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    International destinations reopening to tourists this summer – WTTV CBS4Indy - July 5, 2020 by Mr HomeBuilder

    Although many governments are still advising against nonessential internationaltravel, a host of populardestinationsare beginning to ease their COVID-19 lockdown measures and border restrictions and are moving toward welcoming tourists back.

    On July 1, the European Union announced it would be reopening its external border to 15 countries outside of the bloc in a bid to boost its travel industry.

    Algeria, Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, Montenegro, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, Serbia, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia and Uruguay areall included in the list,along with China, provided it agrees to lift restrictions on EU citizens.

    However, the United States, which now has thehighest number of confirmed COVID-19 infectionsin the world, according to Johns Hopkins University Coronavirus Resource Center, was not included.

    Meanwhile Caribbean islands like Jamaica have already opened their doors to foreign visitors again, while destinations such as Mexico and Thailand are planning to reopen region by region in the coming weeks.

    Travel bubbles are also becoming more popular, with the likes of Fiji, Australia and New Zealand considering following the lead of Baltic states Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, who have lifted restrictions for each others citizens.

    If youre one of many travelers eagerly awaiting news on where you can travel to this year, heres a guide to the top destinations making plans to reopen, as well as some of those that are keeping their borders firmly closed for now.

    Aruba will slowly reopen to tourists betweenJune 15 and July 10.

    Visitors from nearby Caribbean islands Curacao and Bonaire will be permitted to enter first, followed by travelers from Canada and Europe on July 1.

    Tourists from the United States will be allowed to visit from July 10.

    While it was previously suggested travelers would not be required to to take a Covid-19 test on arrival or prior to traveling, it seemsthis is no longer the case.

    Like many other destinations, Aruba is giving visitors the option to either provide a negative test result taken no more than 72 hours before their visit, or receive a test on arrival.

    However, the cost of the test, which must be paid for in advance, is the responsibility of the traveler.

    The island has also introduced mandatory insurance coverage, theAruba Visitors Insurance, which will cover any expenses if visitors test positive for the virus during their trip.

    Nonessential businesses including shopping malls, cinemas, beauty salons and outdoor restaurants were allowed to reopen on May 25, while the island countrys 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew was completely lifted earlier this month.

    Restaurants with indoor seating have now been allowed to reopen, although diners must leave before 10 p.m., along with spas, and saunas.

    In addition, the department of Public Health has introduced theAruba Health & Happiness Code,a mandatory cleaning and hygiene certification program for all businesses related to tourism in the country.

    Bali has been relatively successful in containing its coronavirus outbreak, with less than1,500 confirmed casesand, at the time of writing, a total of 11 deaths.

    The Indonesian island now hopes to welcome tourists back by October, provided its infection rates stay low.

    Accordingto a statement from Ni Wayan Giri Adnyani, secretary of the ministry, Yogyakarta, situated on the island of Java, is likely to reopen first, along with the Riau islands province.

    Balis economy is hugely dependent on tourism and visitor numbers have been rising in recent years, with around 6.3 million people visiting in 2019.

    The coronavirus has collapsed the Balinese economy its been a steep drop since [mid-March] when social-distancing measures were put in place, Mangku Nyoman Kandia, a Bali tour guide, told ABC Newsin April. No tourist, no money.

    All foreign nationals, except for diplomats, permanent residents and humanitarian workers, are currently banned from Indonesia, and anyone entering the island must undergo a swab test and provide a letter stating they are free of Covid-19.

    Its unclear what the entry requirements will be if restrictions are lifted later this year, or whether Bali will accept travelers from regions badly affected by the pandemic.

    However, tourism officials have been calling for atravel bubble to be implementedbetween Bali and Australia.

    Barbados has announced it will be reopening its borders to international travelers from July 12.

    However, visitors will have to adhere to a number of strict requirements.

    All tourists from high risk countries will be strongly encouraged to take a Covid-19 test at least 72 hours before departing for Barbados, according to a recent press release from the Barbados Tourist Board.

    Meanwhile, those from low risk destinations can be tested a week before visiting the Caribbean island.

    Visitors also need to complete an online Embarkation/Disembarkation Card (ED card), which asks a series of health questions connected to Covid-19 symptoms.

    Those who dont provide a negative test result from an accredited or recognized laboratory in advance will must take one on arrival, and will be placed in quarantine at their own expense until the results come through. This is likely to take up to 48 hours.

    While visiting the island, travelers must comply with local protocols, including keeping a physical distance of one-meter away from others and wearing face masks in public.

    Barbados nationwide curfew isdue to be lifted on July 1, while commercial air traffic will resume 11 days later.

    UK flag carrier British Airways will restart services to Barbados on July 18, with US airline JetBlue following suit on July 25 and Virgin Atlantic on August 1.

    Cyprus is so keen to get its tourism industry back on track, officials are offering to cover the costs of any travelers who test positive for Covid-19 while on vacation in the Mediterranean island nation.

    According to a letter shared with CNN, the Cypriot government will pay for lodging, as well as food, drink and medication for tourists who are taken ill with coronavirus during their visit.

    The detailed plan was set out in a five-page letter issued to governments, airlines and tour operators on May 26.

    Officials have also earmarked a 100-bed hospital for foreign travelers who test positive, while a 500-room quarantine hotel will be available to patients family and close contacts.

    The traveler will only need to bear the cost of their airport transfer and repatriation flight, in collaboration with their agent and/or airline, states the letter.

    The countrys hotels began to reopen on June 1, while international air travel restarted on June 9.

    Once the destination reopens, visitors from only chosen countries will be allowed to enter.

    Officialshave issued a list of countriesto be granted access to Cyprus in two separate stages.

    Incoming flights from Greece, Malta, Bulgaria, Norway, Austria, Finland, Slovenia, Hungary, Israel, Denmark, Germany, Slovakia and Lithuania will be authorized first.

    From June 20, Cyprus will also permit incoming flights from Switzerland, Poland, Romania, Croatia, Estonia and the Czech Republic.

    The UK and the US, bothlisted among the nations with the highest numberof confirmed Covid-19 deaths, are noticeably absent.

    However, the list is to be expanded to include further countries in the coming months.

    Travelers heading to Cyprus will need to provide a valid certificate proving theyve tested negative for Covid-19, while theyll be subject to temperature checks on arrival as well as testing at random during the course of their trip.

    The destination has already put measures in place to protect travelers and residents, such as ensuring hotel staff wear masks and gloves, regularly disinfecting sunbeds and keeping tables at restaurants, bars, cafs,and pubs at least two meters (6.5 feet) apart.

    Tourism accounts for at least 15% of Cypruss economy.

    Tourism brings in around $1 billion in revenue for Egypt each month, so the impact of thetravel restrictionscaused by the pandemic has been significant.

    The government suspended passenger flights back in March, while all hotels, restaurants and cafes were closed and a night curfew imposed.

    These measures are currently being relaxed, with hotels that meet certain requirements, such as having a clinic with a resident doctor on site, being granted permission to reopen for domestic visitors at a reduced capacity.

    But acurfew remains in placebetween 8p.m. and 5 a.m although this isdue to be lifted on June 27 andthe government has made wearing masks mandatoryin public places and public transport.

    Although international flights are yet to begin operating again bar a select few routes the cabinet has indicatedscheduled international flights will be allowed to enter from July 1, while foreign tourists will be permitted at the resorts least affected by Covid-19.

    We have to prepare, cabinet spokesman Nader Saad saidduring a televised interview last month.

    A number of global carriers have expressed willingness to resume flights to Egypt in July, and as a result we are considering a gradual resumption of international flights beginning towards the end of this month and in the first half of July.

    France was the most visited country in the world before the coronavirus pandemic.

    While restrictions were previously in place on all nonessential travel from outside the Schengen Zone (a grouping of 26 countries which normally have open borders), the measures are due to be lifted for 15 countries outside of the EU, including Australia, Canada and Japan.

    At present all travelers who enter France, with the exception of EU citizens, are subject to a compulsory 14-day quarantine.

    UK citizens were previously exempt from this measure. However, this was recently amended in response to the UKs decision to apply its mandatory 14-day quarantine, which isset to be amended soon, to arrivals from France.

    Although the government has been slowly lifting lockdown measures, withcar journeys of up to 100 kilometersnow allowed and beaches beginning to reopen, officials have previously made it clear the country is in no hurry to ease border restrictions for international travelers..

    Prime Minister Edouard Philippe recently announced a$19.4 billion stimulus packageto boost Frances ailing tourism sector.

    What is good for tourism is often good for France, what strikes tourism strikes France, he said during a news conference.

    The countrys hotels, bars, restaurants and cafs were granted permission to reopen on June 2.

    Meanwhile Paris was downgraded from a red zone to a green zone in mid-June andthe city has now reopened.

    Frances most visited museum, the Louvre, will reopen on July 6.

    Tourism is facing what is probably its worst challenge in modern history, added Philippe. Because this is one of the crown jewels of the French economy, rescuing it is a national priority.

    He went on to state that residents can take holidays within France during July and August.

    The countrys hotels will be reliant on domestic tourism once they do reopen, as all signs suggest international travelers will not be able to enter for the foreseeable future.

    When the lockdown measures soften, French tourists are likely to want to stay close to home in the short term, a spokesperson for French hotel chain Accor told CNN Travel earlier this month.

    It will be the moment for them to rediscover their own country and we will be there to welcome them.

    Georgia was experiencing a tourism boom before the coronavirus pandemic, withfive million travelers visiting in 2019,a 7% increase on the previous year.

    But the country was forced to close its winter resorts and place a ban on all foreign visitors back in March because of the crisis.

    Eager to revive its tourism sector, the countrys government had previously said it planned to reopen to international travelers on July 1, but this has beenpushed back until July 31due to a rapid increase in the number of new coronavirus cases in the partner and neighboring countries.

    Officials have brought in athree-stage anti-crisis plan, which includes a marketing campaign designed to promote Georgia as a safe destination.

    The next stage will allow for domestic travel in special safe tourism zones, while the final stage involves reopening borders and resuming some flights.

    We are transitioning to the third stage [of Covid-19 response], which means post-crisis management of the economy and devising plans [on] how to kickstart different sectors, Prime MinisterGiorgi Gakharia said at a council meeting focusedon fighting Covid-19.

    [The] tourism sector will be first to which emergency relief measures will apply.

    The land of poets and thinkers lifted travel restrictions for travelers from 31 different countries on June 15.

    The approved destinations included the 26 EU member states, as well as the UK, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.

    The revitalization of tourism is important both for travelers and the German travel industry, as well as for the economic stability of the respective target countries, read a statement from a paper calledCriteria for the Enabling of intra-European Tourism,which was issued last month.

    The Austria/Germany land border has also reopened travel between Austria and Germany is possible as of June 15 and restrictions around the country are being relaxed.

    Visitors from destinations such as Australia and Canada will also be allowed to enter soon due to the EUs decision to lift restrictions on various countries outside of the bloc.

    Bars, restaurants and museums have reopened, while some hotels have begun to resume business.

    Chancellor Angela Merkel recently announcedsocial distancing rules would continueuntil at least October.

