FreshRSS

🔒
❌ About FreshRSS
There are new available articles, click to refresh the page.
Yesterday — July 8th 2020Your RSS feeds

https://rss.cbc.ca/lineup/topstories.xml

[unable to retrieve full-text content]

http://www.aljazeera.com/xml/rss/all.xml

[unable to retrieve full-text content]

http://ottawacitizen.com/feed

[unable to retrieve full-text content]

https://rss.cbc.ca/lineup/technology.xml

[unable to retrieve full-text content]

http://mobilesyrup.com/feed

[unable to retrieve full-text content]

http://macrumors.com/macrumors.xml

[unable to retrieve full-text content]
Before yesterdayYour RSS feeds

COVID-19: New Ontario cases at March levels, minister says; Proposed law would allow extension of some emergency measures

Article content

Ontario reported 112 new cases of COVID-19 in the previous 24 hours, bringing the number of confirmed cases to 36,060.

The province said 177 cases have been resolved since the last report, meaning 87 per cent of all cases are resolved.

There were two new deaths, following zero new deaths reported Monday. The total number of deaths is now 2,691.

The province reported there were 15,112 people tested in the previous 24 hours, a drop from recent levels.

More On This Topic

A total of 131 people remain hospitalized with the virus, 34 of them in ICU and 24 of them on ventilators.

Outbreaks continue at 30 long-term care homes, down four from the previous report. There are confirmed cases for 160 residents and 249 staff members, but there have been no new fatalities.

There were no new cases registered at regional health units in Eastern Ontario.

Health Minister Christine Elliott tweeted the latest figures were a “return to day-over-day increases seen in March.” She noted that “28 of the province’s 34 public health units are reporting five or fewer cases, with fully 23 of them reporting no new cases at all.”

The minister also said the province is launching new data visualization tools with “more interactive information” on its website.

After COVID-19 scare, Canadian Forces personnel will start to return from Latvia later this month

Article content continued

The local unit is working with their health professionals and local public health to identify personnel who could have been in contact with this individual, and to take the necessary precautions,” the email from the Canadian Forces added.

The RCAF was first made aware of the situation when the Polaris was airborne to Latvia, “at approximately 2.5 to 3 hours before landing in Prestwick, Scotland, where it refuelled then returned to Canada,” according to an email from the Canadian Forces. The plane returned to Canada on July 2 at approximately 9:00 p.m.

The Canadian Forces’ mission in Latvia is a high-profile deployment. Canada leads the NATO Enhanced Forward Presence Battle Group there, part of the alliance’s efforts to reassure its eastern members in the wake of Russia’s 2014 annexation of Crimea and Moscow’s support for separatists fighting Ukraine’s military.

The Canadian-led NATO enhanced Forward Presence battlegroup Latvia was stood up during a ceremony at Camp Adazi, Latvia on June 19, 2017. In July 2018 Prime Minister Justin Trudeau visited Latvia to announce the government was not only extending the mission but expanding it. Canadian troops will stay in Latvia until March 2023 and the number of military personnel was boosted from 455 to 540.

Telus expands its $9.95 internet program to people with disabilities in Alberta and B.C.

Telus has expanded its $9.95 per month ‘Internet for Good‘ program to include people living with disabilities in British Columbia and Alberta.

Prior to this expansion, this plan was only available to families receiving the Canada Child Benefit from the government in these two provinces. Now, people who receive financial disability assistance from the government are also eligible for the program.

Telus notes that the program’s expansion now makes it available to more than 110,000 British Columbians and 69,000 Albertans receiving provincial disability benefits. The plan provides internet speeds up to 25Mbps and 300GB of data per month.

The carrier outlines that this expansion comes at a critical time as the COVID-19 pandemic has increased the need for a reliable connection at home.

Eligibility for the expanded program is based on receiving the B.C. Persons with Disability (PWD) benefit or the Alberta Assured Income for the Severely Handicapped (AISH) benefit.

