Day: August 4, 2020

How African generosity dried a crying teacher’s tears

Congolese artist Chris Shongo paints a mural in Kinshasa.
Congolese artist Chris Shongo paints a mural in Kinshasa.

In our series of letters from African journalists, Kenyan Joseph Warungu looks at the acts of generosity helping ordinary people through desperately trying times.

When Covid-19 hit Africa, the effects were devastating – but some people have been crushed more than others, by the illness but also by the measures to deal with it.

Private-school teachers, who make up a significant amount of the education workforce, have been particularly hard hit by school closures as they have no safety net and in most cases no firm return date either.

Many have turned to farming, cleaning and street hawking in the meantime.

‘Don’t cry, it’s ok’

The strain has become unbearable, moving many to tears – among them Akindele Oluwasheun Oladipupo in Nigeria’s capital, Abuja.

He and other teachers were full of hope in July when the Nigerian government said it would

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Google’s Fitbit Acquisition Hits EU Roadblock

Europe isn’t letting up on antitrust scrutiny of tech behemoths like Google.

The European Commission said Tuesday it has opened an “in-depth investigation” into Google’s acquisition of Fitbit, which makes and sells smartwatches focused on activity tracking. Google said in November that it was paying $2.1 billion for the company, giving Google an immediate foothold in the wearables market, which is dominated by rival Apple with its popular Apple Watch.

“The data collected via wrist-worn wearable devices appears, at this stage of the commission’s review of the transaction, to be an important advantage in the online advertising markets,” the regulators wrote in a statement. “By increasing the data advantage of Google in the personalization of the ads it serves via its search engine and displays on other Internet pages, it would be more difficult for rivals to match Google’s online advertising services. Thus, the transaction would raise barriers to entry

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How To Know If Your Own Doctor (Or A Doctor You Might See) Is A Quack

Last week, a group of medical professionals calling themselves America’s Frontline Doctors stood in front of the U.S. Supreme Court and insisted that hydroxychloroquine is a “cure” for the coronavirus despite medical studies to the contrary.

In addition to that claim about the anti-malarial drug, their press conference also pushed such potentially harmful misinformation as the idea that mask-wearing isn’t necessarily a good choice. A day later, Vice President Mike Pence reportedly met with the doctors. 

As Anthony Fauci, the government’s top infectious diseases expert, has said repeatedly, there’s little concrete evidence that hydroxychloroquine is effective as a COVID-19 treatment ― even if President Donald Trump continues to promote it. Last month, the Food and Drug Administration warned against using hydroxychloroquine to treat coronavirus patients, following reports of “serious heart rhythm problems” and other health issues in those who received the drug.

Still, in part thanks to a retweet by

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I Transformed My Body Once I Started Weightlifting and Eating More Whole Foods and Healthy Fats

Photo credit: Mari Llewellyn
Photo credit: Mari Llewellyn

From Prevention

My name is Mari Llewellyn (@marillewellyn), and I am 26 years old. I live in New York City, and I am an entrepreneur. I’ve lost 90 pounds over two years through finding my love for weightlifting and learning more about nutrition that works for me.

Weight was never a struggle for me when I was growing up. I didn’t think about what I ate, and I was always on the smaller side in terms of body size. However, all of that changed when I got to college. On the outside it looked like I was having a great time in school—I was going out a lot and I had a ton of friends. But in reality, I experienced a lot of inner pain.

It was a very dark period of time for me. I began to have issues with depression and

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Should my child see the doctor?

As some schools prepare to start in-person classes, doctors across the country are urging parents to take steps to help keep their children healthy.

That includes making sure kids are up to date on routine vaccinations, pediatricians warn.

“We don’t need a pandemic with COVID-19 and an outbreak of influenza or measles or another vaccine-preventable disease,” Dr. Robert Dudley, president of the Connecticut Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, told WVIT.

Across the country, pediatricians have seen a drop in patients seeking regular appointments and immunizations in the age of the coronavirus.

