Top infectious diseases expert Anthony Fauci brushed off new criticism from President Trump on Monday, quoting “The Godfather” in a radio interview.
In an interview with Southern California AM radio station KNX1070, Fauci was asked to respond to Trump reportedly calling him “a disaster” during a campaign call earlier in the day.
“People are tired of hearing Fauci and all these idiots, these people, these people that have gotten it wrong. Fauci is a nice guy, he’s been here for 500 years, he called every one of them wrong,” Trump told campaign staffers. “Every time he goes on television there’s always a bomb. But there is a bigger bomb if you fire him. But Fauci is a disaster. I mean, this guy, if I listened to him, we would have 500,000 deaths.”
After having Trump’s comments read back to him during the radio appearance, Fauci dismissed it as a “distraction.”
“I would prefer not to comment on that and just get on with what we are really trying to do and what we are trying to do is to protect the health and welfare and safety of the American people predominantly, and ultimately, of the world,” he said. “We are seeing an uptick in cases — higher than they’ve ever been. Many, many states that had been doing reasonably well are now showing upticks, that’s what we should be concentrating on.”
He added he doesn’t want to create a “me against the president” mentality, calling it unhelpful.
“[Addressing the virus is] the only thing I really care about. That other stuff, it’s like in ‘The Godfather’: Nothing personal, strictly business as far as I’m concerned. I just want to do my job and take care of the people of this country,” Fauci said.
The president’s remarks criticizing Fauci followed an interview with CBS’s “60 Minutes” in which Fauci said he was not surprised Trump contracted the coronavirus after a White House event announcing Trump’s Supreme Court nominee during which guests were not wearing masks or social distancing.
Trump has repeatedly criticized Fauci in recent weeks as the election draws closer. Most recently, the two have sparred after Fauci says he was taken out of context in a video clip used in a Trump campaign ad, adding that he did not give his consent to be used in the ad. The Trump campaign has defended the move.
When the K-pop band Blackpink released the music video for their song “How You Like That” in June, fans began asking about the group’s outfits, which appeared at once traditional and contemporary. Who was the designer behind Jennie’s cropped pink jacket, they wanted to know, and what inspired the look?
In the past few years, similar design concepts have been spotted on members of K-pop groups like BTS, SHINee and Exo. They are fresh takes on a centuries-old form of Korean dress called a hanbok. Scroll through the #hanbokstagram hashtag on Instagram and you’ll find thousands of posts with updated looks.
While a hanbok — which usually consists of a jeogori (jacket), paired with baji (pants) for men and a chima (skirt) for women — is generally reserved for holidays and special occasions, contemporary designers have been reimagining it.
Some modern hanbok brands have been boosted by K-pop stars who command devoted stan armies. Kim Danha, of the label Danha, said her brand’s site saw nearly 4,000 visitors a day after her jacket appeared on Jennie in the Blackpink video.
Leesle Hwang, the designer of the brand Leesle, saw an increase in sales after Jimin of BTS wore one of her hanbok ensembles at the 2018 Melon Music Awards in Seoul. “It’s incredible how many people got to know Leesle through that one appearance,” she said. Another brand, A Nothing, gained some 8,000 followers after Jungkook, another BTS member, wore its clothes.
“The reason why people became interested in hanboks, especially outside Korea, is this growth soft power as demonstrated by K-pop,” said Kan Ho-sup, a professor of textile art and fashion design at Hongik University.
In Korea, the style can be traced back to the first century B.C., and was traditionally made out of silk dyed in vivid colors. (Before the advent of Western clothing in Korea, all clothing was simply a hanbok; the word itself means “Korean clothing.”)
According to Minjee Kim, a dress historian in San Francisco, Western clothing completely replaced the hanbok in the early 1980s. Almost concurrently, there were designers incorporating traditional Korean elements into Western designs.
Ms. Kim attributed the late designer Lee Young-hee as the first designer to transcend the boundaries of hanbok design. At Paris Fashion Week in 1993, the designer sent bare-shouldered models down the runway wearing hanboks without a jeogori.
