World News

People seek relocation to suburbs due to coronavirus

(CNN)When the pandemic hit, Lina and Challie Stillman found themselves working from their 600-square-foot, one-bedroom condo in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, with no end in sight. By April, the walls were closing in.

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To take the edge off of feeling cooped up, they took weekend drives to Connecticut and soon began looking at houses. In May, they bought a five-bedroom, 5,000-square-foot home with a pool in Brookfield, Connecticut, for $675,000, a lot less than it would cost to buy a bigger apartment in the Brooklyn neighborhood they still love.

    “We needed to get out of the city for awhile,” said Lina Stillman. “It was a perfect storm. It was concerns about health, combined with low [mortgage] interest rates, combined with the fact that we are working from home and it was getting ugly. But I’m not leaving Brooklyn completely. That is impossible for me to do.”

    Lina and Challie Stillman want to live in New York CIty. Just not right now. So they bought a home in Connecticut.
    So they kept the apartment they own in Brooklyn and are considering renting it out short-term. The Connecticut home isn’t so much a weekend escape for them, she said, as it is an alternative full-time home.
    “We thought it would make more sense to buy a little further out and have nature and more space and have the best of both worlds,” said Challie Stillman. And if they have to be in the city for work it is only an hour and a half away by train.

    If real estate activity in second-home areas around New York are any indication, the Stillmans are not alone. The coronavirus pandemic has not only pushed apartment dwelling New Yorkers to seek more space and nature outside of the city, it has also untethered them from their downtown workplaces as companies embraced remote working. That has led to a phenomenon Jonathan Miller, a real estate appraiser and consultant, calls “co-primary” homes.

    The Stillmans bought this 5-bedroom house in Brookfield, Connecticut as an alternative to their 600-square foot Brooklyn condo, which they plan to keep, just in case.
    “For the affluent, instead of trading up in the city or getting a second seasonal home, it is an equal home,” said Miller. “This is changing the way the people think about a primary residence and we are seeing people lengthen the tether that connects work and home.”

    The rise of ‘co-primary’ living

    A home in Connecticut, the Hudson Valley or the Hamptons may typically be used as a vacation home, said Miller. But for the next year or so, many owners are living in their second home, while an apartment in the city could be used as a place to stay on the few days a month when they need to be in an office or meet clients.
    “You move to the Hudson Valley and once every two weeks, you have a two-hour commute,” he said. “The rest of the time you’re commuting from your bedroom to your desk to the refrigerator.”
    In New York City, signed contracts to purchase a condo in June were down 74% from last year, according to a report from brokerage firm Douglas Elliman and appraiser Miller Samuel.

    The pool at the Stillman's new house in Connecticut.
    In the Hamptons, signed contracts were up 89% last month from the year before, according to the report.
    For those who considered buying in the Hamptons, the pandemic has pushed them along, said Robert Nelson, executive managing director of sales for Brown Harris Stevens, making sales activity there brisk.
    “Between $1 million to $2 million they can find a decent house here while in Manhattan that’s a two bedroom apartment,” said Nelson.

    This five-bedroom home in Sag Harbor, New York, did not sell when it was on the market last year. It sold during the pandemic for $4.8 million as buyers looked for more space.
    Previously, buyers were mostly looking at homes as an investment, now more than before the priority is on buying a home they can use immediately.
    Rentals have been difficult to come by because of an increase in demand, said Nelson, but also because regular renters have opted to actually use their homes this year.

    This home in Bridgehampton, New York, listed at $5,400,000, sold for $4,626,000 in June.
    That has pushed some renters into buying for themselves, said Nelson. “They don’t want to be at the whim of others trying to find a place.”

    The rush to buy

    Connie Strait, who has sold Connecticut real estate for 40 years, said she’s never seen such a rush of out-of-state buyers as she has over the past two months. She says her business tripled and she isn’t able to help all the people calling to look at homes.
    Her buyers are coming from New York, and they have money. One morning she had three calls about a million-dollar waterfront property. “That never happened to me before.”
    This has made the market more competitive for the local families she is working with.
    “You pull into a driveway, there are three out-of-state cars,” she said. “They get defeated and know from the looks of it that home will go quickly over asking price.”
    The inventory has been slowly coming back to market, she said, but there have been three times as many homes going into contract. This is leading to multiple offers on many homes, she said, with some buyers immediately bidding over the asking price and some waiving a building inspection to appeal to a seller.

