Renatha Francis smiles as she speaks during a news conference, Tuesday, May 26, 2020, at the Miami-Dade Public Library in Miami. (AP Photos/Wilfredo Lee)

Florida GovernorRon DeSantis appointed two residents from minority communities to the state Supreme Court on Tuesday: a Palm Beach County circuit judge who immigrated from Jamaica and a former assistant USattorney who is the son of Cuban immigrants. Renatha Francis, who will be the first Caribbean-American to serve on the Florida court, and John Couriel are replacing Barbara Lagoa and Robert Luck. DeSantis appointed Lagoa and Luck to the court last year, but they were subsequently appointed to the US11th Circuit Court of Appeal by President Donald Trump. DeSantis, a Republican, said at a Miami news conference that he picked them because he believes they will make their decisions based on the law, not their own preferences. Francis, 42, has served as a circuit court judge since 2017, the last six months in the family and probate division in Palm Beach County. She operated a bar and trucking company in Jamaica before moving to the United States as an adult after graduating from the University of the West Indies in 2000. Francis graduated from Florida Coastal Law School in 2010, then worked for a judge and an appeals court as a staff attorney before being appointed to the bench three years ago. Renatha Francis, left, smiles as she and her family are introduced during a news conference, Tuesday at the Miami-Dade Public Library in Miami. She cannot take office until September24 under a state law that says justices must have at least 10 years experience. She became a lawyer on September24, 2010. Francis had the backing of the Florida Legislative Black Caucus, as there had been no black justices on the seven-member court. DeSantis said her background reminded him of Alexander Hamilton, one of the founding fathers who also immigrated from the Caribbean. “Hamilton articulated what Judge Francis deeply understands: that the judiciary lacks authority to indulge its legislative preferences,” he said. Couriel, 41, works as a private attorney specializing in civil litigation involving Latin America. According to his application, he frequently represents Latin American financial institutions and investors in UScourt proceedings. He served three years as the vice chair of the American Bar Association's international criminal law committee and was an assistant USattorney from 2009 to 2012 in South Florida. He is a 2000 graduate of Harvard College and graduated from Harvard Law School in 2003. John Couriel smiles as he speaks during the news conference. DeSantis said Couriel "is giving up a lot of money to serve and I think that says a lot about John, his character and how important the rule of law is that he would be willing to” be a judge. DeSantis picked Francis and Couriel from recommendations by the Florida Supreme Court Judicial Nominating Commission, which he appoints. Francis and Couriel will face a retention vote on the November 2022 ballot.

The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted all spheres of life in an unprecedented way. While that disruption has caused many hardships, it has also spurred a wave of innovation as we grapple with new challenges. In education, we have seen schools close worldwide with e-learning becoming an essential means for studies to continue. And in this light,Digicel will be presenting a digital education webinar, Learning Without Boundaries, featuring a stellar line up of regional and international education experts on Wednesday, May 27 at 4 pm EST, streaming live on Digicel’s Facebook pages. Want to register and be in with a chance to win a USD$500 Digicel voucher? Then read on..... The 90-minute webinar will be of much interest to parents, students and teachers alike as many of those re-imagining education and capitalising on digital education opportunities for remote and in-class learning will be showcased. Jack Bourke, Global Creative Officer at Digicel said: “COVID has encouraged creativity and new collaborations. The webinar is a tour de force for Digicel, Government and its various strategic partners. This will be the first of many exciting projects in 2020.” Participants will hear from Edmodo, BookFusion, Discovery Education, SafeToNet, Educatek, EtonX, Matific, the Learning Hub - to name but a few - all of whom have come on board with Digicel to offer free trials to teachers and students through the Digicel network. Independent Senator Dr Adrian Augier, an external producer of the webinar, told Loop News that the presentation will give an idea of how you and your child or teacherswillbe able to navigate the coming months or years. Augier said: "This is important to people who are more aware and need to increase their comfort level with learning online, kids and gadgets and the teacher/student relationship… the new role of the school. People who are a little bit more forward thinking as opposed to just reacting to the current situation.” One of the forward-thinking companies involved is BookFusion, an open and global e-book platform that redefines the reading experience and allows educational institutions to create their own private/public libraries. Dwayne Campbell, BookFusion founder and CEO told Loop News why the platform is essential now that COVID-19 has forced the world to embrace digital solutions. “Digital transformation in education has been jolted into a new, open and limitless reality. BookFusion gives students easy access to textbooks, study, guides and other educational content in a quick and seamless way - without the need for any physical contact. With offline functionality, BookFusion reduces the need for students to have constant internet access to be able to consume educational content. Conversely, institutions can push content, be it study guides, interactive content or lesson plans to students & teachers, quickly and securely with the click of a button.” Another company on the cutting edge is Discovery Education International which uses the 4 Cs - communication, creativity, collaboration and critical thinking - to equip students with 21st century skills. Robin Headlee, Managing Director, explained: “As part of this partnership with Digicel, we are offering three fantastic resources that are centered around the 4 Cs: DE.X, STEM Connect and Coding. We are also offering three webinars that will help teachers and parents utilize these resources to help develop the 4 C skills in their children. "For example, STEM Connect was inspired by the UN Sustainable Growth Goals and the NAE Grand Engineering Challenges.STEM Connect is all about preparing students with what is next.It blends dynamic digital content with hands-on activities to accelerate student comprehension and application -so students start asking questions instead of simply memorizing answers.The great thing about STEM Connect is that is also really fun! There is a common misconception that learning and having fun are mutually exclusive.We believe you can have fun when learning and STEM Connect is a great example of that." If you are a teacher or have a child in school, you CANNOT afford to miss the webinar. Register hereand go into a draw to wina Digicel Voucher valued at US$500!


