French fashion designer Pierre Cardin died Tuesday at age 98, his family said.
French fashion designer Pierre Cardin died Tuesday at age 98, his family said.
The 26-year-old singer said he's "not proud" of where he was at in his life at the time.
The Irishman was knocked out in the second round on Fight Island.
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Philippe Paubert told a story of textures in a collection focused on comfort and reassurance.
New U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin on Sunday, during his first phone call with his Japanese counterpart, reaffirmed America's commitment to defending the disputed East China Sea islets known as the Senkaku in Japan, Jiji news agency reported. Austin and Japanese Defense Minister Nobuo Kishi confirmed that Article 5 of the U.S.-Japan security treaty, which stipulates U.S. defense obligations to Japan, covers the Senkaku Islands, Jiji said. The islets are known as the Diaoyu in China.
All five of its actively managed ETFs have more than doubled in the past 12 months, with ARK Genomic Revolution ETF (NYSEMKT: ARKG) leading the pack and tripling since this time last year. Smart investors want to know which stocks ARK Invest Chief Investment Officer Cathie Wood is looking at. To save you the trouble of looking yourself, below are three of the stocks that various ARK ETFs invested more money in over the course of the past week.
Ken Cedeno/CNP/Bloomberg via GettyAmong the legions of people the world over heartened by the arrival of Joe Biden in the White House, we can surely count Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and Hassan Rouhani, the supreme leader and president of Iran, respectively. Iran and the United States, close allies from the ’50s through the late ’70s, have been engaged in an undeclared, low-intensity war since Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini established the Islamic Republic of Iran in 1979, seized more than 50 American hostages at the U.S. embassy in Tehran, and declared the United States to be the “Great Satan.”During the Trump years, the relationship reached a new nadir.Back in 2018, Trump vowed to wage a “maximum pressure” campaign against Iran “to eliminate the threat of Iran’s ballistic missile program; to stop its terrorist activities worldwide; and to block its menacing activities across the Middle East.” He withdrew the United States from the nuclear accord widely known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), in May 2018, and imposed a welter of sanctions against the Iranian regime in the hopes of forcing it into signing a new agreement with more stringent restrictions on its nuclear program and its destabilizing policies in the Middle East.The consensus view among both military and Middle East experts today is that none of these objectives has been achieved. Trump’s strategy, they say, did little more than isolate the United States from its allies, who stuck by the JCPOA, encourage Iranian adventurism, and make the Middle East a more volatile place.In the War on Terror, Iran Is Kicking Our A**Little wonder it failed. The application of “maximum pressure,” like so many other Trump initiatives, was always shaped far more by the president’s personal delusions, fantasies, and whims than any sort of coherent strategic vision. “Apart from Mike Pompeo and a handful of neoconservatives,” writes Iran expert Barbara Slavin at the Atlantic Council, a Washington think tank, Trump’s strategy “has found few defenders.” It’s a policy that doesn’t work, she says, because it’s “all pressure and no incentives.” And it failed to lead to serious negotiations between Tehran and Washington with a view to working out new ways of managing their conflicting interests.Indeed, Iran has remained defiant, tossed aside restrictions on its production of low-grade uranium, added more centrifuges, and shortened the “breakout” time for producing a nuclear weapon to about six months. It has also carried out an effective propaganda campaign against the draconian Trump strategy, disrupted international shipping in the Persian Gulf, downed an American surveillance drone, and killed three Americans. There are no signs that it has toned down its support for operations against American interests or those of its allies in the Middle East. If anything, the reverse is true. In Iraq, it continues to exercise far greater influence over political developments than the United States, despite the loss of more than 4,500 American lives in the Iraq War.Just as the “maximum pressure” campaign to tame Iranian ambitions was about to be cast into the extra-large dumpster of failed American strategies in the Middle East, it produced yet another serious war scare—the first of several since the United States withdrew from the nuclear deal. This crisis began to take shape in mid-November of last year, when it was widely reported in the media that President Trump’s advisers had to dissuade him from launching an air attack on Tehran’s nuclear development site at Natanz. Two weeks later, operatives from Israel’s Mossad assassinated Iran’s leading nuclear scientist, Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, just a few miles outside of Tehran. Iranian officials vowed to avenge his death, which they blamed on both the United States and Israel.Sure enough, on Dec. 20, Shiite militiamen in Baghdad—trained, armed, and paid by Iran’s clandestine Quds Force—showered the American embassy compound with more than 20 rockets. In the last several days of 2020, several senior Pentagon officials spoke anonymously to leading news outlets about classified intelligence reports indicating that Iran had