Art for episode 1220

1220: Sloganeer

Adam Curry & John C. Dvorak

3h 2m
February 27th, 2020
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Executive Producers: Sir Onymous of Dogpatch and Lower Slobbovia, Robert Slaght, Baronet Sir Hashtag Blessed

Associate Executive Producers: Sir Texas Dragon, Sir Dave Fugazzotto, Earl of America's Heartland and Saudia Arabia, Matthew Scott, Stephanie Symonds

Cover Artist: Joshua Pettigrew

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Russian Meddling
Geraldo Rivera on Twitter: "As #IntelligenceBriefer retreats on outrageous claim #Russia back interfering w our election, lesson: these long-time union-protected civil servants have political agendas & assessments as suspect as Congressional staffers
Sun, 23 Feb 2020 15:59
LatinoForTrump @ LatinoForTrump1
4m Replying to
@GeraldoRivera Yessirrr!Let's get them OUT.
View conversation · Gordon's alive?! @ JoeR_NYC
2m Replying to
@GeraldoRivera How did the Deep State get so deep?
View conversation · Concerned Citizen @ Concern68023171
2m Replying to
@GeraldoRivera How do we stop this??? It's out of control.
View conversation · Josh @ TheBigRitt
26s Replying to
@GeraldoRivera @dbongino This is completely off topic but I can't be the only one who would pay to see you and
@dbongino toe the line. Let's get a contract signed and get this done! I've got dibs on the winner in a fan vs celebrity match.
View conversation · john tuggle @ johnsart54
2m Replying to
@GeraldoRivera So how many patriots serving our country do you want to slander? FO...
View conversation · AQ1 @ AQuattlander
4m Replying to
@GeraldoRivera ðŸ--¥ðŸ--¥ðŸ--¥
View conversation · Cannonball @ CannonBall_____
3m Replying to
@GeraldoRivera You are quite the enabler aren't you?
View conversation · CARNAC @ QuickBitsNews
2m Replying to
@GeraldoRivera Um, the Russians are back at it. You're showing that you're compromised
View conversation · Leon @ leogcle
2m Replying to
@GeraldoRivera This stuff is no laughing matter. But these morons are making a mockery and a absolute joke out of the intelligence community. It's sad to see.... no one will ever trust them ...
View conversation · Revered Leader / Austere Scholar @ FiatJustitia_
1m Replying to
@GeraldoRivera Adam Schiff's selective leaks of classified briefings on Russia's interference is literally assisting Russia on its interference. He's done more damage than Russia could have ever done without his assistance.
View conversation ·
DNI Briefer Shelby Pierson ''Overstated'' (Manufactured) Intel on Russia Election Interference'... '' The Last Refuge
Mon, 24 Feb 2020 06:47
Sending shockwaves through the intelligence community, it was reported yesterday that newly appointed Acting DNI Richard ''Ric'' Grenell asked the intelligence community, specifically including Shelby Pierson, to produce the underlying intelligence within the briefing she gave to the House Intelligence Committee.
Well, what do you know'.... All of a sudden today, anonymous intelligence officials are reporting to CNN that Ms. Pierson ''overstepped'' her position, was ''misleading'' in her briefing, and ''mischaracterized'' the underlying intelligence. Imagine that.
Washington (CNN)-The US intelligence community's top election security official appears to have overstated the intelligence community's formal assessment of Russian interference in the 2020 election, omitting important nuance during a briefing with lawmakers earlier this month, three national security officials told CNN.
The official, Shelby Pierson, told lawmakers on the House Intelligence Committee that Russia is interfering in the 2020 election with the goal of helping President Donald Trump get reelected.
['...] ''The intelligence doesn't say that,'' one senior national security official told CNN. ''A more reasonable interpretation of the intelligence is not that they have a preference, it's a step short of that.
['...] One intelligence official said that Pierson's characterization of the intelligence was ''misleading'' and a national security official said Pierson failed to provide the ''nuance'' needed to accurately convey the US intelligence conclusions.
The Office of the Director of National Intelligence, where Pierson is a senior official, did not respond to CNN's request for comment. (more)
Why would Shelby Pierson and Joseph Maguire intentionally blindside the White House?
The briefing was obviously spun by HPSCI Chairman Adam Schiff and democrats on the House intel committee; and there was no intelligence presented during the briefing to support the claims made by Pierson, Democrats and media.
If it seems like CNN just stumbled into the journalism thing, don't react too quickly. The underlying motive for CNN to narrate truthfully on this example is simply to get Ms. Pierson fired (which she should be). If Pierson is fired, CNN will most likely jump back on the bandwagon of President Trump helping Russia again.
'...''these are sick people we're talking about. Really sick people.'''...
Shelby Pierson - Wikipedia
Mon, 24 Feb 2020 06:49
Shelby Pierson is the American intelligence community's top election security official. Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats appointed her to the position in July 2019.[1][2][3][4]
Shelby Pierson
Chair of the Election Executive and Leadership Board Assumed office July 2019PresidentDonald Trump Appointed by Director of National Intelligence Dan CoatsShe chairs the Election Executive and Leadership Board, created in July 2019, which includes representatives from the intelligence community and other federal agencies coordinating on election security.[5]
Intelligence career Edit Pierson was crisis manager for election security during the 2018 midterm elections.
She has more than 20 years of intelligence experience, including as national intelligence manager for Russia, Europe and Eurasia, and roles at the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency.[4][5][6][7]
2020 election security coordinator Edit Pierson told NPR in January 2020 that election interference "isn't a Russia-only problem" and that "we're still also concerned about China, Iran, non-state actors, 'hacktivists.' And frankly ... even Americans might be looking to undermine confidence in the elections." She said the Russians "are already engaging in influence operations" but "we do not have evidence at this time that our adversaries are directly looking at interfering with vote counts."[8]
To deter election interference, "it's important for us to keep messaging our adversaries that this activity will not be tolerated and there will be consequences," she told NBC News.[9]
Russian interference warning Edit Pierson told the House Intelligence Committee on February 13, 2020, that Russia is working to help get Donald Trump re-elected.[10][11] Later, three national security officials told CNN that this statement omitted important nuance, and that while Russia was working to interfere with the election, there was not evidence the interference was aimed at re-electing Trump.[12]
The day afterward, Trump berated her supervisor, acting director of national intelligence Joseph Maguire, for allowing the briefing. Trump worried that Democrats might "weaponize" the information against him.[10] On February 19, 2020, Trump replaced Maguire with Richard Grenell, considered a Trump loyalist, as acting director of national intelligence, effective immediately.[13]
See also Edit Foreign interference in the 2020 United States electionsTimeline of the 2020 United States presidential electionTrump''Ukraine scandalReferences Edit ^ Barnes, Julian E. (July 19, 2019). "Intelligence Chief Names New Election Security Oversight Official". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331 . Retrieved July 23, 2019 . ^ Ewing, Philip (July 19, 2019). "Director Of National Intelligence Dan Coats Appoints New Election Security Czar". NPR . Retrieved July 23, 2019 . ^ Edwards, Jane. "Shelby Pierson Named Intelligence Community Election Threats Executive; Dan Coats Quoted". GovCon Wire . Retrieved July 23, 2019 . ^ a b Clark, Douglas (July 23, 2019). "Pierson appointed as newly established IC Election Threats Executive". Homeland Preparedness News . Retrieved July 23, 2019 . ^ a b Johnson, Derek B. (July 19, 2019). "ODNI creates new position dedicated to election security". FCW . Retrieved July 25, 2019 . ^ Dilanian, Ken (July 19, 2019). "U.S. spy chief creates a new head of election security". NBC News . Retrieved July 24, 2019 . ^ "DNI Coats Names Election Threats Executive". MeriTalk . Retrieved July 24, 2019 . ^ Pierson, Shelby (January 22, 2020). "Election Security Boss: Threats To 2020 Are Now Broader, More Diverse". NPR . Retrieved February 8, 2020 . ^ Dilanian, Ken (January 14, 2020). "U.S. election czar: Attempts to hack 2020 election are not Russia-only". NBC News . Retrieved February 8, 2020 . ^ a b Goldman, Adam; Barnes, Julian E.; Haberman, Maggie; Fandos, Nicholas (February 20, 2020). "Russia Backs Trump's Re-election, and He Fears Democrats Will Exploit Its Support". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331 . Retrieved February 21, 2020 . ^ Jim Acosta; Zachary Cohen; Dana Bash; Jeremy Herb (February 20, 2020). "Russia is looking to help Trump win in 2020, election security official told lawmakers". CNN . Retrieved February 21, 2020 . ^ "US intelligence briefer appears to have overstated assessment of 2020 Russian interference". CNN. ^ Barnes, Julian E.; Haberman, Maggie (February 19, 2020). "Trump Names Richard Grenell as Acting Head of Intelligence". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331 . Retrieved February 21, 2020 .
Bernie Sanders Was Warned Russia Is Trying to Boost His Presidential Campaign - WSJ
Mon, 24 Feb 2020 07:39
WASHINGTON'--U.S. officials have informed Sen. Bernie Sanders that Russia is actively trying to support his campaign for the Democratic nomination as part of Moscow's broader efforts to interfere in the 2020 election, according to two people familiar with the matter.
President Trump and a small number of lawmakers have been briefed on the same intelligence, the people said.
The classified FBI briefing wasn't of the type routinely given to presidential campaigns about election security, those people said. It was given in reaction to intelligence considered compelling enough that Mr. Sanders needed to be alerted, one of the people said. But the intelligence suggested that the Russian effort to bolster Mr. Sanders hasn't approached the scale or scope of operations to support Mr. Trump's campaign in 2016, the person said.
The Washington Post earlier reported Mr. Sanders received a briefing that Russia was seeking to support him in the primary.
Speaking to reporters Friday, Mr. Sanders acknowledged a briefing had taken place but said it wasn't clear what role Russia was attempting to play in the election.
''We were told that Russia and maybe other countries were getting involved in the campaign,'' Mr. Sanders told reporters in Bakersfield, Calif. ''And look, here is the message to Russia, 'Stay out of the American election.' ''
Mr. Sanders, who has been criticized for online vitriol some of his supporters have directed against his opponents, also said in a statement that it was possible ''ugly stuff'' that has been attributed to his campaign was actually coming from fake internet accounts.
The Office of the Director of National Intelligence, the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Homeland Security declined to comment.
The reports emerged a month after the briefing on the day before the Nevada caucuses. Mr. Sanders is currently leading his Democratic rivals in national polls following a first-place finish in the New Hampshire primary this month, and polls suggested he was positioned for a strong finish in Nevada.
''I'll let you guess, about one day before the Nevada caucuses, why do you think it came out?'' Mr. Sanders asked.
Last week, intelligence officials told President Trump and lawmakers on the House Intelligence Committee about Russia's apparent preference to have Mr. Trump re-elected, according to people familiar with the matter. During an Oval Office meeting Mr. Trump lashed out at Joseph Maguire, his acting director of national intelligence until he was replaced this week, because he was irate that lawmakers received the information first, the people said. The president was also agitated by the content of the intelligence that indicated Russia would again seek to support his electoral prospects in the fall, they said.
It couldn't be determined what Moscow's precise motive was in its effort to support Mr. Sanders, including through social media, the people familiar with the matter said.
Russia has repeatedly denied interfering in U.S. elections.
Mr. Trump, at a campaign rally in Las Vegas on Friday, dismissed reports that U.S. intelligence agencies believe Russia may interfere this year on his behalf, calling them ''disinformation.'' He said Russian President Vladimir Putin would want to wait until Democrats pick their nominee.
''Wouldn't he rather have Bernie, who honeymooned in Moscow?'' Mr. Trump asked.
The president's remarks about Mr. Sanders emerged before any reports that the Democratic candidate had been warned about Moscow's interest in aiding his campaign, a sequence pointed to by the Sanders campaign.
Mr. Sanders and his wife traveled to Russia in 1988 on a delegation from Burlington, Vt., where he was mayor, to establish a sister-city program with the city of Yaroslavl. They also celebrated their honeymoon there.
U.S. intelligence officials have been warning for years that Russia and others will likely seek to interfere in the 2020 contest. Former special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation found that Russia interfered in ''sweeping and systematic'' fashion in the 2016 presidential election to help Mr. Trump and denigrate his Democratic challenger, Hillary Clinton.
But Mr. Mueller's probe also found that Russian intelligence operatives spreading propaganda on social media also showed some favoritism for Mr. Sanders.
''Use any opportunity to criticize Hillary and the rest except for Sanders and Trump'--we support them,'' a Russian operative is quoting as saying in an indictment.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren, one of Mr. Sanders's rivals for the Democratic nomination, told reporters Friday she hadn't received a similar briefing.
''I believe that we need as much transparency as possible on any Russian interference,'' she said. ''Understand, this is about disinformation and the way to fight disinformation is to call it out, show what it is, and give everyone full information as quickly as possible. Otherwise, the Russians continue to have too much influence over our campaign, and this is how we fight against that.''
U.S. national security officials have struggled with how to respond to indications that foreign adversaries may be meddling in elections after the Obama administration was criticized by Republicans and Democrats alike for not disclosing more to the public and Russia's interference in 2016.
In November the Trump administration outlined its plan for when to notify the public or campaigns of foreign election interference, but the framework received criticism from some election officials who said it was vague and Democrats who argued it could allow for political influence.
Those notification decisions are made to further national-security interests and are ''intended to protect the integrity of political and social discourse,'' according to a one-page public summary of the framework.
'--Joshua Jamerson, Rebecca Ballhaus and Eliza Collins contributed to this article.
Write to Dustin Volz at dustin.volz@wsj.com
Kung Flu
Pope cancels Vatican event due to 'illness' after touching hands and kissing heads at Mass | Daily Mail Online
Thu, 27 Feb 2020 07:04
Illness forces the Pope to cancel an event at the Vatican a day after showing solidarity with coronavirus sufferers and shaking hands with congregation at weekly audiencePope Francis cancelled an event Thursday due to a 'slight indisposition'Comes a day after he was seen coughing and blowing his nose during Mass Earlier in the day he met crowds where he kissed faces and touched hands Italy is currently in the midst of a coronavirus outbreak, with towns in lockdown By Press Association
Published: 06:12 EST, 27 February 2020 | Updated: 07:54 EST, 27 February 2020
Pope Francis has missed a planned Mass with Rome clergy due to illness.
The Vatican said the 83-year-old pontiff had a 'slight indisposition' and would proceed with the rest of his planned work on Thursday but Francis 'preferred to stay near Santa Marta', the Vatican hotel where he lives.
There was no word from the Vatican about the nature of his illness, but the pope was seen coughing and blowing his nose during the Ash Wednesday Mass.
Pope Francis has cancelled an event at the Vatican due to a 'slight illness', a day after he was pictured coughing and blowing his nose during Ash Wednesday Mass
Earlier in the day Francis had met with crowds in St Peter's Square where he touched hands and kissed faces, despite warnings over coronavirus
Northern Italy is currently in the grips of a coronavirus outbreak, which has spread across the country. Cases have been confirmed in Rome, where the Vatican is located
He was also pictured touching people's hands and kissing their heads as he walked among crowds in St Peter's Square.
It comes amid an outbreak of the strain of coronavirus '' also known as Covid-19 '' in Italy that has infected more than 400 people, almost all of them in the north. Rome had three cases, but all three were cured.
Francis had been scheduled to go to the St John Lateran basilica to meet with Rome clergy and celebrate a penitential Mass at the start of Lent.
Francis is bishop of Rome, but delegates the day-to-day running of the archdiocese to a vicar.
The Argentine pope has generally enjoyed good health. He lost part of one lung as a young man because of a respiratory illness, and suffers from sciatica, which makes walking difficult.
Francis has had a busy schedule lately, including his public general audience on Wednesday and the Ash Wednesday service later in the day in a Roman basilica.
The Vatican said that Francis would continue with the rest of his work on Thursday, but cancelled a meeting with priests because he preferred to stay at home (pictured meeting crowds on Wednesday)
Pope Francis poses with faithful from Iraq in St. Peter's Square during his weekly audience
Several people in the crowd wore face masks to protect themselves against infection as they waited to see Francis on Wednesday
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Trump's Coronavirus Strategy: 'Stay Clean,' Wash Hands and Avoid Friends - The New York Times
Thu, 27 Feb 2020 05:54
Speaking to reporters at the White House, the president shared a story about precautions he had taken to avoid illness: ''I said, 'Excuse me,' and started washing my hands. You have to do this.''
''Stay clean,'' President Trump said during a news conference on Wednesday. ''You don't have to necessarily grab every handrail unless you have to.'' Credit... Gabriella Demczuk for The New York Times WASHINGTON '-- President Trump, whose government is leading an effort to combat the spread of the coronavirus in the United States, offered some tips on Wednesday to avoid getting sick, and as he did so, he revealed a little more about his lifelong aversion to germs.
''I do it a lot, anyway, as you've probably heard: Wash your hands,'' he told reporters gathered at the White House for a news conference on the global epidemic. ''Stay clean. You don't have to necessarily grab every handrail unless you have to. You know, you do certain things.''
Mr. Trump's self-declared germophobia is well documented. In his 2004 book, ''How to Get Rich,'' he detailed what he called a ''personal crusade to replace the mandatory and unsanitary handshake with the Japanese custom of bowing.''
His stance on combating illness as president has in some ways matched how he behaved as a private citizen '-- ''KEEP THEM OUT OF HERE!'' he wrote on Twitter in 2014 days before an American aid worker infected with the Ebola virus in West Africa during a severe outbreak there returned to the United States. That has alarmed experts who have said he is not the right person to be leading the charge.
But with tales of his own ways of warding off germs, the president spent nearly an hour on Wednesday trying to assure the public that he was.
Updated Feb. 26, 2020
What is a coronavirus? It is a novel virus named for the crownlike spikes that protrude from its surface. The coronavirus can infect both animals and people and can cause a range of respiratory illnesses from the common cold to more dangerous conditions like Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, or SARS. How worried should I be? New outbreaks in Asia, Europe and the Middle East are renewing fears of a global pandemic. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned this week that Americans should brace for the likelihood that the virus will spread to the United States. How do I keep myself and others safe? Washing your hands frequently is the most important thing you can do, along with staying at home when you're sick. What if I'm traveling? The C.D.C. has warned older and at-risk travelers to avoid Japan, Italy and Iran. The agency also has advised against all nonessential travel to South Korea and China. How can I prepare for a possible outbreak? Keep a 30-day supply of essential medicines. Get a flu shot. Have essential household items on hand. Have a support system in place for eldery family members. Where has the virus spread? The virus, which originated in Wuhan, China, has sickened more than 80,000 people in at least 33 countries, including Italy, Iran and South Korea. How contagious is the virus? According to preliminary research, it seems moderately infectious, similar to SARS, and is probably transmitted through sneezes, coughs and contaminated surfaces. Scientists have estimated that each infected person could spread it to somewhere between 1.5 and 3.5 people without effective containment measures. Who is working to contain the virus? World Health Organization officials have been working with officials in China, where growth has slowed. But this week, as confirmed cases spiked on two continents, experts warned that the world was not ready for a major outbreak. ''When somebody sneezes,'' Mr. Trump said, ''I try to bail out as much as possible when they're sneezing.''
Last year, the president scolded his acting chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, for coughing during an interview Mr. Trump had with ABC, and he asked Mr. Mulvaney to leave the room. Aides at the time said the president had been more revolted by the sight of someone coughing than he was annoyed at someone interfering with his camera shot.
On Wednesday, Mr. Trump also shared a recent story about precautions he had taken to avoid contracting an illness from an unnamed friend. (On the campaign trail, he frequently invokes stories about unnamed friends and associates to underscore a story, a habit that has caught the eye of fact checkers.)
''I had a man come up to me a week ago,'' said Mr. Trump, who was touring the West Coast on a campaign trip. ''Hadn't seen him in a long time. I said, 'How are you doing?' He said, 'Fine, fine.' He hugs me. I said, 'Are you well?' He says, 'No.' He said, 'I have the worst fever and the worst flu.' He's hugging and kissing me.''
''I said, 'Excuse me,' and started washing my hands,'' Mr. Trump added. ''You have to do this.''
The president said to view the coronavirus ''the same as the flu,'' even though much is unknown about how it develops or spreads. Mr. Trump, who appointed Vice President Mike Pence to oversee the government's response to the outbreak, also waved away concerns by officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention who said the spread of the virus was inevitable.
''I don't think it's inevitable,'' the president said, before adding, ''There's a chance that it could get worse.''
Flu comes fresh from Asia each year 'º News in Science (ABC Science)
Wed, 26 Feb 2020 13:34
Share Print News in Science
Thursday, 17 April 2008 Maggie Fox Reuters
Flu viruses evolve freshly somewhere in east or southeast Asia every year, spreading around the world over the next nine months before dying out, researchers report.
Genetic analysis by two teams of international researchers show that there are just a few initial sources of annual, seasonal influenza epidemics. The viruses spread around the world from these before dying.
Then every year, new strains emerge to infect people, according to the studies published in the journals Nature and Science.
One team led by Professor Edward Holmes of Pennsylvania State University cannot pinpoint the source but says both H3N2 and H1N1 strains of influenza appear to arise every year from a 'reservoir', perhaps in the tropics.
A second team led by Dr Colin Russell and Professor Derek Smith of the University of Cambridge analysed 13,000 samples of H3N2 flu taken since 2002.
These researchers demonstrate this source must be in east and southeast Asia, perhaps a different place every year.
"For over 60 years the global migration pattern of influenza viruses has been a mystery," Russell says.
Many experts have long believed Asia, and specifically China, to be the source of most influenza viruses.
Others hypothesised that flu viruses migrate back and forth between the northern and southern hemispheres, or that they cooked year-round in the tropics, to pop out every once in a while to the rest of the world, Russell says.
"We find that viruses come out of east and southeast Asia as a region each year and it is not any one particular country that is the continual source of influenza viruses," he says.
"So it is not as simple as saying out of China, because out of China is not the whole story."
Rainy seasonsIn tropical regions, flu tends to break out in the rainy season.
"In east and southeast Asia there is a there a lot of variability in the timing of the rainy season and the timing of the epidemic," Russell says.
"Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur are only [1100 kilometres] apart but they have their flu epidemics at completely different times of year."
This means flu epidemics can be occurring almost year-round in Asia, he says.
Then the viruses die out every year in the Americas, Europe, Australia and the rest of Oceania, making these areas "evolutionary graveyards", Russell says.
Even if travellers carry the flu viruses back from the Americas to Asia, for example, people living in Asia are already immune to those particular variants.
How common is flu?The World Health Organization estimates that annual influenza epidemics infect 5-15% of the world population each year, cause 3-5 million cases of severe illness and 250,000-500,000 deaths.
About 300 million people get the flu vaccine each year. Without it, says Smith, a person can expect to catch the flu about once every 10 years.
Smith says the findings are important for the experts who formulate the new flu vaccine each year.
It typically includes a cocktail of three strains, and the scientists try to predict which strains will cause the most trouble each year.
"If we are trying to predict what will happen a year from now we should be paying attention to what is happening in east and southeast Asia," he says.
The researchers say their study does not have any bearing on what might happen in a pandemic of a new source of flu, such as the H5N1 virus now circulating mostly among birds in Asia, Europe and Africa.
Tags: epidemiology, influenza, vaccines-and-immunity
Who is WHO's Tedros Adhanom?
Tue, 25 Feb 2020 00:02
Who is WHO's Tedros Adhanom? By F. William Engdahl18 February 2020 Image Credit: ITU Pictures from Geneva, Switzerland - Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus with Houlin Zhao at the AI for Good Global Summit 2018 - License: This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license with some conditions https://bit.ly/2uctQKV
On the surface it appeared that the Director-General of the UN World Health Organization has acted swiftly and seriously about the spreading coronavirus health emergency spreading across China. He has gone to meet with Chinese leaders to discuss the situation and on January 30, after his talks in Beijing and meetings with the WHO advisory body, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus declared the coronavirus a ''Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC).'' What the WHO has really done and especially the remarks of the Director-General, give cause for concern that he is motivated by something other than world health.
There are still many open questions surrounding the outbreak of what is being called 2019 Novel Coronavirus (2019 nCov) that was first noted sometime in December in Wuhan city in central China. By about January 20 severe cases of respiratory disease were spreading at such a rate that Beijing took drastic measures including canceling major social events of the Chinese New Year celebrations and imposing a cordon sanitaire around Wuhan, a city of 11 million on January 23 in a desperate bid to contain whatever was spreading. The quarantine however was imposed after some 5 million residents had reportedly already left to visit relatives outside in the largest holiday in China.
On January 28 Tedros was in Beijing meeting with President Xi Jinping to discuss the situation.
By the time of Tedros' January 30 declaration that the coronavirus situation in China warranted proclaiming a ''Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC),'' a full week had passed since the Wuhan lockdown was declared. Such a public health lockdown had never in modern times been attempted. Indeed, on the day Wuhan was sealed off by the authorities, Gauden Galea, WHO China representative, told Reuters, ''The lockdown of 11 million people is unprecedented in public health history, so it is certainly not a recommendation the WHO has made.''
By the time WHO head Tedros arrived however, the Director-General had nothing but praise for the extraordinary measures being taken by Beijing to contain and deal with the situation. Back in WHO Geneva headquarters Tedros announced that China is ''setting a new standard'' for outbreak response, he said. ''It's actually doing more than China is required to do,'' he added. But then he made the inexplicable statement that other countries were not warranted to ban air travel to China as precaution. He declared,'' It's not a time for judgment'... This is a time for solidarity, not stigma,'' refusing to recommend any international restrictions on travel or trade with China.
What that should mean is not at all clear, only that he clearly was trying to dampen world response at a critical time. As the leading international health authority, the UN WHO carries considerable influence over national responses to any such health danger. This makes Tedros' condemnation of airline travel bans more noteworthy. It raises the question whether the WHO head has an undisclosed agenda.
Who is WHO's Tedros?
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus was voted WHO Director-General in 2017 replacing the controversial Dr Margaret Chan of Hong Kong. He is the first African to head the health agency and the first one not a medical doctor. According to Wikipedia, he got a BA degree in biology at the University of Asmara in Eritrea. He then served in a junior position, at the Ministry of Health under the Marxist dictatorship of Mengistu. After the fall of Mengistu in 1991 Tedros went to the UK and took a Doctorate of Philosophy (PhD) in Community Health from the University of Nottingham in 2000, with a doctoral dissertation on ''The effects of dams on malaria transmission in Tigray Region, northern Ethiopia.''
He then went on to become Minister of Health from 2005 to 2012 under Prime Minister Meles Zenawi. There he met former President Bill Clinton and began a close collaboration with Clinton and the Clinton Foundation and its Clinton HIV/AIDS Initiative (CHAI). He also developed a close relation with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. As health minister, Tedros would also chair the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria that was co-founded by the Gates Foundation. The Global Fund has been riddled with fraud and corruption scandals.
Today the largest donors to the WHO are the Gates Foundation and its associated GAVI Alliance for vaccination. With backers like Gates and Clinton it was no surprise that Tedros went on, after a stint as Ethiopian Foreign Minister, to win the post of WHO Director-General, this despite being the first non-physician to hold the position. During Tedros' three year campaign to win the WHO post he was charged with having covered up three major epidemics of cholera while health minister in Ethiopia, mislabeling the cases as ''acute watery diarrhea'' (AWD)'--a symptom of cholera'--in an attempt to play down the significance of the epidemics, charges he denied.
''Don't stigmatize'...''
As reports of the spread of confirmed and suspected cases of the novel coronavirus in other countries grew in the past several weeks, numerous airlines took the precaution to temporarily cancel their flights to and from China. Tedros, while officially declaring the Wuhan novel coronavirus as a ''Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC),'' (in 2009 the WHO called it a Level 6 Global Pandemic), sharply and repeatedly criticized other countries for allowing air travel to China to be cut. On February 7 the China Peoples' Daily reported Tedros stating, his disapproval of imposing travel bans on China, stressing that ''such restrictions can have the effect of increasing fear and stigma, with little public health benefit.''
Important in containing any epidemic is taking action very early in the detection of the disease.
Ethiopian Airlines
There is one country where the national air carrier has not cut flights to China to this date'--Tedros' own Ethiopia. Ethiopian Airlines continues to fly daily into Ethiopia from major Chinese cities. At the Addis Ababa airport the passengers are only given a minimal temperature test, something for a disease with a 14 day incubation period is hardly sufficient to limit the spread of the pathogen to Africa. While 59 other air carriers from 44 different countries have all grounded their flights to China, Ethiopian Airlines insists that it will follow directives from the World Health Organization and continue its daily China flights.
The entry point for air travel between China and Africa is Ethiopia. The Chinese have built a new airport in Addis Ababa and it is the ''gateway'' for travel between many African countries like Zambia and China. Ethiopia's Bole International airport sees on average 1500 passengers per day arriving from China. There are an estimated one million Chinese working in Africa from Zambia to Nigeria, and Tedros' Ethiopia is their place to enter. The problem is that Ethiopia is an extremely poor country and it, like most of Africa is ill-prepared to handle any outbreak of coronavirus. Despite the fact that Ethiopian citizens have protested at the continuing China air travel risk, the government continues to use WHO and Tedros' statements to keep business flowing. In an alarm signal, the first reported case of coronavirus in Botswana was of an African student who came from China on an Ethiopian Airlines plane.
With the daily traffic through Ethiopia's Bole International Airport of some 1,500 China passengers the health system of the country is ill-prepared to take adequate precautions. It is one of the poorest countries in Africa after decades of civil war. The largest investor by far is China which sees Ethiopia as a centerpiece of its African investment strategy for the Belt and Road.
