Media ArticlesExcerpts of Key Media Articles in Major Media
Note: Explore our full index to key excerpts of revealing major media news articles on several dozen engaging topics. And don't miss amazing excerpts from 20 of the most revealing news articles ever published.
The level of hunger in U.S. households almost tripled between 2019 and August of this year, according to an analysis of new data from the Census Bureau and the Department of Agriculture. Even more alarming, the proportion of American children who sometimes do not have enough to eat is now as much as 14 times higher than it was last year. The Agriculture Department conducts yearly studies on food insecurity in the U.S., with its report on 2019 released this month. The Census Bureau began frequent household surveys in April in response to Covid-19 that include questions about hunger. The analysis, by the Washington, D.C.-based Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, found that 3.7 percent of U.S. households reported they sometimes or often had “not enough to eat” during 2019. Meanwhile, the most recent Census data from the end of August of this year showed that 10 percent of households said they sometimes or often did not have enough to eat within the past seven days. Levels of food insecurity in Black and Latino households are significantly higher, at 19 percent and 17 percent, respectively, compared to 7 percent in white households. Remarkably, this increase in hunger has nothing to do with any actual shortage of food. It is purely the result of political decisions.
Note: How much is severe collateral damage like this from the coronavirus lockdown policies being considered? For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on income inequality from reliable major media sources.
Global banks faced a fresh scandal about dirty money on Monday as they sought to limit the fallout from a cache of leaked documents showing they transferred more than $2 trillion in suspect funds over nearly two decades. Britain-based HSBC Holdings Plc, Standard Chartered Plc and Barclays Plc, Germany's Deutsche Bank AG and Commerzbank AG, and U.S.-headquartered JPMorgan Chase & Co and Bank of New York Mellon Corp were among the lenders named in the report by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists and based on leaked documents. The report was based on 2,100 leaked suspicious activity reports (SARs), covering transactions between 1999 and 2017, filed by banks and other financial firms with the U.S. Department of Treasury's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN). Banks are required to file an SAR whenever handling funds that cause grounds for suspicion of criminal activity. The reports revealed broader problems with the monitoring system at the heart of global policing of money laundering and other criminal activity. Investors worried about the potential fallout for global banks, many of which have faced hefty fines in the past for lapses in controls and spent billions of dollars to bolster compliance. "It confirms what we already knew: that there are huge amounts of SARs being filed with relatively low numbers of cases brought through to prosecution,” said Etelka Bogardi, a Hong Kong-based financial services partner at Norton Rose Fulbright. "It also brings out the point that managing financial crime risk goes beyond making SARs," Bogardi said.
Note: The original ICIJ report is titled “Global banks defy U.S. crackdowns by serving oligarchs, criminals and terrorists.” Compare with the title of the New York Times article on this, “Banks Suspected Illegal Activity, but Processed Big Transactions Anyway.” A search on this topic shows that headlines of almost all major media have watered this down, likely to not upset the big banks. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on financial industry corruption from reliable major media sources.
More states and countries are coming to the conclusion that COVID-19 lockdowns like those in China and New Zealand are overly restrictive and too costly. People in democracies will simply not tolerate them. Sweden has “flattened the curve” of COVID-19 without ordering its citizens to stay inside. It has kept open its shops, schools for those under 16, and restaurants and bars. Its health authorities trusted its citizens to wash their hands and social distance without imposing laws. Anders Tegnell, the Swedish epidemiologist [said,] “We see no point in wearing a face mask.” Swedish health authorities ... pride themselves on “following the science” and are highly respected. Sweden made a mistake ... when it, like the state of New York, sent recovering patients back to their nursing homes too soon (in the U.S., nursing home residents [and staff] account for ... 45% of COVID-19 fatalities). [Yet Swedish] schools stayed open with little risk to students. Studies from Sweden and the Netherlands ... have found teachers at no greater risk than the overall population. Sweden is approaching record lows while its European neighbors are seeing increasing rates. Sweden had about 30,000 new cases in June ... and was down to 7,000 new cases in August. During this time, cases took off in Spain, France and Germany. Sweden’s current rate of positive tests is lower than those in Norway and Denmark. [Its] economy will contract by about 4.6%. In contrast, the European Union economy is expected to contract 11.9%. The U.S. economy contracted at a 32.9% annual rate between April and June. New Zealand’s GDP contracted by 13.8% in the April-June period and has entered a recession, which Sweden has not.
Note: Explore a revealing article in the BMJ (formerly British Medical Journal) for more on Sweden's unusual success. This chart shows that Sweden is now doing much better on the number of COVID-19 cases and deaths per million than most other countries that have instituted a lockdown. Read a balanced, informative New York Times article written by a Swede about her experience there. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus from reliable major media sources.
AstraZeneca revealed details of its large coronavirus vaccine trials on Saturday, the third in a wave of rare disclosures by drug companies under pressure to be more transparent about how they are testing products that are the world’s best hope for ending the pandemic. Polls are finding Americans increasingly wary of accepting a coronavirus vaccine. Experts have been particularly concerned about AstraZeneca’s vaccine trials, which began in April in Britain, because of the company’s refusal to provide details about serious neurological illnesses in two participants, both women, who received its experimental vaccine in Britain. Those cases spurred the company to halt its trials twice, the second time earlier this month. The studies have resumed in Britain, Brazil, India and South Africa, but are still on pause in the U.S. About 18,000 people worldwide have received AstraZeneca’s vaccine so far. The company has released few details about the two cases of serious illness in its trial. The first participant received one dose of the vaccine before developing inflammation of the spinal cord, known as transverse myelitis. The condition can cause weakness in the arms and legs, paralysis, pain and bowel and bladder problems. The company said it had not confirmed a diagnosis in the second case, a participant who got sick after the second dose of the vaccine. A person familiar with the situation who spoke with The Times on the condition of anonymity said the participant’s illness had been pinpointed as transverse myelitis.
Note: Why won’t the company let the two who became seriously ill speak to the media? And why initially did they hide the fact that the illnesses were serious? And why are top vaccine executives now dumping their shares of stocks? For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus and Big Pharma corruption from reliable major media sources.
The Alexandria police chief, Mike Ward, was “sick and tired” of sending his officers to respond to 911 calls that they lacked the skills and time to handle. In this small Kentucky town of 10,000 people ... two-thirds of the calls police responded to were not criminal – instead, they were mental health crises and arguments resulting from long-brewing interpersonal conflicts. Police would show up, but they could rarely offer long-lasting solutions. Often, it was inevitable that they would be called back to the same address for the same problem again and again. In 2016 he decided to try a new approach: he talked the city into hiring a social worker for the police department. The current police chief, Lucas Cooper, said he was “the most vocal opponent” of the plan at the time. But now four years later, Cooper sees the program as indispensable: it frees officers from repeat calls for non-criminal issues and gets residents the help they needed, but couldn’t get. In Alexandria two social workers are now on the police department’s payroll. But while working for the police, they are not cops: they do not have arresting powers and they do not carry weapons. They ride in a Ford Focus instead of a police cruiser. They wear polo shirts, not police uniforms, and carry a radio with a panic button in case they find themselves in danger. “We’re like a non-threatening type of follow-up,” said Cassie Hensley, one of the department’s social workers. “I’ve been told by individuals that they’re very glad I didn’t show up in a police cruiser ... and that they’re more likely to talk to me.”
Note: Could it be beneficial rather than defunding police to include social workers in their ranks for the many calls involving mental health? For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on police corruption from reliable major media sources.
Nashville officials reportedly concealed the low number of COVID-19 cases deriving from bars and restaurants in the city, according to emails between the Metro Health Department and Mayor John Cooper's office. On June 30, contact tracing found that construction and nursing homes were the cause of most Nashville coronavirus cases with thousands traced back to those specific categories. Only 22 cases were traced back to bars and restaurants. In the series of emails obtained by FOX 17 News, a discussion between the two offices about how to conceal the number associated with restaurants and bars from the public was shown. "This isn't going to be publicly released, right? Just info for Mayor's Office?" wrote Leslie Waller from the health department. Senior Advisor Benjamin Eagles responded: "Correct, not for public consumption." A month later ... reporter Nate Rau asked the health department about rumors circulating that only 80 cases resulted from the city's bars and restaurants. Rau asked: "The figure you gave of 'more than 80' does lead to a natural question: If there have been over 20,000 positive cases of COVID-19 in Davidson and only 80 or so are traced to restaurants and bars, doesn't that mean restaurants and bars aren't a very big problem?" "We raised taxes 34 percent and put ... literally thousands of people out of work that are now worried about losing their homes, their apartments ... and we did it on bogus data. That should be illegal," [Nashville Councilman Steve] Glover told FOX 17 News.
A new study digs into the reasons people are wrongly convicted, and it has found that 54 percent of those defendants are victimized by official misconduct, with police involved in 34 percent of cases, prosecutors in 30 percent, and some cases involving both police and prosecutors. The study by the National Registry of Exonerations reviewed 2,400 exonerations it has logged between 1989 and 2019, nearly 80 percent of which were for violent felonies. Of the 2,400, 93 innocent defendants were sentenced to death and later cleared before they were executed. The study also found that police and prosecutors are rarely disciplined for actions that lead to a wrongful conviction. Researchers found that 4 percent of prosecutors involved in those convictions were disciplined, but the penalties were “comparatively mild” and only three were disbarred. Police officers were disciplined in 19 percent of cases leading to wrongful convictions, and in 80 percent of those cases officers were convicted of crimes, such as Chicago police Sgt. Ronald Watts, who led a group of officers who planted drug or gun evidence leading to 66 false convictions. The 2,400 cases are far from a comprehensive count, since there is no centralized national database of criminal cases at the state and local levels. So an estimate of how often wrongful convictions occur, as a percentage of overall cases, is not possible. The study acknowledges there are other areas to examine, including quantifying ineffective assistance by defense attorneys.
While many European countries are seeing new cases surge to levels not seen since the peak of the Covid-19 pandemic, Sweden – whose light-touch approach has made it an international outlier – has one of the continent’s lowest infection rates. According to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), [its] 14-day cumulative total of new cases was 22.2 per 100,000 inhabitants on Tuesday, against 279 in Spain, 158.5 in France, 118 in the Czech Republic, 77 in Belgium and 59 in the UK, all of which imposed lockdowns this spring. Sweden also has fewer new daily infections than Norway and Denmark. Thirteen Covid-19 patients are in intensive care in Swedish hospitals, and its seven-day average of coronavirus-related deaths is zero. “We don’t have the resurgence of the disease that many countries have,” Anders Tegnell, the country’s chief epidemiologist [said] in an interview, adding that the country was broadly happy with its overall strategy. Unlike many countries, Sweden closed schools for the over-16s but kept those for younger pupils open. Schools and universities are now open again. It also banned gatherings of more than 50 people and told people over 70 and in at-risk groups to self-isolate. Otherwise, the population of 10 million was asked, rather than ordered, to respect physical distancing and work from home if possible. Shops, bars, restaurants and gyms stayed open and the wearing of masks has not so far been recommended. Tegnell has insisted the aim was not to achieve rapid herd immunity but to slow the spread of coronavirus enough for health services to be able to cope.
Note: A Swedish MD on the front lines shares thoughts on why Sweden's COVID death rate has been in the single digits for weeks. Read a balanced, informative New York Times article written by a Swede about her experience there. This graph shows that Sweden is doing well compared to other countries considering that they have not instituted a lockdown. For more, see concise summaries of revealing news articles on the coronavirus from major media sources.
Media portrayals of adolescence shape how society views young people and, as positive youth development scholars note, whether they are seen as risks to be managed or resources to be developed. My own research on adolescent mindfulness and virtue inspired me to learn more about how adolescents are faring during the pandemic. Zoya Sethi is a ninth grader from Delhi, India. She and four of her friends observed that after the shutdown of industries in the cities, millions migrated hundreds of kilometers by foot back to their villages, and women had no access to feminine hygiene pads. In response, they began a campaign through Instagram (@we_standwithher). Lucas Hung is a 12th grader from Vancouver, British Columbia. He and four friends similarly used Instagram to raise funds for those in need, with the dual goal of uniting their classmates (@_viralcause_) The teens also found meaning in smaller acts of service that filled critical needs in their communities. “It was so cool to see that something as small as offering to teach a 40-minute online dance class to their kids could make parents’ lives so much better,” explained Devyn Slade, a 12th grade volunteer dance instructor. Teens also empathized with the plight of seniors in retirement communities. One group wrote letters to older adults, “trying to make them feel connected, seen, and loved during this time where they’re facing tons of isolation and fear and hard times,” said Connor Macmillan, a 12th grade water polo player.
Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
The elephant in the room is extreme income inequality. How big is this elephant? A staggering $50 trillion. That is how much the upward redistribution of income has cost American workers over the past several decades ... according to a groundbreaking new working paper by Carter C. Price and Kathryn Edwards of the RAND Corporation. Had the more equitable income distributions of the three decades following World War II (1945 through 1974) merely held steady, the aggregate annual income of Americans earning below the 90th percentile would have been $2.5 trillion higher in the year 2018 alone. That is an amount equal to nearly 12 percent of GDP - enough to more than double median income - enough to pay every single working American in the bottom nine deciles an additional $1,144 a month. Price and Edwards calculate that the cumulative tab for our four-decade-long experiment in radical inequality had grown to over $47 trillion from 1975 through 2018. As a result, the top 1 percent’s share of total taxable income has more than doubled, from 9 percent in 1975, to 22 percent in 2018, while the bottom 90 percent have seen their income share fall, from 67 percent to 50 percent. This represents a direct transfer of income ... from the vast majority of working Americans to a handful at the very top. A 2014 report from the OECD estimated that rising income inequality knocked as much 9 points off U.S. GDP growth over the previous two decades.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on income inequality from reliable major media sources.
At least 37 million people have been displaced as a direct result of the wars fought by the United States since Sept. 11, 2001, according to a new report from Brown University’s Costs of War project. That figure exceeds those displaced by conflict since 1900, the authors say, with the exception of World War II. It is the first time the number of people displaced by U.S. military involvement during this period has been calculated. The findings come at a time when the United States and other Western countries have become increasingly opposed to welcoming refugees, as anti-migrant fears bolster favor for closed-border policies. The report accounts for the number of people, mostly civilians, displaced in and from Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, the Philippines, Libya and Syria, where fighting has been the most significant, and says the figure is a conservative estimate — the real number may range from 48 million to 59 million. The calculation does not include the millions of other people who have been displaced in countries with smaller U.S. counterterrorism operations, according to the report, including those in Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Mali and Niger. “This has been one of the major forms of damage, of course along with the deaths and injuries, that have been caused by these wars,” said David Vine, a professor of anthropology ... and the lead author of the report.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on war from reliable major media sources.
President Donald Trump launched an unprecedented public attack against the leadership of the US military on Monday, accusing them of waging wars to boost the profits of defense manufacturing companies. "I'm not saying the military's in love with me - the soldiers are, the top people in the Pentagon probably aren't because they want to do nothing but fight wars so that all of those wonderful companies that make the bombs and make the planes and make everything else stay happy," Trump [said]. Trump's extraordinary comments come as several defense officials tell CNN relations between the President and Pentagon leadership are becoming increasingly strained. They also followed efforts by Trump to convince the public that he had not made a series of reported disparaging remarks about US military personnel and veterans, which were first reported by The Atlantic magazine. White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows appeared to attempt to walk back Trump's comments ... saying the President's accusations against the "top people at the Pentagon" were not directed specifically at people like Secretary of Defense Mark Esper. "Those comments are not directed specifically at them as much as it is what we all know happens in Washington, DC," Meadows said, saying "That comment was more directed about the military industrial complex." Trump has also repeatedly touted boosting the defense budget as one of his administration's major accomplishments.
Note: Is Trump actually breaking ranks with almost every other U.S. president and going after the military-industrial complex?
President Trump just made a major announcement. Trump is now prohibiting federal agencies from conducting cultural sensitivity trainings because, according to the report, they are “divisive, anti-American propaganda.” Diversity trainings that focus on educating participants about white privilege, critical race theory and the racist origins of the United States apparently create “division and resentment” amongst federal employees. What is deeply problematic about this new ban is that the U.S. has a habit of avoiding the country’s dark and racist past. Evading the issue will not make it go away. The memorandum states that the Trump administration is “fully committed to the fair and equal treatment of all individuals.” It’s important to note that the goal is not equality but rather equity. Equality is treating everyone the same. The reason equality is not the goal is because it does not take into consideration the different barriers and challenges that have been experienced. Equity, on the other hand, is taking one’s unique needs and challenges into consideration and providing support based on these unique needs. There is an implication that everyone should be treated the exact same way, which is not the objective. Because there has been a long history of unequal treatment, there has to be efforts made to rectify this. Equality does not work to actively address or correct systems that have allowed unfair treatment. Because these impacts are still being felt today, having an equity focus is needed for progress to continue.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption from reliable major media sources.
Whether the coronavirus vaccine developed by Moderna succeeds or not, executives at the small biotech company have already made tens of millions of dollars by cashing in their stock. An NPR examination of official company disclosures has revealed additional irregularities and potential warning signs. Since January, CEO Stéphane Bancel has sold roughly $40 million worth of Moderna stock; Chief Medical Officer Tal Zaks has sold around $60 million; and President Stephen Hoge has sold more than $10 million. The stock sales first came to widespread notice after Moderna announced positive early data from a vaccine trial in May. At that point, the company's share price jumped and official disclosures showed executives cashing in their shares for millions of dollars. Advocates have questioned whether it's appropriate for executives to privately profit before bringing the vaccine to market, especially when American taxpayers have committed roughly $2.5 billion to the company's vaccine development. Moderna says its executives pre-scheduled their stock sales long in advance. Those schedules - known as 10b5-1 plans - can act as a defense to charges of insider trading. But the plans have to be put in place when executives do not have confidential inside information. NPR has found multiple executives adopted or modified their plans just before key announcements about the company's vaccine. That has raised questions about whether they were aware of nonpublic information when they planned their stock trades.
Note: Explore a revealing NBC article titled “Secret, powerful panels will pick Covid-19 vaccine winners.” For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus and Big Pharma corruption from reliable major media sources.
Jocelynn James, a recovered drug addict ... saved the life of the police officer who put her in jail nearly a decade ago. Between 2007-2012, James was arrested 16 times for theft and drug charges. “I was just living a really bad life, doing a lot of really bad things that I shouldn’t have had no business doing,” James said. Terrell Potter, a former officer with Phil Campbell Police Department, said James was going through a difficult place in her life. “She was out running crazy, stealing and doing drugs,” Potter said. “I locked her up a couple of times.” James said she was finally able to get her life straightened out, and on Nov. 5, she will celebrate eight years out of jail and eight years sober. James said Potter saved her life by arresting her and leading her to turn her life around. Last November, Potter learned that his kidney was failing, only functioning at 5%. Doctors told Potter that he would face a seven to eight-year waiting period for a kidney. After scrolling on her phone on Facebook, James learned that Potter needed a kidney. “I just threw my phone down and the holy spirit told me right then that I had that man’s kidney.” After a series of hospital tests, James learned that they were a perfect match. “If you asked me 100 names of who may give me a kidney, her name would have not been on the list,” Potter said. On July 21, Potter received a successful kidney transplant. “All the numbers were great. It started working from the time it was put in,” Potter said. “Her giving me a kidney ... extended my life.”
Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
Seven years after former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden blew the whistle on the mass surveillance of Americans' telephone records, an appeals court has found the program was unlawful. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit said the warrantless telephone dragnet that secretly collected millions of Americans' telephone records violated the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and may well have been unconstitutional. Snowden, who fled to Russia in the aftermath of the 2013 disclosures and still faces U.S. espionage charges, said on Twitter that the ruling was a vindication of his decision to go public with evidence of the National Security Agency's domestic eavesdropping operation. "I never imagined that I would live to see our courts condemn the NSA's activities as unlawful and in the same ruling credit me for exposing them," Snowden said. Evidence that the NSA was secretly building a vast database of U.S. telephone records ... was the first and arguably the most explosive of the Snowden revelations published by the Guardian newspaper in 2013. Up until that moment, top intelligence officials publicly insisted the NSA never knowingly collected information on Americans at all. After the program's exposure, U.S. officials fell back on the argument that the spying had played a crucial role in fighting domestic extremism. But the Ninth Circuit ruled Wednesday that those claims were "inconsistent with the contents of the classified record."
Giving money or resources to your children or aging parents is likely to increase their life span, according to a new paper published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science. There is a linear relationship between the amount and frequency of wealth transfers and the lengths of individuals' lives, the study results have shown. The researchers' goal was to track data on how every individual in a given society consumes and saves. Intergenerational wealth transfers can include money, but they can also include houses, benefits or time. The researchers recognized that other factors - such as country's gross domestic product (GDP) and income inequality - also affect a population's life expectancy and adjusted their models to include those factors. One likely reason, [lead study author Tobias] Vogt said, for the correlation between countries experiencing greater longevity in the presence of financial transfers was that those countries exhibited stronger social cohesion. To back that up, he cited a 2010 meta-analysis ... with an aggregate of 148 separate studies involving a total of more than 300,000 participants. It found that survival was 50% greater for those with stronger social relationships compared to those with lesser or no social bonds. Generosity and life expectancy are among the six variables scientists look at when making the World Happiness Report, which is released annually by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network for the United Nations.
Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
Thanks to the internet and MOOC (massive open online courses) culture, it's not hard to find courses from prestigious universities such as Yale online for free or cheap. Counter to the Ivy League's legacy of exclusivity, MOOCs are designed to remove traditional education barriers: price and location. In fact, Yale offers access to a handful of recorded in-person courses such as African American History: From Emancipation to the Present via Open Yale Courses, a platform where anyone can access the lectures. However, lecture-listeners won't earn course credit, degrees, or a certificate of completion. If you're looking for a classroom-like educational experience with more structure, feedback, and peers, you'll want to turn to Coursera. The online learning platform features more than a dozen Yale courses that range in topic from economics to parenting to happiness. Coursera classes typically include video lectures, resources, community discussions, and quizzes. They're free to enroll in, but you'll have to pay a low fee (starting at $49) for features like graded homework assignments or certificates of completion, which can be added to a LinkedIn page. Based on the most popular course in Yale's history, [The Science of Well-Being] combines positive psychology with the real-life applications of behavioral science to increase your own happiness using concrete, productive habits. Read our full review of The Science of Well-Being course here.
Denmark, currently the second happiest country on earth, is now home to The Happiness Museum, an institution dedicated to the idea of happiness and how it has been perceived and discussed over the centuries. The Happiness Museum officially opened on July 14 in a small 240-squaremeter (2,585 square foot) space in Copenhagen. During a time when museums are getting hit hard by the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, this museum feels like a shining ray of hope. “There might not be a lot of guests these days, but the world does need a little bit more happiness,” said Meik Wiking, CEO of the Happiness Research Institute. The institute is particularly focused on studying why some societies are happier than others, with the objective to help affect political and societal change. “We thought, why don't we create a place where people can experience happiness from different perspectives and give them an exhibition where they can become a little bit wiser around some of the questions we try to solve?” said Wiking. Instead of rainbows, puppies, or things that are soft, squishy, or shiny, visitors to the museum are met with exhibits and interactive experiences to show them how different countries perceive happiness. Visitor’s reactions to interactive experiences also help the institute further its research. “We might be Danish or Mexican or American or Chinese, but we are first and foremost people,” Wiking said. “It's the same things that drive happiness no matter where we're from.”
Some of the nation’s leading public health experts are raising a new concern in the endless debate over coronavirus testing in the United States: The standard tests are diagnosing huge numbers of people who may be carrying relatively insignificant amounts of the virus. Most of these people are not likely to be contagious. The most widely used diagnostic test for the new coronavirus, called a PCR test, provides a simple yes-no answer to the question of whether a patient is infected. “We’ve been using one type of data for everything, and that is just plus or minus — that’s all,” [epidemiologist Dr. Michael] Mina said. “We’re using that for clinical diagnostics, for public health, for policy decision-making.” But yes-no isn’t good enough, he added. It’s the amount of virus that should dictate the infected patient’s next steps. The PCR test amplifies genetic matter from the virus in cycles; the fewer cycles required, the greater the amount of virus, or viral load, in the sample. The greater the viral load, the more likely the patient is to be contagious. This number of amplification cycles needed to find the virus, called the cycle threshold, is never included in the results sent to doctors and coronavirus patients, although it could tell them how infectious the patients are. In three sets of testing data that include cycle thresholds, compiled by officials in Massachusetts, New York and Nevada, up to 90 percent of people testing positive carried barely any virus, a review by The Times found.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus from reliable major media sources.
White supremacist groups have infiltrated US law enforcement agencies in every region of the country over the last two decades. In a timely new analysis, Michael German, a former FBI special agent who has written extensively on the ways that US law enforcement have failed to respond to far-right domestic terror threats, concludes that US law enforcement officials have been tied to racist militant activities in more than a dozen states since 2000, and hundreds of police officers have been caught posting racist and bigoted social media content. Police links to militias and white supremacist groups have been uncovered in states including Alabama, California, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Louisiana, Michigan, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Oregon, Texas, Virginia, Washington and West Virginia. Police in Sacramento, California, in 2018 worked with neo-Nazis to pursue charges against anti-racist activists. This week, police in Kenosha, Wisconsin, faced intense scrutiny over their response to armed white men and militia groups gathered in the city amid demonstrations by Black Lives Matter activists and others over the police shooting of Jacob Blake. Kyle Rittenhouse, a 17-year-old who appeared to consider himself a militia member ... was arrested on suspicion of murder after the fatal shooting of two protesters. Activists in Kenosha say police there have responded aggressively and violently to Black Lives Matter demonstrators, while doing little to stop armed white vigilantes.
Note: Read how law enforcement prioritizes investigations of peaceful activists over investigations of violent white supremacist groups. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on police corruption from reliable major media sources.
Wind farms come with many benefits - but they can be a danger to local birds. A new study suggests a small tweak to the turbine design could make a big difference in terms of avian safety, and all it takes is a paint job. In an experiment run on the Norwegian archipelago of Smřla, changing the colour of just one of the turbine blades to black led to an average of 70 percent annual reduction in bird fatalities, as measured over three and a half years. In a linked experiment, painting part of some of the turbine towers black also resulted in fewer bird deaths. While the study only involved one wind farm and a small number of birds ... it points to a way of keeping birds from harm without major reengineering. "In this case it was resource demanding to paint the rotor blades, since the wind turbines were already installed," says conservation biologist Roel May. "If the painting is done before construction, however, both the cost and the bird mortality will be reduced." Very little data is available on just how many bird deaths are caused each year by wind turbines. Some estimates put it at the tens of thousands. Painted blades could be one solution to the problem. The researchers think it makes the turbines more visible to birds, reducing what's known as motion smear – where moving objects are more difficult to get a visual lock on. The study also looked at other possible ways of reducing bird deaths, such as covering blades with ultraviolet paint, and positioning turbines in such a way as to avoid areas of updraft that birds use to soar.
In response to the novel and deadly coronavirus, many governments deployed draconian tactics never used in modern times: severe and broad restrictions on daily activity that helped send the world into its deepest peacetime slump since the Great Depression. The equivalent of 400 million jobs have been lost world-wide, 13 million in the U.S. alone. Global output is on track to fall 5% this year, far worse than during the financial crisis. Despite this steep price, few policy makers felt they had a choice, seeing the economic crisis as a side effect of the health crisis. They ordered nonessential businesses closed and told people to stay home, all without the extensive analysis of benefits and risks that usually precedes a new medical treatment. Five months later, the evidence suggests lockdowns were an overly blunt and economically costly tool. The evidence also points to alternative strategies that could slow the spread of the epidemic at much less cost. Taiwan, South Korea and Hong Kong set early examples of how to stop Covid-19 without lockdowns. They quickly cut travel to China, introduced widespread testing to isolate the infected and traced contacts. Sweden took a different approach. Instead of lockdowns, it imposed only modest restrictions to keep cases at levels its hospitals could handle. Sweden has suffered more deaths per capita than neighboring Denmark but fewer than Britain, and it has paid less of an economic price than either.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus from reliable major media sources.
A dolphin species considered regionally extinct in the Adriatic has been spotted there repeatedly off the Italian and Slovenian coast. Researchers from Morigenos Slovenian Marine Mammal Society and the Sea Mammal Research Unit at the University of St Andrews have published a new review study on the occurrence of common dolphins in the Gulf of Trieste and the northern Adriatic Sea, published in the scientific journal Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems. The dolphin (Delphinus delphis) used to be very common in the Adriatic Sea and other parts of the Mediterranean Sea. However, since the 1970s it has become so rare that the Mediterranean population is now listed as Endangered on the Red List of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN). During the last 30 years, this species has been considered as regionally extinct from the Adriatic Sea, likely due to intentional and systematic killing during mid-20th century. Back then, both Italy and the former Yugoslavia used to pay monetary rewards for every dolphin killed because dolphins were considered a pest that competed with fisheries. Due to their rarity, all records of common dolphins in the Adriatic and many other Mediterranean areas are important. Despite no previous records, four different animals were observed in the area over a period of four years. Some of these individual dolphins were seen repeatedly, one over the course of two months and one over the course of more than a year.
Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles on marine mammals.
When Encinitas, Calif., teenager Ariella Pacheco was a little girl, her parents let her choose from a catalog the American Girl doll that most appealed to her. She picked the one with the hair color and style that matched her own. But what about children with rare medical conditions who don’t look like anyone else, including the mass-produced dolls on store shelves? Pacheco wanted to give these children the same gift she got as a child. So, over the past several months, she has designed and sewn cloth dolls for four local youth. “I really value the beauty in the little things,” Pacheco said. “Each of these kids are so unique, so special. I hope through these dolls they can see themselves in a new light and really embrace their beauty.” She ... designed her own patterns and figured out how to re-create the children’s differences. It was important to her that the children recognize themselves in the dolls but that their differences not be the most noticeable feature. “I hope they’re really excited with them,” Pacheco said. “The whole time I was trying to put as much love into it as I could and hoped they represented each child faithfully.” The inspiration for the four dolls are Felix, a 6-year-old boy with a large scar on his head from surgery for a skull fracture; Andrea, a 2-year-old with a port-wine stain birthmark on her face; Valeria, a toddler with Apert syndrome, which causes skull deformities, misshapen eyes and fused fingers; and Zulema Gillett, [who has] Goldenhar syndrome, which caused her to be born with a cleft lip, misaligned jaw, and only one ear.
Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring disabled persons news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
Last August, NPR profiled a Harvard-led experiment to help low-income families find housing in wealthier neighborhoods. Every quoted expert is connected to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which helps fund the project. NPR itself receives funding from Gates. The story ... is one of hundreds NPR has reported about the Gates Foundation or the work it funds, including myriad favorable pieces written from the perspective of Gates or its grantees. And that speaks to a larger trend - and ethical issue - with billionaire philanthropists’ bankrolling the news. As philanthropists increasingly fill in the funding gaps at news organizations ... an underexamined worry is how this will affect the ways newsrooms report on their benefactors. Nowhere does this concern loom larger than with the Gates Foundation. During the pandemic, news outlets have widely looked to Bill Gates as a public health expert on covid - even though Gates has no medical training and is not a public official. PolitiFact and USA Today (run by the Poynter Institute and Gannett, respectively - both of which have received funds from the Gates Foundation) have even used their fact-checking platforms to defend Gates from “false conspiracy theories” and “misinformation,” like the idea that the foundation has financial investments in companies developing covid vaccines and therapies. In fact, the foundation’s website and most recent tax forms clearly show investments in such companies, including Gilead and CureVac.
Note: Watch an excellent 15-minute presentation by courageous journalist Ben Swann on the agenda of facebook fact checkers. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corporate corruption and media manipulation from reliable major media sources.
A group of Silicon Valley and Wall Street executives has raised $30 million to speed the development of a closely watched psychedelic-drug therapy. The Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, a nonprofit advocating for psychedelic research since the 1980s, is conducting its last phase of clinical trials to research the efficacy of using MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for post-traumatic stress disorder. PTSD afflicts about eight million adults a year. MDMA is more commonly known as the main component of Ecstasy. Armed with the new funding, MAPS is aiming to finish the trials and seek approval from the Food and Drug Administration to commercialize the MDMA-assisted psychotherapy as soon as 2022. In 2017, the FDA designated MDMA as a breakthrough therapy for PTSD, meaning it would expedite review of the drug. MAPS said a recent interim analysis of its Phase 3 clinical trials ... showed a very high likelihood the therapy will be effective for treating PTSD. In phase 2 clinical trials, individuals with post-traumatic stress disorder received psychotherapy, some with the psychedelic drug MDMA. More of those who received the drug no longer received a PTSD diagnosis in the months after treatment, compared with those who received a placebo. Business leaders said their donations came from a personal connection to mental-health conditions. Among them is billionaire Bob Parsons, founder of GoDaddy and ... a Marine Corps Vietnam War veteran, who said he has continued to battle PTSD.
Note: To read the entire article free of charge, see this webpage. Note that as big Pharma won't make big profits from these therapies, they are not funding any of the major studies, while the nonprofit MAPS has stepped in to make this happen. And not mentioned in this article is that the results of these studies has been dramatic, with over 2/3 of patients showing no signs of PTSD a year after treatment. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on mind-altering drugs from reliable major media sources.
US authorities have approved a plan to release more than 750 million genetically modified mosquitoes across the Florida Keys, despite objections from local residents. British-based firm Oxitec are behind the project that will test whether the altered mosquitoes can work as an alternative to pesticides to control the spread of diseases. The male mosquito, which is named OX5034, has been created to produce female offspring that die at larval stage, before they grow big enough to spread disease and bite. Female mosquitoes bite for blood while they mature their eggs, but males do not carry the diseases as they feed on nectar. The mosquitoes will be released in the Florida Keys in 2021, but will be expanded into Harris County, Texas, after the Environmental Protection Agency granted Oxitec’s request for an experimental use permit. Jaydee Hanson, policy director for the International Centre for Technology Assessment and Centre for Food Safety ... criticized the decision. “What could possibly go wrong? We don’t know, because EPA unlawfully refused to seriously analyze environmental risks. Now without further review of the risks, the experiment can proceed,” Mr Hanson [said]. Since the initial announcement of the project in May, more than 230,000 people have signed a petition against the proposal, which was supported by more than 30 local physicians. Local media reported that residents were unhappy to be treated as “guinea pigs” for the experiment.
Note: Read more about the controversy surrounding Oxitec's genetically altered mosquitoes. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on GMOs from reliable major media sources.
Stephen Akpabio-Klementowski, an ex-convict and lecturer, has transformed his life through education after he earned his undergraduate degree and two master’s while serving a 16-year jail sentence. Without any qualification, he managed to defy the odds and studied to earn a degree from The Open University and two master’s from Oxford Brooks. Stephen was serving a 16-year jail sentence for the importation of class A drugs. In spite of the major setbacks and bitter life experiences, Stephen managed to transform his life, and his extraordinary story has inspired many across the world. Stephen defines his decision to pursue a degree as a "seminal moment in his life". Stephen is now studying for his PhD in criminology while working part-time as the regional manager for The Open University’s Students. In 2019, 17 inmates, police officers and former convicts graduated from the Kamiti Maximum Prison in Nairobi with law degrees from the University of London. Ten of the inmates were drawn from Kenyan and Ugandan prisons, three were former convicts who enrolled for the program while still in prison while the rest were prison officers and one African Prison Project staff. John Muthuri, the legal aid manager noted there were few lawyers to serve more than 54,000 prisoners in the country and as such the project would ensure convicts behind bars got affordable legal representation. “We are creating innovative ways to ensure that everyone behind bars who can’t afford legal representation is represented,” Muthuri said.
John Oliver returned to Last Week Tonight with another examination of an unjust cog in America’s criminal justice system: the unrepresentative makeup of trial juries. Serving on a “jury of your peers” is an “essential civic duty”, Oliver said. But in practice, said “peers” are not chosen from a fair cross-section of society. People of color and particularly black Americans are chronically underrepresented in jury pools. First, there’s the list of potential jurors, which in many states draws from voter registration data or drivers’ license lists, both of which disproportionately exclude people of color. Many states contract jury selection to private companies, whose methods, when revealed, fall far short of truly representative or random; Oliver pointed to one example in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where a private company accidentally excluded zip codes in which 90% of the county’s black residents lived. Once potential jurors show up for selection, prosecutors can weed out jurors of color. Although the supreme court ruled in 1986 that prosecutors can’t strike jurors on the basis of race, “it turns out that’s a pretty easy rule to get around,” said Oliver. “All you have to do is just come up with some reason other than race to strike a juror.” To demonstrate the brazen efforts prosecutors will take to whitewash juries, Oliver pointed to the six murder trials for Curtis Flowers in Mississippi, a black man whose case eventually reached the supreme court, which decided that the prosecutor had repeatedly and blatantly filtered out any potential black jurors.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on judicial system corruption from reliable major media sources.
Just because someone has limited mobility, does that mean they should be limited to traversing smooth pavement? Not according to husband-and-wife team Zack and Cambry Nelson, who are now marketing their off-road motorized "wheelchair." Known as The Rig and made mainly from bicycle parts, the vehicle was initially developed by Zack to help Cambry take part in their outdoor adventures. It features an aluminum frame with detachable bumpers, a padded adjustable seat, a 1,000-watt ebike motor linked to the rear axle by a chain drive, dual steering handles, front hydraulic disc brakes, plus 4-inch-wide fatbike tires on each of its four wheels. Front and rear independent suspension is an optional extra, as is a second lithium battery for added range. The whole thing measures 5 ft long by 32 inches wide by 41 in tall (1,524 by 812 by 1,041 mm), and tips the scales at a claimed 120 lb (54 kg) – that's with the suspension package, and a single battery. One charge of that battery should reportedly be good for a range of 10 to 20 miles (16 to 32 km), depending on usage and rider weight. And while it can't accommodate a second passenger in the back, it does have a cargo-mounting system that allows gear such as camping supplies, a cooler or a conventional wheelchair to be brought along for the ride. The Rig is now available for pre-order in a choice of seven frame colors, with prices starting at US$4,750. For reference, some other electric off-road wheelchairs we've seen are priced at $10,000 or more.
Note: Watch a fun and inspiring video of this awesome invention. Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring disabled persons news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
The power of the president is enormous. As Mr. Trump stated in March, "I have the right to do a lot of things that people don't even know about." What the president appears to have been referring to are his presidential emergency action documents, often referred to as PEADs. "Even though I've had security clearances for the better part of 50 years and been in and out of national security matters during that half-century, I had never heard of these 'secret powers,'" said former Senator Gary Hart. Ted Koppel asked, "Do you know what they are, now that you've heard of them?" "Only vaguely, due to research done at the Brennan Center for Justice," Hart said. "What these secret powers are, apparently, based on the research, is suspension of the Constitution, basically." The Brennan Center research that Senator Hart referred to has been spearheaded by Elizabeth Goitein. Goitein says what little we do know about PEADs comes from references to them in other documents, some of which are now declassified. "They originated in the Eisenhower administration," Goitein said. "But since then ... no presidential emergency action document has even been released, or even leaked. Not even Congress has access to them. Congress is not aware of these documents, and from public sources we know that at least in the past these documents have purported to do things that are not permitted by the Constitution – things like martial law and the suspension of habeas corpus and the roundup and detention of people not suspected of any crime."
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption from reliable major media sources.
About 1 in 1,000 black men and boys in America can expect to die at the hands of police, according to a new analysis of deaths involving law enforcement officers. That makes them 2.5 times more likely than white men and boys to die during an encounter with cops. The analysis also showed that Latino men and boys, black women and girls and Native American men, women and children are also killed by police at higher rates than their white peers. But the vulnerability of black males was particularly striking. “That 1-in-1,000 number struck us as quite high,” said study leader Frank Edwards. The number-crunching by Edwards and his coauthors also revealed that for all young men, police violence was one of the leading causes of death in the years 2013 to 2018. The findings ... add hard numbers to a pattern personified by victims like Eric Garner, Tamir Rice and Freddie Gray. Five years after police in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Mo., fatally shot Michael Brown, protesters and activist groups have focused public attention on the disproportionate use of force against African Americans and other people of color. Scientists, meanwhile, are increasingly studying police violence as a public health problem. A study published in the Lancet last year found that police killings of unarmed black men were associated with an increase in mental health problems such as depression and emotional issues for black people living in the state where the killing took place.
Note: Just as a comparison, so far in the U.S., about one in 2,000 Americans have died from COVID-19 according to official figures. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on police corruption from reliable major media sources.
U.S. stocks are hovering near a record high, a stunning comeback since March that underscores the new phase the economy has entered: The wealthy have mostly recovered. The bottom half remain far from it. Jobs are fully back for the highest wage earners, but fewer than half the jobs lost this spring have returned for those making less than $20 an hour. The pandemic is causing especially large gaps between rich and poor, and between White and minority households. It is also widening the gap between big and small businesses. Some of the largest companies, such as Nike and Best Buy, are enjoying their highest stock prices ever while many smaller businesses fight for survival. Some economists have started to call this a “K-shaped” recovery because of the diverging prospects for the rich and poor, and they say policy failures in Washington are exacerbating the problems. For many of the unemployed, the downturn is lasting far longer than they had anticipated. Nearly 80 percent of furloughed or laid-off workers thought they would be rehired, a Washington Post-Ipsos poll conducted April 27-May 4 found. Yet so far, only 42 percent of jobs have returned. “This has been a very clear K-shaped recovery,” says Peter Atwater ... at the College of William & Mary. “The biggest and wealthiest have been on a clear path toward recovery. Meanwhile, for most small businesses and those worst off, things have only become worse. The contrast is piercing: One group feels better than ever while the other borders on hopelessness.”
The nation's mental health is languishing, according to data reported this week as part of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. Suicidal ideation is up among young people since last year, with as many as one in four people ages 18 through 24 having seriously considered suicide in the 30 days preceding the survey. In the general US population, the CDC reported that 11% of adults surveyed had seriously considered suicide in the past 30 days before they completed the survey. Among those identifying as Black or Hispanic, the numbers were worse: 19% of Hispanics reported suicidal ideation and 15% of Blacks reported suicidal thoughts. The results reflect a nation increasingly on edge. The number of Americans reporting anxiety symptoms is three times the number at this same time last year, the CDC said. "Previous events have had a start, middle, an end," said Vaile Wright [with] the American Psychological Association. "People can't disconnect from this." Add on the pressures of the economy, the increased scrutiny on racial injustice and the looming specter of the presidential election, and it's hard for many to feel like things might turn out OK. The stress is disproportionately falling on the young. On an individual level, Wright noted that the main pillars of psychological health include eating healthy, staying active, getting enough sleep and maintaining social connections. But figuring out healthy ways to socialize virtually can require being intentional.
What Americans need to understand about the race to find vaccines and treatments for Covid-19 is that in the U.S., even when companies appear to downshift from maximum greed levels — and it’s not at all clear they’ve done this with coronavirus treatments — the production of pharmaceutical drugs is still a nearly riskless, subsidy-laden scam. Americans reacted in horror five years ago when a self-satisfied shark of an executive named Martin Shkreli, a.k.a. the “Pharma Bro,” helped his company, Turing Pharmaceuticals, raise the price of lifesaving toxoplasmosis drug Daraprim from $13.50 to $750 per pill. Shkreli, who smirked throughout congressional testimony ... was held up as a uniquely smug exemplar of corporate evil. Really, the whole industry is one big Shkreli, and Covid-19 — a highly contagious virus with unique properties that may require generations of vaccinations and booster shots — looms now as the ultimate cash cow for lesser-known Pharma Bros. “The power of the industry combined with fear is driving extraordinary spending,” says U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-Texas), who has been ... warning about pandemic profiteering. “It all suggests rosy times ahead for the pharmaceutical industry.” Recent House and Senate emergency-spending bills allocate as much as $20 billion or more for vaccine development, and another $6 billion for manufacturing and distribution. “The public will pay for much research and manufacturing,” says Doggett. “Only the profits will be privatized.”
The Pentagon is forming a new task force to investigate UFOs that have been observed by US military aircraft, according to two defense officials. Deputy Secretary of Defense David Norquist will help oversee the task force. Members of Congress and Pentagon officials have long expressed concerns about the appearance of the unidentified aircraft that have flown over US military bases. There is no consensus on their origin with some believing they may be drones potentially operated by earthly adversaries seeking to gather intelligence rather than extraterrestrials. The Senate Intelligence Committee voted in June to have the Pentagon and intelligence community provide a public analysis of the encounters, following the official Pentagon release of three short videos showing US aircraft encountering these phenomena. "We have things flying over our military bases and places where we are conducting military exercises, and we don't know what it is and it isn't ours, so that's a legitimate question to ask," the chairman of that committee, Sen. Marco Rubio, [said]. The videos released by the Pentagon appear to show unidentified flying objects rapidly moving while recorded by infrared cameras. The Pentagon had previously studied recordings of aerial encounters with unknown objects as part of a since-shuttered classified program that was launched at the behest of former Sen. Harry Reid of Nevada. That program was launched in 2007 and ended in 2012, according to the Pentagon.
Note: This is clearly part of a planned roll out to acculturate the public to the reality of UFOs. For undeniable evidence top Pentagon officials have known about the ET presence since the 1940s, see our revealing two page summary on UFOs. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on UFOs from reliable major media sources.
The COVID-19 pandemic is having a significant impact on Americans' mental health, according to a new survey out Thursday from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It found elevated levels of symptoms of anxiety and depressive disorders, substance use and suicidal ideation among U.S. adults, and identified populations at increased risk, including young people, racial and ethnic minorities, essential workers and caregivers of adults. More than 40% of respondents who completed surveys during June reported an adverse mental or behavioral health condition, and 11% reported having seriously considered suicide in the 30 days prior. The data's greatest value, experts say, is the spotlight it shines on vulnerable populations. "It is showing that this breakdown in our society, the breakdown of the safety net, the breakdown of economic security is taking a massive toll," said Anna Mueller, a suicide researcher and professor of sociology at the Indiana University Bloomington. "These breakdowns really show how crucial economic stability and economic security are to an individual's well being. Because the people who are more vulnerable in terms of their socioeconomic status, people who are being put in harm's way, those are the people who are suffering the most." The survey found 75% of respondents 18-24 reported at least one adverse mental or behavioral health symptom and serious suicidal ideation among this group was 25%.
So now we know: Sweden got it largely right, and the British establishment catastrophically wrong. Anders Tegnell, Stockholm’s epidemiologist-king, has pulled off a remarkable triple whammy: far fewer deaths per capita than Britain, a maintenance of basic freedoms and opportunities, including schooling, and, most strikingly, a recession less than half as severe as our own. Politicians can react in one of three ways to a pandemic. They can do nothing, and allow the disease to rip until herd immunity is reached. Quite rightly, no government has pursued this policy, out of fear of mass deaths and total social and economic collapse. The second approach involves imposing proportionate restrictions to facilitate social distancing, banning certain sorts of gatherings while encouraging and informing the public. The Swedes pursued a version of this centrist strategy: there was a fair bit of compulsion, but also a focus on retaining normal life and keeping schools open. There was no formal lockdown. The third option is the full-on statist approach, which imposes a legally binding lockdown and shuts down society. Almost all economists thought that Sweden’s economy would suffer hugely from its idiosyncratic strategy. They were wrong. Sweden’s GDP fell by just 8.6 per cent in the first half of the year ... and its excess deaths jumped 24 per cent. By contrast, Britain’s economy slumped by 22.2 per cent in the first half of the year, a performance almost three times as bad as Sweden’s, and its excess deaths shot up by 45 per cent.
Note: A Swedish MD on the front lines shares thoughts on why Sweden's COVID death rate has been in the single digits for weeks. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus from reliable major media sources.
Small businesses are disappearing by the thousands amid the Covid-19 pandemic, and the drag on the economy from these failures could be huge. This wave of silent failures goes uncounted in part because real-time data on small business is notoriously scarce, and because owners of small firms often have no debt, and thus no need for bankruptcy court. Yelp Inc., the online reviewer, has data showing more than 80,000 permanently shuttered from March 1 to July 25. About 60,000 were local businesses, or firms with fewer than five locations. About 800 small businesses did indeed file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy from mid-February to July 31, according to the American Bankruptcy Institute, and the trade group expects the 2020 total could be up 36% from last year. While the businesses are small individually, the collective impact of their failures could be substantial. Firms with fewer than 500 employees account for about 44% of U.S. economic activity, according to a U.S. Small Business Administration report, and they employ almost half of all American workers. About 58% of small business owners say they’re worried about permanently closing, according to a July U.S. Chamber of Commerce survey. In a June 2020 NFIB survey, a net 31% of owners reported lower sales in the past three months, while 7% reported higher sales a year earlier. In the same survey, only 13% of business owners said it was a good time to expand, a dip from 24% a year earlier.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus from reliable major media sources.
Scientists have developed new technology that can turn seawater into clean drinking water in less than 30 minutes. Researchers based in Australia used a metal-organic framework (MOF), a type of lattice-like crystal, to desalinate water. The hollow framework of pores separates the salty solute within the brackish water or even saltier seawater, in a process known as molecular sieving. Under dark conditions, the framework absorbs salts and other impurities in the water in 30 minutes. The MOF itself is then regenerated for reuse in just four minutes, using sunlight to remove the adsorbed salts. The light-responsive MOF was used to filter harmful particles from water and generate 139.5 litres of clean water per kilogram of MOF per day. Scientists say their technology is more energy-efficient than current desalination practices, including reverse osmosis, and could provide potable water for millions globally. Water scarcity is one of the largest global risks in the upcoming years, according to the World Economic Forum (WEF). Thermal desalination processes by evaporation using solar energy are widely used to produce fresh water, but can be highly energy intensive. 'Sunlight is the most abundant and renewable source of energy on Earth,' said Professor Huanting Wang ... at Monash University in Australia. 'Our development of a new adsorbent-based desalination process through the use of sunlight for regeneration provides an energy-efficient and environmentally-sustainable solution for desalination.'
Health Secretary Matt Hancock last month ordered an urgent review into how daily death counts are calculated in England because of a 'statistical flaw'. Academics found Public Health England's methods ... count victims as anyone who died after ever testing positive for Covid-19 — even if they were hit by a bus after beating the disease months later. Thousands of coronavirus deaths will be wiped off the government's official toll. Public Health England ... admitted that a coronavirus death is one that happens to anyone who has previously tested positive, regardless of how long ago the test happened. It would've meant that, technically, no-one could ever recover from the virus and all 265,000 of England's confirmed patients would eventually have had their deaths attributed to the disease. The blunder could see up to 4,000 deaths removed from England's official toll of 41,749. Mr Hancock is set to bring the figures in line with Scotland and Northern Ireland, which only attribute deaths to Covid-19 if it occurs within a month of their diagnosis. The statistical flaw was uncovered by Oxford University's Professor Carl Heneghan and Dr Yoon Loke. Professor Heneghan, director of the Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine at the prestigious [University of East Anglia commented], 'If it's someone who picked up the virus in a care home in March and recovered, and last week died of a heart attack, what does that actually tell us?' Ministers are thought to be planning a huge reform of PHE following a series of failings by the beleaguered agency. Separate figures ... revealed overall deaths in England and Wales are still below the number usually expected at this time of year, based on an average from the previous five years.
Note: A recent Newsweek article is titled "Florida Man Killed in Crash Listed as COVID-19 Death, Raising Doubts Over Health Data." Could it be that some officials are wanting to inflate the figures? For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus from reliable major media sources.
For 23 years, Larry Collins worked in a [toll] booth. But one day in mid-March, as confirmed cases of the coronavirus were skyrocketing, Collins’ supervisor called and told him not to come into work the next day. Collins’ job was disappearing, as were the jobs of around 185 other toll collectors at bridges in Northern California, all to be replaced by technology. The drive to replace humans with machinery is accelerating as companies struggle to avoid workplace infections of COVID-19 and to keep operating costs low. The U.S. shed around 40 million jobs at the peak of the pandemic. Some will never return. One group of economists estimates that 42% of the jobs lost are gone forever. This replacement of humans with machines may pick up more speed in coming months as companies move from survival mode to figuring out how to operate while the pandemic drags on. Robots could replace as many as 2 million more workers in manufacturing alone by 2025. “Look at the business model of Google, Facebook, Netflix. They’re not in the business of creating new tasks for humans,” says Daron Acemoglu, an MIT economist. The U.S. government incentivizes companies to automate, he says, by giving tax breaks for buying machinery and software. A business that pays a worker $100 pays $30 in taxes, but a business that spends $100 on equipment pays about $3 in taxes, he notes. The 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act lowered taxes on purchases so much that “you can actually make money buying equipment,” Acemoglu says.
We’re headed into a global depression–a period of economic misery that few living people have experienced. Depressions don’t just generate ugly stats and send buyers and sellers into hibernation. They change the way we live. COVID-19 fears will bring lasting changes to public attitudes toward all activities that involve crowds of people and how we work on a daily basis; it will also permanently change America’s competitive position in the world and raise profound uncertainty about U.S.-China relations going forward. Most postwar U.S. recessions have limited their worst effects to the domestic economy. But most were the result of domestic inflation or a tightening of national credit markets. That is not the case with COVID-19 and the current global slowdown. This is a synchronized crisis, and just as the relentless rise of China over the past four decades has lifted many boats in richer and poorer countries alike, so slowdowns in China, the U.S. and Europe will have global impact on our globalized world. The Congressional Budget Office has warned that the unemployment rate will remain stubbornly high for the next decade, and economic output will remain depressed for years unless changes are made to the way government taxes and spends. Those sorts of changes will depend on broad recognition that emergency measures won’t be nearly enough to restore the U.S. economy to health. What’s true in the U.S. will be true everywhere else.
