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Russia Trying

Russia Is Trying to Beat the West to a Covid-19 Vaccine – Bloomberg

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DeChambeau Trying

DeChambeau trying to buck Harbour Town trend – pgatour.com

HILTON HEAD, S.C. – With its narrow fairways lined by all those gnarled live oaks and stately pines, Harbour Town has never been particularly kind to the big hitters on the PGA TOUR.

The one notable exception would be five-time RBC Heritage champion Davis Love III, who ranked second on TOUR in driving distance when he won his first plaid jacket in 1987 and 17th or better for the other four.


RELATED: Full leaderboard


Since Love won his fifth title in 2003, though, no winner at Harbour Town has averaged over 300 yards or been ranked inside the top 34 in driving distance at the end of the season. In fact, nine of the last 11 champions have ranked 118th or higher with Brian Gay clocking in at 268.5 yards and 183rd in 2005.

Dustin Johnson tried to buck the trend a year ago, taking the lead into the final round before unraveling with a 41 on the back nine Sunday, shooting 77 and falling back into a tie for 28th. He’s back in the hunt at 8 under through two rounds this year.

The most intriguing name on the leaderboard, though, belongs to Bryson DeChambeau, who spent the last six months working out, inhaling power shakes and adding about 40 pounds of mostly muscle to his frame. His swing speed has increased accordingly and sometimes clocks out over 190. He’s tied for second at 11 under, a shot behind Webb Simpson.

As luck would have it, Love played with DeChambeau in the first two rounds and he came away impressed. Take the 16th hole Thursday where he drove it 282 yards and the man they call the Mad Scientist – a nickname that begs for a change given his dramatic transformation – was 54 yards past.

“Well, now I know how I made some guys feel, I guess,” Love said. “He got me really good at 16. That’s when I realized holy moly, because I hit a good drive at 16 and he just flew it over into the corner. …

“What’s impressive is how straight it’s going. He not only got longer, but he got straighter, and it looks like it’s under control, and it actually looks like it could go farther if he didn’t try to make sure it went straight. “

DeChambeau came to Hilton Head with considerable momentum after a tie for third at the Charles Schwab Challenge where he had a putt on the 18th hole to join the playoff won by Daniel Berger. In five of the six events he’s played in 2020, the SMU product has not finished out of the top 5.

DeChambeau admits he’s been harnessed by Harbour Town this week. On Thursday he said he couldn’t “unleash the Kraken,” and he didn’t use the driver at all in the second round. The 3-wood with a slight draw was trusty, though, and he roared home Friday with six birdies on the front and a 64.

“I can’t,” he explained when asked about hitting the driver. “It’s just this golf course, it’s so difficult to try to fit into these tight areas where, if you miss it offline, like I did last week a couple times on a couple holes, there I’ll be, where last week they were just in the rough and I was still able to get to the green.”

Even when the Kraken is in the bag, though, DeChambeau’s distance gains are evident in other ways. Where he once was hitting 6- and 7-irons, he’s now reaching for a wedge or a 9-iron.

“That’s a huge change for me that’s allowed me to go and attack flags a lot more, be more aggressive, not really have to try and fit it into this little spot down on the fairway out here and really attack those flags,” he said. “So I feel like for me my game after quarantine, the distance has really just made that strokes gained advantage, it’s just put it to a whole new level for me.”

While Simpson has worked hard over the last three years to gain distance and speed, he remains the antithesis to DeChambeau. He’s gained about 20 pounds on his still slender frame and his ball speed has gone up about four or five mph but still isn’t in the upper 170s where he’d like to top out.

Instead of power like DeChambeau, Simpson, who won the Waste Management Phoenix Open earlier this year, relies on distance control and precise iron play. His putter has been particularly strong this week, too and he ranks first in Strokes Gained – Putting at 6.402.

“It’s very satisfying knowing like I’m not near as long as some of these guys and I’m able to kind of use my skills of distance control and shot shape to kind of pick me back up when I’m 40 yards or 30 yards behind these guys,” Simpson said.

