HOLIDAYS in Spain have been thrown into chaos after the La Palma eruption caused widespread destruction. The island’s airport was forced to close on Saturday due to a toxic ash cloud spewing from the volcano.
A SURVEY by Blood Cancer UK has found that over half of UK adults cannot name a single symptom of blood cancer, despite it being the third biggest cause of cancer deaths in the UK. Knowing the signs and symptoms of blood cancer could be the difference between survival or not, as diagnosing the disease early holds the best chance of successful treatment.
There’s new concern about the Delta variant and the impact across America It now accounts for more than half of all cases in the country. Twenty-five states including North Carolina are now reporting an increase in cases.
The number of new infections in the state was up 50% last week from the week before.
On Monday, the state added 562 new cases. The percentage of tests coming back positive is the highest in two months.
Experts say the places that have the least number of people immunized are the ones feeling this new surge.
“If you are unvaccinated and you’re out in public, particularly indoors, you should be masked not only to protect yourself but to protect your families,” said Dr. David Weber, infectious diseases specialist at UNC Health.
Dr Weber said people have also gathered for summer holidays and most mandates for social distancing and mask wearing are gone.
“My advice though is get vaccinated unless you have a medical contradiction for not being vaccinated or by you age you can’t get vaccinated,” said Weber, who also believes there will be another surge in the next few weeks.
The surge, according to Dr. Weber, though it won’t be on par with the peaks of January and February due to the wide availability of COVID-19 vaccines.
“I think a lot of people think we’re just so remote here we can escape getting it,” said Linda Edwards, who lives in Graham County, which has one of the lower vaccination rates in the country.
She contracted the virus and wound up in a Western Carolina hospital for two weeks. Her son did too and was in the hospital room next to her.
“I just thought if I lived through this, I want to go on a mission to help people to see that it is not worth not taking the vaccine because of what it could do to your family,” she said.
The world was not on track to meet the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) before COVID-19 struck, and now the challenge has been magnified many times over, according to a new flagship UN report that indicates countries must take ‘critical’ steps on the road out of the pandemic, during the next 18 months.
In addition to the almost four million deaths due to the coronavirus, between 119-124 million people were pushed back into poverty and chronic hunger, and the equivalent of 255 million full-time jobs were lost, the report indicates.
“The pandemic has halted, or reversed, years, or even decades of development progress. Global extreme poverty rose for the first time since 1998”, said UN Under-Secretary-General Liu Zhenmin, during the launch.
Moreover, disruptions to essential health services have threatened years of progress in improving maternal and child health, increasing immunization coverage, and reducing communicable and non-communicable diseases. Around 90% of countries are still reporting one or more significant disruptions to essential health services.
Small-scale farmers in Tanzania are receiving support to improve food security in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The report also indicates that the pandemic has exposed and intensified inequalities within and between countries.
As of 17 June, around 68 vaccine shots were administered for every 100 people in Europe and Northern America – compared with fewer than two, in sub-Saharan Africa.
Millions of children risk never returning to school; while rising numbers have been forced into child marriage and child labour. With trillions of tourist dollars lost during the pandemic shutdowns, the collapse of international tourism has disproportionally impacted struggling Small Island Developing States.
“The poorest and most vulnerable continue to be at greater risk of becoming infected by the virus and have borne the brunt of the economic fallout”, highlighted Mr. Zhenmin.
While an economic recovery is under way, led by China and the United States, in many other countries, economic growth is not expected to return to pre-pandemic levels before 2022 or 2023.
UNEP GRID Arendal/Peter Prokosch
African elephants are listed as vulnerable by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), as the animals are poached for their ivory tusks.
Climate and biodiversity challenges
The report also confirms what UN agencies such as the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) have been sounding the alarm over: the economic slowdown in 2020 did little to slow the climate crisis, which continues largely unabated.
Concentrations of major greenhouse gases continued to increase, while the global average temperature was about 1.2°C above pre-industrial levels, dangerously close to the 1.5°C threshold, established in the Paris Agreement.
The world fell short as well on 2020 targets to halt biodiversity loss and a reversal of the 10 million hectares of forest which was lost each year, between 2015-2020.
Equality and finance The COVID-19 pandemic has also adversely affected progress towards gender equality. Violence against women and girls has intensified, child marriage is expected to increase, and women have suffered a disproportionate share of job losses and increased care responsibilities at home.
Meanwhile, global flows of foreign direct investment fell by 40% in 2020 compared to 2019. The document shows the pandemic has brought immense financial challenges, especially for developing countries – with a significant rise in debt distress.
Brighter future still possible
“This report paints a worrying picture regarding the state of the SDGs. Yet, it also highlights stories of resilience, adaptability and innovation during the crisis, which indicate a brighter future is possible”, underscored Mr. Zhenmin.
He added that there are signs that countries are taking steps under their recovery plans, that could improve SDG action, and that the next 18 months are critical.
According to the report, to get the SDGs back on track, governments, cities, businesses and industries have to use the recovery to adopt low-carbon, resilient and inclusive development pathways that will reduce carbon emissions, conserve natural resources, create better jobs, advance gender equality and tackle growing inequities
“We are at a critical juncture in human history. The decisions and actions we take today will have momentous consequences for future generations. Lessons learned from the pandemic will help us rise to current and future challenges”, Mr. Zhenmin urged.
