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White woman called police on black man in dog row - BBC News
The woman has now been suspended from her job at an investment firm in New York City.
Image copyrightChristian CooperImage caption Christian Cooper filmed Amy Cooper after she refused to stop her dog running through woodland A white American woman who called the police after a black man asked her to put her dog on a leash in New York City has been suspended from her job with an investment firm. The man, described as an "avid birder", was concerned the dog could endanger wildlife in Central Park. "I'm going to tell them [police] there's an African-American man threatening my life," she told him. A video of the incident posted on social media went viral on Monday. The woman, identified as Amy Cooper, later apologised, saying she had "overreacted". Ms Cooper also returned her dog to a rescue centre after allegations of cruelty as she appeared to choke the animal while calling the police. Skip Twitter post by @melodyMcooperOh, when Karens take a walk with their dogs off leash in the famous Bramble in NYs Central Park, where it is clearly posted on signs that dogs MUST be leashed at all times, and someone like my brother (an avid birder) politely asks her to put her dog on the leash. pic.twitter.com/3YnzuATsDm — Melody Cooper (@melodyMcooper) May 25, 2020 End of Twitter post by @melodyMcooper The man, Christian Cooper (no relation), posted his video of the incident on Facebook and said that it began when he noticed Ms Cooper's dog "tearing through the plantings" in an area of Central Park called the Ramble. "Ma'am, dogs in the Ramble have to be on the leash at all times. The sign is right there," Mr Cooper says he told Ms Cooper, but she refused to restrain her dog. He said he was concerned the dog would destroy the habitat in the Ramble, a popular area for bird-watchers. He says he then offered the dog some treats, as a way to encourage it to leave the woodland. At some point Mr Cooper began to film Ms Cooper with his mobile phone, and she asked him to stop. Media captionOne thing Americans find hard to talk about The video shows Ms Cooper calling the police, saying to Mr Cooper "I'm going to tell them there's an African-American man threatening my life." The video, which was also posted on Twitter by Mr Cooper's sister, has been widely condemned on social media as many point out the high number of killings of black men by police in the US. Others referred to the high-profile fatal shooting of Ahmaud Arbery, a 25-year-old black man who was out jogging when he was killed by two men in February. Ms Cooper's employer Franklin Templeton, an investment firm, has suspended her while it investigates the incident, saying on Twitter that "we do not condone racism of any kind." New York Police Department said no complaints or arrests were made, according to broadcaster NBC. "We live in an age of Ahmaud Arbery, where black men are gunned down because of assumptions people make about black men, black people, and I'm just not going to participate in that," Mr Cooper told NBC. Ms Cooper told the outlet, "I sincerely and humbly apologize to everyone, especially to that man, his family." The incident made her realise that not everyone has the "luxury" of thinking of the police as a "protection agency," she added. She also returned her dog to the Abandoned Angels Cocker Spaniel Rescue, where she adopted it a few years ago, after allegations that she choked the dog while calling the police. "The dog is now in our rescue's care and he is safe and in good health," the organisation wrote on Facebook.
Coronavirus: Call for clear face masks to be 'the norm' - BBC News
Transparent masks allow deaf people to communicate - but supplies are short where they are most needed.
