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  1. Michelle Yeoh and opportunity

    Silicon Valley Bank and risk in fiscal capitalism

    Tiktok and the war over who owns the internet

    Maternity Deaths in the usa

    Londonium, the roman name for london

    The live streaming former elected official in japan

     

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    Michelle Yeoh with her historic trophy. She has roles lined up but no starring ones.Credit...Sinna Nasseri for The New York Times

     

    After Her Oscar Win, Will Michelle Yeoh Get to Lead Again?
    The historic victory should mean opportunities to star again, but too often after such milestones, Hollywood doesn’t find central roles for women of color.

    By Kyle Buchanan
    Published March 15, 2023
    Updated March 17, 2023

    We’re conditioned to think of an Oscar win as the endpoint to a journey. For some actors, holding that trophy is the realization of a dream held since childhood. For others, it’s the culmination of a well-deserved comeback.

    But what happens after that win? In our eagerness to treat Oscar victories as career capstones, do we pay too little attention to the opportunities that are supposed to come afterward, yet often don’t?

    I’ve been mulling that over since Sunday night, when Michelle Yeoh took the best actress Oscar for “Everything Everywhere All at Once.” It happened at the 95th edition of the Academy Awards, the kind of big, tantalizing milestone that prods you to contemplate what has come before, and Yeoh’s win proved especially historic: The first Asian star to win best actress, she was greeted onstage by Halle Berry, the first Black woman to have pulled off that feat.

    Asking Berry to announce the winner with Jessica Chastain (the previous year’s winner) was a gamble twice over. If Yeoh had lost to one of her four competitors — all of whom were white women — the ensuing photo op would have served as a stark example of a best-actress category that has been hostile to women of color for 95 years. And though Berry has returned to the Oscars several times since her 2002 win for “Monster’s Ball,” it has always been as a presenter and never as a nominee. To see her there is to be reminded that an Oscar win carries no guarantees when an actress is already liable to receive fewer scripts and career opportunities than her white counterparts.

    So though Yeoh’s triumph was a long time coming, and I teared up as she addressed “all the little boys and girls who look like me watching tonight,” I also found myself worrying that it won’t be enough. The people in the Dolby Theater looked awfully proud of themselves after Yeoh’s win, but if they really want to do right by her, they have to keep writing lead roles for 60-year-old Asian actresses; otherwise, it’s just empty back-patting.

    That, after all, was the real breakthrough of “Everything Everywhere,” Yeoh told me in October. We were at an awards event where, flanked by the “Everything Everywhere” directors Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert, she reminisced about a Hollywood career that had mostly been filled with supporting parts.

    “Look, I’ve been very blessed — I’ve continuously worked, and I’ve worked with great directors,” she said. “But for the first time, I’m No. 1 on the call sheet, thanks to these guys. I do meaningful roles, like in ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ and ‘Shang-Chi,’ but it was not my movie.”

    Yeoh said she hoped that “Everything Everywhere” would not be a one-off, but more than a year after the film’s release, it’s unclear when, or if, she will have another lead film role. Coming projects — including the big-screen musical “Wicked,” the third “Avatar” movie, and the ensemble mystery “A Haunting in Venice” — all consign her to supporting parts. Though she is a headline-making superstar who led the hip studio A24 to its biggest ever worldwide hit, Yeoh is still too often treated as additional casting rather than the main event.

    “Even you, Michelle Yeoh — on the top of the world — has struggled to find the right roles,” Kwan told her when we met in October. “I think that has taken a lot of people by surprise.”

    Yeoh laughed ruefully. “I read scripts and it’s the guy who goes off on some big adventure — and he’s going off with my daughter!” she said. “I’m like, no, no.”

    Few Hollywood movies are conceived with a woman over 50 as the central character, and the ones that are greenlit tend to offer those leads to a triumvirate of white women: Meryl if she’s older, Cate if she’s younger and Tilda if she’s weirder. To ensure that Yeoh can be first on the call sheet again, filmmakers must think more creatively, as Kwan and Scheinert did when they revamped “Everything Everywhere” for Yeoh after conceiving the film as a Jackie Chan vehicle. (And while they’re at it, can they find something juicy for last year’s best supporting actor, Troy Kotsur, similarly a boundary breaker — with “CODA,” he became the first deaf man to win an acting Oscar — who has been seen in little since?)