Beenie Man (left) and Bounty Killer performing together at Reggae Sumfest last year.

Even as most Jamaicans celebrated the Bounty-Beenie clash as part of the Verzuz series as a bonafide touchstone moment in dancehall history, Grammy-winning artiste Shaggy injected a note of gravitas into all the euphoria, making an appeal to the Holness administrationto lobby the US government to reissue work visas of the two icons. "This was a boost to our spirits, our tourism, our economy, our music, and, most importantly, Brand Jamaica,” Shaggy, whose given name is Orville Burrell, said via a post on Instagram on Sunday. “It’s about time we rally the powers that be to free up these artistes … allow them travelling visas and work permits so they can travel freely to promote our culture and represent our brand. I am calling on the Jamaican Government, the US ambassador, and the United States Embassy to at least start having a dialogue where this is concerned. The culture needs it, the music needs it, the economy needs it, the country needs it, and the fans need it,”Shaggy wrote. Shaggy The cancellation of the entertainers' US visas has reportedly had a significant impact on their earning power as theUnited States remains the world's most lucrative music market. It's been a decade since Bounty Killer and Beenie Man had theirUS visas cancelled. At the time, an email advisory was sent to airlines not to board the artistesas well as three other deejays, as their visas were being revoked. Since that time, at least two of that number have been able to resolve their visa problems and are now able to travel to and work in the United States. Beenie Man reportedly had hisUS visitor's visa restoredbut currently has no work permit that will allow him to perform in the United States. The United States Embassy in Kingston has a policy of not explaining why anyone's visa has been revoked,but a public affairs officer has admitted that Jamaican entertainers have "never" been denied visas or had them taken away over matters such as anti-gay lyrics. Several other dancehall-reggae acts are without a US work permit, among them being Popcaan, Tommy Lee Sparta and Jah Cure. Politicians on both sides of the political aisle have had their visas revoked as well.

Lila Iké's debut EP, The ExPerience is out.

In the recently released visualiser for her song ‘Solitude’, reggae singer Lila Iké is filmed enjoying her own company while swimming near a waterfall, strumming her guitar and meditating. The visualiser is devoid of any cell phones or devices as it shows her unplugged from the world, climbing a mango tree to pick mangoes and reading a book at home where she lives alone. In a reflective mood, she sits under the shade of the mango tree and pens ‘Solitude’. The visualiser taps into the solitude many are experiencing now and the respite it has given the singer from the trappings of her growing fame. “Right ya now nuff a dem fi get block and delete. Airplane mode, how the life yah so sweet. Come a ring off me line seven days of the week,” she sings in her sultry vibrato about the need to unplug from the constant demands of an artiste. “It is a true story about being down, being overwhelmed with people and their energy. I need a break sometimes so that song for sure means the most to me and it is a song a lot of people can relate to,” she tells Loop. The song— which she describes as Lauryn Hill-esque neo-soul—means the most to Iké of the seven songs on her debut EP The ExPerience as it was the first song she composed on a special guitar given to her as a birthday present from Protoje. The founder of In Digg nation Collective has been working with Lila since reaching out to the singer via Twitter in 2017. {"preview_thumbnail":"/sites/default/files/styles/video_embed_wysiwyg_preview/public/video_thumbnails/BxrY8TWKJL0.jpg?itok=JWHc-iyS","video_url":"https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BxrY8TWKJL0","settings":{"responsive":1,"width":"854","height":"480","autoplay":0},"settings_summary":["Embedded Video (Responsive)."]