'RHOA': New Rumors on Phaedra Parks' Return as Friend of the 'Housewives'

Phaedra Parks was a star on The Real Housewives of Atlanta for seven seasons The former peach is one of the iconic Housewives of that Georgia state-based show. After three seasons without her shady snaps, Nene Leakes has pushed for her return. There are now rumors that she is in talks to make a comeback to the Bravo reality series for season 13.

Why does Nene Leakes want Phaedra Parks back?

Parks joined RHOA in season 3 and made it all the way up to season 9. She left after she admitted to making up a lie about Kandi Burruss. The lawyer told Porsha Williams that the Grammy-award winner wanted to seduce her, implying she would take advantage of her. Following the heinous accusations, Parks departed the show.

When Leakes said that wanted Eva Marcille off the show because she didn’t bring much to the cast, she suggested Parks rejoin. She felt that she didn’t have a proper sendoff or an opportunity to make things right.

“I would like to see her come on as, like, a friend of the show,” Leakes told ET. “Play around for a couple of episodes, because I still think there’s unfinished business there.”

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“I think it is unfair for the rest of the cast to face people who they have issues with and then she doesn’t get to face who she has an issue with,” Leakes continued. “So, the one time she had a real issue with somebody, all of a sudden, they have to be off the show? So, I don’t think that part is fair, and I think it’s OK for me to speak my opinion about that, Kandi, and I will continue to do so.”

Kenya Moore didn’t even want to be bothered with what Leakes suggested when Andy Cohen mentioned it on Watch What Happens Live.

“I just don’t put any energy into things she says or does. She’s just an idiot to me, very low-brow, and has zero class, and no brain at all,” Moore said.

Is Phaedra Parks returning?

There are rumors suggesting that Parks is in negotiations to make a comeback, not as a full-time housewife, but in a “friend” role. Lovebscott is reporting that their inside sources are saying the southern belle is “exploring a return to the show.”

The same publication reported weeks ago that Burruss would not be happy with Parks coming back. In fact, it’s alleged that The Masked Singer winner has threatened to quit RHOA if the lawyer returned to the reality series.

Is Cynthia Bailey getting demoted?

Another RHOA star that might be on the bubble is Cynthia Bailey. The former model was relatively quiet during the season 12 virtual reunion which prompted many fans to question if she was returning for season 13.

It was the site called Tamara Tattles that first reported a story after an alleged insider confirmed Bailey was leaving. The online publication later said the Bravo star had been offered a limited role for the new season.

“CEO of the production company called her and asked her if she would be interested in taking a friend or reduced role,” the site reported. “She said she would have to see the offer before determining.”

However, Bailey slammed the reports and said that she had “no plans to leave RHOA at this time.”

“Every year there are rumors saying that I am getting fired, or not returning. I’ve been a peach holder consistently for 10 years now. I love my cast and my Bravo family. I am looking forward to next season,” she told The Shade Room.

No decisions have been made on the future cast for RHOA.

The Real Housewives of Atlanta ends season 12 on Sunday at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Bravo.

RELATED: ‘RHOA’: Kandi Burruss Calls out Tamar Braxton for Being ‘Biased’ in Nene Leakes Feud

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Supermarket May bank holiday opening times – here’s what time Aldi, Tesco and Asda are stores open on Monday – The Sun

THE second spring bank holiday is happening this weekend with Monday a national holiday.

If you're planning a visit to the supermarket for food or essentials we have all the information you need on opening times.

⚠️ Read our coronavirus live blog for the latest news & updates

The bank holiday – which falls on Monday, May 25 – is the second of the month, following the early VE day bank holiday on Friday, May 8.

Most major supermarkets are due to be open as normal over the bank holiday weekend, for Saturday, May 23 and Sunday, May 24 and some may have reduced hours on the bank holiday Monday.

Supermarket opening hours for the late May bank holiday weekend

TESCO

Tesco supermarkets will be open as normal over the long weekend, but some may close earlier on bank holiday Monday.

Opening hours vary between branches so if you are planning on visiting a shop, it's worth checking the Tesco online store finder first to see opening hours at your local branch.

Saturday, May 23

The majority of Tesco shops – superstores, Express outlets and Metro stores – will open at either 6am or 7am.

Shops will shut at either 10pm or 11pm, depending on the branch.

The supermarket has changed the hours of 24-hour branches because of the coronavirus outbreak to give staff more time to clean shops.

Sunday, May 24

Tesco shops will be open under Sunday trading hours as normal.

Superstores will open at either 10am or 11am, and shut at 4pm or 5pm.

While smaller Express and Metro outlets will open earlier – this is usually either 6am or 7am and close at 10pm or 11pm.

Monday, May 25

Monday is a bank holiday but shops will open as usual.

Opening times depend on the branch but some shops will be closing earlier.

When we checked most stores were opening at 8am and closing at 6pm or 8pm. This is instead of remaining open until 10pm or 11pm.

