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New York’s attorney general keeps Albany — and Cuomo — waiting

ALBANY, N.Y. — Few governors in recent New York history have dominated the news cycle — and the levers of government — like Andrew Cuomo, the state’s three-term governor. But in the summer of 2021, with an embattled Cuomo eyeing reelection next year, the future of state politics rests with another statewide official: Attorney General Tish James.

James, who has been investigating a portfolio of allegations against the governor since March, has retained private attorneys who have interviewed several women who accused Cuomo of harassment, as well as top staff said to be aware of his alleged misconduct.

But little more is known about the probe, and James has made clear there is no clock in her office counting down the months, weeks or days remaining in her inquiry. “It will conclude when it concludes,” she told reporters at an unrelated event in Albany late last month, one of the few public remarks she has made about the probe.

The uncertainty has paralyzed much of New York’s Democratic political apparatus. State lawmakers have put their parallel impeachment investigation on a very slow burn. Cuomo has not revisited his pre-scandal pledge to run for a fourth term in 2022. And potential Democratic primary challengers are waiting to see if they’d face a wounded Cuomo, a vindicated Cuomo, or perhaps no Cuomo at all.

Another investigation lurks in the background, and could be equally significant: The FBI and the U.S. attorney’s office in Brooklyn have been looking into Cuomo’s coronavirus task force and how it handled nursing homes early on in the pandemic.

And so Albany waits, with political strategists, would-be campaign staffers and prospective opponents enduring cortisol spikes each time the attorney general’s office announces a press availability, wondering if it might herald the release of her conclusions. Thus far, though, they have had to fall back on rumination and rumor, playing out various hypotheticals and how those scenarios may, or may not, damage Cuomo’s political fortunes.

“I think we all wait with bated breath: Does she have the intestinal fortitude to indict the governor?” said state Republican chair Nick Langworthy, whose views of Cuomo’s conduct leave little room for ambiguity.

There are no signs that James has empaneled a grand jury or that any of her findings would necessarily rise to the level of prosecution. Most of the speculation in Albany is centered on the consequences of a damning report filled with new details about Cuomo’s conduct — from allegations of sexual harassment to possible misuse of staff in the production of his pandemic memoir, for which he received $ 5.1 million — and how such a report would influence the impeachment investigation, the first of its kind in more than a century.

One high-level Capitol staffer noted that “everything is an impossibly mapped-out political game theory.”

Waiting — playing the long game for political purposes — is something Cuomo does well, and that patient approach just might allow him to downplay the severity of the James report and claim to have suffered a mere flesh wound, even if in the eyes of critics, his legs are cut out from under him.

“He’s absolutely running a perfect crisis management campaign,” said Democratic strategist Hank Sheinkopf, who noted the strategy is playing out as he predicted in the spring. “It can’t go on forever; at some point there will have to be closure. But the expectation is if there were some sort of criminality involved we would have had a result already of some kind. If they had a political pound of flesh to add, they would have.”

All of which raises the possibility that the James report, whenever it comes, may contain little or nothing new, which might allow last winter’s avalanche of bad headlines to melt away, renewing Cuomo’s chances to win the fourth term that was denied his father, Mario, who served as governor from 1983 to 1994. “If there’s no criminal act, he’s going to be reelected,” said Sheinkopf, who has worked on Cuomo’s previous campaigns.

Republicans, not surprisingly, don’t share Sheinkopf’s assessment of the election’s outcome, although they do agree with its fundamental premise: Barring anything criminal, and despite his astounding fall from grace, Andrew Cuomo will be on the ballot next year. “I think the only way he’s not the nominee of his party is if he leaves through impeachment or arrest or some element of that,” said Langworthy.

If that comes to pass, more than a few New York Democrats — lots of them, in fact — will find themselves sharing a ballot line with a governor they called on to resign earlier this year, when each week seemed to bring some new and damning revelation about Cuomo.

“What I have made very clear and many of my colleagues have made very clear is that the governor should resign,” said Bronx Democrat Sen. Gustavo Rivera. “Maybe some people forgot that we said that once — but I have not. Considering that this is not a criminal investigation — at least the ones that relate to impeachment — the question is whether he’s a trustworthy partner in governance. And we have said he is not.” He added for good measure that he looks forward to working on “many more pieces of legislation” with Lt. Gov. Kathy Hochul — on the assumption that she will take Cuomo’s place sooner rather than later.