Note: A CNN article dated Aug. 15th is titled "1 in 4 young people are reporting suicidal thoughts." A USA Today article states, "More than 40% of respondents who completed surveys during June reported an adverse mental or behavioral health condition, and 11% reported having seriously considered suicide in the 30 days prior." It's possible that deaths from suicide, domestic violence, hunger, and more will significantly exceed the number of virus deaths. For more, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus from reliable major media sources.
More than two decades ago, police in Shreveport, La. stopped Fair Wayne Bryant on the side of the road for allegedly stealing a pair of hedge clippers. His vehicle looked like one that had been used in a recent home burglary, they told the black 38-year-old moments before arresting him. Bryant insisted the clippers police found in the van belonged to his wife, but he did make a confession to the officers: After his vehicle had broken down ... he had entered a carport in search of a tank of gas. That disclosure would eventually land Bryant life in prison. Last week, the Louisiana Supreme Court denied a request from Bryant to hear a review of his life sentence. Six of the seven justices backed the decision. The lone Black judge on the bench was the only one to disagree. In a searing dissent, Chief Justice Bernette Johnson said Bryant’s sentence was only due to Louisiana’s harsh habitual offender laws. “Mr. Bryant has already spent nearly 23 years in prison and is now over 60 years old,” she wrote. “If he lives another 20 years, Louisiana taxpayers will have paid almost one million dollars to punish Mr. Bryant for his failed effort to steal a set of hedge clippers.” The decision from the state supreme court gives Bryant few, if any, options for recourse to leave Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola ... which is also the site of a former slave plantation. In her dissent, Johnson — the court’s first Black chief justice — drew a straight line from slavery to the laws that she said enabled Louisiana prosecutors to send Bryant to Angola for the rest of his life.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on judicial system corruption from reliable major media sources.
The Australian state of Victoria [announced] on Tuesday that military personnel will be deployed to enforce Covid-19 lockdown orders, amid growing concerns about attacks on police. Authorities warned police were facing a sometimes violent resistance, often by so-called 'sovereign citizens' groups who considered themselves above the law. Victoria earlier this week imposed a night curfew, tightened restrictions on people's daily movements and ordered large parts of the local economy to close to slow the spread of coronavirus. But nearly a third of those who contracted Covid-19 were not home isolating when checked on by officials, requiring tough new penalties, Daniel Andrews, the state premier, said. Fines of nearly A$5,000 (Ł2,710) will be issued to anyone breaching stay at home orders. Repeat offenders face a fine of up to A$20,000. "There is literally no reason for you to leave your home and if you were to leave your home and not be found there, you will have a very difficult time convincing Victoria police that you have a lawful reason," Mr Andrews told reporters in Melbourne. The only exemption will be for urgent medical care, said Mr Andrews, adding anyone under a self-isolation order will no longer be allowed to leave their homes for outdoor exercise. Mr Andrews said an additional 500 unarmed military personnel will this week deploy to Victoria to assist police in ensuring self-isolation orders are being complied with. The latest military deployment will join about 1,500 troops already in Victoria.
Note: Learn more about the incredible, draconian measures being taken in Australia in this article banned by facebook. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus from reliable major media sources.
In Vallejo, California, a former police captain is alleging a secretive ritual that has triggered an independent investigation into the city's embattled police force: he says some officers involved in fatal shootings since 2000 bent the tips of their star-shaped badges to mark each time they killed someone in the line of duty. Former Vallejo police Capt. John Whitney, a 19-year department veteran and former SWAT commander who was fired from his job last August, first described the alleged tradition in an interview published this week. Officers involved in fatal shootings marked those incidents with backyard barbecues and were initiated into a "secretive clique" that included curving one of the tips of their seven-point sterling silver badge. Vallejo, a Bay Area community of 122,000 people, has been in the spotlight for its high number of fatal police shootings ... compared with other California cities. Last month, state Attorney General Xavier Becerra announced the Department of Justice will undertake an "expansive review" of the Vallejo Police Department after lawsuits claiming excessive force and residents' demands for an outside investigation into officers' actions. Whitney learned about the bending of badges in April 2019, two months after the fatal shooting of the rapper Willie McCoy, 20. McCoy was asleep in his car at a fast-food restaurant. Police said they discovered his car was locked and in drive, and saw a handgun on his lap. As McCoy woke up, six of the officers opened fire with 55 rounds.
Note: Find lots more on police gangs that target certain groups in this revealing Guardian article. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on police corruption from reliable major media sources.
As protesters around the country have marched against police brutality and in support of the Black Lives Matter movement, activists have spotted a recurring presence in the skies: mysterious planes and helicopters hovering overhead, apparently conducting surveillance on protesters. A press release ... revealed that the Drug Enforcement Agency and U.S. Marshals Service were asked by the Justice Department to provide unspecified support to law enforcement during protests. A few days later, a memo obtained by BuzzFeed News ... revealed that shortly after protests began in various cities, the DEA had sought special authority from the Justice Department to covertly spy on Black Lives Matter protesters on behalf of law enforcement. Both the DEA and the Marshals possess airplanes outfitted with so-called stingrays or dirtboxes: powerful technologies capable of tracking mobile phones or, depending on how they’re configured, collecting data and communications from mobile phones in bulk. That data can be used to identify people — protesters, for example — and track their movements during and after demonstrations, as well as to identify others who associate with them. They also can inject spying software onto specific phones. Stingrays are routinely used to target suspects in drug and other criminal investigations, but activists also believe the devices were used during protests against the Dakota Access pipeline, and against Black Lives Matter protesters over the last three months.
Note: Read more about invasive "stingray" technology and the secrecy surrounding its use. Learn how Google is siphoning all information about you it can get. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption and the disappearance of privacy from reliable major media sources.
Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf on Friday directed the intelligence branch of his department to cease collecting information involving journalists and ordered a review of the incident that was made public on Thursday. The department "will no longer identify US members of the media in our intelligence products," he wrote ... adding that he is ordering an "immediate review of the circumstances surrounding the collection and dissemination of intelligence on US members of the press." The order comes a day after The Washington Post reported that DHS compiled "intelligence reports" about the work of two American journalists covering protests in Portland, Oregon, in what current and former officials called an alarming use of a government system meant to share information about suspected terrorists. The revelations that DHS collected and disseminated information on journalists comes amid increased scrutiny of the department's handling of the unrest in Portland. Homeland Security officials have warned in recent weeks that the increased politicization of law enforcement risks undercutting public trust in the department. One of the journalists DHS collected information on wrote in a series of tweets responding to the Post story, "What is troubling about this story is that I&A shared my tweets *as intelligence reporting,* that is, an intelligence arm of the government filed a report on a citizen for activity at the heart of journalism: revealing newsworthy information about government to the public."
Amid fears over a potential second wave of the novel coronavirus across Europe, new infections in Sweden, where full lockdown measures were not implemented, have mostly declined since late June. The number of new cases per 100,000 people in Sweden reported over the last 14 days since July 29 dropped by 54 percent from the figure reported over 14 days prior to then, according to the latest report Wednesday from the ... WHO. Meanwhile, other parts of Europe have reported large spikes in new cases over the same period, including Spain, France, Germany, Belgium and The Netherlands, which have seen increases between 40 and 200 percent over the last month. The seven-day rolling average of Sweden's daily new cases has been dropping consistently since June 29. The seven-day rolling average of daily new deaths in Sweden has also been declining since around April 15. The country's latest seven-day rolling averages for daily new cases and daily new deaths stand at 154 and 2. Last week Anders Tegnell, the chief epidemiologist at Sweden's public health agency ... said the nation's controversial anti-lockdown strategy has been a success. Tegnell noted: "In many ways the voluntary measures we put in place in Sweden have been just as effective as complete lockdowns in other countries. We are now seeing rapidly falling cases, we have continuously had healthcare that has been working. The failure [of the strategy] has of course been the death toll…that has been very much related to the long-term care facilities in Sweden. Now that has improved, we see a lot less cases in those facilities," Tegnell said.
Note: Sweden, the country which chose not to lock down, also does not require masks. Their death rates have been in the single digits per day for a couple weeks now. As mentioned above, the seven-day rolling average is two deaths a day. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus from reliable major media sources.
The Dutch government says it will not advise the public to wear masks to slow the spread of coronavirus, asserting that their effectiveness has not been proven. The decision was announced by Minister for Medical Care Tamara van Ark after a review by the country's National Institute for Health (RIVM). The government will instead seek more adherence to social distancing rules after a surge in coronavirus cases in the country this week, Van Ark said. "Because from a medical perspective there is no proven effectiveness of masks, the cabinet has decided that there will be no national obligation for wearing non-medical masks" The decision bucks the trend as many European countries have made masks mandatory in stores or crowded outdoor areas. RIVM chief Jaap van Dissel said that the organisation was aware of studies that show masks help slow the spread of disease but it was not convinced they will help during the current coronavirus outbreak in the Netherlands. He argued wearing masks incorrectly, together with worse adherence to social distancing rules, could increase the risk of transmitting the disease. "So we think that if you're going to use masks (in a public setting)... then you must give good training for it," he said. Masks are currently required only on public transportation in the Netherlands and in airports. The decision followed a meeting of health and government officials after new coronavirus cases in the country rose to 1329 in the past week, an increase of more than a third.
Note: Sweden, the country which chose not to lock down, also does not require masks. Their death rates have been in the single digits per day for a couple weeks now. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus from reliable major media sources.
As other countries face renewed outbreaks, Sweden’s latest Covid-19 figures suggest it’s rapidly bringing the virus under control. “That Sweden has come down to these levels is very promising,” state epidemiologist Anders Tegnell told reporters in Stockholm on Tuesday. The Health Agency of Sweden says that since hitting a peak in late June, the infection rate has fallen sharply. That’s amid an increase in testing over the period. “The curves are going down and the curves for the seriously ill are beginning to approach zero,” Tegnell said. The development follows months of controversy over Sweden’s decision to avoid a full lockdown. The unusual strategy coincided with a much higher Covid-19 mortality rate than elsewhere in the Nordic region. On Tuesday, Sweden reported two new deaths, bringing the total to 5,702. Tegnell also broached the subject of face masks. “With numbers diminishing very quickly in Sweden, we see no point in wearing a face mask in Sweden, not even on public transport,” he said. Tegnell has consistently argued that Sweden’s approach is more sustainable than the sudden lockdowns imposed elsewhere. With the risk that Covid-19 might be around for years, he says completely shutting down society isn’t a long-term option. Meanwhile, many countries that thought they’d brought the virus under control are now seeing second waves. Tegnell called those developments “worrying.” “The positive trend is reversing, with an increase in the number of cases in Spain, Romania and Belgium, among others,” he said.
Note: In the 7 days ending Aug. 14th, Sweden had a total of 14 deaths from COVID-19 and the numbers continue to decline. By comparison, California with four times the population had 949 deaths. Why isn't the media talking more about Sweden's success without any lockdown? The Dutch government is also not advising the public to wear masks, claiming their effectiveness has not been proven. Why is the media overall so biased against Sweden? For more along these lines, see concise summaries of revealing news articles on the coronavirus from reliable major media sources.
Sweden famously took a totally different approach to its Nordic neighbours in trying to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus. The Swedish strategy allowed people to keep living largely as normal. Stores and restaurants remained open – so too did many schools. With a COVID-19 death toll of 5,700, Sweden’s mortality rate from the disease is now around a quarter higher than that of the United States, when adjusted for population size. However, authorities insist that the number of deaths has considerably dropped in recent weeks. "We've actually seen a clearly declining trend in the number of patients in intensive care and also in the number of deaths since the middle of April," said Anna Mia Ekström ... at Stockholm’s Karolinksa Institute. So how close is Sweden to possibly reaching herd immunity? We don’t know at this point. Scientists are still trying to figure out whether immunity from the new coronavirus can even be reached – and for how long. Ekström noted that the reproduction number of the epidemic – or R number, which measures the average number of people that one infected person will pass the virus on to – has now fallen in Sweden to around 0.6, meaning transmission is declining. The number of people with antibodies against the new coronavirus, meanwhile, is increasing. Data published by Sweden’s public health agency in June showed that about 10 per cent of people in Stockholm – the nation's worst affected area – had developed antibodies to COVID-19, more than anywhere else in the country.
Note: The number of new cases and deaths in Sweden has dropped significantly while the U.S. other non-European countries are seeing a rise in both, according to this MSN article. For the month of July 2020, Sweden had 370 deaths while California had 3,200 deaths. California has a population about four times that of Sweden, yet California with its strict lockdown had almost 10 times as many deaths as Sweden, which is one of the few countries that chose not to lock down. For more, see concise summaries of revealing news articles on the coronavirus from reliable major media sources.
Across the pharmaceutical and medical industries, senior executives and board members are making millions of dollars after announcing positive developments, including support from the government, in their efforts to fight Covid-19. After such announcements, insiders from at least 11 companies — most of them smaller firms whose fortunes often hinge on the success or failure of a single drug — have sold shares worth well over $1 billion since March, according to figures compiled for The New York Times. The sudden windfalls highlight the powerful financial incentives for company officials to generate positive headlines in the race for coronavirus vaccines and treatments, even if the drugs might never pan out. Some officials at the Department of Health and Human Services have grown concerned about whether companies are trying to inflate their stock prices by exaggerating their roles in Operation Warp Speed, the flagship federal initiative to quickly develop drugs to combat Covid-19. In some cases, company insiders ... appear to be pouncing on opportunities to cash out while their stock prices are sky high. And some companies have awarded stock options to executives shortly before market-moving announcements about their vaccine progress. “It is inappropriate for drug company executives to cash in on a crisis,” said Ben Wakana, executive director of Patients for Affordable Drugs. “Every day, Americans wake up and make sacrifices during this pandemic. Drug companies see this as a payday.”
An additional 6.7 million children under the age of five could suffer from wasting – and therefore become dangerously undernourished – in 2020 as a result of the socio-economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, UNICEF warned today. According to an analysis published in The Lancet, 80 per cent of these children would be from sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia. Over half would be from South Asia alone. “It’s been seven months since the first COVID-19 cases were reported and it is increasingly clear that the repercussions of the pandemic are causing more harm to children than the disease itself,” said UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore. “Household poverty and food insecurity rates have increased. Essential nutrition services and supply chains have been disrupted. Food prices have soared. As a result, the quality of children’s diets has gone down and malnutrition rates will go up.” Wasting is a life-threatening form of malnutrition, which makes children too thin and weak, and puts them at greater risk of dying, poor growth, development and learning. Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, 47 million children were already wasted in 2019. Without urgent action, the global number of children suffering from wasting could reach almost 54 million over the course of the year. This would bring global wasting to levels not seen this millennium. The estimated increase in child wasting is only the tip of the iceberg, UN agencies warn. COVID-19 will also increase other forms of malnutrition in children and women.
Big corporations accused of driving environmental and health inequalities in black and brown communities through toxic and climate-changing pollution are also funding powerful police groups in major US cities, according to a new investigation. Some of America’s largest oil and gas companies, private utilities, and financial institutions that bankroll fossil fuels also back police foundations – opaque private entities that raise money to pay for training, weapons, equipment, and surveillance technology for departments across the US. The investigation by the Public Accountability Initiative, a nonprofit corporate and government accountability research institute ... details how police foundations in cities such as Seattle, Chicago, Washington, New Orleans and Salt Lake City are partially funded by household names such as Chevron, Shell and Wells Fargo. Police foundations are industry groups that provide substantial funds to local departments, yet, as nonprofits, avoid much public scrutiny. The investigation details how firms linked to fossil fuels also sponsor events and galas that celebrate the police, while some have senior staff serving as directors of police foundations. The report portrays the fossil fuel industry as a common enemy in the struggle for racial and environmental justice. “Many powerful companies that drive environmental injustice are also backers of the same police departments that tyrannize the very communities these corporate actors pollute,” it states.
In a year of astonishing reversals, one of the biggest may turn out to be President Trump’s emergence as the unlikely savior of America’s national parks. The president tweeted that he will sign the Great American Outdoors Act, which will provide billions of dollars to repair and maintain the country’s 419 national park sites and help to protect public lands in all 50 states. Hailed as “a conservationist’s dream,” the act will be the biggest land conservation legislation in a generation. How did we get here? For the past three years, the Trump administration has been undermining safeguards for public lands. Earlier this year, Trump proposed draconian cuts to the National Parks budget and Land and Water Conservation Fund. The administration’s dramatic about-face is largely due to the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic. As the economy struggles in the deepest crisis since the 1930s, local communities that rely on visitors and tourism associated with national parks are desperate to protect their assets. The Great Outdoors Act is long overdue. The parks budget has been flat for two decades. The new legislation ... establishes a National Park and Public Lands Legacy Restoration Fund that will provide up to $9 billion to fix deferred maintenance at national parks, wildlife refuges, forests, and other federal lands. It also guarantees $900 million per year in perpetuity for the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which enables state and local governments to acquire land for recreation and conservation..
Note: This bill was signed into law by President Donald Trump on August 4. Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
On June 26, a small South San Francisco company called Vaxart made a surprise announcement: A coronavirus vaccine it was working on had been selected by the U.S. government to be part of Operation Warp Speed, the flagship federal initiative to quickly develop drugs to combat Covid-19. The race is on to develop a coronavirus vaccine, and some companies and investors are betting that the winners stand to earn vast profits from selling hundreds of millions — or even billions — of doses to a desperate public. Across the pharmaceutical and medical industries, senior executives and board members ... are making millions of dollars after announcing positive developments, including support from the government, in their efforts to fight Covid-19. After such announcements, insiders from at least 11 companies — most of them smaller firms whose fortunes often hinge on the success or failure of a single drug — have sold shares worth well over $1 billion since March. Senior officials appear to be pouncing on opportunities to cash out. And some companies have awarded stock options to executives shortly before market-moving announcements about their vaccine progress. Some companies are attracting government scrutiny for ... using their associations with Operation Warp Speed as marketing ploys. Vaxart’s news release declared: “Vaxart’s Covid-19 Vaccine Selected for the U.S. Government’s Operation Warp Speed.” But Vaxart is not among the companies selected to receive significant financial support from Warp Speed.
Note: MSN strangely removed this article a few days after posting it. A similar article by the New York Times titled "The race for a coronavirus vaccine is making some corporate insiders very rich" is available here. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on big Pharma corruption and the coronavirus from reliable major media sources.
In a press conference on Tuesday, Chad Wolf, the acting head of the Department of Homeland Security, responded to media reports that unidentified federal agents using unmarked vehicles have been arresting protesters in Portland, Oregon. Since early July, men in military-style uniforms have waged battle against protesters there ... with what looks like a regular army moving on unarmed protesters night after night. On behalf of the D.H.S. and its uniformed services, Wolf claimed responsibility for the armed presence in Portland. He asserted that his agency was doing exactly what it was created to do. He was right. The original proposal for the D.H.S. described the agency as “a new government structure to protect against invisible enemies that can strike with a wide variety of weapons”; one hypothetical example of an invisible enemy was “a non-citizen that intends to enter our nation and attack one of our chemical facilities.” The nation used to protect itself against other nations and their hostile military forces, but now it had to fear individuals. This is the premise on which secret police forces are built. The secret police, even when it looks and appears to act like an army, always has a single individual as its target. As we learn more about what is happening in Portland - as footage of federal troops waging war on protesters floods social media ... we are watching the perfect and perhaps inevitable combination of a domestic-security superagency and a President who rejects all mechanisms of accountability.
A Pentagon UFO unit will make some investigations public as ex-advisors suggest that “vehicles not made on this earth” were placed in US government storage. The team will update the US Senate’s Intelligence Committee on its unidentified flying object (UFO) research every six months, The New York Times reported. Publicly named in 2019 as the Unidentified Aerial Phenomenon Task Force, the Pentagon unit succeeded an investigative UFO program that was said to have been disbanded prior to 2017. One former official, Eric Davis, [said] that he briefed the US Department of Defense in March about the retrieval of “off-world vehicles not made on this earth”. The Pentagon consultant and subcontractor said objects he believed “we couldn’t make ... ourselves” were discovered during his time on the unit, where he has worked since 2007. Whilst no crash artifacts have ever been documented in public, Harry Reid – the former Democratic Senate majority leader – told The Times that he “came to the conclusion” that UFO materials were in the government’s possession. “After looking into this, I came to the conclusion that there were reports — some were substantive, some not so substantive — that there were actual materials that the government and the private sector had in their possession,” said the former senator for Nevada. acting intelligence committee chairman Marco Rubio said last week that his priority was to uncover who was behind unidentified flying vehicles seen over American military bases.
Note: Astronaut Edgar Mitchell, the sixth man to walk on the moon, declared publicly long ago that there have been crashed ET craft and material has been recovered. Many military officers have made similar claims. The government appears to be doing a slow roll-out on UFOs and ETs. For undeniable evidence from generals and government officials testifying to their personal knowledge of and involvement in a major UFO cover-up for decades, see this concise summary. For more along these lines, see our deeply revealing UFO Information Center.
The U.S.-supported military coup in Bolivia has largely disappeared from western news outlets ever since the November 2019 massacres of pro-democracy protesters by the right-wing faction that seized power. But for Bolivians, the repression and tyranny that replaced their stable and thriving democracy endures. What makes the coup in Bolivia and its aftermath so worthwhile to explore is not just the inherent importance of Bolivia itself: a country of 11 million people with a rich and unique ethnic, cultural and religious diversity, as well as an ample supply of the now-vital resource of lithium. It is also instructive because of how U.S. discourse evolved in support of the coup, with supposed “foreign policy experts” across the political spectrum ... spouting outright falsehoods to depict the destruction of Bolivian democracy as the salvation of it. Since the coup last October, many of the key claims used to justify the ousting of Morales ... have been proven to have been lies. Yet not a single one of the foreign policy “experts” or media outlets have acknowledged their errors or even addressed these subsequent revelations, because they know that there are never any consequences for journalists and analysts as long as they remain subservient to the U.S. government agenda. Bolivia is but the latest of a long line of thriving, stable democracies destroyed with the support if not the outright participation of the U.S. government, while jingoistic media figures disseminated the propaganda used to justify it all.
Note: Watch journalist Glenn Greenwald interview experts on the Bolivian coup. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption from reliable major media sources.
Pandemics can be indiscriminate. COVID-19 has been different. The disease has shown a special animus for older people, with those 65-plus considered at especially high risk for hospitalization and death, and those 18 and below catching a semblance of an epidemiological break. Adolescents ... are likelier to experience milder symptoms or none at all. But if COVID-19 is sparing most kids’ bodies, it’s not being so kind to their minds. In one study out of China, published in JAMA Pediatrics, researchers in Hubei province, where the pandemic originated, examined a sample group of 2,330 schoolchildren for signs of emotional distress. The kids had been locked down for ... an average of 33.7 days. 22.6% of them reported depressive symptoms and 18.9% were experiencing anxiety. Then too there is ... the economy, which continues to struggle badly. A 2018 paper published in Health Economics ... studied economic conditions in the U.S. from 2001 to 2013 and found that during the Great Recession, a 5-percent-age-point increase in the national unemployment rate correlated with an astounding 35% to 50% increase in “clinically meaningful childhood mental-health problems.” With unemployment now exceeding 11%, [health-policy researcher Ezra] Golberstein expects to see more of the same emotional blowback. “When the economy is in a bad place, kids’ mental health gets worse,” he says. “Children who were struggling before [the pandemic] are at higher risk now,” says psychologist Robin Gurwitch.
Note: For the second quarter of 2020, the U.S. GDP plunged 32.9% according to this CNBC article. The lockdown policies are clearly damaging not only the health of the economy, but of the children as well. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus and health from reliable major media sources.
Federal charging documents unsealed Tuesday describe how the company, FirstEnergy, spent $60 million to get House Speaker Larry Householder and his favored candidates elected, securing in return a $1.3 billion bailout, paid for by Ohio ratepayers. Householder and Jeff Longstreth, a top aide ... set up Generation Now, a secretive political nonprofit that could raise and spend unlimited amounts of money. “Having secured Householder’s power as Speaker, the Enterprise transitioned quickly to fulfilling its end of the corrupt bargain with Company A — Passing nuclear bailout legislation,” the complaint reads. After Gov. Mike DeWine signed the bill ... opponents, allied with natural-gas and environmental interests in the state, got to work trying to repeal it. They cleared an initial hurdle, collecting 1,000 valid signatures from voters. They had until Oct. 21 to gather hundreds of thousands more signatures. FirstEnergy and FirstEnergy Solutions sent $38 million to Generation Now. The campaign spent millions on mailers and ads discouraging Ohioans from signing the petitions. It also hired petition firms to prevent them from working for the repeal side. “For example,” the complaint reads,” in a meeting on July 24, 2019, which was recorded, [lobbyist Neil] Clark stated that he wired about $450,000 today hiring signature collections people to not work.” Some of the petitioners worked as “blockers,” disrupting the other side’s signature gathering efforts by following them around and making possible signers uncomfortable.
As a kid growing up in 1960s Chicago, Daryl Davis was shocked when his parents explained that White children were throwing rocks at him during a Cub Scouts parade because he was Black. This ... left a burning question in Davis’ mind: “How can you hate me if you do not know me?” A blues pianist, whose energetic style led him to perform with the likes of Chuck Berry, B.B. King, and Jerry Lee Lewis, Davis would commit his life to seeking out answers to that question, often with his music and his Christian faith as equalizers. But a performance ... in 1983 would leave its mark. He had been approached, after a set, by a member of the audience who told him he had never seen a Black man who could play like Jerry Lee Lewis. That began a conversation that would reveal a surprising truth: The man making the comment was a member of the Ku Klux Klan. This revelation sparked the beginning of a 30-year journey that for Davis involved sitting down with members of the Klan and other White supremacists, attending their rallies and cross burnings—all in a search for answers. By tackling prejudices head-on, Davis believes he succeeded in persuading more than 200 KKK members and other white supremacists to disavow their allegiances. Many became friends, including Scott Shepherd, a former Grand Dragon of the KKK in Tennessee. The two regularly travel together to help shine a light on white supremacy and address the spread of racism through dialogue and education.
Note: Davis' work reforming white supremacists is the subject of an inspiring new documentary. Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
It started with a simple message on Facebook on April 29. George Ahearn had heard about farmers in Eastern Washington who were giving away potatoes and onions and wanted to know if someone had a truck he could borrow to haul the discarded crops to Western Washington food banks. The response was immediate and dramatic. A convoy of four trucks, including two with trailers, made the trip east, helping provide quite a bounty for local food banks. “We brought back 9.36 tons when my original goal was 2,000 pounds (one ton),” Aheard said. The effort didn’t end there. EastWest Food Rescue is now a registered nonprofit organization, having delivered more than 2.4 million pounds of crops to more than 160 food banks. Not only is it helping with food security, but the organization is paying the farmers, who saw the market for some of their crops vanish during the coronavirus pandemic. “The whole thing started because of COVID,” said Nancy Balin, who answered Ahearn’s initial request and is now one of three directors of the program. “They immediately lost all the restaurant contracts they had for these restaurant-quality potatoes and onions.” Meanwhile, unemployment was spiking everywhere, along with the need for food. “People who had never needed food before needed food banks, and these farmers have potatoes that they need to get rid of,” Balin said. The goal now is 10 million pounds of food rescued, which Balin said will take $250,000 in donations in addition to hundreds of volunteer hours.
The son of a federal judge was killed and her husband injured when a gunman opened fire at their family home in New Jersey on Sunday night. New Jersey U.S. District Court Judge Esther Salas' 20-year-old son Daniel Anderl was killed in the attack in North Brunswick, New Jersey, by a suspect dressed in a FedEx uniform. Salas was not injured in the shooting. North Brunswick Mayor Francis Womack told ABC News that Anderl died after being "shot through the heart." Womack said Salas received threats "from time to time" in the past but she is not believed to have received any recently. On July 15, four days before the shooting, Salas was assigned to the ongoing lawsuit brought by Deutsche Bank investors who claim the company made false and misleading statements about its anti-money laundering policies. The suit also alleged the bank failed to properly monitor "high-risk" customers, including convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein. Salas was nominated by President Barack Obama and was confirmed in 2011 having previously served as a U.S. Magistrate Judge in New Jersey. Her most high-profile case in recent years was the sentencing of Real Housewives of New Jersey reality TV stars Teresa and Joe Giudice for financial fraud charges. Salas allowed the pair to serve their time consecutively so one could raise their four children while the other was in jail.
Note: Media reports say the killer was Den Hollander, whose resume on his website states he once worked for Kroll Associates Russia. This Washington Post article states, "The French equivalent of the FBI ... suspected that Kroll's Paris operation was a CIA front." This New Yorker article states Kroll "has hired plenty of graduates of the C.I.A. and other secret services, such as M.I.6 and the Mossad." Is it just a coincidence these murder took place just days after Judge Salas was assigned to the Epstein case? Much more on this available here by crack reporter Whitney Webb.
Christopher David had watched in horror as videos surfaced of federal officers in camouflage throwing protesters into unmarked vans in Portland. The 53-year-old Portland resident had heard the stories: protesters injured, gassed, sprayed with chemicals that tugged at their nostrils and burned their eyes. David, a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy and former member of the Navy’s Civil Engineer Corps, said he wanted to know what the officers involved thought of the oath they had sworn to protect and defend the Constitution. So, he said, on Saturday evening, he headed to downtown Portland to ask them. He asked one woman when the feds would show up, but she said it was also her first protest since the Department of Homeland Security deployed tactical units from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and U.S. Customs and Border Protection to bolster protections for federal buildings. Just as he was about to leave, David said, the federal officers emerged. “Why are you not honoring your oath?” he bellowed. “Why are you not honoring your oath to the Constitution?” An officer trained his weapon on David’s chest as several agents pushed him, sending David stumbling backward. But he regained his center and tried again. Another agent raised his baton and began to beat David, who stood unwavering with his arms at his sides. Then another officer unloaded a canister of chemical irritant spray into David’s face. At the hospital, he said, he learned his right hand had been broken in two places.
The strange and frightening images of unidentified military-looking men taking protesters off the streets of Portland, Oregon, and into unmarked vans may be headed to a city near you if that city is, as President Donald Trump declared Monday, run by "liberal Democrats." The teams of masked authorities seen in Portland dressed up for war like special forces apparently belong to the Department of Homeland Security's Customs and Border Protection Unit. They're trained for drug missions, but ... they've been dispatched to American streets. Trump suggested more federal agents will soon be headed to more American cities. The fact that DHS would deploy its own warriors into American streets without much discussion and without a clear mandate (they're vaguely supposed to be protecting federal buildings?) is dark-of-night dystopian stuff. Meanwhile, the militarized response has led to more violent levels of protest in Portland, where racial justice and anti-police brutality demonstrations have lasted more than 50 days. The atmosphere has not been helped by the efforts of federal agents, according to Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler, who called the administration's actions "abhorrent." "People are being literally scooped off the street into unmarked vans, rental cars," Wheeler [said]. Both Wheeler and Oregon's governor have demanded the federal authorities leave. And multiple House committee chairs are also calling for an immediate watchdog investigation.
According to a July 17 study published in the International Journal of Geriatrics and Rehabilitation, 50 percent of nucleic acid coronavirus tests distributed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provided inaccurate results. The study's lead author, Sin Hang Lee, MD, director of Milford Molecular Diagnostics Laboratory, found that the testing kits gave a 30 percent false-positive rate and a 20 percent false-negative rate. To determine these false-positive and false-negative rates, the Connecticut State Department of Public Health Microbiology Laboratory provided Lee 20 tests, which were then re-tested using his own methodology, which examines samples on a cellular level, rather than just testing fluid with no cellular matter from potentially infected oral and nasal secretions. While the results of Lee's testing may be alarming, they also pointed to yet another discovery: new mutations of the virus. Two tests that initially provided false-negatives and one test that yielded a positive result were actually found to be positive for coronavirus and a mutation of the virus, meaning two variants of the virus can simultaneously infect one person. However, it's not just the test you use that may be contributing to inaccurate results—when you get tested is important, too. Getting tested the day a person is infected with coronavirus will likely yield a 100 percent false-negative rate; by day 8 after becoming infected, however, that rate drops to just 20 percent.
Note: Explore an excellent, well-researched article further questioning the validity of these tests. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus from reliable major media sources.
Somewhere in the vast ocean, a little boat covered in solar panels is doing something extraordinary: making its own hydrogen fuel from the seawater underneath it. The Energy Observer uses a patchwork of different cutting-edge technologies to generate enough energy to power nine homes each day. During the day, 200 square meters of solar panels charge up the boat's lithium ion batteries. Any extra energy is stored as hydrogen, thanks to a special fuel cell that goes by the name Rex H2 (short for Range Extender H2). The Rex H2 was made by Toyota, using components from Toyota's hydrogen-powered Mirai vehicle line. The fuel cell brings in seawater, removes the salt and then separates the H from the pure H20 with electricity. When the Energy Observer began its journey in 2017, it could only produce hydrogen while stopped. That changed in a big way with the addition of the Oceanwings, 12-meter sails that improved the efficiency of the Energy Observer from 18% to 42%, to the point where it can now produce hydrogen even while sailing. One of the main benefits of hydrogen is its ability to store more more electricity by weight than its lithium ion competition. This benefit is especially useful at sea. Because fossil fuels have had more than a century's head start, we now find ourselves far beyond the point of any one technology being a silver bullet for our growing energy needs. A sustainable future will require a patchwork of new technologies, like the one powering the Energy Observer.
Federal law enforcement officers have used unmarked vehicles to detain protesters in Portland. Videos shared online show officers driving up to people, detaining them without explanation, then driving off, Oregon Public Broadcasting first reported. The ACLU filed a lawsuit Friday evening to try and end what it called "lawlessness" on the streets of Portland. The lawsuit ... seeks to block the Department of Homeland Security and other agencies from attacking journalists and legal observers at protests. "Federal agents are terrorizing the community, threatening lives, and relentlessly attacking protesters demonstrating against police brutality," the ACLU said. "This is not law and order. This is lawlessness — and it must be stopped." Conner O’Shea, 30, a Portland resident who’s been attending protests for almost two months, told USA Today that early Thursday morning, around 2 a.m. he and a friend had left protests downtown and were walking back to their car when they were suddenly pursued by men who they believed to be federal agents. O’Shea did not see any sort of identifying markers on the men — badges or numbers or words on their camouflage uniforms. O’Shea managed to get away. But his friend Mark Pettibone, 29, has told media he was arrested and booked by federal agents. Pettibone told the Washington Post that officers placed him in a holding cell in a federal courthouse, where he was read his Miranda rights. After Pettibone ... declined to answer questions, he was released.
Note: Read a CNN article questioning the degree to which we are moving towards martial law. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption and the erosion of civil liberties from reliable major media sources.
Sweden’s decision to keep schools open during the pandemic resulted in no higher rate of infection among its schoolchildren than in neighboring Finland, where schools did temporarily close, their public health agencies said in a joint report. Sweden decided to forego a hard lockdown and keep most schools and businesses open throughout the COVID-19 outbreak, a divisive strategy that set it apart from most of Europe. Its Public Health Agency has maintained that the negative consequences of a shutdown on the economy and society outweigh the benefits, and says this also applies to schools. During the period of February 24 to June 14, there were 1,124 confirmed cases of COVID-19 among children in Sweden, around 0.05% of the total number of children aged 1-19. Finland recorded 584 cases in the same period, also equivalent to around 0.05%. “In conclusion, (the) closure or not of schools had no measurable direct impact on the number of laboratory confirmed cases in school-aged children in Finland or Sweden,” the agencies said in the report. Sweden’s death toll of 5,572, when compared relative to population size, far outstripped those of its Nordic neighbors, although it remains lower than in some European countries that locked down, such as Britain and Spain. State epidemiologist Anders Tegnell of the health agency, who has devised Sweden’s response to the epidemic, has said there is little evidence linking the death toll to the absence of a lockdown.
Note: Explore an excellent article on Sweden's underreported success in dealing with COVID-19. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus from reliable major media sources.
Falling fertility rates mean nearly every country could have shrinking populations by the end of the century. And 23 nations - including Spain and Japan - are expected to see their populations halve by 2100. Countries will also age dramatically, with as many people turning 80 as there are being born. What is going on? The fertility rate - the average number of children a woman gives birth to - is falling. If the number falls below approximately 2.1, then the size of the population starts to fall. In 1950, women were having an average of 4.7 children in their lifetime. Researchers at the University of Washington's Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation showed the global fertility rate nearly halved to 2.4 in 2017 - and their study, published in the Lancet, projects it will fall below 1.7 by 2100. As a result, the researchers expect the number of people on the planet to peak at 9.7 billion around 2064, before falling down to 8.8 billion by the end of the century. It is being driven by more women in education and work, as well as greater access to contraception, leading to women choosing to have fewer children. In many ways, falling fertility rates are a success story. A smaller population would reduce carbon emissions as well as deforestation for farmland. Says Prof [Christopher] Murray ... "It will create enormous social change."
Note: The full article at the link above largely paints decreasing population as a problem. One of the greatest fears for many years was that global overpopulation would destroy our planet. Why is the news that global population will decline being spun here as a problem? Why not celebrate this good news? Could it be that the media profits from selling fear? For more on this great shift, see this inspiring information.
When Trinity Jagdeo’s best friend was diagnosed with Spinal Muscular Atrophy Type 2, a rare and serious degenerative disease, Trinity wished her friend had a hero she could relate to, someone to inspire her. She couldn’t find one. So she created one. “Seeing what my best friend was going through, I wanted to do more for others like her.” In 2014, her friend Alexus Dick was hospitalized for six months. “I took note of how drained she was. She had nobody to look up to while she was going through that battle.” Trinity’s first instinct was to reach out to Disney, asking for more characters with disabilities or special needs. “I wrote them letters, made Youtube videos. I didn’t receive a response, so I decided to create my own non-profit, and I began writing and illustrating my own books that featured local special-needs kids.” Alexus was thrilled when she saw Trinity’s comic books starring heroes with disabilities. “I was excited when I realized what she was doing. She was right, there were no characters with disabilities.” Trinity ... found an inexpensive drawing pad that connected to her computer, and she began to use Amazon’s publishing tools. “I put the entire thing together, and they’d print it out for me.” This was when Trinity was 17. Trinity has written and illustrated three books so far. “I love all of the kids I write about, and they all inspire me. I actually illustrated Alexus’s brother, who also has spinal muscular atrophy.” His book is titled “Zappy Zane.” Her other two titles are “Alice the Ace” and “The We Can Squad Saves the Day.”
Note: Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring disabled persons news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
More than a million people may have quit smoking in Britain during the pandemic, figures have suggested. A survey of 10,000 people indicated that across the country as many as 400,000 people aged 16 to 29 dropped their smoking habit during lockdown, and 240,000 aged over 50. It is believed another 400,000 aged 30-49 have also quit since April, according to analysis by the charity Action on Smoking and Health and University College, London. It is thought to be explained by the health threat, as Covid-19 has severe effects on the respiratory system. A public health drive is now being launched to encourage more people to give up smoking. The figures have been published to coincide with a new campaign, funded by the Department of Health and Social Care, which hopes to target smokers in areas with the highest rates of smoking, such as England's north east. Matt Hancock has set a Government target for the UK to become smoke-free by 2030. Deborah Arnott, the chief executive of ASH, said: "This campaign is designed to encourage those who have not yet succeeded in stopping to wake up, and decide that today is the day to stop smoking." Dr Ruth Sharrock, a respiratory consultant who is supporting the campaign, said: “Every day of my working life I see the terrible health problems caused by smoking. But I have also been inspired by those already suffering from smoking related diseases, who have still managed quit and get health benefits from this.”
An Arkansas judge who styled himself as a “Sugar Daddy” and was accused by local women of soliciting sex in exchange for cash, drugs and bail leniency largely escaped accountability from authorities for years, a Reuters investigation found. The judge was forced to resign from the bench in disgrace. But ... he continues to practice law despite his misconduct. As part of its “Teflon Robe” project, Reuters identified and reviewed 1,509 cases from the last dozen years – 2008 through 2019 – in which judges resigned, retired or were publicly disciplined following accusations of misconduct. In addition, the news agency’s investigation identified 3,613 cases from 2008 through 2018 in which states disciplined judges privately – withholding from the public details of their offenses, including the identities of the judges themselves. In many states, the lack of aggressive public oversight means that judges may behave with impunity. In the unlikely case that judges are publicly charged with misconduct, many states enable judges to simply resign or retire, putting a stop to the charges and any investigation of potential wrongdoing. Reuters found that at least 341 judges across the United States escaped punishment or further investigation in the past dozen years by resigning or retiring amid misconduct allegations. At least 5,206 people were directly affected by a judge’s misconduct. The victims ranged from people who were illegally jailed to those subjected to racist, sexist and other abusive comments from judges in ways that tainted the cases.
Note: Don’t miss the entire Reuters series titled “The Teflon Robe”. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on judicial system corruption from reliable major media sources.
She was 30 years old, jobless and facing a custody fight. To keep her kids, she needed a lawyer. Tim Parker seemed ideal. The woman told authorities that she covered part of her legal fees by having sex with Parker, and that Parker paid her at least $3,000 for more sex over the next two years. But [Parker] wasn't just a lawyer. He was also a part-time judge. Although the woman declined to talk with Reuters, she alleged in secret testimony to the agency that Parker had also used his authority as a judge to help her friends bond out of jail, again in return for sex. The alleged conduct was not isolated. City police, the sheriff’s office, the state police, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and a federal grand jury investigated Parker for about four years. Witnesses gave evidence that the judge disclosed the identity of a confidential informant; traded money and opioids for sex; and gave favorable treatment to young women in his courtroom, Reuters found. Despite the intense scrutiny, Parker, 58, was never charged with any crime. Still, Parker’s term on the bench ended in disgrace, when the state judicial commission forced his removal and resignation on what was already scheduled to be his final day in office. The story of Tim Parker shows how hard it can be to remove an American judge suspected of corruption. In its investigation into judicial misconduct across America, Reuters ... found at least 5,206 people who were directly affected by a judge’s misconduct.
Note: Don’t miss the entire Reuters series titled “The Teflon Robe”. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on judicial system corruption from reliable major media sources.
As America begins the formidable task of getting our kids back to school and all of us back to work safely ... public health experts face two opponents: covid-19, but also political leaders and others attempting to undermine the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. As of this date, the CDC guidelines, which were designed to protect children, teachers, school staffers and their families — no matter the state and no matter the politics — have not been altered. It is not unusual for CDC guidelines to be changed or amended during a clearance process that moves through multiple agencies and the White House. But it is extraordinary for guidelines to be undermined after their release. Through last week, and into Monday, the [Trump] administration continued to cast public doubt on the agency’s recommendations and role in informing and guiding the nation’s pandemic response. On Sunday, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos characterized the CDC guidelines as an impediment to reopening schools quickly rather than what they are: the path to doing so safely. The only valid reason to change released guidelines is new information and new science — not politics. Sound science is being challenged with partisan potshots, sowing confusion and mistrust. These efforts have even fueled a backlash against public health officials: Public servants have been harassed, threatened and forced to resign when we need them most.
2020 marks the 82nd year that researchers at Harvard University began following 724 college age men as part of the longest running study in history on human development. Their objective? To determine what factors lead to healthy and happy lives. Key results suggest that happiness and health do not result from fame and fortune. Instead, as the Director of the Harvard Study of Adult Development Robert Waldinger put it, the clearest message to emerge is, “Good relationships keep us happier and healthier. Period.” Close relationships ... are better predictors of long and happy lives than social class, IQ, or even genes. Research from University College London found that people with a greater sense of purpose in life lived longer than those with the lowest sense of purpose. A study conducted with the elderly showed those who helped others lived longer lives. Researchers from Norway found that women who rated high for humor had a 48 percent lower risk of death from all causes. Research from University College London showed people who felt younger had a lower death rate than those who felt their own age or older. A Harvard study found the most optimistic people had a 16 percent lower risk of death from cancer, a 38 percent lower risk of death from heart disease and respiratory disease, and a 39 percent lower risk of dying from stroke. Research from UC Berkeley shows that experiencing awe can actually impact health by reducing inflammation and lowering the risk of diabetes, heart disease, and Alzheimer’s.
Note: The above article contains a great list of questions designed to help improve wellbeing. Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
Purity Amleset is feeling tense. But fear is just part of the job, she says, as she patrols her section of the 147,000-hectare (363,000-acre) community land around Kenya’s Amboseli National Park, a Unesco-designated biosphere reserve. Amleset ... is one of eight rangers in the all-female International Fund for Animal Welfare’s Team Lioness, a patrol unit among 76 rangers from the local Maa community. Their job is to protect wildlife from poaching, trafficking in bushmeat and human-wildlife conflict. “I risk my life to spare their life [wildlife],” says Amleset, who is on a regular 20km patrol to visit the local community, tracking and recording GPS coordinates of wildlife sightings, as well as threats like snares or any suspicious activity along the way. “I grew up here with wildlife as our friends. We are thriving together. The water point, we share together with wildlife. The grass we use to herd the cattle, [we] herd together with wildlife,” she says. In neighbouring Tanzania, many rangers have lost their jobs as tourism has dwindled, putting more pressure on Team Lioness and other community rangers because they are forced to patrol larger areas. There are fears that fewer rangers could prompt a spike in poaching. “For us now the job has increased,” says 20-year-old Sharon Nankinyi. “The most difficult thing is dangerous animals. If you meet them in the bush, they can attack you. But we know that without wildlife, people will not survive, and without people, wildlife will not survive.
It's a fairly ordinary evening on TikTok, the video-sharing app. Things do not seem so different on Douyin, the Chinese version of TikTok, where a live streaming boom has minted new social media millionaires. Behind the scenes, however, Chinese streamers are subject to an elaborate regime of automated surveillance and censorship. One system can use facial recognition to scan live streamers' broadcasts and guess their age. Another checks whether users' faces match their state ID cards. Another system assigns streamers, who are expected to uphold "public order and good customs", a "safety rating", similar to a "credit score". If the score dips below a certain level, they are punished automatically. Meanwhile, speech and text recognition is used to ferret out sins such as "feudal superstition" [and] defamation of the Communist Party. These methods are laid bare in a little-known document from TikTok and Douyin's parent company, ByteDance, and unearthed by New York City journalist Izzy Niu, which explains how the apps have adapted China's strict internet censorship laws to the unprecedented speed and chaos of live streaming. The document raises difficult questions for TikTok, which faces privacy probes in the US and UK and has already been banned in India. Some of these methods are common in the West, too. Both Facebook and YouTube use AI to police their services, and have massively expanded their censorship during the pandemic.
OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma should not be able to make any more political contributions without a judge’s permission, lawyers for its creditors said in a court filing. The issue came up this week after it was reported that the company, which has a long history of influencing policymakers, made contributions to national associations representing state attorneys general and governors. The money was sent after Purdue entered bankruptcy protection last year in an effort to settle thousands of lawsuits accusing it of helping spark an opioid addiction and overdose epidemic that has contributed to more than 400,000 deaths in the U.S.. State attorneys general are among those trying to negotiate a nationwide settlement. The committee of creditors that asked for recipients to return the money to Purdue said the contributions represent a conflict. “The Political Contributions — $185,000 in donations to associations whose members include the very public servants with whom the Debtors are attempting to negotiate a consensual resolution of these cases — are precisely the sort of transaction that demand close scrutiny,” they said in a filing. In 2016, an investigation by The Associated Press and the Center for Public Integrity found that Purdue and other companies in the opioid industry, along with the advocacy groups largely funded by the industry, spent more than $880 million from 2006 through 2015 to influence state and local governments. Those efforts helped fight off restrictions on drug prescriptions.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on Big Pharma corruption from reliable major media sources.
A leading epidemiologist says "thousands of people" will be quarantined in isolation facilities for months - and possibly years - into the future. University of Otago professor of public health Michael Baker's appearance on Newshub Nation on Saturday comes after multiple cases of people breaking out of their facilities. Prof Baker says ... we need to be prepared for a "long-term risk management challenge". "Mistakes happen, and we have to learn from them and improve our systems so we don't repeat those errors," he [said]. "We're going to have thousands of people sitting in these facilities, quarantined in isolation facilities for months, maybe years ahead." The latest escapee, a person in their 60s, broke the window of the Waipuna Hotel in Auckland on Friday and climbed out of the building. Their escape is the fourth since last Saturday, when a woman scaled two fences to escape from Auckland's Pullman Hotel. On Tuesday, a 32-year-old man snuck through a gap in the Stamford Plaza fencing and visited an inner-city supermarket. Prof Baker says we need to look at why these people feel the need to escape from the isolation facilities. ACT leader David Seymour said the Government needs to start profiling travelers based on their risk of absconding. "The vast majority of people entering New Zealand will pose absolutely no risk of absconding from managed isolation and quarantine facilities," he said in a statement. "But a tiny minority will be a risk. The Government should ... place them under tighter security."
Note: Baker likely is not referring to individuals being detained for years, but to these policies continuing for years. A second MSN article includes a video describing how police are now guarding the quarantine facilities in New Zealand, which is being called "managed isolation." The "managed isolation" aka quarantine policy started in April. As this article states, "every person arriving in New Zealand will have to go into compulsory quarantine as a measure to try and combat Covid-19." For more, see summaries of revealing news articles on the coronavirus from major media sources.
Scientists have devised a way to use the antibody-rich blood plasma of COVID-19 survivors for an upper-arm injection that they say could inoculate people against the virus for months. Using technology that's been proven effective in preventing other diseases such as hepatitis A, the injections would be administered to high-risk healthcare workers, nursing home patients, or even at public drive-through sites. But the idea exists only on paper. Federal officials have twice rejected requests to discuss the proposal, and pharmaceutical companies — even acknowledging the likely efficacy of the plan — have declined to design or manufacture the shots. The antibodies in plasma can be concentrated and delivered to patients through a type of drug called immune globulin, or Ig, which can be given through either an IV drip or a shot. Yet for the coronavirus, manufacturers are only developing an intravenous solution of Ig. Intravenous plasma products are traditionally the main economic driver for the industry. The money-making antibodies are also far more diluted in intravenous drugs than in injectable ones, which boosts profit margins. “They charge a fortune off of intravenous drugs in the hospital. They don't want to devote the manufacturing plant to something that won't make oodles of money,” said one infectious disease expert. Researchers also said industry executives have little incentive to produce the immunity shots for the coronavirus, given the possibility that a longer-lasting vaccine could replace it within a year.
District Court Judge Curtis DeLapp was renowned for his hair-trigger temper. For almost a dozen years, DeLapp used his power to terrify people who appeared before him, pressing contempt charges against defense attorneys, prosecutors and even a prospective juror who brought children to court when she couldn’t find daycare, court records show. Local attorneys had grown convinced that DeLapp was violating the state’s judicial conduct code by abusing his authority. They worked collectively to build a voluminous complaint alleging that DeLapp had unlawfully jailed ... dozens of people. The complaint also contained an explosive charge: that the judge may have fabricated a court document. Had DeLapp fought the charges, he risked more than disgrace. If it could be proved that he submitted a forged document to the supreme court, he might land in prison. Instead, DeLapp, 53, struck a deal. He resigned and agreed never again to seek office as a judge. The case against him was dismissed. His state pension and law license remained intact. And DeLapp received a written assurance that neither his departure nor the settlement constituted an admission to the “validity of any of the allegations.” In leaving the bench, DeLapp became one of at least 341 judges across the United States to escape punishment or further investigation in the past dozen years by resigning or retiring amid misconduct allegations, Reuters found. In most states, the ultimate disciplinary authority over a judge rests with other judges.
Note: Don’t miss the entire Reuters series titled “The Teflon Robe”. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on judicial system corruption from reliable major media sources.
While the country is subsumed by both public health and an unemployment crisis, and is separately focused on a sustained protest movement against police abuses, a massive $740.5 billion military spending package was approved last week by the Democratic-controlled House Armed Services Committee. Pro-war and militaristic Democrats on the Committee joined with GOP Rep. Liz Cheney and the pro-war faction she leads to form majorities which approved one hawkish amendment after the next. How do Democrats succeed in presenting an image of themselves based on devotion to progressive causes and the welfare of the ordinary citizen while working with Liz Cheney to ensure that vast resources are funneled to the weapons manufacturers, defense sector and lobbyists who fund their campaigns? Why would a country with no military threats from any sovereign nation to its borders spend almost a trillion dollars a year for buying weapons while its citizens linger without health care, access to quality schools, or jobs? When these committee members return to their blue districts, they talk endlessly about topics such as the NRA, LGBTs, and reproductive rights — issues on which many do little work and over which they wield little influence — in order to manufacture brands for themselves as good, caring progressives, which is how they are reelected over and over. When they return to Washington, what they really do is spend their time collaborating with lobbyists for ... the “defense” industry.
