Category: Opinion

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The Mystery of What Drives Bob Iger…


A few years ago, Bob Iger’s friends wanted to poke a little fun at him. So, they gave him a personalized license-plate holder for his car.

There were five words printed on the frame, which formed a simple question. It was the only question on Earth that seemed to tie Mr. Iger in knots.

“Is there life after Disney?”



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Beverly Hills Eclipsed by Calabasas as Home for Rich and Famous…


(Bloomberg) — After striking oil a half century ago, the fictional Clampett clan left their shack in the Ozarks and moved to Beverly Hills.

“The Beverly Hillbillies” ran for nine years on CBS and cemented the California city as the go-to-place for the wealthy. These days, the Clampetts might pick a different destination.

“Keeping Up With the Kardashians,” which begins its 18th season next month on the E! network, has put a spotlight on another part of the Los Angeles metro area: Calabasas.

This year, for the first time, the community of about 24,300 people has eclipsed Beverly Hills in Bloomberg’s annual ranking of the richest cities in the U.S. The average household income in Calabasas is $194,010, more than twice the national average and about $4,000 higher than Beverly Hills, which has 34,600 residents.

Located about 25 miles west of downtown Los Angeles, Calabasas owes some of its success to the usual reasons: good schools, low crime and open space. But the Kardashians’ reality TV show has had its own effect, showing that in Calabasas, the rich and famous can live normal lives without having to dodge paparazzi and tour buses every time they leave home.

“You’re not going to get tourists walking around Calabasas — you’re going to get the celebrities that live here, going to the gym and going to the supermarket,” said Tomer Fridman, a luxury real estate agent who works with the Kardashians. “That’s why they live here — for the privacy.”

Relatively Cheap

In recent decades, Calabasas and its even tonier neighbor to the north, Hidden Hills, have been transformed from sleepy suburbs into celebrity capitals.

The Calabasas Country Club cites the “celebrity factor” as a reason to move there. Kim Kardashian and Kanye West live in Hidden Hills, as does the rapper Drake. Actors Will Smith and Jada Pinkett-Smith keep a 150-acre Calabasas compound, while Justin Bieber sold his $7.2 million Spanish-style retreat in the city to Khloe Kardashian. Actress Katie Holmes just sold a home there for about $4 million, the Los Angels Times reported this week.

See also: Lachlan Murdoch buys ‘Beverly Hillbillies’ home for $150 million

Real estate in Calabasas is relatively cheap compared with Beverly Hills. That’s the premium people pay to live in the city, Fridman said. The median home price in Calabasas is $1.19 million, while it’s $2.7 million in Beverly Hills, according to Zillow. What Westchester is to Manhattan, Calabasas is to Beverly Hills, Fridman said.

“What you pay $20 million for in Hidden Hills you’re going to have to pay $50 million in Holmby Hills,” he said, referring to another neighborhood just west of Beverly Hills that’s home to the Playboy Mansion.

The most expensive listing in Calabasas is a $32 million mansion in the Estates at the Oaks, an exclusive gated community within another gated community.

Although the Kardashians first started taping their show from Hidden Hills, which has about 2,000 residents, the family and some of its members also have lived in Calabasas. The clan called the city home from 2003 to 2005 before moving to a bigger place in Hidden Hills, according to the L.A. Times. Kylie Jenner, the 22-year-old cosmetics mogul, bought her first house, a $2.7 million starter pad, in Calabasas in 2015.

Beverly Hills still has more pop culture references, from the TV show “Beverly Hills 90210” to the “Beverly Hills Cop” movie series to the Weezer song “Beverly Hills” — but Calabasas is catching up. Kanye West has clothing collections with Adidas that include sneakers, track pants and hats branded with with the city’s name. Drake has a song called “4PM in Calabasas.”

Living so close to the oak-studded hills does have its drawbacks. In 2018, the Woolsey fire prompted a week-long evacuation of the city. Nine homes were destroyed and 41 buildings damaged. Fire season now lasts year-round, according to Calabasas Mayor Alicia Weintraub, with firefighters and sheriff’s deputies constantly thinking about brush clearance.

