Stevie Wonder has released two new singles appealing for unity amid the challenges of systemic racism and the coronavirus pandemic, and said he would donate 100% of the proceeds of one of them to the non-profit Feeding America.
“Where Is Our Love Song” and “Can’t Put It In the Hands of Fate,” are songs Wonder, 70, said he had started writing years ago about romantic relationships but was inspired to give them a different twist by the tumultuous events of the past year.
“If I can do anything to use the gift of song to help to feed people, to share my love … it is my joy,” the singer-songwriter told a video news conference, referring to “Where Is Our Love Song.”
“In these times, we are hearing the most poignant wake-up calls and cries for this nation and the world to, please, heed our need for love, peace and unity,” he said.
The 25-time Grammy winner said on Tuesday that “Can’t Put It In the Hands of Fate” was inspired by street protests against social injustice, the search for a coronavirus vaccine and the right to vote.
“Where Is Our Love Song” was written in response to “all the confusion and hate, all the east versus west, left versus right” in contemporary America, he said.
Canadian children can go trick-or-treating on Halloween despite being in the middle of a second wave of Covid-19, the country’s top health officials say, as long as they practice physical distancing, wear masks and wash their hands.
In Canada, as in the United States, Halloween brings armies of children dressed in spooky costumes out onto the streets in search of candy and maybe a fright or two.
For parents, this year’s Halloween is truly a scary prospect, however, as coronavirus case numbers climb. Canada recorded 975 new infections on Monday, and the prime minister warned last week that the country is at a “tipping point” in its battle against a second surge.
“We can have Halloween… It’s possible to give and receive candy safely,” Dr Howard Njoo, Canada’s deputy chief public health officer, told a news conference on Tuesday.
“There are some really interesting ideas where people are handing out treats on the end of a hockey stick,” added Dr Theresa Tam, the chief medical officer. “Pre-packaging your treats so people are not rummaging in a bowl of candies is actually important.”
More tips, like equipping the kids with small bottles of hand sanitiser, will be posted on the health ministry’s website, she said.
Health experts agree it is important to have “some degree of normality” during the pandemic, Tam said, but added that staying outdoors, physical distancing and wearing masks that “could turn into part of your costume” are necessary.
Cumbrian police have warned Scots not to cross the border on Saturday to watch the Old Firm match in bars and pubs there after several bars and pubs were contacted by Scottish football fans hoping to visit.
Celtic and Rangers supporters and venues have been warned ahead of the match that the rule of six will be strictly enforced by Cumbria Police.
Pubs, bars and restaurants across central Scotland are closed for a two week period, while those elsewhere in Scotland can only serve alcohol outdoors until the 10pm curfew.
Superintendent Matt Kennerley said:
We understand restrictions on licensed premises in Scotland might offer the temptation to travel south of the border to visit our pubs and bars – but anybody breaching rules here does face a fine.
He highlighted Scottish government advice which says people should not travel outside their local health board area.
- Dutch bars and restaurants ordered to close to stem surge in coronavirus cases. The Dutch government announced the new round of measures on Tuesday as the number of cases in this country surged in recent weeks to a daily record of nearly 7,400.
- Italy announces new restrictions. Italian prime minister Giuseppe Conte on Tuesday imposed new restrictions on gatherings, restaurants, sports and school activities in an attempt to slow a surge in novel coronavirus infections.
- UK reports 143 new deaths from Covid-19, highest daily figure since June. This brings the UK death total to 43,018. There had been a further 17,234 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the UK on Tuesday. It brings the total number of cases in the UK to 634,920.
- Cristiano Ronaldo has tested positive for coronavirus. The 35-year-old is said to be “doing well, without symptoms, and in isolation”, with no further positive tests reported in the squad before Portugal’s Nations League match against Sweden on Wednesday.
- Russia’s regulator has granted approval for a trial of its controversial Sputnik V Covid-19 vaccine on people aged over 60. In August Russia approved the vaccine for use after less than two months of human testing, including a dose administered to one of Vladimir Putin’s daughters.
- Hospitals in Paris could have up to 90% of intensive care beds packed with Covid-19 patients as soon as next week. The warning came from the healthcare system’s chief as France braces for new measures to slow a surge in cases.
- Ireland’s government offered more support on Tuesday to those hit hardest by some of Europe’s toughest Covid-19 restrictions. The budget stimulus package was described as “unprecedented in the history of the state” by Reuters.
- Russia reports record daily coronavirus cases and deaths. On Tuesday, the country’s coronavirus crisis centre said 13,868 new cases had been reported in the past 24 hours, pushing the overall number of infections to 1,326,178.
