‘Can I change my vote?’ Google Trends spike not unusual


President Trump, long obsessed with TV ratings, is pivoting to online metrics.

In a tweet this morning, the president claimed that the term “Can I change my vote?” has been “strongly trending” on Google since the second debate last week, and he naturally concluded that substantial numbers of Americans who have already voted early must be looking to change their minds and cast a ballot for him.

Is he right? Leaving aside for a moment the reason why people might be searching how to change their vote, let’s first look at the claim that the term was “strongly trending.” Google Trends data do show an increase in search interest for “change my vote” that began on October 22, the day of the last presidential debate between Trump and former vice president Joe Biden, but whether or not it was a spike depends on how you measure it.

The thing to know about Google Trends is that the data are relative to a specific time period. So if you looked up search interest in “change my vote” last week, you might have seen a spike on the day of the debate or the day after. Some blogs and Reddit posts pointed this out last week, and news outlets picked it up and ran with it.

But those spikes don’t represent absolute search volume. Google indexes the data on a scale of 1 to 100, and last week’s data were based on searches up until that point, measured against wherever you started the search parameters. If you look at the same term again this week, you’ll see last week’s spike all but disappears, probably because after the media wrote it—and then Trump tweeted about it—that fed the cycle of more and more search interest.

[Search interest in “change my vote” based on the last seven days shows a spike corresponding with Trump’s tweet]

Indeed, if you start searching “can I change my vote” in Google right now, you’ll see that the word “trending” appears in the autocomplete suggestions, indicating that some people searching for it are just curious about all this chatter.

[Google screenshot]

Google declined to comment on Trump’s tweet or what’s been driving these searches.

The second thing to know about the search term “Can I change my vote?”—and this is really important context—is that it’s not unusual to see interest in that term increase during an election cycle. If you look at the last five years, you’ll see similar spikes in 2016 and 2018, although those are now also dwarfed by Trump’s tweet.

This gets us back to the question of why people are searching this term. It’s a long-winded way of saying that Google Trends data are a great window into what people are interested in, but it’s one of many data points and shouldn’t be seen as a substitute for polling data or even TV ratings, and it’s especially not the same as counting actual votes. Google itself admits this in its own explanation of what Google Trends measures—and what it doesn’t.





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Halloween costumes during coronavirus pandemic: 2020 trends


The virus is still driving many of this year’s hot costumes, though. A medieval “plague doctor” outfit – complete with a bird-beak-shaped mask, to approximate that worn by doctors who treated bubonic plague victims – is one of the most popular choices so far this Halloween, says Cuthbertson.

Marie Antoinette has also been a big hit. The beheaded last queen of France is always popular, says Cuthbertson, “because people like to do it with the slit neck, but it’s actually really good [now], for social distancing, wearing the big crinoline.”

Elsewhere, people are letting their funny bone lead the way, in determining costume choice.

“Aussies, when the chips are down, tend to rely and fall back on their humour to get them through a horrible situation,” says Andrea Beattie, editor of Hallozween magazine, noting that among her 6500-member Facebook community, people plan on dressing up as a hand sanitiser bottle, a mass of toilet rolls, and “the holidays they couldn’t go on this year”.

“One guy is going as a Hawaiian tourist, and he’s also going to cover himself in flames, like Scott Morrison, when he went to Hawaii during the bushfires,” says Beattie.

Others are taking inspiration from the hit shows of this year – like the Emmy award-sweeping Schitt’s Creek and Tiger King.

“Particularly Moira from The Crowening, there’ll be a lot of ‘Caw, caw!’ this year,” says Beattie, referring to the episode of Schitt’s Creek when actor Catherine O’Hara’s character plays a half-crow, half-human in an indie movie.

Of course, with masks mandatory in Melbourne, where the city is still in a second lockdown, this Halloween will be like no other. And while rules vary from state to state, the usual trick-or-treating and big parties that mark Halloween won’t be happening.

