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EDITORIAL: Who or What caused COVID-19 and when are we gonna catch them?

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A general view shows some of 35 coffins of deceased people stored in a warehouse in Ponte San Pietro, near Bergamo, Lombardy, on March 26, 2020 prior to be transported in another region to be cremated, during the country's lockdown following the COVID-19 new coronavirus pandemic. (Photo by Piero CRUCIATTI / AFP)

#Caribbean – April 17, 2020 — Someone needs to answer for the Coronavirus which has infected over two million people around the globe, killed over 145,000 of those infected and collapsed dreams, industries and economies. 

In under four months, the contagion has wiped out decades of dedicated work to building a more interlinked and interlocked global community and deflated the expectation for a buoyant beginning to a new decade.

The 2020 we all imagined is forever tarnished, and while there is optimism that this season will pass, it is startling that country leaders – save for maybe one – lack vigor when it comes to finding the culprit.

Wuhan, China – file

At an agonizingly slow pace, truths are emerging including that China under reported deaths related to the novel coronavirus by 40 percent and other, more controversial charges allege that the disease is not at all derived from a bat bought and eaten in Wuhan through its blacklisted wet market, but more dastardly, that it was created in a laboratory in that capital city of China’s Hubei province.

It is a peculiar thing to many mourners, onlookers and victims that this crime against humanity, as it appears to be, has no obvious investigator trying to hunt down the perpetrator.

Usually, in events when people are hurt or killed, there is unrelenting, headlining, focus on catching a suspect; apprehending a possible killer.  Not only in an effort to ensure someone is held responsible for the injustice, but to ensure that the tragedy never, ever repeats itself.

Not so or less so in this case.

The world’s health police has reported no such investigation and the world’s leaders who pay them on behalf of the 7.5 billion people on the planet, including the 145,000 who have died and the 195 million projected to be thrust into unemployment are virtually ‘mum’ on the matter.

Official portrait of President Donald J. Trump, Friday, October 6, 2017. (Official White House photo by Shealah Craighead)

Except for the vociferous Donald Trump, President of the United States of America – who was scolded  for announcing that the US would halt funding to the United Nations’ health arm, aka the World Health Organization – there is no mainstream report of someone demanding better service by the WHO and prominently pursuing  who caused this mess.

As expected, since U.S. President Trump made his announcement, there are finally media reports probing and pressing for pertinent answers on who is responsible for the virus which has precipitated such a dismal level of causalities and a world recession of unprecedented proportions, as announced by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) earlier this week.

It is unacceptable that people who have scraped and scrounged, people who have dug deep and plowed hard to build their families and countries had to die alone; locked in a room, forced to make death declarations to four walls, or strangers all while gasping for air, when they ordinarily enjoyed a rich relationship with their loved ones.

It is unacceptable, that millions of people, who were poised to have their best year ever financially, have had to accept letters of termination or closed the doors of businesses they have built from scratch. 

It is unacceptable that we can no longer shake each other’s hands or give a greeting by kiss or hug; that we are now afraid to speak face to face due to fear that a sliver of saliva may reach our mouths or eyes and infect us with this respiratory attacker.

It is unacceptable that people who have labored in the valued medical profession are being sickened, are terrified of going to their own homes, being with their own families and some of them catching COVID-19 and dying from it.

It is unacceptable that we cannot visit our aged -parents and grand-parents because they have superannuated and are most susceptible to death from this disease.  Generations unfairly unhinged by this public health crisis.

Caribbean Country Leaders in CARICOM meeting this week. Photo from The Bahamas Office of the Prime Minister

And it is unacceptable that our governments, who in most of our small island countries were already struggling to make ends meet for the people dependent upon them, are now scampering to find solutions. We have watched these administrators labour for ways to ease the pain, fill the voids and pledge what they cannot afford, which means our indebted countries are plunged further into debt. 

Deandrea Hamilton
Magnetic Media CEO

If my commentary sounds angry about what Coronavirus has done to the world; you are not mistaken.  I am angry and I am brokenhearted every time I consider the pain and suffering this is causing to my fellow human beings.

We all hear the rumors and reports, so conveniently labelled ‘fake news’ about the possible motivation for this allegedly man-made contagion.  Greed and Pride and Folly; among the most shallow characteristics have probably birthed this beast.