been moving more short-range ballistic missiles to its proxy forces in Iraq and appeared to be planning a complex attack against Americans in the area.The attack never came, and not without good reason. Why, one must ask, would Iran risk an attack on the United States just as Joe Biden was about to take the helm of American foreign policy? Biden has consistently condemned Trump’s “maximum pressure” strategy, and repeatedly said that he wants the United States to rejoin the JCPOA, and to enter into extended diplomacy with Tehran regarding other issues of contention. In an op-ed piece on CNN last September, Biden wrote that Trump had “recklessly tossed away a policy that was working to keep America safe and replaced it with one that has worsened the threat.” Biden wants to “offer Iran a credible path back to diplomacy.”President Rouhani has expressed keen interest in negotiating with Biden, and although it won’t be an easy trick to work out the details of a new iteration of the JCPOA with the United States back in, it seems very likely that such an agreement can and will be reached within a matter a few months. After all, Iran is desperate to get relief from Trump’s extensive web of economic sanctions, which have hurt the Iranian people far more than they have affected Iranian foreign policy. Biden joins the vast majority of the international affairs community in believing the world will be a much safer place once the United States is back on side, which will open the door to discussion of other issues of contention, of which there are more than a few.The two crucial issues to grapple with after the two countries have reached a new understanding about the JCPOA concern Iran’s sophisticated ballistic and cruise missile programs, which are not addressed in the JCPOA at all, and the activities of the Quds Force, so ably built up and led by General Qassem Soleimani, who was killed just over a year ago by an American drone attack outside of Baghdad, leading to fears of a major shooting war.Iran’s missile programs are large, growing, and pose a major threat to American interests and forces in the region. Missiles are Iran’s chief deterrent against its many enemies and compensate effectively for the country’s weak and unreliable conventional forces.The Quds Force consists of about 5,000 men. It’s a kind of hybrid of the CIA and the U.S. Special Forces. According to New Yorker journalist Dexter Filkins, its members are "divided between combatants and those who train and oversee foreign assets." The force has branches focusing on intelligence, finance, politics, sabotage, and unconventional warfare.From Washington’s point of view, Quds’ most troubling activity has been its role as a “force multiplier.” Quds operatives have trained, funded, and armed a vast network of proxy forces throughout the greater Middle East, including Hezbollah in Lebanon, a handful of Shiite militia groups in Iraq, the Houthis in Yemen, and Shiite military units in Saudi Arabia, to name but a few. According to Iran expert Ray Takeyh of the Rand Corporation, this proxy force network today may consist of as many as 200,000 fighters, though they are hardly all at Tehran’s beck and call at any given time.Iran’s proxies, usually supported by Quds advisers, have been deployed against the United States or its allies in the Lebanese civil war of the ’80s; the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq; the civil war in Syria, and in the Saudi-Houthi struggle in Yemen, among other places. According to Afshon Ostovar, a widely published expert on Iran defense and security policy at the Naval Postgraduate School in California, “militant clients are the only tool Iran has for extending its strategic footprint and directly countering its adversaries through armed force. For that reason, they have become the centerpiece of Iranian grand strategy, and an investment Tehran is not likely to abandon.”Iran is not going to agree to limit the development of either of these programs without substantial concessions from the United States and its allies, probably in the form of a mix of guarantees to refrain from offensive operations against it, as well as economic incentives of various types. The missiles are essential to the country’s survival, and, as Ostovar says, the Quds force and the proxy militias are Iran’s primary means to shape the political dynamics of the Middle East.It’s been 40 years since America and Iran severed diplomatic relations. The two adversaries have sharply conflicting geopolitical visions of the region; both sides see themselves as pivotal players in Middle East. Each side sees the other as playing the game via illegitimate and illegal means. The long struggle between the two nations has been waged through a bewildering variety of political, economic, and diplomatic means, but also through violent struggle via proxy forces, and even occasional conventional combat. Bitterness and mistrust have repeatedly sabotaged sincere attempts by both parties to reset the relationship and produce some sort of limited détente.Yes, it will be difficult to come to new arrangements, but if not now, when? The time to do difficult things in the Middle East has arrived, and Joe Biden, who is a natural conciliator and a deeply experienced international statesman, is just the sort of leader who could bring about a crucial change in the volatile relationship between Iran and the United States. If the United States and the Soviet Union found a way to discipline and control their life-and-death struggle during the Cold War, why can’t the United States and Iran do the same thing?Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.
