Ammon News, Panorama

Coronavirus: Florida Disney World to reopen as COVID-19 cases surge

[7/11/2020 4:25:09 PM]

AMMONNEWS - “The Most Magical Place on Earth” is reopening after nearly four months with new rules in place to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 as cases surge. Walt Disney World’s Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom are reopening Saturday, while Epcot and Disney’s Hollywood Studios will follow four days later. The reopening comes as a huge surge of Floridians have tested positive for the new coronavirus in recent weeks. Many cities and counties around the state have recently reinstated restrictions that had been lifted in May, when cases seemed to drop. All of Disney's Orlando parks closed in mid-March in an effort to stop the virus’s spread. Universal Orlando and SeaWorld Orlando closed around the same time but reopened several weeks ago after instituting similar rules to protect employees and customers from the virus. Disney's new rules include mandatory masks and social distancing. Visitors will need reservations to enter a park, and they won't be allowed to hop between parks. Both visitors and employees will receive temperature checks when they enter. Fireworks shows and parades have been suspended to prevent drawing too many people together. Disney has been opening its parks back up around the globe for the past two months. In May, the company opened Disney Springs, a complex of shops, restaurants and entertainment venues in Lake Buena Vista. *AP

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Thai monkey trainer rejects claims on coconut harvesting leading to UK boycott

[7/11/2020 4:23:54 PM]

AMMONNEWS - A monkey trainer in southern Thailand said on Saturday that few monkeys are involved in harvesting coconuts for export, disputing an activist report which has caused several British supermarkets to ban coconut products from the country. Nirun Wongwanich, 52, who trains monkeys to fetch coconuts at a “monkey school” in the province of Surat Thani, said most coconuts used for export are harvested by humans with poles. Only a few farms in the south use monkeys for taller coconut trees, he said, denying accusations of cruelty. “There is no truth to that. I have been with monkeys for over 30 years ... I have a bond, a relationship with them,” Nirun told Reuters, adding that he trains six to seven monkeys a year. For all the latest headlines follow our Google News channel online or via the app Earlier this month several British retailers pulled Thai coconut products from their shelves after a report by People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) alleged that coconuts in Thailand are picked by abused monkeys. Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s fiancée Carrie Symonds called on other supermarkets to follow suit. “Glad Waitrose, Co-op, Boots & Ocado have vowed not to sell products that use monkey labor, while Morrisons has already removed these from its stores,” she tweeted. PETA has said it believes virtually all coconuts from Thailand are picked by monkeys. However, Thailand’s government has denied the PETA report, saying the use of monkey labour is “almost non-existent”. Mananya Thaiset, Thai deputy minister of agriculture, said Thailand’s 200,000 coconut growers overwhelmingly use human labor and machines for harvesting. “Even all the monkeys in the entire forest won’t be enough for the industry,” Mananya said. A PETA official on Saturday rejected the Thai arguments. “The industry’s efforts to side-track the issue with a count of the number of farms and monkeys ... only shows the world they are trying to do more of the same – keep monkeys in chains,” PETA Asia official Nirali Shah said. Thailand last year produced more than 806,000 tons of coconut from 1,243.7 square kilometers, government data shows. It exported coconut milk worth 12.3 billion baht ($396 million), about 8 percent to Britain. *Reuters

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Newly discovered comet streaking past Earth, providing spectacular nighttime show

[7/11/2020 4:22:42 PM]

AMMONNEWS - A newly discovered comet is streaking past Earth, providing a stunning nighttime show after buzzing the sun and expanding its tail. Comet Neowise swept within Mercury’s orbit a week ago. Its close proximity to the sun caused dust and gas to burn off its surface and create an even bigger debris tail. Now the comet is headed our way, with closest approach in two weeks. NASA’s Neowise infrared space telescope discovered the comet in March. Scientists involved in the mission said the comet is about 5 kilometers across. Its nucleus is covered with sooty material dating back to the origin of our solar system 4.6 billion years ago. The comet will be visible around the world until mid-August, when it heads back toward the outer solar system. While it’s visible with the naked eye in dark skies with little or no light pollution, binoculars are needed to see the long tail, according to NASA. Astronauts aboard the International Space Station have already caught a glimpse. NASA’s Bob Behnken shared a spectacular photo of the comet on social media late Thursday, showing central Asia in the background and the space station in the foreground. “Stars, cities, spaceships, and a comet!” he tweeted from orbit. *AP

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Saudi Arabia’s Riyadh Metro to be partially opened before end of year: Authorities

[7/7/2020 4:54:35 PM]

AMMONNEWS - Authorities in charge of the development of Saudi Arabia’s Riyadh Metro project confirmed it will be partially opening before the end of this year, according to several media reports. The $27 billion Riyadh Metro project is part of the Kingdom’s capital’s expansion plan to turn it into a megatropolis and improve the transportation infrastructure of the city. “The sky is the limit for our ambition in Riyadh, and we anticipate doubling of the city’s population to 15 million as well as doubling of the size of the economy with the implementation of more than 18 giant projects, including Riyadh Metro, Al-Diriyah, Qiddiya, Riyadh Art and Green Riyadh,” Fahad Al-Rasheed, president of the Urban20 (U20) and the Royal Commission for Riyadh City (RCRC), was quoted as saying by the Saudi Gazette newspaper following a television appearance. Back in January, al-Rasheed spoke to Al Arabiya on the sidelines of the 2020 World Economic Forum in Davo and said the metro project was part of the city’s wider expansion plans to increase public transport percentage from one percent to 20 percent. Construction on the 176-kilometer metro began in 2014 after contracts were awarded to consortiums headed by US construction giant Bechtel Corp, Spain’s Fomento de Construcciones y Contratas and Italy’s Ansaldo STS, according to Reuters. *Al Arabiya