“I would like to hit it further. I set out on a journey three years ago to get stronger, hit it further, but do it a lot slower than Bryson, but he’s made it look easy and seamless.”

Simpson isn’t surprised at DeChambeau’s physical transformation as much as he is the way his Presidents Cup and Ryder Cup teammate has adjusted to the new body so quickly.

“I’ve been amazed and impressed with how he’s been able to swing it so well,” Simpson said. “Last week he lost by a shot. This week he’s right there.

“I think that’s the most impressive thing is he’s been able to take this body that he’s never played with before and still play just as good, if not better.”

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Block Trying

Trying To Block A Tell-All By John Bolton Of His White House Days With Trump – NPR

Former national security advisor John Bolton, seen in February, is scheduled to publish a memoir of his time with the Trump administration on June 23, and the Justice Department is trying to block publication.

Mark Humphrey/AP


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Mark Humphrey/AP

Former national security advisor John Bolton, seen in February, is scheduled to publish a memoir of his time with the Trump administration on June 23, and the Justice Department is trying to block publication.

Mark Humphrey/AP

Seven days before the scheduled June 23 release of a tell-all account of John Bolton’s tenure as President Trump’s national security advisor, the Justice Department late Tuesday mounted a last-ditch effort to block its publication.

A 27-page civil lawsuit filed by the Justice Department against Bolton with the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia alleges that publication of his 592-page book, The Room Where It Happened, would be a violation of nondisclosure agreements he signed and compromise national security.

“[The National Security Council] has determined that the manuscript in its present form contains certain passages—some up to several paragraphs in length—that contain classified national security information,” the filing states. “In fact, the NSC has determined that information in the manuscript is classified at the Confidential, Secret, and Top Secret levels.”

“Accordingly,” it continues, “the publication and release of The Room Where it Happened would cause irreparable harm, because the disclosure of instances of classified information in the manuscript reasonably could be expected to cause serious damage, or exceptionally grave damage, to the national security of the United States.”

The lawsuit argues that Bolton, who lasted 16 months as Trump’s third national security advisor before being fired in September 2019, had signed a document three days after leaving his White House post acknowledging “that he continued to be ‘prohibited from disclosing any classified or confidential information,’ and that he ‘may not use or disclose nonpublic information’—defined as ‘information gained by reason of [his] federal employment’ and that ‘has not been made available to the general public.’ ”

Bolton is accused in the lawsuit with three counts of breach of contract and fiduciary duty — for allegedly violating pre-publication review requirements, for violating his duty not to disseminate classified information, and for unjust enrichment from what the Justice Department says is a book deal “allegedly worth about $2 million.”

The court is asked to order Bolton to request that the book’s publisher, Simon & Schuster, further delay a publication date that originally was to have been in April so that the NSC can complete its pre-publication review. No time frame is given for how soon that review might be finished.

According to a director with Bolton’s Foundation for American Security and Freedom super PAC, the former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations on Tuesday evening had no comment to make about the lawsuit.

In an email, his attorney, Charles Cooper, said, “We are reviewing the Government’s complaint, and will respond in due course.”

It appears, though, that Bolton’s book has already been printed and is being distributed.

“In the months leading up to the publication of The Room Where It Happened, Bolton worked in cooperation with the National Security Council to incorporate changes to the text that addressed NSC concerns,” Simon & Schuster said in a June 10 press release. “The final, published version of this book reflects those changes, and Simon & Schuster is fully supportive of Ambassador Bolton’s First Amendment right to tell the story of his time in the Trump White House.”

A description by the publisher of what the mustachioed, hard-driving former top aide to Trump has written leaves little doubt why the president, with Attorney General Bill Barr at his side, said on Tuesday of Bolton “maybe he’s not telling the truth. He’s been known not to tell the truth a lot.”

In that pre-publication blurb, Simon & Schuster quotes a damning indictment of Trump directly from Bolton’s book.

“‘I am hard-pressed to identify any significant Trump decision during my tenure that wasn’t driven by reelection calculations,’ he writes,” according to the publisher.

