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BUSINESS INSIDER
Business Insider is a business website with extensive coverage of the financial, media, tech, and other industries. It launched on July 19, 2007, led by DoubleClick founders Dwight Merriman and Kevin Ryan and former top-ranked Wall Street analyst Henry Blodget.
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LGBTQ Plus

LGBTQ+ International: Sports Bans Tipping Point, Indian Uterus Transplant — And The Week’s Other Top News

All things LGBTQ+, from Peru, Morocco, NYC, Uganda ...

Welcome to Worldcrunch’s LGBTQ+ International. We bring you up-to-speed each week on the latest news on everything LGBTQ+ — a topic that you may follow closely at home, but can now see from different places and perspectives around the world. Discover the latest news from all corners of the planet. All in one smooth scroll!

Featuring, this week:

  • A flurry of sports governing bodies reviewing their transgender policy
  • A Bolivian Indigenous’ critique on “western” Pride
  • Moroccan lesbian makes history at UN
  • … and more

✉️ You can receive our LGBTQ+ International roundup every week directly in your inbox: Subscribe here.

🌏 Sports Transgender Policy, A Tipping Point?

It’s been something of a domino effect since International Swimming’s top ruling body FINA voted last weekend to ban transgender athletes, excluding anyone who has been through male puberty from competing in women’s competitions. FINA promised to create a working group that would aim to establish an “open” category for trans swimmers at some of its events.

Since FINA’s decision, a growing number of professional sports bodies have indicated that they will review their transgender policy. They include:

• The International Rugby League, which ruled this week that transgender women will be barred from women’s rugby.

• World Athletics' president, Sebastian Coe, praised FINA’s decision, suggesting that track and field could soon follow suit.

• Soccer body FIFA said it is reviewing its gender eligibility regulations.

However, German soccer is bucking the trend. The German soccer federation passed a regulation on Thursday to allow gender non-conforming individuals to choose to play for men’s or women’s teams. “Football stands for diversity,” they said.

🇵🇪 Peru Court Refuses To Recognize Same-Sex Marriages

The Constitutional Court of Peru has refused to recognize two same-sex marriages that were held abroad.

In one case, a Peruvian congresswoman and LGTBQ+ activist and her partner had married in Miami, and had been seeking recognition of their union in Peru since 2016. In the second case, dating back to 2012, Peru refused to recognize the marriage of two men who had wed in Mexico.

The top national court ruled against the plaintiff’s claim that their rights to equality, non-discrimination and the free development of the personality had been violated. In the Peruvian legal system, legal acts carried out abroad can be registered in Peru as long as they do not violate public order or “good customs.” Marianella Ledesma, the only magistrate who dissented from the majority, said that her Constitutional Court colleagues were acting like a “Court of the Holy Inquisition.”

🇧🇴 A Bolivian Critique On “Importing” Pride

Juan Pablo Vargas, a gay Bolivian journalist has written a fascinating essay for Muy Waso independent media asking if the struggle for sexual diversity in Latin America suffered from “importing social struggles from northern countries.”

Vargas encourages fellow Bolivian LGBTQ+ to seek “understanding from the Indigenous knowledge, beyond following the rules of the developed world on 'how to be gay'.”

He notes that Andean thought has its own understanding of the matter. “Juan de Santa Cruz Pachacuti wrote at the beginning of the 17th century that due to a crisis in the succession of rulers, the Inca summoned a God who has disappeared today: Chuqui Chinchay or the Apu of the Otorongos. A deity who was patron of the 'Indians of two sexes". It is a middle space between masculine and feminine. The space of the q'iwa, what Western culture calls queer."

Vargas cites Michael J. Horswell, who has studied how qariwarmi shamans (men-women) performed ceremonies for this God while crossdressed, “being a visible sign of contact between the two sexes (but also between the present and the past, life and death)”.

According to Vargas, there is an Andean understanding of the q'iwa that has survived colonialism in the form of bodies, dances and experiences. “It is our task to think about the social place that corresponds to us and demand it in laws and rights. But we must do it from a reflection of Andean thought that allows us to overcome the colonized mentality with which we do it today.”

🇲🇦 UN Hears Moroccan LBT Voice For First Time

On June 20, for the first time in Moroccan history, LGBTQ+ people were spoken about in a public intervention at the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of the Discrimination against Women. Activists submitted a shadow report on discrimination, violence, exclusion, and criminalization of Moroccan lesbian, trans and bisexual women. The shadow report was presented by the NGO Kasbah Tal Fin for freedom and equality, and ILGA World.

Mariyem Gamar, founder of Kasbah Tal Fin, spoke to the chair: “I am a young leader for freedom and equality, who happens to be a woman and a lesbian and a Moroccan. In Morocco.” She explained that Moroccan lesbian, bisexual and transgender women live between the weight of two oppressions, the legal criminalization of their existence and the lack of protection from social stigma.