But it seems some people are hungrier than ever for the dress-ups. Big W says it’s had a 46 per cent increase in national sales of costumes this Halloween season compared to last year’s sales. (A massive seller is a range of costumes depicting characters from the 1993 film Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas, which has just been re-released.)

In Sydney, Mark Tucker, who runs an annual Halloween event, has this year created his biggest ever haunted house adjacent to his home in Erskine Park, spending $20,000 to build it, in contrast to his normal $2000 spend.

“I thought, ‘How can we turn this around and make it a bit funnier, if you like, and not so serious?’” says Tucker, of his “Phobias and Fears” haunted house, which tells the story of Dr Evil, who has created a vaccine to stop COVID-19, but inadvertently causes a zombie apocalypse instead.

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The house, a fully-enclosed set including animatronics and people dressed as zombies, clowns and ghouls, is a COVID-safe attraction, registered with the NSW government. Its last day is on October 31.

Tucker won’t break even – “Oh, no, not even close” – but felt it was more important than ever for his community to have an event that brings them together.

Also bringing next-level commitment to Halloween this year is costume maker Rose Chong, who has made bespoke face masks to match many of the costumes she has on offer.

“You know when you have to go out in winter, and you have to put a coat on, and it just ruins the whole thing [costume]?” says Cuthbertson, of Chong’s creations. “You need to have a mask to match the costume.”

One particularly fetching one is a bright teal confection that goes with another costume that has been proving popular: Nurse Ratched, the villainous central character of new Netflix series Ratched.

Still, others are using Halloween as the impetus to pay tribute to those who have made this troubling year just a little bit sweeter.

“A couple of people in the Facebook group say they’re going as the person that’s had the biggest positive influence in their life, which is their postie,” says Beattie. “In Victoria, there’s been so much online shopping. We’re on a first-name basis with our delivery man.”

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IPL 2020, RCB vs CSK: “Spark” Trends On Twitter After Ruturaj Gaikwad’s Maiden Fifty Helps CSK Beat RCB





Chennai Super Kings’ (CSK) young batsman Ruturaj Gaikwad scored his maiden IPL half-century as MS Dhoni’s side registered a convincing eight-wicket win over Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) in Dubai on Sunday. Ruturaj Gaikwad, who had managed only five runs in previous three outings, batted positively and remained unbeaten on 65 to help CSK break their three-match losing streak, thus keeping mathematically alive in the competition. After CSK’s win, fans took to Twitter to praise Gaikwad’s march-winning knock. Apart from that another thing which started trending on Twitter was the word “spark”, which became a big talking point after CSK skipper after one of their losses had said that he didn’t see the “spark” in the youngsters to push them into playing XI.

“You don’t want to chop and change. Insecurity is something you don’t want to prevail in the dressing room. Also the youngsters, we didn’t see the spark to push the guys,” Dhoni had after their seven-wicket lose to Rajasthan Royals.

Here’s how Twitter reacted:

Speaking at the post-match presentation, Ruturaj Gaikwad said that it was tough for him as he had to spend more time under quarantine  than other players but he was confident with the way he was practicing in the nets and knew that one “good knock was around the corner”.

“It feels good, and to win the game for the team and stay not-out till the end more importantly feels better than the personal milestone. It was tough for me, quarantining for a lot more days compared to the other guys. Everyone was with me – my friends, family. I was practicing well and I knew one good knock was just around the corner,” Gaikwad said after their win over RCB.

Gaikwad also added that despite him getting out cheaply on three occasions, the team management and skipper MS Dhoni kept their faith in him. Talking about the pitch, the 23-year-old batsman said that it was on a slower side and he had to be proactive and take calculated risks against specific bowlers which paid off nicely.

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“Unfortunately just got out in three matches, but the management supported me including Mahi bhai. The wicket was slow. I was proactive out there, calculating which bowler to target and whom to not, and it worked out well for me,” he added.

With this win, CSK managed to pull themselves up from the bottom to the seventh spot. They now have eight points from 12 matches and their two remaining games are against Kolkata Knight Riders and Kings XI Punjab.