Around the same time, the stylist Suh Younghee became interested in hanbok because she felt it could counter the industry’s obsession with Western labels. She began playing with hanbok conventions at Vogue Korea, where she worked. In the February 2006 issue, she styled jokduri (traditional coronets) on models with vibrantly dyed hair, an image that defied any conventionality the garment might convey. In 2014, she helped start the Hanbok Advancement Center, which leads programs on hanbok education and funds related events.
In the early 2000s, the designer Kim Young-Jin started rethinking the style’s tradition while studying with Park Sun-young, a master of hanbok needlework. Ms. Kim learned about a type of traditional military uniform worn by men during the Joseon dynasty (1392-1897) called the Cheolik, and recreated it as a midi-length wrap dress with a V-shaped collar, tailored to fit the female form. “Just because something is inspired by the past doesn’t mean there’s no creativity in it,” she said.
When images of the garment began circulating, other labels started creating similar looks. Ms. Suh, who often collaborates with Ms. Kim for high-end fashion photo shoots, called the number of “copies” troubling. “I’m not saying this because we’re close, but Tchai Kim’s Cheolik one-piece marked a new era of hanbok design,” Ms. Suh said.
After experimenting with leftover textiles at her parents’ bedding and curtains shop, Ms. Hwang, of Leesle, began selling her pieces online and eventually started Sonjjang, a hanbok line focusing on what she called “altered hanboks,” with lace and frills, and shortened sleeves and skirt lines.
When Ms. Hwang began thinking about creating hanboks for everyday wear, she turned to the internet. A majority of traditional hanbok shops were, and still are, reluctant to stray from the expensive, ’70s-style tailored-to-fit designs, but online communities devoted to hanbok subcultures were already discussing what changes they wanted in the garment as early as the mid 2000s.
Taking their feedback into account, Ms. Hwang founded Leesle in 2014, selling easy-to-wash hanboks. Her clothes are available in extra small to large, unlike many companies that offer only one size. “I don’t want to be exclusive,” Ms. Hwang said. “Bigger people. Older people. Slender people.” Her garments are also more modestly priced than their silk forebears, at under $200 apiece.
“It’s still uncommon to see people in modern hanbok,” Ms. Hwang said. “And while it doesn’t need to be worn all the time, it can become a basic item like a white T-shirt or black pants.”
Kim Danha said she hopes those who encounter her brand come to appreciate Danha’s environmental ethos. The label has a focus on sustainability; 30 to 50 percent of its fabrics are recycled polyester or organic cotton.
“Sustainability and traditional Korean design go well together because compared to Western shapes, original hanbok designs produce less scraps,” she said. The hanbok’s straight lines, she said, waste less fabric than, for instance, the rounded collar of a T-shirt.
She cited the worsening air pollution in South Korea as a motivation for her interest in environmental issues.
However, so-called slow fashion is a tough business, she said. Upcycling discarded wedding dresses is labor-intensive, and everything, even printing on fabric, costs more when you take the eco-friendly route, she said. So while she tries to uphold that model, most important to her is honoring the hanbok and giving it a place in the future.
Tens of thousands of people have rallied in solidarity, in dozens of towns and cities across France, after a secondary schoolteacher was beheaded in an attack that has shocked a country already shaken by terrorist atrocities.
Demonstrators gathered on Sunday in cities including Paris, Lyon, Toulouse, Strasbourg, Nantes, Marseille, Lille and Bordeaux in support of free speech and in tribute to Samuel Paty, who was killed outside his school on Friday after discussing caricatures of the prophet Muhammad with his class.
Leading politicians, civil rights associations and teachers’ unions rallied on the Place de la République in Paris holding placards proclaiming “Je suis Samuel”, an echo of the “Je suis Charlie” slogan following the 2015 attack in which Islamist gunmen killed 12 people at the offices of the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo.
Others held placards aloft declaring “No to totalitarianism of thought”, “I am a teacher” and “Schools in mourning”. Between bursts of applause, others chanted “Freedom of expression, freedom to teach” or sang La Marseillaise.
“We are the result of our history: these values of liberty, secularism and democracy cannot remain just words,” one demonstrator in Paris told French television. “We have to keep them alive, and being here helps do that.”
