World

Women Converge on Warsaw, Largest Protests in Poland in Decades

WARSAW — Ignoring the threat of prosecution and dangers posed by the explosion of coronavirus cases, tens of thousands of women outraged by a court decision to ban nearly all abortions in Poland converged in Warsaw on Friday, expanding what have been the largest demonstrations in the country since the fall of communism in 1989.With a musical medley that included Darth Vader’s theme from Star Wars, in a poke at the government, and techno music blaring over loudspeakers, crowds of women flooded the streets of the capital, many of them with the red lightning bolt that has become the iconic image of the movement emblazoned on their clothes, as the police and military security officers flanked them in every direction.They were joined by thousands of men and a wide array of groups who believe...

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World

A new nationwide lockdown in France prompts an exodus from Paris.

Thousands of people left Paris on Thursday, just hours before France went into its second nationwide lockdown, clogging the city with massive traffic jams as many sought to be confined in the countryside and less crowded areas.Lines of cars stretched across hundreds of miles in the city and on the Boulevard Périphérique, the multilane ring road that circles around Paris, in scenes reminiscent of an exodus in the spring, when France imposed its first lockdown.In March, 1.2 million people left the Paris area, nearly a fifth of its population. In some areas, the massive exodus by affluent city dwellers who decamped to their second homes helped spread the coronavirus to regions that at that point had been spared by the pandemic.This time, the virus is spreading fast throughout the country, ...

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World

Americans May Add Five Times More Plastic to the Oceans Than Thought

Mr. Siegler said the researchers had evaluated waste-disposal practices in countries around the world and used their “best professional judgment” to determine the lowest and highest amounts of plastic waste likely to escape into the environment. They settled on a range of 25 percent to 75 percent.Tony Walker, an associate professor at the Dalhousie University School for Resource and Environmental Studies in Halifax, Nova Scotia, said that analyzing waste data can amount to a “data minefield” because there are no data standards across municipalities. Moreover, once plastic waste is shipped overseas, he said, data is often not recorded at all.Nonetheless, Dr. Walker, who was not involved in the study, said it could offer a more accurate accounting of plastic pollution than the previous st...

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Business

Boarded-Up Windows and Increased Security: Retailers Brace for the Election

Nordstrom, the high-end department store chain, said it planned to board up some of its 350 stores and hire extra security for Election Day on Tuesday. Tiffany & Company, the luxury jeweler, said “windows of select stores in key cities will be boarded in anticipation of potential election-related activity.” Saks Fifth Avenue said it was “implementing additional security measures at certain locations in the event of civil unrest due to the current election.”In Beverly Hills, the police said they would take a “proactive approach” and close Rodeo Drive, a renowned strip of luxury retailers, on Tuesday and Wednesday, citing the likelihood of increased “protest activity.” The police, working with private security companies, said they would also be on “full alert” throughout Beverly Hills...

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World

Why Is Europe Keeping Its Schools Open, Despite New Lockdowns?

BERLIN — When Chancellor Angela Merkel announced the latest round of restrictions on public life, she named bars, restaurants, theaters, concert halls, gyms and tattoo parlors as institutions that would be forced to close. But missing from the list released on Wednesday were schools and day care centers — among the first to be shuttered in the spring lockdown.In France, President Emmanuel Macron also said on Wednesday that schools would be exempt from wide-reaching nationwide restrictions that are to take effect beginning Friday. Ireland also allowed schools to remain open despite a nationwide lockdown that went into effect earlier this month.Not everyone is happy with the decisions, but policymakers are taking extra precautions to reduce the risk in schools, from mask requirements for ...

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Science

A Pinnacle of Coral Is Discovered in Australia’s Great Barrier Reef

Explorers of the Great Barrier Reef have discovered a giant pinnacle of coral.This week, a team of scientists reported finding a detached coral feature that rises from the seabed to a height of nearly one-third of a mile — taller than the Empire State Building. Its discoverers call it the first large new element of Australia’s famous reef system to be identified in more than 120 years.Moreover, the new reef is flourishing, in contrast to many ill ones in the Great Barrier and around the globe. Corals in warm, polluted waters often suffer environmental stresses that can turn them white and, if prolonged, kill them off. The wastage is known as coral bleaching.“It was a good day” when the team brought the massive new reef to light for the first time, said Robin Beaman of James Cook Univers...

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Business

Without More Enforcement, Tax Evasion Will Spread Like a Virus

Few people enjoy paying taxes, but as Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr. reminded us, “Taxes are what we pay for civilized society.” On reflection, most of us therefore offer at least implicit support for penalties against tax evasion — penalties that have little meaning unless backed by significant enforcement resources.Yet prodded mainly by anti-tax Republicans, Congress has cut the Internal Revenue Service budget steadily since 2011. By 2019, the agency was auditing only one in every 222 individual returns, down from one in 90 in 2011. Similar reductions have occurred for corporate returns, and were proportionately larger for the wealthiest individuals and largest corporations.These cuts have not saved the government money. The former I.R.S. commissioner John A. Koskinen estimated, for exampl...

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World

U.S. Says Virus Can’t be Controlled. China Aims to Prove It Wrong.

The United States is hitting records in daily coronavirus cases. But China, the country first afflicted with the scourge, is having a different experience.Unlike the Trump administration, which has said it is prioritizing opening the economy while essentially giving up on controlling the pandemic, China moved aggressively to stop the virus. The result: China’s economy is growing and life there is returning to a semblance of normal, while the United States is struggling with a third wave of infections and the prospect of new restrictions.Economic growth in China has surged, hitting 4.9 percent in the latest quarter, and consumer spending has slowly started to recover. Residents are once again flocking into malls, bars, concert halls and hair salons, while schools, subways and offices are...

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Business

How Does Harris View Big Business? Her Time as California’s Top Lawyer Offers Clues

Ms. Harris told her team to study the matter, but to avoid making requests for information that Herbalife would have to disclose publicly — a move that might affect the company’s share price.“We need to find out if Herbalife has violated the law,” a former senior lieutenant, Nathan Barankin, recalled Ms. Harris saying, “but we should not go about our business of figuring that out in a way where we are being used to make one billionaire richer than another one.”Her office met with consumers who said the company had deceived them, but ultimately the lawyers came to believe that the 1986 state order contained too many loopholes to make a successful case, said two aides to Ms. Harris from that time.Other Herbalife investigations continued. In 2016, the Federal Trade Commission won an injunc...

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Business

Whitewater Unions, and a Toobin-Like Bathroom Mistake

Zoom Zoom in the BathroomToday I went to the bathroom while in a Google meeting with a colleague and forgot to turn off my camera. I kid you not. I remembered to turn off the sound, but I had switched to a different tab during the meeting and forgot about the video. After we ended the meeting, I recreated the whole situation to see what she might have seen. Fortunately, I had kept the light off, and I had perched my laptop on the sink so that you could only have seen me from the waist up. But if you were paying attention, you would have been able to tell I was in a bathroom.Do I acknowledge this and apologize? Or do I pretend it didn’t happen and move on?— AnonymousOne of the strangest aspects of this new normal is that our homes have now become our workplaces. Our colleagues now know f...

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