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Americans face testing delays as virus surges

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With a cough and shortness of breath, it took Austin, Texas, resident Sam Lee three tries to get a COVID-19 test.

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The first time, he showed up an hour before the public testing site was set to close and was told they had reached capacity. He was turned away from a second center when rain shut it down, and voluntarily left a third after someone ahead of him said they had been waiting in line for more than three hours.


"If you have symptoms and you are just driving around the city trying to figure out how you can get a test, for people who are positive, it is not ideal,” said Lee, who finally got a test on June 29 after he showed up at a site before dawn and waited for more than two hours. Another five days passed before he was able to view the results online, and he didn't receive a text with the results until seven days after being tested.

Four months, 3 million confirmed infections and over 130,000 deaths into the coronavirus outbreak in the U.S., Americans confronted with a resurgence of the scourge are facing long lines at testing sites in the summer heat or are getting turned away. Others are going a week or more without receiving a diagnosis.

A National Guardsman directs traffic at a COVID-19 testing site outside Hard Rock Stadium, Wednesday, July 8, 2020, in Miami Gardens, Fla. Florida is one of the nation’s hot spots for coronavirus. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

Some sites are running out of kits, while labs are reporting shortages of materials and workers to process the swabs.

Some frustrated Americans are left to wonder why the U.S. can't seem to get its act together, especially after it was given fair warning as the virus wreaked havoc in China and then Italy, Spain and New York.


“It’s a hot mess,” said 47-year-old Jennifer Hudson of Tucson, Arizona. “The fact that we’re relying on companies and we don’t have a national response to this, it’s ridiculous. … It’s keeping people who need tests from getting tests.”

It took Hudson five days to make an appointment through a CVS pharmacy near her home. She booked a drive-up test over the weekend, more than a week after her symptoms — fatigue, shortness of breath, headache and sore throat — first emerged. The clinic informed her that her results would probably be delayed.

Lines of cars wait at a drive-through coronavirus testing site, Sunday, July 5, 2020, outside Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens, Fla. Florida health officials say the state has reached a grim milestone: more than 200,000 people have tested positive

Testing has been ramped up nationwide, reaching about 640,000 tests per day on average, up from around 518,000 two weeks ago, according to an Associated Press analysis. Newly confirmed infections per day in the U.S. are running at over 50,000, breaking records at practically every turn.


More testing tends to lead to more cases found. But in an alarming indicator, the percentage of tests coming back positive for the virus is on the rise across nearly the entire country, hitting almost 27 percent in Arizona, 19 percent in Florida and 17 percent in South Carolina.

A nurse in protective gear administers a coronavirus test in Omaha, Neb., Wednesday, July 8, 2020. Vice President Mike Pence says the U.S. government will issue guidance encouraging front-line health care workers to reuse personal protective equipmen

While the U.S. has conducted more tests than any other nation, it ranks in the middle of the pack in testing per capita, behind Russia, Spain and Australia, according to Johns Hopkins University.

“I am stunned that as a nation, six months into this pandemic, we still can’t figure out how to deliver testing to the American people when they need it,” said Dr. Ashish Jha, director of Harvard’s Global Health Institute. “It is an abject failure of leadership and shows that the federal government has not prioritized testing in a way that will allow us to get through this pandemic.”


Testing alone without adequate contact tracing and quarantine measures won't control the spread of the scourge, according to health experts. But they say delays in testing can lead to more infections by leaving people in the dark as to whether they need to isolate themselves.

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Bodies found in suitcase filmed on TikTok named as mum-of-four and boyfriend

Warning: Disturbing footage.

Two dismembered bodies found in a suitcase by teenagers making a TikTok video in Seattle have been identified as a mother-of-four and her partner.

The bodies of Jessica Lewis, 35, and long-term boyfriend Austin ‘Cash’ Wenner, 27, were discovered in the luggage on Alki Beach on June 19. Their ‘heartbroken’ families, who described the couple as a ‘fun-loving, affectionate couple’, are offering a $10,000 reward to anyone who can provide information, saying that ‘somebody knows something’.

