‘One million empty chairs’: The US families torn apart by COVID | Coronavirus pandemic News

Washington, DC – The US has develop into the primary nation on this planet to surpass a million deaths from COVID-19.

The nation hit the tragic mark on Tuesday, based on knowledge from Johns Hopkins College, renewing a deep sense of grief felt by numerous households which have misplaced family members throughout the pandemic.

Final week, President Joe Biden stated the sombre milestone meant there are “a million empty chairs across the household dinner desk”, whereas urging Individuals to proceed to train warning to stop the virus from spreading. “This pandemic isn’t over,” he stated.

Right here, Al Jazeera shares the tales of a number of the a million Individuals who died because of the coronavirus, and the super loss felt by their households and associates.

Tom Wilson, 69, Avondale, Arizona

Maureen Wilson misplaced her husband of 37 years, Tom, on January 16, 2021.

She says Tom, who had Parkinson’s illness and dementia, almost certainly contracted COVID-19 throughout a go to to the physician’s workplace for a flu shot. He spent eight days in hospital however then his household determined to take him dwelling as a result of he didn’t need to be ventilated.

He died of a coronary heart assault at dwelling, not lengthy after being discharged from hospital, however was solely buried in March 2022, after the household might maintain a correct funeral, Maureen says.

Tom Wilson
Tom Wilson almost certainly contracted COVID-19 throughout a go to to a health care provider’s workplace, his spouse says [Courtesy Maureen Wilson]

“I really feel horrible – offended, so offended,” she instructed Al Jazeera of the expertise of getting a liked one in hospital however not with the ability to see them.

Maureen says she seems again fondly on her life along with her husband, whom she described as a romantic who continuously wrote her playing cards and love letters. She just lately went by a few of their outdated correspondence.

She says he was her greatest good friend and soulmate.

“I by no means thought I’d be liked the way in which Tom Wilson liked me – utterly. It doesn’t matter what I did or stated or regarded like, he liked me,” Maureen wrote in a message on a Fb grief help group.

Peggy Rampersad, 89, Fredericksburg, Virginia

Peggy Rampersad died on January 20, 2022, every week after her 89th birthday. Her household says the matriarch, who was absolutely vaccinated however had years earlier developed kidney illness and had congestive coronary heart failure, caught COVID-19 from her caregiver.

Born and raised within the small Virginia city of Fredericksburg, Peggy reinvented herself a number of instances all through her life, her daughter Gita Rampersad recollects.

Peggy Rampersad
Peggy Rampersad’s daughter says her mom was ‘sort, sleek and complicated’ [Photo courtesy of Gita Rampersad]

At age 20, regardless of shedding her personal mom, Peggy adopted her dream to check artwork on the famend Artwork Institute of Chicago. As soon as within the massive metropolis, she met the love of her life, whom she was married to for 40 years. She later went from a promising artist to an achieved mental, receiving a PhD from the College of Chicago.

“She was the kind of one that believed in reinvention,” Gita, who’s an solely little one, instructed Al Jazeera. “I noticed my mom reinvent herself on a number of events all through my lifetime.”

Over the previous 25 years, Gita says she turned “greatest associates” along with her mom. The 2 spoke daily and travelled collectively usually. “We loved one another’s firm,” she says.

She describes her mom as being “assured, opinionated however truthful”, in addition to “sort, sleek and complicated”.

“She was a exceptional girl,” Gita says.

Viola Faria, 76, Brooklyn, New York

Viola Faria died on December 29, 2021, in St Louis, Missouri, at age 76.

Born in Brooklyn, New York, she labored for an oil firm earlier than beginning her own residence cleansing enterprise. However at age 40, she give up her job to develop into the full-time caregiver for her then-five-year-old daughter, Christina, who has cerebral palsy.

“She was my full-time mother. She did all of the issues common mothers do, and in some ways, I had an idyllic childhood,” Christina, now 36, instructed Al Jazeera. “However together with that she additionally did my therapies daily, my respiration therapies, and principally [was] my legs and arms.”

