Home Blog

MSNBC Contributor’s Misogynistic Smear of Bernie Staffers: ‘Island of Misfit Black Girls’

0


MSNBC contributor Dr. Jason Johnson (he would like us to not forget that he has a Ph.D., and I’ll do my best not to throughout this piece) said Friday on SiriusXM’s The Karen Hunter Show that the “racist white liberals” who apparently love Bernie Sanders (news to me) are coming after black people who don’t fall into Sanders’ so-called “orthodoxy” (again, that Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign represents an orthodoxy, in the context of the Democratic Party, I have never heard before).

Dr. Johnson believes that Sanders is not “intersectional,” which his host and fellow guest—both black women—seemed to agree with him about, though it’s unclear that he knows either what intersectionality—as defined by critical race theory scholar Kimberlé Crenshaw—means or its true context and ever-evolving political purpose.

In the paper Intersectionality: Mapping the Movements of a Theory, authors Crenshaw, Devon W. Carbado, Vickie M. Mays, and Barbara Tomlinson seek to explain the slipperiness of intersectionality as a tool (and not an ideology) as well as the ways in which “all intersectional moves are necessarily particularized and therefore provisional and incomplete.” A movement or political campaign, for that matter, cannot wholly be described as “intersectional,” if you’re using the term correctly. 

“Rooted in Black feminism and Critical Race Theory,” the authors write, “intersectionality is a method and a disposition, a heuristic and analytic tool.” It is not a simple adjective you can tack onto whichever campaign you think talks about the specific policy needs of black women enough. The theory of intersectionality was developed by Crenshaw in order to analyze specifically how the “vulnerabilities of women of color, particularly those from immigrant and socially disadvantaged communities” are ignored or marginalized in “not only antidiscrimination law but also in feminist and antiracist theory and politics.” 

Unfortunately, as intersectionality has expanded into the mainstream as a tool to apply to other theories and ideologies, its utility, and thus its meaning, has been lost. That’s why there are people who call themselves “intersectional feminists,” which is well-meaning but doesn’t quite mean anything. You can very well use intersectionality theory in your analysis as a feminist, but are you yourself intersectional? 

That’s why, in the same breath as laying claim to intersectionality himself, Dr. Johnson blurted out that he didn’t even want you to get him started about “the island of misfit black girls” who indeed support Sanders’ candidacy and are even staffers and surrogates on the campaign, like Briahna Joy Gray, Nina Turner, and Combahee River Collective founder Barbara Smith (who coined the term “identity politics,” which is similarly decontextualized again and again by political pundits). 

To speak about Gray’s or Turner’s politics with any intelligence would just serve to undermine Dr. Johnson’s incoherent, ahistorical, and small-minded identification of Sanders’ supporters, who include many of the “women of color… from immigrant and socially disadvantaged communities” that Crenshaw orients intersectional theory towards. 

And it’s not just the “misfit black girls” Dr. Johnson is (willfully) ignorant about; he also misunderstands the political orientations of the misfit white people who so fiercely back Sanders. 

For one thing, “white liberals”, as such, are more likely to back candidates like Elizabeth Warren or even especially down-to-their-bones moderates like Amy Klobuchar, Pete Buttigieg, and Joe Biden. White liberals—who believe in a kind of justice meted out from above, a benevolent capitalism where non-profits and regulatory bodies abound, while we keep the same age-old systems essentially intact, with training wheels—have also been known to cop for plutocrat Michael Bloomberg, who is—if we’re being honest with ourselves—a Republican. In fact, Republicans can be liberal. too, just as Democrats can be conservative. It’s not just intersectionality—the concept of liberalism, too, has been bastardized. 

What Dr. Johnson obscured with his mish-mash rhetoric is that white socialists, not liberals, are among Sanders’ most fervent supporters, as well as Latinx and Muslims of various ideologies, and independents, whom he is loathe to acknowledge. 

“The island of misfit black girls”, then, are the black women he can’t bother to train his intersectional analysis on. Unfortunately for us, it seems that Dr. Johnson does not want to apply his doctoral research skills to find out why, in fact, there would be black leftist women who believe it is worth campaigning for and supporting Sanders.