To apply, eligible individuals can contact the carrier at ‘InternetforGood@telus.com’ and provide one piece of government-issued documentation that identifies them as a recipient of PWD or AISH.

Telus notes that eligible individuals can also send their paperwork by mail. In cases where an individual is unable to access email or requires support, someone can apply on their behalf.

Qualified new customers will receive a unique code, and can then use that code to sign-up for the program and book a service installation. Existing Telus customers will have their monthly bill lowered to the $9.95 program rate.

Source: Telus

Huawei reportedly working on ‘Mate V’ foldable that looks like Galaxy Z Flip

It looks like Huawei could be working on a new foldable to take on Samsung’s Galaxy Z Flip.

According to details from leaker and concept designer Ben Geskin on Twitter, the China-based telecom equipment maker is working on a vertical folding device. Geskin says the phone will allegedly be called the ‘Mate V.’

Further, Geskin tweeted that the Mate V will have a notch on the display and support “3D face recognition,” which Geskin suggests is similar to the face unlock system Huawei included on its Mate 30 Pro phone. That system relies on 3D technologies like a time of flight (TOF) sensor to recognize users and authenticate them.

Finally, Geskin explained in his tweet that the Mate V will look like the Galaxy Z Flip, but will include more cameras.

New foldable from Huawei allegedly called 'Mate V' is coming 👀 Looks similar to Samsung Galaxy Z Flip, but with more cameras and a notch with 3D face recognition pic.twitter.com/kpwQhIHVId

— Ben Geskin (@BenGeskin) July 7, 2020

Included renders show notch display and vertical camera array

Geskin included two images with his tweet that show renders of what the Mate V could look like. The first shows the front and back of the Mate V both while folded and unfolded. The top half of the phone’s rear includes a vertical camera array, although it isn’t clear how many cameras the phone will have.

Additionally, it appears there will be a space below the camera bump. It’s not immediately clear why, but some users replied to Geskin’s tweet saying the space was likely for a small display. The Galaxy Z Flip, for example, has a small external display for checking the time and notifications without opening the device.

Additionally, the render shows a thin rectangle with rounded corners next to the camera array. This will probably be where the phone’s flash and other sensors will reside.

The inside of the phone features a nearly edge-to-edge display and a boxy notch. Unfortunately, it’s unlikely a foldable phone like this will have bezels as small as the render.

The second image shows several side profiles of the device while folded and unfolded. You can see the power and volume buttons on the right side as well as the SIM slot, charging port and speaker grill along the bottom. The hinge looks just like the one on Samsung’s Galaxy Z Flip.

All in all, it’s an interesting rumour. Huawei already has one foldable, the Mate X, so it isn’t surprising that the company is working on other ones. Considering the positive response to the Galaxy Z Flip, it also doesn’t come as a surprise that Huawei is working on a vertical foldable. It remains to be seen what the finished product looks like, however. These renders — which should be taken with a grain of salt — make the alleged Mate V look just like the Z Flip. While I imagine there will be similarities, there will likely be some major differentiators with the finished product as well.

Source: Ben Geskin (@BenGeskin)

OPP hunting for federal offender known to frequent Ottawa

Article content

The OPP’s repeat offender parole enforcement squad is asking the public to help them find a federal offender known to frequent Ottawa.

Kevin Magoffin, 37, is wanted on a Canada-wide warrant. His current sentence is four years and six months imposed on convictions including 13 counts of robbery, two counts of assault with intent to commit robbery, assault and three counts of theft under $5,000.

He is also known to frequent the Barrie, Wasaga Beach and Toronto areas.

Magoffin is 5-9 and 177 pounds with brown hair and blue eyes.

Anyone who has had contact with him or has information about his whereabouts is asked to call the R.O.P.E. squad at 1-866-870-7673,  Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or 911.

Russia Arrests Space Agency Official, Accusing Him of Treason

MOSCOW — Russia’s secret police on Tuesday arrested a respected former reporter who worked in recent months as an adviser to the head of the country’s space agency, accusing him of treason for passing secrets to a NATO country.