} The ExPerience, which was released on May 15, is more than just ‘Solitude’. It is a sonic storybook of Lila’s love and life experiences that debuted with the flirtatious ‘I Spy” produced by Izybeats, the man behind Koffee’s ‘Toast’, “Second Chance,” whose heavy drum and bass borrows from “Promise Land” by reggae icon Dennis Brown, the Protoje-produced ‘Thy Will’, “Forget Me”, “Stars Align” and “Where I Am Coming From”. The album is the first of a multi-album deal she signed together with Protoje and label mate and friend Sevana, positioning her as the latest reggae star from Jamaica. It caps a career she has been building since leaving the cool hills of the countryside in Manchester, Jamaica, birthplace of the late Garnett Silk, of whom she is a huge fan. Born Alecia Grey, Lila Iké grew up with three sisters in her mother’s single-parent household. She first developed her love for music in high school, where she created jingles on the spot for class projects and got caught freestyling in class with her friends. Lila found her calling after winning the “best talent” award in her high school pageant and writing her class’ graduation song. While attending Northern Caribbean University in Mandeville where she studied business, she signed up for open mics. Upon Lila’s relocation to Kingston, Jamaica’s capital city, the ambitious singer connected with artists like Jah9, Kabaka Pyramid and Protoje — some of the stars of Jamaica’s reggae revival. She crafted her name, shortening her first name to Lila in 2009 and taking Iké as her last. It stands for ‘God is Powerful’ in the Igbo culture and was inspired by a Nigerian/Trinidadian boyfriend of the same name. Photo credit: Destinee Condison After appearing as a featured guest on tracks by Protoje (“Flight Plans”), Royal Blu (“Believe”) and Koro Fyah (“Got it For You,” “Raggamuffin”) and on mixtapes by Addis Pablo and Yaadcore, she began building her own catalog of solo material with songs such as “Second Chance”. "Where I'm Coming From” released nearly a year ago in June 2019, was her breakout song. Sung over a reggae trap beat, she reflects on her journey, while acknowledging her humble beginnings and expressing gratitude for the blessings she has received. In the video for the debut single of the EP “I Spy”, Lila makes a strong statement about who she is and how the world can view her. While the song follows the album’s overarching theme of love and flirtation, the video is devoid of a love interest and Lila makes strong statements with her fashion choices that include a bold pink suit and an olive green jumpsuit. “I never necessarily wanted it to be overly sexy. I just wanted it to be a chill vibe and when I say I Spy I am not just talking about like a guy but just the world, you see my music and get into it and hold a vibe with me,” she says. Unlike the visualiser for ‘Solitude’, Lila is surrounded in the ‘I Spy’ video with her sistren, obviously shot before congregating in groups was clamped down with the rise of COVID-19. Sevana, Jaz Elise and Naomi Cowan, all of whom featured with Lila on an all-female riddim produced by Protoje, are the women she not only collaborates with musically but whom she can confide in and draw strength in addition to her own self as she demonstrated in ‘Solitude’. “Being in music and having other females I could relate to and be in music with and we can share experiences and just have that support, we feel like superwomen, the Power Puff girls,” she says, noting that they are sisters she can talk to about other things outside of the industry. Marcia Griffith, Tanya Stevens, Queen Ifrica and Jah 9 are among the women who have paved the way for this new generation of female reggae singers that includes Grammy-award winner Koffee. Photo credit: Nickii Kane This female revival within the genre is influencing a new wave of women eager to get into the business. “I get a lot of messages from women all the time who say they want to get in but they are so scared and I say ‘Yo G-up, is our time now’,” says Lila. “Another beautiful thing is that you have men supporting us. Protoje, who has been in the front of a lot of our careers, me, Sevana, Jaz Elise and Naomi, just even putting out a riddim with all females right now and that did very well to have a man support us women. It showed other men inna the industry, yo, you all have been around for way longer and you all not doing this.” As seen on the Beenie Man and Bounty Killer Verzuz TV clash on Saturday night that drew over 470,000 viewers on Instagram, the pandemic has provided fertile ground for artistes to benefit from the collective focus on social media for entertainment. Lila believes putting out her EP now is a plus as everyone has an opportunity to survive their solitude through music. By the time she is able to tour, she says, people would know her music and she can once again enjoy the live energy of fans especially those in the Caribbean where she says she really wants to get a break.