    As momentum in the best-actress race swung from the “Tár” star Cate Blanchett to Yeoh over the last few weeks of awards season, I kept hearing a common refrain from voters: While Blanchett already had two Oscars and would surely be nominated again — she has eight nominations overall — this could be Yeoh’s only chance at gold. Though I understand the practicality of that argument, I hope those voters understand that their job isn’t done simply because of how they marked their ballot. Yeoh’s Sunday-night win is a big one, but the real victory will come when the lead roles that had long eluded her grasp start to become commonplace. If Hollywood can make that so, then instead of an endpoint, Yeoh’s historic Oscar will serve as a long-needed new beginning.

    Kyle Buchanan is a pop culture reporter and serves as The Projectionist, the awards season columnist for The Times. He is the author of “Blood, Sweat & Chrome: The Wild and True Story of Mad Max: Fury Road.” @kylebuchanan

    ARTICLE
    https://www.nytimes.com/2023/03/15/movies/michelle-yeoh-oscars-next.html

     

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    A bank official trying to reassure worried depositors in 1933. Credit...Associated Press


    The Silicon Valley Bank Rescue Just Changed Capitalism
    March 15, 2023


    By Roger Lowenstein

    Mr. Lowenstein is a financial journalist and author of “When Genius Failed: The Rise and Fall of Long-Term Capital Management.”

    After a career of writing about bank failures, I wound up in the middle of one when my bank, Silicon Valley Bank, was seized by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. On Saturday, when I tried to pay a bill online, I was greeted by this not very reassuring missive:

    “This page will be unavailable throughout the weekend, but will resume next week in accordance with the guidance provided by the F.D.I.C.” I wasn’t truly worried; small depositors like me had long ago internalized the rule that it made no sense to worry about your bank’s condition, since the risks of failure were borne by the F.D.I.C.

    Federal deposit insurance was introduced 90 years ago during the heart of the Great Depression. Ever since then, small depositors within the F.D.I.C. limit of coverage have slept soundly. Now, in light of the bank failures of the last few days and the F.D.I.C.’s extension of coverage, why will any depositor worry about risk? Having bailed out depositors of two banks in full, how will the government refuse others?

    Established as part of the landmark Glass-Steagall Act of 1933, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation initially provided deposit insurance up to $2,500, supported by premiums from member banks. The act was written by two Democrats, Senator Carter Glass of Virginia and Representative Henry Steagall of Alabama. Steagall wanted to protect rural banks, which had many small depositors, from contagious panics.

    In that era, banking “progressives” were centered in the heartland. During the 1920s, low farm prices led to waves of bank failures. Various states adopted insurance, but the statewide systems failed. Scores of bills for federal insurance were also introduced.

    The idea was controversial. The president of the American Bankers Association protested that insuring deposits was “unsound, unscientific and dangerous.” It was opposed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt and by his Treasury secretary, William H. Woodin. Roosevelt opposed insurance because he thought it would be costly and also encourage bad behavior. If there was no need to mollify depositors, then banks would be free to take all sorts of risks. Today we call this “moral hazard.”

    In 1933, an estimated 4,000 banks failed. Roosevelt took office in March, and declared a national bank holiday to prevent more failures. After a pointed debate, in June Roosevelt signed the Glass-Steagall Act.

    The F.D.I.C. definitely prevented panics. From its creation until America’s entry into World War II, banks failed at a rate of close to 50 per year, not bad considering the economic depression in most of that period. And most of the banks that failed were small.

    By the postwar period, deposit insurance seemed to have been created for an era that no longer existed. Bankers schooled in the 1930s tended toward prudence, and the industry was risk averse. The failure rate was exceptionally low. That all changed in the 1970s and ’80s. A combination of financial deregulation, revived animal spirits on Wall Street, and rising inflation led to financial instability and swings in interest rates. Voilà — bank failures returned.

    In recent days, many have been reminded of 2008 and ’09 (165 banks failed in those two years alone). But for the most part, that crisis was not the result of depositors pulling funds. Bear Stearns, Lehman and others failed or sought bailouts because overnight funding from professional investors disappeared. It dried up for two good reasons: Banks like Lehman had too much leverage, and they were overexposed to a very weak and widely held asset, mortgage securities.

    That was not the case with S.V.B.

    This panic was a classic bank run, and it bears an echo to a different historical episode. In the 1980s, lenders known as savings and loans had invested their funds in long-term mortgages paying a fixed rate of interest. When the Federal Reserve, under pressure of rising inflation, began to jack up rates, S.&L.s had to pay higher rates to attract deposits.

