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17 states sue to block citizenship question on 2020 census

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Civil rights groups have raised serious concerns about adding the question, arguing that it would dilute the political power of minority communities, among other concerns. California and the NAACP also announced separate lawsuits against the administration in March over the addition of the question.

“The idea that someone from the Trump administration knocks on your door and asks about your citizenship will provoke a real fear,” Schneiderman said.

The attorneys general of Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Iowa, Maryland, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Virginia, Vermont, Washington have joined Schneiderman’s suit along with the District of Columbia and six cities: New York, Seattle, Providence, Chicago, San Francisco and Philadelphia. The bipartisan U.S. Conference of Mayors also joined.

Rep. Jerry Nadler of New York, the top Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee, called the Trump administration’s move a “brazen attempt … to cheat on the census” and “to attack states that have large immigrant populations.”

“This is an attempt to steal congressional seats from those states, to steal electoral votes from those states and move them to more congenial states likely to vote Republican,” he added.

Rep. Nydia Velázquez, D-N.Y., called the move “a blatant, racist attempt to make America white.”

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Coronavirus: ‘Fragile generation’ being hit as Marseille doctors deal with ‘alarming’ second wave | World News

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Go to any hospital in the southern French city of Marseille and you will see the impact a second wave of COVID-19 is having.

Intensive care units are either full or about to reach saturation. More bed capacity is desperately needed but staffing is an issue.

Hospitals here have issued an urgent appeal for doctors, nurses and laboratory technicians from across France to come to Marseille to help.

A man wearing a face mask walks on a pier on the Vieux-Port of Marseille
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The city of Marseille is experiencing a second wave of COVID-19

This is the scenario the UK is desperate to avoid.

At the Laveran Military Hospital, doctors fear a return to the situation earlier this year when the health service was overwhelmed by the numbers.

The hospital takes in civilian patients and most ICU beds are now occupied by people with COVID-19. The hospital has turned over an entire ward to less seriously ill COVID patients.

Doctor Pierre-Yves walks along the line of doors to ICU bedrooms, pointing and saying: “That one, that one, that one.”

These are the rooms where patients with the virus are kept isolated from others.

Protective garments are required before we can enter one, and inside Dr Pierre-Yves tells me this is a seriously ill 79-year-old woman.

She is a diabetic who contracted COVID over the summer – it is thought at a family party.

She has been placed on her stomach to help her breathing.

ICU care is both professionally and logistically challenging, and Dr Pierre-Yves tells me if those who flout social distancing rules in the city could come to the hospital and see what was happening it would open their eyes.

Most ICU beds in Laveran hospital are now occupied by people with COVID-19
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Most ICU beds in Laveran hospital are now occupied by people with COVID-19

This is a potentially deadly illness, he says, and it is time everyone finally starts to take it seriously.

The number of coronavirus cases has been rising day on day for the last month here in Marseille, leading to tougher restrictions for its citizens.

Private meetings are limited to 10 people, bars and restaurants must close just after midnight and face masks are now a requirement in public spaces.

And yet watch people passing along the port side and you will see many who have decided to forego face masks. Many are young – the age group being blamed here for sowing the seeds of what is the rapid spread of COVID.

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Sebastien Debeaumont, deputy director of the Regional Health Services, tells me the current situation is “difficult, alarming and serious”.

Like officials in other European cities, he points the finger at young people socialising in recent months for the virus now heading in the wrong direction.

He says over that period it was mostly people between the ages of 20 and 40 who were affected, with few symptoms and few consequences, but they have mingled with older family members.

He added: “Now, that age group is less affected than earlier in the summer and now it’s the older, more fragile generation that is being hit.

“And it’s these people we are seeing in the ICU and in hospital. The challenge is to make the younger generation understand that they have a responsibility to themselves and above all to others.”

Those who repeatedly flout the rules on face coverings and social gatherings in Marseille could now face fines of thousands of euros and several months in prison.

A man wearing a face mask walks in front of a graffiti in Marseille
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A man wearing a face mask walks in front of a graffiti in Marseille

But Mr Debeaumont is simply hoping people take their personal role in fighting COVID seriously and he has a message for the UK government and citizens if a second major wave is to be avoided.

“The lesson to be learnt from the first wave here is that, above all not to wait, and to take measures and find a balance between acceptable measures for all that are efficient,” he said.