But Dr. Johnson’s nasty words go beyond Senator Sanders and electoral politics—socialist, communist, Marxist, anarchist, truly progressive “misfit” black women abound through history, and have led and supported movements for justice for all people, while specifically fighting to make sure that poor black women don’t get second shrift. Fannie Lou Hamer, Angela Davis, Assata Shakur, Harriet Tubman, Lorraine Hansberry, Nina Simone, Ilhan Omar, and many more have insisted on radical leftist politics without hewing to the expectations of moderate and patriarchal black men in their communities. 

Dr. Johnson would be sorely mistaken to think that his sorry attempts at analysis will stop this rich legacy now.

How Many Hockey Teams Does it Take to Make a Conference?

0


Seven of the Western Collegiate Hockey Association’s remaining men’s programs plan to leave the league. Now there’s a scramble to add schools willing to travel between Alaska and Alabama to play.

BLOOMINGTON, Minn. — By legacy, the Western Collegiate Hockey Association that current men’s league Commissioner Bill Robertson followed as a boy in St. Paul in the 1960s and ‘70s represented the hockey version of Big East basketball. Splashy and formidable, its five marquee programs — Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, Wisconsin and Denver — had 31 of the 38 national championships W.C.H.A. teams won between 1951 and 2011. No other conference, not even Hockey East, won more in that span.

But when Robertson, a former N.H.L. executive, assumed the commissioner’s job in 2014, the W.C.H.A. resembled the Big East in another way — a famous name fronting a diminished lineup. Eight schools, the marquees among them, departed in 2013 for the newly-formed Big Ten and National Collegiate Hockey Conferences. The ensuing musical chairs of conference realignment left the W.C.H.A. with a loose confederation of remnants and outliers, along with the widest geographic footprint of any Division I conference, stretching from Alaska to Alabama.

It seemed untenable from the start. And now Robertson is struggling to hold it together.

Last June, seven schools — Minnesota State, Bemidji State, Bowling Green, Ferris State, Northern Michigan, Michigan Tech and Lake Superior State — announced plans to withdraw from the W.C.H.A. and possibly form a new conference for the 2021-22 season. That left only Alaska-Anchorage, Alaska-Fairbanks and Alabama-Huntsville, the W.C.H.A.’s farthest-flung members. This week, the departing seven programs reorganized as the Central Collegiate Hockey Association, reviving the name of a conference that dissolved in the previous realignment.

“There is no script for this situation,” Robertson said recently at the W.C.H.A. offices, located in a bleak office park near the Mall of America. “It’s a challenge every day, and I’m trying to do the best job I can being professional, honest and focused on the job at hand — to get us ready for the playoffs, conference championships, and the N.C.A.A. playoffs. I can’t take my eye off that piece.”

Hockey conferences need six teams for an automatic N.C.A.A. Tournament bid. Robertson said the two Alaska schools and Alabama-Huntsville are committed to the conference. Realistically, he has less than a year to find three more schools to keep the W.C.H.A. viable as a men’s league.

The women’s W.C.H.A. should not be affected. Of the seven withdrawing schools, only two field women’s teams, and Robertson said both plan to remain.

The presidents of the seven departing schools declined interview requests and directed inquiries to Morris Kurtz, a former college athletics administrator who serves as the group’s adviser. Kurtz would not say why the schools chose to leave.

“This is about seven like-minded schools going forward,” Kurtz said. “No one took a shot at anybody else, any other program.”

By resources and commitment, the seven departing W.C.H.A. schools have been on opposite trajectories from the others since the beginning. While Minnesota State, Bemidji State, Bowling Green and the Michigan schools invested in facilities and program upgrades, the Alaska schools faced state-mandated budget cuts to higher education that threatened men’s hockey’s survival. The Alaska state budget will trim $70 million from the university system over three years.

This season, Alaska-Anchorage shifted games from the 6,290-seat Sullivan Arena downtown to the 750-seat Seawolf Sports Complex on campus, a move that Athletic Director Greg Myford said saved $200,000 annually. The complex’s capacity ranks below the W.C.H.A. minimum of 2,500 and Myford soon plans to announce fund-raising for an expansion project to increase seating to as many as 3,000. Robertson approved the venue shift, a decision that did not sit well with some members.