Life News, a tabloid news site with close ties to the security apparatus, posted a video of the former reporter, Ivan I. Safronov, being bundled off a leafy Moscow street into a gray van by plainclothes officers of the Federal Security Service, or F.S.B., the domestic arm of what was known in Soviet times as the K.G.B.

The F.S.B. said that Mr. Safronov was suspected of working for the intelligence service of an unspecified NATO country, passing on “classified information about military-technical cooperation, defense and the security of the Russian Federation.”

What information that could be, however, was unclear. Mr. Safronov only started working at the space agency, Roscosmos, in May. Before that, he worked for more than a decade as a well-regarded journalist for Kommersant and then Vedomosti, both privately owned business newspapers with no obvious access to state secrets.

Outraged at what was widely viewed as another example of overreach by Russia’s sprawling and often paranoid security apparatus, journalists and ordinary Muscovites gathered in small groups outside the headquarters of the F.S.B. to protest the arrest. Several were detained for holding up signs in support of Mr. Safronov.

Andrei A. Soldatov, an investigative reporter who has written extensively about Russia’s security services, said Mr. Safronov’s arrest on suspicion of treason marked “an absolutely new level of repression against journalism.” While journalists have often been accused of crimes, he said, accusations of treason had been “inconceivable.”

Even journalists known for their zealous loyalty to the authorities expressed unease. Margarita Simonyan, the chief editor of Kremlin-funded television network RT, tweeted that “it would be good to get an explanation of what exactly Safronov is accused of — journalist work for foreigners or direct work for foreign special services. There is a huge difference.”

With hundreds of journalists working abroad for RT, Ms. Simonyan clearly worries that Mr. Safronov’s troubles could be used by foreign governments as an excuse to justify detaining her own employees, who have often been accused of peddling propaganda for the Kremlin.

Russian journalists who take on the authorities are frequently harassed, detained, framed and even killed. In a rare reversal, the government in June last year dropped a case against Ivan Golunov, an investigative reporter arrested on bogus narcotics charges. The evidence against him was widely believed to have been manufactured by the police on orders from the F.S.B. to punish Mr. Golunov for reporting work that upset the financial interests of security officers. The authorities ultimately acknowledged that the evidence had been fabricated.

On Monday, a court in western Russia convicted another journalist, Svetlana Prokopyeva, of terrorism-related charges that even the Kremlin’s own human rights council had described as unwarranted.

In a statement on Tuesday, the newspaper where Mr. Safronov had worked, Kommersant, described its former journalist as a “true patriot of Russia” and scorned claims of treason as “absurd.” It said that Mr. Safronov had joined the newspaper to take a job covering defense issues that was previously held by his father, also named Ivan, who died in March 2007 after falling from the fifth floor of a Moscow apartment building.

Image
Credit...Peter Kassin/Kommersant Publishing House, via Associated Press

Prosecutors at the time described the fall as a suicide, but colleagues scorned this explanation and suspected possible foul play. The older Mr. Safronov died after publishing a series of scoops that had infuriated the Russian military.

Roscosmos confirmed on Tuesday that Mr. Safronov had been arrested on suspicion of treason but said that the detention did not relate to his work at the agency. At the same time, the Kremlin said that the arrest had nothing to do with his previous work as a journalist, which included coverage of President Vladimir V. Putin.

Mr. Putin’s spokesman, Dmitri S. Peskov, said he did not know how Mr. Safronov could have obtained classified information whose disclosure would qualify as treason, a crime punishable by up to 20 years in prison. Trials involving state secrets are generally closed to the public, making it impossible for anyone outside the system to know whether there is any real evidence.

A former American marine, Paul N. Whelan, received a 16-year jail sentence for espionage last month after a closed trial that the U.S. ambassador to Russia, John J. Sullivan, denounced as a “mockery of justice.”

The arrest on Tuesday of Mr. Safronov prompted dismay and anger among journalists, including those who have mostly avoided open confrontation with the authorities. Elena Chernenko, a foreign affairs journalist at Kommersant, Mr. Safronov’s former newspaper, staged a one-person picket, the only form of protest permitted without prior approval, outside the headquarters of the F.S.B., holding up a sign demanding “information and justice in connection with Ivan Safronov.” Police officers took her away.

