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Nancy Clayson

Nancy is a young, full of life lady who joined the team shortly after the BelleNews site started to run. She is focused on bringing up to light all the latest news from the technology industry. In her opinion the hi-tech expresses the humanity intellectual level. Nancy is an active person; she enjoys sports and delights herself in doing gardening in her spare time, as well as reading, always searching for new topics for her articles.

Image source Wikipedia

President Donald Trump has warned of a “very painful two weeks” ahead, as the seriousness of the coronavirus outbreak hit the US.

He said US deaths could reach 100,000, as the global infection toll rises above 800,000.

The president urged Americans to follow guidelines, calling it “a matter of life and death”.

The US death toll surpasses 4,000 and there are fears as many as 200,000 people could die there.

On March 31, the White House said projections show between 100,000 and 200,000 Americans could die with Covid-19.

The projection is based on some people not doing everything they can to stop the spread, US coronavirus coordinator Deborah Birx explained.

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US infectious disease chief Anthony Fauci said that “as sobering a number as that [100,000] is, we should be prepared for it. Is it going to be that much? I hope not and the more we push on mitigation the less likely it would be that number.

“But being realistic, we need to prepare ourselves… it will be difficult – no one is denying we are going through a very difficult time right now.”

President Donald Trump is expected to help businesses in America by allowing them to delay payments on certain tariffs.

The US imposes tariffs – fees for importing certain products from overseas – on a raft of goods, including steel from China.

However, the president is expected to waive payment of these fees for 90 days to help improve US companies’ cashflows as they struggle with lockdowns.

The 90-day breathing space will apply to specific goods from “most-favored nations”, although these are not expected to include imports from China or Europe.

Around 400 chief executives of small, medium, and large companies in the US urged President Trump in a letter on March 31 to delay the collection of these fees for up to 180 days.

The cash would normally be paid direct to the US government.


UK’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Health Secretary Matt Hancock both tested positive for coronavirus, which causes the Covid-19 disease.

It comes after the UK government’s chief medical officer Professor Chris Whitty has said he is self-isolating after experiencing symptoms of coronavirus last night.

Prof. Chris Whitty has led the UK’s medical response and appears in the government’s public information films. Known symptoms of the virus include a persistent dry cough and a raised temperature.

PM Boris Johnson has tested positive for coronavirus after displaying “mild” symptoms.

He is continuing to work in his Downing Street office although he will not be taking part in March 27 daily government briefing.

Boris Johnson’s fiancée, Carrie Symonds, who is several months pregnant, is self-isolating elsewhere.

Coronavirus: Prince Charles Tests Positive for Virus

Harvey Weinstein Tests Positive for Coronavirus

A total of 759 people have now died of the coronavirus in the UK, while 14,579 have tested positive.

The death toll jumped by 181 on March 27 – a rise of 31% – making it the biggest rise in deaths that the country has seen so far, surpassing March 26’s record of 115.

In England, patients were aged between 29 and 98 years old.

According to health officials, all but four patients, aged between 82 and 91 years old, had underlying health conditions.

The UK has the seventh highest number of recorded deaths in the world after Italy, Spain, China, Iran, France and the US.


Prince Charles has tested positive for coronavirus, Clarence House has announced.

The 71-year-old is displaying mild symptoms “but otherwise remains in good health”, a spokesman said, adding that the 72-year-old Duchess of Cornwall has been tested but does not have the virus.

Prince Charles and his wife are now self-isolating at Balmoral.

According to Buckingham Palace, Queen Elizabeth II last saw her son, the heir to the throne, on March 12, but was “in good health”.

The palace added that Prince Philip was not present at that meeting, and that the Queen was now “following all the appropriate advice with regard to her welfare”.

A Clarence House statement read: “In accordance with government and medical advice, the prince and the duchess are now self-isolating at home in Scotland.

“The tests were carried out by the NHS in Aberdeenshire, where they met the criteria required for testing.

“It is not possible to ascertain from whom the prince caught the virus owing to the high number of engagements he carried out in his public role during recent weeks.”

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Harvey Weinstein Tests Positive for Coronavirus

Prince Charles’s last public engagement was on March 12 – the same day he last saw the Queen – when he attended a dinner in aid of the Australian bushfire relief and recovery effort.

However, the prince has also been working from home over the last few days, and has held a number of private meetings with Highgrove and Duchy of Cornwall individuals, all of whom have been made aware.

A number of household staff at Birkhall – Prince Charles’s residence on the Balmoral estate – are now self-isolating at their own homes.

A palace source said Prince Charles has spoken to both the Queen and his sons – Prince William and Prince Harry – and is in good spirits.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

No one knows exactly when the next recession will hit. It could be five years from now, five months from now, or it could take shape as a result of the recent coronavirus scare. One thing’s for sure, though. A financial downturn will happen eventually and another recession is on the way. Unlike previous recessions, though, many current professionals operate as freelancers. Working as a freelancer provides a number of advantages, but it can also be quite challenging in some ways as well. Here, we’ll explain everything that freelancers need to know to manage their finances during a recession:

Start Saving Now

It’s never too early –– or too late –– to start saving up for the future. While “traditional” nine-to-five employees may benefit from employer-supported 401ks and health insurance, freelancers have no such safety net. That’s why it’s crucial to build up a substantial savings fund now. Living paycheck-to-paycheck might work out if you can rely on a steady stream of income. But if a recession affects your ability to generate personal revenue, then it’s imperative to have enough capital saved up to cover essential expenses.

Lean on Relationships

The best freelancers don’t wait around to find work. During a recession, it’s unlikely that many companies will actively search for extra support. And jobs that do get posted on sites like Upwork will probably go quickly. As such, it’s a smart play for freelancers to develop positive working relationships with business leaders in their field. This will allow them to check in and get the inside track on projects or assignments during lean periods. In business, who you know matters almost as much as what you know.  

Expand Your Skill Set

Working in a niche field can be a solid way to start your career as a freelancer. However, if you want to improve your viability, you’ll have to expand your skill set so that you can take on new jobs as they hit the market. This could include almost anything –– from learning about the RFP process to enhancing your writing abilities. Don’t hesitate to learn new things because they could come in handy one day!

Talk to an Expert

Unless you’ve spent years studying economics, you may not understand everything there is to know about managing resources during a recession. Indeed, it is possible to not only survive a recession, but to thrive under such conditions. You just have to have a plan in place and know how to execute it. It makes a lot of sense for freelancers to enlist the help of a financial planner. They can create contingency strategies and explain how to create an effective investment portfolio regardless of the state of the market.