Still, the city’s finances are sound. Calabasas and Beverly Hills are both rated Aaa by Moody’s Investors Service, its highest credit grade.

Calabasas, which doesn’t have a business tax, also has been a magnet for investment. The city is home to the headquarters of the Cheesecake Factory Inc. restaurant chain and cruise operator AmaWaterways, whose river excursions along the Danube and Seine cost as much as $14,000 a person.

Rick Caruso, the billionaire Los Angeles developer, built the Commons, one of his early outdoor malls, in Calabasas, and he said that everything from the jewelry store to the cafe does well.

“It’s a big family town,” Caruso said. “It’s not just a bunch of lonely rich people.”

–With assistance from Alex Tanzi, Shelly Hagan and Wei Lu.

To contact the reporters on this story: Christopher Palmeri in Los Angeles at cpalmeri1@bloomberg.net;Sophie Alexander in San Francisco at salexander82@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Nick Turner at nturner7@bloomberg.net, Peter Eichenbaum, Pierre Paulden

For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com

Subscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.



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Testing under scrutiny after delays and questions over effectiveness…




Gavin Newsom et al. standing next to a person in a suit and tie: California Gov. Gavin Newsom speaks during a news conference at the California Department of Public Health on Thursday, Feb. 27, 2020, in Sacramento, Calif. Newsom joined state health officials with an update to the public about the state's response to the coronavirus, a day after a possible first case of person-to-person transmission was reported in Northern California.


© Justin Sullivan/Getty Images North America/TNS
California Gov. Gavin Newsom speaks during a news conference at the California Department of Public Health on Thursday, Feb. 27, 2020, in Sacramento, Calif. Newsom joined state health officials with an update to the public about the state’s response to the coronavirus, a day after a possible first case of person-to-person transmission was reported in Northern California.

LOS ANGELES — The four-day delay in testing a Northern California patient who appears to be the first in the United States to contract the coronavirus from community contact highlights growing questions about the federal government’s testing policies and protocols as the virus continues to spread.

A growing number of experts have said problems with the test process — including ineffective test kits and restrictive rules on who gets tested — could be fueling the undetected spread of the virus.

“When you miss cases, you can’t isolate them, test their families or get a hold on this before it keeps spreading,” said Jennifer Nuzzo, an epidemiology expert at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security.

Until Thursday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention restricted coronavirus testing to patients with clear symptoms of infection who have either traveled to China recently or who have been in contact with someone who has tested positive for the virus. As the virus outpaced detection efforts around the world, that gateway to testing proved far too narrow.

As early as last week, doctors at the UC Davis Medical Center suspected a coronavirus case and immediately requested testing from the CDC. But it was another four days before the test was done. During that time, others in the area could have been exposed to the virus.

On Thursday, the CDC expanded the criteria for who qualified for testing to include sick patients who had traveled to Iran, Italy, Japan and South Korea. They will also test severely ill patients with acute lower respiratory sickness who are hospitalized, even those who have no known link to the coronavirus outbreak.

The CDC faces growing political backlash.

California Sen. Dianne Feinstein on Thursday called on the White House to start rapid testing of all suspected cases, saying the identification of coronavirus patients quickly is essential to limiting the spread.

Gov. Gavin Newsom said California is in desperate need of test kits. The state has 200 kits for both diagnostic and surveillance purposes, but federal officials say more will arrive in the coming days, he said.

“We are currently in deep partnership with the CDC on one overriding protocol that drives our principal focus right now, and that’s testing,” Newsom said, calling expanded testing “our top priority, not just in the state of California but, I imagine, across the United States.”

Such an expansion includes both broadening the criteria that a person must meet to be tested for COVID-19, as well as getting more coronavirus test kits sent to California, he said.

The kits have come under growing scrutiny.

The CDC distributed the test kits to partner laboratories across the country, but many of those campuses ran into problems with one of the ingredients, leading to inconclusive test results. Most public health officials needed to send specimens to the CDC’s central laboratories in Atlanta for testing, a process that can take up to 48 hours, creating a bottleneck.