    Agent Connie Strait put this house on the market just before the pandemic for $690,000 and it sold for $670,000. Strait said it would go for closer to $700,000 now.
    The buyers are looking for similar things, said Strait, a home office where they can shut the door behind them, and a yard so they can be outside. “Anything with a pool goes immediately.”
    What remains to be seen, said Miller, is how long this effect will last. Most companies are not announcing employees can work from home for the 5- to 10-year timeline around which most people make real estate decisions.
    “Does the zeitgeist change the minute there is a vaccine?” said Miller. “Employers and employees saw the benefit of working remotely, but that doesn’t suggest it will be fully that way and there are plenty of careers that you need to do in person.”

      What is clear now is that people will be staying in places like the Hamptons well past Labor Day, Nelson said.
      “Seasons don’t matter much anymore and we’ve all learned how Zoom works,” he said.
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      World News

      Reported Chevy Cobalt fuel leaks probed by US safety agency

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      DETROIT — The U.S. government's road safety agency is investigating complaints of fuel leaks in older Chevrolet Cobalt small cars and HHR wagons.

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      The probe covers more than 614,000 Cobalts from the 2008 to 2010 model years and HHRs from 2008 and 2009.


      The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says it has 208 complaints from owners about gasoline leaks. Thirty-nine owners have told the agency about gas puddles or drips from leaky fuel lines toward the left rear wheel well. The agency says in documents posted Tuesday that the leaks are caused by corrosion of metal fuel lines near polymer blocks that hold the lines to the body. The leaks are beneath an insulation heat shield near the exhaust pipe and muffler.


      The agency says it doesn't have any reports of crashes, fires or injuries. It says the probe will determine how often the problem happens and assess potential safety issues. Investigations can lead to recalls.

      A message was left Tuesday seeking comment from GM.

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      World News

      Prince Philip snub: The painful blow Duke dealt in wake of Meghan and Harry’s exit

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      Prince Philip, 98, and Queen Elizabeth II, 94, have been married for 72 years and while it is hard to imagine the Royal Family without the Duke of Edinburgh it took him some time to find his feet within the institute.

      Prince Philip was born a member of the Greek and Danish royal families and has the German surname Mountbatten.

      When the Queen and Philip’s first son Prince Charles, 71, was born in 1948 the Second World War was still fresh in the minds of Britons and it was felt it would be unsuitable for Charles to take his father’s Mountbatten surname.

      Prince Philip was said to be deeply hurt by the decision and one royal biographer has claimed he was “heartbroken.”

      In Ingrid Seward’s book My Husband and I: The Inside Story of 70 Years of the Royal Marriage, she chronicles Prince Philip’s reaction to not being able to pass on his surname.


      • Royal blow: How Camilla will suffer same fate as Prince Philip

      According to Ms Seward the heartbroken Duke was reported to have said: “I am the only man in the country not allowed to give his name to his children. I’m nothing but a bloody amoeba.”

      However, in 1960 a compromise was reached at the Royal Family created a hybrid surname to be passed onto to Philip’s descendants.

      Mountbatten-Windsor came into being and years later the surname has been taken bY Prince Harry and his son Archie Harrison.

      While Prince Philip’s grandson Prince Harry inherited the Mountbatten-Windsor surname, following his step away from the Fold there has been speculation as to whether he will drop it altogether.

      Prince Harry and Meghan ceased to be working royals in March and have settled in Los Angeles where they hope to gain financial independence from the Crown.

      They have now entered a one-year trial period which will be reviewed by the Queen next March.

      Prince Harry’s full name and title are: His Royal Highness Henry Charles Albert David Duke of Sussex.

      However, Mountbatten-Windsor is the surname he would usually use when he needs to put one down on official documents.

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      Prince Harry appeared to snub his royal roots on paperwork for his eco-travel venture Travalyst in the wake of his royal withdrawal.

      The Daily Mail reported Harry signed paperwork Prince Henry Charles Albert David, Duke of Sussex and did not use his Mountbatten-Windsor surname.

      While Harry and Meghan will keep their HRH titles they will not use the word ‘royal’ in conjunction with their work moving forward.

      Although Harry may have ditched Prince Philip’s Mountbatten surname it is used on Archie’s birth certificate meaning Archie will continue the Mountbatten legacy.

      Archie Harrison recently celebrated his first birthday with his parents at their new LA home.