Bottom line: don’t be afraid to reach out for help if you need it!

Image source: Wikimedia Commons

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio has said that the coronavirus outbreak in the city will get worse, with damage accelerated by shortages of key medical supplies.

He said on March 22: “We’re about 10 days away from seeing widespread shortages.

“If we don’t get more ventilators people will die.”

New York state has become the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak in the US and accounts for almost half of the US cases.

There are now 31,057 confirmed cases in the US, with 390 deaths.

On March New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said 15,168 people had tested positive for the virus, an increase of more than 4,000 from the previous day.

“All Americans deserve the blunt truth,” Mayor de Blasio told NBC News.

“It’s only getting worse, and in fact April and May are going to be a lot worse.”

New York now accounts for roughly 5% of Covid-19 cases worldwide.

On March 20, President Donald Trump approved a major disaster declaration for the state which gave it access to billions of dollars of federal aid.

However, Bill de Blasio has continued to criticize the Trump administration for what he views as an inadequate response.

He said: “I cannot be blunt enough: if the president doesn’t act, people will die who could have lived otherwise.”

“This is going to be the greatest crisis, domestically, since the Great Depression,” Bill de Blasio added, referring to the economic crisis of the 1930s.

Speaking at a news conference at the White House on March 22, President Trump said he had also approved a major disaster declaration for Washington state and would approve a similar measure for California.

He said: “This is a challenging time for all Americans. We’re enduring a great national trial.”

The president also said a number of medical supplies were being sent to locations nationwide, as well as emergency medical stations for New York, Washington and California, the worst-hit states.

Doctors across New York have reported depleted medical supplies and a lack of protective gear for healthcare workers on the frontlines of the outbreak.

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Warnings of such shortages have reverberated across the US as other state governors have pleaded with the federal government to make more supplies available.

In California, officials instructed hospitals to restrict coronavirus testing. Meanwhile, a hospital in Washington state – once the center of the US outbreak – said it could run out of ventilators by April.

On March 22, Illinois Governor JB Pritzker said states were “competing against each other” for virus supplies.

He said: “We need millions of masks and hundreds of thousands of gowns and gloves.

“We’re getting just a fraction of that. So, we’re out on the open market competing for these items that we so badly need.”

An almost $1.4 trillion emergency stimulus bill intended to blunt the punishing economic impact of the pandemic failed to pass the US Senate on March 22.

The bill got 47 votes, falling short of the 60 needed in the 100-member chamber.

Democrats raised objections to the bill with Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer saying it had “many, many problems”. Democrats accused Republicans of wanting to bail out big businesses.


Australia has announces a nationwide shutting down for non-essential services as coronavirus cases rise rapidly in the country.

Clubs, pubs, gyms, theaters and places of worship will be shut from midday on March 23, while restaurants and cafes will have to switch to takeaway only.

PM Scott Morrison announced the restrictions after a national cabinet meeting.

The number of cases in Australia has risen sharply in recent days, reaching 1,315.

New South Wales (NSW), home to Sydney, is the worst-affected state with 533 confirmed cases. Victoria, of which Melbourne is the capital, has 296 cases, while Queensland has 259.

The new measures will see many businesses close but supermarkets, oil stations, pharmacies and home delivery services will continue running.

PM Morrison said he wanted to keep schools open but parents would be able to keep their children at home if they wished to do so.

He said: “I don’t want to see our children lose an entire year of their education.”

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Coronavirus: California Puts 40 Million Residents Under Lockdown

Some states, including Victoria, have signaled that they want to close schools.

Seven people have died across Australia so far from Covid-19.

The new restrictions come after large crowds gathered on Sydney’s beaches including Bondi on March 21, flouting social distancing advice.

PM Morrison said that the federal and state governments had decided to act because Australians were not obeying guidelines.

However, the prime minister added: “We are not putting in place lockdowns that put people in and confine them to their homes.

“That is not a measure that has been contemplated at this point.”

Chief Medical Officer Brendan Murphy said people, especially the young, had to realize that they needed to live “very differently” and stop going out in order to control the virus.

PM Morrison also announced new stimulus measures to boost the country’s economy.

South Australia, Western Australia and the Northern Territory will close their borders from Tuesday. Under the new rules, anyone arriving will be forced to self-isolate for 14 days.

Tasmania, an island state, has already imposed similar travel restrictions.

The Australian Football League suspended its 2020 season, with no fixtures until at least May 31. The women’s league has also been halted. In contrast, the National Rugby League says it will carry on with matches as planned.


Ben McAdams and Mario Diaz-Balart became the first members of Congress to test positive for the Covid-19.

The office of Congressman Ben McAdams, a Utah Democrat, said on March 18 that he had tested positive for the virus.

The representative said he developed “mild cold-like symptoms” after returning from Washington DC on March 14.

Ben McAdams said he immediately self-isolated at home, but “my symptoms got worse and I developed a fever, a dry cough and labored breathing”.

According to the statement, his doctor referred him on March 17 for a Covid-19 test, which came back positive on March 18.

Ben McAdams, 45, said he would remain in self-quarantine until he had recovered.

Mario Diaz-Balart, a Florida Republican, also announced on March 18 that he had tested positive for coronavirus.

The 58-year-old tweeted from self-quarantine at his flat in Washington DC: “I’m feeling much better. However, it’s important that everyone take this seriously.”

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Donald Trump: “Coronavirus Crisis Could Last Until End of Summer”

Meanwhile, President Donald Trump has vowed the US will achieve “total victory” over the coronavirus, describing himself as a “wartime president”.

At a White House press conference, the president was asked by a reporter whether he considered the country to be on a war footing in terms of fighting the virus.

He said: “It’s a war.

“I view it as a, in a sense, a wartime president.”

President Trump spoke as he revived a Korean War-era measure allowing the US to ramp up production of vital medical supplies.

According to estimates, the US has more than 9,300 cases of Covid-19 and has seen 150 deaths so far.

Globally there are some 220,000 confirmed cases and over 8,800 deaths.

President Trump has been holding daily briefings on the emergency this week after being accused of playing down the outbreak in its early stages.

He said: “We must sacrifice together, because we are all in this together, and we will come through together. It’s the invisible enemy. That’s always the toughest enemy.

“But we are going to defeat the invisible enemy. I think we are going to do it even faster than we thought, and it’ll be a complete victory. It’ll be a total victory.”

President Trump announced he was signing the 1950 Defense Production Act, which empowers the president to direct civilian businesses to help meet orders for products necessary for national security.