    International direct flights to Greeces many holiday destinations restarted on July 1 for travelers from most of the EU and list of14 additional EU-approved countries, with travelers subject only to random checks.

    Greece has also extended its travel ban on direct flights from the UK and Sweden until July 15. All information is expected to be updated by mid-July.

    The US, Greeces third largest market, is not included on the EU list. Nearly 2 million Americans visited Greece in 2019. The country has been attracting a growing number of US travelers in recent years and was projected to grow further in 2020.

    Russia also failed to make the EU list meaning that Greece will enter its peak season without the three countries that in 2019 accounted for about 20% of its tourism revenue.

    Greece is also opening its international ports and some border crossings for the first time since the country imposed a strict lockdown over three months ago.

    The country is being hailed as one of the safest destinations for holidaymakers in the Mediterranean this summer with under 200 deaths from Covid-19 and less than 3,500 cases in a population of 11 million.

    As part of the measures to contain the spread of Covid-19, international travelers are required to fill in a detailed passenger form. The Passenger Locator Form (PLF) will have to be completed online at least 48 hours before entering the country and includes information such as duration of previous stays in other countries during the two weeks prior to travel, and the address of stay in Greece.

    Travelers will receive QR codes based on an algorithm that will calculate those most at risk of spreading a coronavirus infection. Authorities will use the QR code to identify passengers who need to be tested upon arrival, Greeces Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has said.

    Those tested must quarantine overnight pending results. Those who test positive will be quarantined for up to 14 days.

    Iceland reopened it borders to tourists on June 15 after recording just under 2,000 confirmed Covid-19 cases.

    The move came weeks after the Nordic country banned all foreign nationals, except for nationals of the EU and associated European countries.

    Up until recently, everyone arriving from outside the country was required to go into quarantine for 14 days.

    However, travelers now have the option to either submit to a Covid-19 test on arrival, provide proof of a recently taken test with a negative result, or agree to a two-week quarantine.

    Although the tests are currently free,a $112 chargewill be implemented from July 1.

    Visitors will also be encouraged to download the appRakning C-19,designed to help trace the origin of transmissions and available in seven languages Icelandic, English, Polish, German, French, Spanish and Italian.

    Original post:
    International destinations reopening to tourists this summer - WTTV CBS4Indy

    Which international destinations are reopening to tourists? – KEYT - June 18, 2020 by Mr HomeBuilder

    Although most governments are still advising against nonessential international travel, a host of popular destinations are beginning to ease their Covid-19 lockdown measures and border restrictions and are moving toward welcoming tourists back.

    Back in May, the European Union unveiled an action plan to reopen its internal borders in time for summer, while countries such as Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania have formed travel bubbles, lifting restrictions for each others citizens.

    Some Caribbean islands are already beginning to open their doors to foreign visitors again, while destinations such as Mexico and Thailand are planning to reopen region by region in the coming weeks.

    If youre one of many travelers eagerly awaiting news on where you can travel to this year, heres a guide to the top destinations making plans to reopen, as well as some of those that are keeping their borders firmly closed for now.

    The Caribbean island of Aruba is planning to open its doors to travelers once again at some point between June 15 and July 1.

    However, the visitors bureau for the Caribbean island, which has reported just over 100 confirmed coronavirus cases, says this tentative date may change if Aruba opts to consider additional precautionary measures as needed.

    Although theres no mention of any Covid-19 testing requirements for arrivals, tourists will be required to undergo temperature checks on arrival.

    While nonessential businesses including shopping malls, cinemas, beauty salons and outdoor restaurants were allowed to reopen on May 25, the island countrys 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew remains in place.

    This means such establishments are required to close by 10 p.m. every day.

    In addition, the department of Public Health has introduced the Aruba Health & Happiness Code, a mandatory cleaning and hygiene certification program for all businesses related to tourism in the country.

    Bali has also been successful in containing its coronavirus outbreak, with less than 350 confirmed cases and, at the time of writing, a total of four deaths.

    The Indonesian island now hopes to welcome tourists back by October, provided its infection rates stay low.

    According to a statement from Ni Wayan Giri Adnyani, secretary of the ministry, Yogyakarta, situated on the island of Java, is likely to reopen first, along with the Riau islands province.

    Balis economy is hugely dependent on tourism and visitor numbers have been rising in recent years, with around 6.3 million people visiting in 2019.

    The coronavirus has collapsed the Balinese economy its been a steep drop since [mid-March] when social-distancing measures were put in place, Mangku Nyoman Kandia, a Bali tour guide, told ABC News in April. No tourist, no money.

    All foreign nationals, except for diplomats, permanent residents and humanitarian workers, are currently banned from Indonesia, and anyone entering the island must undergo a swab test and provide a letter stating they are free of Covid-19.

    Its unclear what the entry requirements will be if restrictions are lifted later this year, or whether Bali will accept travelers from regions badly affected by the pandemic.

    However, tourism officials have been calling for a travel bubble to be implemented between Bali and Australia.

    Cyprus is so keen to get its tourism industry back on track, officials are offering to cover the costs of any travelers who test positive for Covid-19 while on vacation in the Mediterranean island nation.

    According to a letter shared with CNN, the Cypriot government will pay for lodging, as well as food, drink and medication for tourists who are taken ill with coronavirus during their visit.

    The detailed plan was set out in a five-page letter issued to governments, airlines and tour operators on May 26.

    Officials have also earmarked a 100-bed hospital for foreign travelers who test positive, while a 500-room quarantine hotel will be available to patients family and close contacts.

    The traveler will only need to bear the cost of their airport transfer and repatriation flight, in collaboration with their agent and/or airline, states the letter.

    The countrys hotels began to reopen on June 1, while international air travel restarted on June 9.

    Once the destination reopens, visitors from only chosen countries will be allowed to enter.

    Officials have issued a list of countries to be granted access to Cyprus in two separate stages.

    Incoming flights from Greece, Malta, Bulgaria, Norway, Austria, Finland, Slovenia, Hungary, Israel, Denmark, Germany, Slovakia and Lithuania will be authorized first.

    From June 20, Cyprus will also permit incoming flights from Switzerland, Poland, Romania, Croatia, Estonia and the Czech Republic.

    The UK and the US, both listed among the nations with the highest number of confirmed Covid-19 deaths, are noticeably absent.

    However, the list is to be expanded to include furthe23r countries in the coming months.

    Travelers heading to Cyprus will need to provide a valid certificate proving theyve tested negative for Covid-19, while theyll be subject to temperature checks on arrival as well as testing at random during the course of their trip.

    The destination has already put measures in place to protect travelers and residents, such as ensuring hotel staff wear masks and gloves, regularly disinfecting sunbeds and keeping tables at restaurants, bars, cafs,and pubs at least two meters (6.5 feet) apart.

    Tourism accounts for at least 15% of Cypruss economy.

    Tourism brings in around $1 billion in revenue for Egypt each month, so the impact of the travel restrictions caused by the pandemic has been significant.

    The government suspended passenger flights back in March, while all hotels, restaurants and cafes were closed and a night curfew imposed.

    These measures are currently being relaxed, with hotels that meet certain requirements, such as having a clinic with a resident doctor on site, being granted permission to reopen for domestic visitors at a reduced capacity.

    But a curfew remains in place between 8p.m. and 5 a.m, and the government has made wearing masks mandatory in public places and public transport.

    Although international flights are yet to begin operating again bar a select few routes the cabinet has indicated scheduled international flights will be allowed to enter from July 1, while foreign tourists will be permitted at the resorts least affected by Covid-19.

    We have to prepare, cabinet spokesman Nader Saad said during a televised interview last month.

    A number of global carriers have expressed willingness to resume flights to Egypt in July, and as a result we are considering a gradual resumption of international flights beginning towards the end of this month and in the first half of July.

    France was the most visited country in the world before the coronavirus pandemic.

    Now, like the rest of the EU, restrictions are currently in place on all nonessential travel from outside the Schengen Zone (a grouping of 26 countries which normally have open borders).

    Travelers who do enter the country, with the exception of EU citizens or arrivals from the UK, will be subject to a compulsory 14-day quarantine until at least July 24.

    Although the government is slowly lifting lockdown measures, with car journeys of up to 100 kilometers now allowed and beaches beginning to reopen, officials have made it clear the country is in no hurry to ease border restrictions for international travelers.

    Since the start of the crisis, the closure of the borders is the rule, and the authorization to cross a border is the exception.

    We have to keep this protection in place, this will not change soon, French Interior Minister Christophe Castane said during a televised news conference earlier this month.

    Prime Minister Edouard Philippe recently announced a $19.4 billion stimulus package to boost its ailing tourism sector.

    What is good for tourism is often good for France, what strikes tourism strikes France, he said during a news conference.

    The countrys hotels, bars, restaurants and cafs were granted permission to reopen on June 2.

    Meanwhile Paris was downgraded from a red zone to a green zone in mid-June

    It was announced on May 29 that the countrys most visited museum, the Louvre, will reopen July 6.

    Tourism is facing what is probably its worst challenge in modern history, added Philippe. Because this is one of the crown jewels of the French economy, rescuing it is a national priority.

    He went on to state that residents can take holidays within France during July and August.

    The countrys hotels will be reliant on domestic tourism once they do reopen, as all signs suggest international travelers will not be able to enter for the foreseeable future.

    When the lockdown measures soften, French tourists are likely to want to stay close to home in the short term, a spokesperson for French hotel chain Accor told CNN Travel earlier this month.

    It will be the moment for them to rediscover their own country and we will be there to welcome them.

    Georgia was experiencing a tourism boom before the coronavirus pandemic, with five million travelers visiting in 2019, a 7% increase on the previous year.

    But the country was forced to close its winter resorts and place a ban on all foreign visitors back in March because of the crisis.

    Eager to revive its tourism sector, the countrys government says it plans to reopen to international travelers on July 1.

    Officials have brought in a three-stage anti-crisis plan, which includes a marketing campaign designed to promote Georgia as a safe destination.

    The next stage will allow for domestic travel in special safe tourism zones, while the final stage involves reopening borders and resuming some flights.

    We are transitioning to the third stage [of Covid-19 response], which means post-crisis management of the economy and devising plans [on] how to kickstart different sectors, Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia said at a recent council meeting focused on fighting Covid-19.

    [The] tourism sector will be first to which emergency relief measures will apply.

    Although nonessential travel to Germany is prohibited at present, the land of poets and thinkers lifted restrictions for EU countries on June 15.

    Officials are also considering allowing entry to visitors from Turkey, the UK, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland, although a final decision is yet to be made.

    The proposal was listed in a paper called Criteria for the Enabling of intra-European Tourism, which suggested the current travel warnings would be replaced by individual travel advice relating to each country.

    The revitalization of tourism is important both for travelers and the German travel industry, as well as for the economic stability of the respective target countries, it reads.

    The Austria/Germany land border is also reopening travel between Austria and Germany is possible as of June 15 and restrictions around the country are being relaxed.

    Bars, restaurants and museums have reopened, while some hotels have begun to resume business.

    Chancellor Angela Merkel has opted to extend social distancing rules until June 29.