    The mismatch between the cost of their money and the (lower) rate that their mortgages earned sank the industry. Many switched to riskier assets to juice their returns, but as these investments soured, their problems worsened. Roughly a third, or about 1,000, S.&L.s failed. The F.D.I.C. was not (luckily for it) involved, because the S.&L.s were covered by a separate federal insurer. This agency, known as F.S.L.I.C., became insolvent, and the subsequent bailout was estimated to have cost taxpayers more than $100 billion.

    Silicon Valley Bank’s failure looks a bit like an S.&L. crisis in miniature. Like its 1980s counterparts, S.V.B. grew extremely rapidly, had many assets parked in fixed, long-term bonds, and was done in when inflation caused the Fed to raise interest rates, raising the cost of keeping deposits.

    Like the S.&L.s, Silicon Valley Bank was heavily concentrated. It catered to start-ups for whom an S.V.B. account was a matter of status. One tech savant who had recently changed jobs (aren’t they always switching jobs?) told me that in his experience, roughly two thirds of start-ups banked with S.V.B. (the bank claimed that nearly half the country’s venture capital-backed technology and life science companies were customers).

    These crises provoked a widening of the federal safety net. Until the 1970s, the F.D.I.C. limit on deposit coverage increased only slowly. But in 1980, as banks came under pressure from soaring inflation, Congress raised the cap to $100,000, over the objections of the F.D.I.C. itself. In the 2008 crisis, the limit was raised to $250,000. And after the failure of IndyMac in 2008, the F.D.I.C., when possible, quietly protected uninsured depositors.

    In the rescue of S.V.B. on Friday and of Signature Bank in New York two days later, the F.D.I.C. overtly ignored the cap and rescued all depositors, irrespective of size. This is a breathtaking leap.

    Rescued seven-figure depositors were primarily venture companies steeped in the ideology of investing. The first plank of capitalism is that it entails risk. You cannot sensibly invest without assessing the chance for loss. If venture firms relied on groupthink rather than financial due diligence, that was their doing. In the case of Signature, which was exposed to the crypto industry, the rescue probably bailed out gamblers on speculative assets.

    Federal officials have seized on a technicality to claim that it is not a bailout: Any required rescue payments will come from a special assessment on (private) banks, not the public. Prudent banks, which hedged their exposure to interest rates and suffered a competitive cost for doing so, will be hit with the added expense. Most likely, banks will pass along the rescue costs in the form of higher fees to consumers.

    Strictly speaking, President Biden’s assurance that taxpayers are not on the line was accurate. However, in the sense that banking customers are a pretty big group, the “public” will be affected.

    Moreover, the hazardous effect on behavior will be the same.

    The regulators clearly failed to monitor S.V.B.’s unhealthy mismatch of assets and liabilities. Their job will be more difficult in the future, as risk taking on deposits has effectively become socialized. What if a bank opts to attract more funds by raising its interest rate on deposits? Can the regulators permit it? Wait a second, this is what all banks do.

    Once you take risk out of a part of a bank’s operations, it is hard to let market principles govern the rest. We should expect, at a minimum, tougher standards on bank capital (as now exists at the biggest banks), more regulation and higher costs. As this newspaper’s DealBook newsletter has predicted, more loans will move away from F.D.I.C.-member institutions to so-called shadow banks such as hedge funds, outside the purview of regulators.

    In past bank failures, uninsured depositors did not lose all — 10 to 15 percent was typical. And in this episode, there wasn’t any systemically bad asset à la mortgages in 2008. Given that the risk was contained, and that the Federal Reserve provides liquidity to banks facing runs (and provided emergency liquidity this week), allowing uninsured depositors of banks that fail to suffer a haircut might have been healthier for the system in the long run.

    And the bailout does nothing to address the condition that fostered financial instability: inflation. It may even exacerbate it. This is not what Henry Steagall had in mind.

    Roger Lowenstein is a financial journalist and the author of “Buffett” and, most recently, “Ways and Means:Lincoln and His Cabinet and the Financing of the Civil War.”

    The Times is committed to publishing a diversity of letters to the editor. We’d like to hear what you think about this or any of our articles. Here are some tips. And here’s our email: letters@nytimes.com.


    ARTICLE
    https://www.nytimes.com/2023/03/15/opinion/silicon-valley-bank-rescue-glass-steagall-act.html

     

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    TikTok’s chief executive, Shou Zi Chew, in the ByteDance offices in Singapore. The White House is hardening its stance toward the Chinese-owned video app.Credit...Ore Huiying for The New York Times


    U.S. Pushes for TikTok Sale to Resolve National Security Concerns
    The demand hardens the White House’s stance toward the popular video app, which is owned by the Chinese internet company ByteDance.