“In fact,” Simon & Schuster says of Bolton, “he argues that the House committed impeachment malpractice by keeping their prosecution focused narrowly on Ukraine when Trump’s Ukraine-like transgressions existed across the full range of his foreign policy—and Bolton documents exactly what those were, and attempts by him and others in the Administration to raise alarms about them.”

The book, the imprint adds, “shows a President addicted to chaos, who embraced our enemies and spurned our friends, and was deeply suspicious of his own government.”

Bolton’s book sales, should the eleventh hour effort to block them fail, could handsomely benefit from the considerable publicity generated by his spat with Trump.

Should that happen, the lawsuit contends, the earnings would not go to Bolton.

It claims that under the nondisclosure agreements he signed, Bolton agreed to “assign to the United States Government all rights, title, and interest, and all royalties, remunerations and emoluments that have resulted or will result or may result from any disclosure, publication or revelation not consistent with the terms” of those agreements.

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'Black Trying

Trying to post a black square on Instagram using #BlackLivesMatter? It might be blocked. – USA TODAY

, USA TODAY
Published 2:20 p.m. ET June 2, 2020 | Updated 2:32 p.m. ET June 2, 2020

CLOSE

By now you’ve probably noticed that your Instagram timeline is flooded with black squares.

But if you tried posting one – or anything – with the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter, you may be blocked.

An anti-spam system on Instagram has been “incorrectly” displaying an “action blocked” message to some users, preventing them from posting images using the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter.

“We’re aware that some people are incorrectly running into ‘action blocked’ messages when using the hashtag #blacklivesmatter, or resharing related posts. We have technology that detects rapidly increasing activity on Instagram to help combat spam,” Instagram said on Twitter Monday afternoon, but the issue seems to persist Tuesday.

Protests over the death of George Floyd while in the custody of Minnesota police continue around the nation with people looking for ways to show support.

“Given the increase in content shared to #blacklivesmatter, this technology is incorrectly coming into effect. We are resolving this issue as quickly as we can, and investigating a separate issue uploading Stories,” the company said.

Additionally, the trend #BlackoutTuesday, started by music executives Jamila Thomas and Brianna Agyemang, has increased the number of posts on Tuesday using the intended hashtag paired with #BlackLivesMatter.

While the blackout trend is intended to be a day to pause all business and take a stand against the “racism and inequality that exists from the boardroom to the boulevard,” it has created an issue for community organizers using the the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter with their posts being buried under a grid of black squares.

Instagram acknowledged this issue on Tuesday and exhorted users to “use the hashtag #blackouttuesday, and not #blacklivesmatter” as “the #blacklivesmatter hashtag aggregates important information and resources for the community.”

Similarly, TikTok said a technical glitch made it temporarily appear as if posts with the hashtags #BlackLivesMatter and #GeorgeFloyd received no views.The video platform said it was dealing with a display issue, and videos featuring those tags amassed more than 2 billion views.

“We want to be clear that using #blacklivesmatter is supported and celebrated on Instagram, and we are moving quickly to ensure voices using this hashtag are heard,” Instagram said on Monday.

Contributing: Brett Molina.

Follow Josh Rivera on Twitter: @Josh1Rivera.

Read or Share this story: https://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/2020/06/02/instagram-fix-anti-spam-system-blocking-blacklivesmatter-posts/3124224001/

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China Trying

China has been trying to avoid fallout from coronavirus. Now 100 countries are pushing for an investigation – CNN

Hong Kong (CNN)Russian President Vladimir Putin once called Xi Jinping, the Chinese leader, a “lone warrior.”