“Parental concerns about potentially exposing their children to COVID-19 during well child visits might contribute to the declines observed,” the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in a May report. “To the extent that this is the case, reminding parents of the vital need to protect their children against serious vaccine-preventable diseases, even as the COVID-19

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Google’s $2.1 billion Fitbit deal hits roadblock as EU opens probe

By Foo Yun Chee

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Alphabet unit Google’s bid to take on Apple and Samsung in the wearable technology market by buying Fitbit hit a hurdle on Tuesday as EU antitrust regulators launched an investigation into the $2.1 billion deal.

The move by the European Commission on Tuesday came despite Google’s pledge last month not to use the fitness tracker’s data for advertising purposes in a bid to address competition concerns.

The EU antitrust enforcer said the data pledge was insufficient to allay its worries.

“The proposed transaction would further entrench Google’s market position in the online advertising markets by increasing the already vast amount of data that Google could use for personalisation of the ads it serves and displays,” the Commission said.

It singled out online search and display advertising services and ad tech services, where analytics and digital tools are used in digital advertising, as two

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Google-Fitbit takeover: EU launches full-scale probe

Google Fitbit
Google Fitbit

The European Commission will carry out a full-scale probe into Google’s takeover of Fitbit.

The announcement follows a preliminary review, and threatens to derail the purchase of the fitness-tracking firm.

It comes despite Google’s offer last month to not use Fitbit’s health data for ad targeting.

Google’s parent company Alphabet agreed a $2.1bn (£1.6bn) takeover of the wearable tech firm last year. However, the deal has yet to be completed.

“The commission is concerned that the proposed transaction would further entrench Google’s market position in the online advertising markets by increasing the already vast amount of data that Google could use for personalisation of the ads it serves and displays,” the regulator said.

The watchdog said its investigation should be completed by 9 December.

In response, the tech giant said it would cooperate with the process.

“We appreciate the opportunity to work with the European Commission on an

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After husband dies of coronavirus, woman writes obituary blaming Trump, Texas governor

A Texas woman mourning the loss of her husband to COVID-19 penned a scathing obituary blaming the death on President Donald Trump, the state’s governor and people who refuse to wear a mask.

David Nagy, a father of five, died at a hospital in Longview, in eastern Texas, on July 22 after he was diagnosed with the coronavirus, his wife, Stacey Nagy, wrote in the obituary. He was 79.

Nagy said her husband’s death was “needless” and that Trump, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and other politicians were responsible.

“The blame for his death and the deaths of all the other innocent people falls on Trump, Abbott and all the other politicians who did not take this pandemic seriously and were more concerned with their popularity and votes than lives,” she wrote.

The obituary — which ran last Thursday in the local newspaper, The Jefferson Jimplecute, and has been widely shared

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Summit Teachers’ Union Expresses Concerns About School Reopening

SUMMIT, NJ — After revealing details of its school reopening plan last month (see them here), the Summit public schools planned to post the final plan on the district’s website (here) on Tuesday and host a forum remotely this Thursday.

But Summit’s teachers’ union, like certain other teachers’ unions locally and around the state, was concerned about aspects of returning to school in light of the coronavirus pandemic, asked about ventilation in the buildings, and more. They submitted a letter to the school board that’s posted below.

Last month, the district said it would allow students the option of either attending five days per week, single session with no lunch, or being all remote (the state has said that every district must offer an all-remote option).

This Thursday at 7 p.m., the district will host a “community forum regarding the district’s reopening plan.” Details of how to access it (via

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EU regulators investigating Google’s plan to buy Fitbit

LONDON (AP) — European Union regulators opened an in-depth investigation Tuesday into Google’s plan to buy fitness tracking device maker Fitbit.

The EU’s executive commission said it was concerned the deal would entrench the U.S. tech giant’s position in the online ad market by “increasing the already vast amount of data” the company uses to personalize ads.

“Our investigation aims to ensure that control by Google over data collected through wearable devices as a result of the transaction does not distort competition,” said European Commission Executive Vice-President Margrethe Vestager, who also is the EU’s competition commissioner.

Google agreed to buy Fitbit in November for $2.1 billion. Privacy, social justice and consumer groups have called on authorities to block the deal, citing privacy and antitrust concerns.

The EU said the deal could expand Google’s “data advantage” and therefore raise barriers for rivals to match Google’s online advertising services.

“This deal is

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