“Obviously he would run for reelection because his ego would not allow him to do anything less, but for the sake of governance in the state we cannot allow him to be the Democratic nominee,” Rivera said. “It would be unconscionable to allow this guy to be in that position.”

More than 50 Democratic state lawmakers called for Cuomo’s resignation in March, but there doesn’t appear to have been a moment when that prospect was under consideration on the Capitol’s second floor, where the executive’s offices are located. Some have since joined forces with him on issues that affect their districts. Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, who was among those who called on Cuomo to quit, stood with the governor in April at an event and thanked him for promoting vaccination efforts in Yonkers. She later reiterated that her call for Cuomo’s resignation remains unchanged.

Cuomo, in the months since the scandals broke, has stayed busy but specific with his events and bedfellows, around but aloof and away from appearances in the state’s Capitol. It’s a familiar salute to most of his decade in office, but a far cry from the persona he cultivated during the pandemic. On Tuesday he took a whack at addressing rising gun violence by declaring the shootings a state of emergency and signing a first-in-the-nation attempt to open up firearms manufacturers to liability. He did not take questions.

James has stayed busy, too, and more visible than ever. She’s touted her role in multistate antitrust action and her lawsuit against the NRA, marched in two New York City parades, and in the past two weeks made rare appearances in Albany and Syracuse to promote her office’s separate take on combating both drug trafficking and gun violence across the state.

Looming over all of these more-routine activities is the prospect of tumult to come once the James report is released. If it contains new revelations or more-embarrassing details, the governor’s fate might be sealed and the upcoming governor’s race turned upside down. After all, President Joe Biden — a longtime friend and ally of the governor — said in March that if the stories are confirmed, Cuomo should resign, and will likely “end up being prosecuted, too.”

In contrast to much of the speculation about the James report, the Assembly’s impeachment probe has inspired doubts about just how aggressive it will be as it covers some of the same ground. Several of the women who accused Cuomo of harassment and their advocates have declined to participate in the Assembly probe, saying the chamber has historically shown itself ill-equipped to handle complaints of sexual harassment against its own members.

And a possible end of the impeachment investigation seems far off — potentially more distant than James’s. The Judiciary Committee announced on June 30 that it would begin issuing subpoenas but members say that doesn’t mean it is close to completing the review, which reportedly is wider in scope, considering sexual harassment allegations, misuse of resources to write his personal memoir, potentially withholding information on both Covid-19 nursing home deaths and the safety of the Hudson River bridge he recently named after his father. The speed at which the Assembly moves may also depend on what James finds.

In a more practical sense, the waiting will soon nudge up against planning for a potential 2022 primary.

Several names, including that of James herself, have been floated as potential Democratic nominees should Cuomo be impeached or choose not to run again, but that list so far has little overlap with those who might actively challenge the incumbent. Cuomo has signaled he remains committed to the fourth term run he declared in 2019, most recently with a $ 10,000 per plate fundraiser June 29 and a virtual “grassroots reception” July 6 to grow the $ 16.8 million he had in his war chest in January.

Voters so far appear mixed regarding Cuomo’s future. Though his popularity hasn’t shifted much recently, 23 percent of registered voters in a recent Siena poll said he should “resign immediately.” A total of 39 percent said he should “serve out his term but not seek reelection next year” while 33 percent want him to “continue to serve out [his term] and run for reelection next year.”

Most voters have probably made up their minds on Cuomo one way or another, regardless of what the investigations conclude, Langworthy said. In other words, they’re the only ones not waiting at all.

As for Cuomo, “I don’t see a guy that’s leaving anywhere … He’s done apologizing,” Langworthy said.

Covid: Patients ‘frustrated’ waiting ‘long time’ for hospital appointments, says doctor

Dr Cannon did say mask-wearing wouldn’t be necessary all of the time, especially in classrooms and shops, but she did say they’d be useful when:

  • Visiting hospitals
  • Visiting GP clinics
  • On public transport.

“I think there will be many people who continue to wear face masks, myself included, even after July 19 if the mandate is lifted,” Dr Cannon said.

Referring to the common cold that typically circulates in autumn and winter, face masks are considered an “easy win”.

“If you can do something simple to prevent [a cold or flu], why wouldn’t you?” she queried.