Many teachers said the killing came amid a climate of growing suspicion and criticism of teachers, with parents particularly willing to intervene. “We have to be allowed to do our jobs,” one teacher told Le Monde. “It cannot be allowed come to this – that I now know I might end up being killed for teaching,” said another.
Before the rallies, the education minister, Jean-Michel Blanquer called on “everyone to support our teachers”, saying “solidarity and unity” was vital. State interior secretary, Marlène Schiappa, said she was attending the Paris rally “for teachers, secularism and freedom of expression, and against Islamism”.
Kamel Kabtane, rector of the Lyon mosque and a senior Muslim figure, said Paty had merely been “doing his job” and was “respectful” in doing so. “These terrorists are not religious but are using religion to take power,” Kabtane told Agence France-Presse.
A national tribute will be organised for Wednesday, the Élysée Palace announced. The prime minister, Jean Castex, who attended the Paris rally along with opposition leaders and the city’s mayor, Anne Hidalgo, said the government was working on a strategy to better protect teachers from similar threats.
“I want teachers to know that, after this ignoble act, the whole country is behind them,” Castex said. “This tragedy affects each and every one of us because, through this teacher, it is the republic that was attacked.”
The 47-year-old history and geography teacher was repeatedly attacked with a 30cm butcher’s knife outside the Bois-d’Aulne secondary school in Conflans-Sainte-Honorine, about 20 miles north-west of Paris, by an 18-year-old assailant.
Named as Abdullakh Anzorov, the attacker was shot dead by police soon afterwards when he fired at officers and tried to stab them as they closed in on him. He was born in Moscow of Chechen parents, authorities said, and had arrived in France aged six where he had been granted refugee status along with his family.
Anzorov lived in Évreux, about 60 miles from Conflans, had not attended the school and, while he had a record for vandalism and fights as a child, had no known radical or Islamist affiliations, French media reported.
A Twitter account under the name Abdoulakh A belonging to the suspect posted a photo of the decapitated head from the attacker’s mobile phone minutes after the attack, along with the message: “I have executed one of the dogs from hell who dared to put Muhammad down.”
Earlier this month, as part of a class discussion on freedom of expression and alongside cartoons and caricatures of different subjects, Paty showed his pupils two of the caricatures of the prophet Muhammad published by Charlie Hebdo.
According to parents and teachers, the teacher had given Muslim children in his class the option to leave the classroom or turn away before he showed the two cartoons, saying that he did not want their feelings hurt.
France’s antiterror prosecutor, Jean-François Ricard, said on Saturday that the teacher had been the target of multiple online threats for showing the cartoons to his class. Depictions of the prophet are widely regarded as taboo in Islam.
The father of one girl at the school had launched an online appeal for a “mobilisation” against the teacher, demanding he was fired. He also named Paty and gave the school’s address in a social media post days before the attack.
A known Islamist militant accompanied some parents to the school to argue their case, and helped file a formal police complaint. The schoolgirl’s father and the Islamist leader, along with four members of Anzorov’s family, are among 11 people arrested, including one person detained on Sunday.
Friday’s attack was the second of its kind since a trial started last month over the Charlie Hebdo massacre. The magazine republished the cartoons in the run-up to the trial, and last month a young Pakistani man wounded two people with a meat cleaver outside the magazine’s former office.
(CNN) — At the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, Nick and Lins De Corte were stuck in Mexico, unable to get flights back to Europe as borders closed and travel restrictions heightened.
“We were three months in, I would say, semi-lockdown,” recalls Nick. “But it wasn’t that bad,” says his partner Lins. “We had a nude beach.”
Thirty-something Belgian couple Nick and Lins are naturists. They travel the world unclothed wherever possible, documenting their adventures on their blog, Naked Wanderings, and a corresponding Instagram account.
They’ve scuba-dived sans-clothes off the island of Utila, in Honduras, drunk beers in the buff in Portugal and hiked nude through the Amazon rainforest.
After three months stuck in the stunning surrounds of Zipolite, Oaxaca, the couple made it back to Europe in July. Since then, they’ve been traveling around France — “because the options are so big in France, there are so many naturist places.”
The De Cortes are both from the city of Ghent in Belgium, where they met and got together about 12 years ago.