However, the president said later on Twitter that he would only invoke the measure “in a worst case scenario in the future”.

President Trump also described as an “absolute, total worst case scenario” a warning by his Treasury Secretary, Steve Mnuchin, that the pandemic could send US unemployment rocketing to 20%.

He said two US Navy hospitals ships would be pressed into service to help alleviate an expected shortage of sick beds.

The USNS Comfort is expected to be sent to New York Harbor, though defense officials said it is currently undergoing maintenance in Virginia.

The other vessel, USNS Mercy, is being prepared to deploy to a location on the West Coast.

During the press conference, President Trump again rejected suggestions that his use of the term “Chinese virus” to describe Covid-19 was racist.

The US-Canada border, the world’s longest, was effectively closed, except for essential travel and commerce.

President Trump also announced a new crackdown on immigrants or asylum seekers crossing the US-Mexico border.

The president said his administration would invoke a statute that allows people to be blocked in order to prevent the spread of communicable diseases.


Don’t learn the hard way that your home insurance doesn’t cover the damage a hurricane or flood causes. If you just moved to a hurricane-prone area then you need to research the types of insurance that cover damage if one affects your property. In 2019, 18 named storms hit the USA, from which six became hurricanes and three reached Category 3 or higher intensity. Statistics show that a typical year has 12 named storms, six hurricanes, and 3 major hurricanes, so chances are your house to experience damage every year. If you lack comprehensive coverage, you’ll find difficult to handle the repairs, even if you have a high-paid job. And what’s the point of spending thousands of dollars annually when you can buy the insurance and have all the damage covered.

Most of the homeowners located in hurricane-prone areas buy flood insurance because it offers the greatest benefits. Here is what you should know.

Why should you get flood insurance?

Even if the local authorities don’t establish flood insurance mandatory for homes in your area, you should consider getting it. The hurricanes that move slowly often cause rains that generate damage by flooding. So, not only aggressive hurricanes destroy houses.

If you have a mortgage on the house, the lender will ask you to purchase flood insurance when the property is located in a flood hazard area. Do you still have doubts? Here are some reasons to consider buying comprehensive coverage.

It saves you money

It’s wise to be prepared for natural disasters, no matter if you live in a flood-prone area or not. If one damages your house you can spend thousands or even hundreds of dollars to repair it, if you lack insurance. FEMA states that 3 inches of floodwater can generate $8000 costs when you have no insurance. Only 3 inches of water require replacement of floors, carpets, furniture, baseboards, hardwood, and drywalls. It destroys everything that touches the floors.

An average storm or rain can cause 12 inches of water in a flood-prone area, so you’ll need to pay for more than floors and carpets, you need to repair the electrical system, buy new appliances, and install a new heating and cooling system. A serious flood can cost more than $30,000. 

Your standard insurance doesn’t protect you from flood

It may be surprising to find out that regular insurance doesn’t cover for hurricanes and flood, but usually homeowner’s insurance only protects you against water pouring from the sky.

This means that your insurance doesn’t cover floodwaters and you need to purchase one created for this specific damage.

Floods are the most common natural disaster

It’s terrifying to find out that floods are the most common natural disaster because it’s pricey to repair the damages they create. Americans pay annually $8.2 million to fix flood damages. And the bad news is that flooding doesn’t come alone, it’s often accompanied by other forms of natural disasters like hurricanes, tornadoes, storms and earthquakes.

Buying a comprehensive policy protects your house not only from flooding but also if your neighbour overflows your house.

Where to find it?

You need to contact the local insurance brokers to find out their offers and compare services. Run an Internet search to identify the most reliable brokers from your area. You can also find an agent through the National Flood Insurance Program managed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Flood insurance is available to all homeowners located in a hurricane-prone area.

You can also ask your neighbours to recommend an insurance provider they trust because they definitely have flood insurance in Florida if they live in the area for more than a year.

What flood insurance doesn’t cover

Each insurance provider offers different flood insurances, but most of them don’t include the following services in the flood policy.

Water from inside the house

To use the coverage to pay for flood damage the water must come from outside your home. If something breaks inside the house (a pipe for example) and it inundates one of the rooms, the flood coverage doesn’t pay for the repairs. You need to use the homeowner policy for these expenses.

It doesn’t cover landscaping and swimming pools

If your swimming pool breaks and drowns your property, you cannot use the insurance to repair the damage. And even if water outside your house destroys your property, the broker won’t reimburse for gardens, trees, and other landscaping elements.

It only covers big floods

Some companies cover only big floods that cover more than two acres or that affect at least two properties in the same area. Also, if your house experiences mould or mildew damage you could have prevented, it may not pay for the deterioration.

It doesn’t include money and important papers

Most policies don’t pay for the value of precious metals and stones, stock certificates, currency, and other valuable papers you may keep inside the house. It’s advisable to keep them in a safe place where natural disasters cannot destroy them.

It doesn’t pay for improvements made to below-ground areas

You may want to transform your basement in a man cave, but before doing it you should know that flood insurance doesn’t cover the improvements. When living in a hurricane-prone area it’s recommended to remove all personal property from the basement because water can inundate it. Store in the basement only items you can spare.

Buying home insurance

Before you purchase flood insurance, speak to your local broker to find out how much insurance you need and what it covers. Most companies have a waiting period before the policy is in force, so you shouldn’t wait until the first signs of a storm appear.

When your current provider doesn’t sell flood insurance you can buy a separate one from another one. But before contacting them, document all improvements you brought to your property. Last but not least, ask the broker what costs does the policy cover because the majority of them don’t pay all replacement costs. They usually focus on reimbursing your home’s structure and contents.


Canadian PM Justin Trudeau and his wife Sophie Gregoire-Trudeau are self-isolating after she came down with flu-like symptoms and was tested for the new coronavirus, according to an official statement on March 12.

Sophie Gregoire-Trudeau began to show mild symptoms of illness late on March 11 after a speaking engagement in the UK.

Justin Trudeau is not exhibiting any symptoms.

There are currently approximately 103 confirmed cases of the coronavirus in Canada, in the provinces of British Columbia, Ontario, Alberta, Quebec, and Manitoba. There has been one death linked to the disease.

Under his doctor’s advice, the prime minister is continuing daily activities while monitoring his health but “out of an abundance of caution” he is working from home, the statement said.

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Coronavirus: India Suspends All Existing Tourist Visas

Coronavirus: WHO Labels Outbreak as A Pandemic

A number of politicians around the globe have been self-isolating in recent days after coming into possible contact with the virus, including five senior US Republicans and a Canadian cabinet minister.

