Archive for January 26th, 2020

China extends holiday to contain coronavirus as death toll rises – CTV News

January 26th, 2020

BEIJING — China on Monday expanded sweeping efforts to contain a viral disease by extending the Lunar New Year holiday to keep the public at home and avoid spreading infection as the death toll rose to 81.

Hong Kong announced it would bar entry to visitors from the province at the centre of the outbreak following a warning the virus’s ability to spread was growing. Travel agencies were ordered to cancel group tours nationwide, adding to the rising economic cost.

Increasingly drastic anti-disease efforts began with the Jan. 22 suspension of plane, train and bus links to Wuhan, a city of 11 million people in central China where the virus was first detected last month. That lockdown has expanded to a total of 17 cities with more than 50 million people in the most far-reaching disease-control measures ever imposed.

The end of the Lunar New Year holiday, China’s busiest travel season, was pushed back to Sunday from Thursday to “reduce mass gatherings” and “block the spread of the epidemic,” a Cabinet statement said.

The government of Shanghai, a metropolis of 25 million people and a global business centre, extended the holiday by an additional week within the city to Feb. 9. It ordered sports stadiums and religious events closed.

Tens of millions of people had been due to crowd into planes, trains and buses to return to work after visiting their hometowns or tourist sites for the holiday. Schools will postpone reopening until further notice, the Cabinet said.

The death toll rose Monday when the southern island province of Hainan in the South China Sea reported its first fatality, an 80-year-old woman whose family arrived from Wuhan on Jan. 17.

Hubei province, where Wuhan is located, has accounted for 76 of the deaths reported so far. There have been one each in Shanghai and the provinces of Hebei in the north, Heilongjiang in the northeast and Henan in central China.

The spread of the illness is being watched around the globe, with a small number of cases have appeared in other countries.

South Korea confirmed its fourth case Monday. Cases also have been confirmed in Thailand, Taiwan, Japan, the U.S., Vietnam, Singapore, Malaysia, Nepal, France, Canada and Australia.

The U.S. cases are in Washington state, Chicago, southern California and Arizona.

China also reported five cases in Hong Kong and two in Macao.

On Monday, China’s No. 2 leader, Premier Li Keqiang, visited Wuhan to “guide epidemic prevention work,” the Cabinet website said. Photos on the site showed Li, in a blue smock and green face mask, meeting hospital employees.

Later, the premier, wearing a face mask and a dark windbreaker, visited a supermarket. Shoppers, also wearing masks, cheered to him, “Happy New Year!”

“To get the epidemic under control in Wuhan and the good health of people in Wuhan will be good news for the whole country,” Li told the crowd. “We wish the people of Wuhan a safe, healthy and long life. Let’s go, Wuhan!”

Elsewhere, the Potala Palace in Lhasa, the Tibetan capital, closed indefinitely to tourists on Monday, the government announced. The former imperial palace in Beijing closed Friday until further notice and other major tourist sites also have shut down.

The U.S. Consulate in Wuhan, said it was arranging to evacuate its diplomats and some American citizens on Tuesday. The French government said it would fly its citizens in Wuhan to France and quarantine them there. Japan was preparing to fly its nationals out of Wuhan.

French automaker PSA Peugeot Citroen, which has a factory in Wuhan, said it was moving foreign employees and their families by bus to be quarantined in another city.

The disruption to industry and consumer spending threaten to depress Chinese economic growth that Beijing is struggling to shore up after it sank to a multi-decade low of 6.1% last year. That could spread shockwaves to Asian economies that rely on China as a source of tourists and export markets.

Chinese regulators called on banks and insurers in a statement Monday to support to people and companies affected by the outbreak.

The biggest impact will be on travel, hotels and restaurants but Chinese retail spending, factory output and investment also might suffer if the outbreak and quarantines last, forecasters say.

The outbreak is a “notable downside risk” to growth, though it “could potentially be a high impact but short-lived event,” said Tommy Wu and Priyanka Kishore of Oxford Economics in a report.

They pointed to the example of the 2002-2003 SARS outbreak, when economic activity plunged but recovered relatively quickly. The impact should be “less severe” than SARS because of faster official reaction and “increased transparency,” they said.

Abroad, economies including Hong Kong, Thailand, Vietnam, Singapore and Philippines with big tourism industries that rely on Chinese travellers “seem most at risk,” said Wu and Kishore.

The National Health Commission said 2,744 cases were confirmed by midnight Sunday.

The youngest patient is a 9-month-old girl in Beijing.

China’s health minister, Ma Xiaowei, said the country was entering a “crucial stage” as “it seems like the ability of the virus to spread is getting stronger.”

President Xi Jinping has called the outbreak a grave situation and said the government was stepping restrictions on travel and public gatherings while rushing medical staff and supplies to Wuhan.

