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A United Ireland? Sinn Fein’s Win Brings It Only One Step Closer

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(Bloomberg) — Following an unexpected election triumph, Sinn Fein leader Mary Lou McDonald wasted little time in calling for a united Ireland, demanding a referendum on reunification within five years.Meanwhile, one of her successful candidates regaled his celebrating supporters with the iconic “Up the RA” slogan, referring to the Irish Republican Army, the terror group which fought in the name of uniting Ireland. Another broke into a rousing rebel song commemorating the IRA’s fight with British forces in Dublin.So nearly a century after its partition, is Ireland’s wave of nationalist fervor leading inexorably to a movement to unite one of the last divided countries in Europe? Well, not quite.Despite the unification-themed celebrations, Sinn Fein ran as a populist, anti-establishment party. It won by building a coalition of nationalists, the socially liberal and those who simply wanted to smash the centrist system that’s dominated government for most of the country’s history. Its surge to take the popular vote in last weekend’s election had more to do with a focus on housing than patriotism.‘Momentum Is There’One thing that is clear is that Sinn Fein upended a political order that had seen power swapped between the two main parties — Prime Minister Leo Varadkar’s Fine Gael and Fianna Fail — for much of Ireland’s history since independence from Britain in the 1920s, when the island was divided into north and south.But Sinn Fein does bring Irish unity to the forefront of the political debate — particularly in the wake of the U.K.’s historic, and potentially destabilizing, decision to leave the European Union.“Brexit has changed the nature of the discussion around reunification fundamentally,” said Colin Harvey, law professor at Queens University Belfast. “It’s not going to happen tomorrow, but I’m convinced we are going to have referendums within a decade. The momentum is there.”Ultimately, it’s up to London to call a border poll, and there’s little appetite for such a move anytime soon. But the sands are shifting. It’s been almost a century since the country was split to placate a largely Protestant, unionist majority in the north in the face of increasingly militant demands from the Catholic-dominated south for independence from Britain. By the turn of the 1970s, tension morphed into violence between sectarian groups that left more than 3,500 people dead. Sinn Fein emerged out of that morass.As the political wing of the IRA, the party started to contest elections in the 1980s as part of a strategy known as the “Armalite and the Ballot Box,” mixing violence and elections in pursuit of a united Ireland.The IRA’s tactics horrified many in the Irish Republic. Few openly discussed ending partition for fear of being seen to lend tacit support to the organization, and Sinn Fein struggled to gain much of an electoral foothold in the south, until recent years.‘Sense of Bitterness’Then came the 2016 Brexit vote and the tortured negotiations over how to keep the Irish border free of checkpoints after the U.K. left the EU. That “reawakened a sense of Irish nationalism, particularly in areas close to the border,” said Edward Burke, assistant professor in international relations at Nottingham University, who has examined the effect of Brexit on the British-Irish security relationship.“Brexit showed the British government’s indifference, if not occasional contempt, for concerns around the border question,” he said. “That fuels a sense of bitterness.”In Northern Ireland, after last year’s general election, nationalist lawmakers now outnumber unionists. In the wake of the Sinn Fein surge, former Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern described a border referendum as “inevitable.” Yet, huge hurdles exist before the issue could be put on the ballot.“The premise which is being put forward is that a united Ireland could be around the corner,” said Martin Mansergh, a former Irish senator who was a government adviser during the negotiation of the Good Friday Agreement peace deal in 1998. “Well, most people outside Sinn Fein don’t accept that proposition.”Uneasy RelationsUnder the peace deal, the U.K. government can only call a reunification referendum when a vote would likely succeed. As yet, there’s no clear polling showing that there’s enough support in Northern Ireland. Sinn Fein’s emergence could even make a vote on the issue less likely in the near term. The British government is already contending with an independence movement in Scotland, and the prospect of the party steering the emotionally charged process while in government in Dublin “makes it more dangerous and politically unstable,” said Nottingham University’s Burke.In Dublin, too, there’s nervousness about the financial and political consequences. The U.K. subsidizes Northern Ireland to the tune of about 10 billion pounds ($13 billion) a year — about 17% of Ireland’s tax take in 2019. Taking on that kind of obligation could capsize the nation’s finances.Outside Sinn Fein, there’s no huge enthusiasm for the project. Fianna Fail and Fine Gael, which together control close to half to seats in parliament, urge caution.Unionist leaders in Northern Ireland are particularly wary and refused even to attend an Irish government forum on the implications of Brexit in 2016, let alone discuss unity. “Sinn Fein might be just a step too far for many, many unionists in Northern Ireland,” said Mary C. Murphy, a lecturer in politics at University College Cork. “Sinn Fein is the hard edge of Irish nationalism.”\–With assistance from Morwenna Coniam.To contact the reporter on this story: Dara Doyle in Dublin at ddoyle1@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Chad Thomas at cthomas16@bloomberg.net, Chris ReiterFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.



