Coronavirus: Orange County reports 558 new cases and 2 new deaths as of Aug. 2

The Orange County Health Care Agency reported 558 new cases of the coronavirus as of Sunday, August 2.

The cumulative total number of positive cases for Orange County is at least 37,391 since local testing began in March.

It is estimated that more than half of the cases, or 24,259 as of Sunday, have recovered. The count of people who have recovered is based on the prior 28-day cumulative case count.

There were 2 new deaths reported in Orange County on Sunday, bringing the total number of residents who have died to 651.

The data on deaths in the county is compiled from death certificates or gathered through the course of case investigation and can take weeks to process, officials say.

Of the 651 deaths, 267 were skilled nursing facility residents, 28 were in assisted living facilities and one was listed as homeless.

The state’s coronavirus dashboard reports there have been 149 deaths in Orange County in the last 14 days.

According to the California Department of Health, there have been at least 7,100 new cases of COVID-19 in Orange County in the last 14 days.

The state agency also reports 618 hospitalized patients in the last 14 days (suspected and positive) in 33 hospitals reporting across the county as of Saturday. This is a decrease of 15.2% since 14 days ago.

The county’s hospitalizations were listed as 554 on Saturday, with 171 people in ICUs.

The state’s coronavirus-tracking dashboard shows Orange County had at least 34% of its ICU beds available on Friday.

The county’s breakdown of deaths by age is as follows:

  • 85 and older: 32% (204)
  • 75-84: 23% (147)
  • 65-74: 18% (122)
  • 55-64: 13% (85)
  • 45-54: 9% (59)
  • 35-44: 3% (21)
  • 25-34: 1.5% (10)
  • 18-24: <1% (2)
  • 17 and younger: 0%

Data posted each day is preliminary and subject to change, officials emphasize. More information may become available as individual case investigations are completed.

You can find the Orange County Health Care Agency dashboard here.

Hospitalizations and deaths for July 30

Orange County total cases by ZIP code for July 30:

Case demographics as of July 29:

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Bhima Koregaon: NIA raids Noida residence of Hany Babu

New Delhi, Aug 2 : The National Investigation Agency (NIA) on Sunday conducted searches at the residential premises of an accused in Noida in Uttar Pradesh, the adjoining city of the national capital, in connection with the Bhima Koregaon Elgar Parishad case.

The raids were conducted at the residence of DU professor Hany Babu Musaliyarveettil Tharayil who was found to be a co-conspirator along with other accused persons propagating Maoist activities and ideology, and was placed under arrest on July 28 this year, the NIA said.

Further, the investigation also revealed that accused Hany Babu was in contact with Paikhomba Meitei, Secretary Information and Publicity, Military Affairs, Kangkeipak Communist Party (MC), an organisation banned under Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.

An interview of Ganapathy, General Secretary of CPI (Maoist) was shared by Paikhomba Meitei with the accused Hany Babu. “Communications of Hany Babu with other Maoists of Manipur have also been retrieved,” the NIA said.

The investigation also revealed that after the release of CPI (Maoist) leader Pallath Govindankutty, Hany Babu, along with co-accused Rona Wilson, took the initiative to help him financially by raising funds.

Hany Babu, along with other accused persons identified as Rona Wilson, Anand Teltumbde, P. Varavara Rao and Surendra Gadling formed a Committee for the release of former DU professor G.N. Saibaba who was sentenced to life imprisonment for his links with CPI (Maoist).

During the search of accused Hany Babu’s house, NIA seized one account ledger, one receipt book of the Committee for the Defence and Release of Dr G.N. Saibaba, several documents as well as electronic items such as Hard Disk and USB pen drive.

The case pertains to organisation of Elgar Parishad at Pune, Maharashtra on December 12, 2017 which promoted enmity between various caste groups and led to violence resulting in loss of life and property and state-wide agitation in Maharashtra.

The investigation revealed that the Elgar Parishad along with Maoist leaders used the incident to spread the ideology of Maoism and encourage unlawful activities on the instructions of the leaders of CPI (Maoist), a banned organisation.

