• Entertainment
    Yahoo Movies UK

    Linda Hamilton knew 'Terminator: Dark Fate' opening scene would 'upset a lot of people' (SPOILERS)

    'Terminator' fans think the flashback opening of 'Dark Fate' was a lazy change to the franchise canon.

  • Health
    The Conversation

    Homemade hand sanitiser recipes that could help protect against coronavirus

    With shelves cleared of hand sanitiser, many people are starting to to make their own.

  • Business
    Bloomberg

    Plastics Had Been Falling Out of Favor. Then Came the Virus

    (Bloomberg) -- It took one week after the first U.S. case of Covid-19 with no overseas connection for Starbucks Corp. to temporarily ban customers from bringing in reusable coffee mugs. Judith Enck, a former regional administrator for the Environmental Protection Agency, was disappointed. Public health comes first, of course, but as the founder of the grassroots Beyond Plastics project, Enck had her doubts that returning to disposable cups would make anyone safer. Currency, for instance, is a notorious germ-carrier. “Will Starbucks now stop accepting cash?” she says.These are nervous times for activists working to wean the world off plastics. Until the novel coronavirus started its spread across the globe, 2020 appeared to be a year when meaningful plastic-use restrictions would finally take hold. A growing list of consumer companies—including Coca-Cola Co., which produces about 117 billion plastic bottles each year—had set targets to reduce their reliance on plastic packaging. France prohibited single-use plastic plates, cups, and cutlery starting January 1, and England will enact restrictions on plastic straws and stirrers starting in April. On March 1, New York joined a number of other cities around the world in banning the distribution of plastic shopping bags by retailers.  The virus plays right into the industry’s strong suits: disposability and hygiene. A new report released by BloombergNEF last week found that, in the short run at least, the fears of plastics opponents might be valid. “Concerns around food hygiene due to Covid-19 could increase plastic packaging intensity, undoing some of the early progress made by companies,” the report stated.  Researchers found the greatest spikes in demand for face masks and the thin film used in plastic wraps.Plastics lobbying groups such as Plastics Industry Association and the American Chemistry Council (ACC) have long defended their products by noting that plastic has played a revolutionary role in medical care. Single-use surgical gloves, syringes, insulin pens, IV tubes, and catheters, for example, have both reduced the risk of patient infection and helped streamline operations by lifting the burden of sterilization.As consumer taste started to shift against the $40 billion plastics industry, manufacturers added an additional argument to their arsenal: that their products are actually a boon to overall sustainability, despite being petroleum-based, non-biodegradable, and difficult to recycle. Plastic packaging plays a role in reducing food waste by extending the shelf life of fresh produce from days to over a week. Plastic parts in cars also reduce weight and improve fuel efficiency.Most of these claims are based on a handful of studies, the most significant of which was done for ACC by Franklin Associates in 2018. It looked at the life cycle of products such as water bottles, shrink wrap, and retail shopping bags and concluded that if they were made of alternative materials—say glass or aluminum or textiles—they would require five times the amount energy to manufacture and use more water in the process. When Jack Williams, a senior vice president at Exxon Corp, told a group of investors on March 5 that, “from a sustainability viewpoint, plastic packaging beats alternatives,” he was referring to that study.Anti-plastic crusaders like Steve Feit, a staff attorney on the climate and energy team at the Center for International Law, say the life cycle analysis is full of flaws. “It assumes that we are just going to make exactly the same products in the alternative materials” instead of redesigning to suit the new medium—“which is crazy,” Feit says. “And it doesn’t take into account the plastic’s effect after the product has been disposed into landfills.” While the Great Pacific Garbage Patch has gotten most of the attention, a 2018 study found that micro plastics are also leaching from landfills and sewers and polluting soil and water sources.But while the sustainability rationalization has been met with skepticism, the health justification is harder to fight. Plastic on its own isn’t a magic bullet: a study published in the Journal of Hospital Infection concluded that the virus behind Covid-19 can survive for nine days on plastic surfaces at room temperature. Yet for many, products that can be thrown away after one use seem to be the safest options.After Starbucks suspended accepting refillable mugs, Dunkin’ and Tim Horton’s announced similar policies. Despite a warning from the U.S. Surgeon General that they’re not particularly effective, face masks—including a sleek air-filtering model worn by celebrity lifestyle icon Gwyneth Paltrow—have been selling out worldwide. Many pharmacies are also reporting shortages of latex gloves. Adding to the anti-plastic movement’s concerns, the onset of an oil price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia triggered an historic sell-off in markets. Rock-bottom petroleum prices mean lots of plastic could be made even more cheaply in the long-term. While BNEF said that it was too early to know for sure that Covid-19 is affecting plastic demand overall, it did predict that any spike would likely be temporary, and that as a result industry revenues would be flat or even up in the midst of a sharp economic downturn. “In the long term, we do not expect this increased demand to have a significant impact on either plastic demand or circular economy goals,” the report said, referring to a future in which all items are either reused or recycled.Nevertheless, the plastics industry is seizing the moment. In late February, Plastics Industry Association head Tony Radoszewski issued a statement: “As new coronavirus cases are confirmed around the globe and the disease poses a growing threat to public health,” it said, the plastics industry is working to ensure that “patients get the care they need and medical professionals are protected as they provide that care.”The release concluded:  “The global plastics industry stands ready to assist authorities and public health advocates in making sure our materials and products are on the frontline of combating the spread of the coronavirus.” (Updates the first paragraph to clarify that Starbucks’s ban on reusable mugs is temporary.)To contact the author of this story: Leslie Kaufman in New York at contact the editor responsible for this story: Jillian Goodman at , Aaron RutkoffFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.comSubscribe now to stay ahead with the most trusted business news source.©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

  • Business
    The New York Times

    For Some Buyers With Virus Fears, the Priority Isn't Toilet Paper. It's Guns.