Ties between Silicon Valley and the Pentagon are deeper than previously known, according to thousands of previously unreported subcontracts published Wednesday. The subcontracts were obtained through open records requests by accountability nonprofit Tech Inquiry. They show that tech giants including Google, Amazon, and Microsoft have secured more than 5,000 agreements with agencies including the Department of Defense, Immigrations and Customs Enforcement, the Drug Enforcement Agency, and the FBI. Tech workers in recent years have pressured their employers to drop contracts with law enforcement and the military. Google workers revolted in 2018 after Gizmodo revealed that Google was building artificial intelligence for drone targeting through a subcontract with the Pentagon — after some employees quit in protest, Google agreed not to renew the contract. Employees at Amazon and Microsoft have petitioned both companies to drop their contracts with ICE and the military. Neither company has. The newly-surfaced subcontracts ... show that the companies' connections to the Pentagon run deeper than many employees were previously aware. Tech Inquiry's research was led by Jack Poulson, a former Google researcher. "Often the high-level contract description between tech companies and the military looks very vanilla," Poulson [said]. "But only when you look at the details ... do you see the workings of how the customization from a tech company would actually be involved."
When Oswald Bilotta landed his dream job as a sales representative for Novartis Pharmaceuticals in 1999, he thought he'd be doing good. He had no idea that just over a decade later, he'd be part of a vast federal investigation into kickbacks at Novartis and that he'd be paying cash bribes to doctors while wearing a wire for prosecutors. On July 1, Ozzie Bilotta's years long effort to blow the whistle at Novartis paid off. The Justice Department announced a $678 million settlement with the company over improper inducements it made to doctors to prescribe 10 of the company's drugs, including the anti-hypertension drug Lotrel. The deal represents the biggest whistleblower settlement under the federal anti-kickback law, Bilotta's lawyer said. Bilotta ... could receive a pretax sum of $75 million through the settlement. In the settlement, Novartis admitted to "certain conduct" alleged by the government and will sharply curtail practices exposed by Bilotta that gave doctors incentives to prescribe its drugs. Novartis derived at least $40 million as a result of the conduct, money that was paid by federal health care programs, the government said. "For more than a decade, Novartis spent hundreds of millions of dollars on so-called speaker programs, including speaking fees, exorbitant meals, and top-shelf alcohol that were nothing more than bribes to get doctors across the country to prescribe Novartis's drugs," said Audrey Strauss, the acting U.S. attorney for southern New York, whose office prosecuted the case.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on big Pharma corruption from reliable major media sources.
A former friend of Jeffrey Epstein confidante Ghislaine Maxwell said Tuesday she had a “secret stash” of tapes and photos allegedly showing Epstein engaging in sexual activity with various underage girls. The friend said they expect Maxwell to use the stash as her “insurance policy” to possibly avoid jail time. The friend, whose name has not been released, spoke with Daily Mail about the collection. “Ghislaine has always been as cunning as they come. She wasn't going to be with Epstein all those years and not have some insurance,” the friend said. “The secret stash of sex tapes I believe Ghislaine has squirreled away could end up being her get out of jail card if the authorities are willing to trade.” The friend said Epstein not only recorded everything he did, but also recorded several “rich and powerful men who took advantage of his sick largesse.” This gave Epstein something to “hold over” anyone else who partook in the alleged circle of trafficking and abuse between Florida and New York. Maxwell is accused of recruiting and grooming several victims of Epstein’s alleged scheme since the early 1990s. Several victims, including Virginia Roberts Giuffre, said Maxwell would pay them to work at Epstein’s homes in either New York or Florida when they were teenagers. The pair would then begin grooming the victims for “sexual services,” which would allegedly be offered to many of Epstein’s associates and friends among the world’s elite.
Note: For more on this story which was hardly reported in the US, see this informative article. This New York Post article is an exception. 60 Minutes Australia has produced an excellent segment on Jeffrey Epstein and his recently arrested sidekick Ghislaine Maxwell. How did Epstein get away with sexually abusing hundreds of teenage girls for decades? The government and multiple police departments knew what was happening, yet key officials in high positions of power protected him.
Deutsche Bank (DBK.DE) has agreed to pay $150m (Ł119m) over compliance failings in part linked to dealings with Jeffrey Epstein. New York’s Department of Financial Services said in a statement on Tuesday it had imposed the penalty on Deutsche Bank’s New York branch for “significant compliance failures in connection with the Bank’s relationship with Jeffrey Epstein,” the accused child sex trafficker who died in police custody last year. The penalty also covers anti-money laundering failings linked to Danske Bank Estonia and Middle Eastern bank FBME. Epstein, who is believed to have been a billionaire, became a client of Deutsche Bank’s in 2013, five years after he pleaded guilty to procuring for prostitution a girl below age 18 in Florida. Despite coverage of the settlement and subsequent allegations against Epstein, investigators found Deutsche Bank failed to properly monitor his account. “Hundreds of transactions totalling millions of dollars” that raised red flags were missed, the New York Department of Financial Services said. These included payments to Epstein’s alleged co-conspirators, settlement payments with victims totalling $7m, payments to Russian models, payments for women’s school tuition and expenses, and payments to “numerous women with Eastern European surnames” that were “consistent with public allegations of prior wrongdoing.” Repeated “suspicious” cash withdrawals by Epstein — totally over $800,000 over four years — also failed to raise concerns.
Note: 60 Minutes Australia has produced an excellent segment on Jeffrey Epstein and his recently arrested sidekick Ghislaine Maxwell. How did Epstein get away with sexually abusing hundreds of teenage girls for decades? The government and multiple police departments knew what was happening, yet key officials in high positions of power protected him. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on Jeffrey Epstein and financial industry corruption from reliable major media sources.
Since June 19, when new cases in the United States went back over 30,000 in one day, we have been constantly bombarded with stories of how the virus is “spiking” in “record” numbers in many of the states (like California, Texas, Florida and Arizona) that were not hit hard in the “first wave.” Across the country, our number of new cases has indeed exploded to new levels during this time period ... and the news media, both at the national and local levels, have used these statistics to essentially create panic porn. The resulting public anxiety has caused several states to reverse their reopenings. Obviously the “new case” data point is both real and relevant, but it is also now extremely misleading. By incompetently using the same measure of what a “positive” virus test meant in April, to what it now means in July, the news media is in the process of, quite effectively, sabotaging America’s recovery from this crisis. The data ... now makes it overwhelmingly obvious that nowhere near as many people who recently tested positive for the virus are going to die as did when this nightmare began. While the development has gotten scandalously little news coverage, the daily numbers of deaths with/of COVID has been declining with remarkable consistency for well over two months now. Sweden, a country much maligned in the media because they dared to not lock down by government mandate, has “new case” and “death” charts which look remarkably similar to ours. Their daily death rate has recently been down to single digits.
Note: Don't miss this entire article which pulls back the curtain on media manipulations in these challenging times. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus and media manipulation from reliable major media sources.
Forty lobbyists with ties to President Donald Trump helped clients secure more than $10 billion in federal coronavirus aid. The lobbyists identified Monday by the watchdog group Public Citizen either worked in the Trump executive branch, served on his campaign, were part of the committee that raised money for inaugural festivities or were part of his presidential transition. Many are donors to Trump’s campaigns. Trump pledged to clamp down on Washington's influence peddling with a “drain the swamp” campaign mantra. But during his administration, the lobbying industry has flourished, a trend that intensified once Congress passed more than $3.6 trillion in coronavirus stimulus. While the money is intended as a lifeline to a nation whose economy has been upended by the pandemic, it also jump-started a familiar lobbying bonanza. Shortly after Trump took office, he issued an executive order prohibiting former administration officials from lobbying the agency or office where they were formerly employed, for a period of five years. Another section of the order forbids lobbying the administration by former political appointees for the remainder of Trump's time in office. Yet five lobbyists who are former administration officials have potentially done just that during the coronavirus lobbying boom. Public Citizen's Craig Holman, who himself is a registered lobbyist, said the group intends to file ethics complaints with the White House. But he's not optimistic that they will lead to anything.
Back in the Nineties, socialite Ghislaine Maxwell was known in New York as the “female Gatsby” for her lavish entertaining. Today ... she is behind bars. The daughter of the disgraced media tycoon Robert Maxwell, Ghislaine was his ninth and ... his favourite. When her father died, his publishing empire collapsed after it was found that he had been pillaging the pension fund to prop up his businesses. However, a trust fund provided an income of £80,000 a year for Ghislaine. She lived the high life. Ghislaine was never more at home than with the super-rich, bumming a ride on Donald Trump’s private jet and dating billionaire financier Jeffrey Epstein. Ghislaine was in love with Jeffrey the way she was in love with her father. Marriage didn’t happen, but she was always by his side, choreographing his world. “My job included hiring many people,” she said in a court deposition. She admitted hiring masseuses as young as 17. A source close to Ghislaine said in [a] Vanity Fair article: “When I asked what she thought of the under age girls, she looked at me and said, ‘They’re nothing, these girls. They are trash.’” She was driven to only respect high status and wealth. Things started to unravel for Ghislaine ... when under-age girls accused Epstein of paying them to perform sexual acts. Ghislaine fought to keep the court papers from [a] 2017 defamation case closed – and failed. On August 9, the first batch was released. The following day, Epstein was found dead in jail, presumed suicide, and Ghislaine vanished. On Thursday, Maxwell was finally arrested and charged with six federal crimes.
Note: Key Epstein witness Maria Farmer claimed in a highly revealing interview with crack reporter Whitney Webb that she was in the car with Ghislaine and Trump's ex-wife Ivana when they enticed young girls to come give a massage for large amounts of money. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on Jeffrey Epstein from reliable major media sources. Watch an excellent segment by Australia's "60-Minutes" team "Spies, Lords and Predators" on a pedophile ring in the UK which leads directly to the highest levels of government.
Research shows that acts of kindness make us feel better and healthier. Kindness is also key to how we evolved and survived as a species, scientists say. We are hard-wired to be kind. Psychology professor Sonja Lyubomirsky has put that concept to the test in numerous experiments over 20 years and repeatedly found that people feel better when they are kind to others, even more than when they are kind to themselves. “Acts of kindness are very powerful,” Lyubomirsky said. In one experiment, she asked subjects to do an extra three acts of kindness for other people a week and asked a different group to do three acts of self-kindness. The people who were kind to others became happier and felt more connected to the world. The same occurred with money, using it to help others versus helping yourself. Lyubomirsky said she thinks it is because people spend too much time thinking and worrying about themselves and when they think of others while doing acts of kindness, it redirects them away from their own problems. Oxford’s [Oliver] Curry analyzed peer-reviewed research like Lyubomirsky’s and found at least 27 studies showing the same thing: Being kind makes people feel better emotionally. But it’s not just emotional. It’s physical. Lyubomirsky said a study of people with multiple sclerosis ... found they felt better physically when helping others. She also found that in people doing more acts of kindness that the genes that trigger inflammation were turned down more than in people who don’t.
Federal authorities arrested Ghislaine Maxwell, the longtime confidant of Jeffrey Epstein, on Thursday in New Hampshire in connection with the late, accused sex trafficker. She was taken into custody at about 8:30 a.m. in Bedford, officials said, and hours later appeared, via video feed, before Magistrate Judge Andrea Johnstone in Concord. Johnstone ordered Maxwell, who did not enter a plea, to be sent to New York City and kept in federal custody there. Maxwell was charged with six counts for acts committed between 1994 and 1997 and then allegedly lying to investigators in 2016. Four counts are related to allegedly helping transport minors for sexual activity and two for perjury, according to the criminal complaint. "Maxwell played a critical role in helping Epstein identify, befriend and groom minor victims for abuse," Acting U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss [said]. "In some cases, Maxwell participated in the abuse herself.” Multiple young women have accused Maxwell ... of complicity in Epstein's alleged sex trafficking ring. They say she either recruited them directly or provided logistical support, like scheduling visits to Epstein's home. The abuse allegedly happened at Palm Beach, Florida; Santa Fe, New Mexico; and at Epstein's home on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, officials said. "Maxwell was the center of that sex trafficking ring. Now that the ring has been taken down, I know that I can’t be hurt anymore," Epstein victim Jennifer Araoz said in a statement.
Note: Watch the revealing documentary "Who Killed Jeffrey Epstein?" For more on Maxwell, see this CNN article. More on her famous connections can be found in this article. A probing 16-episode program has incredibly revealing interviews with dozens who worked directly with Epstein. Incredibly detailed, it reveals the huge blackmail operation, connections with Israel, and much more. This series goes where others have not dared go. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on Jeffrey Epstein from reliable major media sources.
District attorneys in Boston, Philadelphia and San Francisco are teaming up on a pilot effort patterned after South Africa's post-apartheid truth and reconciliation commission to confront racism in the criminal justice system. Suffolk County DA Rachael Rollins, Philadelphia DA Larry Krasner and San Francisco DA Chesa Boudin announced the initiative Wednesday in partnership with the Grassroots Law Project, which is leading the effort. It will tackle racial inequities and police violence and misconduct. “We need to confront our ugly past to create a more just and equitable future,” said Rollins, whose jurisdiction includes Boston. Organizers said the Truth, Justice and Reconciliation Commission will “process and address the injustices of the past that simply were not given the time, attention and dignity that they deserved.” “When marginalized people have needed to finally rely on this system for justice, it has routinely failed them in the worst ways imaginable. This isn’t a bug in the system, but a feature,” they said in a statement. In the 1990s, South Africa's own Truth and Reconciliation Commission took the nation on a painful path to air injustices perpetrated during more than 40 years of apartheid rule that included the torture, beatings and bombings of Blacks. Rather than hunt down and try people accused of atrocities, Nuremberg-style, the country's approach helped talk through grievances and heal divisions between Blacks and whites.
The House Armed Services Committee voted overwhelmingly in favor of an amendment — jointly sponsored by Democratic Congressman Jason Crow of Colorado and Congresswoman Cheney of Wyoming — prohibiting the expenditure of monies to reduce the number of U.S. troops deployed in Afghanistan below 8,000 without a series of conditions first being met. The Crow/Cheney amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) ... passed by a vote of 45-11. The NDAA was then unanimously approved by the Committee by a vote of 56-0. It authorizes $740.5 billion in military spending. President Trump throughout the year has insisted that the Pentagon present plans for withdrawing all troops from Afghanistan prior to the end of 2020. Shortly after those White House withdrawal plans were reported, anonymous intelligence officials leaked a series of claims to the New York Times regarding “bounties” allegedly being paid by Russia to Taliban fighters to kill U.S. troops. Those leaks emboldened opposition to troop withdrawal from Afghanistan on the ground that it would be capitulating to Russian treachery. It was that New York Times leak that Liz Cheney, along with GOP Congressman Mac Thornberry, cited in a joint statement on Monday to suggest troop withdrawal would be precipitous. The NDAA that was approved ... also imposed restrictions on Trump’s plan to withdraw troops from Germany. Congresswoman Cheney, to oppose this troop removal from Germany, cited ... the threat of Russia.
Note: When it comes to funding the war machine, both Democrats and Republicans are rarely opposed. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption and war from reliable major media sources.
Judge Les Hayes once sentenced a single mother to 496 days behind bars for failing to pay traffic tickets. In 2016, the state agency that oversees judges charged Hayes with violating Alabama’s code of judicial conduct. According to the Judicial Inquiry Commission, Hayes broke state and federal laws by jailing Johnson and hundreds of other Montgomery residents too poor to pay fines. Among those jailed: a plumber struggling to make rent, a mother who skipped meals to cover the medical bills of her disabled son, and a hotel housekeeper. Hayes, a judge since 2000, admitted in court documents to violating 10 different parts of the state’s judicial conduct code. One of the counts was a breach of a judge’s most essential duty: failing to “respect and comply with the law.” Despite the severity of the ruling, Hayes wasn’t barred from serving as a judge. Hayes is among thousands of state and local judges across America who were allowed to keep positions of extraordinary power and prestige after violating judicial ethics rules or breaking laws they pledged to uphold, a Reuters investigation found. All told, 9 of every 10 judges were allowed to return to the bench after they were sanctioned for misconduct, Reuters determined. They included a California judge who had sex in his courthouse chambers ... a New York judge who berated domestic violence victims; and a Maryland judge who, after his arrest for driving drunk, was allowed to return to the bench provided he took a Breathalyzer test before each appearance.
The maker of a drug shown to shorten recovery time for severely ill COVID-19 patients says it will charge $2,340 for a typical treatment course for people covered by government health programs in the United States and other developed countries. Gilead Sciences announced the price Monday for remdesivir, and said the price would be $3,120 for patients with private insurance. The amount that patients pay out of pocket depends on insurance, income and other factors. The price was swiftly criticized; a consumer group called it “an outrage” because of the amount taxpayers invested toward the drug's development. In 127 poor or middle-income countries, Gilead is allowing generic makers to supply the drug; two countries are doing that for around $600 per treatment course. The drug, given through an IV, interferes with the coronavirus’s ability to copy its genetic material. In a U.S. government-led study, remdesivir shortened recovery time by 31% — 11 days on average versus 15 days for those given just usual care. Peter Maybarduk, a lawyer at the consumer group Public Citizen, called the price “an outrage.” “Remdesivir should be in the public domain” because the drug received at least $70 million in public funding toward its development, he said. “The price puts to rest any notion that drug companies will ‘do the right thing’ because it is a pandemic,” Dr. Peter Bach, a health policy expert ... said. “The price might have been fine if the company had demonstrated that the treatment saved lives. It didn’t.”
Note: The March coronavirus package passed in the U.S. "not only omitted language that would have limited drug makers’ intellectual property rights, it specifically prohibited the federal government from taking any action if it has concerns that the treatments or vaccines developed with public funds are priced too high." While many suffer economically from the virus, big Pharma is raking in big bucks. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on Big Pharma corruption and the coronavirus from reliable major media sources.
Pediatricians say students should be in classrooms for in-person learning as soon as possible – the most full-throated endorsement yet for getting children back into schools amid the coronavirus pandemic and one that was included in a set of recommendations released by the American Academy of Pediatrics for how schools should safely reopen. "The importance of in-person learning is well-documented, and there is already evidence of the negative impacts on children because of school closures in the spring of 2020," the group representing 67,000 pediatricians wrote. "Lengthy time away from school ... often results in social isolation, making it difficult for schools to identify and address important learning deficits as well as child and adolescent physical or sexual abuse, substance use, depression, and suicidal ideation. This, in turn, places children and adolescents at considerable risk of morbidity and, in some cases, mortality." The recommendations acknowledge that infectious disease experts are still learning about the effects of COVID-19. But the academic, physical and mental upsides associated with reopening outweigh the risks, the group concludes, especially as evidence mounts that children ... tend to exhibit milder symptoms when they do contract the virus. Perhaps most importantly, the pediatric group concludes, reopening is essential for the country's most vulnerable students, including poor students and students of color.
Days after Argentina canceled all international passenger flights to shield the country from the new coronavirus, Juan Manuel Ballestero began his journey home the only way possible: He stepped aboard his small sailboat for what turned out to be an 85-day odyssey across the Atlantic. The 47-year-old sailor could have stayed put on the tiny Portuguese island of Porto Santo. But the idea of spending what he thought could be “the end of the world” away from his family, especially his father who was soon to turn 90, was unbearable. So he said he loaded his 29-foot sailboat with canned tuna, fruit and rice and set sail in mid-March. He was no stranger to spending long stretches of time at sea, but being alone on the open ocean is daunting to even the most experienced sailor. “I wasn’t afraid, but I did have a lot of uncertainty,” he said. “It was very strange to sail in the middle of a pandemic with humanity teetering around me.” Several weeks into the trip, when his spirits were low, Mr. Ballestero said he was buoyed by wildlife sightings that felt like omens. He found solace in a pod of dolphins that swam alongside his boat, on and off, for some 2,000 miles. When he made it to his native Mar del Plata, on June 17, he was startled by the hero’s welcome he received. “Entering my port where ... all this originated, gave me the taste of a mission accomplished,” he said. While he didn’t get to celebrate his father’s 90th birthday in May, he did make it home in time for Father’s Day.
In 2016, famed crime novelist James Patterson and co-authors Tim Malloy and John Connolly published Filthy Rich: A Powerful Billionaire, the Sex Scandal that Undid Him. Patterson had heard about the story of the mysterious billionaire who’d gotten a sweetheart deal after having been charged with sex with underage girls, and he couldn’t believe what he was hearing. Yet after the book came out, laying out the breadth of Epstein’s crimes and how a cadre of enablers and hangers-on enabled him for years, it got relatively little attention. By 2019, of course, that had obviously changed. The Miami Herald had published its bombshell investigation into the 13-month deal then-Florida attorney general Alexander Acosta had offered Epstein, allowing him to serve little hard jail time. A new Netflix series, Filthy Rich, based on Patterson’s book, documents all of the lurid details familiar to those who’ve been following the story — the Trump/Clinton connections, the bizarre relationship with British heiress and alleged procurer Ghislaine Maxwell. But it also includes heartbreaking interviews with the young women who say they were victimized by Epstein, adding humanity to the familiar tabloid story. "Initially, people just didn’t see this is as big a story as I thought it was," [said Patterson]. "I just couldn’t imagine anybody that is involved with news that wouldn’t say, 'Oh my God, this is a story.' This is unbelievable to me. Imagine if somebody out in the middle of the county had been with 50 underage girls. I mean ... are you kidding me?"
Note: Watch the revealing documentary "Who Killed Jeffrey Epstein?" A probing 16-episode program has incredibly revealing interviews with dozens who worked directly with Epstein. Incredibly detailed, it reveals the huge blackmail operation, connections with Israel, and much more. This series goes where others have not dared go. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on Jeffrey Epstein from reliable major media sources.
Sweden's state epidemiologist Anders Tegnell has hit back at the World Health Organization after it included Sweden in a group of countries facing "a very significance resurgence" of coronavirus infections. Mr Tegnell, who has in recent months become one of the world's most high profile and divisive epidemiologists, said: "That is, unfortunately, a total misinterpretation of the data." "It's very unfortunate that people lump Sweden together with countries that earlier have had no problem at all and are now apparently at the start of their epidemic," he told Sweden's state broadcaster SVT. Hans Kluge, the WHO's Regional Director for Europe, on Thursday named Sweden in a list of eleven problem countries ... which are facing "accelerated transmission" of infection. Sweden has this month seen the daily number of confirmed cases more than triple from 60 on June 1st to 207 on Thursday. But Mr Tegnell argued that this has to do with increased testing rather than a resurgence in infection. "This is growing because we recently started offering tests to everyone with symptoms," he told Sweden's TT newswire. "We are doing twice as many tests as we were a few weeks ago. But the growth we are seeing is in mild cases, not hospital admissions." Mr Tegnell has drawn both admiration and criticism internationally for leading a coronavirus strategy that left schools for 14-16 year olds open throughout the pandemic, as well as bars, restaurants, gyms, and much else, relying instead on the public's willingness to follow social distancing guidelines.
An online group called Distributed Denial of Secrets (DDOSecrets) released a nearly 270-gigabyte data trove called "BlueLeaks." The trove contains more than a decade's worth of "documents, reports, bulletins, guides and more" from "over 200 police departments, fusion centers and other law enforcement training and support resources." BlueLeaks' content ranges from August 1996 through June 19, 2020, and includes sensitive information such as names, suspect photographs, personal contact details and bank account information within its text, video, spreadsheet and compressed files. The BlueLeaks documents (which have been published in a searchable format on the DDOSecrets website) reveal that state and federal law enforcement agencies monitor social media posts and track financial transactions involving the recent protests against police brutality. Emma Best, founder of DDOSecrets, [said] that her group removed 50 gigabytes worth of files from BlueLeaks before releasing it out of "an abundance of caution." Best said DDOSecrets included sensitive financial information in hopes that it might allow the public to expose questionable police behavior in ways that serve the public interest. "It's the largest leak of US law enforcement data, and because of its nature, it lets people look at policing on the local, state and national levels," Best [said]. "It shows how law enforcement has reacted to the protests, it shows government handling of COVID, and it shows a lot of things that are entirely legal and ... horrifying."
Note: This group has now been banned from Twitter. For lots more, read this wired.com article. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on police corruption from reliable major media sources.
Confidence levels jumped in Sweden as consumers and businesses started to leave the worst of the Covid-19 crisis behind them. The overall economic tendency survey rose to 75.2 in June, from a revised 64.4 in May, the National Institute of Economic Research said Wednesday. Sentiment had plunged to an all-time low in April, and despite June’s jump remains depressed, as values below 90 are equivalent to a much weaker than normal economy. The reading comes as economists and policy makers revise up their forecasts in light of better-than-expected consumer spending and unemployment data. According to Manuel Oliveri, an FX strategist at Credit Agricole, the rebound in confidence levels “continues to keep the risk for additional policy action low, irrespective of Riksbank members leaving all options open.” But Bloomberg economist Johanna Jeansson was less sanguine, while agreeing that “the most acute phase of the crisis has abated.” “Today’s survey is yet another sign that the most acute phase of the crisis has abated. But with both demand and supply below pre-pandemic levels, we expect the Riksbank and the Ministry of Finance will have to do more,” [said] Johanna Jeansson. Unlike its neighbors, Sweden avoided a strict lockdown as the coronavirus spread, keeping shops, schools and restaurants open. The lax strategy appears to have mitigated some of the economic damage caused by the pandemic, but at the cost of a relatively high death toll.
Note: Meanwhile the IMF states that worldwide, economic contraction and soaring debt levels and unemployment are worse than earlier predicted. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus from reliable major media sources.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is conflating the results of two different types of coronavirus tests, distorting several important metrics and providing the country with an inaccurate picture of the state of the pandemic. We’ve learned that the CDC is making, at best, a debilitating mistake: combining test results that diagnose current coronavirus infections with test results that measure whether someone has ever had the virus. The agency confirmed to The Atlantic on Wednesday that it is mixing the results of viral and antibody tests, even though the two tests reveal different information and are used for different reasons. This is not merely a technical error. The upshot is that the government’s disease-fighting agency is overstating the country’s ability to test people who are sick with COVID-19. States have set quantitative guidelines for reopening their economies based on these flawed data points. Several states - including Pennsylvania, the site of one of the country’s largest outbreaks, as well as Texas, Georgia, and Vermont - are blending the data in the same way. Virginia likewise mixed viral and antibody test results until last week, but it reversed course and the governor apologized for the practice. These results damage the public’s ability to understand what is happening in any one state. On a national scale, they call the strength of America’s response to the coronavirus into question. The number of tests conducted nationwide each day has more than doubled in the past month. At the same time, the portion of tests coming back positive has plummeted.
A project to decentralize the internet that you’ve never heard of has more capacity than all other blockchain projects put together: 5-10X more, according to its founder. The project is called ThreeFold, and it’s not your typical blockchain startup. Instead, it’s a long-term project to rewire the internet in the image of its first incarnation: decentralized, unowned, accessible, free. “We have 18,000 CPU cores and 90 million gigabytes, which is a lot of capacity,” founder Kristof de Spiegeleer [said]. “Less than 20 companies actually own more than 80% of the internet capacity, which is the storage and the compute. It really needs to be something like electricity. It needs to be everywhere and everyone needs to have access to it. It needs to be cost effective, it needs to be reliable, it needs to be independent.” That would be a fundamentally different kind of internet: one we all collectively own rather than just one we all just use. It requires a lot of different technology for backups and storage, for which ThreeFold is building a variety of related technologies: peer-to-peer technology to create the grid in the first place; storage, compute, and network technologies to enable distributed applications; and a self-healing layer bridging people and applications. Oh, and yes. There is a blockchain component: smart contracts for utilizing the grid and keeping a record of activities. So ... you have people providing actual tangible services for others in exchange for some degree of cryptocurrency reward.
Prof Matteo Bassetti, head of the infectious diseases clinic at the Policlinico San Martino hospital in Italy, told The Telegraph that Covid-19 has been losing its virulence in the last month and patients who would have previously died are now recovering. The expert in critical care said the plummeting number of cases could mean a vaccine is no longer needed as the virus might never return. "The clinical impression I have is that the virus is changing in severity," said Prof Bassetti. "In March and early April the patterns were completely different. People were coming to the emergency department with a very difficult to manage illness and they needed oxygen and ventilation, some developed pneumonia. "Now, in the past four weeks, the picture has completely changed. There could be a lower viral load in the respiratory tract, probably due to a genetic mutation in the virus which has not yet been demonstrated scientifically. Even elderly patients, aged 80 or 90, are now sitting up in bed and they are breathing without help. The same patients would have died in two or three days before. "I think the virus has mutated because our immune system reacts to the virus and we have a lower viral load now due to the lockdown, mask-wearing, social distancing. "Yes, probably it could go away completely without a vaccine." Prof Karol Sikora ... at Rutherford Health previously said it is likely the British public has more immunity than previously thought and Covid-19 could end up "petering out by itself".
Dr. Richard Bartlett works at various clinics around West Texas, and says he’s found a successful treatment for the coronavirus. “The treatment plan is inhaled, generic budesonide,” Bartlett said. “Using some generic antibiotics to protect from a secondary bacterial infection. Using zinc, which interferes with virus replication. It’s common sense. It’s intuitive.” Budesonide is a steroid, that can be inhaled directly to the lungs using a nebulizer. The drug has been used for decades to treat asthma and is approved by the FDA. However using it to treat COVID-19 is not. “I am not aware of any doctors anywhere that are using this specifically for COVID-19, yet,” Bartlett said. Bartlett said he treats people as soon as they show symptoms. “Early treatment is better with this disease,” he said. “And I’m having a 100% survival rate. I don’t even know how many I’ve treated...dozens. I have 14 that I’m treating right now.” Bartlett said that patients tell him they feel immediate relief. Bartlett said he’s currently writing a paper to submit to medical journals. Additionally, he said the National Institute of Health, as well as the countries of France and Spain will be looking into inhaled budesonide treatments.
Note: Watch a fascinating interview with this doctor. And remember that the biggest sponsor of the major media is big Pharma. The don't want any cheap medicine like hydrochlorequine or budesonide to look good. There are other inexpensive treatments that are not being reported. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus from reliable major media sources.
President Donald Trump says he’s heard some interesting things about Roswell, but he’s not sharing even with his eldest child. Trump made the comments Thursday in a Father’s Day-themed interview with his son. Don Jr. wound down his interview by jokingly asking his Dad/President if he would ever divulge more information about Roswell, the New Mexico city known for its proximity to arguably most famous UFO event — “and let us know what’s really going on.” Trump responded, “I won’t talk to you about what I know about it, but it’s very interesting.” In 1947, a rancher discovered unidentifiable debris in his sheep pasture outside Roswell. Air Force officials said it was a crashed weather balloon, but skeptics questioned whether it was in fact an extraterrestrial flying saucer. Decades later the U.S. military acknowledged the debris was related to a top-secret atomic project. Still, the UFO theory has flourished. After his father offered that he heard some “interesting” things about Roswell, Trump Jr. asked [if] the president might declassify that information someday. “Well, I’ll have to think about that one,” the president responded.
Note: Astronaut Edgar Mitchell, the sixth man to walk on the moon, stated publicly that UFOs did crash in Roswell, the town where he grew up, and it was all covered up. Dozens of high level military and government officials have gone public about their experience of a huge cover-up around UFOs. Read an excellent analysis of what's going on now with the UFO situation and the new Space Force. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on a major UFO cover-up from reliable major media sources.
The Vatican urged Catholics on Thursday to disinvest from the armaments and fossil fuel industries and to closely monitor companies in sectors such as mining to check if they are damaging the environment. The calls were contained in a 225-page manual for church leaders and workers to mark the fifth anniversary of Pope Francis’ landmark encyclical “Laudato Si” (Praised Be) on the need to protect nature, life and defenseless people. The compendium suggests practical steps to achieve the goals of the encyclical, which strongly supported agreements to contain global warming and warned against the dangers of climate change. The manual’s section on finance said people “could favor positive changes ... by excluding from their investments companies that do not satisfy certain parameters.” It listed these as respect for human rights, bans on child labor and protection of the environment. Called ‘Journeying Towards Care For Our Common Home’, one action point called on Catholics to “shun companies that are harmful to human or social ecology”. Another section called for the “stringent monitoring” of extraction industries in areas with fragile ecosystems to prevent air, soil and water contamination. Last month, more that 40 faith organizations from around the world, more than half of them Catholic, pledged to divest from fossil fuel companies. The Vatican bank has said it does not invest in fossil fuels and many Catholic dioceses and educational institutions around the world have taken similar positions.
In a major legal setback for President Donald Trump on a high-profile consumer issue, a federal appeals court has ruled that his administration lacks the legal authority to force drug companies to disclose prices in their TV ads. Where most plans to overhaul the cost of drugs are complex, mandating that companies disclose prices is something any consumer can relate to. Separate from the court case, legislation that would lower drug costs for Medicare beneficiaries with high bills is stuck in Congress. There's also a separate bill that would mandate drug companies to disclose their prices in consumer advertising. On TV ads, the unanimous decision by a panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit did not address a core argument of the pharmaceutical industry, that forcing companies to disclose their prices in advertising violates their free speech rights. Instead the three-judge panel ruled that the Department of Health and Human Services overstepped its legal authority by requiring disclosure under the umbrella of its stewardship of Medicare and Medicaid. When the disclosure rule was announced last year, administration officials were confident that it would be in effect by now. Drug pricing details were expected to appear in text toward the end of commercials.
How accurate are the coronavirus tests used in the U.S.? Months into the outbreak, no one really knows. When the new virus began spreading, the Food and Drug Administration used its emergency powers to OK scores of quickly devised tests, based mainly on a small number of lab studies showing they could successfully detect the virus. That’s very different from the large patient studies that can take weeks or months, which experts say are needed to provide a true sense of testing accuracy. There have been more than 2 million confirmed coronavirus cases in the U.S. and more than 115,000 deaths. Cases in nearly half of U.S. states are rising. Most COVID-19 tests in the U.S. don’t give data on real-world performance, including how often the tests falsely clear patients of infection or falsely detect the virus. That information is lacking for all but a few of the roughly 80 commercial screening tests available. Last month, the FDA warned doctors of a potential accuracy problem with Abbott Laboratories’ rapid ID Now test, which delivers results in roughly 15 minutes. The test has been lauded by President Donald Trump and used to screen the president, his staff and visitors to the White House. The FDA alert followed a preliminary report by New York University that found Abbott’s test missed between a third to one-half of infections caught by a rival test in patients screened for the virus. Dr. Colin West of the Mayo Clinic worries doctors and patients have put too much confidence in the current crop of tests.
Some 54 scientists have resigned or been fired as a result of an ongoing investigation by the National Institutes of Health into the failure of NIH grantees to disclose financial ties to foreign governments. For 93% of the 189 scientists whom NIH has investigated to date, China was the source of their undisclosed support. The new numbers come from Michael Lauer, NIH’s head of extramural research. Lauer had previously provided some information on the scope of NIH’s investigation, which had targeted 189 scientists at 87 institutions. But his presentation today to a senior advisory panel offered by far the most detailed breakout of an effort NIH launched in August 2018 that has roiled the U.S. biomedical community, and resulted in criminal charges against some prominent researchers, including Charles Lieber, chair of Harvard University’s department of chemistry and chemical biology. In the vast majority of cases, Lauer reported, the person being investigated has been an Asian man in his 50s. Some three-quarters of those under investigation had active NIH grants, and nearly half had at least two grants. The 285 active grants totaled $164 million. Lauer also presented data on the nature of the violations that NIH has uncovered. Some 70% (133) of the researchers had failed to disclose to NIH the receipt of a foreign grant, and 54% had failed to disclose participation in a foreign talent program. In contrast, Lauer said, only 9% hid ties to a foreign company, and only 4% had an undisclosed foreign patent.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corruption in science from reliable major media sources.
Remember the coronavirus? We were told by public health experts ... that we could not go outside for any reason. Roughly two weeks ago, everything changed. We all watched as mass stay-at-home orders and self-isolation gave way to massive street protests, where tens or hundreds of thousands of people gathered together in the U.S. and around the world. Virtually no prominent experts have denounced any of this on the ground that it will spread the coronavirus and ultimately kill more people. To the contrary, many infectious disease experts have done the exact opposite: they have endorsed and encouraged these mass street protests, claiming not that their support for them is grounded in their political values but in their health and scientific judgment. Perhaps the most egregious and illustrative example of the utter manipulation of public health science and expertise for nakedly political ends is found in the open letter that was originally crafted by epidemiologists at the University of Washington and then ultimately signed by 1,300 experts from around the country. These health experts ... decree that support for these protests is mandated as a matter of public health and scientific expertise, while imperiously insisting that other protests should still be scorned and prohibited. How is it remotely within the scope of the expertise of epidemiologists to pick and choose which political protests should be permitted and/or encouraged and which ones banned and/or denounced?
In 1994, Congress enacted the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act, which ... required the attorney general to “acquire data about the use of excessive force by law enforcement officers” across the nation and to “publish an annual summary of the data acquired.” Congress effectively ordered the Justice Department to document how often police kill unarmed private citizens. Two years later, a Justice Department report raised the white flag: “Systematically collecting information on use of force from the nation's more than 17,000 law enforcement agencies is difficult given ... the sensitivity of the issue.” Instead of requiring local and state law enforcement agencies to comply with the new federal law, the Justice Department expanded its "police-public contact survey". Police killings became a hot topic nationwide after a policeman in Ferguson, Missouri, killed 18-year-old Michael Brown in August 2014. The Washington Post and The Guardian began tracking individual shootings by local police. The Guardian [revealed] that police killed 1,134 people across the nation in 2015. This was 2 1/2 times higher than the death toll the FBI reported the previous year. The Ferguson protests spurred Congress to enact another law in December 2014, the Death in Custody Reporting Act, compelling states and federal agencies to fully report fatalities of people they had sought to arrest or detain. However ... an inspector general report revealed that the agency did not even intend to attempt to garner such data until this year.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on police corruption from reliable major media sources.
You call 911, you generally get the police. It's a one-size-fits-all solution to a broad spectrum of problems from homelessness to mental illness to addiction. Protesters are urging cities to redirect some of their police budget to groups that specialize in treating those kinds of problems. Now we're going to look at one model that's been around for more than 30 years. In Eugene, Ore., a program called CAHOOTS is a collaboration between local police and a community service called the White Bird Clinic. Ben Brubaker is the clinic coordinator, and Ebony Morgan is a crisis worker. "The calls that come in to the police non-emergency number and/or through the 911 system, if they have a strong behavioral health component, if there are calls that do not seem to require law enforcement because they don't involve a legal issue or some kind of extreme threat of violence or risk to the person, the individual or others, then they will route those to our team - comprised of a medic and a crisis worker - that can go out and respond to the call," [said Brubaker]. "I think policing may have a place within this system, but I also think that it's over-utilized as an immediate response because it just comes with a risk," [said Morgan]. "It's a risk that crisis response teams that are unarmed don't come with. In 30 years, we've never had a serious injury or a death that our team was responsible for. Models like this can help people have support in their community and feel safer within their community."
It’s an issue that’s been argued about for months: Can people who don’t feel sick spread the coronavirus, and if so should we all be wearing masks to stop it? Even the [WHO] can’t seem to get it straight. On Tuesday the U.N. health agency scrambled to explain seemingly contradictory comments it has made in recent days. On Friday, WHO changed its mask advice, recommending that people wear fabric masks if they could not maintain social distancing, if they were over age 60 or had underlying medical conditions. Part of the reasoning, WHO officials said, was to account for the possibility that transmission could occur from people who had the disease but weren’t yet symptomatic. But when Maria Van Kerkhove, WHO’s technical lead on COVID-19 was asked about the frequency of this kind of transmission this week, she said “It still appears to be rare that asymptomatic individuals actually transmit onward.” The details on how well the coronavirus spreads in different circumstances is not well understood. Can people who don't feel sick spread the disease? We don’t know. WHO has maintained for months that the vast majority of COVID-19 spread is from people with symptoms like a fever or cough, and that transmission from people who don’t feel sick is not thought to be a major driver of the disease. Does wearing a mask help? Probably. Why don't we know for sure? It’s complicated. Truly asymptomatic people are likely not responsible for significant virus spread. Detailed studies ... are needed. Although numerous studies have suggested people can spread the virus before they show symptoms, WHO has largely dismissed those as anecdotal or pointed out that they were based on modelling.
Note: A Jan. 31st CNN article quotes Fauci as saying "There's no doubt after reading this paper that asymptomatic transmission is occurring." Yet it turns out the paper he referenced was based on only five people and made the faulty assumption that the woman in question was asypmtomatic. Why would Fauci jump to this conclusion so early on from one tiny sample? What was his agenda? And this ABC News article states the accuracy of many coronavirus tests is still unknown. For more, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus from major media sources.
The world economy is expected to contract by 5.2 percent this year - the worst recession in 80 years - but the sheer number of countries suffering economic losses means the scale of the downturn is worse than any recession in 150 years, the World Bank said in its latest Global Economic Prospects report. The depth of the crisis will drive 70 to 100 [million] people into extreme poverty - worse than the prior estimate of 60 million. Economists have been struggling to measure the impact of the crisis they have likened to a global natural disaster, but the sheer size of the impact across so many sectors and countries has made it hard to calculate, and made predictions about any recovery highly uncertain. Under the worst-case scenario, the global recession could mean a contraction of eight percent, according to the report. There remain some "exceptionally high" risks to the outlook, particularly if the current outbreaks linger or rebound, causing authorities to re-impose restrictions that could make the downturn as bad as eight percent. "Disruptions to activity would weaken businesses' ability to remain in operation and service their debt," the report cautioned. That, in turn, could raise interest rates for higher-risk borrowers and, "With debt levels already at historic highs, this could lead to cascading defaults and financial crises across many economies." But even if the 4.2 percent global recovery projected for 2021 materializes, "In many countries, deep recessions triggered by COVID-19 will likely weigh on potential output for years to come."
Note: What this article fails to mention is that it is not the pandemic that is driving all this, but rather the questionable lockdown policies developed to address the pandemic. Sweden, which has never instituted a lockdown, did not spiral out of control and has been less impacted economically. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus and income inequality from reliable major media sources.
Coronavirus patients without symptoms aren’t driving the spread of the virus, World Health Organization officials said Monday, casting doubt on concerns by some researchers that the disease could be difficult to contain due to asymptomatic infections. Preliminary evidence from the earliest outbreaks indicated that the virus could spread from person-to-person contact, even if the carrier never develops symptoms. But WHO officials now say that while asymptomatic spread can occur, it is not the main way it’s being transmitted. “From the data we have, it still seems to be rare that an asymptomatic person actually transmits onward to a secondary individual,” Dr. Maria Van Kerkhove, head of WHO’s emerging diseases and zoonosis unit, said. The virus is primarily spread via respiratory droplets when someone coughs or sneezes or if they touch a contaminated surface, scientists say. WHO officials say Covid-19 can also spread in the so-called pre-symptomatic stage — a few days before a patient shows symptoms. More research and data are needed to “truly answer” the question of whether the coronavirus can spread widely through asymptomatic carriers, Van Kerkhove added. “We have a number of reports from countries who are doing very detailed contact tracing,” she said. “They’re following asymptomatic cases. They’re following contacts. And they’re not finding secondary transmission onward. It’s very rare.”
Note: This official was immediately pressured to retract what she said, even though it was based on scientific studies. Learn in this Science magazine article how Fauci based his recommendations on one faulty study with five people to state "There's no doubt after reading this paper that asymptomatic transmission is occurring." See this CNN article for Fauci quote. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus from reliable major media sources.
The authors of a British-Norwegian vaccine study - accepted by the Quarterly Review of Biophysics - claim that the coronavirus's spike protein contains sequences that appear to be artificially inserted. In their paper, the Norwegian scientist Birger Sřrensen and British oncologist Angus Dalgleish claim to have identified "inserted sections placed on the SARS-CoV-2 spike surface" that explains how the virus interacts with cells in the human body. The report’s authors also claim the lack of mutation in the virus since its discovery, suggests it was already fully adapted to humans. Sřrensen ... claimed that China and the United States have collaborated for many years on coronavirus research through "gain of function" studies, in which the pathogenicity or transmissibility of potential pandemic pathogens can be enhanced.
Note: One day after being published, this article was greatly changed and given the new title "Controversial Coronavirus Lab Origin Claims Dismissed By Experts." A paragraph at the top of the article now states, "This article has been substantially updated to reflect criticism of the published study, along with the general scientific consensus on Covid-19." Since when is an article changed because is it criticized or not in line with scientific consensus? For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus from major media sources.
Covering protests in Minneapolis on Saturday, photojournalist Ed Ou could feel his hands and face were wet. For a long time, he didn’t know if it was teargas, pepper spray, or blood – in the end, it turned out to be a combination of all three. He has documented civil unrest in the Middle East, Ukraine and Iraq, where he learned a few things. So when the curfew hit and police fired teargas into the crowd of protesters, Ou stood steady, out of the way, documenting. And then the unexpected happened. “They literally started throwing concussive grenades in our direction, in the middle of the journalists,” he says. What ensued was a prolonged attack that involved being hit at with batons, being teargassed, dodging concussive grenades and begging for help. As of 9pm Thursday, the US press freedom tracker has received 192 reports of journalists being attacked by police forces while covering the protests across the US. Among them, some have sustained serious injuries. Linda Tirado, a photojournalist, was hit in the face with a tracer round, resulting in loss of sight in one eye. The Chicago Tribune’s Ryan Fairclough was left with stitches after being shot through the window of his moving car. In Detroit, Nicole Hester was hit by pellets fired by Detroit police, leaving welts on her body. Others have been beaten up, arrested, their equipment damaged and they have been threatened for taking photos and filming on public streets. These are not one-off incidents: this is a picture of widespread attacks on the profession.
The nationwide anti-police brutality protests sparked by the killing of George Floyd in the US have been marked by widespread incidents of police violence, including punching, kicking, gassing, pepper-spraying and driving vehicles at often peaceful protesters in states across the country. The actions have left thousands of protesters in jail and injured many others, leaving some with life-threatening injuries. From Minnesota to New York, Texas, California, Washington DC and many places beyond, from small towns to big cities, police officers have demonstrated just how problematic law enforcement is in the US, drawing condemnation from international groups as well as domestic civil rights organizations. Numerous incidents of police violence have been exposed in disturbing videos and press accounts in recent days. Officers in a police SUV drove at a crowd of protesters in Brooklyn. A police officer was caught on camera violently shoving a woman to the ground during a demonstration. The woman, Dounya Zayer, was taken to hospital and said she suffered a seizure and concussion. An officer yanked a facemask from an African American man who was standing with his hands in the air, then pepper-sprayed him in the face. In Buffalo ... two officers shoved a 75-year-old man to the ground. A video showed the man hitting his head on the ground, causing his blood to spill on the sidewalk. He is now gravely ill in hospital. Frequently journalists have been met with the same aggressive policing as demonstrators. Police attacked journalists “at least 140 times” in the last four days of May. In most cases ... no action has been brought against officers or police departments.
Note: While some policemen are standing with protestors, as reported in this ABC News article, this revealing article shows how police are trained to be violent. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on police corruption from reliable major media sources.
As demands for reform have mounted in the aftermath of police violence in cities like Ferguson, Mo., Baltimore and now Minneapolis, police unions have emerged as one of the most significant roadblocks to change. They aggressively protect the rights of members accused of misconduct, often in arbitration hearings ... behind closed doors. And they have also been remarkably effective at fending off broader change, using their political clout and influence to derail efforts to increase accountability. When Steve Fletcher, a Minneapolis city councilman and frequent Police Department critic, sought to divert money away from hiring officers and toward a newly created office of violence prevention, he said, the police stopped responding as quickly to 911 calls placed by his constituents. “It operates a little bit like a protection racket,” Mr. Fletcher said of the union. Federal intervention is often one of the few reliable ways of reforming police departments. But in Cleveland, the union helped slow the adoption of reforms mandated by a federal consent decree, according to Jonathan Smith, a former U.S. Justice Department official. Mr. Smith said union officials had signaled to rank-and-file officers that the changes should not be taken seriously, such as a requirement that they report and investigate instances in which they pointed a gun. In Chicago ... a “code of silence” about misconduct was effectively “baked into” the labor agreements between police unions and the city.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on police corruption from reliable major media sources.
The US National Football League is embroiled in a standoff with President Donald Trump after it said players would be allowed to “take the knee” during the American national anthem in protest against racism. After the NFL announced its U-turn, Trump tweeted late on Friday night: “We should be standing up straight and tall, ideally with a salute, or a hand on heart. There are other things you can protest, but not our Great American Flag – NO KNEELING!” The NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said ... that the league’s earlier ban on players taking the knee had been mistaken. “We were wrong for not listening to NFL players earlier, and encourage all to speak out and peacefully protest,” Goodell said. The change in the NFL’s position came after some players urged the league to “condemn racism and the systemic oppression of black people”. The practice of taking the knee during the national anthem before games started in 2016 as a protest by black player Colin Kaepernick against racial injustice. In the past two weeks, it has become an international symbol of opposition to racism. Trump has frequently denounced the action. Two years ago, he praised the NFL’s ban on taking the knee during the pre-game national anthem, saying: “You have to stand proudly for the national anthem. Or you shouldn’t be playing, you shouldn’t be there. Maybe you shouldn’t be in the country.” Last week, the president criticized New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees for dropping his opposition to NFL kneeling protests.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on civil liberties from reliable major media sources.
Bayer will pay more than $10 billion to resolve thousands of lawsuits regarding claims that its Roundup herbicide causes cancer, the company announced. Monsanto, bought by Bayer in 2018, lost a lawsuit that same year brought by a school groundskeeper who claimed its weedkiller had caused his non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. Since then, thousands of U.S. lawsuits have been filed against the company. The settlement, however, does not contain an admission of wrongdoing or liability. Bayer will pay $8.8 billion to $9.6 billion to settle existing lawsuits and then another $1.25 billion that will cover any potential litigation in the future. Lawsuits allege that Monsanto ignored warnings that its herbicide contained potentially cancer causing chemicals, then concealed the threat to consumers. A jury awarded California groundskeeper Dewayne Johnson nearly $290 million in damages in August 2018 after they found Monsanto failed to warn Johnson and other consumers about the risks posed by its weed-killing products. A judge upheld the decision upon appeal, but lowered the damages to $78 million due to what she considered an overreach in punitive damages decided by the jury. And last year, a California jury awarded a husband and wife more than $2 billion in damages in a suit that claimed Roundup caused their illness. German pharmaceuticals and chemical giant Bayer bought Monsanto in 2018 just months before Johnson won his suit against the company. Bayer eliminated the Monsanto name, but maintained the brands.
Note: The negative health impacts of Roundup are well known. Yet the EPA continues to use industry studies to declare Roundup safe while ignoring independent scientists. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on health from reliable major media sources.
Attorney General William P. Barr oversaw the deployment of a show of military force in the District in response to protests in recent days. His “flood the zone” strategy included the use of men in military tactical gear without any markings to indicate their names or agencies where they work. He thus took a page from the dictator’s handbook, threatening force without any accountability. Why did these unmarked troops refuse to identify themselves when asked by journalists and protesters? Some of the mystery forces in the District were “special operations teams from the Bureau of Prisons.” The bureau confirmed this in a statement to NBC, saying the “crisis management teams” were sent to Washington and Miami at Mr. Barr’s request, and carry badges but were “not wearing BOP specific clothing as they are serving a broader mission.”. Mr. Barr also personally authorized the clearing of peaceful protesters in Lafayette Square on Monday so President Trump could walk to his photo op at St. John’s Episcopal Church. Two U.S. Park Police officers have been put on administrative leave after video showed Australian reporter Amanda Brace and cameraman Tim Myers being assaulted while reporting live on that melee. Was Mr. Barr in control of the Park Police, too? The Justice Department’s inspector general and Congress ought to seek answers. In a democracy, where law enforcement works for the people and not against them, it must be identifiable — and accountable.
Note: Read a related, incisive article on politico.com. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption and the erosion of civil liberties from reliable major media sources.
An inspiring discussion about racism between a white woman and black man ... has captured the attention of [millions]. Caroline Brock and Ernest Skelton share a special relationship. It all started with Skelton coming over to fix one of her appliances. “People judge me before I even come in the door, so that’s the reason why I ask, ‘Is it OK for me to come in?’” said Skelton. The question caught Brock completely off guard. Over the weekend, Skelton went back over to Brock’s home for second appliance repair appointment. That’s when Brock asked him a question that was a little more personal. “How are you doing right now given the current climate?” Brock wanted to know what the day-to-day life of a black man is like. Skelton opened up and told her some stories about how racism has affected him. He gets pulled over in his work vehicle at least half a dozen times a year. “I don’t even remember the last time I was pulled over,” Brock said. “Sometimes I have customers that need me after 5 o’clock and I have to reschedule for another day. I’m afraid that I’ll wind up getting pulled over, and this time, I won’t make it home," Skelton said. Brock asked Ernest if she could post their interaction on Facebook. He thought it would be a great idea. A few days later, they had more than 100,000 shares. “In the comments ... a lot of white people say, ‘I’d love to have these conversations, but I’m scared ... I’m going to offend someone,’" Brock explained. But Skelton said he wasn’t offended. “If we want to change the world and make our country stronger, we have to be willing to step into the uncomfortableness," Brock said. The two hope that their interaction can inspire others to open up the conversation.
