FRANKFORT, KY – Kentucky has 41 known cases of variant B.1.1.7 COVID-19, Governor Andy Beshear said Monday.
That’s according to the CDC, which reported no cases of variant B.1.351 from South Africa in Kentucky, and no cases of variant P.1 from Brazil.
Beshear said the 41 cases of the British variant in Kentucky included one person from Calloway County, one person from Christian County and one person from Marshall County.
They also include one from Allen County, five from Boone County, one from Bullitt County, four from Campbell County, two from Fayette County, two from Garrard County, eight from Jefferson County, 11 from Larue County, one from Madison County, one from Russell County and one from Warren County.
During a Monday afternoon briefing, Public Health Commissioner Dr. Beshear and Kentucky Steven Stack each encouraged Kentuckians to be vaccinated against COVID-19 and to continue to practice precautions such as wearing masks and social distancing to prevent further spread of the virus. Stack said the more the new coronavirus spreads, the more likely it is that it will mutate and create and spread new variants. Beshear said it was important to control the spread of the virus before the British variant became the dominant variant.
Kentucky officially opened vaccination eligibility for people 40 years and over on Monday, although some providers have moved to that age range and others are already vaccinated for people aged 16 and over or 18 years and over depending on the version of the vaccine they provide. . The Pfizer vaccine is approved by the Food and Drug Administration for ages 16 and over, and Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are approved for ages 18 and over.
As of Monday, Kentucky had vaccinated 1,319,323, Beshear said, and the state had used 93% of the allocated dose, with more allocations en route. Stack said Kentucky performed best compared to its seven states, leading in the percentage of the population that had had at least 1 dose of the vaccine.
Beshear said Kentucky also saw an eleventh straight week of cases drop, with about 400 fewer new cases last week than the previous week. Currently, only eight counties in Kentucky are in the COVID-19 red zone, including the counties of Lyon, Simpson, McCreary, Whitley, Powell, Lee, Owsley, and Harlan. In the Local 6 area, the counties of Ballard, Carlisle, Hickman and Fulton are in the green zone, with zero cases per 100,000 people. McCracken, Graves, Calloway, Livingston, Crittenden and Trigg counties are in the yellow zone, with less than 10 cases per 100,000 people. Marshall and Caldwell counties are in the orange zone, with less than 25 cases per 100,000 people.
The governor reported 310 new cases on Monday, as well as 11 deaths recently reported by the health department. State positivity rate for COVID-19 case outcome now stands at 2.89%.
Beshear warned against complacency about the virus, as other states see an increase.
“That’s what happens if we give up too early, if we don’t play the game, if we stop in the fourth quarter, if we stop wearing our masks, if we cancel the common sense rules we gradually loosen up and just try to improve football now,” said Beshear. “We can’t do that, and we’ve seen other places paying the price for it, and / or seeing their cases increase based on their community activities.”
“This thing is still dangerous,” said the governor. “It’s still killing people, and it will continue to kill people until we stop it. We have to get enough people vaccinated before the variant rolls in if we want to avoid another escalation of cases here in Kentucky. And we can do that. We just need to keep it.”
Beshear said the state continues to advise against making unnecessary travel. However, the governor asked Kentuckians who decided to take a spring break trip to continue to protect themselves by wearing masks and keeping their distance. He also said he would consider quarantine on his return to the state.
To date, Kentucky has had 425,333 known cases of COVID-19, including 6,042 known deaths.
The Final Mission press release includes a statement by the IMF staff team delivering preliminary findings after a country visit. The views expressed in this statement are those of IMF staff and do not necessarily represent the views of the IMF Executive Board. Based on the mission’s preliminary findings, staff will prepare a report which, with management’s approval, will be presented to the IMF Executive Board for discussion and decisions.
The Marshall Islands are taking swift and strong action to contain the Covid-19 pandemic without a record of local transmission and are currently leading the launch of the Pacific Covid-19 vaccine.
However, the containment measures have weighed on the economy. GDP is expected to contract by 3.3 percent in FY2020 and further decrease by 1.5 percent in FY2021.
Post-pandemic, fiscal consolidation is needed to build buffers to reduce the risk of fiscal gaps and protect long-term revenues.
