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Don’t wear face masks to fend off the coronavirus, the World Health Organization says. This is the latest health news by WHO.
“There is no specific evidence to suggest that the wearing of masks by the mass population has any potential benefit. In fact, there’s some evidence to suggest the opposite in the misuse of wearing a mask properly or fitting it properly,” WHO executive director of health emergencies Mike Ryan said Monday.
The WHO says the only people who need masks are those who are already sick and those who are caring for the sick.
Ryan also cited the global shortage of medical supplies and the risk frontline workers are facing every day.
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“The thought of them not having masks is horrific,” Ryan said.
Although some medical researchers endorse face masks and say effective ones can be homemade, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says they are ineffective in filtering small particles from the air and may not help if an infected person sneezes or coughs nearby.
The U.N. Security Council voted remotely for the first time Monday and approved four resolutions, including one that continues a sanctions monitoring mission for North Korea and another extending the U.N. mission in Somalia.
Council members and staffers have been teleworking for almost three weeks. But some are decrying the new procedures as restrictive and cumbersome and no substitute for meetings and debates.
US death toll
The U.S. coronavirus death toll reached a grim record Monday with 486 deaths reported – the biggest one-day number so far with the total number approaching 3,000.
President Donald Trump says the number of tests for the virus across the country hit the 1 million mark, which he says is the most of any country. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar says U.S. labs are carrying out 100,000 tests a day, which he also says is a global record.
The Pentagon announced Monday that a U.S. National Guardsman, Capt. Douglas Linn Hickok, died Saturday, becoming the first U.S. military member to succumb to the coronavirus.
“This is a stinging loss for our military community, and our condolences go out to his family, friends, civilian co-workers and the entire National Guard community,” Defense Secretary Mark Esper said. “The news of this loss strengthens our resolve to work ever more closely with our interagency partners to stop the spread of COVID-19,” he added.
California Governor Gavin Newsom is calling on retired doctors to hang out their shingles again and is also recruiting medical and nursing students to help with an expected surge of coronavirus cases in that state, the nation’s most populous.
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“California’s health care workers are the heroes of this moment, serving on the front lines in the fight against this disease. To treat the rising number of patients with COVID-19, our state needs more workers in the health care field to join the fight. If you have a background in health care, we need your help,” Newsom said Monday.
The state’s health agency is preparing stadiums and convention centers to serve as makeshift hospitals.
Also Monday, a sheriff outside Tampa, Florida arrested a pastor who held services Sunday despite the governor’s orders against gatherings of more than 10 people.
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“Shame on this pastor, their legal staff and the leaders of this staff for forcing us to do our job. That’s not what we wanted to do during a declared state of emergency,” Sheriff Chad Chronister said. “We are hopeful that this will be a wakeup call.”
Pastor Rodney Howard-Browne said he sanitized his church before the service, calling it an “essential business” like police and firefighters. He also attacked the media for alleged “religious bigotry and hate.” (VOA)
LONDON — A work by British street artist Banksy that sensationally shredded itself just after it sold at auction three years ago fetched almost 18.6 million pounds ($25.4 million) on Thursday — a record for the artist, and close to 20 times its pre-shredded price.
"Love is in the Bin" was offered by Sotheby's in London, with a presale estimate of 4 million pounds to 6 million pounds ($5.5 million to $8.2 million).
After a 10-minute bidding war involving nine bidders in the saleroom, online and by phone, it sold for three times the high estimate to an undisclosed buyer. The sale price of 18,582,000 pounds ($25,383,941) includes an auction-house fee known as a buyer's premium.
The piece consists of a half-shredded canvas in an ornate frame bearing a spray-painted image of a girl reaching for a heart-shaped red balloon.
When it last sold at Sotheby's in October 2018, the piece was known as "Girl With Balloon." Just as an anonymous female European buyer made the winning bid — for 1 million pounds ($1.4 million) — a hidden shredder embedded in the frame by Banksy whirred to life, leaving half the canvas hanging from the frame in strips.
Sotheby's received some criticism at the time for failing to spot the hidden shredder. But the 2018 buyer decided to go through with the purchase, a decision that was vindicated on Thursday as the work's price soared. Image source: voa
Sotheby's received some criticism at the time for failing to spot the hidden shredder. But the 2018 buyer decided to go through with the purchase, a decision that was vindicated on Thursday as the work's price soared.
The work quickly became one of Banksy's most famous, and Sotheby's sent it on tour to cities including New York and Hong Kong before Thursday's auction.
Auctioneer Oliver Barker joked that he was terrified to bring down the hammer to end Thursday's sale. There were jitters among Sotheby's staff to the last that Banksy had another surprise planned.
Alex Branczik, Sotheby's chairman of modern and contemporary art, called the shredding "one of the most ingenious moments of performance art this century."
Banksy, who has never confirmed his full identity, began his career spray-painting buildings in Bristol, England, and has become one of the world's best-known artists. His mischievous and often satirical images include two male police officers kissing, armed riot police with yellow smiley faces and a chimpanzee with a sign bearing the words, "Laugh now, but one day I'll be in charge."
Several of his works have sold for multiple millions at auction. In March, a Banksy mural honoring Britain's health workers, first painted on a hospital wall, sold for 16.8 million pounds ($23.2 million) at a Christie's auction, until Thursday a record for the artist.