Travel costs were another issue. To further cut expenses, the two Alaska programs sought to eliminate the travel subsidies they pay W.C.H.A. schools to come play them once a season. Alabama-Huntsville, which joined in 2013, also subsidizes travel. Alaska-Fairbanks Chancellor Dan White, chairman of the W.C.H.A.’s board of directors, declined to specify figures, but said the subsidies include airfare and some related costs — easily many thousands of dollars.

More than once, White said, it came up for a conference vote. “And of course, with seven teams receiving the subsidy and three paying, you can imagine how that vote turns out,” White said in a telephone interview from Fairbanks.

Illinois soon plans to add Division I hockey but is committed to the Big Ten. Mike Snee, executive director of College Hockey Inc., a nonprofit that promotes men’s Division I hockey, said his organization is helping six schools develop Division I programs. He declined to name them, and it’s not clear if any will field teams by 2021-22.

“Hopefully we will have some success getting some of these schools to move from the consideration stage to the actually adding and eventually playing hockey stage,” Snee said. “Of course they’ll need a conference to play in, and hopefully that can assist Alaska-Fairbanks, Alaska-Anchorage, Alabama-Huntsville, and other programs.”

If not, where could the W.C.H.A. turn? Perhaps to St. Thomas, the St. Paul school seeking N.C.A.A. approval to move directly to Division I from Division III. Robertson said he has talked to others as well.

Manchester City Defiant Despite Champions League Ban

0


The chief executive Ferran Soriano, in the club’s first on-camera comments, said charges of financial violations were “simply not true.”

Manchester City’s chief executive and its coach struck a defiant note Wednesday in the team’s first public comments on a two-year ban from the Champions League, saying charges that the club broke cost-control regulations in pursuit of on-field success were untrue and that City would fight to have the punishment overturned.

The chief executive, Ferran Soriano, made his comments in a video interview posted on the team’s website Wednesday morning, five days after the club was banned for two years from the Champions League, European soccer’s richest competition. Hours later, Manchester City’s manager, Pep Guardiola, spoke to reporters after the team’s first home match since the ban was imposed and said he was standing with the club “100 percent.”

Soriano, a former F.C. Barcelona executive hired in 2012 to lead the club after its takeover by Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed al Nahyan, one of the richest men in the world, said Manchester City was the victim of an injustice carried out by an independent panel convened by European soccer body’s governing body, UEFA. That body ruled that the club had seriously breached the organization’s financial regulations, and then had failed to cooperate with investigators looking into the allegations.

Soriano said the documentation the club presented in its defense was “irrefutable evidence that the claims are not true.”

“Ultimately,” he added, “based on our experience and our perception, this seems to be less about justice and more about politics.”

Soriano was the first Manchester City official to speak publicly on the ban since UEFA announced the punishment last Friday. The team’s fans picked up the cause hours later, during a Premier League match against West Ham. It was City’s first home game since the ban was announced, and during the first half the team’s supporters sang to UEFA, “We’ll see you in court!”

After City’s 2-0 victory, Guardiola added his voice to the club’s defense.

“It’s not finished,” he said of the case. “The club believes it’s unfair so we are going to appeal. We are going to wait.”

The case against Manchester City began after leaks of internal club emails in 2018 appeared to suggest the team misled UEFA’s financial controllers over the true sources of its revenue. The most damaging allegation was that the team’s principal sponsorship with the U.A.E.’s state-owned airline, Etihad, was largely made up of cash infusions from Sheikh Mansour’s investment fund.

Seated in a suite at the club’s headquarters and interviewed by a club staff member, Soriano insisted the allegations that Sheikh Mansour, who is the brother of the ruler of the United Arab Emirates, had used money under his control to finance the team’s rise were “simply not true.”

“The owner has not put money in this club that has not been properly declared,” he said.

“If the negative experience we had and the way this process went is negative, it’s negative also for them. UEFA is much bigger than this F.F.P. chamber.”

