Riots Breed Chaos, Violence and Most Likely Covid-19

Like so many Americans, I didn’t get much sleep Friday night. All night long, I kept refreshing my Twitter feed, watching and re-watching the videos of the rioting that took place in cities nationwide in reaction to the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis earlier in the week.

I saw a New York police officer throwing a young protester to the ground, calling her a vile name as he did; a police car going up in flames in Dallas; an assault on the CNN building in Atlanta; a police officer in Louisville, Kentucky, shooting a pepper-spray ball at a camera operator. And on and on.

My feelings watching the riots unfold weren’t much different from most people’s: horror, revulsion and a powerful sadness that this is what it had come to, perhaps inevitably, three and a half years into the presidency of Donald Trump. I recalled watching the Democratic convention in Chicago in 1968. I thought about Ferguson, Missouri, and about the way so many police forces across the country seem to operate with impunity. I thought about that appalling tweet the president sent earlier on Friday: “When the looting starts, the shooting starts.”

And I thought about one other thing: Philadelphia in late September 1918. The U.S. had entered World War I the year before, and the city had planned an enormous parade — It would stretch two miles — to raise money for the war effort. The 1918 pandemic, which would eventually kill an estimated 675,000 Americans, was in its early stages, just beginning to jump from military bases, where it began, to the broader population.

Several doctors urged the city to cancel  the parade because the hundreds of thousands of onlookers it would attract would surely cause the virus to spread widely. John M. Barry, in “The Great Influenza,”


1

 describes what happened in the city after the parade:

On October 1, the third day after the parade, the epidemic killed more than one hundred people — 117 — in a single day. That number would double, triple, quadruple, sextuple. Soon the daily death toll from influenza alone would exceed the city’ average weekly death toll from all causes — all illnesses, all accidents, all criminal acts combined.

On Friday night, the current pandemic seemed to be forgotten. Most police officers either wore face shields or masks, but most protesters did not. They crowded together, stumbled over one another as they ran from the police, engaged in shoving matches and more, ignoring weeks of warnings about the importance of social distancing.

In the heat of the moment, it’s understandable, I suppose, that angry protesters would forget that we are in the midst of a pandemic. But the consequence is likely to be severe. In many of the cities where the rioting took place, it had begun to seem as if the worst was behind them, with the number of hospitalizations and deaths declining steadily. There is no question that adherence to social-distancing guidelines, the use of masks, regular hand-washing and the cancellation of professional sports and other events that draw crowds have played a huge role in getting the pandemic under some semblance of control.

Over the next two weeks, as those infected during the riots show symptoms — and spread the virus to others — those gains are likely to be reversed. People have a right to be angry about Floyd’s needless death. But an upsurge in Covid-19 deaths is likely to be a result of the riots. It may not be as bad as Philadelphia in 1918, but it’s not going to be good.

I spent a good portion of last week reading papers by economists that attempted to calculate how the country can reopen in a way that would maximize economic activity while minimizing Covid-19 hospitalizations and deaths. Although the papers didn’t necessarily agree on the best way to proceed, they collectively offered hope — that we were far enough along that we could start calculating the best way to get back on our feet. Now, after the riots, those papers may have been wasted effort.

I’ve seen suggestions on Twitter that the lockdown was part of the reason the riots took place. “When the only party youth is permitted to attend is a riot, we shouldn’t act surprised when they all show up,” read one tweet.  I’m no fan of full-fledged lockdowns, but I don’t think that had much to do with the riots.

But I do think Trump’s lack of leadership since the beginning of the pandemic played a role. His refusal to wear a mask or insist on social distancing at his press conferences; his urging red states to reopen well before it was safe; his support of the armed citizens in Michigan who invaded the statehouse because they didn’t want to have their “freedom” curtailed — they all sent a message that he viewed the measures being urged by scientists as examples of “political correctness.” A real leader would have reinforced the message that measures aimed at tamping down a killer virus, however inconvenient, were in the best interest of everyone.

Without that reinforcement from a trusted leader, it’s been all too easy for angry protesters to forget that we are still in the middle of a pandemic and that people who don’t take precautions can still die. Some surely will in the coming weeks.

The full title is: “The Great Influenza: The Story of the Deadliest Pandemic in History.”

This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.

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Australian Health Authorities Urge Caution as Lockdowns Ease

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Australian state health authorities have urged residents to exercise caution with lockdown measures set to be relaxed across the nation on Monday.

The two most-populous states will lift several restrictions as they continue to grapple with isolated coronavirus outbreaks. New South Wales reported three new cases on Sunday, all of who were travelers in hotel quarantine; while Victoria extended its state of emergency to allow the chief health officer to keep issuing safety directives.

“Victorians will no doubt welcome the further easing of restrictions from tomorrow, but our coronavirus fight is far from over,” state Health Minister Jenny Mikakos said in a statement Sunday.