–IANS
rak/skp/

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Kawhi Leonard’s playmaking is more than a passing fancy for Clippers

When he brought his talents to the Clippers a year ago, Kawhi Leonard arrived as a known winner, a gifted defender, a clinical scorer, the king of the good bounce.

Turns out, when the 6-foot-7 wing has the ball in his hands as much as he does on the Clippers — his 32.8 percent usage rate (a calculation of the percent of plays in which he’s involved while on the floor) rates seventh in the NBA — he’s also an effective playmaker.

Leonard’s 5.0 assists per game are a career high by 1.5 percent and represent the second-highest average on the team behind Lou Williams’ 5.7 per contest.

In Saturday’s 126-103 runaway victory over the New Orleans Pelicans, Leonard supplemented his 24 points with five assists, all of them in the first half and all of them on made 3-pointers. It was a team high and it boosted Leonard’s season total to 263, eclipsing, in just 53 games, his previous highest single-season tally of 260.

On a team with five players averaging more than 3.2 assists per game, the passing is just part of the job, Leonard said Saturday, via Zoom.

“I gotta be one of the guys that gets in the paint, passes the ball,” said Leonard, who twice this season has had 10 assists, and in five games finished with nine dimes after previously never having recorded more than eight assists in a game.

“Just really becoming that real true point guard. I have to step in that role a little bit more, bringing the ball up the floor, trying to get guys involved. That’s what I gotta do with this team.”

He’s smart about it, of course, delivering a pass to an open Patrick Beverley on Saturday just when Pelican point guard Lonzo Ball took a half-step too far toward Leonard to recover.

Another time, Leonard corralled a loose ball at center court and delivered a laser to Reggie Bullock, waiting on his periphery, who made another of the Clippers’ franchise record 25 3-pointers. There also was a textbook drive and dish to JaMychal Green in the corner, and a pass out of a double team to an open Paul George, for one of his eight 3-pointers.

“It’s been amazing,” Rivers said. “I thought he set the tone the beginning of the game. You can tell. It’s funny, he was just passing, almost overpassing at times. You look up, he still had (18 points) at halftime, then he had the assists.

“People are going to load up on Kawhi. They’re going to load up on P.G. The more we can make them pinpoint passers, the better our team will be.”

WINNING PLAYS

Leonard’s early passing helped set up the Clippers for a successful Saturday, when they also got a noticeable lift from Beverley.

The 6-1 sparkplug again was on a minutes restriction because he’s only recently returned after being away from the bubble to tend to a personal matter. But it’s hard to limit the man’s energy on the court — including, this time, for the start of the game.

“He was awesome, that’s why we have him,” Rivers said, repeating it for good measure: “He was awesome.”

In 18 minutes, Beverley went 3 for 6 from the floor (and 3 for 5 from deep), fought for four rebounds, assisted on three baskets and made a steal — though his impact was felt beyond what was recorded in the box score, Rivers said.

“His spirit alone lifted us,” Rivers said. “He just makes so many unselfish plays. He’s incredible some of the things he does. Half the things that happen out there, he gets zero credit for in a stat sheet, yet the meaning for us on the floor is immeasurable.”

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Australian govt supports strict Covid lockdown in Melbourne

Canberra, Aug 3 : The Australian government has supported Victoria’s decision to impose stage four lockdown measures in Melbourne.

Premier of Victoria Daniel Andrews on Sunday declared a state of disaster and a curfew between 8 p.m. and 5 a.m. across the metropolitan Melbourne area for at least six weeks from Sunday night, Xinhua news agency reported.

It represents the strictest lockdown imposed in Australia in recent months.

“I’ve had the job of leading this state for almost six years — more than 2,000 days. And today is by far the hardest day and the hardest decision,” said Andrews in the statement on Sunday.

According to him, a state of disaster will give the police additional powers to make sure that people are complying with public health directions.

“From 6 p.m. tonight (Sunday), Melbourne will also move to Stage 4 restrictions with stronger rules to limit the movement of people and limit the spread of this virus across our city,” he said.

