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Finances hurting? Watch ‘Let’s Make a Deal’

This image released by CBS shows host Wayne Brady on the set of the gameshow "Lets Make a Deal." Shut-in television viewers tuned in to the game show “Let’s Make a Deal” in record numbers last week. (Photo: AP)Instead of watching their own finances crater, shut-in television viewers tuned in to the game show “Let’s Make a Deal” in record numbers last week.TV programs across the dial recorded superlatives last week with a captive audience of millions of Americans told to stay home because of the coronavirus. Few were as interesting as the newfound fervor for CBS’ “Let’s Make a Deal,” which recorded its most-watched week since the show was brought back 11 years ago with Wayne Brady as host, the Nielsen company said.Cost-conscious viewers also gave “The Price is Right,” now hosted by Drew Carey, its biggest audience in four years, Nielsen said.It was also a terrific week for television uber-producer Dick Wolf, whose Windy City-based trilogy of dramas dominates NBC’s lineup. Excluding special crossover episodes, “Chicago Fire” recorded its most popular episode in six years, while “Chicago Med” and “Chicago PD” had their largest audiences in four years, Nielsen said.The Wolf-produced dramas “FBI” and “FBI: Most Wanted” on CBS did have a crossover last week, leading both relatively new shows to their highest ratings ever.Nielsen hasn’t computed the numbers for last week yet, but during the previous week, television usage overall was up 18 percent over the same week a year ago. It was up 43 percent among viewers aged 12 to 17, which leads to questions about how much home schooling was being accomplished.Increased usage was even more striking in Nielsen’s measurements of streaming. During the week of March 16, Nielsen said that U.S. consumers streamed 156.1 billion minutes of content. That was more than double the 71.3 billion minutes streamed during the same week a year earlier, and up from the 116.4 billion minutes for the week of March 2 this year.Twenty-n...

Reporting for duty: Airline crew sign up to help hospitals

Former Scandinavian Airlines flight attendant, Mathilda Malm tests her hands for bacteria as she learns basic skills on to assist in nursing homes and hospitals due to the coronavirus outbreak, in Stockholm, Wednesday, April 1, 2020. (Photo: AP)Filip Palmgren had wanted to work on planes since he was a child. Now, after just two years as a flight attendant, the 21-year old has lost his job because of the coronavirus crisis and will be soon heading to work in a hospital instead to help save patients.He is part of a first group of 30 laid-off employees of Scandinavian Airlines who have started training this week to learn basic skills to assist in nursing homes and hospitals currently overwhelmed by a surging number of patients and ill medical staff.Scandinavian Airlines, known also as SAS, announced in mid-March the temporary layoff of up to 10,000 employees, 90% of its workforce amid a drop in demand for international travel as governments clamped down on public events to contain the virus outbreak. With the help of a foundation, it is one of several airlines offering former staff the chance to work on the front line of the pandemic.Palmgren says he signed up out of civic duty when he got the offer from his former employer.“I immediately replied to the email,” he said. “I felt this was a very huge opportunity for me to help and to contribute to society and help the healthcare, which I think is very important in these times.”In the U.K., budget carrier easyJet and Virgin Atlantic have asked their laid-off staff to do the same, with the support of the British government.Many airlines are laying off staff at a dizzying pace. Some are putting employees on temporary leave, in which they are paid with the help of government aid, or shorter hours. Germany’s Lufthansa, for example, is doing that with 27,000 out of 35,000 employees. In other cases, employees are losing their jobs outright, and those are being given priority for the medical training programs.The trend is less ...

Chinese virologists urge longer isolation for discharged COVID-19 patients retesting positive