“Quite soon after, we discovered naturism, it was pretty much by coincidence,” says Nick.
The couple went to a spa center in Belgium, where nudity was compulsory.
“We went there, it was a great experience. We went there again and again, and after several times, we started exploring other options — with social nudity, with naturism — and that’s how we discovered naturist clubs, naturist campgrounds, activities, events, and just rolled more and more into naturism,” Nick tells CNN Travel.
A few years on, they started their blog. The aim, the couple says, was to debunk some of the myths surrounding naturism.
“There are two main preconceptions,” says Nick. “One is that it’s related to sex — lots of people don’t understand that people can be naked together without any sexual intention. That’s one big misconception. And the other one is that it’s for old people.”
Debunking the myths
The couple’s internet presence aimed both to showcase their fun adventures, and provide information on the naturist lifestyle, and nude-friendly resorts across the world.
Nick and Lins quickly became aware they’d pinpointed a gap in the market. Sure, there were plenty of travel Instagram influencers posing against backdrops of stunning scenery.
But all of them had their clothes on.
Lins says a highlight of their adventures so far was a stunning beach in Colombia, in Tayrona National Park.
“There is nothing there. There’s just the National Park and you can spend the night there,” says Lins. “You have to hike for a couple of hours to reach the beach. But once you’re there, it’s beautiful. It’s one of the most beautiful beaches that I’ve ever seen.”
Nick, meanwhile, spotlights the nude beaches of Portugal and all the options afforded by France’s activist naturist scene.
Making connections and meeting like-minded naturists from across the world is also important to the couple.
Travel blogging has become their full-time occupation, although there have been some difficulties along the way.
Social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook have strict nudity rules, and Nick and Lins’ posts always skirt the boundaries of what’s allowed.
Clever cropping and artfully-placed objects usually allow them to get away with it, but their original Instagram account was shut down last year and they’ve since had to rebuild from scratch.
Still, they say they never had any hesitations about sharing their lives online.
“In the beginning people asked us, ‘How are you ever going to find a job again? Your naked butt has been in the newspapers.’ But whatever, if somebody doesn’t want to give us a job just because of that, it’s probably not a company where we want to work,” says Nick.
Nick and Lins add that they’re currently working on founding a social media platform for naturists.
Naturism during the pandemic
Earlier in the pandemic, there were reports of a growing interest in naturism, as more people were confined to their homes, working and socializing virtually.
In June, British Naturism’s commercial manager Andrew Welch told CNN Travel there had been a rise in naturism over the course of the UK’s lockdown.
Meanwhile in France, Laurent Luft, president of the Association des Naturistes de Paris (ANP), the French capital’s naturist group that dates back to 1953, echoed this sentiment.
“People have been following our videos [and] sent emails saying, ‘You’ve inspired us to give it a go,'” he said.
“When you’re feeling confined and closed in and imprisoned, if at least you can take off your clothes that is some way to free yourself a little,” added Luft. “So, even in our tiny little Parisian apartments with no gardens and sometimes no balcony or anything, we still have that possibility.”
Nick and Lins say their travel blog has seen increased engagement during the lockdown, but they’re wary about putting this down to a growing interest.
“I would rather say it’s because people who are already naturists have much more time to connect,” says Nick.
The couple adds that the pandemic hasn’t been easy for the naturism community — a big part of the movement is being naked in a group, which has become trickier in the wake of the pandemic.
In their home country of Belgium, says Nick, the one designated nude beach closed, in order to give other beachgoers more space to social distance.
And while spas and leisure centers have reopened, numbers are significantly reduced and pre-booking is key. It’s harder to be spontaneous now, says Nick and Lins, although they know this isn’t unique to the naturism community.
Once they’re able to safely travel again, next on their list are naturist-friendly spots in South Africa, Australia and New Zealand. The pair are also keen to check out a few new nudist resorts opening in Thailand.
While they enjoy sharing their adventures online to followers, they reiterate that they “don’t think that everybody should become a naturist.”
“It’s really a personal choice,” says Nick. “But it bothers us a little bit when people have such misconceptions about naturism, without even giving it a try. And that’s something we like to keep telling people: ‘Just try it.'”
