Italy’s ‘Black Roosters’ fight back as virus hit wine sales

Two days before the coronavirus pandemic shut down Italy for two months, shattering wine exports and sales, the owner of one of its most historic vineyards headed back into the country a worried man.

Six months later Francesco Ricasoli and his wine-making team are leading the charge by Italy’s “Black Roosters” — the trademark for Chianti Classico — to put the country’s most famous label back on restaurant tables.

“These are probably some of the most turbulent times in Italy,” said Ricasoli, 64, the 32nd Baron of Brolio whose family’s roots to Tuscany stretches back to 1141.

“We’ve seen a strong decrease in wine sales — particularly in restaurants and bars that specialise in the high end of the market,” he told AFP at his winery with the same family name.

Hard hit by the virus that has killed more than 35,500 people in Italy, wine sales and consumption have

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Italy virus cases increase with more travelers

MILAN — The number of people found positive for coronavirus continued to rise for the sixth straight week in Italy, mostly driven by people returning from holidays as Italy increases its testing capacity.

Another 1,616 people tested positive in the last 24 hours, according to Health Ministry statistics released Friday, as Italy carried out 99,000 more nasal tests.

Authorities have emphasized that many of the new cases do not represent people who are suffering symptoms but who have been identified by contact tracing. At the same time, the average age of those testing positive is on the rise, with nearly one-third over 50.

The focus on tracing new cases comes as Italy prepares to open schools on Monday for the first time since last winter, and as Italy considers reducing quarantine for anyone who had contact with someone testing positive from 14 days to 10 days.

Italy has totaled 284,796

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Norway plans for new virus wave as cases spike

COPENHAGEN, Denmark — Norwegian health authorities say the Scandinavian country must “plan for a new, national wave” of the coronavirus as Norway sees a spike in the number of cases.

“If it should come, it is more likely that it will happen in the autumn and winter when people gather to a greater extent indoors,” the Norwegian Institute of Public Health said in a report published Friday.

Line Vold of the government agency said that there are several local outbreaks, chiefly among young adults, adding “This is expected, and we think we will see more such outbreaks in the future.”

Norway has recorded 11,866 cases and 265 deaths.



— Schools that are mostly Black, Latino favor starting online, which could worsen inequalities in education

— Americans are commemorating 9/11 with tributes that have been altered by coronavirus precautions

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Imperial College expert warns of virus ‘uptick’

LONDON — The epidemiologist whose modelling heavily influenced the British government to impose a lockdown in March has warned that fresh restrictions may have to be re-imposed in coming weeks to deal with a rise in new coronavirus cases.

Neil Ferguson from Imperial College London said he was “encouraged” that the government is banning social gatherings of more than six people from Monday, noting that “one of the mistakes” in the early days of the pandemic this year was an overly “cautious” approach.

Still, he told BBC radio that “all the analysis” suggested there would be an “uptick in deaths in the coming weeks, so now is the time to respond.”

The U.K. has seen Europe’s deadliest virus outbreak, with around 41,600 deaths.

Ferguson added that if the transmission rates don’t fall markedly so the epidemic starts shrinking again, then “we may need to clamp down in other areas.”


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Boston testing lab suspended over virus results

BOSTON — State officials in Massachusetts said a Boston-based coronavirus testing lab that counts dozens of nursing homes among its clients has been suspended by the state after it returned nearly 400 false positive tests.

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health said in a statement Tuesday that it opened an investigation in early August after it became aware of an unusually high positive rate of COVID-19 tests reported by Orig3n Laboratory.

Retests found at least 383 false positives that were actually negative.

The state late last month notified Orig3n of “three significant certification deficiencies that put patients at immediate risk of harm,” including failure of the lab’s director to provide overall management and a failure to document the daily sanitizing of equipment used for coronavirus testing.

The department said the state issued the genetics lab a statement of deficiency last Friday, and the lab must now respond with a written

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Michigan grad students strike over virus issues

ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Graduate students who teach classes were on strike Tuesday at the University of Michigan over in-person instruction during the coronavirus pandemic and other issues.