Author: Chanel Georgina
Read more here >>> Daily Express :: Health
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Samsung could reveal the Galaxy Watch update we've all been waiting for tomorrow

Samsung fans should set their alarms for 6:15pm BST tomorrow. That’s because the Korean technology giant is hosting a major event where we’re expecting to see an all-new smartwatch revealed. Of course, Samsung is no stranger to releasing shiny wearables around this time of year but this new addition to its range could see its biggest and most exciting change in years.

Teasing things ahead of the launch, Samsung said in its media invite to the online event, that it will be “unveiling its vision for the future of smartwatches.”

That all hints to this next-gen device being the very first to ditch the current Tizen operating and switch over to the power of Google’s WearOS.

Samsung and Google announced their joint venture back in May and it appears the first Galaxy Watch to get this massive software upgrade is now ready to be shown to the world.

Although some might see killing off Tizen as a bizarre move, switching to Google’s operating system will allow the new Galaxy Watch to work far better with all Android phones and not just those made by Samsung.

WearOS also has access to more apps which could finally mean Samsung is able to take on the might of the Apple Watch which remains the most popular smartwatch on the planet.

Although full details about the new devices are being kept under wraps a number of leaks have already appeared online claiming to show how the new watch will look.

Posted by the team at 91Mobiles, the renders show a device that looks more minimal than previous versions of the Galaxy Watch with a design that appears sleek and clutter-free.

Two buttons are positioned on the side of the device to help users interact with the screen and there’s no sign of the iconic rotating bezel that has featured on previous models.

If the images are real, the Galaxy Watch could arrive in silver, black, green and rose gold.

Full details could be released tomorrow.

Samsung’s event kicks off as part of this year’s Mobile World Congress (MWC), tomorrow from 7:15 CET (6:15pm BST) with the firm stating: “As part of this year’s Mobile World Congress (MWC), Samsung Electronics is hosting a virtual Samsung Galaxy session on June 28. At the event, Samsung will be showcasing how the Galaxy ecosystem of connected devices is set to provide people with even greater possibilities for enriching their lifestyles.”

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This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: Tech Feed

Cilla Black 'knew she was going to die' – 'Bobby is waiting for me'

Iconic singer and TV star Cilla Black died on August 1, 2015. The Liverpudlian songbird suffered a fatal stroke after falling and hitting her head in her Spanish holiday home. Shortly after the star’s death, her lifelong friend Terry McCann commented that he was “not surprised she had died”.

McCann told the BBC: “The last thing she said to me was she was going blind, she showed me her hands, she had arthritis. She willed herself to die.”

He added: “Her mother went the same way. I don’t know what her mother died of but it seemed she associated it with her mother’s death and she just knew it was going to happen.

“She just said: ‘Look at me, I’m a wreck.’ I was trying to cheer her up.

“She knew something we didn’t. She knew she was going to die and she said she wasn’t going to linger like her mother.”

READ MORE: Cilla Black and husband Bobby: The hardest choice they ever made

McCann went on: “Her mother was ill for two years and she had the same complaint and she said she was never going to linger like that.”

He also explained that Black spoke about reuniting with her late husband, Bobby Willis.

Willis was also Black’s musical manager, who took over from The Beatles’ boss Brian Epstein when he died in 1967.

Black’s husband died in 1999 after a battle against lung and liver cancer.

Sir Paul McCartney paid tribute to the late star shortly after her death.

He said: “Such a shock to hear about Cilla’s passing. She was a lovely girl who infected everyone with her great spirit.

“From first meeting her as a cloakroom girl at the Cavern in Liverpool, to seeing her many times since, she always had a fun-loving dignity that made her a great pleasure to be around.

“She had a fine distinctive voice and was always a bit of a laugh. It was a privilege to know and love her.”

Ringo Starr also chimed in with some kind words from himself and his wife, Barbara Bach.

He posted on his Twitter account: “I just heard the news Cilla Black has left us.

“She was a good friend, we will all miss her. Peace to Cilla peace and love to the family R&B [Ringo and Barbara] xxx.” (sic)

SOURCE

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This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: Entertainment Feed

Holiday nightmare: Families face four hour airport waiting times when arriving back in UK

Britons can now travel abroad to the UK’s green list countries, including Portugal, Gibraltar, Iceland and more. However, long waiting times at airports during the coming weeks and months could throw summer holidays into chaos.

