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Westlake Legal Group > News Corporation (Page 119)

The Oscars Are Over. Now What?

Westlake Legal Group 5e3da431210000c604e1ccc7 The Oscars Are Over. Now What?

On Sunday night, “Parasite” made history, becoming the first non-English-language film to win best picture at the Academy Awards. In addition to winning awards for best screenplay, best director and best international picture, the film also became the first South Korean movie to win an Oscar. These historic wins feel especially significant in a year when, once again, the Oscars have been called out for a lack of diversity in terms of race and gender. It feels like a step forward. But if there’s anything that we’ve learned post-#OscarsSoWhite, it’s that one well-deserved win for a film by or featuring underrepresented people does not a revolution make. 

We all know that the Oscars have a diversity problem. There’s a long list of damning statistics to rattle off that prove it’s true. For example: This year, women received 30 percent of non-acting nominations (56 women nominees versus 130 men), an increase from just 25 percent in 2019. No women were nominated in the directing category. Out of the 20 actors and actresses nominated for their performances this year, only one is a person of color. Meanwhile, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (the body of filmmakers who nominate and vote for Oscar winners) is 84 percent white and 68 percent male, even after a 2016 initiative to double the number of members of color and women by this year. The average age of members of the academy is 60 to 63.

The function of these stats, and of the countless ongoing studies and reports breaking down the state of representation in Hollywood, is to help make sense of things, to distill the nebulous “problem” of diversity into something our minds can process and quantify. They tell us, ultimately, progress is happening; it’s just happening really, really slowly.

But tracking progress can be distracting. It muddles a singular point that isn’t talked about enough: The diversity problem has never been just about numbers. It’s about perspective, bias, empathy and imagination. 

This awards season, in particular, feels especially contentious given the quality of the films and performances made in 2019. The academy has been criticized for failing to recognize actors like Jennifer Lopez, Lupita Nyong’o, Alfre Woodard and Awkwafina in the major acting categories. People have also been especially vocal about the complete shutout of female directors including Greta Gerwig, Lulu Wang, Lorene Scafaria, Marielle Heller and Alma Har’el. 

On Jan. 14, author Stephen King waded into the murky waters of the diversity and inclusion debate after the backlash over the nominations.

“As a writer, I am allowed to nominate in just 3 categories: Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Original Screenplay,” he tweeted:  “For me, the diversity issue — as it applies to individual actors and directors, anyway — did not come up. That said I would never consider diversity in matters of art. Only quality. It seems to me that to do otherwise would be wrong.”

The novelist was promptly called out across Twitter for his comments (which he later attempted to clarify), with many arguing that King had implied diversity in the movie industry and quality filmmaking are, somehow, mutually exclusive. 

If art and awards are based off quality, then who or what is defining the quality? We all don’t have an equal share in deciding this, statistically or institutionally,” Black feminist writer Morgan Jerkins tweeted. “And if there is inequity at its base, then how does it not influence the results?” 

Sasha Stone, an awards analyst for Awards Daily who has been writing about film since 1999, said that all blame shouldn’t necessarily be put on the academy. 

“Especially this year when, as you can see, the race was pretty much set long before ballots were in hand,” Stone said in an email. “The Golden Globes shut out women too and they are 50% female and voters from all over the world. The DGA shut out women (they are roughly 20% female), as did SAG in the ensemble category and BAFTA. What happened this year was that the time frame was cut in half almost and there was just no time to build any kind of consensus.” 

But then there are things like The Hollywood Reporter’s infamous annual “Brutally Honest Oscar Ballot,” where an anonymous academy voter said this about complaints that Lopez was snubbed for her “Hustlers” performance, “Everyone is going on about the ‘snub’ of J.Lo — fuck J.Lo. I’m allergic to that movie. It isn’t a movie about ‘empowering’ women; it’s a movie about slipping asshole men roofies and fucking jacking them.”

Another anonymous voter declared, “Parasite is beautifully done, but … I don’t think foreign films should be nominated with regular films.” (Best Picture nominee “1917,” produced in the U.K., is also a “foreign film.”)  

These takes may be shocking for some, but to Clayton Davis, editor and owner of AwardsCircuit.com, they are par for the course. 

“That old-school academy is still in there, they’re still stubborn, and they’re just watching their friends’ movies, or they’re giving their ballot to their secretary because they don’t want to be bothered,” Davis said. “And that’s few, but they’re still there and they still have a little bit of an impact.”

Davis, who has been writing about film and the annual race to the Oscars for almost 20 years, said there has always been consistency in the types of films and performances by people of color the Oscars choose to recognize (see: maids and slaves). In recent years, genre outliers like “Black Panther” and “Get Out” have gotten nominations, but overall there’s a tendency to only recognize films featuring or made by Black people that specifically focus on race and racism.

“I think all of us as a whole don’t acknowledge what a miracle it was that Jordan Peele won best original screenplay for ‘Get Out.’ And that is a horror film, but it is contested as a horror film,” Davis said. 

“People don’t see it as horror. They’re like, ‘No, this is a social examination of Blacks in America,’ blah blah. And that’s how it got sold to the academy by Universal, and it was a brilliant move because if they said, ‘Come see the scariest movie of the year,’ I don’t think they’d give it two looks,” Davis added. 

Recognizing more films made by and featuring people of color and women isn’t about meeting a diversity quota. It’s about awarding the most innovative films that are progressing the cinematic art form and are providing a poignant record of today’s culture. It just so happens that in 2019, many of those films were made by people who aren’t white and male. 

Kali Gross, a professor of African American studies at Rutgers University, points out that there is a long history of Black people challenging the Oscars but also imagining new ways to record and honor film. In her mind, that is also part of the way forward. 

“The Oscars are basically controlled by a small group of white people in Hollywood who are claiming to be assessing the best of all film even though we know it’s clearly exclusionary and biased,” Gross said. “What we should do is actually show them the right way to do it. By creating our own awards that actually does examine all of the same films using the same criteria.”

The NAACP Image Awards, the African American Film Critics Association and the Women in Film organization have been taking this approach for years. Prior to the Oscars, “Honey Boy” director Alma Har’el tweeted about the #GiveHerABreak campaign, a livestream of the awards show with ad breaks dedicated to shining a light on female directors who failed to gain recognition from the academy. These initiatives are not just about numbers, but about working toward a true film community, one in which stereotypes, tropes and easy narratives have no place. 

We can and absolutely should celebrate “Parasite” winning so many big awards, while also acknowledging the fact that the film conspicuously garnered zero acting nominations. This follows a pattern of the Academy Awards failing to recognize Asian performances, falling into the Western tendency to view Asian characters as types rather than fully realized people. 

