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What a coronavirus pandemic looks like when you don’t have internet

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How Covid-19 misinformation is still spreading online

They told him a deadly virus “like whooping cough” that gripped the country and even hit the nearby city of Maicao. But he doubted it was very close to home. “I don’t know if this is true,” said Montiel, 38, who is part of the country’s largest indigenous group, Wayuu.

When the Colombian government issued a national lockdown at the end of April, she and her husband were advised to stay home with their three children, keep their distance from others, wash their hands and wear masks to avoid the virus, which has killed more than 365,000 people worldwide.

But for Montiels, the order to stay home is a type of death sentence itself.

Before locking, Angela occasionally refills the SIM card to use WhatsApp, but hasn’t been able to recharge since locking. Without an internet connection, there is no way to “work remotely”. Angela knits Wayuu’s traditional mochila bags but she cannot sell them on the street under current limits.

For now, his family survived an emergency cash payment from the non-governmental organization Mercy Corps. It is not possible for her children to continue their education from home without access to school material online. As for updates, they are waiting for phone calls from friends or family, who might bring news. Otherwise they are in the dark.

“Seeing that we don’t have TV, internet or anything, we don’t know whether that is still happening or whether it will continue, so obviously we can’t go or move,” Montiel said. “We are desperate.”

Based on UN estimates, nearly half of the global population – 46% – is still not connected to the internet. For them, lockdown means losing direct access to vital public health information, remote employment opportunities, online learning, telemedicine appointments, digital food delivery, live-streamed religious services – weddings, and even funerals – as well as many other ways we increasingly live our lives online.

Governments around the world have committed to provide universal access by 2020, but the digital divide is still running in and expanding the gap offline as well.

People in poorer areas are less likely to connect, as are women, the elderly and those who live in remote or rural areas. And in many cases, connectivity can be tenuous – the closure of offices, schools or public spaces, such as libraries and cafes, has severed access for many people.

“We always say that there are around 3.5 billion people who are not connected, but we know that there are more now, because quite a lot of people who used to be connected in their workplaces and other public spaces no longer have that access,” Eleanor Sarpong said, deputy director at Alliance for Affordable Internet (A4AI).

“Covid-19 has shown that there is a huge gap, and it is really shocking for some governments. When they ask their employees to go to work from home … many of them can’t.”

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Sarpong hopes the crisis will penetrate long-standing barriers to internet access – from lack of political will to regulatory hurdles and data affordability – to make more of the world connected.

A4AI, a World Wide Web Foundation initiative, founded by Tim Berners-Lee, recently shared a series of policy recommendations, urging governments, companies and civil society to take urgent action to bring as many people online as possible during the pandemic. Among their direct recommendations are: remove consumer tax on internet services; cut data costs for public websites; provide affordable data packages; expanding broadband benefits; and launch a free public wifi infrastructure. Some have already taken these steps.

“The government needs to see internet access, not as a luxury, but to see it as an enabler that can change their economy … I think that’s a call for them,” Sarpong said.

Digital gender gap

Digital technology has rapidly revolutionized life as we know it. But not everyone gets the same benefits, and many are left behind due to lack of infrastructure, literacy and training.

In the most developed countries in the world, it’s fair 19% of people are online. Men are 21% more likely than women to be connected – and that the gender gap is only widening.

In India, an aggressive approach to digitalization has moved most of the benefits of online government – from rations to pensions. Even before the pandemic, the poorest country in the country relied on digital, even though half of the population was offline.

The pandemic only magnifies the irony of the situation.

When the crisis hit and 1.3 billion Indians were locked up, the country’s informal economy came to a halt. So when the government announced it would send cash transfers directly to vulnerable women, widows, senior citizens and disabled people for three months starting April 1, that was good news. But, stuck at home without a smartphone, many cannot access 500 to 1,000 rupees ($ 6 to $ 13) in assistance.
People wait outside the bank when locked in Jaipur, Rajasthan, India, on April 9.

Lal Bai, a 65-year-old widow living in a remote village in Rajasthan, cannot travel five miles to the nearest town to withdraw government cash, and has no means to access government funds online, so she soon finds herself without food left at home.

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Confused, Bai ended up at the door of Ombati Prajapati, who manages a digital service shop in her village. “He’s the only one who will help me.”

Prajapati is among 10,000 “soochnapreneurs,” or digital entrepreneurs, who have been trained and supported by Digital Empowerment Foundation (DEF), an NGO based in New Delhi, in a rural area of ​​the country. In the midst of locking up, they help provide important digital services, including remote banking, which allows people like Bai to withdraw cash using cellular biometric ATMs. And they even help fight misinformation.

