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How the coronavirus crisis destroyed the Xi ‘myth’ – Asia Times

February 18th, 2020

This is rapidly becoming the Year of the Virus.

As President Xi Jinping’s administration struggles to restore trust after China’s Covid-19 outbreak, a new narrative has emerged with the rest of the world cast as the villain.

The mantra appears to be ‘if in doubt, blame everyone else and dress it up as an international conspiracy’.

For the state-run media machine, the plot lines have changed to protect Xi and the inner circle of the ruling Communist Party after it was revealed that they knew about the scale of the unfolding disaster two weeks before informing the public.

CGTN, the global arm of Beijing’s propaganda push, set the tone last week in an article entitled Don’t Kick China When It’s Down by influential presenter Liu Xin.

“To imply there’s a connection between the virus and the Chinese nationality or race is wrong and insensitive, at a time when people are dying, and enormous sacrifice is being made,” Liu wrote on China-US Focus, a website for academic discussion.

On Tuesday, Yukteshwar Kumar, of the University of Bath in the United Kingdom, carried on the theme when he accused the West of stigmatizing the world’s second-largest economy.

“The West and the whole world need to understand clearly that no matter in which country a public health threat emerges, no country is powerful enough to have all the resources, all the medical facilities, all the manpower, all the expertise and all the kits available to combat against these sorts of epidemics within a few days,” he wrote in a commentary for China Daily, the leading state-run English-language newspaper

“The whole world should show solidarity, and jointly fight against this invisible enemy with China. The West does not need to criticize or ridicule the Chinese government or denigrate the Chinese people,” he added.

Since the epidemic swept through Wuhan in Hubei province last month, the death toll has climbed to more than 2,000 with at least 75,000 people infected. Up to 60 million have been placed in de facto quarantine across the country in a move to curb the outbreak.

Yet transparency issues have bubbled just beneath the surface, triggering anger on social media sites and rattling Xi’s cabinet. In response, Beijing has launched a crackdown on critics who have dared to voice concerns over the handling of the coronavirus crisis.

Academic Xu Zhiyong, the founder of the social campaign New Citizens Movement, was reportedly arrested at the weekend in the southern city of Guangzhou after accusing General Secretary Xi of being “clueless.”

“The virus outbreak shows just how important values like freedom of expression and transparency are – the exact values that Xu has long advocated,” Yaqiu Wang, a China researcher at Human Rights Watch, said.

Another high-profile victim appears to be Xu Zhangrun, a well-respected professor of law at the prestigious Tsinghua University in Beijing.

After publishing an online critique of Xi entitled Viral Alarm: When Fury Overcomes Fear, he was placed under house arrest by the security forces and barred from using the internet, according to media reports.

“They confined him at home under the pretext that he had to be quarantined after a trip,” a close friend told the London-based newspaper, The Guardian. “He was in fact under de facto house arrest and his movements were restricted.”

A climate of “fear” now exists as China’s central government closes down chatrooms of dissent. Moreover, every aspect of the coronavirus coverage on state-run media has Xi at the center of the message. 

Even so, that has failed to hide the damage which has been inflicted on the country’s political elite, especially after the death of “People’s Martyr” and Wuhan whistleblower Li Wenliang.

“Given that it was China’s prevailing ‘Ministry of Fear’ approach to freedom of information that allowed the virus to silently infect communities, it remains to be seen whether this doubling down will see Xi emerge as China’s savior or a victim of the sunk-cost fallacy – an increasing commitment to ever-diminishing rewards,” Chris Taylor, an associate partner with the Access Asia Group, a risk-management firm based in Singapore, told Asia Times.

“To be sure, China’s Party Chairman has enormous powers at his disposal – and he will use them – but he’s now facing an unprecedented shift in the Chinese public mood. He is undoubtedly facing the challenge of his political career. Xi has extensive experience at silencing viral ideas, but controlling an actual virus itself is outside his experience, so at the very least we can say he appears to be playing a high-risk game,” Taylor said.

Yet one of the “hallmarks” of an “authoritarian system” is the refusal to admit mistakes. 

Freedom of information is usually one of the first casualties, Richard Haass, the president of the Council on Foreign Relations, pointed out.

“The most lasting impact will likely be the effects this virus has on China’s politics. Precious weeks were lost as local officials would not assume responsibility lest central authorities subsequently blame them,” he said on the New York-based think tank’s website. 