Image caption Kelly Morellon (right) and her mother Sylvie have designed a face mask with a transparent window It's now part of daily life for many of us - struggling to work out what someone in a supermarket or at work is saying when they're wearing a face mask. But for people who are deaf or have hearing loss, masks can prevent them understanding anything at all. "You might as well be speaking in French," says Fizz Izagaren, a paediatric doctor in the UK who has been profoundly deaf since the age of two. "I can hear one or two words but it's random, it makes no sense When someone is wearing a face mask I've lost the ability to lip read and I've lost facial expressions - I have lost the key things that make a sentence." It is a problem she shares with the some 466 million people around the world who, according to the World Health Organization, have disabling hearing loss. Standard face masks, which have become widespread as countries try to stop the spread of coronavirus, muffle words and obscure the mouth. But now charities and manufacturers alike are coming up with a solution. Image caption Fizz Izagaren says she feels isolated when everyone around her is wearing a standard mask Main dans la Main (Hand in Hand), an association which supports deaf and hearing impaired people in Chevrières, northern France, is among the organisations around the world that have created a mask with a transparent window. Its founder Kelly Morellon worked with her mother Sylvie to devise a design that covers the nose but makes the mouth visible, and can be washed at a high temperature to reduce infection. "The basic aim of these transparent masks is to allow deaf and hearing impaired people to read the lips of someone speaking to them," Kelly told the BBC. "But they are also very useful for autistic people, people with learning difficulties and small children who might be scared of masks or need to be able to see facial expressions. "In any case, a transparent mask allows you to see each other's smiles, and at this sad time this could not be more important." Image caption The clear screen in Kelly Morellon's design can be removed so the cloth can be washed Unlike some companies around the world - in Scotland, the US and Indonesia, for instance - Kelly and her mother are not able to produce their masks on a commercial basis. Instead, they are advising people on how to make their own and there are multiple guidelines online to help. Their top tip is to use a little washing up soap to stop the plastic screen fogging up. But one setting where homemade masks are not suitable - but where both PPE and communication are vital - is in hospitals. There is just one company in the US that has secured Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval to make clear masks for clinical use. Five hundred of these masks are being used at Brigham and Women's hospital in the US city of Boston. At the moment they are being reserved for staff to wear when they are speaking to patients with hearing loss, or vice versa. Sign language interpreters, who use facial expressions and lip movements alongside body movements to create more complex and culturally rich signs, also wear them. Image copyrightBrigham and Womens HospitalImage caption James Wiggins, an American Sign Language interpreter, is among the staff at the Brigham who have been wearing the transparent masks "When we saw the Covid-19 pandemic beginning we soon realised there was going to be a challenge because of the escalated use of PPE and how that would create communication barriers," said Dr Cheri Blauwet, who leads the disability task force at the Brigham. "We've had glowing feedback from patients and we're getting broader requests from other parts of the hospital, especially the paediatric floors." In the UK, there are no approved manufacturers providing clear masks to hospitals. And the sole US manufacturer is not taking any more orders as it deals with overwhelming demand. Fizz Izagaren, a paediatric registrar at Frimley Park Hospital in Surrey in the UK who is also deaf, says standard masks prevent her from taking patients' histories verbally. She also says she feels isolated at work because she is not able to speak to her colleagues. "Clear masks should be the norm for everyone in a healthcare setting," she says. Image copyrightEPAImage caption The elderly are both more at risk from coronavirus and more likely to have hearing loss She is now working with a product designer to try to come up with a mask that the NHS could use widely. But even once a design and a manufacturer are found, this could take time to roll out. In the meantime, there are concerns the current PPE could stop medical staff getting the required consent from patients. An intensive care nurse working in London, who is profoundly deaf, told the BBC she had one experience where a patient, who also had hearing loss, was not able to understand her or her colleagues when they were explaining a procedure. The patient could not give consent and the procedure could not go ahead. "[Clear masks] would make things a lot easier for me," she said. "I would be able to do my jobs properly and safely. I would have more independence rather than having to rely on others." In the UK, eight charities have written to NHS bosses calling for clear masks to be commissioned, warning of "potentially dangerous situations" arising from communication problems. NHS England has not yet responded to the letter, or to the BBC's request for comment. The UK government says it is supporting CARDMEDIC, which provides digital flashcards and other communication aids to NHS Trusts. There are also apps that transcribe speech into text on a mobile phone. But deaf workers say these workarounds are not always suitable for sensitive or emergency situations. "As masks become more widespread in the community - it's going to get harder and harder," Dr Izagaren says. "I'm worried the public are going to get more and more frustrated and there will be more discrimination towards the deaf community." It is not just people with hearing loss who could benefit, she says. Experts suggest that other professions such as taxi drivers or even teachers may find clear masks useful as the coronavirus crisis continues. A niche product initially designed to help the deaf community, could in fact make everyone's lives better.