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Sweden’s Relaxed Approach to the Coronavirus Could Already Be Backfiring

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When Chloe Fu, 24, went for a run on Monday evening, the streets of Stockholm were filled with people drinking on restaurant patios, enjoying the first warm day of sunshine after a long winter.

“When you walk around, there is a total and utter absence of panic,” Fu says, who moved to Sweden from the United States last year. “The streets are just as busy as they would have been last spring.”

As many public spaces throughout Europe empty out—with citizens only leaving home for essential groceries or medication—life in Sweden is carrying on, mostly as usual. Children walk to school while adults meet up for dinner at their local bar. Only the vulnerable have been advised to isolate and some are working from home. Yet in Sweden, where there are 9,141 confirmed cases and 793 people have died, experts worry weaker measures may be leading to a more severe outbreak in the country of just 10 million citizens.

Sweden has a relatively high case fatality rate: as of April 8, 7.68% of the Swedes who have tested positive for COVID-19 have died of the virus. Neighboring countries, like Norway and Denmark, have case fatality rates of 1.46% and 3.85% respectively. (The U.S. case fatality rate is 3.21%.) While Sweden’s elevated case fatality rate could be a result of its low testing rates compared to its neighbors, experts say Sweden’s laissez-faire approach could also be to blame.

The Swedish government continues to advocate for relaxed measures. The Swedish Public Health Agency cautions citizens to cover their mouths when they cough or sneeze and wash hands regularly but does not call for lockdown measures. On March 11, the government cut down the size of permitted gatherings to 500, and only lowered that down to 50 on March 29. Other countries, like Germany and Australia, have prohibited gathering in groups larger than two. On Monday, Sweden declared that domestic flights would continue running, despite the risks domestic travel poses for spreading the disease.

Anders Tegnell, Sweden’s chief epidemiologist overseeing the government’s response to COVID-19 has said the government should allow the virus to spread slowly through the population, an approach initially employed by the United Kingdom and the Netherlands before both countries rapidly changed strategy amid mounting evidence that this approach would still overburden health care systems. Tegnell told Swedish TV on April 5 that COVID-19 could be stopped by “herd immunity or a combination of immunity and vaccination.” (A vaccine for COVID-19 is likely at least 14 months away.)

But many experts throughout Sweden say the current strategy is dangerous.

“Herd immunity doesn’t make sense because we don’t know whether or not you can become immune,” says Nele Brusselaers, an associate professor of clinical epidemiology. She added, “this is a virus that can kill anybody.”

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At the end of March, 2,300 doctors, scientists and academics signed an open letter to the government calling for stricter measures.

“We think there is no scientific evidence for their strategy,” says Cecilia Söderberg-Nauclér, an expert in microbial pathogenesis who signed the letter. She says the government has been reluctant to share its data with scientists, leading her to believe that the government’s strategy is “not based on evidence.”

Carina King, an infectious diseases epidemiologist, agrees that the government’s lack of transparency makes it “really hard to give proper scientific thoughts on their approach because they haven’t released their science.” She added that the government has made no concrete efforts to test, contact trace and quarantine—as South Korea did—which is standard protocol to stop localized spread at the beginning of an outbreak.

Nevertheless, she says Sweden could be a rare case where a nationwide lockdown may not be necessary. “Sweden is unique,” she says. “It doesn’t have many intergenerational households. It is a country where you could have a mixed approach.”

Though interpersonal distance is valued in Swedish culture and 40% of Swedish households are single-person households without children, other experts say that COVID-19 can still spread rapidly and widely in these conditions. Sweden has the second lowest number of critical care beds in Europe after Portugal, with only 5 beds for every 100,000 inhabitants. The healthcare system would likely be unable to handle a severe COVID-19 outbreak.

