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Member since: Thu May 18, 2017, 12:36 PM
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Flood-weary Venice puts 'Moses' inflatable barriers to test

enice has conducted a trial run of an ambitious anti-flood system of 78 inflatable barriers in hopes of protecting the lagoon city from devastating high tides.

Premier Giuseppe Conte on Friday at a ceremony in Venice pressed a button that activated compressors to pump air into the bright yellow barriers, which then started rising from the sea to act as a kind of a dike-on-demand. All 78 barriers were successfully raised, authorities said.

The project, riddled by corruption, was supposed to be working in 2011. Now the latest date is 2021, but Conte expressed hope it could be ready by this autumn. In November 2019, Venice suffered its worst flooding in more than 50 years.

The project’s name, Moses, recalls the Biblical figure who, the Old Testament recounts, parted the waters of the Red Sea. But it also is the Italian acronym for Experimental Electromechanical Modules.

At: https://abcnews.go.com/Business/wireStory/flood-weary-venice-puts-moses-inflatable-barriers-test-71712516

Mohamed El-Erian: Argentina's debt proposal deserves support

After months of often difficult negotiations, Argentina made a new offer to creditors Sunday that stands a solid chance of anchoring one of the largest sovereign debt restructurings in the history of emerging markets.

Inheriting a troublesome situation in December, the newly elected government of President Alberto Fernández embarked on negotiations with creditors.

Argentina is seeking to restructure $66 billion of $250 billion in foreign currency-denominated public debt.

By potentially lifting a big cloud hanging over the country’s ability to grow solidly and inclusively — directly for the government’s finances and indirectly by improving prospects for private sector activity — such an orderly and collaborative resolution could help overcome long-standing economic challenges that have recently been worsened by Covid-19.

Indeed, creditors need only compare the potential net present value of the Argentine offer (around 53.5 cents on the dollar at a 10% exit yield) to the outcome of the messy 2005 restructuring.

According to calculations by Gramercy Fund Management LLC, Argentina would secure around $40 billion of cash flow relief over the first 10 years, equivalent to some 9% of gross domestic product.

At: https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2020-07-06/argentina-debt-offer-could-mean-breakthrough-with-creditors-imf

Mohamed El-Erian, chief economic adviser at Allianz and former chair of President Obama's Global Development Council (2012–17).

El-Erian notes in regards to Argentina's effort to restructure $66 billion of its foreign debt that "it would be in neither side's long-term interest to allow the theoretical best to be the enemy of the attainable good – what is now on the table warrants support by both Argentina and its creditors."

Israeli airline El Al reaches bailout deal with government

Israeli airline El Al said Monday it had reached a bailout deal with the Israeli government that could lead to its nationalization after being crippled by the coronavirus pandemic.

The airline had been in talks on a rescue package for weeks after suffering from the steep decline in air travel sparked by the virus. Since the outbreak, it has suspended passenger flights indefinitely and carried out scores of layoffs.

Under the deal, the company will receive loans of $250 million, most of which will be guaranteed by the state.

The company is expected to raise an additional $150 million by selling shares that, if they aren’t sold entirely to the public, will be bought by the state. The agreement awaits approval by a parliamentary committee.

At: https://apnews.com/b7a8c58380443f9a6e3d2d3f6d9792eb

El Al's Tel Aviv headquarters.

The flagship Israeli airline reached a bailout deal that could include its return to state ownership for the first time since its 2004 privatization.

French Revolution: remains discovered in walls of Paris monument

Experts believe the remains of up to 500 people guillotined during the French Revolution may be buried in the walls of a listed monument in Paris.

The discovery blows apart the accepted historical account, which suggests the bodies of famous guillotinés, including Louis XV’s mistress Madame du Barry, writer Olympe de Gouges (Marie Gouze), and Maximilien Robespierre, revolutionary architect of the Reign of Terror, were moved to the network of catacombs under the city.

Now researchers are to examine the walls of the Chapelle Expiatoire, a classified monument near the Grands Boulevards dedicated to King Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette, after the discovery of bones in the wall cavities.

At: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/jun/28/french-revolution-remains-discovered-in-walls-of-paris-monument

The Chapelle Expiatoire in Paris.

Among the remains recently discovered in its walls are believed to be those of chemist Antoine Lavoisier, feminist writer Marie Gouze, the influential concubine of Louis XV Madame du Barry - and one of the leaders of the French Revolution itself, Maximilien Robespierre.

All were guillotined during the Great Terror of 1793-94.

Colorado Attorney General issues cease-and-desist order to Woodland Park Bible conference

Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser has issued a cease-and desist order to Andrew Wommack Ministries of Woodland Park, northwest of Colorado Springs, saying the organization's Summer Family Bible Conference violated public health orders.

The July 2 order for the week-long conference that started June 29 comes as churches holding indoor services have become hot spots for outbreaks of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus.

Despite the directive, the conference, a bible teaching and worship event, continued as scheduled through its completion at noon on July 3, ministry spokeswoman Eileen Quinn said.

The campus was closed to visitors Monday; but a summer school session for the Bible college is in operation until July 31 with 20 students, Quinn said.

Colorado has recorded nearly 35,000 Covid-19 cases, and 1,700 deaths.

At: https://gazette.com/life/faith-values/attorney-general-issues-cease-and-desist-order-to-woodland-park-bible-conference/article_09408dd3-4a3b-56e0-af0f-62e53a755685.html

Colorado Atty. Gen. Phil Weiser: Immediate compliance with the cease-and-desist order is required, and any continued noncompliance will result in a temporary restraining order.