    Tourism accounts for almost 20% of Greeces gross domestic product, as well as one in five jobs, so its perhaps no surprise the Mediterranean nation is angling to reopen to tourists as soon as it possibly can.

    The European country, which managed to keep its coronavirus case numbers low by implementing a strict lockdown early on, has already begun to allow some travelers back in.

    The tourism period begins on June 15, when seasonal hotels can reopen, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis announced on May 20.

    Let us make this summer the epilogue of the [Covid-19] crisis, he added.

    Mitsotakis went on to state that direct international flights to Greek destinations will slowly resume from July 1, and tourists from 29 designated countries will no longer be expected to take a Covid-19 test or go into quarantine on arrival.

    However, Tourism Minister Haris Theoharis has indicated health officials will conduct spot tests when necessary.

    The tourism experience this summer may be slightly different from what youve had in previous years, Mitsotakis told CNN earlier this month.

    Maybe no bars may be open, or no tight crowds, but you can still get a fantastic experience in Greece provided that the global epidemic is on a downward path.

    The 29 countries are Albania, Australia, Austria, North Macedonia, Bulgaria, Germany, Denmark, Switzerland, Estonia, Japan, Israel, China, Croatia, Cyprus, Latvia, Lebanon, New Zealand, Lithuania, Malta, Montenegro, Norway, South Korea, Hungary, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Czech Republic and Finland.

    Greece resumed regular ferry services to its islands on May 25, while travel restrictions within the country were lifted on May 18, allowing movement from one prefecture to another, apart from the islands.

    Bars and restaurants have also been allowed to take up business again, while city hotels were scheduled to reopen on June 1, followed by seasonal hotels in July.

    All international passengers had previously been required to take a Covid-19 test upon arrival or go into quarantine for 14 days.

    Mitsotakis had suggested tourists would be required to undergo testing before their visit as a further precaution in the future, but it seems this is only the case for travelers from countries that arent on the list, which is based on a document from the European Union Aviation Safety Agency of airports worldwide located in affected areas with high risk of transmission of the Covid-19 infection.

    Iceland reopened it borders to tourists on June 15 after recording just under 2,000 confirmed Covid-19 cases.

    The move came weeks after the Nordic country banned all foreign nationals, except for nationals of the EU and associated European countries.

    Up until recently, everyone arriving from outside the country was required to go into quarantine for 14 days.

    However, travelers now have the option to either submit to a Covid-19 test on arrival, provide proof of a recently taken test with a negative result, or agree to a two-week quarantine.

    Although the tests are currently free, a $112 charge will be implemented from July 1.

    Visitors will also be encouraged to download the app Rakning C-19, designed to help trace the origin of transmissions and available in seven languages Icelandic, English, Polish, German, French, Spanish and Italian.

    When travelers return to Iceland we want to have all mechanisms in place to safeguard them and the progress made in controlling the pandemic, Thordis Kolbrun Reykfjord Gylfadottir, Minister of Tourism, Industry and Innovation said in an official statement last month.

    Icelands strategy of large-scale testing, tracing and isolating have proven effective so far.

    We want to build on that experience of creating a safe place for those who want a change of scenery after what has been a tough spring for all of us.

    Italy has been one of the destinations worst hit by the pandemic, but the hugely popular European country is keen to get its tourism industry up and running now that infection rates have slowed down.

    Travelers from the EU, along with the UK and the microstates and principalities of Andorra, Monaco, San Marino and the Vatican, were allowed to enter without having to go into quarantine starting June 3, in a move the government has described as a calculated risk.

    Were facing a calculated risk in the knowledge that the contagion curve may rise again, Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said in a televised address to the nation earlier this month.

    We have to accept it; otherwise, we will never be able to start up again.

    Visitors were previously required to undergo a two-week quarantine before being allowed entry.

    All museums, including Romes Vatican Museums, have been slowly reopening throughout May with strict social-distancing rules. Bars and restaurants were permitted to reopen with reduced numbers of diners as well as plastic shields to divide customers, on May 18.

    St. Peters Basilica in the Vatican also opened its doors again on May 18 after being closed for over two months, the Leaning Tower of Pisa has also reopened, while the Venice Simplon-Orient-Express is scheduled to return to railways on July 8.

    The Maldives closed its national borders and canceled all flights shortly after recording its first two coronavirus cases in March.

    See the article here:
    Which international destinations are reopening to tourists? - KEYT

    School just one day a week after the summer? Joe McHugh has got to be kidding – The Irish Times - June 18, 2020 by Mr HomeBuilder

    The Covid-19 radio ad was playing in the background when the six-year-old gave a deep sigh. Coronavirus doesnt just kill people, she said. It makes them sad too.

    She went off and painted a picture of her pet cat attacking Covid-19, a black streak with sharp claws pouncing on a green spiky ball against a bright-blue sky.

    The kids are not all right. Children like my daughter too old to be oblivious, too young to contextualise the threat or to understand why she cant see her teacher and her schoolfriends are not all right. Children with special needs whose wellbeing relies on the routine of school are certainly not all right. Vulnerable children, for whom school was a respite from difficult home situations, are not all right.

    Parents struggling to work remotely while overseeing their childrens homework are not all right. Single parents who are trying to do it all by themselves are not all right. Parents who are splitting the day into four-hour shifts, starting at 6am, so they can take turns to look after the children are not all right. Parents coming to terms with the reality that they will have to give up work in June or September are not all right.

    Minister for Education Joe McHugh should bear this in mind when he makes pronouncements like the one he made on Friday afternoon. He said at a press conference that children might only be able to get back to school one day a week in September.

    With 2m social distancing, children at some primary schools could attend only once a week, he said. Secondary students could go to school twice a week. The Cabinet had approved a report that said if the distance were reduced to 1m, primary pupils could go in 2 days a week. Some postprimary students could attend almost full time. The rest of the time, blended learning would take place. It was his preference to have a full reopening, he said.

    It would be beyond repugnant if childrens education and wellbeing were being used as a tool to exert pressure on NPHET, the National Public Health Emergency Team, to reduce social distancing from 2m to 1m, so lets assume thats not whats happening here. Lets accept that this is a straightforward reflection of the Governments view of the best- and worst-case scenarios for what will happen in September and beyond, until a vaccine for Covid-19 is found.

    If this is the spectre were facing, we need to call it what it is. Part-time schooling is not blended learning. Parents supervising children while they work their way through a list of homework assigned by the teacher, frequently while they also try to work themselves, is not blended learning. Blended learning is civil-servant newspeak with no bearing on the reality of what has been happening since March.

    Despite the heroic efforts of some primary-school teachers trying to keep 30 infants attentive for a weekly half-hour video meeting, Zoom is no substitute for a classroom. Neither is Padlet, Twinkl, Google Classroom or Seesaw. At primary level particularly, school is not just about working your way through a set of assigned tasks or watching videos; its about learning to socialise, to play, to negotiate and to be independent. None of this can be done remotely, no matter how dedicated or brilliant the teacher.

    Remote learning might be a more realistic concept for secondary students, but it relies entirely on them having access to technology and broadband. If remote learning becomes an ongoing part of the national education framework, educational inequality will be exacerbated. The children who will fall behind are those without access to technology; those without a full-time stay-at-home parent; those whose schools dont have access to technology; those who struggle to self-motivate in the absence of a stable routine.

    The Constitution says children are entitled to a certain minimum education, moral, intellectual and social. The Education Act 1998 requires the Government to guarantee everyone in the State a level and quality of education appropriate to meeting the needs and abilities of that person. A day a week in school is not an appropriate education.

    The Covid-19 pandemic has thrown everything up in the air. But were beginning to figure out what is needed to piece society back together. As the country unlocks, detailed guidance is being issued on various sectors. We know, for example, that publicans wont be able to put a tap into a pint glass. We know what spa treatments will look like at luxury hotels. But we have no clear idea yet what is going to happen in schools or creches. All weve been told, so far, is what is probably not going to happen. This is despite the Chief Medical Officer, Tony Holohan, acknowledging on Morning Ireland on Friday that the impact on children of Covid-19 is much lower. There is also no clear consensus on whether children transmit coronavirus asymptomatically.

    Inevitably, schooling that fills only 20 or 50 per cent of the normal hours will force parents frequently mothers to choose between their childs education and their jobs. This weekend, impossible, unthinkable choices will be weighed up. Will I continue to let my children fester at home on screens, being educated by Joe Wicks and RTs Home School Hub, or will I give up work and make sure they are properly educated myself? If I keep working, who will look after them on the 2 or 4 days a week theyre not at school?

    The State has failed Irish children repeatedly throughout its history. We were sharply reminded of that this week, with the future of the Department of Children and Youth Affairs as a standalone department up for grabs right at the moment when children most need a voice at Cabinet.

    By abdicating its responsibility to educate children on the basis of an unknown risk, the State is in danger of failing them again.

    Excerpt from:
    School just one day a week after the summer? Joe McHugh has got to be kidding - The Irish Times

    Rosie on the House: Check out choices for outdated cabinets – Green Valley News - June 6, 2020 by Mr HomeBuilder

    So youve added a splash of color to the walls in your kitchen and upgraded the appliances, but its not quite enough. Those cabinets still seem drab, bringing down that fresh look you were going for. Or perhaps youre looking to sell your house, but the kitchen is not a selling point because of worn-out cabinetry. Your cabinets need a pick-me-up, and professionals usually opt for one of three ways to give your kitchen a facelift: replacing, refacing or refinishing.

    Replacing

    Replacing your cabinets gives you a chance to go with something completely new. A company comes in, guts your kitchen and gives you brand new cabinet doors, drawers and boxes. You can go from a very traditional look to a modern, European style, change the wood, add doors with glass panes, or even restructure the kitchen layout. This is great for old, rundown cabinetry thats been chipped, cracked and worn.

    Keep in mind that this generally leads to a bigger project as homeowners will often replace countertops and sinks and maybe even the flooring to give the kitchen a fresh, new look.

    Refacing

    For a little less drastic and more economical kitchen renovation, refacing is an option. You pick out new doors and drawer fronts to replace the ones you have, and the existing cabinet boxes are covered with a veneer to match your new doors/drawers. There is a wide variety of colors and finishes to choose from.

    Refacing cabinets gives you lots of options and half the mess!

    For those who want to update their kitchen look without changing the layout, this is a great option. And since the doors and drawer faces are being replaced, they dont have to be in mint condition.

    Refinishing

    But what if your cabinets are in great shape and you like the style, but the finish needs to be updated, thats where refinishing comes in. Refinishing is the most affordable and usually the quickest way to bring life back into dreary cabinets.

    It's vital that the cabinets are in good condition since refinishing includes paint stripping, sanding, and staining or painting. The most economical choice here is to match the existing finish.

    Refinishing cabinets requires the right tools!

    Creating a unique faux finishing or going from one color or stain to another is more expensive. You can go from whitewashed to a deep cherry wood color. It is, however, hard to go from a very dark to very light.

    Painting is another option, with unlimited color choices. You can match your cabinet color to that perfect shade of blue on the dishes as professional paint stores can easily perform a match on any item you bring in. Generally, this is a project for a professional painter. They have the tools and expertise to make cabinets look like new.

