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    How to get the COVID-19 vaccine if you’re facing trouble – Yahoo News - January 3, 2021 by Mr HomeBuilder

    The Telegraph

    Chinese billionaire Jack Ma, who hasnt been seen in public for several weeks after criticising Chinas financial regulatory system, has now disappeared as a judge on a TV talent show that he created. Mr Ma was absent from the final of The Apprentice-style Africas Business Heroes, a show that offers budding African entrepreneurs the chance to compete for a share of US$1.5 million (1.1 million) in prize money. Mr Ma was originally due to be part of the panel that judged contestants business ideas. But he was replaced as a judge by an executive from Alibaba, the ecommerce company that he founded, in the November final. His photograph has also been taken down from the judging webpage and he was left out of a promotional video, according to the Financial Times, which also reported that broadcast of the final has been delayed until the spring. The paper cited a spokesperson for Alibaba as saying that Mr Ma could no longer be part of the judging panel due to a schedule conflict. One of Chinas most successful entrepreneurs, Mr Ma appears to have fallen foul of its leaders after he criticised the countrys regulators and its state-owned banks in late October. In a speech in Shanghai, he called for reform of the regulatory system, which he said was stifling innovation. About a week later, the Shanghai Stock Exchange ordered a US$37 billion initial public offering of Ant Group, a financial technology firm co-founded by Mr Ma, to be suspended. Mr Ma reportedly hasnt been seen in public since then. In late December, Chinese authorities announced an investigation into Alibaba for suspected monopolistic behaviour, and ordered Ant Group to restructure its operations to meet regulatory guidelines. Chinese authorities are trying to tighten oversight of the countrys financial sector, but are also seen as wanting to rein in the huge influence of private tech giants. Mr Ma is a popular figure in China, and one of the countrys best-known businesspeople abroad. Formerly an English teacher, he founded Alibaba in 1999, which became Chinas biggest online ecommerce company. He stepped down as the companys chairman in 2019, but is still one of its largest shareholders.

    Continue reading here:
    How to get the COVID-19 vaccine if you're facing trouble - Yahoo News

    The race to replace Bill de Blasio: Who will be New York City’s next mayor? – The Guardian - January 3, 2021 by Mr HomeBuilder

    On New Years Day 2014, the New York City mayor, Bill de Blasio, entered office promising to end the tale of two cities with a progressive agenda that he said would address the economic and social inequalities that threaten to unravel the city we love.

    But seven years and a global pandemic later, campaigning to decide the Democrats successor is heating up, and the next mayor looks set to inherit a city where experts say those disparities are not only on the rise, but are in a state of crisis.

    In the wake of coronavirus, which to date has killed more than 25,000 people in the city, New York faces an unemployment rate of 12.1% almost double that of the US overall the threat of mass evictions, surging gun violence and burglary, a multibillion-dollar funding gap and an exodus of more than 300,000 residents.

    This is undoubtedly the toughest situation any mayor has had to face, said Kathryn Wylde, the president and CEO of business group the Partnership for New York City. 9/11 was difficult, but it was contained to one geographic area of the city.

    While she said the health implications of Covid-19 were becoming better understood, the economic impact is only just unfolding. So nobody really knows the consequences there, thats still a moving target and an increasing number.

    And yet despite the unprecedented challenges, there is no shortage of people vying to become the next mayor. So far, 32 candidates have filed paperwork to participate in the 2021 race, according to the citys Campaign Finance Board (CFB).

    It is a diverse field that includes several former members of the De Blasio administration, a member of Barack Obamas White House cabinet and a former New York police officer. The former Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang has filed paperwork and is reportedly preparing to launch a run in early or mid-January.

    De Blasios term does not officially end until 31 December 2021. But with less than six months to go until the Democratic primaries on 22 June which, due to the left-leaning politics of the city, will probably decide the winner of Novembers election candidates will not have long to make their case.

    With industries including retail, tourism, restaurants, culture and entertainment suffering, and a third of the citys 240,000 small businesses predicted not to reopen, the citys economic recovery is likely to take centre stage.

    Jonathan Bowles, the executive director of the Center for an Urban Future said the city was on the verge of a potential fiscal catastrophe if it did not get the help it needs from the federal government, which could lead to major cuts in subways, sanitation and parks.

    Although the $900bn stimulus bill passed by Congress in December included some funding for public transport, it did not include aid for state and local governments, and New Yorks Metropolitan Transportation Authority still faces an $8bn deficit.

    Even as the city is losing all sorts of revenue, tax revenue, the needs for the safety net are growing. People are going hungry, theyre standing in line for soup kitchens, there are more people becoming homeless, so these are massive issues that are facing the city, said Bowles.

    At the same time, the way that the pandemic has changed the economy, with people working from home, it creates all sorts of risks that some people will move out of New York or people that have moved temporarily may not come back.