Teenagers, who spotted the suitcase lying on beach rocks, filmed the discovery and posted it on social media site TikTok. Initially, they joked that it may contain cash but when they opened it they were concerned about the ‘overwhelming’ smell coming from a bin bag stuffed inside and alerted police.

The King County Medical Examiner concluded that Ms Lewis and Mr Wenner were shot days before their remains were discovered, reported KomoNews.

The mother died on June 16 from multiple gunshot wounds and Mr Wenner died on the same day from a single bullet injury to the torso.

Along with the suitcase found on the beach, another bag was found in the water nearby.

The FBI told Kiro-7 that the killer could have been trying to make a statement by leaving their bodies discoverable in the suitcases.

Ms Lewis’ aunt, Gina Jaschke, said her family can hardly bear the thought of what happened to the couple of eight years.

She said her niece, who worked with adults with disabilities, had a ‘big heart’ and was ‘the most caring person’.

‘They were just nice normal people,’ she told Kiro-7. ‘Nobody deserves what happened to them.’

She added: ‘I want somebody to pay for what they’ve done and if it brings any kind of solace to my family, I’ll do it. Because they’re just devastated.’

Ms Jaschke has started a GoFundMe page to help raise the reward money to ‘catch these animals’.

‘Jessica & Cash were good-hearted people,’ Ms Jaschke wrote. ‘She leaves behind 4 beautiful children.

‘Their parents and family are heartbroken beyond words. Along with countless friends and loved ones’.

She continued: ‘Please help find the person or persons responsible for this senseless crime…

‘Somebody knows something, and whoever helps solved this case will receive the money raised for their reward.’

The teenagers said they found the suitcase after being sent to the spot by Randonautica, an app which generates random coordinates for users to follow based on their intentions.

After posting the video of the discovery online, TikTok user Ughhenry captioned it: ‘Something traumatic happened that changed my life’.

The social media user told viewers that they became a ‘little scared and nervous’ while filing the report to police after finding the luggage, realising it was something a lot more serious than they initially thought.

Responding to comments, Ughhenry wrote that he ‘broke down’ the moment he got home after finding the suitcase.

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Yo Yo Honey Singh: Meri wife apne hath mein chhadi pakad kar cardio karati hai mujhse

Rapper-composer Yo Yo Honey Singh took his fans by surprise when he flaunted his fit body and posted a series of pictures on Instagram last week.However, it hasn’t been an easy journey for Singh to achieve this toned body, as he admits that ever since he made a comeback with his single Makhna in 2017, he hasn’t been in the “right shape”. He tells us, “Since that time, my fans were not exactly happy with my body, and were pushing me to get back in shape.”


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Checkout my Latest body transformation pictures, lockdown mein ki gayi mehnat !! Share which one u like !! Pic -5 , abs under process #yoyohoneysingh #yoyo #transformation

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From chole bhature and butter chicken to beetroot tikki and gluten-free food
So, for the last two years, Singh has been trying hard to get back in shape and following extreme workout sessions, changing his diet habits, which has seen the self-confessed street food lover stay away from his favourites — chole bhature, butter chicken and mutton curry in “Punjabi style” — and switch to a gluten free and carb free diet that includes sprouts and beetroot tikki.

“Until two years back, I had a lot of issues related to digestions and acidity. My dietician asked me to stay away from dairy products and wheat, and strictly no carbs. So for one year now, I don’t have breakfast, lunch or dinner. My meals are divided into small portions during the day, and main tukdon mein khata hoon or sabka swaad leta hoon,” he says.

Elated with the results, Singh wants to keep it this way for some time now and has decided to stay from any cheat days. “I’m really happy with the kind of shape I’m in, so, there’ll be no cheat days for a while. I haven’t had butter chicken in over four months now, and I think my last plate of chole bhature was six months back. And I am not going to have them anytime soon,” he quips

The two-way fight: Mental and physical
The result of this disciplined routine was evident, when Singh shared his recent pictures in the gym looking fitter and healthier. “But it wasn’t easy,” he says, and reveals that the medication he has been taking to treat his bipolar disorder, had affected his physical health greatly.