“We’ve only had a handful of labs that can test with it. The rest have been on pause,” said Scott Becker, the executive director of the Association of Public Health Laboratories. “When you’re waiting 48 hours to get a response from the CDC, you’re burning through equipment caring for a patient, just waiting to see the results.”

The problem grew so troublesome that state and local laboratories began seeking permission from the Food and Drug Administration to bypass standard regulations and design and launch their own tests, rather than rely on the federal one.

On Thursday morning, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar told members of Congress that the problem had been resolved. The FDA approved a modified protocol that circumvents the issue.

Forty local and state public health labs, as well as some labs run by the Pentagon, are already authorized to begin using the modified test, and more than 50 others will be doing the same by next week, he added.

Delays and missteps in coronavirus testing have caused major issues across the country, where public health officials on the front lines are stretched thin. Epidemic preparedness is already “a victim of roller coaster funding,” Becker said, and the baseline shortages of equipment and personnel are exacerbated.

In addition to preparedness duties — developing local guidance, tracing patients’ contacts, working with schools and churches to the community — officials are having to do more for people quarantined at home. Health workers are delivering groceries to keep them at home, said Adriane Casalotti, the chief of government and public affairs at the National Assn. of County and City Health Officials.

Above all, the burden on individual families is heaviest.

“In most jobs in this country, you can’t work from a laptop on your couch. When there are delays in diagnostics, we’re out there asking real people to choose between the public’s health and their own financial well-being — them keeping their jobs. For individual families, this is complicated and messy,” Casalotti said.

Critics said the slow testing process could mean coronavirus is already spreading in U.S. communities. But because the virus’ symptoms are frequently mild, people might be spreading it unknowingly.

A Japanese couple visiting Waikiki Beach in Hawaii tested positive for the virus after returning to Asia, but Nuzzo and other epidemiologists say the virus’ incubation period hints that they could have contracted it on U.S. soil.

Hawaiian authorities were so alarmed by the limited testing capabilities in the U.S. that they requested permission from CDC authorities to use a tool from Japan.

On Thursday, the focus around coronavirus in the U.S. centered on Solano County.

UC Davis officials said the coronavirus patient arrived at its medical center from another hospital Feb. 19 but was not tested until Sunday. There is no evidence the woman had traveled from a coronavirus hotspot or was in contact with someone who had. The hospital said that precautions had been put in place because of healthcare workers’ concerns about the patient’s condition. It asked a “small number” of employees to stay home and monitor their temperature.

The woman was “in her community” for a number of days before accessing care, California Health and Human Services Agency Secretary Dr. Mark Ghaly said Thursday.

Investigators are now working to find and contact any people who may have come in contact with the woman. The CDC has sent 10 staffers to help trace her contacts, Newsom said.

Health care workers, including some students from UC Davis and other colleges, are under self-quarantine because they might have been exposed to the virus.

Solano County is also home to Travis Air Force Base, where several hundred people were quarantined after returning on repatriation flights from Wuhan, China, and the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Japan. A whistleblower complaint on Thursday alleged that federal health workers were not provided adequate training and protective gear when dealing with quarantined people at Travis and a second California base.

A total of 33 people have been diagnosed with coronavirus in California, and five have since left the state, Newsom said. Of the confirmed cases, 24 were either evacuated from the Diamond Princess cruise ship or returned on repatriation flights from Wuhan, the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak.

Newsom said more than 8,400 people are being monitored in 49 local jurisdictions.

COVID-19 has infected more than 80,000 people in about three dozen countries since it was discovered in late December. More than 2,700 have died, most of them in mainland China.

There are currently 60 confirmed cases in the United States.

———

©2020 Los Angeles Times

Visit the Los Angeles Times at www.latimes.com

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.



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'HOAX'…


NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — President Donald Trump lashed out Friday at Democrats who have questioned his handling of the coronavirus threat, calling their criticism a new “hoax” intended to undermine his leadership.