Tesco has just under 4,000 shops in the UK.

The shop has introduced special slots for NHS workers on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays between 9am and 10am.

Sunday is just a browsing hour before the checkouts open at 10am.

Any healthcare worker wishing to shop in these special slots will need to show a form of ID, such as their NHS staff card.

ALDI

Aldi confirmed to The Sun that its stores will be open from 8am until 10pm on Saturday and from 10am until 4pm on Sunday.

On bank holiday Monday, stores will be open from 8am until 8pm.

Aldi usually opens half an hour early for vulnerable and elderly customers Monday to Saturday and this applies during the bank holiday too.

Closing times can vary from shop to shop though, so it's always important to check your local branch.

You can do this by using the store finder on Aldi's website.

On April 14, Aldi extended its opening hours so shoppers can nab groceries until 10pm Monday to Saturday during normal weeks.

Aldi’s online delivery service is also currently running as normal, although it only sells non-food items on its website.

Due to increased demand, the timeframe for deliveries has also been delayed in some areas so make sure you double-check this in advance.

A standard delivery is free for orders over £20 and costs from £2.95 for orders under £20.

ASDA

Asda is open as normal on Saturday and Sunday but hours have changed for Monday.

Opening hours vary between branches so check the Asda store finder to find the opening hours of your local branch.

Breck Road, Bootle, Birkenhead, St Helens, Walton and Smithdown Road stores will be open from 8am to 8pm.

Saturday, May 23

All of Asda's shops will be open as usual on Saturday.

Most will open at 8am and close at 10pm.

Sunday, May 24

Asda shops are open from 10am to 4pm, inline with Sunday trading hours.

NHS and care workers are currently being prioritised in larger stores every Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 8am to 9am and on Sundays between 9am to 10am for browsing.

Monday, May 25

On Monday shops will open from 8am to 8pm.

Usually shops are open until 10pm but hours are being reduced because of the bank holiday.

There are 341 Asda shops in the UK.

SAINSBURY'S

Opening hours at Sainsbury's are the same as normal for Saturday, May 23 and Sunday, May 24 but have changed slightly on Monday.

The opening hours will depend on the branch so it's worth checking what time your local is open with the online store finder tool before you visit.

Sainsbury's also offers priority NHS opening hours from 7.30am to 8am Monday to Saturday.

For elderly customers there is a dedicated shopping hour from 8am to 9am Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

This weekend there is a 25 per cent off sale on all TU clothing at Sainsbury's.

Saturday, May 23

The majority of Sainsbury's shops will open as normal at 8am and close at 10pm.

Opening hours may be different for smaller shops, so always check the on the store finder first.

Sunday, May 24

Sainsbury's shops will open as normal under Sunday trading hours.

Shops will open at either 10am or 11am, and shut at 4pm or 5pm.

Monday, May 25

Monday is a bank holiday but shops will open as usual.

Opening times depend on the branch but some shops will be closing earlier at 8pm instead of 10pm.

When are the bank holiday dates for 2020?

Here is the full list of upcoming 2020 bank holidays in England and Wales.

Dates in Scotland and Northern Ireland vary.

  • Monday, May 25 (Spring Bank Holiday)
  • Monday, August 31 (Summer Bank Holiday)
  • Friday, December 25 (Christmas Day)
  • Monday, December 28 (substitute Boxing Day)

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Tesco shops will remain open for the late May bank holiday weekend.

Furniture Village is reopening some of its stores this weekend.

Poundland has also opened a further 13 branches ahead of the long weekend.

While pubs and restaurants have announced changes which will be made before reopening.

The Sun has rounded up the quietest time to hit the supermarkets during the coronavirus crisis.

Aldi has released a new traffic light system which shows when the best time to visit stores is.

Brits have been seen flocking to garden centres and golf courses after lockdown tweaks kicked in.

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Ripped Conor McGregor bursts out of floral shirt as he counts his cash and declares ‘Damn right I like the life I live’ – The Sun

CONOR MCGREGOR is not letting lockdown grind him down after counting his cash in an Instagram post.

The UFC superstar has maintained his figure after returning to the Octagon in January with a win over Donald Cerrone.

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Damn right I like the life I live

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And while he awaits his next challenge following the global spread of coronavirus, McGregor appears to be enjoying the free time.

Posing in a floral shirt, the 31-year-old replicated a painting behind him by holding a huge wedge of cash.

The MMA star appears in peak condition with his bulked torso and arms bursting out of his shirt.

Alongside the image, he wrote the caption: "Damn right I like the life I live."

McGregor has been keeping busy during the pandemic and has played his part in helping hospitals across Ireland.

After donating £920,000 of his own cash to hospitals, he followed it up by delivering PPE to 165 different locations.

It is claimed there were around 50,000 items of PPE supplied by McGregor in total.