    The next mayor needs to prioritise building back more inclusively, he said, because too few New Yorkers got ahead during the boom times of the last decade and a lot of those disparities, those racial and ethnic disparities, have been accelerated in this pandemic.

    Other issues likely to be on the incoming mayors immediate priorities are education, social and racial justice and crime.

    The first thing is jobs, schools, crime. Thats it. You get any one of those working, youll be better than the current mayor, said Mitchell Moss, an NYU professor of urban policy and planning. De Blasio, he said, had clearly checked out and lost the trust of teachers, police, parents and his own staff.

    While his successes include implementing free prekindergarten for all, the mayor has faced criticism of his leadership including his handling of the pandemic and the Black Lives Matter protests following the police killing of George Floyd and his failed 2020 presidential run. He has also been known to publicly bicker with the New York governor, Andrew Cuomo.

    Bill Neidhardt, a spokesman for the mayor, said: Mayor de Blasio just made the single largest move in decades to integrate public schools on the same day as committing to over 20 new NYPD reforms If someone doesnt believe that work is important or urgent, then Im not sure what to tell them.

    At the moment, Moss said, it is a wide open race. As well as campaigning during a pandemic, candidates will also be faced with educating voters on a new ranked-choice voting system, which critics argue has not been sufficiently explained to voters.

    They will also need to convince New Yorkers to come out to vote. In 2013, De Blasio won the Democratic mayoral primary in which only registered Democrats can vote with the votes of only about 3% of all New Yorkers.

    Among the frontrunners so far are the city comptroller, Scott Stringer; the Brooklyn borough president, Eric Adams; the lawyer and civil rights activist Maya Wiley; Obamas housing secretary and the budget director Shaun Donovan; the ex-sanitation commissioner Kathryn Garcia; the former non-profit executive Dianne Morales and the former Citigroup vice-chairman Ray McGuire, who launched his campaign with a video narrated by Spike Lee.

    Adams, 60, was a New York City police department (NYPD) officer for 22 years and in 2013 was elected Brooklyns first Black borough president. He decided to join NYPD after he was beaten by police when he was 15 because he wanted to change it from within.

    I know New York City, Ive had some challenging times, Ive overcome them and now we need a mayor that can overcome and help people overcome the challenging times that theyre facing, he said.

    He does not believe in defunding the police, but says police spending could be improved to move from being reactionary to crime and become proactive.

    He wants to improve relations between New Yorkers and its police force by hiring more officers from the city and would also have a zero tolerance approach to abusive police officers.

    He called for ranked choice voting to be postponed because he said the city has failed to educate voters on the new system which in effect will disenfranchise voters.

    Stringer, 60, who has been city comptroller since 2013, said if he became mayor he would turn the page on the last eight years.

    His first order of business, he said, would be to close our budget gap and get to work on kickstarting the economy in a just and equitable way.

    Donovan, 54, said his experience with crises, budget handling and relationships with the Biden administration from his time at the White House would serve him well as mayor. He added: Building back has to begin with repairing our civic fabric and repairing our quality of life.

    He plans to focus on equity and to appoint the citys first chief equity officer and make New York the leading equity city in the world.

    If Wiley, 55, who was a top counsel to De Blasio and has worked as a legal analyst for NBC News and MSNBC, becomes mayor she would be the first woman and only the second Black person in the role.

    She said New York needs to learn from the citys previous crises where the city recovered but did not fix its underlying problems.

    For every single time we have had crises in this city, we have recovered we just havent recovered everyone.

    Instead, she said, the city should invest its budget fairly and justly and in ways that preserve its diversity.

    She said coronavirus has created a historic humanitarian crisis in the city and the subsequent loss of life has caused unspeakable trauma.

    We are traumatised as a city, we are afraid, we have lost. And thats why we need a leadership that actually calls us together to pull on our strengths, to pull us together.

    View post:
    The race to replace Bill de Blasio: Who will be New York City's next mayor? - The Guardian

    Remembering the lives lost to COVID-19 in 2020 – Yahoo News - January 3, 2021 by Mr HomeBuilder