At a political rally in South Carolina, Trump sought to steal some of the spotlight from his Democratic rivals who were campaigning across the state on the evening before its presidential primary.

Trump accused Democrats of “politicizing” the coronavirus threat and boasted about preventive steps he’s ordered in an attempt to keep the virus that originated in China from spreading across the United States.

Shortly before Trump began to speak, health officials confirmed a second case of coronavirus in the U.S. in a person who didn’t travel internationally or have close contact with anyone who had the virus. The president did not mention that news.

“They have no clue. They don’t have a clue. They can’t even count their votes in Iowa,” Trump said, referring to problems that plagued the Democratic vote in the Iowa caucuses Feb. 3.

“They tried the impeachment hoax. … This is their new hoax,” Trump said of Democratic denunciations of his administration’s coronavirus response.

Some Democrats have said Trump could have acted sooner to bolster the U.S. response to the virus. Democratic and Republican lawmakers also have said his request for an additional $2.5 billion to defend against the virus isn’t enough. They’ve signaled they will provide substantially more funding.

Trump said Democrats want him to fail and argued that steps he’s taken so far have kept cases to a minimum and prevented virus deaths in the U.S.

“A virus that starts in China, bleeds its way into various countries all around the world, doesn’t spread widely at all in the United States because of the early actions that myself and my administration took, against a lot of other wishes, and the Democrats’ single talking point, and you see it, is that it’s Donald Trump’s fault,” he said.

The president acknowledged the virus could lead to deaths in the U.S., but said, “We’re totally prepared.”

It was the fourth time Trump had rallied his supporters just before a state’s Democratic presidential nominating contest. He did so in Nevada last week even though Republicans had canceled their presidential caucus to show allegiance to Trump. Likewise, South Carolina GOP officials opted not to hold a primary this year. Trump also held rallies before the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary.

The North Charleston, South Carolina, crowd lapped it up when Trump sought their participation in an informal poll to determine which Democratic candidate would be the best opponent for him.

The crowd shouted for Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who was virtually tied in Iowa and won contests in New Hampshire and Nevada, and booed the mention of former Vice President Joe Biden.

“I think Bernie’s easier to beat,” Trump said.

Some state GOP leaders have urged Republican voters to participate in Saturday’s Democratic primary to vote for Sanders.

Unlike the three earlier voting states, South Carolina is not considered a swing state. Trump defeated Hillary Clinton there by more than 14 percentage points in 2016.

Following Saturday’s contest, more than a dozen states vote next week on Super Tuesday.

Trump arrived in South Carolina at the end of a brutal week for the stock market as investors reacted to the coronavirus threat. Stocks sank again Friday after another wild day on Wall Street, extending a rout that handed the market its worst week since October 2008, at the height of the financial crisis.

Trump has linked his presidency to the markets through tweets and speeches often taking credit for each new high in the markets. Now, Trump is trying to reassure Americans the economy is still strong while also theorizing that the Democratic candidates’ debate performances have spooked investors.

The virus has infected 83,000 people globally and caused about 2,800 deaths.

__

Superville reported from Washington.



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Weinstein conviction could pave way for more sex assault prosecutions…


The morning after Harvey Weinstein was convicted of rape, a dozen women who have accused the fallen movie mogul of sexual misconduct stood on the steps of L.A. City Hall and spoke of the dawn of a new era.

Actress Caitlin Dulany told reporters that on Monday, in the first few hours after Weinstein was handcuffed and taken into custody, she saw a little girl running around in the grocery store.

“You will have a different world because of what happened today,” Dulany said she imagined telling the girl. “It will not be the same. It will never be the same.”

Dulany’s hopefulness in the aftermath of the historic verdict is more than justified, according to legal experts and advocates for survivors of sexual assault.

Though the Weinstein conviction is no panacea for the pervasiveness of sexual abuse in society, they say, it expands the possibilities for which sex crimes can be successfully tried in a court of law. And it could embolden prosecutors to take on complex rape cases that they would have previously been reluctant to file.