“The only reasons to leave home during these hours will be work, medical care and caregiving.”

On the same day earlier, Education Minister Dan Tehan said the government “absolutely” supported the decision to tighten restrictions.

“We’ve got our officials with the Victorian government. We’re working collaboratively and closely with them,” he told Sky News Australia. “We’ll continue to offer as much support as we can.”

As of Sunday afternoon, there had been 17,923 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Australia, and the number of new cases in the last 24 hours is 687, according to the latest figures from the Department of Health.

The national death toll has grown to 208 with seven new deaths since Saturday in Victoria, including six linked to the COVID-19 outbreaks in aged care facilities.

Of the new cases, 671 were in Victoria — the state’s second biggest daily increase since the beginning of the pandemic.

According to Andrews, health experts said based on the current numbers, cases might begin to drop off not in days or weeks but in months.

Source: IANS

Disclaimer: This story is auto-generated from IANS service.

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After welcoming his first child, Mike Trout to rejoin Angels on Tuesday in Seattle

ANAHEIM — Mike Trout, whose wife delivered the couple’s first child on Thursday, is scheduled to be back in the Angels lineup on Tuesday, when they open a three-game series in Seattle.

Because the paternity list allows a player to be replaced on the roster for three games, the Angels have placed Trout on the restricted list to allow him to miss a fourth game on Sunday. The Angels are off on Monday

Trout’s son, Beckham Aaron, was born on Thursday evening.

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Mexico arrests Santa Rosa de Lima cartel chief ‘El Marro’

Guanajuato State Attorney’s Office/Handout EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock

José Antonio “El Marro” Yépez Ortiz, leader of the Santa Rosa de Lima cartel in Mexico, is flanked by security forces Sunday in this handout photo made available by the Guanajuato State Attorney’s Office.

MEXICO CITY — Mexican authorities on Sunday arrested José Antonio Yépez Ortiz, one of the country’s most wanted criminals, whose reign helped transform one of Mexico’s most peaceful states into its deadliest. 

Yépez Ortiz, known as “El Marro” — the Sledgehammer — was the leader of the Santa Rosa de Lima cartel, a group based in the central state of Guanajuato that has specialized in oil theft, stealing billions of dollars from the country’s pipelines and refineries in recent years. As the group rose to prominence, Yépez Ortiz found himself cornered — pursued by both the Mexican government, which arrested his mother and sister, and the rival Jalisco New Generation cartel, which killed hundreds of his foot soldiers.

[Mexico’s Jalisco New Generation Cartel blazes a bloody trail in rise to power]

Guanajuato state Gov. Diego Sinhué Rodríguez Vallejo said the operation that led to Yépez Ortiz’s detention Sunday morning was conducted by both state and federal law enforcement, and that a kidnapped business woman also had been freed. Authorities released a photo of Yépez Ortiz wearing a Puma windbreaker and jeans, flanked by soldiers and police. Mexico’s minister of security and public safety, Alfonso Durazo, said Yèpez Ortiz would be charged with oil theft and organized crime.

Guanajuato State Attorney’s Office/Handout

EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock

Yépez Ortiz is escorted by security forces in this handout photo made available by the Guanajuato State Attorney’s Office.

Under Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, the government has struggled to articulate a coherent security strategy, even as the homicide rate has soared. López Obrador took office in 2018 after campaigning on a strategy he called abrazos, no balazos — “hugs, not bullets.” He said he would discourage the young from pursuing criminal activity by investing in education, social programs and job development — suggesting that he would not wage war on the country’s cartel leaders. 

Last year, the Mexican army staged an operation in the city of Culiacán aimed at arresting Ovidio Guzmán, the son of former Sinaloa cartel leader Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán, who is imprisoned in the United States. But soon after soldiers detained the younger Guzmán, cartel gunmen filled the streets of the city, and he was released to avoid more violence.

[The failed arrest of El Chapo’s son turned a Mexican city into an urban war zone]

This year, A video circulated of López Obrador greeting the mother of El Chapo during a visit to Sinaloa. The president called her “an elderly woman that deserves my respect, regardless of who her son is.”