Note: Don't miss this highly inspiring and educational facebook post. This is how we change the world for the better. Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
A former head of MI6 has said he believes the coronavirus pandemic "started as an accident" when the virus escaped from a laboratory in China. Sir Richard Dearlove ... pointed to a scientific paper published this week by a Norwegian-British research team who claim to have discovered clues within Covid-19's genetic sequence suggesting key elements were "inserted" and may not have evolved naturally. In their paper, the scientists claim to have identified "inserted sections placed on the SARS-CoV-2 Spike surface" that explain how the virus binds itself to human cells. "The SARS-CoV-2 spike is significantly different from any other Sars that we have studied," the paper says. Two laboratories in Wuhan studying bat coronaviruses – the Wuhan Institute of Virology and the Wuhan Centre for Disease Control – have been suggested as the possible true sources of the outbreak. Sir Richard suggested scientists may have been conducting secret gene-splicing experiments on bat coronaviruses when Covid-19 somehow escaped. Sir Richard said he did not believe the Chinese had released the virus deliberately, but accused Beijing of subsequently covering up the scale of its spread. Last month, the US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, claimed there was "enormous evidence" that the coronavirus outbreak originated in a Chinese laboratory, but did not provide any proof. However, the US National Intelligence Director's office later said it had determined that Covid-19 "was not manmade".
As scientists specializing in ecology and the environment, we’re studying how milk – an essential yet suffering industry – has been affected by COVID-19. We have documented one solution to the milk distribution crisis: innovative small farmers of New Jersey. Dairy producers are dumping thousands of gallons of milk every day. In Wisconsin, 50% of the state’s dairy products have nowhere to go while typical buyers such as schools and restaurants remain shut down and unable to purchase milk and cheese. In Pennsylvania, where schools buy up to 40% of dairy sales by volume, the pandemic has beleaguered an already-stressed industry that lost 470 farms in 2019. In New Jersey, farms are the fourth-smallest in the United States, averaging 76 acres. The Garden State’s dairy sector is particularly small, comprising only 50 farms and ranking 44th of 50 states in total milk production. But despite their small operations, we see New Jersey’s local entrepreneurial farmers as models of a game-changing strategy. Rather than selling their milk to large dairy processing companies, these vertically structured local farms raise cows, process milk and other foods and sell them directly to consumers at farm-operated markets and restaurants. Unsold items return to farms as feed or fertilizer. This system is highly efficient, even during the current pandemic, because farmers and their customers represent the entire supply chain. These farmers don’t operate alone. They band together in cooperatives, sharing resources for the benefit of all.
Law enforcement frequently infiltrates progressive political movements using agent provocateurs who urge others to engage in violence. More rarely, such provocateurs commit acts of violence themselves. In protests across the country over the past week, the clear actor escalating the violence generally hasn’t been a protester or even a right-wing infiltrator, but the police themselves. The best documented use of provocateurs by the U.S. government occurred during the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Counter-Intelligence Program, or COINTELPRO, from 1956 to 1971. The reason the documentation is available is because a group of citizens broke into an FBI office in Pennsylvania ... and stole files that they then passed to the media. In one notorious example in May 1970, an informant working for both the Tuscaloosa police and the FBI burned down a building at the University of Alabama during protests over the recent Kent State University shootings. The police then declared that demonstrators were engaging in an unlawful assembly and arrested 150 of them. The list goes on and on from there. Thirteen Black Panthers were accused of a plot to blow up the Statue of Liberty after receiving 60 sticks of dynamite from an FBI informant. After 28 people broke into a federal building to destroy draft files in 1971, an FBI informant bragged, “I taught them everything they knew.” When and whether the FBI ever stopped, however, is an open question. In any case, police forces in the U.S. continued the same tactics.
Note: Read more about the FBI's notorious COINTELPRO program. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on police corruption and the erosion of civil liberties from reliable major media sources.
Dozens of journalists covering anti-racism protests that have rocked the US have reported being targeted by security forces using tear gas, rubber bullets and pepper spray. In many cases, they said it was despite showing clear press credentials. The arrest of a CNN news crew live on air on Friday in Minneapolis, where unarmed black man George Floyd died at the hands of police, first drew global attention to how law enforcement authorities in the city were treating reporters. On Tuesday, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison asked his embassy in Washington to investigate the use of force by police against an Australian news crew as officers dispersed protesters there. It comes after dozens of attacks on journalists and media crews across the country over the weekend were reported on social media. In total the US Press Freedom Tracker, a non-profit project, says it is investigating more than 100 "press freedom violations" at protests. About 90 cases involve attacks. On Saturday night, two members of a TV crew from Reuters news agency were shot at with rubber bullets while police dispersed protesters in Minneapolis. In Washington DC, near the White House, a riot police officer charged his shield at a BBC cameraman on Sunday evening. On Friday night, Linda Tirado, a freelance photojournalist and activist, was struck in her left eye by a projectile that appeared to come from the direction of police in Minneapolis. She has been permanently blinded in that eye.
As thousands of protesters converged in Brooklyn on Monday evening, NYPD scanners picked up a bit of radio chatter. After a police dispatcher noted protester movement near the 77th Precinct, a voice on the same channel replies clearly: “Shoot those motherfuckers.” Just as clear was the immediate response: “Don’t put that over the air.” The radio message was yet another indicator that police see protesters as enemies to combat rather than the citizens they are sworn to protect. [It] was also a sign of how emboldened police have become in calling for violence, and how little they seem to fear repercussions. Officers have responded to protests prompted by anger at police violence ... with yet more violence and, mostly, no consequence. Over the last several days, NYPD officers have beaten protesters with nightsticks, ripped off masks to pepper-spray them at close range, [and] driven their vehicles into crowds. The abuse has been enabled by laws that shield officers from accountability and by barriers to police oversight — as well as by city leaders who have long allowed police to operate with impunity. In response to the police crackdown, NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea expressed his pride as he congratulated his officers for their actions. Mayor Bill de Blasio ... continued his long-held practice of defending police misconduct in the face of indisputable evidence and attempted to shift the blame to protesters. Officials have responded to pressure for greater police transparency [by] making everything from complaints of misconduct to the findings of internal reviews, to body camera footage largely inaccessible to the public.
Note: While some policemen are standing with protestors, as reported in this ABC News article, another revealing article shows that the large majority of attacks on journalists came from police and not protestors. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on police corruption from reliable major media sources.
Kentucky lawmakers have warned the state was heading towards a disastrous primary election this week, as ballot problems, voter confusion and a severe shortage of polling places threatened to suppress turnout amid the coronavirus pandemic. State officials ... released a joint statement condemning US District Court Judge Charles Simpson’s ruling against a case that argued having just one polling site in most of the state’s 120 counties would result in voter suppression. “We believe the judge disregarded evidence from our expert witness that one location will suppress the vote, particularly among African Americans,” read the statement, co-authored by Jason Nemes, a Republican state representative, and Keisha Dorsey, a Democratic councilwoman. The lawmakers were both behind the lawsuit, which demanded an increase in statewide polling locations. Voters throughout Kentucky received inaccurate absentee ballots ... that do not match their party affiliations. In Kentucky, voters must be members of a party to participate in its primary elections. In a typical election year, Kentucky has about 3,700 polling sites. When Election Day arrives ... there will be just 200 polling sites across the state. Ben Jealous, president of People For The American Way, described the situation as “Our Next Electoral Nightmare.” “Half Kentucky’s Black voters live in one county,” he wrote. “It will have one polling place ... for 616,000 registered voters.”
False rumors that antifa is organizing bus rides to take protesters into white neighborhoods and loot homes have gone viral in recent days on digital neighborhood platforms and in group texts throughout the U.S. Some of the posts feature a screenshot of a tweet by a fake antifa Twitter account that Twitter said was created by the white nationalist group Identity Evropa, attempting to drum up fear of looting in residential and suburban areas. On Tuesday, Facebook added a warning to posts on Facebook and Instagram indicating that the fake antifa post was "false information." By then, the post had already gone viral on both platforms, generating hundreds of thousands of interactions. The post was shared by pro-Second Amendment and conservative media pages like Red State and Hot Air. It was also shared by "U.S. Law Enforcement," a page with nearly a half-million followers that claims to be "run by several current and retired U.S. law enforcement officers," which posted the screenshot of the tweet and wrote: "Antifa is warning that tonight they're moving out of the cities — and into residential areas to 'take what's ours.' Law enforcement across the country on high alert. Circulate this asap." The post was also widely shared on Instagram, led by Trump Jr., who shared the post Sunday and wrote: "Absolutely insane. Just remember what ANTIFA really is. A Terrorist Organization! They're not even pretending anymore." His post was liked 96,000 times. Trump Jr. ... deleted the post Tuesday morning.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on media manipulation from reliable major media sources.
Images of tense encounters between protesters and police officers piled up over the weekend, as authorities intensified their efforts to quell nationwide uprisings, using rubber bullets, pepper pellets and tear gas in violent standoffs that seared cities nationwide. But some officers took different actions, creating contrasting images that told another story about the turbulent national moment following the death of George Floyd, a 46-year-old black man, in police custody in Minneapolis. From New York to Des Moines to Spokane, Wash., members of law enforcement — sometimes clad in riot gear — knelt alongside protesters and marched in solidarity with them. The act has become synonymous with peaceful protests in recent years after football player Colin Kaepernick knelt as part of his protests against police brutality on unarmed black citizens. A video circulating widely on Facebook captured two people in uniform joining a kneeling crowd in Queens. “Thank you!” cheered members of the crowd. The officers remained as a circle of people began to chant names of black Americans killed in infamous recent cases. “Trayvon Martin!” they called. “Philando Castile!” Cheers erupted, too, in the Iowa capital as Des Moines officers took a knee behind a police barricade. Acceding to the demands of protesters brought a rebuke in some places. In downtown Washington, a black officer who knelt was yanked from the crowd by his supervisor, and he returned standing to the line forming to hold back the demonstrations.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on police corruption from reliable major media sources.
As images of police officers in riot gear clashing with protesters in response to the death of George Floyd proliferated from across the country, a very different theme emerged from several cities. Instead of lining up in opposition to the protesters, some police officers joined them. "I never thought of anything else, to be honest," Camden County Police Chief Joseph Wysocki told ABC News. For Camden, New Jersey, a city that had long been known for high crime rates, the police demonstrating alongside protesters in an ultimately peaceful event was not just a one-day phenomenon, but the continuation of years of efforts to bridge ties with residents since 2013, when the county police department took over public safety from the city's police agency. "We were basically able to start a new beginning," Dan Keashen, communications director for Camden County, told ABC News. That new beginning included an emphasis on everyday community policing. "It's a community, and we're part of the community. It's not us policing the city; it's us, together," Wysocki said. When officials in Camden learned plans for a demonstration were coming together, the police were able to get involved and join in because of the community ties they had made. Following the protests on Saturday, images of Wysocki walking with demonstrators, holding a banner reading, "standing in solidarity," spread across social media. So, too, did images of police officers in Santa Cruz, California, Norfolk, Virginia, and other cities.
Moderna set off a frenzy on Wall Street earlier this month when it announced positive, preliminary results from its coronavirus vaccine trial. As the hype grew, the young biotech company and its leading investor wasted no time capitalizing on the briefly surging stock price. Even as critics accused Moderna of overhyping the results released on May 18, a series of transactions were executed before its share price fizzled over the next week. The timing of those deals, former SEC officials said, appear to be "highly problematic" and should be investigated for potential illegal market manipulation. Just hours after revealing the promising vaccine results, Moderna (MRNA) sold 17.6 million shares to the public. That share sale, unveiled after the closing bell on May 18, was priced at $76; Moderna traded at just $48 as recently as May 6. The deal instantly raised $1.3 billion. Two of Moderna's top executives also cashed in on the boom at their company, which had suddenly amassed a $29 billion market value despite the fact it has no marketed products. By the time the selling was disclosed to the public via securities filings, Moderna's stock price had crashed back to Earth. The timing of the transactions - coupled with concerns from some medical experts that Moderna overstated the significance of its Phase 1 vaccine trial - should be investigated by authorities. Thomas Gorman, [a] former SEC official, said the agency should "absolutely" be investigating the situation at Moderna.
Note: Why didn't the media report that the Moderna vaccine trial had a 20% serious injury rate in the high dose group? Learn about this and much more in this revealing article. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on Big Pharma corruption from reliable major media sources.
A Twitter account claiming to belong to a national “antifa” organization and pushing violent rhetoric related to ongoing protests has been linked to the white nationalist group Identity Evropa, according to a Twitter spokesperson. The spokesperson said the account violated the company's platform manipulation and spam policy, specifically the creation of fake accounts. Twitter suspended the account after a tweet that incited violence. As protests were taking place in multiple states across the U.S. Sunday night, the newly created account, @ANTIFA_US, tweeted, “Tonight’s the night, Comrades,” with a brown raised fist emoji and “Tonight we say 'F--- The City' and we move into the residential areas... the white hoods.... and we take what's ours.” This isn’t the first time Twitter has taken action against fake accounts engaged in hateful conduct linked to Identity Evropa. The antifa movement — a network of loosely organized radical groups who use direct action to fight the far-right and fascism — has been targeted by President Donald Trump as the force behind some of the violence and property destruction seen at some protests, though little evidence has been provided for such claims. Josh Russell, an independent bot researcher ... said events like the weekend's protests are ripe for this kind of platform manipulation.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on media manipulation from reliable major media sources.
The Internal Revenue Service is letting hundreds of thousands of high-income individuals duck tax obligations, according to a government watchdog report. The Treasury inspector general for tax administration found that 879,415 high-income individuals who didn’t file returns cumulatively failed to pay $45.7 billion in taxes from 2014 to 2016 and that the agency hasn’t tried to collect from many of those taxpayers. The IRS didn’t input 326,579 of the cases into its enforcement system, and it closed 42,601 of the cases without ever working on them. “In addition, the remaining 510,235 high-income nonfilers, totaling estimated tax due of $24.9 billion, are sitting in one of the Collection function’s inventory streams and will likely not be pursued as resources decline,” the report, released Monday, found. The report defines high-income taxpayers as those earning at least $100,000. The IRS didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment, but agency management in the report agreed with a recommendation to prioritize collecting from people who didn’t file tax returns.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption from reliable major media sources.
A Michigan sheriff joined protesters in Flint Township on Saturday, putting down his weapon and saying, "I want to make this a parade, not a protest." Genesee County Sheriff Chris Swanson spoke with demonstrators who were met by police officers in riot gear. "The only reason we're here is to make sure that you got a voice - that's it," Swanson said. "These cops love you - that cop over there hugs people," he said, pointing to an officer. He was speaking to the crowd protesting police brutality and the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. He smiled and high-fived people in the crowd, who responded by chanting, "walk with us!" So, he did. "Let's go, let's go," Swanson said as he and the cheering crowd proceeded. "Where do you want to walk? We'll walk all night." Flint has drawn national attention for its water crisis, which began in 2014, when city and state officials switched the city's water supply to save money. It exposed residents to dangerously high levels of lead and resulted in more than a dozen lawsuits. But Saturday's event offered a welcome contrast to violent confrontations in cities across the country. On Friday Swanson addressed George Floyd's death via a Facebook post. "I join with the chorus of citizens and law enforcement officials alike, calling for the swift arrest and prosecution of each police officer involved in this appalling crime," he wrote. "The actions we witnessed on that video destroy countless efforts to bolster community policing efforts across our nation, and erode trust that is painstakingly built."
What was your first reaction when you saw the video of the white cop kneeling on George Floyd’s neck while Floyd croaked, “I can’t breathe”? If you’re white, you probably muttered a horrified, “Oh, my God” while shaking your head at the cruel injustice. If you’re black, you probably leapt to your feet, cursed, maybe threw something (certainly wanted to throw something), while shouting, “Not @#$%! again!” Then you remember the two white vigilantes accused of murdering Ahmaud Arbery as he jogged through their neighborhood in February, and how if it wasn’t for that video emerging a few weeks ago, they would have gotten away with it. And how those Minneapolis cops claimed Floyd was resisting arrest but a store’s video showed he wasn’t. And how the cop on Floyd’s neck wasn’t an enraged redneck stereotype, but a sworn officer who looked calm and entitled and devoid of pity. I don’t want to see stores looted or even buildings burn. But African Americans have been living in a burning building for many years, choking on the smoke as the flames burn closer and closer. Racism in America is like dust in the air. It seems invisible — even if you’re choking on it — until you let the sun in. Then you see it’s everywhere. So, maybe the black community’s main concern right now isn’t whether ... a few desperate souls steal some T-shirts or even set a police station on fire, but whether their sons, husbands, brothers and fathers will be murdered by cops or wannabe cops just for going on a walk, a jog, a drive.
We have detonated the global economy to pursue a lockdown experiment that may not have worked, according to the latest evidence. World-class studies that suggest lockdown did not alter the pandemic’s course are mysteriously vanishing into internet obscurity on first contact with the official narrative. This is a scandal so overwhelming that there is only one good place to start: the evidence as it stands. In accordance with pro-lockdown theory, if stay at home orders worked, you might have expected to see daily deaths spike 3-4 weeks after such measures were implemented. But, in Britain, infections may have peaked a week before lockdown, according to Prof Carl Heneghan of Oxford University, with daily deaths in hospitals plateauing a fortnight after it was introduced. We are not an anomaly: peak dates across Europe also seem to confound the official theory. Don’t just take my word for it. A University of the East Anglia study posits that Europe's “stay-at-home policies” were not effective. A JP Morgan investigation suggests the virus “likely has its own dynamics” which are “unrelated to often inconsistent lockdown measures”. Nobel prize-winning bio-physicist Michael Levitt ... has claimed, sensationally, that the modelling that justified lockdown made the fatally incorrect assumption that Covid-19’s spread is continuously exponential. In fact, his research has found an uncanny pattern across numerous countries whereby the virus grows exponentially for two weeks, before slowing seemingly irrespective of ... social distancing measures.
With the coronavirus pandemic exacerbating the most vulnerable people’s financial struggles, the Spanish government has decided to implement what it’s calling a national minimum income, ensuring that people in the nation’s 850,000 lowest-income households receive at least roughly $500 a month in income. The plan aims to reach 2.3 million people and is expected to cost the government about €3 billion a year. Spain’s government first floated the idea of a version of a universal basic income back in December ... in a deal that the country’s Socialist Party and left-wing Unidas Podemos agreed on to create “a general mechanism to guarantee earnings for families with no or low income.” The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated that plan. People between 23 and 65 years old with “assets of less than 16,614 euros,” not including house and discounted loans, will be eligible for the basic income plan, according to Reuters, and will include incentives for finding “a formal job”. Though the minimum amount the government is guaranteeing is €462 a month, that amount will increase with the number of family members. A family is defined as “vulnerable” and eligible for the plan if its monthly income is €10 or more below the minimum income. At the point, the government will give them enough cash to meet the thresholds. Spain has a “considerable” gap between its richest and poorest, with the top 20% of the population earning nearly seven times as much as the bottom 20%.
As protests and unrest continued in Minneapolis following the killing of George Floyd, people are questioning the identity of a man filmed smashing windows. Footage emerged of the white man, dressed all in black, and in gloves and boots, calmly smashing the windows of an auto parts store with a large hammer. His face is obscured by an expensive-looking gas mask and he is also holding an open black umbrella — although it was not raining. Twitter quickly christened him 'Umbrella Man'. As he methodically smashes the windows of the Minneapolis branch of AutoZone, video shows that he is confronted by two people, apparently trying to stop him, before he turns and walks quickly away. A small group follows him and he tries to snatch the phone of the person filming. Someone yells: "Are you a f***ing cop?" Twitter users have accused him of being everything from an undercover police officer, to part of Antifa, to a white supremacist, or an agent provocateur there to incite violence that would ultimately trigger a widespread riot. The incident was recorded before fires were started. Minnesota’s attorney general Keith Ellison even chimed in, tweeting: “This man doesn’t look like any civil rights protester I have ever seen. Looks like a provocateur. Can anyone ID him?” A popular theory that went viral identified a specific police officer from neighbouring St Paul by name, based on screenshots of a series of text messages purportedly from a former partner. The identity of 'umbrella man' continues to be a subject of speculation and rumour.
Note: Watch the umbrella man video here. A tweet you can see in this article suggests it was a policeman in the video. Read an excellent but disturbing article on how recent protests are being infiltrated by militias and other groups intent on causing trouble. Here's another example of an undercover police officer discovered among protestors in Oakland, CA several years ago. A member of the WTK team who lives in Minneapolis has a friend who was putting out fires during the riots only to then have uniformed police chase them away and restart the fires.
Sending children back to schools and day care centres in Denmark, the first country in Europe to do so, did not lead to an increase in coronavirus infections, according to official data, confirming similar findings from Finland on Thursday. As countries across Europe make plans to exit months of lockdown aimed at curbing the virus outbreak, some parents worry that opening schools first might put the health of their children in danger. Following a one-month lockdown, Denmark allowed children between two to 12 years back in day cares and schools on April 15. Based on five weeks' worth of data, health authorities are now for the first time saying the move did not make the virus proliferate. "You cannot see any negative effects from the reopening of schools," Peter Andersen, doctor of infectious disease epidemiology and prevention ... said on Thursday. In Finland, a top official announced similar findings on Wednesday, saying nothing so far suggested the coronavirus had spread faster since schools reopened in mid-May. The number of infected children aged between one and up to 19 has declined steadily since late April, Andersen said, following a slight uptick immediately after the reopening of schools. But this was too early to have anything to do with the reopening, he said. "Based on preliminary experiences, it does not look like there has been a negative effect on the spread among school children or in the society in general," Andersen said and called Denmark's reopening strategy "prudent". A steady drop in daily infections, hospital admissions and deaths since early April has led Denmark to continue its reopening, with shopping malls, bars, restaurants allowed to reopen in May.
Mounting evidence suggests the coronavirus is more common and less deadly than it first appeared. The evidence comes from tests that detect antibodies to the coronavirus in a person's blood rather than the virus itself. The tests are finding large numbers of people in the U.S. who were infected but never became seriously ill. And when these mild infections are included in coronavirus statistics, the virus appears less dangerous. "The current best estimates for the infection fatality risk are between 0.5% and 1%," says Caitlin Rivers, an epidemiologist at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security. That's in contrast with death rates of 5% or more based on calculations that included only people who got sick enough to be diagnosed with tests that detect the presence of virus in a person's body. And the revised estimates support an early prediction by Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. In an editorial published in late March ... Fauci and colleagues wrote that the case fatality rate for COVID-19 "may be considerably less than 1%." The new evidence is coming from places such as Indiana, which completed the first phase of a massive testing effort early in May. Indiana's infection fatality rate turned out to be about 0.58%, or roughly one death for every 172 people who got infected. In New York ... an antibody study indicated the state has an infection fatality rate around 0.5%. Studies in Florida and California have suggested even lower fatality rates.
The World Health Organization is recommending healthy people, including those who don’t exhibit COVID-19 symptoms, only wear masks when taking care of someone infected with the contagion, a sharp contrast from the advice given by American public health officials who recommend everyone wear a mask in public. “If you do not have any [respiratory] symptoms such as fever, cough or runny nose, you do not need to wear a mask,” Dr. April Baller, a public health specialist for the WHO, says. “Masks should only be used by health care workers, caretakers or by people who are sick with symptoms of fever and cough.” The recommendation differs from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which urges individuals to wear a mask or face covering in public settings, regardless of infection, to limit the spread of the virus. “We now know from recent studies that a significant portion of individuals with coronavirus lack symptoms (‘asymptomatic’) and that even those who eventually develop symptoms (‘pre-symptomatic’) can transmit the virus to others before showing symptoms,” the CDC mask guidance says. “In light of this new evidence, CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain.” Baller noted that masks can give people a “false feeling of protection” and noted that sick individuals should wear one to prevent transmitting the virus to others.
Although the number of coronavirus cases continues to grow globally, there are places that have managed to successfully control COVID-19. Perhaps the greatest success story is New Zealand, which has stopped local transmission and has a plan to completely eliminate the virus from its territory. "The lesson is that it can be done," says Siouxsie Wiles. Wiles heads up the Bioluminescent Superbugs Lab at the University of Auckland. Much of her work focuses on antibiotic resistance and infectious diseases. When the coronavirus hit, she got involved in communication efforts in New Zealand to help explain the virus, including by using a popular cartoon. But it wasn't just scientists who led the charge. Wiles — and many other New Zealanders — give much of the credit for their country's success to the swift and decisive leadership of Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. Wiles ... says that the prime minister did something quite interesting, "which was that unlike many other countries, she never put us on a war footing." So Ardern's speeches weren't about attacking an invisible enemy — as many world leaders would say. Instead she called on New Zealanders to confront this crisis by protecting their fellow citizens. "She talked over and over about us being a team of 5 million and that we all do our part to break these chains of transmission and to eliminate the virus," Wiles says. "I think that has been one of the really crucial things — everybody ... behaving for the good of everybody."
There is [a] type of contagion that still keeps some of White America paralyzed: Fear of black men in public spaces. This Memorial Day weekend saw the release of two disturbing videos involving black men. One showed a white Minneapolis police officer with his knee on the neck of a black man who was gasping, "I can't breathe." The man later died. In the second incident, a white woman was walking her dog in New York's Central Park when she got into a dispute with a black man who asked her to leash her pet. A video [shows her calling] the police and saying, "I'm going to tell them there's an African American man threatening my life." Both episodes came not long after the release of another video that showed Ahmaud Arbery ... shot to death after encountering two white armed men while jogging in Georgia. All those incidents have a depressing familiarity to many black men. It's part of the ambient racism of our everyday lives. Black men have long been a bogeyman in White America's collective psyche. Why are black men still so feared in 2020? White America has long associated black men with criminality and hypersexuality. It permeates our history and our art. It's why some social science experiments show that even trained police officers are biased to see black man as threats. The stereotype of the dangerous black man is burrowed so deep in our collective imagination that even many black Americans see black men as automatic threats. Until more white people actually live among and befriend black people, that fear will persist. Until something changes, we black men ... keep our voices down, tiptoe through public spaces and stifle our fear. We try everything we can to avoid being the next black man in a viral video.
The drug that buoyed expectations for a coronavirus treatment and drew international attention for Gilead Sciences, remdesivir, started as a reject. To make progress, Gilead needed help from U.S. taxpayers. Lots of help. Three federal health agencies were deeply involved in remdesivir’s development every step of the way, providing tens of millions of dollars of government research support. Federal agencies have not asserted patent rights to Gilead’s drug. That means Gilead will have few constraints other than political pressure when it sets a price. “Without direct public investment and tax subsidies, this drug would apparently have remained in the scrapheap of unsuccessful drugs,” Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-Tex.) ... said earlier this month. Doggett and Rep. Rosa L. DeLauro (D-Conn.) have asked Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar for a detailed financial accounting of federal support for remdesivir’s discovery and development. Watchdog groups ... have documented the large taxpayer-funded contributions toward the drug. Public Citizen estimates public investment at a minimum of $70 million. An independent organization that measures the cost-effectiveness of drugs said Gilead could be justified in charging up to $4,500 for a 10-day course of treatment for a single coronavirus patient. But advocates, citing a study by academic researchers on what it costs to make the drug, have said Gilead could break even by charging $1 per dose.
Note: According to this CNBC article Gilead is charging from $2,000 to $3,120 per patient despite huge subsidies. Gilead is the same company which developed Tamiflu and licensed it to Roche. Aggressive sales of Tamiflu to governments around the world brought profits of over $1 billion yet almost none of the doses sold were ever used, as described in this Reuters article. The study that is being used to tout Remdesivir was conducted by none other than Gilead. Could there be conflict of interest here? For more, see summaries of revealing news articles on big Pharma corruption.
A third of Americans are showing signs of clinical anxiety or depression, Census Bureau data shows, the most definitive and alarming sign yet of the psychological toll exacted by the coronavirus pandemic. When asked questions normally used to screen patients for mental health problems, 24 percent showed clinically significant symptoms of major depressive disorder and 30 percent showed symptoms of generalized anxiety disorder. The findings suggest a huge jump from before the pandemic. For example, on one question about depressed mood, the percentage reporting such symptoms was double that found in a 2014 national survey. The troubling statistics were released last week in a tranche of data from the Census Bureau. The agency launched an emergency weekly survey of U.S. households at the end of April to measure the pandemic’s effects on employment, housing, finances, education and health. In the most recent data release, 1 million households were contacted between May 7 and 12, and more than 42,000 responded. Buried within that 20-minute survey, U.S. officials included four questions taken nearly word-for-word from a form used by doctors to screen patients for depression and anxiety. Those answers provide a real-time window into the country’s collective mental health after three months of fear, isolation, soaring unemployment and continuing uncertainty. Those results reflect a deepening of existing trends: rising depression, stress and suicide among young adults.
Note: Read also a Washington Post article titled "A massive wave of evictions is coming." For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus and health from reliable major media sources.
Deepfake technology enables anyone with a computer and an Internet connection to create realistic-looking photos and videos of people saying and doing things that they did not actually say or do. A combination of the phrases “deep learning” and “fake”, deepfakes first emerged on the Internet in late 2017, powered by an innovative new deep learning method known as generative adversarial networks (GANs). Several deepfake videos have gone viral recently, giving millions around the world their first taste of this new technology: President Obama using an expletive to describe President Trump, Mark Zuckerberg admitting that Facebook's true goal is to manipulate and exploit its users, Bill Hader morphing into Al Pacino on a late-night talk show. The technology is improving at a breathtaking pace. Experts predict that deepfakes will be indistinguishable from real images before long. It does not require much imagination to grasp the harm that could be done if entire populations can be shown fabricated videos that they believe are real. In a world where even some uncertainty exists as to whether such clips are authentic, the consequences could be catastrophic. In a recent report, The Brookings Institution grimly summed up the range of political and social dangers that deepfakes pose: “distorting democratic discourse; manipulating elections; eroding trust in institutions; weakening journalism; exacerbating social divisions ... and inflicting hard-to-repair damage on the reputation of prominent individuals.”
Note: Watch a scary video showing how easy it is to make very realistic fake videos of Bush, Obama, and Trump. Read more about this emerging technology. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on media manipulation from reliable major media sources.
Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has announced the end of his state of emergency declaration for the novel coronavirus pandemic, with just 851 deaths reported and without ever implementing a lockdown. Abe cautioned that lifting the order did not mean that the novel virus was gone from Japan. "Our battle against the virus will continue," he said. As of Monday, the East Asian nation had reported 16,628 confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus. Of those infected, 13,612 have already recovered and 851 have died. Tokyo, the nation's capital with 14 million residents, was the hardest-hit part of the country, with more than 5,100 cases. On Monday, the city reported just eight new infections. While Japan never implemented stringent lockdowns like those in parts of China, many European countries and the U.S., it barred foreigner travelers who had recently visited many hard-hit countries and urged residents to adhere to social distancing guidelines. Restaurants and shops were also required to close earlier than normal. Karaoke bars, live music venues and gyms were shuttered and will remain closed in the coming weeks. Public health officials in Japan have warned the population to wear masks in public and continue to work from home if possible. Abe has faced criticism for taking little action to curb the virus' spread as many other nations implemented stringent lockdowns. "Just by looking at death numbers, you can say Japan was successful," Mikihito Tanaka, a professor at Waseda University ... told Bloomberg.
Note: How is it that Japan, China's immediate neighbor, had far lower coronavirus cases and deaths without a lockdown than most other countries which locked down? And Sweden, which also had no lockdown, is doing considerably better than it's European neighbors France, Belgium, and the UK. And why isn't this being widely reported? For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus from reliable major media sources.
The coronavirus pandemic has inspired a grassroots movement that is connecting people who need help with donors who can offer financial assistance. So far, contributors have passed $13 million through more than 100,000 matches. Shelly Tygielski came up with the idea that she named Pandemic of Love. The mindfulness teacher in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, was looking for simple ways people in her community could take care of each other. "I posted the original video and the two links to signup forms on my social media feeds on March 14 and woke up the next morning and there were already 400 requests to get help and 500 to give help," Tygielski said. Tygielski shares her Pandemic of Love organization model with volunteers in other cities. These volunteers build teams to match applicants in their community and reach out to other communities when they need assistance. Maurico Martinez ... filled out the form to get help and received a text from an unknown number from California. "I got a text message from a lady named Simone in San Francisco, and she was willing to help me out, and 'what did I need, groceries, gasoline?' and could she send me some money?" Martinez told CNN. "She sent me a couple hundred dollars and I was so thankful and I wanted to pay her back. She said, 'No, this was Pandemic of Love,' and so then we started talking," Martinez recalled. "We started becoming friends ... and it was wonderful."
More than 600 of the nation’s physicians sent a letter to President Trump this week calling the coronavirus shutdowns a “mass casualty incident” with “exponentially growing negative health consequences” to millions of non COVID patients. “The downstream health effects ... are being massively under-estimated and under-reported," according to the letter initiated by Simone Gold, M.D., an emergency medicine specialist. “Suicide hotline phone calls have increased 600%,” the letter said. Other silent casualties: “150,000 Americans per month who would have had new cancer detected through routine screening.” From missed cancer diagnoses to untreated heart attacks and strokes to increased risks of suicides, “We are alarmed at what appears to be a lack of consideration for the future health of our patients.” The physicians’ letter focuses on the impact on Americans’ physical and mental health. “The millions of casualties of a continued shutdown will be hiding in plain sight, but they will be called alcoholism, homelessness, suicide, heart attack, stroke, or kidney failure. In youths it will be called financial instability, unemployment, despair, drug addiction, unplanned pregnancies, poverty, and abuse. “It is impossible to overstate the short, medium, and long-term harm to people’s health with a continued shutdown,” the letter says. “Losing a job is one of life’s most stressful events, and the effect on a person’s health is not lessened because it also has happened to 30 million [now 38 million] other people.”
In April, as the coronavirus was ravaging New York, Susan Jones learned her older brother had been diagnosed with a blood cancer. His supervisor at work launched a GoFundMe page to help with costs, and Jones shared it on Facebook. What happened next stunned her. While Jones ... was confident her closest friends would help, she was stunned to see scores of colleagues — some she didn't even know that well, and didn’t even know she had a brother — donating, despite their own economic challenges. Jones found herself asking: Would the response have been the same just two months earlier, before the pandemic? She's fairly certain it wouldn't. Instead, she thinks the instinct to help shows, along with simple kindness, how people are striving to make a difference. At a time of helplessness, she says, helping others makes a mark on a world that seems to be overwhelming all of us. That helping others can feel good is not just an anecdotal truth but an idea backed by research, says Laurie Santos, psychology professor at Yale University and teacher of the school's most popular course to date: “Psychology and the Good Life." “The intuition that helping others is the key to our well-being right now fits with science,” Santos says. “There’s lots of research showing that spending our time and money on other people can often make us happier than spending that same time or money on ourselves. Taking time to do something nice for someone else ... is a powerful strategy for improving our well-being.”
About 1 in 5 adults in England believe the coronavirus is to some extent a hoax, according to research on conspiracy theories by the University of Oxford. In addition, researchers found nearly 3 out of 5 adults in England believe the government is misleading them to some extent about the cause of the virus, and nearly 1 in 10 strongly agree that China developed the coronavirus to destroy the West. The research was based on surveys of 2,500 adults earlier this month and published in the journal, Psychological Medicine. Lead researcher and psychology professor Daniel Freeman said the pandemic has the necessary ingredients to fuel conspiracy theories, including sustained threat and enforced change. He added that those who believe conspiracy theories are less likely to follow government guidance. "Those who believe in conspiracy theories also say that they are less likely to accept a vaccination, take a diagnostic test or wear a face mask," Freeman said. "In the wake of the epidemic, mistrust looks to have become mainstream." In the United Kingdom ... more than 100 cellphone towers have been burned amid unfounded conspiracy theories that the new mobile technology known as fifth generation either spreads the virus or the lockdown is a cover for rolling out 5G.
Note: Just because someone claims a conspiracy doesn't mean there is not truth to it. Though informative, this article is quite dismissive of those who question the official story of the coronavirus. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus from reliable major media sources.
As the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic continues to explode, hospital systems are scrambling to intensify their measures for protecting patients and health care workers. Providers are wondering whether this effort should include universal use of masks by all health care workers. Wearing a mask outside health care facilities offers little, if any, protection from infection. Public health authorities define a significant exposure to Covid-19 as face-to-face contact within 6 feet with a patient with symptomatic Covid-19 that is sustained for at least a few minutes (and some say more than 10 minutes or even 30 minutes). The chance of catching Covid-19 from a passing interaction in a public space is therefore minimal. In many cases, the desire for widespread masking is a reflexive reaction to anxiety over the pandemic. The calculus may be different, however, in health care settings. There are two scenarios in which there may be possible benefits. The first is during the care of a patient with unrecognized Covid-19. More compelling is the possibility that wearing a mask may reduce the likelihood of transmission from asymptomatic and minimally symptomatic health care workers with Covid-19 to other providers and patients. A mask will not protect providers caring for a patient with active Covid-19 if it’s not accompanied by meticulous hand hygiene, eye protection, gloves, and a gown. Focusing on universal masking alone may, paradoxically, lead to more transmission of Covid-19 if it diverts attention from ... more fundamental infection-control measures.
Note: For more information on this article, see this educational commentary. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus from reliable major media sources.
America’s billionaires saw their fortunes soar by $434 billion during the U.S. lockdown between mid-March and mid-May, according to a new report. Amazon’s Jeff Bezos and Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg had the biggest gains, with Bezos adding $34.6 billion to his wealth and Zuckerberg adding $25 billion. The billionaire gains highlight how the coronavirus pandemic has rewarded the largest and most tech-focused companies, even as the economy and labor force grapples with the worst economic crisis in recent history. According to the report, the net worth of America’s billionaires grew 15% during the two-month period, to $3.382 trillion from $2.948 trillion. The biggest gains were at the top of the billionaire pyramid, with the richest five billionaires -- Bezos, Bill Gates, Zuckerberg, Warren Buffett, and Larry Ellison -- seeing combined wealth gains of $76 billion. Elon Musk had among the largest percentage gain of billionaires during the two months, seeing his net worth jump by 48% in the two months to $36 billion. Zuckerberg was close behind, seeing his wealth surge by 46% in the two months, to $80 billion. Bezos’ wealth increased by 31% to $147 billion. Because the study timeline captures the stock market bottom and quick rebound, it creates a slightly sunnier picture for billionaires than the full year. For the year, Buffett’s wealth has declined by $20 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaire’s Index, while Gates is down by $4.3 billion. For the year, Jeff Bezos has gained $35.5 billion while Zuckerberg is up by $9 billion.
The chief scientist brought on to lead the Trump administration’s vaccine efforts has spent the last several days trying to disentangle pieces of his stock portfolio and his intricate ties to big pharmaceutical interests. The scientist, Moncef Slaoui, is a venture capitalist and a former longtime executive at GlaxoSmithKline. Most recently, he sat on the board of Moderna, a Cambridge, Mass., biotechnology firm with a $30 billion valuation that is pursuing a coronavirus vaccine. He resigned when President Trump named him last Thursday to the new post as chief adviser for Operation Warp Speed, the federal drive for coronavirus vaccines and treatments. Just days into his job, the extent of Dr. Slaoui’s financial interests in drug companies has begun to emerge: The value of his stock holdings in Moderna jumped nearly $2.4 million, to $12.4 million when the company released preliminary, partial data from an early phase of its candidate vaccine trial. Dr. Slaoui did not come on board as a government employee. Instead, he is on a contract ... that leaves him exempt from federal disclosure rules that would require him to list his outside positions, stock holdings and other potential conflicts. And the contract position is not subject to the same conflict-of-interest laws and regulations that executive branch employees must follow. Dr. Slaoui ... is not the first Trump administration official with close relationships to drug and health care companies. Alex M. Azar II, the health and human services secretary, is a former Eli Lilly executive.
Note: If the above link fails, this article is also available here. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corruption in government and in Big Pharma from reliable major media sources.
Tens of thousands of Covid-19 tests have been double-counted in the Government’s official tally, public health officials have admitted. Diagnostic tests which involve taking saliva and nasal samples from the same patient are being counted as two tests, not one. The Department of Health and Social Care and Public Health England each confirmed the double-counting. This inflates the daily reported diagnostic test numbers by over 20 per cent, with that proportion being much higher earlier on in the crisis before home test kits were added to the daily totals. Almost 350,000 more tests have been reported in Government data than people tested since the start of the pandemic. It is not the first time the Government has been caught massaging the testing data. It was accused last month of including thousands of home tests which had been posted but not completed in a bid to reach its target of 100,000 tests. Jon Ashworth MP, Labour’s Shadow Health Secretary, said: “Ministers have already received an embarrassing slap on the wrists for their dodgy spin on testing figures. It seems they haven’t learnt their lesson.” The Government announced at the beginning of May that it would be extending its target from 100,000 tests per day to 200,000 tests per day. But so far it has only hit the 100,000 target nine times in the 20 days since its introduction. Global health experts said the Government should stop fixating on its arbitrary targets and instead focus on making testing work to drive down Covid-19 infections in the UK.
When the coronavirus pandemic hit, the future of the Cannard Family Farm—whose organic vegetables supplied a single Berkeley restaurant—was looking stark. Bob Cannard built his 30-year career by rejecting organic certification in favor of his own “better than organic” breed of “natural process agriculture,” enriching the soil on his Green String Farm with crushed rock and compost. He and his son have long sold the fruits of their labor to the famous restaurant Chez Panisse. But in March, the stay-at-home order hit, and the restaurant closed. [Chef Alice] Waters was worried about the vulnerable situation her workers and producers were finding themselves in. She rushed to establish a subscription CSA, which stands for community supported agriculture, offering weekly food boxes that could be picked up at the shuttered restaurant, filled with goodies from her regular producers like Cannard. “I’m trying to connect our network with the people who would like to have that food in their home,” she said. “Farmers are always in an uphill battle, especially ecological farmers,” says Wiig of the Community Alliance with Family Farmers. “We’ve been able to keep farm markets open as essential businesses, but crowds have decreased with people afraid to go out, and sales are down.” Community Alliance was quick to jump in, becoming a “matchmaker” for producers and buyers on its website. They’re also providing all kinds of information for farmers about how to start and run a CSA.
President Trump’s enthusiastic embrace of a malaria drug that he now says he takes daily — and the resulting uproar in the news media — appears to be interfering with legitimate scientific research into whether the medicine might work to prevent coronavirus infection or treat the disease. The drug, hydroxychloroquine ... is also widely used to treat lupus and other autoimmune diseases. But specialists — including Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the government’s top infectious disease expert — say the jury is still out. Mr. Trump’s frequent pronouncements and misstatements — he has praised the drug as a “game changer” and a “miracle” — are only complicating matters. Last week, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, which Dr. Fauci leads, announced a 2,000-patient study to determine whether hydroxychloroquine, when combined with the antibiotic azithromycin, “can prevent hospitalization and death from Covid-19,” joining more than 50 other clinical trials that are continuing in the United States. Researchers around the country said the controversy was depressing enrollment in their clinical trials. The president’s trade adviser, Peter Navarro ... said “hydroxy hysteria” in the news media — not Mr. Trump — was to blame. “Has the media’s war of hysteria on hydroxychloroquine killed people?” Mr. Navarro asked in an interview. “If the scientific evidence does indeed prove that the medicine has both prophylactic and therapeutic value, the answer is yes.”
Note: In a survey reported in this New York Post article, over 2,000 physicians were asked which drug was most effective in treating the coronavirus. Hydroxychloroquine was chosen by the greatest number of those surveyed (37%). Remember that chlorequine has already been proven safe for other illnesses and is very cheap as the patent expired. So big Pharma, who are huge sponsors of the media, don't like this drug. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on media corruption and the coronavirus from reliable major media sources.
The uncertainty surrounding coronavirus has been a huge source of anxiety throughout this pandemic, as scientists have struggled to uncover not just a treatment for the disease, but also basic facts about its existence. Though many have been concerned about infection through items like groceries or mail deliveries, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recently issued updated guidance saying that coronavirus “does not spread easily” from touching surfaces or objects. “It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes,” the CDC says. “This is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads, but we are still learning more about this virus.” The CDC still notes, however, that the virus spreads 'very easily and sustainably’ from person to person. As precautions against infection, the organization continues to recommend that people wash their hands often with soap and water and maintain six feet of social distance from others. Despite the update regarding transmission through objects, it still says that Americans should routinely clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces.
Public health officials in some states are accused of bungling coronavirus infection statistics or even using a little sleight of hand to deliberately make things look better than they are. In Virginia, Texas and Vermont, for example, officials said they have been combining the results of viral tests, which show an active infection, with antibody tests, which show a past infection. Public health experts say that can make for impressive-looking testing totals but does not give a true picture of how the virus is spreading. In Florida, the data scientist who developed the state’s coronavirus dashboard, Rebekah Jones, said this week that she was fired for refusing to manipulate data “to drum up support for the plan to reopen.” In Georgia, one of the earliest states to ease up on lockdowns and assure the public it was safe to go out again, the Department of Public Health published a graph around May 11 that showed new COVID-19 cases declining over time in the most severely affected counties. The daily entries, however, were not arranged in chronological order but in descending order. Georgia's Department of Public Health also regularly publishes a graph that shows cases over time, except new infections are not listed on the day they came back positive, which is the practice in many other states. Instead, Georgia lists new cases on the day the patient first reported symptoms. That practice can shift the timeline of the outbreak and make it appear as if the state is moving past the peak.
Note: It's quite interesting to note that they made no mention of fudging the figures to make things look worse than they are, like doctors being instructed to list cause of death as COVID-19 even when they aren't certain. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption and the coronavirus from reliable major media sources.
When President Donald Trump fired State Department Inspector General Steve Linick on May 15, it wasn’t the first time he took aim in recent weeks at the work of a government watchdog. In the last six weeks, Trump has fired or replaced four inspectors general, including Linick, part of a broad effort to roll back post-Watergate government accountability measures. In Linick’s case, Trump acted on the recommendation of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Congressional Democrats say Linick’s office was investigating Pompeo for alleged misuse of Department staffers and Trump’s 2019 declaration of a state of emergency to sell $8.1 billion in U.S. arms to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. At a moment when the President is engaged in a rolling purge of government officials, what Pompeo may or may not have done has been eclipsed by the Administration’s campaign to free itself from independent oversight. Last month, Trump fired Michael Atkinson, the intelligence community inspector general, and Department of Defense acting inspector general Glenn Fine, a move that also removed Fine from his post as head of the Pandemic Response Accountability Committee that oversees some $2 trillion in emergency coronavirus spending. On May 1, Trump said he would replace the Department of Health and Human Services’ senior deputy IG Christi Grimm, who released an April report that said hospitals were experiencing “severe shortages of testing supplies” ... amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The federal government has ramped up security and police-related spending in response to the coronavirus pandemic, including issuing contracts for riot gear, disclosures show. The purchase orders include requests for disposable cuffs, gas masks, ballistic helmets, and riot gloves, along with law enforcement protective equipment for federal police assigned to protect Veterans Affairs facilities. The orders were expedited under a special authorization “in response to Covid-19 outbreak.” “Between 2005 and 2014, VA police departments acquired millions of dollars’ worth of body armor, chemical agents, night vision equipment, and other weapons and tactical gear,” The Intercept reported last year. But an Inspector General report in December 2018 found there was little oversight. The CARES Act, the $2.2 trillion stimulus legislation passed in late March, also authorized $850 million for the Coronavirus Emergency Supplemental Funding program, a federal grant program to prepare law enforcement, correctional officers, and police for the crisis. The funds have been dispensed to local governments to pay for overtime costs, purchase protective supplies, and defray expenses related to emergency policing. The grants may also be used for the purchase of unmanned aerial aircraft and video security cameras for law enforcement. Motorola Solutions, a major supplier of police technology, has encouraged local governments to use the new money to buy a range of command center software and video analytics systems.
A new scientific analysis of the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) has argued that scientists should not rule out the possibility that the virus originated in a laboratory setting. The new study ... was published on the site bioRxiv hosted by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. "Our observations suggest that by the time SARS-CoV-2 was first detected in late 2019, it was already pre-adapted to human transmission to an extent similar to late epidemic SARS-CoV. However, no precursors or branches of evolution stemming from a less human-adapted SARS-CoV-2-like virus have been detected," the authors of the study explained in the abstract. The analysis explains that there is still no clear evidence to point to a precise origin of the virus. Based on the genetic makeup and samples of the virus, it remains unclear whether SARS-CoV-2 adapted inside an intermediary animal host, within a human, or in a laboratory setting. It could have potentially jumped from species to species within a lab. In conclusion, the study cautions that various possibilities for how the outbreak began in humans "means that we need to take precautions against each scenario to prevent re-emergence." As Newsweek reported on April 27, the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency updated an assessment of the origins of the novel coronavirus pandemic to suggest that it could have accidentally leaked from a laboratory in Wuhan, China.
Big Tech companies are aggressively tamping down on COVID-19 “misinformation” — opinions and ideas contrary to official pronouncements. Dr. Knut M. Wittkowski, former head of biostatistics, epidemiology and research design at Rockefeller University, says YouTube removed a video of him talking about the virus that had racked up more than 1.3 million views. Wittkowski, 65, is a ferocious critic of the nation’s current steps to fight the coronavirus. He has derided social distancing, saying it only prolongs the virus’ existence, and has attacked the current lockdown as mostly unnecessary. Wittkowski, who holds two doctorates in computer science and medical biometry, believes the coronavirus should be allowed to create “herd immunity,” and that short of a vaccine, the pandemic will only end after it has sufficiently spread through the population. “I was just explaining what we had,” Wittkowski told The Post of the video, saying he had no idea why it was removed. “They don’t tell you. They just say it violates our community standards. There’s no explanation for what those standards are or what standards it violated.” In articles and interviews across the web, he has likened COVID-19 to a “bad flu.” That likely made him a target for YouTube. “Anything that goes against [World Health Organization] recommendations would be a violation of our policy,” CEO Susan Wojcicki told CNN.
Year after year, the bombs fell — on wedding tents, funeral halls, fishing boats and a school bus, killing thousands of civilians and helping turn Yemen into the world’s worst humanitarian crisis. Weapons supplied by American companies, approved by American officials, allowed Saudi Arabia to pursue the reckless campaign. But in June 2017, an influential Republican senator decided to cut them off, by withholding approval for new sales. It was a moment that might have stopped the slaughter. Not under President Trump. Trade adviser Peter Navarro ... wrote a memo to Jared Kushner and other top White House officials calling for an intervention. He titled it “Trump Mideast arms sales deal in extreme jeopardy, job losses imminent.” Within weeks, the Saudis were once again free to buy American weapons. The intervention, which has not been previously reported, underscores a fundamental change in American foreign policy under Mr. Trump. Where foreign arms sales in the past were mostly offered and withheld to achieve diplomatic goals, the Trump administration pursues them mainly for the profits they generate and the jobs they create, with little regard for how the weapons are used. Mr. Trump has tapped Mr. Navarro ... to be a conduit between the Oval Office and defense firms. His administration has also rewritten the rules for arms exports, speeding weapon sales to foreign militaries. The State Department, responsible for licensing arms deals, now is charged with more aggressively promoting them.
Spit into a cup when you land in an airport, and your DNA is stored. Every phone in every city talks to every other nearby device. Cross-border travel is enabled only by governments sharing data about millions of private movements. These are all possible visions of a future that the coronavirus pandemic has rushed on us. But a lurch into an even more intense era of mass data-collection - the vast hoovering up of who went near whom and when, who is healthy to travel, and even scraps of personal DNA languishing in databases - appears to be on the verge of becoming the new reality. It took the attacks of September 11, 2001 to shove aside the previous decade's phobia of mass surveillance ... in exchange for keeping us safe from terror. Over the next 15 years, billions of people agreed to a tacit deal where Facebook or Google were permitted to learn a staggering amount about them. But the challenge presented by Covid-19 - and the urgent need to trace contacts and movements - is of another scale of intimacy. South Korea located over 10,000 cellphones near the latest outbreak and texted them. The UK government has toyed with a centralized database of movements and health records, secured by government cyber-spies, able potentially to see who has been sick and who they have been near. Russia and many others have issued QR codes. China is putting surveillance cameras right outside people's doors. Will we look back at 2020 as the moment privacy finally evaporated?
In the depths of the ocean, and out of sight for most of us, there’s a quiet miracle happening. Many humpback whale populations, previously devastated by commercial whaling, are making a comeback. A recent study on humpbacks that breed off the coast of Brazil and call Antarctic waters home during the summer has shown that these whales can now be found in the sort of numbers seen before the days of whaling. In the 1830s there were around 27,000 whales but, after heavy hunting, by the mid-1950s only 450 remained. It is reassuring to see what happens when we leave nature to follow its course. The ban of commercial whaling in 1986 led to a strong recovery and now this population is thought to be around 93% of its original size. By taking away the threat of hunting, and having safe spaces to survive and thrive, humpback numbers in many areas have recovered. This is great news for the whales, of course, but also for the climate. Keeping carbon out of the atmosphere is key to tackling the climate crisis and the contribution that a single whale can make is something we need to take seriously. A single whale stores around 33 tonnes of CO2. If we consider only the Antarctic humpback whales that breed in Brazil, protecting this population alone has resulted in 813,780 tonnes of CO2 being stored in the deep sea. That’s around twice the yearly CO2 emissions of a small country. When a whale dies naturally, it exports carbon stored in its gigantic body to the deep sea, keeping it locked up for centuries.