Travel experts had previously warned of possible long queues and waiting times at airports during the summer holidays, but this is the first time the Government has confirmed it could happen.

Last month, the Border Force union warned that holidaymakers arriving at UK airports could face queues of up to 10 hours.

The ISU, the union for borders, immigration and customs workers, also predicted long queues at the British border due to increased coronavirus checks.

In early May, Lucy Moreton, professional officer at the ISU, said: “We saw delays for seven or eight hours last summer, and with all the additional checks then we could see people waiting as long as 10 hours.

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“There’s no way around the delays at the border because Border Force officers will have to check the Covid status of all arrivals and that takes around 15 minutes per person.

“So, people from all over the world will be mixing inside for a long time.”

The UK’s travel ban was lifted on May 17, meaning that Britons can now travel to certain countries quarantine free.

These countries are listed “green” and are Australia, Brunei, Falkland Islands, Faroe Islands, Gibraltar, Iceland, Israel and Jerusalem, New Zealand, Portugal (including the Azores and Madeira), Singapore, South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands, and St Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha.

Britons can also travel to countries on the UK’s amber and red lists, but they will have to take additional coronavirus measures and quarantine for 10 days.

However, travel industry bosses have called for more clarity on when more destinations will be added to the green list amid criticisms the Government has been too cautious in unlocking international travel.

EasyJet boss Johan Lundgren said: “The decision to put so few European countries into the green tier is simply not justified by the data or the science and is inconsistent with the approach to reopen the domestic economy.

“So we call on the Government to provide transparency on decision-making and clarity on when we can expect other European countries to join the green list so that consumers and airlines alike can plan for this summer.”

Additionally, Airlines UK, an industry body that represents British flight carriers, urged Mr Johnson and his Government to make “major additions” to the list during the next review tomorrow, June 3.

Chief executive Tim Aldersdale said: “This is a missed opportunity and, with so few countries making it onto the green list, represents a reopening of air travel in name only.

“By contrast, the EU has said vaccinated people will be able to travel without restrictions, which leaves the UK at risk of falling behind and not opening up International travel to key markets across Europe as well as the United States.”

The traffic light system will be reviewed every three weeks, with four key tests to determine which category a country will fall into.

These are the percentage of the population that has been vaccinated, the rate of infection, the prevalence of variants of concern, and the access to reliable scientific data and genomic sequencing.

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This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: Travel Feed

'Alone and cold': Family of woman who died in February winter storm waiting on legislative action

AUSTIN (KXAN) — The electricity never went out at Elyse Yates’ Austin home during February’s winter storm. In fact, she said she hosted some friends and family who had lost power at their houses.

She had no clue, just a few miles away, her Aunt Cindy’s assisted living facility had been without power for hours.

“We did not know that she was in trouble — did not know that there were problems,” she said. “We thought that she was fine.”

Cindy Pierce, pictured with her daughter. (Photo provided by Elyse Yates)
Cindy Pierce, pictured with her daughter. (Photo provided by Elyse Yates)

To her family’s knowledge, the home had backup generators. She said they never received a call alerting them of any issues, and if they had, she said they could have come and picked up Cindy. Instead, Yates said the first indication something was wrong didn’t come until an emergency room nurse called her cousin — Cindy’s daughter — to ask if the elderly woman had a do-not-resuscitate order.

“Her body temperature was 94 degrees when she got to the hospital,” Yates said. “She’d frozen to death, and that was devastating.” 

Her aunt’s death certificate is stamped with the word: ‘hypothermia.’

Months later, Yates said it still “haunts” the family, who all wish they would have known what was going on and been able to save her.

Rep. Ed Thompson (R-Pearland) put forth a bill requiring backup power generation for 72 hours at vulnerable nursing homes and assisted living facilities, hoping to prevent deaths like Cindy’s.

“They couldn’t get to people,” he said. “A lot of those people were on oxygen.”

The effort began long before Winter Storm Uri, he said. His office began crafting what would become HB 2325 after severe flooding in his district knocked out power to a senior living home and nearly trapped the residents inside. That time, he said, the main threat was the Texas heat.

“The storm, Uri, kicked us into high gear,” he said.

Unfortunately, the bill never made it out of the House Human Services Committee.