    By David McCabe and Cecilia Kang
    March 15, 2023
    阅读简体中文版閱讀繁體中文版
    WASHINGTON — The Biden administration wants TikTok’s Chinese ownership to sell the app or face a possible ban, TikTok said on Wednesday, as the White House hardens its stance toward resolving national security concerns about the popular video service.

    The new demand to sell the app was delivered to TikTok in recent weeks, two people with knowledge of the matter said. TikTok is owned by the Chinese internet company ByteDance.

    The move is a significant shift in the Biden administration’s position toward TikTok, which has been under scrutiny over fears that Beijing could request Americans’ data from the app. The White House had been trying to negotiate an agreement with TikTok that would apply new safeguards to its data and eliminate a need for ByteDance to sell its shares in the app.

    But the demand for a sale — coupled with the White House’s support for legislation that would allow it to ban TikTok in the United States — hardens the administration’s approach. It harks back to the position of former President Donald J. Trump, who threatened to ban TikTok unless it was sold to an American company.

    TikTok said it was weighing its options and was disappointed by the decision. The company said its security proposal, which involves storing Americans’ data in the United States, offered the best protection for users.

    “If protecting national security is the objective, divestment doesn’t solve the problem: A change in ownership would not impose any new restrictions on data flows or access,” Maureen Shanahan, a spokeswoman for TikTok, said in a statement.

    TikTok’s chief executive, Shou Zi Chew, is scheduled to testify before the House Energy and Commerce Committee next week. He is expected to face questions about the app’s ties to China, as well as concerns that it delivers harmful content to young people.

    A White House spokeswoman declined to comment, as did a spokeswoman for the Treasury Department, which has led the negotiations with TikTok. The Justice Department also declined to comment. The demand for a sale was reported earlier by The Wall Street Journal.

    TikTok, with 100 million U.S. users, is at the center of a battle between the Biden administration and the Chinese government over tech and economic leadership, as well as national security. President Biden has waged a broad campaign against China with enormous funding programs to increase domestic production of semiconductors, electric vehicles and lithium batteries. The administration has also banned Chinese telecommunications equipment and restricted U.S. exports of chip-manufacturing equipment to China.

    The fight over TikTok began in 2020 when Mr. Trump said he would ban the app unless ByteDance sold its stake to an American company, a move recommended by a group of federal agencies known as the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, or CFIUS.

    The Trump administration eventually appeared to reach a deal for ByteDance to sell part of TikTok to Oracle, the U.S. cloud computing company, and Walmart. But the potential transaction never came to fruition.

    CFIUS staff and TikTok continued to negotiate a deal that would allow the app to operate in America. TikTok submitted a major draft of an agreement — which TikTok has called Project Texas — in August. Under the proposal, the company said it would store data belonging to U.S. users on server computers run by Oracle inside the United States.

    TikTok officials have not heard back from CFIUS officials since they submitted their proposal, the company said.

    In that vacuum, concerns about the app have intensified. States, schools and Congress have enacted bans on TikTok. Last year, a company investigation found that Chinese-based employees of ByteDance had access to the data of U.S. TikTok users, including reporters.

    Brendan Carr, a Republican on the Federal Communications Commission, said the administration’s new demand was a “good sign” that the White House was taking a harder line.

    “There is bipartisan consensus that we can’t compromise on U.S. national security when it comes to TikTok, and so I hope the CFIUS review now quickly concludes in a manner that safeguards U.S. interests,” Mr. Carr said.

    The White House last week backed a bipartisan Senate bill that would give it more power to deal with TikTok, including by banning the app. If it passed, the legislation would give the administration more leverage in its negotiations with the app and potentially allow it to force a sale.

    Any effort to ban the app or force its sale could face a legal challenge. Federal courts ultimately ruled against Mr. Trump’s attempt to block the app from appearing in Apple’s and Google’s app stores. And the American Civil Liberties Union recently condemned legislation to ban the app, saying it raises concerns under the First Amendment.

    David McCabe covers tech policy. He joined The Times from Axios in 2019. 

    Cecilia Kang covers technology and regulation and joined The Times in 2015. She is a co-author, along with Sheera Frenkel of The Times, of “An Ugly Truth: Inside Facebook's Battle for Domination.” @ceciliakang

    ARTICLE
    https://www.nytimes.com/2023/03/15/technology/tiktok-biden-pushes-sale.html

     

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    Tammy Cunningham with her son, Calum. She gave birth while hospitalized with severe Covid-19.Credit...Kaiti Sullivan for The New York Times

     

    Covid Worsened a Health Crisis Among Pregnant Women
    In 2021, deaths of pregnant women soared by 40 percent in the United States, according to new government figures. Here’s how one family coped after the virus threatened a pregnant mother.