As Europe and the world emerge blearily to survey the wreckage of lockdown, the question is still left hanging. Was Sweden right? Stockholm gambled in its response to coronavirus, but neither its economy nor its healthcare system have collapsed. Just two months ago, it held hands with Britain in rejecting total lockdown. Then on 23 March, Boris Johnson did a U-turn, leaving Sweden ... on its own. Since then the divergence has become radical and political. The one table that glares at us daily is ... deaths per million. The most stringent lockdowns – as in China, Italy, Spain, New Zealand and Britain – have yielded both high and low deaths per million. Hi-tech has apparently “worked” in South Korea, but so has no-tech in Sweden. Sweden’s 319 deaths per million is far ahead of locked-down Norway’s 40 and Denmark’s 91, but it’s well behind locked-down UK’s 465 and Spain’s 569. Sweden’s light-touch policy is led by two scientists, Johan Giesecke and his protégé Anders Tegnell. The latter currently leads Stockholm’s strategy with ... 73% popular support. Tegnell has been emphatic throughout. A degree of social distancing and avoiding crowds is enough. As for lockdown, “Nothing to do with [it] has a scientific basis.” [Sweden] has kept itself open and at work, and has not seen the surge in “all-causes excess deaths” of the UK and other high-lockdown states. According to Tegnell ... “there is no other escape” but to find ways of living with this virus. Sweden gambled in its response, but so did the rest of the world. The UN warns that the world could lose four years of growth at a cost of $8.5 trillion. Famine and further disease will be rife. That was surely the greater gamble.
Note: Read a balanced, informative New York Times article written by a Swede about her experience there. This graph shows that Sweden is doing well compared to other countries considering that they have not instituted a lockdown. For more, see concise summaries of revealing news articles on the coronavirus from major media sources.
Last week, New York’s governor, Andrew Cuomo, announced that Bill Gates would be responsible for “reimagining” New York’s education system. Cuomo also asked former Google chief executive Eric Schmidt to lead a panel planning New York’s post-Covid tech infrastructure. As Naomi Klein writes, the appointments of Schmidt and Gates represent a “Pandemic Shock Doctrine ... that is being rushed into being as the bodies still pile up [and] treats our past weeks of physical isolation not as a painful necessity to save lives, but as a living laboratory for a permanent – and highly profitable – no-touch future”. Schmidt’s vision of the future is ... mass surveillance plus public investment in companies in which he has a stake. Even if Schmidt and Gates had good policies, Cuomo’s knighting of them is offensive to American self-government. Nobody voted for them and they are accountable to no one. Cuomo ... is simply allowing billionaires to plan our future directly, taking out the middlemen. Cuomo anointed these tsars at the exact same time that he took vast new powers away from the state legislature, which has not been holding regular legislative hearings since 1 April. Coronavirus has created a constitutional crisis of sorts, one where the rules of representation, power and decision-making are up for grabs. Monopolists are seizing power and market share for themselves, setting themselves up as the arbiters of our collective futures.
Note: For more, see this revealing article by Naomi Klein in the Intercept. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus from reliable major media sources.
Spot is focused on the asphalt path ahead, where a few joggers and bicyclists are out for some socially distanced sunshine. A cyclist in a brimmed hat rides past. Spot pipes up, not with a bark, but with a recorded message. “Let’s keep Singapore healthy,” comes a woman’s voice, polite but firm. “For your own safety, and for those around you, please stand at least one meter apart. Thank you.” Spot [is] an agile, four-legged, arrestingly doglike robot that Singapore has deployed to help enforce distancing measures during the second month of a partial coronavirus lockdown. Developed by Boston Dynamics of Waltham, Mass., Spot is one of the world’s most advanced commercial robots, last seen opening doors, hauling a truck or dancing to Bruno Mars in a slate of mesmerizing promotional videos. Its two-week pilot in a park here is seen as a test of how machines and artificial intelligence could help reduce human contact in public spaces. Singapore officials said the goal of using Spot was “reducing the manpower required for park patrols and minimizing physical contact among staff, volunteer safe distancing ambassadors and park visitors.” Cameras installed on its body will help estimate the number of visitors in the park, but officials said they cannot recognize individuals. If the trial is successful, officials said they would consider deploying Spot ... at other parks. A second Spot robot has also been in use since last month to deliver medicines at an isolation facility housing thousands of COVID-19 patients.
Note: Click on the link above to see this robotic canine. Robot policing raises some serious concerns. CNBC has an article claiming as a result of the virus, we need social robots, robot avatars, and more. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus from reliable major media sources.
Dr Stefan Peterson, chief of health at Unicef, cautioned that the blanket lockdowns imposed in many low and middle income [countries] are not an effective way to control Covid-19 and could have deadly repercussions. “Indiscriminate lockdown measures do not have an optimal effect on the virus,” he [said]. “If you’re asking families to stay at home in one room in a slum, without food or water, that won’t limit virus transmission. I’m concerned that lockdown measures have been copied between countries for lack of knowing what to do, rarely with any contextualisation for the local situation.” According to a stark report published in Lancet Global Health journal on Wednesday, almost 1.2 million children could die in the next six months due to the disruption to health services and food supplies caused by the coronavirus pandemic. The modeling ... found that child mortality rates could rise by as much as 45 per cent due to coronavirus-related disruptions, while maternal deaths could increase by almost 39 per cent. Dr Peterson said these figures were in part a reflection of stringent restrictions in much of the world that prevent people leaving their homes without documentation, preventing them from accessing essential health care services. In some countries the public are also avoiding hospitals and health centres for fear of picking up Covid-19. Dr Peterson warned that these trends have resulted in a reduction in the “effective utilization of services” - a shift which ... could be more dangerous than the virus itself.
Indonesia's Government has rolled out what it calls rice ATMs across Jakarta to assist the needy, as the coronavirus pandemic takes a heavy toll on South-East Asia's largest economy. Authorities have so far rolled out 10 machines across greater Jakarta — home to more than 30 million people — to dispense 1.5 kilograms of rice to the poor, as millions have found themselves out of work due to coronavirus social distancing measures. Jakarta resident Agus, who goes by one name, lost his job as a labourer in early March. It is estimated up to 70 per cent of Indonesia's labour force works informally, meaning the impact of enforced business shutdowns and stay-at-home orders have been particularly severe. Agus and his family are one of hundreds who have already registered for rice assistance in his district — a requirement to be eligible to access the rice ATM. Officials say the machines can distribute up to 1.5 tonnes of rice per day to 1,000 people. Indonesia's Ministry of Agriculture said that the rice ATMs will operate for at least the next two months and Agus hopes that the government will consider extending the program. "There's no guarantee that me and other people will get a job next month, of course, it'd be better if we can keep the assistance until we earn money again," he said. "The free rice has greatly helped my family to reduce our monthly spending." A rice ATM has also reportedly been installed at Diponegoro University in the city of Semarang, allowing hungry students to access 2kg of rice per week.
What’s more devilishly un-American than launching one of the most massive government surveillance programs of private citizens in U.S. history, all under the guise of protecting people from the coronavirus? That’s the “COVID-19 Testing, Reaching, And Contacting Everyone (TRACE) Act” in all its $100 billion grant giveaway glory. According to H.R. 6666’s text: The taxpayer funds will be used to “trace and monitor the contacts of infected individuals, and to support the quarantine of such contacts, through mobile health units and, as necessary ... at [citizens’] residences.” That means government comes to your home, taps on your door and demands you take a COVID-19 test. And if you test positive, that means the government makes sure you stay at home. The top dogs at the Health and Human Services and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are in control of disbursing the $100 billion to local governments to carry out the COVID-19 testing — more specifically, to “hire, train, compensate and pay the expenses of individuals” to staff mobile health units and to knock on citizens’ doors and to enforce compliance with quarantining. This is nothing but a massive government surveillance program cloaked in a cure-the-coronavirus label. A petition at Change.org to stop the nonsense has generated about 28,000 signatures. “HR 6666 violates inalienable rights to one’s person, home and property, to one’s life, freedoms, privacy and security,” the petition states.
Note: Why the huge price tag of $100 billion, which is more than the entire 2019 budget for the US Dept. of Health and Human Services? Explore this bill which greatly threatens privacy and civil rights on the website of the US Congress at this link. This excellent and well researched video leaves little doubt that some people will be taken from their homes and children taken from their mothers. For those concerned about being traced and quarantined, this article has good information on who is behind it all. Sign a petition opposing this bill on this webpage.
China placed 50 million people under quarantine in Hubei Province in January. Since then, many liberal democracies have taken aggressive authoritarian measures. One country, however, stands out as an exception. Rather than declare a lockdown ... Sweden asked its citizens to practice social distancing on a mostly voluntary basis. They eschewed harsh controls, fines, and policing. Swedish authorities imposed some restrictions designed to flatten the curve: no public gatherings of more than 50 people, no bar service, distance learning in high schools and universities. Many restaurants remain open [and] young children are still in school. Sweden has not introduced location-tracing technologies or apps, thus avoiding threats to privacy and personal autonomy. Sweden has won praise in some quarters for ... keeping its per capita death rate lower than those of Belgium, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, and the United Kingdom. But it has come in for criticism in other quarters for exceeding the per capita death rates of other Nordic countries. Swedish authorities have argued that the country’s higher death rate will appear comparatively lower in hindsight. The country’s intensive care units have not been overrun. Estimates from the OECD suggest that every month of pandemic-related restrictions will shrink the economies of advanced countries by two percent. France, Germany, Italy, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States ... will see their economies shrink by more than 25 percent within a year. Unemployment is rising to levels unheard of since the 1930s—fueling political backlash and deepening social divisions. There are good reasons for countries to begin easing their restrictions.
Note: Read a balanced, informative New York Times article written by a Swede about her experience there. This graph shows that Sweden is doing well compared to other countries considering that they have not instituted a lockdown. For more, see concise summaries of revealing news articles on the coronavirus from major media sources.
Sweden’s coronavirus choices are unique. The Scandinavian country is the only Western one not to impose a lockdown and will suffer less economic damage as a result. Sweden’s minority government relies on centre-left, centre-right and green parties to pass laws so there’s more political consensus around its pandemic policy than might be the case elsewhere. Public trust in the authorities meant guidelines on social distancing were largely followed without a lockdown. Sweden’s Covid-19 death rate, of around 322 deaths for every million people, is substantially below the UK, Italy and Spain, which imposed full lockdowns. Still, Sweden’s death toll is higher than its Nordic peers or Germany as a result of the trade-off to limit the economic damage. At least the bet paid off. Swedish GDP shrank 0.3% in the first quarter from the previous three months, less than a tenth of the pace at which the euro zone economy contracted. The generous welfare system makes it easy for Swedish workers to self-isolate without suffering financial hardship. Their country spends roughly a quarter of its GDP on social spending ... and compensates workers for the majority of wages if they are furloughed. This applies even to the self-employed. And given public debt amounted to only 35% of GDP in 2019, fiscal policy had plenty of room to help the economy. The government last month announced a 39 billion Swedish crown ($4 billion) scheme to reimburse up to three-quarters of businesses’ fixed costs, based on lost turnover.
Note: Read a balanced, informative New York Times article written by a Swede about her experience there. This graph shows that Sweden is doing well compared to other countries considering that they have not instituted a lockdown. For more, see concise summaries of revealing news articles on the coronavirus from major media sources.
The FBI inadvertently revealed one of the U.S. government’s most sensitive secrets about the Sept. 11 terror attacks: the identity of a mysterious Saudi Embassy official in Washington who agents suspected had directed crucial support to two of the al-Qaida hijackers. The disclosure came in a new declaration filed in federal court by a senior FBI official in response to a lawsuit brought by families of 9/11 victims that accuses the Saudi government of complicity in the terrorist attacks. The declaration ... represents a major breakthrough in the long-running case, providing for the first time an apparent confirmation that FBI agents investigating the attacks believed they had uncovered a link between the hijackers and the Saudi Embassy in Washington. The disclosure, which a senior U.S. government official confirmed was made in error ... shines a light on the extraordinary efforts by top Trump administration officials in recent months to prevent internal documents about the issue from ever becoming public. “This shows there is a complete government cover-up of the Saudi involvement,” said Brett Eagleson, a spokesman for the 9/11 families whose father was killed in the attacks. “It demonstrates there was a hierarchy of command that’s coming from the Saudi Embassy to the Ministry of Islamic Affairs [in Los Angeles] to the hijackers.” Ironically, the declaration identifying the Saudi official in question was intended to support recent filings ... barring the public release of the Saudi official’s name and all related documents.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on 9/11 from reliable major media sources. Then explore the excellent, reliable resources provided in our 9/11 Information Center.
Whether you are directly or indirectly affected by the COVID-19 viral disease, you may be feeling down as a result of the novel coronavirus pandemic. There are many solutions out there to help lift your spirits, but not all are backed by research in behavioral science, nor specifically by evidence from the study of happiness and well-being. However, Professor Laurie Santos at Yale University has synthesized the science of well-being into a course for students at Yale, a course for students on Coursera, and has most recently transformed her work into a digital health program on Pattern Health ... that can be licensed by employers to provide to their employees. The recommendations that stem from the science of well-being are useful in normal times, but essential in coronavirus times, where the collective hit to well-being is being felt across the globe. There are 9 major insights that can be taken from Santos’ Science of Well-Being program [presented] here to help improve your quarantine well-being. They are: practice your signature strengths, savor life, be grateful, be kind, stay socially connected while physically distanced, exercise regularly, sleep well, meditate, and feel rich with time. With these nine strategies, you can successfully improve your quarantine well-being. Laurie Santos recommends daily journaling to track and raise your awareness about how each of these happiness-boosting strategies are going for you.
During New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s daily coronavirus briefing on Wednesday, the somber grimace that has filled our screens for weeks was briefly replaced by something resembling a smile. The inspiration ... was a video visit from former Google CEO Eric Schmidt, who joined the governor’s briefing to announce that he will be heading up a blue-ribbon commission to reimagine New York state’s post-Covid reality, with an emphasis on permanently integrating technology into every aspect of civic life. Just one day earlier, Cuomo had announced a similar partnership with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to develop “a smarter education system.” It has taken some time to gel, but something resembling a coherent Pandemic Shock Doctrine is beginning to emerge. Call it the “Screen New Deal.” Far more high-tech than anything we have seen during previous disasters, the future that is being rushed into being as the bodies still pile up treats our past weeks of physical isolation not as a painful necessity to save lives, but as a living laboratory for a permanent — and highly profitable — no-touch future. This is a future in which, for the privileged, almost everything is home delivered, either virtually via streaming and cloud technology, or physically via driverless vehicle or drone, then screen “shared” on a mediated platform. It’s a future in which our every move, our every word, our every relationship is trackable, traceable, and data-mineable by unprecedented collaborations between government and tech giants.
[A] 26-minute video called Plandemic has exploded on social media in recent days, claiming to present a view of COVID-19 that differs from the "official" narrative. The video has been viewed millions of times on YouTube via links that are replaced as quickly as the video-sharing service can remove them for violating its policy against "COVID-19 misinformation." In it, filmmaker Mikki Willis conducts an uncritical interview with Judy Mikovits. Many of Mikovits' claims concern ... conflicts that she attributes to various high-profile individuals. Among them are Dr. Anthony Fauci [and] Dr. Robert Redfield. Mikovits ... says Fauci has profited from patents bearing his name that were derived from research done at NIAID. The Associated Press did report in 2005 that scientists at the National Institutes of Health "have collected millions of dollars in royalties for experimental treatments without having to tell patients [they] had a financial connection." Fauci [was] among those who received royalty payments. Mikovits also [casts] doubt on the official statistics regarding COVID-19 deaths, saying that doctors and hospitals have been "incentivized" to count deaths unrelated to the disease. In fact, a 20% premium was tacked on to Medicare payments for treatment of COVID-19 patients. The video correctly points to U.S. cooperation with and funding for the Wuhan laboratory. In [a] 2009 paper, Mikovits is among 13 researchers who claimed to have found that a mouse retrovirus may contribute to chronic fatigue syndrome. [The paper] "sent shock waves through the scientific community, as it revealed the common use of animal and human fetal tissues were unleashing devastating plagues of chronic diseases."
Note: We've selected the parts of this article supporting Mikovits, though overall it is clearly biased against her. The article strangely fails to mention her claims Fauci stole her research and used it for profit. Why was this video banned from social media? You can still view it here or on this great website which posts many banned videos. Definitely high strangeness here, as you can read in this article about Mikovits in Science magazine. Explore independent research confirming a number of the claims of Mikovits.
The growing gap between America’s rich and everyone else is hardly new. But the extra-ordinarily rapid economic collapse catalyzed by COVID-19 has made the chasm deeper and wider. Since mid-March, more than 30 million people have filed for unemployment. Meanwhile, after a steep but brief dip in March, the stock market rallied. The richest and most well–connected are seeing their wealth reaccumulate, as if by magic, while middle- and working–class families drown in debt that deepens with every passing week. The contrast isn’t just between low-wage workers and billionaire bosses. Bills are mounting for small restaurants and retailers as their applications for the federal Paycheck Protection Program go unanswered. Small retailers closed to comply with social–distancing orders while e-commerce sales, especially from the biggest online platforms, have spiked. Assistance is most readily available to those with lawyers and lobbyists on the payroll. It’s not an exaggeration to say that inequality has the potential to undermine democratic society and threaten global stability. Only about 1 in 4 adults in lower-income households say they have enough money to cover expenses for three months in the case of an emergency. The majority of people laid off are working–class and disproportionately women and people of color. One lost job or missed rent payment threatens to tip them into an economic abyss. More businesses will fail, creating more unemployment and further diminishing consumer demand. About 12.7 million Americans have likely lost employer–provided health insurance since the pandemic began. The richest are steadily climbing ever higher while workers without stable jobs, incomes or savings are sent plummeting downward.
Note: Note that the financial ruin is not caused by the virus, but by the severe lockdown policies being implemented. These policies have no scientific basis. Meanwhile in Sweden with no lockdown policies, no one is being arrested, the country has not spiraled out of control as predicted, and the economy is fairing well. Is it worth saving thousand of lives with these severe policies at the cost of hundreds of millions being plunged into poverty worldwide? For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus from reliable major media sources.
Fear of catching coronavirus on public transport has helped lead to a boom in cycle-to-work schemes. The schemes saw a 200% increase in bicycle orders from people working for emergency services. Demand for more mobility and exercise amid lifestyle changes imposed by the lockdown has also boosted bike sales across the UK. Some bike stores are battling to meet demand. Broadribb Cycles in Bicester normally despatches 20-30 bikes a week, but manager Stuart Taylor says the shop is currently selling 50 bikes every day. Rusty cyclists may be nervous on busy roads, so the pressure group Cycling UK has commissioned research showing how 100 "pop-up" lanes in 10 English cities could make cycling and walking easier. It maps UK cities which have created extra cycle lines during the crisis, in many cases taking over one car lane on a dual carriageway. The Cycling UK research from Leeds looks at English cities with a high cycling potential and has identified 99.2 miles of streets and roads ... which could benefit from temporary walking and cycling infrastructure. Cities round the world have been freeing space for people on foot and bikes, in response to the coronavirus lockdown. In Germany, expanded cycle lanes have been marked by removable tape and mobile signs. Paris is rolling out 650 kilometres of cycleways, including a number of pop-up "corona cycleways". Some cities, like Milan, are making the changes permanent.
President Donald Trump has vetoed legislation that limited a president’s ability to wage war against Iran without the approval of Congress. Mr Trump said that he vetoed the Iran war powers resolution because it was “insulting” to the presidency. Congress passed the Iran war powers resolution in the aftermath of the US killing of Iranian general Qassem Soleimani, amid widespread concerns about tensions between the US and Iran. At the time, the resolution – which was introduced to Congress by Democratic Senator Tim Kaine – showed bipartisan support for reigning-in president Trump’s war-making powers. “The resolution implies that the President’s constitutional authority to use military force is limited to defense of the United States and its forces against imminent attack. That is incorrect,” Trump said. “We live in a hostile world of evolving threats, and the Constitution recognizes that the President must be able to anticipate our adversaries’ next moves and take swift and decisive action in response. That’s what I did!” Congress is not expected to override the president’s veto during a vote on Thursday, as Republicans hold a 53-to 47-seat majority in the US senate. Mr Kaine on Wednesday called on senators to vote with him to override the veto, saying on Twitter: “I urge my colleagues to join me in voting to override his veto—Congress must vote before sending our troops into harm’s way.” The resolution was passed by the House of Representatives in March and the Senate in April.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on war from reliable major media sources.
An administration advisory group just released a report recommending opening more public lands to uranium extraction. The steps recommended in a new report by the Nuclear Fuel Working Group, an industry-stacked panel the president created through an executive order in July 2019, look a lot like pre-determined conclusions. One of the most alarming should worry every Arizonan, and frankly every American: excluding uranium mines from the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), which gives Americans the chance to review and comment on major proposals that impact them. The report, if it’s implemented, paves the way for dangerous mining of the sort that even industry cheerleaders don’t suggest in public. The report spells it out in black and white when it recommends that federal regulators “consider categorical exclusions for uranium mineral exploration and development activities.” A categorical exclusion is offered only to individual projects determined to have no impact on the environment. The Trump administration wants to take advantage of widespread stay-at-home policies to weaken laws that protect us from unchecked pollution. These recommendations are another in a long line of industry giveaways being pushed under cover of pandemic without public scrutiny. The American people should reject this report. And as a credible new analysis from the Grand Canyon Trust shows us, even if we wanted to take the report seriously, there’s no such thing as a truly “safe” uranium mine.
Most new Covid-19 hospitalizations in New York state are from people who were staying home and not venturing much outside, a “shocking” finding, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said. The preliminary data was from 100 New York hospitals involving about 1,000 patients. It shows that 66% of new admissions were from people who had largely been sheltering at home. The next highest source of admissions was from nursing homes, 18%. Cuomo said nearly 84% of the hospitalized cases were people who were not commuting to work through car services, personal cars, public transit or walking. He said a majority of those people were either retired or unemployed. Overall, some 73% of the admissions were people over age 51. He said the information shows that those who are hospitalized are predominantly from the downstate area in or around New York City, are not working or traveling and are not essential employees. He also said a majority of the cases in New York City are minorities, with nearly half being African American or Hispanic. Cuomo said the state’s hospitalization rate has continued to decline, although at a “painfully slow” rate. He said around 600 infected people were still walking through hospital doors every day, although that number has also declined. While data shows the coronavirus is on the decline in New York, the new survey results appear to clash with Cuomo’s prior assurances that isolation can reliably prevent transmission.
In Europe, nearly 39 million people are being paid by governments to work part time or not at all, a record level of support that will shape the region's ability to claw its way out of the deep recession triggered by the coronavirus. Like never before, European countries are relying on programs that encourage struggling companies to retain employees but reduce their working hours. The state then subsidizes a portion of their pay, in some countries paying as much as 80% of average wages. Unlike the system widely used in the United States, where employers lay off workers who then need to apply for government benefits, programs such as Germany's "Kurzarbeit," which translates to "short-time work," maintain the relationship between employers and their employees, helping work resume quickly once business picks back up. Kurzarbeit is credited with helping prevent mass layoffs in Germany following the 2008 global financial crisis. But present uptake is unprecedented. In Germany, as many as one in four employees may be on short-time work programs. In France and Italy, the number rises to as many as one in three workers or more. This could give Europe a leg up in its recovery, allowing economies in the region to restart quickly and efficiently as demand rebounds. A survey by the Ifo Institute in Germany this week found that 99% of restaurants and 97% of hotels in the country are making use of the Kurzarbeit program, as well as 94% of companies in the auto sector. The average across industries is 50%. [In contrast,] just 62,300 Americans received work-sharing benefits for the week ending April 11, according to the most recent data from the US Department of Labor.
Older Americans suffer disproportionately from chronic pain and its attendant ailments, anxiety, depression and insomnia. In the search for relief, they consume more pharmaceutical drugs than perhaps any comparable cohort on this planet. Psychedelic therapies to treat mental health conditions offer a radical departure from current pharmaceutical models. The psychedelic therapy modalities currently under investigation combine a limited number of treatment sessions with a psychedelic substance, sandwiched between intensive pre- and post-treatment therapy sessions. The ideal, and realistic, outcome from this course of treatment is not mere symptom control, but durable remission. Indeed, these studies are finding that, in clinically significant numbers, recipients of a single course of psychedelic therapy report the experience to be life-changing, and enduring over time. The positive preliminary outcomes of clinical studies by MAPS using MDMA to treat PTSD, and Compass Pathways for psilocybin therapy for treatment-resistant depression, have convinced the FDA to grant them Breakthrough Therapy Designation. In the 1960s researchers were interested in seeing if psychedelic drug treatment could alleviate existential distress in terminal cancer patients. This line of research was picked up 35 years later by Dr. Charles Grob, whose 2011 pilot study of psilocybin treatment for terminal cancer patients found significant enduring reductions in anxiety and improvement in mood at a six-month follow up.
In 1847, the Choctaw people collected $170 to send to people in Ireland who were starving during the potato famine. The struggles experienced by the Irish were familiar to the tribal nation: Just 16 years earlier, the Choctaw people had embarked on the Trail of Tears and lost thousands of their own to starvation and disease. Now, donations are pouring in from people across Ireland for a GoFundMe campaign set up to support the Navajo Nation and Hopi reservation during the coronavirus pandemic. "From Ireland, 170 years later, the favour is returned!" a message from one donor reads. "To our Native American brothers and sisters in your moment of hardship." The donations from Ireland seem to have started after The Irish Times journalist Naomi O'Leary shared the Navajo and Hopi fundraiser on Twitter. "Native Americans raised a huge amount in famine relief for Ireland at a time when they had very little," O'Leary wrote. Ethel Branch, the fundraiser's organizer, estimated on Tuesday that Irish people had donated about half a million dollars to the relief efforts so far, which goes toward food, water and other necessary supplies for Navajo and Hopi communities. "It's just incredible to see the solidarity and to see how much people who are so far away care about our community and have sympathy for what we're experiencing," Branch told CNN. The Navajo Nation has seen more than 2,400 confirmed Covid-19 cases and more than 70 deaths. The Hopi reservation ... has reported 52 positive cases.
The scientist whose advice prompted Boris Johnson to lock down Britain resigned from his Government advisory position on Tuesday. He broke social distancing rules to meet his married lover. Professor Neil Ferguson allowed the woman to visit him at home during the lockdown while lecturing the public on the need for strict social distancing in order to reduce the spread of coronavirus. The woman lives with her husband and their children in another house. The epidemiologist leads the team at Imperial College London that produced the computer-modelled research that led to the national lockdown, which claimed that more than 500,000 Britons would die without the measures. Prof Ferguson has frequently appeared in the media to support the lockdown and praised the "very intensive social distancing" measures. The revelation of the "illegal" trysts will infuriate millions of couples living apart and banned by the Government from meeting up during the lockdown, which is now in its seventh week. On at least two occasions, Antonia Staats, 38, travelled across London from her home in the south of the capital to spend time with the Government scientist, nicknamed Professor Lockdown. The 51-year-old had only just finished a two-week spell self-isolating after testing positive for coronavirus. Police in England and Wales have handed out more than 9,000 fines during the lockdown – equivalent to one every five minutes, while Scotland's chief medical officer, Dr Catherine Calderwood, was forced to resign last month after making two trips to her second home during the coronavirus lockdown.
Note: This article in the UK's Telegraph reveals that Ferguson's models in years past were "severely flawed," resulting in millions of unnecessary livestock deaths and billions in financial loses. This Time magazine article further states, "Ferguson and colleagues published a paper suggesting that even with some social distancing measures, the U.K. could see 250,000 coronavirus deaths and that the U.S. might have about 1 million deaths." For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus from reliable major media sources.
Lately, my country has caught the attention of the media. Sweden’s response to the pandemic has been singled out as “radical,” “lax” and “controversial” because Sweden has not imposed a broad general lockdown. Sweden is known as a country with a strong welfare model, including public healthcare for all, and has among the world’s highest life expectancies. Some might find it difficult to reconcile this image with our approach to containing COVID-19. Sweden shares the same goals as all other countries — to save lives and protect public health. Sweden’s measures differ from other countries in a few significant ways. We are not shutting down schools for younger children or daycare facilities. We have no regulation that forces citizens to remain in their homes. And we have not ordered the closure of any businesses. Swedish laws on communicable diseases are mostly based on voluntary measures and on individual responsibility. The use of recommendations in public health efforts — rather than mandates — is a common strategy in Sweden. One example of this is child immunizations. In contrast to the United States, where all 50 states mandate immunizations for children in order to enroll in school ... Sweden’s child vaccination program is based on recommendations from the authorities and is not a legal requirement. Yet more than 97% of Swedish children are vaccinated. Sweden’s strategy may not provide all the answers, but we believe the combination of voluntary and mandated measures is not only more sustainable for Sweden than a lockdown strategy but will strengthen the resilience of Swedish society to fight this virus in the long run.
Note: Almost every other major media article criticizes Sweden for its approach, which is supported by more than 80% of Swedes. And almost every news article compares them to other Scandinavian countries, which are doing much better than Sweden, but fails to mention its neighbors France, Belgium, and the UK, which have locked down, and are doing much worse than Sweden. Yet even the New York Times has admitted their economy will fair better than most other countries. For more, see concise summaries of revealing news articles on the coronavirus from media sources.
Before the pandemic, 87 million people were uninsured or underinsured in our country, and more than 30,000 people died every year because they couldn’t get to a doctor when they needed to see one. More than half a million families declared bankruptcy each year because of medically related debt. One out of five Americans could not afford the outrageously priced prescription drugs their doctors prescribed to them. And our healthcare outcomes, from maternal deaths to life expectancy to infant mortality, lagged behind most other industrialized nations. And for all of that, the United States still spends nearly $11,000 on healthcare for every adult and child – more than twice the average of other major countries. That was before the pandemic. The situation is far more dire now. Over just the last five weeks, more than 26 million Americans have lost their jobs and now face a crisis unique among advanced countries: for most of them, their healthcare was tied to their jobs. In America, unlike any other major country, when you lose your job, you lose your healthcare. As a result, up to 35 million Americans are estimated to see their health coverage disappear in the middle of this Covid-19 nightmare. Do we really want to continue the current expensive and cruel system that ties healthcare to our jobs? Or do we need a simple, comprehensive and cost-effective system that understands that healthcare is a human right for all of our people – employed or unemployed, young or old, rich or poor?
Publicly traded companies have received more than $1 billion in funds meant for small businesses from the federal government’s economic stimulus package, according to data from securities filings compiled by The Washington Post. Nearly 300 public companies have reported receiving money from the fund, called the Paycheck Protection Program, according to the data compiled by The Post. Recipients include 43 companies with more than 500 workers, the maximum typically allowed by the program. Several other recipients were prosperous enough to pay executives $2 million or more. After the first pool of $349 billion ran dry, leaving more than 80 percent of applicants without funding, outrage over the millions of dollars that went to larger firms prompted some companies to return the money. As of Thursday, public companies had reported returning more than $125 million. Other companies have said they plan to keep the funds. While much of the program’s criticism has focused on the relatively large companies that received the money intended for small businesses, there is some evidence that the program missed its target in other ways, too. The areas where small businesses have been most affected – New York and New Jersey, for example – were less likely to see loans from the program. Only about 15 percent of businesses in the congressional districts most affected by business losses were able to obtain PPP help; by contrast, in the least affected congressional districts, 30 percent were able to obtain them.
One by one, vaccine developers at a White House roundtable convened by President Donald Trump in early March pitched their product as a viable solution to the coronavirus. Stéphane Bancel of Moderna Inc. glanced across the table at the nation's top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, and said he is "very proud to be working with the US government and to have already sent, in only 42 days from the sequence of the virus, our vaccine to Dr. Fauci's team at the NIH." Bancel went on to say that he needed just "a few months" to start phase two of a three-part clinical trial of the sort that typifies vaccine development. (The entire process often takes more than a decade.) The day after the roundtable, the FDA green-lit Moderna's product for trial, making it the first vaccine candidate to advance to the first phase of a clinical study, in which an as-yet unapproved vaccine is injected into the arms of a small group of 45 human volunteers. The effort received another boost on April 16, when the federal Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) awarded Moderna up to $483 million to accelerate the development and manufacturing of the vaccine. The FDA allowed Moderna's RNA vaccine ... to essentially gloss over the animal-testing that typically precede clinical trials in humans. [Moderna's former director of chemistry Dr. Suhaib] Siddiqi said this is cause for alarm. "I would not let that [vaccine] be injected in my body," he said. "I would demand: Where is the toxicity data from the lab?"
Note: Read a New York Times/MSN article titled "Corporate Insiders Pocket $1 Billion in Rush for Coronavirus Vaccine." For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus and vaccines from reliable major media sources.
A group of senators is pushing to include a paycheck guarantee for laid off or furloughed workers in the next coronavirus relief package. Under the senators’ proposal, businesses that see at least a 20% month-over-month drop in revenues could receive grants to help cover workers’ payroll and benefits for at least six months. The grants would cover benefits and up to $90,000 in wages for each furloughed or laid off employee. The grants also include up to 20% of revenue to pay rent, utilities insurance policies and maintenance. The Paycheck Security proposal would allow businesses of all sizes to receive the grants if they prove revenue losses, unless they hold more than 18 months of average payroll in cash or cash equivalents. More than 30 million Americans have filed for unemployment benefits over the past six weeks, as the coronavirus wreaks havoc on the U.S. economy. The senators argue their program would be more effective than the current coronavirus response efforts. Congress has already approved more than $2.5 trillion in coronavirus relief. As state unemployment systems strain to keep up with jobless claims and the Paycheck Protection Program has struggled with technical problems and backlash over big businesses accepting the loans. According to reports, the Justice Department has found possible fraud among businesses seeking relief in a preliminary investigation of money disbursed through PPP.) Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) has introduced a similar measure in the house, which would cover up to $100,000 in workers’ wages. Some Republicans have also warmed to the idea of covering company payrolls.
YouTube has removed two videos of California doctors ... Dan Erickson and Artin Massihi of Bakersfield, California [which] downplayed the risk of the coronavirus and asserted that stay-at-home measures were unnecessary. Facebook, however, has not removed the doctors' videos. The different reactions of YouTube and Facebook highlight the challenges of moderating high-stakes misinformation as it goes viral, especially when it is considered to be expert opinion. The video removed by YouTube showed a one-hour news conference livestreamed by local media, including NBC and ABC affiliates in Bakersfield. By Wednesday, the video had been seen at least 15 million times. Erickson and Massihi, owners of several urgent care centers in the area, presented data from 5,213 COVID-19 tests. The data, they claimed, showed that the coronavirus was widespread in the community already but had caused few deaths. Their data, they said, supported the need to rethink state stay-at-home measures. Furthermore, Erickson ... claimed that COVID-19 death numbers were inaccurate, citing other unnamed doctors in Wisconsin and California who he said had told him that they were urged to list the disease as a cause of death even if it was unrelated. "The only justification for taking it down was that the two physicians on screen had reached different conclusions from the people currently in charge," said Fox News host Tucker Carlson. Massihi posted a video to his personal Facebook page Tuesday thanking supporters while insisting that their comments were meant only to share their own data, not to drive national or even state policy.
Note: Watch an excellent follow-up interview with Dr. Erickson exposing further deception. Even if these doctors are wrong about some of their conclusions, don't they have a right to express their opinions? Will anyone who disputes the claims of government officials be banned from expressing their opinions on social media? Sadly, this BBC article shows that is already true for the coronavirus on YouTube. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus from reliable major media sources.
It wasn’t looking good for South Korea in mid-February. The nation had the world’s second highest number of coronavirus cases after China. But thanks to early preparations, and a robust public health response based around extensive testing and tech-powered contact tracing, the nation’s tally of infections has been kept to just 10,765. More impressive still, no major lockdown or restrictions on movement have been imposed, save a few scattered curfews. On Apr. 15, some 29 million people turned up to vote in parliamentary elections - yet no known infections arose, thanks to strict social distancing at the polls. On Wednesday, South Korea had zero local infections for the first time since the outbreak was first recorded 72 days previously. South Korea’s health and welfare minister Park Neung-hoo explained to TIME exactly how his nation engineered such a remarkable turnaround. "Instead of physical lockdown, we fought the virus through an epidemiological approach such as wide diagnostic testing and isolation of contacts, while encouraging people’s voluntary cooperation for social distancing," [he said]. "We believed this was more effective than forcible measures and indeed it paid off. The key is whether we are able to keep COVID-19 cases within our medical system’s capacity to treat patients. In Korea, we set strict standards and regularly evaluate how patient numbers match our medical capacity, allowing us balance the two pressing needs [of public health and economy]."
Note: Read more on South Korea's success in this NBC article. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on health and the coronavirus pandemic from reliable major media sources.
The World Health Organization lauded Sweden as a “model” for battling the coronavirus as countries lift lockdowns — after the nation controversially refused restrictions. Dr. Mike Ryan, the WHO’s top emergencies expert, said Wednesday there are “lessons to be learned” from the Scandinavian nation, which has largely relied on citizens to self-regulate. Ryan noted that instead of lockdowns, the country has “put in place a very strong public policy around social distancing, around caring and protecting people in long-term care facilities. What it has done differently is it has very much relied on its relationship with its citizenry and the ability and willingness of its citizens to implement self-distancing and self-regulate,” Ryan said. “In that sense, they have implemented public policy through that partnership with the population.” He said the country also ramped up testing and had adequate capacity in hospitals to handle any outbreaks. “I think if we are to reach a new normal, Sweden represents a model if we wish to get back to a society in which we don’t have lockdowns,” Ryan said. The country, which has a population of 10.3 million, has seen more than 20,300 cases and 2,462 deaths as of Thursday afternoon — far higher than its Nordic neighbors, which implemented stricter containment measures, the latest data shows.
Note: Almost every other major media article criticizes Sweden for its approach, which is supported by more than 80% of Swedes. And almost every news article compares them to other Scandinavian countries, which are doing much better than Sweden, but fails to mention its neighbors France, Belgium, and the UK, which have locked down, and are doing much worse than Sweden. Yet even the New York Times has admitted their economy will fair better than most other countries. For more, see concise summaries of revealing news articles on the coronavirus from media sources.
By 11 a.m. on a Wednesday in Antioch, California, hundreds of cars are lined up at the Palabra de Dios Community Church. The cars fill the church’s ample parking lot and snake up the neighboring service street ... waiting for food. Most weekdays since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, a box truck delivers groceries here: bags of fresh kale, lettuce, and radishes; boxes of apples, limes, and tomatoes; canned beans, pastas, and gallons and gallons of milk and juice. As volunteers from the church unload the truck, others quickly sort the food into single-family grocery boxes to put into each car. “Our intention here is to provide food to those who truly need it,” says Ruben Herrera, pastor of Palabra de Dios. Herrera and his congregation don’t regularly operate a food drive out of the parking lot of their church, but for many churches, nonprofits, and social service providers, the COVID-19 crisis has prompted a rapid reconfiguration of resources and efforts to address the needs of their communities. The truckload of food comes from White Pony Express, a nonprofit aimed at alleviating hunger in Contra Costa County. Over the past six years, the staff members at White Pony Express have built and coordinated a growing food redistribution network, in which they “rescue” food with approaching sell-by dates from grocery stores, restaurants, and farmers markets, and redistribute that food to the county’s low-income residents via food pantries, schools, and community centers.
California-based Geoship has raised almost $400,000 from 583 investors in a crowdfunding campaign to create a new kind of housing: affordable, resilient, modular, green, and long-lasting. The inspiration is from Buckminster Fuller, architect and futurist who popularized the geodesic dome. The invention enabling it? Bioceramic, the same material used to coat hip and knee joint replacements. “When Buckminster Fuller was building domes in the sixties and seventies,” CEO Morgan Bierschenk [said], “he kind of guessed that it would be fifty to a hundred years until the right material sciences arrived to really produce geodesic domes.” Bierschenk thinks bioceramic is the right material. It’s a new type of chemically-bonded ceramic that forms strong molecular bonds like a polymer. Crucially, bioceramic has the same property that makes cement so useful: the ability to mix it into a slurry and pour it into a mold without using high heat. That makes it cheap (and green) to manufacture, while enabling it to be much stronger than concrete. The company’s first project is a permanent geodesic village for the homeless in Las Vegas. “The embodied energy calculations of conventional construction is ... somewhere between 80 and 300 tons of embodied CO2 in a typical wood house,” Bierschenk [said]. “ The embodied CO2 in a bioceramic dome is somewhere in the three to 10 ton range.” That’s around 30 times less carbon. The expected lifespan of the building [is] 500 years.
Last year, the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases, the organization led by Dr. Fauci, funded scientists at the Wuhan Institute of Virology and other institutions for work on gain-of-function research on bat coronaviruses. Many scientists have criticized gain of function research, which involves manipulating viruses in the lab to explore their potential for infecting humans, because it creates a risk of starting a pandemic from accidental release. The work entailed risks that worried even seasoned researchers. More than 200 scientists called for the work to be halted. Dr. Fauci played an important role in promoting the work. In 2019, with the backing of NIAID, the National Institutes of Health committed $3.7 million over six years for research that included some gain-of-function work. The program followed another $3.7 million, 5-year project for collecting and studying bat coronaviruses ... bringing the total to $7.4 million. [One] phase of the project [included] gain-of-function research for the purpose of understanding how bat coronaviruses could mutate to attack humans. According to Richard Ebright, an infectious disease expert at Rutgers University, the project ... would enhance the ability of bat coronavirus to infect human cells and laboratory animals using techniques of genetic engineering. SARS-CoV-2, the virus now causing a global pandemic, is believed to have originated in bats. U.S. intelligence, after originally asserting that the coronavirus had occurred naturally, conceded last month that the pandemic may have originated in a leak from the Wuhan lab.
Note: Newsweek reported that in 2017, Anthony Fauci predicted a "surprise outbreak" during Trump's presidency. How could he have known this? This Washington Post article has the title "State Department cables warned of safety issues at Wuhan lab studying bat coronaviruses." For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption and the coronavirus pandemic from reliable major media sources.
The facts are this: COVID-19 is a real disease that sickens some, proves fatal to others, mostly the elderly — and does nothing to the vast majority. That, in a nutshell, is it. The response to the coronavirus is hyped. And in time, this hype will be revealed as politically hoaxed. Or, in the words of Dan Erickson and Artin Massih, doctors and co-owners of Accelerated Urgent Care in Bakersfield, California: Let’s get the country reopened. “Do we need to still shelter in place? Do we need businesses to be shut down? Our answer is emphatically no" ... Erickson said. The scientists leading the coronavirus shutdown charge [based their] estimates on computer modeling. But at the same time ... they were acknowledging that computer modeling is inaccurate and errs on the side of hype. But from these faulty overinflated computer figures came all the constitutionally questionable actions by government — from ordering businesses closed to quarantining-slash-house arresting American citizens to doing some quick and pitiful and economically painful income redistribution schemes via stimulus funds’ legislation. This virus was far more contagious than anything ever before seen or studied, Americans were told. And any time the case counts dropped off and the numbers proved wrong, well, this was due to the social distancing and quarantining and face-mask wearing that Americans had been doing — Americans were told. “When I’m writing up my death report I’m being pressured to add COVID. Why is that? If you’re going to dance on someone’s constitutional rights, you better have a good reason — you better have a really good reason, not just a theory,” Erickson said.
Note: We don't consider the Washington Times to be a highly reliable source, but occasionally they report on key matters that other media fail to report, as is the case with this one. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus from reliable major media sources.
The Covid-19 pandemic is putting the deepening class divide in America into stark relief. Four new classes are emerging. The Remotes: These are professional, managerial, and technical workers – an estimated 35% of the workforce – who are putting in long hours at their laptops ... and collecting about the same pay as before the crisis. The Essentials: They’re about 30% of workers, including nurses, homecare and childcare workers, farm workers, food processors, truck drivers, warehouse and transit workers, drugstore employees, sanitation workers, police officers, firefighters, and the military. Too many Essentials lack adequate protective gear, paid sick leave, health insurance, and childcare. They also deserve hazard pay. The Unpaid: They’re an even larger group than the unemployed – whose ranks could soon reach 25%, the same as in the Great Depression. 43% of adults report they or someone in their household has lost jobs or pay. The unpaid most need cash to feed their families and pay the rent. Fewer than half say they have enough emergency funds to cover three months of expenses. The Forgotten: This group includes everyone ... packed tightly into places most Americans don’t see: prisons, jails for undocumented immigrants, camps for migrant farmworkers, Native American reservations, homeless shelters, and nursing homes. The Essentials, the Unpaid, and the Forgotten are disproportionately poor, black, and Latino and they are disproportionately becoming infected.
With nearly 55,000 confirmed lives lost in the United States so far and widespread economic disruption from the coronavirus, it is increasing apparent that America could learn a thing or two from how other democracies are managing the pandemic. Taiwan, for example, never ordered a lockdown. Its baseball season is in full swing. The country is so flush with pandemic supplies that it is exporting 10 million masks to America and elsewhere. Under Iceland's "lockdown lite," kindergartens and elementary schools are on limited operations, allowing parents to work. South Korea's malls and restaurants are bustling. Constraints are being eased in New Zealand and in Germany. The rate of coronavirus deaths in these five countries — three of which are led by women — is significantly less than that in the United States, which has lost more people to the virus than any nation and has the world's seventh highest COVID-19 mortality rate. Taiwan, South Korea, Iceland and Germany began stockpiling test kits even before their first coronavirus deaths. The United States, meanwhile, fumbled the creation of a COVID-19 test in February and has been behind ever since. Other nations were innovative and aggressive on testing. Taiwan checked passengers disembarking from cruise ships and retested patients diagnosed with influenza or pneumonia to ensure no mistakes were made. South Korea launched drive-thru diagnostics on Feb. 26. Iceland leads the world in per capita testing, while America ranks 41st.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus pandemic from reliable major media sources.
Sweden's strategy to keep large parts of society open is widely backed by the public. It has been devised by scientists and backed by government. There is no lockdown here. On the face of it little has shut down. But data suggests the vast majority of the population have taken to voluntary social distancing, which is the crux of Sweden's strategy to slow the spread of the virus. Usage of public transport has dropped significantly [and] large numbers are working from home. The government has also banned gatherings of more than 50 people and visits to elderly care homes. Around 9 in 10 Swedes say they keep at least a metre away from people at least some of the time. In Stockholm, the epicentre of the virus so far, cases have largely plateaued, although there was a spike at the end of this week, put down partly to increased testing. There is still space in intensive care units and a new field hospital at a former conference venue is yet to be used. The Swedish Public Health Agency has maintained high approval ratings throughout the pandemic. Sweden's decision to leave larger parts of society open than most of Europe came after [chief epidemiologist] Dr Tegnell's team used simulations which anticipated a more limited impact of the virus in relation to population size than those made by other scientists. A core aim was to introduce less stringent social distancing measures that could be maintained over a long period of time. Schools for under-16s have remained open to enable parents to keep working. Unlike in some countries, Sweden's statistics do include elderly care home residents, who account for around 50% of all deaths. Dr Tegnell admits that is a major concern. History will judge which countries got it right.
Note: This excellent graph of deaths per million for coronavirus among 12 major countries shows that Sweden is in the middle of the pack, where if lockdown made a big difference, we would expect it to be at or near the top of the group. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus from reliable major media sources.
Sen. Scott Jensen, R-Minn., a physician in Minnesota, was interviewed by "The Ingraham Angle" host Laura Ingraham on April 8 on Fox News and claimed hospitals get paid more if Medicare patients are listed as having COVID-19 and get three times as much money if they need a ventilator. On April 19, he doubled down on his assertion via video on his Facebook page. Jensen said, "Hospital administrators might well want to see COVID-19 attached to a discharge summary or a death certificate. Why? Because if it's a straightforward, garden-variety pneumonia that a person is admitted to the hospital for – if they're Medicare – typically, the diagnosis-related group lump sum payment would be $5,000. But if it's COVID-19 pneumonia, then it's $13,000, and if that COVID-19 pneumonia patient ends up on a ventilator, it goes up to $39,000." He noted that some states ... specifically New York, list all presumed cases, which is allowed under guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as of mid-April and which will result in a larger payout. The coronavirus relief legislation created a 20% premium, or add-on, for COVID-19 Medicare patients. We rate the claim that hospitals get paid more if patients are listed as COVID-19 and on ventilators as TRUE. Hospitals and doctors do get paid ... three times more if the patients are placed on a ventilator to cover the cost of care and loss of business resulting from a shift in focus to treat COVID-19 cases.
In Italy, where the coronavirus has shuttered more than 2 million businesses and left 1 in every 2 workers without income, some Italians are putting a new twist on an old custom to help the needy and restart the economy. In Rome, the Piazza San Giovanni della Malva used to echo with the noise of crowded cafes and restaurants. Now, the only business open is a grocery shop, Er Cimotto. It's so small that social distancing forces customers to order through the window. On a recent morning, a shopper asks that 10 euros ($10.83) be added to her bill for what's called la spesa sospesa, "suspended shopping." The concept derives from the century-old Neapolitan tradition of "suspended coffee" — when a customer in a cafe pays in advance for someone who can't afford it. Shop owner Michela Buccilli says suspended coffee has been replaced with suspended grocery shopping. "The customer who has something leaves something for those who don't," she says. The store usually doubles the amount donated and provides food that does not spoil fast — such as pasta and canned goods — to a local aid group, the Sant'Egidio Community, that distributes it to the needy. Buccilli says one customer wanted specifically to donate a kilo of oranges to a needy family, so Buccilli sent the aid group a crate of oranges. Suspended shopping is an act of charity in which the donor doesn't show off and the recipient doesn't have to show gratitude. With Italy's economy in suspension, the custom is being broadened.
Gov. Gavin Newsom announced a novel aid program Friday that aims to get restaurants rehiring workers right away while also feeding needy seniors and generating sales tax revenue for city governments. California will team up with the federal government to pay restaurants to provide three meals a day to needy seniors. The partnership between the Federal Emergency Management Agency, state and local governments will provide eligible seniors with 21 meals a week, Newsom said. FEMA will cover 75% of the costs of the meals. The state will cover most of the remaining costs. According to Newsom, the program is a first of its kind in the nation. "This partnership will allow for the ability for restaurants to start rehiring people or keep people currently employed and start preparing meals, three meals a day, seven days a week, and have those meals delivered to our seniors all throughout the state of California," Newsom said. "We will provide an unlimited number of meals, no cap in terms of that support." The governor said the program will also have nutrition guidelines for the meals. "We want to make sure we are focused on locally produced produce," he said. "We want to connect our farms to this effort. We want to focus our values throughout the state of California to get a lot of independent restaurants up and running again as well. And make sure what we are sending to our seniors is low sodium, not high fructose drinks or sugary drinks and the like, so there's guidelines that we're putting out."
Gatherings around the world have been postponed amidst the coronavirus outbreak and social distancing protocols meant to combat the illness. But people everywhere are making efforts to remind others that kindness isn’t canceled during this critical time. In fact, joy and compassion have been encouraged to help everybody get through. A grocery store worker in Vancouver, Wash. is doing much more than stocking shelves while working through the coronavirus quarantine — he’s inspiring people to consider the communication obstacles that the deaf community is facing as people wear masks. Matthew Simmons is deaf and relies on his lip reading skills to communicate with verbal coworkers and customers who don’t use American Sign Language (ASL). But when people began wearing masks, as enforced by the FDA, Simmons was anxious about how he would communicate, so he customized his work shirt to inform people that he reads lips and was provided white boards in order to communicate nonverbally with customers. A family in California is sharing the story of their grandmother’s “hero” nurse, after the healthcare worker went above and beyond her duties to get the elderly woman at risk of dying from the coronavirus on a video call with her son, daughter-in-law and grandkids. “I believe that our communication ... inspired her to persevere in her fight with COVID-19 to stay alive,” Will Wagner [said].
Twice in the last week, Pennsylvania’s official COVID-19 death count spiked. Then, on Thursday, the number plummeted. The state Department of Health provided several justifications for the fluctuations, citing technical issues, lengthy investigations, and the addition of “probable” deaths. Facing mounting questions about the accuracy of the count, officials on Thursday removed more than 200 probable deaths from the tally. Health Secretary Rachel Levine said the change was made in an effort to be transparent. The state’s coroners – tasked with investigating suspicious deaths – have grown increasingly frustrated by the Health Department’s reluctance to seek their help. “There’s a discrepancy in the numbers,” Charles E. Kiessling Jr., president of the Pennsylvania Coroners Association ... said Thursday. The confusion began Sunday, when Pennsylvania raised its coronavirus death toll to 1,112 – an increase of 276 overnight. On Tuesday, the department reported another spike, from 1,204 to 1,564 deaths.The jump that day, first blamed on a computer glitch, was explained as a “reconciliation” of multiple reporting systems.” Levine also said the “significant increase” included “probable positive” COVID-19 deaths. “We will now be reporting probable deaths related to COVID-19 in addition to confirmed deaths,” she said. Jeffrey Conner, the coroner in Franklin County, said he was blindsided by the department’s news on Tuesday that 10 people had died of COVID-19 in the county. As of Wednesday afternoon, he said, he was aware of only one death. On Thursday, the state’s revised data reported just one death for the county.