McGregor will be hoping it won't be long before he steps back into the Octagon following the sport's return behind closed doors.

It was claimed UFC president Dana White held a meeting on Tuesday to discuss his future as he bids to earn a rematch against Khabib Nurmagomedov.

Nurmagomedov is in line to defend his lightweight title against interim champion Justin Gaethje, who won the belt at UFC 249 with an upset over Tony Ferguson.

And White reiterated on Saturday that 33-year-old Gaethje will fight Nurmagomedov, 31, with The Notorious instead being forced to face another challenge.

White said: "We're going to do Khabib and Gaethje in September.

"We'll see what happens with Conor this summer, but I'll be back in the office matchmaking.

"We're going to get back to work and the matchmaking meeting is on Tuesday."

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Tokyo Olympics face ‘real problems’ next summer due to coronavirus pandemic

Tokyo Games organisers face “real problems” staging the Olympics next year as coronavirus infections continue to soar, senior international Olympic official John Coates said.

Coates, Australia’s Olympic chief and head of the International Olympic Committee’s inspectorate for Tokyo, said organisers had to assume there would be no vaccine for COVID-19, or none in sufficient quantity, in time for the Games.

“We’ve got real problems because we’ve got athletes having to come from 206 different nations,” Coates told a roundtable held by Australia’s News Corp.

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“Yesterday, there was 10,000 new cases in Brazil. Very few countries are as advanced in coping with this as (Australia).

“(Japanese) Prime Minister (Shinzo) Abe says Games can only happen in 2021. We can’t postpone it again and we have to assume that there won’t be a vaccine or, if there is a vaccine, it won’t be sufficient to share around the world.”

In March, the IOC and Japanese government took the unprecedented decision to delay the Games, which had been due to start in July, for a year due to the coronavirus outbreak.

COVID-19 has infected more than five million people and killed about 334,000 people around the world, with countries like Brazil and the United States struggling with thousands of new cases every day.

Coates said Games organisers would need to start planning in October for what could be a “very different” Olympics if there were no signs COVID-19 was being eradicated.

“By October this year, if there are signs that it is being contained but not eradicated, then we are starting to work through — and we’re preparing for it now — the different scenarios by which the sport could take place,” he said.

“Do we quarantine the Olympic Village? Do all athletes when they get there go into quarantine? Do we restrict having spectators at the venues? Do we separate the athletes from the mixed zone where the media are?

“We’ll have a whole range of scenarios we’ll start to address this year on the basis that the Games will still take place for the athletes next year.

“But it could be a very different Games to what we’re used to.” Reuters

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Russian nurse caught wearing only lingerie under see-through PPE gown

Nurse who only wore underwear under transparent PPE gown on male hospital ward in Russia because she was ‘too hot’ is disciplined (but the patients don’t seem upset!)

  • Female nurse pictured wearing ‘lingerie’ under PPE gown in Russian hospital
  • Picture taken by male patient – who said there were ‘no complaints’ – went viral 
  • Nurse claimed she was ‘too hot’ and didn’t realise how transparent the gown was 
  • But bosses took a different view, and disciplined her for violating uniform code
  • Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19

A nurse on an all-male coronavirus ward in Russia has been disciplined for only wearing ‘lingerie’ beneath her highly transparent protective gown.

Her revealing picture went viral after being taken by a patient at a hospital in Tula, 100 miles south of Moscow, who said there were ‘no complaints’ from his bedfellows.

But hospital chiefs were not amused and punished the nurse for ‘non-compliance with the requirements for medical clothing’. 

A nurse on an all-male coronvirus ward in Russia has been disciplined after a picture of her wearing only underwear underneath a transparent PPE gown went viral

The unnamed medic in her 20s said she was ‘too hot’ wearing her nurses’ uniform under the gown. 

She told her managers at Tula Regional Clinical Hospital that she did not realise the PPE she wore when treating coronavirus patients was so transparent. 

Despite this, the regional health ministry reported that ‘a disciplinary sanction was applied to the nurse of the infectious diseases department who violated (uniform) requirements’.

Her chiefs at first said the woman was wearing ‘lingerie’ but later claimed she had a ‘swimming suit’ beneath the gown.

The nurse has not spoken publicly on the incident and the exact details of the discplinary action were not revealed.

One patient said there was no objection from men in the coronavirus ward while admitting there was ‘some embarrassment’.

A reader of local newspaper Tula News congratulated the nurse. ‘At least someone has a sense of humour in this gloomy, gloomy reality,’ said Sergey Ratnikov. 

‘Why the reprimand?’ asked Albert Kuzminov. 

The nurse – at Tula Hospital, 100 miles south of Moscow (pictured) – said she was ‘too hot’ and didn’t realise how see-through the gowns were

Another supporter said: ‘Everyone shouted at her, but no one paid attention that she was dressed in this way because of the heat. 

‘Maybe you need to yell at the management … because there is no normal air conditioning here.’ 