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro tests positive for the coronavirus

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, who has downplayed the severity of the coronavirus pandemic, has tested positive for COVID-19, he announced Tuesday.

Bolsonaro has repeatedly dismissed the threat posed by the virus, calling it just a "little flu" and has refused to wear a mask or practice social distancing during his frequent public appearances.

He has been sharply criticized for his handling of the pandemic and has spoken out against local lockdown measures and other restrictions, arguing that economic fallout from a shutdown would be more harmful than the virus itself.

Brazil is the second hardest-hit country in the world, after the U.S. Some 66,000 people have died of the virus, and 1.6 million have been infected.

Tests are difficult to obtain in the country, and some experts estimate that the true number of infected people could be significantly higher.

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro (fourth from right) attends a Fouth of July luncheon hosted by American Ambassador Todd Chapman (fourth from left) - one of a number of photos showing Bolsonaro posing closely with others, without masks, at the event.

Brazil has quickly emerged as second only to the U.S. as a Covid-19 hotspot. Its recent average daily death toll of over 1,000 is nearly twice that of the U.S.

Change in Dominican Republic as opposition wins presidency

Early results in the presidential election in the Dominican Republic give the opposition candidate, Luis Abinader, an unassailable lead.

His two main rivals have conceded defeat and the outgoing president, Danilo Medina, has congratulated Abinader on his win.

With about 60% of the votes counted, Luis Abinader, 52, of the center-left Modern Revolutionary Party (PRM) had 53% of the votes, defeating ruling party candidate Gonzálo Castillo with 37% of the votes.

His victory puts an end to 16 years in power of the centre-left Dominican Liberation Party (PLD).

Voter turnout was high despite the election, postponed from May, being conducted during the coronavirus pandemic. Over 38,000 cases of Covid-19 have been registered in the nation of 11 million, with 804 deaths.

At: https://news.yahoo.com/dominican-republic-votes-election-postponed-004941501.html

Dominican President-elect Luis Abinader and the runner-up, Gonzálo Castillo.

Abinader's victory brings an end to the centre-left Dominican Liberation Party (PLD)'s 16-year tenure - though his Modern Revolutionary Party (PRM) is likewise left of center.

Ennio Morricone: Oscar-winning Italian film composer dies aged 91

Ennio Morricone, the Italian composer whose credits include the "spaghetti" Westerns that made Clint Eastwood a star, has died in Rome aged 91.

The prolific composer also wrote music for The Mission, Once Upon a Time in America, The Untouchables and Cinema Paradiso.

Having received an honorary Oscar in 2007, he went on to win one in 2016 for Quentin Tarantino's The Hateful Eight.

Morricone, who was simply known as "Maestro" in his home town of Rome, scored more than 500 films over seven decades.

At: https://www.bbc.com/news/entertainment-arts-53305397

Ennio Morricone, 1928-2020.

Uruguay, Paraguay, Argentina get best marks in Latin America for pandemic response: poll

Uruguay, Paraguay and Argentina are the Latin American countries that earned the best grades for their response to the coronavirus, according to a poll conducted in the region and released on Friday, while Brazil was tagged as the worst performer.

The survey by the consulting firm Trespuntozero, to which Reuters had exclusive access, shows that in eight of the 10 countries in which the study was conducted, the respondents - around 10,000 - considered Uruguay one of the best controllers of the pandemic.

According to the poll, the performance of Uruguayan President Luis Lacalle Pou against the pandemic had 77.8% approval in his own country; that of Paraguayan Mario Abdo, 76.7%; and that of Argentina's Alberto Fernández, 68%.

Uruguay registered 947 cases with 28 deaths; Paraguay, 2349 cases with 19 deaths; Argentina, 69,941 cases with 1,385 deaths,; and Brazil, 1,539,081 with 63,174 deaths.

"The countries surveyed were clear on which model not to follow: Brazil," Shila Vilker, director of the Buenos Aires-based consultancy Trespuntozero, told Reuters.

At: https://www.nytimes.com/reuters/2020/07/03/world/americas/03reuters-health-coronavirus-latam-poll.html

Pedestrians cross an avenue in Buenos Aires, where, as in much of Argentina, face masks have been mandatory in public for the last two months.

Argentina and its smaller neighbors, Uruguay and Paraguay, have received plaudits from both locals and international observers - with just 2.6% of Latin America's cases between them and 1.2% of its deaths despite having 8.7% of its population.

World's largest Pizza Hut and Wendy's franchisee files for bankruptcy, impacting over 7,500 jobs

NPC International Inc. has filed for bankruptcy, affecting the thousands of food establishments under its umbrella. NPC is the largest franchisee of Pizza Hut in the U.S., and the recent development will affect its 1,227 Pizza Hut stores in America.

NPC also franchises Wendy’s with 393 stores across the U.S, and has over 7,500 full-time employees in its Pizza Hut and Wendy’s restaurants.

The franchise holder is currently $903 million in debt, and will try to sell its Pizza Hut and Wendy’s stores in an attempt to reduce the company’s debt.

As a franchisee, NPC’s bankruptcy won’t impact other Pizza Hut and Wendy’s locations around the world.

At: https://www.msn.com/en-ph/lifestyle/other/worlds-largest-pizza-hut-and-wendys-franchisee-files-for-bankruptcy-impacting-over-7500-employees/ar-BB16fzEX

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