It is unclear how things will unfold now that UEFA’s administration will begin direct involvement in the case. UEFA failed to mount a defense when a decision by the adjudicatory chamber last year was challenged by Paris St.-Germain, another Gulf-owned team accused of overspending. UEFA also came to an agreement with Italy’s A.C. Milan before the CAS was able to make a determination in yet another F.F.P. case.

Whatever the resolution, the stakes are high. The penalty assessed to Manchester City is the most significant punishment UEFA has handed out in the decade since it created its financial fair play regulations, and if upheld its consequences for Manchester City’s balance sheet and its competitive future could be severe. Participation in the Champions League is worth about $100 million a year to the club, and missing out on it could factor into the career decisions of some of the team’s star players.

“I’m also looking for the end of this process to maybe also put an end to this undertone that we are hearing all the time that anything that we do, any result we get, is based only on money and not on talent or effort,” Soriano said.

Michigan Says It Is Investigating if Team Doctor Abused Students

0


The announcement by Michigan came months after a former student told the university that Dr. Robert E. Anderson had engaged in sexual misconduct.

The University of Michigan said Wednesday that it was investigating whether one of its doctors had assaulted patients across several decades, becoming at least the third Big Ten university to reckon with allegations of sexual misconduct by longtime members of its medical staff.

In a statement, Michigan said that “several individuals” had described sexual misconduct by Dr. Robert E. Anderson, who worked for the university for more than 30 years and died in 2008. Although Michigan did not detail the allegations, which it said included episodes as far back as the 1970s, the university’s president, Mark Schlissel, said that the accusations were “disturbing and very serious.”

Michigan said its campus police department had opened an inquiry last summer, after Warde Manuel, the athletic director, received a message from a former student who said that Anderson had engaged in abuse during medical exams in the ’70s. During the investigation, Michigan said, other people described “sexual misconduct and unnecessary medical exams,” including at least one allegation that wrongdoing had occurred in the ’90s.

Local prosecutors decided recently that they would not bring any charges in connection to the allegations against Anderson, in part because of the state’s statute of limitations, which is generally six years.

Steven Hiller, the chief assistant prosecuting attorney for Washtenaw County, Mich., said in an interview on Wednesday that “nothing in the report” from university authorities showed evidence of any crimes that could prompt charges against anyone who is still alive.

But the university, which issued its statement after The Detroit News approached Michigan for comment about allegations involving Anderson, said it was still asking others who may have been abused to speak with investigators from a law firm in Washington.

“As part of our commitment to understanding what happened and inform any changes we might need to make, we now are taking the next step to reach out to determine who else might be affected or have additional information to share,” Schlissel said. “Every person in our community should expect to feel safe and supported.”

Anderson was a fixture of the university’s campus in Ann Arbor. He earned his medical degree from Michigan in 1953, according to an obituary published in an alumni magazine that described him as “a pioneer in the field of sports medicine.” He worked under four football coaches — Bump Elliott, Bo Schembechler, Gary Moeller and Lloyd Carr — and was the director of the university’s student health service. He retired in 2003.

Until Wednesday, Michigan’s inquiry had been unfolding behind closed doors while Michigan State and Ohio State publicly grappled with abuses committed by team doctors.

Ohio State said last year that Dr. Richard H. Strauss, whose roles in Columbus included serving as a doctor for the athletic department, had abused at least 177 men in the 1970s, ’80s and ’90s. Critics of the university, including some involved in litigation against the school, assert that Strauss, who died by suicide in 2005, abused scores more people.

In August, a review panel said that medical regulators had unearthed evidence of abuse during Strauss’s life but that “systemic failures” at the university and the state’s medical board had for years “prevented any tangible administrative or criminal consequences.”

And at Michigan State, there has been sustained fallout from the case of Lawrence G. Nassar, the former team doctor for the school and for U.S.A. Gymnastics who sexually abused many girls and young women.

Nassar, who pleaded guilty to an array of charges, was effectively sentenced to life in prison, but prosecutors have also pursued others in connection with the investigation into his abuses.