Putin was joking, but that description is starting to look more and more accurate. Russia has joined about 100 countries in backing a resolution at the upcoming World Health Assembly (WHA), calling for an independent inquiry into the coronavirus pandemic.
The European Union-drafted resolution comes on the back of a push by Australia for an inquiry into China’s initial handling of the crisis.
That was met with an angry response from Beijing, which accused Canberra of a “highly irresponsible” move that could “disrupt international cooperation in fighting the pandemic and goes against people’s shared aspiration.”
While the resolution to be presented at the annual meeting of World Health Organization (WHO) members, which begins on Monday in Geneva, does not single out China or any other country, it calls for an “impartial, independent and comprehensive evaluation” of “the (WHO)-coordinated international health response to Covid-19.”
The wording of the resolution is weak compared to Australia’s previous calls for a probe into China’s role and responsibility in the origin of the pandemic. This may have been necessary to get a majority of WHO member states to sign on — particularly those, such as Russia, with traditionally strong ties to Beijing.
But that doesn’t mean China’s government should rest easy. The potential for an independent probe, even one not initially tasked with investigating an individual country’s response, to turn up damning or embarrassing information is great. Australian government sources told the ABC, the country’s public broadcaster, that the resolution’s language was sufficiently strong to “ensure that a proper and thorough investigation took place.”
Beijing has previously said it would only support an investigation held by the WHO, which has been accused of being overly influenced by China — a charge top WHO officials refute.
Speaking last week, China’s ambassador to the UK, Liu Xiaoming said: “We’re open, we are transparent, we have nothing to hide, we have nothing to fear. We welcome an international, independent review, but it has to be organized by the WHO.”
With more countries signing on to the EU resolution as the assembly nears, that may be out of China’s hands. There were also indications that Beijing may accept the resolution: Chinese state media reported Monday that Xi would deliver a speech at the opening ceremony of the WHA, an unlikely move if Beijing was preparing to push back against a key agenda item.

Evidence of failures?

Any highly critical report could have a potentially disastrous effect on China’s global standing, which has already taken a major knock as a result of the coronavirus crisis, with the United States in particular pushing a narrative that Beijing is to blame for the pandemic.
China has consistently pushed back against any criticism, pointing to a warning given to the WHO in late December about a potential new strain of pneumonia spreading in the city of Wuhan. While the WHO — and particularly Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus — have praised China’s response, a probe into the organization’s initial handling will shine a spotlight on just what information China knew when, and how much was shared with the WHO.
Top officials, including Xi, have admitted to being aware that the infection was spreading even as the Wuhan government was still downplaying its severity and police were detaining whistleblowers. In an interview with CNN on Saturday, Dr. Zhong Nanshan, the Chinese government’s senior medical adviser and the public face of the country’s fight against Covid-19, said the local authorities “didn’t like to tell the truth at that time.”
He said: “At the very beginning they kept silent, and then I said probably we have (a larger) number of people being infected.”
Zhong added that he became suspicious when the number of officially reported cases in Wuhan remained at 41 for more than 10 days — despite infections emerging overseas. “I didn’t believe that result, so I (kept) asking and then, you have to give me the real number,” he said. “I suppose they are very reluctant to answer my question.”
The suggestion that knee-jerk censorship or a deliberate coverup by Beijing enabled the virus to spread, first within China and then throughout the world, has been repeatedly and angrily refuted by Chinese officials. But this has nevertheless hurt the country’s global standing, with foreign politicians — particularly in the US but also in parts of Europe and the rest of the world — referring to the “China virus” or blaming Beijing for the chaos they are now dealing with.
China has come in for plenty of international criticism over the years: on human rights, its aggressive posturing in the South China Sea, and issues of trade and intellectual property. But often that dissent has come from Beijing’s traditional rivals, such as the US — many smaller countries have held their tongues, perhaps to ensure economic ties with China are maintained. However, the virus — and the corresponding global economic slump — has opened the door to a wave of criticism and pushback not experienced by Beijing for years.

Taiwan at the WHA?

One example of how China’s global standing has suffered as a result is another issue that will be on the docket at Monday’s WHA meeting: whether to allow Taiwan to join.
The trajectory of Taipei’s international reputation during the pandemic has been the reverse of Beijing’s. Taiwan has been hailed for its effective response to the virus, and numerous countries have backed the island’s government in seeking to rejoin the WHA as an observer, a position it held until 2016, when Beijing forced it out after the traditionally pro-China KMT party lost power in Taiwan.
On Friday, a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman accused those countries who back Taiwan’s participation as seeking “selfish political gains even at the expense of hijacking the WHA and undermining global anti-pandemic cooperation.” He predicted that the proposal would be “firmly rejected by the vast majority of the international community.”
Fortunately for Beijing, this confidence did not have to be tested. Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement Monday that it had agreed to shelve the issue until next year, due to the shortened nature of the current WHA and the pressing issue of the coronavirus pandemic.

