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— May 2020 —

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May 11, 2020

U.S. Mayors to Congress: This Crisis is Urgent, Cities Need Help Now.

U.S. Mayors, Washington

WASHINGTON, May 10, 2020 — As lawmakers in Washington debate the next coronavirus response package, critical resources for American cities hang in the balance according to the U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM). USCM continues to call on Congress to make federal support available to all U.S. cities.

A survey of cities shows that because of this pandemic, nearly every American town is seeing a steep drop in revenue. And without federal support, many will be forced to lay off employees and make cuts that will hurt public safety, USCM said.

With local needs growing and resources shrinking, USCM President Bryan Barnett, Mayor of Rochester Hills, Michigan, released the following urgent statement:

“Every city in America is under enormous strain, and every city in America should be eligible for federal resources to help weather this crisis. We cannot allow another week to go by without critical support. We have urgent needs. It is not tomorrow’s problem; this is a right now problem. Local and state officials are coordinating the response on the ground. They are devoting every available resource, just as much of our revenue is vanishing. Support for businesses during this crisis is important, but it is just as important to give cities the resources they need to fight the pandemic. There should be nothing controversial about helping the cities that are helping to defeat this virus. The President has said this response will be locally executed and federally supported. Cities are doing their job, and Congress should not delay sending the help they desperately need.”

The U.S. Conference of Mayors is the official nonpartisan organization of cities with populations of 30,000 or more. There are nearly 1,400 such cities in the country today, and each city is represented in the Conference by its chief elected official, the Mayor.

Source: U.S. Conference of Mayors.

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Edited & Posted by the Editor | 10:19 AM | View the original post

University Grants Commission (India) — Public Notice.

University Grants Commission India


Photo: University Grants Commission (India) — Public Notice.

Source: University Grants Commission, New Delhi.

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Edited & Posted by the Editor | 4:15 AM | View the original post

May 9, 2020

Edible Brands teams with 12 Recording Artists to make Sweet Music for Mom on Mother's Day.

“Songs for Mom” album features Grammy Award-winning artists and emerging stars.

Mother's Day

ATLANTA, May 9, 2020 — Edible, the world’s largest franchisor of fresh fruit arrangements and all-natural fruit snacks and dipped treats, is teaming with 12 recording artists to create a one-of-a-kind gift collection of music and treats just in time for Mother’s Day.

“Songs for Mom” covers a variety of genres, including pop, rock, R&B, and dance. The compilation features artists ranging from Grammy Award-winners like Shawn Stockman of Boyz II Men and Gospel legend Tamela Mann as well as emerging stars. The artists are celebrating mothers and all that the mothers do, especially during these stressful times, Edible explained.

The album is included in two Edible Mother’s Day gift bundles and is also available for $9.99 as an add-on at checkout for other orders.

According to Edible, it “partnered with these fantastic artists for exclusive rights to release the album through Edible’s website leading into Mother’s Day before it goes viral on other platforms worldwide.”

Edible’s President Cheikh Mboup stated, “The addition of music fits perfectly with Edible’s mission of celebrating life’s most special moments with a gift or treat crafted to WOW.”

“We are continually exploring new ways to connect with our customers emotionally,” he said, adding that artists share a common bond of vision, risk-taking, and passion with Edible’s entrepreneurial spirit.

“From founder Tariq Farid to our franchisees, Edible’s story is about achieving the American Dream by helping people celebrate,” he said. “Artists are pursuing a similar dream, and just as we have helped so many entrepreneurs through franchising. Now we are giving artists a new venue to share their voice while also giving our franchisees one more way to help their customers celebrate special occasions.”

“Those who know the Edible story realize the role that Tariq’s mother played in his life,” he said. “It was his mother who encouraged him to move forward with his uniquely creative idea of making arrangements out of fresh Fruit. It’s only appropriate that we launch Edible’s creative entry into music on Mother’s Day.”