(File photo: AFP)New research shows that young and mild COVID-19 patients appear to be retested positive after being discharged and they show no obvious clinical symptom and disease progression upon re-admission. Some virologists called for prolonged isolation and detailed observation for discharged patients while using high-sensitive detection kits as much as possible.Called "Clinical characteristics of the recovered COVID-19 patients with re-detectable positive RNA test," the preprint article was published on medRxiv by Chinese researchers from Shenzhen 3rd Peoples Hospital, National Clinical Research Center for Infectious Disease, and Translational Research Center under Tsinghua University.The paper says researchers studied 262 COVID-19 patients discharged from January 23 to February 25 this year. They were categorized into two groups: re-detectable positive patients, or RP patients, and non-RP (NRP) patients, and were tested using high-sensitive detection methods.The study revealed that the vast majority of RP patients (97.4 percent) were under 60 years old. Among them, patients younger than 14 were more common compared with those between the ages of 14 and 60 years old. All 38 RP patients recovered from mild and moderate conditions, and after they tested positive and were re-admitted to the hospital, they showed no obvious clinical symptoms and disease progression, nor did their 21 close contacts.Chinas top epidemiologist Zhong Nanshan disclosed last month that some experts from the University of Hong Kong studied over 10 RP patients and did not culture live virus from samples, suggesting that the element that triggered the positive reading might be the virus fragment, which is not infectious.Yang Zhanqiu, a Wuhan-based virologist, told the Global Times Wednesday that although no close contacts were found infected, it cannot prove that the RP patients were non-infectious due to the limits of observation. And the phenomena of re-detecta...

Netizens count down for Wuhan's lockdown removal

Residents in Wuhan walk past a big electric screen with words on it saying "Wuhan, Were back!"in a business street. (Photo: Global Times)Two months after Central Chinas Hubei Province and its capital city Wuhan were locked down for the outbreak of the novel coronavirus, the region will be lifted out of lockdown on April 8 as the epidemic has been under control and the city is slowly recovering.Restrictions on the outbound travel from Wuhan and Hubei Province will be lifted on April 8, transportation will be restored in orders and people with the health code will be able to leave Wuhan, according to a notice from the Hubei provincial government.Airports in many cities in Wuhan have restored flights since March 25. Residents in Wuhan began to go outside their houses in recent days and some shopping malls in the city welcomed many customers.Hubei announced to lock down Wuhan on January 23. The people in Wuhan and Hubei made a great sacrifice on containing the spreading of the virus nationwide, analysts said.Chinese netizens made a seven-day countdown on Sina Weibo for the upcoming removal of the lockdown on Wuhan with many people commenting that Wuhan is a city of heroes and that they welcome people in Wuhan to visit their hometowns.Wuhan reported one imported COVID-19 case on Wednesday and the total number of confirmed cases in Hubei is now 1,283. Experts noted that the prevention work in the province should not be relaxed especially on residential communities.

Expert: Blockbuster films likely to be moved to spring/summer 2021

(Photo: CGTN)With theaters, movies suspended, and almost all production halted, hundreds and thousands of freelancers have been laid off. The multibillion-dollarmovie industry has taken a heavy hit from the coronavirus pandemic.Numbers tell the story.According to the Hollywood Reporter, the total box office income of U.S. cinemas fell to 300,000 dollars on March 18, down 97 percent compared to last years revenue of 10.7 million dollars during the same period.Andrew Wallenstein, Co-Editor-in-Chief at U.S. magazine Variety, thinks the real question that will eventually be answered is what happens when a population doesnt go to movie theaters for months."Does that eventually wean them off of movies as a regular part of their movie diet? Can they start to do this more often at home, as theyve been trained over recent months through Netflix and other sources?" Wallenstein asked.He noted that there was simply no precedent to the depth of the impact that coronavirus is creating for Hollywood and the entertainment business globally. "There are certainly been work stoppages and strikes over the years that have been disruptive, but this is on a whole other level."China has been impacted more than anyone so farChinas movie industry is among the casualties that suffered the severest damage from the pandemic. The nations box office for January and February stands at just 2.2 billion yuan, down sharply from the roughly 12 billion yuan posted during the same period last year, according to global consultancy Roland Berger.The digital magazine "Sir Film" surveyed thousands of movie fans in 70 cities across China, showing that most of them have no plans to go to the cinema at the moment, and 90.6 percent of the respondents said that was because the cinema is too crowded.Wallenstein said since China is a major market for U.S. films, both countries share the pain and hit. "Before coronavirus kicked in, the estimate...

