‘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 She just lately went by a few of their outdated correspondence.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.

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.

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.

Australia PM defends housing pitch as election looms | Housing

Authorities plans would enable first dwelling consumers to dip into their retirement financial savings for a deposit.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has defended his election pitch to permit first-time consumers to make use of a part of their retirement financial savings to purchase properties in a bid to lure youthful voters because the marketing campaign entered its ultimate week.

Morrison, trailing in polls forward of the nationwide election on Saturday, put housing on the forefront of his election marketing campaign amid criticism that the choice will additional drive up costs forcing extra folks out of the market.

“It’s your cash, you’ve earned it and also you’ve saved it in your superannuation,” Morrison informed Channel Seven on Monday.

Morrison mentioned he didn’t see home costs rising from his coverage, introduced through the launch of the Liberal Get together’s marketing campaign on Sunday.

Spending more cash on a deposit will decrease mortgage funds offering an “added layer of consolation to our first dwelling consumers”, he mentioned.

Below Morrison’s plan, first dwelling consumers can dip into their retirement financial savings for as much as 50,000 Australian {dollars} ($34,725) to lift a deposit.

Low-cost loans fuelled a housing growth final yr, a windfall for family wealth that additionally hit affordability.

Surging costs

Costs surged 22.4 % final yr, the most important enhance since June 1989, with the notional worth of Australia’s 10.8 million properties rising by 2 trillion Australian {dollars} ($1.4 trillion) to 9.9 trillion Australian {dollars} ($6.8 trillion).

Rising residing prices, rated probably the most crucial subject by voters in some polls, have put strain on Morrison’s Liberal-Nationwide coalition, which has a one-seat majority within the decrease home of Parliament.

Centre-left Labor Get together, forward in polls, described the coverage as “the final determined act of a dying authorities”.

“It simply pushes costs up. That is like throwing kerosene on a bonfire,” Shadow Minister for Housing Jason Clare informed ABC tv.

Somalia elects Hassan Sheikh Mohamud as new president | News

The sector of candidates has been whittled down from an extended checklist that featured 36 names within the first spherical of voting.

Hassan Sheikh Mohamud has been chosen as Somalia’s new president, 5 years after being voted out of the presidency, in accordance with information stories.

Mohamud gained the presidency for a second time following a long-overdue election on Sunday within the troubled Horn of Africa nation.

After a marathon ballot involving 36 candidates that was broadcast stay on state TV, parliamentary officers counted over 165 votes in favour of former president Mohamud, greater than the quantity required to defeat the incumbent President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed.

The sector of candidates has been whittled down from an extended checklist that featured 36 names within the first spherical of voting.

Somalia has not held a one-person, one-vote election in 50 years. As a substitute, polls comply with a posh oblique mannequin, whereby state legislatures and clan delegates decide lawmakers for the nationwide parliament, who in flip select the president. The third spherical of voting was determined by 328 legislators, and a easy majority was sufficient to decide on a winner.

Analysts had predicted that incumbent President Mohamed – who additionally is called Farmaajo due to his urge for food for Italian cheese -would face an uphill battle to be re-elected. No sitting president has ever gained re-election in Somalia, the place rival clans battle intensely for political energy.

Whereas Mohamed had made it to the third and remaining spherical, he was anticipated to face a powerful problem from the earlier president, Mohamud.

Legislators selected the nation’s subsequent president within the capital, Mogadishu, which was underneath lockdown measures aimed toward stopping lethal insurgent assaults.