“The medicines contained a lot of sodium and lithium that affect your thyroid and weight. It was a two way fight. On a mental level, to fight the illness I was taking medicines, and then to fight its side effects, I had to work out. Working out became twice as hard, because you’ve to work harder if you want to see a positive change in your body,” he adds. 


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Moscow Mashooka Recording Session !! #yoyo #yoyohoneysingh

A post shared by Yo Yo Honey Singh (@yyhsofficial) on

Disciplined workout regime, thanks to the family
Singh further shares that his family’s support helped him achieve his dream. “Both my mom and my dad do yoga, everyday. They also teach it to people for free. So, they’re a lot disciplined when it comes to physical health. They pushed me, kept me disciplined and encouraged me to keep working hard,” he recounts.

Talking about what all training he underwent, the singer adds, “I did kick-boxing and a lot of functional training. I used to stay away from cardio, but my wife, Shalini, made sure I do that as well. Hath mein chhadi pakad kar cardio karati hai mujhse (laughs). And because of that, I started focusing on cardio and started doing things like sprints and other exercises.”


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Celebrating Father’s Day n Music Day !! Much love to everyone

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Staying positive is the key
Having undergone this physical transformation, Singh is in a happy state of mind. “Its imperative for any performer to stay fit, because you’re on stage, singing, dancing, shouting at the top of your voice. I’m really looking forward to some crazy concerts,” he says, adding that he shared photos of his transformation to inspire people.

“You’ve to look at things from only a positive perspective. When you look at your tummy in the mirror, don’t think negatively. It should motivate you to work harder. Similarly, when I see my biceps in the mirror, it should motivate me to work harder, and get the best results possible,” he ends.

Interact with the author on Twitter/@sammysamarth

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World News

Burger King store closures: 53 restaurants could close leading to 1,600 job losses

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Burger King UK’s chief executive Alasdair Murdoch warned the company could shut up to 10 percent of its outlets which would be as many as 53 stores as a result of the economic damage caused by the coronavirus crisis. The closures could lead to 1,600 job losses.

Mr Murdoch told the BBC’s Newscast: “We don’t want to lose any [jobs].

“We try very hard not to, but one’s got to assume somewhere between five percent and 10 percent of the restaurants might not be able to survive.

“It’s not just us – I think this applies to everyone out there in our industry.”

Only about 370 of the chain’s 530 UK stores have reopened since the nation went into lockdown.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak on Wednesday unveiled a £30 billion support package to save the UK’s economy.

The measures included an “Eat Out to Help Out” scheme in a bid to boost the hospitality sector.

But Mr Murdoch warned the Government’s plans do not go far enough to compensate restaurants for the combination of fixed costs and lost sales during the coronavirus outbreak.

He said: “I don’t think you can ever get over the top of this problem.”

Mr Sunak’s “Eat Out to Help Out” scheme provides 50 percent off – up to a maximum of £10 per head – meals at participating businesses across the UK every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday during August.

The Chancellor told the Commons: “I can announce today that, for the month of August, we will give everyone in the country an ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ discount.

“Meals eaten at any participating business, Monday to Wednesday, will be 50 percent off, up to a maximum discount of £10 per head for everyone, including children.

“Businesses will need to register and can do so through a simple website, open next Monday.

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“Each week in August, businesses can then claim the money back, with the funds in their bank account within five working days.”

Speaking this morning, Mr Sunak warned that jobs are at risk if economic activity does not return to normal.

He told Sky News: “We’ve moved through the acute phase of the crisis where large swathes of the economy were closed.

“We’re now fortunately able to safely reopen parts of our economy, that’s the most important thing that we can do to get things going.

“But we won’t know the exact shape of that recovery for a little while – how will people respond to the new freedoms of being able to go out and about again.

“We have to rediscover behaviours that we’ve essentially unlearned over the last few months.

“But unless activity returns to normal, those jobs are at risk of going which is why we acted in the way that we did.”