That settlement offer, which a lawyer for many plaintiffs condemned as “unconscionable,” followed an agreement under which Michigan State promised to pay $500 million.

Back on the Field, Yoenis Cespedes Is Mum About What Kept Him Away

0


The Mets hope the two-time All-Star outfielder, sidelined by injuries since 2018, can return to form.

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — Mets outfielder Yoenis Cespedes is back with his team for the first time in 19 months, but he has yet to publicly discuss the series of injuries that kept him away.

Cespedes has not played since July 2018, recovering first from operations on both heels and later from an ankle fracture he sustained during a run-in with a wild boar on his ranch. Although he is at spring training, he is still not 100 percent healthy, and he has refused to speak with reporters.

“Not today, not tomorrow, not at all this year,” he said when approached by reporters at his locker on Monday, when the Mets had their first full-squad workout.

“Because I don’t want to,” Cespedes said when asked why.

Cespedes was limited in the first week of workouts, but he appears to be inching closer to full strength: Manager Luis Rojas estimated that Cespedes was at 75 to 80 percent. The return of the two-time All-Star could bolster a Mets offense that ranked 13th in the majors in runs scored last season.

“I have to be confident that he is going to do it,” Rojas said of Cespedes’s making a full recovery. “This guy is very determined.”

Cespedes, 34, has battled injuries for most of his career, which started with the Oakland Athletics in 2012 after he defected from Cuba. This latest problems began in May 2018, when he strained his right hip flexor. Two months later — after Cespedes returned for one game — his season was shut down so he could undergo operations on his heels to remove bone spurs and calcification near the Achilles’ tendons. The recovery time was expected to be eight to 10 months, which made his return for the 2019 season uncertain.

While recovering on his ranch in Port St. Lucie last May, Cespedes fractured his right ankle in what Mets General Manager Brodie Van Wagenen has described as a violent fall during an encounter with a wild boar. In December, multiple news outlets reported that Cespedes had agreed to a significant salary reduction, but that there were performance-based incentives added. He is in the final year of a four-year contract.

The team had been reluctant to share details of Cespedes’s recovery, stating only that he is progressing. Though the Mets’ workout on Monday was the first time that Cespedes had participated in official team activities since July 2018, videos he posted on social media in January showed him running and taking batting practice at the team’s spring training facility.

Cespedes took part in every workout this week, but at times broke away from the group to work individually with members of the Mets’ performance staff. Rojas said Cespedes could not yet run full out or make cutbacks; he was doing zigzags at one point, but Rojas said the staff had him stop.

Cespedes also did some defensive drills, including fly-ball practice, although the coaches were careful to send the balls so that he only ran straight to catch them. Known for his strong arm, Cespedes threw from the outfield to home plate this week, according to Rojas.

“That’s big news for us,” the manager said.

Cespedes also showed traces of his slugging self throughout the week — after a few stumbles early on. His bat went flying on Monday during batting practice, his first time facing live pitching. By Tuesday, though, he was hitting multiple balls over the fence, much to the delight of the crowd on hand. After, Cespedes made an effort to sign autographs and take pictures with fans.

On Thursday he got a line drive off Jacob deGrom, the reigning two-time Cy Young Award winner in the National League. That made deGrom smirk and shake his head, and the two joked about it together after the session.



Coronavirus: Authorities report first death in Italy

0


An Italian man infected with coronavirus died on Friday, becoming the first European death from the deadly illness that spread across the globe.

The elderly man died in a hospital in the northern city of Padua, Italian Health Minister Roberto Speranza said on Friday.

Earlier in the day, officials had ordered schools, public buildings, restaurants and coffee shops in ten towns in northern Italy to close after a cluster of 14 new COVID-19 cases emerged.

All cases were located in the Lombardy region, where a 38-year-old man fell ill with the virus after meeting someone who returned from China in late January. Five doctors and nurses and several patients were infected at the hospital in Codogno where he was treated.

Three other people, who all visited the same cafe in the Lombardy region, also tested positive for the virus.