“Songs for Mom” includes the following:

Edible Brands is the parent company of Edible, the world’s largest franchisor of stores offering all-natural fruit snacks, dipped treats and fresh fruit arrangements with more than 1,100 locations worldwide. You can order Edible Fresh Fruit Arrangements, Chocolate Dipped Fruit, and Fresh Fruit Smoothies through any local Edible store or online at in the USA.

Source: Edible Brands

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Edited & Posted by the Editor | 2:09 PM | View the original post

One World, One Fight: Peking University Strengthens Global Cooperation amid COVID-19.

Peking University

BEIJING, May 9, 2020 — Since the COVID-19 outbreak, Peking University has been at the forefront of the battle against the novel coronavirus.

While China has gradually brought it under control, countries across the world are still struggling to contain it. In light of this, the School of Foreign Languages (SFL) at Peking University translated China’s official documents on the prevention and control of COVID-19 into Arabic. It released Counter COVID-19 Documents (Arabic Version) on May 6 during a video conference with 11 Arab ambassadors to China, director of the Representative Office of the League of Arab States to China, and 8 Arab envoys to China.

Since March, in the hope of sharing China’s anti-pandemic experience with the Arab world, faculty and students from the Department of Arabic Language have dedicated themselves to the translation of guidelines formulated by China’s National Health Commission. These valuable resources would be accessible to the broader Arab community. It would help 400 million people living in 22 Arab countries and regions learn more about the coronavirus and eventually conquer it.

The Arabic compilation includes the “Protocol on Prevention and Control of COVID-19 (Editions 1-6)”. The university invited foreign experts to check the translations and ensure their accuracy.

Besides, experts at Peking University Health Science Center have done proofreading for several vital guidance documents produced in English.

Furthermore, as part of the efforts to help foreigners better understand medical terms that they might come across in notices and news written in Chinese, the faculty, and students from the School of Foreign Languages (SFL) have put together a multilingual COVID-19 terminology handbook in 21 different languages.

Ph.D. candidate Chen Binbin from the Department of Chinese at Peking University went to great lengths to set up a translation group, known as the China-Iran Epidemic Prevention Mutual Assistance Team. He brought together over 200 volunteers from China, Iran, and Afghanistan to translate China’s anti-pandemic knowledge and experience into Persian and sharing them with Iranians via social media platforms.

Following the COVID-19 outbreak, Peking University adopted various measures in its response. It dispatched Medical teams of 454 healthcare professionals from its affiliated hospitals to Wuhan, China’s worst-hit city. This semester, over 2,800 teachers taught 4,437 online courses to more than 40,000 students on a variety of online platforms. Sixty of Peking University’s international teachers coming from 31 different countries and regions across five continents overcame the challenges posed by being in different time zones and continued to teach their classes.

According to Peking University, it has been proactive in sharing its anti-pandemic experience with universities around the world over the past few months. It participated in the university-wide dialogues of the World Economic Forum’s Global University Leaders Forum. Further, Peking University convened video conferences with partner universities, including the University of Tokyo, University College London, Cairo University, University of Michigan, and Qatar University.

International cooperation is playing a crucial role in the fight against the pandemic as the COVID-19 outbreak remains rampant in many parts of the world. Peking University said it would continue to maintain online communication with higher education institutions across the globe, and all members of the Peking University community will spare no effort to support the global fight.

Source: Peking University.

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Edited & Posted by the Editor | 9:22 AM | View the original post

May 8, 2020

Hong Kong Company announces Non-Touch Smart Sterilizer.

Powerful infrared smart bacteria killer.

Infrared Sanitizer

Photo: Nomu touch-less infrared sanitizer to prevent cross-infection.

Infrared Sanitizer

Photo: Nomu Infrared Sanitizer. Inside the carriage and on public transportation.

Infrared Sanitizer

Photo: Nomu Infrared Sanitizer. Door handles and elevator buttons.