Bill Pugliano/GettyDemocrats are facing new objections from Republicans over the Biden administration’s COVID-19 relief package, a maddening reality that has set off alarm bells among progressives who fear hard-fought issues could be left on the chopping block.While President Joe Biden has long touted a working ability to inspire bipartisanship, some on the party’s left wing are already warning against spending too much time trying to negotiate with the GOP, citing double control in the House and Senate and playing up the importance of providing fast monetary relief to Americans during the pandemic.“Democrats need to just plow ahead,” said Larry Cohen, chairman of Our Revolution, a grassroots network that supported Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-VT) presidential bids. “It’s great if [Sen. Marco] Rubio (R-FL) and others who made noises show that we can build a broader coalition on critical issues, but it can’t wait.”“People want to vote against it? Good, they’re on the record,” he scoffed.Just days into Biden’s first term, progressives fear that in order to get an urgent coronavirus bill passed with adequate Republican support Democrats may have to compromise on key economic issues, like raising the federal minimum wage. On Friday, Biden signed an executive order that granted federal workers a $15 per hour guarantee, but to extend that figure to the broader workforce would have to move through Congress.While running for president, Biden indicated that it was “long past time” to adopt a uniform $15 minimum wage. His stance moved in alignment with other Democrats who formally championed that baseline following Sanders’ campaign in 2015.During the earliest days of his administration, the president included the wage increase as part of his $1.9 trillion stimulus plan, a move that Democrats celebrated as a way to help workers on top of the additional $1,400 proposed relief check. Unlike the one-time check, activists on the left view the minimum wage hike as part of fulfilling a longer-term commitment to economic justice.Congressional Republicans, however, started to express displeasure more intensely this week towards Biden’s overall proposed package, which would ultimately require 60 votes in the Senate to pass and could be a time-consuming endeavor.“Republicans have no incentive to cooperate,” said Joe Dinkin, national campaigns director at the Working Families Party. “Democrats shouldn’t waste a second or make a single concession to the party of Trump and billionaires and seditionists in trying to pass relief and recovery for every American.”One top GOP official, Minority Whip John Thune (R-SD), signaled earlier this week that he doesn’t believe the proposal will pass in its current form, effectively granting permission for other Republican members to follow his skepticism and push for conservative changes. Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) seemed to follow suit, wondering aloud why that high of a figure would be necessary after Republicans already passed a relief package while President Donald Trump was in office.With GOP resistance now increasingly evident, some on the left fear that moderate Democrats may be tempted to compromise at the expense of the progressive causes they’ve championed for years. Former Labor Secretary Robert Reich called Biden vying for Republican support a “waste of time, energy, and credibility” and predicted that “he won’t get any.”Anticipating a still-tense atmosphere in Washington unlikely to change drastically in the coming weeks, pro-worker activists like Reich are encouraging Democrats to move forward with budget reconciliation, which would enable them to pass the bill without support from the opposing party, using Vice President Kamala Harris as a critical tie-breaker.“No rules are being broken. It’s a legal, legitimate process,” said Randy Bryce, a prominent union worker in Wisconsin, who launched a longshot bid against former Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) in 2018. “Let’s get the votes however we can and show who’s in favor of helping American workers and who’s opposed to it. Let’s get a written document.”Bryce, who was endorsed by Sanders, shared a similar tone to the populist senator who argued that Democrats need to use other means at their disposal if Republicans don’t follow their lead over something that they believe should be fundamentally bi-partisan.