Gamar spoke from her personal experience: “At the age of 16, I remember walking on an afternoon in my village, a group of boys threw a big rock on my back because they knew I am a lesbian. I felt fear and since then, I wanted peace. I chose to be out and visible as an equal individual of society, but that came with social stigma and violence.”

The activist demanded urgent legal reforms to protect women on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity and the removal of article 489, which punishes "homosexual conduct" with fines and prison terms. She delivered the speech while Moroccan government officials were sitting in front of her, and risks persecution and prosecution for speaking out about this taboo and “illegal” topic.

🇺🇸 New York To Build Statues To Transgender Icons At Stonewall Landmark

New York will be the home of the first transgender women statues in the U.S. Placed at the site of the 1969 Stonewall riots, the statues will commemorate activists Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera, leaders of the uprising. Johnson and Rivera, who died respectively in 1992 and 2002, were founding members of the Gay Liberation Front and the Gay Activists Alliance. They also helped create a refuge for LGBTQ+ people living on the street.

🇯🇵 Japan Court Upholds Same-Sex Marriage Ban

\u200bParticipants hold a banner as they march during the 2016 Tokyo Rainbow Pride parade

At the Tokyo Rainbow Pride parade

Alessandro Di Ciommo/ZUMA


The Osaka district court ruled this week that a ban on same-sex marriages is constitutional after three same-sex couples had argued that the ban violated their right to equality. The decision deals a significant blow to LGBTQ+ activists, and the plaintiffs will be appealing the ruling.

The court argued that the constitutional definition of marriage does not extend to couples of the same sex, though they indicated thatJapan may be able to create a new system that recognizes same-sex couples separately from traditional marriages.

Japan does not currently offer national protections against anti-LGBTQ+ discrimination, and gay and transgender people in Japan regularly experience obstacles in employment opportunities, housing, education, and healthcare. Some 200 municipalities offer some form of recognition for same-sex couples which allow them to get housing together and receive some of the other benefits associated with traditional marriage in Japan.

🇺🇬 Ugandan Activists Call Out Criminalization Of HIV Transmission

Human rights defenders in Uganda have filed their final arguments in a landmark Constitutional Court petition challenging sections of the HIV/AIDS prevention and Control Act 2014 that criminalize HIV transmission. According to the executive director of the Uganda Health and Science Press Association, this law has been used to justify the application of forced anal examinations on homosexuals in recent arrests, to establish their HIV status.

More than 50 civil society organizations, led by The Uganda Network on Law Ethics and HIV/AIDS (UGANET), are challenging the Act 2014, which they allege is discriminatory and an impediment to the fight against AIDS.

According to the website Rights Africa, human rights organizations have called the law “flawed, and deeply troubling and in contradiction of science and human rights.”

🇮🇪 Irish Rugby Player Speaks For First Time About Coming Out

Photo of \u200bIrish rugby player Nick McCarthy

Irish rugby player Nick McCarthy (right)

Ettore Griffoni/LPS via ZUMA


Irish rugby player Nick McCarthy has spoken about his coming out journey. In his first interview since revealing his sexuality, the 27-year-old Leinster scrum-half said his experience had been “entirely positive”. However, he did reveal he had contemplated quitting the sport.

Even though gay players are still extremely rare in professional sport, particularly in rugby,

McCarthy said he has received support from his teammates. Leinster club captain Johnny Sexton said: “By speaking openly about his sexuality, Nick will be a role model for others and we couldn't be prouder of him.”

🇬🇧 Harry Styles Helps Fan Come Out During A Show In London


British singer Harry Styles helped a fan to come out during a concert at London’s Wembley Stadium earlier this week. Matti, from Italy, held out a sign reading “From Ono to Wembley: Help me come out.” Styles thanked him and picked up the sign and a rainbow flag, saying, “When this flag goes over my head, you are officially out. I think that’s how it works: When this sign goes over the head, you’re officially gay, my boy.”

The audience cheered and sang Matti’s name as Styles progressively raised the flag and declared Matti a “free man”. The singer has been both hailed for its longstanding support of the LGBTQ+ community and accused of queerbaiting for embracing queer aesthetics while refusing to identify as such. Styles had already helped a young fan come out to her mother during a show in Milwaukee in November 2021.

🇮🇳 Indian Surgeon To Transplant Uterus On Transgender Woman

A surgeon in India is planning to perform a uterus transplant on a transgender woman. The patient plans to then undergo IVF treatment to carry a baby. If successful, the procedure could pave the way for trans women to bear children.

The operation will not the world’s first uterus transplant (though it is still rare for cisgender women to receive such transplants). But, it could be the world's first successful uterus transplant performed on a trans woman. There is only one other recorded case of a trans woman receiving a uterus transplant was Danish artist Lili Elbe in 1931, but she died later of complications.The surgeon, Dr. Narendra Kaushik, is optimistic about the procedure. “The way to do this is through a uterine transplant, similar to a kidney or other transplant," he told The Mirror.