For a number of years, the 2 lived in Hawaii, the place Viola turned an advocate for folks with disabilities.

Christina and Viola
Viola Faria give up her full-time job at age 40 to look after her daughter, Christina, who has bodily disabilities [Courtesy Christina Faria]

“She was very devoted,” says Christina, recalling how her mom fought for her to be allowed to attend a non-public faculty in Hawaii and took half in marches in Washington and New York.

When Christina graduated from highschool, it turned obvious that she would nonetheless want full-time care, and the 2 determined to proceed to dwell collectively. They moved to St Louis, Missouri, in 1998.

Though she was absolutely vaccinated, Viola caught COVID-19 over Christmas final yr. Her situation started deteriorating, and she or he was rushed to hospital, which was short-staffed.

She was moved to the intensive care unit not lengthy after, however her situation continued to worsen.

Viola is survived by her daughter, Christina, and her older brother, Robert.



John Ripley, 58, Boise, Idaho

John “Scott” Ripley, a software program engineer from Boise, Idaho, died on February 18, 2022, lower than a month after testing optimistic for COVID-19. He was 58.

His daughter Suzanne Ripley says she was unable to see him in hospital attributable to pandemic protocols. She solely received to see him on the day he died after getting a cellphone name from the hospital telling her that her father was dying. He was already intubated.

She says she held his hand as his coronary heart stopped. She begged him to attend for her sister who was half-hour away, however he didn’t make it.

“My dad spent his complete life ensuring I by no means felt alone and he was all the time there for me – and when it mattered it felt like I couldn’t be there for him,” Ripley instructed Al Jazeera.

“This illness, it doesn’t simply wreck your physique, it destroys households’ skill to correctly say goodbye to their family members in a means that looks like a proper,” she says.

Ripley says her father was extraordinarily clever and would construct laptop software program “for enjoyable”. She says he was mild and type, and liked comedy and Star Trek films. He additionally liked spending time along with his canine, named Jack.

He leaves behind a spouse, two daughters, and a stepson, in addition to his father, sisters and three grandchildren.

Elon Musk Says Twitter Deal ‘Cannot Move Forward’ in Current State

Elon Musk, chaos agent.

Mr. Musk, the world’s richest man, continued creating confusion round his $44 billion acquisition of Twitter on Tuesday, even because the social media firm tried to maintain the deal on track. Early within the morning, the billionaire tweeted that “this deal can not transfer ahead” till he bought extra particulars in regards to the quantity of spam and pretend accounts on the platform.

Just a few hours later, Twitter mentioned it was “dedicated to finishing the transaction on the agreed value and phrases as promptly as practicable.” It urged its shareholders to again the bid by Mr. Musk, who gave the impression to be finishing up a public tweet-by-tweet negotiation though he had struck the blockbuster deal to purchase Twitter final month.

Mr. Musk’s more and more skeptical — and erratic — feedback in regards to the takeover have saved traders, bankers and Twitter itself guessing about his motives. Some analysts determine that the 50-year-old is attempting to drive down the acquisition value or stroll away from the deal altogether. Many had been unnerved by his strategies, with market-moving pronouncements made off the cuff at conferences or in emoji-laden tweets in the midst of the night time.

But his feedback are in step with Mr. Musk’s longtime strategies of operation, the place he usually wings it within the greatest moments, eschews specialists and depends virtually solely on his personal counsel. Years in the past, he mentioned that he had stopped making enterprise plans. And other people near Mr. Musk have mentioned that he had no plan in any respect when he piped up with a suggestion to purchase Twitter final month.

“I believe all of that is simply him making a variety of noise and displaying the sort of complications that he would trigger for the corporate in the event that they had been to attempt to litigate this,” mentioned Ann Lipton, a professor of company governance at Tulane Legislation College.

