While COVID-19 Rages, Don’t Forget About Pandemic Flu

Don’t panic, but there is another virus out there that could cause a pandemic.  This one is an influenza strain circulating in pigs and their caretakers in China.  It is not currently causing widespread illness, and it may never do so. But it has “all the essential hallmarks of a candidate pandemic virus,” according to the authors of a new study in the FILE – A patient receives a flu vaccination in Mesquite, Texas, January 23, 2020.‘Good news, bad news’ “There’s good news and bad here,” Pavia said. “I think the bad news is that once again, it looks as if we’re identifying strains of flu that are emerging in populations with the potential to jump to humans.”However, only a handful of serious cases have been reported.”The severity remains low. That’s good news,” Pavia said, adding, “there’s no guarantee that it’s going to stay that way.”Other factors also must change before alarm bells really go off, experts note.”What is really important for influenza pandemic emergence, as well as for any viral pandemic emergence, is sustained airborne transmission,” said University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine microbiologist and molecular geneticist Seema Lakdawala, who was not part of the research team.While a few people are getting infected, she said there is no sign now of sustained transmission.Food animals are a common source of new flu viruses. Birds, pigs and humans can all exchange flu strains. Pigs are especially welcoming environments for influenza viruses to reinvent themselves. Multiple strains can infect one animal, swap genes and emerge as a novel strain.Unpredictable There is no telling when the right combination of genes will fall into place and produce a virulent, transmissible virus.A lethal strain called H5N1 first appeared in poultry in Hong Kong in 1997 and resurfaced in 2003. It kills more than half the people it infects. But for reasons scientists do not understand, it has not gone pandemic.”It’s still a concern. It has caused hundreds of deaths,” said senior scholar Gigi Gronvall at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, who was not involved with the research. “But for whatever reason, even though all eyes were on that, it was this other virus that took off in 2009.” FILE – Researchers of the Veterinary Institute under the Academy of Agricultural Research check on African Swine Flu at Ryongsong District in Pyongyang, North Korea, June 10, 2019.That year, H1N1 emerged from pigs and sparked a pandemic. Researchers estimate that nearly 300,000 people died from it in the first year. Since then, health officials have increased efforts to monitor livestock farms and markets for new viruses.”There’s been a big improvement, but it’s far from complete,” Pavia said. “The challenge is enormous. Influenza circulates among ducks, turkeys, swine – not to mention there are strains that infect everything from horses to dogs. And tracking all of these is an enormous task.”The effort is understaffed and underfunded, “like so many things in public health,” he said.And that’s dangerous. “We’ve seen the consequences of inadequate public health surveillance in the emergence and failure to control COVID-19,” Pavia noted. Flu tools Unlike COVID-19, health experts have tools against influenza that might help if the new strain were to launch a new pandemic.  “We know how to test for influenza viruses,” Lakdawala said. Flu antivirals are only partly effective, “but we do at least have antivirals that can limit the severity of disease. We have a number of them. We also have a vaccine platform that is already approved and safe.”  A vaccine could be available in a matter of months.  But there is no way to know whether the newly identified strain will spark a pandemic.”The more you study flu, the more you realize we just don’t know how to predict that,” Pavia said.  

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Amid Coronavirus Cases Rising, Fatalities at Lowest Level in Months, Pence Emphasizes  