New South Wales will permit pubs, clubs, cafes and restaurants to allow entry to as many as 50 customers from June 1 as authorities try to breathe life back into the economy. Ahead of the lifting of the measures, the state’s health officials said it “remains essential” for people to maintain social distancing and regularly wash their hands, according to a statement on Sunday.

Most Australians Support State Border Closures Amid Coronavirus

In Victoria, as many as 20 people will be able to gather inside a home or outside. The roll-back in measures comes as Mikakos in a press conference on Sunday warned of possible community transmission linked to a family cluster in a Melbourne suburb, and as a separate spate of cases have been connected with a hotel that’s been used for quarantines.

Queensland will also allow travel within the state starting midday Monday. The state’s borders will remain closed and will be reviewed at the end of June, Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk told reporters Sunday.

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Brazil Tops France in Deaths; U.K. Scientists Wary: Virus Update

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Brazil has the world’s fourth-highest death toll, overtaking France, as the outbreak spreads in Latin America’s biggest economy. U.S. cases rose faster than the one-week daily average.

New York’s subway will be ready when the city reopens June 8, although some commuters may be reluctant to ride. The U.K.’s scientific advisers urged caution in the pace of lifting the lockdown.

Siemens Healthineers got U.S. emergency authorization for an antibody test. India will let malls, restaurants and places of worship open, even as cases surge.

Key Developments:

  • Virus Tracker: Cases top 6 million; deaths over 367,000
  • Indonesia to open malls, entertainment sites as cases rise
  • China factories are humming but not everyone is buying
  • Chinese vaccine expected to begin mass output soon
  • India to exit lockdown in phases as infections surge
  • MTA hasn’t shared a subway plan as NYC prepares to reopen
  • South Korea’s baseball plays through outbreak

Subscribe to a daily update on the virus from Bloomberg’s Prognosis team here. Click VRUS on the terminal for news and data on the coronavirus. For a look back at this week’s top stories from QuickTake, click here.

Venezuela to Ease Lockdown (7:45 a.m. HK)

Venezuela will start easing a national quarantine on Monday, President Nicolas Maduro said at the presidential palace. The plan contemplates multiple cycles of five days during which selected businesses are reopened followed by 10 days of quarantine, Maduro said.

Vice President Delcy Rodriguez said banking, medical and construction sectors would be included for the relaxed restrictions. But Maduro said the country’s border municipalities will be exempt from the plan.

Maduro reported 89 new cases on Saturday, for a total of 1,459.

U.K. Scientists Urge Cautious Opening (7:15 a.m. HK)

The U.K. government came under pressure from its own scientific advisers to show caution in easing the pace in lifting the lockdown, and from senior scientists and academics concerned about the public’s wellbeing.

Speaking at the daily briefing, Deputy Chief Medical Officer Jonathan Van-Tam said the easing must go “painstakingly” slowly.

John Edmunds and Jeremy Farrar, members of the Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies, told Sky News that an “untested” system to track and trace the virus exacerbated the risk of wider contagion. A group of more than 20 scientists and senior academics wrote to the Observer newspaper, flagging similar concerns and noting that the medical needs of those with other diseases are being neglected.

Brazil Passes France to Rank Fourth in Deaths (6:40 a.m. HK)

Brazil reported a 3.4% rise in new deaths on Saturday, to 28,834. It surpassed France and now has the fourth-most fatalities worldwide. The Latin American nation’s toll trails the U.S., U.K. and Italy. France has 28,774 fatalities, according to Johns Hopkins data.

New cases increased 7.2% to 498,440, trailing only the U.S.

Argentina Plans More Aid to Families (6:30 a.m. NY)

Argentina will issue another round of emergency relief payments to help the most vulnerable families affected by the pandemic, according to an Economy Ministry statement. The government will issue another 10,000 pesos ($145 at the official exchange rate) per family. More than two-thirds of the funds will be directed to the bottom half of country’s wage earners.

NYC Subway to Be Ready: Cuomo (6 a.m. HK)

The New York subway system will be prepared when the city reopens on June 8, Governor Andrew Cuomo said, although transit officials have yet to provide detailed plans to reduce risks to public health.

“They’re disinfecting trains like never before but they have another week of work to do and they will be ready,” he told reporters Saturday. Mayor Bill de Blasio was less sure on Friday, saying the Metropolitan Transportation Authority that oversees subways and buses hasn’t provided enough information.

City officials expect 200,000 to 400,000 workers back in construction, manufacturing, wholesale and curbside retail jobs when reopening begins. Subway service will increase from reduced runs forced by a 90% drop in ridership and the quarantine of 9,000 workers. City and transit officials, and some employers, say they expect and want workers to avoid the subway.

U.S. Cases Rise 1.7%, Above Week’s Average (4 p.m. NY)

U.S. cases increased 1.7% from the same time Friday, to 1.76 million, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University and Bloomberg News. The national increase exceeded the average daily increase of 1.3% for the past week and was the biggest percentage rise since May 22. Deaths climbed 1.2% to 103,389.