I am a believer in Jesus Christ and Almighty God and so I know there is purpose and there is embedded within humankind an indomitable spirit which will cause us to prevail and to emerge enriched by this experience. 

Still, my faith in this truth does not extinguish the fire for answers and explanations on behalf of mankind.

The culprit or culprits cannot and must not go undetected or unpunished and 2020 must be the year when global organisations which pledge to uphold marvelous mandates on behalf of humanity, will recommit to doing their jobs or else face being terminated by the people of this planet.

It is time to find the cause of this killer of our loved ones, our livelihoods, our ways of life and our economies; it is time to for the narrative to shift from coping with COVID-19 to catching whomever is culpable.

Magnetic Media is a Telly Award winning multi-media company specializing in creating compelling and socially uplifting TV and Radio broadcast programming as a means for advertising and public relations exposure for its clients.

Bahamas News

Mobile App brings unprecedented access & opportunity to Persons with Disabilities in The Bahamas

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#TheBahamas, December 8, 2022 – Opportunities and services previously out of reach for many Persons with Disabilities (PWD’s) in The Bahamas are now easier to access with groundbreaking upgrades to the ‘AccessAbility’ mobile app innovated by the National Commission of Persons with Disabilities (NCPD), through a Bahamian APP developer.

As of January 2023, PWD’s registered on the App will be able to book accessible transportation, allowing unprecedented freedom of movement.

For now, services available on the App include free interpreter services for the deaf and hard of hearing; disaster alerts from NEMA; free registration with NCPD which includes mapped location of registered PWD’s in times of disaster; complaints mechanism; bus routes showing street by street movement ; request for adaptive equipment and other services; business directory for organizations compliant with the Disabilities Act; Career/job listings; as well as trending local and international news and resources.

Financing for the App and the related public education programme was contributed by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) through its Multi Country Office located in Jamaica which serves The Bahamas among five English-speaking countries in the northern Caribbean. The App is available for free download from Google Play and the App Store and is also preloaded on all new devices purchased from local telecommunications provider Aliv in partnership with NCPD.

At the launch event on Sunday (4 December), Prime Minister, the Rt. Hon.  Philip Davis said that The Bahamas aimed to achieve inclusion and accessibility on a level playing field for persons with disabilities and that the App was one of the means through which this could be achieved. He lauded the services provided through the app and highlighted the accessible transportation, one touch access to emergency services and sign language interpretation.

The Prime Minister announced that the Department of Labour will enable job listings in the AccessAbility app, and further reminded employers of provisions in the Disability Act for the employment of one person with a disability for every 100 employees. “I am asking corporate Bahamas to join the Government in recognizing the potential in persons with disabilities and providing employment opportunities that may never have been considered before,” he said.

Other major disclosures made by the Prime Minister included The Bahamas’ ratification of ILO Convention 159 establishing the right of PWD to vocational rehabilitation and employment opportunities, and the successful implementation of the Nassau Airports Development’s Sunflower Laynard programme offering empathetic and specialized service to travelling PWD’s

Minister of Social Services and Urban Development, the Hon. Obediah Wilchcombe, said exclusion of PWD’s over the years has been troubling, but the mobile app will help bring the community closer to realizing inclusion and becoming part of the normalcy of the country. “We are elated and moved. PWD’s are celebrating because we have come a long way and UNDP is helping to make a difference” Minister Wilchcombe stated.

UNDP Resident Representative Denise E Antonio said recognizing that Disability Inclusion is a development issue requires continued attention and investment, UNDP supported the Government’s mission to expand digital inclusion to marginalized groups through the Digital Access for All (DAFA) Bahamas Project, specifically focusing on the AccessAbility Mobile App and public education.

She reiterated UNDP’s commitment to improving ICT infrastructure and digital access with and for PWD’s in The Bahamas; advancing gender equality and the empowerment of PWD’s in The Bahamas and forging partnerships to identify challenges and potential solutions to reduce inequalities against Persons with Disabilities.  “It is crucial for governments, public and private sectors, to collaboratively find innovative solutions with and for persons with disabilities, to make the world a more accessible and equitable place,” the Resident Representative noted.

She encouraged Persons with Disabilities to register with the NCPD through the App to ensure they benefit from a wide array of services.

