June 15 – June 21 Weekly News

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Free rice ATMs installed on Vietnam's streets

A businessman had an original idea to help hungry people. Hoang Tuan Anh designed a "free-rice ATM". He installed them in cities across Vietnam. Mr. Anh worried about the growing number of hungry people. Around five million Vietnamese people lost their jobs because of coronavirus. The popularity of the ATMs means Mr. Anh is making more of them. Businesses and donors are helping his project. This will allow him to extend the reach of the ATMs.

Mr. Anh explained that he wanted to invent, "a 24/7 the automatic dispensing machine" to provide free rice for people out of work during the lockdown. He estimated that his machines have given out 3,000 tons of free rice. People can take out 1.5kg of rice twice a day. A mother who recently lost her job appreciated Mr. Ahn's efforts. She said: "I read about this rice ATM on the Internet.… I really hope the sponsors keep doing this."

 

https://breakingnewsenglish.com/2006/200618-atm-4.html

 

Florida's Coronavirus Numbers Go Up as NBA Prepares for Season

The number of coronavirus infections in the Orlando, Florida, area has increased in recent days. The National Basketball Association, NBA, hopes that it is not important. That is because the NBA plans to start the professional basketball season that had been postponed.  The NBA has spent weeks putting together safety requirements for basketball players to avoid spreading or becoming infected with the coronavirus. Twenty-two of the NBA's 30 teams are expected to play at a sports complex owned by Walt Disney near Orlando.

Basketball is almost back. "No one is suggesting that this is going to be an infection-free, guaranteed environment," Michele Roberts told The Associated Press. She is the director of the National Basketball Players Association. "Where else would we go," she asked, saying there is really no place in the country that is safe.  By following the rules, the NBA and the players hope the risk will be small. There will be a lot of testing. No one can leave the Disney area unless they agree to a quarantine. Visitors are not allowed, and families cannot come to the area until late August.

 

https://learningenglish.voanews.com/a/florida-coronavirus-numbers-go-up-as-nba-prepares-for-season/5467960.html

 

Abandoned Oil Wells Leak Pollutants

More than a century of oil and gas drilling has left behind millions of unused wells, many of which release pollutants into the air and water. Drilling companies are likely to leave behind many more abandoned wells since they are losing money, as oil prices struggle to recover from historic lows, experts say. Leaks from abandoned wells have long been recognized as an environmental problem and a risk to public health.

Studies have linked abandoned wells to groundwater pollution in the United States. Abandoned wells are also a serious threat to Earth's climate that researchers and government officials are only starting to understand. The Environmental Protection Agency, or EPA report noted that the amount of methane emitted is almost equal to the burning of 16.2 million barrels of crude oil. The true amount, the EPA said, maybe 3 times higher because of incomplete data.

Researchers note that it is impossible to say the total amount of emissions worldwide without better records. But an estimate, wells could release as much as 2.5 million tons of methane per year.

 

https://learningenglish.voanews.com/a/abandoned-oil-wells-leak-pollutants-/5466685.html

 

Coronavirus Leads to Bicycle Boom, Shortage, Around World

As the coronavirus outbreak continues, many Americans are fearful of using public transportation. They also are looking for ways to get exercise without having to go to a gym, as well as ways to enjoy the outdoors. So, it may not be surprising that the pandemic has led to a major increase in bicycle sales. And small bicycle stores cannot keep up with the demand for "family-style" bicycles: the low-cost, easy-to-ride models. The bicycle industry is seeing its biggest sales increase since the oil crisis of the 1970s, said Jay Townley, an industry expert.

The rise in bicycle sales is not happening just in the United States. Cities like Manila in the Philippines and Rome, Italy have created bicycle paths for the growing number of people who want to avoid public transportation. In London, city officials plan to bar cars from some central roads. Bike shop owners in Manila say demand is even stronger than what they see at Christmas time. In Italy, the government's economic support plan included a 500-euro payment to help with the cost of a bicycle.