PM Trudeau is among the first world leaders to take the precautionary step. Mongolia’s president recently returned to work following a 14-day quarantine after a visit to China in February.

Justin Trudeau was scheduled to hold meetings over the next two days in Ottawa with provincial premiers and First Nations leaders.

Those meetings have been postponed.

The prime minister will now be speaking with those provincial counterparts over the phone, with the topic focusing on Canada’s response to the pandemic, said his office in a statement on March 12.

“The prime minister will spend the day in briefings, phone calls and virtual meetings from home including speaking with other world leaders and joining the special Covid-19 cabinet committee discussion,” Justin Trudeau’s office said.

Another federal party leader, the NDP’s Jagmeet Singh, said on March 12 he was also staying at home because he was feeling unwell, though doctors have told him that his symptoms are not consistent with the coronavirus.

He tweeted: “Their advice is for me to limit contact with the public until I am feeling better.”

There are currently approximately 103 confirmed cases of the coronavirus in Canada,

On March 11, Canada announced on a C$1 billion ($728 million) coronavirus response fund to deal with the pandemic.

The funding package will help Canada address the domestic impact of the virus and to support further research, including vaccine development.

PM Justin Trudeau said his government was ready to do more if the situation warranted.

Speaking to reporters on March 11, Justin Trudeau urged Canadians to follow the recommendations of public health officials in order to help slow the spread of the disease and to avoid overburdening the health care system.

Image source: BT

In an effort to halt the coronavirus spread, India has announced that all visas, barring a select few categories, will be suspended for a month.

Visa free travel afforded to overseas citizens of the country has also been suspended until April 15.

The move is expected to impact tourism, hotel and aviation industries in what will be more bad news for the slowing economy.

According to the health ministry, India has 73 confirmed cases of the virus.

This number is expected to grow in coming days, as the results for tests conducted earlier become available.

The advisory, issued on March 11, says that only diplomatic, official, employment and project visas will be exempt from the current restrictions, which take effect on March 13 and will be reviewed again in a month.

However, it has said that even those allowed in could be subject to 14 days of quarantine and has warned against “non-essential travel”.

Coronavirus: WHO Labels Outbreak as A Pandemic

Coronavirus: Italy in Full Lockdown to Curb COVID-19 Spread

Coronavirus: Which Are the Worst-Affected Countries?

The health ministry says India was among the first countries in the world to prepare for an outbreak of the respiratory illness.

However, there are concerns about whether India will be fully equipped to prevent and treat an outbreak.

Officials in the southern state of Karnataka have invoked the provisions of a 123-year-old legislation to ensure that patients suspected to have shown symptoms of Covid-19 do not run away from being treated at hospitals or violate home quarantine norms.

The provision that has been invoked under the Epidemic Diseases Act 1897 says that any person or organization or institution that violates the regulations will be prosecuted.

Karnataka was prompted to enact the legislation after a passenger from Dubai, who was tested at the Mangalore airport and was found to have mild fever, ran away from a government hospital where he was taken for observation.

The travel restrictions are also expected to badly hit several key sectors of India’s economy.

India’s leading domestic airline, IndiGo, has already said that it expects its quarterly earnings to be materially impacted because of the virus.

The car industry, which is a key economic indicator, has also warned that production could be badly hit as 10% of its raw materials come from China.

Moody’s also downgraded India’s expected growth to 5.3%.

Image source: Twitter

Seventy people were trapped after a hotel being used as a coronavirus quarantine facility in Quanzhou, China, collapsed.

According to officials, about 35 of the 70 people have been pulled from the rubble of the Xinjia Hotel.

Videos posted online show emergency workers combing through the building’s wreckage in the southern province of Fujian.

It is not clear what caused the collapse or if anyone has died.

The collapse happened at about 19:30 local time.

China Coronavirus: Lockdowns Across Hubei Province

China Coronavirus: Signs, Symptoms and Treatment

According to Chinese state media, the hotel was being used as a quarantine facility monitoring people who had had close contact with coronavirus patients.

Xinjia Hotel reportedly opened in 2018 and had 80 guest rooms.

One woman told the Beijing News website that relatives including her sister had been under quarantine there.

She said: “I can’t contact them, they’re not answering their phones.

“I’m under quarantine too [at another hotel] and I’m very worried, I don’t know what to do. They were healthy, they took their temperatures every day, and the tests showed that everything was normal.”

As of March 6, Fujian province had 296 cases of coronavirus. Meanwhile 10,819 people have been placed under observation because they have been in close contact with someone infected.

According to the World Health Organization, more than 101,000 people worldwide have now contracted the virus.

More than 3,000 people have died – the majority in the Chinese province of Hubei where the outbreak originated.

Business has become more competitive, and 2020 will be a breakout year for many businesses looking to maximize growth and boost profitability. There are certainly a number of business strategies businesses are turning to for maximum 2020 growth. But none are as important as apps. This is why apps are transforming 2020 business profitability with a number of important features.

Businesses are beginning to see the value in having apps for their customers. They could be apps that allow customers to access key information. They could be apps for secure transfers if the business is in the financial space. Regardless of industry, there can be an app to help boost growth and profitability. And when it comes to building these apps, a container registry and other factors are important.

For your business, you need to create an app that works without fail, low error and downtime rate. But you also need to ensure your app is powerful enough to satisfy your customers’ or clients’ needs. This is why the following features for your business app are very important.

Simplicity Is Essential For Your Business App

If your business app is too complex, you will lose the interest of your intended users. This is bad for business, because you are creating an app for your users to have more options, or better resources. If they don’t use the app, all is for nothing.

This is why simplicity is critical when it comes to your business app in 2020. Serve up a great design that takes the cake for user experience (UX), and be sure to have a very simple navigation throughout the application.

Flexibility Is Just As Important As Simplicity

When it comes to apps in 2020, flexibility is key. You will need a very flexible application for your business in order to keep your users happy. Remember, if the end user is not happy, they will abandon the app and you will potentially lose customers and/or clients.

Flexibility for your app can be a bit difficult to pin down. However, there are tools to ensure your app stays more flexible. For instance, you can utilize app containers to have a more flexible app. And don’t forget to keep automation a top priority as well.

Ensure Your App Is Lightning Fast

In today’s digital age, speed is essential. App users have plenty of choices among the billions of apps available for Android and iOS. This makes having a fast application for your business a must. In fact, this may be one of the most important features for your 2020 business app in order to boost business profitability.