Restaurants, cafes and pubs have been badly hit by the coronavirus lockdown, with many staff placed on the Government’s furlough scheme.

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World News

John Lewis to permanently close eight stores with 1,300 jobs at risk

John Lewis says it will permanently close eight of its stores, putting 1,300 jobs at risk.

Two full-size department stores in Birmingham and Watford are closing, as well as four At Home shops in Croydon, Newbury, Swindon and Tamworth, and two travel hub outlets at Heathrow and St Pancras.

The John Lewis Partnership said the decision was made to ‘secure the business’s long-term future and respond to customers’ shopping needs’.

It said the eight shops were already ‘financially challenged’ before the pandemic, which has driven customers towards online shopping.

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The group estimated that between 60% and 70% of John Lewis sales will be made online this year and next, compared with 40% before the coronavirus crisis.

John Lewis Partnership chairwoman Sharon White said: ‘Closing a shop is always incredibly difficult and today’s announcement will come as very sad news to customers and partners.

‘However, we believe closures are necessary to help us secure the sustainability of the partnership – and continue to meet the needs of our customers however and wherever they want to shop.

‘Redundancies are always an absolute last resort and we will do everything we can to keep as many partners as possible within our business.’

Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at [email protected].

For more stories like this, check our news page.

This is a breaking news story, more to follow.

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EU to back Croatia, Bulgaria in first step to join euro, sources say

BRUSSELS, July 9 (Reuters) – Euro zone officials are ready to let Croatia and Bulgaria into the ERM-2 mechanism, a preliminary stage for adopting the euro as their currency in the next three years, four sources told Reuters.

The move would pave the way for the first enlargement of the euro zone since 2015, when Lithuania joined the currency bloc, which now has 19 members.

European officials said a decision was imminent after a final backing from euro zone and EU finance ministers, who hold video conferences later on Thursday and Friday.

Two sources said the decision was likely to be announced outside market hours, probably during the weekend, to prevent market speculation.

Officials said some minor issues remained to be settled in the coming hours. They could delay the announcement beyond the weekend, but were unlikely to derail the decision on accession to the ERM-2 exchange rate mechanism.

Once countries join the ERM-2, they remain in the mechanism for about two years before starting the practical preparations to join the euro zone, a process that takes roughly another year, making 2023 the earliest year for euro membership. (Reporting by Francesco Guarascio @fraguarascio in Brussels, Tsevetelia Tsolova in Sofia, Balazs Koranyi in Frankfurt and Igor Ilic in Zagreb; editing by Larry King)

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World News

European shares rise after SAP's reassuring outlook

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July 9 (Reuters) – European stocks rose on Thursday as software giant SAP signalled a rebound in its business from a coronavirus hit, while optimism over China’s recovery helped Germany outperform.

The broader European equities index rose 0.3% in early deals.

SAP jumped 6.5% after the German group confirmed its full-year outlook and said business activity gradually improved in the second quarter from the effects of a global lockdown.

Denmark’s Pandora gained 1.2% after it lifted its profit forecast for the second quarter, saying consumers had returned to shops faster than expected.

China-exposed miners, luxury stocks and automakers all rose, drawing comfort as a rally in Shanghai shares extended to the eighth day on hopes of a faster recovery for the world’s second largest economy.

Frankfurt-listed shares outperformed its European peers with a 0.9% jump, as data showed German exports rebounded in May, spurred by the lifting of lockdown measures. (Reporting by Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila)

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Japanese shares rebound but spike in COVID-19 cases caps gains

TOKYO, July 9 (Reuters) – Japanese shares bounced back on Thursday buoyed by technology-related stocks following a rise in U.S. peers overnight, but gains were limited by a surge in domestic coronavirus cases.

The benchmark Nikkei share average rose 0.4% to 22,529.29, clawing back from a 0.78% drop in the previous session. On the Nikkei index, there were 63 advancers against 158 decliners.

The market extended gains after the midday break supported by the Shanghai Compsite stocks rallying into eighth day.

However, investor sentiment was soon dampened by 224 fresh coronavirus cases in Tokyo on Thursday, which hit a record daily high.