    The Telegraph

    Chinese billionaire Jack Ma, who hasnt been seen in public for several weeks after criticising Chinas financial regulatory system, has now disappeared as a judge on a TV talent show that he created. Mr Ma was absent from the final of The Apprentice-style Africas Business Heroes, a show that offers budding African entrepreneurs the chance to compete for a share of US$1.5 million (1.1 million) in prize money. Mr Ma was originally due to be part of the panel that judged contestants business ideas. But he was replaced as a judge by an executive from Alibaba, the ecommerce company that he founded, in the November final. His photograph has also been taken down from the judging webpage and he was left out of a promotional video, according to the Financial Times, which also reported that broadcast of the final has been delayed until the spring. The paper cited a spokesperson for Alibaba as saying that Mr Ma could no longer be part of the judging panel due to a schedule conflict. One of Chinas most successful entrepreneurs, Mr Ma appears to have fallen foul of its leaders after he criticised the countrys regulators and its state-owned banks in late October. In a speech in Shanghai, he called for reform of the regulatory system, which he said was stifling innovation. About a week later, the Shanghai Stock Exchange ordered a US$37 billion initial public offering of Ant Group, a financial technology firm co-founded by Mr Ma, to be suspended. Mr Ma reportedly hasnt been seen in public since then. In late December, Chinese authorities announced an investigation into Alibaba for suspected monopolistic behaviour, and ordered Ant Group to restructure its operations to meet regulatory guidelines. Chinese authorities are trying to tighten oversight of the countrys financial sector, but are also seen as wanting to rein in the huge influence of private tech giants. Mr Ma is a popular figure in China, and one of the countrys best-known businesspeople abroad. Formerly an English teacher, he founded Alibaba in 1999, which became Chinas biggest online ecommerce company. He stepped down as the companys chairman in 2019, but is still one of its largest shareholders.

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    Remembering the lives lost to COVID-19 in 2020 - Yahoo News

    Stephen Donnelly says kissing lots of people on New Years Eve is not allowed – Extra.ie - January 3, 2021 by Mr HomeBuilder

    Health Minister Stephen Donnelly has admitted that he is nervous about revellers kissing lots of people at potential New Years Eve celebrations.

    The Cabinet is expected to meet this Wednesday afternoon to discuss implementing a full Level 5 lockdown.

    Pubs and restaurants were forced to shut their doors on December 24 as the Government confirmed Level 5 restrictions with some modifications.

    Household visits fell to just one other household from December 26 but will cease completely from January 1.

    The Cabinet is expected to discuss closing non-essential retail and gyms at their emergency meeting this afternoon. It has also been suggested that 5km travel restrictions may be reimplemented.

    Speaking to Newstalks The Hard Shoulder, Health Minister Stephen Donnelly admitted that the Government is worried about the climbing number of COVID-19 cases.

    The Fianna Fail TD for Wicklow said that, in particular, he is worried about people becoming overly amorous at potential New Years Eve celebrations.

    He told Newstalk that there was no question that increased socialisation over the last number of weeks has led to increased COVID-19 case figures.

    Minister Donnelly went onto say there should be no kissing lots of people on New Years Eve.

    He noted that the emergency Cabinet meeting was called to discuss both the increasing case figures and the concerning number of hospitalisations over the last week.

    He explained: It is in response to two things. One is the very serious and ongoing rise in cases.

    The second is linked to a very big increase in hospitalisations.

    We will be meeting to consider new measures. Its an unscheduled Cabinet meeting and we are meeting specifically in the context of the NPHET advice which is to move to full Level 5 and indeed the rise in cases and hospitalisations.

    But suffice to say the purpose of the meeting is to look at the measures and see are there more changes required given the situation were facing.

    Stephen Donnellys comments come as Ireland recorded its highest ever COVID-19 case count.

    The National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) confirmed an additional 1,546 COVID-19 cases. There were also another nine deaths linked to the virus.

    There were 409 people in hospital with the virus on Tuesday evening.

    See the original post:
    Stephen Donnelly says kissing lots of people on New Years Eve is not allowed - Extra.ie

    Research Report and Overview on Kitchen Cabinet Services Market, 2020-2025 – The Monitor - January 3, 2021 by Mr HomeBuilder

    Kitchen Cabinet Services Market 2020-2025 report offers a comprehensive valuation of the marketplace. The report examines factors influencing growth of the market along with detailing of the key trends, drivers, restraints, regional trends, and opportunities. Moreover, Reports Intellect provides a competitive landscape to the companies and their strategic developments. Each segment is examined carefully by articulating in sales, revenue and market size in order to understand the potential of growth and scope.

    The main purpose of this report is to provide up-to-date information relating to the Kitchen Cabinet Services market and discover all the opportunities for enlargement in the market. The report offers an in-depth study on industry size, shares, demand & supply analysis, sales volume and value analysis of various firms along with segmentation analysis related to significant geographies. This information helps business planners to perform, analyze, or study the market at a minute level. The report not only explores the historic phase of the market, but also analyzes present Kitchen Cabinet Services market status to provide reliable and precise forecast estimation for trends, consumption, sales, and profitability.

    Get PDF Sample Copy of this Report to understand the structure of the complete report: (Including Full TOC, List of Tables & Figures, Chart) @ https://www.marketresearchhub.com/enquiry.php?type=S&repid=2864274&source=atm

    Our team analysts have used advanced primary and secondary research techniques and tools to compile this report using top-down and bottom-up approaches and further analyzed using analytical tools. The report offers effective guidelines and recommendations for players to secure a position of strength in the market. New players can also use this research study to create business strategies and get informed about future market challenges. We provide a comprehensive competitive analysis which includes detailed company profiling of leading players, a study on the nature and characteristics of the vendor landscape, and other important studies.

