What is a penumbral lunar eclipse and is it safe to look directly at it? – The Sun

TONIGHT stargazers will be able to spot the June 2020 penumbral lunar eclipse around dusk.

But what exactly is a penumbral lunar eclipse and is it safe to look at?

What is a penumbral lunar eclipse?

In a penumbral lunar eclipse only the outer shadow of the Earth, which is called the penumbra, falls on the earth's face.

It's not the most obvious eclipse as it's quite hard to spot, unlike a total eclipse which can turn the entire moon red.

The most people will see is a dark shadowing on the moon's face, but you have to be actively looking for it.

For tonight, we will need the skies to be clear to be able to see the eclipse.

It's best to view where there is less light pollution.

Is it OK to look directly at?

A lunar eclipse is fine to look at but solar eclipses are only safe to look at when the sun is completely obscured by the moon.

Staring at it before then, even briefly, can cause irreparable eye damage, according to scientist Bill Nye.

He said: "The danger is simply that an eclipse is so fascinating, that we are tempted to stare right at the Sun for minutes at a time, much longer than we would even consider on any other day."

What's the difference between a lunar and a solar eclipse?

A solar eclipse happens when the moon gets in the way of the sun's light and casts its shadow on Earth.

This kind of eclipse happens around every year and a half somewhere on Earth but not everyone experiences every solar eclipse.

The moon’s shadow on Earth is not very big, so only a small portion of places on Earth will see it.
The same spot on Earth only gets to see a solar eclipse for a few minutes about every 375 years, according to Nasa.


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What is Facebook Portal?

Zuckerberg: Facebook must take action on policy violations by anyone, including officials and president

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg joins Dana Perino on ‘The Daily Briefing.’

Portal by Facebook is a collection of smart devices similar to Amazon's Echo but with screens and app capability.

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Similar to computer, tablet or phone screens, Portal devices range from hand-held to computer- and TV-sized screens; one device even lets customers connect their existing TVs to Portal.

Portal's devices use smart cameras that provide auto camera focus for video calling, sound focus, TV-sharing and augmented reality features.

Amazon's Alexa is also featured on Portal's devices so users can use a voice-command function while using their devices to watch the news, surf the web, play music, set a timer, check security cameras and more.


Apps available on Portal devices include Spotify, Amazon Prime, Showtime, ABC News, Sling, CBS, Food Network and Words with Friends. Additionally, Portal offers its own app so users can connect their phones to their devices.

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Portal devices can also connect to Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp so those who do not have Portal can connect with Portal users.


Portal TV costs $149 and allows users to connect from their TVs, providing a large screen for viewing and room for large parties to join a call. Portal's smart camera "automatically pans and zooms to keep up with the action, and widens to include everyone," according to Portal's website.

Facebook Portal (Facebook.com)

Portal mini, an 8-inch device, is $129 and comes in black or white. Portal, a 10-inch device, is $179 and comes in black and white. Protal+, a 15.6-inch device, is $179, comes in black and white, can be set up vertically or horizontally, and offers "an array of two-inch tweeters and a four-inch woofer for deep bass."

Right now, customers can save $50 if they buy two devices. Portal also offers free shipping and a 30-day return window.


Some have expressed privacy concerns with using a device created by Facebook, which has faced consumer trust issues since the 2016 Cambridge Analytica scandal.

Facebook said in a 2019 blog post announcing Portal TV that Portal's smart technology is run on Portal, not Facebook.

"Portal has clear and simple settings for privacy and security. You can disable the camera and microphone with a single tap or a sliding switch. A red light next to the lens indicates the camera and microphone are off and there’s an integrated camera cover if you want to physically block the camera lens," the company said.

The company added that Portal's "Smart Camera and Smart Sound use AI technology that runs locally on Portal, not on Facebook servers."


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What is racketeering?

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Racketeering is a broad term used to describe the act or threat of a crime, and is often associated with organized crime or gang activity.

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The term is defined by Cornell Law School's Legal Information Institute as "any act or threat involving murder, kidnapping, gambling, arson, robbery, bribery, extortion, dealing in obscene matter, or dealing in a controlled substance or listed chemical."


It also describes any act that is indictable under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations, or "RICO," statute. The FBI outlines the kinds of state and federal crimes included under RICO on its website.



According to the Justice Department, someone can only be found guilty of racketeering, or any other activity that violates the RICO statute, if the government can prove "beyond a reasonable doubt":

  • “that an enterprise existed”
  • “that the enterprise affected interstate commerce”
  • “that the defendant was associated with or employed by the enterprise”
  • “that the defendant engaged in a pattern of racketeering activity”
  • “that the defendant conducted or participated in the conduct of the enterprise through that pattern of racketeering activity through the commission of at least two acts of racketeering activity as set forth in the indictment.”


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What is Regeneron?

Trump: We are pursuing vaccines at record speed

President Trump says his administration reversed the increasing cost of health care for the first time in decades.

Get all the latest news on coronavirus and more delivered daily to your inbox. Sign up here.

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American biotech company Regeneron is one of the companies at the forefront of the fight against coronavirus.

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Regeneron, which is based in Tarrytown, New York, is looking into at least two coronavirus treatments: an antibody cocktail and arthritis drug Kevzara. The Kevzara Phase 2 trial results were less than encouraging, but Regeneron said it is "rapidly advancing" the antibody cocktail for human trials starting in June.