During his acceptance speech for best director, Bong Joon Ho said, “When I was young and studying cinema, there was a saying that I carved deep into my heart, which is, the most personal is the most creative.” He was quoting Martin Scorsese at that moment, prompting a standing ovation for Scorsese who looked on, clearly moved. It was a moment of true filmic connection, an example of how cinema, when all the glitz and glamour is gone, is about seeing human beings for who and what they are. This, then, is what the Oscars need to try to capture ― not numbers, not quotas, not painfully self-aware jokes about “diversity” at every show, which do nothing to actually fix the problem. 

The Oscars are not the be-all and end-all. Perhaps they once were, when they were designed specifically to celebrate and honor powerful white men. But, for better or worse, these awards are still regarded by many in the industry as emblematic of the highest standard of film. In turn, they need to not only be held to that standard, but should also be encouraged constantly to raise the bar ― no matter how uncomfortable things get. 

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Watch Bong Joon Ho Apologize To Oscars Engravers For Winning Too Many Awards

Can someone just give Bong Joon Ho the Oscar for Best Person, too?

The filmmaker’s movie “Parasite” had a historic run at the 92nd Academy Awards on Sunday, winning four Oscars, including Best Director and becoming the first non-English film to win Best Picture. That meant the director had to make numerous trips to the stage, where Bong repeatedly delivered some of the most sincere moments of the night.

His Best Director win served as an opportunity to honor his fellow nominees, especially Martin Scorsese, and he joked during his speeches that he’d be drinking until morning. In the press room, he called his wins “fucking crazy.”

However, perhaps the best moment didn’t happen on stage. Following the show, the director went to get his statues engraved, and Variety captured a video of him apologizing because he won too many.

 “I’m so sorry for the hard work. There’s too many,” the director tells the engravers.

It might be the sweetest flex you’re ever going to see. But what would you expect from the guy who follows up his Best Picture win by posing for some of the best pictures of the night.

Westlake Legal Group 5e416a18210000550016dc23 Watch Bong Joon Ho Apologize To Oscars Engravers For Winning Too Many Awards

VALERIE MACON via Getty Images “Parasite” director Bong Joon Ho, producer Kwak Sin-ae and actor Renee Zellweger wait for their awards to be engraved.

Westlake Legal Group 5e416a212100002e008382f6 Watch Bong Joon Ho Apologize To Oscars Engravers For Winning Too Many Awards

Rachel Luna via Getty Images Bong Joon Ho kisses his Oscar trophies.

Westlake Legal Group 5e416a2c2100002e008382f7 Watch Bong Joon Ho Apologize To Oscars Engravers For Winning Too Many Awards

Jennifer Graylock – PA Images via Getty Images Bong Joon Ho makes his Oscar trophies kiss.

Westlake Legal Group 5e4162fd210000560016dc13 Watch Bong Joon Ho Apologize To Oscars Engravers For Winning Too Many Awards

VALERIE MACON via Getty Images Bong Joon Ho in need of some extra hands.

OK, if we can’t get him a Best Person award, how about at least a tote bag?

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Sharon Choi, ‘Parasite’ Director Bong Joon Ho’s Translator, Is Ultimate Winner At Oscars

Westlake Legal Group 5e417373250000330033d53d Sharon Choi, ‘Parasite’ Director Bong Joon Ho’s Translator, Is Ultimate Winner At Oscars

Sharon Choi, a filmmaker and fellow director Bong Joon Ho’s translator during this awards show season, is the true winner of the 2020 Oscars.

Mentions of Choi blew up on social media on Sunday when she took the stage several times throughout the 92nd Academy Awards to translate the “Parasite” director’s acceptance speeches.

Additionally, interviews cropped up of the 25-year-old Korean American talking about her directing aspirations as well as Bong calling her a “great filmmaker.”

In one post-show interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Choi shared how translating on such a large stage made her “super anxious,” but that it’s “been great.” When she was pressed about her own ambitions, Bong stepped in to say, “She’s perfect, and we all depend on her. She’s also a great filmmaker.”

Bong was asked in another post-show interview whether he would help Choi with her film work in the future.

“You already know she’s a filmmaker. She studied film in the university. So, I’m so curious about her script. Actually, she’s writing some feature-length script. I’m so curious about it,” the director said, while Choi blushed and laughed by his side.

Choi, who lives in Seoul, has reportedly only been working with Bong since May 2019, according to The Guardian. She was “an indispensable part of his team” at the Cannes Film Festival, where “Parasite” won the Palme d’Or, per The Guardian.

It’s unclear what the script she’s writing is about, but it seems that she’s already quite beloved on social media. In one of the many posts about her on Twitter on Oscars night, someone even made a composite of some of her awards season appearances:

We can only hope that we’ll see more of Choi, perhaps all on her own, during the next awards season.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

‘Parasite’ Director Bong Joon Ho’s Translator, Is Ultimate Winner At Oscars

Westlake Legal Group 5e417373250000330033d53d ‘Parasite’ Director Bong Joon Ho’s Translator, Is Ultimate Winner At Oscars

Sharon Choi, a filmmaker and fellow director Bong Joon Ho’s translator during this awards show season, is the true winner of the 2020 Oscars.

Mentions of Choi blew up on social media on Sunday when she took the stage several times throughout the 92nd Academy Awards to translate the “Parasite” director’s acceptance speeches.

Additionally, interviews cropped up of the 25-year-old Korean American talking about her directing aspirations as well as Bong calling her a “great filmmaker.”

In one post-show interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Choi shared how translating on such a large stage made her “super anxious,” but that it’s “been great.” When she was pressed about her own ambitions, Bong stepped in to say, “She’s perfect, and we all depend on her. She’s also a great filmmaker.”

Bong was asked in another post-show interview whether he would help Choi with her film work in the future.

“You already know she’s a filmmaker. She studied film in the university. So, I’m so curious about her script. Actually, she’s writing some feature-length script. I’m so curious about it,” the director said, while Choi blushed and laughed by his side.

Choi, who lives in Seoul, has reportedly only been working with Bong since May 2019, according to The Guardian. She was “an indispensable part of his team” at the Cannes Film Festival, where “Parasite” won the Palme d’Or, per The Guardian.

It’s unclear what the script she’s writing is about, but it seems that she’s already quite beloved on social media. In one of the many posts about her on Twitter on Oscars night, someone even made a composite of some of her awards season appearances:

We can only hope that we’ll see more of Choi, perhaps all on her own, during the next awards season.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

UK police investigate ‘targeted attack’ after two stabbed outside supermarket in Manchester

Police in Manchester, England, are investigating a “targeted attack” Monday after two people were stabbed outside a supermarket in the city’s Piccadilly Gardens.

BORIS JOHNSON SLAMS ‘AMERICA BASHERS’ AFTER BREXIT, PREVIEWS NEW TERRORIST POLICY AFTER LONDON STABBINGS

Officers responded around 12:10 p.m. local time to reports that two people had been stabbed near Morrisons supermarket, Greater Manchester Police said in a statement to Fox News. One man was rushed to the hospital. His injuries were believed to be non-life-threatening. A second man was being treated for minor injuries at the scene. No arrests have been made.