    The key players covered in this study

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    Research Report and Overview on Kitchen Cabinet Services Market, 2020-2025 - The Monitor

    HSE’s worst concerns over COVID-19 have been realised, chief says – Newstalk - January 3, 2021 by Mr HomeBuilder

    A "toxic and unprecedented level of scenarios" have emerged as a result of the increase in COVID-19 cases, according to the CEO of the HSE.

    Positivity rates for tests on some days are reaching as high as 20%, including on tests carried out yesterday.

    It comes as the Cabinet is gathering to consider reintroducing level five restrictions, which would close non-essential retail and gyms.

    The unscheduled meeting is taking place this afternoon due to the soaring rates of coronavirus in Ireland.

    1,546 new caseswere confirmed yesterday while 454 patients are currently in hospital today with the virus following 59 further hospitalisations in the last 24 hours.

    The head of the HSE Paul Reid says the scale of which the virus is transmitting is worrying.

    He told a HSE briefing this afternoon that most of his worst concerns about the capacity of the health system which had been outlined before Christmas "have certainly been realised".

    Mr Reid said: "There's what I describe as an unprecedented and toxic combination of potential scenarios [which] have literally been realised and have emerged.

    "That's a combination of a massively high level and rapidly growing daily cases."

    Added to this is high levels of positivity which "we haven't seen in such a long time" and "extreme" numbers of close contacts.

    Speaking at the same briefing, Dr Colm Henry, the Chief Clinical Officer at the HSE saidthe R-number of COVID-19 transmission in Ireland is now at 1.8.

    Mr Reid said the HSE were extremely concerned about the number of hospitalisations, particularly in the past 48 to 72 hours.

    He made an "urgent and serious call to the public" over the "alarming and high-risk situation" with the virus at the moment.

    Transmission levels in the community are very worrying, he added, and so he called on "everybody to take immediate actions" over withdrawing from any planned activities involving meeting people in the coming days.

    The average positively rate over the past seven days has been at around 10%, but on some days, including yesterday, that hit 20%.

    Demand for community testing has also increased by 100% in the last few weeks, he said.

    On the roll-out of the vaccination programme, which began yesterday, Mr Reid said the "immediate focus" in the coming days would be on healthcare workers.

    Additional reporting by Andrew Lowth

    Link:
    HSE's worst concerns over COVID-19 have been realised, chief says - Newstalk

    Ottawans share their best moments of 2020 – Yahoo News Canada - January 3, 2021 by Mr HomeBuilder

    CBC

    Three Nova Scotians who have the same extremely rare condition say their shared experience has brought them closer together as a family.Brad, Bradley and Amanda Bright have Camurati-Engelmann disease, a skeletal condition that causes increased bone density, primarily in the legs, arms and skull. It can cause pain, muscle weakness and difficulty walking.The Brights are believed to be the only people in Canada with the disease.Patriarch Brad Bright saidwhen he was a teenager, a teacher noticed one day at school he had a "swagger" while he was walking down a hallway."I never noticed it," he said in an interview. "It was the way I always walked."It wasn't until years later, when his daughter, Amanda, was diagnosed, that he found out the way he walked was because of the disease."When my daughter was getting ready for school, she had to do some tests, and one of her tests was for her to jump, and she couldn't jump very well," said Brad."We got it looked at and we found that the bones were really hard."As it turned out, three of four members of the Weymouth, N.S., family had the rare condition.It's a story that Brad's son, Bradley, told through Normal,a short film he made for CBC's Being Black in Halifax, a compilation of four short documentaries streaming on CBC Gem.Bradley, a 33-year-old filmmaker and animator, said that when he and his older sister were kids, they would spend a lot of time at the IWK Children's Hospital doing tests. He said most of those tests would be done on Amanda first."It helped that me and my sister were close. She sort of, I guess, took the brunt of it because they would do it a lot on her," he said."I really looked up to my sister for that. She sort of protected me from all that."But Amanda suggested it was part of her job as the big sister."I was always really protective of him growing up I mean, I probably still am now, though we're adults but I think it has kind of brought us together," said the 36-year-old teacher.Although her mother, Trina, doesn't have the condition, Amanda said she was by their side during their manyhospital visits.According to the National Organization for Rare Disorders, the prevalence of Camurati-Engelmann disease is unknown. It estimates about 300 people are affected worldwide.'Nobody really understands'Being one of the only people in Canada known to have this disease has been a challenge, said Brad.For many conditions, there are support groups and forums, people with shared experiences. That isn't the case for Brad."Ever since I've been sick, I haven't yet woke up without pain," he said. "As the years go by, it just takes everything out of youbecause you can't say nothing to nobody, because nobody really understands, and you just try to cope with it yourself each day and each day gets harder."Tasks that people may take for granted, such as making a piece of toast for breakfast, can be difficult for Brad."For me to stand by the sideboard and wait for that toast, the pain that goes through you, it's just out of this world," he said.Durhane Wong-Rieger, the president of the Canadian Organization for Rare Disorders, said there are many challenges that come with living with a rare disease.She said patients may not get a timely diagnosis, and there could be some difficulties in getting access to specialists or treatment.On top of that, there are few people in their situation."If you are dealing with a condition which you don't know anyone else that necessarily has that condition, it can be an awfully scary and isolating experience," she said.But in a case where family members share a disease, they can find support through each other, said Wong-Rieger."It's comforting to know that you're not absolutely alone," she said.Wong-Rieger added that while a condition may be rare, they are often part of a family of disorders, so people can find others with similar conditions.She noted that rare diseases affect many Canadians, though people might not recognize that."Even though each rare disease might only affect a few people, collectively, because there's 6,000-7,000 rare diseases, there are close to three million people in Canada who directly have a rare disease," said Wong-Rieger.Raising awarenessBradley hopes his film will help shed light onCamurati-Engelmann diseaseand help him find other people who may be living with it."It would be neat if someone [saw] the movie, and then be like, 'I know someone who has had stuff like that,'" he said. "That would be really interesting for me."His father, Brad, agreed."Because it's not known in Canada much and I think by people looking at it, listening to it, knowing that it's here, it's a real sickness," he said.Amanda said she believes it may shine a light onsimilar diseases."I know there are conditions like ours that are similar, so maybe it might bring awareness to those conditions as well," she said.MORE TOP STORIES