 

https://learningenglish.voanews.com/a/coronavirus-leads-to-bicycle-boom-shortage-around-world/5463657.html

 

Search for COVID-19 Vaccine Includes Animal Tests

Scientists say they are carrying out tests on monkeys, ferrets, and other animals in the search for a vaccine for COVID-19. The testing can help researchers learn about how the vaccine affects the immune system, the body's natural defense against disease. If a vaccine causes the immune system to react in the wrong way, it could worsen existing disease. Researchers have already been seeking tens of thousands of human subjects to take part in large COVID-19 vaccine studies.

Scientists have also turned to animals to help answer important questions about the development of a vaccine. Ralph Baric is a coronavirus expert at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. His laboratory is testing several possible vaccines in animals. Animal testing lets scientists see how the body reacts to vaccines in ways studies involving people never can, said Kate Broderick, chief of research at U.S.-based Inovio Pharmaceuticals. With animals, we're able to perform autopsies and look specifically at their lung tissue and get a really deep dive into looking at how their lungs have reacted.

 

https://learningenglish.voanews.com/a/search-for-covid-19-vaccine-includes-animal-tests/5447931.html

 

Three baby ducks hatch from supermarket eggs

A woman who bought duck eggs was surprised. Three of the eggs hatched. The woman named her ducklings Beep, Peep, and Meep. She bought the eggs last month. She was at home all day and decided to use her free time to do something different. She told reporters she got the idea for incubating eggs from a Facebook video. The video showed how someone hatched eggs after buying them from a supermarket.

The woman said the ducklings would be happy. They will be friends for her pet chickens. She said: "I saw the duck eggs and thought maybe they would [hatch]. I was so excited for them to hatch, but I still [knew] that these are supermarket eggs." She was surprised when the eggs hatched. She called it an "amazing" experience. She said the ducklings were, "the cutest little balls of fluff". A duck farm said it is unusual for supermarket eggs to hatch.

 

https://breakingnewsenglish.com/2006/200616-ducks-1.html

 

A new threat to global trade: Exhausted crews want off cargo ships now

Global trade is facing another coronavirus crisis just as economies begin to reopen: 200,000 seafarers unleaving the ships for months by port closures and the collapse in long-haul flight could refuse to keep working. Many seafarers extended their contracts by several months to keep supplies of food, fuel, and medicine flowing around the world during the pandemic, according to shipping companies and labor unions. But the months at sea without a break are taking their toll on crews. Fatigue and mental illness are a growing threat to the safety and many seafarers now want off their ships.

The International Transport Workers' Federation said the organization will now do everything it can to help crew exercise their legal rights to stop working and return home. Some seafarers have been on board for more than a year, and throughout this pandemic, many have been prevented by governments from coming ashore. Frankly, we have seafarers killing themselves at the prospect of this misery continuing without end. "We need authorities to engage with us in a constructive dialogue to facilitate crew changes under the current critical circumstances, ensuring minimal risk to crews and their families as well as the continued flow of supplies around the world," said Maersk's chief Laursen.

 

https://edition.cnn.com/2020/06/18/business/seafarers-shipping-coronavirus/index.html

 

Brazil tops 1 million Covid-19 cases. It may pass the US next, becoming the worst-hit country on the planet

Brazil has now reported more than 1 million confirmed cases of coronavirus and 48,954 deaths, marking a grim milestone for the South American country. The health ministry on Friday reported 54,771 new cases, a record daily spike that brought the nationwide total to 1,032,913. The Covid-19 pandemic is quickly spreading with no sign of slowing down, as major cities lift social distancing measures and begin reopening restaurants, shops, and other nonessential businesses. Many experts believe the number of cases could surpass the United States and that Brazil may soon become the country's worst hit by the virus.

By April 8, Brazil had confirmed more than 15,000 cases and 800 deaths. Brazil could overtake the US and become the country with the highest number of coronavirus deaths as early as August 1, according to a tracking model by the University of Washington. Several tests and vaccine trials are being conducted in Brazil. Two thousand Brazilians participated in tests of a vaccine against Covid-19 this month developed by Oxford University in partnership with AstraZeneca pharmaceutical. The country is the first site of these vaccination tests outside the United Kingdom.

https://edition.cnn.com/2020/06/19/americas/brazil-one-million-coronavirus-jair-bolsonaro-cases-intl/index.html

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