OTHERWISE:

Masks for all ages
BUSINESS INSIDER

Third Wave Coming: How We’re Getting Smarter About COVID-19

PARIS — With much of the world trying to minimize the impact of a COVID-19 second wave, governments are again forced to make impossible choices between relaxing restrictions to avoid total economic implosion or staying shut down to limit death tolls. Even countries typically mentioned as pandemic role models, like South Korea, are seeing a resurgence of cases.

But perhaps the grimmest news of the second wave is that many experts say we're bound for a third wave.

We know little about how things will play out, especially as hopeful results continue to arrive from several major vaccine efforts. But the logistical challenge of deploying a global vaccination effort means there's a real risk of a third wave arriving well before the virus is defeated. Others say that the next surge would be better characterized as a second installment of a drawn-out second wave.

Either way, the West is unlikely to go into crippling lockdowns again given the depth of economic damage caused by previous efforts to contain infections. What we do have is nine months of gained experience of grappling with the pandemic, and from that, governments have learned important lessons and fashioned new tools for minimizing the impact of the crisis in the months ahead. Here's a look at some of the progress that's been made:

Better knowledge of the virus

Treatments Three major vaccines have been developed and moved into final approval phase, with the UK set to deploy this month. But as we wait, the medical community has been testing and repurposing existing drugs and studying their effect on health, mortality and length of hospitalizations. Some show promise:

• A recent WHO worldwide study (conducted on 11,266 adult patients, across 500 hospitals in more than 30 different countries) reported that the steroid dexamethasone, used as a last resort among the most serious cases requiring oxygen, reduced mortality rates by up to one-third.

President Trump's hospitalization, in the United States, shed light on an experimental treatment using a combination of two synthesized "monoclonal" antibodies to boost the natural immune response of patients. U.S. officials have granted emergency authorization for the treatment — though the WHO remains unsure about the method.

• According to CNN, 14-year-old Anika Chebrolu from Texas could help deliver another potential COVID-19 treatment. Using in-silico methodology, she developed a lead molecule that can selectively bind to the spike protein that the SARS-CoV-2 virus uses to attach to human cells, infect them and replicate.

• Health professionals and authorities around the world have learned just how crucial timely diagnoses and treatments are. We now know that it's critical to act fast in symptomatic cases, while asymptomatic or only lightly affected patients can quarantine at home.

Viral load - One question researchers have sought to explain is why hospitals and ICU admissions dropped drastically over the summer. The going theory now is that when people receive lower doses of the virus, largely due to social distancing and wearing a mask in public spaces, their bodies are able to fight it and develop immunity more quickly. And the smaller the viral dose people carry, the less infectious they are. The hypothesis is backed by several studies, according to the The Washington Post, but more research is needed to confirm it, especially about how the viral load may impact the severity of the infection.

Masking up in Frankfurt — Photo: 7C0

Prevention is the best cure, but how?

The right tracking - The faster a cluster can be identified, the better the chances of containing the spread. Countries like South Korea have been praised for their streamlined responses to new cases, made possible through extensive contact tracing systems using both manual and digital methods. Many countries have tried to copy that approach, launching smartphone apps that rely on Bluetooth and geolocation to identify and notify people who might have become infected.

• In Germany, the Corona-Warn-App has been downloaded approximately 22 million times but only around 60% of users who have tested positive for Corona upload their findings onto the app, meaning that the people they have come into contact with aren't duly informed of the risk.

• In Finland, an app launched at the start of September became one of Europe's most popular with 1 million downloads in the first 24 hours, as reported by AP. It now has 5.5 million users and counting.

• Across the EU, three out of the 23 member states with a contact-tracing app have switched on cross-border interoperability: Germany's Corona-Warn-App, the Republic of Ireland's COVID-19 tracker, and Italy's Immuni app. Any user traveling from and to these countries can now receive exposure notifications through their national app, without downloading the local one.

Up to the test - Several countries have carried out massive testing campaigns. But the results of the standard PCR tests take up to 4-5 days to arrive, limiting their ability to prevent infected people spreading the virus further. Several labs worldwide have developed antigen tests that work just like the PCR-tests but produce results much more quickly (15 to 30 minutes).

• In the United States, Abbot Laboratories, the only one manufacturing rapid tests, received emergency authorization in August to put them on the market. At the end of September, Trump announced a plan to distribute 150 million of them.

• The WHO and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation have partnered to reach volume guarantee agreements with Abbott and SD Biosensor to make 120 million antigen rapid diagnostic tests available to low- and middle-income countries.