    Pricing

    Refinishing costs: It is most economical to match the finish of the existing cabinetry. The cost of changing the color or creating a faux finish increases the price to as much as it would cost to install nice, lower end cabinets.

    Refacing costs are as much as a faux finish, but the advantage to both is that there is less of a mess. Cabinets, flooring and countertop can stay in place and dont need to be replaced.

    Cabinet costs: A good quality new cabinet starts at about $550 per cabinet box professionally installed. A typical nice, whole kitchen cabinet package is hard to buy installed for less than $5,000 in a small kitchen. And going to this level probably involves new counters, plumbing fixtures and flooring.

    Of course, you can do some mixing and matching. Stain the cabinets to that beautiful oak color, but have a door or two replaced with glass panes to show off the fine china and crystal.

    Revamp the kitchen and reface the cabinets in the bathroom. Giving your cabinets a total-body makeover or just a facelift can make the whole house seem to come back to life.

    For more do-it-yourself tips, go to rosieonthehouse.com. An Arizona home building and remodeling industry expert for 35 years, Rosie Romero is the host of the syndicated Saturday morning Rosie on the House radio program, heard locally from 8 to 11 a.m. on KNST-AM (790) in Tucson and from 7 to 10 a.m. on KGVY-AM (1080) and -FM (100.7) in Green Valley. Call 888-767-4348.

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    Rosie on the House: Check out choices for outdated cabinets - Green Valley News

    Robert Reich’s advice to the Class of 2020 – Salon - June 6, 2020 by Mr HomeBuilder

    This time of year is normally filled with joy and celebration, as millions of graduates across the country take their first steps into the "real world".

    Some of you reading this are families of graduates. Some are graduates yourselves. Either way, you may be thinking of all the 2020 graduates who didn't get a ceremony, celebrated with loved ones over Zoom, and are entering into the most uncertain jobs market since the Great Depression.

    I am, too.

    So here's my message to the Class of 2020:

    I'm not going to beat around the bush. These are hard times. You're graduating into the worst economy in 80 years, and we don't have any idea when or how the economy will recover. Much depends on the course of this tragic pandemic.

    On the other hand, I don't want you to despair. You have your entire lives in front of you. And you have your education, and, hopefully, resilience and fortitude.

    The multiple crises we're facing are also opportunities to remake this nation and the world, hopefully into more just societies.

    In this spirit, I wanted to share with you a final class I taught a few years back, when I and my students were still all together in a classroom. In watching it, it seemed to me that the lessons still hold, especially in this pandemic and economic crisis the importance of personal resilience, the inevitability of failure, the challenge of designing your own hoops to jump through, the new careers and forms of work you'll encounter, the central importance of gaining wisdom about yourself.

    I hope these ideas give you the courage to face the future with realism and resourcefulness, and the confidence to dedicate at least some of your life to fortifying the common good.

    Robert B. Reich is Chancellor's Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley and Senior Fellow at the Blum Center for Developing Economies. He served as Secretary of Labor in the Clinton administration, for which Time Magazine named him one of the ten most effective cabinet secretaries of the twentieth century. He has written 15 books, including the best sellers "Aftershock", "The Work of Nations," and"Beyond Outrage," and, his most recent, "The Common Good." He is also a founding editor of the American Prospect magazine, chairman of Common Cause, a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and co-creator of the award-winning documentary, "Inequality For All." He's also co-creator of the Netflix original documentary "Saving Capitalism."

    Link:
    Robert Reich's advice to the Class of 2020 - Salon

    Which international destinations are reopening to tourists? – CNN - June 6, 2020 by Mr HomeBuilder

    (CNN) Although most governments are still advising against "nonessential" international travel, a host of popular destinations are beginning to ease their Covid-19 lockdown measures and border restrictions and are moving toward welcoming tourists back.

    Earlier this month, the European Union unveiled an action plan to reopen its internal borders in time for summer, while countries such as Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania have formed "travel bubbles," lifting restrictions for each other's citizens.

    A number of Caribbean islands are preparing to open their doors to foreign visitors in June, while destinations such as Mexico and Thailand are planning to open up again region by region in the coming weeks.

    If you're one of many travelers eagerly awaiting news on where you can travel to this year, here's a guide to the top destinations making plans to reopen, as well as some of those that are keeping their borders firmly closed for now.

    Cyprus

    Cyprus has pledged to cover holiday costs for Covid-19-positive tourists and their families.

    Courtesy Cyprus Tourism Organisation

    Cyprus is so keen to get its tourism industry back on track, officials are offering to cover the costs of any travelers who test positive for Covid-19 while on vacation in the Mediterranean island nation.

    According to a letter shared with CNN, the Cypriot government will pay for lodging, as well as food, drink and medication for tourists who are taken ill with coronavirus during their visit.

    The detailed plan was set out in a five-page letter issued to governments, airlines and tour operators on May 26.

    Officials have also earmarked a 100-bed hospital for foreign travelers who test positive, while a 500-room "quarantine hotel" will be available to patients' family and "close contacts."

    "The traveler will only need to bear the cost of their airport transfer and repatriation flight, in collaboration with their agent and/or airline," states the letter.

    The news came shortly after Cyprus Transport Minister Yiannis Karousos announced hotels in the country will reopen on June 1, while international air travel will restart on June 9.

    Once the destination reopens, visitors from only chosen countries will be allowed to enter.

    Incoming flights from Greece, Malta, Bulgaria, Norway, Austria, Finland, Slovenia, Hungary, Israel, Denmark, Germany, Slovakia and Lithuania will be authorized first.

    From June 20, Cyprus will also permit incoming flights from Switzerland, Poland, Romania, Croatia, Estonia and the Czech Republic.

    However, the list is to be expanded to include furthe23r countries in the coming months.

    Travelers heading to Cyprus will need to provide a valid certificate proving they've tested negative for Covid-19, while they'll be subject to temperature checks on arrival as well as testing at random during the course of their trip.

    The destination has already put measures in place to protect travelers and residents, such as ensuring hotel staff wear masks and gloves, regularly disinfecting sunbeds and keeping tables at restaurants, bars, cafs,and pubs at least two meters (6.5 feet) apart.

    Bali

    At least 6.3 million people visited Bali in 2019.

    SONNY TUMBELAKA/AFP via Getty Images

    Bali has also been successful in containing its coronavirus outbreak, with less than 350 confirmed cases and, at the time of writing, a total of four deaths.

    The Indonesian island now hopes to welcome tourists back by October, provided its infection rates stay low.

    Bali's economy is hugely dependent on tourism and visitor numbers have been rising in recent years, with around 6.3 million people visiting in 2019.

    All foreign nationals, except for diplomats, permanent residents and humanitarian workers, are currently banned from Indonesia, and anyone entering the island must undergo a swab test and provide a letter stating they are free of Covid-19.

    It's unclear what the entry requirements will be if restrictions are lifted later this year, or whether Bali will accept travelers from regions badly affected by the pandemic.

    Thailand

    Thailand plans to reopen different regions stage by stage towards the end of 2020.

    JACK TAYLOR/AFP via Getty Images

    Thailand has long been among the top destinations for travelers, receiving close to 40 million foreign tourists last year.

    However, visitors have been banned from entering the Southeast Asian country since March because of the pandemic.

    While the number of cases here has been relatively low in comparison to other destinations -- Thailand has reported more than 3,000 confirmed cases and over 50 deaths -- officials aren't taking any chances when it comes to reopening the country.

    The governor went on to stress there will be limitations on who can visit the country and what regions they can go to once restrictions are relaxed.

    "We are not going to open all at once," he added. "We are still on high alert, we just can't let our guards down yet.

    "We have to look at the country of origin [of the travelers] to see if their situation has truly improved."

    This effectively means Thailand is unlikely to open its borders to travelers from destinations that don't appear to have the coronavirus situation under control.

    Those that are given permission to enter may be offered "long-stay packages" in isolated areas "where health monitoring can be easily controlled," such as the remote islands of Koh Pha Ngan and Koh Samui.

    However, Thailand's borders are firmly shut for the time being.

    Like many other global destinations, Thailand is currently focusing on domestic tourism.

    In fact, some resorts and hotels have already been given the go ahead to reopen -- Hua Hin, located about 200 kilometers (124 miles) south of Bangkok, being one of them.

    Shopping malls, museums, markets and some tourist attractions have also been reopening their doors, with Bangkok's Grand Palace due to reopen on June 4.

    France

    Residents of France will be allowed to take holidays within the country during July and August.

    DAMIEN MEYER/AFP via Getty Images

    France was the most visited country in the world before the coronavirus pandemic.

    Now, like the rest of the EU, restrictions are currently in place on all nonessential travel from outside the Schengen Zone (a grouping of 26 countries which normally have open borders).

    Travelers who do enter the country, with the exception of EU citizens or arrivals from the UK, will be subject to a compulsory 14-day coronavirus quarantine until at least July 24.

    "Since the start of the crisis, the closure of the borders is the rule, and the authorization to cross a border is the exception.

    "What is good for tourism is often good for France, what strikes tourism strikes France," he said during a news conference.

    Although some businesses have been given permission to reopen, the country's hotels, bars, restaurants and cafs are to remain closed at least until June 2.

    Even then, it's unlikely establishments in Paris, which has been marked as a coronavirus "red zone" by officials, will be allowed to open any time soon.

    It was announced on May 29 that the country's most visited museum, the Louvre, will reopen July 6.

    "Tourism is facing what is probably its worst challenge in modern history," added Philippe. "Because this is one of the crown jewels of the French economy, rescuing it is a national priority."

    He went on to state that residents can take holidays within France during July and August.

    The country's hotels will be reliant on domestic tourism once they do reopen, as all signs suggest international travelers will not be able to enter for the foreseeable future.

    "When the lockdown measures soften, French tourists are likely to want to stay close to home in the short term," a spokesperson for French hotel chain Accor told CNN Travel earlier this month.

    "It will be the moment for them to rediscover their own country and we will be there to welcome them."

    Greece

    Officials in Greece are hoping to reopen the country on June 15.

    cunfek/Getty Images

    Tourism accounts for almost 20% of Greece's gross domestic product, as well as one in five jobs, so it's perhaps no surprise the Mediterranean nation is angling to reopen to tourists as soon as it possibly can.

    The European country, which managed to keep its coronavirus case numbers low by implementing a strict lockdown early on, plans to allow travelers back in on June 15.

    "The tourism period begins on June 15, when seasonal hotels can reopen," Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis announced on May 20.

    "Let us make this summer the epilogue of the [Covid-19] crisis," he added.

    However, Tourism Minister Haris Theoharis has indicated health officials will conduct spot tests when necessary.

    "Maybe no bars may be open, or no tight crowds, but you can still get a fantastic experience in Greece -- provided that the global epidemic is on a downward path."

    The 29 countries are Albania, Australia, Austria, North Macedonia, Bulgaria, Germany, Denmark, Switzerland, Estonia, Japan, Israel, China, Croatia, Cyprus, Latvia, Lebanon, New Zealand, Lithuania, Malta, Montenegro, Norway, South Korea, Hungary, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Czech Republic and Finland.