      While Meghan and Harry have been protective of their son’s privacy since his birth, they shared an adorable new video of Archie and Meghan reading together to mark the milestone.

      Meghan and Harry’s move away from the royal bubble was in part motivated by their wish to give Archie as peaceful a life as possible.

      The couple have named their new venture ‘Archewell’ after their son and are expected to launch the project once the coronavirus pandemic has subsided enough for them to do so.

      Meghan and Harry were meant to stay with the Queen with Archie at Balmoral this summer.

      However, the special trip will have been postponed amid the coronavirus crisis.

      The Queen and Prince Philip are currently isolating at Windsor Castle where they are expected to remain for the foreseeable future.

      Source: Read Full Article

      World News

      New bill would require NY cops to have personal insurance for liability suits

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      Retired NYPD detective Oscar Odom points to a recent increase in crime rates and calls on political leaders to take action to support their law enforcement.

      State lawmakers are churning out more proposed laws to hold cops accountable for misconduct.

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      A bill introduced by state Sen. Alessandra Biaggi (D-Bronx) would require police officers to obtain personal liability insurance to cover civil lawsuits filed against them for excessive force and other abuses as a way to deter misconduct.

      Under current law, cops who are sued are represented by the city law department and taxpayers foot the bill for any verdict or settlement.

      Biaggi’s proposal would require each officer to obtain individual liability insurance. The city or other local governments would still be required to cover the basic insurance policy to cover tort litigation costs.


      But Biaggi said her bill would better hold officers accountable by requiring them to pay any increase in premiums related to payouts for wrongdoing.

      “Officers who have misconduct claims brought against them may see their premium go up and will be required to pay those costs. The purpose of this bill is to establish a financial disincentive for police misconduct and create accountability for abhorrent behavior,” she said.

      Between July 2017 and June 2018, New York City paid out $230 million in 6,472 cases for alleged misconduct or alleged wrongdoing by officers, according to a report released by city Comptroller Scott Stringer’s Office.


      “While taxpayers bailout law enforcement who engage in misconduct, those same officers too often evade meaningful accountability,” Biaggi said.

      The measure is just the latest in a slew of police accountability measures that were passed by the legislature and signed into law by Gov. Andrew Cuomo last month

      They include repealing the state’s controversial police records secrecy rule known as “50-a” that sealed off access to disciplinary records, banning the use of chokeholds and codifying Cuomo’s existing executive order granting the state attorney general the power to conduct independent probes of in-custody deaths.


      Another bill proposed last week would strip officers of their pensions if found guilty of misconduct.

      Momentum for the police accountability measures — stalled in Albany for years — was triggered by the outrage and protests over the police brutality death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.


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      World News

      Photo of bat with ‘human-size’ wingspan TERRIFIES viewers – but may not be what it seems

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      The picture of the enormous bat was posted on Twitter and has gathered more than 250,000 likes. The image shows the winged animal hanging upside down from the roof of a building.

      The caption said: “Remember when I told y’all about the Philippines having human-sized bats? Yeah, this was what I was talking about.”

      The post prompted a string of replies from horrified Twitter users.

      One replied: “IS THIS REAL!????”

      Another wrote: “You’re telling me this bat is taller than me.”


      Another commented: “HELL NO.”

      A fifth added: “This bat is taller than me and I’m both horrified and impressed in equal measure.”

      But others pointed out the photo is likely to be making the bat look bigger than it actually is.

      One said: “It looks larger than it really is because there isn’t anything directly next to it for scale.”

      And another insisted the bat was harmless, saying: “Heya, from the Philippines here.

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      “I can confirm this, they have a huuuuuge wingspan but the bodies are not really that big, more or less like the same body as a medium (bit smaller) sized dog.

      “And yeah they only eat fruits, guavas most particularly. They’re really gentle too.”

      The picture of the bat was posted by Twitter user @AlexJoestar622 who clarified in a later tweet that he was referring to the bat’s wingspan and not its height when he said it was the size of a human.

      The bat is thought to be a giant golden-crowned flying fox.

      The species, which is native to the Philippines, is one of the largest in the world.

      It has an impressive wingspan of up to 1.7m (5.6ft) and can weigh 1.4kg (3.1lb).

      The diet of the giant golden-crowned flying fox is mainly fruit.

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      U.S. says Alaska, Delta, JetBlue, United, Southwest seek COVID aid

      WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Five additional U.S. airlines – Alaska Airlines, Delta Air Lines, JetBlue Airways, United Airlines and Southwest Airlines – have taken steps to seek federal loans amid the novel coronavirus outbreak, the U.S. Department of Treasury said on Tuesday.