“This paralysis is a consequence of President Xi’s consolidation of power, which has left provincial officials unable or unwilling to exercise their authority without the central leadership’s blessing. Xi’s signature anti-corruption campaign, arguably more of a political purge, has in many instances replaced capable technocrats with party loyalists.”

How this will play out in the weeks and months ahead is in the realm of clairvoyance.

But academic Yuen Yuen Ang, of the University of Michigan, has peered into her crystal ball and concluded that “Chinese politics and governance will not be the same” after the epidemic has finally been eradicated.

“Xi cannot avoid blame for the backlash against his restrictive domestic policies and assertive actions abroad, which had already begun to undercut support for him even before the epidemic. With the death of Li Wenliang, a doctor who was rebuked by state authorities for warning others about the virus, the failings of Xi’s top-down approach have been laid bare,” she said in a commentary for Project Syndicate.

“The myth that Xi and his supporters have sustained about the virtues of centralized control has been demolished. Li’s parting words, ‘A healthy society should not have only one voice,’ will remain etched in the minds of hundreds of millions of Chinese, who have seen for themselves that censorship can endanger their lives.”

Welcome, to the Year of the Virus.

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‘We need to be patient’: Indigenous leaders call for dialogue amid rail blockades – CTV News

February 18th, 2020

TORONTO — Indigenous leaders are calling for the government to engage with the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs in hopes of finding a mutually beneficial solution to the ongoing rail blockades.

“I think we need to be patient and see what dialogue will bring,” Assembly of First Nations National Chief Perry Bellegarde said Tuesday morning.

“Our people are taking action because they want to see action. And when they see positive action by the key players, when they see a commitment to real dialogue to address this difficult situation, people will respond in a positive way.”

Bellegarde was joined by four other Indigenous leaders at a press conference in Ottawa, but the group was split over whether or not the blockades should come to an end.

Mohawk Council of Kanesatake Grand Chief Serge Otsi Simon faced immediate backlash after he called for the blockades to come down.

“There are many ways of showing support. There are many ways of protesting something. It puts an enormous amount of pressure on governments and industry. So, do we look at the rail blockades as having served its purpose for now? I’m simply pleading with the protesters that have you made your point yet? Has the government and the industry understood? I think they did,” Simon said.

“Now, removing the blockades doesn’t mean you surrender anything. It just means you tell the government, OK, we’re going to show good faith.”

Shortly after those comments, a small group of protesters gathered outside Simon’s administrative office in Quebec to voice frustration with the leader.

Mohawk Council of Kahnawake Grand Chief Joseph Norton did not go so far as to call for the blockades to end, and instead insisted that there are several keys steps before that can happen.

“At some point in time, this has to come to a peaceful end. But in the meantime there are certain guarantees that everybody is looking for that need to be put in place. All the parties need to be able to work together to ensure that happens. It’s not incumbent on one group of people,” Norton said.

“Those people on the frontlines need to have the reassurance that their voice is heard, that the actions that they took have meaning, and something positive will come out of that. So when that happens, then you’re going to see a backing off and a quiet resolution to this.”

Tyendinaga Mohawk Council Chief R. Donald Maracle, who comes from the Belleville, Ont. community where one major blockade is in place, refused to say whether or not he thinks the blockades should come down.

“I don’t want to say something that would only inflame people that are protesting, not only in my community, but across the country,” Maracle said.

Instead, he said the conversation needs to be focused squarely on the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs and their concerns about the pipeline project crossing their territory.

“We need to hear from the traditional chiefs, what it is they object to and do they have a proposal to bring to the table that should be considered. And that’s where the attention should be,” he said.

Whatever the solution may be, advocate and former northern Manitoba grand chief Sheila North said it must be local and neither Bellegarde nor the Assembly of First Nations can be the voice for all Indigenous people.

“He can help and coordinate who needs to be there and show the importance of what needs to be highlighted. But then he needs to get out of the way and let that real dialogue happen,” North said.

Protesters across Canada are blocking rail lines in what many describe as a show of solidarity with Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs, who have opposed the construction of the Coastal GasLink pipeline project through their territory. The project has been approved by elected band councils along the route.

Those blockades have brought rail traffic to a standstill. CN Rail said it had no choice but to cancel its entire eastern rail network, and most Via Rail train service has been halted nationwide.

Business leaders have voiced frustration over the blockades and called on the federal government to take swift and strong action to end the shutdown.