The launch of the AccessAbility mobile app will be immediately followed by a multimedia public education campaign to encourage awareness, downloads, and usage among PWDs.

Technology and digitalization are considered enablers in UNDP’s global service offer of six signature solutions focusing on leaving no one behind. To this end, UNDP partners with countries to develop appropriate digital solutions which help advance poverty eradication, inclusion, equality and crisis resilience.  UNDP Multi Country Office in Jamaica serves Jamaica, Bermuda, Cayman Islands, The Bahamas and Turks and Caicos Islands.

 

Release: UNDP

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Crime

Amnesty International Canada says China Hacked them

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By Dana Malcolm

Staff Writer 

 

#Canada, December 8, 2022 – A human rights organization out of Canada, Amnesty International, is accusing China of sponsoring a hacking attempt on their servers and cautioning other human rights groups.  Amnesty International made the revelation on Dec 5th, describing it as a ‘sophisticated digital security breach believed to be sponsored by the Chinese state.”

The human rights organization says they first detected the breach a month prior on October 5, when suspicious activity was spotted on Amnesty’s IT infrastructure.  Forensic investigators and cyber security experts were hired to protect the organization and to investigate.

Amnesty said it was told, based on expert investigation, behaviors, which are consistent with those associated with Chinese cyberespionage threat groups were found and “a threat group sponsored or tasked by the Chinese state” was likely behind the attack.

“As an organization advocating for human rights globally, we are very aware that we may be the target of state-sponsored attempts to disrupt or surveil our work.  These will not intimidate us and the security and privacy of our activists, staff, donors, and stakeholders remain our utmost priority,” they said.

The rights group said it was speaking publicly about the attack to caution other human rights defenders on the rising threat of digital security breaches and ‘strongly condemns state and non-state actors intent on interfering with the work of human rights and other civil society organizations.’

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News

Volodimir Zelensky is TIME Magazine’s Person of the Year

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By Dana Malcom

Staff Writer

 

December 8, 2022 – A person, idea or object that has done the most to influence the events of the year, for better or for worse is what TIME magazine’s Person of the Year issue features every December, this year in video footage shared by TIME along with the article, that person is dressed in a nondescript green parka; surrounded by taller men as he is you could almost miss him.

The only one without a helmet or vest in his party, he makes his way over to a group of people waiting for him, phones in hand and draped in Ukrainian flags, with smiles they reach for him and with a tearful smile he pushes through his bodyguards and reaches back.

Volodimir Zelensky,  President of Ukraine along with what TIME is describing The Spirit of Ukraine, have been designated TIME’s Person of the Year 2022.

They  join the likes of Elon Musk, Greta Thunberg, Barack Obama, Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin. The list is as it said, for better or worse.

Like them Zelensky has become somewhat of a household name as has Ukraine; unlike them he has seen his country laid to ruin in the last 10 months. Between 6,000 and 32,000 of his civilian constituents have been killed; millions more have fled as the country does its best to hold off Russian advances.

The president told TIME reporter Simon Shuster how the long rides between suffering areas in Ukraine on his small train are the only times he gets to read and when he does he reads about other wartime leaders, comedians and authors.

Zelensky, is a former comedian himself and this year, he has been to a lot of places.

From EU conferences to the Oscars all virtually of course, the world has been exposed to his face and his speeches. Back in May he was featured alongside Mia Mottley, Joe Roegan, Joe Biden and Ketanji Brown Jackson as one of the most influential politicians of the year in Times 100.

Also included in that list, Vladimir Putin the man leading the charge against Ukraine who has repeatedly referred to Zelensky as a “Nazi.”

Putin has not quite succeeded in convincing his own people of Zelinsky’s dangerousness.  Russians continue to protest the war and Russian mothers organize anti-war meetings.

TIME said he was recognized “For proving that courage can be as contagious as fear, for stirring people and nations to come together in defense of freedom, for reminding the world of the fragility of democracy.”

The Ukrainian president, lauded for his bravery, has become a symbol of hope for Ukranians and worldwide, evidenced by the award.

There’s no telling how long the war will drag on and how long the country leader will have to hold his post, but countries like Canada, Britain and the US have sworn to back him for as long as it takes.

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