      The airlines had signed letters of intent, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement, adding: “We look forward to working with the airlines to finalize agreements and provide the airlines the ability to access these loans if they so choose.”

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      World News

      SNP sparks fury: Nicola Sturgeon accused of putting jobs at risk by ‘very angry’ employers

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      Although the UK Government has published a list of countries that will not require a quarantine when travellers return, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has yet to decide for Scotland. Scottish airports are calling on the SNP leader to reveal coronavirus air bridge countries soon or she will potentially put more jobs in the Scottish airline industry at risk. Good Morning Britain ( GMB) correspondent Juliet Dunlop reported on the “quarantine quarrel” to ITV, adding that despite Ms Sturgeon’s threat to draw up a separate quarantine regime for Scotland, not a single spot check had been carried out on travellers obliged to stay at home under existing rules.

      Scottish Health Secretary, Jeane Freeman, claimed no checks had been carried out because her officials didn’t have access to a passenger information database.

      The Home Office has now shot back, saying that this is simply not the case and that it is misleading and inaccurate.

      Ms Dunlop told GMB: “Really the upshot of all of this has been that Scottish airports are angry, very angry.

      “So angry, in fact, that the bosses of Glasgow, Aberdeen and Edinburgh Airports have banded together to say that they are argued that this blanket quarantine policy was always unworkable and unenforceable, and this simply underlines that.”

      She continued: “But sadly they claim it has already cost thousands of UK jobs.

      “Now Westminster and Holyrood are already at loggerheads over the issue of air bridges.

      “Nicola Sturgeon has still not decided which countries Scotland can form air bridges with.

      “She’s been accused of dithering, delaying and leaving Scottish holidaymakers in limbo, and putting more jobs potentially at risk.”

      The ITV correspondent added: “For her part, she claims the Scottish Government simply needs more data before it can make that announcement.

      “Certainly we’ve already had a battle over the border, now this quarantine quarrel is showing no signs of going away.”

      The British Government was expected to announce the review into the quarantine system last week, but it has failed to appear.

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      Britons are now allowed to go on holiday to 75 countries without needing to quarantine on their return to the UK.

      The Government effectively ditched its air bridge plans and simply ended the coronavirus quarantine rules for those arriving from 75 countries so that people can go on holiday.

      The UK lifted a ban on non-essential travel to nearly all EU destinations and British territories.

      A traffic light system will decide which nations are safe to travel to, with those classed as green or amber available to holidaymakers.

      Britons holidaying in “green” or “amber” countries will not have to self-isolate for 14 days when they get back.

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      World News

      Taiwan warns of countermeasures if new Hong Kong law causes 'damage'

      TAIPEI (AFP) – Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen on Tuesday (July 7) warned of “countermeasures” should a sweeping security law China imposed on Hong Kong “damage” the island.

      The new law has sent chills through self-ruled Taiwan, which Beijing regards as its own territory and has vowed to one day seize, by force if necessary.

      Beijing has taken an especially hardline towards Taiwan ever since the 2016 election of Ms Tsai because she regards the island as a de facto sovereign nation and not part of “one China.”

      Taiwan’s government has condemned Beijing’s security law, which claims global jurisdiction and demands foreign and Taiwanese political organisations provide information on their Hong Kong-related activities or risk criminal penalty and fine.

      “If the implementation of the national security law for Hong Kong were to cause any damage to our country or cause any irrational situation, we would consider counter measures,” Ms Tsai told reporters without elaborating.

      She added Taiwan was “closely monitoring the execution of the national security law”.

      Since 2016 Beijing has ramped up military, diplomatic and economic pressure on the island.

      Nonetheless Ms Tsai won a landslide reelection in January and has remained a staunch critic of Beijing’s clampdown against Hong Kong protesters.

      The Mainland Affairs Council (MAC), Taiwan’s top China policy body, on Tuesday warned Beijing and Hong Kong governments not to “violate the rights” of Taiwanese groups and institutions in the city.

      “The Hong Kong side should ensure that our institutions in Hong Kong will not suffer from any political interferences,” it said in a statement.

      Taiwan’s government has a trade and cultural office in Hong Kong handling unofficial ties.

