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Coronavirus: Guns, marijuana and Steven Seagal movies – the lockdown exceptions around the world | World News

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People in the UK have been told to remain in the house for all but essential travel and once-daily exercise in a bid to slow the spread of coronavirus – but countries around the world seem to have different interpretations of lockdown.

With more than one-fifth of the world’s population affected by COVID-19, here’s a snapshot of the lockdown exceptions that have been put in place:

USA

In America, golf, guns and marijuana rate pretty high on the critical list.

Connecticut governor Ned Lamont added gun shops to his list of essential businesses, much to the shock and dismay of families of gun violence victims.

Texas attorney general Ken Paxton also issued a legal opinion saying emergency orders in his state cannot restrict gun sales.

Texas lieutenant governor Dan Patrick told a radio interviewer: “If you have a breakdown in society, well then our first line to defend ourselves is ourselves, so I think having a weapon is very important for your personal safety.”

In a move that would surely please President Trump, Arizona governor Doug Ducey included golf courses on his list of essential services.

Trump golf
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The president is a golf lover and owns a clutch of courses

Officials in Phoenix encouraged the city’s 1.7 million residents to “get outside, get exercise and practice responsible social distancing” in golf courses, parks and trails.

New Hampshire governor Chris Sununu said flower shops are among the essentials.

His spokesman Ben Vihstadt said they provide essential services for funeral homes.

Several states where marijuana is legal, such as California and Washington, deemed pot shops and workers in the market’s supply chain essential.

DALY CITY, CA - APRIL 18: Leaves of a mature marijuana plant are seenin a display at The International Cannabis and Hemp Expo April 18, 2010 at the Cow Palace in Daly City, California. The two day Cannabis and Hemp Expo features speakers, retailers selling medical marijuana smoking paraphernalia and a special tent available for medical marijuana card holders to smoke their medicine. Voters in California will consider a measure on the November general election ballot that could make the State the
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Marijuana is considered medicine by some

Erik Altieri, executive director of the National Organisation for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, said: “Cannabis is a safe and effective treatment that millions of Americans rely on to maintain productive daily lives while suffering from diseases and ailments.

“It is the very definition of essential that these individuals can still access their medicine at this time.”

NEW ZEALAND

In New Zealand’s capital city of Wellington, United Video Hataitai has been declared an essential service.

The only video store in the city, it currently has a special offer on all Steven Seagal seven-day hires.

In a short video on the rental store’s Twitter page, a chipper looking employee tells customers: “Because it’s the apocalypse, we’ve got some really sweet deals going on.”

Before bursting into song, he advises: “Hunker down and enjoy the lockdown.”

New Zealand filmmaker and actor Taika Waititi shared the video, and after suggestions he should turn it into a film he joked “all the elements are there. It’s perfect”, before adding “do the deal”.

FRANCE

In France, shops specialising in pastry, wine and cheese have been declared essential businesses.

Some stereotypes, it appears, are richly deserved.

In France wine, pastry and cheese are absolute essentials
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Bien sur, in France wine and croissants are considered essentials

ITALY

Italy, which is ahead of most other countries in the outbreak, has the most stringent rules, with only essential businesses such as food shops and pharmacies remaining open.

The manufacturing sector has been temporarily shut down, although factories that make products like medical supplies will continue to operate after making conditions safer for employees.



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INDIA

With more and more people stuck at home, dependency on the internet has increased the world over. People are relying on connectivity to communicate, stream movies and play games online in a bid to ward off cabin fever.

a laptop keyboard
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Those stuck at home are turning to the internet

With that in mind, India has declared the information technology sector as essential.

ISRAEL

Recognised for its vibrant religious life, people in Israel are permitted to gather for outdoor prayers, with a maximum of 10 worshippers standing two metres apart.

CHINA

China was the first country to battle the virus, and authorities closed most businesses and public facilities beginning in late January but kept open hospitals, supermarkets and pharmacies.

AND THE REST…

Health care workers, law enforcement, utility workers, food production and communications are generally exempt from lockdowns across the world.