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Something Trying

‘We Had to Do Something’: Trying to Prevent Massive Food Waste – The New York Times

Some producers acknowledge the efforts are “just a drop in the bucket” of what farmers can’t sell and are destroying instead.

Credit…David Ryder/Getty Images

While millions of Americans are worried about having enough to eat and lines at food banks grow, farmers have been plowing under vegetable fields, dumping milk and smashing eggs that cannot be sold because the coronavirus pandemic has shut down restaurants, hotels and schools.

Now, the destruction of fresh food on such a scale has prompted action by the Trump administration and state governments, as well as grass-roots efforts like a group of college students who are renting trucks to rescue unsold onions and eggs from farms. But they most likely won’t be enough to address the problem if businesses remain closed for months.

Over the next few weeks, the Department of Agriculture will begin spending $300 million a month to buy surplus vegetables, fruit, milk and meat from distributors and ship them to food banks. The federal grants will also subsidize boxing up the purchases and transporting them to charitable groups — tasks that farmers have said they cannot afford, giving them few options other than to destroy the food.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s office has said New York will give food banks $25 million to buy products made from excess milk on farms in the state; the state is working with manufacturers like Chobani, Hood and Cabot to turn the milk into cheese, yogurt and butter. Some of the state subsidy can also be used to buy apples, potatoes and other produce that farms have in storage.

Nationally, the Dairy Farmers of America, the largest dairy co-op in the United States, has diverted almost a quarter of a million gallons of milk to food banks.

“It’s just a drop in the bucket,” said Jackie Klippenstein, a senior vice president at the co-op. “But we had to do something.”

The closure of restaurants, hotels and school cafeterias wiped out huge sources of demand for fresh food, leaving farmers with millions of pounds of excess. While increased sales at grocery stores have made up for some of that, not since the Great Depression has so much fresh food been destroyed. (In the 1930s, the problem was that people could not afford to buy all the crops farmers were producing, which led the federal government to establish an early food stamp program.)

The Agriculture Department grants are expected to be announced this week, but farmers say their losses far exceed what the grants can provide.

“These are not insolvable problems,” said Marion Nestle, a food studies professor at New York University. “These are problems that require a lot of people, sums of money and some thought. If the government were really interested in making sure that hungry people got fed and farmers were supported, they would figure out a way to do it.”

There are some signs that the waste is starting to dissipate. At the beginning of April, farmers were dumping 3.7 million gallons of milk each day, draining it into manure pits, where it mixed with fertilizer used in the fields. Now, the waste is closer to 1.5 million gallons, according to the dairy co-op, as farmers scale back production and restaurant chains like Papa John’s heed the industry’s call to add extra cheese to every pizza.

Even as the waste declines for some food, other farmers are scrambling to find new buyers. California strawberry growers, for example, are reaching peak harvest season in May.

“Time is not on our side,” said Mary Coppola, a vice president at the United Fresh Produce Association, a trade group of fruit and vegetable growers and processors. “In my own personal opinion, we are not coming up with the supply-chain logistical solutions as quickly as produce is growing.”

Some people, upset by all the food waste when families are running low, are trying to come up with other solutions.

A group of university students have started an online site, FarmLink, seeking to connect farmers with food banks. James Kanoff at Stanford and Aidan Reilly at Brown founded the group last month with donations from family and friends.

So far, it has diverted 50,000 onions that were about to be destroyed on a farm in Oregon and paid for their transportation to Los Angeles, where they were distributed to food banks. The students also bought 10,000 eggs from a California farm, rented a truck and drove them to a large food bank.

FarmLink, which now includes about 20 students from several colleges, has been cold-calling hundreds of farms to find surpluses.

“Just getting through to the farmers is the hardest part, because they are so busy,” said Jordan Hartzell, a Brown student.

