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TOPIC: covid


"Bossware" Boundaries? How Employers Monitor You At Home Depends On Where You Live

Eye-tracking webcams, keystroke recorders, screen captures of visited sites. With the rise in remote work, employee monitoring software has become the norm in the U.S.. But in Europe, things are more complicated.

PARIS — Is there a spy in your computer? If you work in the U.S., chances are the answer is 'yes.' According to several studies conducted by Gartner and Digital.com, around six out of 10 employers use software to monitor their remote workers. The Americans have even come up with a name for this kind of tool: "bossware".

As the Covid pandemic forced millions of people to work from home almost overnight in 2020, many employers were "buying panic" monitoring equipment, Bloomberg reported at the time. The lockdowns have passed, but remote working has not. Nor has surveillance software.

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End Of The Road? When A Vanlifer Buys Her First House

After living in a campervan for more than a year, the author reflects on the limits of both settling down and rolling on forever.

SAINT MALO — It’s an old stone house lost in the countryside of France’s northern Brittany region, with a bright and spacious living room, and a beautiful green garden that opens onto a huge plot of land. And now it’s ours.

When my partner and I were at the notary’s office, signing the ownership title in our first home, we knew it was one of those big steps in life we’d never forget. But in our case, it wasn’t just the nervous excitement of opening a new chapter; it was also the bitter-sweetness of closing another.

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Animals And AI: How Researchers Are Trying To Prevent The Next Pandemic

To head-off a new spillover, scientists are combining a menagerie of animals, AI-driven models, and open communication.

At the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, while most Americans were still going out to dinner and living normal lives, a Chinese scientist sent an urgent request to the higher-ups at Jackson Laboratory in Bar Harbor, Maine. The researcher was in lockdown due to the spread of the new pneumonia-like disease, and he wanted to know if the U.S. facility — a hub for mouse breeding and research — had a lab mouse that could contract the illness.

For decades, scientists have studied non-human animals to better understand infectious diseases. These species have been used to test vaccines and treatments, and more recently, scientists have been studying these creatures for clues about whether any of their viruses could infect humans — a process known as a spillover. And it turned out that Jackson Lab did have the ability to spin up a line of genetically modified mice that could replicate some of the aspects of a Covid-19 infection in humans.

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Time To "Move On" From COVID? That's Not An Option For Me

Anger depletes and debilitates; grief, on the other hand, creates a new strength and resolve. What is centrally at stake for me, three years after I lost my husband, is a stubborn refusal to forget the disease that took him away.


NEW DELHI — Three years ago, it was during the last days in April that the season’s first Kalbaishakhi – gusts of thunder, storm and rain – broke into the sultry summer evening in Kolkata, just as it did this year. I remember the rains came late on that Sunday evening at the end of April 2020, stopping what had become our routine walk during that hour.

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Frédéric Schaeffer

Heihe Postcard: Where The China-Russia "Friendship Of Convenience" Reveals Its Limits

Facing Russia, just across the Amur River, the Chinese border city of Heihe has complicated ties with its neighbor, revealing the scars of history and a shifting power dynamic between Moscow and Beijing.

HEIHE — Perched in the cab of his truck, Sacha is about to enter the customs clearance area, his lorry loaded with car parts and equipment made in China. "I make the trip two or three times a week," explains the Russian driver, his eyes as blue as the winter sky over the Amur River which marks the border between China and Russia.

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A road bridge spanning the river links the Chinese city of Heihe to Blagovechtchensk, on the eastern edge of Russia. The goods in Sacha's truck will be on Russian soil in just another kilometer's worth of road.

The two-lane bridge was inaugurated with great fanfare last June, with fireworks going off as the first trucks passed. Authorities in both countries presented it as a symbol of their rapprochement, and an example of the "unlimited friendship" sealed between the two in February, shortly before Russian President Vladimir Putin sent his army into Ukraine.

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In The News
Emma Albright & Inès Mermat

Global Banks Slump, Aukus Deal, Vinyls Outsell CDs

👋 אַ גוטן טאָג*

Welcome to Tuesday, where bank stocks slump around the world following the Silicon Valley Bank debacle, the U.S., UK and Australia agree on creating a new fleet of nuclear powered submarines, and the vinyl world keeps spinning. Meanwhile, Flora Toelo Karambiri for news website Burkina 24 follows the rafistoleurs crisscrossing the streets of Ouagadougou, ready to sew and mend anything.