  • New York reported 1,376 new cases, for a total of 369,660, with 67 deaths — the same as Friday and the fifth day of fatalities under 75. Deaths totaled 23,848.
  • New Jersey had 910 new cases, pushing the total to 159,608, with 113 new deaths for a total of 11,634, Governor Phil Murphy reported.
  • California reported 2,992 new cases, for a total of 106,878, and added 88 deaths, with the fatality count at 4,156.
  • Pennsylvania reported 680 new cases, for a total of 71,415, and 73 new deaths, to total 5,537, the state health department said.
  • Florida’s cases rose 1.7% to 55,424 and deaths rose to 2,447, the health department said.

Greece Allows More Flights from Mid-June (3:30 p.m. NY)

Greece will allow visitors from more nations, including the U.S. and U.K., to arrive at Athens and Thessaloniki airports starting June 15, the Foreign Ministry said. After July 1, flights can land at all Greek airports.

The government will use the European Union Aviation Safety Agency’s list of airports to determine testing for arriving passengers. If travel originates at an airport not on the affected-area list, then visitors are subject to random tests, the Foreign Ministry said. If the journey begins at an airport on the EASA list, then visitors who test negative will self-quarantine for seven days and if positive will be under supervised quarantine for 14 days.

Greece will reopen borders with Albania, Bulgaria and North Macedonia on June 15, the Foreign Ministry said with visitors subject to random tests. Arrivals by sea will begin July 1.

French Cases Inch Higher (2:10 p.m. NY)

France reported 57 new deaths, raising the total to 28,771, based on hospital data, with reporting of nursing-home fatalities delayed to Tuesday. New cases climbed by 1,828, or 0.8%, to 225,898.

FDA Authorizes Siemens Antibody Test (2:10 p.m. NY)

Siemens Healthineers AG received U.S. Food and Drug Administration emergency use authorization for a coronavirus antibody test, used to identify recent or prior infection in humans. The company had expected the test to be available by late May and aims to produce more than 50 million tests a month starting in June.

N.Y. Targets NYC ‘Hotspots’ (2 p.m. NY)

Governor Andrew Cuomo said the state plans to get New York City reopened by focusing on “hotspots” — neighborhoods where positive cases can be nearly 50% and are largely in minority communities. The city average rate is about 20%.

“We have work to do but we’ll still get it done by June 8,” he said.

Cuomo also signed a law to compensate the families of hundreds of essential workers who have died in the outbreak.

Italy Cases on Declining Trend (12:01 pm NY)

Italy reported 416 new cases, up from 516 a day earlier, confirming a declining trend as the total reached 232,664. Total deaths rose to 33,340. The government confirmed plans to allow travel between regions starting June 3 even as some regional governors opposed letting people from the hard-hit Lombardy region move freely.

N.Y. Daily Deaths Unchanged (11:45 a.m. NY)

New York reported 67 new deaths, Governor Andrew Cuomo said at a Saturday press conference. The figure is the same as reported on Friday and the fifth straight day below 75 fatalities. The state reported 1,376 new cases, for a total of 369,660.

U.K. Permits Live Sports Events (11:30 a.m. NY)

The U.K. will allow live sports events, without spectators, and further relax restrictions on physical exercise starting Monday as the country eases lockdown measures.

Horse racing will be allowed behind closed doors, with other sports like soccer, rugby, cricket, golf and snooker to follow, but without fans, Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said at a press conference. “British sports recovery has begun,” Dowden said.

England’s Premier League plans to resume matches on June 17, after consulting with the clubs, players and managers, Chief Executive Richard Masters said after the government announcement.

Spain Deaths Rise (11:25 a.m. NY)

The Spanish health ministry said total coronavirus cases increased by 271 to 239,228 in the past 24 hours. Total fatalities rose to 27,125 with 43 new deaths reported in the past seven days.

India to Ease Lockdown in Stages (8:52 a.m. NY)

India announced a phased lifting of the nationwide lockdown by allowing malls, restaurants and places of worship to open from June 8, the interior ministry said in a statement.

The country, which had enforced sweeping and strict stay-at-home orders from March 25, will limit the stringent rules to areas that have a large number of active cases. Authorities will decide to open schools and colleges in July, while international air travel will resume in the final phase. The exit plan comes even as India has been unable to flatten its curve despite the restrictions which have left its already troubled economy in deep disrepair.

EU Urges U.S. to Reconsider WHO Decision (8:24 a.m. NY)

The European Union called on the U.S. to reconsider its decision to terminate its relationship with the World Health Organization, which President Donald Trump has accused of being too deferential to China.

“Global cooperation and solidarity through multilateral efforts are the only effective and viable avenues to win this battle the world is facing,” according to a joint statement Saturday from European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and the bloc’s chief foreign envoy, Josep Borrell. “We urge the U.S. to reconsider its announced decision.”