Yong Sarah Zhou chaired Article IV virtual consultations with the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI) from March 1 to 18. At the end of the visit, Zhou issued the following statement:
“The Marshall Islands economy was experiencing strong growth before the pandemic. Real GDP is expected to increase by around 6.5 percent in FY2019 (1 October-30 September), driven by strong fishing and construction activities. Inflation remains low, given weak commodity prices.
“As a result of its strong and swift containment measures, RMI has so far remained one of the few countries that has no record of local transmission of COVID-19. The government has implemented a vaccination plan, supported by the US RMI leading the launch of the Covid-19 vaccine in the Pacific Islands, with the first round of vaccination of more than 30 percent of the total population completed.
“However, the economic impact of COVID-19 is severe, as elsewhere. Real GDP is expected to contract by 3.3 percent in FY2020 and is expected to fall by around 1.5 percent in FY2021, due to pandemic-related disruptions to production, sales and employment, particularly in the fisheries, transportation and tourism sectors. The economy is expected to recover in FY2022, based on the assumption that the health restrictions on economic activity will gradually ease. Inflation is expected to pick up slightly, reflecting higher fuel prices.
“The uncertainty surrounding the economic outlook is very high, given the pandemic, and risks are likely to fall. Extended border closings due to a more protracted Covid-19 pandemic around the world could prolong weak economic activity. The issuance of the SOV for digital currency as the second legal tender will increase the risk of macroeconomic and financial stability and financial integrity. The issuance of SOV could jeopardize the banking relationship related to RMI’s final USD (CBR). This combined with the risk of anti-money laundering and combating terrorism financing (AML / CFT) (including those linked to SOVs) could disrupt external aid and other important financial flows, resulting in significant economic constraints. Climate change and related natural disasters are another downside risk.
“RMI also faces important fiscal risks. Without sufficient fiscal consolidation, countries will face increasing fiscal risks from the fiscal gap if the Compact of Free Association (COFA) between the RMI and the United States ends in FY 2023. Alternatively, the potential for renewal of the COFA on favorable terms presents an upside risk.
“Against this backdrop, the team’s policy recommendations focus on three main objective areas: (i) ensuring a long-lasting economic recovery after a downturn and long-term fiscal independence; (ii) maintaining financial stability; and (iii) achieving green, sustainable and inclusive growth after the pandemic.
“The team lauds the government’s swift action to ensure health preparedness and reduce the economic impact of the pandemic, with support from donors. The team recommends sticking with the response package until the recovery progresses steadily while re-prioritizing and reallocating spending as needed, given the uncertainty about the development of COVID-19 in the global economy.
“Post pandemic, gradual fiscal consolidation is needed to prepare for a possible expiration of US grants and reduce the risk of fiscal gaps. Even if the COFA is renewed, some adjustments may still be needed to maintain healthy public finances and reduce reliance on external grants. An essential element of sound public finances is the preservation of the value of the Compact Trust Fund which is adjusted for inflation. The team recommends a combination of expense and income measurements to achieve consolidation. It is important for the government to enact the tax reform bill that has been prepared and to reform offshore shipping taxation and company registration. The preparation of a Fiscal Liability and Debt Management Act has recently been welcomed, but their timely enforcement and effective implementation will be critical to success.
“The staff welcomes the authorities’ continued cautious approach to the Sovereign digital currency (SOV). SOV will pose significant risks to macroeconomic and financial stability and financial integrity. RMI’s legal, regulatory and institutional framework is not ready to accommodate the issuance of SOVs and manage the associated risks. Therefore, the team’s assessment suggests that the potential costs of issuing an SOV are likely to outweigh the expected benefits.
“Another concern is the risk of financial integrity in the non-resident and shipping (offshore) sector. Progress has been made to strengthen the RMI’s AML / CFT regime in line with recommendations made by the Asia Pacific Group on Money Laundering but weaknesses in the legal framework and capacity constraints among regulatory authorities may not allow the AML / CFT regime to effectively mitigate financial integrity risks. In particular, timely access to accurate beneficial ownership information about entities registered with RMI is not guaranteed. Further, there is a lack of meaningful oversight of the offshore sector – including that of the Trust Company of Marshall Islands (TCMI), which has been delegated duties to operate non-resident registers and shipments – and inadequate AML / CFT regulation of offshore activities. . The foregoing can put pressure on correspondent banking relations (CBR). Staff recommended that the Marshall Islands Government strengthen the AML / CFT legal / regulatory framework and the capacity of its agencies to ensure proper offshore sector AML / CFT regulation, oversight of delegated public functions and effective mitigation of financial integrity risks.