[*A gutn tog - Yiddish]

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Xian Zhu and Feiyu Xiang

As COVID Explodes, An Inside Look At China's Gray Market Of Generic Drugs

COVID infections have skyrocketed since China eased restrictions as public health policy has not been able to keep up. Unable to find medications, many have turned to generic drugs of questionable safety. It's the culmination of a longstanding problem.

BEIJING — When her grandfather joined the millions of infected Chinese, Chen quickly decided to buy COVID-19 drugs to limit the effects of the virus. She woke up early to shop on Jingdong, one of China’s biggest online shopping websites, but failed in snatching the limited daily stocks made available.

Fearing COVID's effect on her grandfather, who suffers from dementia, she contacted an independent drug agent and bought a box of generic pharmaceuticals.

With China having suddenly ended its zero-COVID policy, infections have peaked. According to the latest estimates by Airfinity, a British medical information and analysis company, severe COVID outbreaks happened over Chinese New Year with 62 million infections forecast for the second half of January.

In a press conference held by China's State Council on Jan. 11, COVID-19 pills were mentioned as part of the new epidemic control mechanisms. In late 2021, Pfizer developed Paxlovid, the world's first potent COVID drug, with one 100 mg white ritonavir and two 150 mg light pink nirmatrelvir tablets taken every 12 hours. China imported the first batch of Paxlovid for clinical use in March 2022 and included it in the ninth edition of the treatment protocol.

But the first 21,200 boxes of Paxlovid were dispersed to only eight provinces, and no further information is available on where the drug ended up and how much it was used.

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Pierre Haski

China v. India: A New Twist In Asia's "Billion Club" Rivalry

The news that China's population has shrunk for the first time in 60 years, comes as India appears to be outperforming its giant neighbor on a number of fronts. But this reversal of fortune still has too many variables to predict the demise of one or the rise of the other.


PARISChina and India have at least one notable feature in common: the Asian giants are the only two countries in the world with a population above one billion. Yet Beijing announced this week that China has registered its first decline in number of inhabitants after 60 years of continuous expansion. This comes as India’s population continues to grow — on the path to overtake China as the world's most populous country.

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Duncan Robertson

Why Making COVID Predictions Is Actually Getting Harder

We know more about COVID than ever before, but that doesn't make it easier to predict what will happen this year. It also remains to be seen if we'll put the lessons we learned into practice.

In 2020, we knew very little about the novel virus that was to become known as COVID-19. Now, as we enter 2023, a search of Google Scholar produces around five million results containing the term.

So how will the pandemic be felt in 2023? This question is in some ways impossible to answer, given a number of unknowns. In early 2020, the scientific community was focused on determining key parameters that could be used to make projections as to the severity and extent of the spread of the virus. Now, the complex interplay of COVID variants, vaccination and natural immunity makes that process far more difficult and less predictable.

But this doesn’t mean there’s room for complacency. The proportion of people estimated to be infected has varied over time, but this figure has not fallen below 1.25% (or one in 80 people) in England for the entirety of 2022. COVID is very much still with us, and people are being infected time and time again.

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In The News
Bertrand Hauger, Laure Gautherin and Hugo Perrin

Kyiv Claims Strike Killed 400 Russians, Lula Sworn In, Farewell Kuna

👋 Aluu!*

Welcome to Monday, and happy new year from the Worldcrunch crew! 🎊

Ukraine claims 400 Russian forces were killed in a missile strike in the Donetsk region, Lula is sworn in as Brazil bids adeus to Pelé. Meanwhile, Hong Kong-based The Initium focuses on the very particular situation of China’s Catholics, caught between Xi Jinping and Pope Francis.

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Reverse Aging, Mole In Iran, Precious Ukraine: The Year's Most Popular Worldcrunch Stories

Here are the 10 most-read articles of the past year:

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Worldcrunch Staff Picks Its 10 Most Memorable Stories Of 2022

Worldcrunch asked its staff to choose the articles published this year that made a particular impression on them. They largely cover the major events that marked the news in 2022, from the war in Ukraine to the protests in Iran and the overturning of Roe v Wade in the U.S.

Here are the 10 stories that we selected:

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