Is it because he does not want to jeopardize that economic relation that WHO head Tedros does not pressure his own state airline to take short-term precautions by declaring a moratorium on its China flights? At the time he was elected to WHO Tedros was a member of the politburo of the minority Tigray People's Liberation Front, which had ruled Ethiopia since 1991 with an iron fist. Is he today more concerned with the financial health of Ethiopian Airways and the future of China investments in his country for his party allies than with the precautionary principles of public health in a growing international crisis that shows little sign of being under control? Indeed, now in the past days Tedros has shown signs of growing alarm, noting that the WHO has seen ''concerning incidents'' of onward spreading among people with no history of travel to China, noting it ''could be the spark that becomes a bigger fire.'' We must watch closely to see if that translates into a changed WHO policy towards not only the China flights of Ethiopian Airlines.
F. William Engdahl is strategic risk consultant and lecturer, he holds a degree in politics from Princeton University and is a best-selling author on oil and geopolitics, exclusively for the online magazine''New Eastern Outlook''
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An inside look at the debate around pandemic bonds, which have $425 million hinging on how deadly the coronavirus ends up being | Business Insider India
Wed, 26 Feb 2020 15:37
Investors holding the World Bank's pandemic bonds stand to either reap massive profits or lose hundreds of millions of dollars, depending on the coronavirus outbreak's lethality. The instruments offer higher-than-average returns, but bondholders will lose their principal in the event of a qualifying pandemic. If certain criteria are met, the payment is sent to the World Bank's Pandemic Emergency Financing Facility to fund relief efforts. The bonds are a novel way to connect the financial sector with epidemic relief and "potentially save millions of lives," the World Bank's president said in a 2017 statement. Others aren't so sure of the assets' effectiveness in curbing an outbreak. The bonds' triggers "are very late," and the organization could've funded relief efforts without the "unnecessary, inappropriate, and ineffective risk-financing instruments," Olga Jonas, senior fellow senior fellow at the Harvard School of Public Health, told Business Insider. Visit the Business Insider homepage for more stories.A group of unique bondholders will either reap massive profits or lose hundreds of millions of dollars as the coronavirus outbreak escalates.
So-called "pandemic bonds" were first introduced by the World Bank in 2017 as a response to the Ebola virus. Investors holding the bonds enjoy higher-than-average interest rates, but stand to lose their cash in the event of a pandemic.
If certain criteria are met, the bonds' principal is transferred to the World Bank's Pandemic Emergency Financing Facility (PEF) to fund containment and relief efforts.
"We are leveraging our capital market expertise, our deep understanding of the health sector, our experience overcoming development challenges, and our strong relationships with donors and the insurance industry to serve the world's poorest people," Jim Yong Kim, World Bank Group's president, said in a 2017 statement, adding that the PEF can "potentially save millions of lives."
The bank issued two tranches of pandemic-linked bonds and derivatives collectively worth $425 million in 2017. Bondholders enjoyed more than two years of strong returns and little to worry about as few outbreaks came close to triggering the bonds' total default.
But the stability of the investment has suddenly been thrown into question as the deadly coronavirus spreads globally.
Triggers for the two classes of bondsThe two tranches of pandemic bonds represent different risks of contagion. The World Bank offered $225 million worth of Class A debt, which pay out 6.9% annually. The bonds default if pandemic-related deaths reach 2,500 in a single nation with an additional 20 or more deaths confirmed in an overseas country, according to the bank's prospectus.
The Class B bonds have a lower bar for the debt to trigger and accordingly boast a higher interest rate, since holders are assuming more risk. The bonds pay 11.5% annually, but reach default after 250 deaths. The bonds' payout rate scales with the number of additional countries that experience than 20 confirmed deaths. The World Bank issued $95 million worth of the Class B assets.
The coronavirus outbreak has so far killed more than 1,370 people and infected more than 60,000, surpassing SARS in lethality earlier this month. Still, Singapore, Thailand, Japan, and Korea are the only nations currently hosting more than 20 infected individuals.
Debate over the bonds' efficacyWhile the World Bank touts the debt as an efficient way to connect financial markets with epidemic relief, others have their doubts that the bonds help ailing nations at all. The assets' lengthy prospectus hides numerous requirements that gum up any effort to release funds when they're most needed, according to Olga Jonas, senior fellow at the Harvard School of Public Health and former World Bank economist.
Funds can only be released from the PEF for non-flu epidemics 12 weeks after the "start of the event," according to a World Bank document. The novel coronavirus strains were first reported on in late December, leaving funds locked up until late March.
Read more: A Wall Street firm lists its 5 best hedges for an unusual coronavirus-driven market crash - and shares what to do if it's successfully contained
Even once the deadline is met, the outbreak has to cause at least 20 deaths in two or more countries to trigger the bonds. While China reached the fatality threshold weeks ago, no other nation is close, leaving the PEF frozen while the virus continues to spread.
"The advertising was that there would be early, rapid, predictable, transparent financing available for outbreaks so that they don't become pandemics," Jonas told Business Insider in an interview. "In order for that to happen you have to have early triggers. The triggers in the design are very late."
A "distraction" from "getting serious"Jonas alleges that the World Bank didn't even need to issue bonds to better prevent pandemics. The former economist called the instruments a "distraction" from "getting serious about supporting preparedness" in developing countries. The $500 million made available through the PEF is a paltry sum compared to the tens of billions of dollars the World Bank holds in liquid assets, she added.
"The money on the table from [the World Bank's International Development Association] didn't need to transit the PEF - and it certainly should not be paying for an unnecessary, inappropriate, and ineffective risk-financing instrument," Jonas said.
She added: "If you were doing this with your own money at home, that'd be grounds for divorce."
Even in the case of the bonds being triggered, Jonas doesn't expect the funds to do much good. The PEF's insurance window covers up to $500 million through its bond and swap issuances, but allocates only as much as $196 million for coronavirus outbreaks.
Once released, 76 countries can apply to receive the pandemic relief funds, watering down the total amount sent to each country. Compared to the $10 billion China is spending on virus control today, the amounts that could be released by the PEF are "trivial," Jonas said.
The bonds would've been useful "if you are not able to finance the risk otherwise," she added. "The World Bank has excellent capacity to finance the risk otherwise."
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World Bank Launches First-Ever Pandemic Bonds to Support $500 Million Pandemic Emergency Financing Facility
Wed, 26 Feb 2020 09:23
Washington, DC, June 28, 2017 '' The World Bank (International Bank for Reconstruction and Development) today launched specialized bonds aimed at providing financial support to the Pandemic Emergency Financing Facility (PEF), a facility created by the World Bank to channel surge funding to developing countries facing the risk of a pandemic.
This marks the first time that World Bank bonds are being used to finance efforts against infectious diseases, and the first time that pandemic risk in low-income countries is being transferred to the financial markets.
The PEF will provide more than $500 million to cover developing countries against the risk of pandemic outbreaks over the next five years, through a combination of bonds and derivatives priced today, a cash window, and future commitments from donor countries for additional coverage.
The transaction, that enables PEF to potentially save millions of lives, was oversubscribed by 200% reflecting an overwhelmingly positive reception from investors and a high level of confidence in the new World Bank sponsored instrument. With such strong demand, the World Bank was able to price the transaction well below the original guidance from the market. The total amount of risk transferred to the market through the bonds and derivatives is $425 million.
''With this new facility, we have taken a momentous step that has the potential to save millions of lives and entire economies from one of the greatest systemic threats we face,'' World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim said. ''We are moving away from the cycle of panic and neglect that has characterized so much of our approach to pandemics. We are leveraging our capital market expertise, our deep understanding of the health sector, our experience overcoming development challenges, and our strong relationships with donors and the insurance industry to serve the world's poorest people. This creates an entirely new market for pandemic risk insurance. Drawing on lessons from the Ebola Outbreak in West Africa, the Facility will help improve health security for everyone. I especially want to thank the World Health Organization and the governments of Japan and Germany for their support in launching this new mechanism.''
The World Bank announced the creation of the PEF in May 2016 at the G7 Finance Ministers and Central Governors meeting in Sendai, Japan. The PEF will quickly channel funding to countries facing a major disease outbreak with pandemic potential. Its unique financing structure combines funding from the bonds issued today with over-the-counter derivatives that transfer pandemic outbreak risk to derivative counterparties. The structure was designed to attract a wider, more diverse set of investors.
The PEF has two windows. The first is an 'insurance' window with premiums funded by Japan and Germany, consisting of bonds and swaps including those executed today. The second is a 'cash' window, for which Germany provided initial funding of Euro 50 million. The cash window will be available from 2018 for the containment of diseases that may not be eligible for funding under the insurance window.
The bonds and derivatives for the PEF's 'insurance' window were developed by the World Bank Treasury in cooperation with leading reinsurance companies Swiss Re and Munich Re. AIR Worldwide was the sole modeler, using the AIR Pandemic Model to provide expert risk analysis. Swiss Re Capital Markets is the sole book runner for the transaction. Swiss Re Capital Markets and Munich Re are the joint structuring agents. Munich Re and GC Securities, a division of MMC Securities LLC are co-managers.
Swiss Re Capital Markets Limited, Munich Re and GC Securities were also joint arrangers on the derivatives transactions.
The bonds will be issued under IBRD's ''capital at risk'' program because investors bear the risk of losing part or all of their investment in the bond if an epidemic event triggers pay-outs to eligible countries covered under the PEF.
The PEF covers six viruses that are most likely to cause a pandemic. These include new Orthomyxoviruses (new influenza pandemic virus A), Coronaviridae (SARS, MERS), Filoviridae (Ebola, Marburg) and other zoonotic diseases (Crimean Congo, Rift Valley, Lassa fever).
PEF financing to eligible countries will be triggered when an outbreak reaches predetermined levels of contagion, including number of deaths; the speed of the spread of the disease; and whether the disease crosses international borders. The determinations for the trigger are made based on publicly available data as reported by the World Health Organization (WHO).
Countries eligible for financing under the PEF's insurance window are members of the International Development Association (IDA), the institution of the World Bank Group that provides concessional finance for the world's poorest countries. The PEF will be governed by a Steering Body, whose voting members include Japan and Germany. WHO and the World Bank serve as non-voting members.
The World Bank has developed some of the most innovative catastrophe risk insurance instruments in the market to help developing countries manage risk. In the past ten years the institution has executed approximately $1.6 billion in catastrophe risk transactions.
IBRD Pandemic Bonds Distribution by Investor Type and Location
Distribution by Investor Type
Class A
Class B
Dedicated Catastrophe Bond Investor
61.7%
35.3%
Endowment
3.3%
6.3%
Asset Manager
20.6%
16.3%
Pension Fund
14.4%
42.1%
Distribution by Investor Location
Class A
Class B
US
27.9%
15.0%
Europe
71.8%
82.9%
Bermuda
0.1%
2.1%
Japan
0.2%
0.0%
IBRD Pandemic Bonds Summary Terms and Conditions*
Type of Note
Class A
Class B
Issuer:
International Bank for Reconstruction and Development
International Bank for Reconstruction and Development
Trade Date:
June 28, 2017
June 28, 2017
Final Size (Bond only)**
USD 225 million
USD 95 million
Settlement Date:
July 7, 2017
July 7, 2017
Scheduled Maturity Date:
July 15, 2020 extendable monthly in whole or in part, up to a maximum of 12 months following the Scheduled Maturity Date
July 15, 2020 extendable monthly in whole or in part, up to a maximum of 12 months following the Scheduled Maturity Date
Issue Price:
100%
100%
Bond Coupon:
6m USD LIBOR +6.50%
6m USD LIBOR +11.10%
Covered Perils:
Flu, Coronavirus
Filovirus, Coronavirus, Lassa Fever, Rift Valley Fever and Crimean Congo Hemorrhagic Fever
Redemption Amount:
The Notes will not be fully repaid if an event occurs
The Notes will not be fully repaid if an event occurs
(*) Please see the Supplemental Prospectus for a detailed description of the Terms and Conditions of the bonds, the related risks with regard to an investment in the bonds and the relevant offering restrictions. Any offer of the bonds will solely take place on the basis of the Supplemental Prospectus prepared by the World Bank or on behalf of the World Bank. (**) There was an additional $105 million size done in the derivatives market.
About the World Bank
The World Bank (International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, IBRD), rated Aaa/AAA (Moody's/S&P), is an international organization created in 1944 and the original member of the World Bank Group. It operates as a global development cooperative owned by 189 nations. It provides its members with financing, expertise and coordination services so they can achieve equitable and sustainable economic growth in their national economies and find effective solutions to pressing regional and global economic and environmental problems.
The World Bank has two main goals: to end extreme poverty and promote shared prosperity. It seeks to achieve them primarily by providing loans, risk management products, and expertise on development-related disciplines to its borrowing member government clients in middle-income countries and other creditworthy countries, and by coordinating responses to regional and global challenges. It has been issuing sustainable development bonds in the international capital markets for 70 years to fund its activities that achieve a positive impact.
Information on World Bank bonds for investors is available on the World Bank Treasury website: www.worldbank.org/debtsecurities
Quotes
Christian Mumenthaler, Group CEO of Swiss Re, said "We are very proud to have supported the World Bank over the past two and a half years in the endeavor to build an innovative insurance vehicle to better respond to epidemic outbreaks. Swiss Re was co-mandated by the World Bank to develop and design the "insurance window" of PEF and lead the marketing efforts of the transaction in its role as sole book-runner for the capital market placement. The combined derivative/capital markets structure is just one of many pioneering elements of this transaction. Addressing one of the world's most systemic risks, it underpins Swiss Re's commitment to making the world more resilient and its continued leadership in the insurance linked securities market."
Joachim Wenning, Chairman of the Board of Management of Munich Re, said: ''The PEF shows how close collaboration between the public sector and insurers can help limit the negative effects of catastrophes in developing countries. Munich Re is proud to have played a major part in this proactive and reliable financing mechanism from the very beginning. I'm confident that our core competences in risk modelling, identification and management will further this very good cause '' strengthening the resilience of companies and societies alike. We truly hope that the PEF will become a sustainable and integral part of a global health architecture to make our planet more resilient to dangerous epidemic and pandemic risks.''
Peter Hearn, President and CEO of Guy Carpenter & Co, said: ''Our capital agnostic perspective delivers an innovative combination of catastrophe bonds and swaps, giving the World Bank a diverse range of cost-effective risk transfer products supported by both capital markets investors and traditional (re)insurers,'' said ''This facility will enhance funding for emergency response and give ILS investors and (re)insurers greater access to a non-correlating class of risk, and we are honored to have assisted the World Bank with implementation of its financing.''
Half-Billion $ Pandemic Derivatives | Armstrong Economics
Wed, 26 Feb 2020 09:17
QUESTION: Mr. Armstrong; Have you been called in by the World Bank because of the coronavirus? The rumor is you are advising on this pandemic from a financial crisis perspective. Yes or no? Some say you have a financial interest in not calling this a pandemic. Care to comment?
JV
ANSWER: Yes, we have been called in to do studies and forecasts based on the coronavirus. No, we have no financial interest either way. That makes a really stupid rumor. We do not do such projects on some sort of a contingency basis. I am not at liberty to say by who. However, if there is a pandemic, the World Health Organisation gets to keep money and the bondholders lose. You figure out who would be asking for help.
For those who are not part of the conspiracy networks, this is related to the outstanding World Bank Pandemic Bonds which will come due for expiration this July here in 2020. This will be in the neighborhood of $500 million which is perhaps a structured derivative time bomb that most people have never heard of.
These pandemic bonds were sold to investors as a giant gamble in the global financial casino. The World Bank sold ''pandemic bonds'' which were a scheme like no other. In 2017, these bonds were sold to private investors on the premise that they would lose their money if any of six deadly pandemics hit. They did not pay out in 2019 when the Ebola virus broke out in Africa. The World Bank announced the creation of these structured bonds in May 2016 at the G7 Finance Ministers and Central Governors meeting in Sendai, Japan.
The World Health Organisation will keep the money and will use it to fight the outbreak. Investors bought the bonds and received regular coupon payments in return, which were substantial in this world of negative interest rates. If there is an outbreak of disease turned into a pandemic, then investors don't get their initial money back. There are two varieties of debt that are scheduled to mature in July 2020.
The first bond issue raised $225 million and features an interest rate of around 7%! That was substantial. Payout on the bond is to be suspended if there is an outbreak of new influenza viruses or coronavirus. The second type of bond was even riskier which raised $95 million with an interest rate of more than 11%. This second type of bond keeps investors' money if there is an outbreak of Filovirus, Coronavirus, Lassa Fever, Rift Valley Fever, and/or Crimean Congo Hemorrhagic Fever.
Then the World Bank issued $105 million derivative that works in a similar way.
Obviously, we have cyclical models that also cover disease. It does not take much to figure out that we would be called in to project the risk. It would be in the interest of the World Health Organisation to declare this coronavirus a pandemic. They would benefit from the cash. The bondholders will lose. We have NOT been called in by the World Bank. That much I can say.
The Pandemic Emergency Financing Facility pays out an additional US$30 million to support the Ebola response in the Democratic Republic of Congo
Wed, 26 Feb 2020 15:29
On August 19, 2019, the Pandemic Emergency Financing Facility (PEF) Steering Body approved a request from the Government of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) for US$30 million from the Cash Window to finance response activities for the ongoing Ebola outbreak affecting the country. This second payment is in addition to the US$20 million approved in February 2019. These funds will go to support the Government's 4th Strategic Response Plan (SRP4), which covers the period from July to December 2019.
As a quick-disbursing mechanism, the PEF is capable of transferring funds within days of approval from the Steering Body. These much-needed resources are helping close the financing gap for emergency frontline health responders through the end of September 2019, by when additional pledged funds are expected to become available.
The Government of DRC requested the PEF Steering Body release the payout of US$30 million from the Cash Window directly to WHO. The PEF '' a financing mechanism housed at the World Bank, has a Steering Body co-chaired by the World Bank and WHO, comprised of donor country members from Japan, Germany and Australia.
RELATED
Press Release: World Bank and WHO Statement on Partnership & Deployment of Financing to WHO for Ebola Response in DRC
Investors flee from controversial pandemic bonds with coronavirus set to trigger payout | Business| Economy and finance news from a German perspective | DW | 26.02.2020
Wed, 26 Feb 2020 15:31
Pandemic bonds sound like a curious financial concept '-- but they were brought in by the World Bank in 2017 to help developing economies. Against the odds, the coronavirus outbreak may see investors lose money on them.
A global pandemic? Don't bet against it. That appears to be the verdict of stock markets around the world, not least when it comes to the somewhat unusual financial instrument known as pandemic bonds.
In June 2017, the World Bank '-- the international financial institution that provides loans to poorer countries '-- sold around $425 million ('‚¬391 million) worth of bonds and derivatives aimed at providing financial support to developing countries facing the risk of a pandemic.
The idea behind the bonds was to place some of the risk for low-income countries of a pandemic onto the financial markets, rather than their own governments' budgets. Investors who bought the bonds would only lose money if certain trigger conditions relating to a pandemic were met.
If those conditions are triggered, the bonds are not repaid in full and the money is used instead to help tackle the crisis in developing countries.
The growing coronavirus outbreak around the world has prompted many of the investors who bought up the bonds to sell them off, as it looks increasingly likely that the conditions for the bonds not to be paid back will be met.
Stringent conditions
Since the scheme was initiated almost three years ago, the conditions for payout to countries afflicted by pandemics have not yet been met, but the new COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak looks like it will do so.
The less risky tranche of the bonds will not be paid back to investors if there are more than 2,500 deaths in developing countries as a result of a pandemic. Although China has recorded more than this number of deaths, the World Bank does not designate it a developing country.
By far the riskier of the two bonds is "Class B," which sold $95 million in bonds (compared to $225 million for the less risky "Class A," explained above). For Class B, if the disease crosses an international border and if there are at least 20 deaths in that second country, the investors' money will be paid to developing countries dealing with the outbreak.
Although no second country has recorded 20 deaths at the time of writing, Iran, Italy and South Korea have all recorded more than 10 with the numbers rising steadily in recent days. Other conditions for this bond include that there are 250 deaths in the origin country (already long since passed in China) and that 12 weeks have passed since the original outbreak (a condition which will be met on March 23).
In the terms of both bonds, it is stipulated that coronavirus outbreaks count as one of the diseases covered.
Italy's death toll is close to the level that would trigger a pandemic bond payout
Controversial instruments of aid
Despite the fact that the so-called pandemic bonds look set to result in a payout to developing countries, critics have said the conditions are too stringent and that investors have already made money on them due to the regular coupon payments they have received on the back of the initial purchase.
Bodo Ellmers, the director of the Global Policy Forum's sustainable development finance program told the Financial Times the instrument was "useless."
"You obviously want to prevent a pandemic but it only pays out when it becomes a pandemic," he said.
Olga Jones, who worked as an economist at the World Bank for three decades, said it was absurd that discussions for a second round of bonds for what is known officially as the Pandemic Emergency Financing Facility (PEF) had begun, as they were effectively "designed to fail."
"Early action against outbreaks is imperative, because it is both more effective and less costly. But making the bonds attractive to investors meant designing them to reduce the probability of payout," she wrote last year in the scientific journal Nature, several months before the novel coronavirus outbreak begun.
Many critics have also pointed to the fact that the severe attack of Ebola that hit the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2018 did not meet the conditions to trigger payment of the pandemic bonds despite the fact that almost 500 people died and that it was one of the largest outbreaks ever recorded.
Many critics have also pointed to the fact that the severe attack of Ebola that hit the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2018 did not meet the conditions to trigger payment of the pandemic bonds
The World Bank's bond sale was 200% oversubscribed, meaning investors saw moneymaking opportunities with the high-yield returns on offer. Most buyers came from Europe, and included specialized catastrophe bond investors as well as asset managers and pension funds.
According to Bloomberg, asset managers including Bailie Gifford, Amundi and Stone Ridge Asset Management are among those who hold the riskier Class B bonds.
The interest and coupon payments made to investors have been funded largely by the donor nations Japan and Germany. The Class A bonds feature an interest rate of 7% while the Class B bonds' rate is 11%.
According to the PEF, around $75.5 million had been paid to bondholders in the form of premiums as of August 2019. The full amount paid in interest and coupons has not been disclosed. The bonds are set to mature in July 2020.
Haves and have-nots
Even if some developing nations do end up receiving pandemic bond money, it will be a relatively trivial sum when compared with some estimates of the economic damage a sustained coronavirus pandemic would do to developed and developing economies alike.
The World Bank (headquarters pictured above) said in 2017 the bonds were 'a momentous step that has the potential to save millions of lives and entire economies from one of the greatest systemic threats we face'
The Oxford Economics think tank estimated last week that the spread of the virus to regions outside Asia would knock 1.3% off global growth this year, the equivalent of $1.1 trillion in lost income.
Yet one stark illustration of the different capacities rich and poor nations have to cope with the crisis came with the news that the Hong Kong government would give HK$10,000 ($1,280) to permanent residents of the territory whose finances have been hit by the spread of the virus.
That would amount to $10 billion in cash handouts, far in excess of the amount of money developing countries would receive as a result of pandemic bond payouts.
A Coronavirus Contraction Or A Coronavirus Correction? America's Trump-Encouraged China Decoupling May Soften The Economic Hit
Wed, 26 Feb 2020 00:14
People wearing protective face masks walk on an overpass in Shanghai on February 24, 2020. - China ... [+] is expected to decide February 24 whether to postpone its annual parliament session for the first time since the Cultural Revolution as the country battles the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak. (Photo by Noel Celis / AFP) (Photo by NOEL CELIS/AFP via Getty Images)
AFP via Getty ImagesThe Dow is down 1,000. Gold is up $30.30 intraday and $101.70 in the past 30 days. And oil is down $2.79 to $50.59, a drop of 5.2%. Are the markets simply in a correction or are they signaling a recession?
The market turmoil is linked to the deadly virus outbreak in China, where factories are struggling to resume production and ports are at a virtual standstill.
The People's Republic of China just announced a ban on the export of medical masks'--every mask is needed in China where Communist Party authorities have badly mismanaged the Novel Coronavirus outbreak.
Officially known as the COVID-19 virus, evidence suggests that Chinese authorities have waged a more aggressive war on truthful information than on the deadly virus itself. As a result, over the past week, the official count of infected persons in China grew by only 6.6%, or 4,800 cases to a total of 77,200. In the same span, the number of cases outside of China has almost tripled to 2,400. Something isn't right.
Further, it doesn't help that the United Nations' World Health Organization (WHO) was only allowed to deploy a small team to China'--and even then, WHO experts were prohibited from going to the outbreak's epicenter in Hebei province. Yet WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus incredulously said two weeks ago that, ''China is actually setting a new standard for outbreak response.'' Tedros then urged other nations not to restrict travel to China, likely under tremendous pressure from Chinese leaders. The delay in travel restrictions caused by this plea allowed more infected people to travel abroad with the potential for a significant loss of life globally.
Bruce Aylward, head of the WHO-China Joint Mission on COVID-19 lowers his mask to drink water during ... [+] a press conference about the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak, in Beijing on February 24, 2020. - The novel coronavirus has spread to more than 25 countries since it emerged in December and is causing mounting alarm due to new outbreaks in Europe, the Middle East and Asia. (Photo by MATTHEW KNIGHT / AFP) (Photo by MATTHEW KNIGHT/AFP via Getty Images)
AFP via Getty ImagesMeanwhile, if the outbreak really is under control in China, why is it that economic output there is still slumping, with cargo ship rates and coal and iron ore prices in a ''free fall'' due to collapsing demand from China?
As China-linked supply chains for everything from phones to cars to clothing lurch into disarray, how might the U.S. economy react?
Whether the American economy weathers this China supply storm and emerges stronger, or withers into recession, was likely determined in December 2017 when President Trump signed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act into law.
Before the major overhaul to the tax code, U.S. corporations with overseas operations had accumulated about $1 trillion in cash held abroad. This dollar hoard was kept overseas because American corporate profits earned internationally weren't taxed until they were brought home. And with one of the highest corporate tax rates in the world, at 35%, few companies were willing to take the hit, being content to just rollover their profits overseas. The Trump tax cut changed the equation, encouraging the repatriation of earnings, with some $777 billion brought home in 2018, about 78% of the estimated total.
Aparna Mathur, an economist with the American Enterprise Institute, predicted that the Trump corporate tax cut,
'''...would incentivize investment by increasing the after-tax profitability of marginal investment projects, which would then lead to a higher capital stock per worker, higher productivity, and subsequently higher wages.''
She goes on to note that these productivity enhancements begin to be seen in three to five years.
The tax cut was enacted in December 2017'--so three years later is December 2020. In the intervening 26 months since then, the Trump Administration has confronted China on a number of trade issues, using tariffs on Chinese goods to pressure agreements on outstanding frictions such as intellectual property theft, non-tariff barriers, currency manipulation, and government support of industries. The net effect is that portions of the U.S. economy were already leaning away from China'--the Coronavirus outbreak merely serves as an urgent catalyst to finish the job.
Of course, as the Chinese Communist Party is systematically lying about new COVID-19 cases and resultant deaths, it will inevitably lie and cheat on its trade agreements with the U.S.'--that is integral to Chinese Communist Party's ideological DNA. But China's economic leverage over America is dwindling by the day and with it, U.S. tolerance for Chinese cheating diminishes.
Fortunately, the Trump tax cut in late December 2017 primed the U.S. economy to reduce its reliance on Chinese manufacturing, meaning any downturn is likely to be shorter and less steep than it otherwise would have been'--and leaving America in a far stronger position by the end of the year than would have been the case had the tax cut not been signed into law.
Chinese coronavirus will bring jobs back to America, US commerce secretary says '-- RT USA News
Wed, 26 Feb 2020 00:17
President Donald Trump campaigned on a promise to bring jobs back to the United States. According to Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, the outbreak of the deadly Wuhan coronavirus might help him fulfil that pledge.
Since it first infected customers at an animal market in the city of Wuhan in December, the SARS-like coronavirus has killed at least 170 people, infected nearly 8,000 people, and spread to every region in China and 19 other countries.
But to US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, there's an upside.
Speaking on Fox Business on Thursday, Ross said that while he doesn't want to take ''a victory lap over a very unfortunate, very malignant disease,'' the outbreak will ''help to accelerate the return of jobs to North America, some to US, probably some to Mexico as well.''
Secretary Wilbur Ross says coronavirus will be good for [checks notes] American jobs: "I think it will help to accelerate the return of jobs to North America." pic.twitter.com/Y4SbDIcTi4
'-- Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) January 30, 2020The disease, he said, gives businesses ''yet another thing to consider when they go through their review of their supply chain'... It's another risk factor that people need to take into account.''
Ross was mocked on Twitter, with one commenter calling him a ''plague enthusiast.''
Jobs like:Coffin makersFuneral Home ManagersGravediggersOutbreak suit designersMad Max era gas hoardersGuy collecting books who sits on his glasses
'-- Jeremy Newberger (@jeremynewberger) January 30, 2020I have to confess that I did not have "how to profit from the coming pandemic" on my Wilbur Ross Fucknuttery Bingo card
'-- Jeff Tiedrich (@itsJeffTiedrich) January 30, 2020The spread of the coronavirus has shaken global markets, with Wall Street opening down nearly one percent on Thursday. One day earlier, auto giant Toyota announced it would halt production in China until at least February 9, and asked its Chinese employees to avoid unnecessary travel.
Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said on Wednesday that further economic disruption could follow, with the virus causing ''travel restrictions and business closures'' throughout east Asia.
As Ross spoke, officials in China scrambled to contain the spread of the virus, which causes flu-like symptoms in patients, and can lead to death by pneumonia or organ failure. Travel restrictions have been imposed on tens of millions of people in at least 16 cities, and Chinese President Xi Jinping has vowed to ''win this defensive battle'' against the ''devil'' epidemic, state media reported on Tuesday.
Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses, with some causing illness in people and others affecting animals, including camels, cats, and bats. Animal coronaviruses can sometimes evolve to spread between people, as was the case when the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) or 'Camel Flu' broke out in 2017, and when Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) first spread to humans in China in 2002.