The need at food banks is only increasing as the economic crisis intensifies. There are still long lines outside many food banks, as the charities struggle with a surge in need and a scarcity of volunteers because of stay-at-home orders.

While the details are being worked out, the New York subsidy may allow dairy companies like Chobani to drive trucks of their products into neighborhoods with the most need and hand them out in a public park.

At the small food pantry she runs in Casper, Wyo., Mary Ann Budenske has seen shortages of staples like milk and eggs. On Thursday, a shipment of about 200 gallons of milk that arrived at 2:30 p.m. was half gone by 5. She has sent more than 20 emails to farmers and trade associations, offering to drive her 1998 Ford pickup truck to retrieve the leftover food herself.

“Pretty much I’m getting the bureaucratic ‘We’re looking into that — we’ll get back in touch with you,’” Ms. Budenske said. “The whole thing makes me sick.”

  • Updated April 11, 2020

    • What should I do if I feel sick?

      If you’ve been exposed to the coronavirus or think you have, and have a fever or symptoms like a cough or difficulty breathing, call a doctor. They should give you advice on whether you should be tested, how to get tested, and how to seek medical treatment without potentially infecting or exposing others.

    • When will this end?

      This is a difficult question, because a lot depends on how well the virus is contained. A better question might be: “How will we know when to reopen the country?” In an American Enterprise Institute report, Scott Gottlieb, Caitlin Rivers, Mark B. McClellan, Lauren Silvis and Crystal Watson staked out four goal posts for recovery: Hospitals in the state must be able to safely treat all patients requiring hospitalization, without resorting to crisis standards of care; the state needs to be able to at least test everyone who has symptoms; the state is able to conduct monitoring of confirmed cases and contacts; and there must be a sustained reduction in cases for at least 14 days.

    • Should I wear a mask?

      The C.D.C. has recommended that all Americans wear cloth masks if they go out in public. This is a shift in federal guidance reflecting new concerns that the coronavirus is being spread by infected people who have no symptoms. Until now, the C.D.C., like the W.H.O., has advised that ordinary people don’t need to wear masks unless they are sick and coughing. Part of the reason was to preserve medical-grade masks for health care workers who desperately need them at a time when they are in continuously short supply. Masks don’t replace hand washing and social distancing.

    • How does coronavirus spread?

      It seems to spread very easily from person to person, especially in homes, hospitals and other confined spaces. The pathogen can be carried on tiny respiratory droplets that fall as they are coughed or sneezed out. It may also be transmitted when we touch a contaminated surface and then touch our face.

    • Is there a vaccine yet?

      No. Clinical trials are underway in the United States, China and Europe. But American officials and pharmaceutical executives have said that a vaccine remains at least 12 to 18 months away.

    • What makes this outbreak so different?

      Unlike the flu, there is no known treatment or vaccine, and little is known about this particular virus so far. It seems to be more lethal than the flu, but the numbers are still uncertain. And it hits the elderly and those with underlying conditions — not just those with respiratory diseases — particularly hard.

    • What if somebody in my family gets sick?

      If the family member doesn’t need hospitalization and can be cared for at home, you should help him or her with basic needs and monitor the symptoms, while also keeping as much distance as possible, according to guidelines issued by the C.D.C. If there’s space, the sick family member should stay in a separate room and use a separate bathroom. If masks are available, both the sick person and the caregiver should wear them when the caregiver enters the room. Make sure not to share any dishes or other household items and to regularly clean surfaces like counters, doorknobs, toilets and tables. Don’t forget to wash your hands frequently.

    • Should I stock up on groceries?

      Plan two weeks of meals if possible. But people should not hoard food or supplies. Despite the empty shelves, the supply chain remains strong. And remember to wipe the handle of the grocery cart with a disinfecting wipe and wash your hands as soon as you get home.

    • Should I pull my money from the markets?

      That’s not a good idea. Even if you’re retired, having a balanced portfolio of stocks and bonds so that your money keeps up with inflation, or even grows, makes sense. But retirees may want to think about having enough cash set aside for a year’s worth of living expenses and big payments needed over the next five years.


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