On air - Unlike during the first wave, we now know that the virus can be airborne and thus ventilation of potentially infected places is key, with new studies suggesting that the virus can survive in the air for as long as eight minutes. This summer, the WHO issued new recommendations regarding ventilation in public spaces.

Germany will reportedly invest 500 million euros to help schools, offices, museums, entertainment halls, and other public buildings upgrade their ventilation systems.

Buenos Aires province will ban using air conditioning in hospitality venues around primary tourist spots during seasonal holidays, El Tribuno reports.

• In Spain, the Ministry of Education and Employment of the Junta de Extremadura issued clarifications to educational centers in preparation for winter, advising for a "balance" between ventilation to minimize the spread, "adequate" air conditioning to keep a decent temperature, and "adequate" clothing for pupils to stay warm.

Finding new indicators

Back in April, studies pointed out that traces of ribonucleic acid (RNA) of COVID-19 could be found in wastewater. The information was at first explored as a potential new source of contamination but it is now used for wastewater-based epidemiology (WBE), a powerful tool to trace the circulation of a virus in a community and estimate its prevalence and geographic distribution. It is particularly useful to monitor asymptomatic infections, which often slip under the radar of clinical surveillance. Wastewater analysis can help locate potential clusters by detecting the virus from 24 hours up to six days before the first symptoms appear.

• In Madrid, Spain, the regional government implemented a method for collecting samples along the city's 15,000-kilometer sanitation network. The action helped the city predict hospitalization rates several days in advance, La Vanguardia reports.

• In late July, maritime-firefighters from the dedicated COMETE unit in Marseille, France predicted an outbreak that only became clinically measurable in early August. The unit recently started collecting more targeted samples in nursing homes to test the residents' environment without exposing them.

The tricky task: getting people to agree to be vaccinated. 
Coronavirus

Pride, Shame And VIPs: Convincing The Public To Get Vaccinated

PARIS — A threshold has been crossed this week as the first vaccinations have been administered, in the UK and Russia, with announcements of others to follow in additional countries in the coming days and weeks.

It all sets the stage for the biggest vaccination campaign in world history. But even if the obvious logistical hurdles can be overcome, there may be an even trickier task: getting people to agree to be vaccinated.

Even if the obvious logistical hurdles can be overcome, there may be an even trickier task: getting people to agree to be vaccinated.

Recent opinion polls in many countries show a surprising high number of people who say they'll refuse vaccination, as citizen mistrust in both government and science runs deeper than ever. So authorities around the world are already looking for ways to convince people to take the shot.

Listen first: Ermeline Gosselin and Guillaume de Walque, a pair of Belgian strategic communications experts, recently wrote in the Brussels-based dailyLe Soir, that governments and health authorities need to be as "empathetic, humble and transparent" as possible in order to convince people to get vaccinated.

  • This means listening and understanding the fears expressed by citizens concerning possible secondary effects and their lack of trust in the vaccine's efficacy, as well as sending "clear messages' to the population instead of using medical data which can be confusing and not really striking for some.
  • Authorities should also adapt their speech and their language depending on their targeted audience, as well as use social media for more quirky, humorous posts.
  • It is "by shaking up old communication habits that authorities will be able to build trust and convince the greatest number of the real benefits of vaccination," the communication experts write.

The first vaccinations have been administered, in the UK and Russia — Photo: Str/NurPhoto via ZUMA Press

Vaccine as civic duty: Some argue that authorities should highlight the fact that vaccination doesn't only represent a personal benefit, but is also a necessary civic act.

  • A September 2020 study by the German Leibniz Institute for Economic Research found that for a vaccine to be successful, "politicians should not present the decision to vaccinate as a simple risk assessment, but also appeal to social responsibility."
  • Vaccination doesn't only protect the immunized person, but also the people around him or her. According to the study, even if people were to decide against it out of "caution", they could still be convinced via social responsibility.
Vaccination doesn't only protect the immunized person, but also the people around him or her.

Influencers, young and old: "People are more likely to get the vaccine if they see someone they trust having it," writes Stuart Mills, a fellow in Behavioural Science at the London School of Economics in British dailyinews. For the expert, choosing the appropriate "messengers' will be crucial to encourage uptake of the vaccine and some are already acting accordingly.

  • U.S. President-elect Joe Biden has said he will take the COVID-19 vaccine publicly to promote public confidence in its safety and effectiveness, joining the last three US Presidents — Barack Obama, George W Bush and Bill Clinton — who have vowed to take the vaccine in front of cameras. UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson could do the same, his press secretary suggested, but not before those in greater need.
  • The National Health Service in the UK is working on a plan to enlist celebrities and influencers on social media, people who are "known and loved," in a vaccination campaign, The Guardian reports. While no name has been confirmed yet, England football Marcus Rashford has been touted as a possible spokesperson, following his popular campaign to end child food poverty. Stuart Mills also suggests involving national figures such as the Royal Family and personalities in various entertainment sectors "to appeal to differing demographics and interests."