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The on-field trends and tactics that made NRL in 2020 so different


The end of the weirdest rugby league campaign since Super League is nigh.

Unlike 1997, the last time the season was turned upside down, this time the imperative was more coronavirus than commercial.

But it is the action on the field that has made season 2020 a one-of-a-kind.

Scrums become central

It seems an age ago now, but late in 2019 the NRL announced a series of rule tweaks.

One gave teams with the feed the choice of where to form a scrum.

There were immediate results, attackers bamboozling defences with set pieces and individual brilliance.

Teams quickly chose to position scrums in the middle of the field and the rate of scoring from tries doubled immediately.

Almost 40 tries have been scored within 20 seconds of a scrum win during this campaign.

Aerial protection

Another new rule this season meant a player catching the ball in air couldn’t be tackled, whether they initiated the contact or not.

It was designed to prevent situations like this.

While the effect is slight, now those who win the ball are protected for fractionally longer.

Wingers are still regularly batting the ball back to teammates when in aerial duels.

But the additional protection forces defenders to challenge or back off, tweaking the balance towards the attack.

Here, Melbourne’s Josh Addo-Carr gets stuck under leaping Raider Nick Cotric and then expects him to pass to a teammate. He gets punished.

Teams are taking advantage. More than 500 crossfield kicks have been recorded in this shortened season according to NRL Stats, compared to around 400 in each of the preceding two.

Restart decree

By far the biggest talking point of 2020 was the introduction, from round 3, of the new set restart rule when tacklers slow or impede the play the ball.

Most have praised the rule for its impact on reducing stoppages, turning what was once a penalty into a pack rolling on with a fresh set.

The result has been more action. More runs, more passes. More tackles. More tries.

But there are a few curiosities around its application.

It can be difficult to understand what set restarts are for given how quickly play moves on, and referees are less likely to call them later in matches. There have been two thirds as many set restarts in the second half compared to the first.

Tactical approach

Although set restarts are designed to discourage ruck infringements, some teams haven’t been warned off.

In some cases conceding a restart early in a set may be desirable, for example holding down the tackler for an extra second in order sort out a defensive line.

Grand finalists Penrith and Melbourne have both conceded more set restarts than they have won.

And it’s clear they’re happy to take the risk of slowing the play the ball when their opponent is running the ball out of their half, especially around the 30-metre line.

Fewer offloads, dummy-half runs

It’s clear teams, and referees, are still adapting to the new rules.

And there may be some unanticipated consequences.

There have been fewer dummy-half runs and fewer offloads than in previous seasons, likely as a result of set restarts increasing the number of conservative, one-pass hit-ups early in the tackle count.

That makes the efforts of Parramatta’s Junior Paulo, with 54 offloads — nine more ahead of anyone else and almost as many as he recorded in 2019 despite the shortened season — all the more impressive.

Momentum mysteries

Then there’s the question of momentum.

Some are claiming the new rules have made rugby league, if it wasn’t already, a game of momentum.

Over the past seven years, the team that scores a try registers the next one 55 per cent of the time. This season it’s up to 57 per cent: momentum seems to be king.

But there’s also a skew even later in the game. Tries in the last half hour come from the team that scored the preceding try 60 per cent of the time. That’s a larger increase than in previous years.

Is it fatigue? Is it teams being slow to adapt? Is it the ruthlessness, or resignation, of bubble-imprisoned players?

All remain mysteries meaning there’s plenty to watch in 2021. But first comes Sunday.

The NRL Grand Final will be held at 7.30pm AEDT this Sunday.



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Fitness Trends Predicted for 2021


With Corona pandemic shaken up the fitness industry, the motto “higher, faster, further”, has shifted the year 2021 to see more fitness trends towards holistic offers and specialization in particular clientele such as risk groups.

7 Fitness Trends for 2021.

Gyms Will Have to Meet High Hygiene Standards

Many people have stayed in shape during the lockdown period with running, walking, fitness exercises on their own or free digital services. Of these, a proud number of 73 percent intend to maintain this alternative training in the future. Most fitness enthusiasts want to go back to the gym in the future, only if training is risk-free of corona infection.