A woman commenter Marina Astakhova posted: ‘Well done, she raised the mood of the patients.’ 

And Valery Kapnin wrote: ‘Why punish the nurse, you need to reward her. ‘Seeing this outfit, no-one wants to die.’ 

The incident came as the head of Russia’s Covid-19 monitoring centre, a former TV doctor, Alexander Myasnikov, shocked viewers with his blunt speaking on the coronavirus crisis. 

‘The infection will anyway take its toll,’ he said. ‘It’ll take its toll. ‘We will anyway all get sick.

‘Those who were supposed to die will die.’

By Tuesday, Russia had a total of 299,941 cases of infection, with an official death toll of 2,837. 

Many experts believe the Russian statistics underscore the true level of fatalities. Officially, Tula has had 2,637 infections with 19 deaths.

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Warmer weather does NOT kill off coronavirus, study finds

Warmer weather does NOT stop coronavirus spreading: Two separate studies dash hopes of killer infection dying out in summer

  • US and Canadian researchers said the transmission risk only slightly reduced
  • Dropped 1.5 per cent for every degree Fahrenheit above 77F (25C), they found 
  • They analysed more than 370,000 cases in thousands of different cities in US
  • Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19

Warm weather does not kill off the coronavirus or hamper its ability to spread, two separate studies have found.

US and Canadian researchers said the transmission risk was only reduced by about 1.5 per cent for every degree Fahrenheit above 77F (25C).

They analysed more than 370,000 cases in thousands of different cities in North America to come to the conclusion ‘summer is not going to make this go away.’

It dashes hopes of the global pandemic petering out in the coming months – a theory that has been touted by the US Government. 

President Donald Trump said last month that research suggested a combination ultraviolet (UV) light and warmer temperatures killed off the virus in minutes.

Warm weather does not kill off the coronavirus or hamper its ability to spread, two separate studies have found (a man runs in New York City)

In one of the latest studies, researchers from the University of Toronto looked at a total of more than 375,600 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the US and Canada in March.

They compared the effect of temperature, humidity, school closures, restrictions of mass gatherings, and social distancing on the spread of the disease.

The results showed no link between temperature with a rise in infections and a negligible difference between humidity and cases.

It has long been known that UV light has a sterilizing effect because the radiation damages the genetic material of viruses and their ability to replicate.

Most viruses – such as SARS-CoV-2 – are covered with a thin membrane that is easily broken apart by UV rays. 

A Columbia University study published in Scientific Reports two years ago showed the light can kill more than 95 per cent of pathogens like the coronavirus.

Germicidal UV light is used in hospitals in the US as well as ones run by the NHS in the UK to clean rooms and equipment. 

The World Health Organization warns that you can catch COVID-19, ‘no matter how sunny or hot the weather is’.

Cases of the deadly virus have been recorded all over the globe, including in West Africa and the Middle-East.

Scientists agree that you are always at risk of catching the virus in the middle of an outbreak because it is indiscriminate and never sleeps. 

Conventional germicidal UV light kills microbes but also penetrates the skin, raising the risk of various forms of skin cancer as well as cataracts.

Professor Dionne Gesink, an epidemiologist at the Canadian university, said: ‘Summer is not going to make this go away, it’s important people know that.

‘On the other hand, the more public health interventions an area had in place, the bigger the impact on slowing the epidemic growth. 

‘These public health interventions are really important because they’re the only thing working right now to slow the epidemic.’

Co-author Dr. Peter Jüni added: ‘We had conducted a preliminary study that suggested both latitude and temperature could play a role.

‘But when we repeated the study under much more rigorous conditions, we got the opposite result.’ Their study was published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.  

American researchers came to a similar conclusion in a paper that has not yet been published in a journal or scrutinised by other scientists.

Lead researcher Hazhir Rahmandad, an associate professor of system dynamics at MIT Sloan School of Management, and his team analysed data on virus transmission and weather statistics across more than 3,700 locations between last December and April 22.

They found only a slightly lower transmission risk, about a 1.7 per cent reduction per 1 degree Fahrenheit, once temperatures rose above 77 degrees F. 

‘Even though high temperatures and humidity can moderately reduce the transmission rates of coronavirus, the pandemic is not likely to diminish solely due to summer weather,’ Rahmandad said in an MIT news release.  

‘Policymakers and the public should remain vigilant in their responses to the health emergency, rather than assuming that the summer climate naturally prevents transmission,’ he said. ‘

At best, weather plays only a secondary role in the control of the pandemic.’ 

Commenting on the findings, Dr Amesh Adalja, a senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security in Baltimore, said the results were not surprising.

He said: ‘Because this is a novel virus, without population immunity, we can’t expect to see a full suppression of transmission based on seasonalit.

‘Though certain environmental conditions might be less conducive to spread from surfaces during summer months, the sheer fact that so many people are susceptible may not make as much of a difference because person-to-person spread will continue.