The COMETE unit in France specialized in prevention — Photo: BMPM

Stickers & shame: French are among the most skeptical, as almost half of the population say they will refuse to get vaccinated according to recent opinion polls. According to Rustam Romaniuc and Angela Sutan, researchers in behavioral economics, writing in Le Monde, authorities could rely on "psychological and cultural factors that proved their worth when it comes to encouraging civic conduct," such as the "opt-out" option or peer pressure.

  • The researchers compare the vaccination campaign to organ donation: studies have shown that countries where the consent rates concerning organ donation are higher are the ones implementing the "opt-out" option (everybody is a donor unless decided otherwise).
  • They also suggest that authorities, instead of making vaccination compulsory, could draw inspiration from blood donation campaigns or campaigns encouraging citizens to vote, by offering badges, stickers or bracelets. Simple and cheap tools but that can be effective.
  • "The greater the number of people displaying a sticker or a bracelet, the more those who don't have one will feel the need to do it as well, out of imitation or the desire to belong to a larger group," the researchers argue, referring to the stickers displayed during the 2020 U.S. elections.

Old fashioned PR: Business Insider Deutschlandsays half of Germans are unsure of whether they want the shot, and the most important reason they give is "the concern that the vaccines have not yet been adequately tested."

The most important reason they give is "the concern that the vaccines have not yet been adequately tested."
  • According to Business Insider, Germany's Ministry of Health is preparing to roll out a major PR campaign to encourage people to get their shots. In a draft paper seen by the outlet, the govt wrote: "We need a ‘Yes we can" for the Corona vaccination strategy," presenting shots as an "optimistic appeal that ushers in a new, hopeful era in the containment of the pandemic and calls for people to be vaccinated".
  • "We shouldn't just call for vaccinations ("I will be vaccinated!")," says the draft "But must also accompany the information and opinion-forming process at an early stage."
  • The campaign will use the slogan "#SleevesHigh" and feature photos of people who have had the jab, including doctors, 80-somethings, workers. According to the draft, all the images will include some text pointing readers to a website to get more information or to get advice at a dedicated hotline.
Les Primitifs members getting ready
BUSINESS INSIDER
Laure Gautherin

Preppers Of The World, Mask Up! Survivalism And COVID-19

With the pandemic, survivalists around the world have new reasons to prepare for the day it all comes crashing down.

Preparing for the end of the world has been going on for years. Survivalists and so-called "preppers' sprung up independently and in groups during the Cold War, largely out of the fear of a nuclear disaster. But since then, survivalism has evolved to encompass different fears, philosophies and visions of the future. Of course, it doesn't end well in any of them. But the sources of the would-be apocalypse varies, including war (foreign and domestic), environmental disaster, societal collapse, old-fashioned zombies and more.

But now, in the face of a deadly health pandemic, it seems all of us have gotten a taste of expecting (and getting) the worst. For preppers, COVID-19 may (or may not) be a time to adjust plans and sharpen the vision about how to make it when the ultimate disaster arrives.

Going "Primitive" in Quebec: Survivalism is not about stockpiling toilet paper when the government declares national lockdown. "True early preppers already had theirs," film director Christian Lalumière told Le Journal de Montréal. He recently filmed an eight-episode series called "The Last Humans' that follows a survivalist tribe, Les Primitifs (The Primitives), and aims at debunking the survivalist cliché of the old loner living in the woods, living off his homegrown food and guns.

• The focus is on what has been dubbed the "new-survivalism," a branch of the movement whose goal is mainly to reconnect with nature as an answer to all kinds of crises, from health to ecological to economic. Building a community is a big part of the philosophy.

• A very different kind of a survivalist interviewed by Radio Canada says the pandemic has exacerbated the fear of becoming the target for non-preppers, and people are buying weapons typically used for hunting for self-defense.

It's l'economia, stupido: Italian survivalists say they saw the health crisis coming and were ready for it. Their Rambo skills and stockpiled masks and food stock could be useful for the coming economic crash, unemployment and political chaos. The Italian online newspaper Linkiestareports that more people are identifying as preppers among those financially hit by COVID-19, as well as those who fear the collapse of the government.

• More and more people are contacting survivalist groups looking to learn about producing their own resources, becoming self-sufficient and other basic survival savoir-faire in order to spend less and have less to worry about while looking for a new job and source of income.

Surviving Brexit, and then COVID-19: Long before the health crisis, another lingering threat had awakened survival instincts of some Britons: the specter of chaos and food shortages induced by Brexit trade shutdowns. As the separation with the European Union approached last December, The Guardian dubbed those stockpiling food as "Brexit hoarders." The arrival of COVID only amplified the new wave of worrying.