The basic condition for studio operators in 2021 is to win back the confidence of fitness fans and members of the club.

Shift of Word “gym” to a “health-oriented fitness facility”

The pandemic, which has been unique for everyone in persoal way , has brought the topic of health into focus for many people much more than before. Fitness strengthens the immune system. In fact it also needs the right and safe offers to do so.

What is needed, therefore, is the “change from a gym to a health-oriented fitness facility”. The topics “company fitness” and “company health management” will also continue to gain in importance.

Body and Mind Training

The trend towards yoga, mental training or Pilates already existed before Corona. But it has been intensified by the pandemic. More and more people want to combine physical training with mental relaxation.

This desire is triggered not only by job-related stress, also by the strenuous homeschooling with children or financial and health fears in connection with the pandemic. Therefore there is a need to strengthen the sport psychological level.

Target Group Oriented Training

Differentiated and target group-oriented training is going to be mandatory in 2021.

All-round fitness studios will continue to exist. Nevertheless boutique and micro studios with tailor-made offers will attract more and more customers. In these difficult times, specialisation can also be financially attractive for fitness studios. The more special you are, the more money you can demand from customers, will dominate.

Risk-free Home Training

For corona risk groups and senior citizens, health and fitness are just as important as for the rest of the population. It makes seniors a core target group that can be wooed with special offers and training opportunities. This will range from individual training or workouts in small training groups to special premises and digital offers for risk-free training at home.

Sport and Fitness emerge with a new Concept

fitness_trends_2021

Rather than going to the gym to train one has the option to train with workout device assistance at home or jog outside? The Corona period, including the closure of the studios, has accelerated the resolution of this either/or situation. Many equipment trailers have shifted to alternative indoor and outdoor offers.

The fitness trend is to develop holistic offers. In a sense, the gym is the pilot in this process.

Online and Outdoor Training

In the era of closed fitness studios, even more sports and fitness fans have turned to online offers. With the so-called peloton bike – a spinning bike with which you can connect with spinning fans all over the world via the Internet – you can, for example, do your cardio training in virtual competition with many like-minded people around the globe.

The topic of outdoor fitness is gaining importance precisely because of Corona: Training in particular is much less dangerous outdoors than indoors because of the draught. This can contribute to the fact that more and more equipment and activities are being moved from gyms to the outside.

Fitness is a whole new way is going to come knocking in 2021.

Disclaimer
The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.



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What new eating trends mean for small business


It was inevitable it would happen, but the outbreak of COVID-19 has pushed the fast-forward button. The way Australians are eating has changed. They’re consuming less meat and it’s not just an adjustment of their taste buds – the pandemic has caused global supply chain issues and a focus on health and safety issues.

Some have reacted quickly, creating positives from the rapid changes. As an example, local Melbourne company Flexitarian Foods launched its Plantein range of plant-based protein products, including burgers, schnitzels and nuggets made from soy protein, earlier this year in the midst of the pandemic.

Of course, the range, created to be healthy, environmentally friendly, big on taste and 100 per cent Australian made, was already being planned, but the outbreak of COVID-19 didn’t harm its introduction to the market. The uptake, says Flextarian Food’s managing director Evan Tsioukis, has been excellent, with demand from stockists, including Woolworths and IGA, increasing month on month since launch. The company is looking to add at least another 10 products to its range in 2021, and there has been interest from overseas markets.

Research conducted by Mintel backs Plantein’s findings. In Australia, consumer attitudes towards meat have changed. The newly launched consumer data tracker tool Mintel Global Consumers shows 38 per cent of consumers here agree the COVID-19 pandemic proves humans need to eat fewer animals, 17 per cent are contemplating eating fewer animal products (both dairy and meat), and 34 per cent limit their meat intake most or all of the time.

Those who still include meat in their diet have also indicated they want to eat better quality meat. But it goes further than meat and dairy products. Food miles, particularly when it comes to perishable goods, are important to many consumers, and have become only more so now that COVID-19 has highlighted health risks in production and supply chains.