Amid continuing concern among members of the White House Coronavirus Task Force he leads, U.S. Vice President Mike Pence is emphasizing the positives.  “Fatalities are at the lowest level since March,” Pence told reporters Tuesday during a visit to U.S. Public Health Service headquarters. “We’re in a much better place than four months ago, even two months ago.”  Pence noted there are 12 states “with rising cases and percent positive cases” and another 28 states with either of those situations.  Pence is visiting two of the current worst-hit states this week — Arizona and Texas.  A team of 62 disaster medical assistance personnel deployed by the Federal Emergency Management Administration are now on the ground in Arizona, Pence announced.  Social distancing signs are posted at one of the bars closed for the next 30 days due to the surge in coronavirus cases, June 30, 2020, in Scottsdale, Ariz.The number of coronavirus cases in Texas on Tuesday rose by 6,975 — the highest single-day increase since the start of the pandemic, according to the state’s health department.  All 50 states are reopening their economies, according to Pence, however 16 states have scaled back on permitting some activities — a move the vice president emphasized he fully supports. “We’re going to slow the spread. We’re going to flatten the curve. We’re going to save lives,” he predicted.  The top U.S. infectious disease specialist told lawmakers Tuesday on Capitol Hill he is “quite concerned” about surges of coronavirus cases in the country.   “We are now having 40,000 new cases a day,” Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions. “I would not be surprised if we go up to 100,000 a day if this does not turn around. And so, I am very concerned.”  Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Dr. Anthony Fauci speaks during a Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, June 30, 2020.As schools prepare to reopen in August and September, Fauci said a vaccine probably will not be available by then.  “Working with the companies and the investments made by this Congress, hopefully there will be doses available by the beginning of next year, said Fauci, a member of the coronavirus task force.  Committee chairman, Republican Sen. Lamar Alexander, stressed the importance of reopening schools and called on President Donald Trump and the public to wear masks to help prevent further increases in the spread of COVID-19.  Committee Chairman Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., asks questions during a Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, June 30, 2020.“Unfortunately, this simple lifesaving practice has become part of a political debate that says if you’re for Trump, you don’t wear a mask. If you’re against Trump, you do,” Alexander said in opening remarks. “That is why I have suggested the president should occasionally wear a mask, even though there are not many occasions when it is necessary for him to do so.”  Alexander added that Trump “has millions of admirers,” who “would follow his lead.”   White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany was asked about that during a Tuesday briefing.  “The president is the most tested man in America” for COVID-19, and thus does not need to wear a mask, she replied.  Pence noted that both he and Trump have worn a mask in public.  “We’re going to respect the right of Americans” and encourage them to listen to the guidance of local health authorities, added Pence. More than 125,000 COVID-19 deaths, about one-quarter of all fatalities worldwide, have been reported in the U.S., although many experts believe the U.S. death toll is much higher.  In addition to leading the world in COVID-19 fatalities, the U.S. is also the world leader in infections, with more than 2.6 million of the over 10.3 million cases, according to Johns Hopkins University statistics.   Many of the first U.S. states to reopen, mostly southern and western states, are experiencing sharp increases in coronavirus cases.  Pence characterized this as partly due to the U.S. now being able to test 500,000 to 600,000 people every day. “Something changed about two weeks ago,” the vice president noted.   The new surges in the U.S. has triggered renewed criticism of Trump’s handling of the crisis just months before the November presidential election.   Reporters sit socially-distanced as Democratic presidential candidate, former Vice President Joe Biden speaks at Alexis Dupont High School in Wilmington, Del., June 30, 2020.Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden strongly criticized what he called Trump’s “historic mismanagement” of the pandemic during remarks Tuesday in Delaware.  “I’m not going to be holding rallies,” Biden said, contrasting his campaign with that of the president, who has been criticized for recent indoor events in Oklahoma and Arizona.     

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Facebook Bans Violent ‘Boogaloo’ Groups, Not the Term Itself