Twitter’s shares fell 8 % on Monday and rose greater than 3 % on Tuesday. They had been hovering at $38 a share, far under the $54.20 a share that Mr. Musk agreed to pay for the corporate and under the place it traded earlier than the billionaire initially revealed in March that he had purchased an enormous stake in Twitter.

Behind the scenes, the 2 sides are continuing with the deal: They collectively put out a regulatory submitting on Tuesday. Renegotiating a deal wouldn’t be simple for Mr. Musk. Along with a $1 billion breakup charge, the cope with Twitter features a “particular efficiency clause,” which provides the corporate the precise to sue him and pressure him to finish the deal as long as the debt financing he has corralled stays intact.

Mr. Musk, who additionally leads the rocket firm SpaceX and the electrical carmaker Tesla, didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark. Twitter declined to remark.

Mr. Musk’s newest remarks in regards to the Twitter deal middle on the difficulty of faux accounts on the platform. Twitter has lengthy mentioned in regulatory filings that fewer than 5 % of its accounts are faux — a determine that Mr. Musk mentioned is difficult to imagine. In a tweet printed at 3:32 a.m. Jap time on Tuesday, Mr. Musk mentioned the determine could possibly be properly above 20 %, with out offering info to assist his declare.

“My provide was based mostly on Twitter’s S.E.C. filings being correct,” Mr. Musk mentioned within the message.

A part of the rationale that the difficulty of faux accounts has come to the forefront now’s that Mr. Musk didn’t conduct due diligence on Twitter earlier than agreeing to purchase the corporate. Potential patrons often go to intensive lengths to review a goal’s enterprise, clients, development potential and inventory value earlier than making a suggestion. However in keeping with a regulatory submitting from the corporate on Tuesday, Mr. Musk instructed Twitter that finishing due diligence on the social media firm was not vital earlier than signing an settlement.

Within the submitting, Twitter additionally warned that “if the merger shouldn’t be accomplished, and relying on the circumstances that trigger the merger to not be accomplished, the worth of our widespread inventory might decline considerably.” Deal uncertainty can harm firm morale and add to worker turnover.

On Tuesday, two vice presidents and one division head notified colleagues they had been departing the corporate for brand new alternatives, a Twitter consultant mentioned. The departures had been earlier reported by Bloomberg.

“If the bot determine is so necessary to his evaluation of the worth of the corporate, he ought to have completed his due diligence on it earlier than signing the deal,” mentioned Erik Gordon, a professor of enterprise on the College of Michigan. “And he ought to have added an specific illustration about bots to the contract.”

Mr. Musk has been increase the strain on Twitter together with his public feedback questioning the deal. He started final Friday, tweeting that his buy was “temporarily on hold” till he might get extra particulars in regards to the quantity of spam and pretend accounts on the platform. He later adopted up saying that he was nonetheless “committed” to the deal.

Over the weekend, he tweeted that Twitter’s authorized division had “referred to as to complain” that he violated a nondisclosure settlement by discussing its bot pattern measurement of 100. Mr. Musk’s cope with Twitter additionally has a non-disparagement clause that prohibits him from tweeting negatively in regards to the transaction.

Then at a expertise convention in Miami on Monday, Mr. Musk mentioned placing a deal for Twitter at a lower cost was “not out of the query” contemplating the questions on spam and pretend accounts.

“The extra questions I ask, the extra my issues develop,” Mr. Musk mentioned on the occasion. “So you recognize, on the finish of the day, buying it must be fixable with an inexpensive time-frame and with out revenues collapsing alongside the best way.”

He added that it was a “materials adversarial misstatement” if Twitter mentioned it has lower than 5 % of faux or spam accounts however the determine is definitely considerably extra.

“Materials adversarial change” clauses are utilized by patrons to get out of or renegotiate offers if there was critical hurt to a enterprise. However such prices hardly ever prevail in courtroom. Twitter’s bot depend is unlikely to qualify as a cloth adversarial assertion, legal professionals mentioned, since Twitter has publicly disclosed comparable figures quarterly and there can be no clear change to guage. And Twitter additionally cautions in its regulatory filings its bot estimates could also be “greater” than it estimates.