Consumers want to know that their pork roast didn’t come from animals raised in a sow stall, but more broadly they want to learn where their carrots were grown and whether the bees that made their honey were feasting on leatherwood flowers or white clover. They want to know also that workers are being paid fairly and treated properly, which is far easier to assess at a micro level than it is when you’re dealing with huge chains. That all bodes well for small businesses, whether producers or retailers, who can highlight their local credentials.

So, how does this help small business? The good news is, for the moment at least, local is king, and that is unlikely to change when the rest of life returns to normal. Given a taste, if you’ll excuse the pun, of playing a part in the lifecycle of what they eat or consume will come as second nature to customers and you’ll likely find many will stick with buying from the local butcher, the farmers’ market or from stores stocking locally made preserves once we’re through the worst of the pandemic.

Now might seem like a time of great uncertainty, but the increasing interest in and market for product that clearly displays provenance – whether on the packaging, a sign at the greengrocer or the ingredients list on a cafe menu or personal care product – will prove an opportunity for those who can tilt their businesses in that direction. For most people, local equals honesty, integrity and safety, so there’s never been a better time to take those values on board and reframe your small business around them.

Daisy Li, Associate Food and Drink Director, Mintel





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Lightspeed looking to capitalize on pandemic trends with U.S. IPO, says CEO


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Dax Dasilva, Lightspeed’s CEO, said in an interview by phone Friday that a U.S. listing had been on the company’s radar since its Canadian IPO in March 2019.

Now, though, the company sees the coronavirus pandemic prompting businesses to add to or upgrade their technology and e-commerce capabilities, making it an ideal time for Lightspeed to promote itself further to possible customers and investors.

“I think that many of our merchants … may have really focused on the part of our toolkit that’s for their physical businesses,” Dasilva said. “But now with COVID, they’ve lit up e-commerce, they’ve lit up curbside pickup and takeout and delivery, and other ways to transact in the digital space.”

There is also “an opportunity to consolidate the market,” Dasilva said.

“We’ve had good execution on (mergers and acquisitions) and we have active conversations with lots of good companies that we think could help us continue to scale,” he added.

We have active conversations with lots of good companies that we think could help us continue to scale

Dax Dasilva

Lightspeed’s M&A strategy, Dasilva said, involves acquiring companies that can add capabilities, verticals and geographies to Lightspeed’s repertoire. The company has made several acquisitions since it was founded in 2005, including German hospitality-software firm Gastrofix, Australia-based point-of-sale provider Kounta Holdings Pty Ltd. and Montreal’s Chronogolf, which provides cloud-based software that helps manage golf courses.

So far, that strategy, as well as some pandemic-related tailwinds, has translated into growing revenue and customer numbers for Lightspeed. It just hasn’t translated into profit yet.



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About 60% of COVID-19 cases in Ontario are now young adults: 4 charts that explain the latest pandemic trends


In Ontario, the rate of new COVID-19 infections is at its lowest levels in four months. That’s the good news.

The not-so-good news is that of new infections — there were 132 in the 24-hour period between Sunday and Monday — those with the greatest share continue to be people between the ages of 20 and 39, even as overall numbers of new cases continue to drop. It’s a trend that began 12 weeks ago and shows no signs of abating now that all areas of Ontario are in Stage 3 of reopening.

There are two possible reasons for this, says Raywat Deonandan, associate professor and epidemiologist at the University of Ottawa: one, older people are better protected now, so in comparison younger people now account for a higher proportion of cases; and two, younger people are being more social in unsafe ways.

“It’s commonly felt that young people have a lower appreciation for risk — we see it in other public health behaviours, like speeding and drug use — particularly true for younger men. And the Ontario data do suggest that COVID is now mostly a young male thing,” Deonandan said.

“As well, young people have a much higher need for social contact. We all understand this. The combination of a rampant infectious disease, low risk perception, and high desire to mingle is a recipe for greater transmission in this age group.”

