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Lockdowns, Masks, & The Illusion Of Government Control Over COVID

Lockdowns, Masks, & The Illusion Of Government Control Over COVID

Authored by Brian McGlinchey via Stark Realities,

In the early 11th century, King Canute—while at the peak of his power—set out to demonstrate to his fawning courtiers…

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Lockdowns, Masks, & The Illusion Of Government Control Over COVID

Authored by Brian McGlinchey via Stark Realities,

In the early 11th century, King Canute—while at the peak of his power—set out to demonstrate to his fawning courtiers the limited power of royal edicts. After having his throne placed by the sea’s edge, he sat down and commanded the tide to stop rising. When the water began washing over his feet, he declared, "Let all men know how empty and worthless is the power of kings."

Nearly a thousand years later, facing a different force of nature—Covid-19—an entire global generation of presidents, prime ministers, governors, mayors, public health officials, scientists and citizens is being given the same lesson. However, where Canute’s lesson sprang from his humility, this lesson springs from the hubris of the present-day ruling class and the credulity of the masses who place far too much faith in their rulers’ power.

The lesson was pointedly driven home on July 19th. That was "Freedom Day" in the United Kingdom, with government ending restrictions on social contact, allowing the reopening of remaining establishments such as nightclubs, and abandoning mask mandates.

Two weeks before Freedom Day, as the Delta relentlessly pushed the UK’s case count higher, 122 prominent scientists and doctors submitted a letter to The Lancet calling the planned easing of restrictions "a dangerous and unethical experiment."

On the eve of Freedom Day, the UK’s daily case count was over 40,000. Imperial College London mathematical biologist Neil Ferguson told the BBC it was "almost inevitable" the end of restrictions would prompt daily cases to soar to 100,000 and perhaps even 200,000.

Mother Nature was about to deliver a harsh comeuppance to Ferguson and others who’d have us believe government restrictions and mask mandates offer a potent defense against Covid contagion: Cases promptly went into a two-week free fall.

Daily New Cases in the United Kingdom

In addition to fostering well-founded doubt about the benefits of lockdowns and face coverings, the turn of events should also cultivate healthy skepticism about the pronouncements of the public health establishment. Hopefully, Ferguson’s particular humiliation will immunize officials, journalists and citizens against trusting Imperial College London’s Covid-19 models.

Those models, which played a key role in enabling unprecedented, draconian lockdowns around the world—have been wildly wrong again and again. For example, Imperial College London projected Sweden’s relaxed approach to Covid-19 would leave nearly 100,000 Swedes dead by July 1, 2020. The actual count: 5,700.

The United States has endured its own false alarms about what will happen when government-imposed restrictions are eased. Grim predictions and accusations of gubernatorial indifference to human life accompanied the ending of restrictions and mandates in states like Iowa, Texas and Florida, and proved as wrong as the ones made in the UK last month.

Lacking Canute’s humility and undaunted by contrary evidence, the great majority of officials, scientists and pundits who’ve favored coercive government measures have proven stubbornly incapable of entertaining the possibility that these interventions—which have boosted depressionsuicidealcohol abusedrug overdosesdomestic violence and undiagnosed canceraren’t a net positive for public health after all.

That resistance to contrary evidence extends to a great many everyday citizens whose unwavering support of lockdowns, business restrictions, remote schooling and mask mandates is part of a politicized tribal identity.

Exasperatingly, that tribe embraces "trust science" as a mantra, oblivious to the fact that the scientific method hinges on the reliable replication of results that supports one’s theory—something sorely lacking where lockdowns, masking and other measures are concerned.

The "trust science" crowd is likewise oblivious to the fact that scientists are far from unanimous in supporting those government-imposed nonpharmaceutical interventions (NPIs), and that highly-credentialed scientists from esteemed institutions are among the most vigorous dissenters.