The strikers chanted and held umbrellas while marching in the rain. “I do not want my students and colleagues to get a chronic illness because this university decided it was most important to collect tuition,” Surabhi Balachander wrote on Twitter.

The Graduate Employees’ Organization, which represents more than 1,000 instructors, has called for a four-day strike.

Most classes at the University of Michigan have shifted to online. But the union says the university isn’t doing enough to prevent the spread of COVID-19. It robust plans for testing, contact tracing, and campus safety. It wants plans for testing and contact tracing, allowing graduate employees to work remotely and a more flexible childcare subsidy.

University spokesman Rick Fitzgerald says the strike is illegal under

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Colleges using COVID dorms, quarantines to keep virus at bay

STORRS, Conn. (AP) — With the coronavirus spreading through colleges at alarming rates, universities are scrambling to find quarantine locations in dormitory buildings and off-campus properties to isolate the thousands of students who have caught COVID-19 or been exposed to it.

Sacred Heart University has converted a 34-room guest house at the former Connecticut headquarters of General Electric to quarantine students. The University of South Carolina ran out of space at a dormitory for quarantined students and began sending them to rooms it rented in hotel-like quarters at a training center for prosecutors. The Air Force Academy sent 400 cadets to hotels to free up space on its Colorado base for quarantines.

The actions again demonstrate how the virus has uprooted traditional campus life amid a pandemic that has killed nearly 200,000 people in the U.S. and proven to be especially problematic for universities since the start of the school

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Do your bit and donate blood plasma to fight virus, men told

Women are far more willing than men to provide samples - REUTERS
Women are far more willing than men to provide samples – REUTERS
Coronavirus Article Bar with counter ..
Coronavirus Article Bar with counter ..

Men must step up and donate their blood plasma to help defeat coronavirus, the NHS has urged, as it is revealed that women make up almost two thirds of donors.

Female patients are far more willing to provide samples and represent 63 per cent of all volunteers (73,369), compared with 37 per cent of male patients (42,809).

However, women’s plasma is less valuable as men are three times more likely to produce a sample with a high quantity of antibodies, according to NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT).

The health service is now urging men who have had the virus to come forward to donate ahead of a possible second wave in the autumn.

Follow the latest updates below.

04:20 AM

India surpasses 4 million cases

India’s coronavirus cases crossed 4 million on

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Treasury officials push for bombshell tax hikes to pay for virus

Fuel duty could be increased for the first time in a decade
Fuel duty could be increased for the first time in a decade

Treasury officials are pushing for the largest tax rises in a generation to plug the gaping holes in the public finances, in a move being resisted by Downing Street, The Telegraph can disclose.

The proposed quintuple whammy of tax increases would enable the Exchequer to raise at least £20 billion a year, and some could be introduced as early as in the Budget.

While no decisions have been made, multiple sources have told this newspaper that proposals under active consideration include aligning capital gains tax (CGT) with income tax, slashing pension tax relief, raising fuel and other duties, the introduction of an online sales tax and a simplification of the inheritance tax system.

Some or all could be introduced to pay for the Covid crisis, to finance general government spending pledges and to compensate for the reduced tax

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Amid virus lockdowns, prison ministry groups had to adapt

Normally Teresa Stanfield spends her days in prisons talking with inmates about how she changed the course of her troubled life, and how they can do the same. But the coronavirus has locked her on the outside.

“When COVID came and shut down programming, I was extremely disappointed,” said Stanfield, Oklahoma field director with Virginia-based Prison Fellowship. “But I also knew that God had a plan and we were going to do everything we could to continue to encourage our returning citizens and keep our volunteers connected.”

For Stanfield, the answer was Floodlight. Developed in March after correctional facilities closed to visitors, it’s a collection of spiritual and inspirational programming that’s delivered online and via closed-circuit television to prisons across the country, reaching a total of over 400,000 inmates — 1,000 times more than Stanfield’s largest in-person presentations.

It’s one of the most ambitious and successful examples of how faith-based

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