Westlake Legal Group GettyImages-1205293857-1 UK police investigate 'targeted attack' after two stabbed outside supermarket in Manchester fox-news/world/world-regions/united-kingdom fox-news/world/terrorism fox news fnc/world fnc Danielle Wallace article 00d1f31f-643a-54a9-9fed-acd66d3079dc

A forensic officer is seen at work following a reported stabbing at Manchester Piccadilly Gardens on February 10, 2020 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Anthony Devlin/Getty Images)

Social media users shared videos showing a heavy police response in the area. Several roads were closed due to the incident. Police asked the public to avoid the area while an investigation is underway.

Investigators are treating the incident as a “targeted attack,” but stress there is no greater threat to the wider community, Greater Manchester Police said.

North West Ambulance Service sent 10 vehicles and crew to the scene, BBC reported. City Councillor Jon-Connor Lyons also thanked Manchester Police for their “rapid response” to the “targeted attack.”

Employees from one company in a nearby building received an alert warning that said “an individual has been the victim of stabbing. Please stay within the building until this incident is under control,” Manchester Evening News reported. A portion of Oldham Street was also cordoned off.

The incident Monday comes after ISIS claimed responsibility for a knife attack in south London’s Streatham district last weekend. Sudesh Amman, 20, strapped on a fake bomb and stabbed two people on the street before being shot and killed by police. A third person suffered injuries caused by broken glass when responding officers opened fired, investigators said.

Amman, who was wearing a mock suicide vest at the time, carried out the stabbings in response to calls to attack the citizens of coalition countries, a statement posted by ISIS’ Amaq news agency said, according to Reuters. Fox News also independently confirmed ISIS’ claim to the attack.

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The man had been convicted of terrorism-related offenses but was later released from prison. The incident last week and a Nov. 29 attack in which two people were killed in central London prompted the U.K. government to announce new emergency legislation preventing the “automatic early release” of people convicted of terror crimes being released after serving only half their sentences.

Westlake Legal Group GettyImages-1205293857-1 UK police investigate 'targeted attack' after two stabbed outside supermarket in Manchester fox-news/world/world-regions/united-kingdom fox-news/world/terrorism fox news fnc/world fnc Danielle Wallace article 00d1f31f-643a-54a9-9fed-acd66d3079dc   Westlake Legal Group GettyImages-1205293857-1 UK police investigate 'targeted attack' after two stabbed outside supermarket in Manchester fox-news/world/world-regions/united-kingdom fox-news/world/terrorism fox news fnc/world fnc Danielle Wallace article 00d1f31f-643a-54a9-9fed-acd66d3079dc

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Your Foam Coffee Cup Is Fighting for Its Life

MASON, Mich. — The Dart Container Corporation, by some measures, is an American success story.

The family-owned business was co-founded in Michigan by a World War II veteran with a triple major in mathematics, engineering and metallurgy, and it developed products that, in no small way, helped fuel the modern economy. Dart makes, by the millions, white foam cups, clamshells, coffee cup lids, and disposable forks and knives — the single-use containers that enable Americans to eat and drink on the go. It employs about 15,000 people across 14 states.

But now many of the products that this low-profile Midwestern company creates are being labeled by critics as environmental blights contributing to the world’s plastic pollution problem.

Cities and states are increasingly banning one of Dart’s signature products, foam food and beverage containers, which can harm fish and other marine life. In December, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of New York proposed a statewide ban on single-use food containers made of “expanded polystyrene” foam, more commonly, but inaccurately, known as Styrofoam. (Styrofoam is a trademarked material typically used as insulation.) Maine and Maryland banned polystyrene foam containers last year, and nearly 60 nations have enacted or are in the process of passing similar prohibitions. Some elected officials and environmental groups say polystyrene containers are difficult to recycle in any meaningful way.

“There is overwhelming evidence that this material is seriously damaging the earth,” said Brooke Lierman, a Maryland lawmaker who sponsored her state’s ban.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_163297110_15190234-ba95-4e2f-a3eb-377866b998d4-articleLarge Your Foam Coffee Cup Is Fighting for Its Life Wayner, Claire Recycling of Waste Materials Plastics Lierman, Brooke Lammers, Jim Foam Fish and Other Marine Life environment Dart, William A. Dart Container Corp Containers and Packaging Baltimore Beyond Plastic Baltimore (Md)

Dart’s Chicago factory. The company makes, by the millions, products including foam cups, clamshells, coffee cup lids, and disposable forks and knives.Credit…Lyndon French for The New York Times

But Dart Container, which has been owned by the Dart family since its founding in 1950s, is not backing down. While many plastics companies work to protect their product through trade groups and feel-good marketing campaigns, Dart is challenging regulation directly and aggressively.

Shortly after Maryland voted to ban foam, Dart shut down its two warehouses in the state, displacing 90 workers and sending a signal to other locales considering similar laws. San Diego recently decided to suspend enforcement of its polystyrene ban in the face of a lawsuit by Dart and a restaurant trade group, which argued the city should have conducted a detailed environmental impact study before enacting the law. The city is now performing that analysis.

“We don’t believe there are good, objective reasons to single out certain materials,” Dart’s chief executive officer, Jim Lammers, said in a recent interview at the company’s headquarters.

The interview was one of the first times Dart had allowed a journalist broad access to its facilities on a leafy campus in Mason, where there are running trails, a garden honoring employees and boulders inscribed with words like “Meritocracy.”

Dart is waging a broader campaign to argue that its products are being used as scapegoats for a society fueled by on-the-go consumerism. Dart says that critics of polystyrene are ignoring the negative environmental impacts of other products, like many paper cups, which are derived from trees and can emit greenhouse gases as they degrade in landfills. By Dart’s reasoning, most materials inflict some negative impact on the environment, so it doesn’t make sense to ban one and not another.

“If you just give up on foam,” said Michael Westerfield, director of recycling at Dart, “what are they going to want to do next?”

The backlash against foam is taking its toll. Polystyrene foam sales have been declining, and the company has been broadening its offerings to include more paper products, including coffee cups sold at Starbucks and Dunkin’. It is also experimenting with containers that can be composted or fashioned from recycled content.

Today, foam makes up only a fifth of all the products that Dart sells. The company says overall sales of food and beverage containers, which generate $3 billion in annual revenue, are essentially flat.

Even as the market for polystyrene shrinks, many environmental groups want to abolish foam entirely because if it ends up as litter, it can break down easily into small pieces, harming fish and animals that ingest it. For humans, plastic fibers have been found in everything from drinking water to table salt, though the long-term health consequences are still being studied.

Industry and academic experts are still debating how best to quantify the long-term impact that single-use containers made from varying materials — plastics, paper, glass — can have on climate change. But the harm that plastic pollution can inflict on marine life is immediate, environmentalists say.