“The damage inflicted on the Canadian economy and on the welfare of all our citizens mounts with each hour that these illegal disruptions are allowed to continue,” a letter sent to Trudeau on Tuesday by business leaders reads.

On Tuesday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau addressed the crisis in a speech in the House of Commons, calling the disputes a “critical moment” for Canada.

“Just like we need protesters and Indigenous leaders to be partners, we also need all Canadians to show resolve and collaboration,” he said. “We cannot solve these problems on the margins. That is not the way forward. I know that people’s patience is running short. We need to find a solution. And we need to find it now.”

Outgoing Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer slammed the prime minister’s remarks, calling them “the weakest response to a national crisis in Canadian history.”

“Standing between our country and prosperity is a small group of radical activists, many of whom have little to no connection to First Nations communities. A bunch of radical activists who won’t rest until our oil and gas industry is entirely shut down,” Scheer said.

Back at the blockade near Belleville, Karen Randall Blanchet stopped by to hand out pizza and coffee to the protesters. She brought her two children along with her for the visit.

“I think that a lot of people believe that this is a violent protest, and it’s not. It’s a very peaceful protest by people who are trying to protect the environment,” she said.

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Emperion Nebulus phone runs Android, Windows 10 on ARM if you believe it – SlashGear

February 18th, 2020

737 Max: Debris found in new planes’ fuel tanks – BBC News

February 18th, 2020
A Boeing 737 MAX 8 airplane is pictured outside the company's factory.Image copyright Getty Images

Boeing’s crisis-hit 737 Max jetliner faces a new potential safety issue as debris has been found in the fuel tanks of several new planes which in storage, awaiting delivery to airlines.

The head of Boeing’s 737 programme has told employees that the discovery was “absolutely unacceptable”.

A Boeing spokesman said the company did not see the issue further delaying the jet’s return to service.

It comes as the 737 Max remains grounded after two fatal crashes.

The US plane maker said it discovered so-called “Foreign Object Debris” left inside the wing fuel tanks of several undelivered 737 Maxs.

A company spokesman told the BBC: “While conducting maintenance we discovered Foreign Object Debris (FOD) in undelivered 737 Max airplanes currently in storage. That finding led to a robust internal investigation and immediate corrective actions in our production system.”

Foreign Object Debris is an industrial term for rags, tools, metal shavings and other materials left behind by workers during the assembly process.

The revelation is the latest in a string of problems affecting what was once Boeing’s best-selling plane.

The aircraft has been grounded by regulators around the world since March 2019.

It was banned from flying after two separate crashes killed 346 people.

737 Max timeline

  • 29 October 2018: A 737 Max 8 operated by Lion Air crashes after leaving Indonesia, killing all 189 people on board
  • 31 January 2019: Boeing reports an order of 5,011 Max planes from 79 customers
  • 10 March 2019: A 737 Max 8 operated by Ethiopian Airlines crashes, killing all 157 people on board
  • 14 March 2019: Boeing grounds entire 737 Max aircraft fleet

The US regulator, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), told the BBC that it was monitoring the plane maker’s response to the new issue: “The FAA is aware that Boeing is conducting a voluntary inspection of undelivered aircraft for Foreign Object Debris (FOD) as part of the company’s ongoing efforts to ensure manufacturing quality.

“The agency increased its surveillance based on initial inspection reports and will take further action based on the findings,” it added.

Boeing said it didn’t expect the issue to cause any fresh delays to the 737 Max’s return to service, which the company said could happen by the middle of this year.

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Samsung Continues Support for Crypto with New Flagship Smartphone – CoinDesk – Coindesk

February 18th, 2020

Samsung Electronics’ newly launched Galaxy smartphone will come with the same crypto storage facilities found on previous models.

Unveiling the Samsung Galaxy S20 range recently, the Korean tech giant said the phone’s security system includes a new “secure processor dedicated to protecting your PIN, password, pattern and Blockchain Private Key.”

Although Samsung gave much more website real estate to the S20’s improved battery-life and picture-capturing capabilities, the reference to private keys suggests Samsung’s new model will continue to have the same cryptocurrency storage facilities found in previous models.

Cryptocurrency private key storage will be available as standard across the entire S20 range.

Samsung first added support for cryptocurrencies in March 2018, when it integrated a wallet device into its then-top model, the Galaxy S10. In July, the company introduced a developer kit that allowed third parties to create specially designed dapps for the phone. One such dapp allowed users to pay for goods and services in stored cryptocurrencies by scanning a merchants’ QR code.