In the late 1970s, playing video games became a ubiquitous and beloved childhood activity. Today, many adults continue to be enthusiastic gamers, playing both new releases and the nostalgic games of their childhoods. A new study suggests that a childhood history of playing video games not only makes an adult a better gamer, but it also provides lasting cognitive advantages. In particular, the puzzle-solving techniques critical to gaming success may help improve 3D visualization skills, quick thinking, and memory.
The gaming study by the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (UOC) appeared recently in the prestigious journal Frontiers in Human Neuroscience. The researchers curated a group of 27 adults under 40 years of age, including some with childhood gaming experience and others who had none. The participants were first tested on their baseline cognitive skills. Then each participant trained by playing Super Mario 64 for 10 days. Some subjects were also treated with transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) during this time—a non-invasive magnetic treatment aimed at producing boosts in cognitive functioning. After the 10 days, all subjects were retested. Fifteen days later, these tests were repeated one final time.
The researchers hoped to find lasting boosts in cognitive function among participants who received TMS. Instead, they found the procedure had no measurable impact. However, a childhood history of gaming did predict greater success on the initial cognitive assessment. After the video game training, those without prior experience showed significant gains, catching up to their peers on the second assessment. The researchers concluded that those who played as kids maintained greater visual processing skills and memory functions, even years after playing.
Although a small sample size, the study offers insight into some of the cognitive benefits of video games. Video games range in subject matter, and more evidence is needed to suggest any net positive or negative long-term effects. However, those who remember their childhood Nintendo or PlayStation fondly may be pleased to know that the brainy benefits of their early gaming likely remains to this day.
NEW DELHI — In India, where many admire President Trump, one rural farmer worshiped him like a god, praying to a life-size statue of Mr. Trump in his backyard every morning.
“At first everyone in the family thought he was mentally disturbed, but he kept at it and everyone eventually came around,” said Vivek Bukka, a cousin of the farmer, Bussa Krishna.
When Mr. Trump announced he had the coronavirus, it devastated Mr. Krishna. The farmer posted a tearful video on Facebook, in which he said: “I feel very sad that my god, Trump, has contracted the coronavirus. I ask everyone to pray for his speedy recovery.”
He stopped eating to show solidarity with his idol’s suffering from Covid-19, his family said. He fell into a deep depression. On Sunday, he died of cardiac arrest.
Mr. Krishna’s devotion had made him into a minor celebrity, and he was the subject of some national headlines. His death made news across India.
Mr. Vivek said his cousin had been physically fit and had no health problems or history of heart disease. There is no evidence linking Mr. Krishna’s death to his fasting.
There is no indication that the White House or Mr. Trump — who said he had recovered from the virus and felt “powerful” after being treated with a cocktail of drugs — was aware of his biggest fan in India. Many of the country’s urban intellectuals dislike the American president, and he is regularly mocked on Indian social media platforms.
But the president has support in other corners of Indian society. A February study by the Pew Research Center found that 56 percent of people surveyed in India said that Mr. Trump would “do the right thing when it comes to world affairs,” up from 16 percent when he was elected.
Mr. Trump’s popularity in some parts of India is striking because the cult of personality he has tried to cultivate — of an unapologetically brash figure leading the United States to a bright new future while espousing “America First” — mirrors how India’s prime minister, Narendra Modi, projects himself to his own supporters.
Mr. Krishna, a widowed farmer in his thirties who lived in the village of Konne in the southern state of Telangana, had been a Trump devotee for about four years. He became a fan when the president appeared to him in a dream, his relatives said, and predicted that India’s national cricket squad would beat its archrival, Pakistan, in a match the next day.
India won, Mr. Vivek said, “and from that day he started worshiping Donald Trump.”
But the farmer also admired the president as a leader, said Mr. Vivek, a 25-year-old accountant who lives near the southern city of Hyderabad. His cousin did not speak English, and the local news outlets where he lived paid scant attention to American politics. So he relied on Mr. Vivek to translate articles and videos for him.
Vemula Venkat Goud, Konne’s village headman, said that the young farmer had also been drawn to Mr. Trump’s “straightforward ways and blunt speech.”