What you need to do to get your government stimulus check

Texas Tavern employees Chris Dobe, left, and Nick Moore wait for take out orders on Monday night, March 30, 2020. (Photo: AP)The IRS and the Treasury Department say Americans will start receiving their economic impact checks in the next three weeks.The payments are part of the $2.2 trillionrescue packagesigned into law last week by President Donald Trump aimed at combating the economic ravages of the coronavirus outbreak.Most people don’t need to do anything to get the money. But some — including senior citizens and low-income people who might not traditionally file tax returns — do need to take action. People behind on filing their taxes might also want to get caught up.The IRS and Treasury have provided more details on how to ensure you get paid. Here are the basics:WHO IS ELIGIBLE FOR THE PAYMENTS?Anyone earning up to $75,000 in adjusted gross income and who has a Social Security number will receive a $1,200 payment. That means married couples filing joint returns will receive the full payment — $2,400 — if their adjusted gross income, which what you report on your taxes, is under $150,000.The payment steadily declines for those who make more. Those earning more than $99,000, or $198,000 for joint filers, are not eligible. The thresholds are slightly different for those who file as a head of household.Parents will also receive $500 for each qualifying child.WHAT DO I HAVE TO DO TO GET THE CHECK?For most people, nothing.The money will be directly deposited in your bank account if the government has that information from your tax return. If you haven’t filed your 2019 taxes, the government will use information from your 2018 taxes to calculate your payment and determine where to send it. It can use your Social Security benefit statement as well.I DON’T USUALLY HAVE TO FILE TAXES. DO I STILL GET A PAYMENT?Yes. People who are not required to file a tax return — such as low-income tax payers, some senior citizens, Social Security recipients, some veterans ...

VIRUS DIARY: An unfamiliar war for those who live with war

In this March 28, 2020, photo, people stand in a line outside a bank in Beirut, Lebanon, amid a financial crisis and a lockdown imposed by the government to help stem the spread of the coronavirus in Lebanon. (Photo: AP)I’ve seen the streets of Beirut empty before, during wars when the shells were falling and under curfews after various bouts of fighting. But it is the silence that is getting to me.On the streets, at the supermarket, and even as people stand in line (one meter apart) outside banks and grocery stores, no one speaks. It seems like every single person is wearing a mask and gloves, even those inside their cars, driving alone.Exactly how did we get here, and how will we get out? It’s the same question everyone is asking, bewildered at the sea change that has come over our lives.It was only weeks earlier that my colleagues and I were covering massive anti-government protests in a square just down the road from our office. As protest movements tend to go, they began with euphoric demonstrators thronging the streets and ended with tear gas and batons snuffing out the calls for change.Then came more uncertainty. The financial crisis. The mass layoffs and the realization that people’s savings will probably evaporate.Then, the coronavirus. First schools closed, then restaurants and cafes. Then — overnight, it seemed — we were locked in our homes. Police now hand out tickets to offenders for simply walking on the sidewalk by the sea. The other day a military helicopter flew low over the city, booming orders for residents to stay indoors.I drove to the office after two weeks of working from home. It felt a bit like driving to work at 6 a.m. back when Israel was bombing highways and bridges in 2006, during the monthlong war with Hezbollah. Only few cars on the road, speeding to their destinations. Shuttered shops. Fear. Emptiness.Downtown Beirut’s Martyrs’ Square, only weeks earlier filled with flag-waving young Lebanese protesters, was deserted. Nearby, a long l...

Rural areas fear spread of virus as more hospitals close

In this March 19, 2020, photo, Carol Talkington helps Terri Bonasso tape a notice on the emergency room door following a vigil at the closing of the Fairmont Regional Medical Center in Fairmont, W.Va. (Photo: AP)As thecoronavirusspread across the United States, workers at the lone hospital in one Alabama county turned off beeping monitors for good and padlocked the doors, making it one of the latest in a string of nearly 200 rural hospitals to close nationwide.Now Joe Cunningham is more worried than ever about getting care for his wife, Polly, a dialysis patient whose health is fragile. The nearest hospital is about 30 miles away, he said, and that’s too far since COVID-19 already has been confirmed in sparsely populated Pickens County, on the Mississippi state line.Cunningham is trusting God, but he’s also worried the virus will worsen in his community, endangering his wife without a hospital nearby.“It can still find its way here,” said Cunningham, 73.The pandemic erupted at an awful time for communities trying to fill health care gaps following the closure of 170 rural hospitals across the nation in the last 15 years. 2019 was the worst year yet, with 19 closures, and eight more have shut down since Jan. 1, according to the Sheps Center for Health Services Research at the University of North Carolina.While the nation’s coronavirus hot spots so far have been big cities like New York and New Orleans, officials fear inadequate testing and the lack of medical resources linked to hospital failures will catch up with smaller population centers.The reasons for the closures vary, but experts and administrators cite factors including declining rural populations, rising medical costs, insufficient Medicare reimbursements, large numbers of uninsured patients, state decisions against Medicaid expansion and mismanagement. About 60% of the counties and towns that have lost hospitals are in the South, an analysis by the Sheps Center showed.Other communities are tryi...