Twitter’s deal contract has eight pages of “representations”: successfully guarantees in regards to the state of the corporate on the time of the merger, although none pertain on to its depend of bots.

On Monday, Parag Agrawal, Twitter’s chief government, additionally posted a prolonged thread detailing how the corporate calculates its variety of bots. He mentioned the corporate’s inner estimates for the final 4 quarters “had been all properly underneath 5 %.”

Mr. Musk later responded to Mr. Agrawal’s tweet thread with a poop emoji. He additionally tweeted on the Securities and Change Fee, indicating that he desires the company to look into the deal. (Mr. Musk has beforehand been the topic of S.E.C. inquiries.)

In its submitting on Tuesday, Twitter additionally famous the numerous challenges it weighed in deciding whether or not to simply accept Mr. Musk’s bid. Bret Taylor, Twitter’s chairman, spoke with a number of institutional shareholders who advisable that the board contemplate Mr. Musk’s proposal towards the dangers of urgent ahead as a public firm.

Twitter additionally mentioned that whereas its administration and bankers acquired curiosity from different “monetary sponsors and institutional traders,” not one of the events put ahead a particular counterproposal.

Ele Klein, co-chairman of the worldwide shareholder activism group on the regulation agency Schulte Roth & Zabel, mentioned Mr. Musk’s shenanigans have put Twitter’s board in a bind.

“It then turns into a query of, in the event you’re the corporate, though you might have a extremely nice reality sample, how lengthy do you need to spend combating,” Mr. Klein mentioned. “Life’s too brief to battle with Elon Musk.”


Mike Isaac contributed reporting.

EU set to approve new military aid for Ukraine | Russia-Ukraine war News

Prime EU diplomat Josep Borrell says bloc set to approve one other 500 million euros ($527m) in navy support for Ukraine.

European Union defence ministers are set to approve one other 500 million euros ($527m) in navy support for Ukraine, EU overseas coverage chief Josep Borrell has stated.

“We’ve got to proceed to help the Ukrainians with arms, that’s why we are going to pull 500 million euros extra” from the European Peace Facility, Borrell advised reporters on Tuesday on the best way to the assembly of EU defence ministers.

The brand new tranche of navy help would deliver the bloc’s navy support to 2 billion euros ($2.1bn).

Borrell additionally expressed help for Finland and Sweden’s requests to affix NATO and hoped the alliance would have the ability to overcome Turkey’s objection to the bids.

In line with Borrell, the 2 nations will “obtain sturdy help from all member states as a result of it will increase our unity and makes us stronger”.

German Defence Minister Christine Lambrecht and her Luxembourg counterpart Francois Bausch argued each nations belonged in NATO “due to the values that they’re defending”.

Sweden has signed a proper request to affix NATO, a day after the nation introduced it could search membership within the 30-member navy alliance.

Legislators in Finland have formally authorized Finnish leaders’ choice to affix as properly.

The strikes by the 2 Nordic nations, ending Sweden’s greater than 200 years of navy non-alignment and Finland’s non-alignment after World Conflict II, have provoked the ire of the Kremlin.

Whereas most NATO members are eager to welcome the 2 nations as shortly as potential, Turkey has doubtlessly sophisticated their accession by saying it can not permit them to develop into members due to their perceived inaction towards exiled Kurdish fighters.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Monday doubled down on feedback final week indicating that the 2 Nordic nations’ path to NATO can be something however clean.

He accused the 2 Nordic nations of refusing to extradite “terrorists” needed by his nation.

“Turkey has opposition to this. Turkey says that the 2 harbour terrorism, that they’ve supporters of the PKK and the Kurdish nationalists residing of their nations. That is one thing that all through the week goes to be an enormous situation,” Al Jazeera’s diplomatic editor James Bays reported from Brussels.

