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May 19, 2020

Thousands of museums around the world may not be able to open their doors again because of the coronavirus pandemic, with experts fearing that one in eight may stay closed permanently.

Data compiled by UNESCO and the International Council of Museums shows that about 90 percent of all museums — roughly 85,000 institutions — have had to temporarily shutter due to the pandemic. This is "alarming," Ernesto Ottone, UNESCO's assistant director general for culture, told The Associated Press. Many museums have said they might not be able to reopen because they have been "closed for months and they have no revenues," he said. "And they don't know how they're going to get their revenues."

There are also concerns the museums won't have the capacity to fix their infrastructure in order to ensure social distancing, with institutes in poorer countries more likely to stay closed.

Many museums rely on tourism, and the Network of European Museum Organizations said popular destinations like the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam and Kunsthistorisches in Vienna could be losing up to $2.75 million every month. In Europe, politicians and royalty have been visiting newly reopened museums in order to bring attention to their plights. Belgian Prime Minister Sophie Wilmes spent time at the Bozar Center for Fine Arts in Brussels on Tuesday, and said it was important for world leaders to "show our support at the maximum level to this sector" and let the public know they can "come back here in complete safety." Catherine Garcia

May 4, 2020

Publicly, the Trump administration is pushing for states to let businesses reopen amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Privately, it's forecasting a very disturbing future.

The Trump administration is forecasting the U.S. daily death toll from coronavirus will rise to 3,000 by June 1. That's nearly twice the current toll of 1,750 deaths per day, The New York Times reports via an internal administration document.

The White House's prediction is based on Centers for Disease Control and Prevention modeling, though reported COVID-19 deaths have already far outpaced the CDC's model. The CDC also predicts the U.S. could go from adding about 25,000 new coronavirus cases every day to adding 200,000 or more daily by the end of the month. As some states resume business as usual, those growth rates could further worsen. Kathryn Krawczyk

February 28, 2020

The end of a very rough week for U.S. markets brought a worrying prediction.

While one expert warned fallout from the global coronavirus outbreak could be "worse than the financial crisis" of 2008, the economist who correctly predicted that very crisis is now saying the idea of a major global recession "doesn't sound too farfetched."

Nouriel Roubini, a New York University business professor and market prognosticator who foretold the housing bubble burst, told Yahoo Finance on Friday to expect "severe" consequences as the coronavirus continues to rattle markets. How severe? He told Der Spiegel it could be worse than investors even believe at this point, predicting "global equities to tank by 30 to 40 percent this year."

He said people "prefer to believe in miracles," (not necessarily referencing President Trump's prediction the coronavirus will "disappear ... like a miracle,") and don't realize the "simple math" tells us that realistically, a squeezed Chinese economy will mean downturns around the globe. "This crisis will spill over and result in a disaster," said Roubini.

Roubini, who is often nicknamed Dr. Doom for his frequent pessimistic predictions, also saw doom and gloom for Trump's future as president as a result of any economic strife. Asked by Der Spiegel, Roubini said Trump would likely try to benefit politically from the outbreak, but "will lose the election, that's for sure." Pointing to past incumbent presidents getting ousted amid geopolitical tensions that damaged the economy, he said "The Democratic field is poor, but Trump is dead. Quote me on that!"

Though the week just saw a 3,500-point drop for the Dow Jones Industrial Average, Roubini warned: "It is far from being over." Read more at Der Spiegel. Summer Meza

October 14, 2019

As she seeks sole custody of their daughter, Jeremy Renner's ex-wife has reportedly accused him of threatening to kill her.

The Avengers actor is currently in a custody battle with Sonni Pacheco, who TMZ writes Monday is accusing him of "rhapsodizing about killing" her at a club while he was "coked up and drunk." Later that night, Renner allegedly "put a gun in his mouth, threatened to kill himself, and fired the gun into the ceiling" while his 6-year-old daughter, Ava, was sleeping in her bedroom.

Pacheco also claims in the legal documents that Renner was once overheard by their nanny saying he was going to kill Pacheco at her home because "it was better that Ava had no parents than to have [Pacheco] as a mother," TMZ reports. Additionally, she alleges Renner has often been under the influence while with their daughter and left cocaine on his bathroom counter, where she could have reached it. Renner and Pacheco married in 2014, with Pacheco filing for divorce less than a year later.