"Girl With Balloon" was originally stenciled on a wall in east London and has been endlessly reproduced, becoming one of Banksy's best-known images. (VOA/RN)
Keywords: Banksy, Artwork, Auction, Girl With Balloon, Sotheby
WASHINGTON — Suspected ransomware payments totaling $590 million were made in the first six months of this year, more than the $416 million reported for all of 2020, U.S. authorities said on Friday, as Washington put the cryptocurrency industry on alert about its role in combating ransomware attacks.
The U.S. Treasury Department said the average amount of reported ransomware transactions per month in 2021 was $102.3 million, with REvil/Sodinokibi, Conti, DarkSide, Avaddon, and Phobos the most prevalent ransomware strains reported.
President Joe Biden has made the government's cybersecurity response a top priority for the most senior levels of his administration following a series of attacks this year that threatened to destabilize U.S. energy and food supplies.
Avoiding U.S. sanctions
Seeking to stop the use of cryptocurrencies in the payment of ransomware demands, Treasury told members of the crypto community they are responsible for making sure they do not directly or indirectly help facilitate deals prohibited by U.S. sanctions.
Its new guidance said the industry plays an increasingly critical role in preventing those blacklisted from exploiting cryptocurrencies to evade sanctions.
The new guidance also advised cryptocurrency exchanges to use geolocation tools to block access from countries under U.S. sanctions. Image source: Photo by Jeremy Bezanger on Unsplash
"Treasury is helping to stop ransomware attacks by making it difficult for criminals to profit from their crimes, but we need partners in the private sector to help prevent this illicit activity," Deputy Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo said in a statement.
The new guidance also advised cryptocurrency exchanges to use geolocation tools to block access from countries under U.S. sanctions.
Hackers use ransomware to take down systems that control everything from hospital billing to manufacturing. They stop only after receiving hefty payments, typically in cryptocurrency.
Large scale hacks
This year, gangs have hit numerous U.S. companies in large scale hacks. One such attack on pipeline operator Colonial Pipeline led to temporary fuel supply shortages on the U.S. East Coast. Hackers also targeted an Iowa-based agricultural company, sparking fears of disruptions to grain harvesting in the Midwest.
The Biden administration last month unveiled sanctions against cryptocurrency exchange Suex OTC, S.R.O. over its alleged role in enabling illegal payments from ransomware attacks, officials said, in the Treasury's first such move against a cryptocurrency exchange over ransomware activity. (VOA/RN)
Keywords: Cryptocurrency, United States, Hacking, Ransomware
The gregorian calendar has been adopted worldwide for the convenience of worldwide communications. There remain numerous lunisolar calendars that are followed in different parts of the world. The Hindu calendar is one of the various lunisolar calendars that is traditionally used in the Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia, with further regional variations for social and Hindu religious purposes. It is used to determine the dates of Hindu festivals and when to observe the fasts.
The Hindu Calendar is based upon the motion of the moon. Each lunar year comprises twelve months. The lunar year comprises 354 days, compared to 365 ¼ days of the Gregorian calendar, which is based on the solar system i.e. the number of days earth takes to complete one revolution around the sun. Whereas in a lunar calendar a lunar month, is the time required for the moon to orbit once around the earth and pass through its complete cycle of phases. These months are formulated in accordance with the successive entrances of the sun into the 12 Hindu rashis or the signs of the zodiac derived from the 12 constellations marking the path of the sun.
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Studies of Vedic literature show that the knowledge of chronology (the science of Time) and chronometry (scientific measurement of Time) existed even during Vedic times. People during the Vedic age knew planetary motions, constellations, eclipses, solstices, seasons, etc. Thus, the Indian calendar was devised to serve the affairs of day-to-day living; it was allowed the freedom of being both lunar and solar. The Rig Veda, cites months being lunar, but year being lunisolar. This adjustment makes sure that the seasons, festivals, etc. retain their general position alongside the solar year. This is the reason why the Hindu festivals fall around the same time every year, for example, Diwali always falls between late October and early November.
The Hindu Calendar is based upon the motion of the moon. Wikimedia common
Lunar days in the Hindu calendar are known as the tithis, which are calculated scientifically using the difference of the longitudinal angle between the position of the sun and the moon. A singular tithi is defined by the time required for the longitude of the Moon to increase by 12° over the longitude of the sun. The length of a tithi can vary in lengths from about 20 hours to nearly 27 hours. In the Hindu calendar, each month is 29.53 tithis. Because the Hindu calendar is based on the motion of the moon one can figure out the date by looking at the moon. If the moon is new it is Amavasya, if the moon is full it is Poornima, and there are 15 days in between which one can figure out according to the phase of the moon. Since the lunar calendar is approximately 354 days long, adjustments are made to the lunar-based calendar every 2.5 years to keep it synchronized with the solar calendar, in which years are approximately 365 days long. To achieve the ideal synchronized calendar an additional month called an 'adhik' is added to the Hindu calendar every 31st month.
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The Hindu Calendar months and the Gregorian calendar months are as follows:
- Chaitra: March- April
- Vaishakh: April-May
- Jeth: May-June
- Ashadh: June-July
- Shravan: July-August
- Bhadarvo: August-September
- Aaso: September-October
- Kartik: October-November
- Margashirsa: November- December
- Posh: December- January
- Magha: January- February
- Falgun: February- March
Every three years, one of these months occurs twice in the same year.
Keywords: Calendar, lunar calendar, Hindu calendar, Vedic literature