The epidemic has revived memories of the SARS outbreak that originated in China and killed nearly 800 people.

Then, Chinese authorities were criticized for reacting slowly and failing to disclose information. The government has responded more aggressively to the latest outbreak.

The National Health Commission said anyone travelling from Wuhan is required to register with community health stations and quarantine themselves at home for 14 days — the virus’ maximum incubation period.

Authorities tightened controls on travellers who had earlier contact with Wuhan.

In the eastern city of Nanjing, 48 airline passengers arriving from Bangkok who were found to have left Wuhan during the outbreak were put into a 14-day quarantine, state TV reported on its website.

Hong Kong announced it would bar entry to travellers from Hubei, starting Monday. Hong Kong residents returning from the area will be allowed into the territory but were told to quarantine themselves at home.

Two of Hong Kong’s most popular tourist attractions, Hong Kong Disneyland and Ocean Park, closed.

Also Sunday, Wuhan banned most vehicle use, including private cars, in downtown areas. The city will assign 6,000 taxis to neighbourhoods to help people get around if they need to.

Wuhan is building two hospitals, one with 1,500 beds and another with 1,000, for the growing number of patients. The first is scheduled to be finished next week.

The National Health Commission said it is sending extra medical teams to Wuhan. The Chinese military dispatched 450 medical staff, some with experience in past outbreaks including SARS and Ebola.

The virus is from the coronavirus family that includes the common cold but also more severe illnesses like SARS and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome. The new virus causes cold- and flu-like symptoms, including cough and fever, and in more severe cases, shortness of breath and pneumonia.

The virus is thought to have spread to people from wild animals sold at a market in Wuhan. On Sunday, authorities banned trade in wild animals and called on the public to refrain from eating meat from them.

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2020 Grammys: Billie Eilish sweeps four major categories – Los Angeles Times

January 26th, 2020

Less than four years ago, when Billie Eilish was preparing for her first-ever performance at the Hi-Hat on York in Highland Park for about 50 people, few could have predicted that the then-15-year-old would go on to sweep the four major categories at the Grammy Awards. On Sunday, the 18-year-old accomplished that feat, in the process becoming only the second artist ever to do so.

Her wins come at the expense of the celebratory work that propelled singer-rapper Lizzo to the top of the charts. Like Eilish, Lizzo earned nods in all four major categories, but the “Truth Hurts” singer-rapper was denied at every turn.

Eilish got the trophies for work from her Darkroom/Interscope debut album, “When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?” Produced and co-written by her 22-year-old brother, Finneas O’Connell, Eilish’s era-defining album tallied billions of streams, many for her No. 1 Billboard Hot 100 single, “Bad Guy,” which earlier in the evening won for song and record of the year.

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In 1981, Christopher Cross won Grammys for album, song, record and best new artist. Until tonight, he was the only artist ever to sweep the big four categories.


Utah Military Academy confirms 2 teens who died of flu were students there –

January 26th, 2020

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah Military Academy has confirmed the identities of two teens who died recently from the flu as students who attended the school.

“Parents, we are incapable of adequately expressing our sorrow from the devastating loss of two cadets this weekend. Cadets Braxton Graham (8th grade) and Jaime Navarro (11th grade) passed away at Primary Children’s Hospital from unrelated illnesses on Friday and Saturday, respectively,” school administration said in an email to parents.

The school confirmed the validity of the email to the Deseret News. Utah Military Academy is free public charter school in Ogden for students in seventh through 12 grade.

Friends and relatives of the teens who died remembered them on each’s respective GoFundMe memorial page set up for family members.

“Jaime was a light to our sixth grade students and teachers at Roy Elementary. I am heartbroken. Sending love and prayers,” one woman said of Jaime.

“School will not be the same without you. Me and my family hurt for you and yours. You were a great friend. And all of us on the Ranger team will miss you,” another commenter wrote.

A family friend remembered Braxton on his GoFundMe as “the BEST big brother to his 7 year old sister, 3 & 1 year old brothers.”

“He was turning into such a funny teenager! Always cracking jokes and being silly. He talked about joining the Air Force when he got older,” Braxton’s memorial page said.

School officials said the teens died from different strains of the virus, and assured parents the school prioritizes cleanliness and cadet safety.

“The cadets’ deaths remain under investigation, but currently there are no known additional links. The health department is encouraging families to get the flu vaccine, keep cadets home from school when they are ill, and practice good hand-washing/respiratory etiquette,” school administration urged.

“Secondly, our cleaning company is taking extra measures to sanitize and disinfect the school this afternoon as a precaution, and teachers will do their best to continue to keep classrooms sanitized between classes during flu season,” the statement continued.

Classes will continue on Monday, according to the email, with additional counselors available to talk to the teachers and students.