“Green and sustainable recovery requires accelerated preparation of the national adaptation plan (NAP) for climate change. The team welcomes the government’s commitment to finalizing the NAP by 2021 and offers support for PFM reforms to increase RMI’s ability to access global climate funds.
“IMF staff recommends increasing the implementation of BUMN reform. In the medium and long term, the government should develop direct and targeted fiscal transfers, which are more efficient at distributing income to the poor than paying subsidies to SOEs for social services while reducing economic distortions.
“Staff are aware of the longstanding and difficult structural challenges surrounding economic diversification and growth for a small and remote economy like RMI. Improving the business environment can play an important role in enabling the private sector to grow and become more dynamic. Land registration reform will be an important step to promote business investment in RMI. Increasing education and opportunities for training and skills development and expanding social services can help reduce migration to the US and enable higher local growth.
“The IMF team would like to thank the RMI government as well as private sector representatives for constructive and honest discussions.”
Items include the Columbia River Maritime Museum Miniboat Program, the Portland Winter Light Festival, and more.
Boat on land
Students taking part in the Columbia River Maritime Museum Miniboat Program build small boats, equipped with GPS and sails, but once they launch them into the Pacific Ocean, they may never see their goal achieved. Will the ship reach Japan, the destination?
Often, they come ashore elsewhere, such as happened recently when a five-foot ship called the S / V Liberty built by students at Wy’East Middle School in Vancouver, Washington, found their boat stranded in the Marshall Islands. .
Cruise: 101 days, begins in July, and covers 4,500 miles from the Oregon Coast to the Marshall Islands. The cruise actually starts on the Columbia River; after being launched for the first time, the ship landed by itself, and was then relaunched.
In particular, it went ashore on Ailuk Atoll, an island with a population of 357.
“There is no more exciting ending for 2020, especially for our students who have faced so many challenges during the pandemic,” said Nate Sandel, the museum’s education director at Astoria. “One of the themes our students learn as part of the Miniboat Program is the importance of adapting to find ways to succeed even in the face of challenges.
“These boat trips have provided perfect real-life lessons for our students, along with adventures straight from storybooks.”
The boat was still afloat with minimal damage. The mayor of Ailuk, Ankit Typhoon, is working with the museum and students to repair and relaunch the ship, so that it can continue its journey to Japan.
This program is intended to teach students in the STEAM areas – science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics. Since 2017, the program has released 27 mini boats. Not a single boat had reached Japan; Japanese students also let go of boats headed for the West Coast of the US.
Students taking part (remotely) this year came from Warrenton Grade School, Columbia Elementary and Eisenhower Elementary.
Festival of light
The sixth annual Portland Winter Light Festival will take place in 2021 in the new format as “Festival (non).”
Instead of big, centered events, the activity is simple pop-up light art installations all over Portland.
There will be pop-up window installations featuring light-based art, video projection, colorful architectural lighting, online art, and more.
This will take place on February 5-6 and February 12-13.
“A major part of our mission is to refresh Portland in winter,” said Alisha Sullivan, executive director. “This year, we see the importance of that mission more than ever.”
The festival collaborates with businesses, artists and creators to highlight creations. A placement map will be available near the event.
The Portland Youth Philharmonic has released its first digital album under the leadership of David Hattner, music director, entitled “Premiere Recordings.”
It features the music of composer Tomas Svoboda, a former Portland State University music professor.
Philharmonic collaborates with Primephonic streaming service. The album features the missing “Symphony No. 2” from Svoboda, which was premiered by PYP in 2016. Svoboda had written “Symphony No. 2” in 1964 in Czechoslovakia.
“I think it’s an honor for our orchestra to take it,” said Hattner.
“His symphony is a great work and an extraordinary discovery. Mr. Svoboda is an Oregon treasure, not only for his long catalog of compositions, but also for the students he taught and inspired for decades at Portland State University.”
The album also contains Svoboda’s “Folk Concert for Seven Instruments, Op. 82” and “Six Variations for the Violin and the String Orchestra.”
Jeannie Kenmotsu is officially appointed curator of Asian art at the Portland Art Museum. He has served as interim head of Asian arts since Maribeth Graybill’s retirement in October 2019.
“Having worked with Jeannie for a number of years, I am deeply impressed by the extraordinary knowledge of art history that he combines with his love of contemporary art,” said Brian Ferriso, museum director and chief curator.