Facebook has banned an extremist anti-government network loosely associated with the broader “boogaloo” movement, a slang term supporters use to refer to a second Civil War or a collapse of civilization. But the platform didn’t try to name the group, underscoring the difficulty of grappling with an amorphous network linked to a string of domestic terror plots that appears to obfuscate its existence. Among other complications, its internet-savvy members tend to keep their distance from one another, frequently change their symbols and catch phrases and mask their intentions with sarcasm. The move by Facebook designates this group as a dangerous organization similar to the Islamic State group and white supremacists, both of which are already banned from its service. The social network is not banning all references to “boogaloo” and said it is only removing groups, accounts and pages when they have a “clear connection to violence or a credible threat to public safety.”  The loose movement is named after “Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo,” a 1984 sequel to a movie about breakdancing. Boogaloo supporters have shown up at protests over COVID-19 lockdown orders, carrying rifles and wearing tactical gear over Hawaiian shirts – a reference to “big luau,” a homophone for “boogaloo” sometimes favored by group members. Facebook said that the movement dates to 2012 and that it has been tracking it closely since last year.  FILE – Steven Carrillo is seen in a booking photo from the Santa Cruz County (California) Sheriff’s Office, June 7, 2020.Earlier in June, Steven Carrillo, an Air Force sergeant with ties to the boogaloo movement, fatally shot a federal security officer and wounded his partner outside a U.S. courthouse, ambushed and killed a California sheriff’s deputy, and injured four other officers in Oakland, California. According to the criminal complaint, Carrillo posted in a Facebook group, “It’s on our coast now, this needs to be nationwide. It’s a great opportunity to target the specialty soup bois. Keep that energy going.”  The statement was followed by two fire emojis and a link to a YouTube video showing a large crowd attacking two California Highway Patrol vehicles. According to the FBI, “soup bois” may be a term that followers of the boogaloo movement used to refer to federal law enforcement agents.  While the term “boogaloo'” has been embraced by white supremacist groups and other far-right extremists, many supporters insist they aren’t racist or truly advocating for violence. As part of Tuesday’s announcement, Facebook said it has removed 220 Facebook accounts, 95 Instagram accounts, 28 Pages and 106 groups that that comprise the violent Boogaloo-affiliated network. It also took down 400 other groups and 100 pages that hosted similar content as the violent network but were maintained by accounts outside of it. The company said it has so far found no evidence of foreign actors amplifying boogaloo-related material. Social media companies are facing a reckoning over hate speech on their platforms. Reddit, an online comment forum that is one of the world’s most popular websites, on Monday banned a forum that supported President Donald Trump as part of a crackdown on hate speech. Live-streaming site Twitch, which is owned by Amazon, temporarily suspended Trump’s campaign account for violating its hateful conduct rules. YouTube, meanwhile, banned several prominent white nationalist figures from its platform, including Stefan Molyneux, David Duke and Richard Spencer. Civil rights groups have called on large advertisers to stop Facebook ad campaigns during July, saying the social network isn’t doing enough to curtail racist and violent content on its platform, and several major advertisers have signed on to the boycott.  Violent and extremist groups are increasingly turning to encrypted communications networks and fringe social platforms with no content moderation, which makes them more difficult to track.  

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New Study Suggests Weightlifting Changes Brain as Well as Muscles

A new study published this week in the Journal of Neuroscience suggests weightlifting affects a person’s brain weeks before there is a noticeable change in muscles. The study, conducted by researchers at New Castle University in northeast Britain, used macaque monkeys, whose brain systems are similar to humans in regard to movement.   The researchers trained the monkeys to pull a weighted handle with one arm by rewarding them with food. Over the course of three months, researchers increased the resistance of a weighted handle week by week. The monkeys completed daily strength training sessions, including 50 weighted pulls (moving the handle at least 4 centimeters). FILE – Russia’s Andrey Demanov competes during the men’s 94kg group A weightlifting event of the London 2012 Olympic Games at The Excel Centre in London on August 4, 2012.The experiment revealed that weightlifting strengthens the nervous system through a motor tract called the reticulospinal tract, and this change occurs weeks before any muscle is added. Newcastle University researcher Isabel Glover, co-author of the study, explained that when people lift weights, they get stronger because the neural input to the muscles increases.  “It’s a few weeks later that the muscles themselves start to get bigger,” Glover said. Professor Stuart Baker, the study’s other co-author, said this change in the nervous system helps weightlifters activate their existing muscles more efficiently. Baker said these neural changes in the brain also have other physiological benefits. “If we understand the neural mechanisms of strength, then we can start to think about how to help individuals suffering from a loss of strength, such as following a stroke,” he said.  

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У жителей путляндии все меньше свободных денег

У жителей путляндии все меньше свободных денег.