    Bars and restaurants have also been allowed to take up business again, while city hotels are scheduled to reopen on June 1, followed by seasonal hotels in July.

    All international passengers had previously been required to take a Covid-19 test upon arrival or go into quarantine for 14 days.

    Mitsotakis had suggested tourists would be required to undergo testing before their visit as a further precaution in the future, but it seems this is only the case for travelers from countries that aren't on the list, whichn based on a document from the European Union Aviation Safety Agency of airports worldwide "located in affected areas with high risk of transmission of the Covid-19 infection."

    Germany

    Restrictions in Germany are being gently relaxed as the country prepares to revive its tourism industry.

    JOHN MACDOUGALL/AFP via Getty Images

    Officials are also considering allowing entry to visitors from Turkey, the UK, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland, although a final decision is yet to be made.

    "The revitalization of tourism is important both for travelers and the German travel industry, as well as for the economic stability of the respective target countries," it reads.

    The Austria/Germany land border is also reopening -- travel between Austria and Germany will be possible from June 15 -- and restrictions around the country are being relaxed.

    Mexico

    Over the coming weeks, Mexico will begin to open up region by region.

    ELIZABETH RUIZ/AFP via Getty Images

    Mexico is aiming to welcome visitors back within weeks.

    While the nation remains in lockdown, with hotels and restaurants yet to recommence business, officials are planning to reopen the country bit by bit in order to get things back on track.

    "The target is domestic travelers first, followed by travelers from the US and Canada and then the rest of the world.

    The border between the US and Mexico border is closed to "nonessential" travel until at least June 22 and most international flights in and out of Mexico's key airports are currently suspended or significantly reduced.

    However, Delta Air Lines will be increasing and/or resuming various services from the US to Cancun, Mexico City Los Cabos and Puerta Vallarta in the coming weeks.

    Quintana Roo, a state on the Caribbean side of Mexico that's home to the likes of Cancun, Playa del Carmen and Tulum, hopes to reopen in mid-June, according to Marisol Vanegas, the state's tourism secretary.

    "We want to revive tourism and expect to start opening sights and hotels sometime between June 10 and 15 but don't know which ones yet," she says.

    "It depends on what the federal government allows us to do."

    Rodrigo Esponda, managing director of the Los Cabos Tourism Board, says he hopes to be able to accept both international and domestic travelers by August and September.

    However, beach destination Riviera Nayarit, situated north of Puerta Vallarta, currently has no immediate plans to bring back tourists, according to Richard Zarkin, the public relations manager for the Riviera Nayarit Convention and Visitors Bureau.

    Turkey

    Turkey is aiming to receive international visitors from mid-June.

    Burak Kara/Getty Images

    Turkey made over $34.5 billion from tourism in 2019, and the transcontinental country is eager to get back in business.

    According to Tourism Minister Mehmet Nuri Ersoy, the destination plans to restart domestic tourism by the close of May and hopes to receive international visitors from mid-June.

    The country has set out new guidelines for its hotels and resort facilities, such as temperature checks at entrances and at least 12 hours of room ventilation after checkout. Guests will be required to wear face masks and maintain social distancing.

    Meanwhile, restrictions on intercity travel have been lifted, while restaurants, cafes, parks and sports facilities are permitted to reopen from June 1, along with beaches and museums.

    Italy

    Italy is dropping its compulsory quarantine for arrivals in a "calculated risk" to entice tourists back.

    PIERO CRUCIATTI/AFP via Getty Images

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    A Perfect Storm: Democracy on the Defensive in Trump’s America – DER SPIEGEL - June 6, 2020 by Mr HomeBuilder

    Once darkness had fallen, the general went to see the situation for himself. Mark Milley strode across the battlefield in olive-green camouflage and heavy boots, not to inspect a residential street in Fallujah or mountains in Afghanistan, but the streets of Washington, D.C.

    A reporter asked Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, if he had a message for the American people. His response: "Just allow freedom to assemble, freedom of speech, that's perfectly fine, we support that," he said. "We took an oath of allegiance to the Constitution of the United States of America to do that, and to protect everyone's rights and that's what we do."

    It was a striking statement given that it came just a short time after security personnel, including members of the military police, deployed batons and flashbang grenades to forcibly push peaceful protesters out of the streets surrounding the White House. There are competing narratives as to whether they had been warned before force was deployed, but it is clear why they were moved: to provide a photo op for U.S. President Donald Trump.

    Around 6 p.m. on Monday, after several days in which the White House had looked like a defensive fortress surrounded by a sea of furious demonstrators, Trump stepped outside. Up to that point, the president had hardly said a word about the largely peaceful protests or the limited rioting that had beset Washington, D.C., and dozens of other towns and cities across the nation. He was unable to find the courage or desire to give a consoling speech following the horrific slaying of George Floyd, a black man who was murdered by a white policeman who kneeled on his neck for almost nine minutes.

    Once the crowds were cleared on Monday evening, Trump stood in front of St. John's Church, which had been damaged by fire the previous evening. He fiddled with a Bible, then held it aloft, as though unsure exactly what to do. When Trump was asked about his favorite verse in what he described as his "favorite book" last year, he had been unable to come up with one.

    In front of the church, a journalist asked the president about his thoughts about the current situation. Trump muttered a few unintelligible comments into the wind. He was surrounded exclusively by white men and women, including Defense Secretary Mark Esper and the four-star General Milley, who had been tasked by the president a short time earlier with coordinating the military response to the unrest in the country.

    The scene was as ridiculous as it was ominous, more reminiscent of South American potentates than of American democracy. Trump, who is fond of taking about "my generals" and also claimed to have the "support of the army," had arranged for a military escort for his foray into the streets of America. He also indicated that he wanted to send military units into American cities to confront the protesters, whom he has described as "terrorists."

    The pushback came quickly. Defense Secretary Esper voiced his disapproval of the plan, as did several others. After Trumps church appearance, retired General John Allen, who once commanded NATO troops in Afghanistan and was part of the fight against Islamic State, said, "The slide of the United States into illiberalism may well have begun on June 1, 2020." James Mattis, also a retired general and once Trump's defense secretary, wrote in The Atlantic that Trump was the first president who was seeking to divide the country rather than unite it. But Trump's political allies were still there for him. The New York Times published an op-ed by Republican Senator Tom Cotton headlined, "Send In the Military."

    Trump and his political accessories are using the rhetoric of authoritarianism. Militarized police forces haven't just been using violence to quell plundering and rioting, they have also been attacking peaceful demonstrators. Journalists have been arrested as well.

    Should we be worried about the United States? Is a fundamental shift taking place in a country that is synonymous with deeply rooted democracy? The current chaos on the streets of America isn't just the product of the countrys economic and societal tensions. The president himself has repeatedly exacerbated those conflicts with his rhetoric. Trump, it seems, needs the chaos. He feeds off it.

    Few other democratically elected leaders have as much power as the U.S. president, a reality that can lead to abuse. Trump has made personal loyalty the most important qualification for those with whom he surrounds himself. He harbors deep admiration for Russian President Vladimir Putin and once voiced his support for the violent crushing of the pro-democracy protests on Beijing's Tiananmen Square, saying it was a sign of strength.

    The Russia investigation and his impeachment did not show him the limits of his power, and instead awakened in him a desire to hit back hard and to get rid of anyone within government who does not fulfill his every whim. In the waning months of his first term in office, just a few months before Election Day, he is increasingly putting his authoritarian tendencies on full display.

    Not long ago, it seemed absurd to question the strength of America's system of checks and balances. U.S. democracy, more than 200 years old, has survived numerous crises and its resilience has always withstood attempts to grab power. But after more than three years of Trump, and despite him being the democratically elected president, the foundations of American democracy have grown brittle. Trump has continually pushed back the limits of what was considered acceptable under his predecessors. Flouting tradition, he placed the powerful Department of the Interior and the intelligence agencies in the hands of loyal acolytes.

    "It's very frightening," says Rosa Brooks, a professor of law at Georgetown University. "I hope that I'm being much too paranoid but it's hard not to think of things like the Reichstag fire at this moment."

    From the German perspective, of course, the comparison seems farfetched. In February, 1933, the National Socialists used the fire in Berlins Reichstag building as an excuse to issue the "Decree of the Reich President for the Protection of People and State. This essentially meant the suspension of the Weimar-era constitution and the beginning of the Nazi dictatorship.

    The U.S. is far away from that. The system of checks and balances is a long way from being defanged and opposition is lively, as the streets in recent days have shown. In the House of Representatives, the Democrats have a solid majority and both Washington and New York are home to newspapers that wield tremendous power.

    But the president is flirting with authoritarianism. And his party is following along.

    On Monday, Trump retweeted a post by Cotton, the Republican senator, reading: "If local law enforcement is overwhelmed and needs backup, let's see how tough these Antifa terrorists are when they're facing off with the 101st Airborne Division."

    On Monday night, military helicopters circled at low altitude above the streets of the capital to intimidate demonstrators and looters. In military jargon, the tactic is known as a "show of force," and tends to be used in foreign battlefields in places like Iraq or Afghanistan. Meanwhile, National Guard troops in battle equipment lined up in front of the Lincoln Memorial, their faces covered. And then, suddenly, a high fence was erected around the White House on Thursday. To protect the president from the American people.

    Daniel Ziblatt, a professor of the science of government at Harvard, co-authored the book "How Democracies Die" two years ago. It quickly became a widely respected work about the rise of autocrats and the strategies they employ. "When we wrote the book, we wanted to avoid seeming too alarmist," Ziblatt says today. "Now, I think we were too optimistic. We thought the Republican Party would break with Trump when he began attacking the democratic system. But that hasn't happened."

    The U.S. has been beset by a perfect storm. In absolute numbers, no other industrialized country has been hit as hard by the coronavirus pandemic as the United States, with more than 100,000 dead. The economic consequences of the virus have also been devastating: More than 40 million Americans have lost their jobs, a disaster second only to the Great Depression. And now, the killing of George Floyd has torn open the country's oldest wound: the deep-seated racism left behind by slavery.

    Police protecting the White House from demonstrations out front.

    During the initial weeks of the coronavirus crisis, many people took comfort in the notion that "were all in this together. The phrase was repeated daily by news anchors, politicians and celebrities. But many black people in the United States saw it as an affront. They have been hit much harder than white Americans by unemployment - even George Floyd had lost his job as a bouncer at a restaurant in Minneapolis. Furthermore, the chance that a black American will die from COVID-19 is three times higher than for white people.

    "Our country will thrive and prosper again," Trump said in his inaugural address in January 2017. But now, dozens of U.S. cities have seen destructive rioting, and curfews have been imposed on 60 million Americans.

    Racist police violence has a long, ugly tradition in the United States and white terror existed long before Trump rose to power, but almost all presidents in recent history have tried to unite the country. When a white terrorist shot and killed nine black people during a Bible study on June 17, 2015, in Charleston, South Carolina, Barack Obama sang a moving rendition of "Amazing Grace" at the memorial service. It comforted the nation.