— With assistance by Steve Geimann, Paul Tugwell, Alessandra Migliaccio, Richard Bravo, Farah Elbahrawy, and Joao Lima

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Zoom to Strengthen Encryption for Paying Customers: Reuters

Zoom Video Communications Inc. plans to strengthen encryption for paying clients and institutions, but not for users with free accounts, Reuters reported, citing the company’s security consultant Alex Stamos.

The company previewed its plans with civil liberties groups and activists against child-sex abuse on Thursday, the report said. Plans are subject to change and it is unclear which nonprofit organizations would qualify for such heightened security for video conferences, the report added.

The company is trying to improve security as well as “significantly upgrading their trust and safety,” Stamos told Reuters. “The current plan is paid customers plus enterprise accounts where the company knows who they are.”

Zoom has seen global usage of its service surge during coronavirus shutdowns, but has come under increasing pressure over vulnerabilities in the app’s software encryption. The company has been sued amid accusations it hid flaws in its app, and has seen cases of online trolls sneak in and disrupt web meetings with profanity and pornography.

In response to queries, Zoom pointed to its May 27 report that said its focus is to build the so-called end-to-end encryption for its meeting product, which may be later rolled out for its chat, phone and webinar offerings. “Only our paid users will have access to end-to-end encryption for their meetings,” it said. “However, all users will use the 256-bit GCM encryption on May 30 regardless of their license type.”

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Jeweler looted during Atlanta protests warns violence will alienate sympathizers

Rioters set fire to Minneapolis police station during George Floyd protests

The National Guard was called into Minneapolis after protests intensified overnight. FOX Business’ Maria Bartiromo with more.

The owner of an antique jewelry store in Atlanta that was ransacked early Saturday morning in what's believed to be part of the protests of George Floyd’s death, fears demonstrators have gone too far in their attempt to get their message across.

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Around 4:30 a.m., more than a dozen armed men broke into Estate Jeweler in Atlanta, according to general merchandise manager Leora Isakov.

The owners heard about the break-in from their alarm company, Isakov told FOX Business.

RIOT-RAVAGED RESTAURANT’S OVER STANDS BY PROTESTERS: ‘LET MY BUILDING BURN'

Once employees arrived at the scene, Isakov said: “We walked into a huge mess, shattered glass everywhere … The showcases were all broken. A lot of merchandise was taken. [It was] very devastating.”

“We took a look at the footage, the camera footage and we watched them break the glass with a cinderblock,” she added. “There were 14 masked, armed men walking into the store, filling up their pockets with everything they could and then leaving.”

TARGET CEO RESPONDS TO MINNEAPOLIS PROTESTS: ‘WE ARE A COMMUNITY IN PAIN’

Similar scenarios have unfolded across the country after Floyd's death, with violent protests that started in Minneapolis and spread as far as New York and Atlanta. A black man, Floyd died while being arrested earlier this week by a white officer who has since been charged with murder.

Many retailers, including Target and CVS have closed their stores to keep employees and customers safe. Isakov's small business, for its part, is at a loss as to what to do next. Isakov said the shop gave a report to police, but she knows officers are overwhelmed with calls around the city.

Protesters smash the window of a Chase bank in Oakland, Calif. (AP Photo/Philip Pacheco)

“We really don’t know what to do right now, just take every precaution we can, try to stay safe,” Isakov said. “Definitely heartbreaking and, you know, it’s upsetting.”

“We know everything that’s been going on right now with the George Floyd case and … our hearts go out to the family,” she added.

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That doesn’t mean, however, that burglary is the way for demonstrators to be heard, she said.

“This is absolutely not something that would create a space to have somebody sympathize for you,” she said. “I think it’s going to head in a completely different direction.”

Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms gave a similar warning in an emotional news conference the night before.

"This is not the legacy of civil rights in America," Bottoms said, urging rioters to go home and end the violence. "This is chaos, and we are buying into it. This won't change anything. We're no longer talking about the murder of an innocent man. We're talking about how you're burning police cars on the streets of Atlanta."

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Killer Mike, the rapper whose real name is Michael Render, spoke shortly after the mayor, telling protestors they could accomplish more good by showing up at polling places in November than causing havoc in the streets now.

"I am mad as hell" about Floyd's death, he said. But, "it is your duty not to burn your own house down for anger with an enemy. Now is the time to plot, plan, strategize, organize and mobilize. It is time to beat up prosecutors you don't like at the voting booth."

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New York City Boils Over

The pepper spray. That’s when it really started to get out of hand.

The police lined up in front of the entry to the Barclays Center in Downtown Brooklyn fired it into the growing congregation of demonstrators in front of them in high, arching, indiscriminate streams. It looked like a fountain.

Protesters emerged from the crowd one by one, and then many at once. Stumbling. Faces grimacing and red. Hands outstretched for water or milk or whatever they could grasp. Many fell to the ground or bent at the waist to allow a better angle for fellow protesters to wash out their eyes. Before the pepper spray, the crowd had been gathered peacefully in front of the arena, holding up signs and chanting “Black Lives Matter!” and “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot!” and “I Can’t Breathe!,” expressing their boiling anger at the hundreds of police officers stationed around the plaza, every one of which represented the system that killed George Floyd in Minneapolis on Monday.