“I think this verdict will encourage prosecutors to rethink the idea that sex crime cases are too difficult to prosecute,” said Debra Katz, a civil rights and employment lawyer who has represented several women who have spoken out about Weinstein. “This shows that juries have an ability to discern complicated facts, and they reached this result even though there was a lot of smoke and mirrors from the defense team.”

Prosecutors wield an enormous amount of influence over which cases make it to a courtroom. And district attorney offices across the U.S. take on relatively few sexual assault cases because most are seen as unwinnable.

Out of every 1,000 allegations of rape, 13 cases will get referred to a prosecutor and seven will lead to a felony conviction, according to the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network.

“Rape cases are difficult because as a society, we hold misconceptions about what rape looks like, what rape trauma looks like, and how someone is supposed to act after being raped,” said Kristen Gibbons Feden, who successfully prosecuted Bill Cosby as an assistant district attorney in Pennsylvania. “Those misconceptions sometimes guide the rules and laws being made and how the verdicts are rendered by a judge or jury.”

Manhattan Dist. Atty. Cyrus R. Vance Jr. was criticized for deciding not to press forcible touching charges against Weinstein in 2015, when a 22-year-old Italian model accused the producer of groping her at the Tribeca Film Center. Vance was under immense political pressure to indict Weinstein when he finally did so in 2018.

“This is a new day,” Vance said after the verdict was announced. “Rape is rape whether the survivor reports within an hour, within a year or perhaps never. It’s rape despite the complicated dynamics of power and consent after an assault. It’s rape even if there is no physical evidence.”

Weinstein’s Manhattan trial was rife with complexities that might have prompted a blanket acquittal. The two women whose accounts led to his New York charges — Jessica Mann and Mimi Haley — both engaged in consensual sex with the Miramax co-founder after he allegedly assaulted them. Weinstein’s defense team also argued that the women were using Weinstein to leverage professional gains.

Prosecutors pushed back against the idea that staying in touch with an alleged abuser means that the abuse didn’t happen. They called to the stand forensic psychiatrist Barbara Ziv, who debunked myths around how a rape victim might behave after an assault.

Based on their decision, jurors seemed to take those sentiments to heart, even though they chose to acquit Weinstein of the two more serious counts of predatory sexual assault.

Due to the public’s still-evolving understanding of consent, prosecutors usually don’t pursue rape cases unless there is clear evidence of physical force, said Wendy Murphy, professor of sexual violence law at New England Law in Boston and a former sex crimes prosecutor.

“It’s hard to assess whether someone used the kind of force sufficient to overcome another person’s will,” Murphy said.

So sexual misconduct that takes place in professional settings, where abusers are more likely to wield their figurative power against victims rather than actual weapons, is customarily handled through civil litigation.

One of the counts Weinstein was found guilty of — rape in the third degree — requires a lack of consent, but not use of force. The conviction signals that jurors understood that Weinstein’s methods of coercion still rose to the standards of rape.

“Women will compare their own circumstances to the narrative they’ve read about Weinstein, and they will be more willing to call the police,” Murphy said.

Advocates contend that the Weinstein verdict goes a step beyond the cultural progress marked by Bill Cosby’s rape trial. In that case, Katz said, it was easier for jurors to sift through the issues of consent presented by the defense because Cosby drugged his victims before assaulting them.

“What Weinstein did was a more difficult thing for jurors to wrap their head around, and yet the jury still understood it was rape,” Katz said. “It’s a product of the education that has taken place as a result of the #MeToo movement.”

Colby Bruno, senior legal counsel at the Victim Rights Law Center, said she hopes that through the Weinstein trial, prosecutors will see that rape cases have a better chance of succeeding when a jury hears from more than one accuser. Though the Weinstein charges were based on the accusations of Haley and Mann, six women in all testified in the movie mogul’s trial.

“I want to see police and prosecutors look harder for other victims,” Bruno said. “There’s strength in numbers.”

The Silence Breakers, a group that represents a fraction of the more than 90 women who have publicly accused Weinstein of sexual misconduct, sought to embody that strength as they stood side-by-side outside L.A. City Hall on Tuesday.