“A paper cup, as far as I know, has never killed any sea creatures,” said Jan Dell, an engineer who used to work in the plastics industry and now runs the Last Beach Cleanup, an advocacy group focused on plastic pollution.

The same properties that can make foam an environmental problem also make it profitable to manufacture. The costs are low because foam is 95 percent air and can be made using relatively little raw plastic.

William A. Dart did not invent foam cups, but he did master their mass production.

After returning from World War II and graduating from the University of Michigan, Mr. Dart spent a year working for the DuPont chemical company. In the late 1950s, brimming with ideas about plastic, he returned to his father’s welding factory in Mason, a small city next to Lansing. Mr. Dart began experimenting with creating cups from polystyrene, a material with seemingly magical insulating properties that would serve the growing fast-food industry.

Chick-fil-A was one of Dart’s first major accounts. The company also sold its plastic to hospitals and schools, sports stadiums and the food service giants Sysco and US Foods.

The company celebrates its long history of manufacturing in the United States. While many American factories moved to Asia in search of cheaper workers, foam cannot be imported profitably from overseas; the cost of importing the lightweight containers would offset any savings in labor, Dart says.

Mr. Lammers said the company was growing frustrated with the intensifying blowback against foam.

“Food and beverage packaging, like a lot of things in life, is not a sound-bite discussion,” said Mr. Lammers, who joined the company in 1986.

A lawyer by training, Mr. Lammers shuttles around Dart’s sprawling corporate campus in Mason in a blue Honda Accord. He proudly walked a reporter through a small museum in the lobby where single-use plastic products are arrayed like fine art. One display charts the history of the clam shell container. Another shows coffee lids through the years. It is a shrine to the throwaway items of everyday life: blue coffee cups with the Greek-style design and tiny clear plastic cups found in dentists’ offices. Dart makes them all.

The one area that was off limits was Building No. 1, where the white foam cups are made. The company says the foam machinery, designed by Mr. Dart in the 1950s and refined over decades, is such a closely guarded secret that only select employees and customers are allowed on the factory floor.

Mr. Dart’s heirs are also intensely private.

His sons Robert and Kenneth Dart have been involved in running the company, to varying degrees, since the 1980s. Kenneth, who renounced his American citizenship, decamped to the Cayman Islands and now develops real estate there. He’s worth an estimated $5.8 billion, according to Bloomberg. Robert also renounced his citizenship and relocated to London, where he still lives. The Dart brothers’ moves partially spurred the Senate to propose a law in the 1990s closing a tax loophole for expatriates.

Although the two brothers are no longer involved in the container company’s daily operations, they serve on the board and provide advice on “major capital expenditures and strategic decisions,” a Dart spokeswoman said in a statement. A third brother, Thomas, ended his involvement with the company in the 1980s, Dart said.

In 2012, Dart acquired another Midwestern container company, Solo, for $1 billion. The deal greatly expanded Dart’s product line into more paper and rigid plastic containers like the Solo cups that are ubiquitous at college keg parties and football tailgates.

Yet even as it diversified, Dart never gave up on polystyrene foam.

For years, the company has emphasized how polystyrene foam can be recycled, just like some other forms of plastic containers. The problem is that most communities do not accept foam in municipal recycling systems because it can be difficult to find buyers willing to pay enough money for the used material. So Dart offers to collect and transport the used foam containers for cities at no cost.

But it takes considerable energy to transport and recycle foam, as shown by a visit to a new recycling facility that Robert Dart has helped develop in Indianpolis.

The warehouse is filled with large bricks of crushed foam cups and egg cartons that have been transported there by truck or train from as far away as Canada and California. The foam is sorted and shredded into small pieces and then resold.

Dart’s recycling facility in Mason, Mich.Credit…Lyndon French for The New York Times Bricks of shredded foam cups and egg cartons await their next lives.Credit…Lyndon French for The New York Times

Foam food containers cannot be turned into new containers because health regulators have not approved them for such use, Dart says. Currently, the most common uses for the recycled polystyrene include picture frames and plastic rolls that spool out cash register receipts.

Dart says it’s possible that used polystyrene could eventually be made into new drinking cups en masse, but right now there is limited collection and processing capacity.

“We’d love to get there,” said Mr. Westerfield, the recycling director.

And some communities doubt they ever will. Growing up in Baltimore, Claire Wayner and her family used to haul their egg cartons and foam packaging to a drop-off site that Dart supported in the city. Volunteers in the local schools used to wipe down macaroni and cheese remnants and cheeseburger juices from hundreds of foam lunch trays and drive them to the recycling site.

Despite all of these good intentions, Ms. Wayner wondered how much of the city’s polystyrene was actually being recycled and questioned how large the market was for used foam beyond niche products like picture frames.

Schools in Baltimore now serve lunch on compostable trays.Credit…Andrew Mangum for The New York Times While in high school, Claire Wayner, now in college, helped get a ban on foam food containers passed in Baltimore.Credit…Andrew Mangum for The New York Times

“It seems so random and ridiculous,” said Ms. Wayner, who is now a sophomore at Princeton University.

In high school, Ms. Wayner and other students started Baltimore Beyond Plastic, a group that convinced school officials to remove the foam lunch trays from the city’s public schools.

The student group, working with other environmental activists, then pushed successfully for a citywide ban on foam food containers. After the vote, Dart closed the recycling drop-off location it supported in Baltimore.

Asked about the closing, the Dart spokeswoman Becky Warren said in a statement, “We invest our recycling resources in communities that support our customers and our company.”

To Ms. Wayner and others, the move showed that Dart did not truly consider polystyrene recycling a viable enterprise, but rather a bargaining chip to ward off regulation.

“As soon as they lost, it was like they took their marbles and went home,” said Martha Ainsworth, a volunteer leader with the Sierra Club in Maryland.

Even with the foam ban, Baltimore still faces challenges in achieving its sustainability goals. The Baltimore schools now serve lunch on compostable trays. But there are no facilities in the city that can compost material commercially so the trays are sent to landfills or an incinerator, according to a spokeswoman for the city school system.

Dart executives say many of their customers also want more sustainable containers, but are facing the financial realities. Some food and beverage companies, they said, want containers made from more recycled and compostable material, but not everyone is willing to accept the additional costs.

Last year, the company opened a laboratory in Mason, where chemists wearing white lab coats and blue rubber gloves hover over beakers and reactors. In one room, technicians tested new coatings for paper coffee cups that are not made of plastic. In another, they analyzed soil samples to test how quickly a compostable cup breaks down.

It’s not clear how long it will take before some of these experiments result in marketable products, but Mr. Lammers said “it is close.”