At the time of launch, the wallet was only compatible with ether and ER20 tokens, but Samsung added support for bitcoin in September and included TRON later that year in October. Although initially exclusive to the S10 range, the company said in May that it wanted to “lower barriers” and add cryptocurrency support for some of its more budget models.

The S20 range is expected to go on sale on March 6.

Disclosure Read More

The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups.

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Scheer slams Trudeau government’s response to rail crisis – Global News

February 18th, 2020

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he’s committed to dialogue with Indigenous protesters over ending the ongoing rail blockades. But as Abigail Bimman reports, Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer doesn’t think the prime minister is doing enough to address the crisis.

Plus, Robin Gill looks at past clashes between Indigenous protesters and the government in Oka, Quebec and Ipperwash, Ont.

For more info, please go to https://globalnews.ca/news/6565863/we…
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Global Death Toll from COVID-19 Surpasses 2,000, Though China Maintains Outbreak Slowing Down – Gizmodo

February 18th, 2020

Chinese security personnel wear masks in Beijing on Feb. 18, 2020.
Photo: Kevin Frayer (Getty Images)

More than 2,000 people have died from the ongoing outbreak of the novel SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus which causes a disease known as COVID-19, CNN reported on Tuesday, citing the latest figures including an updated tally from China’s National Health Commission.

The official count of infected has now exceeded 75,100, most of them in the center of the outbreak in mainland China. According to the New York Times, however, the climb in the number of confirmed cases has slowed slightly since Feb. 12, with the count of new infected in China dipping below 2,000 on Feb. 18 (1,886) and Feb. 19 (1,749) for the first time since Jan. 30. Chinese authorities and health officials across the globe have shown cautious optimism that the increasingly harsh measures imposed in China to halt COVID-19’s spread (with nearly half the population facing some movement restrictions) may be beginning to work, the Times wrote.

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China’s ambassador to the European Union said earlier this week that the country expects the global impact to be “limited, short-term, and manageable,” according to Reuters. President Xi Jinping has sought to downplay concerns that the virus will further rock the Chinese economy, with state media reporting that he reassured British Prime Minister Boris Johnson that “visible progress” is being made.

World Health Organization officials said that the lockdowns have slowed the spread of the virus from its epicenter in Wuhan, Hubei province by two to three days and from China to the rest of the world by the same number of weeks, according to the Times. World Health Organization chief of rapid response Dr. Michael Ryan told the paper, “Right now, the strategic and tactical approach in China is the correct one. You can argue whether these measures are excessive or restrictive on people, but there is an awful lot at stake here in terms of public health—not only the public health of China but of all people in the world.”

However, University of Hong Kong chief of virology Malik Peiris told the Times that it’s too early to tell whether the virus is slowing: “It could be unwise for anybody in China, or outside China, to be complacent that this is coming under control at this point in time.”

The case fatality rate of COVID-19 among identified infected is currently believed to be around 2.5 percent, compared to around 0.10 to 0.18 percent for the annual U.S. flu; that’s far lower than some other attention-grabbing novel viruses like SARS (around 10 percent). The vast majority of cases (80 percent, according to a study by the Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevent) only minor symptoms. Many factors, such as how transmissible it is and how long it can survive on surfaces remain unclear, and it is possible that there are many unreported cases. A vaccine is likely at least 12 to 18 months away.

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Some 613 cases of the virus have now been identified in Japan, according to CNN, but a whopping 545 of those were on the Diamond Princess cruise ship docked in Yokohama. Other than the 68 infections in mainland Japan, CNN wrote, there have been 81 identified infections in Singapore and 62 in Hong Kong. In the entirety of Europe the number of confirmed cases is 42.

National Institutes of Health immunologist Dr. Anthony Fauci told CNBC on Tuesday that the slowdown has yet to be confirmed. Fauci told the network that “we need to give it a few more days to determine if that’s real or if that’s the variability that you generally see.”

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“The degree with which they have shut down travel through major cities, encompassing about 50 million people including the entire 11 million person city of Wuhan … is really unprecedented,” Fauci added. “… It might actually work, as unusual as such a move is to stop an outbreak.”

According to the Times, an estimated 150 million people in China are largely confined to homes, with a total of 760 million living in areas facing some kind of restriction. Enforcement ranges from a district of Xi’an where residents are only allowed out every two to three days for two hours to ID and temperature checks in residential communities.