“This was never about Harvey. This was about what we as a society will tolerate,” actress and trauma specialist Louise Godbold told reporters. “And the message is clear: Your power and money will not protect you.”



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Germany to Intensify Border Checks…


(Bloomberg) — Germany announced a slew of measures aimed at preventing the spread of the coronavirus by people coming into the country from affected areas.

A German government task force dealing with the crisis announced late on Friday plans to intensify health checks for cross-border travel into the country, and said travelers arriving from South Korea, Japan, Italy and Iran must declare their health status upon arrival. Passengers from China are already required to do so.

Train passengers entering Germany must also fill out forms declaring their health status, while rail operators will be required to reported symptomatic travelers to German authorities.

The task force also said large events such as next week’s ITB tourism trade fair in Berlin should be canceled. The ITB previously announced that it had scrapped the event, which would have brought 160,000 visitors to Berlin.

To contact the reporters on this story: Patrick Donahue in Berlin at pdonahue1@bloomberg.net;Naomi Kresge in Berlin at nkresge@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Ben Sills at bsills@bloomberg.net, Chad Thomas

For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com

Subscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.



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Trump to nominate Rep. Ratcliffe again as intel chief…


President Donald Trump on Friday said he would nominate Rep. John Ratcliffe as the next director of national intelligence.

The Texas Republican was previously announced in July as Trump’s next intel chief, only to be withdrawn later amid concerns over alleged embellishments on his resume. The intelligence agencies are currently overseen by an acting director, Ric Grenell.

This is a breaking news article and will be updated.



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ROUBINI forecasts 40% drop…


Pollsters at The Associated Press and NORC gave the public a chance to describe presidential candidates in one word or short phrase. The results were… telling.

Democrats described former South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg as nearly equal parts “smart,” “young,” and “gay.” Independents and Republicans were far more likely to describe him as “gay,” as well as “inexperienced,” and “centrist.” Philanthropist Tom Steyer was more overwhelmingly described as “rich” by Democrats, while independents and Republicans opted for “inexperienced.”

While former Vice President Joe Biden scored some mentions of “good person” among Democrats, he mostly got “old.” Independents and Republicans also mostly called him “old,” followed by “corrupt” and “creepy.”

Democrats and independents similarly described Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) as “old” at the highest rate, though Republicans went straight for “socialist,” followed by “old,” and “communist.”

Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who is older than Biden and just months younger than Sanders, is universally regarded as “rich” (a fair assessment), and Republicans said he’s “buying the election.”

Democrats were split in describing Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) as “smart” and “strong,” though independents and Republicans view her primarily as a “liar,” as well as “crazy” and a “woman,” which is hardly up for debate.

While the Democratic candidates were generally regarded more positively by members of their own party, surveyed Republicans didn’t come up with great words for President Trump. Most Republicans simply said “president,” followed by “bumbling” and “jerk.”

The AP-NORC poll was conducted Feb. 12-16 via phone interviews with 1,074 adults. The margin of error is ±4.2 percentage points. View the full results at AP-NORC. Summer Meza



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Man cleared after quarantine can't stop coughing in TV interview…


A Pennsylvania man who was quarantined in San Diego with his 3-year-old daughter after attending a memorial service in Wuhan, China, where his father-in-law died of the coronavirus, began to cough enough to need water during a TV interview Friday.

Frank Wucinski has lived in China for over 15 years, spending about a decade in the epicenter city, where his wife’s family lives, according to Fox News.

He and his wife, who is a Chinese citizen, lived and worked in Guangzhou but moved to Wuhan three months ago to take care of his wife’s father after her mother died, the network reported.

Wucinski said on “America’s Newsroom” on Friday that when he and his daughter Annabel arrived at the Miramar US Marine base in Southern California, authorities separated them and placed them in isolation for a few days.

“A few days later, Annabel just coughed in front of some staff. They suggested we go to the medical tent. The medical tent contacted the CDC and they said that we should go back to isolation at the children’s hospital,” he said.

“So, we stayed there for about three days,” he said, adding that their tests came back negative.