Also on rt.com Deadliest day for China: Coronavirus claims record number of victims in 24 hours as more countries confirm infections The World Health Organization is meeting in Geneva, Switzerland on Thursday to decide whether the coronavirus outbreak constitutes a ''Public Health Emergency of International Concern.'' The WHO already met twice last week to discuss the outbreak, opting both times not to label it an international emergency.
Since the SARS emergency of 2002, only six epidemics have been deemed international emergencies by the WHO, last year's Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo being the most recent.
President Trump struck a different tone to Ross on Wednesday, promising that America's ''best experts'' are ''on top of'' the epidemic, and vowing to help China combat the deadly virus.
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'Defunded the CDC' to 'build his wall': Trump scorched for incompetent handling of coronavirus '' including spelling it 'caronavirus' '' Raw Story
Thu, 27 Feb 2020 00:03
President Donald Trump and his White House have made clear he is unconcerned about the deadly coronavirus threat, except as it affects the markets, which he sees as his key to re-election. He reportedly was ''furious'' at the CDC for telling lawmakers and the American public the virus will spread into communities across the U.S.
''We are asking the American public to prepare for the expectation that this might be bad,'' the CDC said Tuesday, which angered Trump.
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Those remarks helped tank the markets even further on Tuesday, with the DOW dropping 1900 points in just two days.
Trump tried to blame the news media for informing the public about the risks, via Twitter Wednesday morning. It did not go well.
After announcing a news conference for 6 PM Wednesday, Trump went ballistic, attacking the press, and Democrats, as if they were the ones who made the determination the coronavirus will greatly affect Americans' day-to-day lives.
And he spelled coronavirus wrong.
Trump's remarks and general ''incompetence'' are infuriating many across the country, as smoe noted he cut funding to the CDC's programs to combat disease outbreaks worldwide.
Hard to take a man serious when he says we're safe against a pandemic when he can't spell it correctly.
'-- Woman In The Moon (@SassyKadiK) February 26, 2020
Maybe the markets are panicking b/c the guy who thinks windmills cause cancer is in charge & can't even spell coronavirus?
'-- D Villella ''¸ (@dvillella) February 26, 2020
If you would learn how to spell it (#coronavirus ; #Covid19) , it would give the nation more confidence that you actually cared about this potential pandemic.
'-- (((Howard Forman))) (@thehowie) February 26, 2020
bro the stock market is in free fall and you've defunded the CDC to the level where it can no long function, but cool story my dude, maybe our next president can glue all the broken pieces of government back together
'-- Jeff Tiedrich (@itsJeffTiedrich) February 26, 2020
Did you know Trump admin over last two years has cut funding that could've prevented or at least slowed the spread of the #coronavirus. Instead he wanted $ to build his wall- a wall that he promised Mexico was supposed to pay for! https://t.co/XvZ14ELBc6
'-- (((DeanObeidallah))) (@DeanObeidallah) February 26, 2020
Trump Regime is responding to this pandemic just like any other authoritarian regime: declare everything is perfect, threaten media for reporting, threaten opposition for asking for help, attack people in government who try to help.
'-- David Rothschild (@DavMicRot) February 26, 2020
The incompetence of your Administration is spooking the markets plus the fact that no one can believe a word you or lackeys say. Do better
'-- Joe Lockhart (@joelockhart) February 26, 2020
Coronavirus will inevitably come here. It will disrupt the economy. People will get sick. Some of us will die. The supply chain will be disrupted- maybe for months.. How is our government responding? Who is in charge? Appoint a coronavirus czar. Your incompetence is inexcusable
'-- Mia Farrow (@MiaFarrow) February 26, 2020
Trump uses the threat of a global virus to slam the media and Democrats. Does anyone really want 4 more years of this?!
'-- (((DeanObeidallah))) (@DeanObeidallah) February 26, 2020
Yes, of course. He doesn't care about humans or lives. He never has.
'-- Debbie Richards (@Debsthoughts) February 26, 2020
Of course, this mockery is appropriate:
Are you going to do another sharpie thing? pic.twitter.com/GhbB6Iaj5t
'-- Mary Force (@mary4ce) February 26, 2020
Report typos and corrections to:
[email protected] .
Carona, Lombardy - Wikipedia
Wed, 26 Feb 2020 22:47
Carona (Bergamasque: Caruna) is a comune (municipality) in the Province of Bergamo in the Italian region of Lombardy, located about 80 kilometres (50 mi) northeast of Milan and about 35 kilometres (22 mi) north of Bergamo. By the statute of Carona, on its territory there are no hamlets, but it still recognises the localities of Carona Bassa and Pagliari.[4]
Carona borders the following municipalities: Branzi, Caiolo, Foppolo, Gandellino, Piateda, Valbondione, Valgoglio, Valleve.
References Edit This article on a location in the Province of Bergamo is a stub. You can help Wikipedia by expanding it.
Foxconn hires head of coronavirus investigation to oversee reopening - Business Insider
Thu, 27 Feb 2020 07:12
The world's biggest iPhone maker, Foxconn, is slowly restarting production that was halted over the coronavirus outbreak in China.The company is reportedly offering up to $1,000 to new employees as a means of enticing people back to work. More than just money, Foxconn has hired Zhong Nanshan, the scientist leading China's investigation into the coronavirus, as an adviser.Zhong is regarded in China as the "SARS hero" for his work during the SARS outbreak in the early 2000s.Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.Apple's main iPhone production partner, Foxconn, is slowly restarting production that had been halted in China over the coronavirus outbreak.
The manufacturing giant, which closed nearly all its factories in response to the outbreak, is taking a major step to reassure workers: It has hired Zhong Nanshan, the scientist leading China's investigation in the coronavirus outbreak, as an adviser. Foxconn has also reportedly offered new employees up to $1,000 to come to work.
Zhong will act as a consultant to Foxconn for prevention and rehabilitation, in addition to serving as the leader of China's National Health Commission investigation.
In China, Zhong is sometimes called the "SARS hero" because of his work during the SARS outbreak in the early 2000s. He is credited with discovering severe acute respiratory syndrome and figuring out how to treat it.
Foxconn's primary facilities are in China, where the majority of Apple's products are manufactured and where the coronavirus has had the greatest impact. The company announced at the beginning of the month it would close all its mainland China plants, and though it initially said it would reopen factories on February 10, it has extended that timeline. Sources at the company told Reuters it hoped to resume half-production by the end of the month.
Foxconn employees at the company's Lunar New Year celebration in Taipei in January. Reuters
Thus far, the coronavirus outbreak has infected more than 81,000 people and has reached every continent except Antarctica; over 2,700 have died from the virus, primarily in mainland China.
As a result, major Chinese businesses have either shut down or diverted resources to fighting the outbreak. Foxconn, in addition to halting production, had shifted facilities to manufacturing medical face masks and clothing.
Apple recently announced that its production of iPhones would be affected by the shutdowns in Chinese manufacturing, and it warned investors that quarterly revenue would most likely be down as a result.
Opinion | Is the Coronavirus Outbreak a Pandemic Yet? - The New York Times
Tue, 25 Feb 2020 08:38
It's now clear that the coronavirus epidemic was never going to be contained. What's next?
By Michael T. Osterholm and Mark Olshaker
Mr. Osterholm is an infectious disease expert. Mark Olshaker is a writer and documentary filmmaker.
Feb. 24, 2020 Image A Christian church service in Seoul on Sunday. The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in South Korea jumped in recent days. Credit... Kim Hong-Ji/Reuters On Tuesday, Feb. 18, no Covid-19 cases had been reported in Iran. On Sunday, the government announced 43 cases and eight deaths. Some 152 cases (and at least three deaths) were confirmed in Italy on Sunday, up from three cases on Thursday. The number of infected people in South Korea jumped to 763 (and six deaths) in just days.
As of Monday, Covid-19 was detected in at least 29 countries. In nations with few or no reported cases so far, particularly in South America and Africa, the absence of evidence shouldn't be interpreted as evidence of absence. More likely, it reflects lack of testing.
Is the Covid-19 outbreak now a pandemic, whether or not the World Health Organization calls it that yet?
If so, what's next?
First, let's get the facts straight about what can and cannot be done.
It's now clear that the epidemic was never going to be contained. At most, its spread was slowed by the lockdown imposed in China and other countries' efforts to identify infected people and anyone they might have been in contact with.
The coronavirus that causes Covid-19 seems to spread like influenza, through the air, person to person. Unlike Ebola, SARS and MERS, it can be transmitted by individuals before the onset of symptoms or even if they don't become ill. An infected person appears to spread the disease to an average of 2.6 people. After 10 generations of transmission, with each taking about five or six days, that one initial case has spawned more than 3,500, most with no or mild symptoms, yet probably infectious. The fact that mild cases are difficult to differentiate from colds or the flu only complicates the diagnosis.
In light of the disease's features, the quarantine of the passengers and crew members on the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Yokohama Bay in Japan looks like a cruel experiment: While confined, these people were forced to breathe recycled air for two weeks. The measure achieved little except to prove just how effective the virus is at spreading. Trying to stop influenza-like transmission is a bit like trying to stop the wind.
Vaccines are many months away, at the earliest. And based on previous experiences with SARS, MERS and pandemic influenza, there is no reason to believe '-- as President Trump claimed '-- that Covid-19 will go away this spring as warmer weather arrives in the Northern Hemisphere. Transmission around the world could continue for months.
The lockdown imposed by the Chinese government in Hubei, the province worst hit by the disease, substantially reduced the number of new cases for a time. But even that has limited benefits. As China tries to return to work, public transportation resumes and citizens start moving about, there will likely be a major rebound in cases. Unless an entire population shelters in place for many months, infectious agents like influenza or this coronavirus will find people to infect.
In other words, a lockdown is mostly a delaying tactic. By distributing cases over time, it can help manage an outbreak '-- but only if it takes place against the backdrop of a robust health care system. Yet even the best system is too fragile, and a moderate increase in infectious cases, whether of seasonal flu or Covid-19, can quickly overwhelm resources, in China or the United States.
As chilling as it is to imagine this scenario, what happened in Wuhan, the Chinese city at the epicenter of the outbreak, will likely play out elsewhere, too. Hospitals might have to turn away all but the people most seriously ill; their ability to handle their usual load of patients with heart attacks, critical injuries or cancers may be severely compromised.
In a world ill-prepared for a potentially life-threatening, easily transmitted disease like Covid-19, the most effective way to mitigate the pandemic's impact is to focus on supporting health care systems that already are overburdened.
This is the main reason every country's top priority should be to protect its health care workers.
The United States and other countries in the Northern Hemisphere already are in the throes of a moderately serious flu season. Their inventories of protective equipment used by doctors, nurses and emergency medical workers '-- N-95 respirator masks, gloves, eye protection, disposable suits '-- are running low. These limited supplies must go to health care workers first, rather than the public. This is partly to ensure that hospitals themselves do not become sites where the coronavirus is spread more than it is contained: If infected health care workers die in large numbers, entire societies may be shaken to the point of panic.
Governments should also conduct Covid-19 preparedness drills in local hospitals and expand hospitals' temporary capacity, for example, by setting up emergency tents in parking lots, as is already happening in some places in the United States. To minimize the strain on overstressed acute-care hospitals, supportive nursing care might have to be provided, in makeshift facilities and patients' homes, as was done during severe pandemics in the past, such as the Great Influenza of 1918-19.
The manufacturing and distribution chains for drugs and other vital products like needles and syringes must remain open, and that, given the global nature of the industry, requires international cooperation. In keeping with World Health Organization guidelines, coronavirus-stricken countries shouldn't be walled off the way that the United States and others are trying to do with China at the moment. Otherwise, as the virus spreads, we will be isolating ourselves, too, and will jeopardize our ability to obtain critical resources. Many of the active ingredients in lifesaving generic drugs '-- the ones that stock hospital crash carts and maintain our daily well-being '-- come from China and India. If that production is brought to a standstill, many people could die, not directly from Covid-19, but indirectly from a lack of access to those drugs.
Ensuring all of this means facing the hard facts of this unfolding pandemic '-- and that requires thorough, transparent disclosures to the public. Past experiences, with the anthrax-laced letters in 2001 and the 2014 Ebola outbreak, suggest that people react more rationally and show greater resilience to a full-blown crisis if they are prepared intellectually and emotionally for it.
And yet even those officials and experts who have candidly predicted a pandemic are not saying enough about what to expect and how to prepare. Basic information is still lacking, or isn't getting through: According to a recent survey, 65 percent of people in Hong Kong had enough surgical masks for a month or more '-- this, even though such masks will do little to prevent the spread of Covid-19.
Singapore, which is experiencing an outbreak despite a world-class medical and public health system '-- 89 cases as of Sunday '-- is the model to emulate. It is preparing its citizenry for a greater crisis still by providing it with explicit instructions and specific advisories about, for instance, attending large gatherings or sharing residential areas with people under home quarantine.
And what should each of us do, beyond staying informed and washing our hands frequently? Keep calm and rational. It might be worth stocking some reserve of critical medications, for example '-- but not too much, because hoarding could create shortages.
We, as individuals, can also try to plan for basic contingencies. Companies can cross-train key staff members so that one person's absence won't derail the business. Family members and friends should be watchful of one another's health and welfare, and stand prepared to care for the moderately ill if hospitals become overtaxed.
''Pandemic'' isn't just a technical public health term. It also is '-- or should be '-- a rallying cry.
Michael T. Osterholm is director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota. Mark Olshaker is a writer and documentary filmmaker. They are the authors of ''Deadliest Enemy: Our War Against Killer Germs.''
A Global Financial Reset Is Coming: 'A Deal Is Being Made Between All The Central Banks'
Thu, 27 Feb 2020 00:37
There is an unprecedented reset coming to world financial markets and if you've been paying attention it's impossible to ignore the signsThere is an unprecedented reset coming to world financial markets and if you've been paying attention it's impossible to ignore the signs. In fact mega-investment funds, governments and central banks have been secretly buying up and storing physical gold in anticipation of an event that will leave the U.S. dollar effectively worthless and governments around the world angling for a new global currency mechanism, according to mining executive Keith Neumeyer.
But before the reset can happen Neumeyer, who recently founded First Mining Financeand has partnered with billionaire alternative asset investors like Eric Sprott and Rick Rule, says that foreign creditors must first deleverage their U.S. dollar debt, a move that is happening right now and is evidenced by the recent strength of the U.S. dollar.
Once these U.S. debt holders unwind their positions, however, the dollar will be allowed to crash and we should prepare for a total financial, economic and monetary realignment.
(Watch the full interview at Future Money Trends)With the central banks now buying gold'... which is quite unique'... we haven't seen that in our lifetimes'... they've always been sellers of gold and now they're buyers of gold'... I think there will be a reset of the financial industry'...
I think China is being allowed to accumulate gold purposefully by the American government'... I believe that the Chinese need to own at least the same amount as the U.S. owns before this reset occurs. I think that there's some kind of deal that's being made between all the central banks behind the scenes and that's why you're seeing governments accumulating the metal.
I do believe there will be some kind of new currency created with the backing'... and it might not be a direct backing of the metal'... but it'll be some kind of blend of currency.. it could be through SDR's'... Special Drawing Rights'... or some type of mechanism'... I think that's where we're going.
And when that reset occurs I think gold will be left to rise'... and I wouldn't be at all surprised to see three'...four'... five thousand dollar gold over the next five years.
Because the price of gold has been suppressed to allow governments and central banks to accumulate it cheaply, Neumeyer sees opportunity in the mining industry and that's why his latest mineral bank project is mimicking their actions and buying up physical mining assets around the world.
And though Western mainstream media pundits argue that the recent strength of the U.S. stock market and the U.S. dollar are proof positive that an economic recovery has taken hold, Neumeyer says exactly the opposite is happening.
The reason for the recent rise in the value of the world's reserve currency, he suggests, is a result of the massive unwinding of U.S. debt as private investors and governments around the globe know a rush for the exits is coming soon:
The view on the strength of the dollar recently is the fact that it's short-term. You've got so much U.S. debt out there and governments are now getting rid of their U.S. debt and converting all the debt to local debt'... that's causing a huge demand for dollars in order to make that conversion, so this whole dollar rally is basically a deleveraging against the U.S. dollar'... you're not seeing that story showing up anywhere in North America.
Once the world is deleveraged than the U.S. dollar'... then basically the U.S. dollar will crash and that will be the beginning of this new reset.
Everything, of course, is very hush-hush but, as Neumeyer explains, most of the influential players involved know exactly what is going on and they are making their moves right now to ensure they survive the coming financial reset:
The gold accumulation that's going on'... this is gold that's outside of the system'... you don't hear about it'... these are big sovereign wealth funds, these are government funds, these are banks that are buying the physical metal'... they are very intimately involved in the sector and they know what's going on.
'...
Definitely world governments and central banks around the world are unwinding their U.S. debt. They're trying to bring their debt home and that's causing the upside pressure on the dollar.
If Neumeyer is right, and all the signs suggest his assessment is fairly accurate, then the recent strength of the U.S. dollar will be short-lived. Once deleveraging by governments and central banks has been completed they will unleash an economic, financial and monetary storm that will change the very fabric of the global order.
The consequences are difficult to predict, but given that these entities have been buying up gold like their lives depended on it, the notion of an ounce of the precious metal being valued at $5,000 per ounce isn't out of the question.
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Corona virus is perfect excuse for EVERYTHING!
Coronavirus Is the Excuse This Market Badly Needed - RealMoney
Tue, 25 Feb 2020 10:23
While hardly a major technical breakdown at this point, this is the sort of corrective action that will create better trading conditions. By JAMES "REV SHARK" DEPORRE Jan 24, 2020 | 04:46 PM EST Stocks quotes in this article:
INTC,
AAPL,
FB,
GOOGLFor weeks investors and traders have been wondering what excuse the market would finally find to sell off and relieve the severely overbought technical conditions that have developed over the last couple of months.
While, there have been several news events that could have triggered some selling, the strong momentum continued.
When the news of the coronavirus in China hit, a number of traders thought that may finally be the triggering event. However, after the World Health Agency made some optimistic comments about the likelihood of the virus spreading the market bounced back and then celebrated a good earnings report from Intel (INTC) .
Friday morning it looked like the uptrend was back on track without any notable corrective action. There were price target updates for Apple (AAPL) , Facebook (FB) and Alphabet (GOOGL) , as well as strength in the semiconductor sector but then headlines appeared about a virus case in the U.S. and it started to become clear that maybe the situation was worse than had been portrayed. China has quarantined population equivalent to the state of California and cases are coming up in several other countries.
While the declines on Friday may cause some pain, this selling was badly needed if the market is going to develop a healthier technical pattern. The S&P 500 has only given back five days of gains and hasn't broken the uptrend line so this is hardly a major technical breakdown at this point. On the other hand, it is the sort of corrective action that will create better conditions moving ahead.
It is very likely that there will be some substantial news about the coronavirus over the weekend, although to what degree it was discounted by the market Friday cannot be determined. If the dip buyers don't jump in quickly on Monday it may cause some increased pessimism. That may be a good thing for aggressive traders looking for increased volatility to trade.
As always, bad action isn't all negative as it ultimately leads to new opportunities. The key is to manage positions closely, protect capital and be ready to act as things develop.
Have a great weekend. I'll see you on Monday.
(Apple, Alphabet and Facebook are holdings in Jim Cramer's Action Alerts PLUS member club. Want to be alerted before Jim Cramer buys or sells these stocks? Learn more now.)
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Airlines Use Coronavirus As Excuse To Reduce Losses, Save Face - Live and Let's Fly
Tue, 25 Feb 2020 23:51
The airline business is tricky, but some carriers see opportunity in the Coronavirus to reduce their losses and save face when routes haven't gone as planned.
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CoronavirusFor the last couple weeks, 2019 Novel Coronavirus has consumed the media. I'm not a doctor nor a scientist so do not take my assessment of the virus as anything other than a curious observer. The flu-like virus can be deadly for vulnerable patients infected, especially the very young or very old.
Similar to SARS, the concern for China (specifically Wuhan) where the virus first emanated, close proximity to millions of people can make a small problem enormous. The Lunar New Year (heavily travelled in China) also made the timing of this virus particularly disadvantageous.
For what it's worth, the symptoms seem similar to a common cold (sore throat, headache, fever, sneezing, etc.) and for those who receive treatment, it's not life-threatening. What remains so jarring about this particular strain is that it is highly contagious.
China-US Aviation RulesChina and the US have strict rules for flights between the two countries. Opportunities are limited and carriers cannot freely add routes but must follow guidelines:
Slot-restricted airports (Shanghai and Beijing) require specific awardsRoute awards usually coincide with a one-for-one Chinese and American carrierRoute must run for extended period of timeAwarded routes have to be operated or relinquishedFor example, American Airlines petitioned to gain a Delta route that had been suspended because American had competed for the same route and lost, yet Delta was not actually flying it. Ultimately, American was awarded the route.
Some of the restrictions between the two countries come down to limitations at the airports (until Beijing's new airport opened) much like landing slot restrictions at Tokyo Haneda are doled out each year. Another factor is China's limited approved air traffic network which allows just 20% of the country to be traversed by air. James Fallows covered this in his excellent book, China Airborne.
Deep, Lasting Cuts Without ConsequenceAmerican Airlines has been perhaps the most vocal about how costly some of their flights to China have been. The carriers wanted to have a tentpole for future growth and were willing to make an investment to secure their long term position.
Some of the routes are premium class heavy and do very well. United's laudable Asian-network flights from San Francisco and lucrative contracts with tech firms filled large aircraft with an average of 50 business class seats daily on the Shanghai route alone.
However, this time of year is always bad for flights to China. Lunar New Year hosts a lot of domestic travel within China, but not necessarily overseas traffic. Flights can be purchased for less than $400 roundtrip from just about anywhere in the US to just about anywhere in China, business class for less than $2,000 typically.
But airlines can't drop flights in frequency or reduce them to seasonal per the agreements. They must continue to fly big aircraft that they will need the rest of the year and for which their approval was granted at the same consistency that won them the award, usually daily flights.
This week, American and United both announced they will be suspending their service to China due to ''lower demand.'' Delta, the airline living in the future, has suspended flights all the way to May, a bold move considering that this issue may be short-lived and one that goes well beyond its US peers.
This appears, at least in the case of Delta, to be more than precaution but rather a way to ensure profitability for the routes when they garner the most revenue. And they can get away with it right now because of the fear of Coronavirus consequence-free. In fact, neither government can claim that Delta nor United/American are acting in any way other than an abundance of caution because the problem appears to be uncontained for the moment.
ConclusionThe 2019 Novel Coronavirus is certainly a threat to vulnerable citizens and its infection rate is alarming, especially considering the epicenter of the virus. However, the US carriers and especially Delta, have taken this as a convenient opportunity to reduce losses on their China flights when they would otherwise rather not fly the routes anyway.
What do you think? Are the US carriers taking advantage of the Corononavirus to reduce losses while appearing cautious? Do you think their concern is genuine? How long should carriers be allowed to suspend flights to China without losing their rights?
Drugmaker Moderna's coronavirus vaccine ready for human testing - CBS News
Thu, 27 Feb 2020 00:04
Drugmaker Moderna said on Monday that the first batch of its vaccine against the coronavirus is ready for the government to start testing on humans.
The therapeutics and vaccines company said it has shipped vials of the medicine, called mRNA-1273, to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) in Bethesda, Maryland. The NIAID expects to begin the clinical trial with 20 to 25 healthy subjects by the end of April to evaluate the vaccine's safety and efficacy against infection, the Wall Street Journal reported. That would mark a three-month period between vaccine design and human testing, with first results becoming available as early as July, according to the report.
"Going into a Phase One trial within three months of getting the sequence is unquestionably the world indoor record. Nothing has ever gone that fast," said Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of NIAID, according to the WSJ.
News of the coming vaccine test sent Moderna's stock price up 19% Tuesday to about $22 a share. Despite that jump, the vaccine's efficacy is unknown. Other drugmakers also are racing to develop vaccines against the coronavirus, including Sanofi, Inovio Pharmaceuticals, Novavax and Johnson & Johnson. Gilead Sciences is also exploring whether one of its existing drugs could work against the disease.
The coronavirus, officially known as COVID-19, has infected more than 80,000 people and killed nearly 3,000.
The coronavirus in China could lead to drug shortages in AmericaIt could also take a year for the Moderna vaccine to clear regulatory hurdles and become widely available. NIAID told CBS MoneyWatch that a first-phase clinical trial will be held at the Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute in Seattle, but that it does not have a firm start date.
Founded in 2010, Moderna develops medicines based on so-called messenger RNA for infectious and rare diseases and more.
"It is possible it's going to work, but we have to wait and see," Moderna's CEO St(C)phane Bancel told the WSJ.
Moderna said in a statement it is "proud to be included among the many companies and public health agencies working on a possible response to this continuing global health emergency."
Coronavirus fears affect stock marketNIAID on Tuesday said it has begun its first clinical trial of Gilead's remdesivir on coronavirus patients. It is the first clinical trial in the U.S. to evaluate an experimental treatment for COVID-19. An American passenger who was quarantined on the Diamond Princess cruise ship docked in Japan is participating in the study.
"We urgently need a safe and effective treatment for COVID-19. Although remdesivir has been administered to some patients with COVID-19, we do not have solid data to indicate it can improve clinical outcomes," NIAID director Anthony Fauci said in a press release. Clinical trials are also taking place in China.
Buffett: I talked to my 'science advisor' Bill Gates about coronavirus
Tue, 25 Feb 2020 10:34
Berkshire Hathaway Chairman Warren Buffett said Monday he has spoken to fellow billionaire and Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates about efforts to contain the spread and impact of the coronavirus.
"Now what they hope to get is a universal flu vaccine, but that's a long way off. It isn't impossible. I mean I asked my own '' my own science advisor is Bill Gates, so I talk to him, I call him," Buffett told "Squawk Box" host Becky Quick. "I talked to him in the last few days about it and he's bullish on the long-term outlook for a universal prevention of it."
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, one of the largest private foundations in the world, is actively working to combat the impact of the coronavirus as part of its broader effort to promote global health, said Buffett, who along with the Gateses is one of the foundation's three trustees.
With respect to Berkshire, Buffett said several of its businesses were feeling an impact from the deadly virus, which has now spread beyond China and threatens to disrupt the global economy.
He said his China-based Dairy Queen franchises were seeing little to no business, and he noted Apple's recent announcement that the company would fall short of its first-quarter guidance because of recent of store closures in China and supply-chain disruptions. Berkshire holds 5.6% of Apple's stock.
"I have heard that the summer is not likely to cause the end of this," Buffett told CNBC.
He also appeared to suggest that early efforts to contain the illness have had limited success as the virus continues to spread to new countries.
"The Gates Foundation is very active in trying to be helpful on this, and Bill says the CDC is the best in the world," Buffett said. "And we've got terrific resources in this country, but a pandemic is a pandemic."
The investing icon's comments came amid reports that the coronavirus outbreak in countries outside China has worsened, especially South Korea and Italy, which reported a spike in the number of confirmed cases in recent days.
South Korea raised its coronavirus alert to the "highest level" over the weekend, with the latest spike in numbers bringing the total infected there to more than 750.
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San Francisco declares state of emergency over coronavirus | Fox News
Wed, 26 Feb 2020 00:08
Published February 25, 2020
Last Update an hour ago
The mayor of San Francisco declared a state of emergency over coronavirus fears on Tuesday shortly after the Center for Disease Control and Prevention issued a warning that the U.S. will likely see more cases.
CORONAVIRUS INFECTS US SOLDIER
There are 57 known cases in the U.S. and no cases in San Francisco, but Mayor London Breed pointed to the virus' unpredictability and troubling global growth.
TUCKER CARLSON: US NOT READY
"We see the virus spreading in new parts of the world every day, and we are taking the necessary steps to protect San Franciscans from harm," Breed said. She said many of the city's residents travel to mainland China, so it is not far-fetched to suspect cases in the future.
SFGate reported that U.C. San Francisco two cases successfully earlier this month. The declaration is effective immediately and will be voted on early next month. The Los Angeles Times reported that San Diego and Santa Clara counties have made similar declarations.
China, by far, still has the most cases and deaths from the illness, though its numbers have slowed recently. Chinese officials Wednesday reported another 406 cases and 52 additional deaths, all of them in hard-hit Hubei province and all but 10 in the epicenter of the city of Wuhan.
China has recorded 2,715 deaths from COVID-19 and 78,064 confirmed cases of the virus on the mainland since the illness emerged in December.
New outbreaks occurring in far-flung places were raising concerns about containing the illness and what will happen when it reaches new places.
