8 ways economy class might look different in the future to keep passengers safe

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A reversible middle seat means airlines can maintain their passenger capacity. Avio Interiors

The coronavirus has caused a significant drop in air travel.

Despite masks being mandatory on most major airlines, and sanitation and hygiene practices being stepped up, designers have come up with their own ways to ensure safer air travel.

One 3D-printed product from design firm Teague would attach to the vents above seats to push passengers’ breath down, described on its company’s website as “an invisible germ isolation unit.”

Another design firm, Haeco, sees a future in which passengers share the airplane cabin with cargo, allowing for more space between people.

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This is what chief economists think about the global economy right now

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Successfully rebuilding the economy will be about far more than growth.

The World Economic Forum’s latest Chief Economists Outlook asks 40 chief economists for their views on the post-pandemic recovery.

It identifies three key emerging challenges facing governments and business leaders.

The crisis has made inequality worse – but it also provides unique opportunities to address it.

We need to broaden the set of targets we use to define success as we rebuild the global economy after the pandemic.

That view is among the insights from the World Economic Forum’s latest Chief Economists Outlook – Emerging Pathways Towards a Post-COVID-19 Reset and Recovery. For the report, the Forum asked its community of nearly 40 leading chief economists to assess the current economic outlook and consider how business leaders and policymakers need to respond.

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More than 60 colleges hit with lawsuits as students demand tuition refunds

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Georgetown University, whose nearly empty campus in Washington, DC, is seen here on May 7, 2020—is one of more than 60 schools being sued by students, who are demanding a partial tuition refund after classes moved online due to the coronavirus outbreak.

 At least 60 colleges and universities across the country, and perhaps as many as 100 or more, are now being sued by students who believe they were short-changed when their in-person college experience was replaced by an online one as schools shut down campuses this spring due to the coronavirus pandemic. The students are demanding a refund on tuition and fees equal to the difference between what they paid for in advance and the instruction and educational services they actually received.

The unprecedented number of class action lawsuits began as a trickle in April, picked up momentum in May, and have continued to expand throughout June, with experts saying there are likely many more to come.

The schools currently facing student lawsuits include elite universities like Brown, Columbia, Duke, Emory and Georgetown as well as major public university systems like Rutgers in New Jersey and the University of North Carolina.

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Coronavirus death toll is heavily concentrated in Democratic congressional districts

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The coronavirus outbreak has taken the lives of nearly 100,000 Americans. Yet since the start of the outbreak, the death toll has been concentrated in a just a few places – mostly large metropolitan areas, especially the New York City area.

The places hit hardest by the coronavirus outbreak – which have relatively large shares of ethnic and racial minorities and residents living in densely populated urban and suburban areas – are almost all represented by congressional Democrats.

A new Pew Research Center analysis of data on official reports of COVID-19 deaths, collected by the Johns Hopkins University Center for Systems Science and Engineering, finds that, as of last week, nearly a quarter of all the deaths in the United States attributed to the coronavirus have been in just 12 congressional districts – all located in New York City and represented by Democrats in Congress. Of the more than 92,000 Americans who had died of COVID-19 as of May 20 (the date that the data in this analysis was collected), nearly 75,000 were in Democratic congressional districts.

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Indians are waiting to dineout with family and friends post lockdown: Survey

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The report also revealed that most of India have been craving Pizza since the lockdown has been implemented, except Chennai, Hyderabad and Kolkata where their popular & indigenous Biryani recipes reign supreme.

As per the report, 77% respondents claimed that they are waiting to dine out with friends and family once the COVID-19 lockdown is lifted.

As the world grapples with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, a survey by restaurant tech platform, Dineout across 20 Indian cities has revealed that diners now rank safety assurance and premier hygiene as top factors when they choose a restaurant to dine out in a post-COVID world.

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No, the coronavirus is not the leading cause of death in the US, CDC says

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US coronavirus deaths pass 14,000, but future projections are better than expected

(CNN)Even though the coronavirus pandemic continues to take lives across the United States, Covid-19 has not become the leading cause of death in the nation, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed to CNN.

“There are no data to support that theory,” Jeff Lancashire, a spokesperson for the National Center for Health Statistics, said in an email on Friday.