“The Senate’s 60-vote threshold to pass major legislation has become an excuse for inaction,” Sanders wrote in a CNN op-ed earlier in the week explaining the budget reconciliation method. “But let’s be clear: We have the tools to overcome these procedural hurdles.”He also warned that if Democrats take a more modest approach to the issue, they could face dire electoral ramifications in just two years. With a smaller than expected majority in the House, losing just a few seats could cost the party control of the lower chamber and throw the prospect of furthering a progressive agenda into question.“Watch the next election repeat 2010,” Cohen said, referencing when Democrats lost the House early into the Obama administration. “That’s what Democrats should be afraid of.”Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.
Davide Marello's third offering was full of charming, well-executed options but didn't quite gel into a memorable outing.
Photo Illustration by Sarah Rogers/The Daily Beast/Photos Getty The Daily Beast/Photos GettyThomas David Keho, an Airbnb Superhost for five years, took to the Facebook group “Airbnb Host Community - Vent, Recommend, Discuss,” a forum typically used to complain about rowdy guests or strategize how to appeal Airbnb for a better rating, to ask what he considered an innocuous question:“How do I offer a 50% discount to vaccinated guests?”Within a few hours, the post had garnered over a thousand comments, was entangled in several webs of disinformation, and was, as Keho described it to The Daily Beast, “a shitstorm.”The responses were far-ranging. Many anti-vaxx-aligned members balked at what they perceived as “unbelievable discrimination,” while one host wrote “I love the idea! Anything to incentivize people who believe in science and take every available precaution to protect one another.” Another host, however, claimed this was “a fair-housing violation,” going as far as to say it was “violation of HIPA [sic],” as well.“It is not a violation of HIPAA,” Lawrence Gostin, a Georgetown University professor specializing in public health law, told The Daily Beast. “It is certainly lawful to ask if a person has been vaccinated. Businesses can require vaccination as a condition of service. Not only is it lawful to ask, it is ethical. No one has the right to place another person at risk.”Regardless, things continued to escalate from there. One member joked, “People who test experimental vaccines for discounts are necessary. I’ll be glad to pay a normal price for not being a Guinea pig.” Another went as far as to comment: “I am inspired to offer 50% off to the unvaxxed. So there!” and another raised the stakes, planning to offer “a 69% discount.”Hosts on Airbnb set their own house rules, price and discounts—all of which must abide to Airbnb’s standards and policies, including their non-discrimination policy.When one host astutely pointed this out, replying, “This is not discrimination. Both vaccinated and unvaccinated people can still reserve an Airbnb. It’s just a discount, the same you would offer to a veteran,” they were met with instantaneous backlash. “How dare you compare veterans to people who think that they’re smart having been vaccinated,” another host replied.Katheran Crawford, the accounts and operations manager for 43 units in Texas, is firmly against offering discounts for vaccinated guests. She argues “asking for proof of vaccination is an intrusion of privacy.” She told The Daily Beast that “that guy can keep the discount and I’ll stay elsewhere [...] There is somebody with a clean, warm stay that I can enjoy without disclosing I have 9 toes, breast cancer, one eye, or have/have not been vaccinated.”While Crawford says she “might get the vaccine,” she also wanted to mention that she believes “that if it is your time, you will go. I can out run the COVID just to have a snake bite me, a tire blow while I’m racing, etc.”Hosts continued to comment on the thread throughout the weekend. A group of hosts speculated that the original poster was using vaccinated guests to get around Airbnb’s COVID cleaning policies and was therefore able to offer such a steep discount. One wrote, “Less cleaning = cheaper rate,” or “wouldn’t it be better to spend 20% of that money disinfecting the house?” Last year, Airbnb announced that all hosts and guests must agree to follow Airbnb’s COVID-19 Safety Practices, which include wearing