Daily Archives: June 15, 2021


MacKenzie Scott Donates $2.7 Billion to ‘Underfunded and Overlooked’ Causes

Billionaire philanthropist MacKenzie Scott announced Tuesday that she has donated $2.7 billion to communities “that have been historically underfunded and overlooked.” “Because community-centered service is such a powerful catalyst and multiplier, we spent the first quarter of 2021 identifying and evaluating equity-oriented nonprofit teams working in areas that have been neglected,” Scott wrote in a blog post. But Scott emphasized in the post that she struggled with headlines centering on her instead of the organizations and causes she hopes to uplift.  “Putting large donors at the center of stories on social progress …


US Surpasses 600,000 Deaths from COVID, Leading the World

The United States has surpassed 600,000 dead from COVID-19, the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center reported Tuesday. The count spans from the beginning of the pandemic 15 months ago. While the numbers of new COVID-19 cases and daily deaths in the United States have fallen steadily in recent weeks, the milestone is a harsh reminder of the toll the pandemic has taken and is still taking.  U.S. President Joe Biden on Monday acknowledged the approaching milestone, saying that while new cases and deaths are dropping dramatically in the U.S., “there’s still …


Tree to Table: Cicadas Make for Culinary Adventure at DC Restaurant

Parts of the United States are being invaded by a mass brood of cicadas that emerges from the ground once every 17 years.  For most people the noisy insects are a nuisance, but for others, they’re a meal. VOA’s Alam Burnahan has details in this story narrated by Irfan Ihsan. Camera: Alam Burhanan, Irfan Ihsan, Ronan Zakaria …


Syrian Refugees in Somalia Enrich Culture, Contribute to Economy

Since the war in Syria broke out a decade ago, refugees have fled to countries in the Middle East and Europe as well as to countries in Africa that face instability, like Somalia. And, as Mohamed Sheikh Nor reports from Mogadishu, Somali officials say Syrian refugees are enriching the host nation culturally and economically.Camera: Mohamed Sheikh Nor     …


New Study Suggests Coronavirus Was Present in US Earlier than First Believed

The novel coronavirus was present in the U.S. in December 2019, weeks before health officials first identified infections, according to a new government study.   Conducted by a team that included researchers from the U.S. National Institutes of Health, the study analyzed 24,000 blood samples. The findings suggest that some Americans were infected as early as the middle of December 2019, weeks before the world recognized the spread of the new deadly virus that erupted in the Chinese city of Wuhan.   While the analysis is inconclusive, and some experts …


Mexico Receives 1.35 Million COVID Vaccines from US

Mexico has received 1.35 million doses of the Johnson & Johnson, single-dose COVID-19 vaccine donated by the United States.The doses will be given to those over 18 in four border towns, Tijuana, Mexicali, Ciudad Juárez and Reynosa. The goal is to end essential travel restrictions on the border.The first vaccinations could be given as early as Wednesday, according to Mexican Assistant Health Secretary Hugo López-Gatell. Mexico’s vaccination program has used a mix of vaccines and so far, has been focused on people 40 and older. It has administered about 26 …


New Robot ‘Mayflower’ Ship Begins Voyage Recreating Original Route

A fully autonomous ship named for the Mayflower, the ship that sailed to what is now the eastern U.S. state of Massachusetts, left Plymouth Harbor in southwestern Britain Tuesday to retrace the original’s 5,000-kilometer voyage.If successful, the 15-meter Mayflower 400 would be the largest autonomous vessel to cross the Atlantic. The $1.3 million ship was built by a nonprofit marine research organization named ProMare in partnership with the computer-tech giant IBM. It is powered by a combination of wind and solar energy, with a back-up diesel generator.ProMare co-founder and project …


Blacks, Hispanics More Likely to Die of COVID-19 in US, Associated Press Finds

As the United States approaches 600,000 COVID-19 related deaths, the Associated Press has uncovered data showing how the pandemic has exposed  the country’s wide racial inequalities. A story published Monday by the AP said where race is known, white Americans account for 61% of all COVID-19 deaths, followed by Hispanics with 19%, Blacks with 15%, and Asian Americans with 4% — figures that track with the groups’ share of the U.S. population as a whole.  But the news agency said an analysis of data released by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control …


Gunmen Kill 5 Polio Vaccinators in Afghanistan

Officials in conflict-torn Afghanistan said Tuesday gunmen had shot dead at least five polio vaccinators and injured several others in separate attacks in eastern Nangarhar province.    Afghanistan and its neighbor Pakistan are the only two countries in the world where the crippling polio disease remains endemic.    Authorities said the early morning violence in parts of Jalalabad, the provincial capital, and nearby Khogyani district came on the second day of a four-day national campaign administering polio drops to children under five years of age.     Jan Mohammad, head …


Indian Government in Standoff with Twitter Over Online Speech

The government of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is in a battle with U.S. tech firms over a new set of online speech rules that it has enacted for the nation of nearly 1.4 billion.  The rules require companies to restrict a range of topics on their services, comply with government takedown orders and identify the original source of information shared. If the companies fail to comply, tech firm employees can be held criminally liable.  The escalation of tensions between Modi’s government and tech firms, activists say, could result in the curtailment of Indians’ online speech.  “Absent a change in direction, the future of free speech in the world’s largest democracy is increasingly imperiled,” said Samir Jain, director of policy at …