People walking down an empty street in the vollage of Codogno, Italy amid the coronavirus scare

People walk down an empty street in the vollage of Codogno, Italy amid the coronavirus scare

Hundreds of people have been put in isolation and are being tested for the virus, Italian health officials have said. Over 150 co-workers of the 38-year-old as well 70 medical staff at Codogna hospital are among those being tested.

The new cases represent the first acquired through secondary contagion in Italy and brought the total number of confirmed cases up to 17.

COVID-19 spreads globally

South Korea also reported a rise of more than 100 virus cases on Friday, taking the total number of infected in the country to 204. The country also reported a second death from the virus.

Prime minister Chung Sye-kyun called the situation an emergency, and the cities of Daegu and Cheongdo have been designated special care zones.

Iran is also struggling to contain the virus. Authorities there announced 13 new cases as well as two deaths from the COVID-19 virus on Friday.  Most cases here are linked to the holy city of Qom, but people are infected in other cities too.

Lebanon reported its first cases of the virus — a 45-year-old woman who had recently traveled to Qom.

And authorities in Israel confirmed its first case — a passenger on the virus-stricken Diamond Princess cruise ship. The infected person had initially tested negative to the virus on arrival in Israel.

What’s the situation in South Korea?

Most of the cases in the country center around the Shincheonji Church of Jesus, a religious sect in the southern city of Daegu. More than 120 members of the church have been infected.

The government is trying to identify those who might have come in contact with infected people, and diagnose the disease at the earliest opportunity.

“We will proactively provide necessary assistance including sickbeds, personnel, and equipment,” the prime minister said in a meeting with senior officials.

The mayor of Daegu advised its population of over 2.4 million people to stay indoors.

What’s happening in Iran?

Iran has a total of 18 confirmed COVID-19 cases. Out of Friday’s 13 new cases, four came from Tehran, seven came from Qom, and four were from the Gilan province in the north, on the Caspian Sea, according to Kianush Jahanapur, the Health Ministry spokesman. 

Those not from Qom were linked to the city. Qom has now imposed special measures including closing schools and universities.

Iran stopped short on a complete ban on its citizens traveling to China, but it has stopped all flights except cargo flights to China in the past two weeks. Its civil aviation authority spokesperson said these are under supervision and checks are being carried out.

Turkey’s Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said officials have begun screen travelers arriving from Iran at border gates and are refusing entry to anyone with signs of illness. He also said Iranians who have traveled to Qom in the past 14 days will be refused entry.

Kuwait airways reacted to Iran’s outbreak, saying it was suspending all flights to the country.

Economic hit for China

Speaking with DW, President of the EU Chamber of Commerce in China Jörg Wuttke warned of short- and long-term effects the virus will likely have on the Chinese economy.

“The economy is going to take a major hit in the first quarter…Transportation is 80% down. Hotels and restaurants are all closed…there is not much activity if any at all. Manufacturing is partially coming back…but the first quarter is basically gone.” 

Supply chain disruption could have greater effects than those seen after the 2002-2003 SARS outbreak, he said.

Nevertheless, he was optimistic that international investors would retain interest in the country.

“China is the place to be. There is no second China,” he said.

kmm/aw (dpa, AP, AFP, Reuters)

Every evening, DW sends out a selection of the day’s news and features. Sign up here.



Mike Bloomberg to release three women from non-disclosure agreements

0


Democratic presidential nominee Mike Bloomberg on Friday said he  released three women from non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) that had forbidden them from discussing past harassment or discrimination suits against him.

In a statement on Twitter, the former mayor of New York said that Bloomberg LP, a media company he founded and still runs, had identified three cases of such agreements “signed over the past 30+ years with women to address complaints about comments they said I had made.”

The billionaire New Yorker wrote that if these women wished, they would “be given a release.”

‘Fat broads’ and ‘horse-faced lesbians’

The move followed sharp words delivered in a fiery TV debate earlier this week by fellow Democratic candidate Elizabeth Warren, who criticized Bloomberg for his company’s policy of using NDAs to silence employees.

In the ninth televised Democratic primary debate on Wednesday, the senator tore into Bloomberg over the policy and publicly called on him to say how many NDAs had been signed and for the signatories to be released.

Warren also pointed out that Bloomberg had previously described them as “fat broads” and “horse-faced lesbians.”