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    Ottawans share their best moments of 2020 - Yahoo News Canada

    FORECAST: Warmer temps ahead of the weekend – Yahoo News - December 19, 2020 by Mr HomeBuilder

    The Conversation

    As Christmas approaches, many families undertake a familiar ritual: an annual sojourn to the attic, basement or closet to pull out a box of treasured ornaments bought, created and collected over years, even generations. Hanging these ornaments on the tree is an opportunity to reconnect with memories of personal milestones, holiday icons and, in many cases, destinations visited. But, I argue, it may be time to take some of these old travel keepsakes off the tree. In researching my 2019 book, Confederate Exceptionalism, I studied sites throughout the American South whose histories are tied to enslaved labor. Seemingly charming souvenirs are sold to commemorate many of these places from the White House of the Confederacy in Richmond, Virginia, to Stone Mountain, a Georgia cliffside carved with images of Confederate generals.Christmas ornaments are among them. And while these keepsakes may seem apolitical, their very circulation enables Confederate myths and symbols to become normal features of peoples daily lives. My research suggests they can thus desensitize Americans to the destructive nature of such stories and icons. Contesting Confederate symbolsIn recent years the U.S. has seen heated conversations about public symbols that commemorate the Confederacy, centered on the Confederate battle flag and statues of Confederate generals. After a white shooters deadly 2015 massacre of nine black congregants at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina, activist Bree Newsome scaled the flagpole outside the state capitol to remove the Confederate flag flying there. After Newsomes act of civil resistance, then-President Barack Obama referred to the Confederate battle flag as a reminder of systemic oppression and racial subjugation. But some in the U.S. and even abroad still see the flag as a symbol of heritage not hate.Statues of Confederate generals that dot courthouse lawns and public plazas across the United States have prompted similar controversy. In 2017 plans to remove a Robert E. Lee statue triggered violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, where a white supremacist at the Unite the Right rally killed activist counter-protester Heather Heyer.That tragedy spurred more cities, towns and colleges to remove or relocate Confederate statues seen as offensive. Nationwide debates followed on how best to grapple appropriately with this chapter of American history. Consuming the ConfederacyBeyond the scope of these national discussions, my research on Confederate myths and memory finds, many unexamined Confederate symbols have made their way into peoples kitchens, bedrooms and living rooms. Take Confederate cookbooks that help modern-day chefs recreate the recipes of the Old South and stuffed animals based on Little Sorrel, the taxidermied war horse of Confederate General Stonewall Jackson, for example.People probably dont reflect on the horrors of slavery when baking an apple pie or purchasing a cuddly toy for their child. They arent meant to. But they are participating in that history and its mythologies nonetheless.In that way, seemingly apolitical objects like cookbooks, toys and Christmas ornaments commemorating Confederate history serve to normalize rather than problematize the objects, rituals and stories surrounding the Confederacy. More than a souvenirAs a result, tree ornaments depicting the White House of the Confederacy, a home of Gen. Robert E. Lee or the carvings of Stone Mountain are not simply mementos of a leisurely visit. These places and people are also icons of the Lost Cause, an ideology that romanticizes the Confederacy by portraying the American Civil War as a battle of states rights rather than a fight to preserve slavery. The Lost Cause is still taught in some Southern schools, demonstrating that the vestiges of the Confederacy are powerful and lasting. Like Confederate statues and flags, Confederate Christmas ornaments strengthen this myth that the Confederacy an entity built on white supremacy was about southern heritage.What appears to be a nostalgic trip reminder, then, is in fact deeply implicated in a complex matrix of memory, history and racism in the United States. Its just packaged in a seemingly benign way.Christmas ornaments communicate something about the person or family that displays them. They reveal their history, passions and aesthetic taste. So pause to consider whether your Christmas tree represents your values. Does a keepsake from Stone Mountain really belong between an ornament crafted in a kindergarten classroom and a glass nutcracker gifted by your grandmother? [ Get the best of The Conversation, every weekend. Sign up for our weekly newsletter. ]This article is republished from The Conversation, a nonprofit news site dedicated to sharing ideas from academic experts. Read more: * Slave lifes harsh realities are erased in Christmas tours of Southern plantations * This Christmas tell your children the real Santa Clausstory * The science of gift wrapping explains why sloppy isbetterNicole Maurantonio does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.