The chemical retaliation came not long after 7 p.m. and left the crowd dotted with pockets of anguish and genuine disbelief over how quickly the situation escalated. “People were pushing up against the fence and climbing over the fence,” Molly E., a protester from Ridgewood whose face was streaked with milk from attempts to ease the burning, told me. “The cops knocked it down and started charging at people and macing people. People were throwing shit and the cops started charging. They were macing everyone.”

Every time the police charged or sprayed mace, the crowd would retreat for a furious few seconds before pressing back up against the barricade. Some opened umbrellas to guard against the next shower. Milk and water bottles were parceled out to strangers.

Among those hit were State Senator Zellnor Myrie and State Assembly Woman Diana Richardson. “Look at me right now,” she told Gothamist shortly after the incident. “I would never come out here to be in a position like this. I’m actually out here to ensure that the peace is keeping.”

The plaza now cleared, police were able to cordon some protesters onto the sidewalk near the subway station. Cops aligned themselves in the street in front of an NYPD bus that would soon be filled with arrested demonstrators. Protesters yelled at them from the edge of the sidewalk as a recorded warning played on a loop, over and over again, like a fire alarm: THIS ASSEMBLY IS UNLAWFUL. IF YOU DO NOT DISPENSE YOU WILL BE SUBJECT TO ARREST.

This computerized voice never died down, it never lost energy, it never wavered. Over and over again as the crowd kept chanting, kept trying to offer some counter to this tableau of oppression in front of them. New chants. George Floyd’s name. Breonna Taylor’s name. Black Lives Matter! No Justice, No Peace! Abolish the Police!

THIS ASSEMBLY IS UNLAWFUL. IF YOU DO NOT DISPENSE YOU WILL BE SUBJECT TO ARREST.

THIS ASSEMBLY IS UNLAWFUL. IF YOU DO NOT DISPENSE YOU WILL BE SUBJECT TO ARREST.

THIS ASSEMBLY IS UNLAWFUL. IF YOU DO NOT DISPENSE YOU WILL BE SUBJECT TO ARREST.

The automated police state versus raw, visceral humanity backed into a corner. It was a battle playing out in every nerve center in America on Friday night.

—————

The protest at Barclays followed a demonstration in which around 70 were arrested in Manhattan Thursday night, and another earlier on Friday that began in Foley Square, across from the New York State Supreme Court building and around a sculpture at the square’s centered titled “The Triumph of the Human Spirit.” This protest also began peacefully, with chanting and sign-holding, but when the hundreds who showed up marched north on Centre Street, the police started forcibly removing people from the street who didn’t comply with initial orders to do so. Protesters who responded physically to this force were wrestled to the ground by multiple officers.

“They just came and started grabbing people and arresting them,” recounted Myeil Duncan, a 20-year-old who came into the city from Queens to protest. “They snatched this one girl off the sidewalk as soon as she got to it, and they arrested her and pushed her against the car. It was a young black girl. This guy got basically tackled and put in a headlock by four police officers.”

The tension pooled at the Canal Street intersection, which police had barricaded with motorbikes. Dozens of officers spread out in the street facing the protesters who had gathered at the end of the sidewalk, compressing themselves against its edge to take turns yelling hysterical exhortations at the cops. Some were in tears, pleading. A man read off names into a megaphone: George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmed Arbury, Eric Garner.

“Is standing silent part of the job? Say their names! SAY THEIR NAMES! SAY THEIR NAMES! SAY THEIR NAMES!” As soon as one chant ended, another would begin. The sun was up. It was hot and humid, standing crowded around this corner of a Manhattan side street. The police stood erect and emotionless.

Against the wall at the back of the sidewalk was a 60-year-old musician who asked to be identified as Drummy T. Next to him was a teenage girl with a sign. “I saw some confrontations but it’s mostly been peaceful,” he said. “People have been expressing conflicting ideas and opinions and thoughts, but for the most part it’s been peaceful and that’s all you can ask for. People have had their say.”

He came up from Bed-Stuy, in Brooklyn, to demonstrate with the teenager next to him. “I have a child and she is interested in being in the cause for human rights and so I wanted to accommodate her. When I was younger I was involved in things also. I want her to know how this world works so she can make an effort to make it a better place.”

The crowd eventually marched back to Foley Square, where chants rang out and signs and bouquets of flowers were held high for another hour before they marched south to the Brooklyn Bridge. The helicopter that had been hovering above the protest since it began continued to buzz. As the demonstrators walked, Ricardo Jordan, a 33-year-old down from Harlem, summed up the afternoon.

“We’re fed up,” he said. “We’re fed up with what’s going on.”