The senator, a former law professor, added that she had drawn up a release form that Bloomberg could use to free the women from their legally obligated silence.

In the debate, Bloomberg rejected the idea, saying the women in question had signed the agreements voluntarily.

End to NDAs at Bloomberg LP

The billionaire’s Friday statement only addressed three cases related to suits against him personally.

The women had worked for Bloomberg’s company, which employs some 20,000 people globally.

He also said that, under his leadership, Bloomberg LP would no longer use NDAs to deal with allegations of sexual misconduct or misconduct.

NDAs have the potential to “promote a culture of silence in the workplace and contribute to a culture of women not feeling safe or supported,” the statement read. 

The billionaire candidate said that, unlike President Donald Trump, he will be “a leader whom women can trust.”

The former mayor has tried in other ways to position himself in contrast to the US president, for example by saying he would release his tax returns and sell his company if elected. 

Bloomberg was late to join the crowded field of Democratic contenders but has since vastly outspent his rivals in an attempt to run against Trump in US presidential elections in November.

kp/bk (AP, dpa)

Every evening, DW sends out a selection of the day’s news and features. Sign up here.



Coronavirus: Authorities report first death in Italy

0


An Italian man infected with coronavirus died on Friday, becoming the first European death from the deadly illness that spread across the globe.

The elderly man died in a hospital in the northern city of Padua, Italian Health Minister Roberto Speranza said on Friday.

Earlier in the day, officials had ordered schools, public buildings, restaurants and coffee shops in ten towns in northern Italy to close after a cluster of 14 new COVID-19 cases emerged.

All cases were located in the Lombardy region, where a 38-year-old man fell ill with the virus after meeting someone who returned from China in late January. Five doctors and nurses and several patients were infected at the hospital in Codogno where he was treated.

Three other people, who all visited the same cafe in the Lombardy region, also tested positive for the virus.

People walking down an empty street in the vollage of Codogno, Italy amid the coronavirus scare

People walk down an empty street in the vollage of Codogno, Italy amid the coronavirus scare

Hundreds of people have been put in isolation and are being tested for the virus, Italian health officials have said. Over 150 co-workers of the 38-year-old as well 70 medical staff at Codogna hospital are among those being tested.

The new cases represent the first acquired through secondary contagion in Italy and brought the total number of confirmed cases up to 17.

COVID-19 spreads globally

South Korea also reported a rise of more than 100 virus cases on Friday, taking the total number of infected in the country to 204. The country also reported a second death from the virus.

Prime minister Chung Sye-kyun called the situation an emergency, and the cities of Daegu and Cheongdo have been designated special care zones.

Iran is also struggling to contain the virus. Authorities there announced 13 new cases as well as two deaths from the COVID-19 virus on Friday.  Most cases here are linked to the holy city of Qom, but people are infected in other cities too.

Lebanon reported its first cases of the virus — a 45-year-old woman who had recently traveled to Qom.

And authorities in Israel confirmed its first case — a passenger on the virus-stricken Diamond Princess cruise ship. The infected person had initially tested negative to the virus on arrival in Israel.

What’s the situation in South Korea?

Most of the cases in the country center around the Shincheonji Church of Jesus, a religious sect in the southern city of Daegu. More than 120 members of the church have been infected.

The government is trying to identify those who might have come in contact with infected people, and diagnose the disease at the earliest opportunity.

“We will proactively provide necessary assistance including sickbeds, personnel, and equipment,” the prime minister said in a meeting with senior officials.

The mayor of Daegu advised its population of over 2.4 million people to stay indoors.

What’s happening in Iran?

Iran has a total of 18 confirmed COVID-19 cases. Out of Friday’s 13 new cases, four came from Tehran, seven came from Qom, and four were from the Gilan province in the north, on the Caspian Sea, according to Kianush Jahanapur, the Health Ministry spokesman. 

Those not from Qom were linked to the city. Qom has now imposed special measures including closing schools and universities.

Iran stopped short on a complete ban on its citizens traveling to China, but it has stopped all flights except cargo flights to China in the past two weeks. Its civil aviation authority spokesperson said these are under supervision and checks are being carried out.