With flu activity currently considered high and widespread throughout the state, health officials are encouraging people it’s not too late to get vaccinated.

“We know the community is seeing high levels of influenza-like illness right now, and it is widespread throughout the state. Both strains identified in the cadets are known to be circulating in the community right now, and both are considered normal seasonal influenza strains. Also, protection against both strains identified are included in this year’s influenza vaccine,” the Weber-Morgan Health Department said in a statement included in the email.

Fifty-four pediatric deaths from the flu have occurred in the U.S. this flu season, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Contributing: Tania Dean

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DJ Khaled Brings Nipsey Hussle’s Family Backstage at the Grammys – Variety

January 26th, 2020

After winning the Grammy award for best rap/sung performance for “Higher,” DJ Khaled goes backstage with the late rapper Nipsey Hussle’s family to answer questions from reporters.


Grammys 2020: Billie Eilish Wins Album of the Year – Pitchfork

January 26th, 2020

Billie Eilish has won the 2020 Grammy for Album of the Year for her debut, WHEN WE ALL FALL ASLEEP, WHERE DO WE GO?. She won the award over Bon Iver, Lana Del Rey, Ariana Grande, Lizzo, Vampire Weekend, H.E.R., and Lil Nas X. Eilish, who performed at the ceremony, took home the awards for Best New Artist and Song of the Year for “bad guy” earlier tonight. She was up for six awards this year, including Best Pop Vocal Album for her debut. At 18, Eilish is the youngest artist to win the award. Taylor Swift was 20 when she won Album of the Year for Fearless.

In addition to Album of the Year, Eilish was awarded Best New Artist, Song of the Year, and Record of the Year.

Check out “How Billie Eilish Became an ASMR Icon” on the Pitch. Follow all of Pitchfork’s coverage of the 2020 Grammys.

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Watch Billie Eilish on Pitchfork’s “Over/Under”:


2020 Grammys honors Nipsey Hussle with star-studded tribute following his posthumous win – Fox News

January 26th, 2020

Late rapper Nipsey Hussle was honored at the 2020 Grammy Awards with a star-studded tribute performance just hours after winning his first Grammy posthumously.

John Legend, YG, Meek Mill, Roddy Ricch, Kirk Franklin and DJ Khaled took the stage at the 62nd annual Grammy Awards Sunday to sing a medley of the late rapper’s songs while celebrating his life and career.

“When we lost you it really put some pain on me,” Mill said in the somber solo rap that opened the tribute to his fellow rapper who was shot and killed 10 months ago at age 33.

Things got more celebratory when Khaled and John Legend appeared.


“Everybody get up out your seats, we’re doin’ this for Nipsey Hussle!” Khaled shouted to the crowd Sunday at Staples Center, as video of a rapping Hussle appeared on a big screen.

Hussle, born Ermias Asghedom, was shot and killed in an attack outside of his clothing store that wounded two others. Police later arrested and charged Eric Holder. Hussle was considered a beloved figure in the community that he was seeking to rebuild, starting with his clothing store. And he earned widespread praise for his philanthropic streak.

The show’s high-energy tribute performance concluded with an image of Hussle and Kobe Bryant projected on-screen behind the performers.

“Long live Nipsey,” DJ Khaled shouted at the end of the performance. “Long Live Kobe.”

Bryant died unexpectedly at 41-years-old hours prior to the Grammys in a helicopter crash near Calabasas, Calif. The late NBA player was honored at the top of the show by host Alicia Keys with a tribute sang in tandem with Boyz II Men.


The tributes came after Hussle earned the accolade for best rap performance for his track “Racks in the Middle” along with collaborators Roddy Ricch and Hit-Boy.

The Recording Academy shared the news on its Twitter shortly before the telecast began.

“Congrats Best Rap Performance Winner – “Racks in the Middle,” the tweet reads.


The rapper beat out other stars nominated in his category including J. Cole, Dababy, Dreamville, Offset and Cardi B. Hussle was nominated for two other awards: He lost best rap song to J. Cole and 21 Savage. Meanwhile, DJ Khaled and John Legend dedicated the award for best rap/sung performance to the late rapper after winning for their collaboration, “Higher.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


Possible coronavirus case being investigated at William Penn Charter School –

January 26th, 2020
PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) — Officials at William Penn Charter in East Falls are working with officials from the Philadelphia Department of Public Health to determine whether an exchange student from China might be infected with the coronavirus.

The student is among a group of teens who caught a connecting flight out of Wuhan City, ground zero for the illness, before arriving in the U.S. earlier this month.

The child felt unwell last week and has received medical treatment, and is actually feeling better.

Health department officials have reassured school administrators that the risk to any of the visiting students or chaperones having the coronavirus is very low.

Test results are due in the coming days.