In a statement to TMZ, a representative for Renner said, "The well-being of his daughter Ava has always been and continues to be the primary focus for Jeremy. This is a matter for the court to decide. It's important to note the dramatizations made in Sonni's declaration are a one-sided account made with a specific goal in mind." Renner himself has yet to speak publicly about the report. Brendan Morrow

October 7, 2019

With the Syrian Democratic Forces preparing for attacks by Turkish troops in northern Syria, fighters are being moved to the border, leaving a limited number of guards to keep watch over thousands of Islamic State prisoners, a commander told NBC News.

The Syrian Democratic Forces are the United States' Kurdish allies in the region, and General Mazloum Kobani Abdi told NBC News that the ISIS prisoners are now a "second priority," due to the White House's Sunday announcement that U.S. troops will "no longer be in the immediate area," paving the way for a Turkish operation. Mazloum said this is a "very big problem," as there are about 12,000 prisoners — 10,000 from Syria and Iraq, and 2,000 from other countries.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan considers Kurdish forces to be terrorists. Despite being the opposition, Mazloum told NBC News "one of the options that we have on the table" is to partner with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to fight against Turkey. He is hopeful that the American public will call on Trump to reverse course, so it doesn't have to come to this, saying, "The people who fought with you against international terrorism, against ISIS, are under risk right now and they are facing a big battle alone." Catherine Garcia

September 17, 2019

President Trump's border wall is putting archaeological discoveries at risk before they're even discovered.

Trump's border wall has jeopardized several government projects as he aims to drain military projects to fund its construction. It has raised protests from environmental groups who say it'll run through wildlife refuges. And as an internal National Park Service report obtained by The Washington Post reveals, it's likely to destroy or damage 22 unexcavated sites containing artifacts of the ancient Sonoran Desert peoples.

The sites in question are all within the Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, a 330,000-acre area of protected wilderness that sits along the Arizona-Mexico border. It has been home to "desert-dwelling peoples" for at least 16,000 years and contains well-preserved artifacts thanks to its arid environment, the Post reports. There's currently a five-foot vehicle barrier along that section of the border, but Trump plans to turn it into a 30-foot steel wall. Two miles of that wall surrounding a border crossing in Lukeville, Arizona have already been built.

In its report, the National Park Service says some archaeological areas have already been damaged as the Trump administration's amped-up enforcement measures lead border patrol agents to drive recklessly through Organ Pipe Cactus. If construction continues, experts warn damage could get even worse. The several salt springs in the monument area could also dry up if groundwater is pumped to build the concrete wall, NPS continued.

CBP said it looked at "most" of the archaeological sites in question and said just five are within 60 feet of the proposed border area, and that only one showed signs of artifacts buried nearby. Read more at The Washington Post, and find the whole report here. Kathryn Krawczyk

August 21, 2018

Climate change and warm winds have caused some of the oldest and thickest sea ice in the Arctic to break apart, The Guardian reported Tuesday, calling into question just how long the region's "last ice area" will withstand ever-rising temperatures.

In the sea off the north coast of Greenland, sea ice is frozen so thick that scientists thought it would be the last area in the North to melt away as climate change pushes temperatures higher and higher. But the region has endured unprecedented heat this summer, hitting a record high of 62.6 degrees Fahrenheit just last week. Warm winds left the ice "quite shattered and broken up and therefore more mobile," Ruth Mottram of the Danish Meteorological Institute explained, which has pushed the ice farther away from the coast than ever before.

When the sea ice blows around, it can be swept away into warmer waters where it melts for good, said Thomas Lavergne of the Norwegian Meteorological Institute. "I cannot tell how long this open water patch will remain open, but even if it closes in few days from now, the harm will be done," he said. "The thick old sea ice will have been pushed away from the coast, to an area where it will melt more easily."

Scientists said that some of the ice will freeze again, but likely later in the winter than usual. While this gap in the Arctic sea ice is not the first one to form, the alarming temperatures and significant size of this gap in the "last ice area" have experts calling the most recent break "scary." Read more at The Guardian. Summer Meza

August 24, 2015

This isn't a record Washington wanted to break: The wildfires burning in central Washington are the largest in state history, a fire official said Monday.

Five wildfires covering 256,567 acres — dubbed the Okanogan Complex fires — grew more than 26 square miles on Sunday, fire crew spokesman Rick Isaacson said. The fires are only 10 percent contained, and are threatening 5,000 homes. More than 1,250 firefighters are battling the flames, and Isaacson said the blazes could continue to burn for several more months. Catherine Garcia

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