Much of Regeneron's work has been in partnership with Sanofi, a French drug company. The two companies will continue collaborating even after Regeneron bought back $5 billion of its shares from Sanofi in late May.


Regeneron was founded in 1988 by neurologist Dr. Leonard S. Schleifer, who is the company CEO. The name "comes from regenerating neurons … with gene in the middle," Schleifer has said.

Dr. Len Schleifer is CEO of Regeneron. Credit Regeneron

By 1997, Regeneron had switched its focus from neurotrophic factors, which support the growth of neurons, to therapeutic solutions. About a decade later, the company got its first FDA approval for the drug Arcalyst, which treats cryopyrin-associated periodic syndromes, a rare hereditary inflammatory disorder.


The company has earned FDA approval for at least six more medicines since then.

Regeneron has been publicly traded since 1991.


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What time is the SpaceX launch today in US and UK? How to watch Elon Musk Nasa mission live

NASA and Elon Musk's SpaceX are preparing for a historic crewed rocket launch from Florida today.

It will be the first manned mission to launch with a US craft from American soil in nearly a decade – ending Nasa's reliance on Russia.

Nasa SpaceX launch today – what is it and why is it important?

Nasa currently sends astronauts into space by piggybacking on launches of Russian Soyuz rockets from an air base in Kazakhstan.

The US space agency last fired one of its own astronauts into space in 2011.

Nasa retired its astronaut-carrying space shuttles that year to make way for a new space exploration program aimed at sending man to asteroids and other deep-space targets.

However, multiple delays to its development schedule have left the space agency without a way to carry out manned space flights for years.

Nasa hopes to fill the gap with spacecraft launched by private companies such as SpaceX, owned by Musk, and Blue Origin, run by Amazon boss Jeff Bezos.

Nasa astronauts Robert Behnken and Douglas Hurley will make their way to a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket at the Kennedy Space Centre on May 27.

The ultimate aim of the mission is to dock a SpaceX craft containing the astronauts on the International Space Station.

They will be ferried to the spacecraft on its launchpad in Florida inside a Tesla Model X electric car sporting the Nasa logo.

That's because billionaire SpaceX boss Elon Musk is also CEO of Tesla.

Hurley and Behnken will take a special elevator up 230ft to a SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule atop the awaiting rocket.

When the countdown hits zero, the rocket will blast into space – carrying astronauts into orbit from US soil for the first time since 2011.

Once in orbit, the Crew Dragon capsule carrying Hurley and Behnken will separate from the rocket booster.

As is customary for SpaceX flights, the booster will turn around and return to Earth so it can be refurbished and used on a future mission.

"Crew Dragon will accelerate its two passengers to approximately 17,000 mph and put it on an intercept course with the International Space Station," Nasa said.

"Once in orbit, the crew and SpaceX mission control will verify the spacecraft is performing as intended by testing the environmental control system, the displays and control system and the maneuvering thrusters, among other things."

About 24 hours after launch, Crew Dragon will be in position to dock with the space station.

It can do this automatically but astronauts have the option to take control themselves if something goes wrong.

"After successfully docking, Behnken and Hurley will be welcomed aboard station and will become members of the Expedition 63 crew," Nasa continued.

"They will perform tests on Crew Dragon in addition to conducting research and other tasks with the space station crew."

The Crew Dragon capsule will remain docked on the ISS until it's needed to take astronauts back to Earth.

Nasa has not yet selected a date for the return flight.

When is the Nasa/SpaceX flight and how can I watch it?

Demo-2, will liftoff from the Kennedy Space Centre in Cape Canaveral, Florida, at 9:33pm BST (4:33 pm ET) on May 27.

A Falcon 9 rocket will blast into space from Launch Complex 39a – the same launchpad used during the historic Apollo 11 Moon landings.

The Air Force's 45th Weather Squadron will analyse the forecast and give either a red or green light roughly four hours and 30 minutes before liftoff.

If the event is cancelled due to bad weather, the mission will be pushed back to May 29.

Demo-2 will be live-streamed for free on NasaTV.

Space fans will also be able to watch the launch via the SpaceX websiteand the firm's official YouTube channel.

We'll also be hosting a stream right here at The Sun.

Could Nasa cancel the launch?

SpaceX crew mission chief Benji Reed has warned that the mission could be cancelled at the last minute.

"I would expect there to be a very high chance of scrub due to the weather," Reed told Click Orlando last week.

"And given the time of year, it wouldn't surprise me as well."

Human spaceflights are far riskier than cargo-only trips, so weather conditions need to be perfect.

Clear skies and low winds are optimal for a successful launch – and even an emergency "mission abort" requires good weather for a safe splashdown in the Atlantic Ocean.

Nasa keeps track of more than 50 locations across the ocean to ensure a splashdown can be safely performed.

SpaceX said on Tuesday that the weather forecast for launch "is 60 per cent favourable."

In other news, a tropical storm grounded a key SpaceX launch twice last week.

Nasa recently unveiled the Tesla car that will be ferrying astronauts to tonight's historic launch.

And, incredible photos of eerie Martian landscapes have been released online by scientists.

We pay for your stories! Do you have a story for The Sun Online Tech & Science team? Email us at [email protected]

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What coronavirus could teach us about the climate crisis

(CNN Business)Before the coronavirus pandemic hit, India and China were positioning themselves as global climate leaders.