In detaining Yépez Ortiz, the Mexican government has proved its willingness to pursue at least one cartel leader — but it has chosen perhaps the country’s most vulnerable kingpin, whose power was far more localized than other criminal leaders.

That power also appeared to be waning. In June, after the arrest of his mother and sister, Yépez Ortiz released an emotional video in which he teared up while thanking his supporters and threatening his rivals.

Days later, members of the Santa Rosa de Lima Cartel were accused in an attack on a drug rehabilitation center in the city of that killed 28 people. That attack, and dozens of others, are believed to have been part of the bloody turf war between Yépez Ortiz and the rapidly growing Jalisco New Generation cartel.

Sergio Maldonado

Reuters

Relatives and friends mourn at the funeral of brothers Omar, Cristian and Geovanni Regalado Santoyo, who killed in a shooting attack at a drug rehabilitation center Irapuato, Guanajuato state.

For the Jalisco cartel’s leader, Nemesio “El Mencho” Oseguera Cervantes, Guanajuato is an important part of the narcotrafficking route to the United States border. Some analysts believe Oseguera Cervantes attempted to reach a detente with Yépez Ortiz in 2017, and Yépez Ortiz’s reported rejection of the overture prompted the conflict.

As the organizations right for control of Guanajuato, home to the tourist and expatriate enclave of San Miguel de Allende and international automotive factories, the state has been transformed by violence. In the first half of 2020, the state suffered 2,293 killings. It now accounts for between 15 and 18 percent of the country’s homicides, López Obrador told reporters in June.

[He promised ‘hugs, not bullets.’ Now Mexico’s AMLO is facing an outcry over soaring violence.]

The detention of Yépez Ortiz in custody could clear the way for the Jalisco cartel’s takeover of Guanajuato. Mexican officials have acknowledged that when a single cartel controls trafficking routes, violence typically decreases. But the Jalisco cartel, which allegedly hired gunmen to try to assassinate Mexico City’s police chief in June, is seen as a growing threat.

In recent years, oil theft has become a major focus of organized crime and a source of billions in lost government revenue. In 2018 alone, roughly $3.25 billion in oil was stolen, according to Pemex, the state oil company, up 5,000 percent from a decade earlier.

[Attempts to steal fuel from Mexican pipeline set off massive fireball, killing at least 73]

The Santa Rosa de Lima cartel and Yepez Ortiz were behind that surge. The large number of refineries and web of pipelines in Guanajuato made oil a natural target for the group. When the government appeared to begin cracking down on oil theft, the cartel launched a campaign of widespread extortion across the state. The 500,000-person city of Celaya briefly ran out of tortillas in 2019 because so many tortillerias had been shut down under the pressure of extortion and violence.

The United States congratulated Mexico on Yépez Ortiz’s arrest.

“Excellent news to start this Sunday: the capture of the criminal El Marro in Guanajuato,” U.S. Ambassador Christopher Landau tweeted in Spanish. “Criminals think they are so dynamic and smart, but in the end the good guys will always win.”

Mexico City’s top security official injured in apparent assassination attempt

How Mexico’s cartel wars shattered American Mormons’ wary peace

Disappearances in Mexico rose during López Obrador’s first year, now top 73,000

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Nasa SpaceX crew return: Dragon capsule splashes down

Washington, Aug 3 : Nasa astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken have returned to Earth after a two-month stay on the space station.

The crew’s SpaceX Dragon Capsule splashed down just south of Pensacola on Florida’s Gulf coast, the BBC reported.

The successful end to the crew’s mission initiates a new era for the American space agency.

All its human transport needs just above the Earth will in future be purchased from private companies, such as SpaceX.

The government agency says contacting out to service providers in this way will save it billions of dollars that can be diverted to getting astronauts to the Moon and Mars.

Hurley’s and Behnken’s capsule touched the water shortly after 14.45 EDT (19.45 BST; 18.45 GMT).