Пока власти путляндии обнуляют опущенного карлика пукина, финансовое благосостояние или точнее положение верноподданного населения продолжает скатываться на дно, даже несмотря на подачки от паханата
 

 
 
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Три основні причини падіння рейтингу зеленого карлика. Чому українці перестають довіряти президенту?

Три основні причини падіння рейтингу зеленого карлика. Чому українці перестають довіряти президенту?

Пояснюю, чому у зеленого карлика стрімко падають рейтинги та хто в цьому винен.

Блог про українську політику та актуальні події в нашій країні
 

 
 
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Найкращі пропозиції товарів і послуг в Мережі Купуй!
 
 
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Measles Mumps and Rubella Vaccine May Protect Some People from COVID-19

Something data crunchers have noticed during the coronavirus pandemic: countries with recent outbreaks of measles have fewer deaths and serious illnesses from the coronavirus. Is this a coincidence? Or is there something about the measles mumps and rubella vaccine that protects against the worst outcomes of the coronavirus? We learn more from VOA’s Carol Pearson.Produced by: Barry Unger

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The Infodemic: Claim that US Engineered Coronavirus Debunked

Fake news about the coronavirus can do real harm. Polygraph.info is spotlighting fact-checks from other reliable sources here​. Daily DebunkClaim: The novel coronavirus was intentionally engineered by the U.S. government in research overseen by Dr. Anthony Fauci.Verdict: FalseRead the full story at: USA TodaySocial Media DisinfoFlourishClaim: COVID-19 became a leading cause of death globally by the end of May 2020.Verdict: Mostly AccurateRead the full story at: Health Feedback

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Как в путляндии рисуют победу на голосовании за поправки

Как в путляндии рисуют победу на голосовании за поправки.

Обнуление опущенного карлика пукина идет уже несколько дней и пока мы наблюдаем и фиксируем нарушения, нас уверяют, что проголосовало уже 40 млн россиян. Хотя это не удивительно, ведь по всей стране, не то что в каждом дворе, они ходят даже по квартирам тех, кто не подавал заявку на надомное голосование. Ведь им нужна ваша подпись, что вы приняли в этом участие, только и всего, а как этот голос посчитают – это уже совсем другая история
 

 
 
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Гражданин никто. Обнуление Михаила Ефремова

Гражданин никто. Обнуление Михаила Ефремова.

Михаил Ефремов назвал опущенного карлика пукина кормильцем, а себя клоуном, которы читал стихи с критикой власти исключительно ради финансовой выгоды
 

 
 
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Украинский броневик КОЗАК-5 показал себя и готов протистоять гибридным силам армии путляндии !

Украинский броневик КОЗАК-5 показал себя и готов протистоять гибридным силам армии путляндии !
 

 
 
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Найкращі пропозиції товарів і послуг в Мережі Купуй!
 
 
Ваші потенційні клієнти про потрібні їм товари і послуги пишуть тут: MeNeedit
 

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Ugandan Creates COVID Shield for Motorcycles

As part of measures to curb the spread of COVID-19, a Ugandan innovator has come up with a plastic shield for motorcycles to protect both driver and passenger. The shield is seen as not just reducing body contact, which could spread the virus, but also added security for motorcycle taxi drivers.  Halima Athumani reports from Kampala.VIDEOGRAPHER: Francis Mukasa
PRODUCER: Jon Spier   

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Britain’s PM Discusses Post-COVID-19 Economy 

Saying it is not too soon to begin planning for the post-COVID-19 economy, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson Tuesday pledged to invest more than $17 billion in the country’s education system and $6.13 billion for infrastructure investment. Speaking at Dudley College of Technology in central Britain, Johnson acknowledged it might seem premature to discuss a post-COVID future in light of recent surges of the virus in the nation and elsewhere in the world. But he maintained that Britons cannot continue to be “prisoners of this crisis.” Comparing his plan to former U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s “New Deal” programs of the 1930’s designed to lift the United States out of the Great Depression, Johnson pledged to “build, build, build” and speed up government plans for new schools, hospitals and road repair. Johnson renewed a campaign pledge to build 40 new hospitals in Britain, with Health Secretary Matt Hancock releasing the list of new buildings in the next few days. He also pledged to continue and step up funding for the National Health Service and “fix the problems of social care that every government has flunked for the past 30 years.” Noting the economic downturn driven by the COVID-19 pandemic, Johnson said, “We must work fast, because we know that people are worried about their jobs and their businesses.” As Johnson spoke of the post-COVID economy, the reality of the pandemic was evident in the British city of Leicester, where a spike in coronavirus infections prompted the government to reinstate a lockdown. All the city’s schools and non-essential shops were forced to close, fewer than two weeks after they had been allowed to reopen. 