    "I hope that I'm being much too paranoid but it's hard not to think of things like the Reichstag fire at this moment."

    Rosa Brooks, a professor at Georgetown University.

    The contrast to Trump could hardly be greater. Last year, the current president awarded one of the countrys two highest civilian honors to the racist radio host Rush Limbaugh a man who once said: "If any race of people should not have guilt about slavery, it's Caucasians." When the first disturbances began following the killing of George Floyd, Trump issued a warning that culminated in the sentence: "When the looting starts, the shooting starts." The sentence was used in the 1960s by racist politicians and police chiefs. Trump seemed to intentionally be throwing a match into a barrel of gasoline. And now, the country is burning.

    "I am here to fight for my black skin," says a breathless Tranesha Smith, 25, in Oakland. She is holding up a homemade sign as a dark wall of police assembles in front of her. The sign reads "Peace for George Floyd" on the front and, on the back: "You killed my black brother." She says she is fighting for her children, for all black people. And for justice.

    "No justice, no peace," is one of the most frequently chanted slogans at the demonstrations. It is often followed by a second sentence: "No racist police!" Thousands have taken to the streets of Oakland in recent days, just as they have in dozens of other cities and towns around the country: in Minneapolis, New York, Los Angeles, Dallas, Washington, Houston, Portland, Louisville and Chicago. Windows have been broken in Oakland, which is located across the bay from San Francisco, and there has been looting.

    But on this recent afternoon, the protests are peaceful, at least in physical terms. The anger is still there, expressed in slogans like "fuck the police!" which is chanted over and over again. The heavily armed officers, dressed in dark-colored riot gear, show no emotion under their helmets. Tranesha Smith, who works as an elder-care nurse, is wearing sandals, torn jeans and a colorful top.

    A woman with the letters BLM on her face, which stands for Black Lives Matter.

    Oakland is a good place to understand the rage of black people in America. Many African American people from the South moved to the so-called "Harlem of the West" in the middle of the 20th century. In the 1960s, it was the birthplace of the militant Black Panthers, who confronted the virulent police brutality of the time with violent force. Their logo can be seen these days on many of the T-shirts worn by demonstrators. Another popular motif is an image of Colin Kaepernick, the former quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers who popularized the practice of kneeling during the national anthem as a sign of protest. Oakland has a long tradition of black resistance.

    And with good reason. Whereas black residents made up roughly half of the city's population in 1980, their share is below a quarter today. One reason for their displacement is the economic boom in Silicon Valley and the entire Bay Area, where high-salaried tech workers drove up housing prices, making it too expensive for many long-time residents to stay. Gentrification has long-since taken root in San Francisco, where black faces are frequently only seen among the homeless.

    "I'm here to fight for my black skin."

    Tranesha Smith, a protester in Oakland

    The geography of Oakland is itself evidence of structural racism: The neighborhoods where the city's black population tends to live are located in the lowlands and crisscrossed by highways raised on cement pillars. White residents tend to live higher up on the hillsides, with views of the bay.

    As the demonstrators march past City Hall, they chant the names of the victims: "Say their names! George Floyd! Say their names! Breonna Taylor! Say their names! Ahmaud Arbery!"

    Breonna Taylor was killed by police in Kentucky in March. Ahmaud Arbery was a young black man who was apparently shot and killed while jogging in Georgia by a white civilian. They are just three names in a long list of black victims. Many American cities have their own George Floyd.

    "But this time, it's different," says Jackie Byers, 48, from a local human rights organization called Black Organizing Project, who is also marching with the demonstrators. It's different, Byers believes, than during the unrest in Ferguson in 2014, when Michael Brown was shot and killed. And different from the 1991 uprising in Los Angeles after police beat Rodney King half to death.

    Whats new, says Byers, is that millions of Americans could see the expression on the face of the policeman Derek Chauvin as he presses his knee into the neck of George Floyd for eight minutes and 46 seconds. The video immediately went viral on the internet. The lack of emotion, the impassiveness, says Byers, "is like a stab in our hearts." It reflects, she says, the degree of arrogance of white law enforcement officers who don't have to fear ever having to face justice for their actions.

    According to the Mapping Police Violence database, 99 percent of all deaths caused by police between 2013 and 2019 resulted in no charges whatsoever. Each year, around 1,000 people in the United States lose their lives at the hands of the police, though the likelihood of being one of those victims is almost three times higher for blacks than it is for whites.

    Another new aspect, says Byers, is that there are now two life-threatening viruses fueling the rage of black Americans: racism, which is deeply rooted in American culture and history, and SARS-CoV-2, which has hit blacks much harder than whites. Together, they have created a social explosion.

    The fact that a greater proportion of black Americans die from COVID-19 is also a consequence of the conditions in which they live. On average, black Americans are much poorer than white Americans, which frequently translates to worse health and inadequate access to quality medical care. The average income of a black household in the United States is around $40,000 per year. For white households, that number is $70,000. Black Americans are also relatively more exposed to the virus because they are more likely to work at lower paying jobs that they cannot perform from home working in supermarkets, delivering packages or caring for patients in the hospitals.

    Walking around the Chicagos Austin neighborhood with Elce Redmond, one gets a sense of how American capitalism has treated black residents. A community organizer, Redmond has spent 30 years focusing his attentions on Austin, one of the city's poorest and most dangerous districts. Some 81 percent of its population are African-American, and 13 percent are Latino.

    Until the end of the 1980s, Redmond says, Austin was a solid, stable neighborhood. But then, spurred by globalization, numerous companies moved production overseas, plunging many people into unemployment and the neighborhood into a constant battle against poverty, drugs and crime. In some streets, nice homes with well-tended yards show that not everyone is losing the battle. But just one block away, entire rows of houses stand empty, with the windows either broken out or boarded up.

    Children who grow up in Austin have a difficult start in life. "People used to think they had a chance if they worked hard and didn't give up," says Redmond. But that faith is waning. "The American dream doesn't work because there is a wall: institutional racism." To show what he means, Redmond points to a large building whose windows have been bricked up. It used to be Emmet Elementary School, but like many schools in Chicago's poorer neighborhoods, the school was closed down in 2014. "The only path to advancement is education," says Redmond. "There are plenty of dedicated teachers here, but there is a lack of financial means and there is a lack of desire to change things."

    The American education system is heavily tilted toward the haves and away from the have nots. Schools in wealthy neighborhoods receive more public funding than those in poor neighborhoods because funding is dependent on local tax revenues. "Children who need help don't have a chance," Redmond says. And the many local initiatives in Austin can hardly change that situation. Now they are having to deal with the coronavirus as well. "This is a virus hotspot," says Redmond, a situation, he says, that came about in part because of high residential density and a lack of quality health care. The local hospital was shut down years ago.

    The virus has combined with this widespread rage to feed the current unrest on American streets. The sentence George Floyd uttered as he was dying, "I can't breathe," has become the slogan of the nationwide demonstrations against police violence. But it also reflects the particularly hard impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the black population in the past several months.

    Colin Kaepernick's kneel of protest has also taken on new meaning in recent days, mirrored as it is by the way the policeman knelt on George Floyd's neck. In many parts of the U.S., kneeling has become a way for the police to demonstrate solidarity with protesters. These scenes shouldn't be forgotten amid the news coverage of burning buildings, plundered shops and clouds of tear gas.

    America finds itself at a high-stakes crossroads. Although there has been looting and rage, hundreds of thousands of white Americans have joined the anti-racist protests. Indeed, the protests seem to also be aimed at the man in the Oval Office, whose administration does not include a single black person in a prominent cabinet position and whose campaign events are almost exclusively attended by white supporters.

    Outside the White House, the United States is becoming increasingly diverse, making it increasingly difficult to win an election without support from black and Latino voters. The unrest is thus not just about racist police officers or jobs, but about who has the say in the United States, about power.

    In 2016, Trump received 3 million fewer votes than Hillary Clinton, who won 89 percent of the African American vote. Trump only won because of the Electoral College, which grants the primarily white states in the Midwest influence far outstripping the size of their populations. Demographically, though, whites are shrinking as a share of the population.

    In Texas, a Republic stronghold for decades, the non-white population has already overtaken the white population. "We are experiencing the death rattle of the America represented by Donald Trump," believes Eddie Glaude, an historian at Princeton University. "Politically, that leads to panicked efforts to hold onto an America that is dying out. It has been accelerated by COVID-19."

    "People used to think they had a chance if they worked hard and didn't give up."

    Elce Redmond, community organizer in Chicago

    The Republicans have entered into a devil's bargain with Donald Trump. He delivered all that the party has ever pined for: tax cuts, conservative judges and sharp anti-abortion rhetoric. In return, the party has completely subordinated itself to Trump, whose re-election strategy hinges on the support of white voters without a college education. The strategy can only be successful if large portions of the electorate are kept away from the voting booth.

    The Republican conception of free and fair elections was on full display in Wisconsin in early April, during a vote in which Democrats also chose their favored candidate for the presidency. Governor Tony Evers, a Democrat, wanted to delay the vote to give citizens an opportunity to vote by mail due to the coronavirus pandemic.

    But Republicans in the Wisconsin statehouse didn't just reject that effort, they ensured that the number of voting booths was drastically reduced particularly in areas where many African Americans lived. In Milwaukee, 175 of 180 polling stations were closed. Those wanting to cast their ballots had to stand in endlessly long lines.

    It was part of a long tradition. "There is no Republican majority in America, except on election days," wrote the New York Times in a recent editorial. Instead of striving to attract new groups of voters, the Republicans have adopted a different strategy: They are trying to prevent minorities from voting at all. And it is made easier by America's system of administration, which is not easy for Continental Europeans to understand.

    Because American's do not carry federal IDs, citizens must register to vote. And every state decides on its own which document is required to do so. Since 2014, the state of Alabama has demanded a driver's license. Documents entitling holders to social housing are no longer sufficient, but for many African Americans, they are the only official documents that they possess.

    The exclusion of black voters was an invention of the Democrats, once the party of Southern slave owners. After the end of the Civil War in 1865, they wanted to prevent former slaves from rising to positions of power. The Republicans, who have almost no black support today, expanded and modernized those efforts in the 20th century. "It used to be: If you vote, you die," says historian Carol Anderson, referencing the lynchings that used to take place in the South. "Today, intimidation works differently."

    Troops from the National Guard standing on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C.

    Crystal Mason is familiar with that intimidation. In the 2016 presidential elections, she wanted to cast her ballot for Hillary Clinton. Because her name was no longer the registration rolls, however, she cast a provisional ballot. It is a standard procedure and votes thus cast are examined after the election to determine if they are valid.

    The mother of three had served a five-year jail sentence for a tax offense, but because she was on parole, she was ineligible to vote. By phone, she explains that she didnt know about the rule, and received a shocking surprise a few months later: She was being charged with voter fraud. Mason was ultimately sentenced to ten more months in prison for violating her parole and sentenced to additional five years in jail for voter fraud. A court rejected her appeal. The three judges who ruled on her case had all been appointed by Republicans. "Prison for a vote cast in good faith that wasnt counted this is a textbook example of voter intimidation, argues Anderson, the historian.