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"It's not so much a question of if this will happen anymore, but rather more a question of exactly when this will happen -- and how many people in this country will have severe illness," Dr. Nancy Messonnier of the CDC said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report
Be Ready Economic Reset -Coronavirus Economic Fallout Has Begun - financialanalysis
Wed, 26 Feb 2020 00:00
In a little noticed post back in November, we reported that as part of a stress test conducted by China's central bank in the first half of 2019, 30 medium- and large-sized banks were tested; In the base-case scenario, assuming GDP growth dropped to 5.3% - nine out of 30 major banks failed and saw their capital adequacy ratio drop to 13.47% from 14.43%. In the worst-case scenario, assuming GDP growth dropped to 4.15%, some 2% below the latest official GDP print, more than half of China's banks, or 17 out of the 30 major banks failed the test. Needless to say, the implications for a Chinese financial system - whose size is roughly $41 trillion - having over $20 trillion in "problematic" bank assets, would be dire.Why do we bring this up now? Because according to many Wall Street estimates, as a result of the slowdown resulting from the Coronavirus pandemic, China's economic growth is set to slow sharply, with some banks such as JPMorgan now expecting as little as 1% GDP growth in Q1 assuming the epidemic is contained in the next few weeks; if it isn't, Chinese Q1 GDP growth may print negative for the first time on record.This is a big problem, because as noted above if the PBOC's 2019 stress test is credible, more than half of China's banks would fail the "stress test" should GDP drop to just 4.15%; and one can only imagine what happens to China's banks if GDP prints negative.Or, alternatively, one can read the fine print, where we find that among the immediate first order consequences of a GDP crunch is that the bad loan ratio at the nation's 30 biggest banks would rise five-fold, flooding the country with trillions in non-performing loans, and potentially unleashing a tsunami of bank defaults.Of course, regular readers are wll aware that China's banks are already suffering record loan defaults as the economy last year expanded at the slowest pace in three decades. As extensively covered The slump tore through the nation’s $41 trillion banking system, forcing the not only the first bank seizure in two decades as Baoshang Bank was nationalized , but also bailouts at Bank of Jinzhou, China's Heng Feng Bank, as well as two very troubling bank runs at China's Henan Yichuan Rural Commercial Bank at the start of the month, and then more recently at Yingkou Coastal Bank.All that may be a walk in the park compared to what is coming next."The banking industry is taking a big hit," You Chun, a Shanghai-based analyst at National Institution for Finance & Development told Bloomberg. "The outbreak has already damaged China’s most vibrant small businesses and if it prolongs, many firms will go under and be unable to repay their loans."While the market is filled with optimistic speculation that the Chinese economy will be spared the worst, we already know that China's top aluminum buyers have already voided contracts with some of the world's biggest copper producers citing "force majeure" provisions. We doubt they will be the only ones, or that China's banks will somehow escape unscathed a millions of businesses freeze their operations, refusing to pay the coupon or debt maturities. This means that China's banks - already undercapitalized from nearly two years of trade war with the US - will bear the brunt of the coming operational and liquidity squeeze, and Beijing will be forced to chose between bailing out hundreds of banks, or letting them fail.To be sure, JPMorgan is not alone in its dire GDP forecast: UBS estimates growth will slow to 3.8% in the first quarter from a 6% pace at the end of year and to 5.4% for 2020 if the virus is contained within three months. If the virus is more protracted, annual growth could dip below 5%. Goldman Sachs similarly predicts a sharp slowdown in the quarter to 4%, while still predicting full-year growth at 5.5%.It gets worse.Doing its own calculations based on China’s stress tests, Bloomberg reports that according to S&P estimates, the worst-case scenario would cause bad debt to balloon by 5.6 trillion yuan ($800 billion), for a ratio of about 6.3%, adding to the already daunting 2.4 trillion yuan of non-performing loans China’s banks are sitting on (a number which, like the details of the viral epidemic, is largely massaged lower and the real number is far higher according to even conservative skeptics).Predictably, S&P expects that banks with operations concentrated in Hubei province and its capital city of Wuhan, the epicenter and the region worst hit by the virus, will likely see the greatest increase in problem loans. The region had 4.6 trillion yuan of outstanding loans held by 160 local and foreign banks at the end of 2018, with more than half in Wuhan. The five big state banks had 2.6 trillion yuan of exposure in the region, followed by 78 local rural lenders, according to official data.The problem is that Beijing recently "advised" the largest banks, including Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, to serve their civic duty by bailing out millions of struggling small businesses by providing more cheap loans, rolling over debt and waiving fees, steps which will only add to the total bad debt total.And so, just as China has scrambled to talk down the impact of the pandemic, so too officials have sought to ease concern over the hit to the banking sector. Zhou Liang, vice chairman of the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission, said on Friday that a potential increase in bad loans is "manageable" without clarifying what level of bad loeans would become unmanageable. Chinese lenders dissolved 3 trillion yuan of bad loans last year alone, he said, adding that bad loan ratio of China’s small businesses was at 3.22%.Highlighting the plight of small bushiness, most of which are indebted to China's banks, a recent nationwide survey showed that about 30% said they expect to see revenue plunge more than 50% this year because of the virus and 85% said they are unable to maintain operations for more than three months with cash currently available. Perhaps they were exaggerating in hopes of garnering enough sympathy from Beijing for a blanket bailout; or perhaps they were just telling the truth.In any event, nothing short of a coronavirus cataclysm faces both China's banks and small businesses if the coronavirus isn't contained in the coming weeks.Until then, banks have no choice but to keep throwing good money after bad, adding to their plight: "Social stability is of utmost importance to the authorities in China," S&P analysts led by Tan Ming said in a recent report. "Therefore, banks have been asked to help carry the burden of this health outbreak."It gets worse: at a time when banks are desperate for any inbound cash, Beijing is telling them to collect even less interest on existing loans, effectively tying their fate with the success (or failure) of eradicating the coronavirus. As Bloomberg reports, while most state banks agreed to cut the borrowing costs of virus-stricken firms by 0.5 percentage point, the State Council now requires them to ensure that small businesses are paying no more than 1.6% with government subsidy. And even as cheaper financing may help the broader economy, rates below 5% mean banks are barely making enough money to cover their cost of funding after accounting for default risks.Which brings us to yet another unpleasant comp to the SARS epidemic, or even the 2008 global financial crisis: what differentiates the current episode from 2008 or 2003 "is the lack of bank capital now to support an aggressive bank-led credit stimulus," said Grace Wu, head of Greater China Banks at Fitch Ratings in Hong Kong. "Chinese banks do not have the same capacity to replenish capital now given their profitability has trended down in recent years."And not even the government in Beijing can magically conjure trillions in new funds to bail out its entire banking system without catastrophic consequences across an economy which is already suffering from the highest inflation in 9 years.None of this has escaped investors, who are turning more downbeat on Chinese banks by the day, and whose shares have underperformed the benchmark in most of the past five years. The “big four” state-owned lenders, which together control more than $14 trillion of assets, currently trade at an average 0.6 times their forecast book value, near a record low. This also means that in the eyes of the market, as much as $6 trillion in bank assets are currently worthless!Bank stocks have responded appropriately, with Bloomberg writing that China's credit giant, ICBC with over $4 trillion in assets, is down 11% YTD while China Construction Bank Corp., the nation’s second largest, has lost 7.6% so far in 2020.The worst is yet to come however, as the unexpected coronavirus epidemic is now their greatest test, and the longer it lasts, the lower the chances of a happy ending: "The resilience of China’s banking system may be severely tested," the S&P analysts said.
Coronavirus: Chinese leader's reputation 'tarnished' by virus response
Tue, 25 Feb 2020 23:46
Xi Jinping's image has been tarnished amid rising fears the novel coronavirus will evolve into a pandemic.
But as the virus continues to spread, with over 80,000 worldwide infections and a rising death toll, experts say the Chinese leader's response will be to clamp down even tighter.
XI'S IMAGE 'TARNISHED' BY CORONAVIRUS RESPONSE
Speaking at the Lowy Institute in Sydney, senior fellow and author of Xi Jinping: The Backlash Richard McGregor said the Chinese leader's strongman image had been shattered in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.
''For Xi Jinping the narrative has been very muddled,'' he said. ''First he came out and issued a statement, and Wuhan was locked down. Later he came out and said he knew about this on January 7 and instructed the Politburo to do something about it. That's at a time when we weren't getting any official announcement at all.
''Initially his approach was what Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping would have been '-- drift into the background and only re-emerge at a strategic time.
''That narrative has now been thrown out. He had a conference call with 170,000 officials the other day to deliver a message.''
On Sunday, Mr Xi gave a massive national teleconference address, which involved as many as 170,000 cadres and military personnel.
He outlined Beijing's battle plan to stop the epidemic, warning it would have a massive impact on the country's economy.
RELATED: Xi was aware of coronavirus earlier than believed
RELATED: Australia activates new virus emergency plan
It was seen as a rare chance for the country's grassroots party members to hear directly from the top boss, as well as a sign that he wanted to make sure his words reached the provinces directly.
Mr McGregor dismissed the likening of the epidemic to ''China's Chernobyl'', saying we're ''not there yet'', but he noted Mr Xi's handling of the virus was a stain on his leadership.
''We don't know what the long-term impacts will be on the healthcare system, economy or political systems, but certainly Xi's standing as a leader has been tarnished.''
XI TO TIGHTEN CONTROL ON CHINA
Since January, China has seen a rare outpouring of criticism over authorities' initial attempts to suppress information about the disease.
China's social media pages have been flooded with angry netizens criticising officials for failing to contain the initial outbreak in the locked-down city.
Much of the anger was because authorities initially suppressed information of the outbreak.
Mr Xi's address on Sunday signalled he may now be clamping down harder on China in response.
''In this epidemic prevention-and-control work, the governance abilities and professional abilities of some leading cadres are obviously lagging behind, which must be paid great attention to,'' he said.
Mr McGregor said Mr Xi's first impulse will be ''more control, not less control''.
''Many would take the opposite lesson from this '-- that you should have much more open transmission of information because it is a safety valve, a preventive measure and the like.''
He said Mr Xi remains '-- ''broadly speaking'' '-- a popular leader, due to the growth of China's economy and position in the world under his watch, as well as his anti-corruption campaign and state control over the media.
''But ordinary people are being made to pay the price for officials' mistakes in a very direct and visceral fashion,'' he continued. ''Whether that translates into a political movement to open up at all is a moot point. I doubt it. But I think there would be a lot of pressure from the intellectuals of the technocrats who are critics of Xi, to take that lesson from this crisis. Whether he does or not is difficult to know.''
Last week it emerged Mr Xi had been aware of the deadly coronavirus much earlier than originally thought.
The Chinese leader issued orders on fighting the coronavirus on January 7, during a meeting of the country's Politburo Standing Committee, almost two weeks before his first public comments on the disease.
It wasn't until January 23 that Chinese authorities banned travel in and out of Wuhan, the epicentre of the outbreak. By this point, thousands of people had already travelled in and out of the city, around the mainland and overseas.
In a speech delivered on February 3, Mr Xi outlined a contingency plan to respond to the crisis, which he said could jeopardise China's economic and social stability.
State media published the speech, essentially revealing that top leaders were aware of the outbreak's potential severity well before such dangers were made known to the public.
''I issued demands during a Politburo Standing Committee meeting on January 7 for work to contain the outbreak. On January 20, I gave special instructions about the work to prevent and control the outbreak and I have said we have to pay high attention to it,'' Mr Xi said.
The speech was released as Beijing faced increasing criticism over its handling of the deadly coronavirus outbreak, prompting a reshuffle of officials in Hubei province.
There are currently 80,967 coronavirus infections worldwide, including 78,064 in China.
A total of 2763 people have died from the virus, with around 98 per cent of the deaths taking place in the mainland.
There are 23 confirmed cases of the virus in Australia.
Coronavirus Causes Stock Market to Drop More Than 100 Points - Barron's
Tue, 25 Feb 2020 23:53
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AFP via Getty Images 10:10 a.m. The stock market is sinking Thursday morning, and China's coronavirus, which is spreading globally, is getting the blame. The real reason, however, may simply be that stocks needed a breather.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average has dropped 107.25 points, or 0.4%, to 29,079.02, while the S&P 500 has declined 0.3% to 3310.33, and the Nasdaq Composite has dipped 0.1% to 9373.37.
It's easy to see why the coronavirus would get the blame. China has sealed off multiple cities to try to rein in the disease, and there's even suggestions that Macau's casinos, run by Wynn Resorts (WYNN), Las Vegas Sands (LVS) and MGM Resorts (MGM), among others, could be closed. This all comes as China is set to celebrate its New Year on Jan. 25.
Chinese stocks are getting walloped'--the Shanghai Composite Index dropped 2.8% to 2976.53 Thursday'--and that makes sense. The spread of coronavirus will have a non-negligible economic impact on the world's second largest economy. The impact in the U.S., however, should be trivial, especially with China doing its best to contain the virus.
Still, the market was ready to drop, and the coronavirus presents a perfect excuse. As we noted in the Trader column in this past week's issue of Barron's, the stock market really has melted up'--the 10-day moving average was more than 9.25% above the 200-day'--and was set for a pullback. Right on schedule, the coronavirus starts making headlines, and the market pulls back, if only just a little best. Our column also predicted that the Dow would eventually hit 30,000, which really isn't that far away. It will probably go higher too, if history is the judge.
But that doesn't mean everything is OK. Market's can rally right into trouble, and perhaps that's what is happening now. Just don't expect the current pullback to be the big one.
Write to Ben Levisohn at Ben.Levisohn@barrons.com
Europe Confronts Coronavirus as Italy Battles an Eruption of Cases - The New York Times
Mon, 24 Feb 2020 07:02
The country announced more than 150 cases, many in the densely populated region around Milan, as officials closed schools and canceled Venice's carnival celebrations.
Police officers stopped cars on the road outside Casalpusterlengo, Italy, one of the towns under quarantine, on Sunday. Credit... Andrea Mantovani for The New York Times Published Feb. 23, 2020Updated Feb. 24, 2020, 7:38 a.m. ET
CASALPUSTERLENGO, Italy '-- Europe confronted its first major outbreak of the coronavirus as an eruption of more than 150 cases in Italy prompted officials on Sunday to lock down at least 10 towns, close schools in major cities and cancel sporting events and cultural touchstones, including the end of the Venice carnival.
The worrisome spike '-- from fewer than five known cases in Italy before Thursday '-- shattered the sense of safety and distance that much of the continent had felt in recent months even as the virus has infected more than 78,000 worldwide and killed more than 2,400, nearly all in China.
The perception of a rising threat was amplified on television channels, newspaper headlines and social media feeds across Europe, where leaders could face their greatest challenge since the 2015 migration crisis.
That surge of people into Europe radically altered the politics of the European Union and exposed its institutional weaknesses. This time, it is an invisible virus from abroad that has slipped past Europe's borders and presents its bickering coalitions with a new potential emergency.
If the virus spreads, the fundamental principle of open borders within much of Europe '-- so central to the identity of the bloc '-- will undergo a stress test, as will the vaunted but strained European public health systems, especially in countries that have undergone austerity measures.
Already, a new nervousness has pervaded Europe.
In Italy's Lombardy region, 10 towns were locked down after a cluster of cases suddenly emerged in Codogno, southeast of Milan.
Residents were supposed to leave or enter the towns only with special permission, affecting at least 50,000 people, and by Sunday night, police officers in surgical masks were waving down cars.
Austrian officials stopped a train en route from Italy to Austria and Germany to test passengers for the virus. The Austrian interior minister, Karl Nehammer, said the tests came back negative so the train got the ''all clear.''
In France, the new health minister, Olivier Veran, stressed the country's preparedness, saying it would significantly ramp up its testing.
''There is a problematic situation at the door, in Italy, that we are watching with great attention,'' he said on Sunday, adding that a Europe-wide discussion between health ministers was in the works.
On Sunday night, an aid ship bringing hundreds of migrants, who had been rescued off the coast of Libya, to a Sicilian port received instructions from the Italian government to remain in quarantine for 14 days as a precaution, according to the ship's Twitter account.
Fears of foreigners spreading the virus across oceans has already prompted some governments around the world to impose new border or travel controls.
Updated Feb. 10, 2020
What is a Coronavirus? It is a novel virus named for the crown-like spikes that protrude from its surface. The coronavirus can infect both animals and people, and can cause a range of respiratory illnesses from the common cold to more dangerous conditions like Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, or SARS. How contagious is the virus? According to preliminary research, it seems moderately infectious, similar to SARS, and is possibly transmitted through the air. Scientists have estimated that each infected person could spread it to somewhere between 1.5 and 3.5 people without effective containment measures. Where has the virus spread? The virus originated in Wuhan, China, and has sickened tens of thousands of people in China and at least two dozen other countries. How worried should I be? While the virus is a serious public health concern, the risk to most people outside China remains very low, and seasonal flu is a more immediate threat. Who is working to contain the virus? World Health Organization officials have praised China's aggressive response to the virus by closing transportation, schools and markets. This week, a team of experts from the W.H.O. arrived in Beijing to offer assistance. What if I'm traveling? The United States and Australia are temporarily denying entry to noncitizens who recently traveled to China and several airlines have canceled flights. How do I keep myself and others safe? Washing your hands frequently is the most important thing you can do, along with staying at home when you're sick. The Trump administration has barred entry to the United States by most foreign nationals who have recently visited China, where the virus first appeared and spread. Much of the world has adopted similar controls, but the virus has continued to spread, most notably to South Korea, where more cases have been recorded than anywhere else outside China, and this past week to Iran, where eight deaths have been reported.
Israel on Monday will block entry to all nonresidents who have visited Japan and South Korea in the 14 days before their arrival. On Sunday, President Moon Jae-in of South Korea, which has 763 confirmed infections and six deaths, put the country on the highest possible alert, empowering the government to ban visitors from China and take other sweeping measures to contain the outbreak.
''The coming few days will be a critical time for us,'' Mr. Moon said at an emergency meeting of government officials.
Even China '-- with an authoritarian government that has locked down areas with tens of millions of people in an attempt to stamp out the epidemic '-- has struggled to contain the virus, which has no known cure.
But the scores of new cases in Italy, mostly in the Lombardy region that includes densely populated Milan, present a new challenge for a country with a wobbly government often paralyzed by infighting.
AUSTRIA
SWITZ.
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Milan
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CROATIA
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100 miles
That government has now become the reluctant laboratory to test whether the virus can be successfully contained in an open European society with a liberal approach to restrictions.
Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte of Italy said on Italian television on Sunday that the country had taken precautions, including barring flights from China in January. These measures seemed to have paid off ''even if now it looks like it didn't,'' he said.
He suggested that the surge of Italian cases only reflected Italy's casting a wider net in terms of testing.
''We cannot exclude that after tests that are equally rigorous, the numbers can go up in other countries,'' Mr. Conte said.
Beatrice Lorenzin, a former Italian health minister, said the sharp rise in cases in Italy resulted from systematic checks that discovered a ''second generation of contagion.''
She said this was probably caused by infected people who traveled to Italy from China using indirect flights without declaring their original departure point or putting themselves in voluntary quarantine during the virus' incubation period.
''I hope similar things did not happen in other countries,'' she said.
The outbreak in Codogno, in Lombardy, was detected after a 38-year-old man was admitted to the city's hospital and given a diagnosis on Thursday. But the man had developed symptoms perhaps five days before that, potentially allowing the virus to spread.
Health officials are trying to figure out how he contracted the virus; he had not been to China. Many cases in Lombardy, officials say, may be traceable to that one case.
At least five members of the hospital medical staff and several patients have been infected. Other persons who tested positive include the man's pregnant wife, some friends, and others who spent time with them. The towns surrounding the ones where the man works and lives have been included in the shutdown.
On Sunday night on a road outside Casalpusterlengo, one of the locked-down towns, police officers in surgical masks halted cars, asking what business they had in the town. The officers suggested that motorists take an alternate route and urged them against going any further.
Most of the drivers didn't need much convincing.
Bahije Mounia, a 42-year-old caretaker from a nearby town who wore a surgical mask, turned right back around. She said the government should have let people in the area know how dangerous things were much earlier. With the spike of cases in the region, she said, ''It's almost like we're in China.''
What had seemed like a contained few cases spread throughout the country's wealthy north. So did the precautions.
People wore surgical masks in Aosta, which is on the Swiss border. Officials in the Piedmont region closed schools in Turin, and Venice cut its Carnival short. The patriarch of Venice, the Reverend Francesco Moraglia, suspended all religious ceremonies, including Ash Wednesday celebrations that mark the beginning of Lent.
At least two trade fairs in Milan, cornerstones of the city's economy, were postponed. But the women's fashion shows, except for those by Armani, continued on schedule on Sunday to large crowds, with few wearing masks, The Associated Press reported. The Giorgio Armani fashion house made a last-minute decision to stream its shows from empty theaters.
Two elderly people who tested positive for the coronavirus were in intensive care at Venice's municipal hospital.
In the regional capital of Milan, officials closed museums, schools, its cathedral, and halted religious and cultural events. Many other venues, aside from those providing essential services, have been closed, including most bars and nightclubs.
Fears that the city could be quarantined triggered a run on supermarkets. By 5 p.m. on Sunday, at least one supermarket had run out of fruit, vegetables, meat and nearly all canned food.
Some of the customers wore masks, and they all seemed in a hurry to fill up their carts with whatever was left on the shelves.
Vanessa Maiocchi, 45, said she worried about getting her children enough food. She was also concerned that her brother, who has a weak immune system, might be more vulnerable, especially if his company kept making him go to work.
''At least in these cases,'' she said, ''the state should intervene.''
So far, the virus has killed three people in Italy, including a 78-year-old man from Veneto who died Friday; an elderly woman who died in Crema on Sunday; and a 77-year-old woman who died in her home in Casalpusterlengo and posthumously tested positive for the virus.
The Italian state, which leads the third largest economy in the eurozone, has not inspired much confidence of late, as it has been consumed by internal machinations. But health experts said they were more worried because the Italian health ministry appeared to have moved aggressively to prevent an outbreak, to no avail.
Francesco Passerini, the mayor of Codogno, said in an interview on Sunday evening that he still had not received concrete logistical instructions from Rome.
''Who is going to bring essential goods here?'' he said. ''Who is going to take care of provisions and medical transportation?''
Two military structures in Lombardy are being prepared to become isolation camps. A military base in Rome has been housing evacuees from Wuhan, China, where the virus began, and the Italian passengers of the Diamond Princess, the cruise ship that has been under quarantine in Yokohama, Japan.
Lockdown procedures like the ones in Lombardy will be applied to other towns if new clusters emerge, officials said. Quarantine measures will also be applied to anyone who has close contact with someone who has the virus.
Elia Delmiglio, the mayor of Casalpusterlengo, said people continued going in and out of his town for most of the day on Sunday.
''We got the decree, but not a precise schedule for when it will be implemented,'' he said.
But by late Sunday night, police began arriving to seal the town off.
''People are worried,'' said Paolo Camia, a 55-year-old manager of a software company from Casalpusterlengo, who drove out of town in his blue surgical mask to take some pictures of the police checkpoints. ''Basically, we can't leave.''
Jason Horowitz reported from Casalpusterlengo, Italy, and Milan, and Elisabetta Povoledo reported from Rome. Katrin Bennhold contributed reporting from Berlin, Constant Meheut from Paris, and Emma Bubola from Milan.
Coronavirus outbreak: Africa may be a big victim
Mon, 24 Feb 2020 15:55
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HomeLatestTrendingMy ReadsNamaste TrumpLong ReadsPlain FactsMarket DashboardMark To MarketPodcastsMoney With Monika, Season 3CompaniesMarketsMoneyStart-upsMutual FundsNRI Investment QueriesInsuranceTechnologyIndustryLoungeOpinionPoliticsMint 50 - Top Mutual FundsNew storiesReserve Bank of India governor Shaktikanta Das speaking at the 13th Mint Annual Banking Conclave in Mumbai (Photo: Aniruddha Chowdhury/Mint)
2 min read . 12:47 AM IST Shayan Ghosh At 13th Mint Annual Banking Conclave in Mumbai, the RBI governor criticized the practice of loan waivers by saying that any kind of generalized loan waiver is credit negative'I would like to say that perhaps the RBI was among the early ones that noticed that the growth momentum was slowing down,' said DasFrom The Wall Street Journal
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, US President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump during the 'Namaste Trump' event at Sardar Patel Stadium in Ahmedabad, Monday (Photo: PTI)
The best minds from the banking sector discuss, debate and develop ideas on how the Indian banking sector can be a catalyst to achieve the dream
Mint Annual Banking Conclave: Discussing the $5 trillion economy challenge 24 Feb 2020 As the country is working towards achieving the $5 trillion economy set forth by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, there are several challenges in place. At the Mint Annual Banking Conclave, the best minds from the banking sector discuss, debate and develop ideas on how the Indian banking sector can be a catalyst to achieve the dream, while battling numerous risks, challenges and global volatility.
A file photo of commuters in a train in Lisbon, Portugal. The European Commission is calling for nothing short of a European common data market, like its economic common market (Photo: Alamy)
(Photo: AP)
Prime Minister Narendra Modi shakes hands with US President Donald Trump during the 'Namaste Trump' event at Sardar Patel Stadium in Ahmedabad (Photo: PTI)
Ambani said gaming can become bigger than music, movies and TV shows put together during a fireside chat with Nadella. pti
Harvey Weinstein, former co-chairman of the Weinstein Co., center, arrives with his attorney Donna Rotunno, left, at state supreme court in New York. (Bloomberg)
Harvey Weinstein found guilty in landmark #MeToo moment 7 min read . 24 Feb 2020 AP Harvey Weinstein was found guilty of criminal sex act for assaulting production assistant Mimi Haleyi at his apartment in 2006 and third-degree rape of a woman in 2013The jury of seven men and five women took five days to find him guilty Shaktikanta Das also said that slowing domestic credit growth is another challenge and banks should therefore focus on credit off-take.
The biggest concern for investors is BHEL's negative operating cash flows. (Bloomberg )
Berkshire Hathaway Chairman Warren Buffett. (REUTERS)
Warren Buffett calls coronavirus outbreak 'scary stuff' 2 min read . 24 Feb 2020 Jonathan Stempel , Reuters Warren Buffett said Berkshire over the long term is unlikely to be in the top 15% or bottom 30% of stocks, but will outperform in down marketsWarren Buffett, however, said long-term investors should not get caught up in daily headlines (Photo: Reuters)
Protesters hurl stones and brickbats during clashes at Jaffrabad on Monday. (PTI)
Most manufacturers in the Indian market will be directly or indirectly impacted by the shutdown in China. (HT)
Photo: Mint
HUL sells popular brands such as Dove, Surf Excel, and Kissan sauce.. Photo: Reuters
US First Lady Melania Trump. (AP)
Streaming service Gaana dominated the market with a 30% share, followed by JioSaavn (24%), Wynk Music (15%), Spotify (15%).
A maze of crude oil pipes and valves. (REUTERS)
(Photo via treebo.com)
US Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai. (AP)
US President Donald Trump gestures next to first lady Melania Trump as they tour the historic Taj Mahal, in Agra. (REUTERS)
Reliance Industries chairman Mukesh Ambani during the Future Decoded CEO Summit in Mumbai on Monday (ANI )
New India welcomes Donald Trump in 2020: Mukesh Ambani 1 min read . 24 Feb 2020 IANS Trump and family received a rousing welcome from an estimated 1.10 lakh people at the Motera stadiumAmbani said that Motera stadium is a shining example of how India is progressing ahead World trade has seen a tectonic shift in the last couple of years as production activity has become extremely specialized and globalized
India's trade deal with the US is just a matter of time 3 min read . 12:21 AM IST Karan Bhasin Bilateral trade between the US and India has been increasing, with the US recently surpassing China to become India's biggest trading partnerHistorically, India's trade agreements have not given its exporters the kind of benefits that were expected Photo: Reuters
After crossing '‚¹ 30,000 rupees per gram in 2012, it stayed relatively flat for nearly 7 years.
A bit of gold can help reduce volatility 4 min read . 24 Feb 2020 Neil Borate Investment in gold versus equity can reduce your overall portfolio returns, but it also helps check volatility. Experts suggest 5-10% allocation to goldGold has a low to negative correlation with equity, which makes it a good portfolio diversifier An improvement in key markets and Infosys's higher growth is also drawing investors. (REUTERS)
Telecom secretary Anshu Prakash (File photo: PTI)
People greet President Trump as his motorcade heads towards Motera stadium in Ahmedabad on Monday. (Photo: AP)
US President Donald Trump. (PTI)
Opinion | The evident potential of a tighter American embrace 5 min read . 24 Feb 2020 Ajit RanadeBoth countries have a vital role to play in firming up the global governance of key domains
Bharti Airtel and Vodafone Idea, are customers of the two tower companies.
Hundreds of people have been protesting against CAA in Delhi's Shaheen Bagh for more than two months. (Photo: PTI) (Photo: PTI)
SC adjourns hearing as Shaheen Bagh mediators file report 1 min read . 12:49 AM IST Prathma Sharma Advocates Sanjay Hegde and Sadhana Ramachandran, tasked to convince protesters at Shaheen Bagh to change venue of their agitation, submitted their report in a sealed cover to the top courtHundreds of people have been on a sit-in demonstration along a stretch in Shaheen Bagh to protest against CAA for over 2 months Photo: iStock
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Coronavirus Latest: Why Africa Could be a Big Victim - Bloomberg
Mon, 24 Feb 2020 15:55
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Apple supplier Foxconn resumes some production at its main China iPhone site | South China Morning Post
Tue, 25 Feb 2020 23:48
The logo of electronics contract manufacturer Foxconn Technology Group, formally known as Hon Hai Precision Industry, is displayed at its headquarters in Taipei. Photo: Agence France-Presse
It is unclear how many workers have returned to work at Foxconn's plant in Zhengzhou, capital of central China's Henan provinceTopic | Foxconn
Bloomberg Published: 5:30pm, 11 Feb, 2020
Updated: 3:41pm, 13 Feb, 2020
The logo of electronics contract manufacturer Foxconn Technology Group, formally known as Hon Hai Precision Industry, is displayed at its headquarters in Taipei. Photo: Agence France-Presse
2020 F1 Chinese Grand Prix postponed due to novel coronavirus outbreak | Formula 1®
Wed, 26 Feb 2020 12:03
The 2020 Chinese Grand Prix, which had been scheduled for April 17-19, has been postponed as a result of the novel coronavirus outbreak.
The Chinese Grand Prix Promoter, Juss Sports Group, officially requested the postponement after ongoing discussions with the Federation of Automobile and Motorcycle Sports of People's Republic of China (CAMF) and Shanghai Administration of Sports.
Amid continued health concerns and with the World Health Organisation declaring the coronavirus as a global health emergency, Formula 1, together with governing body the FIA, jointly decided to accept the postponement request in order to ensure the health and safety of the travelling staff, championship participants and fans.
Formula 1 and the FIA will continue to work closely with the teams, race promoter, CAMF and the local authorities to monitor the situation as it develops, with all parties studying the viability of potential alternative dates for the Grand Prix later in the year should the situation improve.