Did you know that your business has less than three seconds to make an impression on the app user? Three seconds is not very long at all, so you will need to prioritize speed. If speed is lacking, you will have many users abandoning your business app.

How do you make app speed a priority? One way is to ensure your user interface (UI) is streamlined, and all backend code is good. Another way is to look for ways to keep speed a priority during the actual app development stages.

Security Is More Important Than Ever Before — Especially For Business Apps

The number of cyber attacks on businesses in the past few years is a very clear call to action for your business to take proper security measures when building out your business application. App security is especially important if your app will have user information, such as personal data, or even more important, banking data.

Hackers and cyber criminals are pretty good at what they do these days too. They can use malware in your app to steal passwords and other data. This makes staying on top of app security a critical aspect of ensuring your customers and clients are safe if they download and use your business app.

Increase Your Business Profitability In 2020 With A Business App

Apps are definitely transforming 2020 business profitability, and the features your business needs to ensure you get your piece of the profits are wide ranging. The above features can help you get moving in the right direction. However, they are only the tip of the iceberg, so be sure to do a bit of due diligence when you begin developing your business app.

You will also need to ensure you have the in-app features that meet your users’ needs. For instance, you can look at the questions your customers ask regularly and implement features that address issues and problems your customers and/or clients have. Make an app people will want to use, and your business will grow exponentially in 2020.

Photo Getty Images

Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva has said eight deputies have admitted possessing photos of Kobe Bryant’s helicopter crash site.

The sheriff said he was “devastated and heartbroken” by the conduct of those responsible.

He told media on March 2 that the deputies involved had deleted the images on his direction.

Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna were among nine who died in the crash on January 26.

The basketball legend was a five-time NBA champion for his only team, the Los Angeles Lakers, and a double Olympic gold medalist. After a 20-year career with the team Kobe Bryant retired in April 2016.

The circulation of photos from the crash site and victims’ remains was first reported by the Los Angeles Times last week.

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Kobe Bryant Killed in Helicopter Crash

Vanessa Bryant Makes First Comments Since Kobe’s Death

In response to the report, Vanessa Bryant, Kobe’s wife, said she was “absolutely devastated” by the “inexcusable and deplorable” actions of first responders.

A lawyer for Vanessa Bryant said Alex Villanueva had assured her that “all measures would be put in place to protect the families’ privacy”.

The lawyer’s statement said: “This is an unspeakable violation of human decency, respect, and of the privacy rights of the victims and their families.

“We are demanding that those responsible for these alleged actions face the harshest possible discipline, and that their identities be brought to light, to ensure that the photos are not further disseminated.”

In an interview with NBC News, Sheriff Villanueva said the photos were brought to his attention by someone who had overheard a trainee deputy discussing them at a bar.

He said: “That was my number one priority, to make sure those photos no longer exist.

“We identified the deputies involved, they came to the station on their own and had admitted they had taken them and they had deleted them. And we’re content that those involved did that.”

He also told KABC-TV that the deputies were under investigation and could face disciplinary action.

Only personnel from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and the coroner’s office were authorized to take photos of the crash scene, Alex Villanueva said.

According to NBC News, at least two LA County Fire Department firefighters also took photos and were ordered to delete them.

The cause of the crash in foggy weather west of Los Angeles, California, is still being investigated.

Kobe Bryant was on his way to coach his daughter Gianna’s basketball team in a local youth tournament at the Mamba Sports Academy.

Lawyers for Vanessa Bryant have filed a lawsuit against the company that operated the helicopter, accusing the pilot of negligence.


Having plants inside the office is not only a nice touch of style which makes the place look better, and there is in fact a lot more behind it than just aesthetic value. In fact having plants in the office, real or fake, have been proven to increase the  mood of employees and clients, it has been found to have a huge impact on productivity and in the case of real plants, they have been shown to help reduce illness and therefore the amount of sick days which are taken. This however is something which not all businesses are keen on managing, despite the numerous benefits, which is why more companies are looking to make the most of indoor plant hire.

Seasonal Changes

Changing the plants in the office as the seasons begin and end is going to be a costly job and likely a job that nobody really wants to do. This is of course one reason why many offices put their faith in fake plants, but there really is no substitute for fresh seasonal plants throughout the office. When you use a plant hire company however you can take all of the difficulty out of this and make sure that your office is using the plants which are in season right now. A hire company will come out and switch them up when the new plants of the season are in bloom.


Instead of buying flowers which don’t bloom or plants which die because of the office environment, you can count on the fact that you will have spectacular plants which are absolutely ideal for your workspace when you use a hire company. The reason for this is that these working at the business have expertise which you perhaps don’t, and they will be able to select the perfect plant arrangement for your workspace, taking into consideration everything about the environment where the plants will be.


Whilst the benefits of having plants in the office or the workplace most certainly do extend beyond their aesthetic value, this is something which we just cannot avoid, and you want plants to look great. Once again, this may be an area which the business doesn’t exactly specialize in, which is why outsourcing the selection and the placement of the plants and flowers makes for such a great idea. The guys in these teams know what looks great with what and how to install the right amount of plants and flowers in the right places, to make sure that your office or workspace looks great.


Smells and colors which are given off plants have a huge impact on your staff’s productivity levels, and hiring plants will ensure that you get the right selection to help increase productivity. This can help avoid doing the opposite, which would happen if you decided to pick up some lavender for the office, which is known to send people to sleep.

Get the look and the impact of the perfect plants and flowers by hiring a company to manage it.

Image source: Wikimedia Commons

Silicon Valley icon and Cut, Copy and Paste inventor Larry Tesler has died at the age of 74.

Larry Tesler started working in Silicon Valley in the early 1960s, at a time when computers were inaccessible to the vast majority of people.

It was thanks to Tesler’s innovations – which included the “cut”, “copy” and “paste” commands – that the personal computer became simple to learn and use.

Xerox, where Larry Tesler spent part of his career, paid tribute to him.

The company tweeted: “The inventor of cut/copy & paste, find & replace, and more, was former Xerox researcher Larry Tesler.

“Your workday is easier thanks to his revolutionary ideas.”

Larry Tesler was born in the Bronx, New York, in 1945, and studied at Stanford University in California.

After graduating, he specialized in user interface design – that is, making computer systems more user-friendly.

Larry Tesler worked for a number of major tech firms during his long career. He started at Xerox Palo Alto Research Center (Parc), before Steve Jobs poached him for Apple, where he spent 17 years and rose to chief scientist.