“I guarantee you we are going to be different 10 years from now,’’ he said.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Cruise Ship’s Coronavirus Outbreak Leaves Crew Nowhere to Hide

Westlake Legal Group merlin_168714021_0d5f9374-9246-4f1d-8fc7-03f74d0ecd6d-facebookJumbo Cruise Ship’s Coronavirus Outbreak Leaves Crew Nowhere to Hide Yokohama (Japan) Ships and Shipping Quarantines Princess Cruises Politics and Government Japan Cruises Coronavirus (2019-nCoV)

YOKOHAMA, Japan — As coronavirus cases rapidly multiply on the quarantined cruise ship Diamond Princess, the more than 2,500 passengers on board live in effective isolation. They receive meals in their cabins. They keep an officially mandated distance of six feet from each other for the few minutes each day when they are allowed on deck for walks.

Below decks, the situation is different. There, hundreds of crew members are eating, living and working elbow to elbow as they try to keep life as comfortable as possible for those above. They line up for simple buffet meals and then sit down together to eat. Bathrooms are shared by up to four people, and cabins often by two.

These conditions have raised fears that a quarantine meant to halt the virus’s spread on board, and keep the contagion from expanding on Japan’s shores, is endangering the health and safety of the crew.

The ship, which is under a two-week quarantine in the port of Yokohama, has become host to the highest concentration of coronavirus cases outside China, the epicenter of the outbreak. The risk to crew members and passengers was dramatically reinforced on Monday as Japan’s health ministry said that an additional 65 people had tested positive for the virus, nearly doubling the total to 135.

Among them, at least 10 crew members have been infected, with five cases announced on Sunday and five more on Monday. According to employees, the infected crew members identified on Sunday had been eating in the mess hall alongside their co-workers.

Unlike the passengers they serve, most of whom come from wealthy nations, the ship’s employees are overwhelmingly from developing countries like India and the Philippines. They have not received the same global attention as passengers from countries like the United States, Australia and Britain, whose social media posts have been widely read.

In a video posted to Facebook on Monday, Binay Kumar Sarkar, who works in the ship’s galley preparing meals and washing dishes, asked the Indian government to help get him and his co-workers off the ship before the virus spread further. There are 132 Indians among the crew of more than 1,000.

The ship is like a “small city,” Mr. Sarkar said in a Facebook chat, making it “very easy” to spread the virus.

In response to emailed questions, a representative of Princess Cruises, which operates the Diamond Princess, said that all crew members “are highly trained in safety and public health standards.” Without offering specifics, the representative added that the company was “implementing processes developed in coordination with public health officials to support the elevated requirements of this situation.”

In some ways, the cruise ship quarantine is analogous, albeit with a much smaller pool of people, to the lockdown of Wuhan, China, where the epidemic began. In Wuhan and the surrounding province, Hubei, the authorities have barred close to 50 million people from leaving, and cases there are still rising as family members infect each other.

“Similar to the situation in Wuhan, but at a smaller scale, by quarantining the ship, the crew members are being forced to stay together, which increases the likelihood of transmission,” said John B. Lynch, an associate professor of infectious diseases at the University of Washington. “We have to remember that quarantines protect those outside the quarantine, not those within.”

  • What do you need to know? Start here.

    Updated Feb. 5, 2020

    • Where has the virus spread?
      You can track its movement with this map.
    • How is the United States being affected?
      There have been at least a dozen cases. American citizens and permanent residents who fly to the United States from China are now subject to a two-week quarantine.
    • What if I’m traveling?
      Several countries, including the United States, have discouraged travel to China, and several airlines have canceled flights. Many travelers have been left in limbo while looking to change or cancel bookings.
    • How do I keep myself and others safe?
      Washing your hands is the most important thing you can do.

Other experts said supervisors on the ship needed to enforce strict hygiene policies, including frequent hand-washing. Both passengers and crew members should also be “keeping distance from others and avoiding congregating,” said Dr. Peter Rabinowitz, who is co-director of the University of Washington MetaCenter for Pandemic Preparedness and Global Health Security.

Crew members, who spoke on the condition of anonymity for fear of losing their jobs, said they had been provided with masks, gloves and hand sanitizer, but given little training on how to reduce their chances of infection in a situation of this magnitude.

Like passengers, they have been given thermometers and told to monitor their own temperatures and report back if they develop a fever. They have received no new guidance since the quarantine began a week ago, according to one employee.

Passengers said they were grateful to the crew but also worried that the employees, even though they are wearing protective gear when they enter cabins, might be passing the infection to people isolated inside.

On Monday, passengers were given new masks designed to filter out 95 percent of airborne particles, as well as packages of alcohol wipes. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta also sent a letter to passengers advising them to wear face masks if they shared cabins with other passengers and to avoid sharing personal household items.

Japan’s health ministry said on Monday that so far it had tested 439 people on the ship for the coronavirus. That leaves more than 3,000 who have not been tested, receiving only initial health checks.

Japanese officials have said they do not have the capacity to test everyone on the ship. But on Sunday, the health minister, Katsunobu Kato, said his ministry needed to consider whether it could do so.

In Hong Kong, where another cruise ship, the World Dream, has been held at port, about 1,800 crew members aboard were tested for the coronavirus after the authorities said that infected passengers had disembarked on Jan. 24 in Guangzhou Province, China.

When the ship arrived in Hong Kong last Wednesday on a subsequent journey, the health authorities first tested those who had fevers or showed symptoms of the virus. All of those initial tests came back negative, but out of an abundance of caution, the Hong Kong health authorities decided to test all crew members.

Experts said the authorities should also test everyone on board the Diamond Princess in Yokohama.

“It is extremely possible that the infection has been transmitted on the ship,” said Harue Okada, a professor of public health at Hakuoh University in Tochigi Prefecture. She added that it was difficult to identify who had been exposed to infected people, including those who came into contact with other people during shore excursions.

“Furthermore, as it is assumed that there are asymptomatic but infected people, the virus test is necessary,” Dr. Okada said.

The cruise ship terminal where the Diamond Princess is docked has been closed to the public. On Monday, a sort of war room had been set up where around a dozen people sat at computers and on phones.

Some of them wore jackets that identified them as members of a psychological support team. The room’s walls were plastered with long strips of butcher paper, where information about the patients and a timeline had been scribbled in thick black marker.

At the port, the daughter of a passenger tried to deliver food and water to her elderly mother, who she said had a fever and was having trouble getting attention from the medical staff.

“She feels sick. I hope she can disembark soon,” the woman, Etsuko Takashima, said through tears as she spoke about her mother, Ayako Jinnai, 84. “At least, I hope she can get a drip infusion in the medical room on the ship. I don’t think her current condition is known to the staff.”

Ben Dooley reported from Yokohama, and Motoko Rich from Tokyo. Makiko Inoue, Eimi Yamamitsu and Hisako Ueno contributed reporting from Tokyo.

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Scarlett Johansson’s Oscars Look Was All About Her Massive Back Tattoos

And the Oscar goes to … Scarlett Johansson’s back tattoo!