School children wearing masks get their hands sanitized and temperatures checked as they arrive to appear for state board examination during the coronavirus pandemic in Kochi, Kerala state, India, Tuesday, May 26, 2020. (AP Photo/R S Iyer)

The Latest on the coronavirus pandemic. The new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms for most people. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness or death. TOP OF THE HOUR: — India reports biggest jump in virus cases for 7th straight day. — Philippines trying to ease quarantine congestion. — South Korea reports 19 new virus cases, China 7. — Ban on foreign travelers arriving in US from Brazil to start Tuesday. — California churches can resume in-person services but congregations will be limited to less than 100. ___ NEW DELHI — For a seventh consecutive day, India has reported its biggest jump in coronavirus cases. The country's health ministry reported 145,380 new infections, an increase of 6,535 from the day before, and 4,167 deaths. Officials say the recovery rate has also risen above 40%. Most of the cases are concentrated in two neighbouring states in central India, Maharashtra, home to financial hub Mumbai, and Gujarat, Prime Minister Narendra Modi's home state. An uptick in cases has also been reported in some of India's poorest eastern states as migrant workers returning to native villages from India's largest cities have begun arriving home on special trains. India's virus caseload has been climbing as pandemic lockdown restrictions have eased. Domestic flights resumed Monday after a two-month hiatus, though at a fraction of normal. ___ CANBERRA, Australia — Tensions are rising between federal and state leaders in Australia over differing approaches to lifting pandemic restrictions. Australia recorded nine new coronavirus cases in the latest 24-hour period. The nation has reported 7,118 infections, and 102 deaths. Nearby neighbor New Zealand has had similar success in slowing the virus spread. New Zealand has gone four days without detecting a new infection and has recorded a single new case in the past week. New Zealand has treated 1,504 cases, including 21 deaths. Australia's population is five times larger than New Zealand's 5 million people. ___ MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine president has ordered about 24,000 workers who have lost their jobs abroad due to the COVID-19 pandemic to be transported by land, sea or air to their provincial homes and warned local officials not to refuse them entry. The workers returned to the country in recent months but had to undergo two weeks of quarantine in hospitals, hotels and makeshift isolation centres in metropolitan Manila in a chaotic situation that delayed their trip home and sparked a myriad of complaints. Some had to wait weeks to be tested for the coronavirus and receive results. President Rodrigo Duterte said in televised remarks Monday night that some provincial officials have refused entry to returning workers from abroad as a precaution and warned them of possible lawsuits. Authorities have been scrambling to unclog quarantine facilities in the capital with about 300,000 more displaced Filipino workers slated to come home soon. "I'm ordering you to accept them, open the gates of your territories," Duterte said. "Do not impede it. Do not obstruct the movement of people because you run the risk of getting sued criminally." Thousands of workers who have tested negative for the virus began boarding buses, ships and planes back to their provinces on Monday in homecomings that are expected to be completed in a week. ___ SEOUL, South Korea — South Korea has reported 19 new cases of the coronavirus, most from the densely populated Seoul metropolitan area, where officials have been actively tracing transmissions linked to nightclubs and other entertainment venues. South Korea's Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Tuesday also reported two more deaths, bringing national totals to 11,225 cases and 269 fatalities. Officials linked three of the new cases to international arrivals. South Korea has been reporting around 20 new cases per day over the past two weeks after health workers found hundreds of infections linked to club goers who went out in early May as the country eased social distancing measures. The new infections in the greater capital area have caused concern as authorities proceed with a phased reopening of schools, which began with high school seniors last week. Around 2.4 million high school juniors, middle school seniors, first and second graders and kindergarten students will be returning to school on Wednesday. Health Minister Park Neung-hoo urged school officials to double check their preventive measures. He called for authorities to strengthen monitoring on some 390,000 undocumented foreign nationals who may have poor access to medical services and tests, but related measures weren't immediately announced. ___ BEIJING — China reported seven new coronavirus cases Tuesday, all brought into the country by Chinese citizens returning from abroad. Just 81 patients remain hospitalized with COVID-19, and another 408 are in isolation and being monitored for either suspected cases or after testing positive for the virus without showing any symptoms. China has reported a total of 4,634 deaths from the disease among 82,992 cases. With the decline in numbers, students have gradually returned to class and some international schools in the capital Beijing are preparing to re-open on June 1. China is proceeding this week with the annual session of its ceremonial parliament, which is being held under social distancing restrictions. ___ WASHINGTON — A ban on foreign travelers arriving in the US from Brazil due to the surge in coronavirus cases there will now take effect late Tuesday, two days earlier than previously announced. The ban had been set to go into effect late Thursday. The White House announced the change Monday without explanation. Brazil is second to the US in the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases, according to a tally from Johns Hopkins University, and has seen cases surge in recent days. The White House cited Brazil's status as Latin America's hardest-hit country on Sunday when it announced the ban, saying it would prevent additional infections in the US Foreign nationals who have been to Brazil in the two weeks before they attempt to enter the US are to be turned back under the ban. The ban does not apply to US citizens or legal permanent residents, and their spouses, parents or children. ___ RIO DE JANEIRO — The World Health Organization warned Brazil on Monday against reopening its economy before it can perform enough testing to control the spread of the pandemic. The organization's executive director, Michael Ryan, said in a news conference that Brazil's "intense" transmission rates meant it should keep some sort of stay-at-home measures in place, regardless of negative impacts on the economy. Rio de Janeiro's Mayor Marcelo Crivella, an evangelical bishop, announced Monday he was including religious institutions in the list of "essential services." This means churches would be able to open their doors, while keeping a minimum two meters between attendees, in spite of existing recommendations for people to stay at home and most businesses remaining shut. Meanwhile, Sao Paulo Gov. João Doria, ruled out a full-on lockdown in Brazil's largest state economy and said he would start loosening restrictions on June 1. ___ LOS ANGELES — California says churches can resume in-person services but the congregations will be limited to less than 100 and worshippers should wear masks, avoid sharing prayer books and skip the collection plate. The state Department of Public Health released a framework Monday for county health officials to permit houses of worship to reopen. Most have been limited to online and remote services since March, when Gov. Gavin Newsom's stay-at-home order took effect to slow the spread of the coronavirus. With progress being made, Newsom has been relaxing those restrictions for restaurants, stores and other businesses. Several thousand