• Emergency Food Storage UK quickly began selling out its "Brexit Box," which contains one month worth of freeze-dried food plus a water filter and fire kit. According to the British outlet, demand has multiplied with COVID.

U.S. - Exile from nationwide unrest and natural disaster

In the cradle of survivalism, prepping gear is an ever more fruitful business. According to Business Insider Today, the demand for gas masks, hazmat suits and other survival gear has skyrocketed due to a mix of COVID fear and other national disturbances such as West Coast wildfires and Black Lives Matter protests. Prepping has simply gone mainstream.

The U.S. has long been among the avant-garde in terms of different forms of survivalism. For the wealthiest souls of the Silicon Valley, doomsday prepping means such action as getting laser eye surgery to increase chances of survival, buying multimillion-dollar remote properties in New Zealand, having a helicopter all gassed-up and ready to fly and of course, stockpiling guns and ammo. Surviving by any (financial) means necessary.

SARS revival and everyday survival in Singapore: Any good survivalist will tell you that preparation applies to all kinds of crisis, including a pandemic. But no prepper is more prepared than one who actually went through a health crisis. In his disaster-ready home, A prepper from Singapore who gave his name as Samuel explained to Channel News Asia how the SARS outbreak in 2003 convinced him to be ready for anything to save his family. He knew exactly what he needed when the nature of the coronavirus got clearer, adding items to his impressive survival kit because he resides in a red zone for dengue.

As explained on the Singaporian news channel, prepping is about being ready for anything, from natural catastrophe to kidnapping to heart attack. It is a way of life that must happen before all hell breaks, and it's about saving yourself as well as helping your neighbor.

Final takeaway: Skills and knowledge are at least as important as the equipment. Still, it's never too early to stockpile — masks and all.

Watching a movie at a drive-in theater
BUSINESS INSIDER
Hannah Steinkopf-Frank

Crisis Innovation: Business Exceptions That Prove The Rule

Throwback ideas and the next big thing are working for some, even as many other parts of the economy slide into recession.

The coronavirus pandemic is the largest economic disruption in memory, with millions of job losses and rising rates of poverty striking virtually everywhere. Still, the changes to the way we live and work have also been the spark for many innovative entrepreneurs, who are taking the unprecedented health crisis and its side-effects as an opportunity to offer new products and services.

Rise of the Work-cation: Tourist hotspots around the world have been hit particularly hard by the near total shutdown of leisure travel. What's the next best thing? Business travel for leisure.

  • Barbados Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley has announced a 12-month Barbados Welcome Stamp for visitors to work remotely on the Carribean Island. "You don't need to work in Europe, or the U.S. or Latin America if you can come here and work for a couple months at a time; go back and come back," Mottley said.

  • French vacation chain Pierre & Vacances is offering a similar package: to "work from home" at one of their resorts. Twenty locations in France and Spain will offer a package that includes Wi-Fi and 4G. "This crisis has taught us to be ever more agile, to find business opportunities and teleworking is clearly one of the best examples," said Grégory Sion, the director of the brand wrote in a press release. "One of the challenges for Pierre & Vacances is to conquer new targets with new uses for tourism, and we are counting on this new service to achieve this."

  • Others in France are turning their extra space into guest bedrooms, hoping to make cash from regional travelers. While many are using new platforms like Airbnb to rent their rooms, Réjane Mortreux, who has spent almost 20 years providing guest houses, told Les Echos, "This love for one's neighbor is the very foundation of longevity in this profession."

Bicycle boom: With fewer people willing to get into a stranger's car, ride-hailing apps like Uber have seen their profits shrink dramatically during the pandemic. But some are switching focus.

  • Estonia star transportation platform company Bolt is launching an electric program in Paris, with plans to expand to other European cities.

  • Shared bike programs have skyrocketed in popularity. Public bicycle sharing service Vélib measured twice as many daily trips in Paris during June as the same period last year. Rides are also getting longer, meaning more money per minute of travel.

  • In Latin America, Cosmic Go has cornered the bike and scooter market and also provides shared cars and motorcycles. The Colombian-based firm has expanded to 15 countries and more than 70,000 users. During quarantine, it recorded around 1,000 trips a day.

Shared bike programs have skyrocketed in popularity — Photo: Aurelien Morissard/Xinhua/ZUMA

Return of the drive-in (So vintage!): Globally drive-in movie theaters (and other car-driven activities) have seen a resurgence as a safer alternative to enjoy (sort of) being together.

  • In Germany, drive-ins have become popular not only for films but also concerts and church services, with 30 new outdoor theaters popping up around the country since the beginning of the pandemic. Many shows are selling out in advance, with some spaces able to hold hundreds of cars.

  • In South Africa, locals in Cape Town will soon be able to go to a drive-in theater featuring an LED screen allowing for daytime viewing. While some have faced government setbacks, other drive-in businesses are thinking about expanding to film, including a mall in Johannesburg that built a restaurant where diners can order from a variety of restaurants and eat in their cars. The Drive in Diner hopes to add films to the meal experience.