The Under-Secretary General explained that the upcoming months will determine whether the COVID-19 crisis serves as a ‘much-needed wake-up call’.
“The global community, first and foremost, needs to ensure equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines and treatments. This is a critical step that can truly spur a decade of action”.
High Level Political Forum
The 2030 Agenda, adopted by all United Nations Member States in 2015, provides a shared blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and the planet, now and into the future.
At its heart are the 17 Goals, to improve health and education, reduce inequality, and spur economic growth – all while tackling climate change and working to preserve our oceans and forests.
The launch of the 2021 SDG report coincides with the start of the High-Level Forum on Sustainable Development on Tuesday. The event is the core UN platform for follow-up and review of the 2030 Agenda.
The meeting will continue through July 15th, under the auspices of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). This includes the three-day ministerial meeting that started today.
The ministers will discuss ways to ensure a sustainable and resilient recovery from COVID-19 that puts the world on track to realize the 2030 Agenda. 43 countries will also present their voluntary national reviews of their implementation of the 2030 Agenda.
The meeting will put the spotlight on nine Global Goals this year: ending poverty, zero hunger, improving health, decent work, reducing inequalities, responsible consumption and production; climate action, sustaining peace, and building partnerships.
Mark Hoppus, 49, frontman of rock group Blink-182, announced the devastating news that he has been undergoing cancer treatment. Posting to his Instagram story, the bassist and singer revealed he has been having chemotherapy for the past three months.
He penned: “For the past three months I’ve been undergoing chemotherapy for cancer.
“I have cancer. It sucks and I’m scared, and at the same time I’m blessed with incredible doctors and family and friends to get me through this.”
He continued: “I still have months of treatment ahead of me but I’m trying to remain hopeful and positive.
“Can’t wait to be cancer free and see you all at a concert in the hopefully near future.”
A fourth urged him to ‘stay positive’: “Wishing you all the best. You got this man! My wife had breast cancer and it sucked, but she beat it and so can you. Stay positive.”
“I’m sooo sad to hear about mark hoppus. This man was apart of my youth, my early adolescence, my teenage angst, and now a nostalgic comfort. Praying for you @markhoppus!!!” a fifth prayed.
Despite his secret battle, Hoppus had remained very much present on social media, to keep up appearances for fans.
A week ago on Instagram, he paid tribute to the anniversary of a key Blink-182 album.
“Hell yes,” he wrote, “20 years ago today Take Off Your Pants and Jacket came out.
“After the overwhelming and unexpected success of Enema of the State we wanted to write a darker, harder album that pushed the boundaries of what blink-182 could do. I love this record. Thank you to everyone who listened to it then and continues to put it on two decades later.”
Lloyds Bank is a familiar and trusted name, but cybercriminals are unfortunately exploiting this to target unsuspecting Britons. A recent scam involves an email being sent out to individuals, informing them they need to update their account information. And the consequences of falling for such a message could be significant.
But these websites are just spoofs of the real thing, and serve as a perfect base for fraudsters to harvest data.
Without the individual realising, the information they input into the website can be easily stolen and used for unscrupulous purposes.
This could involve Britons standing to lose large sums of money, or having their identity stolen.
Lloyds Bank took to its social media to confirm this correspondence is a scam.
The provider said its security team had been made aware of the issue, and that those who receive a message of this kind should delete it immediately.
If unsure about the legitimacy of a message, Lloyds Bank has told Britons to double check.
This can be done by calling the provider using the number on the back of one’s bank card.
The bank will then be able to help in checking whether an email or text message is a real one.
The UK Government had planned to pay the organisation, War Child, £500,000 from July this year as part of a donation match scheme. It is now scheduled for April 2022.
Ms Mulligan, a patron of the charity, told BBC Newsnight: “Pretty devastating news for us and for War Child and for the countless amounts of people who gave their time and their support an their money towards the campaign, under the understanding that it was money that would be matched pound to pound.”
She added: “People really dug in and really gave money in a time that was extremely difficult.
“And it was done with this promise that their money would go further, and we feel that a promise has been broken.
“We upheld our side of this deal, and sadly, the Government are choosing to go back on their word.”
War Child chief executive Rob Williams echoed Ms Mulligan’s remarks, labelling the decision to delay the funding a “breach of faith”.
He told Newsnight: “A delay of a year is a disaster and it is a major breach of faith because all those people who raised money in response to the Government’s promise that they would match the money have basically been let down.
“Whilst the Government might think a delay of a year is a reasonable proposition, the project means that we won’t be able to stop about three thousand children being trafficked into Iran over the next 12 months or so.”
Last November, Chancellor Rishi Sunak confirmed plans to cut Britain’s foreign aid budget by £4billion.
The move was part of his blueprint to help the UK’s economy recover amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The US Navy said Iranian vessels charged at two American ships in the Persian Gulf on Monday. The incident forced the US to act, with one warship firing warning shots at the Iranian boats. During the incredibly close encounter – which could have resulted in a collision, the US Navy said the Iranian boats came just “68 yards” away from both American ships at one point.