HONG KONG, May 7, 2020 — As the virus continues to spread, the latest news reports show that air droplets transmit the infection. For example, sneezing mixed with the virus will spread to the surrounding environment through the upper respiratory tract. Even adults with robust immune systems can be vulnerable in places with a high population density, frequent commuting, and poor air circulation. The bacteria come into contact with human skin, the respiratory tract, and the sensory system, invading humans, causing various epidemic diseases.

Smartphone brand Nomu has announced a non-touch smart sterilizer for killing bacteria.

The Bacteria also spread by direct contacts such as through the hands and feet. Exposure through elevators, tableware, pets, toilet bowls, and other items can also cause spread.

Nomu Infrared Sanitizer sprays disinfectant. Users can put it on the main home entrance, above door handles, and elevator buttons. Besides, users can quickly install it in public transportation, restrooms, office areas, and cloakrooms.

Here are its main six features.

• Smart sensor

The sterilizer’s automatic smart induction operation means that users will only need to put their hand under it for the product to spray disinfectant there automatically.

• Dual nozzle

The dual nozzle of the Nomu Infrared Sanitizer has a disinfectant water spray outlet on the side and bottom. The side nozzle is for disinfecting moving objects such as human hands and courier packaging, while the downward nose is for the position of the door handle, and back up for the side nozzle.

• Customize spray metering

The user can adjust the spraying volume according to the needs. The device can spray 200 to 300 times in one fill, more than enough to meet the demand for a week of spray disinfection.

• Three smart modes: Away Mode + People Mode + Manual Adjustment Mode

When the product detects that something is approaching within a distance of 0-100 cm, it immediately enters the state to be sprayed and guides the approaching object to leave. This Mode is suitable for elevators and toilets. In the people mode, when the product detects that an object is approaching within a distance of 0-50 cm, it will immediately spray disinfectant.

Users can put it in any position without any restrictions. The product package includes double-sided tape that one can use multiple times and paste it anywhere. Unique rope suspension design can be hung at a high place to disinfect a broader environment.

Source: Nomu.

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Edited & Posted by the Editor | 1:27 PM | View the original post

May 6, 2020

Media Company Millenasia releases Korean Pop Music Video "Be The Future" to Schools to Urge Youth to Stay Safe During COVID-19.

Korean Pop Music Unesco

SEOUL, South Korea, May 6, 2020 — Millenasia, a millennial brand for quality Asian content, today released “Be The Future,” a K-Pop music video encouraging young people to take measures to prevent the transmission of COVID-19. In releasing the video, the Millenasia Project band urged the world to unite in support of the 1.5 billion learners who have been affected by school and university closures as a result of COVID-19.

Millenasia is a next-generation media company focused on targeting Asian millennials.

The music video — starring Millenasia Project, a project band composed of K-Pop artists AleXa, Dreamcatcher and IN2IT — was conceived by Millenasia and created in partnership with the Varkey Foundation, a member of UNESCO’s Global Education Coalition.

According to UNESCO, 1.5 billion students have been affected by school and university closures due to the COVID-19 outbreak. In direct response, UNESCO launched the Global Education Coalition to facilitate inclusive learning opportunities for children and youth during this period of sudden and unprecedented educational disruption.

Stefania Giannini, Assistant Director-General for Education at UNESCO, said, “I am delighted that these K-pop artists have united in sending an important message about staying safe during this global pandemic. Our Global Education Coalition is determined to do all it can to facilitate inclusive learning opportunities for the 1.5 billion students and youth across the planet that have been affected by school and university closures due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Crucially, we’re determined to put the teacher voice at the heart of our mission to give every child their birthright, a good education.”

The Varkey Foundation, which established the annual US $1 million Global Teacher Prize to shine a light on the global teaching profession, was also excited to partner on the new music video.

Sunny Varkey, Founder of the Varkey Foundation and Global Teacher Prize, said: “This music video is a fantastic way to ensure important messages about COVID-19 reach young people throughout the world. I am delighted that this video features 2020 Global Teacher Prize finalist, Yun Jeong Hyun, highlighting how teachers across the world continue to inspire, even as the world shifts under their feet. Now, more than ever, we must shine a light on the world’s teachers.”