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    FORECAST: Warmer temps ahead of the weekend - Yahoo News

    Rolex With Spinach, Bacon, Tomato and Avocado – Yahoo News - December 19, 2020 by Mr HomeBuilder

    The Conversation

    As Christmas approaches, many families undertake a familiar ritual: an annual sojourn to the attic, basement or closet to pull out a box of treasured ornaments bought, created and collected over years, even generations. Hanging these ornaments on the tree is an opportunity to reconnect with memories of personal milestones, holiday icons and, in many cases, destinations visited. But, I argue, it may be time to take some of these old travel keepsakes off the tree. In researching my 2019 book, Confederate Exceptionalism, I studied sites throughout the American South whose histories are tied to enslaved labor. Seemingly charming souvenirs are sold to commemorate many of these places from the White House of the Confederacy in Richmond, Virginia, to Stone Mountain, a Georgia cliffside carved with images of Confederate generals.Christmas ornaments are among them. And while these keepsakes may seem apolitical, their very circulation enables Confederate myths and symbols to become normal features of peoples daily lives. My research suggests they can thus desensitize Americans to the destructive nature of such stories and icons. Contesting Confederate symbolsIn recent years the U.S. has seen heated conversations about public symbols that commemorate the Confederacy, centered on the Confederate battle flag and statues of Confederate generals. After a white shooters deadly 2015 massacre of nine black congregants at Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina, activist Bree Newsome scaled the flagpole outside the state capitol to remove the Confederate flag flying there. After Newsomes act of civil resistance, then-President Barack Obama referred to the Confederate battle flag as a reminder of systemic oppression and racial subjugation. But some in the U.S. and even abroad still see the flag as a symbol of heritage not hate.Statues of Confederate generals that dot courthouse lawns and public plazas across the United States have prompted similar controversy. In 2017 plans to remove a Robert E. Lee statue triggered violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, where a white supremacist at the Unite the Right rally killed activist counter-protester Heather Heyer.That tragedy spurred more cities, towns and colleges to remove or relocate Confederate statues seen as offensive. Nationwide debates followed on how best to grapple appropriately with this chapter of American history. Consuming the ConfederacyBeyond the scope of these national discussions, my research on Confederate myths and memory finds, many unexamined Confederate symbols have made their way into peoples kitchens, bedrooms and living rooms. Take Confederate cookbooks that help modern-day chefs recreate the recipes of the Old South and stuffed animals based on Little Sorrel, the taxidermied war horse of Confederate General Stonewall Jackson, for example.People probably dont reflect on the horrors of slavery when baking an apple pie or purchasing a cuddly toy for their child. They arent meant to. But they are participating in that history and its mythologies nonetheless.In that way, seemingly apolitical objects like cookbooks, toys and Christmas ornaments commemorating Confederate history serve to normalize rather than problematize the objects, rituals and stories surrounding the Confederacy. More than a souvenirAs a result, tree ornaments depicting the White House of the Confederacy, a home of Gen. Robert E. Lee or the carvings of Stone Mountain are not simply mementos of a leisurely visit. These places and people are also icons of the Lost Cause, an ideology that romanticizes the Confederacy by portraying the American Civil War as a battle of states rights rather than a fight to preserve slavery. The Lost Cause is still taught in some Southern schools, demonstrating that the vestiges of the Confederacy are powerful and lasting. Like Confederate statues and flags, Confederate Christmas ornaments strengthen this myth that the Confederacy an entity built on white supremacy was about southern heritage.What appears to be a nostalgic trip reminder, then, is in fact deeply implicated in a complex matrix of memory, history and racism in the United States. Its just packaged in a seemingly benign way.Christmas ornaments communicate something about the person or family that displays them. They reveal their history, passions and aesthetic taste. So pause to consider whether your Christmas tree represents your values. Does a keepsake from Stone Mountain really belong between an ornament crafted in a kindergarten classroom and a glass nutcracker gifted by your grandmother? [ Get the best of The Conversation, every weekend. Sign up for our weekly newsletter. ]This article is republished from The Conversation, a nonprofit news site dedicated to sharing ideas from academic experts. Read more: * Slave lifes harsh realities are erased in Christmas tours of Southern plantations * This Christmas tell your children the real Santa Clausstory * The science of gift wrapping explains why sloppy isbetterNicole Maurantonio does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organization that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.