Coronavirus: New York Stock Exchange trading floor to reopen - BBC News
The resumption of floor trading comes after a two-month closure due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Image copyrightReuters The New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) is set to reopen its trading floor on Tuesday after a two-month closure due to the coronavirus pandemic. But the exchange is likely to look and feel very different as new rules come into effect. The NYSE is one of the few bourses to still feature floor trade - most have shifted to fully-electronic trading. New York City has been hit hard by the outbreak with some 200,000 cases and more than 20,000 deaths. Under the new measures only a quarter of the normal number of traders will be allowed to return to work. Traders must also avoid public transport, wear masks and follow strict social distancing rules, with newly fitted transparent barriers to keep people apart. To return to their jobs, floor traders will also reportedly have to sign a liability waiver that prevents them from suing the NYSE if they get infected at the exchange. According to the Wall Street Journal, traders will have to acknowledge that returning to the trading floor could result in them "contracting Covid-19, respiratory failure, death, and transmitting Covid-19 to family or household members and others who may also suffer these effects". The NYSE did not immediately respond to a request for comment on reports of the waiver. The new regulations also mean that the NYSE's high-profile opening bell events and stock market debut celebrations have been put on hold as visitors are banned. Media organisations that usually broadcast from the trading floor won't be allowed back until further notice. Image copyrightGetty ImagesImage caption The NYSE's high-profile market debut celebrations have been put on hold NYSE president Stacey Cunningham tweeted that reopening was an important step towards restarting the US economy after lockdowns across the country. "For the trading floor community it supports their small businesses, which have been challenged by the temporary floor closure. And for our economy, reopening our trading floors offers a path to reopening that other businesses in densely populated areas may choose to follow." The exchange's trading floor was closed from 23 March and temporarily moved to fully-electronic trading as a precautionary measure to help protect workers. The 228-year-old exchange last closed its doors on 29 October 2012 due to Hurricane Sandy. The NYSE also shut for four sessions in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks in 2001. For most people outside the financial services industry the NYSE's trading floor is a rare glimpse into the seemingly opaque workings of the global markets as well as being a colourful setting for companies to showcase their stock market debuts. NYSE, which is owned by Intercontinental Exchange, is the world's largest stock exchange in terms of the total market capitalisation of listed companies.
Pollution: Birds 'ingesting hundreds of bits of plastic a day' - BBC News
Plastic pollutants in UK rivers are finding their way into wildlife and moving up the food chain.
Image copyrightCharles TylerImage caption The dipper feeds on river insects Birds living on river banks are ingesting plastic at the rate of hundreds of tiny fragments a day, according to a new study. Scientists say this is the first clear evidence that plastic pollutants in rivers are finding their way into wildlife and moving up the food chain. Pieces of plastic 5mm or smaller (microplastics), including polyester, polypropylene and nylon, are known to pollute rivers. The impacts on wildlife are unclear. Researchers at Cardiff University looked at plastic pollutants found in a bird known as a dipper, which wades or dives into rivers in search of underwater insects. "These iconic birds, the dippers, are ingesting hundreds of pieces of plastic every day," said Prof Steve Ormerod of Cardiff University's Water Research Institute. "They're also feeding this material to their chicks." Previous research has shown that half of the insects in the rivers of south Wales contain microplastic fragments. "The fact that so many river insects are contaminated makes it inevitable that fish, birds and other predators will pick up these polluted prey - but this is the first time that this type of transfer through food webs has been shown clearly in free-living river animals," said co-researcher Dr Joseph D'Souza. Image caption Plastic also accumulates in animals on beaches like this lugworm The research team examined droppings and regurgitated pellets from dippers living near rivers running from the Brecon Beacons down to the Severn Estuary. They found microplastic fragments in roughly half of 166 samples taken from adults and nestlings, at 14 of 15 sites studied, with the greatest concentrations in urban locations. Most were fibres from textiles or building materials. Calculations suggest dippers are ingesting around 200 tiny fragments of plastic a day from the insects they consume. Previous studies have shown that microplastics are present even in the depths of the ocean and are ending up in the bodies of living organisms, from seals to crabs to seabirds. Rivers are a major route between land and sea for microplastics such as synthetic clothing fibres, tyre dust and other fragmenting plastic waste. The research, published in the journal Global Change Biology, was carried out in collaboration with the Greenpeace Research Laboratories at the University of Exeter. Follow Helen on Twitter.
Coronavirus: Elon Musk vows to move Tesla factory in lockdown row - BBC News
Tesla CEO Elon Musk says the firm will leave California after he is ordered to keep a factory shut.