While virus lockdowns have provided temporary blue skies from Delhi to Beijing, and beyond, as China and India prepare to resuscitate their economies experts warn doing so without environmental regard could wind back their previous good work on climate.
That could have devastating effects on the health on billions of people. Air pollution already kills 7 million of us every year, damages our children’s health and development, causes serious breathing and lung problems, and even affects babies in the womb.

    The pandemic isn't fixing climate change
    Now climate experts are demanding countries use this recovery period to enact policies that reduce emissions and invest in renewable energy and climate-resilient infrastructure. That, they say, will create jobs, be better for the economy in the long term and, crucially, save lives.
    Bailing out fossil fuel companies and funding high-carbon industries, by contrast, will set back the planet’s chances of limiting global temperatures to within levels needed to stave off the worst of the climate catastrophe.

    For Pulitzer Prize-winner Joseph Stiglitz, and a group of leading economists, this is a make or break moment.
    “The recovery packages can either kill these two birds with one stone — setting the global economy on a pathway towards net-zero emissions — or lock us into a fossil system from which it will be nearly impossible to escape,” they wrote earlier this month in the Oxford Review of Economic Policy.

    Building green, climate resilient infrastructure

    Before the virus hit, India had clear targets on climate change.
    It had committed to having 40% of its power generation supplied by non-fossil fuels by 2030, and had increased its target for renewable energy capacity to 450 gigawatts by then, too.
    Demand for coal — which generates about 75% of India’s electricity — was down, as renewable energy became much cheaper, and on the world stage India had taken a lead in climate negotiations.
    “Before pandemic hit the predictions were that India would surpass its targets,” said Aparna Roy, associate fellow and co-lead on climate change and energy at the Centre for New Economic Diplomacy (CNED).
    But the coronavirus lockdowns have wreaked huge economic disruption on India’s economy. More than 120 million people lost their jobs in April, mostly informal laborers and small traders, according to the Centre for Monitoring the Indian Economy (CMIE).
    To ease the economic pain, the Indian government last week unveiled $266 billion economic package aimed at building a “self-reliant India,” according to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and will help micro, small and medium-sized enterprises.
    The details of that package are still being rolled out, but government support for energy efficiency upgrades for businesses and targets for decarbonizing as conditions on funds could go a long way, experts say.
    “Fossil fuel industries, facing extraordinarily low oil prices, are likely to request future tax breaks or bailouts,” the economists write in the Oxford University study. “While there may be good reasons for such support, such bailouts should be conditional on these industries developing a measurable plan of action to transition towards a net-zero emissions future.”
    Subsidies for fossil fuels in India were already over seven times larger than those for alternative energy, according to a report from two environmental think tanks found in April, highlighting an area where India has to do better.
    The disruption from the virus could also impact whether India meets its renewable energy targets.
    The country wants to be a leader in solar power and is aiming for 175 gigawatts of renewable energy by 2022, with the majority of that to come from solar. But construction on solar projects was halted during lockdown as the majority of the components needed for these installations come from China, where factories shut during the pandemic.
    India also depends on international finance to help reach its climate goals — a pot that could dry up as developed nations struggle with their own economic hardships.
    “Most developed countries that are already regressing from their commitments, this is an opportunity to not commit the further finance that is urgently required for developing countries to make their transition,” Roy said.

    Lockdowns lead to air pollution drops in major cities
    Lockdowns lead to air pollution drops in major cities


      Lockdowns lead to air pollution drops in major cities


    India’s development depends on green policies

    India’s long-term coronavirus recovery strategy could also determine how the country progresses not only with its clean energy transition but the health and development of its people.
    India’s ability to provide enough food and energy for its growing population hinges on building infrastructure that will withstand the impacts from the climate crisis, having a sustainable agriculture sector, and transitioning to renewable energy.
    “The Covid pandemic has actually highlighted how important three things are: food security; sustainable, reliable and affordable energy access; and the third is critical infrastructure,” Roy said. “Poverty alleviation will require India to have energy and food security, at the same time its energy and food security are very vulnerable to climate impact.”
    Those climate impacts are already being felt. Deadly heatwaves with temperatures above 50 degrees Celsius (122 Fahrenheit) are now the norm during summer. Erratic monsoon rains bring annual flooding that grind entire cities to a standstill, and disrupt the region’s vital crop production. Pollution from factories, exhausts and crop burning choke India’s cities every year, damaging the health of millions.
    Adding to the urgency is that this nation of 1.3 billion people is the world’s third-largest emitter of carbon dioxide. And those energy needs are expected to double over the next decade due to its rapidly growing population and economy.
    Construction of roads, buildings and other infrastructure such as transport links will need to expand to keep up with the millions of people moving to cities.
    And millions more still have no or poor access to electricity and use polluting fuels such as wood or kerosene for cooking and lighting. The challenge over the next decade will be how to rapidly expand energy access, and sustainably develop the agriculture sector — which hundreds of millions of people in India depend on for their livelihoods — while not increasing emissions and pollution.
    Having a coronavirus recovery strategy that builds green infrastructure, reduces emissions and ramps up renewable energy capacity and production is therefore a huge opportunity for India.
    “How India meets its development trajectory and meets the energy transition is very important. India has the opportunity to create the kind of a model that it can export to other developing nations,” Roy said.

