While You Were Sleeping: 5 stories you might have missed, Sept 22

WHO says no change to Covid-19 aerosol transmission guidance after US draft change

The World Health Organisation has not changed its policy on aerosol transmission of the coronavirus, it said on Monday after US health officials published draft new guidance by mistake warning that it can spread through airborne particles.

Dr Mike Ryan, executive director of the UN agency’s emergencies programme, said he would follow up with the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the next 24 hours after it said Covid-19 could spread through airborne particles that can remain suspended in the air and travel beyond six feet.

“Certainly we haven’t seen any new evidence and our position on this remains the same,” he said in a briefing.

The CDC said a draft version of changes to its recommendations were posted in error on its website while it was in the process of updating its guidance. It would repost the guidance once it had completed the review.

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US imposes sanctions on Iran’s defence ministry, Venezuelan President Maduro

The United States on Monday slapped new sanctions on the Iranian defence ministry and others involved in Iran’s nuclear and weapons program to support its assertion that all UN sanctions against Teheran are now restored, a move disputed by key European allies as well as US adversaries such as Russia and China.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, flanked by President Donald Trump’s top national security aides, also told reporters the United States put new sanctions on Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, who has deepened ties between Caracas and Teheran.

The latest sanctions include a new executive order signed by Trump targeting those who buy or sell Iran conventional arms that was previously reported by Reuters.

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Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg to lie in state at Supreme Court, US Capitol

Ruth Bader Ginsburg will lie in repose at the Supreme Court on Wednesday and Thursday, before lying in state Friday at the US Capitol, both institutions announced.

The late justice, whose death at age 87 has given US President Donald Trump a rare chance to cement a conservative majority on the court, will be buried next week in a private ceremony in Arlington, near the US capital.

There has been an outpouring of public mourning for the iconic liberal justice, who became a pop culture icon in recent years, even as Trump and his fellow Republicans who control the Senate seek to replace her with a conservative justice before the Nov 3 presidential election.

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Pew poll finds strong support for global cooperation

A poll conducted amid the coronavirus pandemic found strong support for global cooperation across 14 advanced economies, with a majority believing that cooperating more with other countries would have reduced the number of infections at home.

People also generally approve of the United Nations and World Health Organisation’s handling of the Covid-19 outbreak, according to the poll released on Tuesday by the nonpartisan Pew Research Centre, although there were large differences in attitudes driven by age and political leanings.

Younger respondents and those who were more highly educated were more likely to have positive views of international organisations, while the support was strongly partisan in some countries, including the United States.

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Ellen DeGeneres issues apology, addresses toxic workplace allegations

Ellen DeGeneres opened the 18th season of her talk show Monday by addressing allegations of toxic workplace culture under her watch, saying “I take responsibility for what happens at my show.”

It was the first time the staple of daytime US television publicly addressed controversy surrounding her, after BuzzFeed News published a report over the summer detailing a culture of fear among her employees that included accusations of sexual misconduct, racism and intimidation from the show’s management.

The scathing reports followed rumours and anecdotal posts on social media that DeGeneres was difficult to work with – and not nearly as nice as her feel-good show portrayed her to be.

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