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Coronavirus: ‘She took her last breath in my arms’ – A personal tragedy as US COVID-19 deaths hit 100,000 | US News

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In a matter of months, 100,000 lives have been lost to coronavirus in the United States – nearly triple that of any other country.

America never wanted to lead the world this way. The unfathomable milestone is one of this country’s most tragic and indelible.

Each death took away unique experiences and stories: some well told; most unsung.

Leilani Jordan
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Leilani Jordan was just 27 when she died

People have died in every state and from every walk of life.

Leilani Jordan was a 27-year-old supermarket worker who put her heart and soul into her job. Coronavirus only strengthened her resolve to help those in need.

Her mum, Zenobia Shepherd, says her daughter, who loved butterflies, had an inbuilt instinct to help people.

“She said to me, ‘Mommy, nobody is showing up for work. I have to help the senior citizens, the elderlies’.”

Ms Shepherd added: “Many of them can barely walk – leaning over shopping carts. And although (Leilani) had her own disabilities, she would go out of her way to help them to get and find what they needed.

“Because she knew sign language she could even talk to and help those that could not talk. So she loved helping and being needed by others.”

Zenobia Shepherd says she would do anything to have her daughter back
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Zenobia Shepherd says she would do anything to have her daughter back

Leilani kept going until the day she could no longer breathe. Unlike the thousands robbed of proper goodbyes, Leilani was in her mother’s arms when she passed away.

“I would do anything in this world if I could have my baby back,” Ms Shepherd said.

“My butterfly is gone. She’s flown away to heaven. I have to wait until my time to go see her.”

She added: “I was there when she went to CCU. She took her last breath in my arms. My hands, my last touch, touching her body, as it was warm… It was her last breath.”

Ms Shepherd is now living on memories of her daughter’s singing, her love of the beach and all things purple.

She has some comfort in Leilani’s support dog and best friend, Angel, who now sleeps at the front door, waiting for Leilani to return.

Zenobia was able to visit Leilani in hospital
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Ms Shepherd was able to visit Leilani in hospital

Ms Shepherd has two young daughters who make a video for their sister each day – telling her how much they love her.

Deaths in America have been disproportionately high in black communities, revealing long standing health and socio-economic disparities.

Ms Shepherd is now focusing her grief on the urgent need for protections for essential workers like her daughter.

“I want to help other people that aren’t being helped,” she said. “The situation is we’ve got to do a better job, a better job of protecting – protecting and keeping them safe.”

Leilani's younger sisters at her grave in Arlington National Cemetery
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Leilani’s younger sisters at her grave in Arlington National Cemetery

After Leilani’s death, she received her daughter’s final paycheck in the post. The amount was a gut punch: $20.63.

“I think that families, people that have certain front line jobs need to get paid more money,” she said. “They need to have bonuses during this time.”

Like every American, Ms Shepherd is desperate for this situation to end: “I wish this whole thing would go away. Just go to space and leave us alone.

“If only (we) could have been ahead of it a little bit. The death toll may not have been so high and growing.”

Leilani Jordan
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Leilani loved to help people, her mum says

As the daughter of a military family, Leilani shares her final resting place with fallen heroes in Arlington National Cemetery.

Coronavirus has now claimed more American lives than the Vietnam, Gulf, Iraq and Afghanistan wars combined.

Those lives lost in past battles are marked by the seemingly endless symmetry of white headstones. Ms Shepherd knows that is where she will come on every occasion Leilani loved so much: Christmas and Halloween, and each birthday she would have celebrated with her usual joy.

:: Listen to Divided States on Apple podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, and Spreaker

So much death has largely been unseen. For a nation living in isolation it is perhaps harder to share a collective sense of grief – even harder to tune out of the ongoing political noise of this crisis.

But make no mistake: America is engulfed in tragedy, and with no cure or vaccine, this is not the end.

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Historic US space launch that would have been visible from UK aborted | Science & Tech News

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An historic US space flight that would have been visible from the UK was aborted shortly before launch due to bad weather.

NASA announced the decision on safety grounds just minutes before lift-off on Wednesday – with the flight now not happening until at least the weekend.

