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Wuhan Strives to Return to Normal, But Scars From the Pandemic Run Deep

Daily Life In Wuhan, China
Daily Life In Wuhan, China

A man walks next to the Yangtze River on September 2, 2020 in Wuhan, Hubei province, China. Credit – Getty Images

Every year, on Aug. 25, China celebrates the Qixi Festival, the nation’s equivalent of Valentine’s Day. Rooted in a mythical romance between an oxherd and weaver girl, it’s when romance blooms and gooey-eyed sweethearts exchange overpriced trinkets.

In the central city of Wuhan, where the COVID-19 pandemic first erupted in January, couples relished this year’s festivities more than most. Ding Hui, 33, contracted the virus in mid-January and only survived after she was intubated in an Intensive Care Unit. Now fully recovered and back at work at her finance firm, Ding has thrown a party to celebrate Qixi with her husband, friends and colleagues in a penthouse duplex overlooking the Han Jiang River. She says she took eight COVID-19 tests to make sure the

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How Trump and Biden are trying to run virtual campaigns during coronavirus

President Donald Trump’s campaign has ridiculed rival Democrat Joe Biden for remaining cloistered during the pandemic, forced to give speeches, meet activists and raise money almost entirely from the seclusion of his basement in Wilmington, Delaware.

But as precautions and concerns about COVID-19 have grown, Trump has also halted his signature rallies at least temporarily and started his own virtual gatherings to keep in touch with voters.

“They’re making things up on the fly and seeing what works,” said Bob Oldendick, a political science professor at the University of South Carolina. “You use everything that’s available to you.”

Spikes in COVID-19 cases and social distance measures used to slow the spreading virus have forced the Trump and Biden teams to adjust their campaigns in ways never seen in history. Rallies, handshakes and traditional grassroots organizing are out. They’ve been replaced with a barrage of email, texts, candidate videos, Zoom meetings

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Halt ‘failing’ Serco’s new contract to run test-and-trace services, Labour says

Getty Images
Getty Images

A new lucrative contract for private giant Serco to run test-and-trace services should be stopped, Labour says – arguing the stakes are too high to “tolerate failure”.

The government is urged not to shell out a further £300m in a decision due later this month, amid rising criticism of the company’s failure to find and isolate coronavirus cases.

Instead, the system should be led by local public health leaders, who have proved they are more successful in tracing the contacts of infected people, Labour said.

The call comes after it was revealed that just 56 per cent of close contacts handled online or by call centres run by Serco and Sitel, a second private firm used, are being reached.

In stark contrast, 90 per cent were contacted by Blackburn with Darwen Council, one of a growing number of exasperated town halls now setting up their own systems.

That

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On TikTok, #FreeBritney conspiracy theories run deep

On TikTok, #FreeBritney conspiracy theories run deep
On TikTok, #FreeBritney conspiracy theories run deep

An online campaign is calling for the end of Britney Spears’ conservatorship so the pop star can gain financial and personal independence. Some believe she’s sending SOS messages to supporters in coded social media posts.

The tag #FreeBritney has roughly 140 million views on TikTok, and 104,000 posts on Instagram. Supporters demand that Spears, who hasn’t made major financial or career decisions since a mental health crisis in 2008, be freed from her father’s legal guardianship.

What is conservatorship?

In many states, including where Spears resides in California, a judge will appoint a conservator for an adult who can’t make their own life decisions, like the elderly or mentally impaired. A New York Times investigation into Spears’ conservatorship reported that Spears “cannot make key decisions, personal or financial, without the approval of her conservators: her father, Jamie Spears, and a lawyer, Andrew M.

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Kanye West’s presidential run: real or for show?

New York (AFP) – US rapper Kanye West’s chaotic launch of his unlikely campaign to oust Donald Trump in November’s presidential election has sparked anger, concern for his mental health and questions about whether he is seriously running.

Wearing a bullet-proof jacket marked “security,” West broke down in tears during a rambling speech in Charleston, South Carolina on Sunday that was supposed to kickstart his White House bid.

Instead, controversial comments about renowned American abolitionist Harriet Tubman enraged attendees, provoked scorn online and left political analysts scratching their heads about the mercurial musician’s true intentions.

For Jeffrey McCune, who teaches a course on West at Washington University in St. Louis, the topsy-turvy nature of the event was typical of the hip-hop star.

“All things Kanye are impulsive. I have never been a fan of ‘throw-your-towel-in’ political entries. However, this is Kanye’s brand completely,” he told AFP.

With “2020” shaved onto

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As loans run out, small businesses face reckoning amid COVID-19 surge

The resurgence of COVID-19 across the country this summer has deepened anxiety for millions of American small business owners who face another imminent cash crunch in their battle to survive a historic pandemic.

The government’s $660 billion Paycheck Protection Program, first rolled out in April, was supposed to help many businesses and their employees weather the storm. Nearly half of all American workers are employed by a small business.

But now many of the nearly 5 million US companies that got loans say the relief money is running out with little sign the virus is loosening its grip on the economy.

PHOTO: Will Eastman, owner of U Street Music Hall in Washington, D.C., was able to rehire five full-time staff with a loan through the government’s Paycheck Protection Program. (ABC News)

“We’re literally the guy who was jogging and got hit by the meteor like the one in a

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