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    Rolex With Spinach, Bacon, Tomato and Avocado - Yahoo News

    Davidson and Shaw prepare for a second term in Govt – Newsroom - December 19, 2020 by Mr HomeBuilder

    Week in Review

    Green Party co-leaders Marama Davidson and James Shaw say they've learned to adjust to campaigning and policymaking in the era of Covid-19.As part of a year in review series, they spoke to Newsroom about the impact of the pandemic, their views on Jacinda Ardern and their hopes for the next three years

    When I last sat down for an interview withGreen Party co-leaders Marama Davidson and James Shaw, it was for a pre-election profile I ended up writing on August 11.

    That night, the Prime Minister announced that four community cases of Covid-19 had been found in Auckland, with no obvious link to the border. My article still ran the next day, but it was overshadowed by the news that the virus was back and Auckland was headed into Level 3 lockdown.

    For the Greens, this was just another in a long string of interrupted campaigns, media pushes and policy announcements. When I met the co-leaders again on Thursday, I referenced our last meeting, saying that the resurgence of Covid-19 had plunged my piece into irrelevance.

    "As were we all," Shaw says.

    Election result a surprise

    The challenges of 2020 made for a uniquely difficult campaign, but the Greens managed to make history by improving their share of the vote as a minor party after being in Government and winning, for the first time, an electorate seat without the help of a major party.

    "Because we've been a small party and have been in opposition for the vast majority of our history, until very recently, we don't have memories of success," Shaw says.

    "There's been a lot of little ones along the way obviously. Those have all been celebrated and recorded. But other than 2011 when we bounced up into the double digits for the first time, we've not really had an election result quite like that."

    Given the last poll before the election had the Greens on 6.5 percent and the party tends to underperform the polling, the Greens expected their return to Parliament would be on a knife edge.

    "There are lots about it that surprised us. Chle surprised everyone except Chle. But we raised more money than we'd ever raised before - we actually finished the election campaign in a better financial position than when we'd started it," Shaw says.

    "The fact that our polling got it right for the first time. Our polling told us that Labour were going to win an outright majority. None of us really believed it, because we'd never really believed our research before, because we can't afford the frequency and the coverage and so on. So when we got it, we applied the standard sort of discount."

    "That was the main thing for me, was, I refused to believe it until I saw [the final results]," Davidson says.

    "All through the night, I was looking at the numbers going, 'It can't be'. I was working off the research and the evidence base and the evidence over the years told a different story. So I took off a couple of points here and there."

    Rewriting the narrative

    The co-leaders say their success wasn't necessarily achieved despiteCovid-19. While the pandemic rendered face-to-face campaigning, at least in Auckland, impossible and had MPs so busy in Parliament that they were unable to campaign, Davidson says it also highlighted the importance of the party's message.

    "We had to sort of rewrite some of our narrative. We had to work harder to make the connections, to bring climate and environmental protections into the space of a public health response to Covid," she says.

    "The light being shone on the inequalities that we had always been strong on, but Covid was bringing them to the forefront even more so. We needed climate change to be in the forefront of peoples' minds, and it wasn't necessarily, so we did need to do some work."

    The main thrust of the campaign's strategy - a focus on six key issues like poverty, transport and agriculture, as well as the "Think ahead, act now" slogan - was developed in late 2019, before the word "Covid-19" was even invented. Nonetheless, Shaw says, the party adapted the strategyto the context of Covid-19 and stuck to it.

    "Historically we're not terribly good at following our strategy," he says, to a chortle from Davidson.

    "We tend not to stay on strategy. This time we did."

    "I felt like no matter what result, we had done well because we stuck to our game plan. But it also got us the results," Davidson says.

    Cooperation agreement

    After the election, the pair hashed out an agreement with Jacinda Ardern to earn themselves ministerial portfolios outside of Cabinet. Shaw held onto the climate change role and picked up Associate Minister for the Environment (Biodiversity) while Davidson earned a brand new title as Minister Responsible for Family and Sexual Violence Prevention. She is also responsible for homelessness with an associate housing role.