The sight of the vehicle’s four main parachutes floating down over the Gulf of Mexico was confirmation the spacecraft had survived its fiery descent through the atmosphere.

Recovery vessels are now working to make the capsule safe and lift it out of the water. The astronauts will then be able to get out.

The men will be checked over by medical staff before being flown to shore by helicopter.

The astronauts’ Dragon capsule launched to the space station at the end of May on a Falcon 9 rocket, also supplied by SpaceX.

Their mission served as an end-to-end demonstration of the astronaut “taxi service” the company, owned by tech entrepreneur Elon Musk, will be selling to Nasa from now on.

The Boeing corporation is also developing a crew capsule solution but has had to delay its introduction after encountering software problems on its Starliner capsule.

Source: IANS

Disclaimer: This story is auto-generated from IANS service.

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AG Becerra can’t be trusted when naming props

Last week, the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association filed a lawsuit against California Attorney General Xavier Becerra for his abject failure to produce impartial ballot material related to Proposition 15, the “split roll” attack that seeks the partial repeal of Proposition 13.

What Proposition 15 does can be described simply: It raises property taxes on commercial and industrial real estate. And yet, how does Becerra describe it in the ballot title? Like this: “Increases funding sources for public schools, community colleges, and local governments by changing assessment of commercial and industrial property.”

What is missing, of course, are the words “tax increase” or “increases property taxes” or any other word or phrase that fairly characterizes what the measure does. Even the description of how the money will be spent is misleading. In fact, most of the money goes to local governments, not education. But, of course, “education” polls better than “local governments” so Becerra, in his never-ending quest to serve the interests of public-sector labor groups, dutifully gave them the title they wanted for their effort to pass a huge tax increase.

Past criticism of Becerra’s bias has been vocal but there has been little recourse. In 2018, taxpayers won a case in the trial court over the description of the gas tax repeal, only to have that victory reversed by the appeals court. However, things may be different now because Becerra’s irresponsible behavior has even caught the attention of mainstream media. Within the last few weeks, editorial boards and columnists have lambasted Becerra.

John Diaz of the San Francisco Chronicle wrote, “The ballot title on Prop. 15 begins by stating that it ‘increases funding sources for public schools, community colleges and local government services.’ It would do so, it states, by ‘changing tax assessment’—not raising taxes—on commercial and industrial property.” That column was headlined, “California attorney general loads language on 2 November measures.”

The editorial boards of this news organization, the Southern California News Group and the Bay Area News Group, wrote, “The title and summary of Proposition 15 are not only tilted toward one side, they are less than fully accurate. Property in California is not taxed on ‘purchase price.’ It’s taxed on fair market value at the time of purchase, adjusted annually for inflation with increases capped at 2 percent per year…It’s also misleading, if not completely false, to state that Proposition 15 ‘increases funding sources.’ It doesn’t add new sources, it increases taxes on existing sources: businesses in California.”

CalMatters columnist Dan Walters wrote, “Rather than simply describe Proposition 15 for what it does, Becerra’s official title summarizes it this way: ‘Increases funding for public schools, community colleges, and local government services by changing tax assessment of commercial and industrial property.’”

The headline on that column accurately summarized the situation as, “Becerra slants two ballot measure titles.”

The entire controversy of Becerra’s wrongfully picking sides when he has the fiduciary responsibility to be neutral is nothing new. Becerra did the same thing with Proposition 6 in 2018, an initiative measure that sought to reverse the legislature’s imposition of the infamous gas tax hike, which gave California the highest gas tax in the nation. Becerra gave the repeal measure a title that omitted any mention of repealing the gas tax hike.

California voters are entitled by law to “a true and impartial statement of the purpose of the measure in such language that the ballot title and summary shall neither be an argument, nor be likely to create prejudice, for or against the proposed measure.” Instead, Attorney General Becerra has bowed to the political power of special interests who seek to hide from the voters that the measure they have put on the ballot is the biggest property tax increase in California history.

We’ve had enough. California taxpayers will see him in court.

Jon Coupal is president of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association.