“With hundreds of million fans around the world, K-Pop has proven to be a global sound for music,” Keiko Bang, CEO of Millenasia, said. “We wanted to make sure we were able to use a medium that would be family-friendly, but more importantly, resonated with the youth.”

AleXa said, “I strongly hope that this song and its message of health catches young people’s attention. Don’t let the seclusion get you down. It’s important to stay connected to school, teachers, and friends.”

It is for the first time K-Pop has been used as part of a UNESCO initiative and is a tribute to the medium, which has accumulated more than an estimated 400 million fans in over 230 countries and regions worldwide. “Be The Future” delivers a universal and profoundly important message that will resonate with people from all walks of life, media company Millenasia said.

The Millenasia Project band was filmed and recorded just outside of Seoul, South Korea, in late April with the production exercising best practices for social distancing at work. The music video collaboration was conceived, produced, and released by Millenasia in just four weeks with composition, lyrics, and choreography turned around in only two weeks.

• Watch the Official Music Video on YouTube here…

The artists, IN2IT, Dreamcatcher, and Alexa in a joint statement, said:

“We urge the world to unite to support the 1.5 billion learners who have been affected by school and university closures as a result of COVID-19. Amidst this crisis, the world has discovered new reserves of creativity, compassion, and resolve. We must ensure that the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on education strengthens, rather than weakens, our resolve to fulfill every child’s right to good education”.

“Be The Future” is available now through Millenasia’s YouTube channel, and on Apple Music, Spotify, Melon, Anghami, Boomplay, and 25 other music platforms around the world.

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Edited & Posted by the Editor | 11:51 AM | View the original post

May 5, 2020

Universities Must Step Up to Survive After COVID-19 — Global Experts.


The Economist

DOHA (QATAR), WASHINGTON, ATLANTA, and LONDON, May 4, 2020 — Students will have the power to bankrupt universities that do not meet their expectations in a post-COVID-19 world, a US educator has warned. He was speaking at the launch of a major new research report into the future of higher education, commissioned by the Qatar Foundation (QF).

The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) has produced that report. It is entitled “New schools of thought: Innovative models for delivering higher education.” The report outlines how higher education institutions must adapt to survive as they face dwindling public funding, questions over their value, and the challenges that technology and automation pose.

At the launch of the report today, an EIU panel discussion sponsored by QF saw education experts from three continents explore its findings and share their views on the future of higher education.

Ben Nelson, Founder, Chairman, and CEO of Minerva Schools at Keck Graduate Institute, said: “Students have an extraordinary responsibility this year because, for the first time in living memory, they can bring institutions down to bankruptcy.

“They can vote with their feet in a way they have never been able to do before — opting to slip out of college for a year can shut down an institution. For the first time, the student’s role is that of the determinant partner — determining what universities should be doing and which ones should have the right to serve them going forward.”

“When societies and students interact with institutions and not get what they are paying for, there is going to be a reckoning.”

Dr. Mary Schmidt Campbell, President of Spelman College, told the discussion that academic partnerships are “critical in days like this,” adding, “Institutions have to stop being so precious and siloed and sequestered.”

“Everyone benefits from collaboration, but it takes a very different mindset to what we have now. If we fall back into marketing and competition mode, we are not going to get anywhere.”

Francisco Marmolejo, QF’s Education Advisor, said higher education institutions must “challenge their assumptions” that as soon as conditions return to normal, we may try to become the same as we were before. “This crisis is telling us we no longer have the luxury of assuming things will be as they used to be.”

Qatar Foundation for Education, Science, and Community Development (QF) is a non-profit organization. While the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) is the research and analysis division of the Economist Group. It provides forecasting and advisory services.

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Edited & Posted by the Editor | 9:38 AM | View the original post

Google Meet Premium Video Conferencing, Soon Free for Everyone, Everywhere.

Video conferencing (built with the scalability, privacy, and security required for businesses) soon available to anyone.