churches had vowed to defy Newsom's order on May 31, which is Pentacost Sunday, a major holiday for many Christians. ___ LONDON — The vast majority of shops in England will be allowed to reopen next month as the government gradually eases coronavirus lockdown restrictions. Prime Minister Boris Johnson says outdoor markets and spacious car showrooms can open from June 1 because the likelihood of transmission is low there. Clothes stores, bookshops, tailors, auctioneers and other retailers will follow on June 15, as long as the number of infections continues to fall and the businesses can be made "COVID-19 secure." The other parts of the U.K. — Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland — can set their own timetables. Since a nationwide lockdown was imposed on March 23, only shops classed as "essential," such as supermarkets, have been allowed to operate. ___ MADRID — In a surprise announcement, Spain has corrected its official death toll from COVID-19, saying almost 2,000 fewer people than previously thought have died from the disease caused by the new coronavirus. A Health Ministry statement Monday said the death toll stands at 26,834 — down from the number published a day earlier of 28,752. Fernando Simón, the director of Spain's health alerts and emergency centre, said the discrepancy was detected as officials sifted through and corrected data collected since the pandemic reached Spain. Officials have deleted deaths counted twice and deceased people who were not cases confirmed by tests, for example. The quality of data being gathered has improved considerably, he said, adding that automated data collection had introduced errors. However, the figures do not include the thousands of people who are believed to have died, especially in nursing homes, with symptoms attributable to the coronavirus, though unconfirmed. Spanish regions have reported that the number of deaths in nursing homes, of both confirmed and suspected coronavirus cases, is close to 19,000. The Health Ministry said 50 people died Monday, one of the lowest daily tolls in weeks. Spain has officially recorded 235,400 cases, 246 of them new. ___ BEIJING — The Chinese city of Wuhan has conducted more than 6.5 million coronavirus tests over a 10-day period in a bid to test all of its 11 million residents, state media said Monday. The city's health commission, in a post on its website, asked anyone who hasn't been tested to come forward by the end of Tuesday. One COVID-19 case has been confirmed since the 10-day campaign started, and some people with no symptoms also tested positive. More than 3 million people were tested prior to the campaign, the official Xinhua News Agency said. The campaign was launched after a cluster of six cases was discovered in one residential compound. Wuhan, where the pandemic is believed to have started late last year, was by far the city hit hardest in China. — This item corrects an earlier version that indicated no new cases had been confirmed. One new case has been confirmed. ___ COLUMBUS, Ga. — A 34-year-old Guatemalan detainee has become the second person reported to have died from COVID-19 while in federal immigration custody. Santiago Baten-Oxlaj, who died Sunday in a Georgia hospital, had been awaiting his voluntary departure to his native country, US Immigration and Customs Enforcement said in a news release. Baten-Oxlaj had been held inside Stewart Detention Center in Lumpkin, Georgia, where at least 16 detainees have tested positive for COVID-19, according to ICE. ___ DAMASCUS, Syria — Syria's state media says authorities have decided to lift a night-time curfew imposed in March to limit the spread of coronavirus. State news agency SANA reported late Monday that the curfew will be lifted as of Tuesday. It added that travel between the country's governorates will be allowed to resume as well. It said that it is possible to re-impose the curfew if needed. Syria has registered 106 cases of coronavirus and four deaths. Syria began recently easing restrictions imposed over the past weeks. Earlier Monday, the Health Ministry reported 20 new cases of coronavirus in the country, the highest daily toll since the new virus was first reported here in late March. It said all the new cases were of Syrians who had returned from abroad. ___ RICHMOND, Va. — The Virginia Department of Health has reported the second confirmed case in the state of a paediatric inflammatory illness associated with the new coronavirus. The department's website on Monday showed a second case of Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children in the Fairfax Health District, which includes Fairfax County and the cities of Fairfax and Falls Church. No other details, including the age of the child, were provided. Officials confirmed the first case in the same district last week, saying at the time that the child was recovering at home. While children have generally not experienced severe cases of COVID-19, health officials have warned recently of the new inflammatory illness related to the virus. The Centers for Disease Control issued an advisory about the syndrome May 14, warning of symptoms including fever, abdominal pain without another explanation, diarrhoea, vomiting, rash, red or cracked lips, bumpy tongue, and swollen hands and feet. ___ BRATISLAVA, Slovakia — Slovak citizens will be allowed to travel to eight countries, and not to face a mandatory quarantine and tests for the coronavirus if they return in 48 hours. Slovak Prime Minister Igor Matovic says the move will become effective on Wednesday. Those countries include the Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary, Austria, Croatia, Slovenia, Germany and Switzerland. Previously, the Slovaks had to return in 24 hours if they travelled to those countries. Matovic said Monday that Slovakia has been negotiating with those countries reciprocal deals to enable the Slovaks travel there without a negative test on the coronavirus or get quarantined and the citizens of the eight countries would also be able to travel to Slovakia without restrictions. The first such deal between Slovakia and the neighbouring Czech Republic becomes effective on Wednesday, Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis said. Slovakia has only a total of 1,511 positive cases while 28 people died of COVID-19. ___ ISTANBUL — Turkey's health minister announced 29 new deaths from COVID-19, bringing the country's toll to 4,369. Fahrettin Koca also tweeted Monday 987 new infections were confirmed in the past 24 hours. The total number of infections has reached 157,814. More than 120,000 people have recovered and people needing intensive care continued on a downward trend, according to the health ministry statistics. The ministry has said its treatment protocol includes the early use of antivirals hydroxychloroquin and favipiravir, as well as the antibiotic azithromycin, along with high frequency oxygen. Turkey ranks ninth in a tally by Johns Hopkins University, but experts believe the number of infections globally could be much higher than reported. Turkey's 83 million citizens are on the third day of a four-day nationwide lockdown. ___ LONDON — The World Health Organization said it will temporarily drop hydroxychloroquine — the malaria drug US President Trump said he is taking — from its global study into experimental COVID-19 treatments, saying that its experts need to review all available evidence to date. In a news briefing on Monday, WHO director-general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that in light of a paper published last week in the Lancet, that showed people taking hydroxychloroquine were at higher risk of death and heart problems than those that were not, there would be "a temporary pause" on the hydroxychloroquine arm of its global clinical trial. "This concern relates to the use of hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine in COVID-19," Tedros said, adding that the drugs are accepted treatments for people with malaria or auto-immune diseases. Other treatments in the study, including the experimental drug remdesivir and an HIV combination therapy, are still being pursued.