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Johnny Depp says ex-wife Heard is lying during libel case against UK tabloid

[7/7/2020 4:53:17 PM]

AMMONNEWS - Hollywood star Johnny Depp accused his ex-wife, actress Amber Heard, of conducting extra-marital affairs and lying about him beating her up when heappeared in a London court on Tuesday to pursue legal action against a British tabloid newspaper. Depp, the 57-year-old star of the “Pirates of the Caribbean” films, is suing The Sun’s publisher, News Group Newspapers, and its executive editor, Dan Wootton, for libel over an article Wootton wrote in April 2018 calling him a “wife beater.” Lawyers for Britain’s Sun tabloid said they would demonstrate that the accusation was accurate and that the actor’s recollection may be affected by his excessive drug use. Depp, wearing a dark suit and glasses and speaking in a deep clear tone, took the stand at the beginning of the case, while Heard, who arrived wearing a red scarf tied around her face, is also due to give evidence. “For the avoidance of any doubt, I have never abused Ms Heard, or, indeed, any other woman, in my life,” Depp said in a witness statement. Depp’s lawyer David Sherborne said in a written opening statement to London’s High Court that Heard had first aired abuse allegations in May 2016 when she obtained a restraining order against Depp and appeared to have bruises on her face caused in an incident six days earlier. For all the latest headlines follow our Google News channel online or via the app “There is a substantial body of evidence ... which clearly demonstrates that this was a lie manufactured by Ms Heard and her friends,” Sherborne said. “The Claimant’s position is clear; Ms Heard’s allegations are complete lies. The Claimant was not violent towards Ms Heard, it was she who was violent to him.” In papers submitted to the court, Depp’s team also said Heard had begun an affair with Tesla chief executive Elon Musk in early 2015 shortly after they had got married and had engaged in at least one extra-marital relationship with her co-stars, with actor James Franco named. Depp’s lawyers also said he was the victim of attacks from his ex-wife and had himself sought to avoid confrontation. Three-week case The couple met on the set of the 2011 film “The Rum Diary” and married in February 2015. Heard filed for divorce after 15 months and days later obtained a restraining order against Depp. Their divorce was finalized in 2017 when the restraining order was dismissed. Lawyers for The Sun said they will suggest Depp is either a “pathological liar or his excessive alcohol and drug abuse have detached him from any insight into his own conduct”. Cross-examined by lawyer Sasha Wass, Depp agreed he had taken “every drug known to man” by the age of 14 and said he had had a difficult childhood and struggled to come to terms withhis fame and success. “Even when I speak my own name it sounds foreign to me,” he said. The Sun’s lawyers said it was Depp’s false accusation of infidelity by Heard which led to the violence. The case is set to last for three weeks, the judge, Andrew Nicol, said. Also due to give evidence via videolink are Vanessa Paradis, Depp’s former partner, and actress Winona Ryder. *Reuters

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Rare case of brain eating amoeba reported in US

[7/6/2020 4:52:36 PM]

AMMONNEWS - A rare case of a brain eating amoeba was confirmed in Florida, US on Saturday. The Florida Department of Health (DOH) confirmed that a patient had been infected by naegleria fowleri, a microscopic single-celled living amoeba, in a tweet. The amoeba can cause the brain to suffer a severe infection that destroys brain tissue and is usually fatal, the DOH said. The amoeba can be commonly found in warm freshwater such as ponds, lakes, and rivers, the department added, with infection normally occurring when contaminated water enters the body through the nose. Once it has entered the nose, it travels to the brain and where it can begin its destructive path. The DOH said that the peak season for the amoeba is normally in July, August, and September and it can be found in many warm freshwater sources across the US, but is more common in the south. While there have been 37 reported cases of exposure in Florida since 1962, the DOH warned people against swimming in the state’s freshwater lakes, rivers and ponds during warm seaons. Symptoms of the amoeba include headache, fever, nausea, disorientation, stiff neck, vomiting, seizures, loss of balance and hallucinations, the DOH said, and urged people to get immediate medical help should they develop any of these symptoms after swimming in any warm water. “Remember, this disease is rare and effective prevention strategies can allow for a safe and relaxing summer swim season,” the DOH said. * Al Arabiya

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NFL quarterback Kaepernick signs production deal with Disney on race, social justice

[7/6/2020 4:51:15 PM]

AMMONNEWS - ESPN Films will produce a documentary series about the life of NFL quarterback and civil rights advocate Colin Kaepernick as part of a wide-ranging production deal announced by Walt Disney Co on Monday. Under the arrangement, Kaepernick’s company Ra Vision Media will produce scripted and unscripted stories that explore race, social justice and the quest for equity, a statement from Disney said. Kaepernick, whose kneeling protests sparked debate and became a symbol of the fight against racial injustice, filed a grievance against the NFL in 2017, claiming collusion as no teams signed him after he parted ways with the San Francisco 49ers. He and the NFL settled in 2019. “Colin’s experience gives him a unique perspective on the intersection of sports, culture and race, which will undoubtedly create compelling stories that will educate, enlighten and entertain,” said Bob Iger, Disney’s executive chairman. The docuseries will focus on the last five years of Kaepernick’s life through interviews and archival footage. Kaepernick said that he hopes to “elevate Black and Brown directors, creators, storytellers, and producers, and to inspire the youth with compelling and authentic perspectives” through the partnership, which will included scripted and unscripted programs. *Reuters

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