“We perceive that the Turkish overseas minister and the US secretary of state are going to fulfill in New York within the coming days however how can this situation be overcome?”

Turkey is a NATO member. All 30 NATO nations should conform to open the door to new members.

Sanctions towards Russia stalled

The EU has been unable to agree on its sixth package deal of sanctions towards Russia – which incorporates asset freezes and journey bans on distinguished supporters of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The plan outlined earlier this month by European Fee President Ursula von der Leyen included an embargo on Russian oil imports to come back into impact on the finish of 2022.

The sanctions towards Russia goal people together with Putin and Overseas Minister Sergey Lavrov, in addition to banning the export of luxurious items, and coal imports, and excluding Russian and Belarusian banks from utilizing the SWIFT worldwide cost system.

Nonetheless, Hungary, which is almost utterly depending on Russian oil, is holding up an EU-wide embargo that requires unanimity from the 27 member states.

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has likened the oil embargo to an atomic bomb hitting his nation’s economic system.

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Pakistan says it foiled suspected attack against Chinese citizens | News

Alleged girl attacker arrested two weeks after feminine suicide bomber blew herself up in Karachi, killing three Chinese language lecturers and a Pakistani driver.

Pakistani police say they’ve arrested a would-be suicide bomber who deliberate to blow herself up close to a convoy of Chinese language nationals alongside the China-Pakistan Financial Hall (CPEC), a police assertion has mentioned.

Monday’s arrest got here two weeks after a girl suicide bomber blew herself up on a college campus within the southern port metropolis of Karachi, killing three Chinese language lecturers and their Pakistani driver.

Police arrested the lady in southwestern Balochistan province that borders Afghanistan and Iran, the assertion mentioned.

She belongs to the separatist Baloch Liberation Military (BLA), which has began utilizing girls fighters as suicide bombers, police mentioned, a brand new phenomenon for counterterrorism police who’re extra used to coping with such assaults by hardline teams.

“The girl wished to focus on a convoy of Chinese language nationals,” police mentioned, including the assault was deliberate alongside a route of the CPEC.

Police recovered explosives and detonators from the lady and investigated her, revealing her plans to focus on Chinese language nationals. No different proof was produced to help their accusation.

The Karachi suicide bomber was additionally a member of the BLA, the police assertion mentioned.

Pakistani officers inspect a passenger van after a suicide blast .
Pakistani officers examine a passenger van after a suicide blast on the College of Karachi on April 26, 2022 [File: Akhtar Soomro/Reuters]

Monday’s arrest got here hours earlier than Pakistan’s Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, in a phone dialog along with his Chinese language counterpart Li Keqiang, conveyed his condolences over the April killings and promised most safety for 1000’s of Chinese language working in Pakistan.

China is a detailed Pakistan ally, and the CPEC is a $65bn-plus funding in infrastructure in Pakistan, a part of Beijing’s Belt and Highway Initiative to hunt highway and sea commerce routes to attach with the remainder of the world.

Balochistan province is house to a deep-water port in Gwadar metropolis, which Beijing is creating below the CPEC.

In the meantime, a roadside bomb exploded close to a police van within the southern port metropolis of Karachi on Monday, killing a feminine passer-by and wounding 13 others, mentioned senior police official Ali Mardan Khoso.

Nobody instantly claimed accountability for the assault, however suspicion once more fell on Baloch rebels.

Baloch separatist fighters say they’ve been combating for many years for a higher share in regional mine and mineral assets.

They’ve attacked fuel vegetation, infrastructure, safety forces and Chinese language pursuits, which they are saying quantity to the occupation of their land and assets within the title of improvement.

Their assaults in opposition to Chinese language nationals have elevated because the fall of the Afghan capital to the Taliban in August final yr.

The Taliban denies Pakistan’s accusations that the BLA makes use of Afghan soil to coach its fighters and plan the assaults.

Islamabad additionally blames its archrival, neighbouring India, for backing the Baloch rebels, a cost New Delhi denies.