When an independently-owned grocery store in Kitchener, Ont. caught someone allegedly stealing, they decided to offer help. "Just witnessed a man caught stealing at our local grocery," Twitter user Drkradersma wrote in a post on Monday evening. That grocery store turned out to be Central Fresh Market in midtown Kitchener. The Twitter user says they heard the owner say, "we will feed you," and that, five minutes later, they saw a man walking through the parking lot with a bag full of groceries. Nearly 100 people took to Twitter to find out which grocery store it was and to offer their support. Thousands more liked the post. While Central Fresh Market declined to comment, they took to the platform as well to share their side of the story. "We were simply helping someone in need, many are very fortunate NOT to worry about their next meal," the company wrote on Twitter. The tweet calls food insecurity in the community "heartbreaking." The decision to help the person in question has had a far-reaching impact on the community. Twitter user Drkradersma says their 13-year-old son was watching, too. "This made a powerful impression on him." "Just witnessed a man caught stealing at our local grocery. Watched the owner confront him and pull fruits & vegetables out of his pack. Then heard the owner say, “we will feed you.” 5 minutes later saw the man walking thru the parking lot with a bag full of groceries," [wrote Drkradersma].
The COVID-19 pandemic is far from a great equalizer. In the same month that 22 million Americans lost their jobs, the American billionaire class’s total wealth increased about 10%—or $282 billion more than it was at the beginning of March. They now have a combined net worth of $3.229 trillion. The initial stock market crash may have dented some net worths at first—for instance, that of Jeff Bezos, which dropped down to a mere $105 billion on March 12. But his riches have rebounded: As of April 15, his net worth has increased by $25 billion. These “pandemic profiteers,” as a new report from the Institute for Policy Studies, a progressive think tank, calls them, is just one piece of the wealth inequality puzzle in America. In the background is the fact that since 1980, the taxes paid by billionaires, measured as a percentage of their wealth, dropped 79%. “We’re reading about benevolent billionaires sharing .0001% of their wealth with their fellow humans in this crisis, but in fact they’ve been rigging the tax rules to reduce their taxes for decades—money that could have been spent building a better public health infrastructure,” says Chuck Collins [of] the Institute for Policy Studies and coauthor of the new report, titled “Billionaire Bonanza 2020: Wealth Windfalls, Tumbling Taxes, and Pandemic Profiteers.” Another key finding of the report is that after the 2008 financial crisis, it took less than 30 months for billionaire wealth to return to its pre-meltdown levels. That wealth then quickly exceeded pre-2008 levels. But as of 2019, the middle class in America has not even yet recovered to the level of its 2007 net worth.
Note: This New York Post article shows how 43,000 millionaires in the U.S. will receive a "stimulus" gift averaging $1.6 million each. At the same time, this Reuters article claims that the coronavirus lockdown could plunge half a billion worldwide into poverty. And this BBC article warns of potential massive famines. So who is this lockdown really serving? For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus from reliable major media sources.
YouTube has banned any coronavirus-related content that directly contradicts World Health Organization (WHO) advice. The Google-owned service says it will remove anything it deems "medically unsubstantiated". Chief executive Susan Wojcicki said the media giant wanted to stamp out "misinformation on the platform". The move follows YouTube banning conspiracy theories falsely linking Covid-19 to 5G networks. Mrs Wojcicki made the remarks on Wednesday during her first interview since the global coronavirus lockdown began. "So people saying, ‘Take vitamin C, take turmeric, we’ll cure you,’ those are the examples of things that would be a violation of our policy,” she told CNN. “Anything that would go against World Health Organization recommendations would be a violation of our policy.” Last week, Facebook announced users who had read, watched or shared false Covid-19 information would receive a pop-up alert urging them to visit the WHO's website. Facebook-owned messaging service WhatsApp, meanwhile, stopped users forwarding messages already shared more than four times by the wider community to more than one chat at a time. It comes as some of the UK's largest news publishers, including Daily Telegraph and the Guardian, criticised Google for failing to be transparent about its approach to filtering adverts alongside coronavirus-related content, according to the Financial Times.
Note: So now anything posted by those not deemed to be "experts" will be banned. Whatever happened to free speech? Watch YouTube's CEO spell this out in this video. More excellent, little-known information here in an interview with a respected MD whose video was banned. And how can BBC state links between 5G and Covid-19 are false, when that has yet to be established? Is it just a coincidence this CNBC article states China's 5G networks went online just weeks before the coronavirus outbreak? See also concise summaries of revealing coronavirus news articles.
The coronavirus pandemic has brought hunger to millions of people around the world. National lockdowns and social distancing measures are drying up work and incomes, and are likely to disrupt agricultural production and supply routes — leaving millions to worry how they will get enough to eat. Already, 135 million people had been facing acute food shortages, but now with the pandemic, 130 million more could go hungry in 2020, said Arif Husain, chief economist at the World Food Program, a United Nations agency. Altogether, an estimated 265 million people could be pushed to the brink of starvation by year’s end. “We’ve never seen anything like this before,” Mr. Husain said. “It wasn’t a pretty picture to begin with, but this makes it truly unprecedented and uncharted territory.” This hunger crisis, experts say, is global and caused by a multitude of factors linked to the coronavirus pandemic and the ensuing interruption of the economic order: the sudden loss in income for countless millions who were already living hand-to-mouth; the collapse in oil prices; widespread shortages of hard currency from tourism drying up; overseas workers not having earnings to send home; and ongoing problems like climate change, violence ... and humanitarian disasters. The curfews and restrictions on movement are already devastating the meager incomes of displaced people. The effects of the restrictions “may cause more suffering than the disease itself,” said Kurt Tjossem ... at the International Rescue Committee.
Farmers around the country have been forced to dump milk and waste fresh produce as schools, restaurants and other institutions remain closed due to the coronavirus pandemic. In response, supermarket chain Publix launched a new initiative Wednesday to help struggling farmers — and get the food to Americans who need it most. The company's press release said it will purchase fresh produce and milk from farmers impacted by the COVID-19 crisis and donate the goods directly to Feeding America food banks that are in its "operating area." During the first week of the initiative alone, some 150,000 pounds of produce and 43,500 gallons of milk is expected to be donated, the company said. "As a food retailer, we have the unique opportunity to bridge the gap between the needs of families and farmers impacted by the coronavirus pandemic," said Todd Jones, Publix CEO. "In addition to providing much needed produce and milk to food banks, this initiative provides financial support to farmers during this challenging time." In addition to the new initiative, Publix Super Markets Charities recently made donations which totaled $2 million to help Feeding America's member food banks amid the crisis. Feeding America, which is the largest hunger-relief organization in the U.S., said that before the coronavirus crisis there were 37 million people in the nation who did not have enough food. The number is now expected to increase by an additional 17 million.
Fourteen years ago, two federal government doctors, Richard Hatchett and Carter Mecher, met with a colleague at a burger joint in suburban Washington for a final review of a proposal they knew would be treated like a pińata: telling Americans to stay home from work and school the next time the country was hit by a deadly pandemic. How that idea — born out of a request by President George W. Bush to ensure the nation was better prepared for the next contagious disease outbreak — became the heart of the national playbook for responding to a pandemic is one of the untold stories of the coronavirus crisis. “A pandemic is a lot like a forest fire,” Mr. Bush said in a speech at the National Institutes of Health. “If caught early it might be extinguished with limited damage.” To develop ideas, the Bush administration enlisted Dr. Hatchett, who had served as a White House biodefense policy adviser, and Dr. Mecher, who was a Veterans Affairs medical officer. Dr. Mecher heard from Robert J. Glass, a senior scientist at Sandia. “Targeted social distancing strategies can be designed to effectively mitigate the local progression of pandemic influenza without the use of vaccine or antiviral drugs,” concluded a study that Dr. Glass published. The administration ultimately sided with the proponents of social distancing. Then the coronavirus came, and the plan was put to work across the country for the first time. Dr. Markel called it “very gratifying to see our work used to help save lives.” But, he added, “it is also horrifying.”
Note: Read an excellent essay revealing serious questions about the formation of this policy. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus from reliable major media sources.
The world is at risk of widespread famines "of biblical proportions" caused by the coronavirus pandemic, the UN has warned. David Beasley, head of the World Food Programme (WFP), said urgent action was needed to avoid a catastrophe. A report estimates that the number suffering from hunger could go from 135 million to more than 250 million. Even before the pandemic hit, parts of East Africa and South Asia were already facing severe food shortages caused by drought and the worst locust infestations for decades. Addressing the UN Security Council ... Mr Beasley said... "We could be facing multiple famines of biblical proportions within a short few months". The WFP chief - who has just recovered from Covid-19 - began his Security Council briefing by saying "excuse me for speaking bluntly." There is no blunting what could happen in a world facing - even before this global health crisis - what David Beasley called the worst humanitarian catastrophe since the Second World War. In an interview, he also expressed fear that 30 million people, and possibly more, could die in a matter of months if the UN does not secure more funding and food. The WFP's senior economist, Arif Husain, said the economic impact of the pandemic was potentially catastrophic for millions "who are already hanging by a thread". "It is a hammer blow for millions more who can only eat if they earn a wage," he said in a statement. "Lockdowns and global economic recession have already decimated their nest eggs. It only takes one more shock - like Covid-19 - to push them over the edge."
Note: This Reuters article also claims that the coronavirus could plunge half a billion worldwide into poverty. Though some of this may be fear-mongering to get more money and is quite typical of the media, the article does raise serious questions about the numbers that could die as a direct result of the global lockdown. So who is this lockdown really serving? For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus from reliable major media sources.
A few days after preliminary results from a large-scale antibody study in Santa Clara County suggested coronavirus infections in the county are underreported by a factor as large as 50 to 85, results from a newly-released antibody study conducted in Los Angeles County contained similar findings. The L.A. antibody study was conducted by the University of Southern California and the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health. Unlike the Stanford study, where participants were recruited via Facebook ads, participants in the Los Angeles County were recruited by market services firm LRW Group, which used a large proprietary database to create a random sample of the county population. Of the 1,000 individuals tested in early April, 4.1 percent were found to have COVID-19 antibodies. When adjusting for statistical margin of error, the study finds that 2.8 percent to 5.6 percent of the county's adult population has already been infected, which translates to 221,000 to 442,000 people. If infections are this vastly underreported, then the mortality rate of COVID-19 is substantially lower than current estimates. The Stanford researchers ... projected deaths through April 22 and divided that figure by the number of infections to calculate a "true" mortality rate of .12 to .20 percent when using the weighted figures. Using the unweighted numbers ... one gets a "true" mortality rate of .35 percent, a number almost identical to the mortality rate calculated following antibody tests in a hard-hit German town.
Note: The WHO has claimed a mortality rate of 3.4%, 10 times higher than these studies are showing. The Washington Post on April 17th wrote a very misleading article with "U.S. coronavirus fatality rate rises to 5 percent" as part of the headline, despite knowing about the above study. Could it be that fear mongering serves the WHO, the media, and elites? For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on health and the coronavirus pandemic from reliable major media sources.
High levels of air pollution may be “one of the most important contributors” to deaths from Covid-19, according to research. The analysis shows that of the coronavirus deaths across 66 administrative regions in Italy, Spain, France and Germany, 78% of them occurred in just five regions, and these were the most polluted. The research examined levels of nitrogen dioxide, a pollutant produced mostly by diesel vehicles, and weather conditions that can prevent dirty air from dispersing away from a city. Many studies have linked NO2 exposure to health damage, and particularly lung disease, which could make people more likely to die if they contract Covid-19. “The results indicate that long-term exposure to this pollutant may be one of the most important contributors to fatality caused by the Covid-19 virus in these regions and maybe across the whole world,” said Yaron Ogen ... who conducted the research. A separate study published on 7 April looked at fine particle pollution in the US and found that even small increases in levels in the years before the pandemic were associated with far higher Covid-19 death rates. Another recent paper noted that the high death rates seen in the north of Italy correlated with the highest levels of air pollution. Jenny Bates, an air pollution campaigner at Friends of the Earth, said: “This new study is worrying. This is all the more reason to keep traffic and pollution levels down as much as possible now and get out of this terrible situation with a view to fewer but cleaner vehicles on the road.”
Note: And is it just a coincidence that according to this CNBC article China's 5G networks went online just weeks before the coronavirus outbreak? For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on health and the coronavirus pandemic from reliable major media sources.
Warring gangs in South Africa are working together in an unprecedented truce to deliver much-needed food to people under lockdown. The country has seen a 75% decrease in violent crime since it imposed strict restrictions over the coronavirus pandemic, and normally dangerous streets in Cape Town now see sworn enemies meeting up to collect essential goods to distribute throughout hungry communities. "What we're seeing happen here is literally a miracle," Pastor Andie Steele-Smith said. Steel-Smith works with gang members in his community, many of whom are convicted killers. "They are the best distributors in the country," he said. "They are used to distributing other white powders, but still they are distributing things and then, they know everybody." Preston Jacobs, a member of the "Americans" gang, told CBS News' Debora Patta it "feels nice" to take on a new role and communicate with those in need. "Now I see there are nice people also, and people want to love what we're doing now," Jacobs said. Sansi Hassan of the "Clever Kids" gang expressed hope that this current ceasefire in gang violence could be permanent in the post-lockdown future. "If it can stay like this, then there will be no gang fight," he said. "And every gang will agree with us." Pastor Steel-Smith remains optimistic for his community. "I am proud of you guys," he said to two gang members working to distribute essential goods. "If I died today and went to heaven, I would die a happy man."
It has long been assumed by medical experts that the United States is drastically underreporting the actual number of COVID-19 infections across the country due to limited testing and a high number of asymptomatic cases. Large-scale antibody tests are expected to give researchers an idea of just how widespread the outbreak is, and preliminary results from the first such test in Santa Clara County suggest we are underreporting cases by at least a factor of 50. In early April, Stanford University researchers conducted an antibody test of 3,300 residents in the county. Researchers hoped to put together a sample that was representative of the county's population by selecting individuals based on their age, race, gender and zip code to extrapolate study results to the larger community. The results of the study are preliminary and not peer-reviewed, but the general takeaways would seem to strongly contribute to the notion that there have been a large number of COVID-19 cases that went undetected. Researchers estimate that... the true number of total cases in early April — both active and recovered — ranges between 48,000 and 81,000. The county had reported just under 1,000 cases at the time the study was conducted, which would mean cases are being underreported by a factor of 50 to 85. If the study's numbers are accurate, the true mortality and hospitalization rates of COVID-19 are both substantially lower than current estimates, and due to lag between infection and death, researchers project a true mortality rate between .12 and .20.
Note: See a BMJ article titled "Covid-19: four fifths of cases are asymptomatic." The World Health Organizations in March was claiming a mortality rate of 2 to 4%, which is about 20 times the amount found in this study. Could this be an example of fear mongering? For our best articles filled with reliable, verifiable information on the coronavirus, see this article and this one. And for the critical future implications of all this, explore this penetrating essay. Several more excellent essays can be found here. Key major media news articles on the pandemic are available here.
When we think about people who are behind bars for crimes simple or heinous, our minds take us to a place of judgment. We may view inmates as less than: less intelligent, less successful, less worthy of love and support. We may see them as “other.” The reality is, we may all be a few experiences away from potentially committing a crime. A video that poignantly highlights the dynamics that could lead to incarceration is called Step Inside the Circle. It begins with a group of 235 men in blue uniforms in a yard of a maximum-security prison. Barbed wire and guards surround them. They tower over a petite blond woman wearing a black and white t-shirt that says There Is No Shame. She carries a megaphone through which she invites them to step inside the circle if they have experienced verbal or physical abuse and neglect, if they lived in a home without feeling loved, if they had given up on themselves. One by one and then in multitudes, they join Fritzi Horstman as together they chant “There is no shame,” over and over. A group of them move indoors and sit in a circle of chairs with Horstman admitting her own wounds that led to criminal activity. That opened the door for the participants to describe the wounds they have carried for much of their lives. [The] men were visibly moved, some wiping their eyes, some providing brotherly support and admitted that they were breaking the code by being vulnerable. They discovered that it was a unifying experience and they felt less isolated as a result.
A black Miami doctor was handcuffed outside his home last week while on his way to hand out tents to the city’s homeless during the coronavirus outbreak. Security footage appeared to show a police sergeant handcuffing Dr. Armen Henderson, an internal medicine physician at the University of Miami Health System, as he was placing camping tents in his van. According to Henderson, the officer asked him what he was doing and if he was littering – Henderson told him he lived there. “At some point, he got upset with what I was saying and he handcuffed me,” Henderson [said]. The officer then walked him over to the police car and pointed his fingers at him, all while not wearing a mask. Henderson’s wife, Leyla Hussein, came out of the house with identification to prove they both lived there. Incidents like these underscore why black communities often distrust law enforcement. Only about a third of blacks say local police, “do an excellent or good job in using the appropriate force on suspects,” according to a 2016 Pew Research Center study. After fatal police shootings of black men such as Walter Scott and Alton Sterling, [a] study found that black people were, in fact, more likely to be stopped by police. “If you’re black or a minority, you’re significantly more likely to be arrested if they stop you,” Ted Miller ... who led the study, [said]. In 2019, another study ... revealed black men were 2.5 times more likely than white men to be killed by the police.
Note: Read about a 26-year-old black woman who was an EMT needlessly shot to death in her home and the purely racist murder of 25-year-old jogger Ahmaud Arbery. When will it stop? For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on police corruption from reliable major media sources.
The statewide order to shelter in place that went into effect on March 20 had a beneficial side-effect: Accidents, injuries and fatalities on California roadways were cut in half, saving the state and residents of California $1 billion, according to a UC Davis study. In the 22 days after the shelter-in-place order (March 21-April 11), there was an average of 450 vehicle collisions per day throughout the state, according to the study conducted by the Road Ecology Center at UC Davis. During the same period in 2019, there were 1,128 collisions per day. In the 22 days prior to sheltering in place, there were 1,056 accidents per day. “The reduction in traffic crashes, injuries and fatalities is a bit of a silver lining for people who are staying at home and who are impacted by the pandemic,” said ... project lead author Fraser Shilling. "The reduction in numbers of all collisions, injury, and fatal collision was equivalent to a $40 million/day savings in costs and about $1 billion in savings since the Governor’s order went into effect," the study concluded. The figures were calculated using Federal Highway Administration data, which includes savings from "property damage, treatment of injuries, lost time at work, emergency responses, insurance claims, and the equivalent cost of a life." Not surprisingly, the study found that traffic volume decreased 20% to as much as 55%. "There is no equivalent in our recent transportation history to such large changes in vehicle movement on our state and local roads," the study said.
At least 43,000 American millionaires who are too rich to get coronavirus stimulus checks are getting a far bigger boost — averaging $1.6 million each, according to a congressional committee. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act trumpeted its assistance for working families and small businesses, but it apparently contains an even bigger benefit for wealthy business owners, the committee found. The act allows pass-through businesses — ones taxed under individual income, rather than corporate — an unlimited amount of deductions against their non-business income, such as capital gains. They can also use losses to avoid paying taxes in other years. That gives the roughly 43,000 individual tax filers who make at least $1 million a year a savings of $70.3 billion — or about $1.6 million apiece, according to the Joint Committee on Taxation. Hedge-fund investors and real estate business owners are “far and away” the ones who will benefit the most, tax expert Steve Rosenthal [said]. Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-Texas) claimed that “someone wrongly seized on this health emergency to reward ultrarich beneficiaries.” “For those earning $1 million annually, a tax break buried in the recent coronavirus relief legislation is so generous that its total cost is more than total new funding for all hospitals in America and more than the total provided to all state and local governments,” he stressed in a statement.
A woman with COVID-19 at a Solano County hospital — the nation’s first case from an unknown source — exposed 121 health workers to the coronavirus, yet only three got the disease, a new study of the February case reveals. All three had been in close contact for about two hours with the patient, and two had no protective gear, according to the report published Tuesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Those workers also examined the patient and performed treatments that involved close contact, such as placing her on a breathing machine. The researchers tested just 43 of the 121 workers for the coronavirus because only they had developed a cough or other symptoms similar to those of COVID-19 patients within two weeks after exposure. Across the country, more than 9,200 health workers out of an estimated 18 million have the disease, the CDC reported Tuesday in a separate paper, which notes that the number probably understates the true number of coronavirus infections. Dr. Robert Siegel, an infectious disease expert at Stanford, called the relatively low infection rate from the Solano County patient a hopeful sign. But he added that public health officials should remain vigilant in protecting workers. “The results are promising for health care workers. It means that the risk may be less than we thought,” Siegel said.
Note: If only three out of 121 got the virus, and those three all had prolonged exposure, how contagious really is it? Explore a ZeroHedge article titled "Whistleblower: How CDC Is Manipulating The COVID-19 Death-Toll." For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on health and the coronavirus pandemic from reliable major media sources.
China has imposed restrictions on the publication of academic research on the origins of the novel coronavirus, according to a central government directive and online notices published by two Chinese universities, that have since been removed from the web. Under the new policy, all academic papers on Covid-19 will be subject to extra vetting before being submitted for publication. Studies on the origin of the virus will receive extra scrutiny and must be approved by central government officials. Since late January, Chinese researchers have published a series of Covid-19 studies in influential international medical journals. Some findings about early coronavirus cases - such as when human-to-human transition first appeared - have raised questions over the official government account of the outbreak and sparked controversy on Chinese social media. And now, Chinese authorities appear to be tightening their grip on the publication of Covid-19 research. A Chinese researcher who spoke on condition of anonymity due to fear of retaliation said the move was a worrying development that would likely obstruct important scientific research. "I think it is a coordinated effort from (the) Chinese government to control (the) narrative, and paint it as if the outbreak did not originate in China," the researcher told CNN. Last month, Zhao Lijian, a spokesperson of the Chinese Foreign Ministry, promoted a conspiracy on Twitter that the virus had originated in the US and was brought to China by the US military.
Yanira Soriano met her newborn son for the first time Wednesday after spending nearly two weeks in a medically induced coma. She was eight months pregnant when she showed coronavirus symptoms, tested positive and was quickly intubated, her husband, Walter Sanchez, told CBS News. At that point, Walter said, the doctors conducted an emergency cesarean section while Yanira was on the ventilator. Hospitals across New York are preparing for similar situations. "We really advocate for assessment on a case-by-case basis," said Dr. Dena Goffman, with the Columbia University Irving Medical Center. Goffman co-authored a new study that tested more than 200 pregnant women admitted for delivery in two New York City hospitals for coronavirus whether they showed symptoms or not. Thirty-three women tested positive, but 29 of them showed no symptoms, according to the results published this week in the New England Journal of Medicine. CBS News correspondent Nikki Battiste, who is 37 weeks pregnant, said she was told she'll have to wear a mask when she goes in to deliver, and she'll be tested as soon as she arrives at the hospital. If she tests positive, she'll be isolated as staff take special precautions. Battiste asked Goffman if she would recommend separating her newborn from her if she tests positive for the virus. "For a mom who's asymptomatic and feeling well, we think there are ways to ... potentially keep them together to allow for some of the bonding," Goffman said.
Note: Numerous studies are coming out showing that half or more of those who test positive show no symptoms at all, even in a homeless shelter. Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
The retreat of a Norwegian mountain ice patch, which is melting because of climate change, has revealed a lost Viking-era mountain pass scattered with “spectacular” and perfectly preserved artefacts. The pass, at Lendbreen in Norway’s mountainous central region, first came to the attention of local archaeologists in 2011, after a woollen tunic was discovered that was later dated to the third or fourth century AD. The ice has retreated significantly in the years since, exposing a wealth of artefacts including knitted mittens, leather shoes and arrows still with their feathers attached. Carbon dating of the finds reveals the pass was in use by farmers and travellers for a thousand years, from the Nordic iron age, around AD200-300, until it fell out of use after the Black Death in the 14th century. The bulk of the finds date from the period around AD1000, during the Viking era, when trade and mobility in the region were at their zenith. Of the hundreds of discoveries exposed by the retreating ice, some are structural, such as ... the remains of a small shelter. Other finds are products that were being transported by ... traders potentially carrying them much further afield, including reindeer pelts and antlers. Among them are delicate wooden items such as a small, wood-turned bit for a lamb or goat and a carved distaff for spinning wool - even a Bronze Age ski. Last summer’s melt exposed an item that archaeologists have identified as a snowshoe for horses - “a quite remarkable object in its own right”.
Note: It's interesting to note that this area was warm enough back then that the glacier receded enough to make that pass usable. Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
New Zealand’s prime minister has said she and other ministers will take a 20% pay cut lasting six months to show solidarity with those affected by the coronavirus outbreak, as the death toll continues to rise. Jacinda Ardern said it was important the government’s most highly paid politicians show “leadership and solidarity” with workers on the frontline and those who had lost their livelihoods. Ardern, government ministers and public service chief executives will take the cut for six months, effective immediately. The pay cut will reduce Ardern’s salary by $47,104. Cabinet ministers would take a cut of NZ$26,900 each, while deputy prime minister Winston Peters’ salary would be cut by $33,473. Dr Ashley Bloomfield, the director-general of health who has led the elimination response to the crisis, confirmed he would “definitely” take a pay cut too, as would opposition leader Simon Bridges. Ardern said: “If there was ever a time to close the gap between groups of people across New Zealand in different positions, it is now. I am responsible for the executive branch and this is where we can take action … it is about showing solidarity in New Zealand’s time of need.” The International Monetary Fund is forecasting that the New Zealand economy will shrink by 7.2% this year. In its World Economic Outlook, it says New Zealand will see the biggest economic contraction outside Europe, except for Venezuela.
In January 2018, the U.S. Embassy in Beijing took the unusual step of repeatedly sending U.S. science diplomats to the Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV), which had in 2015 become China’s first laboratory to achieve the highest level of international bioresearch safety. WIV issued a news release in English about the last of these visits. Last week, WIV erased that statement from its website, though it remains archived on the Internet. What the U.S. officials learned during their visits concerned them so much that they dispatched two diplomatic cables ... back to Washington. The cables warned about safety and management weaknesses at the WIV lab and proposed more attention and help. The first cable ... warns that the lab’s work on bat coronaviruses and their potential human transmission represented a risk of a new SARS-like pandemic. “Most importantly,” the cable states, “this finding strongly suggests that SARS-like coronaviruses from bats can be transmitted to humans to cause SARS-like diseases." The Chinese government, meanwhile, has put a total lockdown on information related to the virus origins ... while suppressing any attempts to examine whether [their] lab was involved. The Shanghai lab that published the novel coronavirus genome on Jan. 11 was quickly shut down by authorities for “rectification.” Several of the doctors and journalists who reported on the spread early on have disappeared. The Chinese researchers at WIV were receiving assistance from the Galveston National Laboratory at the University of Texas Medical Branch and other U.S. organizations.
Note: The entire article at the link above raises vitally important questions, as does this Newsweek article titled, "Dr. Fauci Backed Controversial Wuhan Lab With Millions of U.S. Dollars for Risky Coronavirus Research." For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption and the coronavirus pandemic from reliable major media sources.
As many other countries, the Netherlands is taking measures against the spread of the coronavirus. Compared to other countries, though, these measures seem relatively mild and relaxed. Unlike all its direct neighboring countries ... there is no hard lockdown, hardly any visible surveillance, very limited testing and borders remain open. And yet, as the recent decreasing daily numbers of new cases, hospital intakes and deceased patients show, the measures are not necessarily less effective. Over the past few weeks, a vocabulary has emerged that describes the Dutch approach to COVID-19. In addition to the widely used “flattening the curve,” it consists of “intelligent lockdown,” “self-regulation,” “decentralization” and “group immunity.” Instead of stopping the virus, the approach is based on the idea of creating group immunity, or herd immunity. The best way to “control” the virus, it is assumed, is to control the number of infections step by step, so that people gradually build up immunity. Altogether the Dutch approach is characterized as a “1.5 meter economy.” It focuses on people taking individual responsibility to keep a distance of 1.5 meter. Wherever it cannot be reasonably assumed that people can maintain this distance themselves - for example at a festival or soccer game - government takes measures. But for the rest, it is left to individual citizens to keep this distance. This approach should slow down the speed of spreading the virus, while at the same time maintaining individual freedom.
Note: Check out an informative graph showing deaths per million population from the coronavirus in 10 major countries. Note that the Netherlands is in the middle of the pack, even though they are not in full lockdown. Could it be the the lockdown policies don't have much effect on death rates? For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus pandemic from reliable major media sources.
It's just after lunchtime at a central Seoul market and a crowd in hot pink jackets is gathering. Pink is the color of the country's main opposition party, the conservative United Future Party, and this crowd of supporters is staging a legal campaign rally ahead of Wednesday's election of 300 members of the National Assembly. Large public gatherings are a jarring sight during a pandemic. But South Korea has never postponed an election before -- and the coronavirus is not stopping this one. South Korea peaked early, prompting praise for the government's handling of the pandemic. The country isn't in lockdown, and of the more than 10,500 confirmed cases, more than 7,400 have recovered. Nevertheless, South Korea has made a number of election concessions for the virus. More than 11 million people -- or 26.7% of registered voters -- cast their vote in advance to avoid crowds, according to the National Election Commission. Voters CNN talked to were supportive of the decision to go ahead. Some said the pandemic made voting even more important.
Note: How is it that South Korea is not in lockdown, yet as this revealing graph shows, it has a lower death rate per million than any of the other 12 major countries listed except Japan, which also did not have a lockdown until April 14th. Read this excellent article on how they beat the virus without a major lockdown. For our best articles filled with reliable, verifiable information on the coronavirus, see this article and this one. Several more excellent essays can be found here. Key major media news articles on the pandemic are available here.
The International Monetary Fund issued a stark warning on Tuesday about the coronavirus’s economic toll, saying that the world is facing its worst downturn since the Great Depression as shuttered factories, quarantines and national lockdowns cause economic output to collapse. With countries already hoarding medical supplies and international travel curtailed, the I.M.F. warned that the crisis threatened to reverse decades of gains from globalization. In its World Economic Outlook, the I.M.F. projected that the global economy would contract by 3 percent in 2020, an extraordinary reversal from early this year, when the fund forecast that the world economy would outpace 2019 and grow by 3.3 percent. This year’s fall in output would be far more severe than the last recession, when the world economy contracted by less than 1 percent between 2008 and 2009. The United States is expected ... contract by about 6 percent in 2020. The global economic contraction from 1929 to 1932 was approximately 10 percent. Advanced economies shrank by 16 percent during that period. Barry Eichengreen, the University of California, Berkeley, economist who is a scholar of the Great Depression, said there were several parallels between now and then. He pointed to the jobless rate in the United States, which he expects could top the 25 percent that was reached in 1933, and the global nature of the downturn, which could prolong the crisis as poor countries struggle to combat the virus.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus pandemic from reliable major media sources.
Stimulus checks are right now being sent to millions of Americans in a desperate bid to offset the economic devastation caused by the coronavirus pandemic. The stimulus checks are being wired to eligible people's bank accounts with some 50 million to 70 million of them expected to appear in accounts tomorrow. However, Congress did not exempt the CARES Act stimulus checks from private debt collection and Bank of America, Citibank, and U.S. Bank have not ruled out using payments to offset outstanding debts. The Treasury Department last week appeared to green light banks to take advantage of the coronavirus crisis to collect prior debt, it has been reported by The American Prospect magazine, citing leaked audio from a meeting with bank officials. Bank of America, Citibank, and U.S. Bank failed to clarify their position on whether stimulus checks would be used to pay off outstanding debts, with JPMorgan Chase confirming it would return the money to the government so the recipient can get the full benefit of the stimulus and Wells Fargo promising it won't use the stimulus checks to pay down negative balances. The report has caused frustration among the progressive financial community. "Money should be harder to seize," Neeraj Agrawal of cryptocurrency policy think tank Coincentre said. An early draft stimulus bill put together by the U.S. Democratic Party did include a provision for a so-called digital dollar that would have allowed the stimulus checks to bypass bank accounts ... but it was cut from the final bill.
In Wisconsin and Ohio, farmers are dumping thousands of gallons of fresh milk into lagoons and manure pits. An Idaho farmer has dug huge ditches to bury 1 million pounds of onions. And in South Florida, a region that supplies much of the Eastern half of the United States with produce, tractors are crisscrossing bean and cabbage fields, plowing perfectly ripe vegetables back into the soil. Many of the nation’s largest farms ... are being forced to destroy tens of millions of pounds of fresh food that they can no longer sell. The closing of restaurants, hotels and schools has left some farmers with no buyers for more than half their crops. And even as retailers see spikes in food sales to Americans who are now eating nearly every meal at home, the increases are not enough to absorb all of the perishable food that was planted weeks ago and intended for schools and businesses. The amount of waste is staggering. The nation’s largest dairy cooperative, Dairy Farmers of America, estimates that farmers are dumping as many as 3.7 million gallons of milk each day. A single chicken processor is smashing 750,000 unhatched eggs every week. Many farmers say they have donated part of the surplus to food banks. But there is only so much perishable food that charities ... can absorb. And the costs of harvesting, processing and then transporting produce and milk to food banks or other areas of need would put further financial strain on farms that have seen half their paying customers disappear.
Amid a humanitarian crisis compounded by mass layoffs and collapsing economic activity, the last course our legislators should be following is the one they appear to be on right now: bailing out shareholders and executives who, while enriching themselves, spent the past decade pushing business corporations to the edge of insolvency. The $500bn dollars of public money that Congress’s relief bill provides will be used for a corporate bailout, with the only oversight in the hands of an independent council similar to the one used in the 2008 financial crisis. While that body was able to report misuses of taxpayer money, it could do nothing to stop them. As currently structured, there is nothing to keep this bailout from, like its predecessor, putting cash directly into the hands of those at the top rather than into the hands of workers. Without strong regulation and accountability, asking corporations to preserve jobs with these funds will be nothing more than a simple suggestion, leaving millions of everyday Americans in financial peril. If not properly managed, this economic disaster has the potential to be the worst in American history. Our country cannot allow a small number of executives and shareholders to profit from taxpayer funds that we have injected into these corporations for reasons of pure emergency. We need to stop this rot at the core of our economic system and realign the priorities of government with those of workers and consumers.
As millions of jobless Americans line up for food and others risk their lives delivering essential services, the nation's billionaires are making conspicuous donations - $100 million from Amazon's Jeff Bezos for food banks, billions from Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates for a coronavirus vaccine, thousands of ventilators and N95 masks from Elon Musk, $25 million from the Walton family and its Walmart foundation. The list goes on. Much of this is self-serving rubbish. First off, the amounts involved are tiny relative to the fortunes behind them. Bezos' $100 million amounts to about 11 days of his income. The well-publicized philanthropy also conveniently distracts attention from how several of these billionaires are endangering their workers and, by extension, the public. Bezos still doesn't provide sick leave for Amazon workers unless they test positive. On March 20, four senators sent him a letter expressing concern that the company wasn't doing enough to protect its warehouse workers. [Another] way conspicuous philanthropy is self-serving is by suggesting that government shouldn't demand more from the super-rich, even in a national emergency. As Rupert Murdoch's Wall Street Journal editorial page put it, if we had a wealth tax like Elizabeth Warren proposed, "it's unlikely [Bill Gates] would have the capacity to act this boldly." That's absurd. Warren's tax would have cost Gates about $6 billion a year, roughly his annual income from his $100 billion. The worst fear of the billionaire class is that the government's response to the pandemic will lead to a permanently larger social safety net.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus pandemic from reliable major media sources.
After four Louisville, Kentucky, coal-fired power plants either retired coal as their energy source or installed stricter emission controls, local residents’ asthma symptoms and asthma-related hospitalizations and emergency room visits dropped dramatically, according to research published today in Nature Energy. Coal-fired power plants are known to emit pollutants associated with adverse health effects, including increased asthma attacks, asthma-related ED visits and hospitalizations. In 2014, coal-fired power plants accounted for 63% of economy-wide emissions of sulfur dioxide (SO 2) in the U.S.. Historically, Kentucky has ranked among the top five states in the U.S. for emissions from power generation. Starting with a pilot in 2012, the city of Louisville embarked on a project called AIR Louisville, which aimed to use data from Propeller Health’s digital inhaler sensors to gain insights into the impact of local air quality on the burden of respiratory disease in the community. Between 2013 and 2016, one coal-fired power plant in the Louisville area retired coal as an energy source, and three others installed stricter emission controls. The researchers found that energy transitions in the spring of 2015 resulted in three fewer hospitalizations and ED visits per ZIP code per quarter in the following year. This translates into nearly 400 avoided hospitalizations and ED visits each year across Jefferson County.
The US [provided a] $3.7 million grant to the Wuhan-based laboratory carrying out research on virus derived from bat caves. The Wuhan Institute of Virology (WIV) was conducting the coronavirus experiments on mammals, with funds received from the United States National Institute of Health. The NIH has been listed as a partner by the Wuhan Institute of Virology. Other American institutes that have partnered with the research lab, include: University of Alabama, University of North Texas Eco Health Alliance [and] Harvard University. WIV ... has more than 1,500 strains of deadly viruses stored and specialises in research of 'the most dangerous pathogens', in particular the viruses carried by bats. The project released its first research in November 2017 ... titled 'Discovery of a rich gene pool of bat SARS-related coronaviruses provides new insights into the origin of SARS coronavirus.' Hitting out at the US government, US Congressman Matt Gaetz said: "I'm disgusted to learn that for years the US government has been funding dangerous and cruel animal experiments at the Wuhan Institute, which may have contributed to the global spread of coronavirus." Conspiracy theories have been hinting at the possibility of the virus being developed in the WIV. Last week, Cao Bin, a doctor at the Wuhan Jinyintan Hospital ... revealed that out of the first 41 cases found positive for coronavirus, 13 had no contact with the wildlife market, raising the doubts that the virus was in fact lab originated. 'It seems clear that the seafood market is not the only origin of the virus,' he said.
Note: Newsweek reported that in 2017, Anthony Fauci predicted a "surprise outbreak" during Trump's presidency. Respected author Peter Breggin, M.D., has uncovered more on how the U.S. and China collaborated to transform an animal coronavirus into one that can attack humans. Don't miss his excellent essay with a link direct to the study, which was published in the prestigious British journal Nature. Why was an FDA official involved and why was NIH funding a project that enabled the Chinese to develop a military weapon or to accidentally or purposely cause an epidemic?
Tokyo’s coronavirus “state of emergency” is as surreal as they come. Though the streets are noticeably quieter than normal, subways and buses are still jammed with commuters. Stock trading goes on as normal. Many bars, restaurants and cafes are abuzz. So are barbershops, beauty salons and home improvement centers. In Shibuya and other meccas of youth culture, teenagers who should be hunkering down at home are out and about. Leave it to Japan’s largest metropolis to morph shelter-in-place into a giant kabuki performance starring 8.3 million people. [Prime Minister] Abe should dispense with the pandemic kabuki and call for a strict shelter-in-place policy. Though there are legal questions about enforceability, Abe could use the bully pulpit to urge Japanese — and companies — to comply.
Important Editor's Note: This article is a prime example of how the media is bulldozing it's social isolation agenda and convincing people to willingly give up their freedoms. Japan was one of the first countries hit by the virus, with it's first death due to the coronavirus on Feb. 13th. Yet while the U.S., Italy, France, Spain, and the UK all had their first coronavirus deaths after Japan, all of these countries as of April 12th had tens of thousands of deaths, while Japan had only 124 deaths. That's 100 times less. Instead of calling for stricter policies in Japan, why isn't everyone asking what they are doing to have such an incredibly low death rate without instituting lockdown procedures? For more serious questions on how we are being manipulated, see this excellent essay.
Much of Europe is still on coronavirus lockdown, with severe restrictions on movement and penalties for those who transgress. But not Sweden. Restaurants and bars are open in the Nordic country, playgrounds and schools too, and the government is relying on voluntary action to stem the spread of Covid-19. The Swedish government is confident its policy can work. Sweden's actions are about encouraging and recommending, not compulsion. Elisabeth Liden, a journalist in Stockholm, [noted that] "the subway went from being completely packed to having only a few passengers per car. I get the sense that a vast majority are taking the recommendations of social distancing seriously." On March 24, new rules were introduced to avoid crowding at restaurants. But they very much stayed open. So did many primary and secondary schools. Gatherings of up to 50 people are still permitted. The country's state epidemiologist, Anders Tegnell ... defended the decision to keep schools open [saying] "a lot of children are suffering when they can't go to school." Much of Sweden's focus has been to protect the elderly. Anyone aged 70 or older has been told to stay at home and limit their social contact as much as possible. Another factor in Sweden's favor is a generous social welfare net that means people don't feel obligated to turn up for work if their young child is sick. State support kicks in on day one of absence from work due to a child being sick. The next month will determine whether the Swedish system got it right.
Note: On 3/28, Sweden had twice as many deaths (203) as California (104). Yet 15 days later (4/12), California had risen 608% to 633, while Sweden had risen only 443% to 899. This is quite interesting considering that California has been in lockdown since 3/19, yet Sweden is not. You can verify these figures by going to this link of archived statistics from Johns Hopkins on the virus and clicking on the dates in question. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus from reliable major media sources.
For weeks, the world has been inundated with information about the COVID-19 pandemic. While cases continue to rise and researchers learn more about the novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2), most data has lacked a certain specificity. But on Tuesday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) was able to give a closer look at exactly who is most affected by COVID-19. In a new study published for the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, researchers found that the majority of those hospitalized due to COVID-19 have preexisting conditions—about 90% of patients, or nearly all, had one or more underlying conditions. The most common ... include hypertension (49.7%), obesity (48.3%), chronic lung disease (34.6%), diabetes mellitus (28.3%), and cardiovascular disease (27.8%). The data collected for the study came from the COVID-19–Associated Hospitalization Surveillance Network (COVID-NET), created for population-based surveillance for all confirmed COVID-19–related hospitalizations in the US. The CDC's new study used the demographics of 1,482 COVID-19 patients ... from across 14 different states. The study found that 74.5% of those hospitalized due to coronavirus were age 50 or older, with the highest rates among those over 65. Men were also disproportionately affected (54.4% of those hospitalized from COVID-19 were male), as were African Americans, who represented 33% of hospitalizations, despite only making up 18% of the total population studied.
It began Friday night, when Trump informed Congress that he was firing Michael Atkinson, the Intelligence Community’s inspector general. This was nothing more than a vile act of political retribution. Atkinson fulfilled his legal responsibilities by informing Congress about a whistleblower complaint that exposed Trump’s impeachable crimes. What everyone else recognizes as following the letter of the law, the president views as cause for termination. On Monday, Trump turned his attention to the inspector general who oversees the Department of Health and Human Services, who had just released a report revealing the extent to which hospitals were struggling to meet the health care demands associated with treating COVID-19 patients. Trump labeled the report a “Fake Dossier” and suggested “politics” influenced it. On Tuesday, the president removed Pentagon Inspector General Glenn Fine. He had just been designated to oversee the newly created Pandemic Response Accountability Committee, a watchdog panel authorized by Congress to conduct oversight of the $2.2 trillion coronavirus relief bill. The same day, Trump said he had seven IGs in his sights. In the course of three days, Trump fired an IG for telling the truth, attacked another for exposing the totality of a health care pandemic, and removed another in a brazen effort to avoid being held accountable for how trillions of taxpayer dollars will be allocated. The sum of these actions is nothing short of blatant corruption.
Estimates of [coronavirus] lethality keep going down. On March 31, the White House estimated that, even with social distancing policies in place, between 100,000 and 240,000 Americans would die of covid-19. Anthony S. Fauci recently indicated the government’s estimates will soon be revised downward. Predictions for hospitalization rates have also proved to be substantial overestimations. On March 30, University of Washington researchers projected that California would need 4,800 beds on April 3. In fact, the state needed 2,200. The same model projected that Louisiana would need 6,400; in fact, it used only 1,700. Even New York, the most stressed system in the country, used only 15,000 beds against a projection of 58,000. In March, the World Health Organization announced that 3.4 percent of people with the virus had died from it. That would be an astonishingly high fatality rate. Fauci suggested a week later that the actual rate was probably 1 percent. [Yet] some studies find that 75 to 80 percent of people infected could be asymptomatic. That means most people infected with the virus ... never get counted. Standford's John Ioannidis, ... one of the most cited scientists in the field, believes we have massively overestimated the fatality of covid-19. “Iif you make a small mistake in the base numbers, you end up with a final number that could be off 10-fold, 30-fold, even 50-fold,” he [said]. South Korea has been able to tackle the virus without lockdowns precisely because it has handled testing superbly. We have shut down the economy based on models. But models are only as good as the data that shapes them.
As California and other states stockpile ventilators to prepare for a surge of coronavirus patients, a debate is emerging among doctors across the country about whether the breathing machines actually hinder recovery from COVID-19. A few small studies from around the world have led some doctors to consider the possibility that placing COVID-19 patients on a ventilator hurts more than it helps, and may even increase their chance of dying. In general, putting someone on a ventilator is an extreme measure because it involves sedating patients and inserting a tube in their mouth and threading it through the airway into the lungs. Too much oxygen or pressure from the ventilator can damage the lungs. A study in Wuhan, China, where the coronavirus emerged late last year, found that out of 37 critically ill COVID-19 patients on ventilators, 30 died within a month. One report in Italy looked at 1,300 critically ill patients and found that 90% were intubated and put on a ventilator. Of those, a quarter died in the ICU. In New York City, 80% of coronavirus patients placed on ventilators have died, the Associated Press reported. “The traditional approach is to say, let’s just intubate them now while we still have a little bit of time,” said Dr. Jahan Fahimi, medical director of UCSF’s emergency room in San Francisco. “Well, in COVID, we’re thinking that’s not the right approach. But if you don’t intubate them, it’s going to be much more labor intensive from the medical side, to watch these patients carefully on high-flow oxygen.”
The fallout from the coronavirus spread that has killed more than 83,000 people and wreaked havoc on economies around the world could push around half a billion people into poverty, Oxfam said on Thursday. The report released by the Nairobi-based charity ahead of next week's International Monetary Fund (IMF)/World Bank annual meeting calculated the impact of the crisis on global poverty due to shrinking household incomes or consumption. "The economic crisis that is rapidly unfolding is deeper than the 2008 global financial crisis," the report found. "The estimates show that, regardless of the scenario, global poverty could increase for the first time since 1990," it said, adding that this could throw some countries back to poverty levels last seen some three decades ago. Under the most serious scenario - a 20% contraction in income - the number of people living in extreme poverty would rise by 434 million people to nearly 1.2 billion worldwide. Women are at more risk than men, as they are more likely to work in the informal economy with little or no employment rights. "Living day to day, the poorest people do not have the ability to take time off work, or to stockpile provisions," the report warned, adding that more than 2 billion informal sector workers worldwide had no access to sick pay. To help mitigate the impact, Oxfam proposed a six point action plan that would deliver cash grants and bailouts to people and businesses in need, and also called for debt cancellation, more IMF support, and increased aid.
Note: The New York Times strangely removed this article. Yet it is also available on the Reuters website. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on income inequality and the coronavirus pandemic from reliable major media sources.
It might not be until fall 2021 that Americans “can be completely safe” from COVID-19, Bill Gates said in a Tuesday interview with Judy Woodruff on PBS Newshour. That’s because it will take more than a year before a vaccine can be developed and deployed, according to researchers working to develop a treatment for COVID-19. “The vaccine is critical, because, until you have that, things aren’t really going to be normal,” the billionaire philanthropist told Woodruff. “They can open up to some degree, but the risk of a rebound will be there until we have very broad vaccination.” Social distancing is helping to lower the number of COVID-19 cases. The goal, Gates explained, is to get that number down to a point where “contact tracing” (a process in which those within close contact with an infected person are closely monitored) can be done, in order to maintain necessary quarantines. To understand what life in the U.S. will look like six to 12 months from now, Gates suggested China as a good model. “They are sending people back to work, but they’re wearing masks. They’re checking temperatures. They’re not doing large sporting events. And so they have been able to avoid a large rebound,” he said. Beyond that, “returning to some semblance of normal,” as Woodruff put it, can be predicted by watching the behaviors of other countries. Sweden, for example, isn’t “locking down quite as much,” so their experience will be informative, Gates explained.
Note: In this video interview, Gates says we need to vaccinate everyone in the world. And he wants indemnity in case the vaccine he sponsors ends up killing or injuring many. Learn more about how Gates uses his billions to gain political power. And don't miss this most important video focused on how he is using fear of the virus to promote his agenda to require a "digital certificate" to ensure they've been vaccinated. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus pandemic from reliable major media sources.
With large parts of Europe in lockdown in response to the covid-19 pandemic, one country stands out: Sweden has no mandatory quarantines and few limitations on free movement. Elementary schools remain open; malls, gyms and shopping streets are far from empty. Some sidewalk cafes are still bustling with life. Prime Minister Stefan Löfven has urged Swedes to apply “common sense.” While this soft approach stunned the rest of Europe, Sweden maintained that it will turn out to be more effective. In the past few weeks, the country has experienced a bizarre nationalistic wave dubbed “public health nationalism” ... which celebrates Sweden as an island of common sense in a sea of panic and resistance to science. According to this narrative promulgated by authorities and media alike, cultural exceptionalism — such as high public trust –– makes Sweden particularly well-equipped to manage the pandemic. Sweden’s influential former state epidemiologist Johan Giesecke [stated] ”I think we will manage the epidemic without destroying the economy more than necessary. The absolutely most important thing is to protect the elderly from getting infected. I think we succeed quite well in that. The public has been assured that Sweden will outperform other countries. Indeed, Sweden ranks among the lowest of 26 surveyed countries when it comes to fear of the coronavirus in a recent YouGov poll –– even though the country ranks fifth-highest in per capita deaths of the countries surveyed. Time will tell.
Note: Check out an informative graph showing deaths per million population from the coronavirus in 10 major countries. Note that Sweden is in the middle of the pack, even though they are not in lockdown. Could it be the the lockdown policies don't have much effect on death rates? For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus from reliable major media sources.
Concerns about what is now known to be the novel coronavirus pandemic were detailed in a November intelligence report by the military's National Center for Medical Intelligence (NCMI), according to two officials familiar with the document’s contents. The report ... raised alarms because an out-of-control disease would pose a serious threat to U.S. forces in Asia - forces that depend on the NCMI’s work. And it paints a picture of an American government that could have ramped up mitigation and containment efforts far earlier. "Analysts concluded it could be a cataclysmic event," one of the sources said of the NCMI’s report. "It was then briefed multiple times to" the Defense Intelligence Agency, the Pentagon’s Joint Staff and the White House. From that warning in November, the sources described repeated briefings through December for policy-makers and decision-makers across the federal government as well as the National Security Council at the White House. All of that culminated with a detailed explanation of the problem that appeared in the President’s Daily Brief of intelligence matters in early January. The NCMI report was made available widely to people authorized to access intelligence community alerts. Other intelligence community bulletins began circulating through confidential channels across the government around Thanksgiving. Those analyses said China’s leadership knew the epidemic was out of control even as it kept such crucial information from foreign governments and public health agencies.
Our government, in order to save millions of small businesses that face financial ruin caused by forced closings and “shelter-in-place” orders, has approved $350bn to aid those flailing businesses. In order to get this money to as many businesses as fast as possible, the government decides to ... lean on the already established Small Business Administration (SBA) and its vast network of member banks. They do this with the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), which was part of a $2.2tn stimulus bill. “Just loan these desperate small businesses money,” the government tells these banks. “We’ll guarantee it, and even forgive it.” Some banks – particularly smaller, independent banks ... were the first to process loan applications for their struggling small business customers last Friday when the SBA opened their loan window. And then there’s Bank of America, Wells Fargo and other large banks like JPMorgan Chase and Citigroup who have all said “not so fast”. These banks last week, at such a critical moment, gathered together and decided to slow things down. They limited loans only to customers and credit card holders. They came up with “new” lending requirements and asked for more documentation over and above SBA guidelines. They capped the amount of loans they would make. Choosing to only favor customers over everyone else, requiring excessive documentation or capping loans was a bad and misguided decision. Not being more proactive in the weeks they had to prepare was poor planning.
Cardinal George Pell walked out of prison on Tuesday after Australia’s highest court reversed his 2018 conviction for molesting two choirboys decades earlier — liberating the most senior Roman Catholic cleric to ever face trial over child sexual abuse. The world may never be able to assess whether the court’s reasoning was sound. The central evidence — the testimony of the main accuser, on which the case “was wholly dependent,” the judges wrote — has never been released, not in video, audio nor even redacted transcripts. It is just one glaring example of the secrecy and lack of accountability that have shaped the Pell prosecution from the beginning. The case has been a model of opaque operations, starting with judges who dismissed related allegations early on, followed by gag orders preventing media coverage and a refusal to release evidence — even when a jury verdict is dismissed as unreasonable. Legal experts said that the case made clear just how much power judges in Australia have to suppress public oversight and overrule jury verdicts. At every stage, critics argue, Australia’s courts exhibited a penchant for secrecy and insular decision-making that resembled the Catholic Church’s flawed and damaging response to sexual abuse within its ranks. For many of those who have been living with the legacy of abuse in the church, the High Court’s decision is a blow to their faith in a justice system they had just started to trust.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on sexual abuse scandals from reliable major media sources.