Neighbors did not know much about American politics and had no opinion of Mr. Trump, he added. But since Mr. Krishna was such a huge fan, they embraced his cause as a courtesy, even if it struck them as a little odd.
As Mr. Krishna’s devotion to Mr. Trump intensified, he began fasting every Friday in support, and he commissioned the construction of a shrine in his backyard with the life-size statue, Mr. Vivek said. He worshiped it with Hindu rituals for an hour or two each morning, as one might when praying to Krishna, Shiva, Ganesha or other gods in the Hindu pantheon.
One video of Mr. Krishna that has circulated widely online shows him performing a prayer ritual, or pooja, before an altar that holds a picture of Mr. Trump.
In another, he wears a T-shirt that reads “Trump” in white block letters as he pours water over the head of the statue, which is wearing a red tie and giving a thumbs-up. The Trump statue has a garland of fresh flowers around its neck and a red tilak — a traditional symbol that is made of vermilion or sandal paste, and used in religious ceremonies — on its forehead.
Mr. Krishna’s creation of a statue in Mr. Tump’s likeness is not unique. An architect built a giant wooden statue of Mr. Trump with vampire’s teeth in Slovenia, the native country of the first lady, Melania Trump. Some critics denounced it as a “waste of wood.”
That statue’s creator, Tomaz Schlegl, an architect, had a clear vision, and message, in mind. “I want to alert people to the rise of populism, and it would be difficult to find a bigger populist in this world than Donald Trump,” he told Reuters.
A life-size wooden sculpture of Mrs. Trump near the town of Sevnica in eastern Slovenia, where she grew up, was set on fire. The commissioning artist replaced it with a bronze statue.
As for Mr. Krishna, he made a valiant attempt to meet his idol. He traveled to the United States Embassy in New Delhi ahead of Mr. Trump’s trip to India in February to try to arrange a meeting, Mr. Venkat, the village headman, said.
“It’s really sad that his dream never came true,” he added.
Mr. Trump later addressed a stadium packed with 100,000 cheering attendees in Ahmedabad, the heart of Mr. Modi’s political home base.
Mr. Krishna kept the faith until the end.
When he learned of Mr. Trump’s coronavirus diagnosis, he locked himself in his room, Mr. Vivek said.
“We tried to force him to eat, but he barely ate anything,” he said.
On Sunday, Mr. Krishna collapsed, and his relatives took him to the hospital. He was pronounced dead on arrival.
Mr. Krishna is survived by his parents and his 7-year-old son.
Mr. Venkat said villagers were discussing how best to maintain their neighbor’s Trump shrine.
BEIRUT, Lebanon — After the August port explosion that disfigured much of Beirut, many compared the city to a phoenix that would rise again.
“We are staying,” read some signs in the famous nightlife district of Mar Mikhael, one of the worst-hit neighborhoods. Down the main thoroughfare in Gemmayzeh, another badly damaged area whose graceful old buildings housed storied families and Beirut newcomers alike, it was the same: Residents vowed to return, and banners on buildings promised to rebuild.
Two months later, some businesses have begun to reopen, and teams of volunteer engineers and architects are working to save heritage buildings. But even the bullish say they do not believe a full recovery is possible, pointing to the lack of government leadership and resources, combined with an imploding economy that has put even basic repairs beyond the wallets of many residents.
If Beirut is a phoenix, it has already endured too much, they say: civil war; war with Israel; incompetent and corrupt governments; huge protests, the coronavirus and now this.
Though they were traditionally Christian neighborhoods, Mar Mikhael, Gemmayzeh and the surrounding areas attracted young Lebanese of different religious backgrounds, as well as foreigners and tourists, to its bars, cafes and art galleries.Gay, lesbian and transgender people felt safe. Entrepreneurs and designers moved in. Dusty hardware stores sat a few doors down from trendy coffee shops.
The explosion has threatened that unique social fabric, locals say.
And not all are ready to return. It would feel like erasing what happened, a few said — like walking blithely over a grave.
Tarek Mourad, owner of Demo Bar
At the edge of Gemmayzeh, between a church and an antique chandelier shop, a narrow street darts up the hill at odd angles. Locals call it Thieves’ Lane, from long ago, when it was a quick getaway route from the authorities.