    An iceberg floats in a fjord near the town of Tasiilaq, Greenland, in June 2018. Greenland is often considered by scientists to be <a href="https://www.cnn.com/interactive/2018/09/world/greenland-climate-change-cnnphotos/" target="_blank">ground zero of the Earth's climate change.</a> The massive island is mostly in the Arctic, which is warming twice as fast as the rest of the planet. Melting ice from Greenland's ice sheet is the largest contributor of all land sources to the rising sea levels that could become catastrophic for coastal cities around the world. "Seeing the size of these icebergs in the water was like looking at entire city blocks floating around," Reuters photographer <a href="https://widerimage.reuters.com/photographer/lucas-jackson" target="_blank">Lucas Jackson</a> said.

    A neighborhood is flooded in Beaumont, Texas, a day after <a href="https://www.cnn.com/2017/08/26/us/gallery/hurricane-harvey/index.html" target="_blank">Hurricane Harvey</a> came ashore in August 2017. The Category 4 storm caused historic flooding. It set a record for the most rainfall from a tropical cyclone in the continental United States, with 51 inches of rain recorded in areas of Texas. An estimated 27 trillion gallons of water fell over Texas and Louisiana during a six-day period. "Warmer sea water from our changing climate is causing tropical storms to be more wet and powerful," photographer <a href="https://georgesteinmetz.com/" target="_blank">George Steinmetz</a> said.

    Peia Kararaua, 16, swims in a flooded area of Kiribati's Aberao village. Kiribati is one of the countries most affected by sea-level rise, photographer <a href="http://www.vladsokhin.com/" target="_blank">Vlad Sokhin</a> said. During high tides many villages become inundated, making large parts of them uninhabitable. This photo was taken in an area that, when dry, is a soccer field. "Prior to this, a man moved his vehicle from the lower part of the field to the higher point, and the vehicle ended up being parked on an 'island' when the water came," Sokhin said. "Young people started swimming there and playing when I took this shot. It was strange to see such a scene: happy kids swimming along the remains of the dead palm trees."

    A woman walks through a cactus field in a drought-stricken area of western Somaliland, a breakaway state from Somalia. "In 2016 I came across a group of women washing their clothes in a roadside puddle — the only water they could find," photographer <a href="https://www.nicholesobecki.com/" target="_blank">Nichole Sobecki</a> said. "We spoke for a while of the challenges they faced, of the animals they'd lost in the drought, and the wells that had dried up. Somalia has long been a place of extremes, but climate and environmental changes are compounding those problems and leading to the end of a way of life."

    Jorgen Umaq and his dogs traverse an icy area near Qaanaaq in northern Greenland. It is one of the northernmost towns in the world. Because ice thickness there has been declining, hunters like Umaq can't travel as far as they could before, said photographer <a href="https://www.anfilip.com/" target="_blank">Anna Filipova.</a> "Navigating this terrain was dangerous and difficult," she said. "We needed to manually move the sledge and twice needed to rescue the dogs who had fallen into the cracks in the sea. ... Each year, people lose their lives on the sea ice because of fast-changing conditions."

    Bangladesh was recently ranked by research firm Maplecroft as the country <a href="https://www.cnn.com/2013/10/29/world/gallery/climate-change-index/index.html" target="_blank">most vulnerable to climate change,</a> due to its exposure to threats such as flooding, rising sea levels, cyclones and landslides as well as its susceptible population and weak institutional capacity to address the problem. This aerial photo, taken by <a href="http://www.ignacio-marin.com/" target="_blank">Ignacio Marin,</a> shows where some homes used to be before the river washed them away. "From where I was standing, at the riverbank, it was hard to imagine that there were nine houses where I could only see water," Marin said. "So I decided to fly the drone. Only then, watching the area from above, I realized the scale of the disaster."

    Sheep graze in the dry, dusty fields of Farmersville, California. "This image was made in 2014 while working on a short film about the ongoing drought in California," photographer <a href="https://edkashi.com/" target="_blank">Ed Kashi </a>said. "Tens of thousands of acres of arable land was turning to dust, massive orchards were being ripped out due to a lack of irrigation water, and farmers and ranchers who for generations had worked this land were wondering if their way of life was sustainable." Intense droughts like the one that plagued California this decade are <a href="https://advances.sciencemag.org/content/1/1/e1400082" target="_blank">becoming more likely due to global warming.</a>

    Oil refineries are seen in Carson, California, in this 2017 photo taken by <a href="https://www.edwardburtynsky.com/" target="_blank">Edward Burtynsky</a> for The Anthropocene Project, which explores how humans have contributed to climate change and the state the planet is in today. Part of <a href="https://theanthropocene.org/" target="_blank">the project</a> includes a film, "Anthropocene: The Human Epoch," that opens September 25 in 100 theaters across the United States.

    Two people are seen at an ice cave entrance on the Rhone Glacier in the Swiss Alps. Every summer, the glacier is covered with huge sheets of white fleece blankets to slow down its melting, according to photographer <a href="https://ellingvag.photoshelter.com/index" target="_blank">Orjan F. Ellingvag.</a> "The fleece-covered cave attracts more and more tourists worried about global warming and wanting to see the remnants of a dying glacier," Ellingvag said.

    A wildfire burns in Tocantínia, Brazil, in September 2018. In the Cerrado region, wildfires are common for two reasons, said photographer <a href="http://www.marciopimenta.com/" target="_blank">Marcio Pimenta.</a> One is extreme heat. The other is farmers clearing space for soybeans and livestock.