‘It will be important that even in the summer months, states remain vigilant regarding the number of cases that are occurring with full situational awareness of the rate of hospitalizations, to prevent hospitals from going into a stress mode of functioning,’ Adalja noted.

‘Sunlight won’t magic its way into your lungs to fight coronavirus’: Scientists rubbish Donald Trump’s claim hitting the body with UV rays could cure the illness after President rolled out unscrutinised Homeland Security study claiming they kill the virus 

Sunlight may kill the coronavirus on surfaces within minutes, according to an unpublished study carried out by US Department of Homeland Security scientists that has not been reviewed by independent experts.

Their results suggest radiation given off by UV rays can damage the virus’ genetic material and hamper its ability to replicate on surfaces. There is no evidence UV rays can kill the coronavirus in the body.

The ‘evidence’ was unveiled at last night’s White House press briefing by DHS offical Bill Bryan, who has no scientific background – and triggered a bizarre outburst by Donald Trump.

On the back of the claims, Trump proposed two dangerous new treatments, which included injecting cleaning agents in the body and the use of ultraviolet lights.

Leading scientists today rubbished the use of UV rays as a therapeutic, and begged the public to not expose themselves to harmful radiation, proven to cause skin cancer. Makers of disinfectants rushed out emergency statements warning people not to consume them in any way.

One virologist said that sitting in the sun will not stop any pathogen replicating in an individual patient’s internal organs because it cannot penetrate the body.

Others told MailOnline it will not able to make its way ‘by some magic’ into the lungs to stop the infection in its tracks.  

But they agreed that UV rays, which are used by hospitals in the US and UK for decontamination of areas, can kill viruses on surfaces – something which has long been well known.

The DHS ‘study’, first leaked last week, was carried out by the National Biodefense Analysis and Countermeasures Center. The laboratory in Frederick, Maryland, was set up following the 9/11 terrorist attacks to address biological threats.

A graphic on ‘best practices’ called for moving activities outside, and noted that heat and humidity hurt the virus. President Donald Trump listens to William Bryan, science and technology advisor to the Department of Homeland Security secretary

The original report was leaked last week (an excerpt of the paper is shown). It suggests the virus cannot survive in high temperatures and humidity

The DHS found that simulated sunlight ‘rapidly killed the virus in aerosols,’ while without that treatment, ‘no significant loss of virus was detected in 60 minutes

The results suggests the coronavirus is most stable in lower humidity than compared to higher temperatures. However, the unpublished documents also state that the results have yet to be proven nor does this not mean the world will see a drop in new cases if they are

Bryan shared a slide summarizing major findings of the experiment that was carried out at the National Biodefense Analysis and Countermeasures Center in Maryland.

It showed that the virus’s half-life – the time taken for it to reduce to half its amount -was 18 hours when the temperature was 70-75F (21-24C).

That was based on a 20 per cent humidity on a non-porous surface, which includes things like door handles and stainless steel.

But the half-life dropped to six hours when humidity rose to 80 per cent – and to just two minutes when sunlight was added to the equation.

When the virus was aerosolized – suspended in the air – the half-life was one hour when the temperature was 70-75F with 20 per cent humidity.

In the presence of sunlight, this dropped to just one and a half minutes, according to the slides.

‘Our most striking observation to date is the powerful effect that solar light appears to have on killing the virus, both surfaces and in the air,’ Mr Bryan said. ‘We’ve seen a similar effect with both temperature and humidity as well.’

Bryan shared a slide summarizing major findings of the experiment that was carried out at the National Biodefense Analysis and Countermeasures Center in Maryland.

It showed that the virus’s half-life outside the body – the time taken for it to reduce to half its amount -was 18 hours when the temperature was 70-75F (21-24C).

That was based on a 20 per cent humidity on a non-porous surface, which includes things like door handles and stainless steel.

But the half-life dropped to six hours when humidity rose to 80 per cent – and to just two minutes when sunlight was added to the equation.

When the virus was aerosolized – suspended in the air – the half-life was one hour when the temperature was 70-75F with 20 per cent humidity.

In the presence of sunlight, this dropped to just one and a half minutes, according to the slides.

The paper itself was not immediately released for review, making it difficult for other experts to comment on how robust its methodology was. 

Mr Bryan confirmed scientists had found ultraviolet rays had a potent impact on the pathogen, offering hope that its spread may ease over the summer

He explained increased temperature, humidity and sunlight were detrimental to the killer virus

Professor Ian Jones, a virologist at the University of Reading, England, told MailOnline: ‘It’s been known for years that UV can lead to a loss of infectivity of many enveloped viruses so this is not really new. However it is good to see it formally confirmed for COVID-19.’

Professor Jones said it cannot be used as a treatment because UV light cannot penetrate the body, adding: ‘It’s not any sort of therapeutic, more a useful way of sanitizing clothes or surfaces when other options are not available.’ 