Here’s a write up from Reuters on the Netherlands’ partial lockdown:
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said on Tuesday the Netherlands must return to a “partial lockdown”, including the closure of bars and restaurants, as the country battles to control the coronavirus in one of Europe’s major hotspots.
“Today we are announcing new and weighty measures and in fact we are going to a partial lockdown,” Rutte said in a nationally televised news conference at which he announced that bars and restaurants will be closed excepting for takeaway or delivery. Alcohol sales in the evening will also be banned.
Rutte said that the measures will go into effect on Wednesday for a period of two weeks. They also include making the wearing of cloth masks mandatory for people 13 years and older in indoor spaces. Gatherings of more than 30 people are banned nationwide.
The number of cases in this country of 17 million has surged in recent weeks to a daily record of nearly 7,400 on Tuesday. It now has one of the highest per capita infection rates worldwide.
French health authorities on Tuesday reported 12,993 new Covid-19 infections over the past 24 hours, up on Monday’s 8,505, but still sharply down from Saturday’s record of 26,896 and Sunday’s 16,101, Reuters reports.
The seven-day moving average of new infections, which averages out weekly data reporting irregularities, stood above the record 17,000 level for the second day running, at 17,816.
The Dutch government announced a new round of measures to slow the spread of coronavirus on Tuesday, according to a report by Reuters, which includes:
- Ban on alcohol sales after 8pm
- Limit on the size of social gathering
- Bars and restaurants to close
Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte said the measures will go into effect from Wednesday.
This partial lockdown will last four weeks, the Dutch health minister said.
The number of people claiming temporary Irish jobless benefits will increase by up to 115,000 if the government imposes stricter Covid-19 restrictions across the country, the public expenditure department forecast on Tuesday.
Ireland last week shut indoor restaurant and pub service for at least three weeks when it moved all counties up to Level 3 of the five-step confinement plan. That resulted in a rise in Pandemic Unemployment Payment (PUP) recipients to 228,858 from 205,593 seven days earlier.
The increase was in the middle of the range forecast by the public expenditure department for Level 3 measures. It projected 100,000 to 115,000 extra people would claim the payment if Level 4 curbs were imposed, closing all but essential retail.
Level 5 restrictions, which would ban outdoor retail and dining, would result in 140,000 to 167,000 extra claimants compared to the current number of recipients.
The opposition Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer called for a two to three-week “circuit-breaker” lockdown in England in an effort to bring coronavirus cases down.
Speaking at a press conference, he said:
Three things are now clear.
The government has not got a credible plan to slow infection. It has lost control of the virus.
And it is no longer following scientific advice.
Italian prime minister Giuseppe Conte on Tuesday imposed new restrictions on gatherings, restaurants, sports and school activities in an attempt to slow a surge in novel coronavirus infections.
The latest steps marked the second time in a week that the government has toughened its measures, though overall they remain less severe than those in other European countries such as Britain and Spain, where infection rates are far higher.
“We must avoid plunging the country into a general lockdown, the economy has started to move fast again,” Conte told a news conference.
The government decree, which will take effect within 24 hours and be valid for 30 days, bans parties in restaurants, clubs or in the open air and strongly recommends that people do not hold parties in their homes or host more than six guests at any time.
Weddings and other ceremonies can be attended by no more than 30 people.
US senate majority leader Mitch McConnell said Tuesday the coronavirus aid package the Senate will take up next week will be “roughly” $500 billion.
McConnell said the bill will include funding for schools and the Paycheck Protection Program that has helped small businesses during the pandemic. He said it would also have liability protections for businesses and organisations that are sought by Republicans but opposed by Democrats.
The UK’s £12bn test and trace programme “is having a marginal impact” in reducing Covid-19 transmission, according to a recent analysis.
But which countries got it right? Peter Beaumont looks at the success and failures of track and trace across the world.
For more UK-specific coronavirus news, you can follow Andrew Sparrow’s daily politics blog.
There had been a further 17,234 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the UK. It brings the total number of cases in the UK to 634,920.
A further 143 people had died within 28 days of testing positive for Covid-19 as of Tuesday. It is the highest daily figure since June, as parts of the country were facing tougher social distancing restrictions under a new three-tiered alert system. This brings the UK death total to 43,018.
After that news that Cristiano Ronaldo tested positive for Covid-19 there have been no further positive tests reported in the Portigal squad before Portugal’s Nations League match against Sweden on Wednesday.
The BBC broadcaster and former England striker, Gary Lineker, is meanwhile among among those commenting on the news:
Ronaldo had played in both of Portugal’s matches so far during the international break.
The former Manchester United and Real Madrid forward started against Spain in Lisbon, coming off late on during the second half of the goalless draw, and then played all of the Nations League A3 fixture against France in Saint-Denis on Sunday.