Even Mr. Peskov, Mr. Putin’s spokesman, seemed surprised by the arrest of a journalist who had once worked in the Kremlin pool and whom he had previously described as highly talented.

“Ivan will have a chance to defend himself,” Mr. Peskov told journalists on Tuesday.

Samsung announces its new UV sterilizer and wireless charger

Samsung has officially announced and detailed its new UV sterilizer and wireless charger on its global website.

The tech giant says the charger can be used to quickly disinfect your phone, earbuds and glasses in 10 minutes. Samsung notes that personal hygiene is more important than ever, which is why it’s launching the new device.

“The UV Sterilizer effectively kills up to 99 percent of bacteria and germs, including E. coli, Staphylococcus aureus and Candida albicans,” Samsung notes.

It features dual UV lights that sterilize both the top and bottom surfaces of items that are placed inside. Samsung notes that the sleek design is meant to make the charging device easy to store.

“The UV Sterilizer can also wirelessly charge your device at the same time so when you pick up your device, you can rest assured it is disinfected, charged and ready to use,” the tech giant outlines.

Its UV sterilization function can be turned on or off with a button. A green light indicates that the UV function is currently on. It also turns off after 10 minutes, so users don’t have to worry about switching off the UV light function.

Samsung notes that charging capabilities are limited to Samsung or other brand mobile devices that support Qi wireless charging.

It’s interesting to note that Samsung isn’t the first company to offer a wireless charger with a UV sterilizer, as Mophie and Invisible Shield recently launched their own similar devices.

Since Samsung announced the product globally, the device is expected to be widely available. The product is currently available on Samsung’s German, Romanian, Singaporean and Hong Kong stores. It’s being sold for €58.38 in Germany, which is approximately $89 CAD.

MobileSyrup has reached out to Samsung for information about Canadian availability and pricing.

Image credit: Samsung

Source: Samsung

Preparing your home for a ‘pandemic puppy’

Article content continued

If you don’t have a backyard, pick up your puppy when heading out for a walk to prevent her from losing control of her bladder, Liles advises. If you have a balcony, consider setting out a litter pan or shoe tray lined with sod or artificial turf for last-minute or emergency breaks. “Take them out there even on leash and show them this is where they do their business and reward heavily when they do,” she says. “A lot of people have a garden or plants on the terrace or balcony so make sure the puppy is supervised.”

Pink crown bed, $34.99. Winners photo

Crate training This will restrict your dog’s run of the house and help keep her safe while unsupervised. If used correctly, a crate can be a highly effective toilet training tool as well as a comfortable den. Teaching your puppy to accept and enjoy her crate by offering treats and crating her even while family members are at home will help prevent separation anxiety down the road, especially when you return to work in the office and kids go back to school. In general, trainers say puppies shouldn’t be crated during the day any longer than one hour for each month of the puppy’s age.

Socialization classes As in-person dog training resumes, Kilburn also recommends puppy socialization classes, which offer access to an instructor and introduce dogs to new sounds, new experiences, new people and other dogs in a structured and supervised environment. When Hounds Fly Dog Training offers tips on raising a ’pandemic puppy,’ including a webinar on puppy socialization during COVID-19 at https://www.whenhoundsfly.com/pandemicpuppy/.

Some good news from around the world on Tuesday

[unable to retrieve full-text content] Some good news from around the world on Tuesday

With much of the world struggling through the COVID-19 pandemic, there are still some good-news stories to report. Here's a brief roundup.

Ottawa terror suspect Mohamed Harkat denied state-funded lawyer in extradition fight

Article content

The Federal Court of Canada has rejected Ottawa terror suspect Mohamed Harkat’s request for a government-funded lawyer as he battles extradition to his native Algeria.