    By Roni Caryn Rabin
    March 16, 2023
    KOKOMO, Ind. — Tammy Cunningham doesn’t remember the birth of her son. She was not quite seven months pregnant when she became acutely ill with Covid-19 in May 2021. By the time she was taken by helicopter to an Indianapolis hospital, she was coughing and gasping for breath.

    The baby was not due for another 11 weeks, but Ms. Cunningham’s lungs were failing. The medical team, worried that neither she nor the fetus would survive so long as she was pregnant, asked her fiancé to authorize an emergency C-section.

    “I asked, ‘Are they both going to make it?’” recalled Matt Cunningham. “And they said they couldn’t answer that.”

    New government data suggest that scenes like this played out with shocking frequency in 2021, the second year of the pandemic.

    The National Center for Health Statistics reported on Thursday that 1,205 pregnant women died in 2021, representing a 40 percent increase in maternal deaths compared with 2020, when there were 861 deaths, and a 60 percent increase compared with 2019, when there were 754.

    The count includes deaths of women who were pregnant or had been pregnant within the last 42 days, from any cause related to or aggravated by the pregnancy. A separate report by the Government Accountability Office has cited Covid as a contributing factor in at least 400 maternal deaths in 2021, accounting for much of the increase.

    Even before the pandemic, the United States had the highest maternal mortality rate of any industrialized nation. The coronavirus worsened an already dire situation, pushing the rate to 32.9 per 100,000 births in 2021 from 20.1 per 100,000 live births in 2019.

    The racial disparities have been particularly acute. The maternal mortality rate among Black women rose to 69.9 deaths per 100,000 live births in 2021, 2.6 times the rate among white women. From 2020 to 2021, mortality rates doubled among Native American and Alaska Native women who were pregnant or had given birth within the previous year, according to a study published on Thursday in Obstetrics & Gynecology.

    The deaths tell only part of the story. For each woman who died of a pregnancy-related complication, there were many others, like Ms. Cunningham, who experienced the kind of severe illness that leads to premature birth and can compromise the long-term health of both mother and child. Lost wages, medical bills and psychological trauma add to the strain.

    Pregnancy leaves women uniquely vulnerable to infectious diseases like Covid. The heart, lungs and kidneys are all working harder during pregnancy. The immune system, while not exactly depressed, is retuned to accommodate the fetus.

    Abdominal pressure reduces excess lung capacity. Blood clots more easily, a tendency amplified by Covid, raising the risk of dangerous blockages. The infection also appears to damage the placenta, which delivers oxygen and nutrients to the fetus, and may increase the risk of a dangerous complication of pregnancy called pre-eclampsia.

    Pregnant women with Covid face a sevenfold risk of dying compared with uninfected pregnant women, according to one large meta-analysis tracking unvaccinated people. The infection also makes it more likely that a woman will give birth prematurely and that the baby will require neonatal intensive care.

    Fortunately, the current Omicron variant appears to be less virulent than the Delta variant, which surfaced in the summer of 2021, and more people have acquired immunity to the coronavirus by now. Preliminary figures suggest maternal deaths dropped to roughly prepandemic levels in 2022.

    But pregnancy continues to be a factor that makes even young women uniquely vulnerable to severe illness. Ms. Cunningham, now 39, who was slightly overweight when she became pregnant, had just been diagnosed with gestational diabetes when she got sick.

    “It’s something I talk to all my patients about,” said Dr. Torri Metz, a maternal fetal medicine specialist at the University of Utah. “If they have some of these underlying medical conditions and they’re pregnant, both of which are high-risk categories, they have to be especially careful about putting themselves at risk of exposure to any kind of respiratory virus, because we know that pregnant people get sicker from those viruses.”

    Lagging Vaccination
    In the summer of 2021, scientists were somewhat unsure of the safety of mRNA vaccines during pregnancy; pregnant women had been excluded from the clinical trials, as they often are. It was not until August 2021 that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention came out with unambiguous guidance supporting vaccination for pregnant women.

    Most of the pregnant women who died of Covid had not been vaccinated. These days, more than 70 percent of pregnant women have gotten Covid vaccines, but only about 20 percent have received the bivalent boosters.

    “We know definitively that vaccination prevents severe disease and hospitalization and prevents poor maternal and infant outcomes,” said Dr. Dana Meaney-Delman, chief of the C.D.C.’s infant outcomes monitoring, research and prevention branch. “We have to keep emphasizing that point.”

