coronavirus crisis

Florida jobless claims surge by 227,000 amid coronavirus crisis   6%

Initial unemployment claims in the U.S. surged by 6.6 million last week, while Florida’s number jumped by 227,000, as the economic crisis sparked by the coronavirus crisis continued to rage … Click to Continue »

CBS All Rise to produce coronavirus episode at a distance  

CBS' courtroom drama series “All Rise” is resuming production with an episode reflecting the coronavirus crisis in the lives of its characters, the network said Monday. The episode will follow … Click to Continue »

Hopeful birdsong, foreboding sirens: A pandemic in sound   20%

Hopeful birdsong and foreboding sirens. Chiming church bells and bleating ferry horns. The coronavirus crisis has drastically transformed the world in sound. The routine cacophony of daily life has calmed, … Click to Continue »

UEFA postpone all international matches scheduled for June  

The decision followed a videoconference with Europe’s 55 member federations as part of discussions on how to adapt the fixture calendar in the face of the ongoing coronavirus crisis.

When fashion meets technology:Are virtual shows the future of fashion?   33%

Due to the ongoing coronavirus crisis, many prominent fashion designers feel that the digital world will be taking over the fashion industry .

A Brilliant Indie Movie Thats Accidentally Getting a National Release   2%

When I interviewed the director Eliza Hittman on March 10 about her new movie, Never Rarely Sometimes Always, we gently bumped elbows as a greeting. It was our only real acknowledgment of the country’s brewing coronavirus crisis. On March 13, the film opened in limited release, but three days later, New York’s cinemas officially closed, with most others in the U.S. following suit within the week. The film grossed $16,565 before the country’s box office dwindled to zero. Now the movie has been released to a national audience, available on demand for a $19.99 rental—the same strategy applied to other releases blunted by quarantine efforts.

[Read: Say goodbye to movie theaters]

Hittman’s film follows Autumn (played by Sidney Flanigan), a 17-year-old girl from a small town in central Pennsylvania who travels to New York City with her cousin, Skylar (Talia Ryder), to get an abortion without having to notify her parents. It’s a searing and relevant work, helped by Hittman’s quiet attention to detail and ability to communicate big emotional arcs through minimal dialogue. Given that multiple states have moved to further restrict access to abortions during the pandemic, the timeliness of Never Rarely Sometimes Always is indisputable. Because of the temporary loss of theaters, the only way most people will be able to see it is online. Its rent-on-demand release is a milestone of sorts, providing instant national access to an indie movie that might never have received such attention through a traditional release.

The film’s producers, Barry Jenkins and Adele Romanski, have said they are excited to bring the film to a wide audience in the face of the cinema industry’s struggles. “These are extraordinary and very difficult times,” Jenkins told Indiewire. “It opens the door to anyone who’s in the same age group as the character. Those people are all sitting at home trying to find out what to watch and what to do. That means this is a wonderful opportunity.”

My conversation with Hittman didn’t encompass this strange situation her movie now finds itself in. But we did talk about depictions of abortion in cinema, her adeptness with introverted characters, and the fact that so much of the movie’s action takes place in New York City’s Port Authority Bus Terminal, a relic of a grittier time. On rewatch, those scenes have an eeriness to them because the terminal is so empty at night, which is when Autumn and Skylar wander its halls, trying to pass the time before the next appointment. Now that every public space in New York is that empty, the film feels like a strange snapshot of the future.

This conversation has been edited for length and clarity.

David Sims: I’m glad to have seen the movie.

Eliza Hittman: It’s a quiet movie. I didn’t know what to expect in terms of audience reaction.

Sims: Have you ever made a loud movie?

Hittman: No! But this one feels quieter.

Sims: Why do you think it feels quieter? Autumn is very introverted, but you’ve made movies about introverted people before.

Hittman: Exploring the process and barriers a woman goes through in trying to get an abortion feels so timely. I was just hoping that the way I chose to explore the story was effective.

Sims: This is your first film not set in Brooklyn.

Hittman: Yeah, there area lot of elements that I was excited about. The procedural aspect, the road movie, and that it’s a story about female friendship. It’s a lot to juggle.

Sims: How did you settle on the location in Pennsylvania?

Hittman: My partner, who edits all my movies and is also a filmmaker, is from western New York, and whenever we drive to visit his family we go through Pennsylvania, so we started exploring that region and found all of these coal towns that were very captivating but very depressed. Trapped in time. It’s about 135 miles from New York, to be precise.