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Chinese Scientists Discover New H1N1 Virus Strain That Could Infect Humans

Scientists in China have identified a new strain of a flu virus in pigs that has the potential to infect humans and lead to a new pandemic.
 
In a paper published in the U.S.-based journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the scientists say the new “G4” strain was discovered during a surveillance program of pig farms and slaughterhouses across 10 provinces between 2011 and 2018.   
 
The new virus is a variation of the H1N1 swine flu virus that killed hundreds of thousands of people around the world in 2009.   
 
The scientists discovered the G4 virus has already infected workers at various farms and slaughterhouses throughout China.  The new H1N1 strain can grow and quickly multiply in the cells that line the airways of humans, although there is no current evidence the illness can spread through human-to-human contact.   
 
But the researchers also found that although G4 is derived from H1N1, current flu vaccines do not provide any immunity from the new virus.
 
The research paper said that G4 have all the “essential hallmarks of a candidate pandemic virus.”  The scientists urged pig farmers to control the spread of the virus among pigs, and to closely monitor people who work with the animals.   
 
The study’s release comes as the world is in the grips of COVID-19 pandemic which has sickened over 10.2 million people worldwide and killed over 500,000 since it was first detected late last year in the central city of Wuhan.   

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Social Media Platforms Face Reckoning Over Hate Speech 

