(Bloomberg) — A coronavirus vaccine may be two years away, if one is ever found, and low levels of infection may become a part of life, Australia’s deputy chief medical officer warned.U.S. military facilities in Okinawa have found a total of at least 50 coronavirus cases, NHK said. New infections in Tokyo exceeded 200 for a third day, though fell short of Friday’s record, Kyodo reported. Masked fans returned to baseball in Japan, making the country among the first to restart major sport with spectators.In the U.S., Texas hospitalizations topped 10,000 for the first time and California suffered its second-highest day of deaths. Florida’s biggest county had a record number of patients in intensive care.Key Developments:Global Tracker: Cases top 12.5 million; deaths surpass 560,000Wuhan shows the world how economies may recover‘Back to the nightmare’ as virus shuts Hong Kong schoolsTesting bottlenecks are hindering U.S. statesJapan urges urbanites to tour country, sparks virus fearBillionaire’s empire unexpectedly thrives in BrazilMasked fans return to baseball in JapanSubscribe to a daily update on the virus from Bloomberg’s Prognosis team here. Click VRUS on the terminal for news and data on the coronavirus.U.S. Bases in Okinawa Find More Than 50 Cases: NHK (5:15 p.m. HK)U.S. military facilities in Okinawa, including Marine Corps Air Station Futenma and Camp Hansen, have found a total of at least 50 coronavirus cases, NHK reported Saturday, citing unidentified people. NHK cited Okinawa Governor Denny Tamaki as saying many new virus cases have been confirmed at the bases.Virus Spreads Fastest in Cooler Temperatures: Telegraph (5 p.m. HK)Coronavirus spreads fastest at 4 degrees Celsius (39 Fahrenheit), U.K. government scientists said, adding to concern about a winter resurgence, the Telegraph reported. The Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies is thought to be focusing on the precise temperature as Melbourne, which is currently in its coldest month, went into a six-week lockdown due to a spike in cases.Russian Case Increase in Line With Past Week (3:37 p.m. HK)Russia reported 6,611 new confirmed coronavirus infections in the past day, in line with increases in the past week, raising the total to 720,547, according to data from the Russian government’s virus response center. Almost 27% of new cases were asymptomatic. In the past day 188 people died of the disease, bringing total death toll to 11,205.Slovenia confirmed 34 new coronavirus infections on Friday, the most since mid-April, bringing the total number of infected to 1,793. The number of fatalities remains at 111.German Infection Rate Rises Slightly (2:28 p.m. HK)Germany’s coronavirus cases rose by 331 while the death rate held steady, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. Deaths increased by 6 to 9,063, a smaller increase than most days since the beginning of March.The reproduction factor — or R value — rose slightly to 0.80, according to the latest estimate by the Robert Koch Institute, Germany’s health body. That’s under the key threshold of 1.0, seen as crucial to preventing a second wave of infections.Tokyo Finds 206 New Cases: Kyodo (2:02 p.m. HK)Tokyo confirmed 206 new cases of coronavirus, Kyodo reported Saturday, citing unidentified people. The number of new cases exceeded 200 for the third straight day, but fell short of Friday’s daily record of 243.Hong Kong Adds at Least 20 Cases: SCMP (1:53 p.m. HK)Hong Kong confirmed at least 20 new coronavirus cases on Saturday, the South China Morning Post reported, citing a medical source. It’s not yet known how many of Saturday’s cases were locally transmitted, the SCMP said. On Thursday, the city recorded 34 locally transmitted infections, the most in a single day since the pandemic began.In response, the government reintroduced social restrictions that cap restaurant capacity at 60% and limit eight people to a table.Australia Warns of Two-Year Vaccine Wait (1:21 p.m. HK)Australia’s Deputy Chief Medical Officer Nick Coatsworth said a vaccine may not be available for between 18 and 24 months and the country must be able to keep the virus under control at low levels. “We need to prepare for a world without a vaccine,” he said at a media conference Saturday.Mask-wearing will be critical to reopening Australia’s second-most populous state as it seeks to curb a second wave of infections, Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews said earlier.Two million masks will be ordered and distributed to “priority groups,” he said Saturday. The state recorded 216 new cases and one death in the past 24 hours, and he urged Victorians to stay home this weekend as much as possible.Emirates to Cut 9,000 Jobs, BBC Reports (11:08 a.m. HK)Emirates Airlines plans to cut 9,000 jobs because of the coronavirus outbreak, BBC reported, citing airline President Tim Clark.The company had 60,000 employees before the pandemic, the BBC said. The airline plans to increase job cuts to as much as 15% of its