The most prominent demonstration of such dissent came with the October 2020 "Great Barrington Declaration." Led by professors from Harvard, Oxford and Stanford, epidemiologists and public health scientists from around the world expressed their "grave concerns about the damaging physical and mental health impacts of the prevailing COVID-19 policies."

The declaration has now been signed by more than 58,000 medical and public health scientists and medical practitioners. Their numbers and credentials don’t guarantee their views are correct; however, they do bely the presumption of a scientific consensus behind coercive mitigation policies. Among three original Stanford signatories to the declaration is biophysics professor and Nobel Prize recipient Michael Levitt. He and a group of Stanford and international scholars have been analyzing Covid-19 data since January 2020.

Referring to the steep drop in cases after UK restrictions were eased, Levitt recently asked the Twitter-verse: "Can anyone show clear correlation between NPI or other restrictions & reduced COVID-19 cases anywhere? I keep trying & failing. We really need to know this to deal better with future pandemics."

Levitt isn’t the only reputable scientist who sees little if any correlation between government-imposed NPIs and Covid-19 trajectories. "We’ve ascribed far too much human authority over the virus," said Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, in a recent interview with the New York Times. "These surges have little to do with what humans do. Only recently, with vaccines, have we begun to have a real impact."

"We had record high cases, hospitalizations and deaths in January, followed by a precipitous decline throughout February and into March…this does not reflect anything to do with…human mitigation. This is the natural ebb and flow of the virus we’ve seen time and again around the world," said Osterholm on his Covid-19 podcast.

In that vein, those who exclusively attribute today’s surging case counts in southern states to lagging vaccination rates and purported local mismanagement should note that:

  • The southern wave’s timing roughly parallels the region’s 2020 summer surge, which should prompt consideration that seasonality—alongside Delta’s greater transmissibility among even the vaccinated—may be the dominant driver

  • While Florida is considered the new epicenter of the pandemic, the state’s vaccination rate matches the national average

  • Oregon, despite an above-average vaccination rate, is experiencing its own sharp spike—but has been spared the kind of contemptuous scorn that journalists and Democratic politicians heap on Republican-led Florida

Every NPI Deserves Scrutiny

Over the course of the pandemic, some anti-Covid-19 measures have fallen out of favor in light of new findings and observations. For example, with the understanding that surface transmission of Covid-19 is extremely unlikely, far fewer people are wiping groceries with Clorox.

Perhaps because they’re bolted into place, the nation’s thicket of plexiglass dividers have shown more staying power, despite research indicating they may not only be futile, but could actually be making matters worse by thwarting ventilation. In March, the CDC withdrew its recommendation for barriers on school desks, but has apparently stopped short of discouraging their broad use elsewhere.

Though it’s now socially acceptable to question the use of disinfectants and plexiglass, questioning masks can get you suspended from social media and tarred as a promoter of disinformation—even when you’re citing peer-reviewed studies. However, with other widely-embraced mitigation measures fading in light of new data, intellectually honest people should be equally open to the question of whether widespread face-covering—particularly with anything other than an N-95 mask—is worthwhile.

That forbidden discussion is starting to creep into mainstream media. In a recent appearance on CNN, the University of Minnesota’s Osterholm—a former Covid-19 advisor to President Biden—caused a stir by saying, "We know today that many of the face cloth coverings that people wear are not very effective in reducing any of the virus movement in or out." That’s because Covid-19 particles are astoundingly small. Hard as it to imagine, the imperceptible gaps in surgical masks can be 1,000 times the size of a viral particle. Gaps in cloth masks are well larger than that.

Osterholman has offered a highly relatable standard by which to judge if a particular face covering serves as a meaningful barrier against particles that small: "If you were in a room with somebody smoking, would you smell it in your device that you are using?" That standard not only eliminates cloth masks, but surgical ones too.

Beyond the realities of nanoparticle science and the conclusions of previous studies, the case for masking is undermined by what we’ve observed during the pandemic. Sweden, for example, never widely embraced masking. While its per capita Covid death count is well higher than neighboring Finland and Norway, it’s the 15th lowest out of the 31 European Union countries and the UK.