Coronavirus patients in areas that had high levels of air pollution before the pandemic are more likely to die from the infection than patients in cleaner parts of the country, according to a new nationwide study that offers the first clear link between long-term exposure to pollution and Covid-19 death rates. In an analysis of 3,080 counties in the United States, researchers at the Harvard University T.H. Chan School of Public Health found that higher levels of the tiny, dangerous particles in air known as PM 2.5 were associated with higher death rates from the disease. For weeks, public health officials have surmised a link between dirty air and death or serious illness from Covid-19. The Harvard analysis is the first nationwide study to show a statistical link, revealing a “large overlap” between Covid-19 deaths and other diseases associated with long-term exposure to fine particulate matter. The paper found that if Manhattan had lowered its average particulate matter level by just a single unit, or one microgram per cubic meter, over the past 20 years, the borough would most likely have seen 248 fewer Covid-19 deaths by this point in the outbreak. The paper ... found that just a slight increase in long-term pollution exposure could have serious coronavirus-related consequences, even accounting for other factors like smoking rates and population density. The study also could have far-reaching implications for clean-air regulations, which the Trump administration has worked to roll back over the past three years.
Countries like the UK that have closed schools to help stop the spread of coronavirus should ask hard questions about whether this is now the right policy, says one team of scientists. The University College London team says keeping pupils off has little impact, even with other lockdown measures. The research, published in The Lancet Child and Adolescent Health, looked at 16 studies - some based on the spread of coronavirus, and others on seasonal flu and the 2003 Sars outbreak. While school closures help during influenza outbreaks, the same may not apply to coronavirus. Data from the Sars outbreak ... suggest that school closures did not contribute to the control of the epidemic. Recent modelling studies of Covid-19 predict that school closures alone would prevent only 2%-4% of deaths, many fewer than other social distancing interventions. One of the research authors, Prof Russell Viner, said: "Data on the benefit of school closures in the coronavirus outbreak is limited, but what we know shows that their impact is likely to be only small. Additionally, the costs of national school closures are high - children's education is damaged and their mental health may suffer, family finances are affected. Policymakers need to be aware of the equivocal evidence." He says policymakers must weigh up the possible harms and reopen schools at the earliest opportunity - and not necessarily wait until September if it can be done safely sooner.
President Trump moved on Tuesday to oust the leader of a new watchdog panel charged with overseeing how his administration spends trillions of taxpayer dollars in coronavirus pandemic relief, the latest step in an abruptly unfolding White House power play against semi-independent inspectors general across the government. The official, Glenn A. Fine, has been the acting inspector general for the Defense Department since before Mr. Trump took office and was set to become the chairman of a new Pandemic Response Accountability Committee to police how the government carries out the $2.2 trillion coronavirus relief bill. But Mr. Trump replaced Mr. Fine in his Pentagon job. In recent days, [Mr. Trump] fired an inspector general who reviewed the whistle-blower complaint that led to his impeachment, nominated a White House aide to another key inspector general post, declared that he would ignore certain oversight provisions in the new relief law and attacked another inspector general who criticized virus testing shortages. In removing Mr. Fine from his role overseeing pandemic spending, Mr. Trump targeted a former Justice Department inspector general who earned a reputation for aggressive independence in scrutinizing the F.B.I.’s use of surveillance and other law enforcement powers in the years after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. Replacing Mr. Fine ... will be Sean O’Donnell, who serves as the inspector general at the Environmental Protection Agency and will do double duty.
Note: This 2015 article suggests that inspectors general have been under fire since the Obama administration. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption from reliable major media sources.
The coronavirus pandemic now ravaging the United States should lead every American to a series of important questions: What are the real threats that I face? What has my government been prioritizing in terms of my - and the nation’s - security? And where has all my tax money been going? It’s hard not to conclude that the American government’s national security priorities have been so askew of reality that they left the country dramatically unprepared for an acute threat to millions of its people. The government’s focus has been overwhelmingly on the threat of extremist groups and unfriendly regimes abroad, mostly in the Middle East. These confrontations have won America an ever-growing list of enemies around the world. But their impact on the United States itself is now also being painfully revealed: a country that has spent trillions on foreign wars but is unable to defend its citizens from basic threats like disease and economic collapse. The last few weeks have revealed a spectacle of a federal government apparently incapable of doing what is required to stop the spread of a pandemic on American soil. Meanwhile, the avalanche of military spending that was released after the September 11 attacks continues to roll onwards. According to Brown University’s Costs of War Project, the U.S. government has spent a staggering $6.4 trillion on its wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Pakistan since 2001. Interest payments on the borrowing needed to pay for the wars ... could run to as much as $8 trillion by midcentury.
The Netherlands has tried to adopt an "intelligent lockdown", but the infection is spreading rapidly and it has one of the world's highest mortality rates from the pandemic. Having shunned the stricter measures of neighbouring states the government has pursued an "intelligent" or "targeted" lockdown. It wants to cushion the social, economic and psychological costs of social isolation and make the eventual return to normality more manageable. [The] local florist, ironmonger, delicatessen, bakery and toy store are still serving customers. Posters on the door and sticky tape on the floor encourage people to give each other space. Only those businesses that require touching, like hairdressers, beauticians and red light brothels, have been forced to cease trading. Schools, nurseries and universities are closed. Bars, restaurants and cannabis cafes are shut, although they seem to be doing a roaring trade in takeaways. "We think we're cool-headed," explained Dr Louise van Schaik of the Clingendael Institute of International Relations. "We don't want to overreact, to lock up everybody in their houses." People have been advised to stay at home, but you can go out if you are unable to work from home ... as long as you maintain 1.5m (5ft) social distance. It helps that the Dutch appear to be broadly compliant. One survey suggested 99% of people kept their distance. Dutch public health agency RIVM has launched a study to see how far antibodies created when people are exposed remain effective in preventing re-infection. "It's kind of like creating your own internal vaccine, by being exposed to it and then letting your body generate those antibodies naturally," Prof Aura Timen from the RIVM told the BBC.
Note: On 3/28, the Netherlands had over six times as many deaths as California with 639 compared to California's 104. Yet 15 days later (4/12), California had risen 608% to 633, while the Netherlands has gone up only 428% to 2,737. This is quite interesting considering that California has been in lockdown since 3/19. You can verify this by going to this link of archived statistics on the virus and clicking on the dates in question. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus from reliable major media sources.
Stefano Mancuso studies what was once considered laughable – the intelligence and behaviour of plants. Mancuso’s lab started work in 2005. “We were interested in problems that were, until that moment, just related to animals, like intelligence and even behaviour,” he says. At the time, it was “almost forbidden” to talk about behaviour in plants. But “we study how plants are able to solve problems, how they memorise, how they communicate, how they have their social life and things like that”. One of the most controversial aspects of Mancuso’s work is the idea of plant consciousness. “Let’s use another term,” Mancuso suggests. “Consciousness is a little bit tricky. Let’s talk about awareness. Plants are perfectly aware of themselves.” A simple example is when one plant overshadows another – the shaded plant will grow faster to reach the light. But when you look into the crown of a tree, all the shoots are heavily shaded. They do not grow fast because they know that they are shaded by part of themselves. “So they have a perfect image of themselves and of the outside,” says Mancuso. Far from being silent and passive, plants are social and communicative, above ground and beneath, through their roots and fungal networks. They are adept at detecting subtle electromagnetic fields generated by other life forms. They use chemicals and scents to warn each other of danger. When corn is nibbled by caterpillars ... the plant emits a chemical distress signal that lures parasitic wasps to exterminate the caterpillars.
A New York City landlord is giving his 200 tenants one less thing to worry about amid the coronavirus pandemic as he waived rent for the month of April. "I want everybody to be healthy. That's the whole thing," Mario Salerno told NBC New York. Salerno, 59, owns roughly 80 apartments across Williamsburg and Greenpoint, Brooklyn. He said after some of his tenants told him that they were worried about paying rent because they lost their jobs due to the pandemic, he decided to take action. On March 30, he posted a notice on the front doors of all of his buildings announcing, "Due to the recent pandemic of Coronavirus COVID-19 affecting all of us, please note I am waiving rent for the month for April." One of his tenants said she's been out of work since she was ordered to shut down her hair salon. "He's Superman. He's a wonderful man," Kaitlyn Guteski told NBC New York. "It's a game-changer." Salerno said he knows he will take a big hit this month, but isn't worried. "For me, it was more important for people's health and worrying about who could put food on whose table," he told the outlet. "I say don't worry about paying me, worry about your neighbor and worry about your family." He said he hopes other landlords will do the same, and some have. Nathan Nichols, who owns two units in Portland, Maine, told his tenants ... that they don't have to worry about paying the rent for April. In San Diego, California, Jeff Larabee's 18 tenants were told that they would not have to pay rent for the next three months.
In recent days, top U.S. government officials have moved to assure Americans that they won't lack for food, despite the coronavirus. In fact, the pandemic has caused entirely different problems: a spike in the number of people who can't afford groceries and a glut of food where it's not needed. Dairy farmers in Wisconsin, Minnesota and Georgia have been forced to dump thousands of gallons of milk that no one will buy. In Florida, vegetable growers are abandoning harvest-ready fields of tomatoes, yellow squash and cucumbers for the same reason. "We cannot pick the produce if we cannot sell it, because we cannot afford the payroll every week," says Kim Jamerson, a vegetable grower. Those crops will be plowed back into the ground. The situation is especially dire for Florida's tomato growers, who sell 80% of their production to restaurants and other food service companies, rather than to supermarkets. Meanwhile, food banks and pantries are having trouble supplying enough food to people who need it, including millions of children who no longer are getting free meals at school and people who've lost jobs in recent weeks. Claire Babineaux-Fontenot, CEO of Feeding America, a network of food banks and charitable meals programs, says that these programs normally receive large donations of unsold food from retail stores. In recent weeks, though, as retailers struggled to keep their shelves stocked, "we're seeing as much as a 35% reduction in that donation stream from retail," Babineaux-Fontenot says.
Bill Gates ... just called for a complete and utter shutdown and quarantining of the entire American nation. “Despite urging from public health experts,” Gates wrote in a Washington Post opinion piece, “some states and counties haven’t shut down completely. This is a recipe for disaster. Because people can travel freely across state lines, so can the virus. The country’s leaders need to be clear: Shutdown anywhere means shutdown everywhere. Until the case numbers start to go down ... no one can continue business as usual or relax the shutdown.” He then added that the impacts of the new coronavirus could linger another 18 months or so, until a vaccine was developed. For the peons of America, work isn’t an option. It’s food. It’s survival. The fate of a hard-earned dream shouldn’t rest with a globalist billionaire who’s warning of dire coronavirus consequences to come — all the while making hands-over-fist coronavirus money. It’s a conflict of interest. WHO didn’t announce the coronavirus as a pandemic until the very day after Gates ... made a very large donation to a cause that benefits WHO. In a 2017 piece titled, “Meet the world’s most powerful doctor: Bill Gates,” Politico wrote: “Some billionaires are satisfied with buying themselves an island. Bill Gates got a United Nations health agency. Over the past decade, the world’s richest man has become the World Health Organization’s second-biggest donor, second only to the United States. … This largesse gives him outsized influence over its agenda. … The result, say his critics, is that Gates‘ priorities have become the WHO‘s.”
Very Important Note: To understand how the coronavirus is being used to exert more control over humanity, don't miss this incredibly important video focused on how Bill Gates is using fear around the coronavirus to push through his agenda to vaccinate everyone on the planet and then require a "digital certificate" to ensure they've been vaccinated. For other reliable, verifiable informing demonstrating how Gates' vaccine agenda has already harmed hundreds of thousands of children read this excellent article by Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan is ... directing residents to stay home to avoid a larger outbreak of the coronavirus. Authorities have charged at least two people in recent days with violating bans on public gatherings of more than 10 people – an offense that could result in a year in jail, a $5,000 fine, or both. Hogan says arrest for coronavirus offense sends 'great message.' The governor’s declaration mirrors a struggle across the country to enforce a patchwork of new stay-at-home orders, social-distancing directives and quarantines. Some people have found themselves under arrest for violating coronavirus regulations. In Hawaii, violators of the stay-at-home order face some of the stiffest penalties on the books to date: fines of up to $5,000 and a year in jail. Police in Honolulu have issued dozens of citations and made at least two arrests. In Texas, Gov. Greg Abbott has [called] for visitors from heavily-infected states and cities to self-isolate for 14 days or risk 180 days in jail and a $1,000 fine. [In Florida] checkpoints have been set up on interstate highways. Violators could be fined up to $500, jailed up to 60 days, or both. Washington State ... residents are invited to complete online forms detailing suspected violations by local businesses operating when they should be closed. The state threatens violators with citations, suspension notices, revoked business licenses – even criminal charges. Some states that order out-of-staters to quarantine themselves for 14 days have drawn complaints from the American Civil Liberties Union for violating travelers' rights.
Note: Meanwhile in Sweden with no lockdown policies, no one is being arrested and the country has not spiraled out of control as predicted. Is it worth saving thousand of lives with these severe policies at the cost of hundreds of millions being plunged into poverty worldwide? For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus from reliable major media sources.
An international poll of thousands of doctors rated the Trump-touted anti-malaria drug hydroxychloroquine the best treatment for the novel coronavirus. Of the 2,171 physicians surveyed, 37 percent rated hydroxychloroquine the “most effective therapy” for combating the potentially deadly illness. The survey, conducted by the global health care polling company Sermo, also found that 23 percent of medical professionals had prescribed the drug in the US — far less than other countries. “Outside the US, hydroxychloroquine was equally used for diagnosed patients with mild to severe symptoms whereas in the US it was most commonly used for high risk diagnosed patients,” the survey found. The medicine was most widely used in Spain, where 72 percent of physicians said they had prescribed it. Of the 2,171 doctors asked which drug is most effective, 37 said hydroxychloroquine. By contrast, 32 percent answered “nothing.” To date, “there is no evidence” that any medicine “can prevent or cure the disease,” according to the World Health Organization. But Sermo CEO Peter Kirk called the polling results a “treasure trove of global insights for policymakers.” “Physicians should have more of a voice in how we deal with this pandemic and be able to quickly share information with one another and the world,” he said in a press release. The 30 countries where doctors were surveyed included Europe, South America and Australia — and no incentives were provided to participate, the company said.
Note: How interesting that very few major media reported on this. Could it be because this drug is inexpensive and big Pharma, which hugely sponsors the major media, won't make big profits? Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
In Hungary, the prime minister can now rule by decree. In Britain, ministers have what a critic called “eye-watering” power to detain people and close borders. Israel’s prime minister has shut down courts and begun an intrusive surveillance of citizens. Chile has sent the military to public squares once occupied by protesters. Bolivia has postponed elections. As the coronavirus pandemic brings the world to a juddering halt and anxious citizens demand action, leaders across the globe are invoking executive powers and seizing virtually dictatorial authority with scant resistance. Critics say some governments are using the public health crisis as cover to seize new powers that have little to do with the outbreak, with few safeguards to ensure that their new authority will not be abused. The laws are taking swift hold across a broad range of political systems — in authoritarian states like Jordan, faltering democracies like Hungary, and traditional democracies like Britain. And there are few sunset provisions to ensure that the powers will be rescinded once the threat passes. “We could have a parallel epidemic of authoritarian and repressive measures following close if not on the heels of a health epidemic,” said Fionnuala Ni Aolain, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on counterterrorism and human rights. As the new laws broaden state surveillance, allow governments to detain people indefinitely and infringe on freedoms of assembly and expression, they could also shape civic life, politics and economies for decades to come.
With Maryland schools and some places of work closed amid the coronavirus pandemic, parents are looking for creative new ways to educate their children at home. One expert in homeschooling says a coronavirus-related quarantine situation should not be mistaken for a traditional educational setting. And parents should not lose sleep over whether their children are getting enough learning materials during such uncertain times. “We’re dealing with a global pandemic ... we need to worry about how we’re helping our children to cope with the stress," said Alessa Giampaolo Keener, an educational consultant. One of the best ways to help students stay mentally engaged in the coming weeks is by finding a routine that works for them without caving to the pressure [to] interrupt play or set elaborate schedules for children. Older children may respond well to being given a list of chores or assignments to complete by a set deadline, which allows them the autonomy to budget their own time throughout the day. The Khan Academy is a nonprofit that offers online educational resources for students, teachers and parents. Families can find day-by-day projects on Scholastic’s Learn at Home webpage to keep kids thinking during a quarantine. Projects are available for levels Pre-K through 9th grade. Some kids may miss recess and gym class just as much as academics. Families can find yoga, mindfulness and relaxation exercises on the Cosmic Kids Yoga Channel on YouTube.
Note: You can find more useful homeschooling resources on this webpage and this one and this one. Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
India declared a 21-day lockdown with four hours notice on the midnight of 24 March to prevent the spread of coronavirus. All over India, millions of migrant workers are fleeing its shuttered cities and trekking home to their villages. These informal workers are the backbone of the big city economy. Escaping poverty in their villages, most of the estimated 100 million of them live in squalid housing in congested urban ghettos. Last week's lockdown turned them into refugees overnight. Their workplaces were shut, and most employees and contractors who paid them vanished. Sprawled together, men, women and children began their journeys at all hours of the day last week. When the children were too tired to walk, their parents carried them on their shoulders. Clearly, a lockdown to stave off a pandemic is turning into a humanitarian crisis. In the end, India is facing daunting and predictable challenges in enforcing the lockdown and also making sure the poor and homeless are not fatally hurt. India has already announced a $22bn relief package for those affected by the lockdown. The next few days will determine whether the states are able to transport the workers home or keep them in the cities and provide them with food and money. "People are forgetting the big stakes amid the drama of the consequences of the lockdown: the risk of millions of people dying," says Nitin Pai of Takshashila Institution, a prominent think tank. "There too, likely the worst affected will be the poor."
Note: In how many countries besides India is this scenario playing out? For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption and the coronavirus pandemic from reliable major media sources.
The coronavirus financial aid package that landed on President Trump’s desk last week included a $500 billion corporate-loan fund that contained a major downside for his administration: Congressional Democrats had pushed for increased oversight of the loans, with a federal investigator designated to report to lawmakers on uses of the funding. So Trump, in endorsing the legislation Saturday, turned to a device he has used in record numbers during his tenure, the presidential “signing statement”. He signed the bill into law, but in the accompanying statement, he said he would not be bound by provisions that interfered with executive authority. Trump said he would not allow an inspector general to report to Congress because the Constitution, in his view, requires “presidential supervision” of such information. Using the signing statement to get his way with Congress is a familiar maneuver for Trump. It was at least the 769th signing statement Trump has issued since he took office. President George W. Bush, who produced more signing statements than all previous presidents combined, issued 750 in his first term. The disputes that arise between presidents and Congress because of executive signing statements could be resolved by the courts. But members of Congress have generally been unwilling to file suit, and it is difficult to find private citizens who can ... establish legal standing. Unless a court says otherwise, the president, not Congress, will have the last word on the $500 billion loan fund.
The Covid-19 pandemic is now giving Russian authorities an opportunity to test new powers and technology, and the country's privacy and free-speech advocates worry the government is building sweeping new surveillance capabilities. Perhaps the most well-publicized tech tool in Russia's arsenal for fighting coronavirus is Moscow's massive facial-recognition system. Rolled out earlier this year, the surveillance system had originally prompted an unusual public backlash, with privacy advocates filing lawsuits over unlawful surveillance. Coronavirus, however, has given an unexpected public-relations boost to the system. Last week, Moscow police claimed to have caught and fined 200 people who violated quarantine and self-isolation using facial recognition and a 170,000-camera system. Some of the alleged violators who were fined had been outside for less than half a minute before they were picked up by a camera. And then there's the use of geolocation to track coronavirus carriers. Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin earlier this week ordered Russia's Ministry of Communications to roll out a tracking system based on "the geolocation data from the mobile providers for a specific person" by the end of this week. According to a description in the government decree, information gathered under the tracking system will be used to send texts to those who have come into contact with a coronavirus carrier, and to notify regional authorities so they can put individuals into quarantine.
The economic debate of the day centers on whether the cure of an economic shutdown is worse than the disease of the virus. Similarly, we need to ask if the cure of the Federal Reserve getting so deeply into corporate bonds, asset-backed securities, commercial paper, and exchange-traded funds is worse than the disease seizing financial markets. It may be. In just these past few weeks, the Fed has cut rates by 150 basis points to near zero and run through its entire 2008 crisis handbook. That wasn’t enough to calm markets, though — so the central bank also announced $1 trillion a day in repurchase agreements and unlimited quantitative easing, which includes a hard-to-understand $625 billion of bond buying a week going forward. At this rate, the Fed will own two-thirds of the Treasury market in a year. But it’s the alphabet soup of new programs that deserve special consideration, as they could have profound long-term consequences. The federal government is nationalizing large swaths of the financial markets. The Fed is providing the money to do it. If these acronym programs were abused ... they might indeed force markets higher than valuation warrants. But it would come with a heavy price. Investors would be deprived of the necessary market signals that freely traded capital markets offer to aid in the efficient allocation of capital. Malinvestment would be rampant. It also could force private sector players to leave as the government’s heavy hand makes operating in “controlled” markets uneconomic.
Professor Neil Ferguson ... produced a paper predicting that Britain was on course to lose 250,000 people during the coronavirus epidemic. His research is said to have convinced Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his advisors to introduce the lockdown. Ferguson has been criticised in the past for making predictions based on allegedly faulty assumptions which nevertheless shaped government strategies. He was behind disputed research that sparked the mass culling of farm animals during the 2001 epidemic of foot and mouth disease ... which ultimately led to the deaths of more than six million cattle, sheep and pigs. The cost to the economy was later estimated at Ł10 billion. A 2011 paper ... found that the government ordered the destruction of millions of animals because of "severely flawed" modelling. And separately he also predicted that up to 150,000 people could die from bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE, or 'mad cow disease'). [One] report stated: "The mathematical models were, at best, crude estimations." It also described a febrile atmosphere – reminiscent of recent weeks – and claimed that this allowed mathematical modellers to shape government policy. To date there have been fewer than 200 deaths from the human form of BSE. Scientists warned ... about the dangers in making sweeping political judgments based on mathematical modelling which may be flawed. Michael Thrusfield, professor of veterinary epidemiology ... described his sense of "déjŕ vu" when he read Mr Ferguson's Imperial College paper on coronavirus. Others have directly criticised the methodology employed by Ferguson and his team in their coronavirus study.
Note: This informative article shows predictions of 40,000 dead in Sweden by early May using Ferguson's model were way off. As of May 10th, Sweden had registered 3,225 deaths. A review of his deeply flawed code is available here. This MSN article further reveals that Ferguson blatantly violated his own restrictions by seeing a married lover shortly after the UK lockdown was instituted. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus from reliable major media sources.
A shouting match broke out in the White House Situation Room between Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar and an Office of Management and Budget official. Azar had asked OMB ... for $2 billion to buy respirator masks and other supplies for a depleted federal stockpile of emergency medical equipment. The relief package enacted Friday secured $16 billion for the Strategic National Stockpile. States desperate for materials from the stockpile are encountering a beleaguered system beset by years of underfunding, changing lines of authority, confusion over the allocation of supplies and a lack of transparency from the administration. The stockpile holds masks, drugs, ventilators and other items in secret sites around the country. It has become a source of growing frustration for many state and hospital officials who are having trouble buying — or even locating — crucial equipment on their own. Massachusetts ... has received 17 percent of the protective gear it requested. Maine requested a half-million N95 specialized protective masks and received 25,558 — about 5 percent of what it sought. Florida has been an exception in its dealings with the stockpile: The state submitted a request on March 11 for 430,000 surgical masks, 180,000 N95 respirators, 82,000 face shields and 238,000 gloves, among other supplies — and received a shipment with everything three days later. President Trump repeatedly has warned states not to complain about how much they are receiving.
Note: This 2018 Washington Post article raises many questions about the secret U.S. stockpile. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption and the coronavirus pandemic from reliable major media sources.
How was Congress able to come up with $2 trillion so quickly? Where is the money coming from? On Friday, the House of Representatives, led by Speaker Nancy Pelosi ... waved away that question, preparing to rubber-stamp a $2 trillion Senate package aimed at staving off economic collapse. The details of the legislation — particularly the $500 billion, strings-optional corporate slush fund — may be shameful ... but the moment is instructive ... as it became clear that concerns about deficits and revenue had evaporated. Congress has ignored millions of people who have existed in a state of crisis for decades. The people of Flint, Michigan, (and elsewhere) still do not have safe drinking water. Millions of kids go hungry each day. There has been no multitrillion-dollar spending bill to combat these and other domestic emergencies. Instead, lawmakers have deprived communities of critical investments that could have attenuated their emergencies, often hiding behind the excuse that there isn’t enough money in the budget to deal with problems like these. Congress is doing now what it could always have done. Uncle Sam can’t run out of dollars. The U.S. government is the issuer of our currency — the U.S. dollar — which means that ... it can never find itself in a situation in which it has bills coming due that it can’t afford to pay. If the votes are there, the money can always be made available. When all of this is behind us, to the extent that it ever can be, let’s not forget what we’ve learned.
Note: The entire article at the link above raises important questions about why Congress hasn't made more money available in the past for much needed support of a variety of important programs. The author, Stephanie Kelton, served as the chief economist for Democrats on the U.S. Senate Budget Committee. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on banking and financial corruption from reliable major media sources. Then explore the excellent, reliable resources provided in our Banking Corruption Information Center.
I am writing to you from Italy, which means I am writing from your future. We are now where you will be in a few days. As we watch you from here, from your future, we know that many of you, as you were told to lock yourselves up into your homes, quoted Orwell, some even Hobbes. But soon you’ll be too busy for that. First of all, you’ll eat. Not just because it will be one of the few last things that you can still do. Old resentments and falling-outs will seem irrelevant. You will call people you had sworn never to talk to ever again, so as to ask them: “How are you doing?” You’ll laugh. You’ll laugh a lot. You’ll flaunt a gallows humour you never had before. Even people who’ve always taken everything dead seriously will contemplate the absurdity of life, of the universe and of it all. You will count all the things you do not need. The true nature of the people around you will be revealed with total clarity. You will have confirmations and surprises. Those who invite you to see all this mess as an opportunity for planetary renewal will help you to put things in a larger perspective. You will also find them terribly annoying: nice, the planet is breathing better because of the halved CO2 emissions, but how will you pay your bills next month? You will not understand if witnessing the birth of a new world is more a grandiose or a miserable affair. You will play music from your windows and lawns. When you saw us singing opera from our balconies, you thought “ah, those Italians”. But we know you will sing uplifting songs to each other too.
Note: The above was written by acclaimed Italian novelist Francesca Melandri. Note that the number of people dying from the coronavirus in Italy has been gradually decreasing since it peaked on March 26th. Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
The ozone layer is continuing to heal and has the potential to fully recover, according to a new study. A scientific paper, published in Nature, heralds a rare success in the reversal of environmental damage and shows that orchestrated global action can make a difference. The ozone layer is a protective shield in the Earth’s stratosphere which absorbs most of the ultraviolet radiation reaching us from the sun. Antara Banerjee ... is lead author of the study. She told The Independent: “We found signs of climate changes in the southern hemisphere, specifically in the air circulation patterns. The challenge was showing that these changing air circulation patterns were due to the shrinking ozone hole following the implementation of the Montreal Protocol. The jet stream in the southern hemisphere was gradually shifting towards the south pole in the last decades of the 20th century due to ozone depletion. Our study found that movement has stopped since 2000 and might even be reversing. The pause in movement began around the same time that the ozone hole started to recover. The emissions of ozone-depleting substances that were responsible for the ozone hole - the CFCs from spray cans and refrigerants – started to decline around 2000, thanks to the Montreal Protocol.” Overall, it is good news for the fight against climate change. She added: “It shows that this international treaty has worked and we can reverse the damage that we’ve already done to our planet. That’s a lesson to us all.”
The latest threat to global health is the ongoing outbreak of the respiratory disease that was recently given the name Coronavirus Disease 2019 (Covid-19). The Covid-19 outbreak has posed critical challenges for the public health, research, and medical communities. In their Journal article, Li and colleagues provide a detailed clinical and epidemiologic description of the first 425 cases reported in the epicenter of the outbreak: the city of Wuhan in Hubei province, China. A degree of clarity is emerging from this report. The median age of the patients was 59 years, with higher morbidity and mortality among the elderly and among those with coexisting conditions (similar to the situation with influenza). Of note, there were no cases in children younger than 15 years of age. Li et al. report a mean interval of 9.1 to 12.5 days between the onset of illness and hospitalization. On the basis of a case definition requiring a diagnosis of pneumonia, the currently reported case fatality rate is approximately 2%. In another article in the Journal, Guan et al. report mortality of 1.4% among 1099 patients with laboratory-confirmed Covid-19; these patients had a wide spectrum of disease severity. If one assumes that the number of asymptomatic or minimally symptomatic cases is several times as high as the number of reported cases, the case fatality rate may be considerably less than 1%. This suggests that the overall clinical consequences of Covid-19 may ultimately be more akin to those of a severe seasonal influenza (which has a case fatality rate of approximately 0.1%) or a pandemic influenza (similar to those in 1957 and 1968) rather than a disease similar to SARS or MERS, which have had case fatality rates of 9 to 10% and 36%, respectively.
Note: The main author of this article, Anthony S. Fauci, is the director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Consider the research of 12 other experts questioning the coronavirus panic. Explore also this excellent article which covers key, vitally important aspects of this pandemic that few have considered. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on coronavirus pandemic from reliable major media sources.
The Environmental Protection Agency on Thursday announced a sweeping relaxation of environmental rules in response to the coronavirus pandemic, allowing power plants, factories and other facilities to determine for themselves if they are able to meet legal requirements on reporting air and water pollution. The move comes amid an influx of requests from businesses for a relaxation of regulations as they face layoffs, personnel restrictions and other problems related to the coronavirus outbreak. Issued by the E.P.A.’s top compliance official, Susan P. Bodine, the policy sets new guidelines for companies to monitor themselves for an undetermined period of time during the outbreak and says that the agency will not issue fines for violations of certain air, water and hazardous-waste-reporting requirements. Companies are normally required to report when their factories discharge certain levels of pollution. The order asks companies to “act responsibly” if they cannot ... monitor or report the release of hazardous air pollution. Businesses, it said, should “minimize the effects and duration of any noncompliance” and keep records to report to the agency how Covid-19 restrictions prevented them from meeting pollution rules. Gina McCarthy, who led the E.P.A. under the Obama administration ... called it “an open license to pollute.” She said that while individual companies might need flexibility, “this brazen directive is nothing short of an abject abdication of the E.P.A. mission to protect our well being.”
Coronavirus has hit companies hard and fast over the past several weeks — prompting calls for industry bailouts and dramatic measures to cut costs. Among the steps some major corporations are taking to mitigate the consequences of the outbreak are pay cuts to CEOs and other top executives. Executive pay cuts alone aren't likely to have a significant impact on companies' bottom lines or provide a boost to lower-paid employees further down the org chart. But they send an important message. Airlines and travel companies, one of the industries hit hardest by the outbreak early on, were among the first to take such a step, including Delta (DAL), Alaska (ALK), United Airlines (UAL) and others, which all announced CEO pay cuts, and other executive compensation reductions. Marriott (MAR), the world's largest hotel chain, said last week that CEO Arne Sorenson will not take home any salary for the rest of the year, and the rest of the executive team will take a 50% pay cut. The announcement came at the same time that the company said it would begin furloughing what could be tens of thousands of hotel workers, from housekeepers to general managers. On Wednesday, Dick's Sporting Goods (DKS) also announced its CEO Ed Stack and President Lauren Hobart will forgo their salaries, except for an amount covering company-provided benefits. The company's other named executive officers will take a 50% reduction in base salary. Other companies, including Ford (F), GE (GESLX) and Lyft (LYFT) have taken similar steps.
There was barely any time to pause. Avraham Mintz and Zoher Abu Jama just finished responding to a call regarding a 41-year-old woman having respiratory problems in the southern Israeli city of Be'er Sheva. There would be more calls ahead. Mintz and Abu Jama realized it may be their only break of the shift. The two members of Magen David Adom (MDA), Israel's emergency response service, paused to pray. Mintz, a religious Jew, stood facing Jerusalem, his white and black prayer shawl hanging off his shoulders. Abu Jama, an observant Muslim, knelt facing Mecca, his maroon and white prayer rug unfurled underneath him. For the two paramedics, who routinely work together two or three times a week, the joint prayer was nothing new. For so many others, it was an inspiring image in the midst of the global coronavirus pandemic. A picture of the two men snapped by a co-worker quickly went viral, garnering thousands of likes on social media and appearing in international media coverage. If Mintz and Abu Jama see themselves as heroes, they certainly didn't let it show. They know their job, and they know their faith. "Everyone is afraid of the virus," said Mintz. "So are we, but we have the belief that everything is under the control of God, blessed be He. We both believe this." Abu Jama echoes his partner. "I believe that God will help us and we will get through this. We should all pray to God to get us through this, and we will get through this world crisis." The two prayed for about 15 minutes. Then it was back into the ambulance.
Note: See the beautiful photo at the link above. Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
The amount of money spent in one year by the U.S. on nuclear weapons could instead provide 300,000 ICU (intensive care unit) beds, 35,000 ventilators and 75,000 doctors' salaries, according to the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN) - a "coalition of non-government organizations promoting adherence to and implementation of the UN [United Nations} nuclear weapon ban treaty." In its recent report, the group stated that, according to armscontrol.org, the U.S. spent $35.1 billion on nuclear weapons in 2019. As the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases increases, more resources are required. The shortage of ventilators in U.S. hospitals has ... been a major issue during the coronavirus pandemic. During a recent interview with Vox, Dr. Tom Freiden, former head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), stated that "in the worst-case scenario, in which there is an exponential surge in COVID-19 cases, the need for ventilators could greatly outstrip the number available." In addition to the shortage, the cost of the ventilators has also become a problem for hospitals. They can cost between $25,000 to $50,000 and require very skilled people to run them. The report published by ICAN also touches on the nuclear spending costs of the United Kingdom and France. For instance, France spent around $4.9 million on nuclear weapons in 2019. This amount ... would translate to 100,000 ICU beds, 10,000 ventilators and the salaries of 20,000 French nurses and 10,000 French doctors.
Note: Read this Washington Post article about a secret stockpile which could be used now. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus pandemic from reliable major media sources.
Our Attorney General submitted a proposal last week that would dramatically erode our civil liberties. Among other things, the proposal suspends habeas corpus ... or the right to appear before a judge before being detained. That right is enshrined in our Constitution and without it, Barr could hold Americans indefinitely without a trial. Our justice system is grounded in an unwavering guarantee that each one of us is entitled to certain inalienable rights, including the right to due process before one's freedom is taken away. On March 13, the President declared a national emergency, which unlocked special powers to keep our country safe. Congress has enacted roughly 120 laws that allow presidents such powers to meet precisely these types of threats while maintaining our democracy. These laws are not without limits. Nor were they meant to be used to capitalize on fear to unnecessarily erode our freedoms. Yet while the world is consumed by this pandemic and when he thought no one was watching, Attorney General William Barr proposed granting himself immense, permanent powers extending far past the needs posed by this threat. For example, the proposal grants Barr personally the power to ask any chief judge to hold a citizen, "whenever the district court is fully or partially closed by virtue of any natural disaster, civil disobedience, or other emergency situation." If this were about COVID-19, the proposal would suspend only certain rights narrowly tailored to fighting this disease.
Note: This New York Times article details how autocrats around the world are using the fear generated to grab power. Read another highly informative article on how this crisis is being exploited to grab power. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus pandemic and the erosion of civil liberties from reliable major media sources.
Fear of Covid-19 is based on its high estimated case fatality rate—2% to 4% ... according to the World Health Organization and others. We believe that estimate is deeply flawed. There’s little evidence to confirm that premise—and projections of the death toll could plausibly be orders of magnitude too high. The true fatality rate is the portion of those infected who die, not the deaths from identified positive cases. The latter rate is misleading because of selection bias in testing. The degree of bias ... could make the difference between an epidemic that kills 20,000 and one that kills two million [in the U.S.]. First, the test used to identify cases doesn’t catch people who were infected and recovered. Second, testing rates were woefully low for a long time and typically reserved for the severely ill. Together, these facts imply that the confirmed cases are likely orders of magnitude less than the true number of infections. Epidemiological modelers haven’t adequately adapted their estimates to account for these factors. This does not make Covid-19 a nonissue. The daily reports from Italy and across the U.S. show real struggles and overwhelmed health systems. But a 20,000- or 40,000-death epidemic is a far less severe problem than one that kills two million. Given the enormous consequences of decisions around Covid-19 response, getting clear data to guide decisions now is critical. We don’t know the true infection rate in the U.S. If we’re right about the limited scale of the epidemic, then measures focused on older populations and hospitals are sensible. A universal quarantine may not be worth the costs it imposes on the economy, community and individual mental and physical health.
Note: Authors Dr. Bendavid and Dr. Bhattacharya are professors of medicine at Stanford. The Wall Street Journal charges non-subscribers to read more than the first two paragraphs of this article. You may find it well worth your time to read the entire article free on this webpage. Explore also this excellent article the covers key, vitally important aspects of this pandemic that few have considered. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on coronavirus pandemic from reliable major media sources.
A series of missteps at the nation's top public health agency caused a critical shortage of reliable laboratory tests for the coronavirus. President Donald Trump assured Americans early this month that the COVID-19 test developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is "perfect" and that "anyone who wants a test can get a test." But more than two months after the first U.S. case of the new disease was confirmed, many people still cannot get tested. Four primary issues ... hampered the national response — the early decision not to use the test adopted by the World Health Organization, flaws with the more complex test developed by the CDC, government guidelines restricting who could be tested and delays in engaging the private sector to ramp up testing capacity. By mid-February, only about a half-dozen state and local public health labs had reliable tests. But still, CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield continued to insist his agency had developed "a very accurate test." "We found that, in some of the states, it didn't work," Redfield said earlier this month. As more sick people sought to be tested, many states were forced to limit access because of the flawed CDC test. Accounts began to emerge ... of people with all the symptoms of COVID-19 who either couldn't get tested or had test results delayed. On Feb. 29, only 472 patients had been tested nationwide, with just 22 cases confirmed, according to CDC data. By comparison, South Korea ... mobilized to test more than 20,000 people a day.
Note: Explore a ZeroHedge article titled "Whistleblower: How CDC Is Manipulating The COVID-19 Death-Toll." A BMJ article titled "Covid-19: four fifths of cases are asymptomatic, China figures indicate" quotes one epidemiologist as asking "What the hell are we locking down for?" For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus pandemic from reliable major media sources.
A model predicting the progression of the novel coronavirus pandemic produced by researchers at Imperial College London set off alarms across the world and was a major factor in several governments' decisions to lock things down. But a new model from Oxford University is challenging its accuracy. The Oxford research suggests the pandemic is in a later stage than previously thought and estimates the virus has already infected at least millions of people worldwide. In the United Kingdom, which the study focuses on, half the population would have already been infected. If accurate, that would mean transmission began around mid-January and the vast majority of cases presented mild or no symptoms. The head of the study, professor Sunetra Gupta, an Oxford theoretical epidemiologist, said she still supports the U.K.'s decision to shut down the country to suppress the virus. But she also doesn't appear to be a big fan of the work done by the Imperial College team. If her work is accurate, that would likely mean a large swath of the population has built up resistance to the virus. Theoretically, then, social restrictions could ease sooner than anticipated. What needs to be done now, Gupta said, is a whole lot of antibody testing to figure out who may have contracted the virus. Her research team is working with groups from the University of Cambridge and the University of Kent to start those tests for the general population as quickly as possible.
My adulthood has been punctuated by severe national emergencies. The first my generation experienced was the terrorist attack on September 11, 2001. The government quickly responded by attempting to achieve two things: one, expanding executive power, and two, transferring public wealth into private corporations. The second national emergency my generation experienced was the 2008 housing bubble collapse and subsequent recession. Again the federal government ... sought to exploit the crisis to move vast wealth from the public treasury into private bank accounts. A staggering $14tn was transferred from taxpayers to private hands. [The] latest iteration is the Covid-19 pandemic. Once again, the federal government appears poised to exploit this emergency to expand executive power and move wealth from the public treasury into private bank accounts. As we witnessed with the authoritarian reactions to 9/11, emergency violations of civil liberties are not easily rolled back, and often aggregate over time. In the wake of 9/11, Congress passed the National Defense Authorization Act, which gave sweeping powers to the executive branch. In 2012, Obama signed an expanded version into law, which gave the president the power to “hold individuals, including US citizens, in military detention indefinitely”, which means for life. We must reject such authoritarian measures wholly.
Before the coronavirus virus crushed the US stock market, the Republican senator Richard Burr apparently used information he gleaned from his role as chairman of the Senate intelligence committee about the ferocity of the coming pandemic to unload 33 stocks held by him and his spouse. They were estimated at being worth between $628,033 and $1.72m. While publicly parroting Trump’s happy talk at the time, Burr confided to several of his political funders that the disease would be comparable to the deadly 1918 flu pandemic. When society faces a common threat, exploiting a special advantage is morally repugnant. Call it “Burring”. The coronavirus should have altered business as usual. But last week’s Senate Republican relief package, giving airlines $58bn and billions more to other industries, is pure Burring. Walmart, the largest employer in America, doesn’t give its employees paid sick leave. 88% of Walmart employees report sometimes coming to work when sick. None of the giants of the fast-food industry – McDonald’s, Burger King, Pizza Hut, Duncan Donuts, Wendy’s, Taco Bell, Subway – gives their workers paid sick leave, either. Amazon, one of the richest corporations in the world, which paid almost no taxes last year, is offering unpaid time off for workers who are sick. These corporations have made sure they and other companies with more than 500 employees are exempt from the requirement in the House coronavirus bill that employers provide paid sick leave.
Note: Read a New York Times article for further information on how Senator Burr, the head of the US Senate Intelligence Committee, after being briefed of impending disaster, unloaded $1 million in investments while telling the public everything was fine. Read an article in The Atlantic showing how the Coronavirus is giving the world's leaders a rich opportunity for a power grab. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus pandemic from reliable major media sources.
The new NextSeq 550 sequencing machine at UCSF’s clinical lab on Berry Street looks like a microwave with a computer keyboard, but to microbiologist Charles Chiu, it is the key to California’s fight against the deadliest, most invasive virus to strike humanity in decades. The professor of medicine at UCSF will be using the black contraption ... to sequence the genomes of the viruses infecting hundreds of COVID-19 patients in the Bay Area during the next few weeks. Chiu ... is one of the top infectious disease specialists in the world. He has assembled an expert team of scientists ... to find critical clues about where the viral outbreaks in the Bay Area came from and how quickly the disease is spreading. He has already analyzed nine samples from the more than two dozen passengers who tested positive for the coronavirus on the Grand Princess cruise ship and is close to pinpointing the origin of those cases. “Those sequences belong in the same cluster as the infection in Washington state,” Chiu said. “They really suggest a link between Washington state and California.” Chiu said tracking the spread of the virus through genetics is possible because coronaviruses are known to have one to two mutations per month, allowing genomic sequencing to track a particular strain back to its origin. The rate of mutation in coronaviruses is much slower than it is with the influenza virus, which averages about eight to 10 mutations per month.
Michael Levitt, a Nobel laureate and Stanford biophysicist, began analyzing the number of COVID-19 cases worldwide in January and correctly calculated that China would get through the worst of its coronavirus outbreak long before many health experts had predicted. Now he foresees a similar outcome in the United States and the rest of the world. While many epidemiologists are warning of months, or even years, of massive social disruption and millions of deaths, Levitt says the data simply don’t support such a dire scenario — especially in areas where reasonable social distancing measures are in place. “What we need is to control the panic,” he said. In the grand scheme, “we’re going to be fine.” Here’s what Levitt noticed in China: On Jan. 31, the country had 46 new deaths due to the novel coronavirus, compared with 42 new deaths the day before. Although the number of daily deaths had increased, the rate of that increase had begun to ease off. It was an early sign that the trajectory of the outbreak had shifted. “This suggests that the rate of increase in the number of deaths will slow down even more over the next week,” Levitt wrote. He predicted that the total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in China would end up around 80,000, with about 3,250 deaths. This forecast turned out to be remarkably accurate. Now Levitt ... is seeing similar turning points in other nations. He analyzed data from 78 countries that reported more than 50 new cases of COVID-19 every day and sees “signs of recovery” in many of them.
Note: Consider the research of 12 other experts questioning the coronavirus panic. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus pandemic from reliable major media sources.
When this public health crisis first morphed into a financial one as well, the Federal Reserve sprang into action, pouring trillions of dollars into the financial system in less than a week; providing short-term loans to banks; slashing a key interest rate virtually to zero; announcing that the Fed would begin buying $700 billion worth of U.S. government bonds and mortgage-backed securities. The Fed gave itself the authority to purchase up to $1 trillion in commercial paper to support the flow of credit. An eight-second video from 2009 [shows] Ben Bernanke, the Fed chair at the time, explaining how the central bank comes up with the money to pull off these trillion-dollar maneuvers. “It’s not tax money,” Mr. Bernanke explained on “60 Minutes.” “We simply use the computer to mark up the size of the account.” Heads exploded. Many people replying to the tweet complained that we’re ... coming to the rescue of Wall Street instead of Main Street. “If the Fed can do this for the banks,” they wondered, “why can’t we find the money to pay for programs that would improve life for everyday Americans?” When called upon, the same computer that works for large banks is there for Main Street as well. But the Federal Reserve needs specific instructions before typing up dollars for the rest of us. Those instructions come in the form of legislation: When a bill becomes a law, the government is, in essence, telling the Fed how many dollars it is ordering up.
The Trump Department of Justice has asked Congress to craft legislation allowing chief judges to indefinitely hold people without trial and suspend other constitutionally-protected rights during coronavirus and other emergencies, according to a report by Politico. The DOJ has requested Congress allow any chief judge of a district court to pause court proceedings “whenever the district court is fully or partially closed by virtue of any natural disaster, civil disobedience, or other emergency situation,” according to draft language obtained by Politico. This would be applicable to “any statutes or rules of procedure otherwise affecting pre-arrest, post-arrest, pre-trial, trial, and post-trial procedures in criminal and juvenile proceedings and all civil processes and proceedings.” But the Constitution grants citizens habeas corpus which gives arrestees the right to appear in front of a judge and ask to be released before trial. Enacting legislation like the DOJ wants would essentially suspend habeas corpus indefinitely until the emergency ended. Further, DOJ asked Congress to suspend the statute of limitations on criminal investigations and civil proceedings during the emergency until a year after it ended. That means you could be arrested and never brought before a judge until they decide that the emergency or the civil disobedience is over. The DOJ ... also asked Congress to pass a law saying that immigrants who test positive for COVID-19 cannot qualify as asylum seekers.
The Federal Reserve moved with unprecedented force and speed Friday to pump huge amounts of cash into the financial system to ease disruptions that have escalated since the viral outbreak. The New York Federal Reserve Bank said it will offer $1 trillion of overnight loans a day through the end of this month to large banks. That is in addition to $1 trillion in 14-day loans it is offering every week. Wall Street analysts say the huge number is intended to calm markets by demonstrating that the Fed’s ability to lend short-term is nearly unlimited. The Fed is also buying Treasury bonds at a furious pace, and will soon run through the $500 billion in purchases it announced on Sunday. It is also accelerating its purchases of mortgage-backed securities. Most analysts expect they will buy more. All the Fed’s emergency steps are intended to pump cash into a financial system that has seen a spike in demand for dollars. Steven Friedman, a former economist at the New York Fed, [said] “The Fed is trying to play the role of shock absorber.” “They’ve effectively thrown the kitchen sink at the markets and the economy,” said Gennadiy Goldberg, senior U.S. rates strategist for TD Securities. Also Friday, the Fed said it would expand its currency exchanges with five central banks. The Fed provides dollars to overseas central banks because some business is conducted overseas in dollars and foreign banks also provide dollar-denominated loans to their customers.
Note: Take $1 trillion and divide it by the U.S. population of 330 million and you find that this amount is equivalent to $3,000 for every man, woman, and child in the US. And that is what the Fed is lending every day. Where is all this money coming from, and why is it going to the banks? For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus from reliable major media sources. Then explore the excellent, reliable resources provided in our Banking Information Center.
People around the world are learning to cope with quarantines in an attempt to stop the further spread of the new coronavirus. As city lockdowns force people to self-quarantine, everyone is searching for ways to keep busy — and Yale University has a solution. "Psychology and the Good Life," a course first introduced by Professor Laurie Santos in spring 2018, teaches stressed-out students how to be happier. The university said it quickly became the most popular course in the school's 317-year history. Given its success, Yale decided to release the course online with the title, "The Science of Well Being." It features lectures by Santos "on things people think will make them happy but don't — and, more importantly, things that do bring lasting life satisfaction." Anyone with an internet connection can sign up for the class for free. The course involves a series of challenges "designed to increase your own happiness and build more productive habits." The course is fully online and takes about 20 hours to complete. It includes videos, readings, quizzes and "retirement" activities to build happier habits. "The Science of Well Being" isn't the only course that could keep you busy during the coronavirus outbreak. Coursera offers other free courses from the nation's top schools, including "Greek and Roman Mythology" from the University of Pennsylvania, "Imagining other Earths" from Princeton, and "Child Nutrition and Cooking" from Stanford.
Note: Don't miss the incredibly popular course (4.9 stars out of 5) offered free on this webpage. Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
Today, the UN issued its annual World Happiness Report, which ranks 156 countries around the world. For the third year in a row, Finland was named the happiest country in the world. So what makes the Finns so happy—and what can we learn from them during this time of global turmoil caused by an outbreak of coronavirus? The first thing to know is that 70% of Finland is covered by forest and the air is clean and serene. “Nature is our secret,” says [Heli] Jimenez. “We Finns like to put on a pair of rubber boots, head to the woods to slow down and calm our mind.” But even if you can’t get out of the house, you can replicate the experience at home and listen to the relaxing sounds of Finnish Lapland. Finns love swimming in the winter in a lake or the sea. The easiest way to do this at home is with a quick, ice-cold shower. Another hallmark of Finland is its rich art scene, which ranges from experimental artist-run initiatives to commercial galleries to flagship art institutions. The country is home to more than 55 art museums, and much of the art in the country is inspired by the Finns’ close relationship with nature. The Finns also use art to “calm the mind and transport their thoughts to stress-free, comforting places.” says Jimenez. Her advice: “Why not take a virtual trip from your own sofa to the Finnish museums to understand how art is a tool for happiness.” Take a virtual tour of the Ateneum, and you’ll be feeling the calm Finnish vibes in no time flat.
Investment bankers have pressed health care companies on the front lines of fighting the novel coronavirus, including drug firms developing experimental treatments and medical supply firms, to consider ways that they can profit from the crisis. The largest voices in the health care industry stand to gain from billions of dollars in emergency spending on the pandemic, as do the bankers and investors who invest in health care companies. Over the past few weeks, investment bankers have been candid on investor calls and during health care conferences about the opportunity to raise drug prices. Executives joked about using the attention on Covid-19 to dodge public pressure on the opioid crisis. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar previously served as president of the U.S. division of drug giant Eli Lilly and on the board of the Biotechnology Innovation Organization, a drug lobby group. During a congressional hearing ... Azar rejected the notion that any vaccine or treatment for Covid-19 should be set at an affordable price. “We can’t control that price because we need the private sector to invest,” said Azar. “The priority is to get vaccines and therapeutics. Price controls won’t get us there.” The initial $8.3 billion coronavirus spending bill passed in early March ... contained a provision that prevents the government from delaying the introduction of any new pharmaceutical to address the crisis over affordability concerns. The legislative text was shaped, according to reports, by industry lobbyists.
Even as President Trump says he tested negative for coronavirus, the COVID-19 pandemic raises the fear that huge swaths of the executive branch or even Congress and the Supreme Court could also be disabled, forcing the implementation of "continuity of government" plans. Above-Top Secret contingency plans already exist for what the military is supposed to do if all the Constitutional successors are incapacitated. Standby orders were issued more than three weeks ago to ready these plans, not just to protect Washington but also to prepare for the possibility of some form of martial law. The various plans – codenamed Octagon, Freejack and Zodiac – are the underground laws to ensure government continuity. Under these extraordinary plans, "devolution" could circumvent the normal Constitutional provisions for government succession, and military commanders could be placed in control around America. Since Hurricane Katrina in 2006, no emergency has triggered any state to even request federal military aid under these procedures. Part of the reason, the senior officer involved in planning says, is that local police forces have themselves become more capable, acquiring military-grade equipment and training. And part of the reason is that the governors have worked together to strengthen the National Guard, which can enforce domestic law when it is mustered under state control.
Liam Elkind's big heart and his break from college was a highlight of 83-year-old Carol Sterling's week. The retired arts administrator has been sheltering at home during the coronavirus outbreak, unable to shop for herself. Yearning for some fresh food, she found the 20-year-old through their synagogue, and soon he showed up at her door with a bag full of salad fixings and oranges. Elkind, a junior at Yale, and a friend, Simone Policano, amassed 1,300 volunteers in 72 hours to deliver groceries and medicine to older New Yorkers and other vulnerable people. They call themselves Invisible Hands, and they do something else in the process — provide human contact and comfort, at a safe distance, of course. Elkind and his fellow volunteers take the name of their project from their vigilance in maintaining social distance from the people they serve, and their meticulous care while shopping and delivering. Grocery and pharmacy orders are placed on the Invisible Hands website. “It's gone from extremely casual to extremely operational very quickly,” Elkind said. “This is one of those times when I remember that New York is such a small town, and people are willing to look out for one another and have each other's back.” Now, Elkind said, volunteers have offered to extend Invisible Hands to Boston, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Washington and London. “It's been really exciting just to see that amount of interest and how many people there are in this world who want to do good and are looking for ways to do that," he said.