    Ms. Cunningham’s obstetrician had encouraged her to get the shots, but she vacillated. She was “almost there” when she suddenly started having unusually heavy nosebleeds that produced blood clots “the size of golf balls,” she said.

    Ms. Cunningham was also feeling short of breath, but she ascribed that to the advancing pregnancy. (Many Covid symptoms can be missed because they resemble those normally occurring in pregnancy.)

    A Covid test came back negative, and Ms. Cunningham was happy to return to her job. She had already lost wages after earlier pandemic furloughs at the auto parts plant where she worked. On May 3, 2021, shortly after clocking in, she turned to a friend at the plant and said, “I can’t breathe.”

    By the time she arrived at IU Health Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis, she was in acute respiratory distress. Doctors diagnosed pneumonia and found patchy shadows in her lungs.

    Her oxygen levels continued falling even after she was put on undiluted oxygen, and even after the baby was delivered.

    “It was clear her lungs were extremely damaged and unable to work on their own,” said Dr. Omar Rahman, a critical care physician who treated Ms. Cunningham. Already on a ventilator, Ms. Cunningham was connected to a specialized heart-lung bypass machine.

    Jennifer McGregor, a friend who visited Ms. Cunningham in the hospital, was shocked at how quickly her condition had deteriorated. “I can’t tell you how many bags were hanging there, and how many tubes were going into her body,” she said.

    But over the next 10 days, Ms. Cunningham started to recover. Once she was weaned off the heart-lung machine, she discovered she had missed a major life event while under sedation: She had a son.

    He was born 29 weeks and two days into the pregnancy, weighing three pounds.

    Premature births declined slightly during the first year of the pandemic. But they rose sharply in 2021, the year of the Delta surge, reaching the highest rate since 2007.

    Some 10.5 percent of all births were preterm that year, up from 10.1 percent in 2020, and from 10.2 percent in 2019, the year before the pandemic.

    Though the Cunninghams’ baby, Calum, never tested positive for Covid, he was hospitalized in the neonatal intensive care unit at Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis. He was on a breathing tube, and occasionally stopped breathing for seconds at a time.

    Doctors worried that he was not gaining weight quickly enough — “failure to thrive,” they wrote in his chart. They worried about possible vision and hearing loss.

    But after 66 days in the NICU, the Cunninghams were able to take Calum home. They learned how to use his feeding tube by practicing on a mannequin, and they prepared for the worst.

    “From everything they told us, he was going to have developmental delays and be really behind,” Mr. Cunningham said.

    After her discharge from the hospital, Ms. Cunningham was under strict orders to have a caretaker with her at all times and to rest. She didn’t return to work for seven months, after she finally secured her doctors’ approval.

    Ms. Cunningham has three teenage daughters, and Mr. Cunningham has another daughter from a previous relationship. Money was tight. Friends dropped off groceries, and the landlord accepted late payments. But the Cunninghams received no government aid: They were even turned down for food stamps.

    “We had never asked for assistance in our lives,” Ms. Cunningham said. “We were workers. We used to work seven days a week, eight-hour days, sometimes 12. But when the whole world shut down in 2020, we used up a lot of our savings, and then I got sick. We never got caught up.”

    Though she is back to work at the plant, Ms. Cunningham has lingering symptoms, including migraines and short-term memory problems. She forgets doctor’s appointments and what she went to the store for. Recently she left her card in an A.T.M.

    Many patients are so traumatized by their stays in intensive care units that they develop so-called post-intensive care syndrome. Ms. Cunningham has flashbacks and nightmares about being back in the hospital.

    “I wake up feeling like I’m being smothered at the hospital, or that they’re killing my whole family,” she said. Recently she was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.

    Calum, however, has surprised everyone. Within months of coming home from the hospital, he was reaching developmental milestones on time. He started walking soon after his first birthday, and likes to chime in with “What’s up?” and “Uh-oh!”

    He has been back to the hospital for viral infections, but his vocabulary and comprehension are superb, his father said. “If you ask if he wants a bath, he’ll take off all his clothes and meet you at the bath,” he said.

    Louann Gross, who owns the day care that Calum attends, said he has a hearty appetite — often asking for “thirds” — and more than keeps up with his peers. She added, “I nicknamed him our ‘Superbaby.’”

    ARTICLE
    https://www.nytimes.com/2023/03/16/health/covid-pregnancy-death.html

     

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    Two skeletons that were found last year as part of an archaeological dig in northern England.Credit...West Yorkshire Joint Services


    A 1,600-Year-Old Coffin May Shed Light on Roman Britain
    A lead-lined coffin that was discovered in northern England could offer clues about the area’s transition from the Roman Empire to its Anglo-Saxon period.