After leaving Apple, Larry Tesler set up an education start-up, and worked for brief periods at Amazon and Yahoo.

Possibly his most famous innovation, the cut and paste command, was reportedly based on the old method of editing in which people would physically cut portions of printed text and glue them elsewhere.

The command was incorporated in Apple’s software on the Lisa computer in 1983, and the original Macintosh that was released the following year.

One of Larry Tesler’s firmest beliefs was that computer systems should stop using “modes”, which were common in software design at the time.

Modes allow users to switch between functions on software and apps but make computers both time-consuming and complicated.

So strong was this belief that Larry Tesler’s website was called “nomodes.com”, his Twitter handle was “@nomodes”, and even his car’s registration plate was “No Modes”.

The Trump administration’s budget proposal for the new fiscal year includes a plan that would spin out the Center for Tobacco Products as a separate agency from the Food and Drug Administration, according to The Hill. Presently, the FDA regulates all tobacco products in the United States along with foods, prescription drugs and over-the-counter medications.

The Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act of 2009 gave the FDA the authority to regulate tobacco products. In the years since, however, the nature of the tobacco industry was transformed by the advent of vaping products and e liquid. While the total number of tobacco products on the market once numbered in the dozens – and most of those were grandfathered by the Tobacco Control Act – there are now hundreds of vaping products on U.S. shelves being sold without approval, and the FDA needs to receive and begin processing pre-market applications for those products by May.

The FDA has repeatedly stated that it lacks the resources to promptly process pre-market applications for vaping products while handling all of its other duties.

Why Has the Trump Administration Proposed a New Tobacco Control Agency?

According to the administration’s budget proposal, the reasons for spinning out the Center for Tobacco Products into a separate agency are twofold.

  • The creators of the Tobacco Control Act didn’t envision how the tobacco industry would change in the future. Vaping is an extremely complex issue, and a separate agency would have its own budget and resources for handling that.
  • The core mission of the FDA is to regulate and ensure the safety of foods and medications. When one really thinks about it, the addition of tobacco product regulation to the FDA’s existing duties isn’t entirely logical; tobacco products don’t promote health. In the words of White House Domestic Policy Council head Joe Grogan, tobacco products have “no redeeming qualities,” and tasking the FDA with regulating those products is a “huge waste of time” for an agency created for the promotion of public health.

How Has Vaping Increased the Complexity of Tobacco Regulation?

When the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act of 2009 was signed into law by President Obama, the tobacco industry was very different from today. No one could have anticipated how the industry would change in the coming decade. The reasons for the complexity surrounding tobacco regulation in 2020 are as follows:

  • The Tobacco Control Act established a grandfather date of 2007 for existing tobacco products, allowing those products to remain on the market with a handful of changes:
    • Descriptive terms like “Light” and “Ultra-Light” were no longer allowed because those terms implied that those products were less harmful.
    • Flavored cigarettes – apart from menthol – were no longer allowed.
  • Companies couldn’t bring new tobacco products to the market without first submitting applications to the FDA proving that those products were beneficial to public health and wouldn’t encourage new nicotine uptake. Effectively, the law made it illegal to release a new combustible cigarette brand in the United States; no combustible cigarette benefits public health.
  • Vaping didn’t achieve mainstream popularity until after the signing of the Tobacco Control Act.
  • In 2016, the FDA announced that it deemed vaping products to be tobacco products and would regulate them as such under the provisions of the Tobacco Control Act.
  • No vaping product currently sold in the United States was available in 2007. Therefore, every vaping product on the market is an unapproved “new tobacco product” requiring a pre-market application.

When the Tobacco Control Act was signed into law, lawmakers expected that the FDA would receive new tobacco product applications only rarely. Instead, the agency may have to process hundreds of new product applications in 2020. It’s an enormous burden that the FDA isn’t equipped to handle.

Expert Opinions on Trump’s Tobacco Control Proposal

Some experts believe that the FDA is already doing a well enough job of regulating tobacco and vaping products and have applauded the agency’s efforts to ramp up its capabilities in advance of the May 2020 pre-market application deadline for vaping products. Recently departed FDA head Scott Gottlieb – a vocal proponent of vaping’s potential as an agent for tobacco harm reduction – stated that he found tobacco regulation an extremely productive use of his time when he was the agency’s commissioner.

Some also believe that keeping the authority to regulate tobacco products within the FDA is the right decision because the agency is theoretically insulated from outside political pressure. Creating a separate agency for tobacco regulation, those people say, gives tobacco companies a potential opportunity to meddle.

At the time of writing, no one from the vaping industry has commented about the budget proposal. The reason for the silence from the industry may be the fact that the organizational realignment wouldn’t fundamentally change anything about the way in which the government regulates the vaping industry. Pre-market applications for all vaping products will still be due by May 2020, and those applications will still be too expensive for most of the industry’s small businesses to put together. The realignment wouldn’t solve the core problem with vaping product regulations in the United States: Applying the same rules to both vaping products and tobacco products simply doesn’t make sense.

Will the Trump Administration’s Budget Proposal Pass?

The idea of creating a new government agency for tobacco product regulation is just one section of the Trump administration’s proposed $4.8 trillion budget for the upcoming fiscal year, and the budget requires approval from the House of Representatives and the Senate before it can be enacted. Since the Democratic party controls the House of Representatives, it is extremely unlikely that the proposed budget will be passed in its current form. In particular, the idea of creating a new tobacco control agency seems to have little support among lawmakers.

The Tobacco Control Act presents an additional challenge in the implementation of the Trump administration’s budget proposal. Since the law tasks the FDA with the job of regulating tobacco products, an amendment to the law would likely be necessary before that responsibility could legally be transferred to another government agency.

Image source: BSA

The Boy Scouts of America has filed for bankruptcy protection following multiple abuse lawsuits.

The BSA says the move will allow it to build a compensation fund for abuse victims.

As a result of the move, all civil lawsuits against it are put on hold.

The BSA is struggling with declining membership as well as abuse claims.

Chief executive Roger Mosby said in a statement: “The BSA cares deeply about all victims of abuse and sincerely apologizes to anyone who was harmed during their time in scouting. We are outraged that there have been times when individuals took advantage of our programs to harm innocent children.”

Court papers filed in Delaware listed liabilities of up to $1 billion and assets of as much as $10 billion, reports say.

The filing was made under Chapter 11 of the US bankruptcy code which allows the group to keep operating and pay its creditors over time.

The bankruptcy allows the BSA to bring all of the lawsuits into one court and try to negotiate a settlement, rather than using its funds to fight each case in court.