—————

The sky started to darken over Barclays as the demonstrators and police struggled for control of Flatbush, one of the most prominent traffic arteries in Brooklyn. Night hadn’t yet fallen, but enormous rain clouds were rolling in. The street was littered with empty milk cartons, water bottles, and firework husks leftover from earlier crowd-control efforts. The cops were still trying to push back protesters, which led to skirmishes that ended with more brutal arrests.

But there were too many people. They stood in the street, facing south with their arms in the air, determined not to let traffic through. “WE’RE NOT GOING ANYWHERE!” one woman yelled minutes after another was dragged away by police, who were now leading detainees to a line leading into an NYPD bus. So many were placed under arrest that a B41 public city bus stuck on Flatbush was commandeered. It was soon filled with police and detainees.

After a while the driver stood up and put on his backpack. He appeared to be refusing to drive the prisoners, which was confirmed by VICE as the official position of the NYC Bus Drivers Union. The crowd of demonstrators corralled on the sidewalk erupted in applause.

Mayor Bill de Blasio made his way into the borough. “We have a long night ahead of us in Brooklyn,” he wrote on Twitter just before 11 p.m. “Our sole focus is deescalating this situation and getting people home safe. There will be a full review of what happened tonight. We don’t ever want to see another night like this.”

Earlier on Friday, de Blasio held a press conference to address an incident in which a cop punched a man in the East Village earlier in May. The mayor announced the officer will face discipline. “I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again,” he tweeted. “You cannot have a safe city if there’s no trust between police and community and the NYPD is working to earn and keep that trust.”

Despite a declining crime rate, New York City’s police budget has ballooned throughout De Blasio’s time in office. Though the nominally progressive mayor may be able to issue a heartfelt statement about George Floyd’s death, he epitomizes the political leadership tacitly condoning the police. It’s not a Democratic or Republican issue. It’s an America issue, and it’s going to take more than electing new leaders to correct it.

“We have to change the system,” Karina Garcia, a 27-year-old protester from Harlem, told me in Foley Square earlier on Friday. “The system is working just fine, we just have to break it and rebuild it.”

As I was walking home from the protest I passed the intersection where I remembered hours earlier seeing two other Foley Square demonstrators, Drummy T. and his daughter, as they arrived at Barclays, when it was still peaceful, before the pepper spray and before the arrests. During a press conference on Saturday de Blasio blamed the protesters for escalating the situation. “Any protester that tries to take the humanity away from a police officer and devalue them just because they are a public servant is no better than the racists who devalue people of color and particularly black men in America,” he said.

It’s impossible to trace any precise point where the demonstration tipped into violence, but it’s not at all surprising that it did. Hundreds of baton-wielding police were crowded into a plaza containing hundreds of protesters spewing vitriol at them. Conflict felt inevitable. But the state has the high ground, and it’s the state’s responsibility to prevent the chaos that erupted through Brooklyn on Friday night, and certainly not to actively indulge in it.

Regardless of where that blurry line of demarcation between peace and violence lies, there is no shortage of video evidence that the police were exacerbating the tension rather than quelling it. They were crowded and called a bunch of names, and they snapped. De Blasio feels sorry for them, but if cops can’t stomach being “devalued” by citizens protesting a murder by an unjust system without whipping the people they’re supposed to be protecting into submission, or assaulting them with a car door, or calling them a bitch and shoving them to the ground, then they shouldn’t have that responsibility in the first place.

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Can I see the SpaceX rocket in the UK tonight?

NASA and SpaceX's groundbreaking manned rocket launch from Florida has been rescheduled for tonight.

The historic SpaceX launch was supposed to liftoff on Wednesday but was aborted with minutes to spare due to safety concerns.

It was set to be the first crewed mission to launch with a US craft from American soil in nearly a decade – ending Nasa's reliance on Russia.

When is the SpaceX launch?

The mission, dubbed Demo-2, is set for liftoff from the Kennedy Space Centre in Cape Canaveral, Florida, at 8:23pm BST (3:23 pm ET) on May 30.

A Falcon 9 rocket will blast into space from Launch Complex 39a – the same launchpad used during the historic Apollo 11 Moon landings.

The original launch window was May 27 at 9:33pm BST (4:33pm ET).

As with Wednesday's attempt, the Air Force's 45th Weather Squadron will analyse the forecast and give either a red or green light.

Space fans can also watch the launch via the SpaceX website and the firm's official YouTube channel.

Can I see the SpaceX rocket in the UK tonight?

The SpaceX rocket is expected to be visible over the UK 15 to 20 minutes after the launch – meaning Brits will be able to see the spaceship at around 8.40pm.

It will head over the country from west to east.

Nasa SpaceX launch – what is it and why is it important?

Nasa currently sends astronauts into space by piggybacking on launches of Russian Soyuz rockets from an air base in Kazakhstan.

The US space agency last fired one of its own astronauts into space in 2011.

Nasa retired its astronaut-carrying space shuttles that year to make way for a new space exploration program aimed at sending man to asteroids and other deep-space targets.

However, multiple delays to its development schedule have left the space agency without a way to carry out manned space flights for years.