"The Chinese Grand Prix has always been a very important part of the F1 calendar and the fans are always incredible," Formula 1 said in a statement. "We all look forward to racing in China as soon as possible and wish everyone in the country the best during this difficult time."
RETRACTED: Chinese medical staff request international medical assistance in fighting against COVID-19 - The Lancet Global Health
Thu, 27 Feb 2020 07:09
On Jan 24, 2020, we came to Wuhan, China, to support the local nurses in their fight against the COVID-19 infection. We entered the Wuhan isolation ward as the first batch of medical aid workers from Guangdong Province, China. The daily work we are doing is mainly focused on provision of oxygen, electrocardiogram (ECG) monitoring, tube care, airway management, ventilator debugging, central venous intubation, haemodialysis care, and basic nursing care such as disposal and disinfection.
The conditions and environment here in Wuhan are more difficult and extreme than we could ever have imagined. There is a severe shortage of protective equipment, such as N95 respirators, face shields, goggles, gowns, and gloves. The goggles are made of plastic that must be repeatedly cleaned and sterilised in the ward, making them difficult to see through. Due to the need for frequent hand washing, several of our colleagues' hands are covered in painful rashes. As a result of wearing an N95 respirator for extended periods of time and layers of protective equipment, some nurses now have pressure ulcers on their ears and forehead. When wearing a mask to speak with patients, our voices are muted, so we have to speak very loudly. Wearing four layers of gloves is abnormally clumsy and does not work'--we can't even open the packaging bags for medical devices, so giving patients injections is a huge challenge. In order to save energy and the time it takes to put on and take off protective clothing, we avoid eating and drinking for 2 hours before entering the isolation ward. Often, nurses' mouths are covered in blisters. Some nurses have fainted due to hypoglycaemia and hypoxia.
In addition to the physical exhaustion, we are also suffering psychologically. While we are professional nurses, we are also human. Like everyone else, we feel helplessness, anxiety, and fear. Experienced nurses occasionally find the time to comfort colleagues and try to relieve our anxiety. But even experienced nurses may also cry, possibly because we do not know how long we need to stay here and we are the highest-risk group for COVID-19 infection. So far 1716 Chinese staff have been infected with COVID-19 and nine of them have unfortunately passed away. Due to an extreme shortage of health-care professionals in Wuhan, 14'000 nurses from across China have voluntarily come to Wuhan to support local medical health-care professionals. But we need much more help. We are asking nurses and medical staff from countries around the world to come to China now, to help us in this battle.
We hope the COVID-19 epidemic will end soon, and that people worldwide will remain in good health.
We declare no competing interests.
Article InfoPublication HistoryPublished: February 24, 2020
IdentificationDOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/S2214-109X(20)30065-6
Copyright(C) 2020 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
ScienceDirectAccess this article on ScienceDirect Linked Articles
CEO's Resigning
Salesforce Co-CEO Keith Block steps down; Benioff to be sole CEO
Wed, 26 Feb 2020 07:31
Salesforce stock initially sank 3% in extended trading on Tuesday after the company said co-CEO Keith Block is stepping down. Marc Benioff, the other co-CEO, becomes sole CEO. The company also announced fiscal fourth-quarter results that beat expectations, along with an acquisition.
Block joined Salesforce from Oracle as president and vice chairman in 2013, he was promoted to operating chief in 2016, and he became Salesforce's co-CEO alongside Benioff in August 2018. He will stay on as an adviser for a year, Salesforce said in a statement.
"It's been my greatest honor to lead the team with Marc that has more than quadrupled Salesforce from $4 billion of revenue when I joined in 2013 to over $17 billion last year," Block was quoted as saying in the statement. "... After a fantastic run I am ready for my next chapter and will stay close to the company as an advisor. Being side-by-side with Marc has been amazing and I'm forever grateful for our friendship and proud of the trajectory the company is on."
Benioff told CNBC in a profile published in early 2019 that he elevated Block to co-CEO to enable a "divide and conquer strategy" and to give Benioff time to do the things he enjoys. For example, after promoting Block to co-CEO in August 2018, Benioff took two weeks to focus on Proposition C, a legislative effort to generate tax revenue to help San Francisco's homeless problem.
Block, for his part, said in 2018 that the title change was more about formalizing the dynamic of the relationship the two men had developed over the years.
"Our time together has been amazing," Benioff said on a conference call with analysts on Tuesday. "I am his biggest supporter. I am his close friend. I am here to help him on his journey and as he begins this new journey, we are all with you, Keith, and we're all very excited for you."
Also on Tuesday Salesforce announced fiscal fourth-quarter earnings that beat analysts' expectations.
Here's how the company did:
Earnings: 66 cents per share, adjusted, vs. 56 cents per share as expected by analysts polled by Refinitiv.Revenue: $4.85 billion, vs. $4.75 billion as expected by analysts polled by Refinitiv.Revenue was up 35% in the quarter, which ended on January 31, Salesforce said in a statement.
In the quarter Salesforce said it would use cloud infrastructure from competitor Microsoft, and it promoted Bret Taylor, an executive who arrived at the company in 2016 through its Quip acquisition, to operating chief. Stifel analysts led by Tom Roderick, who have a buy rating on Salesforce stock, wrote in a Friday note that they heard Salesforce signed five enterprise license agreements with Fortune 100 companies in the quarter.
With respect to guidance, Salesforce called for 70 cents to 71 cents in adjusted fiscal first-quarter earnings per share on $4.875 billion to $4.885 billion in revenue. Analysts polled by Refinitiv had expected 70 cents in adjusted earnings per share and $4.84 billion in revenue.
For the full 2021 fiscal year Salesforce sees $3.16 to $3.18 in adjusted earnings per share on $21.0 billion to $21.1 billion in revenue. Consensus estimates from analysts polled by Refinitiv were $3.11 in earnings per share on an adjusted basis and $20.93 billion in revenue.
Additionally, Salesforce said it has agreed to acquired Vlocity, a provider of cloud and mobile software built atop Salesforce, for $1.33 billion. San Francisco-based Vlocity was founded in 2014, with more than 1,000 employees, according to LinkedIn data. Salesforce's guidance includes impact from Vlocity, finance chief Mark Hawkins said on Tuesday's call. The deal will be dilutive to Salesforce's results, he said.
"We don't anticipate any major acquisitions in the short term," Benioff said.
Bob Iger steps down as CEO of Disney
Wed, 26 Feb 2020 07:29
Bob Iger has stepped down as CEO of Disney, a move that sent immediate shock waves through the media industry that he helped shape in recent years.
Iger's move, announced Tuesday, is effective immediately. He'll stay on as executive chairman through December 2021 and continue to direct Disney's content creation '-- arguably the most important role at the company.
Bob Chapek, the head of Disney's lucrative parks unit, is the company's new chief executive, a job that had been sought after by at least half a dozen of Iger's current and former deputies.
Iger was named president and chief operating officer of Disney in 2000 and became CEO in 2005, taking over from Michael Eisner, whose tenure was ended by a shareholder revolt led by Roy E. Disney, nephew of the company's founder, Walt Disney, who wanted to shake up the company's management.
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Iger, who turned 69 this month, was instrumental in guiding Disney into the streaming age and through its acquisition of Fox's entertainment business '-- a deal worth $52.4 billion when it was announced. Under Iger, Disney went on an acquisition spree that has given it one of the deepest libraries of family-friendly content of any media company, including Pixar, Marvel and Lucasfilm.
The acquisition strategy allowed Disney to dominate the box office, generating a record $13 billion in revenue in 2019. It also allowed Disney to take on Netflix with its own streaming service, Disney+, which already has more than 30 million subscribers.
On a phone call with investors following the announcement, Iger said the change will allow him to focus on the creative side of Disney, something he couldn't do as CEO.
Iger said the decision to change titles now was "not accelerated by any particular reason."
Iger said Disney's board of directors had seen Chapek as his successor "for some time now." He said the immediate change will also give him more time to collaborate with Chapek before 2021.
Iger said two factors led to Tuesday's decision: how best to manage the company in its current form and how best to manage the succession and transition. Iger said making the change now provided the best outcome.
While the news, which was announced in a press release, came as a surprise, Iger had been planning his succession for a while. Last year, at Disney's investor conference, he said "2021 will be the time for me to finally step down."
Disney stock declined sharply after the announcement, dropping about 2.7 percent in after-hours trading.
The news is at least a short-term blow to Kevin Mayer, the head of Disney's streaming business, who was seen by many as a potential successor. However, there was speculation that Mayer could still become CEO down the line if he succeeds with Disney's direct-to-consumer businesses, which include Disney+, ESPN+ and Hulu.
This story is a developing story. Please check back for updates.
Ahiza Garc­a-Hodges
Ahiza Garc­a-Hodges covers the intersection of media, tech, sports and business.
Dylan Byers Dylan Byers is a senior media reporter for NBC News based in Los Angeles.
BREAKING: Senior ABC Correspondent David Wright on Hidden Camera: How 'Bosses Don't See an Upside' for Reporting News; 'The Truth Suffers'; Says ABC Doesn't 'Give Trump Credit for What Things He Does Do'; ABC News Producer: New Yorkers Nee
Wed, 26 Feb 2020 10:37
David Wright, ABC News Political Correspondent: ''We Also Don't Give Him [Trump] Credit for What Things He Does do'...I Feel Terrible About it, I Feel That the Truth Suffers, the Voters Are Poorly Informed'...Our Bosses Don't See an Upside in Doing the Job We're Supposed to do.''David Wright: ''In Television, We Have Lost Any Sense of Context.''Wright: ''We Don't Hold Him [Trump] to Account. We Also Don't Give Him Credit for What Things He Does Do.''Are You a Democrat Socialist? Wright: ''Oh yeah. More than that I would consider myself a socialist; like I think there should be national health insurance. I'm totally fine with reigning in corporations, I think they're too many billionaires, and I think there's a wealth gap''that's a problem.''Wright: ''You Can't Watch 'Good Morning America' Without a Disney Princess or a Marvel Avenger Appearing.''Wright: ''We're in This Awkward Moment'...We Have This F**king President, and We Can't Figure Out How to Challenge Him.''To Andy Fies, ABC News Producer: ''People in New York Are Constantly, I Think, Fascinated by, 'How Can People Like Donald Trump?''...You Know, Well F**k! Cross the Hudson Now and Then, and Come Out and Spend Some Time, and You'll Hear Why!''Fies: Real People, Practical Issues? ''Those things aren't TV-friendly.''A senior political reporter for ABC News covering the presidential campaign told a Project Veritas undercover journalist his network is unable both to provide relevant news to Americans and function as a commercial enterprise, and the commercial imperative wins in the end.
This report is the second phase of Project Veritas' ongoing investigation into ABC News'--following up on the insider-provided tape of news presenter Amy Robach's hot-mic lament that her ABC News bosses spiked her comprehensive report on Jeffrey Epstein.
''We would not put it on the air,'' Robach said. ''It was unbelievable what we had, Clinton, we had everything.''
ABC News tried but could not find the Project Veritas insider and the insider continues to gather damaging information from behind the network walls.
The two newsmen, ABC News Correspondent David Wright and ABC News Producer Andy Fies, were recorded in New Hampshire are long-time veterans of ABC News and spoke from the perspective of covering multiple political cycles'--where they have watched the degradation of their network's integrity and commitment to news gathering.
Wright is a Buffalo-native was recorded speaking at a bar at the Doubletree Hotel in Manchester, during coverage of that state's first in the nation primary. Throughout the conversation, the graduate of both Harvard and Oxford said he was frustrated with how the media and Democrats have been unable to take on Trump.
''We're not disciplined enough to cut [Trump] off and we second-guess ourselves because we're sensitive to the accusation that we're in the tank for the Democrats. And so that enables them, and so we enable them. And every time we take the bait on it and that's what he wants,'' he said. ''It's totally and abusive relationship. He's [Trump's] the nightmare spouse that you can't win an argument with.''
Q: ''Why don't you like him?''
Wright: ''Cause he's a dick.''
Besides his personal animus for the president, the reporter said he was firmly a man of the left.
Q: ''Would you consider yourself a Democrat Socialist?''
Wright: ''Oh yeah. More than that I would consider myself a socialist; like I think there should be national health insurance. I'm totally fine with reining in corporations, I think they're too many billionaires, and I think there's a wealth gap''that's a problem.''
The ABC News reporter was covering the New Hampshire Primary for ''Nightline,'' the same role he had for the 2016 presidential campaign. He also covers Capitol Hill and the White House and is best known for his in-depth reporting of the clerical abuse scandal in his hometown.
As a national political reporter at a legacy broadcaster, Wright said he feels left behind by the new digital media.
''We live in a moment where people live in echo chambers and the truth suffers and, in an effort, to compete, we've become an echo chamber ourselves. We've been in the mainstream media we have an effort to match the zippy news cycle with responding to the latest tweet and trying to keep pace with the desperate pace of it all.''
The desperate pace means reporters like him lose focus, he said.
''As a result, we're easily distracted and that means that we don't bring focused attention to something that could make a difference,'' he said. ''I think, some of that at least in the place that I work [ABC News], and places like it, is that we've, with Trump we're interested in three things: the outrage of the day, the investigation, and of the palace intrigue of who's backstabbing whom. Beyond that, we don't really cover the guy [Trump].
Wright said no one could stop Trump from dominating the news cycles every day. ''The first story is the big story, about Trump. And it's about whatever outrageous thing he said or tweeted about, and it's about, or it's about this effort to unseat him, or it's about, you know, 'Today we found anonymous' or 'Who's he [Trump] throwing out of the White House today/' or 'Who's blowing the whistle and stabbing him [Trump] in the back?'''
Trump's domination of the media also leads to reporters not reporting the positive stories about the president. ''We don't hold him [Trump] to account. We also don't give him credit for what things he does do.''
Q: ''How do you feel about it though?''
Wright: ''I feel terrible about it. I feel that the truth suffers, the voters are poorly informed, and people don't have the opportunity to tune into whatever they want to here. It's like there no upside in, or our bosses don't see an upside in doing the job we're supposed to do which is to speak truth to power and hold people to account.''
Fies voiced similar criticisms about where the media stands today. He blasted New York elites for their confusion regarding Trump's support, and also called out the media for not caring about issues that matter to voters.
''I mean the people in New York go and hangs out '' I mean people in New York are constantly, I think, fascinated by; how can people like Donald Trump? How can people understand '' you know, well f**k! Cross the Hudson now and then, and come out and spend some time, and you'll hear why! You know? And I still think that we, we still don't understand voters. right?,'' the Chicago-based producer said.
''So, you know, real people, you know, talk about practical issues, when they're thinking about a candidate; 'I want to go back to the workforce,' or 'I can't afford childcare' or 'I need medical care for whatever.' Those things aren't TV-friendly. We want to focus on impeachment, we want to focus on the big sh*t going on, but the things that help people make up their minds are little sh*t,'' he said.
At another point in the conversation with a Project Veritas journalist, Wright pulled another ABC News employee, Drew, into the discussion and asked him: ''Would you say we feel guilty about picking up Trump and pumping up''how we cover this stuff and giving Bernie a free pass?''
''Who do you feel we give Bernie a free pass?'' Drew replied.
''He's saying there was a lot of hemming and hawing last time around, that there was a lot of soul-searching in 2016 of like, how did we fuck this up?'' said Wright.
The Project Veritas journalist pressed Wright on Sanders.
Q: ''Well, what I mean is anything being done differently '' well frankly we put it right with diagnosing the problem on the Democratic side. I mean do you see what I mean about Bernie?''
Wright: ''Yeah, I think, you now, Bernie is very old and I think he doesn't want to admit that. Bernie is also I think he- like he believes in the movement that he started. And, he did really, he was John the Baptist; you know but he doesn't need to be a messiah.''
He went on to say that he puts his hope on Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D.-Mass.) to be the practical choice for president. ''Setting aside my professional dispassion, I worry that if he's [Sanders] elected, he's not going to get anything done. Because he hasn't gotten anything done. Where I do think Warren taking those same issues could get something done.''
Sanders won the New Hampshire Primary with 26 percent of the Democratic ballots cast with Warren finishing fourth with 9 percent.
Mastercard CEO Ajay Banga to step down, insider Miebach tapped | Article [AMP] | Reuters
Wed, 26 Feb 2020 07:29
Tue Feb 25, 2020 / 8:01 PM GMT
(Reuters) - Mastercard's (MA.N ) chief executive officer of 10 years, Ajay Banga, will step down at the start of the next year, the company said on Tuesday, and be replaced by Chief Product Officer Michael Miebach.
Banga, who took charge of the company just after the 2008-09 financial crisis, has seen the payment processor's revenue triple during his tenure as online shopping gained prominence around the world.
India-born Banga will take on the role of executive chairman, while Miebach will become the company's president on March 1.
Chairman Richard Haythornthwaite will retire after more than a decade when Banga assumes his new role, the company said in a statement.
Before joining Mastercard as president of Middle East and Africa in 2010, Miebach served as managing director at Barclays Bank and general manager at Citibank.
In connection with Miebach's appointment as president, Mastercard has entered into a new compensation agreement that adds $750,000 to his annual base salary, the payment processor said in a filing.
Miebach will also receive an equity grant with a target value of $6.25 million.
His compensation as chief executive officer will be determined later, the company added.
Mastercard on Monday warned its first-quarter net revenue would take a hit if coronavirus outbreak persists through the quarter.
Shares of the company were down nearly 2% at $319 in the premarket trade.
(Reporting by C Nivedita in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur and Saumyadeb Chakrabarty)
Disney's Abrupt CEO Switch Startles Investors as Iger Steps Down - Bloomberg
Wed, 26 Feb 2020 00:02
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Debate
It appears CBS wanted to shield Pete from the shit show
Debate lower third weird pins?
Biden has done so much that he should receive a medal and an honorary send off
Debate. Lively audience because they paid for their tickets. Up to $1800
Bloomberg commercial during the debate
Gayle King's Dress Splits! | E! News
Tue, 25 Feb 2020 23:05
Instagram
Wardrobe malfunctions can happen to anyone'--even Oprah Winfrey's best friend!
Gayle King discovered this Friday her beautiful Zac Posen dress split right down the middle. The CBS This Morning co-anchor was cracking up at her booty-baring moment, even Instagramming before and after pics of the incident!
The first shot shows Gayle, facing forward, modeling her seemingly intact dress. "stay with me this is going somewhere," she promised her followers.
Here it comes! In the second pic, Gayle has a hand held up to her mouth in mock astonishment, and her seam-splitting snafu in the back is clearly visible! The "wardrobe malfunction," she explained, happened while she was "getting out of a car at Hearst Tower [in New York City] and felt cold air on my bottom!"
Instagram
"Thank goodness for black Spanx," she added. "[This] could have been (really) embarrassing!"
"Sooo," she asked her followers, was the Zac Posen "dress too small or [was] my butt too big???"
Gayle's fans all reassured her that her fanny was just fine, and the dress' designer even chimed in! Seriously, Zac Posen himself commented on the pic, "Replacement on its way or send to the studio and we will fix!! I'm really sorry about the seam ripping. Love Zp"
Now that is some quality customer service!
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MSNBC Benches Contributor Jason Johnson, Who Said Bernie Sanders Staffers Are 'Island of Misfit Black Girls'
Thu, 27 Feb 2020 07:21
Following MSNBC contributor Dr. Jason Johnson's inflammatory remarks about supporters and campaign staffers of Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), the academic has been temporarily benched by the network, sources confirmed to The Daily Beast.
In recent months, Johnson'--a fixture of the network's Democratic primary analysis'--has drawn considerable heat for his relentlessly anti-Sanders commentary on MSNBC, which has also come under fire from the left for its skeptical and largely negative coverage of the democratic-socialist senator.
During an interview last week on SiriusXM's The Karen Hunter Show, Johnson claimed ''racist white liberals'' support Sanders and that the senator has done ''nothing for intersectionality.''
The MSNBC contributor then took aim at the women of color who work for Sanders. ''I don't care how many people from the island of misfit black girls you throw out there to defend you,'' Johnson exclaimed.
The remark prompted Sanders' national press secretary Briahna Joy Gray to retort on Twitter: ''I hope we can have political disputes without engaging in open racism and sexism. This misogynoir is disappointing, but not surprising from @DrJasonJohnson.''
Johnson's over-the-top remarks also sparked wider calls for MSNBC to fire him, but the network has not officially responded.
Johnson's temporary sidelining included him not being involved in coverage of last weekend's Nevada caucuses or the post-game coverage of Tuesday evening's South Carolina debate, which aired on CBS. In an email to media outlets hyping its post-debate plans, Johnson's name was nowhere to be found.
The punishment appears to have also cost Johnson his chance to be on-air during the network's coverage of this past Saturday's Nevada caucuses, which Sanders won in a landslide.
Johnson's absence has been noticeable, as he has become a staple of MSNBC's Democratic primary analysis roster. Prior to his benching, he made nearly 40 appearances on the network in 2020 alone.
Besides being regularly featured on high-profile programs like Morning Joe, Deadline: White House, The Beat with Ari Melber, and The 11th Hour, MSNBC turned to him to provide analysis during last month's impeachment trial, the early-state primary votes, and several Democratic primary debates.
In fact, during last week's Nevada debate, Johnson was a fixture on the network's panels, beginning the day with an appearance on Morning Joe and staying on through MSNBC's post-debate analysis, which didn't wrap until after midnight.
His most recent MSNBC appearance came during the Feb. 21 broadcast of The Last Word, which aired hours before his fateful radio interview that resulted in his benching.
MSNBC declined to comment for this story.
2020
BREAKING: Michael Bloomberg's climate money may have gotten his presidential campaign into IRS hot water | Watts Up With That?
Thu, 27 Feb 2020 06:34
From Government Accountability and Oversight (GAO):
IRS Complaint Filed Against Bloomberg Philanthropies for Use as Political Campaign
Tool,Inuring to Private Benefit vs Public Interest
''Ibought that'' candidate's overlapping charitable, for-profit organizationspresent tangled web
WASHINGTON, D.C. '' On Wednesday, the public interest law firm Government Accountability & Oversight, P.C. (GAO) filed a complaint asking the IRS to investigate the apparent use of Bloomberg Family Foundation Inc., and the entity or entities colloquially known as Bloomberg Philanthropies, for apparent use for Michael Bloomberg's personal, political benefit.
According to the complaint, while Bloomberg Philanthropies publicly ''encompasses all of Michael R. Bloomberg's giving, including his foundation, corporate, and personal philanthropy,'' recent news reports and other public records raise legitimate questions whether it has been used in recent years to illegally benefit Bloomberg's political ambitions, including his current campaign for the Democratic nomination for President.
In return for its favored tax-status, a charitablenonprofit promises the federal government that it will not engage in ''politicalcampaign activity'' (defined as ''supporting or opposing a candidate for publicoffice'') and, if it does, IRS zero-tolerance regulations mandate that thecharitable nonprofit will lose its tax-exempt status. Similarly, the assets ofa charitable nonprofit may not be provided as a campaign contribution to acandidate for public office.
The IRS Compliance Guide for501(c)(3) Public Charities is clear: ''[p]ublic charities are prohibited fromdirectly or indirectly participating in, or intervening in, any politicalcampaign on behalf of'...any candidate for elective public office'...Violation ofthis prohibition may result in revocation of tax-exempt status and/orimposition of certain excise taxes.''
The New York Attorney Generalfiled charges against the Donald J. Trump Foundation in June 2018 claiming, forexample, ''The Attorney General's investigation found that Trump Foundationraised in excess of $2.8 million in a manner designed to influence the 2016presidential election at the direction and under the control of seniorleadership of the Trump presidential campaign.''
More recently, the coincidencebetween Bloomberg charitable giving to causes run or favored by electedofficials and those officials endorsing Mr. Bloomberg's candidacy for the WhiteHouse have been reported in the Washington Post, the New York Times, and the New Yorker.
This reporting makes clear theappearance that Bloomberg Philanthropies was used as a means to recruit electedofficials for future endorsements. Presidential campaigns do not simply occurto someone, no matter how wealthy they are, but are the products of many monthsand often years of deliberate organization and preparation. The chronologydetailed by media outlets presents a compelling argument that Mr. Bloomberg'sphilanthropy was performed with a political purpose.
In addition to noting possibleproblems with various Bloomberg entities being deployed for impermissible uses,GAO's letter also cites to emails obtained via public record requests:
Several documents obtained under public records laws revealcoordination between Bloomberg charitable expenditures and the for-profit,Bloomberg L.P. Certain records suggest this overlap between the work of senior''Bloomberg Philanthropies'' officials and for-profit Bloomberg advisors(including Mr. Bloomberg's current presidential campaign chairman) issignificant, and understood among political beneficiaries.
For example, one Bloomberg philanthropic project, createdto privately hire attorneys for the purpose of ''seconding'' them toideologically aligned state Attorneys General to sue the Trump Administration,prepares detailed, bi-weekly reports ''for Dan Firger at Bloomberg'' Philanthropies. The legal non-profit's leaderexpressed uncertainty, however, whether Firger ''shares these with Kevin Sheeky[sic]'',who was at the time the GlobalHead of Communications, Government Relations and Marketing for Bloomberg L.P.,and is now Mr. Bloomberg's presidential campaign manager.
Like Mr. Bloomberg's inventivecampaign to hire and place his own organization's attorneys in state attorneysgeneral offices to pursue issues of concern to Mr. Bloomberg '' described by theWall Street Editorial Board as ''State AGs for Rent'' '' this scheme isunprecedented.
''The Journal's editors concluded about Mr. Bloomberg's ''SpecialAssistant Attorneys General'',
'The ethical problems here shouldbe obvious'. The same is true here'', said Matthew Hardin, Executive Director ofGAO. ''The public record contains substantial evidence to question whetherBloomberg's charitable organization and other outfits have been deployedimproperly to obtain personal, political benefit for Bloomberg's run for theWhite House.
''This record, independently detailed, at least in part, bymajor media outlets represents clear grounds for the IRS to investigateimplications for various entities' tax-exempt status. Indeed the record is sorobust that it should already trouble all agencies with jurisdiction over suchmatters, whether they be IRS, the Justice Department, or state and local lawenforcement agencies.''
GovernmentAccountability & Oversight is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization dedicatedto transparency in public officials' dealings on matters of energy, environmentand law enforcement
Megadonor urges Pelosi, Schumer to pick candidate to stop Bernie Sanders
Thu, 27 Feb 2020 06:35
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, (D-CA), and Senator Chuck Schumer(D-NY) hold a press conference at the US Capitol in Washington, DC on February 11, 2020.
Mandel Ngan | AFP | Getty Images
Democratic megadonor Bernard Schwartz has started reaching out to party leaders, particularly House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, to encourage them to back a candidate for president in order to stop the surge of Sen. Bernie Sanders.
Schwartz, the CEO of BLS Investments, told CNBC that in recent days he's been trying to speak with Pelosi and Schumer about making a pick, in the hope that voters will follow their lead and end up denying Sanders the party's presidential nomination.
"We should know who is the best person to beat Donald Trump, and with all due respect, Bernie Sanders cannot beat Trump," he explained, describing the message he has relayed to the two Democratic leaders.
Schwartz noted he has yet to hear back from them but insisted that, with Super Tuesday under a week away, party leaders have to take a stand now before Sanders captures the nomination '-- and, in his view, takes down the party.
"They have good political reasons not to endorse until the primary is over, but I think we are losing too much if we give up on this position," he added.
Although he isn't insisting on a particular candidate for Pelosi and Schumer to get behind, he said that he thinks the two best options, for now, are either former Vice President Joe Biden or former New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg, a billionaire funding his own candidacy for president. Schwartz is currently backing Biden's campaign for president.
Schwartz's concerns to leaders are being echoed by many Democratic leaders, including Bloomberg, whose campaign has ramped up its attacks on Sanders. There are also concerns among establishment Democrats that Sanders could hurt congressional candidates down the ballot if he were to be at the top of the party's ticket in November.
Representatives for Pelosi and Schumer did not respond to a request for comment. Both publicly signaled on Wednesday that they would be comfortable with Sanders leading the Democratic ticket in November.
Schwartz's links to Democratic leaders could move them in the direction he hopes they will go. He has been a key financier for congressional Democrats in the 2020 election cycle. He has donated over $885,000 to the House Majority PAC, a super PAC dedicated to helping Democrats get elected to the House of Representatives, while giving more than $620,000 to the Senate Majority PAC, according to the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics.
During the 2018 congressional midterms, Schwartz gave more than $3 million to Democratic causes. The New York Times reported in April that Schwartz was organizing dinners on how to handle Sanders' run for president with Pelosi, Schumer, former Gov. Terry McAuliffe of Virginia; presidential candidate former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg and Neera Tanden, the president of the Center for American Progress.
Sanders is currently leading in two of the biggest states that are scheduled next week on delegate-rich Super Tuesday. In both California and Texas, Real Clear Politics polling averages show Sanders leading the field.
Sanders has also been picking up delegates in the buildup to the South Carolina primary. He dominated during the Nevada caucuses and squeaked out a victory in the New Hampshire primary after narrowly losing the delegate edge to Buttigieg in Iowa.
NHS
Wiltshire NHS bosses accused of treating disabled man like 'inconvenient rubbish' | Wiltshire Times
Tue, 25 Feb 2020 09:08
Disabled John Morrison with the wheelchair on the ramp at his West Lavington home with father Malcolm. Photo Trevor Porter 66682 5..
A FAMILY'S dispute with NHS bosses over their severely disabled son has reached a new height after they were told he should move into a nursing home.
John Morrison's father Malcolm, 64, and stepmother Suzanne, 62, who look after John in a bungalow in Market Lavington, near Devizes, are locked in a battle with Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group over care payments.
In the latest twist to the saga the Morrisons were told that John, 36, should move into a nursing home while a care package was organised.
This has infuriated Mr and Mrs Morrison. His step mum said: ''During a meeting it was suggested by the clinical lead that John goes into a nursing home until a care agency could recruit someone who can look after his social care package.