Cases in young adults climb

Provincial data shows that following the spike in mid-April of new coronavirus cases among people aged 80 and over, the 40 to 59 age group accounted for the largest percentage of confirmed cases for the next several weeks. But when late spring turned to summer, the percentage of infections in people aged 20 to 39 began to climb, hitting more than 40 per cent in early June, a threshold above which it has remained.

While those aged 20 to 39 represent the largest group affected by COVID-19, it’s important to note that the actual number of infections in this category are still decreasing. It’s just that they are decreasing at a slower rate than other age groups.

“In general, 20- to 39-year-olds tend to be more social, probably the most social group other than children interacting with each other at school, which is not a current factor in transmission in Ontario,” said Todd Coleman, an epidemiologist and assistant professor in health sciences at Wilfrid Laurier University.

But that alone doesn’t explain why this age group is seeing a higher percentage of cases than others, he said.

“It could be a number of things, more relaxed social distancing compared to other age groups, hanging out with friends again. It could be that this group are more represented in employment settings where they are more likely to come into contact with others. I really doubt that there’s one singular explanation,” Coleman said, cautioning that it’s not clear if a possible lack of use of personal protective equipment in this age group could be playing a role.

Cumulatively, there have been a total of 42,809 confirmed or probable cases of COVID-19 in the province, according to the Star’s tally of public health units. Most of those cases have affected people between the ages of 20 and 59, with women making up a higher proportion of overall cases in the over-40 age groups.

The rolling seven-day average of new cases now sits at 84 cases per day over the last week, the lowest seven-day average Ontario has seen since a mid-April peak of nearly 600 daily.

Rocky Mountain High

Alberta continues to have the highest number of active cases of COVID-19 in the country based on population — 234 cases per million people — with Quebec and Manitoba in second and third with 181.8 and 168.2 cases per million respectively.

The higher trend in Alberta is partly due to the fact that the province of 4.4 million has decided to stay open as long as active cases in regions of the province are below 50 per 100,000 people, a “liberal” cap that has also been adopted by other countries including Germany, says Jim Kellner, an infectious disease expert and professor at the University of Calgary’s Cumming School of Medicine.

Alberta also has universal testing, meaning anyone can be tested even without symptoms, which could account for the higher proportion of cases.

Like many places across the country, Alberta has seen an increase of cases in young adults aged 20 to 39, says Kellner. And many more cases are appearing in Edmonton, which didn’t have much spread at the beginning of the pandemic compared to Calgary, a travel hub.

But the impact to health care in the province remains low, says Kellner, which is another reason the province is staying open.

Currently there are 45 people in hospital with the virus and only 10 in the ICU.

Deaths there total 224, a rate of 5 per 100,000, which is much lower than the average in Canada of 24 per 100,000, a number driven by the higher number of deaths in Ontario and Quebec, says Kellner.

The U.S. has had a little over 50 deaths per 100,000, he says, and in the U.K., that number is more than 70 per 100,000.

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Kellner though is concerned about contract tracing, which has been effective in the province but is becoming harder as people are out and about and not staying close to home like they were at the start of the pandemic.

Until recently, the province had around 400 medical students who were contributing to contact tracing but they have since gone back to school, says Kellner.

Although Quebec has the second highest proportion of cases based on population, the province reported 55 new cases Monday, the fourth day in a row that cases have been less than 100, according to media reports. Patients in hospital number 145 with 25 of those in the ICU.

Ontario is sixth, with 62.4 active cases per million people. Thirty-two people are in hospital with the virus, 16 of those in ICU.

Coleman, of Wilfrid Laurier University, says increases of cases in provinces that initially seemed to have the virus under control should serve as a lesson to us all.

“I think there may be some slight confusion that reopening means no more social distancing and I think the messaging needs to be a little bit more firm and concrete that we still need to be on guard for this,” he said. “We still need to employ practices that help prevent this from passing on. And not be calm and relaxed and think this is completely gone from circulation.”

Chatham-Kent has highest COVID rates in Ontario

Outbreaks of COVID-19 among farm workers and temporary foreign workers employed in local greenhouses are under control in Chatham-Kent but the virus is still spreading due to close contact with confirmed cases.