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Conference championship week has finally arrived, bringing with it the right to claim superiority over (almost) every other team in your league.
And, as always, conference championship matches will have a big influence in determining the semifinals of the University Football Playoffs. This year, the prestigious influential gaming group has shrunk to just three – maybe two – games: the ACC Championship and Top Ten, as well as the SEC championship.
As of now, No. 1 Alabama, No. 2 Notre Dame, No. 3 Ohio State and No. 4 Clemson is the only team that controls their own destiny.
So it makes sense for Alabama (10-0) to take No. 11th Florida (8-2) in the SEC championship; the Gators’ an astonishing 37-34 whopping against LSU Week 15 looks like ending any hopes they had of qualifying for the Playoffs, but a win over Alabama could disrupt the final pairing sequence.
Notre Dame (10-0) take on Clemson (9-1) in the ACC Championship, their rematch double overtime thriller on November 7; The Tigers have to win to qualify for the Playoffs, but the Irish could lose depending on the score. Ohio State (5-0) qualified for the Top Ten games after the conference waiving his six match requirement, but must beat No. 15 Northwestern (6-1) to qualify for the Playoffs. Can the Wildcat enter victorious?
Other games worth watching include No. 13 USC (5-0) vs. Oregon (3-2) at Pac-12 and No. 8 Iowa State (8-2) vs. No. 12 Oklahoma (7-2) in the Top 12; The Trojans, Cyclones, and Sooners are the dark horse Playoff candidates who will compete if chaos broke out at the ACC, Top Ten and SEC. USC needs to blow up the Husky and get more help to become a true competitor. And it’s always worth noting that no team that loses twice reaches the Playoffs.
Unfortunately, the Sun Belt championship match was between No. 9 Coastal Carolina (11-0) and No. 17th Louisiana (9-1) is canceled due to the COVID-19 issue among Chanticleers. That almost certainly means the winner of the AAC championship match between No. 6 Cincinnati (9-0) and No. 20 Tulsa (6-1) will claim a Group 5 spot in the 6 New Years bowl. Cincinnati has a deep path for the position.
With that said, here’s everything you need to know to watch the weekend conference championships:
How to watch, live stream college football matches
The conference championships will be broadcast live on national TV, with matches shown on ABC, Fox and CBS. Live streaming options include WatchESPN, CBS All Access, Fox.com, ESPN + or fuboTV, which offers a seven-day free trial.
The US detonated its largest nuclear bomb around the Marshall Islands in the 1940s and 50s – but the Marshallese people still campaigned for adequate compensation.
The Marshall Islands are two chains of 29 coral atolls in the middle of the Pacific Ocean between Papua New Guinea and Hawaii.
After the test, the entire island ceased to exist, hundreds of native Marshall had to be removed from their home island and many were affected by the testing.
In 1977, US authorities placed the debris and most contaminated soil into a large concrete dome called the Runit Dome, which is located on Enewetak Atoll and houses 88,000 square meters of contaminated soil and debris.
It recently received media attention because it appeared to be leaking, due to cracks and threats from rising sea levels, while some Marshallese feared the ship would eventually collapse.
However, American officials said it was not their problem and that their responsibility fell on Marshall, because it was their land.
The US has cited a 1986 free association deal, which exempted the US government from further obligations, to be renegotiated in 2023.
Meanwhile, Marshall continued to campaign for appropriate compensation from the US.
Giff Johnson, editor of the nation’s only newspaper, the Marshall Islands Journal and correspondent for RNZ, has experienced firsthand the legacy of the US nuclear test. His wife Darlene Cheese, an outspoken advocate for test victims and nuclear survivors, herself died of cancer in 1996.
While he said that the suggestion that Elaborate Dome – dubbed the “Tomb” by locals – would collapse alarmingly, there was still great concern around him.
“I wouldn’t say the dome is on the verge of collapse, there are concerns about the leak, about the cracks, and also about the contamination of the whole atoll,” he said.
“The problem is that it contains plutonium, which has a half-life of 24,000 years, and how long does concrete last?”
Describing the structure as a “symbol of nuclear legacy here,” Johnson said US government scientists had reported there was already so much contamination in the area that it would be difficult to find leaks from the dome that had been added.
The United States continues to refuse to accept responsibility for the conditions of the Runit Dome, despite the country’s history of nuclear testing.