    Daniel Hill had never bought a gun before. But last week he was in Larry Hyatt's gun store in North Carolina, picking out two of them: a 9 mm Taurus handgun and an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle.His motivation: the coronavirus.Hill, a 29-year-old kitchen manager in Charlotte, said he fears that the virus could lead to a breakdown of public order, with looting and robberies and "everything shutting down, like in a zombie movie" where society "just won't have any sense of lawfulness anymore."Gun and ammunition dealers said they've seen an influx of customers with similar concerns in recent weeks, creating a spike in sales as coronavirus anxiety spreads. Reports of firearms and survival gear flying off the shelves have been widespread, including in California, New York, Washington state, Alabama and Ohio. Photos on Twitter over the weekend showed lines around the block at one Los Angeles gun shop.Some dealers said an unusually high proportion of sales have been to first-time gun buyers."We attribute it mainly to the virus scare," said Hyatt, whose gun store has seen sales increase 30% to 40% percent since late February.The presidential election and stock market fluctuations have also been driving business, he said, and the store is now selling more than 300 firearms a week."People have a little lack of confidence that if something big and bad happens, that 9-1-1 might not work. We saw it with Katrina," Hyatt said, referring to the breakdown in emergency response after the 2005 hurricane on the Gulf Coast. "People haven't forgotten that a disaster happened, and the government didn't come."Some major law enforcement agencies said they had not seen any sharp rise in firearms sales in recent weeks. Data from the FBI show a sizable increase in background checks for gun purchases since the start of the year, although other factors, such as the national political campaign and gun control efforts by some state legislatures, including Virginia, could also be driving them.Checks through the FBI system leapt 36% in February compared to the same month last year, to a total of 2.8 million nationally -- the largest year-over-year percentage increase in any month since July 2016 (another presidential election year). The agency processed more background checks in February than it had done in all but two other months since it started performing the queries in the late 1990s.January, when most confirmed cases of the virus were still mostly overseas, also saw a sizable increase in background checks, up 25% from the same month last year.The background check numbers for March -- when confirmed cases of the virus began to dramatically spike in the United States and public measures to slow it took hold -- won't be available for a few weeks.Licensed firearms dealers like Hyatt are required to run those queries with the FBI to ensure that would-be purchasers aren't convicted felons or otherwise barred from gun possession. Private sales, including through gun shows, online marketplaces or social media, are exempt from federal background checks, so any change there would be difficult to spot.Even before virus concerns escalated or the stock market plunged in recent weeks, national politics were likely playing a role in rising sales.Chuck Lowder, who picked up a rifle at Hyatt Guns last week, cited a testy confrontation between a construction worker in Detroit and former Vice President Joe Biden, who is now leading in the polls for the Democratic presidential nomination, about the candidate wanting to "take away our guns."Biden used a vulgarity to tell the worker that he was wrong. While the former vice president supports universal background checks and banning the sale of military-style semi-automatic rifles and high-capacity magazines, he also supports many types of gun ownership and owns guns himself.Still, those moments can spur devotees to their favorite gun store, said Lowder, a retired brewery worker and truck driver who had come from Lenoir, North Carolina, to buy an AR-15."When you're told you can't have something, the first thing you want to do is get it," he said.Even so, Lowder also said that the "unreal" number of customers he saw in Hyatt's store last week was likely more about the fear of what could happen with the pandemic."When you're told that the coronavirus is going to get you, and the TV and everything is just swamped with it, people start believing it, and they get scared," he said, adding that he also bought 300 rounds of ammunition, triple what he normally would buy.Some ammunition suppliers said they also have seen a sharp jump in sales. Alex Horsman, the marketing manager at Ammo.com, said the past few weeks have marked the largest spike in orders in the five years he has been with the online company.The company said it recorded two-thirds more transactions in the 11 days after Feb. 22 -- when Google Trend indicates that search interest for "coronavirus" began a new surge -- than in the 11 days prior. Buyers in North Carolina, Georgia, Pennsylvania and Texas led the increase in sales.As customers have been flooding into gun stores, demand appears to be outstripping supply among some wholesalers, said Andy Raymond, the owner of Engage Armament in Rockville, Maryland. "We're getting stuff from distributors who are saying, 'Hey, due to high volume, we're delayed in shipping.'"Hill, the first-time buyer in Charlotte, said he thinks society is a long way from the full breakdown that he fears might be coming because of the virus."But you can tell it's already taking a toll on everybody," he said. "If it were to keep going the way it is going, how bad could it get?"This article originally appeared in The New York Times.(C) 2020 The New York Times Company

  • World
    Yahoo News UK

    'Get your heads out of the sand': Warning as coronavirus claims UK’s youngest victim

    The family of Craig Ruston said he died on Monday after his chest infection was diagnosed as Covid-19.