    The decision to cooperate with Labour despite having no leverage over the bigger party wasn't a foregone conclusion, butthe party went along with it because of the achievements over the last three years.

    "That was the core of the rightfully rigorous debate. It was in the context of us having just come through our first term in government with ministersgetting some stuff done and, especially for our campaign, maintaining our political independence and point of difference," Davidson says.

    "We went into those discussions wanting to do both. And of course our party had those vigorous discussions back and forth. But we've had some experience now. We've had three years of being able to show influence, getting stuff done that makes a difference on the ground to our planet and to peoples' lives, as well as being able to speak up, when we knew it was important, on our priorities."

    "The scale of what we were able to do in those three years of government is so many multiples greater than anything we'd been able to do in the 20 years previously, in opposition," Shaw says.

    Going into negotiations, some commentators doubted that the Greens would be able to win much of significance, given Labour's outright majority. But Shaw, in the days leading up to the discussions, had publicly outlined a theory which held that politics was not quite so transactional as the media was making it out to be. Relationships mattered, he said, and the Greens have a good relationship with Labour in general and Jacinda Ardern in particular.

    When asked whether he still believes that and whether he will carry that philosophy forward over the next three years, Shaw doublesdown.

    "The only reason we're in this arrangement is because of the quality of our relationships with the Labour Party. They didn't have to take us, right? And if we had acted in a transactional manner in the last term, we would probably be in opposition," he says.

    "I feel quite vindicated with that view. In this arrangement, we canonlyget things done as a result of our relationships. It's critical."

    Transformation?

    That doesn't necessarily mean the new Government will go as far as the Greens might like. When asked whether Ardern will lead a transformational Government, the co-leaders hedge their bets and say it depends on the issue.

    Shaw says the Prime Minister has her own theory of change - something she reiterated to Newsroom in her own year-end interview - which holds that the change which matters most is the change that sticks. Often, that is "incremental" Shaw says.

    "You take the country with you on a journey over time. You need to keep building permission," he says.

    "She may well be proved right. But we take a view that some of the crises that we're facing have a degree of timeliness to them which means that it simply requires that scale of transformation in a shorter period of time."

    "They campaigned on a manifesto. That's what their programme is," Davidson says.

    "The things in it are good and necessary and need to happen and for the most part, we support them. But they, on their own, aren't transformative. That's what they've committed to and that's what they have a mandate for as well. There are some potentially founding things for transformation in there, but that's where the Greens have some value to add, is really being able to push for and work with the transformational stuff."

    Davidson says the work she is trying to do in her family and sexual violence portfolio is "laying the foundation for transformation". She also points to the Green Party's continuing advocacy for a wealth tax in the face of housing becoming an increasingly contentious political issues.

    "Some transformational work does need to happen in that space. That isn't in the manifesto. On some issues, that's where the Greens will send a really strong signal and build mandate for those particular transformational shifts."

    Looking ahead

    On climate change, Shaw is more optimistic.

    "That's an interesting one, right? I actually think, in climate change, in the new arrangement, there is a greater likelihood of transformational government than there was in the last three years. You can see the Prime Minister is wanting to lead in ways that, I think, she felt constrained from being able to do so."

    Looking ahead, the Greens say they aren't worried about the Year of the Vaccine - as Ardern has dubbed 2021 - overshadowing their policy priorities.

    "I've come to terms with the fact that the Covid overview of things is going to be with us for years, if not for the rest of our lives," Davidson says.

    "But actually, that is also the platform for us to talk even more so about these issues. Climate change is a health issue. Absolutely, as a health resilience and recovery issue. Housing is a health issue, very clearly. It provides us with another opportunity to relate it back to this collective wellbeing - child poverty, people having enough to survive on, is a health issue, a climate issue, an environmental protection issue."

    Shaw says he will be pushing to make sure that, "as a vaccine rolls out, we don't just revert to type. One of the things I keep saying about climate change is that innovaiton is a function of constraint. When the squeeze is on, that's when you get creative - generally. Covid has been an enormous disruptor but you can also see that there are innovations that are occurring in government and public policy, and also in the private sector, which offer incredible hope.

    "I just hope people don't drop that and say, 'It's cool, there's a vaccine, we can just go back to employing cheap labour to do crap work.'"

    He is also looking forward to the release of draft recommendations from the Climate Change Commissionfor New Zealand'semissions budgets through 2035, recommendations for strengthening our Paris Agreement target and recommendations for how to treat agricultural methane. Those are due February 1 and he expects them to really shake things up.

    "Next yearin the domain of climate change is going to be a doozy," he says.

    "It's gonna be massive. And I think there will be a lot of stories to write. I think that there will probably be news in there, that people see the reality of it for the first time."

    Read more here:
    Davidson and Shaw prepare for a second term in Govt - Newsroom

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