Paul Hunter, a professor of medicine at the University of East Anglia, told MailOnline: ‘COVID-19 is predominantly droplet spread so the time for the droplets to get from one person to another is probably seconds rather than minutes.

‘Seasonality of such droplet spread infections is probably more to do with people being less cramped together when able to go outside than anything to do with the sterilising effect of UV from sunlight, though it will help a little.

‘But this does not mean that UV can in any way be used to treat someone who is infected. The sunlight does not make its way by some magic into the lungs where this virus replicates.’ 

Dr Irwin Redlener, director of the National Center for Disaster Preparedness at Columbia University, was quick to challenge the presentation.

‘Everything that this scientist talked about from Homeland Security was basically incoherent, nonsensical, not really supported by evidence and really quite contrary to a lot of things we do know,’ Redlener said on MSNBC.  

WHY IS THE DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY DOING SCIENTIFIC TRIALS?

Following the 9/11 terror attacks in 2001, the DHS set up a facility dedicated to defending the US against biological threats.

The National Biodefense Analysis and Countermeasures Center (NBACC) works in assessing and preparing responses to acts of terror.

Its 150 staff work with Government agencies including the FBI and CIA, conducting biological research in their lab in Fredrick, Maryland.

But when the US declared COVID-19 a national emergency, the team became pivoted its research efforts to tackling the crisis.

A key question will be what the intensity and wavelength of the UV light used in the experiment was, scientists say.

For instance, it may have been under a setting that did not accurately mimic natural light conditions in summer.

Dr Benjamin Neuman, chair of biological sciences, Texas A&M University-Texarkana, said: ‘It would be good to know how the test was done.

‘Not that it would be done badly, just that there are several different ways to count viruses, depending on what aspect you are interested in studying.’

Scientists across the world also disagree over whether the deadly virus really will ease off in the warmer weather. Infectious disease experts believe transmission rates will drop off in the summer, like seen for flu.

But a Chinese study earlier this month dashed hopes that the pandemic will start to die down in the northern hemisphere after finding no evidence that the infection rate dropped in areas with more sunlight.  

Speaking at the White House press conference last night, Mr Bryan concluded that summer-like conditions ‘will create an environment (where) transmission can be decreased’.

He added, though, reduced spread did not mean the pathogen would be eliminated entirely and social distancing guidelines cannot be fully lifted. 

A separate study looked at the cases in 100 Chinese cities last month and found transmission rates fell as the weather grew warmer or more humid. Each blue dot signifies the average number of transmissions per infected person at a given humidity level, meaning that on days when humidity was 100%, the transmission rate hovered mostly below two per infected person

As temperatures rose in 100 Chinese cities, the average number of people who those infected with coronavirus passed it to fell from 2.5 to less than 1.5, Chinese researchers found 

WHO IS BILL BRYAN? 

William Bryan is an army veteran with 17 years of active military service and three years in the Virginia National Guard – but he is not a scientist

William Bryan is an army veteran with 17 years of active military service and three years in the Virginia National Guard – but he is not a scientist.

He was appointed science and technology advisor to the Department of Homeland Security Secretary in May 30, 2017.

Bryan was given the job on the back of a three-year stint as president of ValueBridge International’s Energy Group, a sustainable energy firm.

Before that, he held a number of leadership roles at the Department of Energy and Department of Defense.

However, his years as a civil servant did not come without controversy.

A New York Times article in 2018 reported that US and Ukrainian officials had expressed concern about whether Mr Bryan had been working for a Ukrainian company seen as aligned with a prominent oligarch while working for the US Government.

The Times reported that concerns were heightened when Mr Bryan later joined ValueBridge and pursued business with the company.

Mr Bryan told the newspaper at the time he ‘never made a dime off any of the people I knew from the Ukraine, deliberately, because I didn’t want to violate any of the ethics rules.’

During the nomination process to become science and technology advisor to the DHS, he said: ‘I believe the mission of (Science and Technology) is to deliver results,’ Bryan testified in the Senate during his nomination process.

‘To do this, we must enable effective, efficient, and secure operations across all homeland security missions by applying timely scientific, engineering and innovative solutions through research, design, test and evaluation, and acquisition support.’

Bryan said: ‘It would be irresponsible for us to say that we feel that the summer is just going to totally kill the virus.’

But US health authorities believe that even if COVID-19 cases slow over summer, the rate of infection is likely to increase again as winter approaches.

Transmission of flu and the common cold both drop in the summer, partly because people spend less time indoors and in close contact with others.

One Chinese study earlier this month dashed hopes that warmer weather will halt the pandemic in the northern hemisphere.

Fudan University researchers analysed the spread of coronavirus in 224 Chinese cities — including 17 in Hubei province, where the outbreak began.

The study then compared this information with daily weather data over the period between January and early March 2020.