Over the last year, antigovernment protesters dodging tear gas have often sprinted the same way and ducked into Demo, a bar with pleasantly worn wooden benches and experimental music thrumming from the D.J. booth.
Its owner, Tarek Mourad, 38, opened Demo with a partner a decade ago, and it became a Beirut classic. The bar’s glass front was smashed in the explosion, and Mr. Mourad turned to GoFundMe to replace it.
“When you spend years planting something,” he said, “and suddenly there’s something that cuts the plant down, you hope the roots are there.”
But he was not sure whether everything that made Demo what it had been would return — the small shops and bakeries nearby that gave the street life, neighbors who stopped in for coffee or a beer.
“Everyone that works at Demo, or lives around it, needs to get back and get their lives back,” he said. “But it’s not just Demo, it’s a whole neighborhood. For years, I walked through Gemmayzeh daily. Now it’s not there anymore. What form it’ll take, I don’t know.”
Fadlo Dagher, architect
Fadlo Dagher’s family began building their pale-blue villa on the main street of Gemmayzeh in 1820. To him, the houses in the neighborhood — and throughout Beirut — represent the tolerant, diverse, sophisticated country Lebanon was meant to be.
“This is the image of openness,” he said, “the image of a cosmopolitan culture.”
The houses — generally wide dwellings a few stories high, with red tiled roofs and tall, street-facing triple-arched windows opening onto a central hall — began appearing in Beirut by the mid-1800s, after the city grew into a hub for trade between Damascus, Syria, and the Mediterranean.
The style blended architectural ideas from Iran, Venice and Istanbul. While the new houses’ walls were of Lebanese sandstone, their marble floors and columns were imported from Italy, roof tiles from Marseille, France, and cedar timbers from Turkey.
Despite war, neglect and a 20th-century fashion for high-rises, many of the old houses stood untouched in Gemmayzeh and Mar Mikhael until the explosion, which seriously damaged about 360 structures built between 1860 and 1930.
To abandon them, Mr. Dagher said, would be to jettison one of the few shared legacies of a perpetually fractured country.
“I’d like to imagine that what is happening here, this diversity, this mixed city, that it still exists, that maybe it can reflourish,” he said. “Is it mission impossible? I don’t know. But, OK, call me a dreamer. This is what I want it to be.”
Habib Abdel Massih, store owner
Habib Abdel Massih, his wife and son were in the small corner convenience store he owns in Gemmayzeh when the neighborhood blew apart, injuring all three. He has spent his whole life in the neighborhood, watching it change from quiet residential area to cultural destination.
“Suddenly, everything changed,” he said. “Most of the people I used to know have left.”
He worried that rebuilding would prove too expensive, that neither original residents nor newcomers would come back.
A few weeks after the blast, Mr. Abdel Massih, 55, was preparing to reopen his store. A cast sheathed his foot. He was selling water and coffee, he said. Not much else.
Roderick and Mary Cochrane, owners of Sursock Palace
Sursock is the name of the neighborhood up the hill from Gemmayzeh. It is also the name of the area’s main street, the museum on that street, the palace a few doors down and the family that lives in that palace. All are now damaged.
Lady Yvonne Sursock Cochrane grew up in the palace, which was built by her forebears in the mid-1800s. She spent decades protecting it — first from Lebanon’s 15-year civil war (by staying put), and then from overdevelopment (by buying up neighboring properties). She was injured in the Aug. 4 explosion as she sat on her terrace, debris falling in a neat border around her chair. She died on Aug. 31, aged 98.
Her last look at the house showed this: roof partly caved in; frescoed ceilings more holes than plaster; marble statues shattered; Ottoman-era furniture splintered; antique tapestries torn; intricately latticed windows blown in.
Her son and daughter-in-law, Roderick and Mary Cochrane, are rebuilding. They do not yet know the price, only that it will be astronomical.
“You restore things because it’s part of the history,” said Ms. Cochrane, an American. She was hospitalized after the explosion but recovered. “We take care of it for future generations.”
Mr. Cochrane added: “Mar Mikhael and Gemmayzeh should remain a place for Lebanese, for small designers, small shops, small business owners. Without these, there’d be no Beirut. We’d be a city like Dubai.”