60 Australian newspapers to stop printing amid COVID-19 pandemic

Copies of The Sydney Morning Herald newspaper, published by Fairfax Media Ltd. (L), are displayed at a newsagents shop in Sydney, Australia, on Thursday, July 26, 2018. (Photo: VCG)Rupert Murdochs Australian flagship media group News Corp announced Wednesday it will stop printing around 60 regional newspapers, as the troubled sector received a fresh blow from a COVID-19 advertising downturn.News Corp said papers in the states of New South Wales, Victoria, Queensland and South Australia would cease printing and move online."We have not taken this decision lightly," News Corp Australasia Executive Chairman Michael Miller was quoted as saying by the groups Australian newspaper title."The coronavirus crisis has created unprecedented economic pressures and we are doing everything we can to preserve as many jobs as possible.""The suspension of our community print editions has been forced on us by the rapid decline in advertising revenues following the restrictions placed on real estate auctions and home inspections, the forced closure of event venues and dine-in restaurants in the wake of the coronavirus emergency, " he added.Many Australian media groups had already been shifting to focus to online content before the pandemic began.The announcement follows a series of media closure announcements, including national wire AAP, which is due to cease work later this year.The move has echoed a global trend.The largest U.S. newspaper publisher, Gannett, said on Monday it was making unspecified furloughs and pay cuts for its staff.Falling readerships and the rise of Google and Facebook as dominant players in advertising has made news organizations less profitable.

Beekeeper's 'magic' turns honey into sweet success story

A beekeeper in Luodong village, Rongshui Miao autonomous county of Liuzhou, Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, harvests honey.The time has come for bees to collect nectar from blooming vegetation in the lush mountains of East China's Fujian province, and Zheng Quanfu, a local beekeeper, is all set to

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Terraced field in Guizhou shows prosperity, beauty

Located deep in the mountains of Congjiang county, Southwest China's Guizhou province, the irrigated terraced fields indicate a good sign for spring farming, on April 1, 2020. [Photo/Xinhua] .

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Local cadre promotes agricultural products via live streaming in Cili, C China’s Hunan

To stimulate the recovery of local agriculture and tourism industry, local cadres participated in e-commerce live streaming to promote agricultural products, so as to help local farmers enter the market. (Photos: Guangming Picture)A local cadre (R) of Cili County promote agricultural products via live streaming at an e-commerce platform in Cili County, Zhangjiajie City, central China’s Hunan Province, Mar. 15, 2020. A local cadre (R) of Cili County promote agricultural products via live streaming at an e-commerce platform in Cili County, Zhangjiajie City, central China’s Hunan Province, Mar. 15, 2020.

CNN’s Cuomo says he has coronavirus, has shown symptoms

This May 15, 2019 file photo shows CNN news anchor Chris Cuomo at the WarnerMedia Upfront in New York. (Photo: AP)CNN’s Chris Cuomo has tested positive for the coronavirus but promised Tuesday to stay at work and do his prime-time show from the basement of his home.Cuomo, whose brother New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has logged just as much television airtime lately with daily briefings on the disease, looked a little pale while hosting his 9 p.m. Eastern show on Monday. He said he’s had fever, chills and shortness of breath.“I knew it was just a matter of time, to be honest, because of how often I was exposed to people,” the 49-year-old newsman said on his SiriusXM radio show Tuesday. He’s quarantining in the basement of his Long Island home, hoping his wife and children don’t catch Covid-19. CNN says he doesn’t need any other network personnel with him to do his show.The New York governor, who appeared with his brother on CNN by remote link the night before, used the story as a cautionary tale during his press briefing Tuesday. He noted that he had scolded Chris for having their 88-year-old mother, Matilda, visiting Chris’ home two weeks ago.“It’s my family, it’s your family, it’s all of our families,” he said. “This virus is so insidious, and we have to keep that in mind.”Chris Cuomo said he thought his mom would be safer at his house than in her New York City apartment, but his brother convinced him to have her stay at his sister’s place in Westchester County.Chris Cuomo on Tuesday said he appreciated the sympathy from well-wishers but tried to deflect it.“I feel — I’m a little lousy, you know, but everybody’s been sick before,” he said. “That’s what it is. I don’t have compromised lungs. We’ll see how the days go and hopefully I’m further into it than not into it, and the symptoms don’t get any worse.”Most people who get the virus have mild to moderate symptoms and recover. But for older people, and those with underlying medical conditions, the disease can be danger...