Johansson, nominated for Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress, appeared on the red carpet for the 92nd Academy Awards wearing a silver Oscar de la Renta gown alongside fiancé Colin Jost. While striking for its metallic shine, perhaps the most noticeable part of the “Marriage Story” star’s look was the massive back tattoo she showed off in the backless gown.

That tattoo is actually composed of several smaller tattoos, including roses that pay homage to her 6-year-old daughter Rose Dauriac, whom she shares with ex-husband Romain Dauriac, and a lamb.

Westlake Legal Group 5e416816250000560033d51a Scarlett Johansson’s Oscars Look Was All About Her Massive Back Tattoos

Steve Granitz via Getty Images Colin Jost and Scarlett Johansson attend the 92nd Annual Academy Awards on February 09, 2020, in Hollywood, California. 

Westlake Legal Group 5e416821210000550016dc20 Scarlett Johansson’s Oscars Look Was All About Her Massive Back Tattoos

Amy Sussman via Getty Images Scarlett Johansson attends the 92nd Annual Academy Awards.

Westlake Legal Group 5e41681e210000310016dc1f Scarlett Johansson’s Oscars Look Was All About Her Massive Back Tattoos

Kevork Djansezian via Getty Images Scarlett Johansson attends the 92nd Annual Academy Awards.

Another tattoo ― a large owl ― on Johansson’s torso was visible later in the evening, when she appeared on the red carpet for the Vanity Fair Oscars party in a different gown: 

Westlake Legal Group 5e416b22250000550033d51e Scarlett Johansson’s Oscars Look Was All About Her Massive Back Tattoos

George Pimentel via Getty Images Scarlett Johansson attends the 2020 Vanity Fair Oscars party hosted by Radhika Jones at Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts on February 09, 2020, in Beverly Hills, California.

Johansson was nominated for Best Actress in a Leading Role for “Marriage Story” and Best Supporting Actress for “Jojo Rabbit.” She lost to Renee Zellweger and Laura Dern respectively.

But her tattoos won on Twitter.

Many had no idea that the actor had such prominent tattoos and had a lot to say about them:

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Coronavirus Updates: Xi Tours Beijing After 97 Die in a Day in China

Here’s what you need to know:

Video

Westlake Legal Group 10china-briefing-xi2-videoSixteenByNine3000 Coronavirus Updates: Xi Tours Beijing After 97 Die in a Day in China SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) Epidemics Deaths (Fatalities) Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) China

President Xi Jinping made a rare public appearance when he visited a city hospital. He took part in a video conference with officials and hospital workers in Wuhan, the city at the center of the coronavirus outbreak.CreditCredit…Pang Xinglei/Xinhua, via Associated Press

Xi Jinping, China’s powerful but recently aloof leader, toured several public places in Beijing on Monday afternoon to oversee efforts to contain the coronavirus outbreak, according to a flurry of reports in the state media.

Mr. Xi, whose most recent public appearance came during a meeting with Cambodia’s prime minister last week, traveled first to a neighborhood roughly five miles north of his residence near the Forbidden City and toured a local government office.

He later visited a city hospital, where he took part in a video conference with officials and workers at a hospital in Wuhan, the city at the center of the outbreak more than 600 miles to the south.

Mr. Xi, wearing a powder blue surgical mask and a black suit, made no public remarks, at least according to the initial reports of his tour of the city, but state media portrayed the appearances as a demonstration of his central role in directing the response, as well as his empathy for the ordinary people it has affected most.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_168692715_dbc4ee6a-91c1-49fb-8bb8-b70283da7c42-articleLarge Coronavirus Updates: Xi Tours Beijing After 97 Die in a Day in China SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) Epidemics Deaths (Fatalities) Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) China

The Diamond Princess cruise ship in Yokohama, Japan, on Monday.Credit…Carl Court/Getty Images

An additional 65 cases of the new coronavirus have been confirmed on a cruise ship quarantined in Yokohama, Japan, raising the total number to 135, the ship’s captain told passengers on Monday.

Japan’s health ministry has not publicly confirmed the sharp rise in cases. The ministry has announced new cases almost daily since the quarantine began a week ago, and the increase reported by the captain on Monday was the largest yet.

The outbreak on the ship, the Diamond Princess, which has been docked at the Yokohama port since Monday, is the largest outside China. About 3,700 people, including about 2,600 passengers and more than 1,000 crew members, are quarantined on the ship, with passengers largely confined to their cabins.

Passengers have grown increasingly fearful that the quarantine is putting them in jeopardy. The Japanese authorities have tested a few hundred people for the coronavirus who were believed to be at particular risk, but as the number of cases has risen, some passengers have pressed for everyone on board to be screened.

For days, Japanese officials have said they do not have the capacity to test all 3,700 people on board. But on Sunday, the health minister, Katsunobu Kato, said his ministry needed to consider whether it could do so, while noting the challenges of carrying out such a large screening.

Ninety-seven people died from the coronavirus on Sunday, a new daily record since the new coronavirus was first detected in December, as the death toll rose to 908, China’s National Health Commission said on Monday.

That new total surpasses the toll from the SARS epidemic of 2002-3, according to official data.

The number of confirmed infections in the country rose to 40,171 and 3,062 new cases were recorded in the preceding 24 hours, most of them in Hubei Province, the heart of the outbreak. A United States citizen died from the coronavirus in Wuhan, the provincial capital, American officials said on Saturday.

The SARS epidemic, which also began in China, killed 774 people worldwide. There have been only two confirmed deaths from the new coronavirus outside mainland China: one in Hong Kong and one in the Philippines.

Many doctors believe that deaths and infections from the current epidemic are undercounted in China because testing facilities are under severe strain.

But for the tenth day in a row, the number of people recovering in the central province of Hubei, the epicenter of the outbreak, exceeded the number of deaths, raising hopes that the epidemic could be less fatal than previously feared.

Official data showed there were 356 people who recovered in the province on Sunday.

The rate of infection, however, has continued to soar, signaling that the worst of the outbreak is still to come.

  • What do you need to know? Start here.

    Updated Feb. 5, 2020

    • Where has the virus spread?
      You can track its movement with this map.
    • How is the United States being affected?
      There have been at least a dozen cases. American citizens and permanent residents who fly to the United States from China are now subject to a two-week quarantine.
    • What if I’m traveling?
      Several countries, including the United States, have discouraged travel to China, and several airlines have canceled flights. Many travelers have been left in limbo while looking to change or cancel bookings.
    • How do I keep myself and others safe?
      Washing your hands is the most important thing you can do.

The cure rate in Hubei rose to 6.1 percent on Monday, compared with the 1.7 percent on January 27. Officials suggested that could mean experimental medical treatments were working.

Westlake Legal Group china-wuhan-coronavirus-maps-promo-articleLarge-v20 Coronavirus Updates: Xi Tours Beijing After 97 Die in a Day in China SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) Epidemics Deaths (Fatalities) Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) China

Coronavirus Map: Tracking the Spread of the Outbreak

The virus has sickened more than 40,600 people in China and 24 other countries.