Bashir Wardini, an owner of Tenno and Butcher’s BBQ
Just off the main drag of Mar Mikhael — where the sound of laughter, clinking glasses and pounding car stereos once floated up from the pubs to the balconies nearly every night — sit Butcher’s BBQ and, nearby, a cocktail bar, Tenno. The main street is dark and quiet now; many homes remain uninhabitable.
But Tenno is open.
Bashir Wardini and his partners raised about $15,000 through GoFundMe, and in mid-September muted their doubts and reopened to host a friend’s birthday drinks. They had not been sure customers were ready to return. They were not sure they were ready, either.
“Many of us, and our customers, said, ‘No, you have to reopen, you have to move on, because the street needs to feel some kind of life again,’” Mr. Wardini said.
Tenno looks itself again, but the rest of the neighborhood feels wrong. Mr. Wardini said still he avoids going there, unless he has to.
“It takes a few drinks too many to forget the surroundings,” he said.
Drugmaker Johnson & Johnson said Monday it has paused the advanced clinical trial of its experimental coronavirus vaccine because of an unexplained illness in one of the volunteers.
“Following our guidelines, the participant’s illness is being reviewed and evaluated by the ENSEMBLE independent Data Safety Monitoring Board (DSMB) as well as our internal clinical and safety physicians,” the company said in a statement. ENSEMBLE is the name of the study.
“Adverse events — illnesses, accidents, etc. — even those that are serious, are an expected part of any clinical study, especially large studies.” The pause was first reported by Stat News.
Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine arm is developing the shot. The company did not say what the unexplained illness was, but one point of clinical trials is to find out if vaccines cause dangerous side effects. Trials are stopped when they pop up while doctors check to see if the illness can be linked to the vaccine or is a coincidence.
“Based on our strong commitment to safety, all clinical studies conducted by the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson have prespecified guidelines. These ensure our studies may be paused if an unexpected serious adverse event (SAE) that might be related to a vaccine or study drug is reported, so there can be a careful review of all of the medical information before deciding whether to restart the study,” the company said.
“We must respect this participant’s privacy. We’re also learning more about this participant’s illness, and it’s important to have all the facts before we share additional information,” the company added.
“Serious adverse events are not uncommon in clinical trials, and the number of serious adverse events can reasonably be expected to increase in trials involving large numbers of participants. Further, as many trials are placebo-controlled, it is not always immediately apparent whether a participant received a study treatment or a placebo.”
Such a pause is not immediately concerning, agreed Dr. Ashish Jha, the dean of the Brown University School of Public Health.”This is completely expected, and it’s just a reminder how ridiculous it is to try and meet a political timeline of having a vaccine before Nov. 3,” Jha told CNN’s Chris Cuomo.
“The Johnson & Johnson trial is the biggest trial of the vaccine that I know of — 60,000 people,” Jha said. “Within that trial you’d expect a few pauses.”
The drugmaker said there is a “significant distinction” between a study pause and a regulatory hold on a clinical trial.
“A study pause, in which recruitment or dosing is paused by the study sponsor, is a standard component of a clinical trial protocol,” Johnson & Johnson said.
“A regulatory hold of a clinical trial is a requirement by a regulatory health authority, such as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. As outlined in our transparency commitments, we proactively disclose any regulatory hold of a pivotal clinical trial.”
This is the second Phase 3 coronavirus vaccine trial to be paused in the US. AstraZeneca’s vaccine trial was paused last month because of a neurological complication in a volunteer in Britain. While the trial resumed there and in other countries, it remains paused in the United States while the US Food and Drug Administration investigates.
“We want the vaccine to be safe and we’ve got to let the process play out and it’s going to take a while,” Jha said. “To me it’s reassuring that companies are acting responsibly and pausing when they need to.”
Johnson’s Phase 3 trial started in September. It’s one of six coronavirus vaccines being tested in the US, and one of four in the most advanced, Phase 3 stage. It requires just one dose of vaccine, so federal officials have said they hope testing may be completed a bit faster than other vaccines, including those being made by Moderna and Pfizer, which require two doses.