Thompson’s office turned their attention to House Bill 1423, brought forth by Rep. Liz Campos, relating to the inspection of certain long-term care facilities, including a survey of certain long-term care facilities and of their emergency power sources.

“I think it’s the first step,” he said, hopeful the survey would provide data they could use to bring back the generator requirement in future legislative sessions.

Thompson told KXAN he was surprised at the pushback he received when he first presented HB 2325.

Diana Martinez, President and CEO of the Texas Assisted Living Association, testified on the bill in committee. She said they weren’t against the measure, but said it wasn’t feasible for most homes as-written.

“Some places, that’s just not do-able. The size of the tanks that you would need are just incredible,” she said.

In particular, she noted around half of the state’s assisted living facilities were considered small, housing less than 16 people. These homes are often located in residential neighborhoods, where large propane tanks and generators would be difficult to implement.

Their main concern, however, remained the cost of such an endeavor.

“Some of these systems, depending on the building, you’re looking at $ 350,000 to, well, we have one system that an industry partner installed, and this thing does run an entire campus. I mean, this thing is huge,” she said. “The price tag on that was over a million dollars.”

Yates said her aunt’s home did have a backup generator on-site, but it wasn’t powerful enough. Yates still doesn’t know exactly what went wrong.

“There is no doubt that the facility failed us,” she said. “But there’s also no doubt that they were multiple days into a statewide blackout with limited resources, and that was a part of a bigger picture.”

Yates places most of the blame on state regulators and the power producers themselves for letting the electric grid fail and sending the state into days-long blackouts.

She testified on behalf of her family on Senate Bill 3, aimed at preparing for, preventing and responding to weather emergencies and power outages across the state. She asked lawmakers to keep in requirements for power plants to weatherize their equipment and register as “critical infrastructure.” She also told lawmakers she wanted to see some “teeth” behind the policy.

“Not a: ‘We would like you do to this; you should do this,’” she said. “But a: ‘You must do this.’”

Still, with lawmakers ironing out different amendments and verbiage of SB 3, with just days left to send something to the governor’s desk, she’s worried.

She doesn’t want her Aunt Cindy, who she described as a smart woman, brilliant computer programmer and lover of Greek mythology, to have died in vain.

“In 2021, that my aunt could freeze to death, is unimaginable,” she said.

Author: Avery Travis
This post originally appeared on KXAN Austin

'Accident waiting to happen' – UK's first driverless bus to take to the streets

The trial of the 24/7 autonomous shuttle, delayed for two years due to the coronavirus pandemic, will see passengers travel through Cambridge at anytime time of the day or night. They’ll run on the roads around the University of Cambridge’s West Cambridge campus alongside other vehicles – a move feared to be dangerous by some locals.
One Facebook user wrote: “In a city centre of cyclists who pay no attentions to rules of the road, maybe an accident waiting to happen.”

Another shared: “Accident waiting to happen this is…”

And a third posted: “Give it half an hour before crashes into the Lycra brigade cyclists.”

Another comment states: “More gridlock, money wasted, accident waiting to happen.”

But Transport Minister Rachel Maclean, who travelled on the shuttle, feels the move is a groundbreaking one for the future of technology in the UK.

She told Cambridgeshire Live: “Self-driving vehicles present a number of opportunities for the UK from providing safer, greener and more reliable transport services to creating tens of thousands of well-paid and skilled jobs across the nation.

“This project is hugely exciting and is an example of how self-driving vehicles could make it easier for people to travel on the UK’s future public transport network.”

During the trial, three buses will run at 20mph through the campus. Each bus is fitted with sensors, laser scanners, and cameras which build a map of the environment.

Safety operators are onboard the vehicles during the trials and are able to take control of the vehicle immediately if required.

The campus was chosen by the project team – the Greater Cambridge Partnership (GCP), Smart Cambridge, and engineering firm Aurrigo – because the site infrastructure means they can be tested without any alterations.

The trials will support research into potential driverless shuttle services to link the city’s other research campuses with the rail stations and Park and Ride sites, and further explore how smart technology could be used to cut congestion and improve public transport.

Claire Ruskin, director of Cambridge Network and the business representative on the GCP executive board, said: “It is very exciting to see these vehicles working on real roads here as another first in Cambridge.

“These shuttles can be used on demand all day and night, every day of the year – which is unaffordable with our existing public transport.