At one point, Wucinski began coughing on the air – but said it was due to nervousness.

“They said I’m fine. I got tested twice. Negative both times. The cough was probably just nerves,” he said.

Annabel Wucinski
Annabel WucinskiGofundme

“Fortunately from what I understand, you know, it is contagious but the death rate is pretty low,” he said as he coughed on his child before grabbing her water bottle and taking a sip.

“So, yeah, I understand the fear,” he added.

Wucinski said he and Anabel are supposed to undergo follow-up checkups to make sure they remain healthy.

“So, we’re looking into trying to get some insurance because my insurance for work — for my job — doesn’t work in America. So, we’re applying,” he said.

Wucinski also set up a GoFundMe page to raise money to pay for the unexpected medical bills he has begun receiving from their stay in isolation.

“My wife was not able to leave on the evac flight, because she is a Chinese citizen who only has a tourist visa and not a green card,” he wrote on the page before her father died.

“Three months ago, we lost her mother to a massive stroke. This is just too much for us, especially my wife and daughter, who constantly asks where ‘Nai Nai is (grandma).”

He added: “We hope that with this money, we can help pay our bills in America for Annabel and I. The quarantine is free, but flights out of California to family in the East coast is very expensive, as was the 2,200 dollar trip from China.”

In an update, he wrote: “Although I assumed all medical bills from our time in quarantine would be paid by the government, it turns out that I am financially responsible for the six days Annabel and I spent in isolation at the hospital.

“Secondly, since I do not know how long we will be in the United States, I am looking into getting health insurance for the two of us, since my insurance in China does not cover American doctors.”



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Amid Congo protest…


Media playback is unsupported on your device

Media captionFootage showed large plumes of smoke rising above the station

Police evacuated Paris’s Gare de Lyon station after protesters started a fire to try to disrupt a concert by a Congolese singer.

Political opponents of the DR Congo government set fire to parked scooters, motorcycles and bins and blocked firefighters from tackling the blaze.

They accuse singer Fally Ipupa of being too close to the Congolese government.

Police had earlier banned protests against the concert, citing a “tense political context”.

A large plume of smoke was visible above the station and smoke was also seen inside the Gare de Lyon metro and suburban rail stations.

Victoria Williams from the UK was in the Gare de Lyon at the time.

“There was big thick smoke. People were surging and setting fire to things,” she said. “It just seemed to get very ugly, very quickly. Traffic was gridlocked in every direction, it was pandemonium.

“The protesters were throwing anything they could at the police and fire brigade who were just trying to do their job. They were just setting fire to anything they could and fighting with each other.”

Police described efforts to prevent firefighters from reaching the scene as “scandalous behaviour”.

Before the concert police had warned of significant calls on social media for protesters to “clash with concertgoers”.

One protester told Reuters they had been trying to block people from attending. They say Fally Ipupa is too close to President Felix Tshisekedi, who took power a year ago.

  • Tackling DR Congo’s six biggest problems in 12 months

Congolese media said members of the Congolese diaspora had come from other European cities, including London, Brussels and Vienna, to try to disrupt the concert.

Concert is historic for Congolese musicians

By Gaius Kowene, BBC News, Kinshasa

For years parts of the Congolese diaspora have condemned musicians they view as too close the political elite they blame for destroying the country.

As a punishment they have used direct action to effectively ban musicians from performing in Europe and thereby prevent them making money.

For about 10 years, some members of the diaspora would try to beat up any musician – and anyone who was part of the regime – whenever they visited Europe. It happened to some senior officials in the past few years. Some musicians have had concerts targeted.

Fally Ipupa is the first Congolese artist to perform in Europe since then. It is a historic moment for Congolese music. Many people are saying that his concert will pave the way for others to perform. It is a challenge to members of the diaspora and they do not like it.

Fally Ipupa, who reportedly has a large following in France and has collaborated with several French rappers, was forced to cancel a concert in France in 2011, RTL reported.

Police said 30 people had been arrested and 54 people had been fined for participating in a banned protest.

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