If face-covering were such an essential life-saving practice, Sweden wouldn’t be found in the middle of the EU pack. It would be dead last. That said, using Covid-19 death counts alone to evaluate outcomes is problematic. Different testing protocols can mean an individual would be positive in one country and negative in another. Jurisdictions also differ in what exactly comprises a Covid-19 death—was it a death from Covid or merely with Covid?

More importantly, though, when we solely focus on Covid-19 deaths, we ignore the suicides, fatal overdoses and other unintended deaths that result from the lockdowns themselves. That’s why it’s best to compare countries using excess all-cause mortality: total deaths beyond what’s expected in a normal year. By that measure, lockdown- and mask-eschewing Sweden had one of the best 2020 excess mortality rates in all of Europe—23rd-lowest out of 30 countries.

(It again trailed Finland and Norway, but a variety of factors undermine the idea they present a full-on apples-to-apples comparison; what’s more, by some measures, Finland and Norway had even less stringent policies during the first several months of the pandemic.)

CDC is "Following the TV Pundits"

Vinay Prasad is an associate professor of medicine at the University of California San Francisco and co-author of Ending Medical Reversal: Improving Outcomes, Saving Lives. "Medical reversal" is what happens when new data shows a commonly-accepted practice is not helpful—or is actually harmful.

Decrying the lack of randomized trials backing many Covid-19 policies, Prasad recently wrote, "When it comes to non-pharmacologic interventions such as mandatory business closures, mask mandates, and countless other interventions, the shocking conclusion of the last 18 months is this: We have learned next to nothing."

Referring to the CDC’s decision to once again recommend universal indoor masking in areas of higher Covid-19 transmission, Prasad wrote, "The CDC director calls this 'following the science,' but it is not. It is following the TV pundits."

While declaring his openness to the possibility that masking can be an effective public health intervention, Prasad says mandates should be driven by evidence—and that the CDC isn’t offering any.

Prasad, who doesn’t shy away from endorsing coercive government action when he thinks it’s warranted, concludes:

"When the history books are written about the use of non-pharmacologic measures during this pandemic, we will look as pre-historic and barbaric and tribal as our ancestors during the plagues of the middle ages. What the books won't capture is how, in the moment, our experts were simply so sure of themselves."

* * *

Stark Realities undermines official narratives, demolishes conventional wisdom and exposes fundamental myths across the political spectrum. Read more and subscribe at https://starkrealities.substack.com/

Tyler Durden Sat, 08/14/2021 - 12:30

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US: The New Real Hoaxes?

US: The New Real Hoaxes?

Authored by Pete Hoekstra via The Gatestone Institute,

The investigative reporting by these two organizations…

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US: The New Real Hoaxes?

Authored by Pete Hoekstra via The Gatestone Institute,

  • The investigative reporting by these two organizations [the New York Times and the Washington Post] was so thorough and groundbreaking it turned up things that were not even there.

  • For having refused to rescind these awards, the Pulitzer Committee should receive its own Pulitzer -- for fraud.

  • The real hoax appears to have been the CCP's ostensible good behavior and the now-hugely-discredited initial reporting on the virus.

  • Or how about the Hunter Biden laptop cover-up? Once again, On October 14, 2020, just weeks before the 2020 presidential election, a critical story of possible extensive influence-peddling with senior intelligence officers in the CCP, Russia and Ukraine by the son of a presidential candidate. The contents of the laptop raised questions that the candidate at the time, Vice President Joe Biden, could be compromised. The entire subject was decisively pushed aside, along with the potential threat to national security that such an eventuality might entail.

  • Also not allowed during the January 6th hearings have been any witnesses for the defense, any cross-examination, or any exculpatory evidence.

  • One wonders, for instance if the January 6th Committee will consider the July 29, 2022 tweet by General Keith Kellogg, that on January 3, 2021, Trump, in front of witnesses, did indeed ask for "troops needed" for January 6. Kellogg wrote: "I was in the room."