    This aerial photo shows Ejit, an islet in the Marshall Islands, in 2015. The islands are threatened by rising seas. "I flew a drone above the island showing just how precarious its location is: Homes clinging to the edge of an eroding coastline as unrelenting waves chisel away at what remains," said <a href="http://www.joshhaner.com/" target="_blank">Josh Haner,</a> a photographer with The New York Times. "After I saw what was happening on Ejit, I realized that climate change is not something nebulous that will only start affecting us in the future, but rather something happening right now. Residents are being forced to make the most difficult decision: Do they stay and build sea walls to buy some more time, or do they relocate?"

    Coal is a crucial area for China after Covid

    Before the pandemic, China was on track to achieve most of its climate commitments — which included a peak in carbon emissions by 2030, and a 20% share of renewable energy in its primary energy demand. It had also made big strides in reducing pollution in its cities, with Beijing now out of the world’s top 100 most polluted.
    In recent years, China had become the world’s largest developer of renewable energy, and dramatically reduced the price of solar power.
    But Covid-19 has shrunk China’s economy into its worst three-month period in decades. Some 80 million Chinese may already be out of work and experts say it will be a long road to recovery.
    “There will be major pressures in China to stimulate the economy and keep people employed, and China’s coal industry still a huge employer,” said Joanna Lewis, associate professor of energy and environment and an expert on China’s clean energy at Georgetown University.
    China is the world’s largest producer and consumer of coal and there is evidence that China is relaxing restrictions around fossil fuel, signaling a possible move to use coal to boost the country’s coronavirus-hit economy.
    In the first few weeks of March, more coal-fired capacity was permitted for construction in China than in all of 2019, according to the Global Energy Monitor.
    Construction of plants could give an economic boost in the short term. But in the long-term coal is generally unprofitable — research by Carbon Tracker found that 40% of China’s coal plants are losing money.
    “Even if renewables are technically cheaper at this point, they will have to complete against a coal industry being supported by government programs to reduce output, push up prices and guarantee output contracts,” Lewis said.
    It may talk a green talk, but carbon emissions have been rising in China over the past few years as its economy slowed.
    “Even before the outbreak we saw backsliding in commitments to slow coal growth, with increasing demand in 2019 after years of slowing growth,” said Lewis.
    Eyes will be on China’s biggest annual political meeting, the National People’s Congress (NPC), which kicks off on May 22 after being delayed because of the virus. The sessions unveil key economic targets and budgets — and measures to revive the economy after coronavirus will be center stage.
    Observers will be keen to see how much climate policy will be on the agenda.
    Lewis said a green economic package would be a “huge opportunity to capitalize on the last decade of progress it has made in pushing forward clean energy innovation and deployment and ensure the low carbon transition can continue.”
    The world is coming together to fight coronavirus. It can do the same for the climate crisis
    Importantly, China is drafting its 14th Five Year Plan — a roadmap of the country’s goals and a key indicator of how much clean energy and sustainable development will be a focus in the next five years. Because China is the world’s biggest polluter, the document’s climate policy is hugely important.
    “The technologies China should be investing in are different from where they instead a decade ago,” Lewis said. “Rather than investing in wind power technology, for example, more investment in battery technology would not only enable further deployment of EVs (electric vehicles) but can help to balance a grid that is relying on more and more renewable energy.”
    China leads the world in deployment of electric vehicles. At the end of June 2019, 45% of the electric cars and almost all electric buses were in China.
    A report by China Briefing said the country’s recovery strategy will likely push it toward a “sustainable and technology-driven economic model” with investments in “new infrastructure” such as big data centers, 5G, and charging stations for new energy vehicles.
    At the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 26) — postponed until next year because of the virus — China and India are expected to update their climate commitments, along with other countries. What they do during this recovery time will have ramifications for global climate action.

      Lewis said coordination between China and the United States — the world’s second-biggest polluter — should be a “crucial element of US-China engagement going forward.”
      Without it, she said: “We risk valuable global action being taken during this next decade, which is no doubt the decisive decade for climate change.”
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      What to do if your credit card gets declined

      It can be embarrassing, but it’s not necessarily your fault. (iStock)

      Credit cards work on revolving credit, which means you have a credit line with a limit on how much you can spend. As you pay off some or all of your balance, that credit is available to use again.

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      When you see a character’s credit card declined in a movie or TV show, it’s typically because the card has been maxed out. But there are several other reasons your credit card issuer may choose to decline a transaction.

      Here are some credit card basics you should know if the situation happens to you.

      Knowing the reason for your credit card being declined can help you determine the next steps and how long it will take before you can use the account again. Here are some potential reasons your credit card was declined.


      Why your credit card was likely declined

      Card limit

      You’ve reached your credit limit. It’s important to keep an eye on your credit card account to avoid this, but it can still happen, especially if you have a low credit limit. If this happens, pay down your balance before you try to use it again. Depending on the card issuer, it can take a few days for a payment to go through.

      Credit card transaction 

      You have a large pending transaction or hold. While it can take a few days for a transaction to post to your account, your available credit is reduced by both posted and pending transactions.


      It’s also possible that a rental car company, hotel, or gas station has placed a hold on your account to ensure there’s enough available credit for their transaction. If this happens, you may need to wait until the hold falls off, which can take several days, or pay down your balance, so you have more room on your credit line.