Yellen to unveil action plan on achieving global food security | Russia-Ukraine war News

The warfare in Ukraine’s interruption to wheat, barley, sunflower oil and different staples has raised already excessive world meals costs.

United States Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen on Monday met with Ukrainian refugees and harassed the necessity to confront Russian brutality as she visited Poland forward of a gathering of finance ministers for the Group of Seven main economies.

Yellen applauded Poland for serving to refugees fleeing the combating and for working with neighbouring international locations to seek out methods to get Ukraine’s wheat and different crucial meals provides to the world. She thanked the Polish for responding to “rising meals insecurity” exacerbated by the warfare.

“The devastation in Ukraine up to now months reminds us to not take our subsequent meal with no consideration, and the way shortly occasions can take a flip for the more serious,” Yellen mentioned at a go to to the World Central Kitchen web site in Warsaw.

She met with refugees from Ukraine who’re working the kitchen and mentioned she is going to launch an motion plan later this week to handle the worldwide meals disaster threatening components of the creating world.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has interrupted wheat, barley, sunflower oil and different staples that usually circulate from Ukraine and Russia, and has additional raised already excessive meals costs worldwide. International locations in Africa, the Center East and components of Asia that depend on these inexpensive provides face the dangers of meals insecurity and unrest.

Yellen additionally met with Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki to debate more durable sanctions on Russia and strengthening NATO, which Sweden and Finland are actually searching for to affix.

“Poland is of an opinion that Russia must be made liable for all harm incurred on Ukrainian territory,” Morawiecki’s workplace mentioned in an announcement.

Yellen additionally vowed to work with Poland on urgent ahead with a world minimal tax of 15 % on multinational firms, which is supposed to focus on tax havens, the US Division of the Treasury mentioned.

“That is our frequent denominator, that we’ve with the US, which means to place limits on the functioning of such locations the place enterprise folks run and don’t pay tax within the European Union or in different international locations on the earth,” Polish authorities Spokesman Piotr Mueller mentioned.

Poland has blocked the tax meant to discourage world firms from stashing income in international locations the place they pay little or no taxes. It bought last approval from greater than 130 international locations at a gathering of the Group of 20 economies final October, however Polish officers have questioned whether or not the tax will truly apply to on-line giants.

Yellen additionally will cease in Brussels earlier than attending the Group of Seven finance ministers’ summit in Bonn, Germany this week.

In Warsaw, she spoke on the POLIN Museum of the Historical past of Polish Jews on the web site of the World Struggle II-era Warsaw ghetto, mentioning her father’s household left a city not far-off for the US.

“We should use the instruments at our disposal to combat oppression. And that lesson should be utilized at present,” she mentioned, noting that Russian President Vladimir “Putin’s ongoing assaults on Ukraine require that we take into consideration what we will do to confront brutality.”

She cited the sanctions that the US and its companions have imposed, even because the European Union struggles to cross its sixth spherical of penalties. Landlocked international locations closely reliant on Russian oil haven’t signed on to a phaseout of the gas.

In addressing meals insecurity, Yellen mentioned she is going to launch an motion plan this week by worldwide monetary establishments.

The US Treasury mentioned the small print will give attention to how the World Financial institution, European Financial institution for Reconstruction and Growth and the opposite world monetary establishments are “stepping up, surging, and scaling their work on meals safety and agriculture”.

World Financial institution President David Malpass mentioned final month that his organisation will present $17bn per yr to strengthen meals safety worldwide.

The European Financial institution for Reconstruction and Growth final week dedicated one billion euros ($1.04bn) this yr for the Ukrainian economic system, set to be a mixture of donor funds and financial institution funding.

Trying to extra funding sources, inside US President Joe Biden’s supplemental appropriations request for help to Ukraine, the US Treasury desires $500m for the European Financial institution for Reconstruction and Growth. That may embrace cash for meals safety and $150m for the International Agriculture and Meals Safety Program, which channels funding to agricultural initiatives in impoverished international locations.