Currently, experts say the Swedish government is not following the World Health Organization’s (WHO) guidelines, which advise countries with COVID-19 outbreaks to contact trace where possible and to adopt strict self-isolation measures. “I’m surprised and frustrated that they still have not taken any action or listened to the advice of organizations like WHO,” says Brusselaers. “They disregard any prediction model that has been published by experts in the field and they don’t even give a defense.”

A head doctor at a major hospital in Sweden says the current approach will “probably end in a historical massacre.” He says healthcare workers at his hospital who have tested positive for the virus but are asymptomatic have been advised to continue working. He asked to remain anonymous because “it is frowned upon to speak of the epidemic or to go against the official vision” but said he felt a need to speak out from an “ethical and medical point of view.”

The Swedish legislature will meet this week to discuss whether tougher measures restricting business and travel should be implemented. Söderberg-Nauclér says it’s already too late to prevent chaos in Stockholm but that preventative lockdown measures could still be taken throughout other parts of the country.

“If they are right and we are wrong, I will open a bottle of champagne,” Söderberg-Nauclér says. She notes that, based on the modeling she’s seen, the healthcare system in Sweden will collapse if stricter measures are not adopted immediately. “But I will not give up the fight until the government shows us evidence for their strategy.”

While experts may be taking issue with the government’s approach, many Swedes seem to be in favor of it. Opinion polls show that citizens trust the Public Health Authority, with 48% saying they have very high or high confidence in the institution. “It’s rare for Swedish society to loudly disapprove of the government,” says Fu. “Even though people are concerned about losing loved ones, they also trust that the government is doing the right thing.”

And Swedes have above-average confidence in their politicians, who in turn, trust citizens to follow their advice. “In Sweden, the approach has always been to make suggestions and let the public decide,” says Johan Erik Lallerstedt, a 23-year-old filmmaker living in Stockholm. “Whatever guidelines the government may give are just that: suggestions. Nothing is enforced.”

But Söderberg-Nauclér believes this outbreak could bring an end to a long history of public trust in government. “If you put people’s lives at risk in democratic society and then you do not help them, how will society trust politicians?” she says. “I don’t want to live in a society that treats people like this.”

Please send any tips, leads, and stories to virus@time.com.





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Glass Bottles and Containers Market – Growth, Trends, and Forecast (2020 – 2025)