a mask, practicing social distancing, and, for hosts and their teams, abiding by their five-step enhanced cleaning process. Under this policy, cleaning cannot be skirted and Keho told The Daily Beast he has “no intention of doing so.” In fact, he has been going above and beyond to ensure the safety of himself and his guests.Part of this stems from the city law in Boulder surrounding short term rentals. The law requires short term rentals like Airbnbs to be “the owner’s principal residence.” Basically you have to live there as well. As a result, Keho is extra cautious of who he lets stay with him. While he performs the standard cleaning Airbnb requires, he has also installed two ventilators for added safety. He has even upgraded his residence with touchless light switches so guests can move about without touching fixtures, if they so choose.But his biggest safety measure is a simple one: asking questions. Upon request to book, Keho sends an auto-message to prospective guests that reads:“Can you tell me more about yourself and why you're visiting Boulder? Are you social distancing? What states have you visited recently? Do you believe that COVID-19 is a hoax?”For Azure Campbell, who has been a host for three years, this line of questioning is akin to systemic racism. She told The Daily Beast, “There used to be ads that said ‘If you’re colored, you can’t stay here.’ This is the same level of thinking.”She went on to say, “This pandemic is a psychological political operation being used to further an agenda and usher in one of world governance. Their objective is for us to live in fear. I refuse to do so. ‘Germs’ are good, germ theory is a lie. Health comes from lifestyle choices and positive thought, never from poisoning the body and fearful thinking.”Another Superhost for four years, Lovelynn Gwinn, told The Daily Beast she was concerned about this trend of asking for information and people “being coerced into taking the vaccine for monetary benefit.” She also mentioned that the vaccines “have not been proven to protect people from spreading COVID.” She continued, “These are my buildings. I will create the rules in my property.”Fair enough. But doesn’t this host have the same right?“No,” Gwinn said. “If this host needs this, then they should not be a host. What is next? Proof that you don’t have Herpes?”When The Daily Beast informed her that Airbnb allowed discounts like these, Gwinn said she “plans to look for an Airbnb alternative.”“I do not feel that a vaccine is necessary for a disease that 99.9% of the people who get it survive just fine. Actually,” she went on, “the same number of people died in 2019 before COVID as 2020. There was no increase in overall deaths.”When asked for where she was getting this data, she said the CDC site but would not provide a link. This is not what the CDC site says. In November, Reuters fact-checked the meme she was likely referring to and found it misleading. Instead, as of this writing, more than 400,000 Americans have died from COVID-19.“Isn’t it funny how no one dies of heart attacks, strokes, cancer or accidents?” Gwinn asked. “All deaths are marked as COVID and thanks to the Cares Act, hospitals get a 20% premium for those patients with COVID.”USA Today fact-checked this claim, published by The Spectator in April, and found “there is no evidence” of hospitals misattributing COVID deaths to receive a 20 percent premium.Gwinn went on: “Look, I only had one set of guests who seemed obsessed with the masks. They were from Minnesota visiting their daughter. I had to laugh as I passed by the window and looked in from the outside. They had masks on while they were watching TV alone in the apartment.”Gwinn herself does not wear a mask outside in NYC, “and no one ever bothers me,” she said.Although Keho opted to disengage from the Facebook thread after posting, buried beneath a deluge of comments and DMs for the remainder of his weekend, he told The Daily Beast that when a disagreement occurs with one of his guests, he’s open to working towards a compromise.He described a situation with a guest who wasn’t an “anti-vaxxer, just clueless.” The guest was invited to a party outside and to a sweat lodge afterwards. When the guest asked Keho if it was alright for him to go, Keho told him sure, so long as he didn’t return.