SOS Funeral workers transport by boat a coffin carrying the body of an 86-year-old woman who lived by the Negro River and is a suspected to have died of COVID-19, near Manaus, Brazil, Thursday, May 14, 2020. The virus has spread upriver from Manaus, creeping into remote riverside towns and indigenous territories to infect indigenous tribes. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)

As the white van approached Perfect Love Street, one by one chatting neighbors fell silent, covered their mouths and noses and scattered. Men in full body suits carried an empty coffin into the small, blue house where Edgar Silva had spent two feverish days gasping for air before drawing his last breath on May 12. "It wasn't COVID," Silva's daughter, Eliete das Graças insisted to the funerary workers. She swore her 83-year-old father had died of Alzheimer's disease, not that sickness ravaging the city's hospitals. But Silva, like the vast majority of those dying at home, was never tested for the new coronavirus. The doctor who signed his death certificate never saw his body before determining the cause: "cardiorespiratory arrest." His death was not counted as one of Brazil's victims of the pandemic. Manaus is one of the hardest hit cities in Brazil, which officially has lost more than 23,000 lives to the coronavirus. But in the absence of evidence proving otherwise, relatives like das Graças are quick to deny the possibility that COVID-19 claimed their loved ones, meaning that the toll is likely a vast undercount. As ambulances zip through Manaus with sirens blaring and backhoes dig rows of new graves, the muggy air in this city by the majestic Amazon River feels thicker than usual with such pervasive denial. Manaus has seen nearly triple the usual number of dead in April and May. (Photo:People gather outside a bar in Manaus, Brazil, Sunday, May 24, 2020, amid the new coronavirus pandemic. Although health experts warn that the pandemic is far from over in Manaus, or across the country, national polls show adherence to lockdowns and quarantines falling, and a growing percentage of Brazilians are neglecting local leaders' safety recommendations. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana) Doctors and psychologists say denial at the grassroots stems from a mixture of misinformation, lack of education, insufficient testing and conflicting messages from the country's leaders. Chief among sceptics is President Jair Bolsonaro, who has repeatedly called COVID-19 a "little flu," and argued that concern over the virus is overblown. Asked by a reporter about the surging number of deaths on April 20, Bolsonaro responded, "I'm not a gravedigger, OK?" He has resisted US and European-style lockdowns to contain the virus' spread, saying such measures aren't worth the economic wreckage. He fired his first Health Minister for supporting quarantines, accepted the resignation of a second one after less than a month on the job, and said that the interim minister, an army general with no background in health or medicine, will remain in charge of the pandemic response "for a long time." In a cabinet meeting last month, a visibly enraged Bolsonaro insulted governors and mayors enforcing stay-at-home measures. The president's political followers are receptive to his dismissal of the virus, as determined as he is to proceed with life as usual. On a recent Saturday in Manaus, locals flocked to the bustling riverside market to buy fresh fish, unaware of the need for social distancing, or uninterested. As swamped intensive-care units struggled to accommodate new patients airlifted from the Amazon, the faithful returned to some of the city's evangelical churches. Coffins arriving by riverboat did nothing to dampen the enthusiasm of young people at clandestine dance parties. And in the streets, masks frequently covered chins and foreheads rather than mouths and noses. For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms. But for some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause severe illness such as pneumonia and lead to death. The new sickness made its way to Manaus in March, in the middle of the rainy season. At least that's when health officials first became aware of it in the capital of Amazonas state, which is at once remote and international. One precarious road connects the city to the rest of Brazil, and other municipalities are hours away by boat. But tropical fauna and flora normally draw tourist cruises up the Amazon, and business people fly in from around the world, to visit its free trade zone. Just last October, Manaus sent a delegation to China looking for investors. The city's first virus fatality was reported on March 25 and deaths have surged since then. But due to a lack of testing, just 5 percent of the more than 4,300 burials performed in April and May were confirmed cases of COVID-19, according to city funeral statistics. To accommodate its swelling number of coffins, the public Nossa Senhora Aparecida cemetery razed an area of tropical forest to dig dozens of trenches in the rust-coloured soil for burials. These mass graves sparked anger toward city officials among families of the deceased. Why did their loved ones' bodies have to be buried in such a way, they asked, if there was no evidence the deaths were caused by COVID-19? Das Graças was among those who had hoped that her father could have a proper sendoff. But it wasn't to be. The white-suited men informed her that his coffin would be sealed, a precaution taken now regardless of cause of death. He would be sent to the public cemetery's refrigerated container to await burial. "A person can't even die with dignity," das Graças, 49, said through tears. "He's going to spend the night in the freezer when we could be doing his wake at home!" Home wakes are no longer permitted. But workers from SOS Funeral, which provides free coffins and funeral services to those who can't afford them, have found homes packed with relatives touching the bodies of loved ones, hugging each other and wiping away tears with ungloved hands—a potentially contagious farewell. Overwhelmed emergency services have encountered similar reluctance to acknowledge viral risk. Ambulance doctor Sandokan Costa said patients often omit the mention of COVID-19 symptoms, putting him and his colleagues at greater risk. "What has most struck me is people's belief that the pandemic isn't real." Costa fell ill with the virus in late March but has worked non-stop since recovering and is astonished to see his fellow citizens on the streets acting as though nothing is going on. There is a stigma attached to the new disease, he said. "Coronavirus has become something pejorative." Health care officials attribute much of that to Bolsonaro's handling of the pandemic. Rather than take precautions, Bolsonaro has supported the use of chloroquine, the predecessor of an anti-malaria drug that US President Donald Trump has