    By Jenny Gross
    Published March 15, 2023
    Updated March 16, 2023
    LONDON — British archaeologists have uncovered an ancient coffin in a 1,600-year-old cemetery in northern England, a discovery, they said, that could shed light on the end of Roman Britain and the establishment of Anglo-Saxon kingdoms.

    Discovered during an archaeological dig in Leeds, the lead-lined coffin contained the remains of an aristocratic woman who most likely lived in the fourth century.

    Archaeologists also found the remains of more than 60 people who lived in the area more than a thousand years ago. Some bodies were buried on their backs with their legs straight out, in accordance with late-Roman customs. Others adhered to the Anglo-Saxon tradition, within which burials often included items such as clothes fasteners and knives.

    The archaeological dig was part of a consultation process for a company applying for permission to build on the site. Archaeologists had previously uncovered late-Roman stone buildings and a number of structures in the Anglo-Saxon architectural style in the area.

    “Very quickly, we started finding burials,” said David Hunter, the principal archaeologist of the West Yorkshire Archaeology Advisory Service, which works with the West Yorkshire planning authorities. “The potential is there to give us much better information on how this transition from the Roman population to Anglo-Saxon England happened.”

    Mr. Hunter said that the presence of both late-Roman and early-Anglo Saxon people on the same burial site was unusual. Whether the use of the graveyard had overlapped between the two eras would determine the significance of the find, he added.

    The Roman occupation of Britain, from 43 A.D. to around 410, transformed the culture, as settlers from Europe, the Middle East and Africa arrived. Around the third century, market towns and villages were established, and Roman objects became more common even in poor, rural areas, according to English Heritage, which manages prehistoric sites, medieval castles and Roman forts in England.

    After the Romans retreated from Britain, society became much more insular and parochial, Mr. Hunter said. A lot is unknown about the period, including how the area transitioned from being part of the Roman Empire in the early fifth century to part of the English nation in the 10th.

    “Different people have different theories as to how this could have happened: It could’ve happened by cooperation, it could’ve happened by aggression,” he said.

    These findings may add to knowledge about an era that is largely undocumented, Mr. Hunter said. Radiocarbon dating could help determine exactly when the remains were buried. Chemical tests could reveal the diets and ancestry of the people.

    Researchers would also like to understand why there were a number of instances in which two or three people were buried in the same grave, as well as why there were multiple burial styles in the same cemetery.

    Mr. Hunter said that the two different burial styles could be for reasons of practicality; Since the area was already recognized as a burial place by Roman Britons, it would have been easier for subsequent groups of people to have used the same site.

    While the discovery was made in February 2022, the findings were only announced on Monday, in order to keep the site safe and conduct tests on some of the findings, the Leeds City Council said in a statement. The discovery of a lead-lined coffin is rare, with only a few hundred having been discovered in Britain, said Kylie Buxton, on-site supervisor for the excavations.

    The council has not released the exact location of the dig. After the analysis is completed, the lead coffin may be displayed at the Leeds City Museum, in an exhibition on death and burial customs, officials said.

    A correction was made on March 16, 2023: An earlier version of this article referred imprecisely to English Heritage. The organization manages prehistoric sites, medieval castles and Roman forts in England, not in the rest of Britain. (Other groups manage such sites in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales.)
    When we learn of a mistake, we acknowledge it with a correction. If you spot an error, please let us know at nytnews@nytimes.com.Learn more

    Jenny Gross is a general assignment reporter. Before joining The Times, she covered British politics for The Wall Street Journal. @jggross

    ARTICLE
    https://www.nytimes.com/2023/03/15/world/europe/uk-roman-burial-leeds.html#:~:text=By Jenny Gross March 15%2C 2023 LONDON —,Roman Britain and the establishment of Anglo-Saxon kingdoms.

     

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    Mr. Higashitani, seen on a computer monitor, celebrating after winning his election to a seat in the House of Councillors in July 2022.Credit...Kyodo News, via Getty Images

     

    How to Get Kicked Out of Parliament: Livestream Instead of Legislating
    The upper house of Japan’s Parliament almost unanimously voted to expel an eccentric YouTuber who won a seat last year. The reason: He never showed up for work.


    By Tiffany May and Hisako Ueno
    March 15, 2023
    Since he was elected to Japan’s Parliament in July, Yoshikazu Higashitani has spread celebrity gossip on his YouTube channel, explored the sights of Dubai and handed out snacks to children displaced by an earthquake in Turkey.