India's startup surge: Despite being one of the countries hardest hit by the pandemic, in India, many startups across industries are thriving, particularly those that make life in quarantine just a little bit easier.

  • E-pharmacies like Medlife and PharmEasy have grown to provide contactless delivery of medicines as well as online prescription services supported by doctors. Many of these services also allow users to keep track of their health data and receive reminders about renewing prescriptions.

  • E-learning businesses including Unacademy and Vedantu are also finding a larger audience, filling in education gaps with schools closed. Engagement by students and professionals on these platforms increased 8.5% during India's lockdown period, with heightened use by both current and new users.

  • E-grocers such as Grofers and Big Basket have seen their daily orders doubled, with many having their delivery spots completely booked. During a time of rising unemployment, both companies are increasing their workforces and developing partnerships with manufacturing partners and brands.
Eten Restaurant, part of the Mediamatic Biotoop centre in Amsterdam, has tested greenhouse-like booths for customers to eat in.
food / travel

Dining With Distance: Restaurant Innovation Adapts To COVID-19

For many, getting back to "normal life" means going out to eat. But people also want to be safe, which is why eateries — from Amsterdam to Australia — are experimenting with distancing innovations that might soon become the new normal in the field of gastronomy. So how will dining out look like in the post-pandemic world? Here are few glimpses:

• In Saxony-Anhalt, Robin Pietsch, the Germanstate's only starred chef, is thinking about setting up small "greenhouses' in an open space at Wernigerode Castle, the German daily Die Weltreports. Each glass cubicle would accommodate two guests and protect them from other diners, and yet still allow them to appreciate the surrounding scenery.

• Pietsch says he was inspired by the "separated greenhouses' that a vegan restaurant in Amsterdam set up on the waterfront and tested earlier this month. The restaurant should reopen for the public in the beginning of June with other Dutch restaurants and terraces hosting up to 30 guests, reported NH Nieuws.

• Unlike its European neighbors, Sweden never enforced a lockdown, and bars, restaurants and cafés continue to serve seated customers, albeit with certain precautions in place. Many establishments decided, for example, to rope off every other table to make social distancing easier. But that's nothing compared to the approach taken by a new restaurant called Bord för En (Table for One), which opened two weeks ago serves just one customer per day, seated at a table in the middle of... a field! Not only that, but food is served in a basket attached to a rope. Offering seasonal and locally farmed food and drinks, the restaurant's owners also have a novel approach when it comes to the bill: It's up to the guests to decide how much they're willing to pay. "We're all facing difficult times," the restaurateurs​ told theInsider.

• The proprietor of aseafood pub in Ocean City, in the U.S. state of Maryland, have also found a creative way to keep business afloat while maintaining social distancing. Customers at Fish Tales, which is reopening its dine-in services, will once again be allowed to mix, mingle and much, but with one condition: They have to wear giant inflatable inner tubes on wheels. These "bumper tables' are six feet wide, and according to UJ City News, the owner intends to fit 40 to 60 of them inside her restaurant.

Photo: Fish Tales

• A café in northeast Germanycame up with a similar idea, only instead of inner tubes, customers use swimming pool floats (water noodles) to maintain social distancing. The 1.5-meter-long noodles are attached to hats that customers at Rothe in Schwerin, as the café is known, don while dining, Euronewsreports.

• In Spain and Italy, some restaurants plan to reopen with plexiglass screens separating tables or even individual diners. One restaurant in the town of Leganés has already installed the prototype screens to test the design, reports The Local. As part of a pilot test, it has also set up thermal cameras that detect the temperature of diners.

• In New South Wales, Australia, in the meantime, restaurants are back in operation, but with strict limits on the number of diners allowed. Eateries can serve no more than 10 people at a time. Concerned that some clients might find the relative emptiness a bit off putting, the owner of one Sydney restaurant came up with a crafty solution: Why not fill the empty chairs with cardboard cutouts? And because the faux customers can't, of course, talk, the proprietor also outfitted his establishment with recorded background noise that simulates the chatter of clients, 7 News reports.

•A restaurant in Bangkok, Thailand had a similar idea, but instead of cardboard customers, decided to go with stuffed panda dolls. Different strokes, as they say, for different folks.

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Thousands of schoolchildren participate in a calligraphy competition in Anlong, China
BBC

The Latest: Peru’s COVID Death Rate, Myanmar Teachers, Tesla Prices

Welcome to Tuesday, where there's a new country with the highest rate of COVID deaths, India registers its worst recession in almost 80 years, and Lithuania's capital city goes full on science fiction. The Latin American business magazine America Economia shows us the massive new port in Peru that's planned to be the gateway for growing Chinese trade into the region.