False claims declaring that coronavirus has become the leading cause of death in the US have swirled as the US leads the world in coronavirus cases. Those claims are made by some experts comparing how many people die of coronavirus daily with the estimate of how many people may die daily on average of each leading cause of death, using CDC data.

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Kickstarter employees vote to unionize

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It’s the latest bid by tech workers to gain more clout.

More tech company workers are unionizing in an attempt to improve their bargaining power. A group of 85 Kickstarter employees have voted to unionize, aligning themselves with a branch of the Office and Professional Employees International Union in New York. The staffers will use their collective bargaining power to push for equal pay, more inclusive hiring, greater transparency from management and more of a say in decisions.

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Is America’s fossil fuel empire collapsing?

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Since the close of World War II, the United States has overseen an expanding global order built on fossil fuels. That era has come to an end. Where coal powered the British Empire, and oil powered the American Century, renewable energy technologies are now set to drive the post-American world. Europe’s “Green Deal” represents the beginning of this new era.

The most ambitious clean energy project in history, Europe’s Green Deal marks the beginning of a new era in clean energy policy. Notwithstanding its challenges, Europe’s plan represents a “broad roadmap” for remaking its entire economy with the aim of creating the first climate-neutral region in the world by 2050. Underwritten by one trillion Euros in investment, the Green Deal calls for establishing the first-ever climate law anchored to the 2050 climate neutrality target.

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Gatwick Airport commits to facial recognition tech at boarding

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Gatwick first trialled facial-recognition-based checks at some of its departure gates last year

Gatwick has become the UK’s first airport to confirm it will use facial-recognition cameras on a permanent basis for ID checks before passengers board planes.

It follows a self-boarding trial carried out in partnership with EasyJet last year.

The London airport said the technology should reduce queuing times but travellers would still need to carry passports.

Privacy campaigners are concerned.

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Wait, What? The first human-monkey hybrid embryo was just created in China

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Last week, news broke that a prominent stem cell researcher is making human-monkey chimeras in a secretive lab in China.

The story, first reported by the Spanish newspaper El País, has all the ingredients of a bombshell. First, its protagonist is the highly-respected Dr. Juan Carlos Izpisúa Belmonte, a Spanish-born stem cell biologist at the Salk Institute in California known for his breakthroughs in anti-aging research. His other fascination? Human-animal chimeras, in which animal embryos are injected with human cells and further developed inside a surrogate animal’s body. Second, according to El País, Izpisúa Belmonte may have collaborated with monkey researchers in China to circumvent legal issues in the US and Spain, where research with primates is heavily regulated.

The news did not sit well with Chinese scientists, who are still recovering from the CRISPR baby scandal. “It makes you wonder, if their reason for choosing to do this in a Chinese laboratory is because of our high-tech experimental setups, or because of loopholes in our laws?” lamented one anonymous commentator on China’s popular social media app, WeChat.

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The writing on the wall: America’s retirement crisis by the numbers

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Thousands of Americans are at risk of going broke in retirement, and it’s only going to get worse.

These days, overwhelming student loan debt and the uncertain future of Social Security’s solvency garner most of the attention, but there’s another equally severe financial crisis looming on the horizon for millions of Americans. Thousands of people retire every day, and many don’t have the savings they need to last the rest of their lives.

When that well runs dry, they’ll need to lean on their family members to support them or seek government assistance to cover their basic living expenses. It’s a fate thousands of Americans are already experiencing, and based on data from the latest Northwestern Mutual Planning & Progress survey, tens of thousands more are set to join them in the coming decades.

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San Francisco bans city use of facial recognition technology tools

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Pedestrians walk along Post Street in San Francisco. The city became the first in the United States to ban facial recognition technology by police and city agencies. (Justin Sullivan / Getty Images)

Concerned that some new surveillance technologies may be too intrusive, San Francisco became the first U.S. city to ban the use of facial recognition tools by its police and other municipal departments.

The Board of Supervisors approved the Stop Secret Surveillance ordinance Tuesday, culminating a reexamination of city policy that began with the false arrest of Denise Green in 2014. Green’s Lexus was misidentified as a stolen vehicle by an automated license-plate reader. She was pulled over by police, forced out of the car and onto her knees at gunpoint by six officers. The city spent $500,000 to settle lawsuits linked to her detention.

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