In a statement, the US Navy said that at 8pm on April 26, three Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy (IRGCN) fast inshore attack craft (FIAC) “failed to exercise due regard for the safety of other vessels”.
They added the vessels came in “close proximity to US naval vessels” in the international waters of the north Arabian Gulf.
The US Navy said the vessels approached the US Navy patrol coastal ship USS Firebolt (PC 10) and US Coast Guard patrol boat USCGC Baranoff (WPB 1318) to an “unnecessarily close range” – with the closest point of just “68 yards” to both American ships.
After multiple warnings, Firebolt fired warning shots, the US Navy said.
A statement read: “Firebolt and Baranoff were conducting routine maritime security operations in international waters during the time of the incident.
“The US crews issued multiple warnings via bridge-to-bridge radio and loud-hailer devices, but the IRGCN vessels continued their close-range maneuvers.
“The crew of Firebolt then fired warning shots, and the IRGCN vessels moved away to a safe distance from the US vessels.”
The US Navy said throughout the incident, forces tried to “reduce the risk of miscalculation, avoid a collision, and to de-escalate the situation”.
They added: “The US is not an aggressor; our naval forces remain postured in a non-provocative manner that exemplifies professionalism, incentivizes adherence to international law and customs, and persuades others to emulate our actions.
“Our forces are trained, however, to conduct effective defensive measures when necessary.”
In the statement, the US Navy said their forces will “continue to remain vigilant” and that “commanding officers retain the inherent right to act in self-defense”.
They said: “The Firebolt and Baranoff crews operated with distinct professionalism, superior seamanship and dispassionate yet firm resolve.
“As professional mariners, we expect the IRGCN to operate with due regard for the safety of all vessels as required by international law.”
Similar close incidents have taken place in the region over the past five years.
It comes as world powers are trying to bring the US and Tehran closer together to reestablish the 2015 Iran nuclear accord.
Iran, Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia began new meetings to try to agree to steps that would be needed if the agreement is to be revived.
As talks finished last week, the US and its European allies said serious differences still remained despite some progress.
An investigation has been launched after the Targa Tasmania car rally race was hit by two tragedies in as many days around the circuit, killing three participants after horrific crashes at the annual event around public roadways.
Driver Leigh Mundy, 68, and his co-driver Dennis Neagle, 59, died when their Porsche crashed on the final day of the event, raising the death toll to three after 68-year-old Shane Navin lost his life a day earlier.
Navin’s 1979 Mazda RX-7 had rolled 40 yards on the morning of the penultimate stage of the rally.
“He got airborne here and then I heard him land, and when he landed, he bellied out and just lost control,” an eyewitness told The Mercury about Mundy and Neagle’s chilling crash. “The next minute it was like an explosion, and it echoed everywhere.”
The family of Leigh Mundy, 68, who was tragically killed while driving in the Targa Tasmania event on Saturday has described him as “good-humoured, ever-generous, fix-anything, and fondly mischievous.” This photo is Leigh and his daughter on her wedding day just 5 months ago. pic.twitter.com/sWLM9HOrRL
Tasmania Police acting Inspector Sally Cottrell said the cause of the crash remains unknown, stressing that the road was dry.
“A Porsche was taking part in the Cygnet stage of the Targa road race,” Cottrell told news.com.
“It’s come over the crest of the hill on Wattle Grove Road. The vehicle has lost control on the gravel and then the passenger’s side of the vehicle has collided into a tree.
“It’s a normal stretch of road, it’s a straight stretch of road and in good condition. It’s a very tragic set of circumstances that has occurred and our thoughts go out to the relatives of the deceased.”
Targa Australia chief executive Mark Perry told ABC it had been “a devastating few days for the Targa family.“
“Today our thoughts and deepest condolences go to Leigh and Dennis’ family and friends. Both loved Targa and we knew them so well, which makes their passing so difficult for everyone in our community.”
Local bed and breakfast owner Cindy Beard, who witnessed the second fatal collision, said that the men’s car was going at a high speed before wedging in between two gum trees.
“It was a very hard hit,” she recalled. “Straight away I thought there was something seriously wrong.”
Gardening expert Monty Don shared the best way to plant lettuce in your vegetable patch. In an episode of Gardeners’ World from 2020, Monty explained how to avoid your lettuce being “destroyed” by slugs and snails. Lettuces are easy to grow, delicious and come in a range of flavours and textures.
“It’s far better to have small amounts of different varieties which are enough but not too much.
“Now, a cos lettuce has got that lovely crips heart but it grows tall and is really, I suppose, my favourite.”
Monty said the two best summer cos lettuce varieties are lobjoits and parris island lettuce.
To make sure the lettuce varieties grow properly, Monty said nowadays he grows them in the “same way”.
“Whereas, if I grow these on in the protection of a greenhouse and cold frames and I really watch out for slugs in particular then they get nice and strong and young and healthy.
“If I plant them out at this site, they can withstand slightly attack.”
Lettuce can be sowed and planted out from March through to September, according to the Royal Horticultural Society.