Sims: Not very far, but like so many road movies, you have that feeling of being a world away.

Hittman: Initially I was hoping to have more of an immersive process, to really embed the story in this town, cast all the people in this town, and make this movie set between two states. But those were a lot of challenges for an indie movie about an abortion. So I only captured the town in glimpses.

Sims: But the crisis pregnancy center she goes to feels very real.

Hittman: I went to those, I took the test, I had the counseling session, I wrote from my experiences. I didn’t want to judge, even though I know those places are fundamentally unethical. I had remembered the phrase abortion-minded from a conversation, as well as being told, “Even if it’s negative, it might still be positive.” That was pulled from my conversation verbatim.

Sims: Was Autumn’s introversion a challenge as you were building the story out?

Hittman: I think all my characters in the three films I’ve made are keeping secrets. Some of the introvertedness comes from the fact that I’m able to align the audience with what they’re going through, but at the same time, Autumn’s quietness has to do with how stigmatized it is to talk about what she’s going through.

Sims: She never actually has a conversation with her cousin about what she’s going through.

Hittman: No! I wanted to avoid it, a scene where the character says “I’m pregnant.” I didn’t want Autumn to come out of a clinic and recap everything that happened in there to Skylar. So we’re putting an ellipsis on it, and we understand that what she’s going through is private, and Skylar respects the boundary.

Sims: What else did you want to avoid?

Hittman: All the exposition about what had happened, how she got pregnant.

Sims: There’s a visceral nature to so many films about abortion. Tthey focus on things that can go wrong, the frightening aspects of it. You’re more focused on barriers to entry, difficulties to accomplishing it—it feels like you’re trying to desensationalize things.

Hittman: Totally. I think part of the challenge, practically, was that we didn’t want to further stigmatize it as being traumatic and deadly. Also, in a more simple way, I didn’t want to create fear in a young audience. But at the same time, it is intimidating to the character. I wanted to honor her emotional experience but try not to perpetuate fear around what it means. It’s like any procedure; of course you can be anxious about it. But it was a challenge not making it overly scary, or making it easy.

Sims: Abortions are something mainstream American films are still a little scared to deal with. Was that part of the appeal of this story for you?

Hittman: A lot of my work deals with taboos, and abortion in this country is one of the most divisive subjects. It’s taboo on film and taboo in our lives, and I was interested in investigating why.

Sims: What stuck out to you in that investigation?

Hittman: That stories have two approaches—the back-alley illegal abortion that’s bloody and dangerous, and the oversimplified version of it. You can explore the complexity of things without making it a death sentence.

Sims: An angle you took that stuck out to me is how much Autumn is struggling to control her body—she pierces her nose, her boss grabs her arm and kisses it, she holds hands with Skylar to support her in a tough moment. There’s a lot of emphasis on touch.

Hittman: Initially in the script, as soon as she finds out she’s pregnant, the first thing I had her do is go out and dye her hair, as a form of control. And we couldn’t do that [in real life] because her hair is too short; it was a logistical issue. Sidney’s nose is already pierced, so we could fake that. It ended up being more powerful. She’s actively reclaiming her body, but also alluding to something darker. I think my movies always have a tactile element, so it’s all an extension of that—her bra being too tight because she’s outgrowing it, little moments like that. It’s all about her reclaiming her body, her spirit, her youth.

Sims: What’s it like shooting at the Port Authority Bus Terminal? It embodies sort of a forgotten New York aesthetic.

Hittman: There was a lot more Port Authority in the script. I had to shave it down, because you can only shoot in the Port Authority from midnight to 4 a.m.

Sims: Great time to be in the Port Authority.

Hittman: Yes, and a great time to shoot with a 17-year-old actress! It was challenging. I wasn’t able to represent it at rush hour, so we had to play with our own atmosphere. You know, the story takes place in a lot of liminal spaces: the subway, the waiting rooms. That was something I was thinking about.

Sims: She’s in a liminal space because she’s waiting to find out what’s going to happen to her.

Hittman: So the Port Authority became a microcosm for that. They really can’t do much outside of it, and those are the rules of the story. It’s a safe, liminal space.

Sims: I feel like you’re the first person to ever describe the Port Authority that way.

Hittman: [Laughs] As a safe space.

Airbus announces additional production pauses  

Airbus said on Monday it had decided additional production pauses, in Germany and in the United States, in response to an industry-wide slowdown triggered by the coronavirus crisis.