The group said it was setting up a trust fund to compensate victims.

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Roger Mosby said in a statement: “While we know nothing can undo the tragic abuse that victims suffered, we believe the Chapter 11 process – with the proposed trust structure – will provide equitable compensation to all victims while maintaining the BSA’s important mission.”

According to the Wall Street Journal, the BSA has 261 councils which operate local troops and own assets including land in many states. The bankruptcy move is designed to protect those councils, which hold about 70% of all BSA assets, the publication says.

In its statement, the BSA said the councils, which are legally separate and financially independent of the national organization, had not filed for bankruptcy.

Image source: Facebook

A Thai soldier has killed 20 people and injured dozens more in a gun rampage in the city of Nakhon Ratchasima.

According to media, Jakraphanth Thomma, a junior officer, killed his commanding officer before stealing weapons from a military camp on February 8.

The suspect then continued his attack in a shopping centre, where he is now believed to be holed up.

Jakraphanth Thomma also posted about the attack on social media.

His motives remain unclear.

Thaim authorities have sealed off the Terminal 21 shopping center in Nakhon Ratchasima, also known as Korat, as they try to track down the suspect.

Troops and police have entered the building and there have been reports of more gunshots.

Defense ministry spokesman Lt. Gen. Kongcheep Tantravanich said hundreds of people had been brought out of the complex safely, but there could be dozens still in the building.

A tweet from security forces said the ground floor had now been cleared.

The Bangkok Post reported earlier that the suspect, who it said was 32 years old, had taken hostages, but this has not been officially confirmed.

Jakraphanth Thomma’s mother has been brought to the shopping center to try to persuade him to give himself up.

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Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakul confirmed that 16 people had died at the scene of the shootings, with another four dying later in hospital. A total of 31 people have been injured, with 10 of them in a critical condition. But there are fears the numbers could rise.

The shooting began at about 15:30 local time at the Suatham Phithak military camp, where the commanding officer, named by the Bangkok Post as Col Anantharot Krasae, was killed.

According to the publication, a 63-year-old woman and another soldier were also killed there.

The suspect seized arms and ammunition from the camp before taking a Humvee-type vehicle.

Jakraphanth Thomma then opened fire at a number of sites before arriving at the Terminal 21 shopping center.

Local media footage appears to show the suspect getting out of his vehicle and firing shots as people flee.

CCTV footage shows him inside the shopping center with a raised rifle.

PM Prayuth Chan-ocha is following developments and expressed condolences to the families of those killed, a spokeswoman said.

The public health minister has put out an appeal for people to donate blood at hospitals in the area.

Jakraphanth Thomma posted on his social media accounts during the attack, with one post on Facebook asking whether he should surrender.

He had earlier posted an image of a pistol with three sets of bullets, along with the words “it is time to get excited” and “nobody can avoid death”.

Facebook has now taken the page down.

The social media platform said: “Our hearts go out to the victims, their families and the community affected by this tragedy in Thailand. There is no place on Facebook for people who commit this kind of atrocity, nor do we allow people to praise or support this attack.”

Image source: Wikimedia Commons

A Pegasus Airlines Boeing 737 landing at an airport in Istanbul has skidded off the runway and broken into three parts, killing one person and injuring more than 150, Turkish officials say.

The plane was carrying 171 passengers and six crew members from Izmir province in the west when it crashed at Sabiha Gokcen airport.

The jet was trying to land in heavy tailwinds and rain.

The airport was closed and flights diverted after the accident.

According to Turkish media, the majority of people on board were Turkish but there were also about 20 foreign nationals.

Istanbul Governor Ali Yerlikaya said: “Unfortunately, the Pegasus Airlines plane couldn’t hold on the runway due to poor weather conditions and skidded for around 50-60m [164-196ft].”

The governor said the plane then fell between 30 and 40 meters off the end of the runway.

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Turkey’s Health Minister Fahrettin Koca confirmed a Turkish citizen had died and 157 other people had been injured. He said none of the wounded people were in a critical condition.

Video footage showed passengers climbing through one of the large cracks to escape via one of the wings, and dozens of rescuers working around the jet.

Other footage on social media showed a blaze inside the aircraft, which was later put out by firefighters.

Transport Minister Mehmet Cahit Turhan said authorities had not yet been able to speak to the pilots, a Turkish national and a South Korean, who were believed to have been injured in the accident.

Meanwhile, Istanbul’s public prosecutor has launched an inquiry.

The low-cost Pegasus Airlines has a fleet of 83 aircraft – 47 Boeings and 36 Airbus planes – and has been flying for 20 years.

A Pegasus Boeing 737 coming in from Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates skidded off the runway at the same airport on January 7. There were no casualties but the airport had to be temporarily closed.

Another Pegasus Boeing 737 also skidded off the runway at Trabzon airport in January 2018, plunging down the side of a cliff overlooking the sea. There were no casualties.

Image by Rafael Javier from Pixabay

Geeks around the world are celebrating palindrome day, a day so rare that it’s certain to happen only once in their lifetimes.

This is when the date – in this case 02/02/2020 – reads the same way back to front.

However, while palindrome days come and go – 20/02/2002 is another example – this one is special.

Unlike the date in 2002, this one reads the same in the US, where dates are written as month-day-year instead of day-month-year as in much of the rest of the world.

It also works for China and a handful of other countries which put the year first.

The last time a palindrome like this happened was November 11, 1111.

We don’t have to wait quite so long for the next international palindrome day, though – it’s 12 December 2121.

Those who are super-engaged with dates and numbers will have pointed out another anomaly.

Sunday, February 2, is number 33 in days of the year – 33 being another palindrome. And as this is a leap year, it’s also 333 days from the end of the year – a third palindrome.

Image source: Wikipedia

At least 14 people were confirmed dead and hundreds injured after a 6.8-magnitude earthquake hit eastern Turkey, officials say.

The tremor6.8 magnitude quake, centered on the town of Sivrice in Elazig province, caused buildings to collapse and sent residents rushing into the street.

The quake struck at about 20:55 local time, on January 24.

Tremors were also felt in neighboring Syria, Lebanon and Iran.

According to Turkey’s Disaster and Emergency Management Authority (AFAD), there were 60 aftershocks recorded after the earthquake.

It said more than 400 rescue teams are heading towards the region, along with beds and tents for those displaced. It warned people not to return to damaged buildings in case of aftershocks.

The governor of Elazig said eight people had died in the province, while the governor of neighboring Malatya said six died there.