  • The January 6th Committee has also not released any information about government informants or FBI undercover law enforcement officers who might have been in the crowd, and Pelosi is also said to be blocking access to a massive quantity of documents. Finally, according to attorney Mark Levin, under the Constitution's separation of powers, Congress, has no legitimacy even to hold a criminal investigation: that power belongs to the Judiciary. The entire proceeding is illegitimate and a usurpation of power.

  • Is it surprising that after the Pulitzer decision, the Russia collusion hoax, the Whitmer kidnapping hoax, the Covid origin hoax, the Hunter Biden laptop hoax, and now the January 6th Committee hoax, that many Americans believe there is something wrong with the system?

Recently former US President Donald Trump challenged the award of Pulitzer Prizes to the New York Times and the Washington Post for their investigative reporting on alleged collusion between the 2016 Trump campaign and Russia.

The investigative reporting by these two organizations was so thorough and groundbreaking it turned up things that were not even there.

You have to hand it to them for this so-called "great reporting": the Pulitzer Committee sure did.

We now know, of course, the grand conspiracy pushed by these papers is nothing more than thoroughly debunked disinformation. For having refused to rescind these awards, the Pulitzer Committee should receive its own Pulitzer -- for fraud.

The intractability of the Pulitzer Committee is only the latest example of why so many Americans have been losing trust in their institutions, both public and private. Rather than admitting that these awards were a mistake, and that much of the reporting was not investigative reporting, but merely a recitation of fabrications put forward by political hacks for campaign purposes, the Pulitzer Committee announced that it will stand by its initial decision, facts be dammed.

The Russia hoax is emblematic of the model built by the anti-Trump, anti-America First, anti-populist movement that the American people have experienced for the last six years. It embodies many of the characteristics that have frustrated Americans. It is a combination of influential forces -- media, social media, political players, and government -- that put forward information detrimental to one -- oddly always the same -- political viewpoint. In this instance, populists -- believers in the rights, wisdom or virtues of the common people, according to Merriam Webster -- who might embrace the concept of personal freedom espoused by the Constitution, a free market economy, economic growth, energy independence, school choice, equal application of the law and decentralized governance.

Much of the material used to foster the Russia hoax originated from the discredited "Steele Dossier," pedaled by former British spy Christopher Steele, funded by Clinton-linked opposition research firm FusionGPS, and pushed by Clinton campaign lawyer Michael Sussman. This discredited information was shared widely -- and often, it seems, with prior knowledge of its falseness -- through the mainstream media and social media when it was leaked to the press early in 2017 just before Donald Trump was sworn in as president. The material contributed to the launching of the Mueller "Russiagate" investigation, which cast a shadow over the first two years of the Trump administration. Government officials were involved as CIA Director John BrennanFBI Director James Comey and DNI James Clapper all lent their credibility to the supposed authenticity or seriousness of the Russian materials. All of this did tremendous damage to the effectiveness of the Trump administration, as it sought to govern, by putting it under a cloud of suspicion and illegitimacy from the outset.

This, however, was not the only example. Consider the disrupted kidnapping plot against Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer in her key swing state for presidential elections. "The FBI got walloped [in April]", according to the New York Post, " when a Michigan jury concluded that the bureau had entrapped two men accused of plotting to kidnap Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. Those men and others were arrested a few weeks before the 2020 election in a high-profile, FBI-fabricated case...."

The media, however, for the most part portrayed the kidnapping plot as the work of domestic terrorists, with the implied inference being they were right-wing Trump supporters. Whitmer went so far as to accuse Trump of being complicit in the plan, even though it emerged that these alleged plotters had also supposedly wanted to hang Trump. The FBI, it was later shown, had been heavily involved in the plot through informants and individuals it had placed in the group. By the time the case came to trial after the election, Biden had won Michigan's electoral votes and the damage had been done.