workforce, having already reduced employee numbers by 10%, Clark told the news service.South Korea New Cases Fall (9:29 a.m. HK)South Korea reported 35 more cases in 24 hours, raising the total tally to 13,373. There no additional deaths, leaving the total at 288, the Korea Centers for Disease Control & Prevention said.The country reported 45 new cases of infection on July 10 and one additional death.Japan’s Contact-Tracing App Fails (8:49 a.m. HK)Japan’s health ministry suspended the registration of positive cases on its contact-tracing smartphone app Cocoa as it worked to fix an error that left some people unable to enter their information.The ministry aims to get the feature running again next week, according to a statement. The ministry encouraged users to keep using the app, which had 6.5 million downloads across iOS and Android phones as of Friday evening.Texas Hits Milestone (5:35 p.m. NY)More than 10,000 people were hospitalized with Covid-19 in Texas Friday, the first time the state has reached that benchmark. Cases there jumped by 9,765, an increase of 4.2% compared with the seven-day average of 3.9%. The state has added close to 10,000 cases for each of the last four days, and deaths have begun to spike in tandem, with another 98 fatalities exceeding the seven-day average.Governor Greg Abbott stepped up efforts to encourage people to wear masks, making the rounds of local television stations to warn that deaths are likely to rise in coming days.California to Release Prisoners (4:30 p.m. NY)California plans to release about 7% of its prison population, roughly 8,000 non-violent offenders, to relieve pressure on a chronically overcrowded correctional system that’s now struggling with a spike in coronavirus cases.The move will enable prisons to maximize available space to implement physical distancing, isolation and quarantine efforts, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation said in a statement. It estimated that about 8,000 currently incarcerated people could be eligible for release by the end of August.U.S. Cases Rise 1.9% (3:55 p.m. NY)U.S. cases rose by 59,782 from a day earlier to 3.14 million, according to data collected by Johns Hopkins University and Bloomberg News. The 1.9% jump matched the average daily increase over the past week. Deaths rose 0.7% to 133,677.California Has Second-Deadliest Day (2:21 p.m. NY)California reported 140 new virus deaths, second only to the 149 reported Thursday as the most yet for the pandemic. The 14-day average is 75, according to state health data.Total confirmed cases rose by 7,798, or 2.6%, pushing California’s total infections to 304,297. While the gain was less than the 3% average over the past seven days, the state’s outbreak has been accelerating: Infections have exceeded 300,000 just two weeks after crossing the 200,000 milestone.For 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.
Good news for Kamala Harris: Voters are fine with ambitious women. So why do party gatekeepers still care?
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With the expected date of Joe Biden’s vice presidential decision growing ever nearer, the rumblings that campaign insiders are waging something of a shadow war against Sen. Kamala Harris have grown louder.
In late July, news reports emerged that certain supporters of the presumptive Democratic nominee felt that Harris was “too ambitious” for the job. “She would be running for president the day of the inauguration,” Florida bundler John Morgan told CNBC. The buzz was loud enough that Harris herself seemed to address it on Friday, while speaking via livestream at the the Black Girls Lead 2020 conference: “There will be a resistance to your ambition, there will be people who say to you, ‘you are out of your lane.’”
But it seems that voters might think that lane is actually a perfectly good place for Harris and other female politicians to be.
According to research published just last month, most people actually don’t mind ambition in female candidates for office. “Voters don’t have a problem with ambitious women,” says Ana Catalano Weeks, a University of Bath comparative politics professor and co-author of the July paper “Ambitious Women: Gender and Voter Perceptions of Candidate Ambition.” “This seems to be a problem on the party side.”
Catalano Weeks and co-author Sparsha Saha, a preceptor at Harvard, asked survey respondents to choose fictional candidates whose genders were specified, each with descriptions that suggested different levels of ambition.
The researchers defined ambition as perceived in political candidates a few ways: progressive ambition, or seeking office and subsequent higher office; personality traits like assertiveness and determination to succeed; and ambitious political agendas.
Catalano Weeks and Saha hypothesized that voters would penalize ambitious women running for office. But they found that wasn’t the case; voters did not treat ambitious women differently than they did ambitious men.