''I know this is something my son does not want to do and why should he be put away like a bag of inconvenient rubbish.''
Mr and Mrs Morrison also say that invoices for servicing and repairs of John's specialist equipment have not been paid by Wiltshire CCG.
Mrs Morrison said: ''He should be fully funded for 24 hour carers. We have had a number of assessments with agencies, and either do not hear from them again or the CCG sends an email saying they can't do the package of care.''
She said that John had to pay for his own specialist standing frame but the commission has refused to pay for its servicing.
She said: ''This is despite the fact its a clinical need to maintain his condition.''
The family is still waiting to hear about a replacement wheelchair after an assessment was held last September and they say bills dating back to August have not been paid by the commission.
Mrs Morrison said: ''Every time I try to claim the money back, which they have agree to look at back to 1st April 2012, they ask for more paperwork. But I have provided everything I can.
''John is effectively being sidelined by Wiltshire CCG. I have to hope that someone will be interested enough in a 36 year old man who wants to live, with dignity.''
She has support of other Wiltshire people who have battled with Wiltshire CCG to get payments. Rear Admiral Philip Mathias who fought for years to get continuing healthcare funding for his mother is backing the Morrisons.
In January he said: ''I have nothing to gain personally from leading this national campaign. After an exhausting two year battle with Wiltshire CCG, I eventually recovered £200,00 of CHC retrospective funding for my mothers care.
''She had severe dementia. The CCG didd everything possible to avoid awarding it, including losing her initial assessment and grossly distorting the evidence available.''
A spokesman for Wiltshire CCG would only say: ''We aim to work proactively with all patients and families who need further support but we are unable to comment on individual cases.''
Transgender patients self-medicating over NHS waits - BBC News
Tue, 25 Feb 2020 09:01
Image caption Kara said she "couldn't deal with the thought of further masculisation" Transgender patients are choosing to self-medicate with hormones bought online from unregulated sources due to waiting times to see NHS specialists, the BBC has learned.
In many areas, some patients wait over two years to be seen, new figures show. England's target time is 18 weeks.
One woman said she was so low it felt like a choice between self-medicating or suicide.
NHS England said it had increased investment to respond to rising demand.
'Petrified'Law student Kara told the BBC's Victoria Derbyshire programme she began buying oestrogen - the hormone prescribed to trans women - last summer online, to begin her transition.
She has been on an NHS gender identity clinic waiting list now for two years.
She admitted she was "absolutely petrified" of the effects it could have on her.
Many of the websites selling hormones are not based in the UK - and often ask users to pay by Bitcoin or bank transfer.
"I don't know anything about the tablets [that I buy] specifically, if they are what they say they are," she said. "So it's kind of a guessing game with your life."
She told the BBC she felt the waiting times had "forced" her to make the choice to buy hormones online.
"I was so low before, it basically felt like a choice between suicide or self-medicating, because I couldn't deal with the thought of further masculisation," she added.
Image caption Dr Grainne Coakley said those who were self-medicating, were putting themselves at risk One expert, Dr Grainne Coakley, from Sheffield's Gender Identity Clinic, said - with both testosterone and oestrogen tablets - there was an added risk of the clotting of the blood, and also a risk of liver problems.
"If that's not being monitored by a GP, somebody not having regular blood tests, then they are putting themselves at risk."
166-week maximum waitNew figures, from a Freedom of Information request by the Victoria Derbyshire programme, show that in many areas some individuals are waiting over two years to be seen by a specialist, from referral.
Gender identity clinics in Belfast (166 weeks), Nottinghamshire (145 weeks) and Northumberland (127 weeks) have the longest maximum wait times, data suggests.
NHS Highland's gender identity clinic (32 weeks) has the shortest maximum wait.
London's Tavistock clinic was not able to provide accurate figures, but anecdotal evidence points to patients waiting up to two years to be seen.
More than 13,500 transgender and non-binary adults are on waiting lists for NHS gender identity clinics in England, previous BBC research has found.
Lab testingThe Victoria Derbyshire programme bought four testosterone and oestrogen products online, to send to a laboratory for testing.
Only three arrived. One, a testosterone sample, was supposed to be made up of four different types of the drug - but this was not the case, indicating it was a counterfeit product from an unknown source.
Supplying or selling testosterone, a class C drug, is punishable by an unlimited fine or up to 14 years in jail.
But it is not illegal to buy or possess it for personal use, provided it is not brought into the country via the postal system.
Oestrogen is a prescription-only product, but if it is for personal use it can be legally imported without a prescription.
In both cases experts stress it is only safe to use prescribed drugs, under the ongoing supervision of a medical expert.
'Distressing and dehumanising'Lucas, who began transitioning six years ago aged 29, decided to use testosterone bought online after being told he would face a two-and-a-half year wait for a gender identity clinic appointment.
He said he knows of at least one person who has taken their own life due to the "distressing and dehumanising" wait to be seen.
Lucas described self-medicating as "scary and unpleasant", and believes the quality of the products was notably lower than those he is now prescribed.
"I suspect a few of the doses were effectively nothing,
"For example, I didn't actually start growing any facial hair at all until I moved onto prescribed testosterone."
NHS England told the BBC in a statement: "As more people feel able to seek support and treatment, the demand for gender identity services has greatly increased, and in recent years we've increased investment to respond to the rising demand, with staff working hard to support patients to get the right care as quickly as possible.
"From the spring a new service will be piloted in London that will increase capacity in gender identity services."
It is understood that a lack of medical professionals wanting to specialise in trans healthcare had also added to wait times, for which a new Royal College of Physicians pathway had been established.
A Scottish government spokesman said long waiting times for patients were "unacceptable", but that health professionals were working hard to reduce them.
He added: "Gender identity clinics are a very specialised resource, and while people are waiting to be assessed they still have access to a full range of community mental health and well-being services appropriate to their situation and needs."
NHS Wales and Belfast NHS Trust have not yet responded to requests for comment.
Follow the BBC's Victoria Derbyshire programme on Facebook and Twitter - and see more of our stories here.
Nurses to be trained to perform surgery to ease NHS waiting times | Metro News
Tue, 25 Feb 2020 08:59
Nurses are to be trained to perform surgery in a bid to cut waiting times for NHS patients.
Staff will attend a two-year course to become 'surgical care practitioners', with the ability to perform procedures such as removing hernias, benign cysts and some skin cancers.
Those who qualify will also be able to assist during major surgeries such as heart bypasses and hip and knee replacements, the Daily Mail reports.
They will also own an average of £50,000 a year, which is twice the average nursing salary of £25,000 a year.
The aim is to ease the workload of under-pressure surgeons, but critics say the plan is only a 'sticking plaster solution' on the serious staffing crisis within the NHS.
Surgeons working in the UK currently undergo up to 16 years of training, while a surgical care practitioner is likely to have completed a three-year degree as a nurse before the two-year course.
The proposals are due to be published in the NHS's People Plan, which will be unveiled next month.
Nearly 2,000 Tesco staff to lose their jobs There are already 800 surgical care practitioners working in hospitals in the UK, but leading surgeons say there will need to be 'thousands' before the difference to waiting times is felt.
Last year it was revealed that there are just under 4,400,000 people waiting for routine treatment on the NHS, up from 4,100,000 in 2018.
Meanwhile, around 12% of nursing posts remain vacant, while NHS pension changes in 2016 saw 69% surgeons admit to cutting back their hours to avoid punitive taxes.
Lib Dem health spokesman Munira Wilson has criticised the plans, stating: 'This is a sticking plaster solution to very serious staffing crisis across our NHS workforce.'
But the proposals have received the backing of Professor Michael Griffin, president of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh, who said there is 'very little anxiety about this'.
An NHS spokesman said: 'The NHS is supporting the Government to deliver its pledge to deliver 50,000 more nurses.
'This will require a combination of training and recruiting nurses, and helping our amazing staff who may otherwise have considered leaving our health service altogether, to retrain, upskill, develop their careers and stay in the NHS.'
Couple who fled Wuhan over Coronavirus fears told they can't have free NHS maternity care - Gloucestershire Live
Tue, 25 Feb 2020 09:11
A couple who fled Wuhan in China on the Government's advice over fears about Coronavirus will have to pay for maternity care the Department of Health has confirmed.
The Department of Health acknowledged that Forest of Dean man Jed Jones, 28, and Liu Pan, pursuit for free NHS maternity care is "unusual and challenging" but said that because Mrs Liu is not a UK tax payer she will have to pay for treatment.
A spokesman reiterated that the NHS is a residence based service so oversees visitors are always liable to pay for treatment.
Mr Jones, 28, and Mrs Liu, who is 24 weeks pregnant, were forced to evacuate the Chinese city of Wuhan where the news of the spread of Coronavirus emerged, on January 9.
The couple are now faced with the option of paying about £10,000 for NHS costs to ensure their unborn child's health or returning to Wuhan.
Mrs Liu, 29, flew over on an emergency waiver visa and was since granted a visitor visa for six months by Border Force, whilst in a quarantine facility in Milton Keynes. Since it only grants her six months in the country, she is ineligible for free NHS health care.
Mr Jones, from Lydney, said the situation they had been placed in was "unfair" as they followed the British Government's advice to leave and he had paid UK taxes and national insurance during the entirety of his time in China.
'Unusual and challenging'A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: ''We understand this is an unusual and challenging situation, and the NHS will never refuse maternity care.
''The NHS is a residence based service so overseas visitors are required to pay towards the costs of their treatment, just as British taxpayers do, but the NHS will always provide maternity to those who need it, including anyone repatriated from China."
Concerned father-to-be Mr Jones previously stated regarding the actual costs: ''I've got a quote, just the pre-natal care is £1,500 and could be up to £4,500. The birth could be anything between £2,600 to £7,800.''
Read MoreRelated ArticlesLydney man evacuated from China due to Coronavirus told to pay 'thousands' for pregnant wife's prenatal careRead MoreRelated ArticlesCoronavirus evacuee's firsthand account of fleeing China and getting back to GloucestershireThe NHS do offer a repayment plan that can be agreed with the hospital. However, Mr Jones has characterised the fees as "a debt", which could affect future visas.
'That's not very useful to me'In response to the health department's statement, Mr Jones said: "They recognise the unusualness of the situation, but as far as they're going is to recognise it - and that's not very useful to me."
"This is roughly what I expected," he added. "What I found out in the last few days is what's pretty clear is they will treat but they will also bill.
"This is understandable but for me it's not necessarily a case of the money. My issue is with the situation is that we didn't know that we were going to be billed and that would have played a significant question in whether we came."
Read MoreTop Gloucestershire news stories todayIn regards to what the couple plan to do, Mr Jones said he has considered applying for a spouse visa for Mrs Liu but that option could take up to three or five months and "could come to several thousand pounds".
He mentioned that he was still holding out for "an exceptional move" from the Home Office who "all roads have lead to" in his enquiries.
The Home Office declined to comment.
SJW
Bill Text - AB-2826 Gender neutral retail departments.
Wed, 26 Feb 2020 20:13
AB2826:v99#DOCUMENT Bill Start CALIFORNIA LEGISLATURE'-- 2019''2020 REGULAR SESSION
Assembly Bill
No. 2826
Introduced by Assembly Member Low February 20, 2020 An act to add Part 2.57 (commencing with Section 55.7) to Division 1 of the Civil Code, relating to civil rights.
LEGISLATIVE COUNSEL'S DIGEST
AB 2826, as introduced, Low. Gender neutral retail departments.
Existing law, the Unruh Civil Rights Act, specifies that all persons within the jurisdiction of the state are free and equal, and no matter their sex, race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, disability, medical condition, genetic information, marital status, sexual orientation, citizenship, primary language, or immigration status, are entitled to the full and equal accommodations, advantages, facilities, privileges, or services in all business establishments of every kind.
This bill would require a retail department store with 500 or more employees to maintain undivided areas of its sales floor where, if it sells childcare articles, children's clothing, or toys, all childcare items, all clothing for children, or all toys, regardless of whether a particular item has traditionally been marketed for either girls or for boys, shall bedisplayed. Beginning on January 1, 2023, the bill would make a retail department store that fails to correct a violation of these provisions within 30 days of receiving written notice of the violation from the Attorney General liable for a civil penalty of $1,000, as provided.
Digest Key Vote: MAJORITY Appropriation: NO Fiscal Committee: YES Local Program: NO
Bill TextThe people of the State of California do enact as follows:
PART 2.57. Gender Neutral Retail Departments
55.7. The Legislature finds and declares both of the following:
(a) Unjustified differences in similar products that are traditionally marketed either for girls or for boys can be more easily identified by the consumer if similar items are displayed closer to one another in one, undivided area of the retail sales floor.
(b) Keeping similar items that are traditionally marketed either for girls or for boys separated makes it more difficult for the consumer to compare the products and incorrectly implies that their use by one gender is inappropriate.
55.8. (a) A retail department store shall maintain one, undivided area of its sales floor where, if it sells childcare articles, all childcare articles, regardless of whether a particular item has traditionally been marketed for either girls or for boys, shall be displayed.
(b) A retail department store shall maintain one, undivided area of its sales floor where, if it sells children's clothing, all clothing for children, regardless of whether a particular item has traditionally been marketed for either girls or for boys, shall be displayed.
(c) A retail department store shall maintain one, undivided area of its sales floor where, if it sells toys, all toys, regardless of whether a particular item has traditionally been marketed for either girls or for boys, shall be displayed.
(d) This section shall only apply to retail department stores with 500 or more employees.
(e) Beginning on January 1, 2023, a retail department store that fails to correct a violation of this section within 30 days of receiving written notice of the violation from the Attorney General is liable for a civil penalty of one thousand dollars ($1,000) which may be assessed and recovered in a civil action brought in the name of the people of the State of California by the Attorney General in any court of competent jurisdiction.
(f) For purposes of this section:
(1) ''Childcare articles'' means any product designed or intended by the manufacturer to facilitate sleep, relaxation, or the feeding of children, or to help children with sucking or teething.
(2) ''Clothing'' means any wearing apparel, worn for any purpose, including under and outer garments, shoes, and accessories composed primarily of woven material, natural or synthetic yarn, fiber, or leather or similar fabric.
(3) ''Toys'' means all products designed or intended by the manufacturer to be used by children when they play.
Trump Rotation
'Our music is all-inclusive': Village People REFUSE to ban Trump from using their tunes '-- RT USA News
Mon, 24 Feb 2020 21:10
Fans of the Village People have called on them to block US President Donald Trump from playing their music, as he did during the visit to India. The disco band has refused, saying that Trump's use was respectful and legal.
Since the music is not used for a specific endorsement, it is perfectly fine for it to be played at Trump rallies, the band said in a Facebook post on Monday, noting they were ''inundated'' with requests to block the president after 'Macho Man' was heard playing during his trip to India.
''Like millions of Village People fans worldwide, the President and his supporters have shown a genuine like for our music,'' the group said. ''Our music is all-inclusive and certainly everyone is entitled to do the YMCA dance, regardless of their political affiliation.''
There have already been calls to ''cancel'' the Village People over this, the same way Kanye West faced reprisals after he came out as a Trump supporter in 2018.
Founded in the 1980s and playing on the gay stereotypes from New York's Greenwich Village at the time, the Village People became famous for a number of catchy tunes, including 'Macho Man', 'YMCA', 'In the Navy' and 'Go West'. Although their co-founder died last year, they are still touring and performing around the world.
The group's stance on censoring Trump is a bold departure from the mainstream US music establishment, which has been outspokenly a part of the anti-Trump ''Resistance'' over the past several years. For example, a meme video of Trump's 2019 State of the Union, set to a R.E.M. song, got copyright-struck after a campaign of complaints.
Also on rt.com Trump is bad: Taylor Swift has a 'brave' 'political awakening' Among the artists and groups who have demanded their music be banished from Trump rallies are Adele, Pharrell, Rihanna, and even the Rolling Stones '' though that has not stopped the president from using 'You can't always get what you want' as his exit theme.
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Trump campaign accuses NY Times of defamation in Manhattan suit - New York Daily News
Wed, 26 Feb 2020 16:08
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Trump Campaign Sues New York Times - The New York Times
Wed, 26 Feb 2020 16:06
Updated Feb. 25, 2020
The Latest With three days to go before the pivotal South Carolina primary, Joe Biden got a key endorsement in the state. Follow live updates. Nevada Results See detailed results and maps that show how Bernie Sanders dominated. He finished with more than double the delegates of his nearest rivals. Delegate Count Mr. Sanders is leading the delegate race after the first three contests. Here's the latest count and the upcoming primary calendar. Meet the Candidates Learn more about the Democratic presidential contenders. Joe Biden Michael Bloomberg Pete Buttigieg Tulsi Gabbard Amy Klobuchar Bernie Sanders Tom Steyer Elizabeth Warren Keep Up With Our Coverage Get an email recapping the day's news Download our mobile app on iOS and Android and turn on Breaking News and Politics alerts Listen to our podcast, The Field, on Apple Podcasts and Spotify
OTG
Nest cameras were down for 17 hours because of failed server update - The Verge
Wed, 26 Feb 2020 08:04
A ''scheduled storage server software update that didn't go as intended'' caused a 17-hour outage for Nest cameras, according to parent company Google. The outage affected the Nest Cam, its indoor and outdoor Nest Cam IQ cameras, Nest Hello Doorbell and the Nest Hub Max display, 9to5Google reports.
During the outage which started at around noon PT on Monday, users couldn't record video or see live streams. ''We've rolled out a fix and most camera services should be working again. Unfortunately, video history wasn't collected during this incident,'' says a blog post from Google Nest VP Rishi Chandra.
The outage lasted for 17 hours. Image: Nest Nest's Twitter account was providing occasional updates on the situation as it unfolded, but it was doing little to reassure customers dismayed that they would not have access to recordings. Some users said they tried factory resets thinking the issue was on their end. Others said they had experienced a break-in during the outage or missed an accident suffered by a parent:
Yep. And my elderly father fell. Only the two times I needed it history was deleted.
'-- Proud Knights Fan (@3600dollarsgone) February 25, 2020 Another demanded Google reimburse them for the downtime.
We're all getting bill credits for this right?? We pay way too much to you to have any type of outage. This never happened before Google took over
'-- Maureen Gray (@Mrs_Gray1211) February 24, 2020The issue appears to have been limited to Nest users in the US, according to DownDetector (via Android Central), but some users in South Africa and the UK also reported problems.
Twitter Tool Could See 'Verified' Users Given Power To Label "Lies" & "Harmful" Tweets | Zero Hedge
Sun, 23 Feb 2020 15:56
Twitter is preparing to roll out more ways it intends to censor and "label" speech. The company is also experimenting with giving only blue checkmark "verified" fact-checkers and journalists the power to identify "lies" and label and edit accordingly. What could possibly go wrong?
"Twitter is experimenting with adding brightly colored labels directly beneath lies and misinformation posted by politicians and other public figures, according to a leaked demo of new features" obtained by NBC, which first broke the story Thursday.
Twitter CEO and co-founder Jack Dorsey. Image via AFP"We're exploring a number of ways to address misinformation and provide more context for tweets on Twitter," a Twitter spokesperson said. "Misinformation is a critical issue and we will be testing many different ways to address it."
Get ready for a potential new Twitter where essentially all utterances and perspectives on controversial events and data will have to pass through blue checkmark gatekeepers.
This is an astounding and Orwellian section from the NBC report:
In this version, disinformation or misleading information posted by public figures would be corrected directly beneath a tweet by fact-checkers and journalists who are verified on the platform and possibly by other users who would participate in a new "community reports" feature, which the demo claims is "like Wikipedia."
Here's what it might look like when a politician tweets "harmfully misleading" content after March 5th. Big red/orange flag underneath the offending tweet.These are screenshots from that were left on a public testing site. Twitter confirmed they're possible iterations. pic.twitter.com/EH61YDGjOg
'-- Ben Collins (@oneunderscore__) February 20, 2020Tweets marked as 'disinformation' could then be reduced in visibility on the platform.
The company said it is only in the early stages of research and work with the demo, and there's as yet no confirmation of exactly what will be included in the new roll out, expected on March 5th.
An image capture of the leaked demo which illustrates how it works, via NBC. Verified community members can flag tweets by public figures or other accounts as "Harmfully Misleading".
Perhaps even more disturbing is that one experimental version of the feature sets up moderating and labeling false information as if it's a competition among accepted "community members".
The "harmfully misleading" tag wouldn't just be for politicians. It'd be for climate change denial and health misinformation, too, at least according to this test.https://t.co/Yhyv45WFjG pic.twitter.com/GwbgIojK27
'-- Ben Collins (@oneunderscore__) February 20, 2020The NBC report explains:
In one iteration of the demo, Twitter users could earn "points" and a "community badge" if they "contribute in good faith and act like a good neighbor" and "provide critical context to help people understand information they see."
Supposedly this is to prevent trolls or "ideologues" from inundating the platform as moderators.
Twitter, Facebook and other social media giants have been under increased pressure to curtail misleading political information, but no doubt as the above demonstrates the "solution" will only result in severe censorship and a purge of 'unacceptable opinions' by establishment gatekeepers '-- something Twitter has certainly already long been engaged in, as we've recently experienced.
Groupthink will now be programmed permanently into the platform's architecture.
Airbnb offers hosts 'creepy' spy bugs that 'listen out for parties' and send text alerts | Daily Mail Online
Wed, 26 Feb 2020 08:46
Devices on the list include ones which listen for sustained sound levelsAirbnb said that it was providing the discounts to 'protect' hosts' homesComes after Airbnb properties have been vandalised by guests throwing parties By Luke Andrews For Mailonline
Published: 06:42 EST, 23 February 2020 | Updated: 21:10 EST, 23 February 2020
Airbnb is offering discounts on 'creepy' bugs that 'listen out for parties' and send text alerts to hosts' phones when guests get too rowdy.
Under the 'party prevention' section of its website, the home rental service says it wants to offer discounts on listening devices until April to 'protect your space, maintain the privacy of your guests, and preserve your relationship with neighbours'.
It comes after homes rented out through the app have been trashed by guests throwing wild parties.
Airbnb is offering discounts on devices that monitor sounds in hosts' houses, but say that guests must be made of their presence before making a booking
The Minut is offered with more than 30 per cent off at $99 (£76.42) while Noise Aware's Indoor Sensor (right) is offered at 25 per cent off for $149 (£115)
Devices on the list include Noise Aware's Indoor sensor, at a 25 per cent discount to $149 (£115), which listens out for sustained sound level, and the Minut, at a 34 per cent discount at $99 (£76.42), which monitors noise alongside temperature, motion and humidity inside a host home.
The Roomonitor, which will alert your phone and guests' phones to high levels of noise, if offered at better than half price for $39 (£30).
The devices do not record sounds but, instead, monitor noise levels. They are listening for sustained sounds above 70 decibels, which could indicate a party is taking place.
Sounds at 60 to 70 decibels tend to be produced by loud TVs or stereos, while sounds around 50 to 60 decibels are produced by a conversation.
The offer comes after homes rented out through the app have been trashed by guests and turned into the venues for large, raucous parties.
This home in Levenshulme, Manchester, was left in tatters after it was rented out through the app and used as the host site of an 18th birthday party
A property in Levenshulme, Manchester, was also destroyed by guests in April 2019 after it was rented out through the app for an 18th birthday party.
Residents living nearby said the property's windows were shaking as the party spilled onto the street.
A mansion in Chelsea was left with £445,000 of damage in April 2017, after guests used it to host a party of up to 500 people.
The owner Michael Howard, 67, rented out the house to what he thought was a family of four.
He filed claims for damages with the High Court at the end of last year, saying Airbnb had only offered to refund him £102,586.
This property in Chelsea, London, was left with £445,000 of damage after as many as 500 people allegedly came to a party at the address. The owners thought they were renting to a family of four
Privacy groups have branded Airbnb's decision to offer listening devices at discounts as 'creepy'.
Security company CyberCare UK's spokesman Kez Garner said the monitors could give 'false positives', such as if a baby was crying.
'I'm a landlord and I wouldn't want to do it with my long-term tenants,' he told The Times.
'I have to trust that they're going to use the property in the right way. People expect privacy in houses and hotels; you wouldn't expect to be monitored.
'Even if I was having a wild party, I would rather the property owner was not getting alerts. If they are doing that, what else are they able to see and hear?'
The deputy director of Fight for the Future, a digital rights advocacy website, told Vice News: 'We're hurtling towards a world where almost everything we own is monitoring us in some way.'
Airbnb says on its website that hosts have to let guests know about any devices in the property, and should do this through their 'home rules'.
'If a host discloses the device after booking, Airbnb will allow the guest to cancel the reservation and receive a refund,' they said. 'Host cancellation penalties may apply.'
'We prohibit any security cameras and other recording devices that are in or that observe the interior of certain private spaces (Such as bedrooms and bathrooms), regardless of whether they've been disclosed.'
MailOnline has contacted Airbnb for comment.
Advertisement
Gainesville's new autonomous bus part of nationwide suspension ordered by NHTSA
Thu, 27 Feb 2020 07:11
By WCJB Staff &nbsp|&nbsp
Posted: Wed 12:06 AM, Feb 26, 2020 &nbsp|&nbsp
Updated: Wed 12:15 AM, Feb 26, 2020
GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) --
Gainesville's new driverless bus has been shut down by the federal government.
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration investigators announced Tuesday that they are suspending the operation of 16 autonomous vehicles around the country manufactured by EasyMile, one of which is the bus that is being tested between Downtown Gainesville and the University of Florida's campus.
Concerns were raised after what the NHTSA called "an apparent unexplained braking incident in which one passenger was reportedly hurt" in Columbus, Ohio.
It is not yet known how long the bus will be suspended.
Clearview AI, Facial Recognition Company That Works With Law Enforcement, Says Entire Client List Was Stolen
Thu, 27 Feb 2020 07:19
A facial-recognition company that contracts with powerful law-enforcement agencies just reported that an intruder stole its entire client list, according to a notification the company sent to its customers.
In the notification, which The Daily Beast reviewed, the startup Clearview AI disclosed to its customers that an intruder ''gained unauthorized access'' to its list of customers, to the number of user accounts those customers had set up, and to the number of searches its customers have conducted. The notification said the company's servers were not breached and that there was ''no compromise of Clearview's systems or network.'' The company also said it fixed the vulnerability and that the intruder did not obtain any law-enforcement agencies' search histories.
Tor Ekeland, an attorney for the company, said Clearview prioritizes security.
''Security is Clearview's top priority,'' he said in a statement provided to The Daily Beast. ''Unfortunately, data breaches are part of life in the 21st century. Our servers were never accessed. We patched the flaw, and continue to work to strengthen our security.''
The firm drew national attention when The New York Times ran a front-page story about its work with law-enforcement agencies. The Times reported that the company scraped 3 billion images from the internet, including from Facebook, YouTube, and Venmo. That process violated Facebook's terms of service, according to the paper. It also created a resource that drew the attention of hundreds of law-enforcement agencies, including the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security, according to that report. In a follow-up story, the Times reported that law-enforcement officials have used the tools to identify children who are victims of sexual abuse. One anonymous Canadian law-enforcement official told the paper that Clearview was ''the biggest breakthrough in the last decade'' for investigations of those crimes.
The notification did not describe the breach as a hack. David Forscey, the managing director of the no-profit Aspen Cybersecurity Group, said the breach is concerning.
''If you're a law-enforcement agency, it's a big deal, because you depend on Clearview as a service provider to have good security, and it seems like they don't,'' Forscey said.
Facial-recognition technology'--which matches photos of unidentified victims or suspects against enormous databases of photos'--has long drawn intense criticism from privacy advocates. They argue it could essentially mean the end of personal privacy, especially given the proliferation of security cameras in public places. Some law-enforcement officials, meanwhile, see it as a tool with enormous potential value.
EuroLand
Increasing numbers of so-called "asylum seekers" arrive in Europe legally - Voice of Europe
Thu, 27 Feb 2020 00:18
BRUSSELS (AP) '-- Increasing numbers of people applying for asylum in the European Union are arriving from countries with visa-free travel agreements with the bloc, notably from Latin America, rather than entering without permission, the EU's asylum agency said Wednesday.
More than 714,000 people applied for asylum or some form of international protection in Europe last year, up 13% from 2018, the European Asylum Support Office, or EASO, said in its latest report on asylum trends in 2019.
''Most of the increase is accounted for by the large number of applications lodged by applicants who are exempt of visa requirements when entering the Schengen Area,'' the agency said, referring to the passport free travel area that includes 22 EU states plus Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.
The visa-free applicants were mostly from Venezuela, Colombia, El Salvador and Honduras. Venezuelans lodged 45,000 applications, more than twice as many as in 2018.
EU countries often grant asylum to people fleeing their home countries in fear for their lives or of persecution there. People who come in search of jobs and better living conditions are routinely denied permission to stay.
The political crisis in Venezuela sparked an exodus in mid-2015 which has climbed steadily in the face of crippling hyperinflation, food and medicine shortages, and high crime. According to the United Nations, a total of 2.3 million have fled in the last three years alone.
Refugee agencies predict that the total number of people who have fled the country could reach 6.5 million by the end of 2020; beyond the estimated 5.6 million people who have left war-torn Syria since 2011.
EASO said Colombians lodged more than three times as many applications last year compared to 2018. The number filed by people from El Salvador doubled. People seeking asylum from Honduras, Nicaragua and Peru lodged more than 6,000 applications, at least doubling in number over a year.
About 85% of people who have fled Venezuela remain in Latin America and the Caribbean. Colombia hosts the greatest number of refugees and migrants '-- an estimated 1.4 million Venezuelans '-- while Peru is sheltering some 860,000, ramping up pressure on those countries.
Spain is often a destination for people from the region. The number of people born in Venezuela who live in Spain jumped from 165,000 in 2015 to 255,000 over three years, according to Spain's National Institute of Statistics.