The market showed little reaction to data that Japan’s machinery orders unexpectedly rose 1.7% in May after a 12.0% slump in April due to the pandemic.

Domestic technology-related stocks advanced after the Nasdaq marked its fourth record closing high in five days on Wednesday.

Tech conglomerate and Nikkei heavyweight SoftBank Group Corp jumped 4.52%, lifting information and communication to the top performing sector on the main bourse at 1.6%.

Sony Corp added 3.27%, while Yaskawa Electric Corp rose 1.98%.

Eisai Co Ltd climbed 4.84% after the pharmaceutical company and its partner Biogen submitted a marketing application to U.S. regulators for their Alzheimer’s drug.

Trading house Itochu Corp added 0.22% after it announced a tender offer for the rest of FamilyMart Co Ltd . The convenience store, expected to be delisted if the bid is successful, jumped 22.81%.

The broader Topix ended flat at 1,557.24, with all but nine of the 33 sector sub-indexes on the Tokyo exchange trading in negative territory. (Reporting by Eimi Yamamitsu; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila and Shailesh Kuber)

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Greek unemployment rises to 15.5% in April

ATHENS, July 9 (Reuters) – Greece’s jobless rate rose to 15.5% in April from an upwardly revised 14.5% reading in the previous month, data from the country’s statistics service ELSTAT showed on Thursday.

It was still the lowest jobless rate since March 2011.

Seasonally adjusted data showed the number of unemployed at 708,655 people, with those aged up to 24 bearing the brunt of being out of work.

Among younger persons aged 15 to 24, the jobless rate rose to 33.6% from 32.7% in the same month in 2019. Greece’s jobless rate, which hit a record high of 27.8% in September 2013, remains the highest in the euro zone.

Greece’s 2020 budget projects growth picking up this year, helping to drive joblessness down to 15.6%. But the government-imposed lockdown to stem the spread of COVID-19 disease and travel restrictions around the world has thrown forecasts off. (Reporting by Angeliki Koutantou)

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Meghan tries to stop Mail on Sunday from naming five of her friends in court battle

The Duchess of Sussex has applied to the High Court to stop The Mail and Mail on Sunday from revealing the names of five of her friends in her ongoing lawsuit against the papers’ publisher, according to a source close to Meghan.

The women’s names were given to the judge and to the Mail for its defence, confidentially, by the duchess last week as part of the court process, the source said, adding the threat to identify them “is an attempt to intimidate the duchess and her friends”.

As part of today’s court filing, the duchess provided a witness statement in which she accused the Mail on Sunday of “playing a media game with real lives”.

“Each of these women is a private citizen, young mother, and each has a basic right to privacy,” she said, adding that the threat to expose them was “for no reason other than clickbait and commercial gain”.

She described the move as “vicious” and one that “poses a threat to their emotional and mental wellbeing”.

The duchess is suing ANL, which also owns MailOnline and the Daily Mail, over a Mail on Sunday article that reproduced sections of a handwritten note she sent to her estranged father Thomas Markle, 75, in August 2018.

Lawyers for the duchess claim the story breached her privacy.

Associated Newspapers claims it only included the letter because it had already been referenced by Meghan’s friends in an interview with People magazine in the US.

The duchess identifies the five friends who gave the People interview, but refers to them only as friends A, B, C, D and E, and denies she authorised them to do it.

In the article, published in February last year, they spoke out against the bullying she said she has faced.

They could be called to testify if the case goes to trial, but no dates have been suggested for a potential hearing.

“These five women are not on trial, and nor am I,” the duchess said in her statement.

“The publisher of the Mail on Sunday is the one on trial. It is this publisher that acted unlawfully and is attempting to evade accountability; to create a circus and distract from the point of this case – that the Mail on Sunday unlawfully published my private letter.”

The source added: “The Mail’s threat to publish has nothing to do with the case, and is only being done so the Mail can target five innocent women through the pages of its newspapers and its website.”

Sky News has contacted the Mail group for a comment.

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