For years, social media platforms have fueled political polarization and hosted an explosion of hate speech. Now, with four months until the U.S. presidential election and the country’s divisions reaching a boiling point, these companies are upping their game against bigotry and threats of violence. What’s not yet clear is whether this action is too little, too late — nor whether the pressure on these companies, including a growing advertiser boycott, will be enough to produce lasting change. FILE – Reddit employees work at the company’s headquarters in San Francisco, California, April 15, 2014.Reddit, an online comment forum that is one of the world’s most popular websites, on Monday banned a forum that supported President Donald Trump as part of a crackdown on hate speech. Also on Monday, live-streaming site Twitch, which is owned by Amazon, temporarily suspended Trump’s campaign account for violating its hateful conduct rules. YouTube, meanwhile, banned several prominent white nationalist figures from its platform, including Stefan Molyneux, David Duke and Richard Spencer.  Social media companies, led by Facebook, now face a reckoning over what critics call indefensible excuses for amplifying divisions, hate and misinformation on their platforms. Civil rights groups have called on large advertisers to stop Facebook ad campaigns during July, saying the social network isn’t doing enough to curtail racist and violent content on its platform.  Companies such as the consumer goods giant Unilever — one of the world’s largest advertisers — as well as Verizon, Ford and many smaller brands have joined the boycott, some for the month of July and others for the rest of the year. New companies have been signing on to the boycott almost every day. While some are pausing ads only on Facebook, others have also stepped back from advertising on Twitter and other platforms. On Monday, Ford Motor Co. put the brakes on all national social media advertising for the next 30 days. The company says hate speech, as well as posts advocating violence and racial injustice, need to be eradicated from the sites. FILE – The Twitter and Facebook logos are seen with binary cyber codes in this illustration, Nov. 26, 2019.While the ad boycott has dinged Facebook’s and Twitter’s shares, analysts who follow the social media business don’t see it as having a lasting effect.  Raymond James analyst Aaron Kessler noted that YouTube has faced several ad boycotts in the past over hate speech and other objectionable material. Each time, it adjusted its policies and the advertisers returned. In addition, July is generally a slow month for advertising. Companies have also been cutting their ad budgets due to COVID-19, so the spending declines are not a surprise for investors. Kessler called Facebook’s stock pullback — its shares fell more than 8% on Friday, then rallied a bit Monday — a “buying opportunity.” Reddit’s action was part of a larger purge at the San Francisco-based site. The company said it took down a total of 2,000 forums, known as the site as “subreddits,” most of which it said were inactive or had few users.  The Trump Reddit forum, called The_Donald, was banned because it encouraged violence, regularly broke other Reddit rules, and defiantly “antagonized” both Reddit and other forums, the company said in a statement. Reddit had previously tried to discipline the forum. “We are cautiously optimistic that Reddit is finally working with groups like ours to dismantle the systems that enable hateful rhetoric on their platform,” Bridget Todd, a spokeswoman for the women’s advocacy organization UltraViolet, said in an emailed statement.  The group said its members met with Reddit CEO Steve Huffman via Zoom last week, encouraging him to address racism and hate speech on the platform. Despite optimism from some critics, others said it is not clear if such measures will be enough. For years, racist groups “have successfully used social media to amplify their message and gain new recruits,” said Sophie Bjork-James an anthropology professor at Vanderbilt University who specializes in white nationalism, racism and hate crimes.  “However, limiting access to a broader public will have unintended negative consequences. Far-right and white nationalist groups are increasingly gathering on encrypted apps and social media sites that do not monitor for offensive speech or violent content,” she added. “This shift allows for coordinating more violent and radical actions.” The algorithms tech companies developed to keep users glued to their services “have provided perhaps the biggest boon to organized racism in decades, as they help racist ideas find a much larger and potentially receptive audience,” Bjork-James said, adding that she is hopeful that the same companies that “helped this anti-democratic movement expand” can now help limit its impact. For its part, Twitch pointed to comments the president made at two rallies, videos of which were posted on the site.  Supporters of President Donald Trump cheer as he arrives on stage to speak to a campaign rally at the BOK Center, June 20, 2020, in Tulsa, Oklahoma.In one, a live stream of a rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Trump talked about a “very tough hombre” breaking into someone’s home. The other was from a 2015 campaign rally that was recently posted on Twitch, in which Trump said Mexico sends rapists and criminals to the U.S. Twitch declined to say how long the suspension will last. The White House referred a request for comment to Trump’s reelection campaign. Tim Murtaugh, the campaign’s director of communications, said that people who want to hear directly from the president should download the campaign’s app. Reddit has  tweaked its rules and banned forums  for white nationalists  over the years in an attempt to rid its platform of vitriol, sometimes producing significant user backlash as a result. CEO Steve Huffman said earlier this month that Reddit was working with moderators to explicitly address hate speech. 

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Asian Markets Rebound Tuesday on Good Economic News from China and US

Better-than-expected economic numbers from China Tuesday helped Asian markets rebound from Monday’s staggering losses.  Tokyo’s Nikkei index gained 1.3% Tuesday, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index was up 0.5% and the Shanghai’s Composite index finished 0.7% higher.   The S&P/ASX index in Sydney earned 1.4%, with Seoul’s KOSPI index up 0.7% and the TSEC in Taiwan up 0.6%.  Mumbai’s Sensex was trading 0.5% in late afternoon trading.   China’s monthly survey of factory managers, the purchasing managers index, was 50.9 for June, just above the mark that separates expansion and contraction.  Investors also reacted positively to Monday’s report of a stronger-than-expected U.S. housing market in the face of a rising number of COVID-19 cases across the United States, which led to a strong closing for Wall Street. But the situation is much different in Europe, with the FTSE index in London down one percent, the CAC-40 in Paris down 0.5%, and the DAX index in Frankfurt is trading 0.3% lower.   In oil markets, U.S. crude is selling at $39.32 per barrel, down 0.9% per barrel, while the international standard, Brent crude, is selling at $41.52 per barrel, down 0.4%.   And the Dow Jones, S&P 500 and Nasdaq are all trending negatively, indicating a slow opening on Wall Street Tuesday. 

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