The mission had been planned in conjunction with Elon Musk’s spaceflight company SpaceX – and it would have been the first private involvement in taking astronauts to the International Space Station.

The massive Vehicle Assembly Building is shrouded in fog as stormy weather greeted launch day at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida on May 27, 2020. - A new era in space begins Wednesday with the launch by SpaceX of two NASA astronauts into space, a capability that for six decades symbolized the power of a handful of states, and which the United States itself had been deprived of for nine years.If the bad weather clears, at 4:33 pm (20:33 GMT) a SpaceX rocket with the new Crew Dragon capsule on
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Weather conditions forced NASA to postpone the SpaceX launch

The US Air Force’s 45th Weather Squadron had forecast between a 40% and 60% chance of favourable conditions at the launch site in Florida.

Throughout the day weather conditions became worse, with a tropical storm initially threatening the launch before a tornado warning was issued.

NASA has stringent rules about the conditions in which the Falcon 9 can fly, and said one of these rules was being violated just minutes before the launch.

The earliest the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket and the Crew Dragon spacecraft could now launch is this weekend, with potential windows available on both Saturday and Sunday.

Falcon 9 rockets are not allowed to launch for 30 minutes after lightning is observed within 10 nautical miles of the launch pad and flight path.

NASA astronaut Anne McClain praised the SpaceX and NASA teams for “making the tough call” to postpone the mission.

“We all wanted a launch, but keeping our friends safe while we do it is a no-fail mission,” Ms McClain said, adding: “See you again Saturday.”

President Trump flew to Florida to watch the launch
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President Trump flew to Florida to watch the launch

Although Donald Trump flew down to Florida to watch the launch, it being postponed means that the last president to be present at a NASA launch was Bill Clinton.

Barack Obama had flown to the Kennedy Space Centre for a space shuttle launch in 2010, but that launch was scrubbed due to a technical problem.

He didn’t return for the rescheduled launch a number of weeks later.

It isn’t clear whether Mr Trump will be back in Florida on Saturday.

There are 15 names on the Space Mirror Memorial. Pic: John Owen
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There are 15 names on the Space Mirror Memorial. Pic: John Owen

Just a few miles away from the launchpad at the Kennedy Space Centre there is a Space Mirror Memorial.

It commemorates the 15 NASA astronauts who lost their lives while in service to the agency during a spaceflight.

No names will be added to that memorial due to decisions made today.

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Russian fighter jets ‘unsafely’ intercept US plane over Mediterranean Sea | World News

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The US has accused two Russian fighter jets of “unsafely” intercepting one of its patrol planes over the Mediterranean Sea.

Two Russian SU-35 jets flew alongside the P-8A Poseidon for one hour and four minutes on Tuesday, the US defence department said.

The jets stopped the US 6th Fleet plane from being able to manoeuvre properly, making the intercept “unsafe and unprofessional”, it added.

It is the second time in three months the US has complained of unwanted interceptions by Russian planes in the same area.

:: Listen to Divided States on Apple podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, and Spreaker

A defence department spokesman said that while the intercept happened in international airspace, Russia’s behaviour was “irresponsible”.

A statement said: “Actions‎ like these increase the potential for midair collisions.”

Russia has not yet commented.

The US 6th Fleet is headquartered in Naples, Italy, where it works to “advance US national interests and security and stability in Europe and Africa”.

Russia deploys military fighter aircraft to Libya. Pic: U.S. Africa Command
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Satellite images appeared to a show a Russian plane in Libya. Pic: US Africa Command

It comes after the US also accused Russia of sending fighter jets to Libya to support Russian mercenaries there, after satellite images showed a Russian Mig-29 on an airfield near Tripoli.

It is believed they were providing air support to forces led by General Haftar in their fight against the internationally recognised Government of National Accord.

Haftar’s forces, known as the Libyan National Army (LNA), are being supported by The Wagner Group, a Russian-backed mercenary outfit.

Although those images have been circling for days, the US has now said it is confident the jet is Russian and can only have come on the orders of Moscow.

The Kremlin has again not commented on the issue.

It was also reported this week by Russian media that the country had begun construction of its first prototype stealth bomber aircraft.

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