advocated for treatment of coronavirus and is taking himself to ward it off. Bolsonaro ordered the Army's Chemical and Pharmaceutical Laboratory to boost its chloroquine production despite a lack of clinical proof that it is effective. A large study recently published in the Lancet medical journal suggests that the malaria drugs not only do not help but are also tied to a greater risk of death in coronavirus patients. In Manaus, scientists stopped part of a study of chloroquine after heart rhythm problems developed in a quarter of people given the higher of two doses being tested. Visiting the hard-hit Amazon capital was a priority for Bolsonaro's second health minister, Nelson Teich, who donned a bodysuit to tour several hospitals. But he resigned days later after disagreeing with the president's demand that the ministry recommend chloroquine be prescribed to patients with mild coronavirus symptoms. Amazonas GovernorWilson Lima, a Bolsonaro ally, downplayed the virus at first. "There's huge hysteria and panic," Lima said March 16, three days after the first virus case in Manaus was confirmed in a woman who had travelled from Europe. That same day he declared a state of emergency, but his first measures were limited—cancellation of events organized by the state, suspension of classes and prison visits. For the rest, he recommended avoiding crowds and good hand washing. It was only on March 23, when his state had 32 cases including local transmissions that he ordered the suspension of non-essential services. But the restrictions were never imposed on the city's industrial zone. A month later, hospitals in Manaus were overwhelmed with thousands of cases and hundreds of dead. In late April, the governor announced plans to progressively reopen commerce, but backed down as the death toll continued to climb. This month, he told the Associated Press in an interview that the unusual surge in deaths can only be explained by the outbreak. "There's no doubt that the majority (have died) because of COVID-19," Gov. Lima said as he sat in a vast but empty meeting room in the state government headquarters in Manaus. "We don't have any other explanation for this if not COVID." He admitted lack of testing makes it nearly impossible to have a clear idea how many people in the state are infected. But even with vast under-reporting, Amazonas state has the highest number of deaths by COVID-19 per capita in the country with more than 1,700 fatal victims. Poor and crowded neighbourhoods have been particularly affected. Unable to afford private consultations and fearing the chaos of the public health system, many only sought medical help when it was too late. Others preferred to die at home rather than alone at a hospital. Lima's administration has come under fire for spending half a million dollars (2.9 million Brazilian reais) to buy 28 ventilators at quadruple the market price from a wine importer and distributor. The breathing machines were deemed inadequate for use on coronavirus patients after inspections by the regional council of medicine and Manaus' health surveillance office. Lima denies any wrongdoing. Asked if he would have done anything differently to confront the virus, the governor shook his head. "Even if I had stopped it (economy), if I had closed the city for 30 days, no one goes in and no one goes out. At some point I would have had to open and at some point the virus would have gotten here," he said. The virus has, in the meantime, spread upriver from Manaus, creeping into remote towns and indigenous territories to infect indigenous tribes. The sparsely populated but vast rainforest region is completely unprepared to cope. Some towns can't get oxygen tanks refilled or don't have breathing machines, forcing nurses to manually pump air into lungs. When they do have machines, power cuts frequently shut them down. Many patients are being airlifted to Manaus, the only place in the state of 4 million people with full intensive care units. Although health experts warn that the pandemic is far from over in the Amazon region, or the rest of the country, national polls show adherence to lockdowns and quarantines falling, and a growing number of Brazilians are neglecting local leaders' safety recommendations. "Every day there are different messages coming from the federal government that clash with measures by the cities and states, and with what science says" said Manaus-based physician Adele Benzaken. A public health researcher who until last year lead the HIV/AIDS department at the Health Ministry, Benzaken already has lost four colleagues in the pandemic. Meanwhile, misinformation and disinformation about the virus is swirling, some of it shared by the president himself. On May 11, Instagram labelled one of his posts as fake news after he falsely claimed a state had seen a drop in respiratory disease this year. Facebook also blocked one of his posts in March that showed him praising the healing powers of chloroquine to supporters. One false claim circulating on social media said the death rate in Manaus plummeted the day after the health minister's visit. Another purported to show an empty coffin being unearthed at Manaus' cemetery, implying the city was inflating its death toll. But the photo was taken in Sao Paulo three years ago. Still, the messages take root and spread like jungle foliage. "My opinion is that they're making this up and trying to make money from it" Israel Reis, 54, said outside Manaus' fish market. He didn't specify who "they" might be. Reis, who recently lost his job in an electronics maintenance company due to the pandemic, spoke without a mask and said he "of course" agrees with Bolsonaro the severity of the pandemic is exaggerated and death toll inflated. He recently advised his nephew against seeking help at the local health clinic for an earache. "Any dizziness and they'll say it's that thing," he said, referring to the virus. One recent late afternoon, a group of paunchy middle-aged men seated in plastic chairs on the sidewalk debated measures to fight the virus. The street bar, just a few blocks from a police station in downtown Manaus, was operating in violation of state COVID-19 restrictions, yet officers in a passing squad car didn't even slow down to reprimand them. Icy beer provided relief from the sweltering heat, and tropical insects had begun sounding their pre-dusk drone. The men, too, were getting worked up. "Put on your mask!" yelled one friend. "I don't need one!" screamed another, Henrique Noronha. Noronha, 52, argued that only the elderly and those with health problems should stay home – as Bolsonaro affirms -- and the fit should return to normal. Despite his age and full figure, Noronha didn't believe he's at risk. "This virus came to clean things up," he said. "But I'll be fine." Editor’s note: This story was produced with the support of the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting.