“I said I’ll give you a full refund, just don’t come back if you go to the sweat lodge.”Ultimately they reached an understanding.In response to this online fiasco, an Airbnb spokesperson told The Daily Beast: “Last spring, we partnered with leading experts in health and hospitality hygiene to implement the first overarching standardized guidelines for cleaning and sanitization in the home sharing industry. Since then, we have continued to prioritize health and safety, from educating our community on our five-step cleaning process to keeping them informed of local travel restrictions and advisories. We'll continue to look to the public health experts for guidance on how to best support our hosts, guests and communities.”As for anti-vaxxers, Keho didn’t seem to know they even existed before this fracas, or for that matter, that they were as prevalent in the Airbnb host community. Seeing the strong reactions to his Facebook question makes one wonder how future vaccination incentivization programs, both in the public and private sector, will be reacted to as the vaccine becomes more widely available.But for now, Keho has his answer. “I guess the good part of all of this is I’ve figured out I don’t have to say no to anti-vaxxers staying here,” he said. “I can just put the discount up and based on the response, it doesn’t look like any of them will want to book my place anyway.”Read more at The Daily Beast.Get our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.
Hospitals in Amazonas state overwhelmed after surge in infections linked to new variant, leaving many without even the most basic supplies A relative of a patient infected with Covid-19 waits to refill an oxygen tank in Manaus, Amazonas state, on Tuesday. Photograph: Marcio James/AFP/Getty Images It took just 60 minutes at daybreak for the seven patients to die, asphyxiated as coronavirus swept back into the Brazilian Amazon with nightmarish force. “Today was one of the hardest days in all my years of public service. You feel so impotent,” sobbed Francisnalva Mendes, the health chief in the river town of Coari, as she remembered the moment on Tuesday when its hospital’s oxygen supply ran out. “We need to get back to the fight – to carry on saving lives,” Mendes insisted as she digested losing a third of her town’s 22 Covid-19 patients in one fell swoop – four of them in their 50s. “But we all feel broken. It was such a hard day.” Coari was at the centre of Latin America’s latest coronavirus catastrophe last week after a surge in infections linked to a new and seemingly more contagious variant overwhelmed hospitals in Brazil’s Amazonas state, leaving many without even the most basic supplies. Circumstances were so bleak oxygen tankers were rushed over the border from Venezuela, the economically collapsed nation next door, with its leader, Nicolás Maduro, decrying what he called “Jair Bolsonaro’s public health disaster”. Health workers bring a patient in the Emergency room of the public hospital in Manacapuru, Amazonas state, on 20 January. Photograph: Marcio James/AFP/Getty Images “It’s a very chaotic situation. We just can’t keep up with the number of patients coming to us,” said Marcus Lacerda, an infectious disease specialist from Amazonas’s crisis-hit capital, Manaus. “Private hospitals don’t want to take anyone else in because they’re afraid of admitting a patient and then running out of oxygen again.” Manaus made international headlines in April after a torrent of Covid deaths forced authorities to carve mass graves out of the city’s rust-red earth. Nine months – and more than 210,000 Brazilian deaths – later, the situation is even worse. Some days about 200 bodies are being interred in Manaus, compared with the usual 40. Last week many hospitals ran out of the oxygen sustaining Covid patients, apparently because of a catastrophic government failure to foresee the magnitude of the impending disaster. “Nothing like this as ever happened – not even last year. I never imagined there would be a wave of reinfections as big as the one we’re now seeing in Manaus,” said Lacerda, one of the region’s top infectologists, blaming a variant “that appears to be more contagious”. The fall-off in people’s immunity and the changes in the virus mean this second wave is uncontrollable Marcus Lacerda Lacerda said he had hoped the scale of last year’s epidemic might have provided the riverside city some immunological protection from such a shattering second wave. “But the truth is there’s just no way. The fall-off