Nasa hopes to fill the gap with rockets launched by private companies such as SpaceX, owned by Musk, and Blue Origin, run by Amazon boss Jeff Bezos.

Nasa astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley will make their way to a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket at the Kennedy Space Centre on May 30.

The ultimate aim of the mission is to dock a SpaceX craft containing the astronauts on the International Space Station.

They will be ferried to the spacecraft on its launchpad in Florida inside a Tesla Model X electric car sporting the Nasa logo.

That's because billionaire SpaceX boss Elon Musk is also CEO of Tesla.

Hurley and Behnken will then take a special elevator up 230ft to a SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule atop the awaiting rocket.

The rocket will blast into space when the countdown hits zero – carrying astronauts into orbit from US soil for the first time since 2011.

Once in orbit, the Crew Dragon capsule carrying Hurley and Behnken will separated from the rocket's boosters.

As is customary for SpaceX flights, the booster will turn around and return to Earth so it can be refurbished and used on a future mission.

"Crew Dragon will accelerate its two passengers to approximately 17,000 mph and put it on an intercept course with the International Space Station," Nasa said.

"Once in orbit, the crew and SpaceX mission control will verify the spacecraft is performing as intended by testing the environmental control system, the displays and control system and the maneuvering thrusters, among other things."

About 24 hours after launch, Crew Dragon will be in position to dock with the space station.

It can do this automatically but astronauts have the option to take control themselves if something goes wrong.

"After successfully docking, Behnken and Hurley will be welcomed aboard station and will become members of the Expedition 63 crew," Nasa continued.

"They will perform tests on Crew Dragon in addition to conducting research and other tasks with the space station crew."

The Crew Dragon capsule will remain docked on the ISS until it's needed to take astronauts back to Earth.

Nasa had not yet selected a date for the return flight.

Why did Nasa cancel Wednesday's launch?

SpaceX crew mission chief Benji Reed warned the mission could be cancelled at the last minute.

And sadly this turned out to be the case, with the launch binned due to bad weather and a high chance of lightning.

Just two hours ahead of launch a tornado warning was issued a stone's throw away from where the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket was scheduled to leave.

"I would expect there to be a very high chance of scrub due to the weather," Reed told Click Orlando last week.

"And given the time of year, it wouldn't surprise me as well."

Human spaceflights are far riskier than cargo-only trips, so weather conditions need to be perfect.

Clear skies and low winds are optimal for a successful launch – and even an emergency "mission abort" requires good weather for a safe splashdown in the Atlantic Ocean.

Nasa keeps track of more than 50 locations across the ocean to ensure a splashdown can be safely performed.

SpaceX said on Tuesday that the weather forecast for launch was "60 per cent favourable."

Following Wednesday's cancellation, Nasa boss Jim Bridenstine said the rocket could have triggered lightning if it had lifted off.

He said that there was "too much electricity in the atmosphere".

"There wasn't really a lightning storm or anything like that," Bridenstine explained.

"But there was concern that if we did launch, it could actually trigger lightning."

In other news, a tropical storm grounded a key SpaceX launch twice last week.

Nasa recently unveiled the Tesla car that will ferry astronauts to Saturday's historic launch.

And, incredible photos of eerie Martian landscapes have been released online by scientists.

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IDBI Bank in black after 13 quarters

Makes a strong pitch for exiting PCA restrictions; asset quality improves

IDBI Bank has reported a net profit of ₹135 crore for the quarter ended March 31, 2020 compared to with a net loss of ₹4,918 crore in the year-earlier period.

The lender posted a net profit after a gap of 13 quarters as additions to non-performing assets fell sharply during the quarter.

“First time NPAs reduced to ₹727 crore in Q4-2020 from the ₹1,781 crore in Q4-2019,” the bank said.

“The profit would have been higher but for the recoveries which were adversely affected during March due to COVID-19 impact,” said Rakesh Sharma, MD & CEO, IDBI Bank in an interaction with the media.

 

The net NPA ratio improved to 4.19% as on March 31, 2020 against 10.11% as on March 31, 2019 and 5.25% as on December 31, 2019. The gross NPA ratio stood at 27.53% as on March 31, 2020 against 27.47% as on March 31, 2019 and 28.72% as on December 31, 2019.

“All the parameters have shown improvement. Net NPAs have also come down and aging provisions are evenly spread so that there is no extra burden,” he said.

Improved CAR

Tier 1 capital and capital adequacy ratio (CAR), which was at 10.57% and 13.31% respectively as on March 31, 2020, have improved as against 9.14% and 11.58% as on March 31, 2019.

“The bank has achieved all PCA parameters for exit, except RoA,” the lender said.

While there is an overall write-back in provision of ₹1,511 crore during the quarter compared with the ₹7,233 crore provided during the fourth quarter of the previous year, a ₹247-crore provision was made against standard assets as per Reserve Bank of India (RBI) norms for moratorium accounts which are in default.