“Only because of the internet can I see what is happening and tell others that they must regularly wash their hands with soap, use cleanser, wear masks,” Prajapati said, 27. “I will not be able to help one of these people [if I had not learned how to use the internet]. I can’t even help myself. “

Osama Manzar, a social entrepreneur and founder of DEF, said that their job training like Prajapati has shown how important it is to have digital infrastructure available up to the last mile – especially during disasters.

“Connectivity and access to the internet must be part of human rights. That must be considered, in times of pandemics and disasters, just as you provide access to food or water, there must be a way to provide access to data,” Manzar said.

Problems for rich countries too

The digital divide has long been considered a development problem. But the pandemic highlights that rich countries also suffer from digital shortages.

More than four out of 10 low-income households in America do not have access to broadband services, according to research by Pew. And in the UK, 1.9 million households do not have access to the internet, while tens of millions of others rely on pay-as-you-go services to get online.

“Sometimes people talk about Covid-19 as a great leveler. But actually, the way people experience locking is not at all the same,” said Helen Milner, chief executive Good Things Foundation, a British charity that works with the government to get more people online.
The breeding ground surprised America for inequality: the Internet

“Digital exclusion, for many, is only an extension of the social exclusion they face, and poverty is clearly part of it.”

The British Government has recently launched a number of initiatives to help try and overcome digital exceptions. Among the schemes is a new campaign, DevicesDotNow, which asks businesses to donate devices, sims and mobile hotspots. The Good Things Foundation helps provide tools to those in need, and helps with training. So far, they have distributed nearly 2,000 tablets
Among the recipients was Annette Addison, who lives alone in a flat in Birmingham, central England and uses a wheelchair to get around. Before locking, he will go to the local community center to access the internet and get help with disability payments. But without a smartphone, he said he felt isolated and in the dark about its beneficial status.

“I didn’t overcome it at all. I was very lonely and depressed when the lockdown first started, but because I had taken a tablet … when I felt lonely, I could talk to my grandchildren or my daughter. I always connected with them, because they always online. “

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On May 1, Addison was 60 years old. He celebrates with his grandchildren via video chat on his new iPad – the same iPad that he now uses to check his support portal. And he recently signed up for a dating site. “I feel like a teenager,” he said.

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But when the government tries to launch digital services to the most needy, the question remains: Who gets the device and who doesn’t?

Hafsha Shaikh, founder SmartLyte, the digital skills center that distributes devices to Addison, said it was a question that haunted him.

“The device is not only about direct support for Covid, but it is about opening gates, for parents and families, for aspirations and opportunities,” Shaikh said. There are currently 1,500 on the waiting list.

“The biggest challenge is, who should I choose?”

Swati Gupta and Jack Guy from CNN contributed to this report.

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Portuguese TV project ‘O Último Lobo’ wins 2 awards in Spain

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Portuguese TV project 'O Último Lobo' wins 2 awards in Spain

“BUT SPi introduced [na Conecta, que decorreu entre terça-feira e hoje em Toledo,] two of his upcoming art projects, “Code 632” and “O Último Lobo”, the latter of which is one of the finalists of the “pitching” session and received the RTVE award, the event’s highest award, which means an agreement between the Spanish public broadcaster RTVE and the ACORDE award” , the Portuguese producer said in a statement released today.

The Last Lobo, an eight-episode co-production between SPi and Caracol Studios and written by Bruno Gascon, is “a crime drama that tells the story of Lobo, one of Europe’s biggest drug dealers.”

“Code 632”, a co-production of RTP and Globoplay, is a six-episode series based on the book “O Code 632” by José Rodrigues dos Santos.

Recording for this series will begin in July and will be split between Lisbon and Rio de Janeiro. According to RTP, in a statement released this week, the book adaptation for the series is being handled by Pedro López and directed by Sergio Graciano.

“Based on authentic historical documents, Codex 632 focuses on a cryptic message found among the papers the old historian left behind in Rio de Janeiro before he died,” recalls RTP.

The cast included Portuguese and Brazilian actors and starred Paulo Pires and Deborah Secco.

SPi, part of the SP Televisão group, produced the Netflix series Gloria and co-produced Auga Seca for HBO Portugal, among others.

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Portuguese rider Miguel Oliveira in 16th place after the first free practice in Assen – DNOTICIAS.PT

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Portuguese rider Miguel Oliveira in 16th place after the first free practice in Assen – DNOTICIAS.PT

Portuguese rider Miguel Oliveira (KTM) finished the first two free practices of the MotoGP Grand Prix in Assen in 16th place.

Oliveira finished the day with a time of 1.34.676 minutes, 1.402 seconds behind the best rider of the day, Italy’s Francesco Banagia (Ducati). Spaniard Aleix Espargaro (April) was second with 0.178 seconds and French champion Fabio Quartararo (Yamaha) was third with 0.305 seconds.

After the first session in the rain, in which the rider from Almada was sixth fastest, the rain stopped before the start of the second session.