      Fraud alerts

      Your purchase was flagged as fraud. If you’ve made a purchase outside of your normal spending habits, your card issuer could decline it because it thinks the transaction is fraudulent. In this case, you may receive a phone call, text or email from your card issuer to confirm that it’s you using the card. If confirmed, you can usually use the card again immediately. If you don’t get a message, use a backup payment method and call your card issuer to resolve the issue.

      Credit card expiration

      The card information is incorrect or expired. Credit cards are usually good for a few years before they need to be replaced. If your card has expired, you’ll need to get a new one to be able to use the account. Also, make sure you enter your card information correctly when shopping online.

       Missed payment

      You’re behind on payments. If you’re delinquent on your payments, your card issuer may prohibit you from using the account until you get caught up. If this happens, get current on the account as quickly as possible.

      How do you fix a declined credit card?

      While having your credit card declined doesn’t happen often, it’s typically a good idea to have a backup payment method, such as a second credit card, a debit card, or cash. If a transaction doesn’t go through on your credit card, you can simply move onto your backup payment method without holding up the checkout line.


      Once you’ve completed the transaction—or beforehand, if you specifically want to use the card in question—contact your issuer via the phone number on the back of your card and speak to a customer service representative to find out what happened.

      In some cases, it may have been a simple misunderstanding or common reason and the representative can fix quickly the issue so the authorized user can use the card again immediately. In other cases, however, you may need to wait before the issue is resolved. The timing can vary depending on the reason for the decline.

      Credit card tips everyone should know

      If you want to use your card responsibly and take advantage of its features, here are some general credit card tips to help:

      • Always keep a backup payment method in case your first doesn’t work.
      • Pay your bill on time and in full every month to avoid interest charges.
      • Keep your balance low relative to your credit limit to maintain a good credit score.
      • Avoid using the card to make unnecessary purchases.
      • Keep track of your account balance and transactions to spot fraud.

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      Here's what you can get for $700,000 in Indianapolis

      Can 3D tours during coronavirus save real estate?

      Matterport CEO R.J. Pittman on creating an app that creates 3D tours of homes to help keep the real estate industry running during the coronavirus pandemic.

      The Indianapolis real estate market felt the pinch of the coronavirus pandemic like just about any other community, but the market appears to already be turning itself around.

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      Indianapolis is the capital of the Hoosier State and it is home to major businesses like health insurer Anthem and drug maker Lilly.

      Loan applications in the area were up nearly 15 percent so far this month, FOX 59 reported Friday. And the average sale price of $175,000 during the past month is 8 percent higher than a year ago despite the pandemic, according to real estate firm Redfin.

      So here’s a look at some of what you can get in Indianapolis with a $700,000 budget:

      Herron-Morton Place – $699,900

      This Indianapolis home is listed for $699,900. (Keller Williams)


      This new construction home is located in a tree-lined historic neighborhood within walking distance of popular restaurants and a local brewery.

      The 3,816-square-foot home includes four bedrooms, three bathrooms and one half-bath, according to the listing with Lisa Phillips of Keller Williams.

      This Indianapolis home is listed for $699,900. (Keller Williams)

      The ground floor features an open floorplan with room for front and rear living spaces connected by the dining area and kitchen with a large island. There’s even more room in the finished basement, and the backyard is fully fenced and leads to a detached three-car garage, according to the listing.

      This Indianapolis home is listed for $699,900. (Keller Williams)

      The luxurious master suite includes a huge shower, dual vanities, walk-in closet with plenty of storage and lots of windows to let in sunlight.

      This Indianapolis home is listed for $699,900. (Keller Williams)


      Fall Creek Place – $699,000

      This Indianapolis home is listed for $699,000. (Hoosier Property Media)


      This character-filled home dates to 1900 but it has been fully updated. The home sits in a central, walkable revitalized neighborhood with lots of restored properties and new construction, as well as new parks and other amenities.

      The 5,475-square-foot home includes six bedrooms and four bathrooms, according to the listing with Sarah Fishburn of F.C. Tucker Company.

      This Indianapolis home is listed for $699,000. (Hoosier Property Media)

      The front of the home features a large, inviting porch. Inside, there are two fireplaces, an open concept kitchen, second-floor laundry room and a spacious master suite. The finished third floor includes two more rooms and a full bathroom.

      This Indianapolis home is listed for $699,000. (Hoosier Property Media)

      The fenced-in backyard includes a large patio, a gas fire pit and a garden. There’s also a two-car garage.

      This Indianapolis home is listed for $699,000. (Hoosier Property Media)


      Meridian-Kessler – $655,000

      This home is listed for $650,000 in Indianapolis. (RE/MAX)


      This brick Tudor-style home was built in 1931 and has been updated with modern finishes while still maintaining elements of the home’s original character.

      The 4,325-square-foot home includes three bedrooms, two bathrooms and one half-bath, according to the listing with RE/MAX.

      This home is listed for $650,000 in Indianapolis. (RE/MAX)

      The home has a circular floor plan, vaulted ceiling and beams, a fireplace, eat-in kitchen and three living spaces. The master suite features built-ins and a dressing room.

      This home is listed for $650,000 in Indianapolis. (RE/MAX)

      The rear family room overlooks the fenced-in backyard, which includes a patio and pergola. The property sits in a historic, walkable neighborhood.

      This home is listed for $650,000 in Indianapolis. (RE/MAX)


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      Here's what to know if you must sign up for Cobra health insurance

      People who lost their jobs, insurance can enroll in health care: Azar

      Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar discusses how health care providers are handling coronavirus treatment for the uninsured.