The team found there was no significant association between either the temperature or the levels of UV exposure from sunlight and the total infection rate.

But some scientific work has also agreed that the virus fares better in cold and dry weather than it does in hot and humid conditions.

Studies from both Beihang and Tsinghua Universities found the transmission rate of COVID-19 in China fell in as the temperature grew warmer.

And the lower rate of spread in southern hemisphere countries – which were hit by outbreaks in their summer – offers proof of the theory.

Australia, for example, has had just under 7,000 confirmed cases and 77 deaths – well below many northern hemisphere nations.

The reasons are thought to include that respiratory droplets can remain airborne for longer in colder weather.

Studies also show that viruses degrade more quickly on hotter surfaces because a protective layer of fat that envelops them dries out faster. 

It has long been known that UV light has a sterilizing effect because the radiation damages the genetic material of viruses and their ability to replicate.

Most viruses – such as SARS-CoV-2 – are covered with a thin membrane that is easily broken apart by UV rays. 

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Grimes Explained The Meaning Of X Æ A-12 & Was Corrected By Elon Musk

Whether Grimes and Elon Musk’s newborn baby likes it or not, his name, X Æ A-12 Musk, is going to be the hottest and most debated baby name of the year. Shortly after becoming the top trending topic on Twitter, Grimes explained her baby name’s meaning — kind of. While people are still confused the couple’s choice, it actually holds a more sentimental meaning to them than people may think.

In a tweet posted late on Tuesday, May 5, just a day after giving birth to X Æ A-12, Grimes broke down the name letter by letter for fans to understand the meaning behind it. X is "the unknown variable," which basically means that she and Musk just thought it was cool. Æ, the Latin diphthong, is actually the singer’s "elven spelling of Ai" which means "love &/or Artificial intelligence." Basically, there is a slight possibility that this baby is indeed a robot.

Grimes said A-12 was a "precursor to SR-17," which is her and Musk’s favorite aircraft. "No weapons, no defenses, just speed," she wrote. "Great in battle, but non-violent." This was before Musk quickly slid into her replies and corrected the name of the aircraft to SR-71. She was devastated about the typo. "I am recovering from surgery and barely alive so may my typos b forgiven but, damnit. That was meant to be profound," she responded back to him.

Additionally, as many fans suspected, she confirmed that the A also stands for "Archangel," the inside code name of the A-12 aircraft. She also said that "Archangel" was her favorite song, and nobody has any clue about what that exact song could be. It may also simply be a spin on her own 2015 track "Artangels" from her album of the same name. To make everything even more confusing, she ended her tweet with the phrase "metal rat" complete with sword and mouse emojis. Is that his nickname? His first Halloween costume? At this point, who knows?

When asked by a Twitter follower if she realized that X Æ A-12 was the name of a human and not a project, she gave more insight about what it means to her. "I think it sounds like the name of the main character in the story," she explained. "I hope he vibes with that." This is actually a very sweet thought, though it’s worth noting nobody has any idea how Grimes and Musk are actually pronouncing her son’s unique name.

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Hit Netflix Movie Extraction Originally Had A Much Darker Ending

The new Netflix movie Extraction, which stars Thor actor Chris Hemsworth, is lighting up charts and setting records at the streaming platform. The action-heavy film ends in dramatic fashion, and the director has now revealed that his original script was even heavier. It wasn’t until testing the movie and a conversation with an executive at Netflix that director Sam Hargrave was convinced to change the ending. Read on to get the full story, but of course, be aware that this includes heavy spoilers.

SPOILERS FOR EXTRACTION FOLLOW BELOW

In the ending of Extraction that made the cut, Hemsworth’s character, Tyler Rake, is shot by the teenage boy who is trying to make a name for himself with a local drug kingpin. Rake, breathing his last breaths, tips himself over the edge of bridge and collapses into the river below. It’s assumed that Rake died as part of his journey to save and rescue a young boy named Ovi.

However, it’s never explicitly confirmed that Rake succumbed to his injuries. And in the movie’s final frame, a character who bears a strong resemblance to Rake is seen, albeit in a fuzzy shot. Director Sam Hargrave, who made his directorial debut with Extraction, said the original ending was much more clear.

Rake would die. But this did not go over so well in testing.

“It was not surprising that a lot of people wanted the character to live, and some people wanted him to die. People were torn; it was almost down the middle,” Hargrave told Collider. “We want to appeal to as many people as possible without compromising the integrity of the story.”

The compromise that Hargrave made was to make it look like Rake died–he was shot through the neck, after all, and was coughing up blood when we see him last–but also give viewers the opportunity to believe that he might have survived. Hence, the ambiguous ending that you see in the film.