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Ryan Newman Daytona 500 crash shows racing never truly safe – CTV News

February 18th, 2020

DAYTONA BEACH, FLA. — Dale Earnhardt’s death on the final lap of the Daytona 500 may have saved Ryan Newman’s life.

Earnhardt died 19 years ago Tuesday, the same day Roush Fenway Racing said Newman was awake and talking to doctors and family following his own harrowing accident on the last lap of the biggest race of the year.

Earnhardt died instantly when he hit the wall at Daytona International Speedway in what is considered the darkest day in NASCAR history. It triggered a chain reaction of safety improvements as the sanctioning body put a massive emphasis on protecting its drivers.

So it was jarring when Newman went airborne on the final lap of Monday night’s rain-rescheduled Daytona 500 — a grim reminder that racing cars at 200 mph inches away from other drivers will never be safe.

Newman had just taken the lead when fellow Ford driver Ryan Blaney received a huge push from Denny Hamlin that put Blaney on Newman’s bumper. At that point, Blaney said his only goal was to push Newman across the finish line so a Ford driver would beat Hamlin in a Toyota. Instead, their bumpers never locked correctly and the shove Blaney gave Newman caused him to turn right and hit a wall. His car flipped, went airborne, and was drilled again in the door by another driver. That second hit sent the car further into the air before it finally landed on its hood and slid toward the finish line at Daytona International Speedway.

His spotter pleaded with Newman on the in-car radio “Talk to me when you can, buddy,” but no words came from the driver.

An industry so accustomed over the last two decades to seeing drivers climb from crumpled cars with hardly a scratch held its breath as it took nearly 20 minutes for the 42-year-old to be removed from the car. It was another two hours before NASCAR said Newman was in serious condition at a hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

Roush Fenway Racing said Tuesday that Newman “is awake and speaking with family and doctors. Ryan and his family have expressed their appreciation for the concern and heartfelt messages from across the country. They are grateful for the unwavering support of the NASCAR community and beyond.”

No information was given on specific injuries.

This was a scare NASCAR has dodged for 19 years. Carl Edwards sailed into a fence at Talladega in 2009, climbed from the burning wreckage and then jogged across the finish line to complete the race. Kyle Larson in a 2009 Xfinity Series race flew into the Daytona fencing and walked away unscathed even though the front half of his car had been completely torn away.

Kyle Busch crashed into a concrete wall at Daytona the day before the 500 in 2015. He broke both his legs and still was able to get himself out of the car. Five months later, Austin Dillon ripped out a section of Daytona fencing, landed upside down in a destroyed race car, and after he was pulled to safety by team members, he flapped both hands in the air for the crowd in a tribute to the signature celebration of the late bull-rider Lane Frost.

Perhaps it has created a false sense of security in today’s cars because so many drivers have walked away from so many accidents.

“The number one thing that NASCAR always does is put safety before competition, you’ve got to have a car that’s safe,” said Hamlin, who went on to win his third Daytona 500 in the last five years. “You’ve got to have all your equipment that’s safe, and the sport has been very fortunate to not have anything freak or weird happen for many, many years. But a lot of that is because of the development and the constant strive to make things better and safer.

“I thank my lucky stars every day that I came in the sport when I did.”

Just five years before Hamlin arrived on the scene, Earnhardt was the fourth driver to die of a basilar skull fracture in an eight-month span. Adam Petty was killed in a 2000 crash at New Hampshire, a mere hundred or so yards from where Kenny Irwin had a fatal impact two months later. Tony Roper was killed in October in a crash at Texas.

But Earnhardt’s death shook the sport to its core. The seven-time champion was the toughest man anyone knew and no crash was going to claim The Intimidator.

Only Earnhardt was an old-school racer still using his preferred routines. He wore customized open-faced helmets, sat low in his seat in a position that almost looked as if he was reclined, and, allegedly adjusted his seatbelts from the recommended installation settings to a position that suited his comfort level.

NASCAR acted quickly and speculation over Earnhardt’s seat belts led teams to move from traditional five to six-point safety harnesses.

NASCAR also encouraged its drivers to begin wearing a head-and-neck restraint system, and by August of that year 41 of the 43 drivers in the field at Michigan were using them. The device was not made mandatory until 2001, after Blaise Alexander was killed in an ARCA race at Charlotte. Tony Stewart resisted the device because he argued it made him feel claustrophobic in the car, but NASCAR refused to let him on track until he put on the restraint.