Some factories and offices across China resumed work on Monday, the end of an extended Lunar New Year holiday intended to slow the spread of the virus.

The return to business occurred slowly as many workers were reluctant to return to large cities from their hometowns, and as managers tried to respond to a slew of new health regulations issued by local governments across the country.

The new rules vary somewhat from city to city but have some common denominators. In big manufacturing centers like Shenzhen, Suzhou and Nanjing, companies are required to learn the travel history of every employee.

Companies were told to bar entry to anyone who had visited in the past two weeks areas with large outbreaks of the virus, particularly Hubei province but with some cities also prohibiting the return to work of anyone who had been to Wenzhou, a city in Zhejiang province that has also had numerous cases.

City governments were also requiring companies frequently check their employees’ temperatures and set up hand-washing protocols.

American companies in central China are restarting production as soon as they obtain permission, but are also required to establish elaborate new procedures.

“They want to protect staff, but also nobody wants to get caught offsides when it comes to the labor law or the daily announcements from the government,” said Ker Gibbs, the president of the American Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai.

In many large cities, the outbreak has continued to disrupt daily life. Across the country, teeming cities are effectively locked down, schools have been closed for weeks, trains and flights canceled.

The Hong Kong International Airport, one of the world’s busiest, was eerily empty on Sunday. Cathay Pacific, the city’s flag carrier, said last week that it would force employees to take three-week unpaid furloughs.

Parents in the territory and elsewhere across China, including Shanghai and Guangdong, scrambled to find child care after schools announced they would continue to remain closed for the month of February even as many workers were told to return to their jobs on Monday.

In Beijing, the city’s typically teeming subway, had far fewer riders on Monday and train cars were largely empty

An advance team of experts from the World Health Organization was scheduled to arrive in Beijing on Monday evening, nearly two weeks after the organization’s director general met with China’s leader, Xi Jinping, and praised the country’s handling of the coronavirus epidemic.

The team will be led by Bruce Aylward, a Canadian physician and epidemiologist who has previously overseen international campaigns to fight Ebola and polio, the organization’s director general, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, announced on Sunday in Geneva.

Since Dr. Tedros’s trip to Beijing in January, the organization has sought to dispatch a team, but until now the Chinese government had balked. The delay raised questions about China’s sensitivity to international assistance in combating the epidemic, though a spokeswoman said it was simply a matter of “sorting out arrangements.”

Dr. Tedros did not announce other members of the team or its exact mission, though it is likely to focus on the government’s efforts to contain the virus and the lessons other countries could learn from it.

The state-controlled People’s Daily reported on Monday that the team would include “international experts in various fields” who would “work with their Chinese counterparts to increase understanding on the epidemic and guide the work of global responses.”

In a series of posts on Twitter, Dr. Tedros expressed concern that countries experiencing a handful of cases with no direct connection to China could yet see a jump in new infections.

“The detection of a small number of cases may indicate more widespread transmission in other countries,” he wrote. “In short, we may only be seeing the tip of the iceberg.”

He called on all countries to share information about the coronavirus “in real time” with the organization.

The new coronavirus is capable of spreading through the air, a Chinese official said recently, a disturbing revelation that suggests the strain can be transmitted more easily than previously thought.

Zeng Qun, the deputy head of Shanghai’s Civil Affairs Bureau, said at a news conference on Saturday that aerosol transmission is among the ways the novel coronavirus can be spread. Airborne transmission is particularly dangerous because it can occur even if people are not in proximity.

But a second Chinese official discounted those claims and said aerosol transmission had not been confirmed and needed further study.

Shen Yinzhong, the medical director of the Shanghai Public Health Clinical Center, told The Paper, a Shanghai newspaper, the coronavirus can spread through the air “in theory,” confirmation requires further research.

The conflicting reports underscore the confusion surrounding the virus. There have been several cases which appear to have occurred without direct contact with an infected person.

The Chinese government and the World Health Organization have said that most infections occurred among people in close physical contact.

The related virus that caused SARS, or severe acute respiratory syndrome outbreak, said in 2004 that virus could be spread through the air under some circumstances. An outbreak in Hong Kong occurred, experts said, when the wind carried the virus through the air from an apartment complex in which several people were infected.

The China Development Forum, an annual economic policy conference that China has used to project an image of itself as an economically open country, has been postponed indefinitely.

In past years, members of the Communist Party’s Politburo Standing Committee and the governor of China’s central bank have used the event to pitch for more foreign investment into the country.

But this year, global companies are instead grappling with the results of having a supply chain deeply embedded in China as the coronavirus spreads across the nation.

On Monday, Nissan of Japan said it would shut down its plant in Kyushu, Japan, for four days beginning later this week, “due to supply shortages of parts from China.” Other carmakers, like Fiat Chrysler in Italy and Hyundai in South Korea, have already warned that a lack of parts from China could force them to curtail production in their home markets.

Even trade shows further afield are taking a hit with companies like Amazon and Sony choosing to stay away from this month’s MWC technology conference in Barcelona, one of the world’s most important mobile technology trade fairs, because of the coronavirus. Nvidia, LG and Ericsson also pulled out of the conference.

More than 100,000 people from more than 200 countries had been expected to attend the event, but some big firms are dropping out. The organizers said new safety measures would be implemented, including prohibiting any visitors from Hubei Province in China from attending. Security officials will also take visitors’ body temperatures and check passports stamps in order to prevent access for anybody who had visited China in the previous 14 days. The event begins Feb. 24.

Britain’s health secretary has declared the coronavirus an “imminent threat” to public health and announced a series of measures to combat the spread of the virus on Monday, the same day that four more cases were confirmed in the country.

The new declaration will allow the health authorities to forcibly quarantine people, and designates one hospital and one conference center as isolation facilities.

The coronavirus has helped push inflation to an eight-year high, the Chinese government said on Monday, adding to Beijing’s problems.

Consumer price inflation rose to 5.4 percent year on year in January, compared to a 4.5 percent rise in December. That signified the highest level since November 2011, according to China’s statistics bureau. The outbreak has disrupted China’s supply chains, making it difficult in many places to get products to market.

While nonfood related prices, including energy, rose slightly, it was food prices that pushed inflation up. The price of pork, which has surged for months, has now more than doubled over the past year after an outbreak of African swine fever led to a shortage of pigs.

The latest inflation figures mark a new challenge for China’s central bank. The People’s Bank of China has opened the spigots to provide money to local governments that are trying to contain a vicious outbreak. Last week it announced it had pumped $175 billion into the financial system.

The government has told banks to extend favorable terms to companies that have been closed by efforts to contain the outbreak, which include means to keep people at home. In many cases, employers have been responsible for employee wages after closing factories or other operations.

But printing money to inject into the economy also helps push prices up, creating a double-edged sword for China’s authorities.