While the central bank had allowed the lenders to make the provision in two quarters, IDBI Bank had made the entire provision in the January-March quarter.

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Cheaper Cities Stand to Gain in Work-From-Home Shuffle

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The Covid-19 pandemic hit right as Ralph McLaughlin, chief economist for Haus Inc., was moving from Washington, D.C., to San Francisco. When his company gave employees the option to work anywhere, McLaughlin didn’t hesitate.

He chose to work mostly from a mountain home 145 miles from San Francisco and visit his city office “when I need to feed off the energy of co-workers,” he said. “It feels like the future of work that I’ve always dreamed of has arrived.”

Companies ranging from the largest financial firms like American Express to tech giants such as Google are relaxing their work-from-home policies. And some are taking it a step further. Facebook said this month that many of its employees can permanently work from places cheaper than its Bay Area headquarters. Twitter also extended its work-from-home privilege in perpetuity.

“In thinking about the long-term effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, remote work stands out as perhaps the biggest change agent,” said Skylar Olsen, senior principal economist at Zillow. “We may see a growing premium on homes with room for an office or other place to comfortably work.”

If so, that will likely mean more people relocating to areas where larger homes are more affordable.

To show which regions stand to benefit or lose, Bloomberg News constructed a map showing how regional prices for the U.S. metro areas changed over a decade. Areas in blue are becoming less expensive than the national average while regions in red are growing even costlier.

The map is based on data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis, which recently released regional price parity estimates. It sets the national average cost of goods and services at 100 and then shows how the cost of living in states and metropolitan areas compare with that average.

For example, the San Francisco-Oakland-Berkeley area had a price parity of 131.6 in 2018, the latest year available, which means that the region is about 31.6% more expensive than the national average.

Since 2010, populations in cities in the southern and western regions of the United States experienced rapid growth. The South leads the way with 10 of the top 15 fastest-growing large U.S. cities with 50,000 or more residents, according to new population estimates for cities and towns from the Census Bureau. Collectively, Houston, San Antonio, Austin, Fort Worth and Dallas increased by almost 933,600 people.

Meanwhile, goods and services in large metropolitan areas such as Cincinnati, Cleveland, and St. Louis, cost roughly 10% less than the country as a whole.

Among the nearly 281 million metropolitan population, 59% are in areas where real cost of living declined between 2008-2018 and 40% in areas that had a price increase. The top 15 most expensive areas are all along the U.S. coasts.

The Atlantic City, New Jersey, metro saw the largest relative drop. In Flint, Michigan, not only did the regional price parity fall 5.3% over the decade, but the area remains more than 10% cheaper than the national average.

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Furlough and redundancy: Concerns rise after Rishi Sunak’s update on government scheme

Furlough has, so far, provided employees with 80 percent of their salary up to £2,500 per month, alongside National Insurance and minimum pension contributions. However, a recent statement by the Chancellor Rishi Sunak, which has outlined changes to the scheme has created unease. Mr Sunak announced yesterday evening that the Treasury would be tapering the furlough scheme in the future, which will be gradually withdrawn over time. 

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  • Furlough rules: How job retention scheme will be wound down

From August, businesses will be required to pay National Insurance and pension contributions, then meeting 10 percent of pay from September.

This will then rise to 20 percent in October, however, those who wish to allow their workers to return part-time for July will be required to meet 100 percent of wages.

While the extension of the furlough scheme has pleased many Britons, there is widespread concern of redundancies, as companies may struggle to meet the costs required of them by the government. 

Employers have warned the changes to the scheme at the end of July could lead to thousands of redundancies.

The Institute of Directors (IoD) said a quarter of members using the government’s Job Retention Scheme could go bust if forced to make any contribution at all to furlough wages.

Jonathan Geldart, the director-general of the IoD commented on the group’s findings.

He said: “Business leaders know that the government’s support can’t be infinite.

“But the ugly truth is that if there’s no money coming in the door, many firms will be forced to make difficult decisions come August.

“The government must soften the blow by introducing as much flexibility as possible into the furlough system. The more flexible the scheme is, the better firms can recover, and the fewer jobs will rely on state subsidy. 

“Being able to bring people back part-time will help a lot of companies, but there are other changes business leaders would like to see, such as reducing the minimum furlough period.”

A recent survey undertaken by People Management revealed nearly half of employers still anticipate having to make redundancies when the scheme comes to an end. 

Out of the 500 people surveyed, 42 percent said they would make limited redundancies when the furlough scheme was terminated.

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A further eight percent expected to make large scale redundancies.

However, 59 percent said that without the scheme they may have made up to a quarter of their currently furloughed staff redundant. 

Citizens Advice has stated people can still be made redundant while furloughed.

Those who are entitled to redundancy pay will have this sum calculated using the amount they earned before furlough.

HMRC has stated one million employers have claimed £15billion in furlough wage subsidies between April 20 and May 24. 

And it has been recorded that 8.4 million workers have been furloughed within this period. 

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