• Netanyahu's legal challenge rejected: Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's challenge of the legality of a bid by a rival rightist to head a new Israeli government has failed after it was rejected by the country's president.

Uganda minister shot in assassination attempt: Gen. Katumba Wamala, Uganda's Transport Minister, was wounded in an attack by gunmen. His daughter and driver were killed.

• COVID update: Peru's COVID death toll more than doubles following a review of its counting methods, making it the country with the world's highest death rate per capita, with more than 180,000 fatalities. The WHO has announced it will use Greek letters to refer to variants to simplify discussions and avoid stigma, with the UK variant labelled as Alpha for instance.

• Myanmar's schools boycott: Schools in Myanmar reopen for the first time since the military seized power, but teachers and students are set to defy the junta by boycotting classes in protest.

• Tesla prices increase due to supply chain pressure: U.S. automaker Tesla is increasing the prices of its electric vehicles due to supply chain disruptions across the auto industry, notably a shortage in computer chips.

• Osaka withdraws from French Open: Citing recent struggles with depression, Japanese tennis player Naomi Osaka pulls out of French Open after she was fined and threatened with expulsion following her decision to boycott the news conferences.

• A portal to another city: The capital city of Vilnius, Lithuania, has installed a futuristic mirror-like "portal" that is connected to a similar installation 600 kilometers away in Lublin, Poland, broadcasting live images from the two cities to encourage people to "rethink the meaning of unity."

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A Chinese company launched smart helmets at the end of April
BUSINESS INSIDER

Early Detection: Health Tech Helps Boost COVID-19 Testing

As countries around the world scramble to conduct sufficient COVID-19 testing, there is now an urgent need for the design of rapid diagnostics of early symptoms to identify potential carriers to test, and eventually, isolate them. Researchers and the so-called "health tech" and "wearables' sector are racing to release new devices, and adapt existing ones, to help the early detection and identification of the virus.

  • Smart wristband: The Indian healthcare platform GOQii is launching GOQii Vital 3.0, a smart wristband that can track vitals such as body temperature, blood pressure and heart rate, The Times of India reports. Thanks to an inbuilt temperature display and thermal sensors, the device could help detect one of the early symptom of the virus, which is high body temperature. It could also help health workers such as nurses and doctors, as well as patients check their temperature without any human contact. The company has partnered with German health tech startup Thryve to conduct a clinical study in India to test the accuracy of early detection of infections. GOQii has donated 1,000 of its smart wristbands to Mumbai Police and is in talks with governments, hospitals and private enterprises. The GOQii Vital 3.0 will also be soon available for sale to the public on platforms such as Amazon.

  • Mask detector: Researchers from MIT and Harvard in the United States are adapting the technology they developed to detect viruses causing Zika and Ebola to identify COVID-19. The team has designed a face mask with a sensor that produces a fluorescent signal when a person infected with the virus coughs, breathes or sneezes. The project is still in the "very early stages' bioengineer Jim Collins told Business Insider, but the first results have been promising. The sensors could offer a cheaper and quicker way to detect the virus as traditional diagnostic tests can take about 24 hours to run, compared to one to three hours for the mask. The laboratory hopes to begin mass manufacturing by the end of summer.

  • Fever-detecting helmet: Chinese startup KC Wearable launched smart helmets at the end of April for public officers and health workers, that allow them to detect high temperatures in people from up to 5 meters way. According to China Daily, the company, which has conducted millions of tests in several Chinese cities, says that the helmets can scan the temperatures of around 200 individuals in one minute thanks to an infrared camera connected to an AR headset. Since then the company has sent helmets to Italy's carabinieri military police and to the Netherlands for testing, as well as to the police in Dubai, among others.

The device can be worn on the throat, like a patch — Photo: Northwestern University

  • Sneezing on a smartphone: Professor Massood Tabib-Azar, an engineer at the University of Utah in the United States is leading a project to create a sensor that users can plug into their smartphones' charging port and that can tell whether they are infected or not within one minute if they sneeze or cough on it, International Business Times reports. The project was started last year originally to fight the Zika virus but is now being adapted to detect COVID-19 instead. The inch-wide sensor communicates with the smartphone via Bluetooth and is reusable, as it can destroy a previous sample with a small electrical current. It could be available to the public as soon as August and would cost around $55.

  • Smart throat patch: An engineering laboratory at Northwestern University in the United States has created a soft and flexible wearable sensor that is about the size of a stamp and can be worn on the throat, like a patch. The device monitors coughing, respiratory activity as well as temperature and heart rate by measuring motions that appear at the surface of a skin, in the same way a stethoscope does. Through a set of data algorithms, the sensor, which was designed initially to monitor speaking functions in stroke survivors, can now catch and identify early signs and symptoms of the virus. The device is currently being tested on 25 people including patients and healthcare workers.

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