Consider, also, the COVID pandemic. The "facts" at the time were supposedly that it came from "nature" and that the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) government had supposedly known nothing about its human-to-human transmissibility, even though it had "made whistleblowers disappear and refused to hand over virus samples so the West could make a vaccine."

The CCP, early on, was portrayed as a constructive player in controlling the spread of the virus, even as it was recalling and hoarding all of its Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). This fiction was reinforced by Dr. Anthony Fauci, the World Health Organization, and other prominent participants – apart from Taiwan, which futilely tried to warn the WHO of the coronavirus's fierce human-to-human transmissibility, only to be dismissed.

The mainstream media and social media also quickly began parroting the "official" story line. Social media companies suspended the accounts of whoever might have had a different opinion and some were even canceled.

For the 10 months leading up to the November 2020 election, the narrative was set: COVID-19 was a naturally occurring virus and the CCP was in the clear. Imagine how different the 2020 presidential election might have been if the debate was how the world would have held the CCP accountable for the leak and coverup of COVID from the Wuhan Institute of Virology. Now in 2022, a lab-leak is considered the most "likely cause" of the coronavirus, but again the political damage, and a gigantic amount of non-political damage, has already been done. The real hoax appears to have been the CCP's ostensible good behavior and the now-hugely-discredited initial reporting on the virus.

Or how about the Hunter Biden laptop cover-up? Once again, On October 14, 2020, just weeks before the 2020 presidential election, a critical story of possible extensive influence-peddling with senior intelligence officers in the CCP, Russia and Ukraine by the son of a presidential candidate. The contents of the laptop raised questions that the candidate at the time, Vice President Joe Biden, could be compromised. The entire subject was decisively pushed aside, along with the potential threat to national security that such an eventuality might entail.

Discussion of Hunter Biden's laptop with its reportedly incriminating information about the Biden family business dealings with the CCPRussia, and other actors in what appeared to be a model of pay-for-play, was instantly shut down. Fifty-one former government intelligence officials , who we now know were perfectly well aware that the laptop was real – the FBI had been holding it for months -- wrote a letter describing the contents of the laptop as having "all the classic earmarks of a Russian information operation" designed to damage Joe Biden.

NPR famously downplayed the story, and once again, if you used social media to post information originally reported by the New York Post, you were canceled.

A year and a half after the election, the facts were finally "officially" accepted: Well, what do you know, it really was Hunter Biden's laptop and the material on it "is real!"

Once again, the leadership at the FBI, the media, social media, and former government officials had developed a hoax to damage their political opposition and the people who supported it.

Finally, there is the January 6th Committee, a one-sided investigative body, sometimes called "the third (attempted) impeachment." The Committee appears to have been put in place to stop Trump from running for office again. Before the proceeding even began, its outcome was predetermined: Trump was to be found guilty of -- something. As Stalin secret police chief, Lavrentiy Beria used to say during Soviet Russia's reign of terror, "Find me the man and I'll find you the crime." So the US show trial commenced.

Even its start was ominous. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, in an unprecedented move, vetoed the committee appointments of Representatives Jim Banks and Jim Jordan. This rebuff led House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy to pull his five Republican candidates from participating. Pelosi, it appeared, wanted only anti-Trump folks to serve on the Committee. Also not allowed during the January 6 hearings have been any witnesses for the defense, any cross-examination, or any exculpatory evidence.

One wonders, for instance if the January 6th Committee will consider the July 29, 2022 tweet by General Keith Kellogg, that on January 3, 2021, Trump, in front of witnesses, did indeed ask for "troops needed" for January 6. Kellogg wrote:, "I was in the room:"

"Great OpEd. Reinforces my earlier comment on 6 Jan Cmte. Has quote from DOD IG Report regarding 3 Jan 2021 meeting with Actg Def Secy Miller/CJCS Milley in the Oval on the 6 Jan NG request by POTUS on troops needed. I was in the room."