In a recent ruling, Federal Court Judge Sylvie Roussel said Harkat failed to establish that he was unable to afford a lawyer, or that he had exhausted attempts to find one willing to take his case for a reduced or nominal fee.

“The right to counsel of choice is not an absolute right, and the onus rested with Mr. Harkat to put his best foot forward,” Roussel said.

Harkat wanted Toronto lawyer Barbara Jackman, one of the country’s foremost legal experts on security certificates, to represent him as he fights extradition. But Roussel said Harkat will have to find someone else.

“I am not persuaded that Mr. Harkat can only obtain a fair hearing with Ms. Jackman representing him,” she said.

Harkat faces an extradition order issued under Canada’s security certificate regime, a powerful and rarely used instrument of Canada’s immigration law. It allows the federal government to detain foreign-born terror suspects indefinitely, to present evidence in secret against them, and to send them back to countries where they could be tortured.

Sweden Has Become the World’s Cautionary Tale

LONDON — Ever since the coronavirus emerged in Europe, Sweden has captured international attention by conducting an unorthodox, open-air experiment. It has allowed the world to examine what happens in a pandemic when a government allows life to carry on largely unhindered.

This is what has happened: Not only have thousands more people died than in neighboring countries that imposed lockdowns, but Sweden’s economy has fared little better.

“They literally gained nothing,” said Jacob F. Kirkegaard, a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics in Washington. “It’s a self-inflicted wound, and they have no economic gains.”

The results of Sweden’s experience are relevant well beyond Scandinavian shores. In the United States, where the virus is spreading with alarming speed, many states have — at President Trump’s urging — avoided lockdowns or lifted them prematurely on the assumption that this would foster economic revival, allowing people to return to workplaces, shops and restaurants.

In Britain, Prime Minister Boris Johnson — previously hospitalized with Covid-19 — reopened pubs and restaurants last weekend in a bid to restore normal economic life.

Implicit in these approaches is the assumption that governments must balance saving lives against the imperative to spare jobs, with the extra health risks of rolling back social distancing potentially justified by a resulting boost to prosperity. But Sweden’s grim result — more death, and nearly equal economic damage — suggests that the supposed choice between lives and paychecks is a false one: A failure to impose social distancing can cost lives and jobs at the same time.

Sweden put stock in the sensibility of its people as it largely avoided imposing government prohibitions. The government allowed restaurants, gyms, shops, playgrounds and most schools to remain open. By contrast, Denmark and Norway opted for strict quarantines, banning large groups and locking down shops and restaurants.

More than three months later, the coronavirus is blamed for 5,420 deaths in Sweden, according to the World Health Organization. That might not sound especially horrendous compared with the more than 129,000 Americans who have died. But Sweden is a country of only 10 million people. Per million people, Sweden has suffered 40 percent more deaths than the United States, 12 times more than Norway, seven times more than Finland and six times more than Denmark.

Image
Credit...Jonathan Nackstrand/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

The elevated death toll resulting from Sweden’s approach has been clear for many weeks. What is only now emerging is how Sweden, despite letting its economy run unimpeded, has still suffered business-destroying, prosperity-diminishing damage, and at nearly the same magnitude of its neighbors.

Sweden’s central bank expects its economy to contract by 4.5 percent this year, a revision from a previously expected gain of 1.3 percent. The unemployment rate jumped to 9 percent in May from 7.1 percent in March. “The overall damage to the economy means the recovery will be protracted, with unemployment remaining elevated,” Oxford Economics concluded in a recent research note.

This is more or less how damage caused by the pandemic has played out in Denmark, where the central bank expects that the economy will shrink 4.1 percent this year, and where joblessness has edged up to 5.6 percent in May from 4.1 percent in March.

In short, Sweden suffered a vastly higher death rate while failing to collect on the expected economic gains.

The coronavirus does not stop at national borders. Despite the government’s decision to allow the domestic economy to roll on, Swedish businesses are stuck with the same conditions that produced recession everywhere else. And Swedish people responded to the fear of the virus by limiting their shopping — not enough to prevent elevated deaths, but enough to produce a decline in business activity.