Hotel Ownership
How Hotels work
Adam,
In addition to being in the airline business, my employer
also owns a Hilton. Here's the answer:
As you can see from the fact that we own a Hilton, Hilton
doesn't own many of its hotels any more. Same with Marriott. It may
even be zero. They really switched from real estate companies (hotels are
often prime real estate) to hotel management companies back in the LBO
era.
Every so many years the chains issue a new brand
standard. They require things like new corporate approved door knobs,
mirrors, bedding, furniture, etc. If the hotel owner does not implement
the changes in a certain time frame they will pull the brand off the
property. Obviously if the hotel is not doing well they may not want to
invest that money. Or if they have a really good location like Bourbon
Street they may think they will still retain business without the known brand.
There is a hierarchy of brand standards within the upper
mid-tier hotel category (which is where most of the brand swaps occur).
Marriott is at the top with the most expensive brand standards and then
Hilton. It goes down from there with Omni, Hyatt, and Radisson etc at the
bottom. They may take a hotel as is that was rejected by
Marriott/Hilton. Or Marriott/Hilton may retain the property, but bump it
down to a Hilton Garden Inn or Courtyard or whatever.
Glad to help,
Joe
Hotel ownership
Hi Adam,
Just listened to yesterday's show
and heard your request if someone can enlighten you on hotels changing
ownership.
As I've travelled quite a lot over
the years and in the course of that also chatted with hotel managers and such,
I think I can help out a little.
First thing to know is that hotel
chains don't own the largest chunk of their hotels. The properties are owned by
investors, usually real estate moguls. Most chain hotels are either in a
franchise, leased or managed. Franchise is clear. In leasing it's the investors
leasing the property to the chain. Managed means that the owners are
responsible for day-to-day operating cost, but the management is done by the
chain.
Ownership can be quite complex. I
have stayed in a large Marriott where different floors and even individual
hallways were owned by different investors. These investors would then only
benefit from room revenue in their owned sections of the hotel.
As contracts run out property
owners can sign with another chain. There are three major reasons for a
hotel to change brand, whether franchised, leased or managed. A new chain
makes a better offer in fees and revenue cuts or the owners feel they'll
get more guests under another brand. The final reason is when a brand puts
demands on the owners to continue. This is usually when the brand demands a
property to be modernised or upgraded to live up to standards and the owners
are not willing to invest and find a lower grade chain that'll accept the
property as is.
Hope this little info in a nutshell
helps.
Cheers,
Sir Heerco, knight of the papel
fiefdom of Utrecht
Blago
Judicial Watch Files Lawsuit against Department of Justice Seeking FBI Interviews with Obama, Jarret, and Emanuel Relating to Criminal Investigation of Former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich | Judicial Watch
Thu, 27 Feb 2020 06:40
December 05, 2016 | Judicial Watch(Washington, DC) '' Judicial Watch announced today that it filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Justice seeking access to FBI reports of interviews '' ''302s'' '' of President Obama, Valerie Jarrett, and Rahm Emanuel. The interviews were taken as part of the FBI's criminal investigation of former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich. The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of Justice (No. 1:16-cv-01888)).
In 2008, Blagojevich sought political favors in exchange for deciding who to appoint to the U.S. Senate seat vacated by then-President-Elect Obama. Among the persons Blagojevich approached were the President-elect and his intermediaries. Obama reportedly declined to make a deal. Blagojevich then turned to supporters of Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr., offering the U.S. Senate seat in return for a $1.5 million ''campaign contribution.'' Blagojevich broke off negotiations with Rep. Jackson's supporters when he learned that he was being wiretapped by federal investigators.
Over the course of two criminal trials in 2010 and 2011, Blagojevich was convicted of 18 separate offenses and, in December 2011, was sentenced to 168 months in jail. In 2015, an appellate court overturned five of Blagojevich's convictions and affirmed the remainder. On August 12, 2016, Blagojevich was resentenced to the same, 68-month jail term he had received previously.
Judicial Watch had asked the FBI to produce the 302s, pursuant to FOIA, in June 2011. The FBI confirmed the records' existence in 2012, but denied the request, asserting that the 302s were exempt from disclosure under FOIA Exemption 7(A) because Blagojevich's criminal case was still ongoing at the time. Judicial Watch filed suit to try to obtain the 302s in May 2016, after the U.S. Supreme Court declined to review Blagojevich's convictions. It closed that initial lawsuit while Blagojevich was being resentenced. Judicial Watch refiled its lawsuit after Blagojevich was resentenced.
Judicial Watch's lawsuit asks the court to order the interview reports' release, noting:
[U]nder the circumstances it cannot be said that release of the requested records could reasonably be expected to interfere with whatever is left of Blagojevich's criminal prosecution. The public should not be forced to wait any longer to review the FBI 302s of President Obama, former White House Chief of Staff and now City of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, or Senior Advisor to the President Valerie Jarrett while Blagojevich pursues his second, plainly futile appeal.
''The FBI interviewed Barack Obama eight years ago about the selling of his Senate seat. The American people should finally get to see these FBI interview reports,'' said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. ''The public has a right to know precisely how Obama and his senior White House advisors Emanuel and Jarrett responded to Blagojevich's corrupt attempts sell Obama's Senate seat.''
###
Flat Earth
Flat-Earther 'Mad' Mike Hughes killed in crash-landing after homemade rocket launch (VIDEO) '-- RT USA News
Sun, 23 Feb 2020 15:45
Daredevil Flat-Earther 'Mad' Mike Hughes has died after launching himself into the sky in a homemade rocket. Purported video of the accident shows the fatal launch.
Hughes and a colleague built the steam-powered rocket in hopes of shooting the daredevil 5,000 feet (1.5km) into the air. The endeavor was being documented by the Science Channel, which wanted to feature him in a new series called 'Homemade Astronauts'.
A video purportedly filmed at the site shows the rocket being launched into the sky near Barstow, California, before Hughes plunges back down to the earth.
Warning: This video contains disturbing images
The self-taught rocket engineer gained notoriety for his belief that the Earth is flat. However, Hughes said that his flat-Earth belief was not the primary motivator for his latest, and final, rocket test, stressing that he was simply a daredevil.
The 64-year-old first shot himself into the sky in 2014, and completed several launches. His most successful attempt took place in March 2018 when he propelled himself approximately 1,875 feet (572 meters) into the air before crashing back to Earth at around 350mph (563kph). He sustained multiple injuries from his previous flights, before ultimately succumbing to his dangerous hobby on Saturday.
Also on rt.com Flat-Earther's steamy homemade rocket is set to launch him from California desert Think your friends would be interested? Share this story!
USPS
USPS could privatize as early as 2020 | Fortune
Mon, 24 Feb 2020 21:11
(C) 2019 Fortune Media IP Limited. All Rights Reserved. Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy (Your California Privacy Rights).Fortune may receive compensation for some links to products and services on this website. Offers may be subject to change without notice.Quotes delayed at least 15 minutes. Market data provided by Interactive Data. ETF and Mutual Fund data provided by Morningstar, Inc. Dow Jones Terms & Conditions: http://www.djindexes.com/mdsidx/html/tandc/indexestandcs.html.S&P Index data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. Terms & Conditions. Powered and implemented by Interactive Data Managed Solutions. | EU Data Subject Requests
Vape Wars
A Major Study That Fueled National Vape Panic Has Been Retracted - VICE
Wed, 26 Feb 2020 09:01
After months of pressure from the scientific community, the American Heart Association's academic journal on Tuesday evening retracted a widely circulated vaping study, which claimed that using e-cigarettes increased the likelihood of having a heart attack.
Last June, the authors, Stanton Glantz and Dharma Bhatta of the University of California San Francisco, stated in the original study that vaping and smoking cigarettes posed a similar risk, while doing both at the same time was an even more dangerous option. Following its publication in the summer, the peer-reviewed research was referenced by major news organizations, including CNN, Yahoo News, and USA Today.
In a statement explaining the retraction, editors at the Journal of the American Heart Association (JAHA) expressed worry that the study may have been based on misleading data.
"The editors are concerned that the study conclusion is unreliable," they wrote.
JAHA pulled the paper after Brad Rodu, a tobacco control expert at the University of Louisville, noted that many of the vapers Glantz and Bhatta analyzed for the study were also current or former smokers. Rodu argued that there was a possibility that the use of combustible cigarettes is what made them more likely to suffer heart attacks.
"A retraction is not a trivial matter," Rodu told VICE on Wednesday. "It's a significant action. Saying it was a mistake is too weak."
Last month, several scholars at public-health schools including New York University, Yale, and King's College London sent a letter to JAHA bringing attention to Rodu's criticisms and asking for an appropriate investigation.
David Sweanor, an adjunct professor of law at the University of Ottawa who has studied the global tobacco industry for decades, was among those who signed the letter.
"There are serious problems with the peer-review process and the reluctance of journals to retract invalid work," Sweanor said. "This has helped feed the reduction in trust in academia, and science in general."
In their statement explaining the retraction, the journal's editors said someone else had raised the same issue during the peer-review process. While the research had been published anyway, the journal gave Glantz and Bhatta a deadline to revise the findings, which they didn't meet. Explaining why, Glantz said that his access to the dataset he used for the research had been revoked, because he did not have approval to use it to begin with.
On Twitter and his blog, Glantz stood by the paper, saying that JAHA had simply relented to "pressure from e-cig interests."
In recent months, Glantz and Rodu have traded criticisms of one another. Glantz has frequently noted the fact Rodu receives some financial support from the tobacco industry. Rodu and other harm-reduction proponents have often railed against Glantz for his scientific methods and his views on tobacco control. Rodu originally voiced this criticism of Glantz in early July 2019, right after the study's publication.
JAHA's decision might turn out to be a small win for academics and advocates who are pushing vaping has a safer alternative to smoking cigarettes, but the paper's conclusions have already fed what critics have argued is a moral panic over e-cigarettes. Its publication came amid rising concern over teenage e-cigarette and fueled a continuing misconception over the lifesaving potential of switching from cigarettes to vaping.
"To me, this story simply confirms what I have been arguing for a long time: that there is a profound anti-e-cigarette bias among tobacco-control researchers, and this is precisely what caused this fiasco," said Michael Siegel, a professor of community health sciences at Boston University.
Sign up for our newsletter to get the best of VICE delivered to your inbox daily.
Follow Alex Norcia on Twitter.
Letter on vaping science paper earns expression of concern because author made up a degree
Thu, 27 Feb 2020 06:51
via WikimediaLeonard Zelig, meet Zvi Herzig.
The journal Circulation has issued an expression of concern about a 2015 letter, putatively written by Herzig, in which the author poked holes in a review article about e-cigarettes.
According to the EoC, however, Herzig, like Zelig, may be a bit of a chameleon.
As we'll see, Herzig does cop to resume doctoring. The masters of public health degree after his name is bogus '-- but he has an explanation for why it appeared. His affiliation may be less than meets the eye, too. But his critiques appear to be valid, and have drawn praise by other researchers for their acuity.
The letter in question was titled ''Letter by Herzig regarding article, 'Electronic cigarettes: a scientific review.'' That article had been published in 2014 by a group led by Stanton Glantz, of the University of California, San Francisco. (Last week, a journal retracted a paper by Glantz and a co-author linking use of e-cigarettes to heart attacks after critics found errors that were lethal to their analysis.)
In his letter, Herzig, who is listed as being with the Uvacharta Bachayim Institute in Jerusalem '-- good luck finding anything about it online '-- levels several criticisms of the review.
The EoC states:
The Editors of Circulation are issuing an Expression of Concern regarding article, ''Letter by Herzig Regarding Article, 'Electronic Cigarettes: A Scientific Review''' which appeared in the February 10, 2015, issue of the journal (Circulation. 2015;131:e341. doi: 10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.114.012089).
The Editors received correspondence related to Mr Herzig's degree and institute affiliation. The Editors attempted to contact Mr Herzig about this correspondence, but have not received a response from Mr Herzig.
Since the Editors have been unsuccessful in verifying Mr Herzig's stated degree and affiliation, the Editors are posting this Expression of Concern.
It's unclear who alerted the journal to the issue. Joseph Hill, the top editor at Circulation, wouldn't comment on the EoC but passed our queries along to the press office of the American Heart Association, which publishes the journal. Michelle Kirkwood, the AHA's director of National Science Media Relations, quoting representatives of the journal, told us:
As stated in the EOC, the journal received correspondence related to Mr. Herzig's credentials, and the journal has attempted to contact him through the information provided when the article was submitted; however, we have not yet received a response from him. We cannot speculate on any additional details; we hope to hear from Mr. Herzig soon.
A Google search turns up no contact information of any kind for an Uvacharta Bachayim Institute in Israel or anywhere else. Nor does Herzig appear to have an online presence, other than as the author of several letters to the editor about e-cigarette research and as a tipster for bloggers who write about the topic. A ''Zvi Herzig'' commented on this 2019 Facebook post, and left a link to a Google doc about nicotine. But the name is not linked to an account. The only listing for him in PubMed is the EoC in Circulation.
In other words, Herzig appears to be many places, and nowhere at all.
'I am a real person'
Igor Burstyn, a public health researcher at Drexel University, in Philadelphia, was on the receiving end of a Herzig correction for his 2014 article in BMC Public Health, ''Peering through the mist: systematic review of what the chemistry of contaminants in electronic cigarettes tells us about health risks.'' In a follow-up letter to his paper, he wrote:
I am thankful to Dr. Zvi Herzig for noticing an error in units in one result reported in the paper (Burstyn, 2014). The sentence ''Assuming extreme consumption of the liquid per day via vaping (5 to 25 ml/day and 50-95% propylene glycol in the liquid), levels of propylene glycol in inhaled air can reach 1''6 mg/m3'' should read '''... levels of propylene glycol in inhaled air can reach 1''6 g/m3''. This strengthens the stated conclusion that '''... estimated levels of exposure to propylene glycol '... warrant concern.'' The corrected calculation was one of several that were used to draw this conclusion. It was a worse-than-worst-realistic-case scenario and would have to be reconciled with measurements of emissions, and thus should not be considered a realistic quantification unless further measurements change our assessment of what constitutes a realistic scenario. The corrected estimate suggests greater caution is warranted than the original estimate, but is still not cause for alarm. It implies that we should be doing more active research to understand the effects of inhalation exposure to propylene glycol at levels higher than those that have been studied in the past, if the predicted exposures are indeed verified by measurements.
I sincerely apologize to my readers for the error and am thankful for such attentive readership.
We asked Burstyn about the expression of concern and his interaction with Herzig. He told us:
Mr Herzig emailed me and I can assure you that he is good at finding errors in math.
Burstyn said he never had any reason to doubt that Herzig was a real person, and that he found the journal's expression of concern bizarre ''as it does not articulate anything to be concerned about.''
Burstyn was kind enough to pass along a message from us to Herzig, and we received this reply via a Gmail account:
I am an anti-smoking activist. The affiliation is an anti-smoking org (some of my advocacy is noted on Israel's parliamentary website).
I am a real person and was doing my best to correct the scientific record on an important public health issue.
Herzig admitted that he does not have an MPH and that he included the credential to get his letter published:
I found serious flaws in a review suggesting that e-cigarettes prevent tobacco cessation. The journal required a degree to submit correspondence. Should I have let things go and allowed smokers to die because of the misinformation?
Like Retraction Watch? You can make a tax-deductible contribution to support our work, follow us on Twitter, like us on Facebook, add us to your RSS reader, or subscribe to our daily digest. If you find a retraction that's not in our database, you can let us know here. For comments or feedback, email us at team@retractionwatch.com.
Clips
VIDEO - Joe Biden Says There Have Been 150 Million Gun Deaths since 2007 - YouTube
Thu, 27 Feb 2020 07:17
VIDEO - Bloomberg says "I bought" 20 Democrats in Congress - YouTube
Thu, 27 Feb 2020 07:17
VIDEO - CDC Telebriefing: PREPARE NOW! Says CDC, EXPECT SIGNIFICANT DISRUPTION TO YOUR LIVES - YouTube
Thu, 27 Feb 2020 07:10
VIDEO-Anand Giridharadas on Twitter: "When you're on the highway, the thing beneath you: socialism. The vehicles around you: capitalism. On Wall Street, the banks: capitalism. The regulators protecting them: socialism. Capitalism and socialism mingle in e
Thu, 27 Feb 2020 06:16
Log in Sign up Anand Giridharadas @ AnandWrites When you're on the highway, the thing beneath you: socialism. The vehicles around you: capitalism.On Wall Street, the banks: capitalism. The regulators protecting them: socialism.Capitalism and socialism mingle in every hour of our lives.Let's break the billionaire binary.
pic.twitter.com/hqBdLvd0SI 1:03 PM - 26 Feb 2020 Twitter by: Anand Giridharadas @AnandWrites Anand Giridharadas @ AnandWrites
15h Replying to
@democracynow Full video from
@democracynow:
democracynow.org/2020/2/26/anan'... View conversation · Nina Turner @ ninaturner
12h Replying to
@AnandWrites Go head!!!!
View conversation · Seth 🌹 @ mfpseth
12h Replying to
@ninaturner @AnandWrites But this is dangerous: the military and police aren't socialism. Roads *aren't* socialist in the way that public transportation is. When we're trying to appeal to folks who don't yet have a firm grasp on what "socialism" means, let's be the ones who set that definition.
View conversation · Christophe Harris 🌞 @ crelto
15h Replying to
@AnandWrites pic.twitter.com/VynHcV3Ce1 View conversation · bruce @ smash2pieces
15h Replying to
@crelto @AnandWrites all day long
View conversation · Left of Karl '­ @ Rezasaurus__
15h Replying to
@technocratwonk @AnandWrites Socialism drives innovation, capitalism stifles it with patents
View conversation · Persimmons for Peace @ Uniblonder
15h Replying to
@AnandWrites As a US military kid, raised mostly on US military bases, socialism was a part of my every day world. I never questioned it. The US Military still is a Socialist organization. P.S. You have the best hair. ðŸ>>
View conversation · Paternal Amphetamine @ LukeJohnTC1
14h Replying to
@Uniblonder @AnandWrites This is the stupidest thing I've ever heard
View conversation · Brandon Jonely 🌹 @ Aldowyn
15h Replying to
@AnandWrites financial regulations are not socialism >.<
View conversation · Republicans hate the USA @ Urban_Avenger_
15h Replying to
@Aldowyn @AnandWrites but financial bailouts whereby we took the risks and they got the rewards are. should have been equity or bankruptcy not loans
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VIDEO-Floyd Reynolds on Twitter: "Mentally ill people are planning your future. It has to end'...now. https://t.co/UQpUCVisni" / Twitter
Thu, 27 Feb 2020 00:11
Enter a topic, @name, or fullname
VIDEO-Pete Buttigieg in Hot Water as He Is Allegedly Spotted 'Copycatting' Obama Speeches - Sputnik International
Wed, 26 Feb 2020 13:37
US18:49 GMT 26.02.2020Get short URL
The former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, showed promising results during the Iowa Democratic caucus and the New Hampshire primary, but recently lost traction coming in third with 17% of votes in the Nevada caucuses.
The communications director for Julian Castro, a Democratic candidate who withdrew from the primaries, has released a video seemingly implicating another candidate, the former mayor of South Bend, Pete Buttigieg, of copycatting the speeches of Barack Obama.
The video, published by Castro's communications director, Sawyer Hackett, shows several outtakes from Buttigieg's campaign speeches alongside the pieces of Obama's speeches they at least distantly resembled.
Interestingly enough the video surfaced mere days after the former South Bend mayor tweeted a speech praising his backers, who used their cell phones to light up a high school gym struck by a blackout during a Buttigieg rally.
It was highly reminiscent of a similar speech by Obama from his 2008 campaign, in which he argued that "one voice can change a room. And if it can change a room, it can change a city. And if it can change a city, it can change a state".
The similarity between the two politicians' speeches didn't pass unnoticed with Meghan McCain, daughter of late Senator John McCain, ridiculing Buttigieg over attempting to become a new "Obama" by mimicking his style.
Several US media outlets, like The Daily Caller and The Daily Wire, also suggested that Obama's performances profoundly inspired the Democratic candidate's speeches at rallies, to the point where it could be considered "cribbing".
(C) AP Photo / Charlie Neibergall
Despite Buttigieg's alleged attempts to dip into the experience of the former Democratic president, he has been losing traction recently, despite initially performing on par with frontrunner Bernie Sanders in the Iowa Democratic caucus and New Hampshire primary. In the most recent caucus in Nevada, he finished third with 17% of votes and only three delegates.
VIDEO - Myles Dyer on Twitter: "Twitter, does Bernie Sanders need to do this if the booing doesn't stop? #DemDebate https://t.co/MGs9tu6s9q" / Twitter
Wed, 26 Feb 2020 13:26
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VIDEO-'Socialist' ABC Reporter Admits Bosses Spike News Important to Voters, 'Don't Give Trump Credit' - YouTube
Wed, 26 Feb 2020 11:27
VIDEO-Scripting News: Wednesday, February 26, 2020
Wed, 26 Feb 2020 10:47
It's even worse than it appears.
Today's
podcast is entitled We Are Deep In Fascist Shit. This is what no one wants to talk about. Even MSNBC is switching away from it. Our last chance imho is to create a new Democratic Party where the only thing we all have in common is we believe in the rule of law. Until we can reboot our democracy, create Marshall Plan for ourselves,
and do it quickly, with every hand on deck, we're going to where India is now. We are probably the last hope. So no it doesn't matter what anyone said 10 years ago, it doesn't even matter what they said yesterday. What matters is that we create a big enough a movement now to be noticed when the government shuts it down. As I said earlier, things are so bad now that Trump might not even have to cheat to win. And then we are lost. Far more lost than we are now. We don't want to look at this, I get it, but we have to. We have to support each other, not fear each other. We might not have another chance, but if we're going to survive we can't keep going the way we're going.
#
I thought the best point made in the debate last night was from Buttigieg where he said what torture it would be to have to endure a campaign of Trump versus Sanders. Up to that point I hadn't thought of it that way but it's true, can't imagine how exhausting that will be.
#
Maybe Facebook, Twitter et al have better business models because they allow users to write on a level playing field with the pros.
#
The last few days there's been a change on MSNBC. The only show I regularly watch, Ari Melber, has opened the last two shows with a recital of the number of delegates each of the candidate has. I'm sure Sanders supporters hear that as good news, but I hear a lecture, get with the program dear MSNBC user, this is where we, and you, are going. I suppose after Super Tuesday this might be inevitable, but it isn't yet. Anyway, no matter, I'm not going along for the ride. I think we're deep in fascist shit in this country, and there's no sign of us digging out. I don't like Sanders. He yells slogans, and every attempt to get him to talk about his ideas in any detail just gets more slogans. I can't read his mind, but all evidence says he's as shallow as Trump. I wouldn't worry about death camps with Sanders (as I do with Trump), but I also think there's a very good chance we lose with him. Even with a perfect candidate it's a long shot because Trump is cheating. But with Sanders, he might not have to. So count me out, I'm not going along for this ride. I'll put my time between six and seven every night to better use.
#
VIDEO - ESG investing is 'a complete fraud,' says venture capitalist Chamath Palihapitiya - YouTube
Wed, 26 Feb 2020 08:59
VIDEO - EP73 - Interview with Nate Cain, FBI Whistleblower - YouTube
Wed, 26 Feb 2020 08:34
VIDEO - John Berman on Twitter: "JUST NOW: @MikeBloomberg Senior Adviser @TimOBrien goes there on @BernieSanders. Orgasms. Rape fantasies. Children running naked. All there. @NewDay https://t.co/EUckLVYNR0" / Twitter
Wed, 26 Feb 2020 08:14
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VIDEO - YouTube
Wed, 26 Feb 2020 07:57
VIDEO-Cassandra Fairbanks 🕊'" on Twitter: "So here's the story about that phone call and why I recorded it... and another phone call. #FreeJulian #PoliticalPersecution https://t.co/iJiFO2osRQ" / Twitter
Wed, 26 Feb 2020 07:40
Replying to
@CassandraRules @caitoz Ironically, it was Arthur who revealed classified information, not you. He's the one who said, emphatically, twice, that Grenell was under direct orders from Trump himself. Wow.
VIDEO-Why is Iran's reported mortality rate for coronavirus higher than in other countries?
Wed, 26 Feb 2020 00:06
WASHINGTON '-- Iran has the highest reported number of deaths from the coronavirus outside China, raising questions about how the government is handling the public health crisis and whether the often secretive regime has been fully transparent about the extent of the outbreak.
Iran's health ministry spokesman Kianoosh Jahanpour said on Tuesday that 15 Iranians have died out of a total of 95 positive cases. But Iran's state news agency later said one person infected with coronavirus had died in the city of Saveh, bringing the death toll to 16.
Apart from China, where the virus was first detected in December, Iran has recorded the most deaths from the coronavirus. There have been 2,663 deaths in China, out of a total number of 77,658 confirmed cases.
This browser does not support the video element.
But Iran's reported mortality rate for the illness '-- about 16 percent '-- surpasses the rate for other countries by a dramatic margin. At the epicenter of the outbreak in Hubei province in China, the reported mortality rate is estimated at around 2 percent. In South Korea, 11 patients have died from the virus out of 977 cases, for a reported mortality rate of about 1 percent.
Amid a shortage of surgical masks and hand sanitizer in Iranian shops, public health experts say Iran could become the hub of a major outbreak across the Middle East, especially given its porous borders with unstable countries at war or in turmoil.
Workers disinfect subway trains against coronavirus in Tehran, Iran, in the early morning of Feb. 25, 2020. Sajjad Safari / APIranian officials reported the first case of virus in the religious city of Qom last week and the virus has spread to at least seven other provinces in Iran. Countries in the region, including Iraq, Kuwait, Oman and Afghanistan, reported their first cases this week and said the patients had recently visited Iran.
In an echo of public reaction in China, critics of the Iranian regime in and outside of the country are questioning whether officials in Tehran have given the public a full and accurate picture of the outbreak. But Iranian officials have rejected any suggestion they are playing down the epidemic.
The head of Qom's Medical Science University, Mohammad Reza Ghadir, said on Iranian state television that the Health Ministry in Tehran had banned releasing figures on the coronavirus outbreak in the city.
When asked how many people had been placed in quarantine, Ghadir said "the health ministry has told us not to announce any new statistics."
This browser does not support the video element.
Ghadir also said that "most of the tests have to be done in Tehran and Tehran announces it." His comments suggested that diagnostic tests were mainly being conducted in the capital Tehran.
Outside medical experts say reporting on the total number of cases of infection in Iran was possibly lagging behind reporting on deaths. That could be because Iranian authorities are missing less severe cases across the country due to how they are testing and diagnosing patients, how information is shared or because of flawed medical equipment.
"This appears to be a reporting issue," said Dr. Yanzhong Huang, a professor at Seton Hall University and a senior fellow for global health at the Council on Foreign Relations. "Reporting on the cases of infections may have fallen behind the reporting on the deaths."
Pharmacists talk with customers at a drugstore in downtown Tehran, Iran, on Feb. 25, 2020. Ebrahim Noroozi / APIt's unclear if Iran has the ability to find out how many people have been infected, which would require venturing out to towns and villages to conduct tests and not simply relying on who comes to large hospitals with severe symptoms, said Dr. William Schaffner, a professor of preventive medicine and infectious diseases at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.
"That means going to the neighborhood and knocking on doors and really aggressively trying to find cases," Schaffner told NBC News. "I don't know if they have that capacity. Many countries do not, and they don't have that tradition in their public health systems. This would be a very new thing for them to do."
Another possibility is that the patients affected are from an elderly, more vulnerable part of the population. Schaffner said.
If the virus "was introduced to a population that was older, and as a consequence has a bunch of underlying illnesses, [that] could explain a high fatality rate," Schaffner said.
A less likely explanation is that Iran's hospitals had fallen short and patients were not getting the necessary medical care, Schaffner said. But he doubted that was the case, since Iran has a relatively advanced health care system.
Dr. John Torres, NBC News medical correspondent, said there is no evidence of a change in the genetic profile of the virus, so the explanation for the higher mortality rate likely has to do with how the Iranians are tracking cases of infection.
"There are no significant DNA changes in the virus. The virus has not mutated elsewhere," Torres said.
An Iranian member of parliament, Mamoud Sadeghi, and the country's deputy health minister, Iraj Harirchi, who lead a task force battling the virus, tested positive for coronavirus, state media said Tuesday. The news came a day after Harirchi appeared at a press conference looking feverish, reaching for tissues to wipe his brow. He wore no face mask as the ministry spokesman standing next to him expressed confidence about the government's response to the crisis.
"I say this from the bottom of my heart. Take care of yourselves," Harirchi said in a video he took of himself that was posted after his diagnosis became public. "This is a democratic virus, it does not distinguish between rich and poor, the powerful and not powerful. It may infect a number of people."
Harirchi earlier had reacted with anger when an Iranian politician alleged the number of deaths was much higher in the city of Qom than the government had acknowledged. Harirchi also had appeared on television coughing during an interview.
The episode raised questions about how Iran is managing the crisis and whether officials are failing to disclose information to the public '-- and the rest of the world. Iranian officials are already under public scrutiny over the handling of the downing of a Ukrainian airliner in January. It took Iran's military three days to admit the plane was shot down by an Iranian missile in error, triggering angry street protests.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told a news conference on Tuesday that "the United States is deeply concerned by information indicating the Iranian regime may have suppressed vital details about the outbreak in that country."
"All nations including Iran should tell the truth about the coronavirus and cooperate with international aid organizations," Pompeo added.
In Washington, top U.S. public health officials warned Tuesday that Americans should prepare for the spread of the coronavirus in communities across the country.
"It's not so much a question of if this will happen any more, but rather more a question of exactly when this will happen and how many people in this country will have severe illness," Dr. Nancy Messonnier, the head of Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, told reporters.