While purportedly examining in detail every decision and action by Trump and his team, the Committee refuses to question Pelosi, among the leading figures responsible for the security of the Capitol. She reportedly "turned down" requests for greater security. According to the Federalist:

"Four days after the riot, former Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund, who resigned his post in the aftermath, told The Washington Post his request for pre-emptive reinforcement from the National Guard ahead of Jan. 6 was turned down. Sund said House Sergeant at Arms Paul Irving, overseen by Pelosi, thought the guard's deployment was bad "optics" two days before the raid.... Despite the Associated Press and Washington Post's best efforts to run interference for the speaker, suddenly exonerating her of duties overseeing Capitol security, the riot on Jan. 6 was a security failure Pelosi owns. If the "speaker trusts security professionals to make security decisions," then why, as the police breach unfolded, did Irving feel compelled to seek the speaker's approval to dispatch the National Guard, as The New York Times reported? How could Pelosi also order the extended shut down of the Capitol to visitors, citing coronavirus, and install metal detectors in the House chamber?"

The Committee has not evaluated the performance of the Capitol Police or other law enforcement agencies, but it has targeted the "private records of individuals with no connection to the violence."

The January 6th Committee has also not released any information about government informants or FBI undercover law enforcement officers who might have been in the crowd, and Pelosi is also said to be blocking access to a massive quantity of documents. Finally, according to attorney Mark Levin, under the Constitution's separation of powers, Congress, has no legitimacy even to hold a criminal investigation: that power belongs to the Judiciary. The entire proceeding is illegitimate and a usurpation of power. The Committee's narrative is clear: Donald Trump is responsible for the events of January 6, now let us manufacture the evidence to prove it.

This article has not even delved into the 28 states that "changed voting rules to boost mail-in ballots." Some States apparently omitted both state law and the need for states' legislatures to be the sole arbiters of election law, as required by the Constitution; the $400 million spent by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg; the 2000-plus "mules" and the algorithms that sent conservative emails to spam while emails with liberal content went through to the addressees.

Is it any wonder that many Americans have lost faith in their institutions and leaders? Is it surprising that after the Pulitzer decision, the Russia collusion hoax, the Whitmer kidnapping hoax, the Covid origin hoax, the Hunter Biden laptop hoax, and now the January 6th Committee hoax, that many Americans believe there is something wrong with the system? The media, social media, government officials and others have been complicit in undermining our rule of law and possibly even subverting an election.

*  *  *

Peter Hoekstra was US Ambassador to the Netherlands during the Trump administration. He served 18 years in the U.S. House of Representatives representing the second district of Michigan and served as Chairman and Ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee. He is currently Chairman of the Center for Security Policy Board of Advisors and a Distinguished Senior Fellow at Gatestone Institute.

Tyler Durden Fri, 08/12/2022 - 23:55

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International

These Are The Most (And Least) Livable Cities In The World

These Are The Most (And Least) Livable Cities In The World

Pandemic restrictions changed the livability of many urban centers worldwide as…

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These Are The Most (And Least) Livable Cities In The World

Pandemic restrictions changed the livability of many urban centers worldwide as cultural sites were shuttered, restaurant dining was restricted, and local economies faced the consequences. But as cities worldwide return to the status quo, many of these urban centers have become desirable places to live yet again.

As Visual Capitalist's Avery Koop notes, this map uses annual rankings from the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) to show the world’s most livable cities, measuring different categories including: stability, healthcare, culture and environment, education, and infrastructure.

A Quick Note on Methodology

The ranking attempts to assess which cities across the globe provide the best living conditions, by assigning a score on 30 quantitative and qualitative measures across the five categories with the following weightings:

  1. Healthcare (20%)
  2. Culture & Environment (25%)
  3. Stability (25%)
  4. Education (10%)
  5. Infrastructure (20%)

Of the 30 factors within these categories, the qualitative ones are assigned as acceptable, tolerable, uncomfortable, undesirable, or intolerable by a team of expert analysts. Quantitative measures are given a score based on a number of external data points. Everything is then weighted to provide a score between 1-100, with 100 being the ideal.