    Another popular method Is to cleanse voter-registration rolls. The Republican-run state of Georgia stalled 53,000 peoples voter applications shortly before the states gubernatorial election in 2018. Because of alleged discrepancies within the registration system, these residents were made to meet confusing identification requirements in order to vote. Of those affected, 70 percent were black hardly a coincidence. Ultimately, Republican Brian Kemp, a fervent admirer of Trump, won by approximately 55,000 votes.

    Its unclear if these kinds of tactics will help Trump win the election in November. The virus has shattered the strong economy he hoped would propel his election campaign. Millions of Americans have lost not only their jobs, but also their health insurance in recent weeks. The economic hardship in the U.S. is now so severe that many families no longer know how to feed their children. Miles-long queues have formed in front of food banks, and American downtowns are on fire.

    Trump is trying to profit from the anger felt by many Americans about the looting, which has been especially serious in New York, Washington D.C. and Minneapolis, all of which are run by Democratic mayors. "I am your president of law and order, Trump said in a White House address on Monday. But it is unclear if those kinds of appeals will actually help him.

    The nation is watching footage on its screens of burnt-out police cars and shattered storefronts, of an America in chaos. In a recent CBS News survey, 49 percent of respondents said they were dissatisfied with Trumps management of the crisis, compared to 32 percent who thought he was doing a "good job.

    American self-confidence has always been predicated on the belief that it is special. In his farewell address on January 11, 1989, Ronald Reagan spoke of a "shining city upon a hill, admired not only for its prosperity but for its richness in ideas, its goodness and cosmopolitanism. Ten months later, the Iron Curtain fell, and it seemed like the age of American dominance was upon us.

    This notion of American exceptionalism also came up in Trumps inauguration speech in January of 2017, albeit in a vulgar form: "American will start winning again, winning like never before, the president said. Three and a half years later, there are no signs of victory. The defeat in the war in Afghanistan, the longest in U.S. history, is now as good as certain. The war will soon have lasted 19 years and cost the lives of 2,400 U.S. soldiers and Trump is eager to withdraw from the country, though there is little doubt that the Taliban will take over in Kabul when he does, much like the Communists overran Saigon after the last GIs left Vietnam. China is seizing the opportunity provided by the crisis to impose itself on Hong Kong, and Trump is in danger of destroying the G-7 Summit, the last influential venue for discussion among the Western developed nations.

    As a result, older voters in particular seem to increasingly be turning away from Trump and toward Biden and the Democrats. In a survey conducted by Morning Consult, a polling institute, 45 percent of those asked said they would vote for Joe Biden, Trumps challenger, due to the protests. Whats particularly unsettling for Trump is that his challenger is currently ahead in the polls in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania. Biden now even has a chance of winning in erstwhile Republican strongholds like Arizona, Georgia and Texas. Polls predict a very close race in these states, something would have been unthinkable a few months ago.

    Now a seemingly outrageous question is increasingly being asked: Would Trump accept defeat? "The next five months before the election could become very serious. Trump has the potential to significantly affect free and fair elections. He can undermine the entire electoral process and create maximum chaos, says Bill Kristol, who was long one of the country's leading conservative voices. Kristol is known for bringing Sarah Palin, John McCains running mate in the 2012 presidential election, into the spotlight, and was the editor-in-chief of the Weekly Standard, a now-defunct conservative magazine once owned by Rupert Murdoch.

    Kristol broke away from Trump early on, partly because he argues Trump is leading the Republican Party to disaster. He believes Trump is capable of anything in a fight for political survival. "He can fake a crisis, spread false information, for example, by simply claiming a week before the election that he discovered a conspiracy.

    cgs

    The article you are reading originally appeared in German in issue 24/2020 (June 6, 2020) of DER SPIEGEL.

    A look back to February 2016 is instructive when it comes to Trump's view of democratic mores. At the time, he was only one of many candidates for the Republican nomination and he had just lost the first primary in Iowa to Texas Senator Ted Cruz. The voting was fair, but Trump still claimed he had been cheated. "Ted Cruz didnt win Iowa, he stole it, Trump wrote on Twitter. "Based on the fraud committed by Senator Ted Cruz during the Iowa caucus, either a new election should take place or Cruz results nullified. Neither of those things happened.

    Back then, few took Trump's allegations seriously. Now, though, hes in the White House, and many people he trusts occupy positions in the state apparatus. Briefings on the security of the presidential election, for example, are now being given by Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe, a Trump acolyte who has spread the abstruse theory that the scandal about Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election was in fact a conspiracy perpetrated by Barack Obama.

    Rosa Brooks of Georgetown University argues that there can be no doubt that Trump is setting the stage for a refusal to accept a potential election defeat in November. Brooks has formed a working group for the Democrats that is tasked with preparing Bidens campaign team for the worst-case scenario: a president planning a coup dtat. If Biden doesnt win by a landslide, Trump will most likely claim victory, Brooks believes.

    Trump had peaceful protesters cleared out of the way for his photo op in front of St. John's Church near the White House.

    Trump has been saying for weeks that his opponents in the fall presidential election are preparing to carry out large-scale fraud. The Democrats believe its no coincidence that the presidents criticism is focused on postal voting, even though it makes no sense at first glance. A study by Stanford University published in mid-April concluded that neither Republicans nor Democrats would benefit from a U.S. vote carried out entirely by mail.

    Around half the American electorate wants to vote by mail this fall, more than ever. This is mainly because of the coronavirus, which has led millions of Americans to want to avoid waiting in long lines for hours in front of their polling locations, as is common in the U.S. At the same time, Trump and congressional Republicans are refusing to provide additional money to ensure an orderly election process. "That's a recipe for distrust, says Nathaniel Persily, who teaches at Stanford University Law School and specializes in American electoral law.

    Trump already declared in 2016 that he wont voluntarily concede defeat, and the chaotic electoral system in the U.S. gives him several opportunities to question a Biden victory. Over 10,000 different bodies are responsible for carrying out the presidential elections cities, municipalities, counties and the postal voting system is a patchwork quilt. In some states, like Texas, vote-by-mail is only permitted if the voter gives a valid reason. Other states have switched entirely to mail voting. There are also different deadlines and security standards. In some states, the signature on the envelope must match the signature given at the time of vote-by-mail registration, which opens the door to challenges to the validity of hundreds of thousands of postal votes.

    Now Rosa Brooks and many other American lawyers are working through scenarios that, until recently, seemed unthinkable. What if, on election day, Republicans imposed a curfew on cities with traditionally large numbers of Democratic voters? What should be done if the outcome is close and the president refuses to recognize the result in a swing state like Pennsylvania? Given that it takes days to receive and count all postal votes, what should be done if Trump proclaims himself the winner before that happens?

    "We don't have some single entity that can validate" the outcome of the election, Brooks says. "Its purely political. The more the professor has looked into the subject, the more pessimistic she has become that a president can be stopped if he has no qualms about ignoring the will of the people. Its not even clear that the Supreme Court would accept a suit against a president who refuses to vacate the White House. And even then, what if Trump simply disregards a Supreme Court ruling?

    "The next five months before the election could become very serious. Trump has the potential to significantly affect free and fair elections.

    The Secret Service would have to escort the president out of the Oval Office. But the Secret Service reports to the Department of Homeland Security, Brooks says. "Their boss is the secretary of homeland security. His boss is Trump."

    There have been several extremely close election results in the United States. In 1960, Richard Nixon lost to John F. Kennedy by less than 113,000 votes. In 2000, the race between George W. Bush and his Democratic rival, Al Gore, came down to only a few hundred votes in Florida. But in both cases, the country was spared a constitutional crisis by the fact that the defeated candidates ultimately conceded defeat. This kind of humility can hardly be expected from Trump.

    "Trump is going to contest whatever happens if he loses, Jacob Hacker, who teaches political science at Yale University, argues. The question would then be whether American society can force the president to back down. Trump may have the Republican Party and parts of the state apparatus under his control, but the protests that are happening daily across the country are increasingly turning towards the president.

    This past Wednesday afternoon, hundreds of people, young and old, black and white, once again protested outside the White House. They were facing down police officers with helmets and truncheons. The crowd included Pat Rolich, 60, from Virginia. "Trump is escalating the situation, causing more and more violence. It almost feels like living in a police state, he says. For him, it is clearer than ever that Trump is no longer tenable as a president. "We need someone who can bring peace back to our country.

    Read the original:
    A Perfect Storm: Democracy on the Defensive in Trump's America - DER SPIEGEL

    Pubs and restaurants to ‘hopefully’ reopen in July, Cabinet minister says – Daily Star - May 19, 2020 by Mr HomeBuilder

    Pubs and bars could be re-open from July, the Environment Secretary, George Eustice has claimed.

    Mr Eustice said that he is hopeful the hospitality industry and the pub sector will be able to open "during the month of July, subject to science.

    He said the Government is "already working with the hospitality and pub sector to identify what social distancing measures" might be able to put in place to make service possible.

    His comments come just a day after Bella Italia, Las Iguanas and Cafe Rouge owners announced plans to contact administrators after two months of coronavirus lockdown.

    The Environment Secretary said the Prime Minister has outline a plan to get pubs and restaurants opening "tentatively" during the month of July.

    He said: "As the Prime Minister has outlined, we intend that the hospitality sector, including pubs, would be able to tentatively start gradually opening hopefully during the month of July - subject to the epidemiology supporting such a move."

    Bella Italia, Las Iguanas and Cafe Rouge are just the latest high street restaurant staples facing difficulties as a result of the crisis.

    The owners of restaurants Frankie & Bennys and Chiquito have announced more than 100 branches will close across the UK.

    It has earmarked 42 sites which it plans to close, in addition to another 76 Frankie & Bennys sites it identified earlier this year.

    It is estimated that thousands will be out of a job by the time Britain begins to see a glance of the "new normal" and hospitality workers have been urged to find jobs at Tesco, Asda and Sainsbury's in the meantime.

    The Environment Secretary also highlighted the agricultural fruit-picking scheme, as only a third of the usual European fruit-picking workforce will be available to work in the UK as a result of the virus.

    Shadow Environment Minister, Daniel Zeichner, said: "The foolish dismantling of the seasonal agricultural workers scheme, now made worse by the Covid crisis, means we're facing an alarming shortfall in the experienced 70,000 people needed to pick our crops."

    Mr Eustice said: "We estimate that probably only about a third of the usual East European workforce that would come to work on our farms is either here or in some cases has continued to come.

    "That means that this year we will need a British workforce to step up and assist in getting the harvest in this year and we're very encouraged by results so far."

    Read the original post:
    Pubs and restaurants to 'hopefully' reopen in July, Cabinet minister says - Daily Star

    Taking Defense Ministry, Gantz says will promote all aspects of Trump peace plan – The Times of Israel - May 19, 2020 by Mr HomeBuilder

    Incoming Defense Minister Benny Gantz said Monday that, in addition to preparing the countrys security for the future, he intends to work towards implementation of all aspects of the Trump administration peace plan for ending the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

    But Gantz stopped short of specifically endorsing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahus stated plan to swiftly, and unilaterally, implement a controversial clause of the plan annexation of parts of the West Bank that the Palestinians want for a future state.