‘It is brutal’: Hollywood’s rank-and-file on the pandemic

This combination photo shows, from left, entertainment publicist Annie Jeeves, event producer Heather Hope-Allison, TV producer and film director Leslie Thomas, TV and film music composer Matt Hutchinson, TV editor and filmmaker Pi Ware and celebrity hairstylist Steven Mason during separate portrait sessions in Los Angeles. (Photos: AP)The red carpets are rolled up in storage, the A-listers holed up in mansions, multiplex doors are closed. For now, at least, the coronavirus has shut down much of Hollywood. And for the entertainment industry’s many one-gig-at-a-time staff and freelance workers — a quarter-million people in Los Angeles County alone — it’s an economic disaster.There’s the hair stylist who can’t do his job due to social distancing, the TV producer whose feature film premiere drew only a few dozen audience members days before theaters closed, and the event producer who fears losing her family home. Six men and women in the entertainment industry explain below how their lives have been upended by the coronavirus.“IT TAKES YOUR BREATH AWAY”A year ago, Los Angeles-based film and entertainment publicist Annie Jeeves says she would have been “bouncing from plane to plane, city to city, with film festivals, launching different films and preparing for the Cannes Film Festival.”Not this year.“Corona(virus) derailed me,” Jeeves said. “Literally the day that South by Southwest (festival) was no more, it was a snowball effect, and I was on the phone with current clients and clients who aren’t even on and advising on strategy and pivoting. And it’s been pivot, and really what ends up being crisis management since.”The uncertainty is devastating for independent contractors and freelancers who depend on steady income to survive.“I mean, independents lose houses. They lose everything. They go through savings that, you know, they have a little bit of, but not a lot,” Jeeves said. “I think people think of Hollywood and they think of A-list stars on red carpets. I think o...

Un-baaaaa-lievable: Goats invade locked-down Welsh town

A herd of goats walk the quiet streets in Llandudno, north Wales, Tuesday March 31, 2020. (Photo: AP)Un-baaaaa-lievable: This wild bunch is completely ignoring rules on social distancing.With humans sheltering indoors to escapethe new coronavirus, mountain goats are taking advantage of the peace and space to roam in frisky clumps through the streets of Llandudno, a town in North Wales.Andrew Stuart, a video producer for the Manchester Evening News, has been posting videos ofthe furry adventurerson his Twitter feed and they are racking up hundreds of thousands of views.He said the goats normally keep largely to themselves, in a country park that butts up against Llandudno. But now emboldened by the lack of people and cars, the long-horned animals are venturing deeper into the seaside town. The U.K. has been in lockdown for the past week to combat the spread of the coronavirus.“There’s no one around at the moment, because of the lockdown, so they take their chances and go as far as they can. And they are going further and further into the town,” Stuart told The Associated Press in an interview Tuesday from his parents’ pub in Llandudno, where he is waiting out the pandemic.His videos show the goatsmunching on people’sneatly trimmed hedgesand trees in front yards andloitering casuallyon empty streets as if they own the place.“One of the videos on my Twitter shows that they were on a narrow side street and I was on the other side and they were scared of me. They were edging away from me. So they are still scared of people,” Stuart said. “But when there’s hardly anyone around on the big streets, they are taking their chances, they are absolutely going for it. And I think because it’s so quiet, and there’s hardly anyone around to scare them or anything, that they just don’t really care and are eating whatever they can.”For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear u...