Google Video Conference

SUNNYVALE, Calif., May 4, 2020 — Google Cloud today announced it’s making Google Meet, Google’s premium video-conferencing solution, free for everyone with availability rolling out over the coming weeks. Starting in early May, anyone with an email address can sign up for Meet and enjoy many of the same features available to G Suite’s business and education users. One could use features such as simple scheduling and screen sharing, real-time captions, and layouts that adapt to your preference, including the expanded tiled view.

“With the lines blurred between work and home, Google Meet can offer the polish needed for a work meeting, a tiled view for your online birthday party, and the security needed for a video call with your doctor,” said Javier Soltero, VP of G Suite. “We’re in the middle of a significant worldwide shift impacting communication from the workplace to schools to the home. People want familiar, secure tools that they can use across all facets of their lives.”

Google has invested years in making Meet a secure and reliable video conferencing solution that’s trusted by schools, governments, and enterprises around the world. In recent months, it has accelerated the release of top-requested features to make it even more helpful.

Whether it’s hospitals supporting patients via telehealth, banks working with loan applicants, retailers assisting customers remotely, or manufacturers interacting safely with warehouse technicians, businesses across every industry are using Meet to stay connected.

Starting next week, Google will be gradually expanding Meet’s availability to more and more people over the following weeks.

“Meet is designed, built, and operated to be secure at scale. Since January, we’ve seen Meet’s peak daily usage grow by 30x. As of this month, Meet is hosting 3 billion minutes of video meetings and adding roughly 3 million new users every day. And as of last week, Meet’s daily meeting participants surpassed 100 million. With this growth comes great responsibility. Privacy and security are paramount, no matter if it’s a doctor sharing confidential health information with a patient, a financial advisor hosting a client meeting, or people virtually connecting for graduations, holidays, and happy hours,” Google said.

“Our approach to security is simple: make products safe by default. We designed Meet to operate on a secure foundation, providing the protection needed to keep our users safe, their data secure, and their information private. We operate a highly secure and resilient private network that encircles the globe and connects our data centers —ensuring that your data stays safe.” Google added.

Schools and higher education institutions may use Meet, Google said. The G Suite for Education includes Meet and consists of free Google apps tailored specifically for schools. Google Meet could serve over 120 million students and teachers globally for high-quality virtual classes, PTA meetings, parent-teacher conferences, tutoring, and even school socials, Google stated.

Google Cloud provides organizations with leading infrastructure, platform capabilities, and industry solutions. “We deliver enterprise-grade cloud solutions that leverage Google’s cutting-edge technology to help companies operate more efficiently and adapt to changing needs, giving customers a foundation for the future. Customers in more than 150 countries turn to Google Cloud as their trusted partner to solve their most critical business problems,” Google said.

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Edited & Posted by the Editor | 6:13 AM | View the original post

May 3, 2020

UNESCO's Flagship Event on World Press Freedom Day 2020.

World Press Freedom Day 2020

Paris, France, May 3, 2020 — On the occasion of World Press Freedom Day, celebrated every year on May 3, UNESCO and its Director-General, Audrey Azoulay, will host an online discussion. The participants would deliberate on the importance of free media in providing the public with reliable, independent information, vital in times of crisis. The High-level Dialogue on Press Freedom and Tackling Disinformation in the COVID-19 context will be streamed online on Monday, May 4, at 5 pm Central European Time (GMT +2).

UNESCO’s flagship event of World Press Freedom Day will bring together UN Secretary-General António Guterres, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, journalist Younes Mujahid, President of the International Federation of Journalists, Maria Ressa, investigative journalist from the Philippines, founder of the Rappler news website, and the Secretary-General of Reporters Without Borders, Christophe Deloire, alongside several other high-level participants. Prominent Mexican-born American journalist Jorge Ramos will moderate the debate.

The debate will address the danger of what the UN Secretary-General has described as the “dangerous epidemic of misinformation.” It will advocate the need for a free press in countering Disinformation, which is putting lives at risk.