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TV pictures showed emergency services frantically searching collapsed buildings for survivors.

The region struck by the quake, some 340 mile) east of the capital Ankara, is remote and sparsely populated, so details of damage and fatalities could be slow to emerge.

Officials have sent beds, tents and blankets to the area, where overnight temperatures regularly fall below zero.

Sivrice, a town of about 4,000 people, is a popular tourist spot on the shore of Hazar lake, the source of the river Tigris.

Earthquakes are common in Turkey – about 17,000 people died in a massive quake in the western city of Izmit in 1999.

Image source: Andrew Yang Campaign Site

Evelyn Yang, the wife of Democratic presidential hopeful Andrew Yang, has said she was assaulted by her gynecologist while she was pregnant with their first child.

She has accused Dr. Robert Hadden of assaulting her at his New York practice in 2012.

Speaking to CNN, Evelyn Yang said she didn’t tell her husband at first.

Andrew Yang’s wife is one of 32 women suing Robert Hadden and the university where he practiced.

Dr. Hadden has denied the allegations in a court document. He was convicted of assault in 2016 and surrendered his medical license, but did not serve any jail time after accepting a plea deal.

Evelyn Yang, 38, said she was encouraged to speak out by the warm reception she and her husband had received when talking to voters about their son’s autism.

She revealed on CNN: “Something about being on the trail and meeting people and seeing the difference that we’ve been making already has moved me to share my own story about it, about sexual assault.”

Evelyn Yang said “everyone has their own Me Too story”, referencing the global movement against assault and harassment, but added “not everyone has the audience or platform to tell their story”.

Andrew Yang, a tech entrepreneur who is vying for the Democratic presidential nomination, said he was “extraordinary proud” of his wife.

He said in a statement on January 16: “When victims of abuse come forward, they deserve our belief, support, and protection.

“I hope that Evelyn’s story gives strength to those who have suffered and sends a clear message that our institutions must do more to protect and respond to women.”

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Evelyn Yang has accused Dr. Hadden of assaulting her in his examination room when she was seven months pregnant with her first child.

She said she told her husband about the alleged assault after the birth of their child, Christopher.

Evelyn Yang said she was prompted to do so after reading about a woman who had accused Robert Hadden of assault.

Other women came forward and a case against Dr. Hadden was opened by the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office.

Evelyn Yang helped prosecutors to build their case and testified before a grand jury, which indicted Robert Hadden on multiple sex crime charges in 2014.

In 2016, Robert Hadden accepted a plea deal after admitting one count of forcible touching and one count of third-degree assault. As part of the deal, Hadden was stripped of his medical license but did not go to prison.

Photo IKEA

IKEA has agreed to pay $46 million to the parents of a child who was killed when a chest of drawers fell on him.

Two-year-old Jozef Dudek suffocated in May 2017 when Ikea’s Malm drawers toppled over at the family’s California home.

The item, which weighs 70lbs, had been recalled a year earlier over safety concerns after three other children were killed.

According to lawyers, it is the largest child wrongful death settlement in US history.

A spokeswoman for the Swedish furniture giant said: “While no settlement can alter the tragic events that brought us here, for the sake of the family and all involved, we’re grateful that this litigation has reached a resolution.”

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In a statement, Jozef’s parents, Joleen and Craig Dudek, said they were “devastated” by the loss of their son.

They said: “We never thought that a two-year-old could cause a dresser just 30 inches high to topple over and suffocate him.

“It was only later that we learned that [it] was unstable by design.”

“We are telling our story because we do not want this to happen to another family,” the couple added. They urged anyone who still has a recalled Ikea dresser to return it.

Joleen and Craig Dudek also said they would donate $1 million of the settlement to groups working to protect children from dangerous products.

In 2016, Ikea recalled millions of Malm chests of drawers in North America over safety concerns. It was the largest recall in the company’s history.

Initially, Ikea warned customers to use wall mounts with them, but the death of a third child prompted the action.

Curren Collas, 2, Camden Ellis, 2, and 23-month-old Ted McGee were all crushed by the product.

In December 2016, Ikea agreed to pay $50 million in a combined settlement to the families of the three toddlers.

Under that settlement, the company agreed to only sell chests in the US that meet or exceed the national voluntary safety standard for clothing storage units.

The deaths prompted the US Consumer Product Safety Commission to launch an education campaign about the risk of falling chests of drawers.

In 2017, Ikea re-launched the recall in the US and Canada. The Swedish furniture giant said items in its Malm range and other chests and dressers pose a “serious tip-over and entrapment hazard” if not secured to a wall.

Photo via Good Free Photos

It’s already 2020 in New Zealand – a new decade!

And Auckland has become the world’s first major city to celebrate the start of 2020 with a bang.

The city’s fireworks display erupted from its 328-metre tall Sky Tower as New Zealand enters the New Year.

The huge fireworks have been attended by thousands of watchers.

The iconic Sky Tower has views of Viaduct Harbour, which is full of superyachts and lined with bars and cafes.

Happy New Year Auckland! Wishing you a joyous start to 2020.

Image source: Wikipedia

At least 10 people have been reported dead in the Philippines after Typhoon Phanfone hit the center of the country, leaving a trail of devastation through.

The storm, also known as Ursula, carried gusts of close to 118 mph and made landfall several times across various islands, officials say.

Tens of thousands of people were left stranded in ports as they tried to make their way home for Christmas.

Phanfone struck close to regions devastated by Typhoon Haiyan in 2013.

More than 6,000 people were killed in November 2013, making it the Philippines’ deadliest storm. With winds of more than 193mph, it was the most powerful storm to ever make landfall.

Phanfone first made landfall on Christmas Eve, but continued to pass over the many islands of the central Philippines throughout Christmas Day. However, the extent of the damage began to emerge only on December 26.

Local media say at least 10 people have died – including a three-year-old boy – with most deaths occurring in Iloilo and Capiz provinces.

AFP quotes officials as saying that at least 16 people died.

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One family was killed when they were swept away by a flash flood as they attempted to get to higher ground, the Philippine ABS-CBN network reported. It added that at least 12 people were missing in Iloilo province alone.

The popular tourist island of Boracay appears to have suffered damage, although the extent is unclear.

In the city of Tacloban, a large fire broke out as the winds rose, but the city escaped the worst of the damage.

Tacloban suffered enormous damage during Typhoon Haiyan when a storm surge pushed water into the low-lying city of more than 220,000 people.

On December 26, typhoon Phanfone headed out towards the South China Sea.