The HANS device is now mandatory in nearly every professional racing series, from Formula One to IndyCar and even dirt racing.

Indianapolis Motor Speedway had already been developing softer walls, and NASCAR finally got on board with the process after Earnhardt’s death. Although the SAFER Barriers are credited to IndyCar’s development, NASCAR contributed to the research costs and began installation in the corners at its tracks. The softer walls slowly evolved to more areas of tracks following hard hits by Jeff Gordon, Elliott Sadler, and other top stars. After Busch broke his legs at Daytona by hitting a part of the wall not protected with energy-absorbing foam, NASCAR increased installation of the safety measure across the entire series.

NASCAR also began requiring containment seats — more of an amusement park ride-style setup than a traditional car seat. Development was done to improve helmets, restraint systems and cockpit safety.

Then came in 2006 the Car of Tomorrow, built specifically as the safest stock car ever run in NASCAR. The car had energy-absorbing foam in the doors and tougher crush zones. The car was a tank, designed to keep drivers alive.

The car was replaced by the “Gen 6” in 2014 with a new chassis esthetic changes, and it will be replaced next year by the “Next-Gen” car designed to cut costs, improve competition and give manufacturers wider access to personalized identification. It will be as safe as NASCAR can build it, but no innovation can guarantee the safety of any driver.

“We know the risks,” Juan Pablo Montoya told The Associated Press on Tuesday. Montoya in 2012 slammed into a jet dryer at Daytona in a collision that caused an immediate fireball and had the tough Colombian gingerly walking away from the scene.

But Montoya did walk away, as did Corey LaJoie on Monday night after hitting Newman’s flying car directly on the driver’s side. LaJoie’s car caught fire but he was able to get out onto the track, where he dropped to his knees and waited for medical personnel.

That’s what everyone waited for with Newman, too, but the length of time it was taking the safety crew to attend to his overturned car and his silence on the radio was ominous. Hamlin’s team was widely criticized for celebrating the victory, but team owner Joe Gibbs insisted they had no idea Newman’s situation was serious.

“If you think about all the wrecks that we’ve had over the last, I don’t know, how many number of years, and some of them looked real serious, we’ve been so fortunate,” Gibbs said. “Participating in sports and being in things where there’s some risk … in a way, that’s what (drivers) get excited about. We know what can happen. You just don’t dream that it would happen.”

Newman appears to be improving, a welcome relief the day after NASCAR’s showcase event ended in horror. Newman was lucky; Justin Wilson was not in a fatal 2015 IndyCar fluke when a broken part from the leader bounced on the track and hit him in the head nearly 18 positions back in traffic.

Newman’s accident is part of the thrill that draws fans to the sport, and an adrenaline rush that fuels the drivers. That he survived is because of nonstop work on safety for nearly two decades. That work will never end.

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Jenna Dewan Is Engaged to Steve Kazee – E! NEWS

February 18th, 2020

Congratulations are in order for Jenna Dewan and Steve Kazee!

The couple announced on Tuesday evening that they were engaged with a romantic portrait and heartwarming social media captions.

“A lifetime to love and grow with you…you have my heart,” Dewan shared, alongside a photo that showed off her diamond ring.

Additionally, Steve took to Instagram to also announce the special news.

“When you wake in the morning I will kiss your face with a smile no one has ever seen. When you wake in the morning I will kiss your eyes and say it’s you I have loved all these years.”

This exciting news comes as no surprise considering Jenna and Steve have been making plans for the future together. Their engagement comes less than a month after they revealed they expecting their first child.

The actress is already mom to 6-year-old Everly Tatum with ex-husband Channing Tatum, who is also excited about the news of little Everly having a new sibling.

While the actor hasn’t addressed the development publicly, sources tell us that he’s very “happy” for his ex-wife.

“Jenna told Channing that she was pregnant and wanted to make sure he knew before she announced it,” a source previously told E! News. “He is happy for her and was very supportive.”

Jenna Dewan, Steve Kazee

Broadimage/Shutterstock

Jenna and Steve began their romance in late 2018, after being introduced by mutual friends. The duo has been going strong ever since, and it’s clear they’re ready to take their relationship to the next level.