Feed the soul: In chaotic times, gardening becomes therapy

Gail Henrickson, left, and her daughter, Melissa, shop for plants at a local garden center as they stay at home during the coronavirus outbreak Monday March 23 , 2020, in Richmond, Va. (Photo: AP)Dig. Plant. Breathe.As spring’s arrival in the Northern Hemisphere coincides with government stay-at-home orders, the itch to get outside has turned backyard gardens into a getaway for the mind in chaotic times.Gardeners who already know that working with soil is a way to connect with nature say it helps take away their worries, at least temporarily.“I love to see things grow,” Lindsay Waldrop said. “It’s incredibly therapeutic.”Now more than ever.Waldrop, a resident of Anaheim, California, has an anxiety disorder. Exercise is supposed to help, but her new job as a college biology professor had prevented her from getting into a routine.Her grandfather, who introduced her to gardening by showing her how to plant seeds, died about a year ago.Add the global coronavirus pandemic to all that, and it’s easy to see where her focus is these days.“Sometimes I just like to sit and dig holes in the quiet with my own thoughts,” she said. “Outside, it takes my mind off. It gives something for my hands to do. It gives you a separate problem to think about than whatever else is going on. It gets you off of social media.”Waldrop and her husband moved last summer from New Mexico, where she didn’t have much luck gardening in a scorching climate. At her new home, she got rid of the lawn, installed an irrigation system, and recently planted dozens of tomatoes, eggplant, peppers and other vegetables.Over the years, Waldrop converted her skeptical husband, who initially wondered why digging in the dirt and moving things around was considered fun.After tasting his first home-grown tomatoes, he was converted.Families, too, are discovering that gardening gives cooped-up kids something to do, builds their self-esteem and brings variety to what has suddenly become a lot of time spent together.In Miam...

China’s Tibet Autonomous Region to open its first autonomous region-level museum

Bird view of Art Museum in Southwest Chinas Tibet Autonomous Region. (Photo: Global Times)Southwest Chinas Tibet Autonomous Region will open its first autonomous region-level art museum in July 2021 to mark the regions 70th peaceful liberation anniversary, the museums designer announced on Tuesday.Construction on the museum, which will occupy 47,000 square meters of land and have a building space of 32,000 square meters in the capital city of Lhasa, began on March 23. The opening in 2021 will first be limited to the main exhibition areas, with smaller areas opened later. According to a report from China News, it will be an international museum integrating digital and physical collections and exhibitions and focusing on research, cultural communication and education.Li Li, a professor with the College of Architecture and Urban Planning at Tongji University and the designer of the museum, told the Global Times on Tuesday that the museum will be divided into four functional areas: a main exhibition hall for exhibitions and public services, an interactive art area focused on public education, a creative space for artists and an art market section for live performances."Some artworks with Tibetan characteristics like thangka will be showcased in the main hall," he said.According to Li, the museum will be the result of renovating and expanding on an abandoned industrial cement production facility in Lhasa. The enterprise that ran the facility, established by the Peoples Liberation Army in the 1960s to revitalize Tibets production industry, was the first of its kind in the region."This will be the only provincial or autonomous region-level art museum in China to be housed in a renovated industrial heritage building," Li said.He added that the biggest challenge for the renovation will be retaining the buildings original layout while fulfilling the complex functions required by a modern large-scale art museum, all the wh...

Virus: Elton John-led concert raises $8M; Rihanna ups aid

In this Sunday, Feb. 9, 2020, file photo, Elton John appears after performing his nominated song, "(Im Gonna) Love Me Again," at the Oscars in Los Angeles. (Photo: AP)From finding ways to help others cope to sheltering in place to canceling events, here’s a look at some of the ways the entertainment industry is reacting to the spread of the coronavirus, which most people recover from but can cause severe illness in the elderly and those with preexisting medical conditions.CONCERT RAISES MILLIONSThe Elton John-led starry benefit concert that featured Billie Eilish, Mariah Carey and Alicia Keys on Sunday has raised nearly $8 million to battle the coronavirus.The musicians performed from their homes for the hourlong event that aired on Fox and iHeartMedia radio stations. The money will go to Feeding America and First Responders Children’s Foundation.Other performers included Tim McGraw, H.E.R. and Sam Smith, who sang “How Do You Sleep” in a cappella form. Dave Grohl sang “My Hero” from his studio in Hawaii, Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong strummed his guitar to “Boulevard of Broken Dreams,” while Camila Cabello sang “My Oh My” from Miami with a guitar assist from beau Shawn Mendes.The event took place during the time slot that was to belong to the iHeartRadio Music Awards. Procter & Gamble donated $500,000, which Fox Corporation matched. YouTube, is streaming the concert on iHeartRadio’sYouTube Channel.RIHANNA OPENS HER PURSE AGAINRihanna’s Clara Lionel Foundation is donating $1 million in grants toward COVID-19 response — a number that is being matched by Jay-Z’s Shawn Carter Foundation.The combined $2 million will support undocumented workers, the children of front-line health workers and first responders and the incarcerated, elderly and homeless populations in New York City and Los Angeles.Last week, the Clara Lionel Foundation gave $5 million to the response efforts against the coronavirus, with the money going to food banks, testing, hea...