      But it has been devoid of a chief since mid-2018 as Hong Kong has yet to issue a visa amid worsening ties between Taipei and Beijing, as well as Taiwan’s support for the city’s pro-democracy movement.

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      World News

      Prince Andrew’s brutally honest assessment of Queen as mother exposed

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      Andrew is the Queen’s third child with Prince Philip, and his birth came as a surprise to the public. There is a 10-year age gap between Princess Anne and Andrew, but many saw his birth as a sign that the Queen and Duke of Edinburgh had managed to push past their previous marital problems. As a result he is widely seen as the couples’ favourite — and has even been accused of hiding behind his mother in the past to avoid criticism.

      Last year after his car-crash interview with BBC Newsnight on his friendship with deceased, convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, Andrew stepped back from his role on the royal frontline in his attempt to protect ‘the Firm’s’ image.

      He faced a flurry of criticism from the public, yet the Queen showed her support for the Duke of York by choosing to step out with him in January for Sunday Mass in Norfolk.

      Andrew, too, has shown his dedication to his mother in the past.

      According to an interview with Tatler from 2000, “Andrew considers his own childhood perfect”.

      He explained: “Particularly at Balmoral in the summer, when we were all there together.

      “I remember so many little things, adventures, like riding my tricycle aged four or five at Windsor and turning it over and pulling a great hole in my knee.

      “Or my first road-traffic accident in a go-kart when I was 12 — I found myself wedged between two trees.”

      Tatler writer Geordie Greig pointed out: “He was certainly the most independent of his siblings at an early age.”

      Yet, Andrew added: “But don’t think that it was lonely. It was not for one minute.

      “There were all sorts of friends. I remember great tea parties at Buckingham Palace in what was then the large schoolroom and is now offices.

      “Also, all sorts of expeditions to museums, taxis to the shops, and going on the Tube.

      “My parents made huge efforts to make sure they were with us a lot.

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      “That meant a huge sacrifice for them.

      “I remember my mother would look after Edward and me in the evenings in the palace, alone, quite happily.

      “It was a proper family.”

      However, he added that he is not into “PDA”, [public display of affection] with his family as when he was growing up it was “frowned upon”.

      Andrew explained: “Remember, it is difficult if you are wearing an Ascot hat or uniform and are on parade.

      “It is then that you whisper, ‘How, how about later?’

      “And once you come off parade, you give them a jolly good hug.”

      Charles, on the other hand, has been disparaging of his mother’s efforts to raise him in the past.

      A source told The Sun last year: “The relationship between the Queen and Prince Charles has always been complicated, even as a bond between a mother and her eldest son, let alone as a complex entanglement of expectations and shared history between a monarch and her heir.

      “In private, Charles has often accused his mother of being cold, distant or unavailable.”

      Charles even confessed himself in a 1994 authorised biography written by Jonathan Dimbleby that he thought his parents were “emotionally reserved” during his childhood.

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      World News

      Britain now compliant with Saudi Arabia arms order, can issue export licenses: minister

      LONDON (Reuters) – Britain has complied with a court order over its decisions on granting export licences to sell arms to Saudi Arabia, its trade minister said on Tuesday, meaning it can once again issue new licences to export arms to the kingdom.

      The Court of Appeal last year ruled that Britain broke the law by allowing arms sales to Saudi Arabia that might have been deployed in the war in Yemen.

      The court concluded that Britain’s government had erred in law in its decision-making processes on arms export licences to Saudi Arabia, after activists said there was evidence the weapons had been used in violation of human rights statutes.

      While the court’s decision did not mean Britain had to halt arms exports to Saudi Arabia, it did mean it had to pause the granting of new export licenses to sell arms to the kingdom – Britain’s biggest weapons purchaser.

      Trade minister Liz Truss said the government had “now re-taken the decisions that were the subject of judicial review on the correct legal basis, as required”.

      “It follows that the undertaking (given) to the Court – that we would not grant any new licences for the export of arms or military equipment to Saudi Arabia for possible use in Yemen – falls away,” she said in a written statement.

      The legal action against the British government was brought by the Campaign Against the Arms Trade, which wants to end the global arms trade and argued that British weapons were likely to have been used in Yemen in violation of human rights law.

      Truss said the review found that Saudi Arabia had “genuine intent and the capacity to comply with IHL (International Humanitarian Law)”

      “On that basis, I have assessed that there is not a clear risk that the export of arms and military equipment to Saudi Arabia might be used in the commission of a serious violation of IHL,” she said.

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