The area has the highest number of weekly cases of the virus in the province based on population — 37 per 100,000.

The majority of close contact cases have occurred within families, including 12 cases related to a boating trip involving multiple families. There have also been some cases in the Low German-speaking communities.

A spokesperson for Chatham-Kent Public Health notes the outbreak in those communities is a regional trend occurring not only in the Chatham-Kent area but in Windsor-Essex, Oxford-Elgin, Huron-Perth, Haldimand-Norfolk and Niagara Region.

Travel outside the province is also accounting for a number of cases in the C-K public health unit, including one where a resident returning from Florida was charged under the Quarantine Act for not isolating.

Windsor-Essex has the second highest rate of weekly cases, 12 per 100,000 people, with continuing outbreaks in the agri-farm and manufacturing sectors.

And the Southwestern Public Health Unit, which covers Oxford, Elgin and St. Thomas, is third with 11 cases per 100,000.

Cases there started to rise in mid-July, says Cynthia St. John, the CEO of Southwestern Public Health, due to spread in some workplaces, family clusters and large social gatherings.

“We have continued to emphasize the need to stay two metres apart from others and to get tested even if displaying only a single symptom,” said St. John in an email, “as both the lack of physical distancing and a reluctance to test may have contributed to the surge in cases.”

Of Ontario’s 132 new cases reported Monday, most were in Toronto (32), Ottawa (19), Peel Region (18) and Hamilton (16).





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INDONESIA FREIGHT AND LOGISTICS MARKET – GROWTH, TRENDS, AND FORECAST (2020


The Indonesian freight and logistics market is currently trading at an inflection point. Being the world’s fourth-largest populated country with an excellent potential for growth, Indonesia is a key market in the global scenario.

New York, July 28, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Reportlinker.com announces the release of the report “INDONESIA FREIGHT AND LOGISTICS MARKET – GROWTH, TRENDS, AND FORECAST (2020 – 2025)” – https://www.reportlinker.com/p05797252/?utm_source=GNW
Given the scope of household consumption in a densely populated country and its strategic location on geographical terms, Indonesia, an archipelago of around 17,500 islands, is currently a center of attraction for global investment. However, logistics is a key pain point for doing business in Indonesia. Logistics cost varies between 25%-30% of the GDP in Indonesia, as compared to developed economies, where it is below 5% of the GDP. Even neighboring countries, like Malaysia, incur half the cost as a percentage of GDP for logistics expenditure. Given that Indonesia has the world’s 16th largest economy and is the fourth most populous country in the world, there is a display of momentum in the economy, with steady prospects for higher growth, in the more ideal economic scenarios.

Key Market Trends
Rail Freight Transport – To Witness High Growth

Currently, rail transport infrastructure is present only on the islands of Sumatra and Java. Rail transport by goods volume only makes around 1% of the total volume of goods transported in and out of Indonesia. However, this volume is larger than the volume handled via air freight within the country. One of the reasons attributed to this is that rail transport is mostly used for wholesale high volume bulk commodities, such as coal, while air transport is used for less space occupying high-value goods. There is an immediate need for the deployment of mass urban rail networks to shift the transport of goods and passengers away from overburdened roads. This shift will require double tracks on major trunk rail lines, the revival of dormant tracks (some 2,500 km unused, mainly on Java), and the extension of other rail lines, in addition to new station developments with improved accessibility and multimodal integration.

Indonesia’s railways are operated under the state-owned enterprise (SOE) PT Kereta Api Indonesia (PT KAI), which held the monopoly over the sector until 2007. Law No. 23/2007 signaled a shift in attitude toward the nation’s railways to include them in national development by equipping the sector with more competitive strategies in terms of service and pricing. The railroad network in Java and Sumatra has a strategic role in serving the coal transportation distribution. The railway line that directly connects the mining plant location to port access and the availability of adequate locomotives and carriages make it an attractive choice for mining companies and expeditions to establish coal transportation cooperation with trains. In terms of time, the transportation of coal by train is far more certain in time, fast to the destination, free of traffic, safe and efficient in costs, and environment-friendly as mass transportation. The country is planning to reduce the logistics costs by improving railway infrastructure with the development of new tracks in Java, Sumatra, (BRT) in 29 cities, Sulawesi, and Kalimantan – which comprises 2159 km of inter-urban railways and 1099 km of urban railways.