California has prepared for worst case scenarios as the coronavirus pandemic heightens, including the possibility of enacting martial law. Governor Gavin Newsom said during a press conference on Tuesday he would consider implementing martial law if it was necessary to curb the novel virus. “We have the ability to do martial law ... if we feel the necessity,” he said. Issuing martial law would be an unprecedented move rarely used by officials in US history. If enacted, it would temporarily replace civil rule with military authority. The precedent for martial law in the US states “certain civil liberties may be suspended, such as the right to be free from unreasonable searches and seizures, freedom of association, and freedom of movement,” according to a legal journal. The president and Congress have the power to enact martial law for the entire country. State governors also have the power to enact martial law if its in their state’s constitution. Previous examples of martial law used include after World War II, specifically following the bombing of Pearl Harbour, when the state of Hawaii was held under martial law from 1941 to 1944. President Abraham Lincoln also used martial law during the Civil War to temporarily suspend habeas corpus, which is the right to a trial before imprisonment. California considering the possibility of using martial law on Tuesday comes just two days after the governor said he had no current plans for the measure.
More than 99% of Italy’s coronavirus fatalities were people who suffered from previous medical conditions, according to a study by the country’s national health authority. After deaths from the virus reached more than 2,500, with a 150% increase in the past week, health authorities have been combing through data to provide clues to help combat the spread of the disease. Italy has more than 31,500 confirmed cases of the illness. The new study could provide insight into why Italy’s death rate, at about 8% of total infected people, is higher than in other countries. The Rome-based institute has examined medical records of about 18% of the country’s coronavirus fatalities, finding that just three victims, or 0.8% of the total, had no previous pathology. Almost half of the victims suffered from at least three prior illnesses and about a fourth had either one or two previous conditions. More than 75% had high blood pressure, about 35% had diabetes and a third suffered from heart disease. The average age of those who’ve died from the virus in Italy is 79.5. As of March 17, 17 people under 50 had died from the disease. All of Italy’s victims under 40 have been males with serious existing medical conditions. According to the GIMBE Foundation, about 100,000 Italians have contracted the virus, daily Il Sole 24 Ore reported. That would bring back the country’s death rate closer to the global average of about 2%.
Note: Yet very strangely in Italy's neighbor France, "half the severe cases were people aged under 60," according to this report. For two other excellent articles which put the Coronavirus in perspective, see this compilation of data and this excellent essay on how the virus is being used to promote the surveillance state. Lots more from reliable sources on selling fear during virus scares is available here. And for how fear is used to control us and what we can do about it, don't miss this excellent essay.
The FBI raised eyebrows on Tuesday when the agency announced that it would not be accepting electronic Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests due to the ongoing coronavirus outbreak. As the spread of the virus continues to disrupt normal functions of society like schools, restaurants and sporting events, not many could have predicted that the electronic requests for FBI documents would be affected. "Due to the emerging COVID-19 situation, the FBI is not accepting electronic Freedom of Information/Privacy Act requests or sending out electronic responses through the eFOIPA portal at this time. You may still submit a FOIPA request via standard mail. We apologize for this inconvenience and appreciate your understanding," a red-bolded disclaimer stated on the FBI website. The sudden halt of electronic FOIA requests sparked puzzled reactions on social media. "This is crazy but, then again, FBI and FOIA is a disastrous combo," BuzzFeed senior investigative Jason Leopold tweeted. "The FBI is responding to coronavirus by using it as an opportunity to kill off journalists who really want transparency." They would prefer to receive only those requests laden with all of our germs and whatnot?" Reuters reporter Brad Heath asked.
Note: You can verify this information on the FBI website at this link. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption and the coronavirus pandemic from reliable major media sources.
In this time of social distancing and high anxiety, it can help to step back and remind ourselves of the myriad ways people are still being positive. We asked several of our reporters to share something they saw this week that is helping them remain upbeat. Inside Chicago’s once-bustling Shedd Aquarium, there wasn’t a soul in sight — except for a penguin waddling past the glass tanks. With the facility closed to the public, staff at the aquarium saw an opportunity for a field trip. They started Sunday with a penguin named Wellington, who peered into one of the giant fish tanks. The next day was mated pair Edward and Annie’s turn. Video of the sightseeing trips was shared online thousands of times. Like many nursing homes across the country, Sterling Village in Massachusetts has severely restricted its visitation policy. But resident Millie Erickson’s family still wanted to celebrate her 100th birthday with her, so they and the facility found a creative solution. About a dozen of her family members and nursing-home staff gathered outside her window to sing “Happy Birthday” as she waved along with the music and teared up — and it was all caught on video. I was heartened that this family found an outside-the-box way to make their loved one feel embraced and valued during this isolating time. We may currently need to keep our physical distance from older family members, but that doesn’t mean we can’t facilitate togetherness. Those human connections are what will get us through this crisis.
Note: Don't miss many other uplifting stories available at the link above. Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
Politicians, celebrities, social media influencers and even N.B.A. teams have been tested for the new coronavirus. But as that list of rich, famous and powerful people grows by the day, so do questions about whether they are getting access to testing that is denied to other Americans. With testing still in short supply in areas of the country, leaving health care workers and many sick people unable to get diagnoses, some prominent personalities have obtained tests without exhibiting symptoms or having known contact with someone who has the virus. In areas of the country where the virus has been slow to appear, people have been able to obtain tests easily. But in New York, California, Washington State and Massachusetts, where the virus has spread rapidly and demand for tests is most high, it is very difficult. The New York City Health Department has directed doctors only to order tests for patients in need of hospitalization. People with mild symptoms are being told to quarantine themselves at home. Even health care workers, at high risk of contracting the virus and transmitting it, have struggled to get tested. Police chiefs across the country are growing concerned that they cannot get their hands on tests. “What’s frustrating is to continue to hear that there aren’t testing kits available, and my rank and file have to continue to answer calls for service while professional athletes and movie stars are getting tested without even showing any symptoms,” said Eddie Garcia, the police chief of San Jose, Calif..
The White House and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are asking Facebook, Google and other tech giants to give them greater access to Americans' smartphone location data in order to help them combat the spread of the coronavirus, according to four people at companies involved in the discussions who are not authorized to speak about them publicly. Federal health officials say they could use anonymous, aggregated user data collected by the tech companies to map the spread of the virus — a practice known as "syndromic surveillance" — and prevent further infections. They could also use the data to see whether people were practicing "social distancing." The federal effort [was] first reported by The Washington Post. The government officials have held at least two calls in recent days with representatives from the companies, the sources said. Those officials are "very serious" about making this happen, a person at one of the tech companies said. Similar and more aggressive surveillance practices have already been put to use in China, South Korea and Israel. The moves have set off alarm bells among privacy advocates who fear what the government may do with users' data. Facebook already provides health researchers and nongovernmental organizations in some countries with anonymized data to help disease prevention efforts. Representatives from Facebook, Google, Twitter, Apple, Amazon, Microsoft, IBM and Cisco all took part in the call with White House and federal health officials.
The current coronavirus disease [may] be a once-in-a-century evidence fiasco. At a time when everyone needs better information ... no countries have reliable data. This evidence fiasco creates tremendous uncertainty. Draconian countermeasures have been adopted in many countries. The data collected so far on how many people are infected and how the epidemic is evolving are utterly unreliable. Given the limited testing to date ... we don’t know if we are failing to capture infections by a factor of three or 300. Reported case fatality rates, like the official 3.4% rate from the [WHO], cause horror — and are meaningless. Patients who have been tested ... are disproportionately those with severe symptoms and bad outcomes. The Diamond Princess cruise ship [had a] case fatality rate [of] 1.0%, but this was a largely elderly population. Projecting the Diamond Princess mortality rate onto the age structure of the U.S. population, the death rate among people infected with Covid-19 would be 0.125%. But since this estimate is based on extremely thin data ... the real death rate could stretch from five times lower (0.025%) to five times higher (0.625%). A population-wide case fatality rate of 0.05% is lower than seasonal influenza. If that is the true rate, locking down the world with potentially tremendous social and financial consequences may be totally irrational. In the absence of data, prepare-for-the-worst reasoning leads to extreme measures of social distancing and lockdowns. Unfortunately, we do not know if these measures work. With lockdowns of months, if not years, life largely stops, short-term and long-term consequences are entirely unknown, and billions, not just millions, of lives may be eventually at stake.
Note: John Ioannidis is professor of medicine, epidemiology and population health at Stanford University. To be truly informed, don't miss this entire, very well researched article at the link above. Consider also the research of 12 other experts questioning the coronavirus panic. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus pandemic from reliable major media sources.
Among the 2,158 people to have been killed by the coronavirus pandemic in Italy as of Monday, the oldest was 95 and the two youngest were 39. Silvio Brusaferro, the president of Italy’s Higher Institute of Health, said on Friday that the average age of coronavirus victims was 80.3, with the majority having suffered underlying illnesses. The most common additional health issue was arterial hypertension followed by chronic heart disease, atrial fibrillation and cancer. More than 70% of those who have died were men. The two 39-year-old victims were a man with diabetes and a woman with cancer.
Note: Yet very strangely in Italy's neighbor France, "half the severe cases were people aged under 60," according to this report. For two other excellent articles which put the Coronavirus in perspective, see this compilation of data and this excellent essay on how the virus is being used to promote the surveillance state. Lots more from reliable sources on selling fear during virus scares is available here. And for how fear is used to control us and what we can do about it, don't miss this excellent essay.
Amid a novel coronavirus pandemic, some of us have defied public health officials’ exhortations and headed to bars to be with other members of our species. More of us have stared into the weeks to come and wondered how we will cope without basketball games, book groups, worship services, yoga classes and dinners with friends. Humans are social animals, even what some call “ultra-social.” For millennia, survival has depended on being part of a group. If distancing seems hard, it’s not just you: It’s human nature. “We are the most extreme example of a species that’s decided that collaborating with others is going to be my entire strategy,” said Steve Cole, a professor ... at the University of California. These social skills helped our ancestors fend off predators and more efficiently gather and hunt food and raise offspring. Our emotional dependence on each other can make keeping our distance, even for the public health benefit of “flattening the curve,” feel crummy. Most who are reducing physical contact, of course, are not locking themselves into isolation chambers. They’ve got a few relatives or friends around. Technology and social media ... should now be viewed as a lifeline. “People are going to feel isolated and lonely unless they make an effort to reach out to each other, so what we have to do is make sure that we call people on the phone and Skype with them and send them texts and emails, especially the people who are least proficient on the Internet,” [psychological anthropologist Alan] Fiske said.
President Donald Trump on Wednesday threatened to use a never-before-used power that allows the president to adjourn Congress if the House and Senate won't voluntarily adjourn, so he can appoint judges and other executive branch officials without the Senate's approval. At Wednesday's White House Coronavirus Task Force daily briefing, Trump claimed that 129 unconfirmed nominees were stuck in limbo because of "partisan obstruction" by Democrats despite the fact that Republicans ... control the pace at which nominees are confirmed. Under the U.S. Constitution, "Officers of the United States" are appointed with the "advice and consent" of the Senate. This category includes all federal judges, ambassadors, cabinet secretaries and the heads of many federal agencies. While the Constitution provides for the president to make recess appointments to fill positions when Congress has adjourned, presidents have largely been unable to exercise that authority since 2006, when Democrats took control of Congress and began holding pro forma sessions every few days without formally adjourning, to circumvent the requirement that neither chamber adjourn for more than three days without the consent of the other. Because the Democratic-controlled House has not consented to the Republican-controlled Senate adjourning, both chambers have been holding the brief sessions, which has denied Trump the ability to fill vacancies with nominees who might not be able to gain the Senate's approval.
As the new Coronavirus spreads illness, death, and catastrophe around the world, virtually no economic sector has been spared from harm. Yet amid the mayhem ... one industry is not only surviving, it is profiting handsomely. “Pharmaceutical companies view Covid-19 as a once-in-a-lifetime business opportunity,” said Gerald Posner, author of “Pharma: Greed, Lies, and the Poisoning of America.” The world needs ... treatments and vaccines and, in the U.S., tests. Dozens of companies are now vying to make them. The ability to make money off of pharmaceuticals is already uniquely large in the U.S., which lacks the basic price controls other countries have, giving drug companies more freedom over setting prices for their products than anywhere else in the world. During the current crisis, pharmaceutical makers may have even more leeway than usual because of language industry lobbyists inserted into an $8.3 billion coronavirus spending package, passed last week, to maximize their profits from the pandemic. Initially, some lawmakers had tried to ensure that the federal government would limit how much pharmaceutical companies could reap from vaccines and treatments for the new coronavirus that they developed with the use of public funding. But many Republicans opposed adding language to the bill that would restrict the industry’s ability to profit, arguing that it would stifle research and innovation. The final aid package not only omitted language that would have limited drug makers’ intellectual property rights, it specifically prohibited the federal government from taking any action if it has concerns that the treatments or vaccines developed with public funds are priced too high.
Note: For glaring examples of how big Pharma and select public officials made money hand over fist during previous virus scares, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the avian and swine flu from reliable major media sources.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, a leading health expert and member of President Donald Trump's coronavirus task force, predicted three years ago that the administration would have to deal with a surprise disease outbreak. The director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) told a Georgetown University event on pandemic preparedness in January 2017 that there was "no doubt" President Trump's team would face "challenges that their predecessors were faced with" over infectious diseases. He also called for the creation of a "public health emergency fund" aimed at handling situations such as a surprise virus outbreak, adding that waits for funding had been "painful" in the past. Delivering a keynote speech at the Georgetown University Medical Center event, Dr. Fauci said: "If there's one message that I want to leave with you today... is that there is no question that there will be a challenge to the coming administration in the arena of infectious diseases. "Both chronic infectious diseases in the sense of already ongoing disease, and we have certainly a large burden of that, but also there will be a surprise outbreak." "And I hope by the end of my relatively short presentation you will understand why history ... will tell the next administration that there's no doubt in anyone's mind that they will be faced with the challenges that their predecessors were faced with." He went on to note that over his career he had advised several president's on a range of emerging infectious diseases.
Note: How could Fauci possibly have known with such certainty back in 2017 that there would be a surprise outbreak? Something is fishy here. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus pandemic from reliable major media sources.
Coronavirus has the world on edge. The outbreak is now a global pandemic. Coast to coast, large public gatherings and major events have been canceled. Employees have been told to work from home, universities have moved all classes online and elementary schools have closed for sanitizing. The stock market has seen meteoric crashes. It's a global event pervading nearly every aspect of people's lives. Psychologists and public health experts say public anxiety is high, and it's largely fueled by a feeling of powerlessness. The spread of the new coronavirus is not just a public health crisis. Part of what drives feelings of anxiety is a lack of information. The virus is new, and there remain many questions. Most people haven't had it, nor do they know someone who has. Experts say that matters. Not everyone reacts to epidemics the same way. When news is mixed, people can choose to focus on the good or the bad. The good news is, for most people, the illness caused by the coronavirus is generally mild and the flu-like symptoms of fever and cough don't last long. The bad news is the virus is novel and highly contagious. Whether people fixate on the good or the bad has a lot to do with who they are. Reports say most people who contract the coronavirus experience symptoms similar to the flu. Then people read stories about the National Guard helping with quarantine containment. A blog post from the Poynter Institute, which trains journalists, noted that saying "deadly virus" can be misleading, because the virus is not deadly for most people. People should also limit their media exposure, experts say. They caution against reading about the outbreak obsessively and recommend getting needed information and moving on.
Note: Read this entire article at the link above to gain a good perspective on the emotional impact of the Coronavirus. Then explore this CDC webpage on the 2009 Swine flu (H1N1), which states, " CDC estimated there were ... 274,304 hospitalizations and 12,469 deaths in the United States due to the (H1N1)pdm09 virus. Additionally, CDC estimated that 151,700-575,400 people worldwide died. 80 percent ... occurred in people younger than 65 years of age." These numbers are far below those of the Coronavirus. So why is the whole world shutting down in fear?
As countries around the world grapple with the coronavirus, Taiwan may offer valuable lessons on how to curb its spread. The island is just 81 miles and a short flight away from mainland China, where COVID-19 is believed to have originated in the city of Wuhan. And yet, Taiwan has had only 50 cases of COVID-19 and one death. Of the 100-plus countries and territories affected, Taiwan has the lowest incidence rate per capita — around 1 in every 500,000 people. What lessons can Taiwan teach the world so other countries can stem the spread of the virus? On Dec. 31, the same day China notified the World Health Organization that it had several cases of an unknown pneumonia, Taiwan’s Centers for Disease Control immediately ordered inspections of passengers arriving on flights from Wuhan. Taiwan began requiring hospitals to test for and report cases. That helped the government identify those infected, trace their contacts and isolate everyone involved. Equally important, Taiwan's CDC activated the Central Epidemic Command Center relatively early on Jan. 20 and that allowed it to quickly roll out a series of epidemic control measures. The country’s health insurance system, which covers 99 percent of the population, has been crucial. “You can get a free test, and if you’re forced to be isolated, during the 14 days, we pay for your food, lodging and medical care,” [government spokesperson Kolas Yotaka] said. “So no one would avoid seeing the doctor because they can’t pay for health care.”
Note: This wired.com article further shows how Singapore is doing well with the pandemic. Another article shows why several countries have had success in this. Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
A man from London has become the second person in the world to be cured of HIV, doctors say. Adam Castillejo is still free of the virus more than 30 months after stopping anti-retroviral therapy. He was not cured by the HIV drugs, however, but by a stem-cell treatment he received for a cancer he also had, the Lancet HIV journal reports. The donors of those stem cells have an uncommon gene that gives them, and now Mr Castillejo, protection against HIV. In 2011, Timothy Brown, the "Berlin Patient" became the first person reported as cured of HIV, three and half years after having similar treatment. Stem-cell transplants appear to stop the virus being able to replicate inside the body by replacing the patient's own immune cells with donor ones that resist HIV infection. Adam Castillejo - the now 40-year-old "London Patient" who has decided to go public with his identity - has no detectable active HIV infection in his blood, semen or tissues, his doctors say. It is now a year after they first announced he was clear of the virus and he still remains free of HIV. Lead researcher Prof Ravindra Kumar Gupta, from the University of Cambridge, told BBC News: "This represents HIV cure with almost certainty. "We have now had two and a half years with anti-retroviral-free remission. "Our findings show that the success of stem-cell transplantation as a cure for HIV, first reported nine years ago in the Berlin Patient, can be replicated."
Carbon emissions from the global electricity system fell by 2% last year, the biggest drop in almost 30 years, as countries began to turn their backs on coal-fired power plants. A new report on the world’s electricity generation revealed the steepest cut in carbon emissions since 1990 as the US and the EU turned to cleaner energy sources. Overall, power from coal plants fell by 3% last year, even as China’s reliance on coal plants climbed for another year to make up half the world’s coal generation for the first time. Coal generation in the US and Europe has halved since 2007, and last year collapsed by almost a quarter in the EU and by 16% in the US. The report from climate thinktank Ember ... warned that the dent in the world’s coal-fired electricity generation relied on many one-off factors, including milder winters across many countries. Dave Jones, the lead author of the report, said governments must dramatically accelerate the electricity transition so that global coal generation collapses throughout the 2020s. “The cheapest and quickest way to end coal generation is through a rapid rollout of wind and solar,” he said. The report revealed that renewable wind and solar power rose by 15% in 2019 to make up 8% of the world’s electricity. In the EU, wind and solar power made up almost a fifth of the electricity generated last year, ahead of the US which relied on these renewable sources for 11% of its electricity. In China and India, renewable energy made up 8% and 9% of the electricity system, respectively.
Over the last two months, Chinese citizens have had to adjust to a new level of government intrusion. Getting into one’s apartment compound or workplace requires scanning a QR code, writing down one’s name and ID number, temperature and recent travel history. Telecom operators track people’s movements while social media platforms like WeChat and Weibo have hotlines for people to report others who may be sick. Some cities are offering people rewards for informing on sick neighbours. Chinese companies are meanwhile rolling out facial recognition technology that can detect elevated temperatures in a crowd or flag citizens not wearing a face mask. A range of apps use the personal health information of citizens to alert others of their proximity to infected patients. Experts say the virus ... has given authorities a pretext for accelerating the mass collection of personal data to track citizens. “It’s mission creep,” said Maya Wang, senior China researcher for Human Rights Watch. According to Wang, the virus is likely to be a catalyst for a further expansion of the surveillance regime. Citizens are particularly critical of a system called Health Code, which users can sign up for through Alipay or WeChat, that assigns individuals one of three colour codes based on their travel history, time spent in outbreak hotspots and exposure to potential carriers of the virus. The software, used in more than 100 cities, will soon allow people to check the colours of other residents when their ID numbers are entered.
Note: Learn in this New York Times article how everyone in China is given a red, yellow, or green code which determines how free they are to move about and even enter businesses. This article shows how foreigners are being stopped instantly from making live podcasts from China using facial recognition technology. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on the coronavirus and the disappearance of privacy from reliable major media sources.
The U.S. consumed more energy from renewable sources last year than from coal, the first time that’s happened since the late 1800s when it replaced wood for powering steamships and trains. Coal accounted for 11.3 quadrillion British thermal units of energy in 2019, a 15% decline from the prior year, a drop driven mainly by utilities turning away from the dirtiest fossil fuel. Renewables recorded 11.5 quadrillion Btu, up 1.4%, according to a statement Thursday from the the U.S. Energy Information Administration. While coal has been gradually replaced in transportation and heating, it remained the biggest source of U.S. electricity until it was surpassed by natural gas in 2016. In a significant milestone, power generated by burning coal was expected to be overtaken by renewable electricity this year, but the consumption figures show that the green transition is already happening. “This shows us the trend toward renewables is clearly well underway,” said Dennis Wamsted, an analyst for the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis. “We see it speeding up.”
Erik Prince, the security contractor with close ties to the Trump administration, has in recent years helped recruit former American and British spies for secretive intelligence-gathering operations that included infiltrating Democratic congressional campaigns, labor organizations and other groups considered hostile to the Trump agenda. One of the former spies, an ex-MI6 officer named Richard Seddon, helped run a 2017 operation to copy files and record conversations in a Michigan office of ... one of the largest teachers’ unions in the nation. The next year, the same undercover operative infiltrated the congressional campaign of Abigail Spanberger, then a former C.I.A. officer who went on to win an important House seat in Virginia as a Democrat. Both operations were run by Project Veritas, a conservative group that has gained attention using hidden cameras and microphones for sting operations. Mr. Prince, the former head of Blackwater Worldwide ... appears to have become interested in using former spies to train Project Veritas operatives in espionage tactics sometime during the 2016 presidential campaign. In 2017, he met with White House and Pentagon officials to pitch a plan to privatize the Afghan war. Mr. Prince invited Project Veritas operatives ... to his family’s Wyoming ranch for training in 2017. [They] shared social media photos of taking target practice with guns at the ranch, including one post ... saying that with the training, Project Veritas will be “the next great intelligence agency.”
Note: Mr. Prince's Blackwater operation got caught systematically defrauding the government. Then Blackwater changed its name to Academi and made over $300 million off the Afghan drug trade. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on corporate corruption from reliable major media sources.
Vice-premier Sun Chunlan, one of the most senior government officials to visit the centre of the coronavirus outbreak [was] heckled by residents who yelled “fake, fake, everything is fake” as she inspected the work of a neighbourhood committee charged with taking care of quarantined residents. Videos posted online showed Sun and a delegation walking along the grounds while residents appeared to shout from their apartment windows, “fake, fake,” “it’s all fake,” as well as “we protest”. Since 12 February, all residential compounds in Wuhan have been put under lockdown, barring most residents from leaving their homes. In an unusual turn of events, on Friday various Chinese state media outlets reported the videos showing public discontent. Such videos are frequently censored. Yet, the People’s Daily posted a video subtitled in English showing one person shouting “fake, fake,” which has since been removed. A government-affiliated account on WeChat ... said in an essay posted on Thursday that all the facts of the incident were “basically true”. According to state broadcaster CCTV, Sun held a meeting immediately after the incident to deal with the complaints. Staff have been dispatched to visit the residents one by one. Observers say state media may be trying to co-opt discussion of the videos, which circulated widely online, and provide their own narrative of events. Elsewhere in China, schools in provinces reporting no new cases for a number of days, started to set their opening dates in a sign of the country returning to normal. Wuhan reported 126 new coronavirus cases on Thursday but the wider province of Hubei excluding the capital recorded none for the first time during the outbreak.
Note: Remember all of the privacy and freedoms given up after 9/11? How many of those have been given back? Learn more about the serious risk of the Coronavirus increasing the surveillance state in this excellent article. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption and the disappearance of privacy from reliable major media sources.
Federal investigators on Thursday found a loaded gun that had been smuggled into the Manhattan jail where the financier Jeffrey Epstein hanged himself last summer while awaiting trial on sex-trafficking charges, officials said. The discovery of the gun at the jail, the Metropolitan Correctional Center, came amid a weeklong lockdown that began with a tip that a firearm might have been “introduced” into the building, according to a statement from the federal Bureau of Prisons. The gun was found in one of the jail’s housing units, the bureau said. The Metropolitan Correctional Center and other federal prisons across the United States have been dealing with rising levels of violence and other safety problems, including an influx of contraband. The problems have coincided with a push by the Trump administration, in its quest to shrink the federal government, to curtail prison hiring, according to a 2018 investigation by The New York Times. In at least one prison, The Times found, people regularly walked up to the double security fence in broad daylight, and, with no guards in sight, tossed weapons, drugs, cellphones and other items to inmates. But a gun is a rare and unique threat. The lockdown and ensuing search were part of the continuing fallout stemming from the suicide of Mr. Epstein in August. Lawyers for Mr. Epstein have challenged the New York City medical examiner’s finding that his death was a suicide.
Judith Heumann, who had polio as a baby and uses a wheelchair, started her activism early. After graduating from college, she applied for a teaching license but was rejected by the New York City board of education, which called her a fire hazard. Heumann sued for discrimination and won in a landmark case, becoming the first wheelchair user to teach in the city’s schools. That victory put Heumann in the spotlight. She founded her own disability-rights group in 1970 and became an advocate for the independent-living movement. She successfully pushed Richard Nixon to sign the first federal civil rights legislation for disabled people. But when regulations for the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 were stalled, Heumann helped organize more than 100 disabled activists to stage a sit-in, named for the law’s section on disabilities, at a San Francisco federal building in 1977. The 504 Sit-in, which lasted 28 days, challenged the perception of people with disabilities as helpless or objects of pity. In Heumann’s words: “We demonstrated to the entire nation that disabled people could take control over our own lives and take leadership in the struggle for equality.” The 504 Sit-in accomplished its goal, and those protections laid the groundwork for the Americans with Disabilities Act. Heumann, who served in the Education and State departments of the Clinton and Obama administrations, has continued to advance the rights of disabled people around the world.
Note: Listen to a BBC interview with this courageous, pioneering woman. Explore a treasure trove of concise summaries of incredibly inspiring disabled persons news articles which will inspire you to make a difference.
Humans and rodents have similar brain structures that regulate empathy, suggesting the behavior is deeply rooted in mammal evolution. Previous research has shown the much-maligned rodents assist comrades in need, as well as remember individual rats that have helped them—and return the favor. Now, a new study builds on this evidence of empathy, revealing that domestic rats will avoid harming other rats. In the study, published ... in the journal Current Biology, rats were trained to pull levers to get a tasty sugar pellet. If the lever delivered a mild shock to a neighbor, several of the rats stopped pulling that lever and switched to another. Harm aversion, as it's known, is a well-known human trait regulated by a part of the brain called the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC). Further experiments showed the ACC controls this behavior in rats, too. This is the first time scientists have found the ACC is necessary for harm aversion in a non-human species. The finding could have a real impact on people suffering from psychiatric disorders such as psychopathy and sociopathy, whose anterior cingulate cortexes are impaired. “We currently have no effective drugs to reduce violence in antisocial populations,” [study co-author Christian] Keysers says, and figuring out how to increase such patients’ aversion to hurting others could be a powerful tool. Whatever the motivation ... it’s fascinating that the impulse to avoid hurting others is at least 93 million years old, which is when humans and rats diverged on the evolutionary tree.
Before a vaccine to combat the coronavirus pandemic is within view, the Trump administration has already walked back its initial refusal to promise that any remedy would be affordable to the general public. “We can’t control that price because we need the private sector to invest,” Alex Azar, Health and Human Services secretary and a former drug industry executive, told Congress. After extraordinary blowback, the administration insisted that in the end, any treatment would indeed be affordable. The federal government, though, under the Clinton administration, traded away one of the key tools it could use to make good on the promise of affordability. Gilead Sciences, a drugmaker known for price gouging, has been working with Chinese health authorities to see if the experimental drug remdesivir can treat coronavirus symptoms. But remdesivir, which was previously tested to treat Ebola virus, was developed through research conducted at the University of Alabama ... with funding from the federal government. That’s how much of the pharmaceutical industry’s research and development is funded. The public puts in the money, and private companies keep whatever profits they can. It wasn’t always that way. Before 1995, drug companies were required to sell drugs funded with public money at a reasonable price. Under the Clinton administration, that changed. In April 1995, the Clinton administration capitulated to pharmaceutical industry pressure and rescinded the longstanding “reasonable pricing” rule.
Note: Read an excellent post by an infectious disease doctor saying he's much more concerned about the fear and panic around the Coronavirus than about the virus itself. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on health from reliable major media sources.
As China encourages people to return to work despite the coronavirus outbreak, it has begun a bold mass experiment in using data to regulate citizens’ lives — by requiring them to use software on their smartphones that dictates whether they should be quarantined or allowed into subways, malls and other public spaces. The system does more than decide in real time whether someone poses a contagion risk. It also appears to share information with the police, setting a template for new forms of automated social control that could persist long after the epidemic subsides. The Alipay Health Code, as China’s official news media has called the system, was first introduced in the eastern city of Hangzhou ... with the help of Ant Financial, a sister company of the e-commerce giant Alibaba. People in China sign up through Ant’s popular wallet app, Alipay, and are assigned a color code — green, yellow or red — that indicates their health status. The system is already in use in 200 cities and is being rolled out nationwide, Ant says. As soon as a user grants the software access to personal data, a piece of the program labeled “reportInfoAndLocationToPolice” sends the person’s location, city name and an identifying code number to a server. The software does not make clear to users its connection to the police. In the United States, it would be akin to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention using apps from Amazon and Facebook to track the coronavirus, then quietly sharing user information with the local sheriff’s office.
Note: Learn in this revealing article how China is blacklisting certain citizens using this system and "banning them from any number of activities, including accessing financial markets or travelling by air or train, as the use of the government’s social credit system accelerates." Learn more about the serious risk of the Coronavirus increasing the surveillance state in this excellent article. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption and the disappearance of privacy from reliable major media sources.
The outbreak of Covid-19 has been anathema for most of China’s economy but the novel coronavirus was a shot in the arm for the state’s surveillance apparatus, which has expanded rapidly in pursuit of the epidemic’s spread. Facial recognition cameras, phone tracking technology and voluntary registrations have all been deployed to monitor the flow of people and the possible transmission of disease. “The Chinese surveillance systems currently ... has two purposes: the first is to monitor public health and the second is to maintain political control,” says Francis Lee, a professor ... at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Once the outbreak is controlled, however, it’s unclear whether the government will retract its new powers. While facial recognition provides a way to monitor crowds from a distance, governments have deployed close-range means of tracking individuals too. The municipal government of Hangzhou worked with ecommerce giant Alibaba to launch a feature through the company’s mobile wallet app, AliPay, that assesses the user’s risk of infection. The app generates a QR code. Guards at checkpoints in residential buildings and elsewhere can then scan that code to gain details about the user. John Bacon-Shone ... at Hong Kong University thinks that the ongoing threat of outbreaks will provide a constant justification for the new systems. “I am rather pessimistic that there will be full rollback of data collection once it has been implemented,” Bacon-Shone says.
Note: Remember all of the privacy and freedoms given up after 9/11? How many of those have been given back? Learn more about the serious risk of the Coronavirus increasing the surveillance state in this excellent article. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption and the disappearance of privacy from reliable major media sources.
A bookkeeping change at the Education Department will kick hundreds of rural school districts out of a federal program that for nearly two decades has funneled funding to some of the most geographically isolated and cash-strapped schools in the United States. More than 800 schools stand to lose thousands of dollars from the Rural and Low-Income School Program because the department has abruptly changed how districts are to report how many of their students live in poverty. The change ... comes after the Education Department said a review of the program revealed that districts had “erroneously” received funding because they had not met eligibility requirements outlined in the federal education law since 2002. The department said it was simply following the law, which requires that in order to get funding, districts must use data from the Census Bureau’s Small Area Income and Poverty Estimates to determine whether 20 percent of their area’s school-age children live below the poverty line. For about 17 years though, the department has allowed schools to use the percentage of students who qualify for federally subsidized free and reduced-price meals, a common proxy for school poverty rates. In its latest report, “Why Rural Matters,” the Rural School and Community Trust found that ... nearly one in six students living in rural areas lives below the poverty line, one in seven qualifies for special education services, and one in nine has changed residence in the previous 12 months.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on income inequality from reliable major media sources.
A large scale malaria vaccine study led by the World Health Organization has been criticised by a leading bioethicist for committing a “serious breach” of international ethical standards. The cluster randomised study in Africa is already under way in Malawi, Ghana, and Kenya, where 720,000 children will receive the RTS,S vaccine, known as Mosquirix, over the next two years. Mosquirix, the world’s first licensed malaria vaccine, was positively reviewed by the European Medicines Agency, but its use is being limited to pilot implementation, in part to evaluate outstanding safety concerns that emerged from previous clinical trials. [Among these concerns] were a rate of meningitis in those receiving Mosquirix 10 times that of those who did not, increased cerebral malaria cases, and a doubling in the risk of death (from any cause) in girls. Charles Weijer, a bioethicist at Western University in Canada, told The BMJ that the failure to obtain informed consent from parents whose children are taking part in the study violates the Ottawa Statement, a consensus statement on the ethics of cluster randomised trials, of which Weijer is the lead author, and the Council for International Organizations of Medical Sciences’ International Ethical Guidelines. “The failure to require informed consent is a serious breach of international ethical standards,” he said.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on vaccines from reliable major media sources.
When Kwane Stewart first decided to become a veterinarian, he had no idea his job would become less about the animals he treats and more about the humans who own them. The 49-year-old animal lover spends his free time driving around California and spotting homeless people with animals. His goal [is] to treat them, for no cost at all. Before taking on his role as "The Street Vet," Stewart grew up in New Mexico ... dreaming about trading in deserts for beaches. This dream eventually led him to practice veterinary medicine in California, where he ran an animal hospital before becoming the county veterinarian for Stanislaus County. As the Great Recession drove California's homeless populations higher year after year, so too did it increase the number of animals on the street. So one day in 2011, "on a whim," Stewart set up a table at a soup kitchen with his son and girlfriend. Anytime he spotted someone with an animal, he called them over and offered to give their pet a checkup. "Before I knew it, I had a whole line," Stewart said. "There was something about it that I loved. I decided to just take it to the street and walk to homeless people instead of waiting for them to walk up to me." For animals who need vaccinations, medicine, or food, Stewart pays for the costs out of pocket. However, he often runs into animals with severe issues ... that need treatment at a veterinary hospital. For these cases, Stewart uses his GoFundMe to cover surgeries and invasive procedures.
A new NGO report has found that the treatment suffered by families forcibly separated at the US-Mexico border meets the definition of torture. Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) says its report “provides the first medical and psychological evidence of the long-lasting harm associated with family separation”. The report, “‘You Will Never See Your Child Again’: The Persistent Psychological Effects of Family Separation” ... describes findings from in-depth psychological evaluations of 26 asylum seekers, nine of them children and 17 parents. All the children and all but two of the adults showed the symptoms of various psychological problems, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), major depressive disorder or generalized anxiety disorder. The policy of separating children and parents who crossed the Mexican border without documents – including asylum seekers – began after the Trump administration moved to a “zero-tolerance” approach to border crossings. Donald Trump signed an executive order to end the practice in June 2018. However, the administration has continued to pursue hardline immigration policies since then, including ones that would affect families, and the separations continued after Trump signed his order. More than 1,110 families have been separated since then. In September 2019, a federal judge rejected new regulations that would have allowed the government to detain children and their parents indefinitely.
President Donald Trump on Tuesday called for two liberal Supreme Court justices to recuse themselves from cases involving him following a scathing dissent issued by one of them, blasting the justices as the court considers a number of cases critical to his presidency. "I just don't know how they can't recuse themselves for anything having to do with Trump or Trump-related," Trump said of Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg during a trip to India. "Her statement was so inappropriate when you're a justice of the Supreme Court," he said of Sotomayor, who was appointed to the court by President Barack Obama. Sotomayor castigated the government for repeatedly asking justices on an emergency basis to allow controversial policies to go into effect and charged her conservative colleagues on the court with being too eager to side with the Trump administration on such requests. While Sotomayor's dissent targeted the federal government -- not The Trump administration per se -- she was speaking about the recent uptick in emergency petitions concerning many of the President's policies. And her criticism of her conservative colleagues was pointed. Sotomayor wrote that granting emergency applications often upends "the normal appellate process" while "putting a thumb on the scale in favor of the party that won." Targeting her conservative colleagues, she said "most troublingly, the court's recent behavior" has benefited "one litigant over all others."
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on judicial system corruption from reliable major media sources.
Scientists in Australia are making some astonishing claims about a new nuclear reactor technology. Startup HB11, which spun out of the University of New South Wales, has applied for and received patents in the U.S., Japan, and China so far. The company's technology uses lasers to trigger a nuclear fusion reaction in hydrogen and boron—purportedly with no radioactive fuel required. The laser doesn’t heat the materials. Instead, it speeds up the hydrogen to the point where it (hopefully) collides with the boron to begin a reaction. “You could say we're using the hydrogen as a dart, and hoping to hit a boron, and if we hit one, we can start a fusion reaction,” managing director Warren McKenzie [said]. He says HB11's approach is “more precise” than designs that use heat to approach fusion because in those reactors, everything is heated in the hope that something will collide. When the lucky hydrogen does fuse with a boron particle, the reaction throws off helium atoms whose lack of electrons means they’re positively charged. It’s this charge that the device gathers as electricity. The overall idea was developed by UNSW emeritus professor Heinrich Hora. Hora’s design seeks to not just compete with, but replace entirely the extremely high-temperature current technologies to achieve fusion. These include fussy and volatile designs like the tokamak or stellarator, which can take months to get up to functionality and still spin out of working order in a matter of microseconds.
Donald Trump’s administration is targeting Julian Assange as “an enemy of the America who must be brought down” and his very life could be at risk if he is sent to face trial in the US, the first day of the WikiLeaks founder’s extradition hearing has been told. Lawyers for Assange intend to call as a witness a former employee of a Spanish security company who says surveillance was carried out for the US on Assange while he was at Ecuador’s London embassy and that conversations had turned to potentially kidnapping or poisoning him. Assange, 48, is wanted in the US to face 18 charges of attempted hacking and breaches of the Espionage Act. They relate to the publication a decade ago of hundreds of thousands of diplomatic cables and files covering areas including US activities in Afghanistan and Iraq. The Australian, who could face a 175-year prison sentence if found guilty, is accused of working with the former US army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning to leak classified documents. Key parts of the evidence related to the claim, which emerged last week, that a then US Republican congressman offered Assange a pardon if he denied Russian involvement in the leaking of US Democratic party emails during the 2016 US presidential contest. The court was told that Dana Rohrabacher, who claims to have made the proposal on his own initiative, had presented it as a “win-win” scenario that would allow Assange to leave the embassy and get on with his life.
Note: Read more about the strange prosecution of Assange. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption from reliable major media sources.
It's been overshadowed by the new coronavirus outbreak in China, but this year's flu season could be near its peak. At least 14,000 people have died and 250,000 have already been hospitalized during the 2019-2020 flu season, according to estimates from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. More than 26 million Americans have fallen ill with flu-like symptoms. "There is a deadly respiratory virus that is circulating throughout the United States, and it is at its peak. It is not novel coronavirus," said Dr. Pritish Tosh, an infectious disease specialist with the Mayo Clinic. This flu season ... started early, in October, with an unusual wave of influenza B virus. Influenza B is less likely than other strains to mutate and become more virulent. That means it poses a greater threat to young people than to older folks, who may have gained immunity because they encountered the strain before. There have been 105 flu-related deaths among children this season, a higher total at this point of the year than any season in the past decade. Two-thirds of these deaths were associated with influenza B viruses, the CDC noted. More recently, a second wave of influenza A viruses featuring the H1N1 strain has hit the United States, Tosh noted. "This has been an extended season, and we've certainly been seeing a lot of hospitalizations and bad outcomes from it," Tosh said. "We will likely continue to see high influenza activity for several weeks. We are probably at its peak right now. I sure hope it doesn't get much worse."
Note: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now estimates that between 390,000 and 710,000 hospitalizations and between 23,000 and 59,000 deaths have resulted from seasonal flu so far this season. That's between 150 and 300 deaths every day in the U.S. from the regular flu. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on health from reliable major media sources. Then explore the excellent, reliable resources provided in our Health Information Center.
The percentage of national income that is absorbed by health care has grown over the past half-century, from 5% in 1960 to 18% in 2017, reducing what is available for anything else from 95% in 1960 to 82% today. The costs of health care contribute to the long-term stagnation in wages; to fewer good jobs, especially for less educated workers; and to rising income inequality. American health care is the most expensive in the world, and yet American health is among the worst among rich countries. The U.S. has lower life expectancy than the other wealthy countries but vastly higher expenditures per person. In 2017, the Swiss lived 5.1 years longer than Americans but spent 30% less per person; other countries achieved a similar length of life for still fewer health dollars. How is it possible that Americans pay so much and get so little? The money is certainly going somewhere. What is waste to a patient is income to a provider. The industry is not very good at promoting health, but it excels at promoting wealth among health care providers. Employer-based coverage is a huge barrier to reform. So is the way that the health care industry is protected in Washington by its lobbyists—five for every member of Congress. Our government is complicit in an extortion that is an important contributor to income inequality. Through pharma companies that get rich by addicting people, and through excessive costs that lower wages and eliminate good jobs, the industry that is supposed to improve our health is undermining it.
Note: For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on health from reliable major media sources.
For nearly 20 years, Dolores Acevedo-Garcia has been collecting data on the access—and lack thereof—that children in neighborhoods across the U.S. have to necessities like healthy food and a good education. She and her team ... manage diversitydatakids.org, a data project designed to guide the high-level policy decisions that affect childhood and equality. In January, Acevedo-Garcia and her team published the latest edition of the Child Opportunity Index, an ambitious project that takes a deep look at 47,000 neighborhoods across the 100 largest U.S. metro areas, scoring them from 1 to 100, where a higher number means more childhood opportunity based on 29 key measures. Many of the more diverse metro areas in the U.S., especially cities with large black populations, have enormous opportunity gaps; the few diverse cities with small gaps tend to have low opportunity scores overall. “It’s hard to find a place that is equitable and racially diverse,” says Acevedo-Garcia. In all 100 metro areas ... combined, white children live in neighborhoods with a median score of 73, compared with neighborhood scores of 72 for Asian children, 33 for Hispanic children and 24 for black children. Black and Hispanic kids live with less opportunity than their white and Asian peers almost without exception. Milwaukee and its surrounding area has the widest racial disparity in the U.S.. A white child there lives ... with a median opportunity score of 85. For a black child, the median neighborhood score is 6.
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Scientists say they have seen a remarkable collection of blue whales in the coastal waters around the UK sub-Antarctic island of South Georgia. Their 23-day survey counted 55 animals - a total that is unprecedented in the decades since commercial whaling ended. To witness 55 of them now return to what was once a pre-eminent feeding ground for the population has been described as "truly, truly amazing" by cetacean specialist Dr Trevor Branch. "To think that in a period of 40 or 50 years, I only had records for two sightings of blue whales around South Georgia. So to go from basically nothing to 55 in one year is astonishing," he told BBC News. Blue whales are the most massive creatures ever to roam the Earth, and the Antarctic sub-species contained the very biggest of the big at over 30m. This population was also the most numerous of the 10 or so discrete populations across the globe, carrying perhaps 239,000 individuals prior to the onset of industrial exploitation. But the marine mammals' physical size made them a profitable catch, and around South Georgia more than 33,000 Antarctic blues were documented to have been caught and butchered, most of them between 1904 and 1925. By the time a ban was introduced in 1966, a sighting anywhere in Southern Ocean waters would have been extremely rare indeed. The last official estimate of abundance was made in 1997 and suggested Antarctic blues could have recovered to about 2,280 individuals.
Last summer, when the American rapper A$AP was tried in a Swedish court on assault charges, President Donald Trump dispatched his special envoy for hostage affairs to Sweden. This week, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has traveled to Saudi Arabia, where our family members are just some of the U.S. citizens and relatives of U.S. citizens being held by the government on spurious charges, denied due process and even tortured. Why is there no sign the hostage envoy is accompanying Pompeo on his trip to Riyadh? We join Republican and Democratic members of Congress who have urged Pompeo to raise the case of Saudi American physician Walid Fitaihi who — after a brutal detention — has been barred, along with his family, from leaving the kingdom until after his trial on vague charges relating to his obtaining of U.S. citizenship and alleged ties to the Muslim Brotherhood. But we want pressure and attention to be brought to our loved ones, as well. Pompeo has pledged to raise human rights with the Saudis. But the U.S. government has shown little willingness to go beyond lip service for these hostages of the Saudi regime. U.S. officials seem to assume America’s long-term interests are too valuable to risk alienating or weakening the Saudi royal family, which enjoys close ties with Trump’s inner circle. Indulging this autocratic and unstable regime not only punishes the domestic activists who most uphold American values, it also undermines the very reliability of any joint military or business undertakings.
Note: Saudi Arabia's recent attempts to silence its critics have included intimidation and murder. For more along these lines, see concise summaries of deeply revealing news articles on government corruption from reliable major media sources.
If actions speak louder than words, then President Donald Trump's granting of pardons Tuesday was deafening. The list of 11 lucky Americans granted clemency read like a who's who of the rich and the famous — former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, former San Francisco 49ers owner Eddie DeBartolo Jr., Wall Street financier Michael Milken and former New York City police Commissioner Bernard Kerik among them. Many of the offenders who received pardons or commutations of their sentences were convicted of crimes relating to fraud and corruption. The message Trump is sending seems loud and clear: Fraud and corruption are not serious crimes. And as such, these types of white-collar crimes can be ignored. Predators of all types — from criminals who engage in fraud to those who commit sexual exploitation — often groom their victims for action they want to take in the future. Trump may be using his pardon power in the same way. By inuring the public to the harm of fraud and corruption, the president can convince his base of supporters that these are not serious crimes. Clearly, Trump is using pardons to undermine public faith in the government and the criminal justice system. If, at some point, he does decide to pardon [Roger] Stone and other allies, such as former campaign chairman Paul Manafort or former national security adviser Michael Flynn, the outrage will have been defused.
At only 10 years old, [Devan Watkins] went from being an energetic sports-oriented kid to one with paraplegia navigating a new way of life from a wheelchair. It wasn’t long before he learned about adaptive sports from his physical therapist who suggested he try wheelchair basketball. Devan attended his first practice in his regular wheelchair, and for the first time since his surgery, he realized he was not alone with his new disability. Trooper Johnson coached the league along with Team USA’s Paralympic wheelchair basketball superstar, Jorge Sanchez. Jorge mentored Watkins on his new journey and introduced the Watkins family to the Challenged Athletes Foundation (CAF), the world leader in helping people with physical challenges lead active, healthy lifestyles. CAF has given over 26,000 grants to individuals with permanent physical disabilities. As a growing 12-year-old, Devan soon found it harder to fit in the borrowed basketball wheelchairs the league offered. His mom applied for a CAF grant. He was invited to attend the Golden State Warriors practice facility for a special surprise. What he didn’t know was that Jorge Sanchez and CAF had been working behind the scenes with the Warriors to orchestrate a surprise. Devan was escorted into Chase Stadium and ... Coach Steve Kerr rolled out a brand new customized PER4MAX® basketball wheelchair on behalf of CAF. “I was very shocked. This piece of equipment and all the tips from Jorge Sanchez are so helpful,” Devan said after shooting a few hoops.
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As doctors in London performed surgery on Dagmar Turner's brain, the sound of a violin filled the operating room. The music came from the patient on the operating table. In a video from the surgery, the violinist moves her bow up and down as surgeons behind a plastic sheet work to remove her brain tumor. The King's College Hospital surgeons woke her up in the middle of the operation in order to ensure they did not compromise parts of the brain necessary for playing the violin, such as parts that control precise hand movements and coordination. "We knew how important the violin is to Dagmar, so it was vital that we preserved function in the delicate areas of her brain that allowed her to play," Keyoumars Ashkan, a neurosurgeon at King's College Hospital, said in a press release. Prior to Dagmar's operation they spent two hours carefully mapping her brain to identify areas that were active when she played the violin and those responsible for controlling language and movement. Waking her up during surgery then allowed doctors to monitor whether those parts were sustaining damage. "The violin is my passion; I've been playing since I was 10 years old," Turner said in the hospital press release. "The thought of losing my ability to play was heart-breaking but, being a musician himself, Prof. Ashkan understood my concerns." The surgery was a success, Ashkan said: "We managed to remove over 90 percent of the tumour ... while retaining full function of her left hand."
When the icy wind blows off the Spokane River, the temperature can routinely plunge below zero. Trying to survive without shelter out here is almost impossible. By luck, [Mariah] Hodges was connected by a volunteer to a warming center, where she's now staying. It's one of three new makeshift emergency facilities that the city of Spokane, Wash., has paid to open up this winter. Hodges' boyfriend also stays in the shelter. He is addicted to meth, and Hodges is struggling with alcoholism. "Most of the people in this building ... have issues that need to be addressed at a different level," says Julia Garcia, founder of Jewels Helping Hands, a nonprofit contracted to run the warming center that Hodges is staying in. "But ... they are sleeping outside, they don't know how to get out of that." The more traditional approach to dealing with homelessness is tougher enforcement: ticketing people for panhandling or sleeping in doorways. Spokane is trying something different. This was on display in a big way one chilly weekday morning at the city's downtown convention center. Where you might expect to see a trade show or convention ... today it's a "Homeless Connect." Hundreds of the city's most vulnerable are carrying tote bags stuffed with donated food, jackets and health and housing brochures. But this is about more than just giving out free clothes or hepatitis C tests. It's part of a delicate, more long-term plan to build trust in the system and convince people that if they get help, their lives might improve.
As word came that the Boy Scouts of America had filed for bankruptcy protection, one alleged abuse survivor was moved to come forward. The man told NBC News he was a 14-year-old Boy Scout in Louisiana working on an astronomy merit badge when a scoutmaster invited him to go by the lake to look at the stars. “I was very naďve,” he said. “But when he grabbed my groin, I immediately reacted.” So did the scoutmaster. “He threatened me with a machete,” the 73-year-old said, asking not to be identified. But now that the Boy Scouts are seeking Chapter 11 protection, the alleged abuse survivor said he’s ready to join the more than 3,000 men who are suing the nonprofit for allowing pedophiles inside the organization to prey on the boys. Michael Mertz, a Chicago-based lawyer who has represented Boy Scouts victims, said that by declaring bankruptcy, the organization is trying to limit the damages. Mitchell Garabedian, whose efforts to go after predatory Roman Catholic priests were dramatized in the Oscar-winning movie “Spotlight” and who also represents Boy Scouts victims, said the move to bankruptcy court could force the organization to open all its so-called “perversion files.” Those files, which were collected by the Boy Scouts and go back to 1944, contain the names of 7,819 Scout leaders who allegedly preyed on boys, as well as the names of 12,254 victims, experts and attorneys involved in the cases have said. So far, only the files from 1965 to 1985 have been made public.
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James “Whitey” Bulger terrorized Boston from the 1970s into the 1990s with a campaign of murder, extortion and drug trafficking. In 2013, Janet Uhlar was one of 12 jurors who found Bulger guilty in a massive racketeering case, including involvement in 11 murders. But now Uhlar says she regrets voting to convict Bulger on any of the murder charges. Her regret stems from a cache of more than 70 letters Bulger wrote to her from prison, some of which describe his unwitting participation in a secret CIA experiment with LSD. The agency dosed Bulger with the powerful hallucinogen more than 50 times when he was serving his first stretch in prison, in Atlanta. Uhlar has spoken publicly about her regret before but says her belief that the gangster was wrongly convicted on the murder charges was reinforced after reading a new book by Brown University professor Stephen Kinzer: “Poisoner in Chief: Sidney Gottlieb and the CIA Search for Mind Control.” Gottlieb’s secret program, known at MK-ULTRA, enlisted doctors and other subcontractors to administer LSD in large doses to prisoners, addicts and others unlikely to complain. Uhlar reviewed the 1977 hearings by the U.S. Senate Committee on Intelligence, which was looking into MK-ULTRA, and found testimony where CIA director Stansfield Turner acknowledged evidence showing that the agency had been searching for