in people’s immunity and the changes in the virus mean this second wave is uncontrollable.” Distressing stories of suffocating patients and the evacuation of premature babies have generated a public revolt against Amazonas’s leaders who critics accuse of failing to plan for, let alone prevent its second cataclysm in a year. “There’s an atmosphere of disgust, abandonment, despair and impunity,” said one staff member at the Alvorada health clinic in Manaus, where medics were filmed pleading for divine intervention. “What we’re watching is a complete massacre, a desperate situation, a horror film,” added the worker, who asked not to be named. Much of the anger is directed at the government of Brazil’s far-right president, Jair Bolsonaro, who has trivialized Covid-19 even as his country’s death toll soared to the second highest on earth. Bolsonaro’s biddable health minister, Eduardo Pazuello – an army general with no medical experience – visited Manaus on the eve of last week’s health collapse but pushed bogus Covid-19 “early treatments” promoted by his leader rather than solving the impending oxygen crisis. “The president’s bootlicker had days of warning that Manaus’s hospitals were going to run out of oxygen. He did nothing but prescribe useless chloroquine,” the journalist Luiz Fernando Vianna wrote in the magazine Época, blaming Bolsonaro and Pazuello for the “slaughter”. Lacerda accused the government of trying to distract citizens from its deadly inaction with the “false hope” of ineffectual remedies. “This isn’t happening in any other part of the planet,” he said. Relatives of a man who died at home are asked routine questions by a professional from the municipal health secretariat in Manaus on 15 January. Photograph: Raphael Alves/EPA In Manaus, a jungle-flanked city reachable only by plane or boat, public anger has been matched with action. Dozens of volunteer groups, many formed by young manauaras, have sprung up to raise funds and provide the city’s battered health system with oxygen, equipment and food. “It’s a Dantesque situation … we feel like we’re living in a place with no government,” said Vinícius Lima, 16, who is using Twitter and Instagram to crowdsource cylinders, oximeters and PPE. “I’m doing what I think is my duty. I couldn’t sleep at night if I wasn’t doing anything to help the city I love,” the student said. “I’m very proud to be from the city at the heart of the Amazon, you know?” Others use social networks to grieve, flooding Facebook with photographs of loved-ones lost to the punishing second wave. “It’s as if the city’s in a constant state of mourning,” said the clinic worker, who lost an aunt. Some call Manaus’s latest calamity an aberration, the result of its fragile health service and geographical isolation. Lacerda claimed it actually offered a glimpse of the future for other parts of Brazil since the Amazon’s rainy season meant its flu season came earlier. “If we don’t immediately put in place a more aggressive vaccine ‘blockade’ what happened in Manaus will happen in the rest of the country,” he warned. “We need to vaccinate people.” That may not be easy. Inoculation finally began last Sunday, weeks after other Latin American countries such as Chile and Mexico. But Brazil, which has 212 million citizens, has so far secured only 6m doses of China’s CoronaVac shot and 2m of the AstraZeneca/Oxford shot. “This is absolutely insufficient to halt this disease’s advance,” said Lacerda, who believed Brazil’s “utter international isolation” under Bolsonaro helped explain its failure to acquire sufficient shots. Vítor Cabral comforts his wife, Raissa Floriano, in Manaus on 14 January. Photograph: Bruno Kelly/Reuters Last week it emerged that Brazil’s efforts to import from China active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) essential for producing vaccines had stalled, with some blaming the China-bashing of Bolsonaro and his backers. Raissa Floriano, whose 73-year-old father is fighting Covid in hospital, said at least six of his wardmates died after its oxygen ran out. “With better decisions, this whole tragedy could have been avoided. But every single sensible decision that might have been taken was either shunned or it was mocked,” said the 27-year-old teacher. “I feel dismay, disappointment and anger – just absolute despondency and fear for the future.”
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