The Rising Manufacturing Sector of the Country Presents an Opportunity for the Logistics Sector

Indonesia, whose economy accounts for two-third of the ASEAN economy, is growing at a rate of around 5%. The development of its stagnant manufacturing sector may ignite a structurally high economic growth for a sustained period of time. A flourishing manufacturing industry exporting the domestically manufactured products will accelerate economic growth and generate plenty of employment opportunities. According to industry sources, the key strategies to boost the development of Indonesia’s manufacturing industry include diversifying the range of products that are manufactured in the country and increasing the focus on the further development of the existing manufacturing industries in Indonesia (such as the electronics, chemicals, automotive, and food industries). However, the sector would have to deal with certain challenges, such as a shortage of qualified workers and improvement in the investment climate needed to attract investment.

The rise in commodity prices, government-led infrastructure projects, and growth in consumer confidence can boost the manufacturing sector. The country also encourages investment in the manufacturing sector by allowing a wider range of imports/exports, by reducing dwelling times, as well as by revising and improving tax allowances and tax holidays that are offered to investors (who meet specific criteria). According to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), Indonesia is one of the most lucrative nations for investment. In the UNCTAD’s June 2017 survey, Indonesia was ranked 4th in terms of the most prospective investment destinations (after the United States, China, and India). The country has also drawn up a road map for upgrading five manufacturing sectors, to make it one of the world’s 10 biggest economies. The plan, titled “Making Indonesia 4.0”, released by the ministry of industry in April 2018 includes development plans for the food and beverage, textile and garment, automotive, chemical, and electronics industries.

Competitive Landscape
The Indonesian freight and logistics industry does not have a high level of industry concentration, especially with regard to the international players. International players are responsible for approximately 30% of the market size. The remaining 70% is made up of local players. Within the 70%, the concentration is medium, and even the 10 largest players do not make up for more than 30% of the local market. This can be attributed to the fact that the large players are more focused on freight transport and logistics infrastructure, and hence, are more than just logistics infrastructure providers.

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#JusticeForUwa trends in Nigeria after student murdered in church


There is outrage in Nigeria following the murder of a 22-year-old student, Uwavera Omozuwa in a church.

The hashtag #JusticeForUwa is trending in Nigeria, with her family appealing for help to track down her killers.

Uwavera had been studying in a “quiet” church near her home in Benin City when she was killed, her sister, Judith, told BBC Pidgin.

The student, who had wanted to become a nurse, died in hospital on Saturday, three days after the attack.

Judith Omozuwa said her sister had also been raped.

Her family said they received a call from a woman at the Redeemed Christian Church of God on Wednesday evening.

Uwavera was taken to hospital after a security guard found her, her skirt torn and her shirt covered in blood, Judith Omozuwa said.

‘Failure to curb gender-based violence’

However, a police spokesperson in southern Edo State, whose capital is Benin City, told BBC Pidgin that they were treating the incident as a murder, not a rape, case.

The student died following a fight at the church, the spokesperson added, without giving more details.

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Uwavera had only just been admitted to the University of Benin to study microbiology when she was killed.

She often went to sit and “read” at the church near her house as it was quiet, her sister added.

Unconfirmed reports in local media said a group of men had entered the church, raping Uwavera and hitting her with a fire extinguisher.

On Tuesday, many Nigerians were angered after a policeman allegedly shot dead a 16-year-old girl, Tina Ezekwe, in the commercial capital, Lagos.

The officer was arrested, police said.

On Twitter, many Nigerians expressed concern about the government’s failure to tackle gender-based violence, and questioned whether parents were bringing up boys properly.





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