The riders started with intermediate tires, but as the track in Assen in the Netherlands, considered the “cathedral” of motorsport, dried up, they installed dry tires (slicks).

Under these conditions, Miguel Oliveira was losing ground in the table, ending the day in 16th place, despite an improvement of about nine seconds from the morning’s record, in rain, in which Australian Jack Miller (Ducati) was the fastest. , fifth in the afternoon.

On Saturday there will be two more free practices and qualifications.

The 10 fastest in the set of the first three sessions go directly to the second stage of qualification (Q2), and the remaining 14 “brawl” in Q1, resulting in the two fastest qualifying to the next stage.

Fabio Quartararo enters this 11th round of the season leading the championship with 172 points, while Miguel Oliveira is in 10th place with 64 points.

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Portuguese MNEs defend that Mercosur is a “natural partner” of the European Union at the moment – Observer

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Portuguese MNEs defend that Mercosur is a "natural partner" of the European Union at the moment - Observer

This Thursday, Portugal’s foreign minister said that at a time when the European Union (EU) seeks to diversify suppliers and markets, MERCOSUR is a natural partner whose importance cannot be “underestimated”.

For Portugal, “the current delicate context makes us appreciate even more the mutual advantages of the Agreement between the EU and MERCOSUR,” João Gomes Cravinho said, without directly referring to the conflict between Russia and Ukraine.

“At a time when the EU is seeking to diversify suppliers and markets in order to ensure greater strategic autonomy, MERCOSUR is a natural partner, whose importance we cannot underestimate“, the minister added at a conference entitled “Brazil and Portugal: perspectives for the future”, which takes place from Thursday to Friday at the Gulbenkian Foundation in Lisbon.

The Southern Common Market (MERCOSUR) is a South American economic bloc created in 1991, whose founding members are Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay.

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But still, within the framework of the European Union, Joao Gomes Cravinho believed that EU strategic partnership with Brazil left ‘untapped’.

The Minister stressed that in the context of the EU, Portugal “always knew how to use its position in favor of strengthening relations with Brazil.”

Therefore, it was during the Portuguese presidency, in 2007, that a “strategic partnership with Brazil” was established, he stressed.

However, according to the head of Portuguese diplomacy, this is “a partnership that has clearly not been used for a variety of reasons and which still retains the ability to position Brazil as Europe’s great interlocutor for South America.”

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With regard to bilateral relations between the two countries, the minister emphasized that “in this context of global turmoil, the wisdom of the central characteristic common to the foreign policy of Brazil and Portugal, which is active participation in many multilateral structures, in recognition of the indispensability of multilateralism, international cooperation and global rules based order.

Portugal meets with Brazil in all areas of Portuguese foreign policy. We are Atlantic, we are Ibero-American and Portuguese-speaking,” he said.

In the Atlantic dimension, “Portugal and Brazil are united by an ocean, which we recognize as growing in importance in the context of new, complex and truly existential issues,” he said.

According to João Gomes Cravinho, “Some of these problems can be answered in the Atlantic Center, co-founded by Portugal and Brazil”, and “the other part of the huge ocean problems will be addressed in detail at the great Summit.” Oceans”, which will be held in Lisbon next week.

“In any of the areas, new prospects are opening up for Portuguese-Brazilian relations,” he stressed.

With regard to Ibero-America, the minister believes that Portugal and Brazil share “an enormous strategic space with the Castilian-speaking countries, where a joint Portuguese-Brazilian reflection is undoubtedly recommended on the potential to exploit opportunities and create synergies”.

“Value of CPLP [Comunidade de Países de Língua Portuguesa] is gaining more and more recognition at the international level – and the evidence of this is the growing number of states that become associate observers” of the organization, he believes.

“Because they want to engage with us and reinforce the value of the linguistic, cultural and historical ties that unify lusophony and create a unique dynamic for relationships with third parties,” he stressed.

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But even at this level, he argued that there was an urgent need to find a “convergence of visions and desires” that “allows us to enhance” our “separate realities.”

The minister also mentioned that “despite the break caused by the pandemic”, Portugal has a “real air bridge” with Brazil, consisting of more than 74 weekly TAP flights, which is a cause and effect of “a dynamic that is being updated and reinvented”. relations between the two countries.

This dynamic, according to Gomes Cravinho, is also reflected in economic and commercial relations.

Thus, “Brazil is the first Latin American export market for Portuguese merchandise and is already the fourth largest merchandise export destination (outside the EU).

“However, the conviction remains that the potential is far from being realized, and that nostalgia for the future entails a vision of a different profile of our exchanges, a technological, creative profile that corresponds to global geo-economic transformations,” he defended. .

At this stage, João Gomes Cravinho also underlined the potential of the port of Sines, “whose strategic importance, which has long been noted, takes on new importance in the troubled times that we are going through.”

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