“If people on one hand feel like the story is complete and is a story of redemption through sacrifice, then for them, it’ll be where the kid is imagining [Rake standing there], and then now you go, ‘Yes, I’m satisfied,'” Hargrave said. “If you feel like you love Tyler Rake, and you love Chris Hemsworth, and you want a sequel, and you’re like ‘There’s no way, you can’t kill him!’ then that’s Tyler Rake standing there looking at you. So we kind of purposefully did not pull focus to the character standing there.”

Hargrave’s own preference would have been to kill Rake. It would have completed his story arc of finding redemption for his past transgressions through sacrificing himself to save Ovi. “He made the choice he was okay with. He had come to terms with his past and the choice he made in the present saved this kid, and if that meant him dying, so be it. And that was his journey in my mind,” Hargrave said.

However, Netflix boss Scott Stuber convinced Hargrave to change his mind when he asked him to consider what would truly be a more satisfying ending.

“You have to remember the difference between an intellectually satisfying ending and an emotionally satisfying ending,” Hargrave said he recalls Stuber telling him. “And so we struggled with that concept of, ‘Is it more emotionally satisfying that Rake lives or that Rake dies?’ And truthfully, the vote was it’s more emotionally satisfying that he lives. Because the kid gave him something to live for, and now he’s living for that.”

Hemsworth recently said he would keen to return to Extraction for a sequel or a prequel. Given the immense success of the movie–it’s the most-watched Netflix movie of all time over its first four weeks–it seems likely that Netflix would be interested in getting the group back together.

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Airbus developing electronic odor detector to sniff out bombs

Airbus will debut electronic odor detector to sniff out explosives and other hazardous substances in airport security lines by the end of 2020

  • The plane manufacturer will begin using a new sensor to detect bombs
  • The cutting edge device will use a processor with integrated biological cells
  • Airbus says the sensors will roll out in airport screening areas in Q4 2020 

Starting in the fourth quarter of 2020, Airbus will begin using a new odor detector in airports to help screen passengers for dangerous chemicals.

The new device is being developed in partnership with Koniku, a California startup that designs computer chips with integrated biological cells.

The new program will place ‘genetically engineered odorant receptors’ from Koniku in Airbus planes and airports to help identify explosives and other potentially hazardous materials.

Airbus has partnered with the tech startup Koniku to develop a new odor sensor that will detect bombs and other hazardous materials in airports

‘We have developed a technology that is able to detect smell — it’s breathing the air, and it’s essentially telling you what’s in the air,’ Koniku founder Oshiorenoya Agabi told the Financial Times.

The device developed for Airbus will feature two different kinds of cells, either embryonic kidney cells, sometimes known as HEK cells, or astrocytes, a star-shaped cell brain cell.

According to Airbus, the sensors are planned for preliminary public testing by the end of the year in airport screening areas, and could later be phased into regular use on planes themselves.

‘The technology has a very quick response time of under 10 seconds in best conditions,’ Airbus’s Julien Touzeau said.

‘With this level of maturity, it’s an incredible result and hopefully it will improve over time.’

The technology could eventually be used to replace bomb sniffing dogs, which are a common sight in many American airports–though those measures are funded and deployed by the Transportation Security Administration, not Airbus. 

The company says the devices will be rolled out in airport screening areas in the fourth quarter of 2020, and could be used in planes sometime after

For Koniku, airport security is just the beginning of a much larger plan to create a network of sensors that can detect a wide range of compounds, including indicators of illness.

Agabi claims the company’s sensors can accurately detect the presence of influenza within a few breaths with around 80 percent accuracy, and in the future could detect lung cancer or even COVID-19.

The company says its sensors can currently identify 17 different maladies based on odor alone. 

Koniku hopes its sensor will eventually be used to power a global network that can detect a wide range of compounds and chemicals, and eventually be used to help detect illnesses in places without regular access to medical support

Agabi envisions a future where Koniku’s sensors form a massive global screening network that will help people identify health concerns early, especially in areas where access to medical services are scarce.

‘The new age we are getting into is the age of biotech,’ Agabi said in a recent interview with Tech Cabal.

‘It will change what it means to be human.’

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London’s Tower Bridge sealed off by armed police after reports of ‘suspicious package’ – The Sun

COPS swooped to Tower Bridge after reports of a suspicious package today.

Police rushed to the iconic London landmark just before 1pm – closing the scene off to traffic and pedestrians.

Photographs of the scene showed a number of cop cars near the bridge as the situation unfolded.

Officers were also seen taping off the scene as shocked pedestrians walked by.

Tower Hamlets Police said on Twitter: "Police attended Tower Bridge at 12.18pm to reports of a possible suspicious package.

"The bridge was closed while the package was examined and was found to be non suspicious.

"The bridge has now re-opened."

City of London Police confirmed they had also been called in to investigate, closing the bridge off to traffic and pedestrians.

They said: "Please find alternative routes. Thank you for your patience."

But after about 35 minutes, City of London Police confirmed the incident had been bought under control.

Tower Bridge between Mansell Street and Druid Street had been closed due to the incident.

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