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The glass bottles and containers market was valued at USD 60.91 billion in 2019, and it is expected to reach a value of USD 77.25 billion by 2025, at a CAGR of 4.13% over the forecast period 2020-2025. Glass bottles and containers are majorly used in the alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverage industry, due to their ability to maintain chemical inertness, sterility, and non-permeability.Read the full report: https://www.reportlinker.com/p05865786/?utm_source=PRN – Glass packaging is 100% recyclable, which makes it a desirable packaging option from the environmental point of view. 6 tons of recycled glass directly save 6 tons of resources and reduce the emission of CO2 by 1 ton.- One of the main factors driving the growth of the market is the increase in beer consumption worldwide. Beer is one of the alcoholic beverages that use glass bottles for packaging. It is packed in dark-colored glass bottles to preserve the contents, which are prone to spoilage when exposed to UV light. Additionally, according to the NBWA Industry Affairs, 2019, the US consumers who are 21 years and older consume over 26.5 gallons of beer and cider per person annually.- Additionally, the increasing banning initiatives by the government and the related regulatory bodies for using the PET bottles and containers for drug packaging and delivery is expected to see its consumption taking a hit. This is expected to boost the demand for glass bottles and containers over the forecast period. For instance, the San Francisco Airport, as of August 2019, banned the sale of single-use plastic water bottles. This policy would be applied to all the restaurants, cafes, and vending machines, housed by the airports. This would see passengers bring their own refillable bottle, or buy a refillable aluminum or glass bottle at the airport. Such instances are expected to fuel the demand for glass bottles over the forecast period.Key Market TrendsLiquor Beverages is expected to Account for Significant Market Share- Glass is among the most preferred packaging material for packaging alcoholic beverages, such as spirits. The ability of glass bottles in preserving the aroma and flavor of the product is driving the demand. Various vendors in the market studied are also observing the increasing demand from the spirit industry. For instance, Piramal Glass, whose clients include Diageo, Bacardi, and Pernod Ricard, mentioned that it sees an increase in the demand for short-run specialty bottles for spirits.- The glass bottle is most favored in wine packaging, especially colored glass; reason being, that wine should not be exposed to sunlight; otherwise, it gets spoiled. The growing consumption of wine is expected to spearhead the glass packaging demand over the forecasted period; for instance, according to OIV, the global wine production during fiscal 2018 stood at 292.3 million hectoliters.- According to the United Nations of Fine Wines, Veganism is one of the fastest-growing wine trends and is also expected to be reflected in wine production, leading to more vegan-friendly wines, which will require the glass bottles because of zero rates of chemical reactions ensuring that the wine inside a glass bottle has its aroma, and flavor intact.Asia- Pacific is Expected to Hold the Largest Market Share- The Asia-Pacific region is expected to register a significant growth rate compared to other nations owing to an increase in demand for pharmaceutical and chemical industries, which prefers glass packaging because of the inert nature of glass bottles. China, India, Japan, and Australia among others are the prominent nations majorly contributing to the growth of the Asia Pacific glass packaging market.- In China, due to the recent regulatory changes in the country, the foreign pharmaceutical companies are facing difficulties in conducting business, especially when it comes to market entry and price control. Hence, there is a potential growth opportunity for the domestic players as they might experience an increase in demand for glass bottles and containers from these companies. Additionally, As per Brazil-based bank Banco do Nordeste, consumption of alcoholic beverages in China is expected to reach 54.12 billion liters by 2021.- The Government of India recently promoted a reduction in the usage of single-use-plastics. In September 2019, Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), announced that hotels can replace plastic bottles with paper-sealed glass bottles for in-house guests as long as water safety standards are met and the bottles are not sold. On following these movements, many hotel chains in the country have been cutting down their single-use plastic consumption.- In July 2019, METI, Japan developed three new Japanese Industrial Standards and revised eight standards, for promotion of distribution of materials made by recycling of waste glass bottles and to further direct efforts for the establishment of a sustainable resource-recycling society. Major food and home products companies in Japan, such as the local subsidiary of Procter & Gamble, Lotte and Kirin Holdings, have partnered on an initiative to establish a recycling system using containers that do not include plastic.Competitive LandscapeThe glass bottles and containers market is highly competitive and fragmented. Few of the major companies in this market are Owens-Illinois Inc., Hindustan National Glass & Industries Ltd, Vitro, S.A.B. De CV, Amcor Ltd, etc. These established vendors with strong access to distribution channels have a strong foothold in the market studied.- January 2020 – Ardagh Group, Glass – North America, a business unit of the company and the largest domestic manufacturer of glass bottles for the US wine market, introduced six new sophisticated glass wine bottle designs.- October 2019 – Verallia Packaging SAS invested EUR 24 million to the reconstruction of one of the Lagnieu plant's two furnaces, specialized in the manufacture of glass food containers. This new glass furnace, which alone produces about 2 million jars per day, has been completely rebuilt, and the five production lines it supplies have been modernized. This reconstruction provided an opportunity to use the latest technologies and more modern materials, to improve the energy performance and environmental impact of the facilities, in line with the company's environmental commitments.Reasons to Purchase this report:- The market estimate (ME) sheet in Excel format- 3 months of analyst supportRead the full report: https://www.reportlinker.com/p05865786/?utm_source=PRN About Reportlinker ReportLinker is an award-winning market research solution. Reportlinker finds and organizes the latest industry data so you get all the market research you need – instantly, in one place. __________________________ Contact Clare: clare@reportlinker.com US: (339)-368-6001 Intl: +1 339-368-6001



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Former Brazilian President Lula Says Bolsonaro Must Change Dismissive Coronavirus Response

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(SAO PAULO) — In home isolation just months after his release from jail, Brazil’s former leader Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva said Wednesday that President Jair Bolsonaro needs to change his dismissive approach to the new coronavirus or risk being forced from office before the end of his term in December 2022.

The former president known as Lula said in an interview with The Associated Press that Bolsonaro’s defiance of calls for social distancing hamper the efforts of governors and mayors to contain the virus.