Dortmund's goalkeeper Roman Buerki, right, fails to safe a shot by Munich's Joshua Kimmich during the German Bundesliga football match against FC Bayern Munich in Dortmund, Germany, Tuesday, May 26, 2020. The German Bundesliga is the world's first major football league to resume after a two-month suspension because of the coronavirus pandemic. (Federico Gambarini/DPA via AP, Pool).

With a long-range lob, Joshua Kimmich put Bayern Munich on the verge of another Bundesliga title. Kimmich's goal gave Bayern a 1-0 win over closest rival Borussia Dortmund on Tuesday, putting the team a huge step closer to winning the league for a record-extending eighth consecutive time. Kimmich collected the ball outside the area and chipped it over Dortmund goalkeeper Roman Bürki minutes before the break. It was enough for Bayern to stretch theirlead to seven points over Dortmund with six games of the season remaining. Dortmund had a chance to cut the lead to one point with a win, but Bayern haveonly dropped points once in the last 14 games. “It’s brutally difficult,” Dortmund coach Lucien Favre said of his side’s hopes. It was an eerily quiet meeting between the Bundesliga rivals as the shouts from players and coaches, and the thud of the ball being kicked around could be heard clearly in Dortmund’s almost-empty 80,000-capacity Westfalenstadion. The Bundesliga, which resumed after a two-month coronavirus-induced suspension on May 16, is being played without fans and amid strict hygiene measures for the rest of season. Some TV broadcasters used artificial crowd noise during the game but there were no such sounds being played in the stadium. Dortmund werewithout injured captain Marco Reus, while Jadon Sancho was a substitute as he is still regaining full fitness. The home side was aggrieved not to get a penalty before the hour-mark when 19-year-old Erling Haaland’s shot was deflected just wide by the falling Jerome Boateng’s right elbow. Boateng had his back to the ball and the contact seemed accidental. Boateng had cleared off the line in the game’s first real chance after Haaland beat veteran goalkeeper Manuel Neuer, who was playing his 400th Bundesliga game. The visitors gradually worked their way into the game and Dortmund needed a goal-line clearance from Lukasz Piszczek after Serge Gnabry had beaten Bürki, who made a good save to deny Kingsley Coman. The goal came when Kimmich spotted Bürki off his line and had the skill and composure to lob the ’keeper from about 20 metres(yards) in the 43rd. Dortmund reacted by bringing on Sancho and Emre Can for Brandt and Delaney at the break. But the changes had little effect as Bayern stayed in control. Haaland limped off in the 72nd as 17-year-old American Gio Reyna came on for his 10th league appearance for Dortmund. Another North American teenager, Bayern's Canadian 19-year-old Alphonso Davies, caused plenty of problems for Dortmund with his pacey runs down the flank but was booked for bringing down Reyna outside the penalty area when TV replays showed he got the ball. Still searching for an equaliser, Favre brought on Mario Götze for the last 10 minutes. Sporting director Michael Zorc confirmed Saturday that the World Cup winner will be leaving the club at the end of the season.

Cricket stumps.

Sri Lankan bowler Shehan Madushanka has been banned from all formats of cricket after he was arrested foralleged possession of illegal drugs. Madushanka, who took a hat-trick in his only ODI against Bangladesh in 2018, was suspended by Sri Lanka Cricket (SLC) and faces an inquiry. An SLC statement said: "Sri Lanka Cricket decided to suspend Shehan Madushanka from all forms of cricket, with immediate effect. "The decision was taken following the player was arrested by the police and later sent on remand custody for alleged possession of illegal drugs. "The decision to suspend will remain intact until a full inquiry is conducted by the SLC into the matter." Madushanka also played in two Twenty20 internationals two years ago before beingtroubled by injuries.


There are 5 more positive COVID-19 results in the Cayman Islands today, out of a total 975 tests that were run over the weekend, with the total positive coming to 134 (3 from Cayman Brac). One was the contact of a known case and the other 4 were community-acquired and a part of the screening program. 761 tests came from the Health Services Authority and 214 came from Doctors Hospital. There are 6 people who tested positive from the construction industry and 10 per cent of the industry have been tested. 2000 construction workers in total will be tested. Some individuals will go back to work before being tested. Cayman is doing well with swabs and also with PPE. The status of positive cases is as follows: 13 have some symptoms. 59 are asymptomatic. 0 individuals are in the hospital but are no longer being treated for COVID-19 but for other conditions. 61 have recovered fully. 1 death. There have been no people being tested due to symptoms. The number of positive cases as a percentage of the total tested is the line that is being looked at, as per the graph above. Any outliers will affect policy decisions.

There are 8 more positive COVID-19 results in the Cayman Islands today, out of a total 467 tests that were run, with the total positives coming to 129 (with a total of 3 from Cayman Brac). One was the contact of a known case and the other 7 were community-acquired. These positives were all found through the screening programme. These were all front line workers. None were from the construction industry. Samples have already been taken from around 1600 construction workers of which 1/3 have been completed. All of the contact tracing from the three positives in Cayman Brac have come up clear. The status of positive cases is as follows: 6 have some symptoms. 67 are asymptomatic. 0 individuals are in the hospital but are no longer being treated for COVID-19 but for other conditions. 55 have recovered fully. 1 death. Since last Saturday 1135 tests have been run over the past week by the HSA. 8426 tests total have been run to date. This makes Cayman among the top ten testers in the world. "There are no spikes or clusters having been discovered... and there are no sick people in the hospital... we are actually hunting down the virus now," said the premier.