The debate will follow the launch on May 3 of a global UNESCO media campaign called FACTS, which highlights the role of free and independent media in the context of COVID-19. Leading media organizations around the world are joining the campaign, developed by award-winning communication agency DDB.

UNESCO will also present the latest data from its 2020 World Trends Report on Media Independence and press freedom in times of COVID-19.

“Information is a fundamental right. In times of COVID-19, Information can save lives. I wish to pay tribute to journalists, women, and men who commit and take risks to keep us informed,” said the Director-General of UNESCO. “Their work is more important than ever, as they help members of the public know how to act and governments to make informed decisions,” she added.

Every year on May 3, the world comes together to celebrate the fundamental principles of press freedom and take stock of freedom of expression around the world. The UN General Assembly proclaimed World Press Freedom Day in 1993 on the recommendation of UNESCO’s General Conference.

“Nearly 200 years ago, Thomas Jefferson wrote that ‘the only security of all is in a free press.’ His words stand today as an apt reminder of the crucial link between press freedom and democracy,” said National Press Club President Michael Freedman. “Amid the current crisis, our reporters on the front lines reinforce every hour of every day why journalism matters.”

The National Press Club and the National Press Club Journalism Institute are joining people around the globe to commemorate World Press Freedom Day on May 3. The National Press Club is the world’s leading professional organization for journalists and represents some 3,000 reporters, editors, and expert communicators worldwide.

The motto for this year’s 27th World Press Freedom Day, organized by UNESCO, is “Journalism without Fear or Favor.”


World Press Freedom Day 2020

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Edited & Posted by the Editor | 12:37 PM | View the original post


MUCINEX, Boring Hero

Photo: But it’s irritating. Or, rather, it’s challenging Americans to stay boring.

PARSIPPANY, N.J., May 1, 2020 — As May begins, more than half of states in the U.S. are lifting stay-at-home measures in an attempt to get the country back on its feet. But many of the experts are cautioning citizens to stay focused and continue to stay home and stay safe. Mucinex, a cold and flu brand, is elevating the conversation by leveraging art, not just words, in its new public health campaign that animates and illustrates the best science-based advice for fighting COVID-19.

By continuing to follow advice on social distancing, limited outside activity, and keeping hands clean and away from faces, the series of vibrant and visually-powerful superhero images are at the center of this new campaign. They show how we can become “stay-at-home” heroes by making our boring lifestyles more fun. This message is especially crucial for younger Americans who feel less vulnerable and thus are struggling to follow a dull way of life, Mucinex said.

Mucinex and the brand’s creative agency, McCann and McCann Health, New York, have once again partnered with award-winning illustrator Noma Bar. Noma created a series of colorful and intriguing social superhero illustrations and Instagram stickers that help Americans grasp the heroism of staying home and being monotonous. According to Mucinex, Bar’s simple and imaginative works combine a clever use of negative space and bold design techniques. They show that by being a ‘boring hero,’ everyone can be a helper, keeping the front-line heroes - first responders, healthcare workers, grocery employees, mail carriers, and so many others - safe and healthy.

“The science shows staying in isn’t exciting, but it does save lives,” said Claudine Patel, Vice President, Marketing, Mucinex. “So much more than simple words, these vivid and original visuals invite consumers to show off their superhero creds by donning capes and masks and have more fun while performing mundane tasks, such as vacuuming, making a sandwich or simply taking a nap.”

This one-of-a-kind “boring” social content series launches nationally in the USA on Instagram today. Noma Bar will continue to imagine, create, and release new illustrations inspiring Americans to be heroic by staying home and having fun being boring, Mucinex said. Mucinex has also curated a group of top influencers who will help spread Bar’s images through Instagram stories.

“With the weather warming up across the nation, there is great temptation to give up our boring routine, but in reality, we should be fighting back by embracing these mundane life-saving techniques with an added dose of fun,” said Patel. “Bar’s clever illustrations help translate the contradiction of being a “Boring Hero” in a sturdy, spirited, and fun way, and we are proud to partner with him to inspire staying home and staying safe.”