He also argued Brazil may need to print money to protect low-income workers and keep people at home, a proposal sure to raise concern in a country with a history of hyperinflation and a sliding currency.

Da Silva, who governed between 2003 and 2010 at time when Brazil’s economy was strong, acknowledged that Bolsonaro is unlikely to heed growing opposition calls to step down and that there are not enough votes in congress for impeachment.

“Brazil’s society might not have the patience to wait until 2022, though,” da Silva said in a video call. “The same society that elected him has the right to remove this president when it notices he is not doing the things he promised. A president who has made mistakes and is creating a disaster. Bolsonaro, at this moment, is a disaster.”

Some people in several regions that voted massively for Bolsonaro in the 2018 elections are disillusioned with him, banging pots outside their homes in regular protests in the last two weeks. The president’s downplaying of the outbreak puts him at odds with almost all of the country’s 27 governors.

About 800 people have died from the COVID-19 disease in Brazil so far, and there are almost 16,000 confirmed cases, the most in Latin America. Brazil expects a peak in virus cases in late April or early May.

Last week, da Silva praised Sao Paulo Gov. João Doria, a former ally of the president, for imposing restrictions designed to curb the spread of the virus. Bolsonaro, who frequently refers to da Silva as a “former inmate,” then said in a radio interview that he feels embarrassed when conservative politicians who have turned on him during the crisis receive praise from the leftist leader.

“I am just recognizing those who have done a more effective job,” da Silva said, adding that Doria will remain a political adversary.

Da Silva, a 74-year-old cancer survivor, is in isolation with his girlfriend and two dogs in the city of São Bernardo do Campo, on the outskirts of Sao Paulo, since returning from a trip to Europe. He said he has not had any symptoms of the virus, nor been tested, and is meeting very few politicians. Most of his conversations are now online.

The former president said his 580 days in jail have helped him cope better with health recommendations to remain home. He is free while appealing corruption and money laundering convictions, which he says are politically motivated.

“I trained spiritually to live well. It is not easy to live in 15 square meters, seeing family once a week,” he said. “Now I am at home with my girlfriend Janja living with me. It is much better. I have space, people to talk to all the time.”

Bolsonaro has challenged recommendations of the World Health Organization and of his own health ministry on social distancing and other measures to curb the virus. He has repeatedly called COVID-19 “a little flu.”

Former president da Silva believes Brazil might need to print money to avoid the closing of businesses and social chaos. Brazil’s economy has suffered since 2015, with about 12 million people unemployed and three times as many people in the informal sector and working gigs.

“Those who need liquidity at this moment are poor people. They need it to buy soap, hand sanitizer. That’s who needs liquidity, not the Brazilian financial system,” he said. “To beat the coronavirus we need more state, more action from public authorities, from making new money and ensuring it reaches the hands of the people.”

Da Silva’s prescription runs counter to the ideology running through Bolsonaro’s administration, led by the University of Chicago-trained Economy Minister Paulo Guedes. After his appointment, he promised to shrink both the size and influence of the state through vast privatizations and by reining in state bank lending.

Since the outbreak, there has been some recognition of the need to provide financial relief. Among other things, state bank Caixa Economica Federal slashed interest rates on overdrafts and credit card installments, and the government allowed people to withdraw the equivalent of one month’s minimum wage from retirement accounts. It also approved monthly payments of $117 to help keep low-income workers afloat, which are expected to begin Thursday.

Still, it isn’t enough, da Silva said. He added that support for possibly printing money isn’t radical, but rather a necessary measure in a desperate circumstance.

“In a time of war you do things that aren’t normal because what matters is survival,” he said. “The coronavirus is an invisible enemy whose shape we know, but we still don’t know how to defeat it.”

Brazilian leftist politicians of different parties, including da Silva’s Workers’ Party, published a letter last week calling for Bolsonaro’s resignation over his management during the pandemic. The former president didn’t sign it, but said his views are clear.

“There’s no way out with Bolsonaro if he doesn’t change his behavior,” he said. “It would be much easier to apologize, admit he was wrong, tell the Brazilian people that he is sorry.”

____

Associated Press writer Maurico Savarese reported this story in Sao Paulo and AP writer David Biller reported from Rio de Janeiro.





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