    Most other members of the international community, especially Europe and the Arab world, vociferously oppose Netanyahus plan to unilaterally apply sovereignty over the entire Jordan Valley and Israeli settlements across the West Bank.

    Get The Times of Israel's Daily Edition by email and never miss our top storiesFree Sign Up

    And Gantz is also believed to oppose unilateral annexation that could seriously hurt Israels relations with numerous countries, including neighbor Jordan.

    Channel 13 news reported Monday that Gantz and ally Gabi Ashkenazi, the new foreign minister, voiced reservations about annexation in their talks last week with visiting US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

    At a changing-of-the-guard ceremony, where he formally replaced outgoing defense minister Naftali Bennett, Gantz said that striving for peace has always been an important part of the Zionist spirit.

    Alongside this and for its sake, we will maintain our strength, to seize regional opportunities in general, and to advance the US government and US President Trumps peace plan and everything it contains, Gantz told those gathered at the ceremony held in Tel Avivs Kirya military headquarters, where the ministry is located.

    Gantz also said he intends to lead a multi-year program to enable the IDF and the defense community to deal with current threats and future challenges.

    Passing the baton to Gantz, Bennett urged him not to let up in the campaign against Irans military presence in Syria.

    Though Iran has begun a process of withdrawal from Syria, the work needs to be completed. Weve increased the number of attacks against Iranian forces and the Quds Force in Syria, he said.

    Bennett, who is now headed for the opposition, after being left out of the new government, added: We cant let up on Iran for a moment. We must increase the diplomatic, economic, military, and technological pressure, and act in other dimensions.

    Bennett, who had been defense minister since November last year, also urged securing the remains of two IDF soldiers held by the Hamas terror group in the Gaza Strip.

    Serving as defense minister was a great privilege, Bennett said. I have now finished. Benny, continue from here.

    Gantzs remarks aligned with those of new Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi, who at his own installment ceremony earlier in the day also expressed his support for the Trump plan, without endorsing Netanyahus annexation intentions.

    Ashkenazi, a member of Gantzs Blue and White party, called the US administrations plan a historic opportunity to shape Israels borders.

    Were facing significant regional opportunities, primarily President [Donald] Trumps peace initiative. I consider this plan a significant milestone, he said at a modest ceremony at a Foreign Ministry conference room in Jerusalem. President Trump presented us with a historic opportunity to shape the future of the State of Israel and its boundaries for decades to come.

    Incoming Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi, right, with his predecessor, incoming Finance Minister Israel Katz, at the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem, May 18, 2020. (Foreign Ministry)

    According to the coalition agreement signed between Netanyahus Likud party and Gantzs Blue and White slate, the prime minister can bring the annexation plan to a vote in the Knesset or the cabinet as soon as July 1. If he secures Knesset approval, he can move forward with the plan even without Blue and Whites support.

    Annexation will be advanced in coordination with the US and international dialogue on the issue, while pursuing the security and strategic interests of the State of Israel, including the need for maintaining regional stability, maintaining peace agreements and striving for future peace agreements, the coalition pact states.

    Bennett lost the defense minister post in the coalition deal, and chose to take his Yamina party into the opposition, rather than accept a minor ministry.

    Earlier in the day, Gantz tapped former Air Force commander Amir Eshel to take over as director-general of his ministry, succeeding Udi Adam who has served in the position for the past four years.

    Eshel, a close confidant of the former IDF chief of staff-turned-politician, will enter the position in the coming days, Gantzs office said in a statement.

    Former head of the air force, Maj. Gen. (res.) Amir Eshel speaks at the Institute for National Security Studies conference in Tel Aviv on January 28, 2019. (INSS)

    Adam, who has served in the position since 2016, said he will stay on a bit longer to prepare Eshel.

    I am ending my four-year tenure with a feeling of satisfaction from seeing through a number of processes, which contributed and are contributing to the State of Israel and will continue to contribute to the resilience of the IDF, said Adam, who previously served as an IDF general and the director of Israels nuclear facility in Dimona.

    Gantz thanked Adam for his service, noting his many accomplishments during his four-year tenure.

    I am full of appreciation for the way he managed and manages the ministry and the achievements he has achieved, Gantz said.

    During his tenure, Adam oversaw a major expansion of Israels defense exports, reaching a peak of $9 billion last year, according to the ministry.

    Adam dramatically improved the preparedness of the Defense Ministry for emergencies. Some of these processes came to bear in the Defense Ministrys response to the coronavirus crisis, the ministry said.

    Defense Ministry Director General Udi Adam. (Flash90)

    Adam was appointed to the position of director-general under then-defense minister Moshe Yaalon. He stayed on under Yaalons successors: Avigdor Liberman, Benjamin Netanyahu and Naftali Bennett.

    Eshel served as the head of the Israeli Air Force from 2012 to 2017, commanding it during the militarys 2012 and 2014 operations against the Hamas terror group in the Gaza Strip, while Gantz was IDF chief of staff.

    After retiring from the military, Eshel continued to advise Gantz, accompanying him to the United States earlier this year, during the unveiling of Trumps plan to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

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    Taking Defense Ministry, Gantz says will promote all aspects of Trump peace plan - The Times of Israel

    Redesigned Testing Machine Set Up to Gather and Use Big Data – Machine Design - May 18, 2020 by Mr HomeBuilder

    Just about every product and machine we come in contact with uses electricity. To keep us safe, almost all of them have built-in safety features, especially those on the factory floor. Technicians, maintenance crews, supervisors and managers must be protected from injury due to moving parts, high temperatures, shocks and other electricity-related hazards.

    Designers have a host of methods to address electrical safety issues.

    When it comes to industrial electrical safety, the best offense can be a good defense. In other words, if there were a way to keep people away from dangerous electrical equipment, it would lower the chances of anyone getting hurt. One simple way to do this is to keep risky equipment secure in an enclosure. Enclosures prevent injuries, along with inadvertent tampering and vandalism.

    Most automated and factory equipment requires electrical enclosures, sometimes called control enclosures. They keep moisture, dust and contaminants away from electrical and automation components. They also keep workers from getting too close to electrical components. Enclosures are best located so they do not impede traffic and arent in crowded areas.

    Properly selected enclosures protect automation and electrical components inside and keep workers away from hazards.AutomationDirect

    Eventually, someone will need to get inside the enclosure. That could be maintenance technicians making annual checks and upgrades or inspectors looking things over. So, inside the enclosure, engineers should choose components and assemblies with guards, shields and other devices to stop visitors from touching energized components. Components should be laid out so theres enough working room and adequate airflow. Wires should be neatly routed using wire ducts so that wires and workers are protected.

    On equipment itself with moving parts, hot surfaces, or other physical hazards, the best approach providing physical barriers or guards to contain those hazards. Of course, any guard can be defeated by removal, so plant managers should also use non-contact or interlock safety switches that make it difficult to bypass. And if the guard is moved, sensors detect it and automatically have the equipment stopped and/or de-energized.

    Some guards and panels must be easily movable to accommodate cleaning and replacing parts. In these cases, trapped-key interlock safety switches hold the door closed with a mechanical lock-and-key until the equipment stops and is safe to access.

    Another way to physically safeguard electrical and automated equipment adds devices such as light curtains, mats, edges and bumpers. These can all be arranged around potentially dangerous equipment to detect someone approaching and stop equipment operation before the operator gets too close to the hazard.

    The electrical design inside enclosures should also be safe in terms of power distribution and control circuitry. It must follow NFPA 70 National Electrical Code (NEC), which is the benchmark for safe electrical design and installation practices to protect people and property from electrical hazards. Provision and sizing of disconnect switches, overcurrent devices, conductors and associated components are all covered by the NEC.

    Disconnect switches are primary electrical safety devices that isolate downstream electrical systems from upstream power. They are used in electrical switchgear, panelboards and control panels, as well as for mounting close to power-using machines such as motors. Disconnect switches can be locked open by users to ensure downstream equipment is electrically safe for maintenance or repair.

    In power distribution and control panels, overcurrent devices such as circuit breakers fuses, and motor overload devices, protect downstream conductors by automatically opening a circuit when theres an overcurrent or short-circuit. This protects equipment and workers from fault conditions.

    Circuit breakers, fuses and overload devices protect downstream conductors if there is an overcurrent or short-circuit. Technicians can use them to safely de-energize equipment.AutomationDirect

    Surge protection is another electrical safety provision and has recently received increased attention, especially since the 2017 revision of NEC section 670.6. This added the requirement to have surge protection on industrial machinery safety interlock circuits. Electrical surges can be caused by failing equipment, utility problems, and lightning strikes, and can damage operational equipment and control circuits. Surge protective devices on safety interlock circuits help ensure safety functions operate continually and are protecting workers.

    For motor-driven electrical equipment, prudent designers include devices not absolutely required but proving additional protection. For instance, phase-monitoring relays detect electrical problems such as phase loss or phase imbalance, each of which can cause hazardous operating conditions. Similarly, some equipment can be equipped with vibration, temperature, and seal leak sensors. Wiring these sensors to relays or automated switches can stop equipment if a problem is detected.

    In addition to safely enclosing electrical devices and installing wiring and devices per NEC, designers can take additional steps to keep workers safe. Some of these steps are mandated by standards such as ISO 13849 Safety of Machinery, while others are simply good engineering practices.

    Machinery designers must also follow ISO 13849 and perform a risk assessment to identify hazards and how to safeguard against them.

    Cable-pull safety switches are particularly effective safety devices because they can span large areas of equipment and those working in the area can easily actuate them. These switches get wired into safety relay modules or more advanced safety controllers, depending on the required safety level needed. When theres no trouble, these relays and controllers let equipment operate and hold all trapped-key interlocks closed. However, if a safety sensor is triggered, the equipment is de-energized and brought to a safe state as quickly as possible.

    Outside of dedicated safety circuits, designers can provide automation features to help operators efficiently and safely run equipment. These include visual and audible indicators so workers can quickly understand the operating state and condition of the equipment. Specialized indicators such as modular stack lights are a good way to provide this type of indication from a much greater distance than small control-panel lights.

    Pilot devices such as switches and pushbuttons, or even human-machine interfaces (HMIs), can be combined with control wiring and programmable logic controllers (PLCs) to facilitate safe startup, operation and shutdown of equipment. Careful configuration and programming of HMIs and PLCs is essential for good equipment performance and safe and efficient operator interaction with machinery.

    Safety relay modules, such as these from AutomationDirect, provide engineers options for interlocking equipment to protect workers.AutomationDirect

    Incorporating sufficient safety for industrial machinery and systems is never a one-and-done proposition. Some safety requirements for electrical and controls are mandated by codes and standards such as the NEC and ISO. Other safety measures are based on good engineering practices and careful consideration of how workers may interact with equipment. Designers can keep safety first for electrical and automation systems by following a layered approach that evaluates changing conditions and develops designs based on a portfolio of products to address physical, electrical and automation safety concerns.

    Kevin Kakascik is a technical marketing engineer at AutomationDirect.

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