“Norms in society change,” says Catalano Weeks by way of explanation. The general public may have once seen ambition as a negative quality in women—but doesn’t anymore. Concerns over ambition in women from political gatekeepers may then be expressions of their own sexism, or outdated concerns over how voters will react, Saha says. “To what extent are gatekeepers sexist themselves?” Saha asks. “Are they taking action thinking voters will punish ambitious women? Are they really just thinking about electability?”
These academics were inspired to take on this research in 2017 after observing Hillary Clinton’s treatment in the 2016 election, including a hacked email in which Colin Powell described the Democratic nominee as having a “long track record” of “unbridled ambition.”
This cycle, Harris wasn’t the only woman in reported contention for Biden’s ticket to be described as ambitious. Former Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams shocked the political establishment by openly stating that she would accept a VP offer from the Democratic nominee; she told other women of color not to let others “disqualify” their ambition.
The research conducted by Saha and Catalano Weeks did not address how race affects voters’ perception of ambition in candidates, but the pair hope future work will answer that question.
“I wish the story was, ‘Yay, Kamala Harris is ambitious. Isn’t that a great thing?’” Catalano Weeks says.
Adds her co-author Saha: “It’s just so absurd. Of course these people are ambitious.”
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Facebook purges ads for illegal wildlife in SE Asia as online trade surges
YANGON — An ad showing a civet cat cowering in a cage being offered for sale on Facebook was just one of hundreds that the social media giant has removed in a crackdown on Southeast Asia’s illegal wildlife trade during recent weeks.
“Not too wild, not too-well behaved. If interested, call…” the seller wrote on the post, using an account in Myanmar, a major source and transit point for the trade in wild animals.
Facebook has a ban on the sale of animals on its platform.
But, in the five months through May 2020, a report seen by Reuters showed World Wildlife Fund researchers had counted 2,143 wild animals from 94 species for sale on Facebook from Myanmar alone.
The vast majority of posts—92%—offered live animals, including birds of prey, while gibbons, langurs, wild cats, and hornbills were in high demand.
Wildlife charities said more than 500 posts, accounts, and groups were taken down in April and July after they alerted Facebook, which said its staffers remove content that breaches rules as soon as they become aware.
“We are committed to working with law enforcement authorities around the world to help tackle the illegal trade of wildlife,” a Facebook spokesperson said.
‘INCREASING IN EVERY COUNTRY’
Campaigners say the advent of zoonotic diseases like the novel coronavirus, which is suspected of having jumped from animals to humans, has not quashed demand from buyers.
Southeast Asia is a major hub in the multi-billion dollar global wildlife trade and, according to monitors, sellers are increasingly using social media due to its massive reach and private chat functions.
“It’s increasing in every country,” said Jedsada Taweekan, a regional program manager for WWF, adding that the volume of wildlife products sold online had approximately doubled since 2015.
Myanmar came under fire in recent weeks over reported plans to allow captive breeding of about 175 threatened species including tigers and pangolins. Naing Zaw Htun, a senior forestry department official, told Reuters social media had become “one of the major drivers of the wildlife trafficking,” and the aim of the captive breeding plan was to reduce poaching.
Fighting the illegal online wildlife trade poses a serious challenge for governments across the region, where many national laws lag behind, said Elizabeth John, senior communications officer for TRAFFIC, a non-government organisation.
She said Facebook had been “very proactive in trying to address the online trade” but faced a “considerable logistical challenge” monitoring posts.
A study by TRAFFIC published in early July found more than 2,489 ivory items for sale across Indonesia, Thailand, and Vietnam on Facebook and Instagram, which is owned by Facebook.
TRAFFIC said 557 out of 600 posts, groups and profiles subsequently flagged to Facebook were removed. WWF said four Facebook accounts and seven groups, each with thousands of members, were removed in response to their research in Myanmar.
The company says it uses a combination of technology and reports from NGOs and others to detect and remove content.
Relying on tip-offs isn’t good enough, said Michael Lwin, founder of Myanmar-based tech start-up Koe Koe Tech. “Social media platforms, in general, need a more systematic response,” Mr. Lwin said.
How a hair-care company went from salon supplier to sanitizer powerhouse
When AG Hair moved into its new, 70,000-sq.-foot, state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Coquitlam, B.C., two years ago, it was part of a plan to supercharge expansion of its hair care product line to salons in international markets. Europe was next on its list. Then COVID-19 hit.