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Edited & Posted by the Editor | 2:10 AM | View the original post

May 2, 2020

COVID-19 is Significantly Altering U.S. Consumer Behavior, shows a study by IBM.

Personal Mobility, Retail Shopping, and Event Attendance Are Among the Areas Most Impacted.


ARMONK, N.Y., May 1, 2020 — Findings from an IBM Institute for Business Value (IBV) survey of U.S. consumers reveal shifting personal behavior and preferences resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The study polled more than 25,000 U.S. adults in April to understand how COVID-19 has affected their perspectives on several issues, including retail spending, transportation, future attendance at events in large venues, and returning to work. The results revealed that U.S. consumers plan to make significant changes in the way they go about their lives and work in the wake of the virus.

Many consumers indicated that they plan to reduce their use of or forgo ridesharing and public transportation entirely. They also indicated they are less likely to attend significant events once the crisis abates but are more likely to participate in sporting events. Many respondents expressed changes in the way they will shop and spend their money. They showed an increased willingness to use contactless payment technologies when shopping, alongside a reluctance and hesitation to make new car purchases due to personal financial concerns resulting from the pandemic.

“The study provides further evidence that COVID-19 is permanently altering U.S. consumer behavior. There are long term implications of the new consumer behaviors for industries like retail, transportation, and travel, among others. These organizations need to quickly adapt their business models to serve the new consumer behaviors to survive and thrive,” said Jesus Mantas, Senior Managing Partner, IBM Services.

Among the more noteworthy findings:

Personal mobility could be different after the pandemic.

The survey results show consumer attitudes toward public transportation have shifted notably. More than 20 percent of respondents who regularly used buses, subways, or trains now said they no longer would, and another 28 percent said they would likely use public transportation less often.

More than half of people surveyed who used ridesharing apps and services said they would either use these less or stop using these services altogether. Findings were not quite as dire for taxis and other traditional car services, as a smaller 24 percent of people surveyed indicated they would no longer use these modes of transportation.

More use of personal vehicles.

More than 17 percent of people surveyed said that they intend to use their vehicle more as a result of COVID-19, with approximately 1 in 4 saying they will use it as their exclusive mode of transportation going forward.

One-third of respondents said that constraints on their finances would “greatly” influence their decision to buy a vehicle once COVID-19 restrictions get lifted. More than 25 percent said that a lack of confidence in the global and U.S. economic outlook would impact their decisions to buy a vehicle - with nearly the same number of people saying they would be holding off on buying for more than six months. Consumers added that manufacturer incentive programs are not likely to persuade or change their thinking.

Event attendance will be down for some time.

When asked about attendance at various types of significant events once stay-at-home restrictions get lifted, more than half of respondents said they are unwilling to be exposed to large crowds for the remainder of 2020. Conferences and trade shows had a strong response, with 75 percent indicating that they are unlikely to attend an in-person meeting or trade show in 2020. Bars and restaurants are more likely to fare much better.

More than one-third of consumers indicated they would visit these establishments, with only about ten percent saying they will not. Outdoor parks also represent a favored destination; one-third of respondents said they are very likely to visit an outdoor park after restrictions get lifted. Approximately 25 percent of consumers also indicated they would be ready to visit the beach, and 1 in 5 will be prepared to go shopping at malls and shopping centers.

Retail Experience Continues to Evolve.

Due to their concerns about COVID-19, nearly 40 percent of consumers surveyed said they are likely to use contactless payment options via their mobile device or credit card when shopping. More than 75 percent of respondents indicate they are choosing to visit stores to buy essential goods (i.e., food & beverages and household & cleaning products). However, consumers in the Northwest were more likely to buy essential goods online.

The study also reveals that the pandemic has created a priority on shopping local for those surveyed - with 25 percent of respondents indicating they are now shopping more often at locally owned stores and buying more locally made, grown or sourced products.

The Rise of the Remote Workforce.