Turkey’s Health Minister Fahrettin Koca said officials have begun screen travelers arriving from Iran at border gates and are refusing entry to anyone with signs of illness. He also said Iranians who have traveled to Qom in the past 14 days will be refused entry.

Kuwait airways reacted to Iran’s outbreak, saying it was suspending all flights to the country.

Economic hit for China

Speaking with DW, President of the EU Chamber of Commerce in China Jörg Wuttke warned of short- and long-term effects the virus will likely have on the Chinese economy.

“The economy is going to take a major hit in the first quarter…Transportation is 80% down. Hotels and restaurants are all closed…there is not much activity if any at all. Manufacturing is partially coming back…but the first quarter is basically gone.” 

Supply chain disruption could have greater effects than those seen after the 2002-2003 SARS outbreak, he said.

Nevertheless, he was optimistic that international investors would retain interest in the country.

“China is the place to be. There is no second China,” he said.

kmm/aw (dpa, AP, AFP, Reuters)

Every evening, DW sends out a selection of the day’s news and features. Sign up here.



Mike Bloomberg to release three women from non-disclosure agreements

0


Democratic presidential nominee Mike Bloomberg on Friday said he  released three women from non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) that had forbidden them from discussing past harassment or discrimination suits against him.

In a statement on Twitter, the former mayor of New York said that Bloomberg LP, a media company he founded and still runs, had identified three cases of such agreements “signed over the past 30+ years with women to address complaints about comments they said I had made.”

The billionaire New Yorker wrote that if these women wished, they would “be given a release.”

‘Fat broads’ and ‘horse-faced lesbians’

The move followed sharp words delivered in a fiery TV debate earlier this week by fellow Democratic candidate Elizabeth Warren, who criticized Bloomberg for his company’s policy of using NDAs to silence employees.

In the ninth televised Democratic primary debate on Wednesday, the senator tore into Bloomberg over the policy and publicly called on him to say how many NDAs had been signed and for the signatories to be released.

Warren also pointed out that Bloomberg had previously described them as “fat broads” and “horse-faced lesbians.”

The senator, a former law professor, added that she had drawn up a release form that Bloomberg could use to free the women from their legally obligated silence.

In the debate, Bloomberg rejected the idea, saying the women in question had signed the agreements voluntarily.

End to NDAs at Bloomberg LP

The billionaire’s Friday statement only addressed three cases related to suits against him personally.

The women had worked for Bloomberg’s company, which employs some 20,000 people globally.

He also said that, under his leadership, Bloomberg LP would no longer use NDAs to deal with allegations of sexual misconduct or misconduct.

NDAs have the potential to “promote a culture of silence in the workplace and contribute to a culture of women not feeling safe or supported,” the statement read. 

The billionaire candidate said that, unlike President Donald Trump, he will be “a leader whom women can trust.”

The former mayor has tried in other ways to position himself in contrast to the US president, for example by saying he would release his tax returns and sell his company if elected. 

Bloomberg was late to join the crowded field of Democratic contenders but has since vastly outspent his rivals in an attempt to run against Trump in US presidential elections in November.

kp/bk (AP, dpa)

Every evening, DW sends out a selection of the day’s news and features. Sign up here.



Friends reunion CONFIRMED: ‘The One Where They All Got Back Together’

0


After more than 15 years since the hit show’s finale, the original cast will officially be getting back together for a special reunion this spring, according to WarnerMedia. The six original cast members – Jennifer Anniston (Rachel Green), Courteney Cox (Monica Geller), Lisa Kudrow (Phoebe Buffay), Matt Le Blanc (Joey Tribiani), Matthew Perry (Chandler Bing) and David Schwimmer (Ross Geller) will all reunite.

The episode will be an untitled, unscripted special on HBO Max, WarnerMedia’s new streaming service.

The special will film on the comedy’s original soundstage, Stage 24, on the Warner Bros. studio lot in Burbank, California.

Thanks to Netflix and other streaming platforms, the show has continued to live on far past its last episode in 2004.

More to follow…

Recent Posts