White House, experts clash over use of drug for coronavirus  

White House trade adviser Peter Navarro on Monday acknowledged that members of the task force dealing with the coronavirus crisis clashed over the efficacy of the malaria drug, hydroxychloroquine, for use against the disease.

The Democratic Party Must Harness the Legitimate Rage of Americans. Otherwise, the Right Will Use It With Horrifying Results.   -30%

The corporate-managerial class that runs the Democratic Party thinks anger is an illegitimate basis for action. With the coronavirus crisis, they need to get over that.

The post The Democratic Party Must Harness the Legitimate Rage of Americans. Otherwise, the Right Will Use It With Horrifying Results. appeared first on The Intercept.

Barack Obama urges climate action in veiled attack on Trump for failing over coronavirus   25%

Former president tells Americans to 'demand better of our government' as Trump announces environmental deregulation amid coronavirus crisis

F1 Virtual Grand Prix results: Charles Leclerc takes dominant victory before vow to entertain during coronavirus lockdown  

Ferrari driver led from start to finish to win a much-improved Formula One online event, before sending a message to F1 fans who are isolating at home during the coronavirus crisis

China extends ban on all mass-gathering sport events in fear of second wave of coronavirus  

National Sports Bureau issued a directive to all sporting bodies instructing them not to resume events despite the coronavirus crisis easing in China

Grand National 2020: Tiger Roll gets shot at history with ITV to broadcast Virtual Race   50%

Back-to-back champion was due to try and emulate Red Rum in this year's event only for it to be cancelled due to the coronavirus crisis – but will now face-off against the legendary National winner in a virtual race

Queen coronavirus speech: What time is the rare address and how can I watch?  

Queen Elizabeth II is set to address the nation about the coronavirus crisis

Friday Night Dinner review: A predictable mix of slapstick, Dad jokes and literal toilet humour   -3%

This series, where the central joke is that the whole family is forced to spend time together in a confined space, is strangely triggering during the coronavirus crisis

Sniping at airlines for a soundbite doesnt fly   50%

Plane Talk: Many airlines have erred during the coronavirus crisis, but so have some politicians

US trade adviser pits himself against Fauci over unproven coronavirus drug   6%

Peter Navarro said he was qualified to debate use of hydroxychloroquine because he has a PhD – in economics

Peter Navarro, the US trade adviser overseeing the implementation of the Defense Production Act amid the coronavirus crisis, has acknowledged reports of a heated exchange with Dr Anthony Fauci, the leading infectious diseases expert, about the wisdom of using an anti-malarial drug to fight Covid-19.

Related: Fauci: no evidence anti-malaria drug Trump pushes works against virus

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Experts warn of mental health fallout from mass US unemployment   11%

The coronavirus crisis is causing catastrophic levels of joblessness but the damage will not only be economic

The US faces a catastrophic rise in unemployment following the forced shutdown of businesses across the country to stop the spread of Covid-19 – and experts are warning it could trigger a severe mental health crisis.

In just two weeks, more than 9.95 million Americans have applied for unemployment – smashing all records. Economists are predicting the unemployment rate could rise as high as 30% as the pandemic sweeps across the country.

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Homebound gardening amid coronavirus: When green dreams grow on windowsills   16%

Not that Berlin-based startup Grüneo had ever expected to profit from the coronavirus crisis when it started its crowdfunding campaign, but it just might as it offers a meaningful activity for those staying at home.

EU's von der Leyen calls for 'Marshall Plan' for Europe   20%

The head of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, has urged huge investments in the EU budget amid the coronavirus crisis. Spain's premier, too, wants a "wartime economy" followed by a recovery program.

Laughter in times of crisis: 10 comedies from 10 decades   48%

It's not easy to laugh right now. But finding cheerful distraction during the coronavirus crisis is legitimate, says DW film expert Jochen Kürten. He has selected 10 legendary comedies for home viewing.

Netflix's Tiger King: The isolated world's new obsession   57%

The docuseries "Tiger King" achieves amazing things: It tells the incredible story of the big-cat collector Joe Exotic, distracting us from the coronavirus crisis. There's now a race for the most original memes.

The tourism sector will bounce back   10%

Already getting ready for the time after the coronavirus crisis? Yes, say tourism experts in Germany. Some are renovating, others are planning marketing measures for next year. What else can they do?

Wagner music festival canceled over coronavirus concerns   -12%

Another pillar of Germany's culture has been canceled because of the coronavirus crisis: the Bayreuth Festival. Here is a look back at the past crises that disrupted the renowned event featuring Richard Wagner's works.