“They are flexible and make good use of resources without needing much infrastructure.

“As employment around Cambridge is 24/7 for many organisations – including our hospitals, emergency services, and many of our labs – we have been anticipating this new technology to see how real operation will help people get around.

“This trial is part of wider plans by the Greater Cambridge Partnership to help the area work sustainably as it continues to deliver world-leading innovation for the UK.”

Further passenger trials are planned during June with select passengers to be invited onboard the 10-seater shuttle.

Dr Nik Johnson, mayor of the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority, said: “This trial is a great example of the type of innovative, clean transport solution that I look forward to working closely with the GCP on.

He added: “I look forward to seeing how this trial develops and what learnings we can take forward for the delivery of a modern, timely, and relevant transport solution for the rest of Greater Cambridgeshire.”

The GCP is responsible for the area’s £500 million city deal with the government to support sustainable growth for the country by investing in public transport infrastructure, skills, and housing.

The GCP and Smart Cambridge secured government funding from the Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CCAV), part of Innovate UK, in 2018 to launch the project.

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This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: UK Feed

EXPLAINER: Why Broadway is waiting until fall to reopen

“Hamilton,” “The Lion King” and “Wicked” return Sept. 14, as does “Chicago.”

NEW YORK — Broadway shows are tripping over themselves to announce that tickets are once more available. But don’t get dressed up just yet: The curtains won’t rise for most until September or October.
“Hamilton,” “The Lion King” and “Wicked” return Sept. 14, as does “Chicago.” “Ain’t Too Proud – The Life and Times of the Temptations” restarts Oct. 16, “The Phantom of the Opera” on Oct. 22 and both “Jagged Little Pill” and “Come From Away on Sept. 21. “Six,” which had planned to open officially on the day of the 2020 shutdown, will restart Sept. 17, as will David Byrne’s “American Utopia.” “Mrs. Doubtfire” will return Oct. 21. More are expected to announce new dates soon — for the fall.
RELATED: ‘Hamilton,’ ‘Wicked,’ ‘Lion King’ will return to Broadway Sept. 14
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WHY THE FOUR MONTH WAIT?

Selling tickets now allows producers to gauge interest in their shows, like putting a big toe in the water to check the temperature. Is there thunderous demand or is it more tepid? How enduring is the interest? Once producers get answers — and much-needed cash from interested theater-goers — they can plan. Shows that find a lukewarm response may need to invest in more advertising or change it up.
Broadway shows thrive on tourists — who were roughly two-thirds of the people in the seats before the pandemic struck — and producers are banking that visitor numbers will be up by fall. The hope is that theater lovers — both tourists and New Yorkers — will loudly cheer the return. It will be a big occasion.
“The moment those theater lights go down and the stage lights come up is probably going to be one of the most emotional moments in theater in New York. And I can’t wait to be standing in my spot in the back of the theater,” says Stacey Mindich, the lead producer of “Dear Evan Hansen.”

WHAT WILL HAPPEN OVER THE NEXT MONTHS?

Broadway shows can’t just restart like flipping a light switch, especially big musicals. Cast members may have left, requiring new hiring. Orchestras and ensembles must re-learn their parts, choreographers need the cast in the room to synchronize and costumers need to check fittings. Producers say the task is like opening a show from scratch all over again.
The pandemic also has added new safety fears for everything from handling props to theater cleaning. Broadway seats are very close together, and the venues are not particularly airy or spacious. Just getting inside before the pandemic required standing in a long line and cramming into entrances. It’s no surprise that the first report of COVID-19 invading Broadway was when a part-time usher and security guard tested positive.
So questions need to be addressed: Will temperature checks be enough? Must actors be vaccinated? Will audiences have to show vaccination cards? Will masks be required? Some theater owners have installed new air filters and some have updated bathrooms. Is that enough? Might shows eliminate intermission and bar service to curb people from mingling? Producers and union leaders must reach agreements on all these issues before shows open.
Audiences are also going to have to adjust. Actor Katharine McPhee wondered about small things, like folks coughing during a show. That used to be annoying; now it may be triggering. “I feel like it’s going to take a long time for people to not have some trauma connected to us all being fearful,” she said.

WHO IS IN BETTER SHAPE?