Need a laugh? SiriusXM launches channel for female comics

This combination photo shows comedians, from left, Amy Schumer, Wanda Sykes, Whoopi Goldberg and Joan Rivers, whose comedy will be featured on a new SiriusXM comedy channel called Shes So Funny debuting on April Fools Day. (Photo: AP)The midst of a global pandemic might seem like an odd time to launch a radio channel devoted to female comedians, but executives at SiriusXM believe that it’s precisely the right time.Listenership at the satellite radio company’s eight current comedy channels has been up, and the company feels that it is filling a need with people stuck at home.The channel, dubbed She’s So Funny, debuts Wednesday at 7 a.m. Eastern — the morning of April Fool’s Day, naturally.“We have a lot of people who are very scared,” said Scott Greenstein, president and chief content officer at SiriusXM. “You have a lot of people who want to feel OK in a difficult time, to have a little humor and try to laugh.”The number of people listening to SiriusXM’s comedy channels online this year is up 80% over last year, said the company, which doesn’t have ratings for the satellite portion of its distribution. That’s through March 22, which includes a little bit of the shut-in period.Greenstein said Sirius has suffered no service interruptions due to the virus outbreak that has forced many employees to work at home.“We’ve been lucky,” he said. “We did a fair amount of planning through the years.”SiriusXM also announced that starting Tuesday, it is opening up streams of all of its programming for free online, through May 15, as a gesture to people at home because of the virus.Among the current Sirius comedy channels are ones featuring the works of Kevin Hart, George Carlin, Jeff Foxworthy and Larry the Cable Guy. There’s a “raw” channel for comics who work blue and a clean one for those who don’t. The She’s So Funny channel is an outgrowth of a listener survey revealing people wanted to hear more from women, said Jack Vaughn, senior vice president of comedy at Siri...

Trump rollback of mileage standards guts climate change push

FILE - This Dec. 12, 2018, file photo shows traffic on the Hollywood Freeway in Los Angeles. The Trump administration is rolling back tough Obama-era mileage standards and gutting one of the United States biggest efforts to slow climate change. The administration released its relaxed mileage rules Tuesday. (Photo: AP File)The Trump administration rolled back ambitious Obama-era vehicle mileage standards Tuesday, raising the ceiling on damaging fossil fuel emissions for years to come and gutting one of the United States’ biggest efforts against climate change.The Trump administration released a final rule Tuesday on mileage standards through 2026. The change — aftertwo years of Trump threatening and fighting statesand a faction of automakers that opposed the move — waters down a tough Obama mileage standard that would have encouraged automakers to ramp up production of electric vehicles and morefuel-efficient gas and diesel vehicles.“We are delivering on President Trump’s promise to correct the current fuel economy and greenhouse gas emissions standards,” Andrew Wheeler, head of the Environmental Protection Agency, said in a statement Tuesday marking the release.He said the final rule “puts in place a sensible” national program that “strikes the right regulatory balance that protects our environment, and sets reasonable targets for the auto industry. This rule supports our economy, and the safety of American families.”Opponents contend the change — gutting his predecessor’s legacy effort against climate-changing fossil fuel emissions — appears driven by Trump’s push to undo regulatory initiatives of former President Barack Obama and say even the administration has had difficulty pointing to the kind of specific, demonstrable benefits to drivers, public health and safety or the economy that normally accompany standards changes.The Trump administration says the looser mileage standards will allow consumers to keep buying the less fuel-effic...

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