Here is one takeaway with potentially universal import: It is simplistic to portray government actions such as quarantines as the cause of economic damage. The real culprit is the virus itself. From Asia to Europe to the Americas, the risks of the pandemic have disrupted businesses while prompting people to avoid shopping malls and restaurants, regardless of official policy.

Image
Credit...Jonathan Nackstrand/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Sweden is exposed to the vagaries of global trade. Once the pandemic was unleashed, it was certain to suffer the economic consequences, said Mr. Kirkegaard, the economist.

  • Frequently Asked Questions

    Updated July 7, 2020

    • What are the symptoms of coronavirus?

      Common symptoms include fever, a dry cough, fatigue and difficulty breathing or shortness of breath. Some of these symptoms overlap with those of the flu, making detection difficult, but runny noses and stuffy sinuses are less common. The C.D.C. has also added chills, muscle pain, sore throat, headache and a new loss of the sense of taste or smell as symptoms to look out for. Most people fall ill five to seven days after exposure, but symptoms may appear in as few as two days or as many as 14 days.

    • Is it harder to exercise while wearing a mask?

      A commentary published this month on the website of the British Journal of Sports Medicine points out that covering your face during exercise “comes with issues of potential breathing restriction and discomfort” and requires “balancing benefits versus possible adverse events.” Masks do alter exercise, says Cedric X. Bryant, the president and chief science officer of the American Council on Exercise, a nonprofit organization that funds exercise research and certifies fitness professionals. “In my personal experience,” he says, “heart rates are higher at the same relative intensity when you wear a mask.” Some people also could experience lightheadedness during familiar workouts while masked, says Len Kravitz, a professor of exercise science at the University of New Mexico.

    • I’ve heard about a treatment called dexamethasone. Does it work?

      The steroid, dexamethasone, is the first treatment shown to reduce mortality in severely ill patients, according to scientists in Britain. The drug appears to reduce inflammation caused by the immune system, protecting the tissues. In the study, dexamethasone reduced deaths of patients on ventilators by one-third, and deaths of patients on oxygen by one-fifth.

    • What is pandemic paid leave?

      The coronavirus emergency relief package gives many American workers paid leave if they need to take time off because of the virus. It gives qualified workers two weeks of paid sick leave if they are ill, quarantined or seeking diagnosis or preventive care for coronavirus, or if they are caring for sick family members. It gives 12 weeks of paid leave to people caring for children whose schools are closed or whose child care provider is unavailable because of the coronavirus. It is the first time the United States has had widespread federally mandated paid leave, and includes people who don’t typically get such benefits, like part-time and gig economy workers. But the measure excludes at least half of private-sector workers, including those at the country’s largest employers, and gives small employers significant leeway to deny leave.

    • Does asymptomatic transmission of Covid-19 happen?

      So far, the evidence seems to show it does. A widely cited paper published in April suggests that people are most infectious about two days before the onset of coronavirus symptoms and estimated that 44 percent of new infections were a result of transmission from people who were not yet showing symptoms. Recently, a top expert at the World Health Organization stated that transmission of the coronavirus by people who did not have symptoms was “very rare,” but she later walked back that statement.

    • What’s the risk of catching coronavirus from a surface?

      Touching contaminated objects and then infecting ourselves with the germs is not typically how the virus spreads. But it can happen. A number of studies of flu, rhinovirus, coronavirus and other microbes have shown that respiratory illnesses, including the new coronavirus, can spread by touching contaminated surfaces, particularly in places like day care centers, offices and hospitals. But a long chain of events has to happen for the disease to spread that way. The best way to protect yourself from coronavirus — whether it’s surface transmission or close human contact — is still social distancing, washing your hands, not touching your face and wearing masks.

    • How does blood type influence coronavirus?

      A study by European scientists is the first to document a strong statistical link between genetic variations and Covid-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus. Having Type A blood was linked to a 50 percent increase in the likelihood that a patient would need to get oxygen or to go on a ventilator, according to the new study.

    • How can I protect myself while flying?