Those shows likely to fare best, at least initially, have legions of fans and histories as a tested entertainment source — think “Hamilton,” “The Lion King” and “Wicked.” Those in the most precarious positions are new plays or musicals that few know about, but are bravely opening post-pandemic. Initially, after 18 months of pent-up demand, theater lovers are expected to make a point of buying tickets and cheering the return. But the months after those die-hard fans have come and gone will be the trickiest. Theater actors certainly are hopeful.
“I think it has, for me, reset my passion for theater,” says Jesse Tyler Ferguson, who is waiting for his revival of “Take Me Out” to restart. “I think for a lot of people, it’s been something that we’ve taken for granted. And I think when we do get back to being able to commune and join together and watch live theater together, I’m going to have that same feeling in my heart and in my soul as when I first sat down to see my first Broadway show at 17 years old.”

WHY IT HAS TO BE ALL OR NOTHING

Away from the Great White Way, shows have already opened with socially distanced audiences, but that’s not possible for the 41 Broadway theaters. The financial demands simply don’t favor keeping many seats purposefully empty.
The average operating costs for a play are about $ 300,000 per week, while weekly costs run $ 600,000 for musicals. Conventional wisdom is that many shows need to sell at least 80% of tickets just to break even. Figuring out ticket pricing will also be a headache: Should there be regular prices initially and then deep discounts later in the fall to attract more wary customers? Disney is luring customers by promising to pay all Ticketmaster fees and offering skittish ticket buyers the freedom to exchange or even cancel tickets at no charge. There’s going to be a lot of number-crunching from now until fall.

CHANGE, CHANGE, CHANGE

Financials aside, the existing theater community is going through a reflective and turbulent period as it comes under criticism from people — inside and outside the business — demanding racial justice, inclusion, fair wages, accountability and representation.
Spurred on by the protests over the police-involved death of George Floyd, marchers have taken to the streets to denounce the labor union Actors Equity Association and have successfully forced producer Scott Rudin to step aside in the face of bullying allegations. The voices are calling for wholesale changes from a system that has been static for decades. Working out what a more inclusive Broadway will take time.
“I think that we are at a point now where people are listening and people are willing to make changes,” Vanessa Williams, a leader in the new group Black Theatre United, said in March. “It’s almost like a reset button now: ‘OK, now we’re listening and now we’re going to make changes.’”

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This post originally appeared on CBS8 – Entertainment

Call of Duty Warzone update: Good news for fans waiting on next Cold War patch

There is always plenty of things to fix and problems to solve in a game as hulking and ‘integrated’ as Call of Duty Warzone.

The good news is that there is a huge team working on the popular Battle Royale shooter, which gets regular patches to help remove problems.

Sometimes they aren’t able to keep up with all the issues, leaving gamers fighting invisible foes or teams of Juggernauts.

Some issues are less buggy and problematic and can boil down to simple player taste when trying to survive in Verdansk.

And it appears this week’s Call of Duty Warzone update is taking aim at one particular item found on the map.

After one fan asked whether The Streetsweeper shotgun could appear a little less often as ground loot, the team at Raven Software replied:

“We’re taking a close look at the Streetsweeper in general. Changes are coming in the next update. No details to share just yet.”

By the sounds of this short message, Raven Software will drop a new patch this week which will dial back the number of shotguns that can be found scattered around the map.

The message received plenty of positive feedback from fans, with one commenting: “Thanks for at least acknowledging it.

“This is like when the Origin was meta & was ground loot literally everywhere on Verdansk. This increases camping a great deal. Please consider decreasing the amount of them. A full team shouldn’t all be able to get them in one building.”

Another added: “At least that was semi auto. A full auto shotgun off spawn and there’s like 40 of them wherever you go is just dumb. You can still have it be a fast fire rate shotgun but make it semi auto with a barrel that makes it auto.”

“Yes, I understand Streetsweeper shouldn’t be so common as floor loot but the weapon does not need nerfing in general, come on, the reload is its biggest drawback and can easily get you killed if you don’t choose when to reload wisely.. amax/streetsweeper getting nerfed?”

But as confirmed above, all gamers should gain access to the new skin as long as they log into the game within the next few weeks.

This week’s Call of Duty Warzone update could arrive as early as May 4 on PS4, Xbox One and PC.

However, it will ultimately be up to Raven Software to announce its plans for the week and what new content fans can expect.

