Monthly Archives آگوست 2020

‘We’re not dead yet’: Big Basin redwoods scorched, but not lost.

The news was heartbreaking. California’s oldest state park, home to coast redwood trees as tall as skyscrapers and dating back to the Roman Empire, suffered extensive damage in this month’s massive fires.

A pang of sorrow rippled across the United States, as Americans faced the possibility that one of the nation’s most beloved natural treasures could be gone forever. But despite the apparent devastation, most of the redwood conifers are not actually dead, say scientists.

The trees of Big Basin Redwoods State Park “will very quickly recover,” says Mark Finney, a research forester at the U.S. Forest Service’s Fire Sciences Laboratory in Missoula, Montana. He’s seen it happen before.

As a graduate student, Dr...

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Publishers Brace for Impact From Apple’s New Privacy Controls

Buzzfeed’s CEO says while publishers may feel some effect in the short term, ultimately the industry will adjust.

Photo: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg News

Privacy changes in Apple Inc.’s AAPL -0.16% new operating system are sending ripples through the digital publishing world, with outlets that rely heavily on advertising bracing for a sizable drop in revenue from iPhone users.

The upgrade, which is set to roll out this fall, will require apps to ask users whether or not they want their web activity tracked. Some publishers worry that most users will opt out, hobbling their ability to show personalized ads in apps and dealing them a blow at a time when the industry is trying to recover from the coronavirus pandemic.

“When every publishe...

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The true picture: Has Sweden emerged as paragon or pariah in the corona sweepstakes?

With the world on pause with coronavirus, Sweden’s unique approach has drawn intense global scrutiny, not all of it complimentary. It refused to impose tough lockdown, kept primary schools and core economic activities functioning, issued clear guidelines and relied on voluntary social distancing plus personal hygiene practices to manage the crisis. Chief epidemiologist Anders Tegnell explained that lockdowns have no “historical scientific basis”. “Each country has to reach ‘herd immunity’ in one way or another, and we are going to reach it in a different way.” He told the BBC Sweden will be better placed than most European countries to face a second wave of the outbreak. In the past fortnight infections rose again across much of Europe, they stayed low in Sweden but the re...

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With His TikTok Pursuit, Walmart CEO Seeks to Revamp Retailer Again

For Walmart Chief Executive Doug McMillon, a bid for TikTok would align with many of his personal interests and wider goals for the company.

Photo: Rick T. Wilking/Getty Images

Doug McMillon has worked to remake Walmart Inc. WMT 2.69% since becoming its chief executive six years ago. He has all but stopped building new U.S. stores, spent roughly $20 billion on e-commerce startups and retreated from Brazil and other countries.

The 53-year-old’s latest gambit would be the farthest departure from the company’s traditional roots, trying to turn one of the world’s biggest social-media apps into a Walmart storefront.

Walmart said Thursday it was making a joint bid with Microsoft Corp. for TikTok’s U.S...

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Pay tuition in a pandemic? Private schools woo families to stay afloat.

In May, parents and alumni of Seneca Academy in Darnestown, Maryland, rallied to save the small private school after the shift to remote learning caused an exodus of families.

An emergency loan under the CARES Act helped ease cash-flow problems. Now, in a sign of rising interest in some private schools, Seneca’s elementary program “will be bigger than it was last year,” says school head Michelle Parker. Students return Sept. 1 for half-day classes held outdoors.

Private schools have more leeway than their public counterparts in this fall’s key education dilemma: to return to classrooms or not. But even with that flexibility, private school closures are on the rise in 2020, and recently a local health official in Maryland tried to include them in a ban of in-person teaching...

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Women swing away: Shecession is bad news for President Trump

This week marks the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment to the US Constitution that gave women the right to vote. For all the countless advances towards equality that American women have made since then, it continues to raise eyebrows around the world that they have yet to become president or even vice-president. But because they now turn out to vote in greater numbers than men and also tend to vote Democratic, the Republican National Convention worked hard to put out a female-friendly version of President Donald Trump.

His wife Melania, daughter Ivanka, daughter-in-law Lara, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany, his former campaign manager Kellyanne Conway and others gave personal testimonials of how Trump empowers and supports women...

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AT&T Is Again Exploring a Deal for DirecTV

Any deal for DirecTV would be sizable, but likely a far cry from the $49 billion AT&T paid for it in 2015.

Photo: karen bleier/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images

AT&T Inc. T 0.47% is taking a fresh look at its DirecTV business, according to people familiar with the matter, exploring a deal for a service wounded by cord-cutting.

The telecom and media giant and its advisers at Goldman Sachs Group Inc. GS -1.16% have been in talks with private-equity suitors about the satellite TV unit, some of the people said. Potential bidders include Apollo Global Management Inc., APO -1.50% which had expressed interest last year, and Platinum Equity, these people said.

The process is at an early stage, and it’s not clear what form any deal wou...

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Points of Progress: New penguin colonies discovered, and more


1. United States

Tens of thousands of formerly incarcerated people – also known as returning citizens – have had their voting rights restored by an executive order of Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds. Iowa was the last state in the U.S. that still banned all people with felony convictions from voting.

Charlie Neibergall/AP

Gov. Kim Reynolds grants Iowans who were incarcerated with felony convictions the right to vote on Aug. 5, 2020.

The order restores voting rights for returning citizens who have discharged their sentences, including any parole or probation. Restitution payments related to felony convictions do not have to be fully paid back to vote...

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Lost opportunity: Centre’s narrow legal view on GST compensation

The GST Council meeting on Thursday ended on a mixed note. It met to solve the problem of compensating states for a shortfall in tax collection, an issue that’s driven a wedge between the Centre and some states. On the positive side, a solution emerged. But it left many states dissatisfied. The compensation issue has put stress on federalism and the solution merely papers over the cracks.

GST’s legislative framework includes a guarantee to compensate states for a five-year period in the event tax collections stay below a threshold. That’s inevitable this year. The compensation is to come from cess levied on some products. This collection is inadequate and states expected the Centre to bridge the gap...

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New Covid-19 Layoffs Make Job Reductions Permanent

American Airlines said that unless it receives more federal aid, it will furlough 17,500 union workers and move forward with 1,500 layoffs in its management ranks this fall.

Photo: Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg News

A new wave of layoffs is washing over the U.S. as several big companies reassess staffing plans and settle in for a long period of uncertainty.

MGM Resorts International MGM 4.60% and Stanley Black & Decker Inc. SWK 3.79% recently told some employees furloughed at the outset of the coronavirus pandemic that they wouldn’t be put back on the payroll. And companies bringing back the majority of furloughed workers, including Yelp Inc. YELP 1.91% and Cheesecake Factory Inc., CAKE 8.34% are making reductions as they adjust to the...

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