Image copyrightGetty ImagesImage caption Elon Musk, the billionaire owner of electric car company Tesla, is embroiled in a row over reopening its California-based factory Billionaire Tesla boss Elon Musk has said he will move the electric carmaker's headquarters out of California, after he was ordered to keep its only US vehicle plant closed. "Tesla will now move its HQ and future programs to Texas/Nevada immediately," the CEO tweeted. The company is filing a lawsuit against Alameda County, he added. The county's health department had refused to let the Tesla factory reopen on Friday, citing lockdown measures. Skip Twitter post by @elonmuskFrankly, this is the final straw. Tesla will now move its HQ and future programs to Texas/Nevada immediately. If we even retain Fremont manufacturing activity at all, it will be dependen on how Tesla is treated in the future. Tesla is the last carmaker left in CA. — Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 9, 2020 End of Twitter post by @elonmusk According to figures from John's Hopkins University, 2,632 people in California have died with coronavirus. Since 23 March, all but "basic operations" have been suspended at Tesla's Fremont plant, near San Francisco, because of "shelter in place" orders enacted in Alameda County. The factory employs more than 10,000 workers, and makes about 415,000 vehicles every year. California's government has eased some restrictions around the state this week, allowing businesses to resume operations. But several Bay Area counties have issued their own criteria for which businesses may reopen, which take precedence. In Alameda, all but essential businesses must remain shut until the end of May. Mr Musk suggested the factory's future could now be in doubt, tweeting: "If we even retain Fremont manufacturing activity at all, it will be dependent on how Tesla is treated in the future." In a statement released before Mr Musk's tweets, Alameda County said: "We welcome Tesla's proactive work on a reopening plan, so that once they fit the criteria to reopen, they can do so in a way that protects their employees and the community at large." Mr Musk, 48, who welcomed a baby with Canadian singer Grimes earlier this week, wiped $14bn (£11bn) off Tesla's value on 1 May after tweeting that its share price was too high. He has drawn controversy for his opposition to coronavirus restrictions, and his promotion of unproven treatments for the virus. In early March, the tech billionaire declared, "the coronavirus panic is dumb" and "FREE AMERICA NOW". However, he later donated hundreds of ventilators to hospitals in New York state to help meet demand during the outbreak. Tesla has suspended operations at its plant in the Chinese city of Shanghai, according to Bloomberg. It had previously closed the factory as a temporary measure when the virus was at its peak in China. The company reported a net profit in the first three months of this year, and its stock has risen to nearly $820 (£669; 756). But analysts expect the coronavirus pandemic will adversely affect its earnings in 2020.
Coronavirus: Putin admits PPE shortage as lockdown extended - BBC News
The president warns that the peak of the infection rate has not yet been reached in Russia.
Image copyrightEPAImage caption Mr Putin visited coronavirus patients at a hospital in Moscow last month Russian President Vladimir Putin has admitted that there is a shortage of protective kit for medics as the country battles the coronavirus. This was despite a big increase in production and imports, he said. Mr Putin warned that the peak of the coronavirus infection rate had not yet been reached in the country, and the population must remain vigilant. Russia's lockdown aimed at containing the spread of Covid-19 was extended until 11 May. It has more than 93,000 coronavirus cases, with 867 recorded deaths. What did Putin say? The president said there was still not enough protective equipment for health workers on the frontline of the crisis. "Compared to before, [we're producing] a lot. But compared what we need, it's still not enough," he said during a televised briefing. "Despite increased production, imports - there's a deficit of all sorts of things," he added. Medics have complained about working without proper protective clothing, especially in Russia's regions. Russia is now producing 100,000 protective suits for medics per day, up from 3,000 a day in March, he said. Production of masks has also increased more than 10 times, to 8.5 million per day in April. Mr Putin said that while the government had managed to "slow the spread" of the epidemic, Russians would have to self-isolate for longer. Media captionHow Russia is using facial recognition to tackle Covid-19 He said the lockdown would continue for two more weeks, though he instructed the government to draw up recommendations by 5 May for a gradual easing of restrictions. "The deadly danger of the virus remains," he said. A speech of hope and warning After a month under lockdown, Russians are already getting restless; the streets are getting busier again. So this speech from Vladimir Putin was at once a dangled hope and a warning. The government will now come up with an exit strategy to be implemented gradually, carefully - at some point. But the peak infection rate hasn't passed here, and the risk from this epidemic remains high. So the restrictions on movement will stay in place - until after the long May holidays at least. It's not pleasant, Mr Putin, acknowledged. But thinking the threat has passed would be dangerous. What's the situation in Russia? Russia currently ranks eighth in the world for confirmed cases. Around half of those diagnosed with Covid-19 in the country are now in hospital. That's over 20,000 in Moscow, which is putting the healthcare system under great strain. A military theme park and an Expo centre are now being converted into temporary hospitals as the number of cases continues to rise.