A special Call of Duty blog post goes live each Monday, featuring the latest playlist and weapon changes across Warzone and Black Ops Cold War.

So it might be just a few hours before we find out what is being planned next for the Battle Royale game.

Author:
This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: Entertainment Feed

India Covid carnage: Delhi crematorium has 42 ambulances waiting outside – Bodies stacked

Author:
This post originally appeared on Daily Express :: World Feed

India: Doctor breaks down as she discusses coronavirus situation

In the midst of a surge fuelled by the so-called Indian variant, the country’s total cases passed 18 million today after another world record daily infection, with gravediggers working around the clock burying victims, and rows of funeral pyres were built in parks and parking lots. And one medical expert admitted had been caught off guard by the “ferocity” of the second wave of engulfing his country.

Mrs Crawford, the broadcaster’s Special Correspondent, tweeted: “Just seen 42 ambulances outside one crematorium in #delhi.

“Bodies stacked up waiting inside for cremation. Many still in the ambulances waiting to be delivered. Carnage #coronavirus #india”

India, led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, reported 379,257 new COVID-19 cases and 3,645 new deaths today, according to health ministry data. The statistic represented was the country’s highest number of deaths reported in a single day since the start of the pandemic.

A medic India

A medic in India in front of burning funeral pyres (Image: GETTY)

Alex Crawford tweet

Alex Crawford’s tweet (Image: Twitter)

The world’s second-most populous nation is in deep crisis with its hospitals and morgues overwhelmed and healthcare professionals struggling to cope with the pandemic.

Mumbai gravedigger Sayyed Munir Kamruddin said he and his colleagues were working non-stop to bury COVID-19 victims.

The 52-year-old said: “I’m not scared of Covid, I’ve worked with courage. It’s all about courage, not about fear.

READ MORE: Nicola Sturgeon warned her independence ‘sums don’t add up’

Covid India

Covid cases in India are surging, fuelled by the new variant (Image: GETTY)

“This is our only job. Getting the body, removing it from the ambulance, and then burying it.”

Each day, thousands of Indians are searching for hospital beds and life saving oxygen for sick relatives, using social media apps and personal contacts. When hospital beds become available, especially in intensive care units, they are snapped up almost instantly.

Dr Krishnaswamy VijayRaghavan told the Indian Express: “The ferocity of the second wave did take everyone by surprise.

“While we were all aware of second waves in other countries, we had vaccines at hand, and no indications from modeling exercises suggested the scale of the surge.”

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A workman funeral pyre India

A workman builds concrete stands for funeral pyres in India (Image: GETTY)

Hospitals India

Hospital beds in India are scarce (Image: GETTY)

India’s military has begun transporting key medical supplies, such as oxygen canisters, across the country and will open its healthcare facilities to civilians. Hotels and railway coaches have been converted into critical care facilities to make up for the shortage of hospital beds.

India is trying desperately to vaccinate its 1.4 billion population, and on Wednesday the country opened registrations for everyone above the age of 18 to be given jabs from Saturday.

But although it is the world’s biggest producer of vaccines, India does not have the stocks for the estimated 800 million people now eligible for jabs.

Many people who tried to sign up for the vaccinations said they failed, complaining on social media that they could not get a slot or they simply could not get online to register as the website repeatedly crashed.

Covid cases worldwide as of yesterday

Covid cases worldwide as of yesterday (Image: Express)

However, a Government statement flatly denied this, saying:”Statistics indicate that far from crashing or performing slowly, the system is performing without any glitches.”

The government said more than eight million people had registered for the vaccinations, but it was not immediately clear how many had got slots.

Just nine percent of Indians have received one dose since the vaccination campaign began in January with health workers and then the elderly.

While India’s second wave of infections has overwhelmed the country’s health system, its official death rate remains that of Brazil and the United States.

India vaccines

India is battling to vaccinate its 1.4 billion people (Image: GETTY)

However, medical experts believe India’s true COVID-19 numbers may be 5 to 10 times greater than the official tally.

US Democratic Senator Elizabeth Warren tweeted: “India’s COVID outbreak is a humanitarian crisis.

“I’m leading a letter to @moderna_tx, @pfizer, and @jnjnews to find out what steps they’re taking to expand global access to their vaccines to save lives and prevent variants from spreading around the world.”

India was last week placed in the Red Zone of countries from which travel to the UK is banned.