      Get all the latest news on coronavirus and more delivered daily to your inbox. Sign up here.

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      As millions of Americans lose their jobs — and with them, their employer-based health insurance — they'll need to look for other coverage.

      In the middle of a pandemic, preventing gaps in health insurance coverage is likely top of mind. For some, obtaining health insurance through Cobra, or the Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act, may be an option. If you lost your job and are already on a spouse's plan, you probably don't have to take any action. If you're on a Marketplace plan, you may want to check if your change in income affects whether you will qualify for tax credits.

      Here are some things to consider before you sign up.

      In this Wednesday, April 8, 2020 photo, Aurora Ortega picks up an unemployment form at a Miami-Dade County library during the new coronavirus pandemic in Miami. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

      What is Cobra?

      Cobra is a federally mandated insurance-continuation program that employers are, in most circumstances, required to offer workers who have been terminated. Generally, companies with more than 20 employees offer Cobra coverage to those who qualify.


      You're not required to sign up for Cobra, if you choose not to. Cobra tends to be expensive, as employees are responsible for 100% of the health benefit premium plus up to a 2% administrative fee.

      What does Cobra cover?

      If you choose to enroll in Cobra, you'll continue the same medical-plan coverage you had when you were working. Supplemental coverage, such as disability and life insurance, aren't covered.

      Cobra enables you to keep the same doctors and maintain your existing plan.

      If elected within 60 days, Cobra coverage begins on the date of the qualifying event (such as a layoff), meaning that there won't be a gap in coverage. If you lost your job, you're generally entitled to 18 months of continuous coverage. Cobra coverage is retroactive to the date you would have otherwise lost coverage.

      How do I know if I'm eligible?

      Check with your company, as it is required to send you information if you qualify.


      Employees who have been laid off or had their work hours reduced are typically covered. Dependents of someone who qualifies may be eligible, too.

      In this Wednesday, April 8, 2020 photo, restaurant worker Glen Pile, left, waits in line to get an unemployment form at a Miami-Dade County library during the new coronavirus pandemic in Miami.(AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

      If your company has under 20 employees, or if you work for a government or religious institution, Cobra likely doesn't apply. Some states have laws similar to Cobra that are applicable to companies with under 20 employees, and other continuation of coverage laws may apply to government workers, said Rachel Leiser Levy, an employee benefits lawyer and principal of Groom Law Group in Washington, D.C.

      How do I enroll?

      You have 60 days to enroll in Cobra once your employer's benefits end. Your former employer or insurance carrier will send you information about coverage and how to sign up.

      The Cobra election notice you receive should contain the address where you need to send premium payments along, with the amount of the premium due and its due date, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services website.

      How much does Cobra cost?

      Cobra is pricey.

      Employers that offer health benefits typically pay for the majority of their active employees' health premiums for those employees who qualify for those benefits, says the Kaiser Family Foundation. However, with Cobra, you'll likely be responsible for 100% of the premium plus up to a 2% administrative fee.


      That means your monthly payment under Cobra may be more than five times higher than your payroll deduction, according to a 2019 survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation.

      Female doctor with a stethoscope and scrubs in a medical office with a young girl patient and the mother / iStock

      As part of your exit, you may try to negotiate with your employer to see if it will cover your Cobra premium costs for a period of time.

      "It's possible that Cobra subsidies (in which the government would pick up part or all of all of the tab of your premiums) may be included in the next federal Covid-relief package," noted Ms. Leiser Levy.

      What if I have an HSA account?

      If you have a health savings account, or HSA, you may pay your Cobra premiums with pretax dollars from that account without penalty, said Ms. Leiser Levy.

      HSAs can be a "huge lifeline" for people that have lost their jobs and have the option to maintain coverage through Cobra, said Roy Ramthun, a consultant who specializes in high-deductible plans and HSAs. If their Cobra plan is HSA-qualified, they will be eligible to continue to make tax deductible contributions to their HSA, he said.

      Who is Cobra right for?

      If you want to stick with your existing doctors because you have an existing condition, such as cancer or you're pregnant, you might consider Cobra if you can afford to do so.


      If you're worried that a new plan may not cover your medications or you don't qualify for subsidies under the Affordable Care Act, you may wish to stay on your former employer's plan through Cobra since it may be cheaper in the long run, Ms. Leiser Levy says. Additionally, if you've already hit your deductible for the year, it may make financial sense.

      Doctor listening to patient heartbeat in medical office / iStock

      Once you receive the cost information on the Cobra election notice from your employer, you can visit HealthCare.gov to compare health-care plans that are offered under the ACA.

      What are some alternatives to Cobra?

      If it is an option, consider joining your spouse's employer-sponsored plan. Losing employment is typically a qualifying event to add a spouse or dependents on most plans.

      If you're younger than 26, you're eligible to be covered under your parents' insurance plan, according to the Affordable Care Act.

      If you join a trade or professional group, you might be able to find a lower-premium plan.

      If you have insurance through your job, a job loss generally qualifies you for special enrollment under the ACA. Visit HealthCare.gov to compare plan costs and details. You must apply within 60 days of your job loss, or you may have to wait until open enrollment begins in the fall. The Marketplace offers premium subsidies to those who expect their 2020 income will be 100% to 400% of the federal poverty level: $12,490 to $49,960 per individual and $25,750 to $103,000 per family of four, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.