VIDEO-Senators slam US health officials over 'top secret' coronavirus briefings | Daily Mail Online
Tue, 25 Feb 2020 23:50
US health officials have been conducting secret meetings with lawmakers, senators revealed at a Tuesday Appropriations Subcommittee meeting.
Senator Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire criticized the secrecy of a briefing that had taken place earlier that morning, and said that her constituents were 'concerned' that they weren't getting all the information that they needed about the outbreak.
During that closed-door meeting, lawmakers were told 'there is a very strong chance of an extremely serious outbreak of the coronavirus here in the US,' Senatory Patty Murry, a Democrat from Washington said during the hearing.
Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar admitted that Senate Intelligence Chairman Richard Burr had designated the meeting 'top secret' but claimed that ultimately nothing had come out in the briefing that hasn't been shared with the public.
Azar was testifying in part to defend the $2.5 billion emergency budget request that the White House submitted to Congress Monday night to address the coronavirus outbreak, but the dubious committee suggested the funding is too little, too late.
'I'm deeply concerned we're way behind the eight ball on this,' said Senator Murray.
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HHS Secretary Alex Azar (pictured) fielded criticism that health officials have not been transparent and are requesting too little money too late to address the coronavirus outbreak from both sides of the aisle in a Senate Appropriations Subcommittee meeting Tuesday
Murray was among Senators from both sides of the aisle to criticize the US response to the coronavirus outbreak for being insufficient and the funding request for being too vague.
The HHS has requested more money to better track the spread of the virus in the US - which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said Tuesday was inevitable - develop treatments for the killer infection and to ramp up production of 300 million masks and other protective gear to stockpile for healthcare workers.
Some Sentators used the outbreak and budget request as a vehicle to critique the Trump administrations prior health initiatives and funding cuts to the very programs that are being employed to combat the outbreak in the US.
Azar, however, insisted that the funding request was carefully timed, would more than cover the US's needs for combating the outbreak, and announced that phase I clinical trials for an antiviral treatment are beginning at the University of Nebraska.
He also admitted the US 'will likely see more cases' of the coronavirus that has now infected 57 Americans and more than 80,000 people worldwide.
Azar said that the whopping $2.5 billion was necessary to cover the development of therapeutics like the one entering clinical trials in Nebraska and vaccines as well as for protective gear for healthcare workers and better surveillance of the virus.
He said that surveillance - the CDC's data collection process, which helps officials track the spread of diseases - for coronavirus 'needs to be comparable to flu surveillance.'
Azar's testimony comes after US experts speculated that the highly contagious virus that emerged in Wuhan, China in December, might become a regular seasonal occurrence, as the flu is.
So far, it has proven less fatal but perhaps more contagious than other viruses of the same family, infection risk to the general public is still low in the US, but officials' tone has shifted to suggest that it won't stay that way and the virus will spread.
CDC spokesperson Dr Nancy Messonnier said Tuesday that it's no longer 'a question of if this well happen in this country any more but a question of when this will happen,' she told reporters in a media call on Tuesday.
Dr Messonnier said she had already called her children's schools to ask if they're ready for closures and tele-classes in the event the coronavirus outbreak forces school closures.
HHS, meanwhile, is seeking funds to prepare hospitals that are already stretched thin by a particularly bad flu season to handle a potential surge in coronavirus cases.
Some of the $2.5 billion emergency funds - although the department has not yet determined how much - will go to increasing manufacturing capacity for stockpiles of protective gear for hospital workers, especially masks.
Such manufacturing capabilities 'do not exist yet,' said Azar, who thinks the US needs about 300 million N95 masks.
Senator Murray questioned whether stockpiles already exist.
'Of course not, or we wouldn't be asking for a supplemental [appropriations budget],' Azar snapped back.
As of Tuesday, there are 57 Americans with coronavirus, including 40 who were evacuated via cargo planes (pictured) from the Diamond Princess cruise ship that spent two weeks quarantined in Japan
'This is an unprecedented severe health challenge, potentially globally.'
Senators were skeptical over the vagueness of the budget request, which Azar broke down into five broad categories.
In addition to expanded surveillance he said 'we need more money to support contact tracing and communication with impacted individuals and lab testing, research, development and preucurment of vaccines and therapeutics, [and we] need to support the procurement of [personal protective equipment], especially masks into the national stockpile.'
The first human clinical trials of an antiviral treatment for the coronavirus that's sickened more than 80,000 people worldwide are set to begin in Nebraska, US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar said Tuesday.
Meanwhile, the drugmaker, Moderna, announced its candidate coronavirus vaccine has been shipped to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to begin phase 1 clinical trials in humans.
Still, the lawmakers are dubious that the $2.5 billion isn't enough to pay for measures that the HHS isn't even sharing with full transparency for addressing the outbreak that seems to be approaching a tipping point into pandemic levels.
'If a pandemic is coming and we're disregarding scientific evidence and we're relying on tweets and an emergency supplemental [sic] without details...I just think this is not enough,' said Senator Murray.
'If you low-ball something like this, you'll pay for it later,' warned Senator Richard Shelby, an Alabama Republican.
VIDEO-Tom Elliott on Twitter: "Biden claims firearms have killed more than half of the U.S. population since 2007 https://t.co/a679hcVbYg" / Twitter
Tue, 25 Feb 2020 21:06
Log in Sign up Tom Elliott @ tomselliott Biden claims firearms have killed more than half of the U.S. population since 2007
pic.twitter.com/a679hcVbYg 5:47 PM - 25 Feb 2020 Twitter by: Tom Elliott @tomselliott Ninjadude @ DavidWatts07
1h Replying to
@tomselliott @dbongino pic.twitter.com/Nwq9Uh03Cl View conversation · Ava- I love my USA! 🇺🇸 @ WEdwarda
1h Replying to
@tomselliott The same guy who think he's running for the Senate! ðŸ‚ðŸ‚ðŸ‚
View conversation · Chuck Soltys @ ChuckSoltys
58m Replying to
@WEdwarda @tomselliott That was the other Joe Biden...ðŸ‚
pic.twitter.com/pcKu95Aq6J View conversation · Kermit @ kemitthefrogger
1h Replying to
@tomselliott @dbongino pic.twitter.com/Dg18MZQsIJ View conversation · Russell @ pendletn1
1h Replying to
@tomselliott @dbongino Someone give that man his pudding and put him in his pj's and let's be done with him.
View conversation · CarlosDanger @ 18orlessplz
14m Replying to
@pendletn1 @tomselliott @dbongino Oh hell no, let's have him stay so we can drag this bad boy out and let the convention provide us with prime time entertainment!
View conversation · Marc Filipkowski @ MarcFlip1
1h Replying to
@tomselliott @dbongino It's unreal what comes out of his mouth. He literally just makes stuff up. And what's more amazing is nobody calls him out. Not one other dem or moderator challenged him on the 150 million number which is extremely absurd!
View conversation · gerardmmelody @ gerardmmelody
1h Replying to
@tomselliott This is cruel. I'm sure this man has some form of dementia. Cruel.
View conversation · Nisi @ deniselandia1
1h Replying to
@gerardmmelody @tomselliott oh, i wouldnt feel too bad for him. i think his 'dementia' is mostly alinsky or hermetic mocking. im a geri psych nurse, too.
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VIDEO-Breaking911 on Twitter: "Bloomberg almost admits he 'bought' the democratic takeover of the house https://t.co/0RrMEeZGuU" / Twitter
Tue, 25 Feb 2020 21:05
Log in Sign up Breaking911 @ Breaking911 Bloomberg almost admits he 'bought' the democratic takeover of the house
pic.twitter.com/0RrMEeZGuU 6:00 PM - 25 Feb 2020 Twitter by: jordan @JordanUhl BJ Jones @ GrandeBabbo69
1h Replying to
@Breaking911 There is no "almost". He admitted that he did it
View conversation · K@N @ SaveOur808
1h Replying to
@Breaking911 He suuuuuuuure did.
View conversation · Eric @ ejkoolkid13
1h Replying to
@Breaking911 He bought them like he's trying to buy the Democratic nominee.
View conversation · Global News Archive @ GLBLNewsArchive
40m Replying to
@Breaking911 @save_the_tweet Archived:
@save_the_tweet to the
#blockchain View conversation · Save The Tweet @ save_the_tweet
39m Replying to
@GLBLNewsArchive @Breaking911 "Bloomberg almost admits he 'bought' the democratic takeover of the house " -
@Breaking911I saved this on a public blockchain for you!
eternal.dragonchain.com/transaction/d9'... View conversation · خزدار @ LoveJudyHopps
1h Replying to
@Breaking911 Lmao almost let it slip there, Mini Mike.
View conversation · dreamy121 @ dreamy121
59m Replying to
@Breaking911 twitter.com/Solmemes1/stat'... View conversation · Paulo @ PSilvaWorld
1h Replying to
@Breaking911 Wow
View conversation · Jon Bradley @ Desertpuma
1h Replying to
@Breaking911 They need to call him on it so they can push him out of the race.
View conversation · Alexander 🇺🇸ðŸ...… @ AlextheCastle90
1h Replying to
@Breaking911 I mean he did admit it. I think you meant he accidentally admitted to it.
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VIDEO-Biden First in the South Dinner - YouTube
Tue, 25 Feb 2020 11:19
VIDEO-Rod Blagojevich on Twitter: "Here's why I was really put in prison: all roads lead back to Obama. https://t.co/YsoavmissA" / Twitter
Tue, 25 Feb 2020 11:14
kerry e. smith'­¸'­¸'­¸ @ brooklandsco_op
5h OBAMA'S FBI ENTRAPPED BLAGO? Given what they later did to Trump via Crossfire Hurricane, wd anyone be surprised? Seems Barack was weaponizing govt agencies against anyone who crossed him, from Day One...including IRS against conservative orgs & Fast&Furious cartel gun runners.
View conversation ·
VIDEO-Eoin Higgins on Twitter: "''My names Joe Biden I'm running for the United States Senate'' https://t.co/sDIaZwTE8q" / Twitter
Tue, 25 Feb 2020 11:11
Log in Sign up Eoin Higgins @ EoinHiggins_ ''My names Joe Biden I'm running for the United States Senate''
pic.twitter.com/sDIaZwTE8q 8:40 PM - 24 Feb 2020 Twitter by: Shaun King @shaunking John Ziegler @ Zigmanfreud
1h Replying to
@EoinHiggins_ Please either explain the obvious context, or delete this tweet.
View conversation · Eoin Higgins @ EoinHiggins_
54m Replying to
@Zigmanfreud The context is clear. Watch the full video and stop lying to your followers.
twitter.com/ParkerMolloy/s'... View conversation · i bless the rains down in castamere @ Chinchillazllla
12h Replying to
@EoinHiggins_ @RuckCohlchez ah fuck
View conversation · come mierda miguel bloomberg @ very___cool
12h Replying to
@Chinchillazllla @EoinHiggins_ @RuckCohlchez hard to watch
View conversation · budgorj @ budgorj1
12h Replying to
@EoinHiggins_ I can not decipher a single word he says between 0:14 and 0:19
View conversation · Dope Tugging Knobs 4 Pete @ LizardRumsfeld
12h Replying to
@budgorj1 @EoinHiggins_ lookmeoverifyoulikeseuhababube
View conversation · Cabini @ CRHinCA
12h Replying to
@EoinHiggins_ Legit kind of sad. Damn.
View conversation · Dmitri @ Rzhevsky
12h Replying to
@CRHinCA @EoinHiggins_ someone should really help the poor gentleman exit that Wendy's
View conversation · Mohammad @ WongKarWax
12h Replying to
@EoinHiggins_ :(
View conversation · Big Nips Energy @ Beef_Woman
11h Replying to
@WongKarWax @EoinHiggins_ yeah I just did my rounds in a nursing home and I can't even laugh anymore, this is just sad sauce
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VIDEO - (57) Lisa Mei Crowley on Twitter: "This is just creepy. We already know Hussein was a puppet whose mission was to help facilitate the destruction of our country. It appears Boot Edge Edge is Hussein 2.0. https://t.co/vM6ZScfyid" / Twitter
Tue, 25 Feb 2020 08:48
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VIDEO-Is 5G Hazardous to Our Health? '-- RT Just press play
Mon, 24 Feb 2020 21:30
Are cell phones and cell towers bad for our health? That's the million dollar question that many are asking especially with the arrival of 5G networks. During the news with Rick Sanchez, Rick covers this very issue with Paul Heroux, professor of toxicology at the McGill University. | Just Press Play, hosted by RT America's Ashlee Banks, has that segment and the best of other in-depth reports, exclusive interviews and controversial issues you may have missed this week on RT America. This week's show has highlights from this week's episodes of Larry King Now, News with Rick Sanchez, Watching the Hawks, and Redacted VIP! #JustPressPlay
VIDEO-Zach Parkinson on Twitter: "Joe Biden claimed tonight that he worked with Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping on the Paris Climate Accord. Except the current Chinese President is Xi Jinping. Deng Xiapoing left office in 1992 and has been dead for 23 years.
Mon, 24 Feb 2020 21:30
Log in Sign up Zach Parkinson @ AZachParkinson Joe Biden claimed tonight that he worked with Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping on the Paris Climate Accord.Except the current Chinese President is Xi Jinping. Deng Xiapoing left office in 1992 and has been dead for 23 years.
pic.twitter.com/ddEAmPhkZi 6:55 PM - 24 Feb 2020 Twitter by: Zach Parkinson @AZachParkinson Zach Parkinson @ AZachParkinson
22m Replying to
@AZachParkinson Xiaoping*
View conversation · 🇺🇸 Rebuilding Trumpmore 'š'¸ @ k_ovfefe2
29m Replying to
@AZachParkinson @TrumpWarRoom THE BIDEN CAMPAIGN IS ELDER ABUSE
View conversation · Andy McCarthy @ AndrewCMcCarthy
23m Replying to
@AZachParkinson @hughhewitt Before or after he consulted Thatcher and got arrested trying to visit Mandela? I'm so confused ...
View conversation · Tad Soper @ TLSoper1
29m Replying to
@AZachParkinson @TrumpWarRoom While Trump plays 4D Chess, Biden is playing a fantasy role playing game. 🤣
View conversation · The Conservative Athiest 🇺🇸 @ HoganSavoy
21m Replying to
@TLSoper1 @AZachParkinson @TrumpWarRoom And he can't remember where he put the dice.
View conversation · Kevin Kelly @ Kevinke60256537
29m Replying to
@AZachParkinson @TrumpWarRoom Live look at Biden's campaign manager👍
pic.twitter.com/I8YZssR3q5 View conversation · Trish Trader @ trish_trader
28m Replying to
@AZachParkinson @TrumpWarRoom Does anyone care enough about this man to allow him to enjoy his golden years. Where are his friends, family??? It's just plain sad.
View conversation · Steve Nadel @ StevenNadel
24m Replying to
@AZachParkinson Finally an opportunity to use this joke!
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VIDEO-Shelby Pierson: Threats To 2020 Election May Now Be 'Broader And Deeper' : NPR
Mon, 24 Feb 2020 07:24
Intelligence Community Threats Executive Shelby Pierson told NPR that more nations may attempt more types of interference in the United States. "This isn't a Russia-only problem," she says. Kisha Ravi/NPR hide caption
toggle caption Kisha Ravi/NPR Intelligence Community Threats Executive Shelby Pierson told NPR that more nations may attempt more types of interference in the United States. "This isn't a Russia-only problem," she says.
Kisha Ravi/NPR Threats to U.S. elections this year could be broader and more diverse than before, warns the spy world's boss for election security '-- and she also acknowledged the limits of her ability to tackle them.
Shelby Pierson, the intelligence community's election threats executive, told NPR in an exclusive interview that more nations may attempt more types of interference in the United States given the extensive lessons that have since been drawn about the Russian attack on the 2016 presidential election.
"This isn't a Russia-only problem," she told Noel King on Morning Edition. "We're still also concerned about China, Iran, non-state actors, 'hacktivists.' And frankly ... even Americans might be looking to undermine confidence in the elections."
But the U.S. intelligence community isn't standing still, Pierson said. It, too, has been working since 2016 to learn what lessons it can from that year and also adapt in real time as others do to the way officials at every level plan for this year's presidential race.
I do think it is broader and more diverse simply because we might have more actors than we had in 2016 and we might be looking at different inroads.
Shelby Pierson
"I do think it is broader and more diverse simply because we might have more actors than we had in 2016 and we might be looking at different inroads '-- not just necessarily capitalizing on social media, but also interfering in networks or the vote count," she said. "So you really have a broader waterfront than you might have had in 2016."
Pierson said that the intelligence community is expanding its technical capabilities and trying to develop more human sources to alert it to interference efforts, but there are two major factors that complicate both what it can achieve and the efficacy of foreign interference.
First is the tension over what spies should reveal about what they know, how much and when. Second, the reality that each person forms her or his own perceptions about democracy, whether an election is "rigged" or whether a fact is reliable.
Critics faulted the administration of President Barack Obama for keeping quiet through much of 2016 about what it was uncovering about the campaign of active measures that Russia waged that year, including via cyberattacks and with online agitation.
Pierson said the intelligence community today is conscious about that lesson and appreciates the possibility that it may need to work quicker to decide how and when to reveal information about potential threats. But these decisions aren't simple.
Intelligence officials need to preserve sources and methods and don't want to needlessly sow more mistrust in democracy, she said.
"Some of my colleagues have said, 'maybe we shouldn't necessarily spook the herd and share all this information ... Maybe people go, 'You know what, this is all rigged. That's so much disinformation. I'm not going to vote.' That would be worst case scenario. And frankly, doing the work of our adversaries for them."
At the same time, the intelligence community says it wants to do more to work with officials at every level. The FBI, for example, recently expanded its policy for making notifications when it detects a cyberattack.
Pierson also told NPR that it may sometimes be valid to expose a foreign interference operation in the interest of educating voters and, she hopes, prompting Americans not to become cynical but just the opposite '-- to lean forward and engage.
"I've really taken some some very important suggestions to heart that transparency enables resilience and, potentially, sunlight is the best disinfectant," she said.
Continued Pierson: "The more that we talk about the threat, potentially more we empower voters to understand this as merely a reality of today's landscape. And that despite all of those challenges, we're managing them or countering them. And [people] should vote."
View from within ODNI
Pierson was appointed election threats executive under the Office of the Director of National Intelligence in one of the final acts of then-DNI Dan Coats before he was hustled out of the Trump administration last year.
That position has been empty since and the vacant DNI has come to symbolize the lingering antipathy between President Trump and the spy bureaucracy.
Trump not only has never appeared simpatico with much of the intelligence world, he has reserved particular scorn for election security itself. Trump goes back and forth as to what he accepts about the events of 2016 and also has adopted conspiracy theories about it, including one which forms the basis of the ongoing impeachment saga in the Senate.
None of the political backdrop in Washington affects Pierson and her work, she told NPR. ODNI and the intelligence community have the funding they need, the authorities they need from Congress '-- and Trump also plays ball when asked, she said.
For example, intelligence and foreign policy specialists asked Trump to warn Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov against interfering in the 2020 election, Pierson said '-- and he agreed. Lavrov, however, later denied it came up.
The bottom line, as NPR's King asked Pierson, was this: "You don't feel yourself having to work around President Trump?"
"Not at all," Pierson said.
National conversation
There are limits to what the intelligence community can do to address a problem that ultimately manifests itself in the hearts of Americans.
One objective of active measures is simply to spread chaos and sow doubt, and Pierson said she hoped the coming year would bring a focus on confronting that by citizens, news organizations and beyond.
"This is where it's not only a whole of government effort, but frankly a whole of society effort," Pierson said.
"Not only do we want to improve media literacy so that Americans know where to find accurate information to inform their vote and how to spot disinformation if it's coming through on their own media feeds ..."
She continued: "... I think combating that type of activity, again, is a full spectrum of opportunities, which can include technical operations sponsored by the intelligence community, working in close partnership with tech firms and social media firms, and as well as coupled with media literacy. I think that frankly creates our best chance at societal resilience against these threats."
VIDEO-U.S. election czar says attempts to hack the 2020 election will be more sophisticated
Mon, 24 Feb 2020 06:52
WASHINGTON '-- The U.S. government is geared up as never before to combat foreign election interference, but there are limits to what American intelligence agencies can do, even as determined adversaries build on their 2016 playbook, the nation's election security czar said Tuesday.
In prepared remarks before an elections group, and in an exclusive interview afterward with NBC News, Shelby Pierson, the election security threats executive at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, said a number of adversaries may be poised to attempt election interference.
"The threats as we go into 2020 are more sophisticated," she said. "This is not a Russia-only problem. Russia, China, Iran, North Korea, non-state hacktivists all have opportunity, means and potentially motive to come after the United States in the 2020 election to accomplish their goals."
Pierson spoke at an election summit sponsored by the U.S. Election Assistance Commission, an independent, bipartisan agency that certifies voting systems and serves as a national clearinghouse of information on election administration.
Speaking to NBC News, Pierson said U.S. intelligence agencies are tracking hacking activity by Russia's military intelligence agencies, including efforts flagged Monday by a private security firm to gain access to networks at Burisma, the Ukrainian firm that employed Joe Biden's son.
Asked when the target of a hacking campaign might be notified, she said the intelligence community will provide information to candidates and parties that are judged to be the target of a leak or malign influence campaign by a foreign government if there is some way the targets can act on the information.
Let our news meet your inbox. The news and stories that matters, delivered weekday mornings.
"We are looking for detail and action-ability in the information '-- not just that we are cognizant of the activity but that what we can share is something that the target or the victim can act upon."
The government is constantly balancing whether to discuss intelligence gleaned from sensitive sources and methods, she said.
The Biden campaign would not comment on whether it had been notified.
Experts have long worried that, having influenced an election with leaks of genuine emails in 2016, the Russians may turn to doctored information in 2020. NBC News asked Pierson whether the government has a plan for that, and how intelligence agencies will sort out potential disinformation spread by foreign governments.
She said the government would do what it can, but "it's also important to recognize that the intelligence community doesn't always have the access and insights to know what's real and what's fake."
She also commented on the recent "NBC Nightly News" reporting by Cynthia McFadden and Kevin Monahan that some voting systems are still connecting to networks via modems. "We have judged that to be a vulnerability," she said, but added that the Department of Homeland Security would be better positioned to discuss the matter in detail.
Asked what is being done to deter the Russians, she said there were efforts underway to expose their actions, and secret intelligence operations designed to stop them.
She added, "I think it's important for us to keep messaging our adversaries that this activity will not be tolerated and there will be consequences."
Critics would point out that while some Trump administration officials have sent that message, the president himself has been accused of sending the opposite message '-- questioning the intelligence about Russian election interference, praising Russian president Vladimir Putin, and failing to publicly address the threat.
In December, Trump warned the Russian foreign minister "against any Russian attempts to interfere in United States elections," according to a White House readout of the meeting. How forceful the warning, and what language Trump used, was unclear.
"We're uniquely cognizant that as we share information on election threats, we don't want to undermine American confidence in our democratic process," Pierson said. "What I want for the American voting public is that they understand these threats, that they've heard about it so frequently that they have availed themselves of the resources to them, that they can know where to vote, know how to vote if they're not on the voter rolls, know where to seek authoritative information on candidates and ballot measures, so it's with the confidence of knowing these threats that they're empowered to participate in the process."
Pierson also commented on a recent NBC News investigation showing that voting systems in some counties connect to networks via modem, leaving them potentially open to hackers.
Ken Dilanian Ken Dilanian is a correspondent covering intelligence and national security for the NBC News Investigative Unit.

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    he's anti-science adam curry
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    since Sunday before we get into anything
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    we need to revisit the bogit of Russia
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    is meddling to help Donald Trump win
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    New York Times piece Maggie Haberman and
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    Habermann I think it's Hal Berman
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    no it's Haberman anyway yeah I think
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    it's Minh and Adam Goldman Oh Maggie was
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    on CNN Goldman was on MSNBC and like
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    just breathless and like oh my god it's
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    happening
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    and behold not one day later none of
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    this is really cutting dry Alex and it
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    is complicated and it is nuanced what we
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    are hearing from three national security
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    is CNN who of course were part of the
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    problems and may have overstated the
  • 3:41
    extent of it relates to Russian
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    interference she said that Russia was
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    interfering in the 2020 election with
  • 3:49
    the goal of trying to help president
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    Trump's re-election campaign now those
  • 3:52
    three national security officials tell
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    us that this is actually what the
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    intelligence says on the one hand that
  • 3:57
    Russia is indeed interfering in the 2020
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    election and secondly that Russia views
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    Trump as a leader that it can work with
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    but the US doesn't yet have the evidence
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    actually conclude that Russia is
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    interfering in the election because of
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    the fact that they view Trump as a
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    leader you can they can work with
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    because they have a preference for
  • 4:16
    President Trump now one official said
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    that Pearson's characterization of the
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    intelligence was misleading another
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    official said that it lacked nuance
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    we know Alex that after the 2016
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    election the US intelligence community
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    definitively concluded that Russia did
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    indeed interfere in the 2016 election in
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    order to help Trump get elected but that
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    information we should note was based in
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    particular on high-level Kremlin source
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    that the United States actually relied
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    on and the United States doesn't have
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    that source there anymore that source
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    was extracted and brought back to the
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    United States and so now the United
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    States doesn't have that information as
  • 4:53
    if yet to conclude conclusively that
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    Russia is interfering to help the United
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    States it's not a stretch of course but
  • 4:59
    to say that perhaps that is ultimately
  • 5:01
    what Russia will be doing is initiated
  • 5:03
    here in the 2020 rupture but as of yet
  • 5:05
    the US intelligence community has not
  • 5:07
    made that conclusion according to those
  • 5:08
    three national security officials who me
  • 5:10
    and my colleagues spoke with so a lot of
  • 5:12
    words salad there instead of just saying
  • 5:14
    oh I guess we shouldn't have believed in
  • 5:16
    New York Times who were so breathless to
  • 5:18
    let us know that this was a fact and
  • 5:20
    this was true when this was happening it
  • 5:22
    was breaking news broth was all over it
  • 5:24
    but I think this is also untrue Shelby
  • 5:29
    Pearson who is a career type of person
  • 5:32
    in the intelligence field who's was
  • 5:35
    brought in by Dan Coates I guess you
  • 5:38
    know so she's been around for a while so
  • 5:41
    she apparently overstated what was going
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    on I don't believe that I think that
  • 5:47
    Adam Schiff because he's the one that
  • 5:50
    usually leaks this stuff that he took
  • 5:53
    the information and overstated it to the
  • 5:56
    New York Times and I base that upon a
  • 5:59
    January 22nd interview on NPR with
  • 6:02
    Shelby Pearson and the way she rattles
  • 6:05
    this off and you can even hear little
  • 6:08
    pieces of it if you recall Adam Goldman
  • 6:11
    did mention China briefly in his report
  • 6:13
    I think this is pretty much how she
  • 6:15
    briefed the intelligence community and
  • 6:18
    the oversight board Oversight Committee
  • 6:20
    will the 2020 elections be secured from
  • 6:23
    interference either foreign or domestic
  • 6:26
    yesterday I asked Shelby Pearson she is
  • 6:29
    the first-ever intelligence community
  • 6:31
    election threats executive she was
  • 6:34
    appointed by then Director of National
  • 6:35
    Intelligence dan coates in July of
  • 6:38
    2019 her job is to work with
  • 6:41
    intelligence agencies like the CIA the
  • 6:43
    FBI the NSA and the Department of
  • 6:45
    Homeland Security to identify and fight
  • 6:48
    actors that are trying to interfere with
  • 6:49
    our voting process the Russians for
  • 6:51
    example are already engaging in
  • 6:53
    influencer operations relative to
  • 6:55
    candidates going into 2020 but we do not
  • 6:58
    have evidence at this time that our
  • 7:00
    adversaries are directly looking at
  • 7:02
    interfering with vote counts or the vote
  • 7:05
    tallies
  • 7:05
    is it fair to say we don't know what
  • 7:07
    Russia's going to do yet I think that is
  • 7:09
    a fair characterization and it would
  • 7:10
    also say that this isn't a Russia only
  • 7:12
    problem we're still also concerned about
  • 7:14
    China Iran non-state actors hacktivists
  • 7:17
    and frankly I've certainly for DHS and
  • 7:20
    FBI even Americans that might be looking
  • 7:22
    to undermine confidence in the elections
  • 7:24
    after Russia was that we're just yeah
  • 7:29
    with advertising only for DHS and FBI
  • 7:32
    even Americans that might be looking to
  • 7:34
    undermine confidence in the elections
  • 7:36
    after Russia interfered in the 2016
  • 7:38
    election there was this push for
  • 7:40
    transparency about attempts to influence
  • 7:42
    our elections Pearson told me she's
  • 7:45
    walking a line between not wanting to
  • 7:47
    frighten people but also wanting to keep
  • 7:49
    them informed transparency enables
  • 7:52
    resilience and sunlight is the best
  • 7:54
    disinfectant so the more that we talk
  • 7:56
    about the threat potentially more we
  • 7:58
    empower voters to understand this as
  • 8:00
    merely a reality of today's landscape
  • 8:02
    and that despite all of those challenges
  • 8:05
    we're managing them or countering them
  • 8:07
    and they should vote I listened to the
  • 8:11
    whole 15 minute of view she sounds
  • 8:12
    pretty level-headed she doesn't sound
  • 8:14
    like she's some kind of nut job I'm
  • 8:15
    pretty sure that someone on the
  • 8:18
    Intelligence Committee and I'm just
  • 8:19
    gonna say looks like chef would be the
  • 8:22
    obvious one it just took some of those
  • 8:24
    words and made it his own and gave it to
  • 8:26
    the New York Times is a very creative
  • 8:38
    guy maybe before we go into the humorous
  • 8:42
    portion of the show which would be the
  • 8:45
    most recent debate because let's face it
  • 8:49
    somebody heard our message and they made
  • 8:51
    the show
  • 8:52
    not boring anymore I appreciate that