertent and unintended and he apologises for any offence caused,” the lawyers said in a statement.

The allegations have sent shock waves across the legal community and led to calls for changes in workplace practices at law firms, courts and barristers’ chambers.

The Prime Minister, Mr Scott Morrison, said the allegations involving Mr Heydon were “very disturbing and very concerning and they’re incredibly serious”. He said all workplaces should prevent harassment and ensure people can confidently report misconduct, adding that he wanted his own two young daughters to have a safe future in the workplace.

“When my girls go to work, I want them to go to work in a safe environment where they are valued and respected for their talents and their abilities,” he said. “I would just be devastated if they ever found themselves in a situation like that.”

The High Court said it had adopted the recommendations of the inquiry into the allegations against Mr Heydon and would develop a further human resources policy for its associates. It will also appoint a person at the court who can “check in regularly with associates” and provide support.

The Law Council of Australia, a peak national body for lawyers, said a failure to address sexual harassment was prompting women lawyers to quit the legal profession. It called on the federal government to create a federal judicial commission that can deal with complaints.

“The attrition rate of women lawyers is high, and experiences of sexual harassment are a key reason why women leave the law,” the council said in a statement. “This is damaging and costly – for individuals, for firms, and for the current and future standing of the legal profession.”

Mr Heydon, a father of four, was one of the country’s most prominent jurists. A university medallist and former Rhodes Scholar, he was regarded as a conservative, black-letter judge and was appointed to the High Court by the former conservative prime minister, Mr John Howard. Mr Heydon also headed a royal commission into the trade union movement after being appointed in 2014 by another former conservative prime minister, Mr Tony Abbott. Both Mr Howard and Mr Abbott belong to Mr Morisson’s ruling Liberal-National coalition.

Following the High Court’s release of the inquiry’s findings, Mr Heydon resigned as an international judge of the Singapore International Commercial Court. A spokesman for Singapore’s Supreme Court said that he resigned “in view of the recent developments and to enable him to deal with the outcome of the inquiry”.

There are now calls to strip Mr Heydon of his Queen’s Counsel title – which is bestowed on leading barristers – and also his award of the Companion of the Order of Australia. Police in the Australian Capital Territory said they were making inquiries into the allegations against him but said they could not confirm whether a formal investigation had been launched. Three of his former associates are planning to lodge compensation claims against him.

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