      If you're eligible, it may be beneficial to enroll in Medicare, before or instead of, enrolling in Cobra, according to a recent statement by the Labor Department.


      If you don't enroll in Medicare and elect Cobra instead, you may have to pay a Part B late-enrollment penalty and face a gap in coverage when you decide to switch to Part B later, the Labor Department said.

      You may also check if you're eligible for Medicaid by visiting the Medicaid.gov or HHS.gov websites. In the more than 30 states that adopted the ACA Medicaid expansion, adults can qualify if their current income is up to 138% of the federal poverty level, or $1,467 a month for an individual and $3,013 a month for a family of four, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.

      Unemployment compensation counts, but not the $600 federal supplement recently approved by Congress. Savings and other assets aren't taken into account, says Karen Pollitz, senior fellow at the Kaiser Family Foundation.


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      What Trump and Fox News hosts said about hydroxychloroquine

      (CNN Business)A version of this article first appeared in the “Reliable Sources” newsletter. You can sign up for free right here.

      At the top of his prime time show Tuesday night, Tucker Carlson hyped a video featuring two California doctors who downplayed the threat of the coronavirus. The doctors, Dan Erickson and Artin Massihi, are the co-owners of an urgent care clinic in Bakersfield. They went viral in the last few days for delivering a presentation last week in which they suggested the mortality rate of Covid-19 is similar to the flu.

        The arguments the doctors put forward have been widely criticized. The American College of Emergency Physicians and the American Academy of Emergency Medicine said in a joint statement that they “emphatically condemn the recent opinions released” by Erickson and Massihi. And YouTube removed the video for violating its community guidelines, which have been strengthened to prevent coronavirus misinformation from spreading rampantly on the platform.
        But Carlson promoted their claims anyway. In fact, the Fox News host argued that “what YouTube just did” by removing the video will be seen “as a turning point in the way we liven this country.” He declared that YouTube and Google “have now officially banned dissent.”
        Over on MSNBC, at the same time Carlson was spotlighting the claims from the doctors, Chris Hayes was working to debunk them. Characterizing Fox News as comprised of “coronavirus truthers,” Hayes quoted University of Washington biologist Dr. Carl Bergstrom who said the doctors had “used methods that are ludicrous to get results that are completely implausible.” Hayes also highlighted the blatant hypocrisy in Fox’s top hosts calling for people to return to work when Fox’s own executives have instructed the network’s staff to work from home.

        It was another perfect case study in the choose-your-own-news phenomenon that has come to define the media in the last few years. It’s not just that Hayes and Carlson were offering different viewpoints to their audiences. The two shows were mirror images of each other. What Carlson said, Hayes debunked. But, stuck in their bubble, Carlson’s audience will likely not see the information Hayes outlined.

        Then versus now

        Brian Lowry emails: Remember when Carlson’s monologue reportedly prompted the president to take the coronavirus threat more seriously? It’s a long way from that interlude — way back in mid-March — to the Fox News host now stating, with unsupported absolute certainty, that the virus “just isn’t nearly as deadly as we thought it was.”

        Conservatives rage against YouTube

        A large portion of Carlson’s opening monologue was aimed at skewering YouTube for removing the video featuring the California doctors. Positioned in front of a graphic that read “BIG TECH CENSORSHIP,” Carlson argued, “The only justification for taking it down was that the two physicians on screen had reached different conclusions from the people currently in charge. It was a form of dissent from orthodoxy.”
        Other conservatives also expressed outrage. Ted Cruz wrote in a tweet, “YouTube & Google should NOT have the power to censor speech—partularly on critical issues of concern. The doctors’ views here aren’t fraud. If YouTube disagrees, argue ON THE MERITS. Don’t abuse monopoly power—and special congressional liability immunity—to become speech police.”
        In a statement, YouTube said in part, “We quickly remove flagged content that violate our Community Guidelines, including content that explicitly disputes the efficacy of local healthy authority recommended guidance on social distancing that may lead others to act against that guidance….From the very beginning of the pandemic, we’ve had clear policies against COVID-19 misinformation and are committed to continue providing timely and helpful information at this critical time.”

        Meanwhile, YouTube also being hammered from the left

        Donie O’Sullivan emails: Virginia Senator Mark Warner blasted YouTube on Tuesday after a CNN report Monday detailed how a US Army reservist in Virginia had become the target of conspiracy theorists falsely putting her at the start of the coronavirus outbreak. Warner’s office reached out to YouTube on Monday asking why the company hadn’t taken down all the videos targeting the woman.
        YouTube told CNN Monday that it had taken down videos from conspiracy theorist George Webb’s YouTube channel targeting Maatje Benassi, the US Army reservist. Warned told CNN Tuesday, “This shouldn’t be something that requires attention from a major news network and a U.S. Senator to fix.”
        “It’s clear that the blanket grant of immunity for sites like YouTube has resulted in platforms that are too big and unresponsive to the harms they promote,” he added, saying Congress need to act. YouTube said it will continue monitoring Webb’s YouTube channel.

          Fact check info panels head to United States

          Speaking of YouTube and misinfo… YouTube announced on Tuesday that it will expand its fact check information panels to the United States. The panels display fact checks when users search certain key words and topics. The company noted people rely on YouTube for accurate information, adding that the pandemic “has reaffirmed how important it is for viewers to get accurate information during fast-moving events.” YouTube is partnering with over a dozen publishers in the United States, includingThe Dispatch, WaPo, FactCheck.org, and others.
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