The forced shift to operating as a mostly remote workforce has led to nearly 40 percent of respondents indicating they feel strongly that their employer should provide employee opt-in remote work options when returning to normal operations. And remote work appears to be growing on people, as more than 75 percent indicate they would like to continue to work remotely at least occasionally, while more than half - 54 percent - would like this to be their primary way of working.

The shift toward a more remote workforce could require more than a simple change of location - it may require the use of soft skills to continue to be productive and successful. A 2019 study from the IBV revealed that adaptability, time management, and the ability to work well on teams were most crucial to the workforce today. However, only 41 percent of CEOs surveyed felt they had the capability in terms of people skills and resources required to execute their business strategies. So it will be imperative for organizations to prioritize reskilling employees around these core capabilities, the IBM study concluded.

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Edited & Posted by the Editor | 2:55 PM | View the original post

May 1, 2020

Fujifilm Accelerates production of its Influenza Antiviral Drug "Avigan® Tablet" for COVID-19.

FUJIFILM, Medicine

FUJIFILM, Medicine

TOKYO, April 30, 2020 — FUJIFILM Corporation has announced the expansion of its manufacturing capacity at FUJIFILM Toyama Chemical Company. That would significantly increase the production of its influenza antiviral drug “Avigan® Tablet” (generic name: favipiravir) for treating patients with COVID-19.

To further boost the supply of Avigan, Fujifilm is allocating additional capacity at its FUJIFILM Wako Pure Chemical Co., Ltd. facility in Japan, for production of pharmaceutical intermediates used to manufacture Avigan. Besides, Fujifilm has established strategic partnerships with domestic and overseas companies for various manufacturing processes to source raw materials and pharmaceutical substances.

Fujifilm expects to progressively increase the monthly production of Avigan up to 100,000 treatment courses by July 2020, approximately 2.5 times more compared to the beginning of March when the company first began its current production run. Also, Fujifilm plans to further accelerate production up to 300,000 treatment courses by September 2020.

According to Fujifilm, the Japanese government plans to stockpile two million treatment courses of Avigan, as part of the Japanese government’s emergency economic package announced on April 7. Fujifilm said it continues to respond to requests from the Japanese government and will also engage with other countries after consultation with the Japanese government.

Avigan, approved in Japan for manufacture and sale as an influenza antiviral drug, selectively inhibits viral RNA polymerase necessary for influenza virus replication. Avigan may have an antiviral effect on the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus. Because, like influenza viruses, coronaviruses are single-stranded RNA viruses that also depend on viral RNA polymerase. To determine Avigan’s safety and efficacy to treat COVID-19, Avigan, as an investigational product, is being administered in clinical studies to COVID-19 patients.

A treatment course is the amount of Avigan Tablet described by the Japanese Association for Infectious Diseases in its guidance for a regimen of favipiravir to treat COVID-19. This 14-day treatment regimen includes two loading doses of 1800 mg each on Day 1, followed by two maintenance doses of 800 mg each on Days 2 through 14.

Avigan Tablet was approved for manufacture and sale in Japan in 2014 as an influenza antiviral drug. The drug is considered for use only when there is an outbreak of novel or re-emerging influenza virus infections in which other influenza antiviral medications are insufficiently productive.

Meanwhile, FUJIFILM Corporation has announced the initiation of a U.S. phase II clinical trial to evaluate the safety and efficacy of this influenza antiviral drug for patients with COVID-19, a respiratory infection caused by the novel SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus.

On March 31, Fujifilm announced the start of phase III clinical trial of Avigan for COVID-19 patients in Japan.

The clinical trial in the U.S. will enroll approximately 50 patients with COVID-19 in collaboration with Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Massachusetts General Hospital, and the University of Massachusetts Medical School.

Fujifilm said it would continue to work to establish a treatment method for COVID-19 patients through conducting clinical trials and to contribute to ending the spread of this global pandemic as soon as possible by increasing the production of Avigan in collaboration with strategic partners worldwide.

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Edited & Posted by the Editor | 11:39 AM | View the original post

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