Ranked: The 10 Most Livable Cities

Of the 172 cities included in the rankings, many of the most livable cities can be found in Europe. However, three of the top 10 are located in Canada: Vancouver, Calgary, and Toronto.

Vienna has been ranked number one many times, most recently in 2019. According to the EIU, the Austrian capital only fell out of the top slot during the pandemic years because its famous museums and restaurants were shuttered.

 

Only one Asian city, Osaka, makes the top 10 list, tying with Melbourne for 10th place. Notably, not a single U.S. city is found in the top ranks.

 

Editor’s note: Two cities tie for both the #3 and #10 ranks, meaning that the “top 10” list actually includes 12 cities.

Ranked: The 10 Least Livable Cities

Some of the least livable cities in the world are located across Africa and Central Asia.

 

Many of the least livable cities are within conflict zones, contributing to the low ratings. However, these regions are also home to some of the world’s fastest growing cities, presenting many opportunities for ambitious residents.

 

The Biggest Changes in Ranking

Let’s take a look at the cities that moved up the global rankings most dramatically compared to last year’s data.

Moving Up: The 10 Most Improved Cities

 

Here’s a look at the cities that fell the most in the rankings since last year’s report.

 

Moving Down: The 10 Cities That Tumbled

 

According to the report, a number of cities in New Zealand and Australia temporarily dropped in the ranking due to COVID-19 restrictions.

 

It’s also worth noting that some Eastern European cities moved down in the rankings because of their close proximity to the war in Ukraine. Finally, Kyiv was not included in this year’s report because of the conflict.

Urbanization and Livability

As of 2021, around 57% of the world’s population lives in urban centers and projections show that people worldwide will continue to move into cities.

While there are more amenities in urban areas, the pandemic revealed many issues with urbanization and the concentration of large populations. The stress on healthcare systems is felt most intensely in cities and restrictions on public outings are some of the first measures to be introduced in the face of a global health crisis.

Now with the cost of living rising, cities may face pressures on their quality of life, and governments may be forced to cut spending on public services. Regardless, people worldwide continue to see the benefits of city living—it’s projected that over two-thirds of the global population will live in cities by 2050.

Tyler Durden Fri, 08/12/2022 - 21:00

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International

Popeyes Appears To Be Calling It Quits In China

Popeyes Appears To Be Calling It Quits In China

What would a U.S. presence anywhere be without fast food fried chicken? 

Perhaps this is…

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Popeyes Appears To Be Calling It Quits In China

What would a U.S. presence anywhere be without fast food fried chicken? 

Perhaps this is why Popeyes is in focus by the Global Times, after it was reported that the fast food chain shut down 7 of its 9 stores in mainland China. 

The brand "apparently failed to gain ground" in China, the report says, while sister brand Tim Hortons - originally a Canadian brand - has continued to make an "ambitious expansion push".

Four outlets in Shanghai have closed, according to the report. They are unable to be reached by phone and only two additional locations - one in Huangpu District and one in Pudong New Area - remain.

Popeye's also formerly had two stores in Hangzhou, East China's Zhejiang Province and one store in Nanjing, East China's Jiangsu Province, the report says. 

A member of Popeyes' staff confirmed to Global Times that the locations had been shuttered, and that they were unsure about their future: "We were not informed whether the stores will be closed permanently or opened later. We haven't received any specific notice nor the reason for the closure."

Popeyes first started to expand in China at the worst possible time, May 2020, right at the beginning of the pandemic. The company's initial success - with customers waiting in line as early as 4AM - had led the brand to believe it could expand to 1,500 stores in 10 years. 

Restaurant Brands International still has Tim Hortons - referred to as "Tim's China" - and Burger King with a strong presence in mainland China. RBI is still aiming for more than 2,750 Tim Hortons stores in China by 2026.  

Tyler Durden Fri, 08/12/2022 - 18:30

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