Putin Takes Another Step in Bid to Control Russia’s Internet | Defense One


As Vladimir Putin pushes ahead with a plan to create a domestic internet he can control, his government is concentrating more regulatory authority in Roskomnadzor, the internet and media regulator, to make that happen.

A couple of weeks ago, several regulatory authorities were shifted to Roskomnadzor from the agency it is ostensibly part of: the Ministry of Digital Development, Communications, and Mass Media, or MinComSvyaz. Russian government officials are not yet clear whether Roskomnadzor will officially replace MinComSvyaz outright in its functions in regulating the internet or just take over more authorities—that would depend on subsequent decisions. And ultimately, how much it matters depends on other efforts pushed by Vladimir Putin to promote the economy’s “digitization” through 2025 and how Roskomnadzor will fit into that.

“The Ministry of Communications used to be the only agency that opposed the most odious legislative initiatives to regulate the network. With the current leadership, the Ministry will toe the official government line,” wrote one Russian journalist.

Source: Putin Takes Another Step in Bid to Control Russia’s Internet – Defense One

Critical in a public health crisis, COVID-19 has hit local newsrooms hard


.. some communities in the U.S. lack a local outlet that can tell these stories and provide details about the area’s COVID-19 cases, school and business closures, and other vital news. At the same time, in communities that do have a local news outlet to turn to, local newsrooms have been hit by a severe and sudden decline in revenue, forcing employee lay-offs and furloughs as well as cuts to staff hours and pay.

While the COVID-19 pandemic underscores the critical need for local journalism, it threatens its provision.

Amid the public health crisis, many communities across the U.S. suffer from a lack of local reporting. Of the 2,485 U.S. counties that reported COVID-19 cases as of April 6th, 50% are news deserts (home to only one local newspaper or none at all).

Fifty-seven percent of counties that have reported cases of COVID-19 lack a daily newspaper and 37% saw local newspapers disappear between 2004 and 2019.

Source: Critical in a public health crisis, COVID-19 has hit local newsrooms hard

Advertisers shun coronavirus coverage, hastening news media battle for survival | Reuters


From Rupert Murdoch’s News UK to McClatchy’s chain of local newspapers across the United States, news publishers are attracting record numbers of readers as people in lockdown seek information about the coronavirus pandemic.

Yet advertising revenue has plummeted for many publishers as companies slash marketing budgets and prove reluctant to buy ads against coronavirus coverage for fear of tarnishing their brand.

Source: Advertisers shun coronavirus coverage, hastening news media battle for survival – Reuters

Saudi, Russia debate record oil cut as U.S. resists action | Reuters


OPEC and Russia will discuss record oil output cuts on Thursday to support prices hammered by the coronavirus crisis but talks are complicated by internal disagreements and the reluctance of the United States to join any action.

Global fuel demand has plunged as much as 30% as measures to fight the virus have grounded aircraft, reduced vehicle usage and curbed economic activity.

Source: Saudi, Russia debate record oil cut as U.S. resists action – Reuters

Under-used Swiss hospitals hint at hidden toll of coronavirus | Reuters


Swiss emergency rooms and hospitals are quieter than usual despite an influx of COVID-19 patients, a worrying sign that some doctors say could mean more people are dying at home from other ailments.

Concerned about the trend amid the pandemic, staff at the Cardiocentro hospital in the southern canton of Ticino bordering on hard-hit Italy called its regular patients to check up on them.

One of them had been quietly suffering from a heart vessel problem at home for days and, once he was coaxed to come in, was operated on urgently. Another died before coming into hospital.

Source: Under-used Swiss hospitals hint at hidden toll of coronavirus – Reuters

From fine to flailing – rapid health declines in COVID-19 patients jar doctors, nurses | Reuters


Patients “look fine, feel fine, then you turn around and they’re unresponsive,” said Diana Torres, a nurse at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York, the epicenter of the pandemic in the United States, where the virus has infected more than 415,000 people. “I’m paranoid, scared to walk out of their room.”

It isn’t just elderly or patients with underlying health conditions who can be fine one minute and at death’s door the next. It can happen for the young and healthy, too, health professionals told Reuters.

Source: From fine to flailing – rapid health declines in COVID-19 patients jar doctors, nurses – Reuters

Pass the salt: The minute details that helped Germany build virus defences | Reuters


One January lunchtime in a car parts company, a worker turned to a colleague and asked to borrow the salt.

The Jan. 22 canteen scene was one of dozens of mundane incidents that scientists have logged in a medical manhunt to trace, test and isolate infected workers so that the regional government of Bavaria could stop the virus from spreading.

That hunt has helped Germany win crucial time to build its COVID-19 defences.

Source: Pass the salt: The minute details that helped Germany build virus defences – Reuters

Yemen in Crisis | Council on Foreign Relations


Yemen’s mounting internal divisions and a Saudi-led military intervention have spawned an escalating political, military, and humanitarian crisis.

Yemen faces its biggest crisis in decades with the overthrow of its government by the Houthis, a Zaydi Shiite movement, and the resulting offensive led by Saudi Arabia.

The fighting, and a Saudi-imposed blockade ostensibly meant to enforce an arms embargo, has had devastating humanitarian consequences, causing more than one million people to become internally displaced and leading to cholera outbreaks, medicine shortages, and threats of famine. The United Nations calls the humanitarian crisis in Yemen “the worst in the world.”

Source: Yemen in Crisis | Council on Foreign Relations

A New Normal With COVID-19: The Next Steps We Must Take | Think Global Health


.. until we develop a vaccine against COVID-19, we won’t be able to return to the way things used to be. As long as most people lack immunity, resuming our normal activities will bring infections roaring back.

When we do finally step back outside, it will have to be a gradual return guided by a concrete plan based on solid science. We need to act right now to put those plans in place and make sure that when that day comes, it arrives as soon and as safely as possible.

Source: A New Normal With COVID-19: The Next Steps We Must Take | Think Global Health

Wall Street firm dangled up to 175% returns to investors using U.S. aid programs | Reuters


A New York investment firm pitched wealthy investors in recent days on a way to make returns of 22% to 175% using U.S. government programs designed to help Americans keep their jobs and boost the coronavirus-stricken economy, according to a marketing document seen by Reuters.

Following questions posed by Reuters, Arcadia Investment Partners LLC, which has about $1 billion under management, said it had put its plans on hold.

Source: Exclusive: Wall Street firm dangled up to 175% returns to investors using U.S. aid programs – Reuters