“Wear a mask, wash hands and allow distance. It’s not something our culture is used to, but it needs to be factored into our lives whilst this virus is active.”

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Botswana: Deaths of more than 300 elephants caused by bacteria in water | World News

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Bacteria found in water is believed to have caused the deaths of more than 300 elephants in Botswana.

Scientists fear toxins being produced by tiny organisms in water and soil could be occurring more frequently due to climate change driving up temperatures.

The dead elephants were found in Okavango Delta, Botswana
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The dead elephants were found in Okavango Delta, Botswana

However, they admit there are still “many questions” which need answering because other animals in the same areas as the elephants appear to have been unharmed.

In July, it was revealed 281 elephants had mysteriously died in Okavango Delta, Botswana – but that figure has now risen to 330.

It comes as investigations continue into the deaths of 25 elephants in Zimbabwe who are also thought to have died from bacterial infections.

Veterinary officer Mmadi Reuben, of Botswana’s Department of Wildlife and National Parks, said: “Our latest tests have detected cyanobacterial neurotoxins to be the cause of deaths. These are bacteria found in water.

“However, we have many questions still to be answered such as why the elephants only and why that area only? We have a number of hypotheses we are investigating.”

Some cyanobacterial blooms are the most powerful natural poisons known, posing serious health risks for people and animals.

Scientists are increasingly concerned about their potential impact as climate change leads to warmer water temperatures, which allows most cyanobacteria to form.

Patricia Glibert, a professor at the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, has studied cyanobacteria and said: “It amounts to having the right conditions, in the right time, in the right place and these species will proliferate.

Botswana elephant
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Climate change could increase the risk of water infections for animals, including elephants

“These conditions are coming together more often, in more places, so we are seeing more of these toxic blooms around the world.”

In neighbouring Zimbabwe, the carcasses of about 25 elephants were found near water sources.

The animals still had their tusks, ruling out poaching and deliberate poisoning. It is believed the elephants could have ingested the bacteria while searching for food.

Africa’s elephant population is declining due to poaching, but Botswana has seen its numbers grow to around 130,000.

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Coronavirus: Taj Mahal reopens – despite India recording 87,000 new COVID cases in a single day | World News

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India has reopened the Taj Mahal – despite the country recording 87,000 new coronavirus infections in a single day.

The famed monument to love had been closed for six months as part of lockdown measures – the longest it has ever been shut.

The number of daily visitors will be limited to 5,000, compared with an average of 20,000 before the pandemic.

COVID protocols are being followed - and railings at the landmark are regularly sanitised
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COVID protocols are being followed – and railings at the landmark are regularly sanitised

The 17th-century marble mausoleum was built by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan to house the tomb of his favourite wife, Mumtaz Mahal.

COVID-19 protocols are being followed at the iconic landmark, including temperature checks at the entrance and social distancing throughout. Wearing a mask is also compulsory for visitors.

A Chinese tourist and a visitor from Delhi were among the first people to enter.

One early visitor, Aditya Diksha, drove for 12 hours to pay a visit with his friends. “It is the first time in six months we have been out, so it feels good,” he said.

It comes as Prime Minister Narendra Modi faces pressure from businesses to relax lockdown restrictions amid the deepest economic contraction in decades.

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India is close to becoming the country with the highest number of coronavirus cases. The nation of 1.3 billion people currently has a total of 5.49 million infections – second only to the US on 6.79 million.

Relative to its population, COVID-19 fatalities in India are still low compared with countries such as the US, the UK and Brazil – but the economic impact has been significant.

Fewer than 300 tickets were bought for the Taj Mahal’s first opening day – a sign that the tourism industry is struggling.

Tourism employed more than 42 million people and contributed at least $240bn (£186m) – or 9.2% – to India’s gross domestic product in 2018, World Travel and Tourism Council data shows.



India has the task of locking down 1.3bn residents during the coronavirus outbreak







How is India coping with lockdown?

The Association of Tourism Trade Organisations India (ATTOI) said foreign tourists are unlikely to return until at least April, while domestic tourists are being deterred by a confusing system of regional lockdowns and quarantine rules.

“People don’t want to go on holiday,” said Manu PV, the ATTOI’s secretary. “They are very worried. There is the fear factor.”

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