Copyright © 2020 WPVI-TV. All Rights Reserved.


Tyler the Creator Says Best Rap Album Win Feels Like a ‘Backhanded Compliment’ – msnNOW

January 26th, 2020

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(video provided by CBS Entertainment)

Tyler the Creator graciously accepted his Best Rap Album statuette, his first ever win, at the 2020 Grammys Sunday night, but as soon as he got to the press room backstage, the IGOR singer had something to get off his chest. Sure, he’s willing to accept his album is great … but does the Recording Academy automatically consider his music rap just because he’s black?

“I’m half and half on it,” Tyler told reporters. “On one side, I’m very grateful that what I make can be acknowledged in a world like this but also it sucks that whenever we — and I mean guys that look like me — do anything that’s genre-bending, they always put it in a rap or urban category. I don’t like that ‘urban’ word; that’s a politically correct way of using the n-word to me. So when I hear that I’m just like, why can’t we just be in pop?”

a person wearing a red hat: “Why can’t we just be in pop?” Frederic J. Brown/AFP via Getty Images
© Frederic J. Brown/AFP via Getty Images “Why can’t we just be in pop?” Frederic J. Brown/AFP via Getty Images

“Half of me feels like the rap nomination is a backhanded compliment,” he continued. “Like my little cousin wants to play the game, wants me to unplug the controller so he can shut up and feel good about it. That’s what it felt like to me. But the other half of me is very grateful that the art that I make can be acknowledged on a level like this, when I don’t do the radio stuff. I’m not played in Target. I’m in a whole different world from what people here listen to, so I’m grateful.”

The California-born musician also reflected on the sudden, shocking death of legendary Laker Kobe Bryant on Sunday. “That news was heavy, especially just being in LA,” said Tyler. “If you’re from Los Angeles, that s— is really, really heavy. Rest in peace to Kobe. That hurt, but also we took a win just being from Los Angeles and taking that home.”

Reporting by Eve Barlow.

In Photos: 2020 Grammys Winners and Highlights (via Photo Services)


Persona 5 Scramble Details Kyoto, Osaka, and Zenkichi Hasegawa – Siliconera

January 26th, 2020

China virus death toll now at 81, more than 2,700 cases confirmed – Al Jazeera English

January 26th, 2020

China said on Monday that the death toll from a deadly outbreak of coronavirus jumped to 81 as the hard-hit province of Hubei announced 24 new fatalities and expanded measures to keep people at home during what is usually the country’s biggest holiday season.

Total confirmed cases nationwide rose sharply to 2,744, officials said as state media reported the first death in Hainan province: an 80-year-old woman.

The national tally of verified infections rose by 769, about half of them in Hubei, the National Health Commission said. It said 461 of those infected were in a serious condition.


China has sealed off Hubei in the country’s centre, an unprecedented operation affecting tens of millions of people which is intended to slow the transmission of the respiratory virus.

The end of the Lunar New Year holiday, China’s busiest travel season, was pushed back to Sunday from Friday to “effectively reduce mass gatherings” and “block the spread of the epidemic”, a cabinet statement said. Schools will also postpone reopening until further notice, it added.

Cases have been confirmed in the semi-autonomous territories of Macau and Hong Kong, where the government is turning holiday camps into quarantine centres. 

South Korea confirmed its fourth case on Monday.

Scattered cases have also been confirmed in Thailand, Taiwan, Japan, the United States, Vietnam, Singapore, Malaysia, Nepal, France, Canada and Australia. The US has confirmed cases in Washington state, Chicago, southern California and Arizona.

The previously unknown contagion has caused global concern because of its similarity to the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) pathogen, which originated in China in 2002 and went on to kill hundreds of people not only in mainland China but also in Hong Kong and further afield.

Al Jazeera’s Adrian Brown, who reported on the SARS virus, said that while it did appear that China was now being more open in some ways not much had changed.

“We know the virus in Wuhan began to appear at the end of November but it was not until the end of December that officials notified the WHO, and it was only after Xi Jinping said he wanted full transparency that all this data began to be released,” Brown said from Hong Kong. 

Censorship had fed deep scepticism about the information being released, he added.

Drastic travel restrictions have been imposed beyond the epicentre, with Shandong province and four cities – Beijing, Shanghai, Xian and Tianjin – announcing bans on long-distance buses entering or leaving.

The densely populated southern province of Guangdong, Jiangxi in central China and three cities made it mandatory for residents to wear face masks in public.

The virus is thought to have originated in a seafood market that also sold wild animals in Hubei’s capital of Wuhan towards the end of last year.

The government said in a statement on Monday that Premier Li Keqiang had visited the city to inspect the ongoing efforts to contain the epidemic and spoke with patients and medical staff.

SOURCE: Al Jazeera and news agencies

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