Sweden’s Nordic neighbors have expressed concern and considered excluding the country from the lighter border regimes introduced as the pandemic eases its grip on Europe.Earlier this week, the Czech Republic ranked Sweden “high risk,” making coronavirus testing mandatory for those returning from the country. Also On POLITICO Nordics want to open borders but Sweden may be frozen out By Charlie Duxbury Sweden won’t dodge economic hit despite COVID-19 light touch By Charlie Duxbury The remarks came as a surprise, given his strong criticism of the harsh restrictions on public life imposed by other countries.”There’s quite obviously a potential for improvement in what we have done in Sweden,” he said. “It would be good to know exactly what to close down to better prevent the spread of the virus.””Sweden is one of the few countries that has worked up a gradual stop” — Anders Tegnell, Sweden’s chief epidemiologist However, Tegnell stuck to his skepticism regarding the pandemic policies elsewhere.”Sweden is one of the few countries that has worked up a gradual stop,” he said. “All other countries started with a lot of things at once, and the problem with that is that you don’t really know which of the measures you have taken has the best effect.”Unlike other EU members, Sweden never introduced a strict lockdown and now has one of the highest COVID-19 death rates in Europe. Sweden should have handled its coronavirus response differently, the country’s chief epidemiologist Anders Tegnell told broadcaster Sveriges Radio in an interview Wednesday.Tegnell, who had long championed Sweden’s liberal lockdown policies, said too many people had died from COVID-19 to justify the country’s looser pandemic approach.”If we would encounter the same disease [again], with exactly what we know about it today, I think we would land midway between what Sweden did and what the rest of the world did,” he said.
Burger Records has dissolved following a growing number of sexual misconduct allegations against executives and performers.The Fullerton, CA indie-alternative label announced on Monday that the company would go through “major structural changes” in light of growing accusations. By Wednesday, however, the label had folded completely.Related: Ryan Adams Pens Apology Letter More Than A Year After Sexual Misconduct Allegations [Video]The saga began when an Instagram account, lured_by_burger_records, popped up over the weekend and began posting mostly anonymous accusations levied against Burger Records employees as well as bands signed to the label. Various Burger acts including The Growlers (who have since seen the departure of keyboardist Adam Wolcott Smith, who stated “I’m not innocent in abuse” in response to a claim from 2017), The Frights, The Buttertones, and SWMRS were all specifically named in allegations.This week then saw the resignation of Burger co-founder Lee Rickard, as well as president Sean Bohram‘s announcement that he will step away from his role as head of the company and that he has appointed Jessa Zapor-Gray as interim president. Bohram stated that the company would institute major changes, including changing its name to BRGR RCRDS.“We are also deeply sorry for the role Burger has played in perpetuating a culture of toxic masculinity,” the label said in a statement on Tuesday. “We are sorry that we did not actively monitor this behavior well enough to make the Burger music scene safer for you.”The following day Zapor-Gray announced that she would also be stepping down from her role as BRGR’s new president. She said in a statement,When I was asked to take over in this capacity, I expected some blowback for my decision to accept but I believed that the opportunity to have a role in effecting real and lasting positive change within the Burger and indie music scenes was worth the risk. Upon further review, I have informed Burger Records that I no longer believe I will be able to achieve my intended goals in assuming the leadership role at Burger in the current climate. Therefore, I have decided to step away from the label entirely to focus on my other projects.After a period of not responding to questions from reporters, Zapor-Gray then revealed on Wednesday that the entire operation had shut down. She offered few details when pressed by Pitchfork, saying only that “We decided to fold the label.” When asked if the company would still continue under the BRGR RCRDS flag, she responded “nope.” Asked for further comment, she replied with a “that’s all folks” GIF of Porky Pig.Borham has since stated that all of Burger’s releases will be removed from platforms, and that each individual act will be given the decision of how to distribute their music.“I hate dealing with lawyers so we never signed contracts with bands,” he said in an email to Pitchfork.All of Burger Records’ social media accounts have since been taken down. Total Trash Productions, who have partnered with Burger for the annual Burger Boogaloo festival in Oakland, have since cut ties with the now-defunct label, and have announced plans to rename the festival.[H/T Pitchfork]
Vermont Business Magazine The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has awarded $263,581 to the State of Vermont to improve air quality. Funding was provided to the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation to support air monitoring to measure the particulate matter in the air by collecting high quality data to demonstrate that the area is within the federal air quality standards for particulate matter, also known as PM 2.5.“Elevated levels of fine particulate matter in the air can pose health concerns for the people of Vermont,” said EPA New England Regional Administrator Alexandra Dunn. “In partnership with the state, these funds are used for monitoring across the state, which helps us find out if we are meeting standards and what we can do to help us all breathe more easily.”Vermont does not currently exceed EPA’s health based standard, but sometimes measures elevated concentrations, particularly in valley locations in the winter.“Vermont is well known for its clean air, healthy environment and natural resources that are enjoyed by many residents and visitors. One of the ways we can protect and enhance this environment is through scientific monitoring to ensure we have the data necessary to inform our actions. We’re grateful for this federal funding that assists our efforts to monitor air conditions to ensure that Vermonters and our visitors enjoy excellent air quality at work and at play,” said Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Emily Boedecker.Meeting the health based standard nation-wide would prevent at least 15,000 premature deaths; 75,000 cases of chronic bronchitis; 10,000 hospital admissions for respiratory and cardiovascular disease; hundreds of thousands of occurrences of aggravated asthma; and 3.1 million days when people miss work because they are suffering from symptoms related to particle pollution exposure each year.EPA’s most recent air trends report highlights that, between 1970 and 2017, the combined emissions of six key pollutants dropped by 73 percent, while the U.S. economy grew more than three times. A closer look at more recent progress shows that between 1990 and 2017, average concentrations of harmful air pollutants decreased significantly across our nation:• Sulfur dioxide (1-hour) ↓ 88 percent• Lead (3-month average) ↓ 80 percent• Carbon monoxide (8-hour) ↓ 77 percent• Nitrogen dioxide (annual) ↓ 56 percent• Fine Particulate Matter (24-hour) ↓ 40 percent• Coarse Particulate Matter (24-hour) ↓ 34 percent and• Ground-level ozone (8-hour) ↓ 22 percentEPA continues to work with states, local governments, tribes, and citizens – to further improve air quality across the country for all Americans.More information:EPA’s Air Trends report includes interactive graphics that enable citizens, policymakers, and stakeholders to view and download detailed information by pollutant, geographic location, and year. Explore the report and download graphics and data at: https://gispub.epa.gov/air/trendsreport/2018/(link is external)Learn more about fine particle air pollution: https://www.epa.gov/pm-pollution/particulate-matter-pm-basics(link is external)Source: BOSTON – The US Environmental Protection Agency 8.16.2018