      If air travel is unavoidable, there are some steps you can take to protect yourself. Most important: Wash your hands often, and stop touching your face. If possible, choose a window seat. A study from Emory University found that during flu season, the safest place to sit on a plane is by a window, as people sitting in window seats had less contact with potentially sick people. Disinfect hard surfaces. When you get to your seat and your hands are clean, use disinfecting wipes to clean the hard surfaces at your seat like the head and arm rest, the seatbelt buckle, the remote, screen, seat back pocket and the tray table. If the seat is hard and nonporous or leather or pleather, you can wipe that down, too. (Using wipes on upholstered seats could lead to a wet seat and spreading of germs rather than killing them.)

    • What should I do if I feel sick?

      If you’ve been exposed to the coronavirus or think you have, and have a fever or symptoms like a cough or difficulty breathing, call a doctor. They should give you advice on whether you should be tested, how to get tested, and how to seek medical treatment without potentially infecting or exposing others.


“The Swedish manufacturing sector shut down when everyone else shut down because of the supply chain situation,” he said. “This was entirely predictable.”

What remained in the government’s sphere of influence was how many people would die.

“There is just no questioning and no willingness from the Swedish government to really change tack, until it’s too late,” Mr. Kirkegaard said. “Which is astonishing, given that it’s been clear for quite some time that the economic gains that they claim to have gotten from this are just nonexistent.”

Norway, on the other hand, was not only quick to impose an aggressive lockdown, but early to relax it as the virus slowed, and as the government ramped up testing. It is now expected to see a more rapid economic turnaround. Norway’s central bank predicts that its mainland economy — excluding the turbulent oil and gas sector — will contract by 3.9 percent this year. That amounts to a marked improvement over the 5.5 percent decline expected in the midst of the lockdown.

Sweden’s laissez faire approach does appear to have minimized the economic damage compared with its neighbors in the first three months of the year, according to an assessment by the International Monetary Fund. But that effect has worn off as the force of the pandemic has swept through the global economy, and as Swedish consumers have voluntarily curbed their shopping anyway.

Researchers at the University of Copenhagen gained access to credit data from Danske Bank, one of the largest in Scandinavia. They studied spending patterns from mid-March, when Denmark put the clamps on the economy, to early April. The pandemic prompted Danes to reduce their spending 29 percent in that period, the study concluded. During the same weeks, consumers in Sweden — where freedom reigned — reduced their spending 25 percent.

Strikingly, older people — those over 70 — reduced their spending more in Sweden than in Denmark, perhaps concerned that the business-as-usual circumstances made going out especially risky.

Collectively, Scandinavian consumers are expected to continue spending far more robustly than in the United States, said Thomas Harr, global head of research at Danske Bank, emphasizing those nations’ generous social safety nets, including national health care systems. Americans, by contrast, tend to rely on their jobs for health care, making them more cautious about their health and their spending during the pandemic, knowing that hospitalization can be a gateway to financial calamity.

“It’s very much about the welfare state,” Mr. Harr said of Scandinavian countries. “You’re not as concerned about catching the virus, because you know that, if you do, the state is paying for health care.”

Cohen: Will Donald Trump run again? Maybe not

Article content

When the chronicle of the making of the president in 2020 is written, historians will point to one image, in particular, to explain the unravelling of Donald Trump.

It is the President of the United States on the lawn of the White House in the early hours of June 21. He emerges from Marine One, the presidential helicopter, having flown home from his disappointing rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, the evening before. His tie is unknotted, his jacket open, his hair untidy. He carries a crumpled “Make America Great Again” cap.

He is unkempt and indifferent, unusual for a man fastidious about his appearance. He looks deflated, depleted, defeated.

You can make a lot of this, and Frank Rich of New York magazine has. He portrays Trump that day as “a dinner theatre Willy Loman in visible disarray on a walk of shame.”

Loman is the central character in Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman; he is dreamy, childlike, fanciful, disconnected from reality. In despair over his failing personal and professional life, he commits suicide.

❌