Coronavirus: China and responsible action   19%

China is providing urgently needed assistance to Europe in the coronavirus crisis. But what is needed for the long term is a ban on the trade in wild animals. Otherwise, the next pandemic is as good as certain.

What Beethoven, Goethe and others wrote to their distant loved ones   19%

The coronavirus crisis is challenging for couples in a long-distance relationship. At least the internet helps people stay in touch. Famous love letters from the past can provide more inspiration.

Coronabonds and the idea of European financial unity   8%

The coronavirus crisis is bringing an old EU dispute back to light. Should financial solidarity in the European Union be limitless? The German government still says no. But the pressure is growing.

Directors flip hundreds of millions of dollars of shares in market rout   3%

Directors have splashed more than $306 million on shares in their companies during the coronavirus crisis, lifting their stakes despite threats of a major global slowdown.

Virus to drive markets as futures point to rise in ASX 200   26%

The coronavirus crisis and extraordinary government attempts to limit the economic fallout are set to continue driving markets this week.

Coronavirus: Panamas lockdown rules stoke fears of discrimination in the transgender community   3%

Panama has implemented gender-based social distancing regulations to help tackle the coronavirus crisis, but the move has raised “dread” among members of the transgender community.Already under a near total lockdown, Panamanian authorities decreed this week that men could only leave home to go shopping on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, with women allowed to do so on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.No one is allowed out on Sundays.Before that, Panama had already closed its borders, suspended…

German ministers suicide linked to coronavirus crisis   -8%

A rising star in Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative party committed suicide apparently because he had become distraught over the economic turbulence and financial distress that the coronavirus crisis is causing for Germany, the governor of Hesse state Volker Bouffier said on Sunday.Bouffier said that Thomas Schaefer, the Hesse state’s finance minister since 2010 and long seen as his successor as governor, had killed himself because he was in despair about the financial crisis resulting…

In this war, I feel far safer in Israel than in America   -11%

I've lived in Israel through wars, intifadas, threats of chemical attacks and exposed my children to the dangers of army service. This coronavirus crisis is the first time I feel it's more dangerous back in the U.S.A.

Adam Sandler pays tribute to doctors and nurses in brand-new Quarantine Song   33%

Forget about “The Chanukah Song.” Actor Adam Sandler’s latest is a touching tribute to medical workers amid the coronavirus crisis

Palestinians fear coronavirus surge as workers return to West Bank from Israel over Passover   -5%

Palestinian prime minister says about 45,000 workers are expected to return, and they will not be allowed back into Israel during the coronavirus crisis

Coronavirus, the 'Soros bio-weapon': How far right anti-Semitic conspiracy theories are infecting mainstream politics  

As the coronavirus crisis spreads, white supremacists and far-right ‘influencers’ are repackaging old anti-Semitic tropes linking Jews to disease, profiteering and globalist plots - and mainstream politicians amplify them

40% cant pay their Tel Aviv rent as unemployment grows amid coronavirus, survey shows   -14%

The coronavirus crisis has hit Israel’s labor market hard, with unemployment now hitting 20%, up from an all-time historic low of 3.4% in February

School districts, including New York Citys, start banning Zoom because of online security issues  

Online security issues are growing with the mass rush to virtual education during the coronavirus crisis.

Conventions and campaigns in the time of coronavirus  

The coronavirus crisis has scrambled the 2020 election – jeopardizing conventions, fundraising, and even the logistics of voting itself.

Could Trump end lockdowns? Three legal issues.  

Local, state, and federal actions to protect public health amid the coronavirus crisis have taken place under a variety of laws and regulations.

"Leaving Us Here to Die": Prisoners Plea for Release, Protection Amid Skyrocketing Infection Rates   -25%

U.S. Attorney General William Barr issued an emergency order Friday calling for the release of vulnerable federal prisoners into home confinement amid the coronavirus crisis. This news comes as at least 16 states have also released prisoners. We look at the treatment of incarcerated people in New York state, where Governor Andrew Cuomo has yet to grant anyone freedom despite at least 24 confirmed cases among state prisoners. Meanwhile, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has said he'll release about 300 people from Rikers Island and other city jails, but advocates are calling for far more to be freed. We speak to José Díaz, a New York University graduate student who was just released from Rikers on Saturday morning. We also speak with Jose Saldana, director of the group Release Aging People in Prison.