In 1954, the US carried out their first nuclear weapon test, Castle Bravo, at Bikini Atoll in 1954 – which resulted in the contamination of 15 islands and atolls. Just three years later, residents at the affected Rongelap and Utirik atolls were encouraged to return to their homes, so researchers could study the radiation’s effects.
“The legacy of nuclear weapons testing is a major problem in the Marshall Islands with the United States and it remains a festering problem, because US compensation and medical care and so on are only part of what is needed,” Johnson said.
The first deal to free the association between the Marshall Islands and the US contained a compensation agreement, including the creation of a nuclear claims tribunal to decide all claims. Although it was determined that there was a large amount of compensation to be paid to Marshallese across the various atolls, this has never been paid, apart from a $ 150 million funding in 1986.
Since then, the US has no longer accepted responsibility for nuclear compensation, as the deal resulted in the Marshall Islands becoming an independent nation, which could join the United Nations.
However, Johnson said the United States Congress has taken a different stance on this matter.
For example, while the US executive branch would say the Marshall Islands are responsible for all former nuclear test sites, the US Congress several years ago passed a law requiring the US Department of Energy to monitor the Runit Dome, where so much radioactive waste is stored. “
There are also big differences in the treatment of Marshall nuclear victims and in the United States
“The US is using Bikini and Enewetak to test its biggest hydrogen bomb,” said Johnson. “While it maintains a nuclear test site in Nevada, it’s only testing a relatively small nuclear device there, because it can’t test a hydrogen bomb on the continental United States – America won’t support it.”
Shortly after the free associations in 1986 ended America’s responsibility for nuclear compensation in the Marshall Islands, the US Congress introduced radiation compensation measures for Americans – which Johnson said totally emphasized the injustice of the situation.
“Long story short, they allocated $ 100 million and then they ran out, the US congress allocated more, once again ran out, allocated more and fast forward to 2020 and they were over $ 2 billion in compensation to America’s nuclear victims.
“Then the question arises, that if they are willing to continue to recapitalize the compensation fund for America’s nuclear victims, why can’t they return the compensation fund for Marshallese, who has far more nuclear impact than the downwinders in Utah and Nevada?”
Johnson was also concerned about the lack of basic epidemiological studies by the US following the tests. Studies of the effects of radiation center around thyroid problems, but many islanders have reported cancer, miscarriage, and stillbirths in the following years.
His wife Darlene Cheese died of breast cancer, which also affected her mother and father – she grew up on one of the islands in the downwind zone.
The US has never looked at cancer rates, or studied the differences between low-impact and high-damage areas, he said.
Johnson hopes that the nuclear legacy between nations can work out peacefully, but he is not overly optimistic.
“The original compensation agreement was negotiated in the Cold War period and the US did it in a hostile way with the Marshall Islands, which had no position because it was not a country at the time, information was classified, they didn’t ‘don’t know what they know at the moment, and that’s needs to be done, a proper and viable fair deal needs to be finalized. “
Despite these tensions, Johnson said Marshall was not harboring anti-American sentiment and the issue of compensation was a “black mark on good relations” between the two countries.
He said about 30 to 40 percent of all Marshallese live in the US.
“The Marshall Islands, since World War II, have had a high respect and strong relationship with the US that emerged from the end of the period of Japanese militarism and the execution of many islanders and privacy, into the period in which the US pushed for institutional democracy, creating opportunities for education, giving scholarships, opens doors for people going to the US and the unpacked agreement really brings this together, in terms of a relationship that benefits both parties. “
However, the ongoing tensions between the US and China could assist the Marshall Islands in pushing for further compensation.
“In the current situation we have a US that continues to be in an uproar over China … which has increased the strategic interests of the Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, Palau – the three north Pacific nations that are all free from US relations. That gives the Marshall Islands a little bit more. had a lot of influence in negotiating and talking to Washington.
“Perhaps the altered geopolitical situation here may offer an opening to gain interest in trying to peacefully do something to solve it all,” Johnson said.
But nuclear legacy isn’t the only problem affecting the island – climate change is looming and US scientists report that the Marshall Islands will be uninhabitable by the 2030s, due to rising sea levels.
“Because the Marshall Islands have a very small landmass, these are very small islands, it adds to the importance of land to the Marshallese people,” Johnson said. “I think people care about their islands and want to find ways to make them livable for the long term, but that may depend a lot on the world community now.”