The Guardian

The Guardian 12 Sep 2019

We're quitting smoking, so why is big tobacco booming?


Smoking rates are falling in the UK, US and much of Europe. Forty-five per cent of Brits smoked in the 60s and 70s, compared with just 15% today. You would think this was bad news for cigarette profits, but tobacco companies are making more money than ever. They claim they no longer market traditional cigarettes, but behind-the scenes tactics suggest otherwise. Leah Green explains how the most successful business enterprise in history has weathered its fall from grace

As covid-19 started to hit the world, many of us were concerned about whether we'd be infected.
Some said it's as bad as the flu, others predicted worse. Then news about health systems being overwhelmed and bodies piling up started to emerge.
That gave a bleak picture. But it's not everywhere. Mortality rates in Qatar and Singapore are below 0.1% - among the world's lowest.
The Gulf nation's mortality rate is at 0.07% -- that's 12 deaths in more than 16,000 cases.
And Singapore's is 0.093% of more than 19,000 infections.
Experts say testing, the availabilty of hospital beds and population age are three critical factors.
Yet, Singapore's outbreak is the biggest in southeast Asia
And Qatar has the second highest number of cases in the Arab world, although the curve is flattening.
So what's exactly behind that?

Presenter: Peter Dobbie

Dr Ali Omrani, Senior Consultant in Infectious Diseases and Head of Research at the Communicable Diseases Center at the Hamad Medical Corporation.
Dr Annie Sparrow, Professor of Population Health Science and Policy at Mount Sinai Hospital.
Archie Clements, Professor of Infectious Disease at Curtin University Perth.
"The bad news is that everyone is a potential victim. But the good news is that everyone is a potential solution...Sensitise the masses to sanitise. Keep a social distance and quarantine."

These are the words of Bobi Wine and Nubian Li in their campaigning anthem "Corona Virus Alert," released to raise awareness of the pandemic in Uganda. The video, which only came out last month, has almost two million views on YouTube.

The song is just the latest chapter in a career that has fused music icon status with politics. Wine, whose real name is Robert Kyagulanyi, has called on the Ugandan government to improve public services as part of its strategy to defeat the virus. He has also criticised other African governments for not maintaining better health care systems for their populations, while investing in weapons and "curtailing the voices of the people".

Uganda has had less than 100 confirmed cases of coronavirus and the country remains in lockdown. There are risks looming, though. It is home to more than one million refugees, primarily from South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo - the biggest refugee population in Africa. Many experts fear the virus could have a devastating impact if it reaches the refugee camps.

An elected member of parliament, Wine last year announced that in 2021 he would run for president against the country's longtime leader Yoweri Museveni. His music is now banned, he's been arrested several times, and he is barred from holding rallies for his People Power Party. He is also fighting a charge of treason that is likely to follow him into election year.

In this episode of The Stream, Bobi Wine joins us from Kampala to perform his new song and to talk about public health and the coronavirus in Uganda.
The United States is removing its Patriot anti-air missiles, and other weapons systems from Saudi Arabia.
Donald Trump says it is part of an effort to scale back on a military presence that he says doesn't benefit the U.S.
American weapons and fighter jets were sent to the kindgom last year after Saudi-Aramco oil facilities were attacked.
They were also intended as a deterrent, as tensions rose between Tehran and Washington.
But the reduction in the U.S. military presence is believed by some to be based on assessments Iran no longer poses an immediate threat to U.S. strategic interests.
So what's exactly changed?
And is oil politics at play?

Presenter: Peter Dobbie

Joel Rubin, President of the Washington Strategy Group.
Mahjoob Zweiri, Director of Gulf Studies Center at Qatar University.
Mohammad Marandi, Head of the American Studies Department at Tehran University.
Keith Olbermann on Outside the Lines looks into the origin of when bat flipping started in baseball and why many players continue to celebrate that way. (3:26) Mina Kimes joins the show to discuss why bat flipping is so accepted in the Korea Baseball Organization and not as much in the United States.#MLB

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