Not only was the European expansion put on hold, but salons in major markets across Canada and the United States were temporarily closed. Very few were purchasing hair products, so manufacturing was halted in mid-March, leaving most of the company’s 82 employees out of work.
AG Hair could have waited out the pandemic but instead decided to lean into its entrepreneurial culture and make a sharp pivot. It began providing hand-sanitizing products for front-line health-care workers, addressing a global shortage.
“We realized there was this massive need for health-care professionals, and we wanted to make a difference and be able to provide them with the products they needed,” says AG Hair CEO Graham Fraser.
AG Hair received Canadian and U.S. approvals a week after applying for the licences needed to make sanitizer, and produced samples to show local authorities within 48 hours.
“That rapid response time, and the fact that we had gone through all of the Health Canada regulatory hurdles, showed [the local health authorities] that we were a partner they could trust and someone they could look to, to deliver the products they needed,” Fraser says.
Within a month, the company started pumping out the products, first for the health-care industry, then for consumers on its own website and on Amazon. About 10 per cent of AG Hair’s hand-sanitizer production also went to people in need, as identified by organizations such as United Way.
Parallel 49 Brewing Company is also using AG Hair’s Coquitlam manufacturing facility to produce its own blend of liquid hand sanitizer for front-line health and emergency workers, in partnership with the B.C. government.
Fraser credits his team for its energy and creativity in making the hand-sanitizer production happen, and helping put AG Hair staff back to work.
“We realized we had an opportunity . . . and then it became this incredible, almost war-room mentality and collaboration with our owners, our executive team and our people to say, ‘How are we going to get through this?’ ” Fraser recalls. “I think our success speaks to the type of people we have and the entrepreneurial spirit of pursuing every avenue we have, understanding how we can produce the products and making it happen.”
AG Hair’s commitment to investing in future growth is a big part of what makes it a Best Managed company, says Nicole Coleman, a partner at Deloitte and co-lead of its Best Managed Program in B.C.
“Capability and innovation come through quite strongly with this company,” says Coleman, who is also AG Hair’s coach at Deloitte. “I don’t think they would be able to pivot as quickly if they weren’t so strategic and had the internal capabilities to do it.”
The manufacturing facility was a big investment, but one Coleman says has already paid dividends.
“They were looking forward with a strategic plan in mind about future growth and how they could expand, rather than just focusing on the day to day,” she says. “Best Managed companies are always pushing the envelope and are conscious about planning for the future.”
AG Hair was founded in Vancouver in 1989 by hairstylist John Davis and graphic artist Lotte Davis. The husband-and-wife team began bottling hair products in their basement and selling them direct to salons from the back of a station wagon.
The company eventually moved its manufacturing off-site, to a third party. One day, John went to watch the operations and was surprised to see salt being poured into the mixture. Although he was told salt is commonly used as a thickener, he didn’t like the potential side effects of dry hair and skin.
It was at that moment John decided the company would oversee its own manufacturing. “Through that experience, John also became an expert in product development,” says Fraser, who came to the company in 2000 as director of sales.
After having worked for more than two decades at PepsiCo and Kraft Foods, Fraser was eager to work at a smaller, more agile company where he felt he could help make a difference.
“It was perfect because I got to bring a lot of structure and process that I learned in those organizations, but I also learned an awful lot about being an entrepreneur from John and Lotte: that sense of urgency, the decision-making process, the need to get things done and drive things forward and pursue opportunities,” he says.
Fraser has helped drive AG Hair’s expansion into the U.S. and internationally, including Australia, Taiwan, and Central and South America. A portion of its sales go to One Girl Can, a charity founded by Lotte that provides schooling, education and mentoring for girls in sub-Saharan Africa.
Fraser also oversees the development of new, trending products, including a new deep-conditioning hair mask made with 98 per cent plant-based and natural ingredients. Hand-sanitizing spray and gel will be the latest addition to the company’s product lineup.
“We don’t see the demand [for hand-sanitizing products] going away,” he says. “As the isolation policies start to get lifted, people are going to need forms of security and protocols as they get back into regular life and work. We see there’s going to be a need for these types of products long-term.”
This article appears in print in the June 2020 issue of Maclean’s magazine with the headline, “Working out the kinks.” Subscribe to the monthly print magazine here.
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