    One thing he has not done is show up for work.

    On Wednesday, he was expelled from Japan’s upper house of Parliament, the House of Councillors, making him the first elected lawmaker in the country to be removed from office in more than seven decades.

    Before his short-lived career as a lawmaker, Mr. Higashitani, 51, was well-known for his lengthy livestreams during which he dished out salacious celebrity gossip under the alias “GaaSyy.” He ran for Parliament from Dubai, claiming that he could not return to Japan because the police were investigating him for fraud. While in self-imposed exile, he campaigned and promised to expose dozens of celebrity scandals.

    To the surprise of many, he won — running as the candidate of the single-issue NHK Party, which is dedicated to making changes to how Japan’s national broadcaster is funded. But he has missed every session in the House of Councillors since then.

    In the meantime, he has maintained diverse interests, balancing his lengthy rants about celebrities with breezy posts about touring La Sagrada Familia in Spain and playing water sports in Thailand, using the hashtag “#endlesssummer.”  Last week, he said he traveled to Turkey, and in videos posted online was seen distributing snacks to children in areas devastated by a February earthquake, in front of a camera crew.

    The founder of the NHK Party, Takashi Tachibana, told reporters in January that the police had asked Mr. Higashitani, a fellow party member, to cooperate with investigations related to accusations of defamatory comments and threats he had made in his videos, and that the YouTuber would return to the country in March. (The police declined to comment.)

    In February, the House of Councillors demanded that Mr. Higashitani apologize in an open session, a disciplinary act second only to expulsion. He had agreed to do so, only to backtrack on that decision last week, saying that he did not feel safe enough to return, despite having immunity from arrest as a lawmaker.

    Mr. Tachibana said last Wednesday that he would step down as head of the party. “As party leader, I will take responsibility for GaaSyy’s failure to keep his promise that he would come back to the upper house to make an apology,” Mr. Tachibana said at a news conference.

    He added that the party would be renamed “Seijika Joshi 48 To,” which translates to Politician Girls 48 Party, and that the actress Ayaka Otsu would replace him. Mr. Tachibana said that the party would broaden its goals and would also recruit only female candidates to run for upcoming local elections.

    Koichi Nakano, a professor of comparative politics at Sophia University in Tokyo, said that the party’s rebranding was a response to a movement to increase the number of female candidates in elections.

    “NHK Party must have thought that they can poke fun at that in a right-wing, misogynist way, by treating female candidates as if they were teen pop idols like AKB48,” Professor Nakano wrote in an email, referring to a popular female pop group.

    He added that Mr. Higashitani’s notoriety and what he characterized as the populist appeal of his party got him elected. “It’s unusual, to a degree, but Japan has had its own share of media-celebrities who are complete amateurs of politics, including comedians, actors and pop singers, though none was as unserious as GaaSyy,” Professor Nakano added.

    Jeff Kingston, a professor of Asian studies at Temple University’s Japan campus, wrote in an email: “The NHK party, despite rebranding, has achieved little except to register discontent with the establishment and unhappiness with the mandatory fees every household has to pay, even if they don’t watch NHK.”

    Muneo Suzuki, who heads a key disciplinary committee in Parliament, told reporters on Tuesday that Mr. Higashitani had already been given ample time to correct his behavior, but that he had ultimately undermined the electoral process. “GaaSyy doesn’t understand what democracy means in principle,” he said.

    Dozens of protesters, mostly members of the Seijika Joshi 48 Party, rallied in front of the legislature before lawmakers cast votes over whether to expel Mr. Higashitani. Among the 236 lawmakers who attended the session, all but one voted in favor of his ouster.

    Mr. Higashitani could not be immediately reached for comment, but in a statement read on the House floor by Satoshi Hamada, a fellow lawmaker, Mr. Higashitani said that his removal was unjust.

    “There will continue to be people like me running for office. If you do not want the world you have made to be destroyed, please exclude those people from candidacy from the very beginning,” he wrote in the statement. “I wish the same punishment upon lawmakers who leave their seats immediately after propping up their nameplates and ones who are asleep and don’t show up like myself.”

    Tiffany May covers news from Asia. She joined The Times in 2017. @nytmay

    Hisako Ueno has been reporting on Japanese politics, business, gender, labor and culture for The Times since 2012. She previously worked for the Tokyo bureau of The Los Angeles Times from 1999 to 2009. @hudidi1

    Article
    https://www.nytimes.com/2023/03/15/world/asia/japan-parliament-youtuber-expelled.html
     

     

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