Inflation typically rises slightly during the holiday, when families buy presents and food to feed large family gatherings. Economists say they rose faster than usual and stayed higher for a longer period of time.

Chinese efforts to stop the coronavirus outbreak have hit even those companies that make essential equipment for medical and emergency workers — the kind of gear that is in short supply in many parts of the country.

On Feb. 4 officials in the city of Xiantao in Hubei Province, where the outbreak has been most devastating, notified companies making protective clothing and medical masks that they needed to produce the proper paperwork before they could open again. Unless they could prove their products had been cleared for sale within China, the notice said, the factories could not open until Feb. 14.

The notice caused an uproar online. Xiantao is a major industrial hub for what are known as nonwoven products. That includes the suits and gloves used by emergency workers to protect themselves during outbreaks. The area is especially important for making protective masks. The vast majority of its production is exported, according to 2016 government figures.

The notice said local officials made the move to ensure quality standards were upheld and to root out counterfeit gear makers. But officials relented following a public outcry. On Monday, the government said it approved 73 protective product manufacturers to resume their operations, while others are being certified. It was not clear on Monday how many had resumed production.

Westlake Legal Group china-coronavirus-contain-promo-1580431440996-articleLarge-v7 Coronavirus Updates: Xi Tours Beijing After 97 Die in a Day in China SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) Epidemics Deaths (Fatalities) Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) China

How Bad Will the Coronavirus Outbreak Get? Here Are 6 Key Factors

Here’s what early research says about how the pathogen behaves and the factors that will determine whether it can be contained.

Reporting and research was contributed by Steven Lee Myers, Russell Goldman, Keith Bradsher, Ben Dooley, Motoko Rich, Sui-Lee Wee, Amber Wang, Alexandra Stevenson, Tiffany May, Megan Specia, Constant Méheut, Amy Tsang, Adam Satariano, Raphael Minder Zoe Mou, Albee Zhang, Yiwei Wang and Claire Fu.

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Romney, once vilified by Democrats, hailed as hero by the left after impeachment vote

Westlake Legal Group image Romney, once vilified by Democrats, hailed as hero by the left after impeachment vote Ronn Blitzer fox-news/politics/elections/democrats fox-news/person/mitt-romney fox news fnc/politics fnc b2a392a4-b583-529e-9063-bee00aa7b135 article

Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, who just eight years ago was jeered and vilified by Democrats as he ran for president, has suddenly been the recipient of gushing praise from the party since his vote to convict President Trump for abuse of power in his impeachment trial.

Romney was the sole member of the Senate to break from party lines in voting on whether to remove Trump from office. While his guilty vote had no effect on the outcome of the trial — acquittal on both counts — Democrats have publicly lauded the 2012 GOP presidential nominee for his decision. And the mere mention of his name has elicited loud applause on the primary campaign trail on multiple occasions.

ROMNEY APPLAUDED BY DEMS DURING NEW HAMPSHIRE DEBATE

“Voting to convict this president is an act of patriotism. Thank you for yours,” tweeted presidential hopeful Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass.

Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, also tweeted about Romney, saying, “Senator Romney reminds us that it is not impossible to do the right thing, it’s just hard.”

Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., was especially effusive with his praise for Romney.

“At a time when many wonder what honor is left in public life, there stands Mitt Romney,” he tweeted.

During Friday night’s Democratic debate, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., took a moment to recognize Romney for breaking ranks with the GOP and voting against Trump.

“There was courage from Mitt Romney who took a very, very difficult vote,” Klobuchar said, receiving thunderous applause in response.

Klobuchar received a similar crowd response when she lauded Romney at a New Hampshire rally on Sunday.

“You know this world’s upside down when a Democratic crowd is cheering the Republican nominee for president,” Klobuchar said.

Indeed, when Romney ran for president in 2012, he was targeted by Democrats before he even secured the Republican nomination. At the time, The Atlantic described “an unprecedented effort to tarnish” Romney, which was being carried out by unions, political groups, and even then-President Barack Obama’s campaign.

MITT ROMNEY PRAISED BY CELEBRITIES FOR SAYING HE’LL VOTE TO CONVICT DONALD TRUMP: HE HAS ‘POLITICAL COURAGE’

This included associating the moderate Romney with “the extreme tea party agenda” and deriding him as rich and not working for the middle class. A pro-Obama ad linked him to a woman’s death from cancer after Romney’s company, Bain Capital, bought out and closed the steel plant company that had employed her husband five years earlier.

There was also the notorious moment when Romney answered a question about gender inequality in the workplace. During a debate against Obama, Romney recalled how when he was governor of Massachusetts, all of the applications that made it to his desk for cabinet positions had been from men, so he went out of his way to seek out female candidates. The result, he said, was “binders full of women,” and more women on his senior staff than in any other state. Democrats and the media were quick to seize on Romney’s awkward phrasing instead of the message behind it.

This is in sharp contrast to Romney’s treatment from Democrats in 2020. Rep. Bill Pascrell Jr. even nominated Romney — along with Sen. Doug Jones, D-Ala., who also voted against Trump despite political pressure — for the Profile in Courage Award that is given by Boston’s John F. Kennedy Presidential Library.

Romney’s own party has been far less appreciative.

SWIPE AT ROMNEY? UTAH LAWMAKER INTRODUCES BILL TO RECALL US SENATORS

“In a political sense, he is ostracized. He is excommunicated. He has lost all credibility. He should hire lots of security guards — I don’t wish him any physical harm, but people are furious!” said Matt Schlapp, chairman of the American Conservative Union, who already disinvited Romney from the popular CPAC convention this month.

President Trump criticized Romney at the National Prayer Breakfast on Thursday, after the Utah senator had cited his faith as a major factor in his decision to vote against the president.

“I don’t like people who use their faith as justification for doing what they know is wrong,” Trump said.

An effort in Utah to allow voters to recall their senators also recently picked up steam. Although the author of the legislation said the bill was never aimed at Romney specifically, the effort caught fire since Romney’s impeachment vote on Wednesday, the Deseret News reports.

At least two Utah congressmen, however, were against the idea of removing Romney.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

“Heavens no,” said GOP Rep. John Curtis.

Fellow Republican Rep. Chris Stewart noted that while there is “a lot of anger” in Utah, “I think this too shall pass.”

Fox News’ Marisa Schultz contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group image Romney, once vilified by Democrats, hailed as hero by the left after impeachment vote Ronn Blitzer fox-news/politics/elections/democrats fox-news/person/mitt-romney fox news fnc/politics fnc b2a392a4-b583-529e-9063-bee00aa7b135 article   Westlake Legal Group image Romney, once vilified by Democrats, hailed as hero by the left after impeachment vote Ronn Blitzer fox-news/politics/elections/democrats fox-news/person/mitt-romney fox news fnc/politics fnc b2a392a4-b583-529e-9063-bee00aa7b135 article

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