“Becoming a mother is quite simply the absolute best most incredible thing that has ever happened to me,” Jenna captioned her Instagram post announcing her pregnancy. “@stevekazee you are a gift from above and i couldn’t be more excited to be expanding our family together…! Thank you guys for all the love!!”

This is Steve’s first go at fatherhood, and he wasn’t shy about sharing his praise for his future bride-to-be when talking about their little miracle.

“Well…the news is out. I can’t even begin to describe the feelings that I have had since we first learned that Jenna was pregnant,” Steve captioned his post. “I have waited my entire life for this moment and couldn’t have found a better person to build a family with.” 

Congrats to the happy couple on their engagement! 

Watch E! News weekday mornings at 7 a.m.!

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Coronavirus: Passengers allowed to leave cruise ship – BBC News

February 18th, 2020
A man in protective gear speaks on the phone near the Diamond Princess cruise ship in quarantine due to fears of the new COVID-19 coronavirus, at the Daikoku Pier Cruise Terminal in Yokohama on February 19, 2020Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption About 3,700 people have been quarantined on board the Diamond Princess for two weeks

Passengers stranded on a quarantined cruise ship in Japan for more than two weeks have begun to disembark.

There are 74 British nationals on the Diamond Princess ship, which was quarantined on 3 February after an outbreak of coronavirus onboard.

On Wednesday, the cruise operator and Japanese officials allowed passengers to disembark once they were given the all-clear.

The UK government said it hopes to fly the Britons back “later this week”.

“We are planning an evacuation flight from Tokyo to the UK as soon as possible for Britons who are on the Diamond Princess,” the Foreign Office said in a statement.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Passengers began leaving the ship around 2:00 GMT, Reuters reported
Image copyright Reuters
Image caption There have been more than 500 confirmed cases of the virus Covid-19 on the ship

“We have the utmost concern for the affected Britons and strongly encourage them to register for the evacuation flight,” it added.

BBC correspondent Laura Bicker said the first passengers who stepped off the cruise ship quickly made their way onto waiting coaches, while some even decided to take a taxi.

Meanwhile, South Korea has banned entry to all foreigners who have been aboard the cruise liner.

As of Tuesday, there were 88 new cases of infection on board the ship, bringing the total to 542 confirmed cases, Japanese officials said – around one in seven passengers.

It is the largest cluster of cases outside China.

The US has already evacuated more than 300 of its citizens from the ship. South Korea, Canada, Australia, Israel and Hong Kong are also planning evacuations.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption The ship has been in Yokohama, a city south of Tokyo
Image copyright Reuters
Image caption The US chartered two planes to bring back its citizens from the cruise ship

Earlier, Japan’s health minister said all passengers still on board had been tested for the virus and those who had tested negative would start leaving the ship on Wednesday.

On Tuesday, there was confusion over whether a British couple on board the ship – who had been giving regular updates to journalists and via social media – had tested positive for the virus.

Image copyright PA Media
Image caption Two Britons on the ship, Sally and David Abel, say they have tested positive for the virus

David Abel, from Northamptonshire, later said on Facebook he and his wife Sally were confirmed as having the virus and were going to a hostel before they could be transferred to a hospital.

“We both feel fine but have indeed tested positive for the virus,” he said.

Another British passenger on board the ship, Elaine Spencer, said she had been “very disappointed” with the UK government’s initial response and they should have organised a rescue flight sooner.

She told Radio 4’s Today programme that British passengers who wanted to get on the rescue flight had to sign an agreement that they would go into quarantine for 14 days on their return to the UK.

“I need to go home, I want to see my family but obviously it’s going to be another 14 days (after the flight). I wish that they’d decided to do this last week.”

According to official figures on Monday, four Britons from the ship – which is in the port of Yokohama – are in hospital in Japan with confirmed coronavirus.

Irish foreign minister Simon Coveney confirmed two out of six Irish passengers on the Princess Diamond tested positive for the virus and are being treated in hospital in Japan.

Mr Coveney said the passengers have dual citizenship with another EU member state and did not normally live in Ireland – but that the Irish embassy in Tokyo was in contact with them.

The president of Princess Cruises, Jan Swartz, said the company has sent more doctors and nurses on to the ship.

The Foreign Office is advising affected British nationals to call the British embassy in Tokyo on +81 3 5211 1100.

As of Tuesday at 14:00 GMT, in the UK a total of 4,916 people had been tested for coronavirus. Only nine people have tested positive and the rest have been confirmed negative.


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