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Maha Police capable of unravelling Sushant case: Home Minister

Mumbai, Aug 2 : In an apparent retort to Bihar Director General of Police Gupteshwar Pandey’s statements vis-a-vis the probe into the death of actor Sushant Singh Rajput, the Maharashtra government on Sunday said the state police was fully capable of unearthing the truth in the case.

It also reiterated its known stand of continuing the probe by the state police and not handing it over to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), as demanded by the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party and sections of Bollywood.

“The case is now being politicised for political gains. The Mumbai Police is investigating the matter thoroughly and it is capable of getting at the truth,” Home Minister Anil Deshmukh said.

He added that even if the Bihar Police have registered an offence in Patna under Chapters 12, 13 of the Cr.PC, it has to be investigated by the police in whose jurisdiction the incident took place and the case must be tried in the courts here.

“The Mumbai Police are probing the said suicide matter. I strongly condemn the demands for handing it over to the CBI,” said Deshmukh, who has earlier said at least four times that the case will only be probed by the state police.

Meanwhile, Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray has discussed the case status with both Deshmukh and also Mumbai Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh amid the growing clamour to transfer the probe to the CBI.

Source: IANS

Disclaimer: This story is auto-generated from IANS service.

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Coronavirus cuts Southern California housing permits to 8-year low

Southern California builders slashed construction plans as coronavirus hammered the economy.

My trusty spreadsheet, filled with federal stats tracking the building permits developers file, found steep drops in planning in Los Angeles and Orange counties and statewide in the second quarter. More modest drops occurred in Riverside and San Bernardino counties during the April-to-June period.

“Stay at home” orders designed to slow the spread of the pandemic made home selling and construction tricky. At the same time the broad economic fallout from business limitations made consumers antsy and led many builders to take a cautious approach on new projects.

Builders filed 7,505 permits in the four counties during the quarter, plans for both ownership and rental properties. That’s down 27% in a year and the slowest three-month period since the end of 2012.

That pullback is understandable when new-home sales in the spring quarter were down 13% in a year to 3,419 across the four counties. Still, that was a far smaller dip than closed purchases of existing homes: down 34% to 30,105.

This short-term business logic won’t help Southern California’s chronic housing shortfall. But recent reports by local builders of jumps in orders for future housing in the Inland Empire suggests that home construction may be rebounding soon.

Builders in Riverside and San Bernardino counties got 26% more signed sales contract in June vs. a year earlier, according to Meyers Research. But in Los Angeles and Orange County pending sales fell 19%.

“The housing market in the Inland Empire is stronger than the local unemployment rate would suggest due to more people working from home,” says Meyers analyst Ali Wolf. “Many have realized they can get more bang for their buck by moving inland as long as they aren’t planning on commuting every day.

In Los Angeles and Orange counties, Wolf says builders face the loss of Chinese buyers who favored luxury new homes plus the region’s high land costs that make selling lower-priced housing “as challenging as ever.”

Here’s how second-quarter permits for one-unit housing, a benchmark for single-family home sales, looked in the region …

Los Angeles-Orange counties: 1,622 homes, down 37% in a year and 33% below the five-year average of 2,415 homes. This is the lowest level since 2012’s forth quarter.

Inland Empire: 2,537 units, down 14% in a year and 8% below the five-year average of 2,771 homes. This is the lowest level since 2019’s first quarter.

California: 12,025 units, down 28% in a year and 21% below the five-year average of 15,126 homes. This is the lowest level since 2017’s first quarter.

And here’s at look at total permits filed, which includes everything from single-family homes to condo projects to units in apartment complexes, in the April-to-June period …

Los Angeles-Orange counties: 4,531 units, down 28% in a year and 41% below the five-year average of 7,667 units. This is the lowest level since 2012’s forth quarter.

Inland Empire: 2,974 units, down 24% in a year and 18% below the five-year average of 3,627 units. This is the lowest level since 2019’s first quarter.

California: 21,536 units, down 23% in a year and 23% below the five-year average of 27,926 units. This is the lowest level since 2014’s third quarter.

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